Archives for August, 2013 - Page 2

Ferrari-fighting Tesla Model R reportedly in the works for 2017

Tesla Model S

A rumor coming out of jolly old England’s Auto Express suggests electric car manufacturer Tesla is looking to bring a new model to the market in 2017.

The new car would replace Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, and be built from the ground up as pure all-electric vehicle (EV). Whereas the current Roadster is underpinned by Lotus’ Elise platform, Auto Express claims the successor to the Roadster, thought to be named the Model R, will utilize the same platform currently underpinning the Model S and the upcoming Model X crossover.

In addition to adhering to the company’s current naming convention, the Model R will reportedly expand on the Roadsters lightning-quick acceleration, which is capable of rocketing from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and traveling 254-miles on a single charge of its 53 kWh lithium-ion battery.

If true, the Model R would undoubtedly benefit from a platform switch. The Lotus Elise weights about 1800 pounds, while the Roadster weighs in at 2,723 pounds. A new platform built from the ground up to accommodate an EV powertrain has the potential to reduce the weight of the car, while at the same time improving range and acceleration.

Tesla sold the Roadster between 2008 and 2011, with about 2,500 rolling off the line. Base price for the zippy EV started around $109,000. While no longer selling the Roadster, the California-based automaker started a buyback program last month that allows Roadster owners the option to trade theirs in for credit towards a Model S.

According to Auto Express, Tesla has its sights set on Ferrari with the Model R, but we remain skeptical. Still, if the Model R can indeed go toe-to-toe with the iconic Italian automaker we’ll be very impressed. Of course that leaves us with another question: How much will it cost?

By Amir Iliaifar

Johnny Smith’s Flux Capacitor – Enfield 8000-Based Performance EV [Video]



It is projects like this that make us proud to be motoring journalists. One man with an excellent idea is given the financial backing he needs to make his dream a reality. The project is undertaken by Fifth Gear’s Johnny Smith, who will attempt to convert a 1970s Enfield 8000 into a Tesla Roadster-beating EV.

The Enfield 8000, a car killed just as it was supposed to go into production in the US, is a genuinely practical EV, of which only 120 were ever built in the mid 1970s. Officially, they could travel up to 145 km (90 miles) on one charge (under the right conditions), as well as reach a top speed of up to 129 km/h (80 mph), but those numbers were never achieved, in fact, the actual figures were nowhere near the official ones.

Now, Johnny has big plans for the Enfield, as it will be powered by two electric motors with a combined torque output of 1355 Nm (999 lb-ft), in order to put it on par with modern supercars. The project is not yet completed, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a bit excited as to what the final result will be like.

Old presentation of the Enfield 8000 by an elderly couple

By Andrei Nedelea

Globe Trotting Tesla Tragically Crashes 600 Miles Short Of Finish


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Back in July, we told you about Frenchman Rafael de Mestre, and his Verne-inspired attempt to travel around the world in just 80 days in his all-electric Tesla Roadster

Using some clever social media, and a few video cameras to boot, de Mestre has live blogged his trip in detail, giving us the highs and lows of a global expedition in a super-sexy sports car. 

On Sunday, however, just 600 miles short of the finish line, de Mestre’s attempt to beat fellow Frenchmen Xavier Degon and Antonin Guy’s own electric car circumnavigation of the world came to an abrupt halt. 

While passing through Germany, de Mestre’s all-black Tesla, nick-named KIT, rear-ended a Toyota hatchback and Mercedes SUV after failing to stop in time on a busy stretch of road.

Luckily, de Mestre escaped from his car unharmed, as did all of the other drivers involved in the accident. 

At the present time, the cause of the accident has not been disclosed, but de Mestre, posting on the trip’s Facebook page on Sunday said it all. 

“noooooooooooo!!!!,” he wrote. “game over! +++ I’m Fine!!!”

Initially, things looked bleak, with most of his Tesla’s front bodywork smashed and lying on the blacktop after the accident. 

But early this morning, de Mestre gave at least some hope of finishing his trek: Tesla was already working on his car.

Rafael de Mestre's Crashed Tesla Roadster (via Facebook)

Rafael de Mestre’s Crashed Tesla Roadster (via Facebook)

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“Tesla is repairing KIT with 5 technicians in parallel!,” he excitedly proclaimed online.

Rather than end his trip early as first feared, it looks as if de Mestre may just beat his fellow Frenchman — driving a 2012 Citroen C-Zero (Mitsubishi i) — across the finish line. 

That’s as long as Tesla can repair his car in short order, of course.

As for the accident itself? 

De Mestre captured it all via an on-board camera, and posted this short, but terrifying video of the accident online, calling it “The black day of the race.”

We’re glad to hear that no-one was injured, and wish de Mestre the best of luck with the remaining 600 miles of his trip. 

And of course, we’d like to remind everyone of one simple fact. 

As we’re sure de Mestre was, Always. Wear. Your. Seatbelt.

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By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Tesla Opens Distribution & Assembly Center In The Netherlands

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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As the first cars are set to arrive in European dealers next year, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has announced its new European distribution center in Tilburg, Netherlands.

The facility will serve as a final assembly point for European vehicles, as well as acting as Tesla’s distribution hub and regional service center.

The 62,000 square-foot facility will be central to Tesla’s roll-out of Model S cars through Europe. The first European Model S will enter production at Tesla’s Fremont plant in March 2013, before being shipped to Tilburg for final assembly.

As well as distribution and servicing, Tesla will use the facility for training, importing operations, parts remanufacturing, collision repair and more. Tesla expects up to 50 new jobs to be created in the next few years.

Many European Tesla dealerships have already begun taking orders for the electric sedan, while some still have stocks of the Roadster left.

Official pricing hasn’t yet been announced, though as with the U.S, European buyers can choose between standard and Signature Edition Model S.

Also in common with the U.S, many European countries offer tax incentives and rebates for the purchase of electric cars, plus exemptions from local vehicle taxes, parking charges and inner-city congestion charging.

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By Antony Ingram

Sarah Palin Calls Tesla, Chevy Volt "Losers"



We are pretty much immune to the green bug, but electric and hybrid cars are steadily conquering the world and proving to be good solutions to our mobility problems. However, the Republicans still haven't heard about this and are sticking to the old ways, criticizing president Obama for his support of green energy and electric automobiles.

In a recent Facebook post, Sarah Palin picked up where Mitt Romney's campaign left off, calling the Chevy Volt and Tesla “losers.” She was, of course, exploiting the media opportunity created by Fisker's recent financial problems and rumored bankruptcy.

Here's the full statement made by Palin on April 5th on her Facelbook page:

Once again, the American public lost when the Obama administration attempted to pick “winners and losers” in the free market. Today the electric car company Fisker Automotive, which received nearly $200 million in taxpayer money, is laying off three-fourths of its U.S. workers.

The Anaheim, CA-based start up has failed at pretty much every level – especially when it comes to the company’s ultra expensive luxury electric hybrid, the Karma (what a name!), which is assembled in Finland and received a green-energy loan to transition the assembly to the U.S., something that never happened.

This losing tax-subsidized venture joins other past losers like the Obama-subsidized Volt that gets 40 miles per battery charge, or like the Obama-subsidized Tesla that turns into a “brick” when the battery completely discharges and then costs $40,000 to repair

This is really just the latest manifestation of the administration’s crony capitalism as their green energy buddies benefit from this atrocious waste of taxpayer money. Americans really need to get outraged by these wasteful ventures. As we’ve seen time and time again, We the People are always stuck subsidizing the left’s “losers.”

So what’s the solution and where do Americans go with our outrage? Stand up against the crony capitalism and elect only those who understand and will let America’s marketplace dictate economic successes, instead of letting politicians (some who have never run any business nor even worked in the private sector) choose free enterprises’ winners and losers. Take a stand, friends. Nothing will change unless you do.

- Sarah Palin

By Mihnea Radu

Free Supercharging For 60-kWh Tesla Model S: How A Lucky Few Got It

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

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It looks like Tesla may just have done it again.

Compared to Nissan’s challenged public responses to hot-weather range-loss problems in its Leaf electric car, a recent move by Tesla to offer free Supercharging to early buyers of the 60-kWh version of its 2012 Model S looks like brilliant customer relations.

Or at least it looks brilliant to me. I’m set to take delivery in December of my own all-electric Tesla Model S luxury sport sedan.

And after a surprise e-mail from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] earlier this week, I’m a really, really happy customer right now.

Here’s the story.

I put down my deposit more than three years ago, so I’m pretty early in the queue (reservation P 717, out of 13,000 outstanding as of last week).

My number came up in August, and I chose my battery size (60 kWh, the middle of three alternatives) and color (green), specified the options I wanted, and signed my purchase agreement on September 5.

One of the options supposedly available to me at that time was Supercharging: the onboard hardware and software required to use the network of ultra-fast charging stations that Tesla had been teasing for months–though it hadn’t then officially unveiled any details.

According to Tesla’s website, Supercharging was to be standard on the 85-kWh Model S, optional at a price “to be determined” on 60-kWh cars like mine, and unavailable on the base 40-kWh version.

But I didn’t see a Supercharger box to check on my purchase agreement. No problem: Since I knew little about Supercharging, and the price had not yet been determined,  I wouldn’t have opted for it any case.

Then, on September 24, Tesla officially unveiled the Supercharger system. The big news was that the charging service would be free for all Model S owners equipped with the hardware to handle it.

Four days later, I got an e-mail announcing the price of the Supercharger option for my 60-kWh car: $1,000 for the hardware, plus $1,000 for software testing and calibration.

But, the e-mail continued, “Since you are an early reservation holder and booked your 60-kWh Model S before complete Supercharging information was available, we planned ahead to build your Model S with Supercharger hardware at no additional cost to you.”

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

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The testing and calibration, however, would still cost $1,000. Did I want my Supercharging hardware enabled at that price?

I mulled that one for a while. Though I don’t often make long cross-country trips, it would be nice to have the option.

It seemed a waste to have the Supercharging hardware in the car, but unusable. And, frankly, I didn’t want to miss out on the full Tesla experience.

So, what the hell? I clicked the “Add Supercharging ” box.

Four days later came the e-mail that shocked and delighted me.

“After revisiting some of the explanations we used on our website and in our Design Studio the past few months, we feel as though it was not as clear as it should have been regarding the requirement to activate Supercharging on 60-kWh battery cars.”

“As a result, we are going to waive the entire fee to enable Supercharging on your 60-kWh Model S. You will now receive free, unlimited Supercharging on your car at no additional cost.”

Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system for electric cars

Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system for electric cars

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“We apologize for the confusion. We thought our explanations were clear, but they were not clear enough.”

To be honest, I was never confused about the Supercharger option.

But I will happily accept Tesla’s largesse, and take it as a very positive sign for the future: This is a company that clearly wants to keep its customers happy.

Now, about that Model S service program….

David Noland is a Tesla Model S reservation holder and freelance writer who lives north of New York City. This is his fifth article for High Gear Media.

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By David Noland

Tesla Model S Controversy: Who's Really At Fault?

Tesla Model S CAPTIONS ON | OFF

The conflict between the New York Times and Tesla Motors over a stranded Tesla Model Sis getting complicated.

The row started after reporter John M. Broderreviewed the cold weather, long distance driving capabilities of the Model S. In his article on the Times’ Automobiles section, Broder remarks that the vehicle went dead after only 185 miles, 80 miles less than its EPA estimated range of 265 miles per battery charge. Broder went on to blame the lithium-ion battery, which are reported to have problems holding charges in lower temperatures. Coming from a prominent publication such as the Times, this mostly negative review was a significant blow for Tesla, causing the company’s stock to dip. Tesla CEO Elon Musk reacted with a scathing series of rebuttal tweets, providing screenshots of contrasting data logs from the reviewed Model S’ computer, and calling Broder’s review completely “fake.”

So, who is actually wrong here?

According to both Tesla and Broder, Tesla provided specific instructions on how to drive the Model S for 200 miles between supercharging stations; namely, to keep the speedometer at 55 mph and minimize use of the battery-draining climate control. Broder states that he complied with Tesla’s requirements — setting the cruise control at 54 mph and turning down the heat despite the chilly temps. However, 29 miles from the Norwich, Connecticut charging station, he claims the Model S was “limping along at 45 mph” before it came to a complete halt five miles short of the station.

However, Musk argues that the car’s logs prove a different story. According to Musk and Tesla, the data indicates that Broder drove between 65 to 81 mph, never reaching the 45 mph snail’s pace he claimed. Also, the cabin was kept at a comfortable 72 degrees, even increased to 74 degrees at a later point in the trip. Musk also remarks that Broder did not fully charge the vehicle during any of his three charging station visits, even disconnecting the Model S when it showed an expected range of 32 miles, when Broder planned to drive 61 miles.

Today, the Atlantic Wire is questioning the validity of the logs provided by Musk and Tesla Motors. In a blog post published this morning, Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan tried to reach Elon Musk for comment on these accusations, as well as a request to “open source the driving logs” and other data. Musk was unavailable at the time.

Wanting to be an alleviator of our gas guzzling ways, utilitarianism has been one of Tesla’s main goals. Wired contributor and EV1 engineer Chelsea Sexton remarks, “The day-to-day experience EVs offer is so much better than gas cars for 95% of driving. Long-distance road trips are among the last 5% of usage scenarios.”

Ironically, it was a little over a century ago that this circumstance was reversed. Steam and electric cars that appeared at the beginning of the automobile age outsold all petrol-powered vehicles, until combustion engines became more stable and gas became more abundant for long distance trips. Now, at its resurgence, the electric vehicle has to face a similar challenge as its early gas-fueled cousins.

Even if Broder’s review turns out to be false, Tesla Motors may have already shot itself in the foot. What perhaps is most intriguing about this fiasco was the amount of care required (not merely recommended) by Tesla in order to drive the Model S the 500 miles it initially logged. By just taking this into consideration, Broder correctly reports that Tesla billing the Model S as a “casual car” ready for a road trip is a bit of a stretch. If the typical road-tripping consumer needs as much detailed instruction as seen in both Tesla and Broder’s account, the extinction of the gas-powered car might be a little further off.

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Visit theautoMedia.comGreen Cornerfor quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, mpg and more. Make sure to followautoMedia.comonTwitterandFacebook.

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By Jessica Matsumoto

Tesla Pledges Nissan Leaf Rival



With the Model S already enjoying success on the luxury market and the Department of Energy loan paid in full nine years early, Tesla Motors is looking to offer a totally new electric car.

Aware that the Model S is too expensive for most people, Elon Musks says his company is working on an affordable EV that could rival Nissan’s Leaf model. Although the low cost Tesla is far from being developed, Musk promises the car will eventually see the light of day.

“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people,” he said. “And you have the Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great. What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car. I’m not going to let anything go, no matter what people offer, until I complete that mission.”

In addition, Musk said the affordable Tesla will hit the market in three to four years with a range of about 200 miles and a price tag of under $40,000. The 2013 Tesla Model S can be had for at least $60,000 while the current generation Nissan Leaf costs almost $29,000.

Story via DetroitNews

By Ciprian Florea

The Future of Motoring is Electric



Oil does indeed make all of us laugh out loud, but currently, it’s not an amused type of laugh, but more of a ‘we’ll soon get rid of you’ kind of complacent laugh, as most automotive news headlines of the last two weeks have been dominated by the launch of the Tesla Model S – a real milestone in the history of the EV. It is the first genuinely good-looking, practical, luxurious, fun to drive and, most importantly, desirable electric car to have ever been built.

However, it wouldn’t have come along if it weren’t for the car bearing the ‘LOL OIL’ number plate, the Roadster. After selling 2,300 of them, Tesla gained both the confidence of potential buyers, as well as various US institutions, being granted a $465 million loan, along with other forms of government aid, which helped the California-based manufacturer to bring the Model S to the global scene.

In a few years time, though, and with the launch of more and more clean alternatives, we think that ‘LOL OIL’ will take on a different meaning, as we will finally begin to wean ourselves of oil, while finally and full-heartedly embracing the task of not damaging our planet any more, as well as repairing the damage we have already caused.

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla Model S Road Trip Ends Without A Hitch In NYC

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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Well, they made it!

Tesla Model S-driving trio Peter Soukup, Tina Thomas and Luba Roytburd successfully arrived in New York City after almost five thousand miles of driving coast-to-coast.

After starting in Portland, Oregon on December 26, the team drove down the West Coast, before cutting across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, and then up the East Coast.

They announced their arrival in NYC with a Tweet on Monday.

“If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere and we made it! Electric Road Trip S successfully finished in NYC, final mileage 4887!”

The team then thanked Tesla and Elon Musk for “an amazing car”.

Over the course of the journey, the team made use of several different charging stations, including Tesla’s own Supercharger network, for speedy charging and shorter stops.

Musk himself tweeted about the trip, suggesting that by the end of 2013, “it will be Superchargers all the way!”.

Congratulations to the team for reaching their goal. With a few more rapid chargers along the way and electric car range rising all the time, we doubt it’s the last such trip we’ll be hearing about over the next few years…

You can read the team’s own report on the Electric Road Trip S blog.

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By Antony Ingram

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