Archives for August 22nd, 2013

Mini E Tortoise Caught By Tesla Roadster Hare On 500-mile U.K. Trip

Mini E Tortoise Caught By Tesla Roadster Hare On 500-mile U.K. Trip

The U.K. institution known as the British Broadcasting Corporation recently embarked on a near 500-mile trip with one of Mini’s experimental Mini E fleet, which was arranged in part to highlight the inconveniences of electric vehicles. Not surprisingly, things got pretty inconvenient.

The BBC’s story, airing on English television, chronicles journalist Brian Milligan’s drive from London to Edinburgh, a journey of some 484 miles. According to the automaker, the Mini E’s range is  roughly 100 miles, but driving habits, traffic conditions, and ambient temperatures can have an effect on that number — potentially whittling it down to as little as 60 miles. Not surprisingly, charging stations were few and far between along the route and Milligan was forced to wait for hours at a time for the electrified Mini to charge before continuing.

After Milligan published his frustrations on both his blog and Twitter feed, EV advocates started to cry foul. British EV fan David Peilow was so incensed, he arranged a publicity stunt with Tesla Motors to counter the BBC story. Borrowing a new Roadster Sport and leaving after Milligan had a two-day lead, Peilow set out to beat the BBC to Edinburgh.

He did just that. The Roadster, equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack offering roughly 245 miles of range (and, importantly, a 3.5-hour recharge time on a 240-volt charger), managed to make the trek in a single day. Pielow needed to stop only twice, and, having left in the wee hours of the morning, managed to sneak into Edinburgh hours before Milligan did.

The BBC is crying foul, noting the sporty Roadster’s range is nearly twice that of the “practical” Mini E. But beyond the obvious PR stunt for Tesla, Pielow’s counter drive did serve to notice that despite the significant obstacles, the hurdles to widespread EV may yet be overcome someday.

Source: Tesla, BBC

By Steve Diehlman

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

Lots of car doors open when you have $50,000 to spend. A 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca and a base 2013 Porsche Boxster cost about $50,000, but if an electric-powered crossover is more your style, then you’ll also have enough to afford the Toyota RAV4 EV, set to go on sale later this summer with an asking price of $49,800, before credits.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV instrument panel 300x187 imageIs that asking too much? Toyota doesn’t think so. Ed Larocque, Toyota USA’s national marketing manager for advanced technology vehicles, defended the RAV4 EV’s price point to WardsAuto: “All things considered, [including] what you’re getting with the product, we think it’s priced right for the market in California.” Following the initial launch in California, Toyota will decide what U.S. markets will get the RAV4 EV.

The RAV4 EV includes a powertrain developed with Tesla Motors. Toyota claims it will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds in sport mode and 8.6 seconds in normal mode, while reaching a top speed of 100 mph. Its lithium-ion battery pack will need about 6 hours to charge (level 2, 240V), providing a range of 92-113 miles, depending on driving modes and conditions. Standard creature comforts include navigation, heated front seats, and seating surfaces wrapped in Toyota’s new Neutron fabric.

Last but not least are the tax credits. Combining the federal tax credit of $7500 with California’s $2500 credit and the RAV4 EV’s price was knocked down to about $39,990. By comparison, the all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchback is $36,050 (before credits), while a fully loaded 2012 RAV4 Limited AWD V-6 is priced at $32,820.

Source: WardsAuto, Toyota

By Erick Ayapana

Toyota, Tesla Come Together, Companies Seal $100 Million RAV4 EV Deal

Toyota, Tesla Come Together, Companies Seal $100 Million RAV4 EV Deal

Toyota and Tesla have joined forces in producing battery packs and motors for the upcoming electric RAV4 in what was previously a $60 million deal, but now, the Japanese automaker is forking over more money and officially making it a $100 million deal.

The RAV4 EV, set to go into production next year, was rumored to only be available for fleet sales, but we shed light on those claims earlier this week. Toyota said in a press release that the electric SUV would be available to the public.

The EV SUV was first introduced some 14 years ago, but never fared well, like most other electrics during that time. But this time around may be different, considering more customers are taking the electric path, not to mention battery technology has improved exponentially since then.  Toyota anticipates learning from the electric vehicle start-up company’s savviness in electric battery technology, while perhaps having the Tesla-touch boost sales. As part of the give-and-take deal, the Japanese automaker will assist the electric roadster company with its expertise in mass production.

The agreement will run until 2014, in which Tesla, together with Toyota, will build lithium-ion battery packs for the RAV4 at the NUMMI auto assembly plant in Fremont, California. Tesla’s new Model S electric sedan will also be produced at the same facility.

Source: Bloomberg

By Karla Sanchez

Tesla Model S Sprint from Standstill to Over 100 MPH – Onboard [Video]

It seems that when Tesla first announced the performance numbers for the Model S, they were rather pessimistic with their claimed 4.4 second 0-62 mph or 0-100 km/h time. Several tests have been carried out, and the car has been timed anywhere from 4 seconds dead to around 4.2 seconds.

Now, in this latest onboard video by DragTimes, the Model S yet again does the benchmark sprint in four seconds and no more. This means the all-electric Sedan is seriously quick off the line, and up to around 80-90 mph, and there are genuinely very few cars of any type on the road which could keep up with it.

We are really impressed by the car's performance, in this video, and it just makes us appreciate the Model S even more.

Check out the video above, and be prepared to be amazed by the seamless surge of power the car`s electric motor. Proof of its performance is this video, where the car is put up against a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, with 518 hp.

By Andrei Nedelea