Incredible real-life Tesla Gun is more a piece of art than a weapon of war

Tesla Gun

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.

Tesla Gun SideThe 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

Tesla Adds $6500 Performance Plus Option For Model S – Rumor Central

Tesla Adds $6500 Performance Plus Option For Model S

A new option pack for the Tesla Model S electric car is supposed to give it “supercar handling.” The Performance Plus option is a $6500 suspension upgrade for the Model S that is designed to improve the car’s handling.

The upgrade package is available only for the Tesla Model S Performance, which has an 85-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Its electric drive motor is rated for 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, and Tesla says the 0-to-60-mph run takes just 4.2 seconds. (We found that a car so equipped can even outrun a BMW M5.)

Opting for Performance Plus adds Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires on 21-inch wheels; 19-inch all-season tires are standard on the Model S and 21-inch Continental ExtremeContact DW tires are optional. In addition, the Performance Plus rear tires have a 265 section width, 20 millimeters (0.8 inch) wider than the standard 21-inch tires. Tesla also installs upgraded suspension dampers, bushings, and anti-roll bars to further improve handling. The upgrades are said to add between six and twelve miles of driving range to a Tesla Model S Performance; according to the EPA, the luxury sedan can normally drive about 265 miles on a full charge, so adding the Performance Plus treatment pushes the range to as much as 277 miles.

Tesla recently enhanced its warranty program to cover the lithium-ion battery pack no matter how the owner charges the car, for eight years or 125,000 miles. Owners can borrow a Roadster or Model S loaner car while their Model S is being serviced. Tesla also announced a unique leasing program for the car earlier this spring, which makes the car available for between $1051 and $1199, depending on trim level and before various discounts.

Source: Tesla

By Jake Holmes

Globe Trotting Tesla Tragically Crashes 600 Miles Short Of Finish

Related Photo Galleries

See more photos »

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)

Enlarge Photo

“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.


By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Tesla has begun deliveries of 60kWh Model S units


Being a small startup automotive company means that you’re free to conduct business in ways other than the established norms, but Tesla will sometimes act as though this is a challenge being issued to break as many norms as possible. Their latest defiance of norms was to begin deliveries of a new type of car without telling anyone in the press, whereas most automakers prefer to brag about these things. Tesla isn’t exactly famous for modesty, so this seems even stranger, but Green Car Reports has found sufficient evidence to suggest that it really is happening.

The car in question isn’t a whole new model, but rather the second of three versions of the Model S. The three versions are differentiated by their battery packs, which determine both the price and the range of the car. Already being delivered is the 85kWh car, which has an EPA-rated range of 265 miles. The 60kWh car has a range of 208 miles, which is still quite a lot for an electric car. Due out next is the lowest-cost 40kWh car, which Tesla says will have a 160-mile range. Considering most electric cars have a range of around 100 miles, there isn’t a version of the Model S which doesn’t far exceed the norm.

The way it was discovered that deliveries had begun was simply that the new owners were posting pictures of their new cars on internet forums. More than just a couple of isolated cases, it seems safe to assume that deliveries have truly begun in earnest. This is either good or slightly annoying news to anyone who ordered one of the 60kWh cars, depending on how they look at it.

By Jacob Joseph

People Love the Tesla Model S [Video]

It’s been almost a full week since the official launch of Tesla’s Model S. So, is less than a week enough time for people to form an opinion? Yes, and first signs are extremely good and promising, if we are to judge things by the reaction of the people who have driven or taken a ride in the car.

It seems that the its main qualities are its very pokey yet extremely smooth motor (4.4 seconds to 100 km/h or 62 mph in the performance version), the very good handling (which is aided by the car’s very low center of gravity and very good weight distribution, as there is no big ‘lump’ weighing the front of the car down), the comfort, the exterior looks and interior design – in other words, they like the whole package.

They also like the philosophy and the story behind the Tesla brand, as well as the fact that apart from trying to make money, the California-based manufacturer also wants to make good (electric) cars – a rarity in our profit and oil-driven society.

We are genuinely pleased that the Model S turned out right, and we hope it brings Tesla in line with other, much larger manufacturers, so that they can build more of their excellent EVs, and hopefully, some cheaper ones too (which they are doing, according if CEO Elon Musk will have his way in the next few years).

By Andrei Nedelea

2013 Toyota RAV4 EV: Test Drive Review


If we aren’t yet past the old narrative that all electric cars are cheap and tiny egg-shaped golf carts, one trip in the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV should put that to bed.

The new generation of the RAV4 EV is one of the best examples yet of the viability of an electric future. It combines pleasing design, build quality, driving excitement, fuel economy and – here’s the kicker – utility like no other EV has. During a ride and drive event at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we had a chance to hop behind the wheel.

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV boasts a strong physique that doesn’t differentiate much from the standard, gas-burning RAV4, expect for a few details that make it appear leaner and cleaner to the eye. The RAV4 EV is sprinkled with LED running lights, tail and headlights that mix technology and luxury.

The green push button start brings the RAV4 EV to life with a soft tune and warm glow. Like most modern day electrics, it’s a breeze to drive at a level that is still somewhat surprising; it will take a while for the public to grow accustomed to silence on the road. Set off in Normal mode to maximize efficiency, or Sport mode to take advantage of all the instant torque under your right foot.

A lithium-ion battery system with 129 kW powers the AC induction motor, which boasts 154 horsepower and 218 lb.-ft of torque (273 in Sport mode). A 0.30 drag coefficient – downright amazing for an SUV – helps the RAV4 EV achieve an estimated 78/74 eMPG with a 103-mile electric range. But how does it drive? With a welcoming battery whine, off you go.

In motion, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV moves quickly and directly. Reporters talk about the way that electric cars “dart” and “zip” all the time, but you don’t much expect that from a five-seater SUV.

And yet, the steering is direct and light – the RAV4 EV reacts instantly to your commands and feels confident on its feet. There is none of the uneasiness of past electrics, and none of the clumsiness of a typical SUV. It feels light – not the steering, the actual car. In fact, the RAV4 EV tips the scales at 4,032 lbs., about 100 lbs. lighter than the standard RAV4, which is astounding considering the li-ion batteries alone weigh 845.5 lbs.

Engineers skewed the system by using the heavy batteries to give the RAV4 EV a low center of gravity, which accounts for its impressive balance. They didn’t save weight everywhere, though – the hood is pretty heavy, bolstered to protect the batteries in case of low speed collisions.

With a new Sport mode and clever weight distribution, the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV not only deals with the reality of driving an electric car, it uses it to its advantage. If you want more style and range, spring for the Tesla Model S. If you want the most efficiency, check out the Honda Fit EV.

But if you need utility and still like to have fun, the RAV4 EV is an electric that isn’t just good for its owner – it’s good for the future of the EV industry.


Visit theautoMedia.comToyota Research Centerfor quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, mpg and more. Make sure to followautoMedia.comonTwitterandFacebook.

Find local Toyota RAV4 EV Clearance Pricing and Blue Book Values7fa2fa6d-0cae-473e-92a6-d0ec76b4f9d1|6|3.0

By Ryan ZumMallen

Tesla Model S Sales Exceed Expectations, Low-Range Model Axed

Tesla Model S Sales Exceed Expectations, Low-Range Model Axed

Tesla Motors announced today that it will report profitability for the first quarter, after sales of the Model S electric sedan exceeded expectations. Tesla has sold 4750 units of the car thus far, up from the 4500 units previously planned.

The announcement is good news for Tesla after a disappointing year in 2012, when the company lost almost $400 million. Last year, Tesla sold just 2650 units of the Model S while it ramped up production of the car.

Tesla Model S interior 300x187 image“There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a statement.

The company also announced two changes to the model lineup. First, Tesla has killed the low-range, 40-kWh version of the Model S. Only four percent of customers asked for the smallest battery, making it financially difficult for Tesla to build that version. Customers will receive the next largest battery pack, with a capacity of 60 kWh, but the car’s software will keep range equivalent to that of the 40-kWh pack unless owners pay for an upgrade.

In addition, Tesla revealed what it calls an Easter egg in the new Model S. Although the hardware to use Tesla’s Supercharger fast-charging network was supposed to be optional, it has actually been included in all versions of the Model S. Customers can simply pay for a software update to “unlock” the function if they need to use the Supercharger network.

Source: Tesla Motors

By Jake Holmes

Tesla Model X Production Pushed Back to Late 2014

Tesla Model X Production Pushed Back to Late 2014

Production of the Tesla Model X crossover has been pushed back from the end of this year to the end of 2014. A Tesla representative told the Los Angeles Times that the wait for the electric crossover has increased as the company focuses on filling orders for the Model S four-door, which could reach 20,000 units this year.

Tesla Model X Rear Three Quarter Doors Open1 300x187 imageThe original Tesla Model X was supposed to go on sale early in 2014, but now deliveries will likely begin early 2015. While Tesla focuses on Model S sales and delays the Model X, the company has pledged to pay back its Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan by 2017 – five years earlier than the original deadline.

We’ve taken a ride in a Tesla Model X prototype, which has flashy “falcon doors” that Elon Musk said will make installing child seats easier. At the time, Musk estimated that the Model X would weigh 10-15 percent more than the Model S, or about 4700 pounds.

Tesla also expects to make a modest profit for the first quarter of 2013. The company has also raised $40.5 million from sales of zero-emission vehicle credits and greenhouse gas credits to other undisclosed companies, according to its annual report. The next Tesla model in the pipeline is a smaller electric sedan at a lower price point to appeal to broader range of customers.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Tesla

By Jason Udy

World Exclusive! 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification

2012 Tesla Model S Front Motion On PCH

2012 Tesla Model S Front Three Quarter Motion During Testing

2012 Tesla Model S Rear View At Track

2012 Tesla Model S Front Three Quarter

See All 19 Photos

To start off, let’s see a show of hands for how many of you have watched both of Chris Paine’s EV documentaries, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car”? I’m going to turn on your computer’s Web cam for a moment and take a count.

Hmm, that’s not very many.

2012 Tesla Model S Front Three Quarter Motion During Testing

If you’re one of the few who have seen them both (like me), then you might be getting the idea that the battery-electric car’s storyline has now pulled out of its post-EV1 nosedive and is winging its way toward a sky-blue future, with squadrons of Nissan Leafs coming to the rescue as “The Ride of the Valkyries” blares in the background, “Apocalypse Now”-style.

Reality check: The Leaf’s sales have been as brisk as soggy leaves on a damp lawn. And the electrified versions of the Ford Focus, Honda Fit, and Toyota RAV4 — despite incremental improvements — aren’t likely to fare much better. If their project managers were interrogated with the aid of smoldering cigarette butts, they’d confess that these cars are basically money-sieves necessary to satisfy the influential Golden State’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate. Meanwhile, the controversial growth of fracking is pushing the electric car’s peak oil justification farther into the future. The headwinds are strong.

But before anyone demands a refund from Mr. Paine, let me direct you to the following spider graph, plotting a few of the more significant attributes of battery-electric cars: their range, recharge rate, cost, 0-60 mph time, and gas-equivalent mpg. The better the car is in each attribute, the farther out it goes on the graph. Other than price, the Tesla gets out to the edges.

Tesla Model S Spider Graph

As you can see, there just might be a revenge of the electric car after all (the revenge of the revenge?), courtesy of the only major electric car builder producing EVs without being forced to: Tesla.

Last month, our technical director Frank Markus took the 2012 Tesla Model S out for a spin in the environs around Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory and walked us through the car’s technological particulars. Now, I’m standing next to the dragstrip at Auto Club Speedway and across from me in a black Model S Signature Performance 85 (I’ll explain all that later) is Carlos Lago, who’s readying himself to put down our first official test numbers. Did I mention this is Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal car?

And just like that, Carlos and Musk’s car are gone. Like, gone. Without a tire chirp. I’m rotating my head at an unusual rate to track him. Were I in a dark, cool movie theater, I’d pass the spectacle off as Hollywood special effects. But looking around — yep, there are damp patches under my armpits and the sun overhead is like in an old Western where the lost cowboy drops to the desert sand in delirium. I’m definitely in Fontana in August. And that big sedan quietly teleporting itself to the far end of the dragstrip is actually happening. Moreover, had I been looking in a different direction I might have missed everything, because the car’s soundtrack is no more than a hushed ssshhhhhh. It’s as if you’re listening to a fast gasoline car while wearing Bose noise-canceling headphones.

When we crunched the numbers (with no weather correction because the car doesn’t ingest air), the car’s 0-60-mph time was 3.9 seconds, and it ssshhhhhh-ed past the quarter-mile mark in 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph. We’re on the bleeding edge here, kids. Sedans of this performance caliber are as rare as netting Higgs bosons in the Large Hadron Collider — and in this case, all of them but the Tesla speak with German accents:

Base Price Weight Power 0-60 mph 60-0 mph Lat grip
BMW M5 $92,095 4384 lb 560 hp 3.7 sec 110 ft 0.94 g
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG $96,805 4256 lb 550 hp 3.9 sec 113 ft 0.92 g
Porsche Panamera Turbo S $176,275 4388 lb 550 hp 3.5 sec 105 ft 1.00 g
Tesla Model S P85 $105,400 4766 lb 416 hp 3.9 sec 105 ft 0.92 g

And were we to have measured those 0-60 mph times from the first twitch of accelerator movement instead of after the standard 1-foot roll-out, the Model S would be already off and away while the gas cars were still reacting to their suddenly opened throttles. It’s a startlingly instant shove into the seatback. Measured by our classical methods, the Model S P85 is now the fastest American sedan, and close to the fastest anywhere. And in the real-jousting that sometimes erupts on highways (you know what I’m talking about), it’s probably the quickest.

Maybe you’ve also noticed the Model S’ 400-500-pound weight penalty over those Germans. Its lithium-ion battery pack, which resides like a great slab beneath the car’s floor, is enormously heavy. The car’s maximal use of aluminum partly mitigates this, but one senses that Model S’ interior materials (door panels, in particular) are deliberately lightweight. They don’t have the solid heft of those German sedans’ baroquely detailed, old-world cabins, but on the other hand, you might picture the design as an ascetic, Apple-esque absence of unnecessary adornment, too. After Carlos finished his brake stops (great grip with no oddball shuttering or fade), the Model S was handed over to me and our 1/3-mile figure-eight handling test.

2012 Tesla Model S Rear View At Track

Building up speed around the infinity-symbol course, the car’s minimal roll isn’t surprising, what with its low-slung battery. But its 0.92 g of grip is great for a 4766-pound sedan. As I mentioned, this is a top-drawer Signature Performance version, meaning it carries the big 85-kW-hour battery (the upcoming entry 40-kW-hr car will be $57,400; the 60 kW-hr version, $67,400; and the 85-kW-hr basis for our test car is $77,400 — all before the $7500 federal tax credit). The SP model we’re testing adds extra power (416 hp and 443 lb-ft versus 362 hp and 325 lb-ft), sport-tuned traction control, nicer interior materials, and carbon-fiber aero trim. Add to that two significant option boxes checked for our test example: a $1500 giant glass sunroof and no-cost Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires wrapping 21-in wheels — hence that lateral grip.

As I pour more of the car’s power into the figure eight’s corner exits, it becomes a little difficult to keep the steering corrections ahead of the tail’s waggings. The problem is a slightly aggressive accelerator response. For performance driving, this should be toned down a bit.

2012 Tesla Model S Front Three Quarter

2012 Tesla Model S Side View

2012 Tesla Model S Rear Three Quarter

2012 Tesla Model S Cockpit And Center Screen

2012 Tesla Model S Front Cargo Area

2012 Tesla Model S Steering Wheel

Take a second to think about that spider graph and the performance chart above. The Model S is either dominant — or at least thoroughly competitive — in two diametrically opposite automotive worlds. It embarrasses its high-efficiency, electric car peers with one hand, while happily trading steel-knuckle punches with Germany’s mightiest warp-speed heavyweights with the other.

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Up At Fontana

With answers in hand about the Model S’ performance, the other empty check-box to explore is just how far this big battery version can actually travel on a single charge. According to the EPA’s 5-cycle test procedure, it’s rated at 265 miles in its extended range mode, which fills the battery nearly to its brim. But after our testing wrapped, and we plugged it in to recharge, I happened to glance at the car’s big, 17-inch, multi-touch display and its energy-use data. Eeek — all of our testing, including a few dragstrip runs just for photography, had consumed 13 miles. And the car’s computer was predicting that at the abusive rate we were going, our Model S was only good for another…40 miles. A 265-mile range? Is this really possible?2012 Tesla Model S Nav System Map

After a full, extended range charge at the track, navigator and data collector Benson Kong and I left the Speedway and aimed south towards San Diego over the inland hills via Interstate 15, hoping to touch that major metropolitan base before swinging north again on the I-5 and peeling off on the Pacific Coast Highway for a slow, stoplight-punctuated march back to our El Segundo office. Start to endpoint, it looked to be about 240 miles.

Even with the A/C off (but with ventilation on), cruise control set at 65 mph, and the body lowered on its air suspension, the car’s range prediction quickly went sour. Out came the iPad and iPhone maps to nervously ponder shortcuts to the I-5 prior to San Diego.What was happening?

The passing tree tops were noticeably stirring and the occasional flag was pointing at us at three-quarter headwind angles. But there’s also something that’s underappreciated by these laboratory tests: the impact of ordinary driving chaos, even in moderate traffic. Time and again I had to override the cruise control and punch the brakes because of a lane-changing car or sharply accelerate to get around somebody who seemed to suddenly fall asleep directly in front of us. Every time, Benson, watching the numbers like a broker on the floor of the Stock Exchange, would admonish me, “smoother, smoother, don’t be so jerky,” but there was nothing I could do. Eventually, the car’s range prediction seemed to brighten and as we arced through San Diego, we even punctuated the point by dog-legging down the 163 toward downtown.

2012 Tesla Model S Front Seats

“My leg is starting to hurt,” Benson suddenly said, and I was simultaneously thinking that I wouldn’t want to drive much more than 265 miles in these seats anyway. They’re beautiful, but the seat bottoms are too thin and firm. On the other hand, the car’s mammoth and marvelous multi-touch screen is a happy distraction, with the sort of brilliant resolution and cool features that might have had Steve Jobs uttering “Insane!” (Think 3G Internet access, a giant back-up camera screen, and swipe-able icons.) Indeed, the whole car is a compellingly imaginative re-thinking of how we interact with cars in the first place. For instance? There’s no actual ‘on’ button. The Model S ‘knows’ you’re ready to drive by recognizing that you’ve gotten in (door opens and closes, weight on the driver’s seat), are ready to drive (seatbelt latched), and are taking action (tapping the brake pedal). That’s it.

Up the 5 we went, briefly grinding to a halt in late afternoon traffic, but after that, sailing along until we exited for Highway 1 North in Dana Point, where we pulled into a Starbucks to consider the situation. Would we make to the office? Benson’s numbers were close, but the experience Benson and I have had with EVs is that they love this slower-speed stuff. No sweat, I’m thinking. In Laguna Beach, the Energy Czar himself suddenly said “nail it” — and I obliged, warp-speeding us to the next block. A little further, photographer Brian Vance (in a BMW 528i chase car) barks from the walkie-talkie, “Why don’t we do a lap around your old magazine workplace?” Why not, I think, but as I crank the wheel up the hill, Benson shouts, “Noooo!” “Relax,” I reply, “we’ve got plenty of battery. Plenty.”

2012 Tesla Model S Front Closeup On Highway

2012 Tesla Model S Rear View Heading South

2012 Tesla Model S Rear Motion On PCH

2012 Tesla Model S Rear View On Highway

2012 Tesla Model S Side View Motion On Highway

2012 Tesla Model S Front Motion On Highway

A few minutes later, Benson somberly calculates that we’re running a mile short of making it to the MT garage. I’m silent. And slow down a bit. Crap.

To break the tension, we discuss the car’s ride, which is firm but appropriate for a performance car like this. And it’s difficult to keep that in mind, since its quietness suggests more of a Rolls-Royce than an AMG Mercedes. Benson frequently asks if I’m braking. No, I’m doing lift-throttle regen, but it’s a strong enough tug to make him wonder if I’m touching the brake pedal.

The range number finally drops into the single digits. “How far do we have to go?” “Seven-and-a-half miles,” Benson reports. The display says we’ve got a range of six. I call Tesla and nonchalantly ask, “So, uh, I’m just curious — what happens when the car gets to zero miles?”

Tesla Model S Range Test Map

“It stops,” was the reply. Hmmm. We turn off the ventilation completely and dial down the instrument panel’s illumination until we can barely see the range number. I remind myself this is Elon Musk’s personal car. Do I want to be the famous bozo who conks out in it on Pacific Coast Highway in traffic? No way, brother.

With 4 miles of remaining range we pass a public ChargePoint station on the opposite side of the road. I grit my teeth, wheel around, and plug in. Benson is broadcasting telepathic messages I can’t repeat here. One lousy detour…

We’ve traveled 233.7 miles and wind up short by 1.7.

The total range — adding the unused 4 miles, would be 238. Yes, 238 is 11 percent short of 265. Moreover, it was done while being very stingy with performance (for the most part). Is that 265 actually valid? If you drive predominately at highway speeds, then probably not. But were we to have included more medium-speed roads (long stretches at 45-50 mph) well, possibly.

2012 Tesla Model S Charge

But the range that matters is really a psychological/perceptual one, not a specific number. Think about it: We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales. (Tesla is also preparing to deploy a network of super-fast chargers to supply some 150 miles worth of range in 30 minutes along many common long-distance driving corridors). Using Tesla’s home charger (240 volts at 80 amps) a full extended-range battery refill requires 6 hours (4 hours for standard-range recharge).

During our drive, we used 78.2 kW-hrs of electricity (93 percent of the battery’s rated capacity). What does that mean? It’s the energy equivalent of 2.32 gasoline gallons, or 100.7 mpg-e before charging losses. That BMW 528i following us (powered by a very fuel-efficient, turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine) consumed 7.9 gallons of gas for a rate of 30.1 mpg. The Tesla’s electrical energy cost for the trip was $10.17 (at California’s average electrical rate); the BMW’s drive cost $34.55. The 528i emitted 152 lbs of CO2; the Model S, 52 — from the state’s power plants.

2012 Tesla Model S Rear Three Quarter Motion

For sure, it’s a game-changer of a car, then. But a car isn’t really metal and glass and rubber and leather at all. It’s people. With dreams, brains, and drive. And from Musk to Boaz Chai, who oversaw our garage charger installation (and like many of them, is a Stanford engineering grad), Tesla — like Apple in the electronic device realm — is the sort of ambitious and fearlessly innovative company this country needs a thousand more of.

We’ve got even more to come this week on the new Model S! Stay tuned next Thurs., Sept. 6, for another extended range feature here at, along with a special episode of Wide Open Throttle at our Motor Trend YouTube Channel at:

2012 Tesla Model S P85
BASE PRICE $105,400*
VEHICLE LAYOUT Rear-motor, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback
MOTOR 416-hp/443-lb-ft AC electric
TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4766 lb (47/53%)
WHEELBASE 116.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 196.0 x 77.3 x 56.5 in
0-60 MPH 3.9 sec
QUARTER MILE 12.5 sec @ 110.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 105 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.3 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 38/37 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.00 lb/mile (at car)
*Before $7500 Federal Tax Credit

By Kim Reynolds

Rimac Concept One Electric Supercar Drifting [Video]

About a week ago, we brought you a report that stated Rimac Automobili would build a limited run of just 88 electric supercars based on the Concept One. These will be priced from €740.000 ($980.000), but unlike a Tesla or Fisker, the performance would be truly epic.

Recently, Rimac Automovili also released a teaser video to preview their Concept One show car and the performance it has to offer. Want to see what an electric car with over a thousand horsepower looks like going sideways? Check out the video!

The propulsion system for the Rimac is made up of a battery pack and four electric motors. Combined, they provide a total of 1088 horsepower. The performance figures announced yesterday give credit to the supercar claims: 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph).

By Mihnea Radu