Archives for Rumors - Page 2
Porsche may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think electric vehicles. However Ferdinand Porsche developed what is believed to be the first hybrid car in 1906 for Austrian car builder Lohner. In the last few years, Porsche has begun using modern hybrid technology to increase efficiency in their SUVs and even a few race cars. The forward thinking company is again looking forward by building three full electric Boxsters to test the practicality of the drivetrain and current state of infrastructure in place for the use of electric powertrains.
Details are still scarce, but the vehicles are said to have one or two electric motors with as much as 180KW or roughly 240 horsepower. While this is 15 horsepower short of a standard gas-powered Boxster, the electric version undoubtedly stomps it in torque output. Porsche claims the Boxster E is capable of performance figures that match a Boxster S.
The three Boxster E’s are currently just rolling laboratories for testing the propulsion technology and the infrastructure needed to maintain electric vehicles. Porsche currently has no plans of a full electric production vehicle. However with hybrids currently for sale and possibility of their next super car using a kinetic energy recovery system, this work surely won’t go to waste. If at some point in the future we are all forced to commute in electric vehicles, wouldn’t you rather it rolled out of a factory known for building race cars rather than refrigerators?
Give us your opinion on this; are electric vehicles the way forward, and if so, do you want manufacturers to make them as entertaining as possible, or should we just throw in the shop towel?
Source: Porsche AG
By Mike Febbo
The Tesla Model S has never been marketed or positioned as a mass-market volume play along the lines of the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt, but despite the car’s not-insignificant purchase price, the Palo Alto, California-based company is expected to report first-quarter sales of the Model S surpassing the Leaf and Volt, making the Model S the best-selling plug-in vehicle for the quarter, according to Bloomberg.
Tesla is expected to report 4750 deliveries of the Model S when it releases first-quarter sales and financial results. The Volt sold 4421 units and the leaf sold 3695 units in the same period. This accomplishment follows the company’s earlier announcement of a new fleet of loaner vehicles and a “no-fault” battery warranty, as well as the expectation it will post its first-ever quarterly profit.
General Motors spokesperson Jim Cain lauded Tesla’s apparent victory, saying, “Any success for a company in this space is helpful for all other makers of plug-in vehicles.”
Although the Model S has taken the lead for this quarter, both the Volt and the Leaf have been on-sale longer than the Model S, and have more affordable starting prices than the premium Model S, which can crest six figures in top-of-the-line trim. Despite Tesla’s apparent successes, many auto industry analysts remain skeptical of the company’s long-term viability.
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.
By Ben Timmins
The NUMMI venture between Toyota and General Motors may be long gone, but some of that partnership’s parts and equipment will live on with Tesla.
The electric vehicle company just bought $15 million worth of assets from the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California.
This follows Tesla’s agreement to purchase the plant for about $42 million. In July, Tesla and Toyota announced an electric version of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 SUV would be produced.
It’s possible the purchase of this equipment will help Tesla meet its deadlines for the Model S five-door. The car, according to Tesla, will head from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and last 300 miles to a charge.
Shares of Tesla’s stock, which opened at $17 a share, closed at $19.10 on August 20.
Source: The Street, Tesla
By Zach Gale
Greg Emmerson of European Car joins the roundtable discussion on this episode of Wide Open Throttle to discuss his recent Head 2 Head comparison of the BMW E30 M3, Scion FR-S, and Volkswagen GTI. Jessi Lang, Jonny Lieberman, Angus MacKenzie, and Ron Kiino also discuss the crowded entry-luxury segment as well as the future of new and existing electric vehicle manufacturers.
Despite the classic BMW’s high cost of entry when it was new and similar performance to the more affordable FR-S, Emmerson defends the E30 M3 and GTI against the rear-drive Scion sports car. Next, the conversation moves to the entry-luxury market with Scion and Mazda wanting to move up and Mercedes-Benz and Audi strengthening their entry-level presence with the CLA and A3 four-doors. After talking about Scion’s original purpose of bringing younger buyers into the Toyota fold and then move them into Toyota and Lexus products, Lieberman questions how the youth brand can move upmarket. The panel then debates what constitutes luxury.
Just a day after Fisker executives were questioned by a government committee about the company’s $529 million loan, the latest Wide Open Throttle video crew discuss the fate of struggling Fisker, profitable Tesla, and newcomer Detroit Electric. Emmerson notes that BMW will soon introduce the i3 and i8 electric vehicles, and wonders how it will affect other mainstream brands as well as the newer EV makers.
Check out the video below to hear the full discussion.
By Jason Udy
The Zero Race, an appropriately named zero-emissions race designed to raise awareness about environmentally friendly vehicles, started its 18,000-mile, 80-day journey in Switzerland earlier this week.
Zero Race began in Geneva, Switzerland, and the competitors — four small teams that specially designed their electric vehicles — will make their way through Berlin to Shanghai, China. After their trip to the Far East, they’ll resume the race in Vancouver, Canada, and then on to Cancun, Mexico, in time for the World Climate Change Conference that starts November 29.
Over the course of the next few months, the competitors will cover more than 18,000 miles and travel for more than 80 days. All four of the competing vehicles are powered by electricity acquired from renewable resources, such as wind or the sun. Each vehicle can achieve a minimum speed of 55 mph and travel 155 miles between charges. In this fashion, the teams will travel the world without the vehicles ever emitting a pollutant from exhaust or from an electrical source. However, as the vehicles need to be shipped across several oceans, the event won’t be completely emissions-free.
Although called a race, time is anything but the determining factor in who wins. The competitors are scored on their reliability during the race, energy efficiency, safety, performance, and design popularity as scored by spectators along the way. At the end of the race, the competitor with the highest score wins.
“Such a clean technology initiative underscores the importance of individual efforts in building a green, low-carbon future for the world,” said United Nations Environment Program executive director Achim Steiner.
The race reflects growing interest in low-emissions vehicles. This interest, along with government incentives and regulations, has pushed automotive manufacturers to investigate hybrid and electric vehicles, such as the upcoming Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. The small, startup automaker Tesla only builds electric vehicles, such as its Roadster and planned Model S sedan.
Head over to Zero Race’s Web site to view the competitors’ progress as they make their way around the world and look for the race to end at the World Climate Change Conference in November.
Source: Zero Race, Bloomberg
We’ve already seen Tesla’s Model S and Model X, but we now hear that the electric automaker is working on a midsize sedan to take on the BMW 3 Series, and may also have its sights set on the pickup truck market.
So far, Tesla has only produced the Lotus-Elise-based Roadster and Model S large hatchback, but with the latter car’s bespoke platform done, the sky’s the limit. The Model X all-electric sport utility vehicle is already planned with its crazy falcon wing-style door and is slated to start production late in 2013, reaching dealers early in 2014.
We hear from Autocar that Tesla’s followup to the Model X will be a midsize premium sedan, in the vein of the BMW 3 Series. The car would be smaller than the Model S and also have a smaller price tag than the current car’s $49,000 sticker — Tesla design chief Franz Von Holzhausen said that company bosses are shooting for the car to have a $30,000 price on the base model.
The addition of a 3-Series-sized car to the Tesla EV range makes sense — it would give Tesla a larger customer base — but what Von Holzhausen said next was a bit more puzzling. “There will be a time and place for us to develop something around a pickup,” he told Autocar.
At first glance, the idea of Tesla leaving its eco-luxury roots and making a workhorse pickup truck seems odd, but Von Holzhausen did say that the Tesla’s electric powertrain would have suitable torque to make a good pickup truck. If Tesla could make an all-electric pickup at or near the same $30,000 price point as the upcoming 3 Series fighter, it would be an interesting entrant into the shrinking market of fuel-efficient pickups, especially now that midsize pickups like the Ram Dakota and Ford Ranger have died.
The 3 Series rival could bow as early as 2015, with the pickup following some time later.
By Ben Timmins
Hybrids and electric vehicles may not stimulate the senses as much as, say, a highly strung V-10 with a six-speed manual transmission, but at least said alternative-power vehicles look more exciting today than they ever have before. Today’s Tesla Roadster was nowhere near physical conception two decades ago, and today we are graced with a bevy of electric-motor-assisted and electric-motor-driven vehicles that look as visually appealing as their conventionally powered counterparts. What do you believe is the best-looking hybrid or electric vehicle?
Thanks to Futurearchitect for today’s TOTD!
Eight Cars We’d Be Surprised to See With Lambo Doors
By Benson Kong
A new option pack for the Tesla Model S electric car is supposed to give it “supercar handling.” The Performance Plus option is a $6500 suspension upgrade for the Model S that is designed 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. (We found that a car so equipped can even outrun a BMW M5.)
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
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.
By Jake Holmes