Tag archives for 2013 tesla model s

Tesla Model S Scores 99 Rating From Consumer Reports

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There have been a lot of questions swirling around the practicality of owning a Tesla Model S. But with booming sales, and a bevy of raving critic reviews, the cherry on top may be a gushing article in Consumer Reports today that scores the Model S a 99 out of possible 100 points – their highest score for any vehicle in eight years. Is this a turning point for the EV leader?

Consumer Reports scores aren’t always taken seriously by the buying public. In 2011, CR scored the 2012 Honda Civic so low that they knocked it off their Recommended Buy list. Outraged customers responded by buying nearly 318,000 of the econoboxes. But the 99 score is still an eye-popping total from the notoriously stingy CR, and only lends more credence to the rapidly rising reputation of the Model S.

For sure, there’s a lot to like about the Tesla Model S. It even got Consumer Reports to liven up their normally dry text with some sass – “There, we said it.” – and a Back To The Future reference. The review makes the case that the Model S doesn’t score well in spite of its EV powertrain, but that it does so because of it. That’s high praise for a vehicle no one could guarantee would make it to market last year.

Consumer Reports does point out the main obstacles of owning a Model S: Price and range. The model they tested was an 85 kWh Model S, retailing at over $89,000. They also loaded it to the gills with options like the third row jumper seat and extra charging equipment. Meanwhile, they noted that while the 280-mile range is impressive, it’s still not as convenient as gas in some cases.

Still, there were no glitches or breakdowns, no defects or frustrations. The Model S came and saw the status quo, and by conquering Consumer Reports, it’s on the way to stardom.

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By Ryan ZumMallen

Tesla Model S Sales Pass Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf

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The little car company that could, Tesla Motors Inc., is now the domestic leader in electric car sales. The Model S recently surpassed sales of the Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that led regional sales of rechargeable cars in 2012. This news is an undeniable blow to General Motors, though representatives for the Detroit based automaker remain optimistic.

“Any success for a company in this space is helpful for all other makers of plug-in vehicles,” said Jim Cain, a General Motors spokesman. “The single most important thing we can do for plug-ins, to encourage sales, is to have them on the road.”

The sales ranking for the Model S coincides with Tesla saying it would report a first-quarter profit, the first in its ten-year history. When it releases first quarter results, Tesla expects 4,750 deliveries of the electric Models S in North America – compared to GM’s 4,421 sales of the Chevy Volt. The all-electric Nissan Leaf also expects smaller sales figures.

Despite its high base price ($69,900) and its exclusivity in North America, the Model S has been extraordinarily successful and is a critical darling. Always attempting to outdo itself, Tesla has pledged to sell over 20,000 vehicles this year.

GM sold about 30,000 of their respective rechargeable models worldwide last year, but has declined sharing its volume-targets for 2013.

At the North American International Auto Show in January, retired GM executive Bob Lutz spoke with a hologram of inventor Thomas Edison, who was the former employer and later adversary of Nikola Tesla. Edison was revered for generations while Tesla faded into obscurity, despite the fact that cities abandoned Edison’s dangerous direct current electricity system in favor of Tesla’s safer alternating current system.

Perhaps Tesla Motors success is history’s vindication for the brilliant, but ill-fated engineer, or perhaps Tesla Motors just created a better product. Either way, it’s clear to GM that Tesla Motors is more than a novelty – it’s serious competition.

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By Jessica Matsumoto

Tesla Triples Supercharger Network, Eyeing Entire Country

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In response to an EV infrastructure that has basically failed to improve at all in the past five years, Tesla Motors will immediately triple the network of their Supercharger stations and could have hundreds of stations running by the end of 2013.

By the end of June, Tesla expects to have new locations in California, plus the Pacific Northwest, Texas, Illinois and Colorado and four locations on the East Coast for the first time. In six months they expect range to increase into Canada, plus Arizona, South Carolina and Georgia. By then, Tesla says, it will be possible to drive a Tesla Model S from New York to Los Angeles. The big news here is not the triumph for Tesla, but rather the utter embarrassment for every other automaker in the world.

Infrastructure and driving range have always been two of the largest obstacles in convincing the public to buy Electric Vehicles. They are two of the chief reasons, in fact, that automakers like the Big Three dragged their feet and refused to build EVs for many years. People have often looked at Tesla sideways, because no matter how good their cars are, it means nothing without infrastructure.

But where the auto industry saw disaster, Tesla saw opportunity. They are now the leaders in the largest EV infrastructure project ever, and will reap all of the benefits. The Tesla Supercharger systems work only for Tesla vehicles, meaning that owners of the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf or any other EV that isn’t the Tesla Model S can’t use them. Essentially, Tesla figured out how to open the country up to their customers while leaving the door shut on the competition.

This will hurt the auto industry much more than it helps Tesla, and it’s no one’s fault but their own. The prospect of building a nationwide EV infrastructure seems incredibly daunting – and true, we have to wait and see whether it actually all works out – but someone saw fit to make it possible. If GM or Honda or a Toyota-Ford partnership to build similar charging stations had begun five years ago, infrastructure and driving range wouldn’t even be an issue by now. Instead, they didn’t take initiative and are still reluctant to build electric cars. That’s just fine by Tesla.

Today’s announcement forces us to consider whether automakers that have griped about lack of infrastructure and technology costs couldn’t build electric cars, or simply wouldn’t.

It would appear to be the latter, and they’re paying for it now.

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By Ryan ZumMallen

Tesla Repays $465 Million Government Loan Ahead of Schedule

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In the biggest win for the Obama administration’s plan to fund alternative fuel technologies, Tesla Motors today paid off the final $451.8 million in their government loan – nine years ahead of schedule. What does this mean for the future of government funding and the EV industry in the future?

“I would like to thank the Department of Energy and the members of Congress and their staffs that worked hard to create the ATVM program, and particularly the American taxpayer from whom these funds originate,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “I hope we did you proud.”

Tesla also made smaller payments in 2012 and earlier this year, fulfilling the entire $465 million loan entirely with today’s payment. The electric automaker is riding a wave of momentum, as its stock price rocketed after posting their first quarterly profit and receiving a 99/100 score from Consumer Report on their new Model S sedan.

The success of Tesla is due to many factors, especially when compared to recent failures like that of Fisker and Coda. For one, Tesla has the private backing of Musk, who pumped hundreds of millions of his own money into the company during rough times. For another, the Model S has been a massive hit since its release last summer. But vehicle sales alone have not been enough to offset the massive costs of auto production.

Several shrewd business moves proved to take Tesla to the top, from outfitting an old Toyota plant to produce cars rather than buying and building a brand new facility, to a partnership with companies like Mercedes-Benz to develop and sell battery component for use in their future cars.

Tesla seems to be on solid ground for the first time in its ten-year history, thanks to sounds business decisions and, yes, a quality product. Past disasters may have cooled government loans for the time being, but Telsa proves that investing in the right company can go a long way. Their place in the industry now solidified, we have a bright future ahead that includes not only Tesla vehicles, but other brands making better cars thanks to their work.

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Visit theautoMedia.comTesla Research Centerfor quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, mpg and more. Make sure to followautoMedia.comonTwitterandFacebook.

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By Ryan ZumMallen

Tesla And Chrysler In Public Spat Over Loan Repayment

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After the announcement that Tesla had repaid its $456 million loan in full earlier this week, and proclaimed themselves “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government,” the old guard stepped up and took offense. Chrysler soon posted a blogthat called Tesla “unmistakably incorrect” and said that Chrysler has repaid their government loan in full two whole years earlier.

It would have been a great rebuttal. Except it isn’t true.

The bitterness and resentment is understandable. It has been a long and difficult road to recovery for Chrysler, who have had to watch the media and customers fawn over the new EV darling and their stellar Tesla Model S. While things have been looking up for Chrysler lately, with improved sales and significantly better products, Tesla has emerged as an unqualified success and even won over doubters with their loan repayment.

Chrysler saw an opportunity to put the up-start in their place, but Ranieri’s claim is way off base for a number of reasons.

First off, Chrysler isn’t exactly an American company anymore. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted in a Tweet yesterday, Chrysler is now a subsidiary of the Italian giant Fiat, after buying the company following their 2009 bankruptcy.

Second, while Chrysler paid off all $11.2 billion that the U.S. government expected from them (Fiat paid it, actually) six years earlier than necessary, that still left $1.3 billion that will never be recouped. For those keeping score at home, the Tesla loan brought taxpayers a $12 million profit, and the Chrysler loan brought them a $1.3 billion loss.

The auto industry bailout saved thousands of jobs, several iconic American brands and perhaps even the economy itself. Chrysler should be confident with the fact that they’ve used that money wisely and paid off what they could. But they tried to pick on Junior and instead opened up an ugly can of worms. Next time, tell us less about your shaky financial past and much more about what has come out of it. We’re going to go back and read our review of the 2013 SRT Viper now.

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Visit theautoMedia.comTesla Research Centerfor quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, mpg and more. Make sure to followautoMedia.comonTwitterandFacebook.

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By Ryan ZumMallen