Archives for August 21st, 2013

Tesla Model S To Get Adaptive Cruise, Lane-Departure Warning, More?


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Drivers of the Tesla Model S are generally pretty happy with their cars, but as with any new product there are always a few ways it could be improved.

Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is one of few companies that can execute those improvements without you having to lift a finger, as software updates can be achieved via the internet.

Whether lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection will be software updates is a different matter, but all have been discovered deep within the car’s menus by an enterprising owner (via Autoblog).

None are currently available on the Model S but all have appeared in a video of the car’s menu settings, located behind an access code off the car’s main menu.

It’s likely that all are simply menu provisions for hardware changes coming in later Model S, unless Tesla has hidden the required sensors in each car already.  ‘Right Hand Drive’ also appears on the menu, suggesting that Tesla has designed in a bunch of features not yet tested, but expected at a later date.

What itt does imply is that the car will be getting a few of the options some owners have been asking for, already standard on many competing vehicles.

Other screens within the coded menus include power usage data, not just between battery, motor and wheels but also through the battery temperature systems, heating and ventilation and more.

Another menu shows not-yet-available apps, light-hearted applications like a sketchpad rubbing shoulders with test apps for the screen colors, audio and others. A further menu illustrates speed and torque-limiting option sliders.

One thing is for sure: There are still plenty of interesting features in the pipeline for Model S owners.

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By Antony Ingram

Official: 2012 Tesla Model S To Be Given Creep Option

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

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To creep or not to creep? That is the question.

As many hardened electric car fans will tell you, unlike gasoline cars with automatic gearboxes, not all electric cars move forward — or creep — when you release the foot brake. 

When Tesla launched the 2012 Model S, it, like unlike the two-seat Tesla Roadster which preceded it, did not come with creep function enabled. 

But after numerous requests from its customers, Tesla has announced it will soon be offering a remote software update to all 2012 Tesla Model S cars which will enable the function.

Without visiting their local service center, Tesla customers will be notified of the update to their Model S’ operating system. 

Once installed, it will add a new option to the car’s preferences, allowing customers to enable or disable automatic creep. 

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

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Tesla’s creep function upgrade was quietly announced in a recent webpage update covering its 2012 Model S servicing plans

“By default, Model S does not slowly move forward when you release the brake pedal like cars equipped with automatic transmissions,” Tesla says on its webpage. “With an electric motor there’s no need for this, but some early customers miss it. Using software updates, we can upgrade every Model S with a ‘creep’ option which customers can enable using the 17 inch touchscreen.”

Tesla hasn’t detailed how long Tesla owners will have to wait for the update, or if it will come standard on Model S cars which have yet to leave the factory, but we assume the additional optional feature will be made available to existing customers shortly. 

For those who are used to driving gasoline automatic cars, the option of creep simulation will be a welcome addition to first-time electric car drivers. 

But would you like to choose if your electric car has it or not?

Let us know in the Comments below. 

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By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Oatmeal raises $1 million to build a Nikola Tesla museum

Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe

Matthew Inman, the lone man behind the comics of The Oatmeal, is at it again on the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo. This time Inman is asking for contributions that will go into securing the site of Nikola Tesla’s final laboratory in Shoreham, New York, for the future development of a Tesla museum. As of today, Inman has more surpassed his $850,000 goal and cracked the $1 million mark.

Nikola Tesla was many things. He was an inventor, an engineer, physicist, and most notably a futurist, who paved the way for modern technologies that we take for granted, including wireless communication and radio, and alternating current systems. We also Tesla to thank for other nifty inventions like the Tesla coil, which sends visible high-voltage sparks shooting into the air. Today he’s a cultural icon.

In the early 1900s, that Tesla attempted to construct a tower adjoining his laboratory, which would in theory generate electricity and wirelessly transmit it to the world. The tower ultimately failed despite its construction due to two factors. First, Tesla’s initial attempts at transmitting electricity failed due to insufficient experimentation. Second, the Panic of 1910 froze investment in his projects from J. Pierpont Morgan (founder of investment bank, J.P. Morgan). Tesla’s project was indefinitely halted and the site was sold off to George Boldt, proprietor of the Waldof-Astoria, for $20,000 ($400,000 in today’s value) to pay off his overdue rent. The site’s new owners destroyed the tower in 1917 for scrap.

The Long Island science organization has long sought to transform the property into a Tesla museum, while other interested buyers plan to raze the structures and redevelop it. Its current owner, Agfa Corporation, wants $1.6 million for the property. At the site, only the laboratory remains.

Inman’s original goal of $850,000 would buy just half of the cost of the property, but the state of New York has agreed to match contributions, bringing total funds up to $1.7 million. Raising the capital to build a museum from the property will be another cost, but from the looks of it, with 36 days left and having already surpassed the $1 million mark, there should be funds to spare.

You can check out a video of the inside of Wardenclyffe below. Note that the footage taken was the result of individual trespassing and breaking into the laboratory, but it will give you good idea of what the building looks like.

By Francis Bea

Tesla Improves Resale Value Guarantee, Adds Longer Term Loans

Tesla Improves Resale Value Guarantee, Adds Longer Term Loans

In response to criticism surrounding Tesla’s announcement on its new financing option, CEO Elon Musk has revised the terms by offering a new resale guarantee and longer-term loans, both of which should make owning a Model S a little easier.

2013 Tesla Model S left view 300x187 image“When we first did the financing option, we didn’t get it quite right,” said Musk during a live webcast on the subject. We found Tesla’s claimed savings were too exaggerated when we broke down the numbers last month, but Tesla says they’ll make more sense now. To start, the company now guarantees a resale value of 50 percent after three years (ratings by ALG), up from the previous 43 percent. That figure will be adjusted in the future to keep it above its luxury sedan competition. “If we really believe we’re making the best car, we believe it should have the best resale value,” Musk said. That means Tesla’s guarantee should assure the residual value will be higher than premium sedans from Mercedes-Benz BMW, Audi, Jaguar, and Lexus.

In addition, the company has extended loans to 72 months instead of 63 months. The 12,000-mile annual limit has also been increased to 15,000 miles. Tesla’s True Cost of Ownership Model S Calculator online is a bit more conservative now, as well.

After the first financing option was announced, Tesla has seen more interest in the 60 kW-hr model, but most buyers still go with the 85 kW-hr car. “What we’re saying is you’ll get 20 percent more cash in three years,” Musk said.

With Tesla’s ultimate goal of making the Model S more accessible to interested consumers, we’re thinking the best way to accomplish that goal is to simply introduce a less expensive car.

Source: Tesla

By Karla Sanchez

Tesla Motors to build pickup truck in Texas?

TeslaTruck

Trying to win over Texans by giving them a new pickup truck sounds too stereotypical to be true, but that’s exactly what Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is doing. What might a Tesla Truck look like? Digital artist Garrett Bradford created the above image using design cues from current Tesla models to come up with an educated guess.

Musk is currently fighting Texas legislators, who claim Tesla’s company-owned retail stores violate laws prohibiting car manufacturers from owning dealerships.

The Tesla stores (photo below) are modeled on Apple Stores, and are usually located in upscale shopping malls. They also operate more like retail stores than conventional dealerships: there’s no inventory of cars and customers are directed to separate service centers if they have any problems with their purchases.

Tesla currently runs two stores in Texas: one in Houston’s Galleria mall, and another in Austin’s Domain shopping center.

While many states prohibit car companies from selling directly to customers, Tesla goes to extraordinary lengths to skirt the Texas laws.

Tesla stores in Texas do not offer test drives and do not offer pricing information, although it is easily obtainable by going to Tesla’s website.

Once a customer orders a car, the transaction is funneled through Tesla’s home base in California. Cars are either delivered at the factory or to the customer’s home. Either way, they never have to set foot in the showroom again. Service centers are also limited in the way they can communicate with customers.

Musk apparently thinks this is too much of a hassle, and is trying to change the law. That’s where the pickup truck plan comes in.

“I have this idea for a really advanced electric truck that has the performance of a sports car but actually more towing power and more carrying capacity than a gasoline or diesel truck of comparable size,” Musk told Automotive News.

If Tesla does decide to build a truck, Musk says it would likely require a new factory. He said Texas would be a “leading candidate” for such a plant.

tesla store electric carsWhile we’ve heard fantastic product ideas from Musk before, the Tesla Model F-150 is definitely the most outrageous. Tesla would have to design a second platform from scratch; the unibody that underpins the Model S won’t cut it for a truck.

Of course, Tesla designed the Model S from scratch, but a truck also doesn’t seem to fit the company’s mission. The Model S is a luxury car, and so is every other model Tesla has proposed so far. “Luxury trucks” are still a bit oxymoronic (Lincoln Mark LT, anyone?), but trucks have been getting more and more civilized – and tech heavy – as of late.

While Tesla officials have discussed turning the company into a full-line carmaker, jumping from a luxury sedan to a pickup truck without anything in between is just too crazy to be believable.

After all, Tesla still hasn’t put the Model X crossover into production, and recently canceled plans for a sub-Model S sedan.

An electric truck would be cool, but it doesn’t seem like that is what Musk is really proposing. Texas lawmakers might be willing to give him what he wants if it means netting a new factory and its many jobs.

Musk is a man that follows through with his visions, but this time he seems to be visualizing a network of company-owned car stores, not a new EV.

By Stephen Edelstein

Report: Tesla Letting Roadster Owners Trade In For Model S – Rumor Central

Report: Tesla Letting Roadster Owners Trade In For Model S

Technophiles often want to own the newest technology, but don’t always have something to do with yesterday’s device. Tesla, however, will be making it easy for current Roadster owners to upgrade to a Model S.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Tesla has created a buyback program for current Roadster owners who are looking to move into a new Model S. Tesla’s program works just as any other trade-in deal would work, and has been created to help simplify the process for Model S/Roadster customers, according to Tesla representative Christina Ra. Since some Model S variants are actually priced well below the Roadster, it is possible for an owner to receive more on a trade than the cost of the new car. “In that case, we’d write you a check,” vonReichbauer, Tesla’s director of finance, told the Chronicle.

Pricing for the Model S hatchback starts at $57,400 for the 40 kWh battery, steps up to $67,400 for the 60 kWh car, and $77,400 for the 85 kWh model (all prices are before any government tax rebates). The EPA has already rated the 85-kWh Model S at 89 MPGe and a range of 265 miles. Currently, the only Model S versions being built are the top-spec Signature Performance models that use the 85-kWh battery; an upgraded interior, suspension, and wheels; and the exclusivity of being just one of 1000 units built. Once all the Signature models are built, the automaker will begin to produce the Model S and Model S Performance versions.

Having a cache of Roadsters will also help Tesla, the Chronicle points out. Having another vehicle to sell alongside the Model S until the Model X crossover debuts will help the automaker keep retail sales going. It’s expected that a Roadster would be resold for anywhere around $73,000 to $94,000 depending on age and mileage of the car.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle





By Donny Nordlicht

Tesla has begun deliveries of 60kWh Model S units

Tesla

Being a small startup automotive company means that you’re free to conduct business in ways other than the established norms, but Tesla will sometimes act as though this is a challenge being issued to break as many norms as possible. Their latest defiance of norms was to begin deliveries of a new type of car without telling anyone in the press, whereas most automakers prefer to brag about these things. Tesla isn’t exactly famous for modesty, so this seems even stranger, but Green Car Reports has found sufficient evidence to suggest that it really is happening.

The car in question isn’t a whole new model, but rather the second of three versions of the Model S. The three versions are differentiated by their battery packs, which determine both the price and the range of the car. Already being delivered is the 85kWh car, which has an EPA-rated range of 265 miles. The 60kWh car has a range of 208 miles, which is still quite a lot for an electric car. Due out next is the lowest-cost 40kWh car, which Tesla says will have a 160-mile range. Considering most electric cars have a range of around 100 miles, there isn’t a version of the Model S which doesn’t far exceed the norm.

The way it was discovered that deliveries had begun was simply that the new owners were posting pictures of their new cars on internet forums. More than just a couple of isolated cases, it seems safe to assume that deliveries have truly begun in earnest. This is either good or slightly annoying news to anyone who ordered one of the 60kWh cars, depending on how they look at it.

By Jacob Joseph

Tesla Model S – World's Fastest Production EV



The stats of the Tesla Model S never cease to amaze us, and the car keeps wowing everybody who sees and drives it. It`s got a great body shape, which looks good and clean and is also very aerodynamic. It`s got two trunks (one in the back, where you`d expect it, and one in the front, called the 'frunk').

However, not even the excellent quality of the interior, or the 17-inch touchscreen display are more impressive than the engine powering the car. Mounted behind the rear axle, it produces 416 hp, of which 386 make it to the pavement.

The manufacturer claims it will reach 100 km/h or 62 mph in 4.4 seconds, yet independent tests show that it is actually half-a-second quicker than Tesla says.

We recently posted a video of the Model S, beating a Dodge Viper SRT-10, with over 500 hp. The race was a quarter-mile sprint, which the Tesla finished in 12.731 seconds, crossing the line at an impressive 110.84 miles per hour, or 178.38 km/h.

This means that the Model S is now officially the world`s fastest production EV, and the record has been confirmed by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA). This is just one more reason to want to drive a Model S, and a little something extra for the company`s marketing department to play with for future ad campaigns.

By Andrei Nedelea