Archives for August 24th, 2013

Tesla Celebrates Building of 1,000th Model S Frame



For the doubters, who never expected Tesla to make it, this is proof that the American company is still hard at work, trying to achieve its projected sales/deliveries figure for this year. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has tweeted on his account, that the company has built its 1,000th Model S frame.

They were planning on building 5,000 complete cars by the end of the year, and the fact that they managed to build more frames in one month (October), than they managed to do in the entire year so far shows that they are hard at work trying to get as close to the projected figure as possible. Musk admitted that they are one month behind schedule on deliveries, yet this is by no means a critical threshold.

The company also reported that they will be getting a $10-million injection of funds, in order to expand its production facility in their Bay Area plant, where they will begin production of the Model X SUV, hopefully some time in 2014.

Story via greencarreports.com

By Andrei Nedelea

Had To Happen: Tesla Model S Spawns ‘Teslacessories’ Startup

Tesla Model S with DISRUPT license plate, March 2013 [photo: Sam Villella]

Tesla Model S with DISRUPT license plate, March 2013 [photo: Sam Villella]

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Accessories are a huge part of the auto business, and for every car, somewhere there’s a business (or a few dozen) offering aftermarket items the manufacturer hasn’t, can’t, or won’t provide.

And so it turns out to be for the Tesla Model S, the all-electric sport sedan from Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA].

Founded by Tesla owner Roger Pressman, who took delivery of a very early Model S with serial number 00184, Teslaccessories.com plans to offer aftermarket add-ons for the Model S.

The company’s first product is the Center Console Insert, which slides into the empty center tray on the floor of the Model S just ahead of the front seats.

The Console Insert has stitched leather sides and a carbon-fiber pattern top surface, and it contained both a cupholder and a closeable compartment with a sliding tambour door.

The pricing is not given on the company’s website, although there’s a signup procedure to get on a priority waiting list for the item (which the company says was released last week).

Signing up on a waiting list is a process Model S owners will be familiar with, since Tesla took deposits for Model S reservations up to three years before it delivered the cars.

With something like 5,000 cars delivered to date (Tesla won’t say), and production at 400 cars a week, the pool of Model S owners is growing every day.

Center Console Insert for Tesla Model S offered by Teslaccessories.com

Center Console Insert for Tesla Model S offered by Teslaccessories.com

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And you can view the arrival of a dedicated aftermarket firm exclusively for the vehicle as another tiny indicator of success for Tesla Motors.

It won’t make any difference to the company’s viability as a global auto business, of course.

But the launch of Teslaccessories.com can be viewed as yet another bit of validation by a member of what have to be some of the most enthusiastic–if occasionally critical, or at inquisitive–owner bodies of any new car in the world.

We look forward to hearing about additional aftermarket accessories for the Tesla Model S.

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By John Voelcker

New York Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Tesla Factory-Direct Stores – Rumor Central

New York Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Tesla Factory-Direct Stores

Lately, it seems Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been on tour around the country speaking in favor of his factory-direct sales model, against influential state dealer associations that see factory-direct car sales as a threat to the traditional dealership business model. Musk was most recently in Texas at a legislative hearing defending the factory-direct model. A New York Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that franchised dealers could not prove sufficient injury to prevent Tesla from operating factory-owned stores, Automotive News reports.

Naturally, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association voiced its displeasure at the ruling, claiming Tesla’s factory-owned model is “clearly prohibited” by state franchise dealer law. The dealer association has not yet said whether it will appeal the case, or seek recourse by other means. Tesla currently operates three stores and two service centers in the state.

The fear of state dealership associations across the country is that an exemption granted to Tesla would open the door to existing automakers to circumvent the independent franchise model and start opening factory-owned stores in competition with independently-owned dealerships. Franchise laws vary from state-to-state, from outright prohibition, to non-compete language preventing factory-owned stores from opening within a specified distance from an independent franchise.

Chrysler was forced to sell its Motor Village concept store in Los Angeles, after area dealers petitioned the DMV, alleging violations of state franchise law. Tesla’s case is unique in that it is creating a network of new stores for an all-new brand, not opening new outlets for an existing brand.

Source: Automotive News (subscription required)




By Edward A. Sanchez

Tesla Model S Wagon Rendered



Hello, and welcome to the best liked EV of the moment, the Tesla Model S. At a recent press conference to announce the company’s third quarter financial results (which were bad), Tesla CEO and founder of the company Elon Musk said there would be “few other variants of the Model S that we'll come out with next year.”

At the time, we speculated that one possible version would be a back-to-basics model without the leather or the trick 17-inch infotainment system, while the other would be a wagon or shooting brake, like Fisker is planning to make.

We found a rendering which could shed light on what the possible Tesla Model S would look like as a wagon. Even though these models are not that popular in the US, you can’t ignore the added practicality that comes with a big boot. Tesla buyers must be some of the most educated out there, and they really might appreciate a good wagon version.

Renderings by Theophilus Chin

Check out the Tesla Model S Wagon photo gallery

By Mihnea Radu

Ready Already: Toyota Rav4 EV by Tesla to Debut in Los Angeles

Ready Already: Toyota Rav4 EV by Tesla to Debut in Los Angeles

In one of the quickest turnarounds we’ve seen in years, the Toyota RAV4 EV that Tesla only agreed to build for the Japanese giant four months ago will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

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To be fair, by the time the companies announced the project, they already had a prototype built. Still, considering how fast they got a show car together, it’s likely that the drivetrain and battery system are very similar, if not identical, to the Tesla Roadster’s. All either company has said is that Tesla has been contracted to develop a battery, motor, gearbox and all related electronics for the RAV4 EV, for which Toyota will pay them a cool $60 million.

For the moment, Toyota’s only released these two teaser images of their nifty new badge and shout-out to Tesla on the speedometer. Further, the company has simply announced that the RAV4 EV will be at LA, but has kept all other details to itself. That means we won’t know the vehicle’s range, charge time, launch date or price until next week at the earliest. Unless more images are released, we won’t know what it’ll look like until next week either, though if the original RAV4 EV is any indication, the changes won’t be too radical save perhaps some aerodynamic improvements.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com next week for our complete live coverage of the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Source: Toyota

By Scott Evans

Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Gets Ripped Up by the Jaws of Life – Rumor Central

Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Gets Ripped Up by the Jaws of Life

Electric cars like the Tesla Model S offer up a unique challenge to firefighters. Rather than engines, fuel tanks, and fuel lines, electric cars have motors, batteries, and high-voltage cables that can potentially electrocute someone trying to save an occupant after an accident. Because of the challenge, Tesla has just put out a video showing just how firefighters should dismantle a Model S in the event of an accident.

If you want to skip the video’s drier bits, the Tesla Model S destruction starts at the 27:45 mark in the video below. Firefighters begin by ripping off the door and front quarter panel, before ripping into the A-pillar. The firefighters then dig into the dashboard and completely separate the dashboard section from the rest of the Model S, causing complete destruction of the electric car.

Watch the Tesla Model S get torn to shreds in the video below.

Source: Brock Archer via YouTube




By Christian Seabaugh

Tesla to Issue New Stock and Pay Off Government Loan – Rumor Central

Tesla to Issue New Stock and Pay Off Government Loan

Tesla plans to offer 2,703,027 shares of common stock and $450 million in convertible senior notes due in 2018 to raise money toward its outstanding loan from the Department of Energy.

Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk will purchase $100 million worth of the shares himself, with $45 million purchased from the common stock offering and $55 million bought directly from Tesla in a private sale. The underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to 405,454 additional shares and $67.5 million worth of convertible notes, which can be converted into cash or shares of Tesla stock when they mature.

Tesla stock ended trading on Wednesday at $84.84 a share, up significantly from last week’s price in the mid- to high $50 range. The surge in price is attributable to Tesla posting its first quarterly profit, with the company generating $11.2 million net income in the first quarter of 2013.

Though Tesla’s revised financing option may have lead to higher consideration among luxury buyers, the brand is still only selling variations of one vehicle. Whether Tesla can maintain its momentum remains to be seen.

Source: Tesla




By Alex Nishimoto

Tesla Model S can save $284 a month, Tesla Motors says

tesla-model-s-ev-red-side

Tesla Motors is doing so well that it recently cancelled plans for a base model that would undercut the $69,900 Model S. Still, it’s important to let customers know that they’re getting a good deal, and Tesla thinks its customers are. It thinks a combination of low electricity costs and government incentives will make the Model S significantly cheaper to own than a comparable luxury sedan.

The carmaker from Silicon Valley is starting a three-year lease program, financed by by Wells Fargo and US Bank, with a 10 percent down payment. It works out to an “effective monthly cost” of $471 for a base 60-kWh Model S, and $895 for the top 85-kWh Performance model. All of Tesla’s cost of wonership estimates are based on this leasing scheme.

Right out of the gate, Tesla expects EV tax incentives to cover most if not all of the 10 percent down payment on a Model S. Buyers in every state qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, but certain states offer more.

California gives buyers $10,000 in incentives, while West Virginia offers up to $15,000. New Jersey, Washington state, and the District of Columbia also don’t charge sales tax on electric cars.

Then there’s the all-important fuel savings tab. Tesla says that, even with higher electricity bills and a premium price, a Model S will still save its owner money.

Assuming the hypothetical Model S owner drives 15,000 miles over three years, with gas at $5.00 per gallon and electricity at $0.11 per kWh, Tesla says driving one of its cars will save $284 per month over an “average premium sedan.”

Tesla quotes an average fuel economy figure of 19 mpg for its competition. A 2013 BMW 550i with an automatic transmission returns 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The larger 750i gets 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, oddly enough.

Plugging in this week’s national average gasoline price of $3.65 (as reported by the Energy Information Administration), and the 5 Series’ EPA combined rating of 20 mpg, we got a still-substantial savings of $183 a month.

Since time is money, Tesla also lets potential owners calculate how much they’ll save by using carpool lanes for their commutes, and skipping stops at the gas station.

However, if these people decide to take their cars on business trips, they may have to make half-hour recharging stops at Tesla’s Supercharger stations. It might also be a good idea to budget time for repairs, since the Model S is a brand-new design.

After the three years are up, Model S drivers will be able to sell their cars back to Tesla for the same residual value percentage as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, although Tesla doesn’t say which S-Class model it means. Guaranteeing this high resale value means buyers won’t have to worry about depreciation.

While it’s undeniable that electricity is cheaper than gas, it might not be a good idea to buy a Model S based on solely on the expectation of saving a certain amount of money.

A person’s driving habits and the national average gasoline price fluctuate too much to be accurately predicted over the course of three years.

Still, electric car ownership will save some money, and there are plenty of other good reasons to buy a Model S. After all, if all you care about is saving money, why bother with such an expensive EV at all? Why not buy a Nissan Leaf?

By Stephen Edelstein