Tag archives for 2012 - Page 2

2012 Tesla Model S: Will Winter Weather Ruin Its Range?

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

HI-RES GALLERY: 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011


  • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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    • 2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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The first two 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedans to roll off the Tesla production line last month were shipped to Chicago, where they’re presumably now tooling around in the Midwest’s record-setting summer heat.

But how will the cars’ impressive EPA range of 268 miles hold up six months from now, when the Windy City turns bitterly cold?

For now, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] isn’t answering that question.  A company spokesperson told us that “we’re not yet fully ready to discuss” the car’s range in seriously cold weather.

Tesla’s range-calculator program  (available at its retail stores, but not yet on its website) offers some hints–but it only goes down to a temperature of 32 degrees. That’s fine for the lucky folks in California, but for many of us, 32 degrees in January would be a heat wave.

For a variety of reasons, electric cars suffer a significant loss of range in cold weather. When the temperature hits the teens, my Chevy Volt’s summer range of 40-plus miles drops to about 25 miles–a loss of 40 percent. Nissan Leaf owners report similar numbers.

Will the Model S suffer the same fate, or does Tesla know something that Nissan and Chevy don’t?

For me, that’s not just an academic question. I’m Model S owner number P 717, hoping to take delivery late this year.

I’m currently debating between the basic 40-kWh battery pack (good for 160 miles) and the $10,000-more-expensive 60-kWh battery, good for 230 miles. Those range estimates are both Tesla numbers; the official EPA ratings for range on those two battery-pack capacities have yet to be announced.

My minimum travel requirement is to New York City and back without recharging, which is about 120 miles. At  first, I assumed the 160-mile battery would be enough.

But after living through a winter with the Volt, I’m not so sure.  If the Model S suffers the same 40-percent loss as the Volt, I’m looking at a cold-weather range of 100 miles–which would leave me stranded somewhere on the Palisades Parkway in New Jersey or lower New York state.

So the $10,000 question becomes: In seriously cold weather, will the 2012 Tesla Model S suffer range losses similar to those of the Volt and Leaf?

A few months ago, Elon Musk assured me in a personal e-mail that “we are probably closer to a 20-percent drop than a 40-percent drop.”  (Pretty cool that the CEO will respond in two hours to a customer query out of the blue.)

A blog on Tesla’s website by Musk and company CTO J.B. Straubel says that under “very cold” conditions, range at 55 mph may be reduced by 10 to 15 percent.

Tesla’s Model S range calculator, which I tried out in the Tesla store in White Plains, New York, predicts a loss of  about 8 percent at 50 degrees and 15 percent at 32 degrees. But that’s as low as it goes.

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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If we extrapolate that curve (actually, it’s a straight line) down to 17 degrees, we get a range loss of 21 percent–only about half that of the Volt. Take the curve down to 0 degrees, and we have a 27 percent loss–giving a range of about 118 miles on the 40-kWh, “160-mile” battery. 

But how accurate is that extrapolation?  I’d rather make my $10,000 decision on the basis of real-world testing and experience. And at the moment, almost none of that is publicly available.

According to Tesla’s range calculator, cabin heating causes most of the Model S range loss in cold weather. At 55 mph, the model I’m considering has a range of 170 miles at the ideal 70 degrees.

When the temperature drops to freezing, that range goes down to 145 miles. But if you’re willing to  turn off the heater, range jumps back up to 162 miles.

So what do you think? Should I pony up the extra $10,000 for the bigger battery? Or just bundle up for my winter trips to New York City? Or, maybe just burn some gasoline in the Volt?

Leave me your thoughts in the Comments below.

David Noland is a Tesla Model S reservation holder and freelance writer who lives north of New York City. This is his first article for High Gear Media.

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By David Noland

2014 Tesla Model X Vs. 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: Electric SUV Showdown?

2014 Tesla Model X all-electric crossover with 'Falcon Doors' open

2014 Tesla Model X all-electric crossover with ‘Falcon Doors’ open

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The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is unique, the only all-electric compact sport-utility vehicle sold by a major automaker in the U.S.

Behind the wheel, its Tesla-developed powertrain makes it peppy but quiet, while it maintains all the cargo and people space of the original gasoline version.

There’s really only one vehicle that’s even close to comparable, and that doesn’t exist yet: the 2014 Tesla Model X all-electric crossover, of which prototypes were unveiled in February.

Comparing a real car to a hypothetical one is an exercise in speculation.

But spurred on by a review on TheStreet.com that suggests buyers view the Toyota RAV4 EV as a Tesla for half the price, we decided to do it anyway.

SIZE:The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is a compact crossover, in the popular segment that includes the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Nissan Rogue. The 2014 Tesla Model X, on the other hand, is a segment larger, competing with the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and undoubtedly pricier and more luxurious import-brand SUVs like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Range Rover, and Mercedes-Benz GL. Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] says the Model X has the dimensions of the Audi Q7 but 40 percent more interior space.

SEATING: The RAV4 EV seats four comfortably, five in a pinch. The electric Tesla sport utility, on the other hand, will offer seven seats (as does the Model S sedan with its optional jump seats, though the last two are only child-sized).

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

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WEIGHT: The electric RAV4 weighs 4,030 pounds, while no weight has been given for the Model X. Since it’s larger, we’d expect it to be rather heavier than the Model S sedan on which it’s based, which comes in at 4,650 pounds for the 40-kWh version.

BATTERY SIZE: The RAV4 EV has 41.8 kilowatt-hours of usable pack capacity, though oddly Toyota won’t give the total pack size. The Model X will offer 60-kWh and 85-kWh options, though unlike the Model S sedan, it won’t have a 40-kWh version.

POWER: The Toyota RAV4 EV uses the same electric motor as the Tesla Model S sedan, but its power is limited to 115 kilowatts (154 horsepower) by the battery pack output.The Tesla Model X will likely use the Model S motor–with peak power of 270 kW (362 hp)–in the standard version, and two electric motors (one per axle) of unspecified power for the all-wheel drive model. Tesla says there will be a Model X Performance edition as well.

DRIVE WHEELS: Toyota’s electric RAV4 is offered only in front-wheel drive, although Toyota’s program leader Sheldon Brown said that at least one all-wheel drive prototype was built, adding a second motor at the rear to complement the existing one up front. The Model X will be offered with rear-wheel drive standard, plus an optional all-wheel drive version that adds a second motor for the front wheels.

VOLUME: Toyota will build only 2,600 RAV4 EVs for the 2012 through 2014 model years. Tesla has said it could sell 10,000 to 15,000 Model X crossovers a year once full production levels are reached.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

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PRICE: The list price of the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV is $49,800, with a $2,500 California purchase rebate, and buyers may qualify for a $7,500 Federal tax credit. No price has been announced for the 2014 Model X, but Tesla says prices will be “comparable” to the base prices of the Model S sedans with equivalent battery packs–which are presently $67,400 and $77,400.

In the end, we think we agree with TheStreet.com writer Anton Wahlman, who suggests that (California) buyers who are eager to drive a Tesla as soon as possible consider the less glamorous, far less sexy RAV4 EV for its powertrain and electric performance.

He also suggests that it would be the perfect complement for the Model S owner who doesn’t want to wait two years for a Model X.

Ah, if only we lived in THAT world ….

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By John Voelcker

Tesla Model S Already A Future Classic? Auto Library Thinks So

2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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Put a group of auto enthusiasts in a room, ply them with suitable amounts of alcohol, and soon conversation will turn to ‘future classics’.

The term refers to a modern car which gains the kind of respect and appeal of a classic vehicle in its lifetime, guaranteeing it a similar status many years in the future.

And according to some, the Tesla Model S electric sedan already makes the grade.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Detroit’s National Automotive History Collection has already decreed the Model S a “collectible vehicle of the future”.

Of all the models released in 2012, it’s the Model S which is most likely to be desired by future car collectors–that’s the suggestion of Friends of the NAHC, which supports the automotive archive at the Detroit Public Library.

Members vote annually on the North American-built vehicle most likely to reach classic status–and Palo Alto-based Tesla’s sedan is the first non-Detroit vehicle to be declared a collectible.

The honor is the latest in an increasing roster of achievements for the electric luxury sedan, including our own Best Car To Buy 2013 title.

The Model S joins other big American names such as the 2010 Chevy Camaro, 2008 Dodge Challenger and 2005 Ford Mustang on the list–as well as last year’s winner, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

Given the car’s significance, current-day appeal and it’s assured future classic status, we’d go as far as saying the Model S is a modern classic–a significant vehicle which already defines its time, and praised highly by auto enthusiasts.

Can you think of any other green vehicles which might become classics? Let us know in the comment section below.

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By Antony Ingram

Tesla Buoyant After 2012 Model S Launch, Despite Losses

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012


2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

2012 Tesla Model S, brief test drive, New York City, July 2012

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After nothing to sell for nearly six months, an age of anticipation, media hype and short, chaperoned rides, Tesla began official deliveries of its all-electric 2012 Model S sedan just over a month ago.

So its hardly surprising that the fledgling car company has just posted net losses of $105.6 million for the second quarter of 2012, up from $58,9 million for the same quarter last year. 

Losses widen, revenue down

According to the official financial results released by Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA], sales revenue during the same period has dropped by 54 percent to $27 million.

Of that $27 million, Tesla reports, $22 million came from automotive sales, up by 15 percent from Q1 2012. 

While some of that will have been raised from early Model S sales, Tesla also sold 89 of its remaining Roadsters to International customers.

Research revenue down

Because the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV is now entering production — a car Tesla designed the drivetrain for — Tesla reports its developmental revenue has dropped dramatically compared to its previous quarter. 

However, with a new project now underway to build an all-electric drivetrain for Mercedes Benz, this should be a temporary glitch. 

Tesla also notes that it received some of its Q2 revenue from powertrain component sales to Toyota for its soon-to-launch electric crossover SUV. 

DOE Loans

In its official investor documentation, Tesla reports that it plans to draw the remaining $33 million in low-interest loans available to it under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program “in the next few months”. 

However, with a waiting list of 10-11 months for its 2012 Model S, and the top-spec 2012 Model S Signature Series already sold out, Tesla is predicting that it will be cash flow breakeven by the end of 2012, commencing Loan repayments as early as December 2012. 

Model S on track

Both in its official financial report, and in its subsequent earnings call, Tesla was keen to reiterate that its production plans for 2012 remain at 5,000 cars, despite a drop in scheduled production during the third quarter

CEO Elon Musk said during the earnings call that the automaker plans to to make “at least 20,000” Model S cars next year, with the possibility of a second shift to push that to 30,000 if needed. 

With more than 11,500 confirmed orders for the all-electric sedan, Musk isn’t shy about his expectations. 

“This accelerating pace of reservations makes us confident that demand will surpass 20,000 Model S units for full-year 2013 deliveries,” he is quoted as saying in the report. 

Next few months critical

With Tesla buoyant about the coming months, the automaker is hoping to transition from a small, boutique automaker into a slightly more mainstream automaker. 

However, it’s worth noting that even with production volumes of 30,000 cars a year, Tesla is likely to remain one of the smallest volume automakers in the U.S. for many years to come. 

Regardless of production volumes however, the next few months — including the continued rollout of the 2012 Model S — remain critical to the company’s future. 

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By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive Video

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With Tesla Motors opening new Tesla Stores at a rapid pace, the 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedan has now been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Thus far, however, very few of them, however, have gotten behind the wheel.

Tesla’s working to change that, with a traveling nationwide roadshow from now through early August that aims to put 5,000 Model S reservation holders in the driver’s seat for a few minutes each.

Yesterday, we got our first test drive of the 2012 Tesla Model S. The video above should give you a small taste of what our drive was like.

We really had only about 20 or 25 minutes behind the wheel of the new electric luxury sedan from Silicon Valley startup carmaker Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], but it gave us a little taste of what owners will start to experience as Model S deliveries slowly ramp up.

The car is quiet, quick–especially the high-end Model S Signature Series Performance model we drove–and smooth.

The 17-inch central touchscreen display is astounding–see a photo gallery of display screenshots here–and easy to use but not distracting.

And with some light jazz playing as we tooled around lower Manhattan, we came to the preliminary conclusion that indeed the 2012 Tesla Model S is a viable car.

It’s also fun to drive, and unlike the crude, cramped Roadster–hellaciously fun in its own way, but not all that practical–we can easily imagine using it as a daily vehicle.

If, that is, we had the cash to cover the sticker price, which on our top-end test car was somewhere around $100,000.

If you’re all about the acceleration, there’s a bit at 0:40 and another burst at 2:30. But watch the whole thing to see the touchscreen and a lot more.

There’s one narration error: At the very end, “2010 Tesla Model S” should obviously be 2012. Sorry ’bout that.

Special thanks to our pal Noonz, who cheerfully let himself be pressed into service as cameraman.

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By John Voelcker

2012 Tesla Model S: Early Buyers Get 1 Year Of Data Free

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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If you’ve got a brand new 2012 Tesla Model S sitting in your garage–or you’re soon to have one delivered–then life is probably pretty sweet right now.

Not that it can’t be improved, of course.

Drivers of Model S cars in Signature trim, denoting the first models delivered, also get a year’s worth of mobile data at no extra cost, says Tesla (via Engadget).

When your car has a massive, 17-inch internet-connected touchscreen dominating the center console, that’s pretty useful. Those first owners won’t have to pay a penny to use the screen’s Google maps facility, nor listen to music via the internet.

The free data will also ensure that owners can make the most of other features, like browsing the web for somewhere nearby to eat, creating personalized online channels for music and radio, and automatically-updating cover art for songs.

Owners of post-Signature Model Ss will of course be able to use all these features too, but they won’t be lucky enough to have Telsa pick up the tab.

What aspect of Tesla’s large touchscreen display would you find most useful as an owner? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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By Antony Ingram

2013 Tesla Model S Beats 2013 BMW M5 In Straight-Line Drag Race


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There’s no denying that electric cars have lots of torque from standstill, meaning they can out-accelerate most cars in the stop-light derby to 30 mph. 

But what happens beyond that? Could a car like the 2012 Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA] Model S Performance beat the sporty, race-bred 2013 BMW M5 in a 0-100 mph drag race, for example? 

Automobile Magazine’s Ezra Dyer decided to find out, with a straight-line drag race.

On paper, the 2013 BMW M5 looks to be the clear winner: it is almost 300 lighter than the 2013 Tesla Model S, and produces both more power and more torque than the all-electric luxury sedan. 

In reality, the instant 443 pound-feet of torque at 0 rpm gave the Tesla Model S Performance a clear advantage off the line, smoothly accelerating away while its gas-guzzling competitor scrabbled for traction. 

By the middle of the 0-100 mph dash, there was a clear car length or more between the quietly humming Tesla and the snarling M5. 

As the end of the race approached however, the M5’s 4.4 liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 started to close the the gap, crossing the finish line  a few feet from the Tesla’s rear bumper. 

From the video, it’s clear to see that the M5 didn’t get the cleanest of starts, possibly due to its notoriously difficult-to-engage launch control.

 

2013 BMW M5

2013 BMW M5

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And had it continued beyond 100 mph, the M5 would have continued to close the gap, with its 155mph electronically limited top speed easily beating the Tesla Model S’s electronically limited 130 mph. 

In everyday–or legal–driving, however, the Tesla Model S wins hands down. 

With both cars costing roughly the same, which would you choose, and why? 

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below. 

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By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

More Updates For 2012 Tesla Model S: Voice Commands, Faster Acceleration

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

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Tesla has released details of an impending software update, for the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sedan.

Among the changes, owners will now be able to use new features like an app launcher and voice commands, while seeing improvements to some of the controls, and even acceleration response.

New features

First of the new features introduced in the update is a “vehicle sleep” mode.

This is aimed at reducing energy use while the vehicle is off, powering down the vehicle display and electronics to a “sleep” state when the car is turned off.

Tesla notes that this does mean the displays will take a little longer to boot up, but drivers can choose whether to turn this feature on or off. Turning it on is beneficial to those who may not recharge every time they’re parked up–the company says that leaving the displays on uses the equivalent of 8 miles of energy per day when the car is not plugged in.

An App Launcher is also included in the update, letting users pick where they wish a launched app to be displayed–in the top or bottom half of the screen–by dragging and dropping the item on the touchscreen.

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

2012 Tesla Model S display screen [Photo: Flickr user jurvetson]

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Finally, voice commands are now available.

Drivers can use this to listen to music, use the navigation system, or call contacts–all using simple commands like “listen”, “drive to” and “call”, while holding down the voice command button on the steering wheel.

Improvements

A series of subtle enhacements are included in the updates.

Most noteworthy are the synchronized door handles and the improved throttle response.

The former means that all doorhandles now present and retract together. All door handles will remain extended for a minute after the last door closes, before all retracting in unison.

The latter will also be welcome for Model S drivers. The car has never been short on speed, but Tesla has re-tuned the “throttle” response for what it calls a smoother, crisper feel. This should make the Model S even quicker in real-world driving.

Additionally, drivers can switch the vehicle alarm on or off, choose between metric or imperial units, choose whether the door handles auto-present when unlocking the car, and a ‘Range Driving Mode’ reduces the climate control’s effectiveness to the benefit of conserving range.

Model S owners will be presented with an update scheduling screen when the update becomes available, and the software will be updated wirelessly.

(Hat tip to Brian Henderson)

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By Antony Ingram

Jay Leno Drives 2012 Tesla Model S Electric Car (Video)

Larger-than-life TV presenter Jay Leno is known for his love and obsession of cars–and not just those fueled by gasoline.

To prove it, he tests one of the hottest electric cars around in his latest video–the 2012 Tesla Model S.

The comedian even counts a 1909 Baker Electric among his personal collection, as well as a Chevrolet Volt–as long as it has wheels, he doesn’t discriminate.

Not that many discriminate against the Model S, which has performance that even dyed-in-the-wool gasoline-heads can appreciate.

And Jay does his best to highlight that right at the start of the video (and the end), with a smoky getaway to prove that even electric cars can still do burnouts.

The rest of the test is a little more factual, but Jay comes away impressed–rating the car’s ride, performance and technology. The long range is commended too–Tesla says 300 miles on the 85 kWh battery pack, and officially the EPA rates it at 265 miles.

In fact, he finds very little to criticize, even offering a few words of wisdom to gasoline-only enthusiasts–the more electric cars there are, the less gas is wasted on boring commutes. That just means more for weekend toys…

His verdict? A fairly understated “Pretty cool”. We wonder how long it’ll be until a Model S turns up in Jay’s own collection…

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By Antony Ingram

Update On 2012 Tesla Model S Production: 1,000 Bodies

1,000th body for 2012 Tesla Model S on display at Tesla Motors factory, Fremont, CA, Oct 28, 2012

1,000th body for 2012 Tesla Model S on display at Tesla Motors factory, Fremont, CA, Oct 28, 2012

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Tesla Motors is often frustratingly opaque about the company’s progress in getting its 2012 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan up to mass production.

Hard numbers come only from quarterly reports filed with the SEC–and sporadic tweets from Elon Musk, its CEO.

According to one of those tweets yesterday, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] built its 1,000th body shell for the Model S, presumably on or around Sunday, October 28.

Musk’s tweet said the company had completed more Model S cars in October than in the entire rest of the year, from the start of production in May or June through the end of September.

The CEO included a photo of more than 100 Tesla factory workers gathered around the body, with a crude cardboard sign saying “We loaded 1,000″ propped in front.

There appears to be no way for journalists to verify Musk’s statement independently.

On September 15, Musk had tweeted, “Tesla made 100 vehiclebodies this week for the first time. Really proud of the team!”

Although Musk identified the body in that photo as serial number 396, the company’s Christina Ra said the number of 400 bodies built was inaccurate.

She would not provide any information to back up this claim, beyond saying that the serial number was not indicative in this case.

Clearly, if 1,000 bodies have just been assembled, the number of finished cars that have been completed is lower, and the number delivered to customers lower than that.

Tesla has been slower to ramp up production of the Model S than it had planned.

Since June 22, when it delivered its first 2012 Model S cars to paying customers, it took six weeks for the company to reach a total of 50 cars built.

In late September, Tesla said in a statement filed with the SEC that it expects to sell only 2,700 to 3,225 cars by the end of the year, rather than the 5,000 it had previously forecast.

Still, if 1,000 bodies have been assembled, the company would seem to have a shot at meeting those revised targets if its production rate continues growing as it has to date.

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By John Voelcker