Archives for September 7th, 2013
Tesla Model S parked in Menlo Park, California, March 2013 [photo: Eugene Lee]
In the last few weeks, it’s almost become a cliche: drivers in Silicon Valley say they see as many Tesla Model S electric luxury sedans on the roads as they do Nissan Leafs or Chevrolet Volts.
With a likely total production of perhaps 6,000 cars thus far, the Model S is outnumbered on U.S. roads by both Volts (34,000-plus) and Leafs (11,000-plus).
But Model S owners may be disproportionately concentrated in California, as a new piece of random data tossed out by Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] goes to show.
In a post last night on the “Inside Tesla” blog, the company’s George Blankenship notes that, “today we registered our 3,000th Model S in the Golden State.”
If random sightings, blog posts, and our own observations are to be believed, large numbers of those cars seem to be concentrated in a 50-mile radius of Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Right outside our own High Gear Media headquarters in downtown Menlo Park, it’s now common to see not just one but sometimes two Model S sedans at stoplights.
The photo above was snapped by one High Gear Media staffer en route to lunch: just another $80,000-plus Tesla Model S all-electric luxury sport sedan parked at a public meter.
In any case, the industry and electric-car advocates alike will be waiting eagerly to see what sales numbers Tesla provides for the first quarter of 2013.
Those numbers won’t arrive until Tesla files its quarterly 10K statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late April or early May, since (as we note routinely) Tesla doesn’t see fit to provide monthly sales numbers like every other operating automaker.
We’ll also see if Tesla provides an actual number or continues with the practice it started last quarter of stating “approximate” deliveries.
In any case, industry analysts who watch Tesla data obsessively can take note: The company says there are now 3,000 Model S cars on California roads.
Which is clearly a laudable accomplishment.
Now we’ll wait for those first-quarter delivery numbers.
It's been two weeks since we last reported about the Elon Musk vs. New York Times feud, and it seems like the infamous Tesla S review debate is far from over.
After claiming that the erroneous review could cost Tesla no less than $100 million in company shares, Musk came back to slam NYT's John Broder for "low-grade ethics violation".
"I would call it a low-grade ethics violation," Musk said on Saturday. "Not a Jayson Blair-crazy-fabrication variety, but I would call it low-grade. It was not in good faith – that's an important point."
"I have no problem with negative feedback, nor do I have a problem with critical reviews," Musk added. "I have a problem with false reviews."
Tesla Motors Inc. has accused New York Times reporter John Broder of faking a Model S road test and claiming the EV automaker is misreporting the vehicle's estimated driving range. Musk's company immediately backed its story by releasing the vehicle's driving logs, which actually did prove that the New York Times editor's review was not based on real facts.
Story via Automotive News
Gran Turismo 6 is coming. In celebration of the franchise’s 15th anniversary, Sony today announced its signature racing game Gran Turismo 6 is in development, and will arrive on shelves this holiday season. A playable demo is scheduled to arrive in July.
Sony touts Gran Turismo 6 as bringing new levels of realism and authenticity to the sim racing genre. GT6 boasts an entirely new game and physics engine, the latter of which includes a new aerodynamic model, a new tire model, and a new suspension and kinematics model. Like its rivals at Forza 4 (which worked with Pirelli to help with its tire models), the GT6 team joined with Yokohama and KW Automotive to help develop a more realistic experience in the latest Gran Turismo game.
Gran Turismo 6 will reportedly be released this holiday season, though it’s probably worth noting that GT6′s predecessor, Gran Turismo 5, was the subject of multiple delays. Still, there are a few reasons to remain optimistic. For starters, all of the cars and tracks in GT5 will be carried over to GT6, which will include 1200 cars at launch (though as Motor Trend’s Kirill Ougarov joked on Twitter, “1100 of them will be Skylines”). The newest Gran Turismo will also include seven new tracks (including Silverstone), bringing the track total to 33. There will be 71 different track layouts in the game, with 19 of them new. If those grow old, the course maker function has been improved.
With the announcement of GT6, Sony is planning on continuing its collaboration with Nissan’s GT Academy, the program that turns Gran Turismo gamers into real-life racers. GT Academy returns this July, with the release of the GT6 Silverstone demo.
Speaking of the demo, Sony released a short teaser of the killer graphics and cars we can expect to see in GT6, including the 1986 Audi Quattro rally car, and the 2012 Tesla Model S Signature Performance.
Here are the cars you’ll be able to drive in the July demo. Bold text indicates the car is new to the Gran Turismo series:
- 1991 Acura NSX
- 2011 Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale
- 1968 Alpine a110 1600S
- 1986 Audi Quattro S1 rally car
- 2009 Ferrari 458 Italia
- 1971 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
- 2006 Ford GT
- 2012 KTM X-Bow R
- 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400
- 2007 Light Car Company Rocket
- 2010 McLaren MP4-12C
- 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
- 2008 Nissan 370Z (GT Academy Version)
- 2008 Nissan 370Z Tuned Car (GT Academy Version)
- 2012 Nissan GT-R Black Edition (GT Academy Version)
- Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 N24 Shulze Motorsport
- Nissan Leaf G (GT Academy Version)
- 2012 Tesla Model S Signature Performance
- 2012 Toyota 86 GT
Tesla’s Model S EV saloon will get some new options in the future, as the adjacent video reveals some non-functional features currently hidden in three secret menus.
The short video shows that if you keep touching the Tesla logo on the big 17-inch screen on the central console, it will ask you for a security code. Once filled with the proper numbers, some new menus will be displayed.
While the APPS section of the menus shows options like Sketch Pad, Image Viewer, Scheduler and some other “office” apps, the DATA area displays configuration options for Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning System, features that are not available for the current Model S. This leads us thinking that Tesla is currently developing such options to be fitted to the car in the near future.
Take a sneak peek at the incognito Model S menus, as the guys from Drag Times show how to unlock them in the clip bellow.
Source: Drag Times
Tesla Motors Inc. boss Elon Musk has accused a New York Times reporter of faking a Model S road test and claiming the electric automaker is misreporting the vehicle's estimated driving range.
To give you a glimpse of the background, New York Times' Tesla Model S review that was published last week said the car got around 200 miles on a single charge, instead of the 265 mile range advertised by the EV company.
It didn't take too much for Elon Musk to respond, the Tesla CEO calling the New York Times story a fake and slamming the writer's report in an interview with Bloomberg.
"[...] He then took an unplanned detour through downtown Manhattan, through heavy traffic, instead of going on the interstate to the charging station. He also exceeded the speed limit quite substantially, which decreased his range. If you do all those three things, which we were clear should not be done and obviously common sense suggests should not be done, then you will not be able to go as far," said Musk.
To back up his claims, Tesla's boss threatens to publish official telemetry data that proves that the New York Times didn't used the car according to its user manual.
For those who don't know, each Tesla vehicle has the option of logging data such as speed and GPS coordinates. While this is only enabled at the owners request, the reviewers' cars are always coming with active logging that transfers all the data directly to Tesla.
New York Times denied any of Musk's accusations, so now we'll just have to wait for that official telemetry blog post to arrive to find out who's right in this year's biggest automotive scandal yet.
Tesla’s little stand at Cobo Hall, squeezed into a corner near Bentley and Volvo, was mobbed during the company’s press conference, which seemed to serve multiple purposes: to show the Model X crossover concept for the first time at an auto show; to allow the company to gloat over the resounding critical success of its Model S, including the fact that it is the 2013 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year; and for company executives to spread the gospel of Tesla.
Tesla’s supreme leader, Elon Musk, was nowhere in sight, but George Blankenship, the former Apple executive who is Tesla’s Vice President of worldwide sales and customer experience, took to the stage wearing jeans, a blazer, and a wool scarf casually draped around his neck. “Our vision is to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” he said, aping similar comments we’ve heard from his boss. “It’s not about building a car.” But it is, George, it is. Blankenship is particularly pleased with the growing reputation of Tesla, noting that a whopping 1.6 million people traipsed through 19 of the company’s 23 U.S. company stores [Tesla doesn't have traditional dealerships] in the fourth quarter of last year. Tesla will open 25 more company stores in 2013, half of them in the United States. The first store in China opens this spring.
The never-ending question about electric cars, of course, is where and how to recharge them, but Tesla is optimistic about its plans to allow owners to do so easily with its Supercharging stations, which provide a full battery recharge in about 30 minutes and will allow Tesla drivers to travel from San Diego to Vancouver on the West Coast and from Miami to Boston on the East Coast. “In a couple of years, you’re going to be able to drive from San Diego to Maine [using our Supercharging system],” Blankenship promises. “Our charging is FREE, so people will be eager to adopt our technology. [Tesla] is about a bright future for your children and grandchildren,” he concluded, a little too sweetly, before turning the microphone over to design chief Franz von Holzhausen, who was also wearing jeans but no scarf.
Von Holzhausen, who designed the Pontiac Solstice and served as Mazda’s North American design chief, turned to the Model X concept sitting behind him. “We want to transfer our [electric vehicle] technology into a segment [SUVs] that is presently horribly inefficient,” he said. “Minivans are incredibly practical, but you kind of sell your soul to get that practicality. With the Model X, you get practicality in a sexy vehicle.” Von Holzhausen opened the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors, which pivot in two places to open vertically before they swing out, so the Model X can be parked in conventional parking spaces. “Creating the second hinge at the cant rail was the big innovation,” Von Holzhausen told us after the press conference. “When the doors are open, they are seven feet, four inches tall, and most garages are about eight feet tall. There will be sensors to prevent the doors from hitting anything.”
With all of its doors open on the show floor, the white-over-black Model X looked like a multi-winged bird. We wondered if all those huge apertures would compromise structural integrity, but Von Holzhausen reminded us that “the Model S sedan’s structure is equally porous, but both have 60 hertz of structural rigidity. The battery pack is an integral part of the structure.” The front “hood” opens to reveal a huge, wide cargo cavity, and the rear hatch also exposes a considerable amount of storage space. We climbed inside the Model X and found a decent amount of room in the second row, if considerably less in the third row, but all three seats in the second row move back and forth independently, and headroom is good in both rows. The Model X concept’s body is constructed of fiberglass, but the production vehicle, which is expected sometime in late 2014, will have aluminum body panels just like the Model S. The all-wheel-drive Model X will have 60-kw and 85-kw battery packs but no entry-level 40-kw pack like the Model S offers. Tesla promises a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.0 seconds.
Looking even farther into the future, Von Holzhausen is most excited about the prospect of Tesla’s third-generation car, which will, he says, “be an Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Volkswagen Jetta type of vehicle that will offer everything: range, affordability, and performance. We’re confident we can do it at a starting price of $30,000, which is the break-in point, where we can bring all this excitement and technology to the average customer.”
By Joe DeMatio
Meet Rob Flickenger. Amongst other things, he calls himself a “mad scientist,” and if his latest creation is anything to go by, it’s an accurate description, as he has built a Tesla Gun.
You may already be familiar with Nikola Tesla, the man who developed the modern AC electrical current system, and the creator of the Tesla Coil; however you may not have heard of The Five Fists of Science.
It’s a graphic novel set in a steampunk world where Tesla, along with Mark Twain and Bertha von Suttner battle evil to bring about world peace. In the book, Tesla uses twin pistol-sized Tesla Coil guns.
Inspired by this image, Flickenger decided to make his own version. In case you’re unsure what such a weapon could do, he sums it up perfectly on his blog: “You pull the trigger, and lightning comes out the front.” That’s that settled, then.
The result is nothing short of incredible, as you can see in the picture above, which perhaps contains more awesome than we can legally show. In essence it’s a miniaturized Tesla Coil mated to an aluminum gun body, which was adapted from a plastic Nerf gun.
You can read all about the build here, or watch a fascinating talk on how the Tesla Gun came to be in this Vimeo video. If you’re less interested in the science, and more interested in the lightning, then you’ll want to check the demonstration video below.
When there’s no earth point nearby, the Tesla Gun has a beautiful fringe of blue sparks around the end, but will shoot bolts of electricity between a distance of 8-inches and 24-inches depending on the environment.
With a range like that, you’ve probably guessed the Tesla Gun has the potential to do more harm to its operator than to an attacker, and you’d be right. The gun is more a piece of art than a weapon of war.
It’s also phase one of the project, and in the next version we can expect an improved housing, solid state modulation for more gun-like effects, and most fittingly for any mad scientist, more power.
By Andy Boxall
On this episode of Wide Open Throttle, Angus MacKenzie and other Motor Trend hosts discuss the Tesla Model S controversy stemming from a review in The New York Times after discussing the unexpected popularity of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Additionally, Ed Loh, Carlos Lago, Arthur St. Antoine and Mike Floyd ponder the possibility of diesel-powered sports cars in the U.S.
The hosts begin by discussing the relevance of the F-150 SVT Raptor with its high base price and increasing fuel prices. St. Antoine points out how sales of the “do-anything truck” are above Ford’s projections. While Lago is surprised that Ford built the truck, he says the Raptor makes him “feel like a kid in a sand box.” Still, some owners have had issues after taking jumps too fast or too high. While the panel believes most Raptor buyers pay for its off-road capability, some buyers go for the image and the compliant on-road ride as well.
Next, the discussion switches gears to the controversy surrounding the Tesla Model S regarding its range after a reporter from The New York Times said that during an East Coast trip his tester ran out of range before reaching the next EV Supercharger, to which Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired back saying the test was flawed. Floyd notes Loh’s Model S range test from the Las Vegas strip back to Los Angeles, during which he exceeded the EPA-rated range estimate. Previous to that trip, Motor Trend took the Model S from L.A. to San Diego and back on a single charge and Frank Markus and Jessi Lang drive the car to Las Vegas.
Finally, the hosts discuss the possible future of diesel-powered sporty cars in the U.S., such as the Volkswagen Golf GTD and BMW 335d, and whether the low redline is fit for a sporty car. Watch the full discussion below.
By Jason Udy
One month after having its dealer license denied in Virginia, Tesla Motors failed to get a permit to sell cars in its own dealership in Texas as well.
According to Automotive News, the Tesla-backed bills, that would have created an exemption to current state franchise law restricting factory-owned dealerships, were rejected before making it to the Texas House of Representatives, and the automaker won’t get another shot at this until 2015.
"The Legislature did the right thing," said Karen Phillips, general counsel of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, which opposed the legislation. Tesla Motors has two showrooms in Texas, located in Houston and Austin.
While the “Lone Star State” doesn’t take kindly to electric cars, its inhabitants sure love trucks, with one out of every six pickups sold nationwide being delivered in Texas. Maybe Tesla should up the ante on that high-performance electric truck Musk was talking about back in April. Just saying, you know?
Story via AutomotiveNews
Hi folks, and welcome to the second part of the "How to beat the heat" guide for riding in hot weather.
The first part of the guide went through the basic explanation of the processes that can occur in the human body when exposed to high temperatures during a motorcycle trip. The most severe effects of high temperature are dehydration, which can lead to multiple adverse reactions, and sunburns.
Dehydration is the starting point of many other negative effects that could impact the riding capability, and we're only bringing up the general discomfort caused by thirst, fatigue due to losing chemical balance of the bodily fluids, increased heart rate which struggles to keep the thicker blood pumping through your veins, and more.
On the other hand, sunburns cause a much more direct discomfort and in severe cases, they even need urgent medical treatment. Needless to say, it's so much better to be able to smile when you end the day, than to squirm in pain every time you speak, feel the sweat beads stinging as they roll down your forehead and be afraid to wipe them off.
Tips, tips, tips
Avoid sunburn. If you're on a long ride, we assume you're wearing your touring gear, which means boots, long trousers, a jacket and gloves. With such equipment, it's rather hard to believe there will be too much skin exposed in direct sunlight, save for the face and maybe the v-neck of the open jacket.
One of the best ways to stay safe from the sun's UV radiation is using sunblock products with a high SPF or Sun Protection Factor. Remember to re-apply it if the ride is really long, and try to keep your helmet liner clean: even if yours is removable and washable, it's better not to need such treatment when on the go.
⌕ Summer rides in the sunset… a dream so easy to transform in reality⌕ Sunblock products are a great way to avoid sunburn on exposed skin⌕ Top-notch helmets offer very good ventilation, despite the full-face designIf you're not into wearing denim or cordura or leathers as you roll by, a good sunblock is definitely a must. Even if your skin is not too sensitive to sun or is darker, this doesn’t mean that the sun won't touch you: you might be free from sunburn, but still, the UV could harm your skin.
Finally, remember that sun can (and will) burn you even through lightweight fabrics, so don't think a light shirt will help you too much.
During the hot summer days, you might be tempted to ditch your full-face helmet and go for a braincap or something like that. You don't need us telling you how the two helmets differ as far as protection against impact is concerned.
Wearing a helmet with good ventilation is very nice in the summer, especially as the head tends to sweat a lot, and the flow of air evaporating that sweat is a cooling factor. Remember to have all your vents and extractors open, including the chin intakes. In such weather, every square centimeter of open vent is a premium feature and you should take full advantage.
If you're wearing a modular helmet, riding with it open ensures excellent air flow. In some cases, depending on the motorcycle architecture and the type of helmet you're wearing, you might be surprised to find out that riding with a closed or full-face helmet is truly comfortable, provided its venting capability is top-notch.
Before you get aboard your machine to start the journey, you could use water liberally to soak the inner liner: as air starts flowing through your helmet, water evaporates and temperatures inside the helmet drop. It will not last too much, but this cooling method is great because all you need to do is pull over, add some more water, put the helmet on, and ride away.
Not everybody can afford buying a full summer riding suit, but if you can get it at least piece by piece, it's still great. Motorcycle protective gear designed for riding in hot weather comes with a lighter build, while retaining the protection factor.
However, the summer jackets and trousers have mesh panels for extraordinary air flow and many all-round pieces also come with zipped vents. It's really great to choose 4-season gear, as these clothes usually have a layered design that can go on and off as weather conditions warrant.
The 3-layer jackets are some of the favorite here: you get the outer cordura shell for protection against abrasion, debris, insects and whatnot, a detachable windproof and waterproof liner you can store in a pocket, while the third layer is the thermal one, shielding your body from the outer ones when it's cold.
Such a design may not be exactly the most carefree one as you need to stop and gear up before the rain, but when it comes to versatility, nothing beats it. Likewise, with both jackets and trousers sporting thigh, arm/forearm, shoulder, underarm and back vents in pretty much any combination you can imagine, it's easy to figure out how convenient wearing such clothes is.
You can wear your jacket fully zipped for the best protection, yet benefit from amazing ventilation with 4 front zippers and the rear extractor open. If you ride a lot during the summer, such clothing is the absolute best!
Some can't stand the external armors, and there is no way others could blame them: it's just a matter of comfort and looks. If you're riding to work or have various meetings, it's just impractical to wear such an armor.
However, if you fancy this type of protective gear, you must also take care of the UV and direct sunlight problem, as armors leave a lot of skin exposed. Knee, shin and elbow protectors can be, of course, worn over your casual clothes, in case you're not that keen to wear leathers for a recreational ride around the town in July.
Boots and gloves
While full riding suits for the summer are not exactly dirt cheap, boots and gloves don't cost a fortune.
⌕ Braincaps oofer the best ventilation but the least protection⌕ Gel vests are great for keeping wet and cool for a long time⌕ Armors cannot be worn in all situations and some look a bit overkillSummer gloves are truly great, and once you wear some on a trip, you're most likely going to stick with them in the hot weather. With perforations and mesh panels, summer or “air” gloves are exceptionally comfortable because your hands will no longer sweat and most of us will surely love this.
On the other hand, summer boots also have a special design for improved air flow and are way more comfortable in the hot season than your all-round boots. Or if you're not going on a longer vacation, short city boots are also a good choice.
Shaped like tall basketball shoes and sporting all the ankle, toe and calf protection, such shoes are also comfortable for walking.
Please remember that summer boots, (especially) gloves and other clothing with mesh and light fabric panels will NOT offer as much protection against abrasion and impact like the “full” gear does.
Finally, we have technology and research to thank for the plethora of “technical gear” specially created for helping riders cool down.
Some of the most used garments are special vests, which are made from moisture-wicking fabric and come with ventilation panels. Their nicest feature is that they control the water loss, thus reducing dehydration. Many armors and back protectors come with the same design and are suitable for the summer.
Special gel garments are also a very nifty addition to a rider's wardrobe. These clothes contain a gel that can absorb a lot of water and they will evaporate the liquid at a slow rate, ensuring many hours of wetness.
The principle is quite simple and the only secret lies in the water-absorbent material: basically, they will cool you the same way wearing a wet t-shirt does, but they will not dry as fast as your fav cotton t-shirt would. They're also very cheap: the Water Cooling Vest is $25 (€19) and it will stay wet for about 10 hours or so.
Cool suits are yet another way to lower your body temperature in the blistering weather. These full-body suits are designed to be worn underneath your leathers or other protective gear, and the very structure of the fabric helps air circulate.
With their wicking capability, such clothes are also enhancing the riding comfort as leathers will no longer stick to the rider's skin, while, by draining moisture away from the skin, they also help reduce heat build-up inside the body. Moto-D, Alpinestars and many other manufacturers are offering such suits.
⌕ Special undergarments are helping riders stay cooler and prevent leathers from sticking⌕ Summer gloves will keep your hands dry all through the hottest days⌕ Summer boots come with enhanced breathability and can be worn as casual shoesIce collars can be worn around the neck, as well, though many can't actually stand them: they sport a pocket in which a small zip-lock bag can be inserted after filling it with ice. Ice melts away and water will slowly drop on your t-shirt, keeping it wet and you cool.
In the end, if you're not willing to spend too much on such gear, you can keep wetting your t-shirt from time to time and be fine with that. Just remember that with each minute you're riding in the heat you're losing water and minerals, and drinking lots of water is the key element for beating the heat.
Check out the first part of the guide, for detailed physiological aspects of humans vs. heat. We really hope your summer rides will be cool and all right. Ride safe!
By Florin Tibu