Looking Forward: Tesla’s Future May Include Electric Trucks, Driverless Cars

Looking Forward: Tesla’s Future May Include Electric Trucks, Driverless Cars

The Tesla Model S is brilliant. While we’re smitten with the quick electric car – the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year – Tesla CEO Elon Musk tells us there’s much more to come, including the Model X, an electric truck, and possibly self-driving cars. Musk also reaffirmed that the more affordable and higher-volume Tesla car is on the way.

Tesla Model X Front Three Quarter view 300x187 imageIn an interview with Motor Trend, Musk has revealed a bit more about the company’s future, looking past the production version of the Model X prototype — a three-row, seven-passenger SUV with gullwing style doors. We’ve also previously reported Tesla is planning a BMW 3 Series challenger that could arrive in 2015 after the Model X rolls into dealerships early in 2014. What Musk calls “an electric supercar” is part of Tesla’s plans as well, perhaps as a loose successor to the original Tesla Roadster. Most surprisingly, Musk admits he’s also been thinking about producing an electric truck. “We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology.”

Musk would also like to dip into autonomous cars. “I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google…” With the reelection of President Barack Obama, Musk hopes hybrids and electric cars will continue to become more affordable. He told Reuters that he would support tax credits of up to $10,000 on electric cars.

Read the full Motor Trend interview with Tesla’s Elon Musk right here.

Source: Motor Trend, Reuters

By Karla Sanchez

Tesla Model S Sedan Draws Closer to Production; Plant Announcement Coming

Tesla Model S Sedan Draws Closer to Production; Plant Announcement Coming

Tesla has left us enamored with its Lotus-bodied Roadster but if we want to see the next-generation drop-top, the California-based electric-vehicle maker has to roll out its mass-market Model S sedan first. Set to launch in 2012, the Model S is Tesla’s first fully home-brewed vehicle and will be manufactured at its new, unannounced facility on the West Coast.


While details on the Model S broke early last year, Tesla has yet to announce where its electric sedan and next-generation Roadster will be built. Rumors speculate the plant will be located in Southern California — however, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently told Automotive News that the formal announcement will be coming in the next few weeks.

BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class when tuning the ride and handling.

post on the Tesla Model S for more vehicle details.

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By Benson Kong

First Tesla Model S Delivered Before Schedule

After making numerous claims that the launch date for the Model S is June 22nd, it has become apparent that some of Tesla’s customers have benefited from an early deliver, receiving the car at least two weeks before the official date.

The car is now owned by Steve Jurvetson, who is Managing Director of a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California. It also seems to be a higher spec car, as it features the ‘Tesla Multi-Coat’ exterior finish in Signature Red and a bootlid spoiler, which tell us that it’s either the ‘Signature’ or ‘Signature Performance’ model, so the car cost at least €71,700 ($89,400), factoring in the extra €1,200 ($1,500) for the special paint. It seems that it also has a panoramic or blacked out roof, and the 21-inch ‘Silver’ rims thus ruling out the possibility of a low spec car – this is a top-of-the-range version of the Model S.

We genuinely look forward to the official release of the car and the first driving impressions, as we’ve waited a long time to see it in action, and properly so!

Story via businessinsider.com

Check out the First Tesla Model S Delivered Before Schedule photo gallery

By Andrei Nedelea

2012 Tesla Model S Shows Up On eBay, Will Owner Profit?

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

Enlarge Photo

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

It’s not unusual to see rare and exclusive cars pre-sold to buyers before cars are delivered–the practice has been going on for decades, every time the latest supercar hits the streets.

We didn’t expect to see a 2012 Tesla Model S sold so soon, though–and with a Buy It Now price on the eBay auction of $145,000, the seller stands to make a healthy little profit should they find a buyer.

The model being sold is one of the thousand limited edition Signature models, and the buyer will get the actual car, rather than a reservation slot–something Tesla will not allow.

With Signature Red paint, a white leather interior and the 85 kWh, EPA-rated 265-mile battery pack–as well as other Signature edition features–the car will certainly be to a high specification.

It also features an upgraded tech package, Dolby 7.1 premium sound system, and other Model S amenities.

The car is already being built, and is set to be delivered on October 14. The auction itself runs until 10:18 PDT on September 20, provided someone doesn’t pay the full price–over $47,000 more than MSRP–to end the auction early.

So why is the car for sale so soon? The seller doesn’t say, but it’s not beyond possibility that they were banking on pre-selling it all along, hoping to make a tidy little profit in the process from someone wishing to jump the queue.

It also has us wondering–how long until more Model S Signature editions appear on the market? And what price would you pay to get behind the wheel?…

Hat tip to Martin at eCars.bg


By Antony Ingram

Tesla Preparing All-Electric 3-Series Rival for 2015

After successfully launching their first all-original car, the Model S, Tesla are now looking to downsize the third model in their line-up, to rival the current king of that class, the BMW 3-Series (which we recently tested). However, it will not be their second offering, as the second spot in their lineup will be taken up by the Model X – a crossover built on Model S underpinnings, set to make its debut in 2013, at a price of around €40,000 ($49,900).

As we had previously mentioned, The 3-Series rival will arrive in 2015 with a price starting as low as €24,600 ($30,000). If they are able to keep this promise of an affordable price, then the upcoming EV will definitely give the auto industry a good shake, as it will offer all-electric motoring of a very high quality (if the Model S is anything to go by), at a price which will be roughly the same as that of a conventionally-powered alternative.

If they market it properly, and if it is as good as we now expect it to be after having seen the Model S, their future will be pretty much assured as a trendsetting automaker which encourages its buyers to ‘go green’ and lose absolutely nothing that a normal car would offer – except the tailpipe emissions.

Story via autocar.co.uk

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla Now Making, Delivering 500 Model S Electric Cars Weekly

2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

With a backlog of more than 10,000 depositors for the Tesla Model S, its maker is making and delivering electric luxury sedans as fast as it can.

Among other benefits, that may allow Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] to achieve CEO Elon Musk’s suggestion that the company could be profitable for the first quarter of this year.

George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, said in December that the company had reached its target production rate of 400 cars a week.

And that 400-cars-per-week production rate was backed up in January by Jerome Guillen, director of Model S programs.

Now, in the company’s latest blog post, Blankenship says that rate has risen.

“During the past three weeks we have averaged more than 500 Model S deliveries per week, and it looks like we’ll be setting another record this week.”

And that number is backed up, more or less, by a little-noticed article in the Westfield Republican, an upstate New York newspaper that covers the region where Jamestown Plastics is located.

That’s the company that makes liners for the Model S front trunk–which Tesla insists on calling a “frunk”–and ships them to Tesla’s Silicon Valley assembly plant in Fremont, California.

About “500 a week are fabricated at the Jamestown Plastics, Inc., operation in Brocton,” says the article.

Taken together, it sounds like Tesla Motors is now cranking out its first high-volume electric car at a rate of 2,000 per month or better.

Which should make its investors–and depositors–happy.


By John Voelcker

Saint Tesla Is a '72 Triumph Tiger [Photo Gallery] [Video]

Futuristic? Steampunk? Daring? Breathktaking? They all go hand in hand as you take a closer look at Jeff Yarrington's Tesla. Though bearing a Croatian name, the bike has British blood and some American make-up.

The creation of the Tesla begun years ago with an old Triumph Tiger. The 1972 bike had little to do with the actual wow factor, but Jeff knew what he wanted.

In fact the Tesla could be touted as the bike of his dreams: he always dreamt of building a bile with a fin on the rear cowl and underseat exhausts, and a body made of metal wire with welded sheet metal.

Looking at the Tesla we could say that Jeff made his dream come true. And since Nicola Tesla and his works have always been the heart of the steampunk movement, it's only small wonder to see the bike with such a raw attire, yet sporting a smooth, mellow and pleasant look. This is more than bike building, this is art.

Seen on Pipeburn.

Check out the Saint Tesla '72 Triumph Tiger photo gallery

By Florin Tibu

Elon Musk Confident Obama Win is Good for EVs

The Obama administration is well known for its support of plug-in vehicles, including EVs, so his reelection as president of the United States will make Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, sleep much more soundly for the duration of his term in office.

Musk added that he would fully support the raising of the federal tax credit for EVs, from the current $7,500 to as much as $10,000 per each green vehicle bought. Also, considering the fact that Tesla received $465-million in loans from the DOE, while under the Obama administration, they will probably receive more, if needed, despite the topic being a very delicate one, at the moment.

On an unrelated topic, but equally newsworthy, Musk announced that the first Supercharger fast charging system will be installed on the East Coast, in Washington DC, with Boston to follow shortly.

Story via autoblog.com

By Andrei Nedelea

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Three Quarter Motion

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Three Quarter

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Side

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Static

See All 18 Photos

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Three Quarter

E-mail from Tesla P.R. person: “Where is my baby?”

I look around. Gads, I’m still in Costa Mesa, a good 50 miles from Tesla’s dealership in Santa Monica.

I knew the car needed to be returned today after our five-day stint, which included two days of testing and lapping, but only now was it dawning on me that the luscious orange Roadster Sport I’m screwed into needed to be returned this morning so that it could be cleaned up and recharged in time for its next journalist-driver (our pal Aaron Robinson; sorry, Aaron). But after leaving our office last night with enough battery charge for maybe 220 miles, well, what would you do? Return it with a three-quarter-full battery? Ohhh, no. Those miles were going to be put to good and proper use — all while gradually nearing Santa Monica, of course.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Side

And so, daughter Catherine, age 10, got a ride to school. Her pal, Lukie, who lives down the street, appeared to need a quick jolt of big-g acceleration, and wound up with a smile that could have been painted on. Of course, Lukie’s big sister, Edyn, couldn’t be left out. And what about Patrick, their dad? We’re all kids at heart, you know.

Then, heading up the 405 freeway I realized I’d better do some coast-down tests on a nearby road that’s perfect for such things.

Okay, that part sounds strange — let me explain. You see, for people like me, cars are simultaneously what you normal people perceive — cool hardware, driving fantasies, and all that stuff. But in addition, hovering above them like floating small clouds, I also see bunches of swirling equations and graphs and vectors, with unknown coefficients just aching to be figured out. Don’t see them? Next time stare harder. Among those coefficients is drag, what I’m after with my detour (and unusual for a sports car, the Tesla’s front camber is zero to minimize rolling resistance). Oh, and my apologies to the befuddled traffic following me that must have been wondering why this idiot Tesla driver kept accelerating like crazy and then coasting nearly to a stop.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Static

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Rear Three Quarter Static

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Side Static2010 Tesla Roadster Sport On Flatbed

And then — oh, heck, what’s this e-mail on my blackberry? “ETA on car?” Hmm. Gosh, I happened to be really near pal Paul Van Valkenburg’s house and if I didn’t drop in, Paul would never forgive me.

As I silently rolled to a stop, Paul magnetically appeared as if perceiving an approaching EV. His skill at sensing interesting automotive technologies like this traces back to his days at Chevrolet where he had a hand in the great Chaparral Can Am cars, and it’s still evident in his own top-secret EV project…about which I’d better not say anything more.

“So, a Tesla! What a surprise!” Paul greeted me, and we quickly went for a ride. First off, I explained that this is the new Sport version.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Right Side Front Three Quarter

In Sport form — which adds $19,500 to the standard Roadster’s $110,950 base price (including destination charge) — its motor produces the base unit’s same 288 horsepower but at 600 fewer revs (4400 rpm), as well as 295 lb-ft of torque (up from 273) at zero rpm. Credit a hand-wound stator with increased winding density. Its black, Tesla-original forged alloy wheels wear Yokohama Advan tires, sized 195/50R16 up front and 225/45R17 at the rear. And in support of this meaty rubber are 10-position adjustable shocks and three-setting shock absorbers. Moreover, our particular example was kitted-out with generous exposed carbon fiber and a stitched leather interior (pushing the all-up price toward $160,000, though it’s eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit). In fact, the interior has evolved quite a bit since my original drive in a roadster (back when it still had a two-speed transmission).

Now, there’s a glovebox, transmission selections are accomplished by an easy button push on the center console (the scene of the crime when I mistakenly pressed reverse for a simulated drag race for our video guys — yikes!), and the multiscreen info display (which does such things as provide recharge scheduling and calculation of your energy costs) is now properly located below the radio.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Left Side

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Right Side

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Rear Three Quarter2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Three Quarter Motion

I showed Paul how all you have to do to access full power is briefly twist the ignition switch to its full throw (though it doesn’t ignite anything, of course). And under power, the Sport emitted a strong whine which neither of us could determine to be entirely gear noise or electronics goings on (even after experimenting with coasting in neutral). Regardless, its acceleration is breathtaking. Make that breath-extracting. At the track, we confirmed the car’s 3.7-second scream to 60 mph — but, that’s just a number. Three-point-seven — what’s that mean? Felt, it’s such an unnatural thrust that it actually brings to mind that hokey Star Trek star-smear of warp-speed. The quick, linear accumulation of velocity makes you smile and hold on, shake your head, and eventually learn to carve unimaginable moves through traffic that’s populated by completely flat-footed internal-combustion cars.

While the Tesla’s other performance measures are impressive too, they’re simply extraordinary instead of unnatural. Yes, the car’s lateral acceleration averaged an impressive 0.98 g, but the steering’s feedback at the limit doesn’t do the number justice; you find yourself regarding tire slide with a hesitant reserve. This wasn’t an issue during our figure-eight test, set in a broad asphalt expanse. But on a narrow road, you just don’t have enough information at hand (literally) to explore beyond 90 percent or so.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Interior

Another curiosity is that while there’s a giant amount of regen deceleration when you lift throttle — so much so that the brake pedal often doesn’t need touching in typical traffic — lift-throttle on the skidpad doesn’t illicit the kind of rotation you need to adjust the attitude mid-corner. And that’s despite the car’s considerable rear weight bias — 65 percent — though power-oversteer is almost too easy. A sports car needs to have both tools available, and in balance. Perhaps the front wheels’ zero camber accounts for some of this. Or that Tesla thinks its clientele is interested only in acceleration, and maybe they are. But it would be awfully interesting to spend a day tinkering with the car’s setup to see what its real handling potential is.

After dropping Paul off, I briefly stopped by our office, then headed to Tesla’s Santa Monica dealership to sheepishly hand over the keys. In a drizzle, I noted the remaining range — still half left, darn it — then wormed my way out of the seat, shut the carbon-fiber door (the entire body is carbon), and considered its big questions.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Interior 1

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Gear Select Buttons

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Seats2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Reare Glass

What about range? Omitting our testing, the car generally traveled beyond 200 miles per charge, a distance that permits a comfortable degree of freeform driving (even in L.A.) before the eventual range calculations in the brain begin. Our charging was mostly done in our new garage, which is handily fitted with several 240-volt, 50-amp connectors. And there, everything worked without a hitch — indeed, it got to be commonplace. But typical 120-volt (wall plug) charging is so slow — about 5 miles of added range per plug-in hour (compared with 32 mph on our 240-volt plug, and as quick as 3.5 hours with an installed wall unit). Well, it’s like filling your tank with a straw. All this makes me really question the 100-mile range we’re commonly hearing about with the new crop of pure battery electrics (Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MiEV). Personally, I’m finding my range anxiety setting in at about 50 percent of battery depletion. The Tesla’s 200-plus miles seems to me to be the minimum any EV should provide.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Front Wheel

And the cost. At about $130,000 (base price), our Roadster Sport is within pocket change of Porsche’s 911 Turbo, which, as a value, is simply a hell of a lot more car for the dollar. Yet, how do you honestly compare the Tesla with a conventional sports car? The Tesla’s technology is so different, so early-stage, that it’s a bit like comparing the memory capacity of cheap new computer hard drives to the latest solid-state, big flash memories. Flash is expensive, but is it ‘worth it?’ Not for most, but it depends on your finances and enthusiasm for cutting edge tech.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport Motor

Last, it’s time to start regarding Tesla as an actual car company. With 900 Roadsters delivered, Mercedes-Benz now owning a 10-percent stake, a federal loan of $465 million, and a new factory being created for the Model S sedan, Tesla is the first maker to crack the EV legitimacy barrier in a century. And as such we’re going to start doing the same things with them we do with any other new cars.

So Tesla — with all apologies about your car’s late return — ah, when can we get it back?

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport
Base price $130,450 (eligible for $7500 tax credit)
Price as tested $153,900
Vehicle layout Mid-engine, RWD, 2-door, 2-pass, convertible
Motor 375-volt/288-hp/295-lb-ft AC electric motor
Transmission Single reduction ratio
Curb weight 2778 lbs
Wheelbase 92.6 in
Length x width x height 155.4 x 72.9 x 44.4 in
0-60 mph 3.7 sec
Quarter mile 12.6 sec @ 102.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 113 feet
Lateral acceleration 0.98 g (avg)
MT figure eight 24.6 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)
EPA est city/hwy energy consumption 29/32 kW-hr/100 mi
Range 244 miles

By Kim Reynolds

Tesla Gets $10-Million Grant for Model X Production

Despite the fact that Tesla has so far failed to reach its intended production capacity for the Model S sedan, they have not forgotten about the Model X crossover. Now, they have received a $10-million grant from teh California Energy Commission, to which they will be adding $50-million of their own money, in order to get the production of the Model X underway.

The money will be used for the expansion and retooling of their Fremont, California plant, which currently only makes the Model S. Manufacturing equipment will also be bought, in order to manufacture the needed parts for the new model.

Also, some 700 extra workers will be hired, in order to actually commence production. The official date for the start of production is still unknown, but since they have begun preparation for it, things should be all set-up by the middle of next year, in order to keep their promise of starting deliveries in 2014.

By Andrei Nedelea