Tag archives for Hybrid Car/EV - Page 2

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

Lots of car doors open when you have $50,000 to spend. A 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca and a base 2013 Porsche Boxster cost about $50,000, but if an electric-powered crossover is more your style, then you’ll also have enough to afford the Toyota RAV4 EV, set to go on sale later this summer with an asking price of $49,800, before credits.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV instrument panel 300x187 imageIs that asking too much? Toyota doesn’t think so. Ed Larocque, Toyota USA’s national marketing manager for advanced technology vehicles, defended the RAV4 EV’s price point to WardsAuto: “All things considered, [including] what you’re getting with the product, we think it’s priced right for the market in California.” Following the initial launch in California, Toyota will decide what U.S. markets will get the RAV4 EV.

The RAV4 EV includes a powertrain developed with Tesla Motors. Toyota claims it will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds in sport mode and 8.6 seconds in normal mode, while reaching a top speed of 100 mph. Its lithium-ion battery pack will need about 6 hours to charge (level 2, 240V), providing a range of 92-113 miles, depending on driving modes and conditions. Standard creature comforts include navigation, heated front seats, and seating surfaces wrapped in Toyota’s new Neutron fabric.

Last but not least are the tax credits. Combining the federal tax credit of $7500 with California’s $2500 credit and the RAV4 EV’s price was knocked down to about $39,990. By comparison, the all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchback is $36,050 (before credits), while a fully loaded 2012 RAV4 Limited AWD V-6 is priced at $32,820.

Source: WardsAuto, Toyota

By Erick Ayapana

Toyota, Tesla Come Together, Companies Seal $100 Million RAV4 EV Deal

Toyota, Tesla Come Together, Companies Seal $100 Million RAV4 EV Deal

Toyota and Tesla have joined forces in producing battery packs and motors for the upcoming electric RAV4 in what was previously a $60 million deal, but now, the Japanese automaker is forking over more money and officially making it a $100 million deal.

The RAV4 EV, set to go into production next year, was rumored to only be available for fleet sales, but we shed light on those claims earlier this week. Toyota said in a press release that the electric SUV would be available to the public.

The EV SUV was first introduced some 14 years ago, but never fared well, like most other electrics during that time. But this time around may be different, considering more customers are taking the electric path, not to mention battery technology has improved exponentially since then.  Toyota anticipates learning from the electric vehicle start-up company’s savviness in electric battery technology, while perhaps having the Tesla-touch boost sales. As part of the give-and-take deal, the Japanese automaker will assist the electric roadster company with its expertise in mass production.

The agreement will run until 2014, in which Tesla, together with Toyota, will build lithium-ion battery packs for the RAV4 at the NUMMI auto assembly plant in Fremont, California. Tesla’s new Model S electric sedan will also be produced at the same facility.

Source: Bloomberg

By Karla Sanchez

Tesla Improves Resale Value Guarantee, Adds Longer Term Loans

Tesla Improves Resale Value Guarantee, Adds Longer Term Loans

In response to criticism surrounding Tesla’s announcement on its new financing option, CEO Elon Musk has revised the terms by offering a new resale guarantee and longer-term loans, both of which should make owning a Model S a little easier.

2013 Tesla Model S left view 300x187 image“When we first did the financing option, we didn’t get it quite right,” said Musk during a live webcast on the subject. We found Tesla’s claimed savings were too exaggerated when we broke down the numbers last month, but Tesla says they’ll make more sense now. To start, the company now guarantees a resale value of 50 percent after three years (ratings by ALG), up from the previous 43 percent. That figure will be adjusted in the future to keep it above its luxury sedan competition. “If we really believe we’re making the best car, we believe it should have the best resale value,” Musk said. That means Tesla’s guarantee should assure the residual value will be higher than premium sedans from Mercedes-Benz BMW, Audi, Jaguar, and Lexus.

In addition, the company has extended loans to 72 months instead of 63 months. The 12,000-mile annual limit has also been increased to 15,000 miles. Tesla’s True Cost of Ownership Model S Calculator online is a bit more conservative now, as well.

After the first financing option was announced, Tesla has seen more interest in the 60 kW-hr model, but most buyers still go with the 85 kW-hr car. “What we’re saying is you’ll get 20 percent more cash in three years,” Musk said.

With Tesla’s ultimate goal of making the Model S more accessible to interested consumers, we’re thinking the best way to accomplish that goal is to simply introduce a less expensive car.

Source: Tesla

By Karla Sanchez

Tesla Model S to go on Sale Next Month, Ahead of Schedule

Tesla Model S to go on Sale Next Month, Ahead of Schedule

Electric carmaker Tesla delivered a bittersweet announcement today. First the good news – the upcoming Tesla Model S will go on sale next month, ahead of schedule. Bad news? The automaker posted a loss of $89.9 million during the first quarter of this year, which is significantly more than the $48.9 million it lost during the first quarter of 2011.

Despite that, Automotive News reports that Tesla is expecting its total revenue for 2012 to be at least $560 million. It originally predicted $550 million in revenue, but boosted the forecast due to the early launch of the Model S. Looking even further ahead, CEO Elon Musk is optimistic that his company will be profitable in 2013, predicting a 25 percent gross margin.

The arrival of the Model S can’t come soon enough for the automaker. Production of the Tesla Roadster ended last year and according to The Detroit News, only a couple hundred Tesla Roadsters remain in Asian and European showrooms. Additionally, 2012 Tesla Model S Front Three Quarters 300x187 imageTesla expects it will soon exhaust the $465 million loan it received from the Department of Energy.

Despite the lack of vehicles available for test drives, Tesla says that there has been much interest in the Model S. According to The Detroit News¸ there are at least 10,000 pre-order requests for the upcoming EV, which will be built at Tesla’s assembly plant in Northern California.

Compared to the Tesla Roadster, which carried a price tag that neared six figures, the Model S will be relatively affordable with a base price of $49,000 following tax credits. It will be offered with three battery options that offer ranges between 160 to 300 miles per charge. Additionally, the Model S will have the ability to recharge its battery to 80 percent capacity when plugged into a fast charger. Among its long list of notable features is its rear-facing, third-row seats (boosting passenger capacity to seven) and its 17-inch, touchscreen infotainment display.

Tesla hopes to sell 5000 units by the end of 2012 and plans to produce 20,000 units annually once its plant is running at full speed. The automaker will start selling the Model S after it clears the required crash tests.

“I do not know where we are in the [NHTSA testing] queue, Musk told the Automotive News. “We are very confident that it will be a five-star safety rating, the safest car on the road. We have certain architectural advantages, like a much longer crumple zone in the front because we don’t have to make room for an engine.”

Source: Automotive News (subscription required), The Detroit News

By Erick Ayapana

Tesla Releases New Photos of Model S Sedan as Production Nears

Tesla Releases New Photos of Model S Sedan as Production Nears

Although initially slated to go on sale this year, the Tesla Model S seems to be inching closer to production. The electric car maker has just released new pictures of its Model S Alpha pre-production test vehicle, and, at least on styling alone, it looks ready to take on the competition in the midsize luxury market.

Looking similar to the silver Alpha test car Tesla showed us a while back, this sinewy black model sharpens its sheetmetal with sleek headlamps, chrome detailing, and smoked taillights. Compared to the original concept car we first saw back in early 2009, the latest rendition of the Model S has exchanged many of its rounded edges for taught creases and a more aggressive front clip. More traditional air inlets on the lower front fascia, wheels that look production-ready, and squarer side mirrors help to better bring into focus what the final car will look like.

The Model S won’t go on sale until late next year, starting at $57,000 before a $7500 federal tax credit. That is for the 160-mile range battery pack – a 230-mile pack will run buyers $67,000, and the 300-mile range Model S will start at a cool $77,000. The first cars to roll off of the Freemont, California assembly line will all be limited-edition Model S Signature versions with the 300-mile range pack, each of which required a $40,000 refundable deposit from prospective customers; all other Model S versions require $5000 down to save a spot. As of May 2009, Tesla already had over 1000 orders for the car.

According to Tesla’s website, the second phase of the testing for the Model S — called Beta — will begin this fall with will be production-intent vehicles built at the factory, and full series production will begin in the middle of 2012.

Source: Tesla

By Donny Nordlicht

Unlikely Rivals: Tesla Model S Challenges BMW M5 to a Drag Race in New Video

Unlikely Rivals: Tesla Model S Challenges BMW M5 to a Drag Race in New Video

We’ve tested the Tesla Model S and driven Elon Musk’s personal car to test its range — what else is left to evaluate about the fully electric premium four-door? A drag race with a new BMW M5 would be a good place to start, and that’s exactly what Automobile magazine has done in a new video.

The contender with an internal combustion engine is the new BMW M5 sedan, which is powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 producing 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Though the 2013 M5 still carries a gas guzzler tax, the eight-cylinder super-sedan is EPA-rated at 14/20 city/highway with the twin-clutch automatic and 15/22 with a six-speed manual — marked improvements over the last-generation M5′s 11/17 mpg with its V-10 engine.

Then there’s the Tesla Model S, which has “just” 416 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque from its electric powertrain but, in top P85 trim, is more expensive than the German four-door. The Tesla is EPA-rated at 88/90 MPGe. While the Model S of course lacks an engine note, the car can launch off the line far quicker than the M5.

Though one of the four-doors is clearly ahead by the time they reach the finish line, the other appears to be closing in. Watch the video below to find out which car wins in Automobile magazine’s drag race.

Source: Automobile magazine via YouTube

By Zach Gale

Thread of the Day: Tesla Model S, BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG, or Porsche Panamera Turbo S?

Thread of the Day: Tesla Model S, BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG, or Porsche Panamera Turbo S?

It may be an electric car, but the 2012 Tesla Model S is fast. Stupid fast. In our exclusive First Test and Range Verification, a 2012 Model S Signature Performance 85 accelerated from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and completed the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph, making it the fastest American sedan we’ve ever tested.

The Tesla Model S’ performance numbers become even more impressive once you realize that there isn’t a huge rumbling V-8 under the hood, but a 416-hp/443-lb-ft AC electric motor in back powering the rear wheels. Also impressive is the fact that the very same Model S that recorded those numbers traveled from Los Angeles, to San Diego, and back without recharging.

Ignoring its green credentials, the Tesla Model S’ performance figures puts it in German super sedan territory, right up against the gas-guzzling BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, and Porsche Panamera Turbo S. All three sedans have twin-turbo V-8s making upwards of 550 hp under the hood. Check out the chart to see how they all break down:

Base Price Weight Power 0-60 mph 60-0 mph Lateral Grip
BMW M5 $92,095 4384 lb 560 hp 3.7 sec 110 ft 0.94 g
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG $96,805 4256 lb 550 hp 3.9 sec 113 ft 0.92 g
Porsche Panamera Turbo S $176,275 4388 lb 550 hp 3.5 sec 105 ft 1.00 g
Tesla Model S P85 $105,400 4766 lb 416 hp 3.9 sec 105 ft 0.92 g

That brings us to today’s Thread of the Day. If you had to choose between the M5, CLS63 AMG, Panamera Turbo S, and Tesla Model S, which would you choose and why? Sound off in the comments below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Tesla Reports 2012 Losses, Expects Positive Q1 2013

Tesla Reports 2012 Losses, Expects Positive Q1 2013

Starting a new car company is hard. Tesla has been finding that out, and it has reported larger losses in 2012 than it did in 2013. It’s not all bad, though – the company is now building 400 Model S cars per day and is on track to produce 20,000 of them this year.

Indeed, the automaker says much of its red ink stems directly from ramping up production of the Model S, the company’s sole product at this point in time. The company says it is now churning out 400 units a day, and is allegedly on track to build roughly 20,000 copies by the end of 2013.

2013 Tesla Model S rear three quarter 1 300x187 imageThe negative numbers don’t seem to have placed a damper on Tesla’s outlook.  CEO Elon Musk stated during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday, “We really have a very high confidence that we will have a profitable first quarter, and this is the very first quarter that we have been at our target production rate.” It’s because Tesla has only just got up and running with its 400-unit-per-day rate that we don’t have full sales numbers yet; the company is still working through a backlog of orders on the Model S – unsurprising, given how impressed we were when we named the Model S our Car of the Year. That said, it still reported sales of 2400 cars in the fourth quarter of 2012 and has grown its international store total to 32. A total of 2650 Model S cars were sold in 2012.

Tesla is aiming to increase its global retail footprint to 52 stores by the end of this year, and also hopes to roll out a leasing program for the Model S and to continue expanding its Supercharger network. Musk stated that the expansion plans will only help to propel the company’s growth, as it currently has “over 15,000″ reservations for the Model S and expect to post a quarterly profit for Q1 of 2013. Ambitious goals, and we’ll have to wait and see how they shake out over the course of 2013.

Sources: Telsa, Automotive News (Subscription required)

By Donny Nordlicht

Update: Tesla Says No Pending Completed Loan Applications with DOE

Update: Tesla Says No Pending Completed Loan Applications with DOE

Following the bankruptcy of solar-panel maker Solyndra, the House Republicans are eager to cut green-jobs programs. – The ill-fated solar panel manufacturer was the first company to receive money from the Obama administration’s green-tech stimulus loan. One of the other programs under scrutiny is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program (ATVM). The same program loaned Tesla Motors $465 million back in June 2009.

Tesla used the ATVM loan to open an electric powertrain facility at its Palo Alto headquarters and revamp the former NUMMI plant to build the Model S electric sedan.

Earlier this week the automaker posted a blog on its website defending the program. Tesla says it employed 400 people before the original loan. The loan helped add 1000 jobs and plans to add another 1000 jobs in the next year.

Tesla’s website doesn’t specify how much in additional loans the company needs or what it would be used for. It does say that the electric automaker “has raised an additional $620 million in private investment capital.”

The last line on the blog post says, “Tesla has no pending completed applications with the DOE.”

In light of government spending cuts and a bankrupt solar-panel manufacturer, do you think Tesla should be asking for another loan from the federal government?

Update 09/28/2011, 10:40 a.m.
A follow up call to Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn confirmed the last line of the company’s blog post: “Tesla has no pending completed applications with the DOE.”

Source: SF Gate, Tesla

By Jason Udy

Watch the Tesla Model S Attempt to Reach Las Vegas from L.A. on a Single Charge

Watch the Tesla Model S Attempt to Reach Las Vegas from L.A. on a Single Charge

Like it or not, an increasing number of automakers are experimenting with electric vehicles. Whether EVs will supplant internal combustion engines or only complement regular vehicles depends on how well executed they become. On this episode of Wide Open Throttle, host Jessi Lang and Motor Trend technical director Frank Markus attempt to drive the all-new Tesla Model S from Los Angeles to the Las Vegas strip on a single charge – the first real-world range test of its kind.

Tesla Model S from LA to Las Vegas WOT video pic 11 300x187 imageThe Tesla Model S, which is the personal car of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, is fitted with the larger 85-kW-hr battery pack that is EPA rated at 265-mile range. An earlier test by testing director Kim Reynolds and associate online editor Benson Kong netted about 238 miles – short of the official rating. While Lang’s and Markus’ trip was only about 210 miles, they were facing two 4000-foot mountain passes in route to Sin City. In an effort to reduce energy consumption, the duo climbed the summits at 55 mph with the air conditioning off and the windows up in 100 + degree temperatures.

Check out the video below to see if Lang and Markus made it to Las Vegas on a single charge or if the Tesla Model S ended up on the back of a flatbed tow truck. Don’t forget to check out our two Tesla Model S road trip stories here and here.

By Jason Udy

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