Archives for September 6th, 2013
Tesla has left us enamored with its Lotus-bodied Roadster but if we want to see the next-generation drop-top, the California-based electric-vehicle maker has to roll out its mass-market Model S sedan first. Set to launch in 2012, the Model S is Tesla’s first fully home-brewed vehicle and will be manufactured at its new, unannounced facility on the West Coast.
While details on the Model S broke early last year, Tesla has yet to announce where its electric sedan and next-generation Roadster will be built. Rumors speculate the plant will be located in Southern California — however, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently told Automotive News that the formal announcement will be coming in the next few weeks.
BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class when tuning the ride and handling.
post on the Tesla Model S for more vehicle details.
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By Benson Kong
Oh, ye of little faith. You thought nobody could make a cool electric car, but Tesla Motors has the pulse of Silicone Vally types and has transformed the Model S into a huge success.
We've talked at length about what makes the Model S good, but buying a car is always something a bit different to liking it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has found the perfect way to make it a lot more affordable, by launching a "revolutionary new finance product" in partnership with Wells Fargo and US Bank.
You can buy a Model S with a 10% down payment, which is actually covered by the US Federal and state tax credits ranging from $7,500 to $15,000. New Jersey, Washington and DC also have no sales tax for electric vehicles, so basically all you have to do now is worry about the down payments.
Obviously, the rates will vary depending on what trim you buy, but Tesla says that "when considering the savings from using electricity instead of gasoline, depreciation benefits and other factors, the true net out of pocket cost to own a mid-range Model S drops to less than $500 per month."
Watch Elon's announcement in the video below and watch out for the words "Mercedes S-Class". This guy is the Steve Jobs of plug-in cars, only healthier.
By Mihnea Radu
It seems that everybody has very good things to say about the Tesla Model S, and if you needed more convincing that it is a very good car, Consumer Reports can now confirm this, as well, after having done a brief review of the car. However, it was not their car, which is what they usually do – buy a car, then test it extensively for a while.
Even so, the brief test again brought to light the Model S’ qualities, such as the sleek design, low drag coefficient, excellent performance, elegant and simple interior, and the 17-inch touch screen display, which has mostly been praised by reviewers who have had a chance to use it so far.
They will be doing a full review of it once they get delivery of their very own car, so until then, this is all they have to say about it. One thing they didn’t like, though, were the door handles, which the reviewer called ‘fussy’ – they do work, though, and will definitely impress your friends.
2013 Tesla Model S
Loaners cars are now routinely provided by luxury carmakers when their customers have cars in for servicing.
Now Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is joining the crowd, providing Model S luxury sports sedans to its Model S (and Roadster) owners while their cars are in the shop.
But according to CEO Elon Musk, these aren’t just any Model S: All the loaners will be the top-end, most luxurious Model S Performance version with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack and punchier acceleration than lesser models.
Road testers have logged the Tesla Model S Performance accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (the original factory quote was 4.6 seconds).
That’s a number that exceeds most luxury sedans on the market today, although to be fair, repeated use of that acceleration is likely to have a negative effect on the car’s EPA-rated range of 265 miles.
Musk discussed the loaner plan in an interview with USA Today, in which he also promised that Tesla employees would drop the temporary Model S cars wherever the customer requested–rather than requiring the owner to bring the car in to a Tesla service center.
Initially, the loaner fleet will number about 80 vehicles spread among Tesla’s 21 current service centers.
The fleet will expand as Tesla opens more stores and service centers across the country; the company lists another 13 service centers as “coming soon.”
Musk noted that the idea for luxury loaners hadn’t originated with Tesla. He attributed it, instead, to Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus.
But a top-of-the-line loaner–nicer, in many cases, than the Model S that’s in for service–is certainly a step up from hearing the service guy yell, “Hey, Manny, whadda we got in the back for this guy?”
Porsche may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think electric vehicles. However Ferdinand Porsche developed what is believed to be the first hybrid car in 1906 for Austrian car builder Lohner. In the last few years, Porsche has begun using modern hybrid technology to increase efficiency in their SUVs and even a few race cars. The forward thinking company is again looking forward by building three full electric Boxsters to test the practicality of the drivetrain and current state of infrastructure in place for the use of electric powertrains.
Details are still scarce, but the vehicles are said to have one or two electric motors with as much as 180KW or roughly 240 horsepower. While this is 15 horsepower short of a standard gas-powered Boxster, the electric version undoubtedly stomps it in torque output. Porsche claims the Boxster E is capable of performance figures that match a Boxster S.
The three Boxster E’s are currently just rolling laboratories for testing the propulsion technology and the infrastructure needed to maintain electric vehicles. Porsche currently has no plans of a full electric production vehicle. However with hybrids currently for sale and possibility of their next super car using a kinetic energy recovery system, this work surely won’t go to waste. If at some point in the future we are all forced to commute in electric vehicles, wouldn’t you rather it rolled out of a factory known for building race cars rather than refrigerators?
Give us your opinion on this; are electric vehicles the way forward, and if so, do you want manufacturers to make them as entertaining as possible, or should we just throw in the shop towel?
Source: Porsche AG
By Mike Febbo
Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
HI-RES GALLERY: Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
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Unveiled live at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is giving us new ideas as to what the interior of its Model X crossover may look like.
Tesla calls it an “interior exploration”, giving a hint as to the different colors and trim materials you can expect from the production Model X.
The work has been done by Tesla Design Studio, and uses a mix of white and black leathers to bring contrast to the three rows of seats–the back rows, of course, accessed via the unusual ‘falcon wing’ rear doors.
The black and white theme continues to the dashboard facia, dominated by the same huge touchscreen display you’ll find in the Model S sedan–albeit mounted proud of the dashboard.
The exterior, also contrasting in black and white, is unchanged from the last time we saw the Model X.
Much of the Model X’s hardware is based on that in the Model S, with 60 kWh and 85 kWh battery options. Befitting its crossover body, the Model X will also offer electric all-wheel drive. Production is expected to begin in late 2013.
For more live photos, news and specifications from the show floor, head over to our Detroit Auto Show page.
The Tesla Model S has never been marketed or positioned as a mass-market volume play along the lines of the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt, but despite the car’s not-insignificant purchase price, the Palo Alto, California-based company is expected to report first-quarter sales of the Model S surpassing the Leaf and Volt, making the Model S the best-selling plug-in vehicle for the quarter, according to Bloomberg.
Tesla is expected to report 4750 deliveries of the Model S when it releases first-quarter sales and financial results. The Volt sold 4421 units and the leaf sold 3695 units in the same period. This accomplishment follows the company’s earlier announcement of a new fleet of loaner vehicles and a “no-fault” battery warranty, as well as the expectation it will post its first-ever quarterly profit.
General Motors spokesperson Jim Cain lauded Tesla’s apparent victory, saying, “Any success for a company in this space is helpful for all other makers of plug-in vehicles.”
Although the Model S has taken the lead for this quarter, both the Volt and the Leaf have been on-sale longer than the Model S, and have more affordable starting prices than the premium Model S, which can crest six figures in top-of-the-line trim. Despite Tesla’s apparent successes, many auto industry analysts remain skeptical of the company’s long-term viability.
Range is something of an issue for EV owners, even those who bought their electric cars from Tesla. The EV start-up, which offers the highest-capacity battery packs in the business, is looking to offer a way to make longer road trips plausible without having to install internal combustion range extenders to its cars. Enter the Tesla Supercharger station, of which Tesla has now opened six in California. These are public charging stations for Tesla owners which will not only deliver a partial charge extremely quickly, but are also free to use.
The principal behind these stations is fairly simple. Batteries can be charged very quickly when they are nearly depleted, and this is what the Supercharger station does. Tesla owners can replenish their batteries to point where they have 150 out of the 265 miles of range which the Model S is capable of in just 30 minutes with a Supercharger. Topping it off the rest of the way requires standard charging, but 150 miles is quite a lot for just 30 minutes of charging, and Tesla has placed the stations in high traffic areas between large cities in California with the intent of getting owners of their EVs that extra bit of distance needed to get to their destination.
The Supercharger charging equipment connects directly to the car’s battery, bypassing the onboard charging system. It charges at 90 kW, and is 4.7 times faster than the already-quick home charging stations which Tesla will install for you when you buy a Model S. The stations are located not just along routes where they are deemed most useful, but also near restaurants, shops and other such locations which will help you to kill 30 minutes while you wait for your EV to charge.
The chain of stations makes it possible to travel by EV from Los Angeles all the way to San Francisco with just a couple of relatively quick charging stops. Tesla says that their plan is to extend the model across the whole country, making charging pipelines from coast to coast and across Canada as well. As an added eco bonus, the tops of the stations are covered in solar panels, thus sidestepping the problem of dirty electricity generation. Nationwide implementation will be a much more difficult undertaking, but assuming that everything goes according to plan with these first stations, it’s not an insurmountable goal.
By Jacob Joseph
The Tesla Model S is officially showroom ready, at least according to the U.S. government: after passing initial Environmental Protection Agency tests, the car has also reportedly passed crash testing at the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not one to waste time, Tesla Motors subsequently announced the car’s initial delivery date is June 22nd, 2012.
The crash test announcement comes from the personal Twitter account of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who took a break from observing his SpaceX rocket launch to tweet that the Model S finished NHTSA crash testing. Musk claims that the car completed all tests with five-star scores, although we were unable to independently confirm that claim with NHTSA by press time.
With crash testing completed, along with the aforementioned EPA certification, it appears to be full-speed ahead for Tesla’s next model launch. The company plans on handing over keys to early production models to owners within the confines of its assembly plant in Freemont, California, but then intends on quickly ramping up volume. Tesla hopes to deliver 5000 Model S sedans by the end of the year, but claims that the waiting list for one of the five- or seven-passenger (depending on options) EVs stretches some 10,000 names. Those names should be satisfied by the middle of next year, as Tesla is shooting for a 20,000-unit year in 2013.
As to-be owners anxiously wait for their cars, Tesla also announced that customer cars will receive some special finishing touches. Tesla VP George Blankenship announced via blog post this week that Model S sedans will now come with adjustable steering effort, suspension height, and regenerative braking settings – all of which are configurable through a menu accessed by way of the 17-inch touchscreen center stack.
The Model S will go on sale this year and cost between $57,400 and $105,400, not including a possible $7500 federal income tax credit.
By Ben Timmins