Cocktail Chatter: April 12, 2013 – Rumor Central

Cocktail Chatter: April 12, 2013

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? Automobilemag.com is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. With the arrival of warmer weather in most of the country, we’re celebrating the spring-like weather with associate web editor Donny Nordlicht’s favorite drink: the sky-blue-colored Aviation. Combine two ounces of gin with half an ounce each of lemon juice and maraschino liqueur and a quarter ounce of crème de violette in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.

Not Gonna Happen: You might scoff if I told you I expected to earn eight times my current salary by 2015. Even if I told you I was starting two extra jobs, you would probably think it overly optimistic to expect to increase my salary by such a large amount in just two years. Imagine my skepticism, then, when Maserati says it will sell 50,000 cars worldwide by 2015. For reference, the Italian brand delivered just 6307 new cars in all of 2012, an eighth of what it plans to shift by mid-decade.

Maserati believes it can octuple its annual sales volume by adding the Ghibli (aka a baby Quattroporte) and the Levante SUV to the just-released Quattroporte. But given that the Ghibli doesn’t go on sale until later this year, and the Levante might not reach showrooms until next year or later, it’s hard to believe Maserati can pick up 43,693 extra sales so quickly. Even once the Ghibli and Levante launch, is there really such a large market for Italian luxury cars? Only if hordes of buyers ditch their Audis, BMWs, Jaguars, and Mercedes-Benzes for the new Maseratis — and that isn’t likely to happen on such a short timetable.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

Racing Roadtrip: Between last weekend’s final rounds of NCAA basketball, what could have been better than putting 750 miles on a 2014 Mazda CX-5? As long as I had one to sample, I decided to dash from Southern California to St. George, Utah, and pick up a rug stored for me there. I left before Sunday’s dawn. In the next 370 Ahrens CC CX 5 300x200 imagemiles I found the CX-5 to be the friendliest and most agreeable creature since Snowy the terrier in The Adventures of Tintin. Mine was the Touring model equipped with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that growled playfully when started and proved to have plenty of midrange while barreling up mountainsides. Meanwhile, the vehicle’s solidity and composure yielded delights in every mile.

Supplemental entertainment came from listening to The Art of Racing in the Rain. This touching novel by Garth Stein made the hours vanish. I found myself quibbling with canine narrator Enzo’s ranking of Steve McQueen among his very favorite actors but cheering on when, with gastric revenge in mind, he accepted a bottled pepper from the story’s villain and defiled an area of rich Berber carpeting. The narration ended too soon–just as I’d cleared Sin City on the return leg. I-15 was clogged with traffic from the casinos and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which had hosted the NHRA. If John Force was in our midst, he was often going 3 mph rather than 300 mph. But the CX-5 was still a delight.

Ronald Ahrens, Contributor

Small World: I’d never driven a 65-series AMG model before, so when handed the keys to a matte grey Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG on Tuesday, I made sure to chronicle the occasion in photos. The next day, I stumbled on the Twitter and Instagram accounts for one Michael Kubler. (@F1Mike28). Kubler works at AMG in Affalterbach, Germany, where he hand-builds engines — V-12 engines, to be exact. I turned to the photos, and sure enough — Kubler had built the twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter twelve-cylinder I fell in love with the night prior.

Go figure. Thank you, Michael, for building one of the most amazing engines I’ve ever had the opportunity to sample in a road-going automobile.

Forget-Me-Nots

A night with the CL65 was amazing, but it wasn’t the high point of the week. That might go to finally having the chance to drive a friend’s 1991 Isuzu Impulse RS, one of roughly 1402 imported to North America before Isuzu stopped building cars outright. Pity all Isuzu’s car products didn’t boast the RS’ turbocharged 16-valve four-banger or its rear-biased AWD system.

As a lover of quirky cars, I’m glad this Impulse still exists — but I’m happier yet that there are still people who care for and about cars like this. I can’t help but feel that many self-professed “car guys” can’t appreciate cars outside of a few select “exotic” or “premiere” brands. Pity, because there are so many other interesting — and, gasp, enjoyable cars — in the automotive spectrum. Ignore, dismiss, or crush them, and you’re destroying history. Need proof? Of those 1402 Impuse RS models shipped to North America, no more than 150 are still on the road today.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Cherokee and Highlander kinks 300x187 imageGetting Kinky: I recently noticed a trend in recent automotive design: the front window kink. This is a little dip in the daylight opening just aft of the A-pillar, often near to the side-view mirror. I first noticed it on the 2014 Cherokee, and began noticing it on the current Toyota Camry and 2014 Highlander, and on the outgoing Kia Forte, among others. Although I generally find the detail to look out of place in every application, if it means the end of slab-sided designs and gun-slit windows, I’ll take it.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

Patrolling in Style: The 5-0 in Dubai just got an upgrade to its fleet — a major upgrade. The Dubai Police recently added a $450,000 Lamborghini Aventador to cruise the streets for crooks. Sure, it’s fast (0 to 60 mph in three seconds), but the article raises the question of practicality: how does one fit a suspect into the backseat?

John Kalmar, Graphic Designer

Give Me Affectation: The Automobile Magazine staff is still arguing over the Camaro Z/28‘s bare-bones interior. To some of us, the lack of a radio and optional air-conditioning delete says, “serious sports car.” Others in this office have, not wrongly, pointed out that such savings cannot possibly make much of a difference in a 3800-pound, 500-hp car and thus amount to little more than pointless posturing.

This got me thinking: how much of what we love about sports cars is mere affectation? It’s easy to make fun of huge spoilers and fake carbon fiber, but how about the manual transmission? It’s almost always slower than a modern dual-clutch automatic, a fact Porsche drove home by kicking the stick-shift out of its hardcore 911 GT3. But while we’re talking about Porsche, what’s the point anymore of the left-hand ignition? Drivers don’t run to their cars at the starting line anymore, and most expensive passenger cars have keyless fobs anyway.

Angry yet? You should be. Race cars are meant to go as fast as possible, and thus must mercilessly dispense with outmoded technology and conventions. But sports cars are not race cars. Sports cars are meant to evoke emotion. So, give me a stick-shift. Give me thousands of gauges that I don’t really need (so long as the important ones are in my direct line of sight). Don’t give me A/C. I’ll sweat it out with a grin on my face.

David Zenlea, Associate Editor

DeMatio CC F Type 300x225 imageRough Day: I’m having a rough day, as you can see by this picture. I’m in northeastern Spain driving the new Jaguar F-Type roadster, which goes on sale this spring starting at $69,000. The model pictured here is the F-Type S, which has a 375-hp version of Jaguar’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that’s good for a 4.8-second 0-to-60-mph time and a top speed of 171 mph. It starts at $81,000, while the F-Type V8 S, with 488 hp, will cost $92,000. Jaguar points out that each model of the F-Type is about 25% cheaper than comparable Porsche 911 models. The automaker has high hopes for the F-Type and expects about half of worldwide sales to come from the United States. I’m not allowed to share my driving impressions of the F-Type just yet; check back at Automobilemag.com on Tuesday evening, April 17, when the embargo lifts, for my story.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

Right Road, Wrong Car: I sampled the 2014 Kia Cadenza this week. The drive route was fantastic leaving the Presidio in San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and continuing up the lovely Pacific Coast Highway. Although the big sedan handled the tight road better than I had expected, I kept wishing I were on this exact route in my 1992 Miata. Even the Cadenza’s 293 hp was far too much for the slow-moving dump trucks and sedans on the road. My little Miata would have been perfect. Sadly it was 2000 miles away in my garage. Oh well, it looks like Spring might finally be coming to Michigan and I’ll soon be able to enjoy my little roadster on a more regular basis.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor

****tail Chatter: Somebody painted one whale of a willy on the Nürburgring this past weekend. No one has taken responsibility for the novelty-sized phallus, but I’d like to virtually high-five the mystery vandal here and now. Well done, bud(s).

Chris Nelson, Road Test Editor

Charlie Horse: I like the Fiat 500 Abarth but because it’s probably the craziest car you can buy for $25,000. It has a relatively small engine, it makes a lot of noise, and it’s a handful on the track without being outwardly deadly.

While I’m not sure adding an automatic transmission to the Abarth is a good idea–the softer Turbo model is a much better model for a two-pedal setup–I’m sure it should earn a few sales with people who like crazy cars but never learned how to use a clutch. But to say that these tweaks will help the Abarth appeal to more women is suspect. I’m not saying that Fiat North America president Tim Kuniskis is misogynist, but maybe a little shortsighted: the Abarth might not appeal to women as much because it’s marketed either by a topless/blatantly flirtatious Catrinel Menghia or by Charlie Sheen and his questionable ethics. Perhaps it’s time to consider making your Abarth ads a tad more feminist, before retooling your factories?

Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor

The Politics of Green Cars: Fisker has laid off 75 percent of its workforce with the remaining employees apparently sticking around just to sell off assets and take the company through bankruptcy. Tesla’s Elon Musk appeared before the Texas state legislature this week to argue against the need for franchising his dealerships. Musk, whose Tesla Model S is our 2013 Automobile of the Year, also won a ruling in New York Supreme Court case that allows him to continue selling cars in company owned dealerships (kind of like Apple stores). Judge Raymond J. Elliott III ruled that dealers can’t use the Franchised Dealer Act to sue competitors, and their attempt to do so proves Tesla has value in the open market. Tesla also is paying off its Department of Energy loans ahead of schedule. Fisker, obviously, is not, and we’ll end up about $192 million short thanks to Henrik Fisker’s ill-conceived business plan and poorly built cars. One might say the DOE under President Obama isn’t picking winners and losers; it’s picking both. That hasn’t prevented the Fox News juggernaut from confusing Tesla and Fisker. In a “report” that mentioned Fisker, Bill O’Reilly says “Tesla had $523 million in losses…” not true. And Musk said this week he’s “hurt” that former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin lumped Tesla in with Fisker. Don’t you wonder how easily O’Reilly and Palin get this confused?

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

By Automobile Staff

Crashed, Tested, Sold: Tesla Announces Model S Delivery Date – Rumor Central

Crashed, Tested, Sold: Tesla Announces Model S Delivery Date

The Tesla Model S is officially showroom ready, at least according to the U.S. government: after passing initial Environmental Protection Agency tests, the car has also reportedly passed crash testing at the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not one to waste time, Tesla Motors subsequently announced the car’s initial delivery date is June 22nd, 2012.

The crash test announcement comes from the personal Twitter account of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who took a break from observing his SpaceX rocket launch to tweet that the Model S finished NHTSA crash testing. Musk claims that the car completed all tests with five-star scores, although we were unable to independently confirm that claim with NHTSA by press time.

With crash testing completed, along with the aforementioned EPA certification, it appears to be full-speed ahead for Tesla’s next model launch. The company plans on handing over keys to early production models to owners within the confines of its assembly plant in Freemont, California, but then intends on quickly ramping up volume. Tesla hopes to deliver 5000 Model S sedans by the end of the year, but claims that the waiting list for one of the five- or seven-passenger (depending on options) EVs stretches some 10,000 names. Those names should be satisfied by the middle of next year, as Tesla is shooting for a 20,000-unit year in 2013.

As to-be owners anxiously wait for their cars, Tesla also announced that customer cars will receive some special finishing touches. Tesla VP George Blankenship announced via blog post this week that Model S sedans will now come with adjustable steering effort, suspension height, and regenerative braking settings – all of which are configurable through a menu accessed by way of the 17-inch touchscreen center stack.

The Model S will go on sale this year and cost between $57,400 and $105,400, not including a possible $7500 federal income tax credit.

Source: Tesla




By Ben Timmins

Tesla entry-level all-electric car and truck could be in the works

Tesla entry-level all-electric car and truck in the works

With Model S deliveries commencing, and plans to move forward with the introduction of the Model X, the future is looking bright for Tesla. The California start-up, spearheaded by enigmatic CEO Elon Musk, seems to have a bona-fide hit on its hands in the ultra-chic, all-electric sedan.

Not content with resting on its laurels, the company will introduce another member to the Tesla family next year in the form of the Model X. Speaking to Autocar, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen confirmed that a third model is well on its way and could be seen as early as 2015.

“The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible,” said von Holzhausen, who hinted that an extremely competitive price point of $30,000 could be in store for the new, entry-level all-electric.

In addition to being the most affordable Tesla on the market, Von Holzhausen hinted that the third model line could also be the most visually adventurous and “boast more distinctive styling than the relatively conventional Model S.” If that’s truly the case then consider our curiosity firmly piqued. We already consider the Model S design language to be top notch despite the car’s conventional design approach. Adding more personality and visual cues will only serve to build upon an already impressive design language.

But perhaps the most intriguing morsel of information buried within the interview hints at a pick-up truck possibly in the works. Given the flexibility of the Model S platform, Von Holzhausen indicates that “there will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pick-up,” adding that the benefits of the immediately on-hand torque of an electric motor would prove nothing short of ideal for an electric truck.

Admittedly, we’re more excited for a dynamically designed, entry-level electric car from Tesla, but if nothing else the addition of an electric truck could very well herald the next evolutionary step in the electric car market. 

By Amir Iliaifar

Hagerty Picks 10 Future Classics, Do You Agree? – Rumor Central

Hagerty Picks 10 Future Classics, Do You Agree?

Picking which cars will become classics is a lot like playing the stock market: it takes a little insight and a lot of luck. Insurance company Hagerty thinks it has found ten new cars on sale today that will become sought-after classics in the future.

“This year’s Hot List is comprised of vehicles from a wide variety of market segments and manufacturers, but they all share one thing in common — a certain ‘cool’ factor that will be remembered by car enthusiasts for many years to come,” explains Hagerty president and CEO McKeel Hagerty. Take a look at the list below, and let us know whether you agree with the company’s picks in the comments section.

SRT Viper: Hagerty selected it because it celebrates the mantra of “no replacement for displacement” even as other automakers downsize engines. We said the 8.4-liter V-10 engine, “has always been a thundering powerhouse, but it now packs the explosive immediacy that a proper ten-cylinder engine deserves.”

Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible: This swan-song for the sixth-generation Corvette was essentially a Z06 convertible. Hagerty says that the last year of any Corvette is especially valuable; we say the 505-hp, 7.0-liter V-8 — “is still in our minds the best Vette engine” — will attract power-hungry future buyers.

Audi RS5: Hagerty the RS5′s sultry styling as a reason why it will eventually attain classic status, but we think there’s another reason: performance. Even though it came third in a comparison test, we found “the Audi is unbelievably quick;” it trounced a BMW M3, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and Porsche Boxster S on a track.

Porsche Cayman S: No argument here; we love the redesigned Porsche Boxster, and its hardtop cousin, the Cayman, is one of the cars we’re most excited to drive this year. “Like the updated Boxster, the new Porsche Cayman is more powerful and more efficient than the outgoing version,” we said. It will do 0-to-60-mph in as little as 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 175 mph.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible: Forget the Corvette 427 — this 580-hp supercharged monster is the most powerful convertible Chevrolet has ever put into series production. We love it just as much as the coupe version: “Whether the roof is made of steel or polyester doesn’t change the fact that the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a fabulous sports car that delivers both big performance and big fun.”

Tesla Model S: Hagerty was presumably influenced by the fact that we named Elon Musk’s luxury machine our 2013 Automobile of the Year. “More than any electric car that has come before it, the Model S feels and drives like a gasoline car of the same price,” making it a game-changer that’s sure to become a future classic.

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP: With only 500 destined for the U.S. market, this hopped-up Mini will certainly have exclusivity on its side. Need another reason the JCW GP will become a classic? It has 211 hp and can reach 150 mph, more than enough performance from such a petite hatchback.

Subaru BRZ: We agree with Hagery’s recognition of the BRZ as “one of the lightest sports coupes” on sale today, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the car is mechanically paired with the Scion FR-S. Still, it’s clearly a thrilling car that will resonate with enthusiasts for years to come. “A sports car doesn’t need to look good in the stats box, it just needs to be a great drive,” we said. “And the BRZ is a great drive.”

Volkswagen GTI: A two-time Automobile of the Year recipient, Hagerty agrees with us that the GTI is “fun, cool, and practical.” The German hatchback expertly fuses performance with day-to-day livability, and just like all GTIs since 1976, it has a devotee cult of followers. “The key to that code, of course, is the blend of athleticism, practicality, and performance that was the basis of the original GTI,” we said.

Ford Focus ST: The GTI has a challenger in the form of a turbocharged Focus. The go-fast hatch represents the first time in a decade that Ford has brought a high-performance compact to America, and Hagerty believes that alone will attract collectors. “The Ford ST is not exactly a world-beater in terms of refinement, handling balance, or ergonomics,” we said. “But it does offer a lot of car and performance for the money.”

So, which of these will become future classics, and which hot cars did Hagerty forget? Sound off in the comments section below.

Source: Hagerty




By Jake Holmes

The New Racing Green? Tesla Heads to Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally

The New Racing Green? Tesla Heads to Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally

Tesla is hoping to outdo its record-setting EV 240-mile range once again at this year’s Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally. The three-day event challenges the range and performance of the world’s top electric vehicles.

At the end of last year’s rally, the competing Tesla Roadster still had 38 miles left on its range indicator. For 2010, the California-based brand will bring two cars, each piloted by accomplished racers and gearheads Rudi Tuisk (shown) and Erik Comas. When he’s not rallying, Tuisk is Tesla’s Australian general manager, while Comas is a former F1 ace and Formula 3000 champ.

So far, more than 100 entries have been recorded for the event. Competitors have the chance to traverse some of France and Monte Carlo’s most scenic driving routes.

The rally coincides with the automaker’s “Odyssey of Pioneers” EV globetrotting adventure.

Source: Tesla, Automobile Club de Monaco

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By Nate Martinez

Tesla Model X a Hit With $40 Million in Orders



Tesla has recently revealed their third ever vehicle, the Model X crossover, Thursday evening at its Design Studio in Southern California. The car is on offer with a dual motor all wheel drive and the option of a 60 or 85 kWh battery. The most potent version is supposedly capable of reaching 60 in just 4.4 seconds, and with figures like that it’s no wonder that order have begun rolling in.

Now, to the uninitiated into the world of EVs (read: people who don’t work for Google or Microsoft) the car still seems like a gimmick. But you know what isn’t a Gimmick about the Model X? $40 million worth of advanced orders before the car has even reach consumers!

At least that’s what they want us to believe ahead of the company’s official quarterly results. Now, we don’t know how many of those are binding, but it’s still a lot of money.

The compelling nature of the product created massive media attention and resulted in the Model X being the third most searched term on Google,” Tesla said in a statement. “On Thursday evening, the night of the reveal, traffic to teslamotors.com increased 2,800 percent. Two-thirds of all visitors were new to the website.”

By Mihnea Radu

Self-Driving Tesla Electric Cars Coming, Courtesy Of Google?

Google's Self-Driving Toyota Prius

Google’s Self-Driving Toyota Prius

Enlarge Photo

Love or hate Tesla Motors (NSDQ:TSLA) and its CEO Elon Musk, it’s hard to deny that he’s ahead of the curve when it comes to developing new cars.

So when Musk says self-driving or autonomous technology is the next logical step in the evolution of the car, you take notice.

According to Bloomberg, Musk is considering the potential of driverless technology for Tesla’s vehicles, and has even spoken with Google about it.

Google’s own self-driving fleet of cars have hit headlines worldwide over the last few years, the technology now advanced enough that some states have legislation in place for the cars to drive without drivers, even though no production model is currently available.

Musk says he prefers the term ‘autopilot’ to self-driving, though.

“I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self- driving,” he said in an interview.

“Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.” He added, “Self-driving cars are the natural extension of active safety and obviously something we should do.”

He hasn’t made it overly clear that Tesla is working on such a system–with or without Google–but it’s certainly a possibility. “I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car… However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google” he said in an email to Bloomberg.

Affordable electric cars: More important

At the same time, it’s unlikely to appear any time soon. He later tweeted, “Creating an autopilot for cars at Tesla is an important, but not yet top priority. Still a few years from production”

“Am a fan of Larry, Sergey & Google in general, but self-driving cars comments to Bloomberg were just off-the-cuff… No big announcement here.”

If Tesla goes its own way with autonomous technology, it’s because Musk prefers a more cost-effective camera-based system, rather than the LIDAR (effectively light-based radar) used by Google.

He deems the sensor system “too expensive”, at a time when Tesla’s priority is to bring down the cost of its electric cars to make them more accessible–a plan which also involves bringing a smaller, $30,000 electric sedan to the market in the next few years.

The company is also thought to be developing interim technologies like lane departure warning, blind spot detection and cruise control, as revealed on a Tesla Model S menu graphic.

The prospect of an autopilot mode on Tesla’s products is certainly an interesting one–but not quite as interesting as the company’s future product line…

+++++++++++

By Antony Ingram

Thread of the Day: Tesla Model S, BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG, or Porsche Panamera Turbo S?

Thread of the Day: Tesla Model S, BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG, or Porsche Panamera Turbo S?

It may be an electric car, but the 2012 Tesla Model S is fast. Stupid fast. In our exclusive First Test and Range Verification, a 2012 Model S Signature Performance 85 accelerated from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and completed the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph, making it the fastest American sedan we’ve ever tested.

The Tesla Model S’ performance numbers become even more impressive once you realize that there isn’t a huge rumbling V-8 under the hood, but a 416-hp/443-lb-ft AC electric motor in back powering the rear wheels. Also impressive is the fact that the very same Model S that recorded those numbers traveled from Los Angeles, to San Diego, and back without recharging.

Ignoring its green credentials, the Tesla Model S’ performance figures puts it in German super sedan territory, right up against the gas-guzzling BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, and Porsche Panamera Turbo S. All three sedans have twin-turbo V-8s making upwards of 550 hp under the hood. Check out the chart to see how they all break down:

Base Price Weight Power 0-60 mph 60-0 mph Lateral 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

That brings us to today’s Thread of the Day. If you had to choose between the M5, CLS63 AMG, Panamera Turbo S, and Tesla Model S, which would you choose and why? Sound off in the comments below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Tesla Model S Sales Pass Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf

2013 Tesla Model S CAPTIONS ON | OFF

The little car company that could, Tesla Motors Inc., is now the domestic leader in electric car sales. The Model S recently surpassed sales of the Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that led regional sales of rechargeable cars in 2012. This news is an undeniable blow to General Motors, though representatives for the Detroit based automaker remain optimistic.

“Any success for a company in this space is helpful for all other makers of plug-in vehicles,” said Jim Cain, a General Motors spokesman. “The single most important thing we can do for plug-ins, to encourage sales, is to have them on the road.”

The sales ranking for the Model S coincides with Tesla saying it would report a first-quarter profit, the first in its ten-year history. When it releases first quarter results, Tesla expects 4,750 deliveries of the electric Models S in North America – compared to GM’s 4,421 sales of the Chevy Volt. The all-electric Nissan Leaf also expects smaller sales figures.

Despite its high base price ($69,900) and its exclusivity in North America, the Model S has been extraordinarily successful and is a critical darling. Always attempting to outdo itself, Tesla has pledged to sell over 20,000 vehicles this year.

GM sold about 30,000 of their respective rechargeable models worldwide last year, but has declined sharing its volume-targets for 2013.

At the North American International Auto Show in January, retired GM executive Bob Lutz spoke with a hologram of inventor Thomas Edison, who was the former employer and later adversary of Nikola Tesla. Edison was revered for generations while Tesla faded into obscurity, despite the fact that cities abandoned Edison’s dangerous direct current electricity system in favor of Tesla’s safer alternating current system.

Perhaps Tesla Motors success is history’s vindication for the brilliant, but ill-fated engineer, or perhaps Tesla Motors just created a better product. Either way, it’s clear to GM that Tesla Motors is more than a novelty – it’s serious competition.

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

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By Jessica Matsumoto

GM's Volt and Nissan's Leaf Sales Fell Behind the Tesla Model S



Tesla's Model S is the best sold EV in North America, leaving behind other electric powered cars, such as the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt.

According to an interview with Detroit Nerws, Tesla's spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks said that the company sales reports will came out at more than 4,750 Model S deliveries in US and Canada in the first quarter of 2013. That is over the 4,421 Chevrolet Volt and 3,695 Nissan Leaf sales in the same interval.

It seems like people want their EV to be luxurious, despite the big price tag of the Model S. Starting from $69,000 in basic setup, the Model S is about twice as expensive compared to the other two EVs, priced at $28,000 for Nissan's Leaf model and $39,000 for the Chevrolet Volt. The Tesla Model S also comes with the no-physical-buttons concept, every knob and switch being operated from a big 17-inch touchscreen mounted on the central console.

By Gabriel Brindusescu

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