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Tesla is officially off the ground as a ‘real’ car manufacturer, despite having only one ‘commercial’ model in its range, the newly-launched Model S sedan.
Despite posting a $105.6 million loss, the company did receive $27-million from sales revenues, and while a loss may not sound like such a good thing, they still have access to around $233 million in cash, as well as an expected revenue by the end of the year around the $600-million mark.
Also, with their production schedule for the coming period diminished, this has had an effect on the company’s stocks which fell from $36 to just under $29. However, they have already increased their production capacity to 10 cars per week, as opposed to the original 5.
They plan to make 500 cars in Q3, with an additional 4,500 coming in Q4, before reaching their 2013 target of 20,000 units per year, with some speculating that they could even make 30,000 cars next year – we hope they do!
Electrical fires can be rather nasty and after hearing about such an event in one of its vehicles, Tesla decided to issue a voluntary recall to prevent any more from happening.
Tesla announced it’s recalling approximately 439 2.0 and 2.5 Roadsters due to a problem one customer had with an auxiliary power cable. The cable is located just aft of the right headlight and under the right circumstances, can chafe on one of the carbon fiber panels and cause a short. This will cause smoke to issue from the general area and could cause a fire if left untended long enough.
Luckily, the power cable is for a redundant, 12-volt, electrical backup system for the headlights, taillights, turn signals, hazard lights, and airbags used if the primary system’s voltage drops too low. This means that the cable is completely isolated from the Tesla’s large, primary battery pack which would be substantially more dangerous.
The problem appeared only on one vehicle, but Tesla decided the incident was serious enough that it issued a voluntary recall for 439 2.0 and 2.5 Roadsters. Tesla has begun contacting owners about the recall, which involves installing a simple protective sleeve and can be performed by Tesla’s Service Rangers at the owners’ home or office in about one hour. The recall does not affect earlier 1.5 Roadsters as they don’t have the auxiliary cable under examination.
Earlier this month, Porsche unveiled a new Panamera model at the Shanghai Auto Show. Many changes have been announced for the luxury saloon, including an extended wheelbase version, a new twin-turbo V6 and this, the world's first plug-in hybrid drive in the luxury class.
Sure, the Tesla Model S is is a plug-in car, but the amazing Panamera S E-Hybrid manages to go green and still burn fuel. The E-Hybrid is powered by a 3-liter V6 engine which produces 333 hp on its own and is helped by a 95 hp lactic motor that can power the car on its own for anywhere between 11 to 22 miles (13 to 36 km).
The video shot round the streets of Vienna shows the car running in EV mode using its new lithium-ion battery, which has 9.4 kWh of energy. The car is totally unobtrusive, silent and clean. With its new taillights and front end, it's also very nice to look at. It's certainly no Klimt painting, but we'd take it over a Prius every day!
By Mihnea Radu
Tesla has opened up about the Model S four-door’s recently announced price bumps: for all reservations placed after the end of 2012, Tesla Model S prices will increase by $2500. Before federal tax credits, that means the 40 kW-hr model will now cost $59,900, add $10,000 for the 60 kW-hr model and $20,000 for the 85 kW-hr model, while the 85 kW-hr Performance model will carry an MSRP of $94,900.
All Tesla Model S cars with the revised pricing will add as standard equipment 12-way power seats and heated front seats. At a constant 55 mph, Tesla estimates the ranges of the three different motor choices at 160, 230, 300 miles. Claimed acceleration from 0-60 mph times take from 4.4 to 6.5 seconds, though we tested a Performance model completing the sprint in 3.9 seconds.
Tesla notes that the $2500 price increase is half the rate of inflation, and with plenty of press — it was the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, after all — luxury customers may still be willing to pay the premium. Speaking of premiums, Tesla is also offering a four-year/50,000-mile extended warranty above the car’s standard four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.
The automaker has also revealed pricing for battery replacements. Taking the mystery out of the one maintenance detail that scares many about electric cars, Tesla says that $8000 will buy 40 kW-hr Model S customers a new battery to be installed at any time after the eighth year of ownership. The cost rises to $10,000 for the 60 kW-hr battery and $12,000 for the 85 kW-hr battery.
Those battery replacement option prices cover the battery and all installation labor and parts needed to make a Model S whole again. Customers who don’t select the option at time of order will have up to 90 days from date of delivery to choose it, and the prepaid battery will apply to second and subsequent owners even if the original owner sells their car. And while it states the fresh battery reprieve comes after the magic 8-year mark, there “will likely be economic outcomes (incentives or drawbacks) tied to early or late exercise options,” per a Tesla spokesperson.
Considering Tesla’s vehicle servicing strategy, we had to ask if a mobile battery swap was foreseeable in the year 2020. Representatives seemed amused by our image of an electric-powered box truck with enclosed lift being the 2020 version of the electric-car maker’s Service Ranger, but it appears the B&M route is the safe bet for the time being.
Read more about the Tesla Model S in our First Test and Range Verification article.
Benson Kong contributed to this post.
By Zach Gale
Tesla says that a new upgrade package for the Model S electric car will endow it with “supercar handling.” Whether that’s exaggeration remains to be seen, but the new $6500 Performance Plus pack does add stickier tires and other suspension enhancements 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.
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.
By Jake Holmes
We’ve all seen televised classic car auctions where a one-owner piece of vintage iron fetches six-digit sums, and we’ve all wondered the same thing, “How did that guy know his car was going to be a classic one day?” Not long after, you probably looked at what’s in your driveway, and wondered, “Will my car ever become a classic?” Being car guys (and girls), we often wonder the same thing – what modern cars might become future classics? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 new cars that we think might one day be collectible.
So what in our minds makes a car a future classic? Three things: Significance to either the automaker or industry, rarity (which very well may leave a few significant cars off this list), and styling with staying power – because who wants to own an ugly classic car? Also (with one exception) the vehicles in question have to currently be on sale. With that in mind, here are our Top 10 New Car Future Classics:
BMW M3: We believe the E90-series M3 might become a future collectible for a few reasons. For starters, this generation of M3 represents the end of an era for the storied M Car. BMW’s M cars have always been known for their high-revving naturally aspirated engines. Unfortunately, the future of the M car lies with the turbocharger, which means the M3′s rev-happy 414-hp, 295-lb-ft 4.0-liter V-8 could be the last naturally aspirated M motor to ever be built. Because of that, the M3 will likely become a prize for future BMW collectors.
Cadillac CTS-V Wagon: This is the car that many thought GM didn’t have the cojones to build: a Nürburgring-slaying station wagon packing a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 producing 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque, driving the rear wheels through a proper six-speed manual transmission. The CTS-V Wagon has a couple things going for it on the collectible front: it’s a niche product so not many exist (relatively speaking), it’s expensive, which keeps it out of the hands of its mostly young fans, and it’s truly stunning to look at. The CTS-V Wagon very well may be a blockbuster at Barrett-Jackson auctions in the distant future.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: Like the C4 Corvette ZR-1 before it, the C6 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is bound to become a collectible This Corvette represents the best of the C6 ‘Vettes, and is easily among the best Corvettes ever made. The ZR1 is guaranteed collectible status thanks to the stories behind it: this is the first Corvette to crack 200 mph and the first to cost over $100,000. It’s also a world beater, having gone up against the best Europe and Asia has to offer, like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and Nissan GT-R. So why will the Corvette ZR1 be a future classic? Because America.
Fisker Karma: Likely to be a controversial choice, the Fisker Karma nonetheless easily meets the criteria to be a future collectible. The Karma is significant to Fisker and the automotive industry because the Karma is not only the first vehicle Fisker has ever built, but it’s also the first luxury extended-range electric vehicle. The Karma’s got rarity too, especially considering all of the production delays that were necessary for Fisker to recall all of its vehicles. Lastly, the Karma is a striking automobile to look at, and it’ll likely look just as good as it does today 20 or 30 years from now.
Ford Shelby GT500: What could be more significant than being both the most powerful factory Mustang ever and the first Mustang with a 200-mph top speed? Simple: Carroll Shelby. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is the last factory Shelby Mustang that the dearly departed Shelby ever worked on. Because of that connection, the car’s big 5.8-liter 662-hp supercharged V-8, and the ridiculous top speed, the Shelby GT500 is most certainly on its way to becoming a collectible.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X: Like the BMW M3, the current-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X will likely be remembered as the end of an era. While its Subaru rival will continue on into its next generation, the Evo X marks the end of the Evo as we know it. Mitsubishi reportedly wants to go in another direction with the Evo XI – a direction that ditches the all-wheel-drive rally rocket’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 in favor of a plug-in hybrid setup. Will it be able to live up to the Evo name? Only time will tell, but if Mitsubishi does go that route, the current Evo X may very well become a prized collectible.
Nissan GT-R: What can we say about Godzilla that hasn’t already been said? Not only is the Nissan GT-R highly desirable, but it’s an incredibly important car for Nissan. The R35 GT-R is significant because it’s the first GT-R to ever be legally sold in the U.S., and it’s taken the segment by storm, frequently finishing on the podium in our Best Driver’s Car competitions. Despite its relatively low price, Godzilla remains a rarity on the streets, and though it has love-it-or-hate-it styling, the GT-R will without a doubt remain desirable in the future.
Saab 9-5: As mentioned above, the Saab 9-5 is the sole exception to the on-sale now rule, because while you can’t buy one new now, you could still buy a brand new 9-5 up until the Swedish automaker declared bankruptcy in January of this year. The 9-5 earns its spot on the future collectible list because it was the last new Saab car introduced. It may have had quite a few components from the GM parts bin, but the 9-5 was still the last true Saab. It was great to look at, full of quirky Swedish charm, and actually fun to drive. The 9-5 was the last Saab, and perhaps one of the best, which makes it a future collectible in our book.
SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition: The 2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition marks the return of the other American sports car icon. To celebrate the Viper’s rebirth, SRT created the limited-edition Viper GTS Launch Edition (Rarity? Check). Powered by a reworked 8.4-liter V-10 cranking out 640 hp, the Launch Edition comes wearing the stunning blue and white stripe paint job that helped make the original Viper GTS famous (Styling? Check). Finally, checking off the significance box is the fact that the new Viper is the first SRT-branded vehicle ever, giving it that special something that collectors will most certainly love decades from now.
Tesla Model S Signature Performance: The Tesla Model S is not only significant to Tesla as its first mass-market vehicle, but it’s significant to the industry as a whole as the first all-electric car that actually works for most Americans’ needs. The Model S Signature Performance is being built in a limited run of just 1000 examples. Making the Model S Signature Performance even more enticing is its world-beating performance, which allows the EV to smoke its gas-powered European rivals on the drag strip. The stunningly handsome Model S is a technological marvel that’s sure to be just as impressive sitting pretty on the auction block in the coming decades.
Do you agree with our list? Which cars would you have added and/or left off? Sound off in the comments below.
2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan on delivery day, with owner David Noland
I’ve now had my 2013 Tesla Model S for six weeks since it was delivered in late February, and I’m getting used to living with it.
I’ve recharged at the Supercharger network, measured its vampire current usage at night, tested the impact of speed on range, and even experienced my first software update.
According to Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], one of the original clean-sheet-of-paper design criteria for the Model S was that the rear cargo area–with seats folded down–should be able to accommodate a bicycle without removing the front wheel.
As an avid cyclist, this was one of many factors in my purchase of the car.
But it doesn’t apply to my bicycles, it turns out.
At 6’2″, I’m a tall guy, and both my road bike and my mountain bike have large frames and high seat posts.
With a bit of carefully choreographed manipulation and the passenger’s seat pushed all the way forward, each bike just barely fits into the back of my Chevrolet Volt.
But to my surprise, the rear hatch opening of the much larger Model S is actually a smidgin narrower than the Volt’s. That smidgin makes the difference.
Unless I want to push the bike forcefully against the Model S’s soft interior material–and risk ripping it–the bikes simply won’t fit in the back without removing the front wheels.
The road bike has a quick-release front wheel that pops off in a second or two, so it’s no big deal to remove it. But my mountain bike’s front wheel is maddeningly designed to be virtually impossible to remove by hand, apparently for liability reasons.
So no mountain-bike excursions in the Model S.
Maybe that’s not so bad after all. Do I really want to be loading a greasy, muddy mountain bike into the back of my pristine Tesla? Not really.
At least not until the new-pet-car syndrome wears off.
If it ever does.
David Noland is a Tesla Model S owner and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.
By David Noland
Tesla Motors’ unorthodox retail store business model is creating a lot of controversy. The EV manufacturer has already fought dealer associations and state legislatures from Massachusetts to Texas, and now the battle is moving to North Carolina.
A proposal in the North Carolina state legislature would make it illegal for Tesla, or any other carmaker, to sell directly to customers, the state’s News & Observer reports.
The measure, which is supported by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, was approved by the state Senate’s Commerce Committee last week.
If the proposal becomes law, Tesla would be forced to change its sales strategy or stop selling cars in the Tar Heel State.
Instead of selling cars through conventional dealers, Tesla opens Apple Store-like spaces in malls and shopping centers, with all transactions conducted over the phone or online, and routed through the company’s California headquarters.
That last part has allowed Tesla to dodge claims that it is opening its own dealerships, which is illegal in most states. The Tesla Stores don’t actually sell (or service) any cars in states where that practice is illegal; they direct customers to online ordering and standalone service centers.
However, North Carolina’s legislators are claiming that any direct sale that cuts car dealers out of the loop, whether it takes place in a physical showroom or online, is against the law. Tesla doesn’t have any mall stores in North Carolina, only service centers.
“They’re trying to insulate the dealer franchise model from any competition,” Tesla vice president for corporate and business development Diarmuid O’Connell said during a visit to Raleigh, “It’s a protectionist move to lock down the market so we have to go through the middleman – the dealer – to sell our cars.”
As with previous cases, the North Carolina car dealers argued that Tesla’s Apple-style sales model would set a precedent for corporate dealerships, leaving customers to deal directly with large car companies instead of a local franchisee.
“The whole point of the retail system is to protect the consumer,” Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, told the News & Observer.
So far, 80 North Carolina residents have put Model S electric sedans in their driveways.
The Tesla Stores have attracted controversy literally from the beginning.
Tesla opened its first location in White Plains, New York last year, angering the state car dealer association. Similar protests soon came out of Massachusetts and Oregon.
Last September, Tesla was notified by the Illinois Secretary of State’s office that listing company CEO Elon Musk as the owner of a Chicago store was illegal.
In April, Tesla also drew fire from Texas legislators examining the legality of two stores in the Lone Star State. Musk fired back with an offer to produce electric pickup trucks in Texas.
Tesla currently has 28 stores in 13 states.
Is Tesla breaking the law – or should the law be changed? Tell us in the comments.
With one day left to go before the official launch of the Tesla Model S, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rated the eagerly anticipated EV. The numbers are from the top-spec car, equipped with the largest, 85 kWh battery pack.
The car has been rated at 89MPGe (equivalent to 2.6 l/100km), meaning that the car can travel 89 miles (142 Km) on the equivalent energy stored in one gallon of gasoline. Why don’t they just invent something new, like miles/kW or something people can fathom. However, since all EVs are currently rated like this, they can be easily compared.
The Model S’ 89 MPGe put it ahead of the Coda Sedan (73 MPGe), but behind the Nissan Leaf (99 MPGe), Ford Focus Electric (105 MPGe) and the Mitsubishi iMiEV (112 MPGe). However, the Tesla is by far the most powerful car of the bunch, with as much as 350 hp.
Its range has also been rated, and the car with the largest battery pack can easily top 424 Km (265 miles), setting it comfortably ahead of anything else on the market. In fact, we’ve got nothing to compare it to, and we may have to wait a while before anything matching it comes along, as nothing of the sort is currently planned.
Story via greencarreports.com
Deep within my subconscious, a shocking idea has been steadily growing, developing from a couple of bits of information to a terabyte of invasive ideas . You see, for a long time now I’ve been thinking that some carmakers are not connected with what people really want. It’s why the Chevy Impala isn’t selling in the millions any more, why 16YOs don’t like Mustangs, why Saab went under and why the Chinese like the American dream more than… Americans. And it’s a Silicon Valley-type company that showed us what people really want: iPhones on wheels.
During the first quarter of 2013, Tesla managed to do something I thought was going to take at least another decade. They delivered 4,750 Model S electric sedans, not only more than the much less expensive Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf EVs, but also more than all the flagship models from from established luxury brands.
We’re talking about Mercedes, who sold 3,077 S-Class examples during Q1, Lexus who managed 2,860 LS sedans, followed by BMW with 2,338 7 Series and Audi 1,462 cars during the same three months in the US. Maybe the Model S is cheaper, and maybe tax rebates have something to do with it, but these cars are benchmarks, hugely expensive to develop and very well marketed, not to mention their names have been famous for decades.
When I found that out, I immediately went “Really? How is that possible?”. But then I learned the Nissan Leaf is being showcased in the SimCity video game. That’s it! People have accepted electric cars, and there’s no turning back now!
Consider this. The automobile has been around for over 100 years. Designers will try to make it look different, engineers will make it more efficient and marketing people will wrap it all up in video footage and clever words. But the fact of the mater is transportation isn’t that cool any more, not when you consider Google Eye, smartphones and the billions of apps to go with them.
Tesla should be a new brand fighting for survival and recognition, considering it targets two difficult segments – luxury and electric vehicles. They should be struggling, but instead they’re already playing in the big leagues and everybody knows their achievements.
Speaking of achievements, we have to mention two of them: performance and infotainment. Firstly, the top Signature Performance version of the EV has over 400 horsepower going to the rear wheels. It gets to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has been known to shame some sportscars at the drag strip. This makes it a sort of people’s champion, exuding a character way beyond the real-world performance.
Secondly, the Model S is hugely entertaining, like a gigantic gaming console you sit inside rater than next to. You sit smack bang in front of a huge digital display that shows you your speed and range, and the center console is dominated by a 17-inch color display that controls everything from the boot opening to the temperature inside the car. Tesla are the very first to do things like this, and since the Model S arrived, Cadillac and Lincoln followed them with semi-buttonless systems of their own.
I never like the idea of not being able to click anything without taking our eyes of the road. After all, not even an Xbox controller works without buttons. Every Mercedes and Audi I get into has beautifully weighted buttons, all built with the uniform texture and resistance, like miniature piano keys. But not everybody these days gets that and this sort of fingertip craftsmanship might already be obsolete.
You see, your typical Audi buyer who earned six figures a decade ago could have been a building architect, a business consultant or construction business developer. But in 2013, he could just as well be an app architect, software consultant or website developer. For these buyers at least, being seen in an S-Class is like playing on an actual Monopoly board or with a real yoyo.
I’m no saying the S-Class is obsolete, just that the Tesla Model S is the real star of the American auto scene, an electric guitar to our acoustic ears, a PS4 to our old-school building blocks. Maybe it’s time to pay attention to everything Tesla does!
By Mihnea Radu