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Tesla EV Trip Around the World Ends Badly with Under 1,000 Km to Go [Video]



You may remember Rafael de Mestre’s effort to take his Tesla Roadster EV around the world, to prove that such a feat can be done. Well, sadly for him and EV advocates around the world, his trip ended prematurely, has he ploughed his all-electric sports car into the back of a Toyota Auris, while on a German highway.

The crash was reportedly caused by a BMW which had also crashed, seven cars ahead. Sadly, the little Tesla was all-but-destroyed in the crash and Rafael will be unable to continue the remainder of his journey in it, thus ending his epic voyage, tantalizingly close to home – just under 1,000 km (600 miles) to go before arriving at their destination, in Barcelona, Spain.

So, after having driven nearly 24,000 km (15,000 miles), through 12 countries the epic trip is over. Thankfully, the Electric Odyssey crew are still going strong, and when they reach their destination in October, they will have accomplished ‘the mission’ (of driving an EV around the world) anyway!

And the actual crash footage

According to a picture posted on Facebook, they will attempt to get the car back on the road as soon as possible. It may not be all over after all!

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

The price of a Tesla Model S will be increasing soon — but the company hasn’t yet disclosed by how much prices will rise. However, Tesla did confirm that some features that were previously standard on the Model S will become paid options.

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric sedan built in California by billionaire visionary Elon Musk. The car is Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year. Prices currently range from $57,400 for an entry model with a 40-kWh battery pack (before any tax rebates), to $105,400 for the loaded Signature Performance model with an 85-kWh battery.

Tesla Model S interior1 300x187 imageTesla confirmed in a blog post that it will raise prices on the cars in the near future, but noted that customers who have already placed a reservation for the electric car won’t have to pay the higher price. Musk mentioned in August that over 12,000 people had placed a $5000 deposit for a Model S. Only customers who order after the price increases take effect will be locked into the higher prices.

When the price increases take effect, Tesla may also reorganize the car’s equipment list. Tesla warns that some items that are currently standard on the Model S may become paid options. That could mean a double-whammy when prices increase, as customers must not only pay a higher entry price, but must also cough up extra for features that used to be included for free.

It’s unclear why Tesla plans to increase Model S prices so early in the car’s production run. The decision could be important to increase profitability on the electric sedan, or could be a reflection of higher than anticipated customer demand. But raising prices would seem unlikely to help Tesla reach its publicly stated goal of selling 20,000 cars in 2013.

Tesla’s blog post says the company will announce the new prices and options lists within two to three weeks.

Sources: Tesla, Forbes

By Jake Holmes

Electric Teamwork: Seven Carmakers Agree on Single EV Fast Charge Standard

Electric Teamwork: Seven Carmakers Agree on Single EV Fast Charge Standard

With the rise of electric vehicles comes the risk of confusing methods to charge the batteries. Thankfully, seven automakers have collaborated and reached an agreement to standardize EV fast charging methods in the United States and Europe.

The automakers include Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen. All seven have agreed on one vehicle inlet/charging connector as well as the method in which the car communicates with the charging station. They also considered the future of smart grid application and have decided to use HomePlug GreenPHY for the communication protocol.

The agreement is compatible with the J1772 connector standard in the U.S., now used at Level 2 (220V in the U.S.) charging stations.

“At Ford, we know how important it is to provide technologically innovative solutions that are convenient for our customers – it’s part of our ‘One Ford’ vision and a key factor in our company’s overall success,” said Steve Biegun, Ford’s vice president of international government affairs. “We applied the same philosophy in working with other global automakers and governments to offer one common approach on charging electric vehicles – helping speed infrastructure development, strengthen economic growth and most importantly, make charging even more convenient for our customers.”

However, it’s a different story for Japanese cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i, which currently support the CHAdeMO standard for level 3 DC fast charging (anywhere between 300-500 volts). That means owners of Japanese EVs will likely have to use adapters for any quick charging station that isn’t CHAdeMO compatible. Tesla, which created its charging units prior to standardization, also requires an adaptor for any station outside of the automaker’s proprietary connectors for all charge levels (1,2, and 3) for both the Roadster and upcoming Tesla S sedan.

Source: Ford

By Erick Ayapana

Tesla Model S Is a Quicker Sprinter than a Mercedes-Benz E63 [Video]



Despite the fact that Tesla sold around 3,000 Model S EVs in 2012, the all-electric sedan is still a rare sight on US roads. This means that there aren`t all that many videos of it online (though the number is going up), so when a new one which shows off the car's performance is uploaded, we really don`t want to miss it.

In this particular video by DragTimes, the Model S is put up against a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, with the new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which makes as near as makes no difference 518 hp, without the performance pack, which this car doesn`t have anyway.

The two cars sprint off the line, and while the Tesla may have less horsepower (416 ponies, of which 386 make it to the wheels), its instant torque delivery and lack of time-consuming gearshifts means it pulls ahead of the Mercedes with ease.

Once they do get moving, the big Merc does begin to catch up, but in the real world, with actual traffic, corners and stoplights, the Tesla will leave the German car for dead. Still, even in this 0-110 mph or 0-176 km/h run, they were still very evenly-matched.

Watch the video and cast your own opinion.

By Andrei Nedelea

On the Money? Hagerty’s Top Future Collectibles List Includes VW GTI, Audi RS5

On the Money? Hagerty’s Top Future Collectibles List Includes VW GTI, Audi RS5

Hagerty has released its annual “Hagerty Hot List” of the top 10 cars the insurance company believes will become collectible in 20 years. Hagerty’s list is comprised completely of 2013 model-year vehicles that the company thinks will still be desired by enthusiasts in 20 years.

Unlike our own list of future collectibles, Hagerty’s rules are a bit less stringent. To qualify as a future collectible on the Hagerty list, the vehicle must be mass-produced, and available for sale as a 2013 model, with a base price of less than $100,000.

Here’s Hagerty’s List:

2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition Left Front 300x187 imageSRT Viper: The new SRT Viper is one of just three cars that made both our list and Hagerty’s. Hagerty chose the Viper for its list because it’s “one of the last living examples of the once-celebrated mantra of ‘there is no replacement for displacement.’”

Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible: The Corvette 427 is a no-brainer for this list. As Hagerty points out, the Corvette celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and the 427 is not only a limited-production model commemorating that fact, but also the last model year for the C6 ‘Vette, ensuring the 427′s status as a future collector’s car.

2013 Audi RS 5 front end 300x187 imageAudi RS5: Hagerty named the RS5 on its list because the collector car insurance company “think[s] the basic Audi A5 is one of the handsomest coupes on the market.”

Porsche Cayman S: According to the press release, the Cayman S made its way on to this list because it’s “Porsche’s atonement for the sin of the diesel [Cayenne].” We didn’t realize a diesel-powered SUV was such a bad thing.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible: We might prefer the hardtop Camaro ZL1 (which made it on last year’s Hagerty list) to its portly soft-top sister, but Hagerty nevertheless expects the ZL1 drop-top to command a premium among buyers in 20 years’ time.

2012 Tesla Model S front 2 300x187 imageTesla Model S: This list wouldn’t be complete without the revolutionary new Tesla Model S. The Model S earned its spot as a future collectible because it’s one of the first electric cars built with enthusiasts in mind.

Mini John Cooper Works GP: Hailed as “the fastest Mini ever built,” the John Cooper Works GP’s future as a collectible is ensured by the fact that it’s limited to just 500 units in the United States – well that, and the fact that its $39,950 base price is likely a little too dear for all but the biggest Mini fans.

Subaru BRZ side in motion1 300x187 imageSubaru BRZ: Hagerty reasons that the Subaru BRZ will be a future collectible because the rear-drive sports car injects a bit of “tire-smoking” adrenaline into the Subaru brand.

Volkswagen GTI: The latest version of the original hot hatch gets a spot on this list because of theGTI’s “cult-like following,” and because “the 2013 version may be the best yet.”

Ford Focus ST: The final spot on Hagerty’s list goes to the Focus ST, because it’s one of the first European Ford products we’ve gotten in the U.S. in a long time, thanks to Ford’s One Ford global initiative.

Do you agree with Hagerty’s picks? Who had the better future collectibles list, Hagerty or us? Sound off below.

Source: Hagerty

By Christian Seabaugh

Don’t Cry: Tesla Model S Torn Apart For Safety’s Sake

Modern cars feel so substantial and safe they can often feel impregnable–you’re just rolling along in your little bubble, protected from the world outside.

The Model S, the luxurious electric car from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] with its large body, incredible refinement and luxurious interior is just such a vehicle–though as the video above (via Wired) demonstrates, there’s only so much extreme force a car can handle.

No car is completely crash-proof, and it can take the work of a split-second out on the road for something to go very, very wrong.

If it does, modern cars really are as safe as they feel, with airbags, deforming crash structures and more, keeping occupants as safe as possible.

But put enough force through a car body and occupants can still become trapped, or incapacitated to such an extent that safety teams need extraction tools like the “jaws of life” to provide better access for ambulance crews.

In an electric car, there’s an element of added danger for those crews, with high voltage cables and different body structures to contend with.

It might be excruciating to watch the Model S torn apart, bit by bit, but reassuring to know that if the worst happens, the emergency services still have a way of extracting you from the car.

In the video above, the real action starts around the 27-minute mark, as safety crews rip the front passenger door from its frame. They then remove the front wing and hood, before making cuts into the A-pillar, chassis support struts and finally, the door surround–careful to avoid the electric components nearby.

All this accomplished, some dashboard support struts are cut, before a hydraulic ram pushes the dashboard upward. The resulting gap could be enough to free an injured passenger’s legs following a crash–or to give paramedics a larger space to extract a passenger with back or neck injuries.

Tesla itself provided the Model S for Fremont Fire Department to train on–and the resulting video can be used to train other crews to deal with the car.

The rest of the video goes through all the realities and myths faced by first responders to electric vehicle accidents–and it’s worth a watch to fully reassure you of the safety of these vehicles.

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By Antony Ingram

Toyota Chooses Canada for RAV4 EV Production

Toyota Chooses Canada for RAV4 EV Production

Toyota will build the upcoming electric-powered RAV4 alongside the gasoline-powered variant at its Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc. (TMMC) in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. Production is slated to begin in 2012.

Many plants were being considered for RAV4 EV production, including the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California. Tesla Motors, which has been assisting in the development of the electric-powered SUV, will build its 2012 Model S family sedan at NUMMI. Toyota says building the electric version of the RAV4 alongside the gasoline version will “maximize production efficiencies and quality control.”

“The Tesla-Toyota joint development team has agreed that building the vehicle at the Woodstock plant on the same line as the gasoline-powered RAV4, will streamline and simplify the production process and guarantee the highest level of quality control,” said Ray Tanguay, TMMC Chairman, in a press release. “This is a great example of Toyota’s determination to collaborate with companies with leading edge technology.”

Toyota will pay Tesla $100 million for the RAV4 EV’s electric powertrain, which includes the battery module, electric motor, gearbox, and electronic components. Tesla will gain insight into Toyota’s manufacturing and engineering processes.

Tesla will build RAV4 EV powertrains at a smaller plant in Palo Alto, California, and then ship them to TMMC for installation in the compact SUVs. Tesla is busy retooling the NUMMI plant preparing for Model S production.

Toyota will announce volume and pricing of the RAV4 EV at a later time.

Source: Toyota

By Jason Udy

First Tesla Model S electric sedans will be delivered June 22

2012 Tesla Model S Red

Hot on the heels of the Ford Focus Electric will be the much-anticipated Tesla Model S. After years of development, the electric sedan from the company that brought you the Roadster electric sports car has been tested by the Environment Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With mileage and crash tests squared away, Tesla plans to deliver the first cars to customers beginning June 22.

On the same day that his SpaceX rocket began its trip to the International Space Station, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the Model S had passed all of the NHTSA crash tests. Musk also said that the Model S achieved a five-star rating in all categories, although the government has not released official ratings.

Musk also expects the top Model S’ range to drop from an anticipated 300 miles to 265, because of changes in the EPA testing procedure, according to a recent post on the company’s blog.

Regardless of how the Model S scored in the various tests, it is ready to go on sale. Tesla will hand over the keys to the first batch of cars at its Freemont, California plant; cars should start trickling into dealers shortly after that. Since these are the first cars from a brand new factory, made to a completely new design, from an essentially brand-new company, Tesla may want to keep in contact with its first customers so it can quickly address problems.

Tesla hopes to sell 5,000 Model Ss by the end of the year. The company says that there is already a waiting list 10,000 names strong. That should take the Model S through this year and into the next. With production fully ramped up, Tesla plans on selling 20,000 of the electric sedans in 2013.

The Model S will cost between $57,400 and $105,400, before a $7,500 federal tax credit. The models are broken down based on range: buyers can opt for 160, 230, and 300-mile versions (expect those numbers to be about 30 percent lower in the new EPA tests). In addition, there is a Model S Performance with a lower 0-60 mph time (4.4 seconds, versus 5.6 for the regular Model S). Buyers can also choose whether they want their Model S to seat five or seven.

The Model S’ performance figures, and pricetag, may seem well above those of established electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, and that is because Tesla views the Model S as a premium product. Consequently, its main competition will be the upcoming Fisker Atlantic, a sedan of similar size that uses a gasoline engine to charge its batteries. Interestingly, the first drawings of the Model S were penned by Fisker’s own Henrik Fisker; Tesla has made several changes to the styling since then.

Tesla will not stop with the Model S. The company plans to launch a crossover, called the Model X, in the near future.

By Stephen Edelstein

Spyshots: Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell Spotted in Silver



With its launch right around the corner, which should take place in ‘late 2012’, the Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell was recently spotted in what looks to be production form undergoing testing in Germany. Aimed as a more-or-less direct competitor for the R8 e-tron, it features a 526 hp power output, which is achieved using four electric motors (two on each axle).

It can also travel up to 190 km (120 miles) one a single charge, drawing juice from a 48 kWh battery pack, and can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in four seconds dead. However, being more powerful, 450 kg heavier and four-wheel drive, it will be a completely different vehicle, when compared to the regular, V8-powered car.

Also, with the weight of the batteries concentrated deep in the center of the car, it should corner just as flatly as the Tesla Model S, for instance, benefitting rather than suffering from the extra weight of the batteries, and with a weight distribution of 46:54, it should also handle decently, as well.

Check out the Spyshots: Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell Spotted in Silver photo gallery

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla Model S Arrives in Germany



There is no denying the merit of the Tesla Model S, for truly being the first EV one would actually consider buying without having to make any real compromises over a conventionally-powered alternative. Now, while it is slowly gaining acceptance in its home market, the US, Tesla intend to bring and sell it in Europe, as well, as the Europeans, and especially the West-Europeans are a really green bunch.

Now, the first Model S has arrived in Germany, and a lucky few have already had a chance to take it for a spin! Furthermore, in Germany, the car can be easily maxed out on the autobahn, though that action might drain the battery too quickly. Elon Musk said, regarding the Model S and Europe: "Our goal has always been to build the best car in the world and set new standards for safety, range, design and performance. We have achieved this with Model S in North America and now it's time to introduce the extraordinary Model S driving experience to Europe."

The Model S should be available for purchase as of next year, and we’re sure that if they don’t bump up the price too much, Europe may even become a bigger market than the US, as people here have been waiting for a car like this for a while now, and instead of buying a very limited range Nissan Leaf, they can save up some more and buy the base Model S.

By Andrei Nedelea