Archives for September 4th, 2013

Tesla entry-level all-electric car and truck could be in the works

Tesla entry-level all-electric car and truck in the works

With Model S deliveries commencing, and plans to move forward with the introduction of the Model X, the future is looking bright for Tesla. The California start-up, spearheaded by enigmatic CEO Elon Musk, seems to have a bona-fide hit on its hands in the ultra-chic, all-electric sedan.

Not content with resting on its laurels, the company will introduce another member to the Tesla family next year in the form of the Model X. Speaking to Autocar, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen confirmed that a third model is well on its way and could be seen as early as 2015.

“The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible,” said von Holzhausen, who hinted that an extremely competitive price point of $30,000 could be in store for the new, entry-level all-electric.

In addition to being the most affordable Tesla on the market, Von Holzhausen hinted that the third model line could also be the most visually adventurous and “boast more distinctive styling than the relatively conventional Model S.” If that’s truly the case then consider our curiosity firmly piqued. We already consider the Model S design language to be top notch despite the car’s conventional design approach. Adding more personality and visual cues will only serve to build upon an already impressive design language.

But perhaps the most intriguing morsel of information buried within the interview hints at a pick-up truck possibly in the works. Given the flexibility of the Model S platform, Von Holzhausen indicates that “there will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pick-up,” adding that the benefits of the immediately on-hand torque of an electric motor would prove nothing short of ideal for an electric truck.

Admittedly, we’re more excited for a dynamically designed, entry-level electric car from Tesla, but if nothing else the addition of an electric truck could very well herald the next evolutionary step in the electric car market. 

By Amir Iliaifar

Tesla Teases Model X crossover


Tesla Motors is gathering quite the automotive buzz with its mysterious Model X crossover. The California-based luxury electric car company is planning on unveiling the Model X at its new Los Angeles design studio on February 9th.

Recently Tesla began sending out invitations to owners beckoning them to attend the unveiling, and included a partially silhouetted image of the car. While we can’t devise much from the image, the Model X looks like it will pack Tesla’s signature sleek design, and appears to closely resemble the Model S – only with a shorter hood, longer measured roof, and of course, a more rounded rear.

When we recently had a chance to jump inside Tesla’s Model S at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show we came away impressed. If that is any indication for what to expect with the Model X we certainly have high hopes.

According to a tweet by CEO Elon Musk, the reveal will be broadcast live on the Tesla Motors Website. Musk, who historically has never been one to mince words or hesitate from unabashed self-promotion, stated in his tweet, “Most cars are pretty blah. This is not.” What that means exactly remains to be seen, but we are positively intrigued nonetheless.

Another interesting circumstance surrounding the Model X is the company’s collaboration with Toyota. Since Tesla will be providing the electric powertrain for Toyota’s RAV 4 EV , including the battery, motor, gear box, and power electronics we can’t help but wonder if the Model X will share any similar design characteristics with its Toyota cousin. 

By Amir Iliaifar

Thread of the Day: What’s the Best-Looking Hybrid or Electric Vehicle?

Thread of the Day: What’s the Best-Looking Hybrid or Electric Vehicle?

Hybrids and electric vehicles may not stimulate the senses as much as, say, a highly strung V-10 with a six-speed manual transmission, but at least said alternative-power vehicles look more exciting today than they ever have before. Today’s Tesla Roadster was nowhere near physical conception two decades ago, and today we are graced with a bevy of electric-motor-assisted and electric-motor-driven vehicles that look as visually appealing as their conventionally powered counterparts. What do you believe is the best-looking hybrid or electric vehicle?

Thanks to Futurearchitect for today’s TOTD!


Miscellaneous, Tesla

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By Benson Kong

Tesla Model S ‘Get Amped’ Tour: 5,000 Test Drives In Sight

Six 2012 Tesla Model S cars at “Get Amped” introductory drive event [photo: George Parrott]

Six 2012 Tesla Model S cars at "Get Amped" introductory drive event [photo: George Parrott]

Six 2012 Tesla Model S cars at “Get Amped” introductory drive event [photo: George Parrott]

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From Los Angeles to Toronto, from Miami to Seattle, Tesla has been taking a fleet of its new 2012 Model S sedans around the country to offer short test drives to 5,000 current depositors and potential owners.

Those individuals have to be patient as the company slowly ramps up production of the all-electric luxury sport sedan, following delivery of the very first production car in early June.

But the short drives should keep many potential Model S buyers interested in the promise of the electric car with a 265-mile range rating from the EPA.

Fourteen of the planned sixteen cities on the “Getting Amped Tour” have now been completed. The tour started in Fremont, California, at the assembly plant that Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] bought two years ago from Toyota.

Last weekend, the tour returned to Palo Alto, California–the heart of Silicon Valley–before finishing up in Austin (August 15-16) and, finally, Dallas (August 18-19).

Depositors are scheduled in groups of four to six at about half-hour intervals. Each driver may bring up to two guests for the test drive, but every drive has a Tesla chaperone in the front passenger seat. 

The drive itself is limited to about 7 or 8 miles, but is preceded by a brief and well-done group introductory lecture that introduces the emotional experience of electric driving.

Potential buyers can review their color and option choices with better color renditions than on the company internet site.

Tesla even offers refreshments, ice cream, and a play area for children at its venues.

At the recent Palo Alto venue, at least eight early production cars were available for inspection. Two cars were inside the display building for full viewing and inspection, and another six cars made up the ride-and-drive fleet.

Interested depositors were offered the choice of the standard or performance powertrains when they took their test drive. The Tesla chaperones encouraged getting drivers to take advantage of the “full feel” of the car’s torque and power after almost every stop sign. 

It was far too short a real driving experience for a proper assessment, of course, but there is no question that this vehicle has real power off the line, and corners well.

Is the current version of the 2012 Tesla Model S a $100,000 car? 

It still needs some refinement if it wants to be truly feature-competitive with the established players in the luxury performance category.

But there is no other car that offers combination of luxury, performance and environmental consciousness.

George Parrott is an emeritus professor of psychology at California State University in Sacramento. He owns a Nissan Leaf and a Chevrolet Volt that are recharged largely on solar power, and is considering the purchase of a Tesla Model S.


By george parrott

Tesla Model S prices on the rise

Tesla Model S sedan

Having just won Automobile Magazine’s Automobile of the Year and Motor Trend’s Car of the Year awards, Tesla couldn’t have picked a better time for a Model S price hike. The company recently confirmed that it will be raising the price of its all-electric luxury sedan, but did not say how much sticker shock buyers should expect.

Tesla said specifics will be released within two to three weeks, and that the changes would also affect option packages. Some items that are currently standard on the Model S will become extra cost options, the company said.

The increase in price will not affect customers who have already ordered a Model S, although Tesla says they will need to finalize their orders (i.e., choose paint and options) within a specified timeframe. Tesla will also give customers who deferred their orders a chance to pay the current price before the to-be-determined deadline.

As it stands now, a base Model S with a 40-kWh battery pack and 160-mile range costs $57,400. Buyers can opt for a 60-kWh battery, which increases range to 230 miles, for $67,400, and an 85-kWh model with a 265-mile range starts at $77,400.

On top of the biggest batter, buyers can order a Performance package that lowers the Model S’ 0 to 60 mph time from 5.6 seconds to 4.4 seconds. A fully loaded Model S Signature Performance currently stickers for $105,400. All models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Tesla has at least 12,000 names on its waiting list, although only a handful of cars have been delivered so far. It hopes to sell 20,000 cars in 2013.

Although Model S buyers are getting a lot for their money, raising the price seems like an odd way to increase sales. Tesla did not say why it is doing so, but it may be in response to unexpected demand, which would give Tesla an opportunity to increase its profits, or a desire to increase profits regardless of whether more people are signing up for its EVs.

It’s hard to know exactly what is going through Elon Musk’s mind, we will know the specifics of the Model S’ revised pricing in a few weeks.

By Stephen Edelstein

Tesla Model S Driving On Sunlight: Amateur Video Not So Amateur

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The right car can inspire people.

Whether it’s the poetic beauty of an Italian sports car or the noise of the race track, that inspiration takes many forms.

For some, the all-electric Tesla Model S is their inspiration. The sleek electric sedan has certainly attracted attention far beyond that of most electric vehicles, but it’s the die-hard fans who are most inspired–and this fan-made commercial is proof.

Every second of footage looks professionally produced, as if Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] itself is promoting the car.

Filmed on January 3rd, the one-minute commercial follows the Knapp family, whose road trip using solar-powered Tesla Supercharger stations–hence “Gallons of light”–highlights how such a trip doesn’t need a drop of fossil fuels, in the right kind of car.

Created by Jordan Bloch, who Autoblog Green says has also made videos for Nike, British Airways and Nissan, the ad is perhaps a little saccharine for some.

That shouldn’t detract from what has been achieved on a tight budget though–nor that only 61 seconds of footage is enough to effectively highlight the joys of driving electric–something the carmakers themselves have occasionally struggled to do.

In fact, it leaves us wondering why some adverts have done so little to convey the real benefits of driving an electric car–the silence, the ease of use, and the spirit of the community of like-minded owners.

It’ll make you want to drive the car too–which is what a good advert should do.


By Antony Ingram