Archives for Green Cars - Page 3

Tesla Model S Gains Performance Plus Package With Sportier Tires

Tesla Model S Gains Performance Plus Package With Sportier Tires

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.

2013 Tesla Model S interior view1 300x187 imageOpting for Performance Plus adds Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires on 21-inch wheels; 19-inch all-season tires are standard on the Model S and 21-inch Continental ExtremeContact DW tires are optional. In addition, the Performance Plus rear tires have a 265 section width, 20 millimeters (0.8 inch) wider than the standard 21-inch tires. Tesla also installs upgraded suspension dampers, bushings, and anti-roll bars to further improve handling. The upgrades are said to add between six and twelve miles of driving range to a Tesla Model S Performance; according to the EPA, the luxury sedan can normally drive about 265 miles on a full charge, so adding the Performance Plus treatment pushes the range to as much as 277 miles.

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

Source: Tesla

By Jake Holmes

Tesla’s Elon Musk Shares Thoughts, Data Logs to Refute NY Times Model S Review

Tesla’s Elon Musk Shares Thoughts, Data Logs to Refute NY Times Model S Review

The controversy continues surrounding the recent The New York Times article written by reporter John M. Broder, who was left stranded when the Model S he was driving ran out of charge before reaching a charging station. Since then, his review has received lots of attention, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently provided his side of the ordeal and shared extensive data from the Model S driven by Broder.

2012 Tesla Model S interior2 300x187 imageThe controversy began when Tesla approached Broder to evaluate a Model S (with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery that provides 265 miles of EPA-rated range) and two new charging stations installed in Newark, Delaware and in Milford, Connecticut. These stations are 200 miles apart and include the company’s new Supercharger, which can recharge batteries at a much faster rate than a typical charging unit (Tesla says the Supercharger can provide up to 150-160 miles of range in just 30 minutes).

In fact, in a February 12 update, Broder says the test was intended to evaluate the Supercharger network on the East Coast, not the Model S, explaining why he didn’t plug in the car overnight in Connecticut.

“This evaluation was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a ‘normal use,’ no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it. Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop,” Broder wrote.

Broders Tesla Model S speed log 300x187 image

Broder’s Tesla Model S speed log

Broder’s trip began at the Delaware station with 242 miles of range (he was unaware of a “max charge” feature that would’ve topped the battery off at 265 miles). He claims to have experienced fluctuations in the battery’s claimed range, which may have been affected by the colder temperatures. Still, Broder claims to have properly charged the battery, drove at reasonable speeds, and even reduced the cabin temperature, all in an attempt to increase range. In the end, however, Broder says he ran out of charge before reaching Connecticut, and the Model S was consequently towed to the charging station.

Since then, Tesla has compared Broder’s account to the data log from the Model S test car he drove. Yesterday, Musk published an extensive blog with that data, which points out a number of claimed discrepancies in the highway speeds at which Broder said he was traveling, charging times, as well as possible errors in his article’s math. Musk also suggested the evaluation was a lost battle for Tesla in the first place, pointing to a March 2012 article by Broder in which he says “the state of the electric car is dismal.”

Check out Musk’s full February 13 blog here, and Broder’s February 12 follow-up here.

Source: NY Times, Tesla Motors

By Erick Ayapana

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

Tesla claims it has 250 patents covering its Model S sedan, with more pending. The electric motor sits between the rear wheels, contributing greatly to the car’s 47/53-percent front/rear weight distribution.

Tesla offers three lithium-ion battery packs for the Model S — 40-kW-hr, 60-kW-hr, and 85-kW-hr — that are claimed to provide ranges of 140, 200, and 265 miles, respectively. The base 85-kW-hr powertrain delivers a stout 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the performance version makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft.

Read more about the Model S: 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification

Tesla Model S interior 300x187 imageGuest judge Wayne Cherry, a former GM design boss, summed up the exterior design theme of the Model S as “somewhat safe and conservative.” His only criticism? “The front end is a missed opportunity to establish brand identity.”

A number of the interior design solutions need more polish. However, all judges were impressed with the Tesla’s unique user interface, courtesy of the giant touch screen in the center of the car that controls everything from the air-conditioning to the nav system to the sound system to the car’s steering, suspension, and brake regeneration settings.

For the 313 miles of road loops during the COTY evaluation, where the car was driven at normal speeds by all the judges with the air-conditioning running, it averaged 74.5 mpg-e. Impressive numbers, especially considering the 4766-pound Tesla Model S Signature Performance version will nail 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and the quarter in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph, with a top speed of 133 mph.

Other Car of the Year Contender WOT Posts:

Acura ILX
BMW 3 Series
Cadillac ATS
Cadillac XTS
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Spark
CODA EV Sedan
Dodge Dart
Ford C-Max
Ford Fusion
Honda Accord
Hyundai Azera
Lexus ES
Lexus GS
Lexus LS
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Sentra
Porsche 911
Porsche Boxster
Scion FR-S
Subaru BRZ
Toyota Avalon
Toyota Prius C

To compete for the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year title, contenders must be all new or significantly revised 2013-model-year cars or 2012-model-year cars that went on sale too late for 2012 COTY consideration. All eligible vehicles are invited to compete. Check back to MotorTrend.com on November 12 at 3:30 p.m. PST / 6:30 p.m. EST to discover what will become the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year!

By Motor Trend Staff

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

The price of a Tesla Model S will be increasing soon — but the company hasn’t yet disclosed by how much prices will rise. However, Tesla did confirm that some features that were previously standard on the Model S will become paid options.

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric sedan built in California by billionaire visionary Elon Musk. The car is Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year. Prices currently range from $57,400 for an entry model with a 40-kWh battery pack (before any tax rebates), to $105,400 for the loaded Signature Performance model with an 85-kWh battery.

Tesla Model S interior1 300x187 imageTesla confirmed in a blog post that it will raise prices on the cars in the near future, but noted that customers who have already placed a reservation for the electric car won’t have to pay the higher price. Musk mentioned in August that over 12,000 people had placed a $5000 deposit for a Model S. Only customers who order after the price increases take effect will be locked into the higher prices.

When the price increases take effect, Tesla may also reorganize the car’s equipment list. Tesla warns that some items that are currently standard on the Model S may become paid options. That could mean a double-whammy when prices increase, as customers must not only pay a higher entry price, but must also cough up extra for features that used to be included for free.

It’s unclear why Tesla plans to increase Model S prices so early in the car’s production run. The decision could be important to increase profitability on the electric sedan, or could be a reflection of higher than anticipated customer demand. But raising prices would seem unlikely to help Tesla reach its publicly stated goal of selling 20,000 cars in 2013.

Tesla’s blog post says the company will announce the new prices and options lists within two to three weeks.

Sources: Tesla, Forbes

By Jake Holmes

Tesla Sends Roadster On 1800-mile Down Under Trek On “Oz Goes Electric” Tour

Tesla Sends Roadster On 1800-mile Down Under Trek On “Oz Goes Electric” Tour

In an effort to improve consumer awareness of electric vehicles’ capability and range, Tesla Motors is kicking off its Oz Goes Electric Tour to bring the Tesla Roadster to electric vehicle enthusiasts along Australia’s eastern coast. The Roadster will travel a total distance of 3000 kilometers (1864 miles). The tour launched March 16 at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne.

Officials from the Victorian provincial government and Department of Transportation were present at the event, with the tour being part of the local government’s electric vehicle trial and EV awareness campaign.

The tour will cover Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and feature test drive events and public displays of the Tesla Roadster along the route.

The Tesla Roadster also holds the record for distance driven on a single charge in a production electric vehicle, which was broken driving 501 kilometers (310.6 miles) in Australia. You can follow the tour here.

Source: Tesla

By Edward A. Sanchez

Teslas on Video: From Model S Road Trips to Roadster vs. Porsche Boxster Comparo

Teslas on Video: From Model S Road Trips to Roadster vs. Porsche Boxster Comparo

Now that we’ve crowned the Tesla Model S the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, we’ve dug up the best videos of the electric cars that we could find. From videos documenting the development of the Tesla Model S to a Motor Trend comparison with a Tesla Roadster and a Porsche Boxster, get your fill of Tesla videos right here.

Tesla Model S with Frank Markus and Elon Musk 300x187 imageThe Tesla Model S was designed and engineered with one goal in mind: to cure electric-vehicle range anxiety. To put it to the test, we drove it to Las Vegas and back in one single charge and documented the journey. How do we know what Tesla’s goal was with the electric sedan? Before setting off on the excursion to Sin City, we toured the Tesla’s Silicon Valley factory and spent some time with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk to learn more about the Model S.

We’ve tested the 2013 Tesla Model S’ range on three single-charge road trips, but how did the car perform on the track? The Model S reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph, and its performance was all caught on video for an episode of Ignition. While the Model S is a great performer all on its own, we were also curious to discover how it behaves when matched up against an unlikely rival in a drag race — the BMW M5.

Before we got our hands on the Model S though, we followed the development process and all the engineering that went into it with a series of three videos. We also caught a trio of prototypes testing on the track, and it appears the Model S also enjoys a bit of winter weather, as we’ve also caught it playing in the snow. Before the Model S though, was the original Tesla Roadster, which we compared against a 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. Let’s not forget about the upcoming Model X, in which we got to check out its awesome gullwing doors at its official debut.

Watch the Tesla videos below.

By Karla Sanchez

Topline 300-Mile Tesla Model S Projected to Earn 265-Mile EPA Range

Topline 300-Mile Tesla Model S Projected to Earn 265-Mile EPA Range

The top-of-the-line Tesla Model S with a claimed 300-mile range is expected to earn an EPA window sticker displaying an official range of 265 miles.

The Model S’ drawn-out unveiling has ingrained three specific driving ranges related to battery size – 160, 230, and 300 miles – but the EPA will have its own stamp of approval. An official blog bylined by CEO Elon Musk and CTO JB Straubel dives right into the matter, presumably foreseeing questions and concerns about the 35-mile disparity with the farthest-traveling selection.

2012 Tesla Model S side 300x187 imageThe difference between 265 and 300 miles extracted from the Model S’ substantial 85-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery comes down to the EPA’s testing methodology. The stated 300-mile range with the highest-capacity battery was always Tesla’s target. From one perspective, it has actually exceeded the mark, claiming 320 miles under the EPA’s old 2-cycle fuel economy evaluation. It’s when the EPA’s updated 5-cycle test enters frame that “265 miles” rears its head. For comparison, the 245-mile-rated Roadster and Roadster 2.5 endured the elder cycle while the Nissan Leaf has a 73-mile range under the 5-cycle assessment.

Going from the 2- to 5-cycle test can drastically impact vehicle ratings. The simpler 2-cycle had an approximate weighting of 55-percent city and 45-percent highway use; the more comprehensive 5-cycle is more representative of 43-percent city and 57-percent highway driving. The certifications are run on dynamometers, and the specifics are as follows:

1)      Federal Test Procedure: 2-cycle, 5-cycle

2)      Highway Fuel Economy Driving Schedule: 2-cycle, 5-cycle

3)      Cold Federal Test Procedure (run at ambient 20 vs. 75 degrees Fahrenheit in standard FTP): 5-cycle

4)      SC03 (air conditioning test at ambient 95 degrees F): 5-cycle

5)      US06 (aggressive acceleration test, up to 80 mph): 5-cycle

Exactly how much the 85-kW-hr battery’s claimed range figures matters will likely be determined as Model S driving impressions roll in from customers and media outlets.

Tesla hasn’t disclosed its anticipated EPA ranges for the 160- and 230-mile batteries, but a 12-percent loss like the 300-mile option would peg them at a predicted 141 and 203 miles under the EPA 5-cycle, respectively. The 160- and 230-mile estimates from the respective 40- and 60-kW-hr packs can be achieved from a steady 55-mph cruise, per Tesla spokeswoman KC Simon.

Interestingly, the blog gives insight into the Model S’ range and electricity consumption behavior with graphs. These graphs often have little bearing on the real world since Main Street USA is not a laboratory with fixed inputs. Nevertheless, considering the less expensive Model S is considerably heavier, it’s reassuring to see the family-friendly electric four-door head and shoulders above the Roadster from an efficiency standpoint.

The Model S costs from $57,400 (160-mile battery) to $105,400 (Signature Performance model with 300-mile battery) depending on battery size and trim, excluding the highly touted $7500 federal tax credit that gets applied to your income tax return. Depending on your state of domicile, there may be additional state and local tax credits or rebates as well.

Source: Tesla

By Benson Kong

Tesla Model S 60-kW-h Version Rated at 94/97 MPGe, Goes 208 Miles

Tesla Model S 60-kW-h Version Rated at 94/97 MPGe, Goes 208 Miles

The EPA has released official ratings for the mid-range Tesla Model S with the 60-kw-h battery, which scores a rating of 94/97 mpge city/highway, and 95 mpge combined. In addition, the government agency has rated the mid-level battery pack’s range at 208 miles. Although the 60-kW-h battery provides less range than the 85-kW-h unit, found in our 2013 Car of the Year, the mid-range model uses less energy to travel 100 miles.

Where it takes 38 kW-h of electricity to travel 100 miles in the Model S equipped with the larger battery pack, it requires 35 kW-h of energy to travel 100 miles in the mid-range model. Model S models equipped with the 85-kW-h battery are estimated to travel 265 miles on a single charge while achieving 88/90 mpge, according to the EPA.

Tesla Model S cockpit 300x187 imageDuring three different range verification tests, we were able to travel 233.7 (with an indicated four miles of range left), 211 (74 miles of range left), and 285 miles (three miles of range left) on a single charge in a Model S with the 85-kW-h battery. That equates to 100.7-123.4 mpge – well above the EPA ratings. Just like fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the Model S’ mileage varied depending on load, driving style, terrain, and environmental conditions.

The Model S proved to be efficient in testing, but that’s not all the EV is good at. At the test track, we were able to reach 60 mph in 5.0 seconds with the standard 85-kW-h Model S, and 4.0 seconds in the performance-tuned version.

One more Model S variant is on the way with a 40-kW-h battery pack under the floor. Tesla expects that model to have a range of 160 miles, though that number may come down as the automaker initially expected the 85-kW-h and 60-kW-h batteries to provide 300 mile and 230 miles of range, respectively.

Source: EPA

By Jason Udy

Electrifying Celebration for Musk and Co. at Tesla’s Newport Beach Dealership

Electrifying Celebration for Musk and Co. at Tesla’s Newport Beach Dealership

It’s been a busy few days for the folks at Tesla Motors, perhaps the busiest in company history. Last night, the company capped off an epic week that included a $226.1 million dollar IPO and the debut of its updated Roadster 2.5 with the grand opening celebration of its Newport Beach, California, dealership.

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It’s Tesla’s 8th sales and service operation in the U.S. and 12th worldwide (the company’s 13th store was opened simultaneously in Cophenhagen, Denmark). Although the Newport Beach facility has already been open for a few weeks, that didn’t stop Tesla team members and invited guests from cutting loose. Libations flowed as fancy hors d’oeuvres circulated among the tanned and enhanced revelers and handful of new Roadster 2.5 models spread around the showroom floor. For the young and young at heart, Tesla set up a basic remote control car racing area in the back. Out front, guests were given Roadster rides along PCH. Overall, the mood was optimistic, upbeat — you might even say electric.

CEO Elon Musk was on hand, chatting and posing for photographs with owners and prospective customers. Musk also delivered opening remarks before handing over the keys to a new roadster buyer. Also working the crowd was Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief designer and veteran auto couturier.

Located on the Mariner’s Mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Newport Beach, the dealership is located across the street from the area’s swankiest yacht club, just down the road from several luxury and exotic car purveyors, including Bentley, BMW, Porsche, and Ferrari. It’s an impressive facility befitting its surroundings; fronted by gaudy neo classical columns, the enormous showroom space boasts soaring ceilings and yards of glass. No surprise a Rolls-Royce dealer occupied the space until 2008.

Located at 1100 West Coast Highway, the Newport Beach dealership is also the newest regional hub for Tesla’s mobile service squad, which offers house calls for customers. Technicians Tesla calls “Rangers” will travel throughout the southwestern U.S. to customers’ homes to perform annual inspections, firmware upgrades and other services.

By Edward Loh

Toyota to Pay Tesla $60 Million to Develop RAV4 EVs

Toyota to Pay Tesla $60 Million to Develop RAV4 EVs

In July of this year, we brought you news that Silicon Valley electric vehicle start-up Tesla and Japanese automotive powerhouse Toyota had inked a deal to build electric Toyota RAV4s and today we have more details about the partnership.

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In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla has revealed more details about the nature of its partnership with Toyota. Under the terms of the agreement, Tesla will develop a battery, motor, gearbox, “power electronics module” and all the necessary software for an all-electric version of Toyota’s RAV4 compact SUV.

For their services, Tesla will be paid by Toyota some $60 million over the term of the agreement. Both parties will agree on the final specifications, payment amounts and schedule and the expected results and their schedule within the next 60 days. Toyota announced when the project began in July that the RAV4 EV would reach the market in 2012.

That sum comes in addition to the stake Toyota has already acquired in Tesla. Prior to the initial deal in announced in July, Toyota had agreed to buy $50 million of Tesla’s common stock in a private placement transaction that took effect when Tesla filed its Initial Public Offering, which netted the EV-maker $226 million. Depending on the amount of preferred and common stock offered, Toyota may own up to 22-percent of Tesla now, though the companies have not disclosed the exact ownership arrangement.

As part of the deal, Toyota also sold a portion of its shuttered NUMMI factory in Fremont, California, where the two companies will produce the RAV4 EV together. Tesla also plans to use the plant to produce its upcoming Model S electric sedan.

Source: Tesla

By Scott Evans