Tesla Model X Delayed Until "Late 2014" – Rumor Central

Tesla Model X Delayed Until “Late 2014″

The Tesla Model X electric crossover won’t start production until late 2014, a major delay as the car was slated to go into production this year. Tesla had initially promised the Model X would debut in late 2013 with “volume” production beginning in earnest by 2014, but now it appears the Tesla factory won’t even start building the crossover until the end of next year.

The Tesla Model X is a three-row crossover with upward-opening “Falcon Wing” doors that is based on the company’s Model S all-electric sedan. It was originally slated to go on sale in limited numbers by the end of 2013, with production ramping up significantly by 2014. In fact, the automaker’s website still indicates that, “Deliveries begin 2014.”

Tesla appears to have quietly delayed the introduction of the Model X by about a year. The company’s latest SEC Filing, which also revealed Tesla will repay government loans early, confirmed the new production date. “We currently plan to start production of Model X in late 2014,” the filing reads. “We currently intend to target an annual production rate of approximately 10,000-15,000 cars per year.”

That means the car probably wouldn’t reach more than a handful of customers until early 2015. The company previously reported it would have total production capacity of 20,000 units in 2013.

Tesla warned in its filing that development of the Model X hasn’t been completed, signaling that production couldn’t start for some time. “The Model X design is not yet finalized and we may be unable to use the adaptable Model S platform to the extent we currently intend,” the filing reads.”We may experience… delays, cost overruns and adverse publicity… We are in the initial design and development stages of Model X. Furthermore, we have not yet evaluated, qualified or selected all of our suppliers for the planned production of Model X.”

A Tesla representative told us, “Tesla has been intensely focused on Model S, its production and product enhancements and believe there is increased volume potential for Model S.  As a result, we are pushing back the development and timing of Model X to 2014. ”

Source: Tesla

By Jake Holmes

Tesla Model S to Arrive in June and New Possible Contract for Mercedes-Benz EV

Deliveries of Tesla’s Model S were expected to start this July, but apparently they are ahead of schedule with testing and certification and the car could be available for purchase as of next month. Crash testing is also being completed and its efficiency (MPGe – the electric equivalent to conventionally powered cars) rating is being calculated and is due for completion very soon.

A Securities and Exchange Commission report has enabled us to better understand the mysterious and weird world of Tesla and their future plans. Firstly, the Model X crossover is pegged for production in late 2013 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2014. Tesla explain that the Model X is the first of many vehicles to be developed on the Model S’s platform, so we should expect a wider range of cars from them in the future. Also, more dealerships are planned for this year, required for the wide-scale sale of the Model S.

Another interesting part of the report claims that Mercedes-Benz have asked Tesla to develop an all-electric drivetrain for a vehicle in the Mercedes range. We are not sure which car they are referring to, but Car and Driver claim they think it’s the new A-Class, a front-wheel drive car. The deal has been confirmed to be worth somewhere in the region of €217 ($280) million and it’s not the first deal of its kind, Tesla having developed the entire drivetrain for the new Toyota RAV4 EV, for the Japanese manufacturer.

By Andrei Nedelea

2013 Automobile Of The Year: Let The Testing Begin – Rumor Central

2013 Automobile Of The Year: Let The Testing Begin

It’s that time again. No, we’re not talking college football, major-league baseball post-season action, or even habitual trips to the cider mill for freshly-pressed juice and sugary treats. It’s time for Automobile’s editors and contributors to break out of the offices, retreat to a secretive spot in western Michigan, sample some of the latest and greatest sheetmetal on the market, and ultimately name one vehicle as the 2013 Automobile Of The Year.

Our testing and deliberation runs this entire week, and here’s a quick peek at what cars we’re bringing along in tow. One of these contenders will ultimately be named the 2013 Automobile of the Year. We won’t publicly name a winner until November, but if you want to keep tabs on our testing and thought process, you’re in luck. Turn to Automobile’s Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter (look for the #AMAoY hashtag) to come along for the ride!

2013 Acura ILX Premium

The manual transmission is one of the best to come from Honda to date — the clutch is perfectly weighted and boasts linear take-up, and shift throws are smooth, short, and positive.”

Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 201 hp @7000 rpm

Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $30,095

As-tested: $30,095


2013 Audi RS5 Coupe

“With its silky engine, lively differential, and stout brakes, the RS5 is every bit worthy of the RS badge.”

Engine: 4.2-liter DOHC V-8

Power: 450 hp @8250 rpm

Torque: 317 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Base price: $69,795

As-tested: $75,820

2013 Audi S7

“Luxury, performance, and style — the S7 delivers everything the A7 does, only with a sportier edge. We’re still smitten with the less powerful, more efficient supercharged V-6 in the A7, but the twin-turbo V-8 is similarly sweet for those who demand more.”

Engine: Twin-turbo, 4.0-liter DOHC V-8

Power: 420 hp @ 6400 rpm

Torque: 406 lb-ft @ 1400 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Base price: $79,695

As tested: $86,170


2013 BMW 335i Sport Line

“In the 335i, you revel in the engine’s noise. Its broad, flat torque curve means you don’t have to rev the engine — but you want to. You want to hear it, you want to feel it, and you wind up loving it. More so than ever, it’s an emotional decision rather than a rational one — but with three pedals in the driver’s footwell, there’s still no sport sedan better than a BMW 335i.”

Engine: Turbocharged 3.0-liter DOHC I-6

Power: 300 hp @ 5800 rpm

Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 1200 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $43,295

As tested: $55,745 



2012 BMW M5

“The M5′s got almost all of the refinement of the current 5-series, all of the tech features, gorgeous styling, and elegant interior. And then it’s got razor-sharp handling and the best steering we’ve seen in a 5-series in a long time, if not ever. And then it’ll rip that smile off your face with outrageous acceleration.”

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter DOHC V-8

Power: 560 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 500 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $92,095

As tested: $106,695


2013 BMW X1 xDrive 28i

“Getting some seat time in the X1 reminded us just how much better the old 3-series worked. Sure, it doesn’t have quite as many gadgets and gizmos — and neither the 1-series, the X1, nor the old 3-series is as pretty as the new 3-series — but those earlier cars have a fundamental, built-in “just right” factor. The steering, the brakes, the ride, the handling, and all the secondary controls and instruments just feel perfect.”

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 240 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 1250 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Base price: $33,245

As tested: $45,095


2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Premium

“The ATS is a solid effort that at last puts a Cadillac on par with the German competitors it has fixated on for so long.”

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter

Power: 272 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 260 hp @ 1700 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $44,315

As tested: $45,910

2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6 Premium

Engine: 3.6-liter DOHC V-6

Power: 321 hp @ 6800 rpm

Torque: 275 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $44,315

As tested: $45,910


2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

“By the spec sheet alone, the result of the engineers’ efforts reads much like a CTS-V: 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V-8, magnetorheological dampers, limited-slip differential, and a tad too much weight. But with the Camaro, engineers sacrificed some of the Cadillac’s civility to place greater emphasis on tuning the ZL1 for days at the track and nights at the drag strip.”

Engine: Supercharged 6.2-liter OHV V-8

Power: 580 hp @ 6100 rpm

Torque: 556 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $56,295

As tested: $58,335


2013 Dodge Dart Limited

“The Dart’s Italian DNA is perhaps most visible to the driver. While the steering rack isn’t especially communicative, it makes up for it with a quick ratio, a natural feeling of heft, and excellent straight-line stability.”

Engine: Turbocharged 1.4-liter SOHC I-4

Power: 160 hp @ 6400 rpm

Torque: 148 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $21,785

As tested: $25,065

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

“The turbo four blats to life with a distinct and characterful exhaust note (fitting, given that aftermarket exhaust kits were one of the Abarth company’s earliest and most successful products). The exhaust is quite loud under acceleration but the noise fades almost completely when you’re just cruising.”

Engine: Turbocharged 1.4-liter SOHC I-4

Power: 160 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $22,700

As tested: $25,200

2013 Ford Focus ST

“The Focus ST is not exactly a world-beater in terms of refinement, handling balance, or ergonomics. But it does offer a lot of car and performance for the money, it scores an undisputed ten on the entertainment scale, and it won’t fall apart when pushed to the limit.”

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 252 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $24,495

As tested: $28,170


2013 Ford Fusion SE

“Much has been made of the new Fusion’s styling, which completely walked away from the previous version, instead embracing elements from Aston Martin (the front end), the Audi A7 (the tapered tail), and the Hyundai Sonata (the side view). That may be a disparate trio, but the result is a cohesive whole, and one with an undeniable family resemblance to other recent Fords.”

Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 178 hp @ 5700 rpm

Torque: 184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $24,495

As tested: $26,040

2013 Ford Fusion Titanium AWD

Engine: Turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 240 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel

Base price: $32,995

As tested: $37,670


2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

“Ford understands that in the hybrid arena, it’s all about the MPGs. Thus, the company is justifiably proud that the new Fusion Hybrid brought home EPA ratings of 47 mpg city and 47 mpg highway, numbers that not only well surpass the 41/36 mpg ratings of the previous model but, more importantly, solidly beat the target Toyota Camry Hybrid’s 43/39 mpg—not to mention the also-ran Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s 35/40 mpg.”

Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 w/ electric motor

Power(engine/ electric motor): 141 hp @ 6000 rpm/ 118 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque (engine/ electric motor) 129 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm/ 117 lb-ft

Transmission: Continuously variable

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $27,995

As tested: $30,975


2013 Honda Accord Sport sedan

The four-cylinder Honda Accord, despite its copycat styling, suffers from very little in the way of drawbacks. In fact, it’s good enough for us to say it has squeaked past the Toyota Camry and regained its spot at the top of the class.

Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 185 hp @ 6400 rpm

Torque: 181 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $24,180

As tested: $24,180


2013 Honda Accord EX-L Coupe

Engine: 3.5-liter SOHC V-6

Power: 278 hp @ 6200 rpm

Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $33,140

As tested: $33,140


2013 Lexus GS350 F Sport

“The new GS350, particularly the F Sport, shows real progress in making a more rewarding driver’s car.” 

Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V-8

Power: 303 hp @ 6200 rpm

Torque: 274 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $47,745

As tested: $55,869 


2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

“The CX-5 is a flexible, thoughtful, sharp-looking vehicle that has been crafted from the ground up to give its all in the service of those who love to drive.”

Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 155 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 150 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $27,840

As tested: $29,165


2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550

“The new SL’s interior is more opulent than that of any previous SL; every last piece is high-style, from the dash vents to the small, leather-lined, embossed shifter. The aging Comand system feels unnecessarily complicated compared with newer systems from other makers, and the gauges themselves look slightly plasticky and cheap, but overall, this is Benz’s most glamorous and well-constructed interior.”

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter DOHC V-8

Power: 429 hp @ 5250 rpm

Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $106,405

As tested: $123,445


2012 Mini Cooper S Roadster

“Turbo lag is not an issue, and this engine gleefully zings the Roadster down urban freeways and rural two-lanes, accompanied by a snarling exhaust note — and the occasional racy popping through the exhaust on throttle lift-off.”

Engine: Turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 181 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $28,050

As tested: $33,650

2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV

It’s the Altima’s bells and whistles that Nissan hopes will lure customers away from the Camry — and this new Nissan is packed full of tech goodies aped from more expensive vehicles. All Altimas are equipped with a keyless push-button ignition, and most trim levels include remote starting.

Engine: 2.5-liter DOHC I-4

Power: 182 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

Transmission: Continuously variable

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $24,880

As tested: $27,005 

2013 Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V-6

Power: 270 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 251 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

Transmission: Continuously variable

Drive: Front-wheel

Base price: $31,580

As tested: $32,135


2013 Porsche Boxster S

“The Boxster is still a very connected, very visceral drive, no matter what all the improvements to ride quality and refinement might lead you to expect. We’re left unsupervised on the track for a couple of hours and, frankly, it’s gut-wrenching to hand back the keys.”

Engine: 3.4-liter DOHC flat-six

Power: 315 hp @ 6700 rpm

Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $61,850

As tested: $85,410 


2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

“If you’ve ever driven a Porsche 911, you’ll immediately know that the 991 is different. In quantifiable terms, it’s leaps and bounds better than any previous 911. It sounds even better, it rides even better, it feels even better, it’s even more comfortable, better equipped, and it’s far better looking.”

Engine: 3.8-liter DOHC flat-six

Power: 400 hp @ 7400 rpm

Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 5600 rpm

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $97,350

As tested: $124,910 


2013 Subaru BRZ Premium

The Subaru BRZ, however, is very much a sports car, and it’s the kind we don’t see much anymore: light, lithe, fun, and affordable. That’s an unusual formula in this age of overpriced, overpowered image machines. The BRZ offers a world of usable, accessible performance with a straightforward purity that’s rare today, and the car itself should be accessible to a broad swath of enthusiast drivers.

Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC flat-four

Power: 200 hp @ 7000 rpm

Torque: 151 lb-ft @ 6400 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $26,265

As tested: $26,265


2012 Tesla Model S Performance

“Pulling this handle, we slid into our red car, inhaling the rich aroma of Nappa leather upholstery and noting the low seating position. We gaped at the most overpowering feature, namely, the glossy, sports-bar-sized central touchscreen, which has more graphical modes than magicians have hats and rabbits. The driver’s instrument display also made us blink and gape. There are no bezels, indicators, counters, gauges, or needles. Watchmaker Edmond Jaeger would weep at the sight.”

Battery: 85-kWh, Lithium-ion

Motor: Three-phase, four pole AC induction motor with copper rotor

Power: 416 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 443 lb-ft

Transmission: Single-speed transaxle

Drive: Rear-wheel

Base price: $93,570

As tested: $102,270 


By Automobile Staff

Tesla Dodges Traditional Dealerships—And Questions Remain

Tesla Store – Portland OR

HI-RES GALLERY: Tesla Store – Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

  • Tesla Store – Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

    • Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

Tesla Motors [NSDW: TSLA], by nearly all accounts, is an automaker that’s doing things differently. It’s based in Silicon Valley, not Detroit. And it’s transitioning from making a very modest number of Tesla Roadster models to, it plans, tens of thousands of all-electric Model S luxury sedans—with an impressive EPA driving range of up to 265 miles.

And, in what may be surprising to anyone who’s ever bought a new vehicle or been involved with the industry, there’s one other key difference: Tesla plans to do it entirely without traditional dealership franchises.

Instead, it’s building on the success of the ‘store’ strategy fine-tuned and carefully expanded by Apple—fine-tuned actually through the same person who’s now Tesla’s VP of sales and ownership experience, George Blankenship.

But through the years, other such attempts to sell cars from an automaker directly to the consumer have fallen flat. When we caught up with Blankenship last week, just before the opening of the electric automaker’s new Portland store, we asked him why the company is going about retailing its vehicles so differently.

“It’s sort of been that way for a hundred years; that is the model,” said Blankenship. “The model is that they do a bunch of research, hold a bunch of focus groups, and they decide that this is a car we should build; they design that car, they engineer it and manufacture it, and then they sell it to some dealer who then tries to sell it.”

“And it works, it works with thousands of cars sold every single day,” summed Blankenship, who pointed to Tesla’s different development process and revolutionary product. “That’s just not how we’re doing it.”

As we outlined last week, Tesla’s store strategy is clearly working—for informing new people about electric cars, bringing new people into the Tesla fold, and eliciting deposits on the Model S. The automaker has been hitting 11,000 visitors or more in a single week at at least one of its stores, and among its new stores designed around foot traffic it passed a million visitors so far in 2012.

Stores, not dealerships. Does it matter?

But wait. Aren’t dealerships—and our franchise system over them—highly regulated by the states? How can Tesla sell cars this way?

According to Leonard Bellavia, a franchise lawyer and expert in this field, they can’t—even when they avoid following a conventional dealership model. And while the money might not technically change hands at or to the dealership, Bellavia still believes that state and local governments may decide that such ‘factory stores’ can’t operate in their current way.

“Most states prohibit ‘factory stores’ and that is why Tesla is quick to point out that it doesn’t sell cars but rather refers customers to its website,” said Bellavia. “The problems it will encounter stem from the fact that the ‘selling’ of a vehicle does not require the actual signing of a contract and the taking of money.”

Selling, as used in relation to these state statures, generally also includes a long list of associated activities like displaying, test driving, or even demonstrating a vehicle’s features, Bellavia notes. “Tesla admits that it will facilitate the delivery of a vehicle in its locations, which also constitutes ‘selling,’” he adds.

“Every single state, every municipality, that a car company does business in, has a different set of rules and regulations,” said Tesla’s Blankenship, who noted that the company’s strategy has of course been vetted by their legal team. “What I know is that we do what we can do in every area, we comply wherever we go and do what we’re allowed to do.”

Tesla Store in LA

Tesla Store in LA

Enlarge Photo

Public safety, consumer protection, and liability not the same?

Franchise lawyer Bellavia has another argument, though: that the states might have a legitimate public-safety issue because stores aren’t licensed dealers. “The advantage of a franchised system is that independent dealers have a vested interest in their business, with many millions of dollars invested,” he argues. “There is a financial incentive to abide by laws, and satisfy customers as the penalty is the loss of a huge investment.”

The Tesla buyer in states other than California “does not have the same protections, and may be told that they are dealing with a California company and therefore have a far more difficult time seeking redress,” Bellavia believes.

Franchised dealers are under contractual obligations to franchisors (either manufacturers or distributors), and accept legal liability under state and local laws applying to licensed dealers.

Dealerships bring dollars to the local economy

There’s also the fact that our franchise sales system, like it or not, pumps a lot of money into the economy and employs far more people than all of the automakers, combined, do directly. U.S. new-vehicle dealerships (there are about 17,540) employed a peak 1.1 million people in 2008, and with the economic recovery it’s on the rise again, to about 933,500 in 2011, according to the NADA.

The amount of money that dealerships bring to local economies is rather astounding as well. The average U.S. dealership in 2011 had an annual payroll of $2.6 million, split over 53 people, for an average annual amount of more than $49,000 per employee. Nationally dealership payroll totals $45.8 billion—11.7 percent of the total U.S. retail payroll. And on a local basis, dealerships provide extensive support to civic and charitable organizations.

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

Enlarge PhotoFor Tesla, a viable model

For now, no states or municipalities have decided to pick that fight with Tesla, and as a niche player Tesla doesn’t pose a major threat to the franchise system. And for Tesla, keeping it simple, keeping their overhead and liabilities low, and keeping its structure simple, is looking like a strategy for survival.

“We have the car; it costs a certain amount to build; and we have that margin, and we don’t give any of that up,” said Blankenship. “We look at it more as a retail model, as a business, where we will make a margin on each car, not ‘How much can I make and put this car on the road?’”

“That’s how we’re going to bring cashflow into the company, to specifically do business like a retailer, not like an auto dealer.”


By Bengt Halvorson

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Introduction

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Introduction

Representatives of a number of established manufacturers openly scoffed when Elon Musk announced his intention to start a car company building only electric cars. His first effort, essentially a warmed over Lotus Elise converted to run on electric power, was giggled at by some, but for others it was a wake up call.

Naming his car company for Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American electrical engineer, credited with developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical system, Musk signaled his intention to build the best practical electric car the world has ever seen.

And, he has.

Streaking along a road tracing the ridgeline of a mountain range in Tesla’s Model S sedan equipped with the Performance Package, the silence is almost deafening. The complete absence of mechanical noise — no intake growl, no exhaust rumble — makes hustling the extremely powerful car along the winding road a near-surreal experience.

Hampered briefly by a slower-moving vehicle, when a passing lane opens up, I give the Model S full throttle for the first time. A great leaping explosion of forward thrust shoves the 4,770-pound car past the slow-moving vehicle with such tremendous force I am literally dumbfounded at both the alacrity and relentlessness of the acceleration.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Models & Prices

The 2013 Tesla Model S is offered in two models with four different powertrain configurations. Powertrain configurations and base pricing are determined by the battery pack and electric motor fitted to the car.

The most basic version runs a 40kWh battery and a 175 kW electric motor, capable of generating 235 hp. The range for that configuration is estimated at 160 miles and its pricing starts at $52,400. Offered alongside that is a 60 kWh battery and a 225 kW electric motor good for 302 hp and a range of 230 miles. Pricing for that configuration starts at $62,400. The next rung up the ladder is fitted with an 85 kWh battery, a 270-kW/362 hp electric motor, a 300-mile range, and a price of $72,400.

The top of the model range, and the subject of this road test and review, the Tesla Model S Performance Package is also fitted with an 85 kWh battery pack. However, the performance model gets a 310 kW electric motor good for 416 hp and a range of 300 miles. Pricing for the Model S performance starts at $87,400.

It should be noted; those prices subtracted a $7500 federal tax credit for emissions free vehicles. Our Model S Performance Package test car would start at $94,900 without it.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Design

Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla Motors’ lead designer, was responsible for the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky. He also had a considerable hand in the design of the Volkswagen New Beetle.

The look for the Model S he specified is completely distinctive, yet normal. While derivative of no other the model on the road, it also blends in with the mainstream. The design could just as easily be an Audi or a Buick. It immediately registers as a premium automobile. However, it is so innocuous I have literally had to point out the Model S in traffic to friends. To have cloaked such a revolutionary automobile in such a conventional looking body is either sheer genius, or utter folly — depending upon your perspective.

From where I’m sitting it’s genius.

People are concerned about the limitations of electric cars. To have made the Model S radically stand out could have served to feed that anxiety. By making the Tesla look so much like every other car, it becomes very easy to think of the Model S as just another member of the mainstream.

And yes, the Prius carved out a niche for itself partly because it looked so different. However, the Model S is playing in a much more rarified environment than the Prius. Like Jackie Robinson, or Barack Obama, as the first in the type of arena it’s playing in, it’s better to be quietly competent than a brash standout.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Comfort & Cargo

A four-door hatchback, the Tesla has plenty of room for five passengers and cargo. The interior treatment is well laid out and the seats are quite comfortable. During my time with the Model S, I found it to be both quite comfortable and spacious.

At first glance, the front seats would appear to be more about form than function, but over the period of my drive I found them quite supportive, well bolstered, and nicely padded. The back seats look rather plain and I consider the omission of a center armrest something of an oversight. However, in terms of comfort they’d easily support two passengers for an extended drive and three around town. With the driver’s seat adjusted for my 6’1” frame, I could easily occupy the seat behind it and would be comfortable there for a drive around town.

One of the benefits of the rear-mounted electric motor is the flexible packaging such an arrangement permits. In addition to the cargo compartment underneath the hatchback, there is a cargo compartment at the front of the Model S. Because there is no engine, there is also no drive shaft necessitating a tunnel in the Tesla’s floor. This frees up considerable space for legroom, as well as accommodating reconfigurable seating layouts. Thus, the Model S can also accommodate a rear facing third-row seat for two children.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Features & Controls

While looking around the interior of the Model S reveals it has a ways to go before challenging an Audi for style, fit and finish; when it comes to tech, the Tesla positively shines. The centerpiece of the interior is, quite literally, a 17-inch touchscreen panel within which is contained the interface for all comfort and convenience functions. Endlessly entertaining, positively practical, and intelligently intuitive, the flexibility the control panel affords is an utterly redefining experience.

The most commonly used controls like temperature and audio volume are located along the bottom of the screen. Other controls including lights, door locks, and the panoramic roof are easily accessible. The panoramic roof, for example, opens by simply swiping along its image on the screen to the opening size you prefer. With built-in high-speed Internet connectivity, you can access restaurant reviews, movie times and an abundance of other information. While the touchscreen displays the nav system’s maps in high-resolution with map or satellite views, you can also overlay weather, traffic, and charging information.

Now, with that said, there are a few state of the art conveniences other luxury sedans in the Tesla’s price range offer that have yet to be fitted to the Model S. You’ll do without smart cruise control, blind spot indicators, and lane departure warnings. You’ll also do without a driver adjustable suspension system and near infinitely adjustable seating.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Safety & Ratings

Equipped with eight airbags, the passenger compartment is constructed of high-strength steel and aluminum. Traction and stability control, along with anti-lock brakes are standard equipment.

The battery pack is an integral part of the car, while also comprising a structure in its own right. Using liquid cooling to prevent overheating, it is designed to disconnect the power supply in the event of a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to crash test a Model S; ditto the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), so no formal crash test information exists for the car — as of this writing.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Motor/Fuel Economy

My Performance Package Model S test car was fitted with the 416 hp 310 kW electric motor. The powerplant produces peak horsepower at between 5,000 and 8,000 rpm. As I mentioned before the motor generates its full 443 ft-lbs of torque at 0 rpm.

Tesla quotes the car’s range at 300 miles when driven at a steady 55 miles per hour. The EPA says the car is good for 265 miles in its 5-Cycle Certification test, which is the equivalent of 89 miles per gallon overall.

Recharging can be accomplished with either a standard 110v outlet or a 240v outlet (preferred). A full charge from a 240v outlet can be accomplished in four hours; an extended range charge takes six. The Tesla can also be fast-charged to 80 percent of capacity in about 30 minutes.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Driving Impressions

With the Tesla’s transmitter fob in your pocket, walking up to the Model S causes it to extend its door handles from their flush resting positions. Settling behind the wheel, a tap of the brake pedal awakens the propulsion system and the Model S is ready to take to the road. There are no “keys” or “switches”. The Tesla assumes if you sat down, touched the pedal, and put it in drive, you’re ready to go.

Underway, the motor’s full torque potential is available the moment you set the Tesla into motion. Nail the throttle, as I did on that mountain road, you’ll get an inkling of what it feels like to be launched in a rocket test sled. The Model S accelerates instantaneously, and just as viciously as any supercar you can name. Performance Package models like my test car have been clocked at 3.9 seconds from 0-60 and at 12.5 seconds in the quarter mile.

Further, when it’s time for the serpentine waltz, the Model S is as graceful as any sports sedan in its class. The steering is highly responsive and adjustable for effort through three ranges. The way the sleek sedan feels ratcheted to the road surface inspires tremendous confidence, while the Tesla’s braking ability is fully commensurate with its other performance attributes.

The Model S is designed to recapture inertial energy through a regenerative braking system calibrated to perform the moment you release the throttle. This makes for an interesting driving technique. Once you get a feel for the way it works, you can go rushing toward a corner and simply lift off the throttle. In so doing, you’ll get weight transfer to the front wheels to improve turn-in and the car will slow enough for you to feed it into most corners without touching the brake pedal.

When acute cornering demanding more vigorous braking is required, depressing the “other” pedal hauls the curvaceous sedan down from speed with significant authority. There was a relative lack of braking action right at the top of the pedal’s travel in my test car, but when you got deep into the binders, the car stopped — really well.

When you arrive at your destination, simply depress the park button, get out, and walk away — the Tesla shuts down and locks.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Final Thoughts

Those expecting the world’s first electric luxury sedan to be an amalgamation of compromises are going to be rather disappointed. Dynamically, the Model S is a fully formed well thought out effort. Further, drivers will find it capable of far more performance potential than they will ever have a desire to exploit on the road.

However, the list of items I stated the Tesla owner would do without should also include the prestige factor of a three-pointed star, a golden shield with a prancing stallion, a wreath and crest, a blue and white roundel, or four interlocking rings. On the other hand, the Tesla Model S Performance package owner will get a thoroughly enthralling driving experience, a raft of luxurious accommodations, practical and seamless operation, up to 265 miles of range between recharges, and the aforementioned virtually silent operating experience.

They will also get the best electric car ever offered…to date.

In short, the Tesla Model S is — undeniably — the real thing.

2013 Tesla Model S Performance Package Road Test & Review: Pros & Cons


• No Gas Required — Ever

• Exceptionally Fast And Powerful

• Understated Good Looks

• Redefines The Way We Interact With Cars

• No Gas Required — Ever


• Recharge Time Still Bested by Gasoline

•Interior’s A Bit On The Plain Side For The Price

• Some State Of The Art Features Missing

• Prestige Factor Isn’t On Par With Price — Yet

By Autobytel Staff

Jay Leno Drives 2012 Tesla Model S Electric Car (Video)

Larger-than-life TV presenter Jay Leno is known for his love and obsession of cars–and not just those fueled by gasoline.

To prove it, he tests one of the hottest electric cars around in his latest video–the 2012 Tesla Model S.

The comedian even counts a 1909 Baker Electric among his personal collection, as well as a Chevrolet Volt–as long as it has wheels, he doesn’t discriminate.

Not that many discriminate against the Model S, which has performance that even dyed-in-the-wool gasoline-heads can appreciate.

And Jay does his best to highlight that right at the start of the video (and the end), with a smoky getaway to prove that even electric cars can still do burnouts.

The rest of the test is a little more factual, but Jay comes away impressed–rating the car’s ride, performance and technology. The long range is commended too–Tesla says 300 miles on the 85 kWh battery pack, and officially the EPA rates it at 265 miles.

In fact, he finds very little to criticize, even offering a few words of wisdom to gasoline-only enthusiasts–the more electric cars there are, the less gas is wasted on boring commutes. That just means more for weekend toys…

His verdict? A fairly understated “Pretty cool”. We wonder how long it’ll be until a Model S turns up in Jay’s own collection…


By Antony Ingram

Elon Musk Ridicules Chrysler after the Latter Tries to Prove It Beat Tesla in Repaying Loans

This week has seen Tesla and Chrysler start a media war that’s getting more and more violent and now we have a new blast coming from Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk.

But before we get into the details, we’ll remind those who turned on their TVs later, that the first move came from Tesla. The EV producer announced that it has repayed the entire loan granted by the Department of Energy (DOE) nine years ahead of schedule.

Chrysler responded by releasing a statement in which it pointed out that it was the first US carmaker to return the US government funds in 2011.

Musk now replied to the aforementioned statement, using his tweeter account to tell Chrysler that it is no longer an American automaker, being owned by Italy’s Fiat Group and adding that it still has to return some money to the US Governement.

This are Musk’s tweets: ““As many have already noted, Chrysler is a division of Fiat, an Italian company. We specifically said first ‘U.S.’ company.”

“More importantly, Chrysler failed to pay back $1.3B. Apart (from) those 2 points, you were totally 1st,”

The latter tweet is referring to the $1.3 billion (EUR1 billion) that the US Treasury gave the old Chrysler in order to allow it to morph into a new company. The funds were granted back in 2009 and were not officially classified as a loan, being offered rather as an aid.

As you can imagine, some people must be sweating really hard in a Chrysler office right now and we’re waiting to see the company’s reaction, if any.

By Andrei Tutu

Tesla’s Musk Says Roadster Kicks Ferrari’s Ass; Is He Right?

Tesla’s Musk Says Roadster Kicks Ferrari’s Ass; Is He Right?

“This kicks the ass of any Ferrari except the Enzo.” — Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk regarding the Tesla Roadster.

We took a good long look at Tesla’s SEC filing and IPO road show presentation on Monday, and there was a lot to cover. One detail we skipped was this quote from Tesla’s commander-in-chief Musk, a man known for his over-the-top statements. He and Tesla have made a lot of bold claims about their company and their product, but this just might be the boldest.

Musk says his Roadster can go toe-to-toe with any Ferrari that isn’t an Enzo. Can it? We dug through our test numbers and pulled out the top-shelf Tesla Roadster Sport and seven Ferraris we’ve tested to find out. Unfortunately, we only have partial numbers on some of the cars, because getting a free Ferrari to flog on the track is difficult for even us. For comparison’s sake, we even threw in the mighty Enzo itself.

Take a look at what we measured for all the cars and tell us what you think of Musk’s proclamation.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport

0-60: 3.7 secs
1/4 Mile: 12.6 secs @ 102.6 mph
60-0 Braking: 113 ft
200-ft Skid Pad: 0.98 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight: 24.6 secs @ 0.81 g (avg)
Power: 288 horsepower/295 pound-feet
Base Price: $130,450 (with $7500 Federal tax credit)


2008 Ferrari F430

0-60: 4.2 secs
1/4 Mile: 12.3 secs @ 120.7 mph
60-0 Braking: 107 ft
200-ft Skid Pad: 0.95 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight: 24.6 secs @0.80 g (avg)
Power: 483 horsepower/343 pound-feet
Base Price: $191,775


2008 Ferrari F430 Scuderia

0-60: 3.1 secs
1/4 Mile: 11.2 secs @ 126.7 mph
60-0 Braking: 93 ft
Power: 503 horsepower/347 pound-feet
Base Price: $272,306


2008 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

0-60: 3.2 secs
1/4 Mile: 11.3 secs @ 126.4 mph
60-0 Braking: 104 ft
200-ft Skid Pad: 0.95 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight: 25.0 secs @0.79 g (avg)
Power: 612 horsepower/448 pound-feet
Base Price: $317,595


2010 Ferrari 16M Scuderia Spider

0-60: 3.8 secs (sub-optimal surface)
1/4 Mile: 11.8 secs @ 122.7 mph (sub-optimal surface)
60-0 Braking: 96 ft
Power: 503 horsepower/347 pound-feet
Base Price: $313,350


2010 Ferrari California

0-60: 3.5 secs
1/4 Mile: 11.9 secs @ 117.4 mph
60-0 Braking: 100 ft
200-ft Skid Pad: 0.99 g (avg)
Power: 454 horsepower/357 pound-feet
Base Price: $192,000


2011 Ferrari 599 GTO

0-60: 3.4 secs (mfr)
Power: 661 horsepower/457 pound-feet
Base Price: $450,000 (est)

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia

0-60: 3.4 secs (mfr)
Power: 557 horsepower/398 pound-feet
Base Price: $213,500 (est)


By Scott Evans

Photos: Tesla Model X

Tesla Motors unveiled its latest car yesterday at a special event held at the companies new California design studio. The new Model X is a crossover vehicle that looks more sedan-like than SUV, with a sprinkle of minivan utility thrown in for good measure.

Never ones to follow convention, Tesla has added its signature style to the Model X with its eye-catching Falcon Wing-doors and captivating NVIDA-powered touchscreen interface — similar to the one found in the Model S.

Tesla will begin producing its stylish Model X in late 2013 and begin deliveries in early 2014.

By Amir Iliaifar

2013 Tesla Model S: Now Available In Red, At Last

Red 2013 Tesla Model S cars roll down the production line (Photo: @elonmusk on Twitter)

Red 2013 Tesla Model S cars roll down the production line (Photo: @elonmusk on Twitter)

Enlarge Photo

If you want a red Tesla Model S and didn’t get in there with the Signature models, you’re in luck.

The photo above was revealed in a Tweet by Elon Musk on Tuesday, showing new red Model S cars heading down the line, prior to completion.

“New Tesla red going down assembly line for the first time. We spent a lot of time on this color!” tweeted Musk.

Red was initially available on the first run of Signature edition cars, but it’s taken some time for Tesla to introduce the color into regular Model S production.

The shade, called Multi Red, is different from that of Signature red cars, slightly lighter in hue and with a deep, non-metallic finish.

There’s been a little confusion as to whether it’s the same shade as cars doing the rounds at various shows over the last few months known as Sunset Red.

Both shades are apparently the same, as confirmed by Tesla’s George Blankenship in an email with one Tesla Motors Club forum member .

It’s been available to order for several months now on Tesla’s configurator, but with the first red models now rolling down the line it shouldn’t be long until owners get their hands on the new cars.

And of course, other shades are still available…


By Antony Ingram

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