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First Look at the Audi A3 e-tron in Latest WOT Video – Rumor Central

First Look at the Audi A3 e-tron in Latest WOT Video

Get the full details on the new Audi A3 e-tron electric car on the latest episode of Wide Open Throttle. Jeff Curry, Audi’s E-Mobility Marketing and Strategy representative, discusses Audi’s new EV.

Curry tells us that 17 A3 e-tron test vehicles are being launched in four select cities to see how they perform in real-world driving conditions. The production version should be ready in two years and will be based on the upcoming all-new A3. A plug-in hybrid should also arrive around the same time. In addition to the A3 e-tron, Audi is planning to test out the R8 e-tron later this year.

Lang also discusses her recent tour of Tesla Motors’ factory, where she  drove the new Model S. She highlights a few viewer comments that show EVs still have a polarizing effect on the American public but mentions other deemed-to-fail technologies that have become an integral part of our lives. Watch the video and let us know if you agree with the comparisons Lang makes to the electric car.





By Erick Ayapana

Tesla Says the Model S Will Arrive in Showrooms in June – Rumor Central

Tesla Says the Model S Will Arrive in Showrooms in June

Tesla announced it will start selling its Model S electric car in June, earlier than originally planned. The news, however, was tempered a bit due to the company’s reported first-quarter loss of $89.9 million, almost double the $48.9 million loss reported during the same period last year.

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.2012 Tesla Model S Interior 300x187 image

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, Tesla 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

Report: Tesla Planning 3 Series Rival, Possible Pickup Truck? – Rumor Central

Report: Tesla Planning 3 Series Rival, Possible Pickup Truck?

With the difficulty of developing a modular electric car platform behind it, Tesla seems like it’s on a roll with Model S variants. Next up could be a competitor to the BMW 3 Series, followed by an all-electric pickup truck.

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 follow-up to the Model X will be a mid-size 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 Tesla bosses are shooting for the car to have a $30,000 price tag for a base model.

The addition of a 3 Series-sized car to the Tesla EV range makes immediate 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 pick-up,” 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 mid-size pickups like the Ram Dakota and Ford Ranger have died in the past year.

The 3 Series rival could bow as early as 2015, with the pickup following some time later.

Source: Autocar




By Ben Timmins

Tesla Pays Off DOE Loan Early – Rumor Central

Tesla Pays Off DOE Loan Early

Tesla has been making news lately with changes designed to make the process of buying and maintaining a Model S as easy as possible, and now the company says it has completely paid off its Department of Energy loan nine years early. The company had nine more years to repay the loan.

Tesla wired $451.8 million to fully repay the loan with interest, and in a release the automaker says it is the only American car company to have fully repaid the government. Then again, Tesla currently only offers one vehicle, the lauded Model S. The larger and delayed Model X is set to arrive next year.

UPDATE: Tesla isn’t actually the only American automaker to pay back government loans. Chrysler points out that, about two years ago, it paid back government loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments in full. For another perspective on this issue, read this Forbes blog.

So far, Tesla has worked with Mercedes and Toyota, and offered the all-electric Lotus-based Roadster, a car the company says had a 30-percent gross margin. More recently, we’ve heard about the Model S’ improved financing terms as well as a resale guarantee and a lenient warranty update. Next week, Tesla will reveal details on a revised supercharger system. Company co-founder Elon Musk hinted at the announcement on Twitter, saying there may soon be a way to recharge a Model S throughout the country faster than you can fill a gas tank.

The Department of Energy loan fit into the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program of which Fisker was also a part. On the original $451.8 million loan, Bloomberg notes that taxpayers will make at least $12 million from the deal. Paying off the loan early was made possible thanks to the roughly $1 billion raised in last week’s new common stock and convertible senior note offerings.

While reaching truly stable financial ground is still anything but a certainty for Tesla, it appears the company is on the right track.

Source: Tesla, Bloomberg





By Zach Gale

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