Tag archives for Luxury Car - Page 3

Tesla Model S Gains Performance Plus Package With Sportier Tires

Tesla Model S Gains Performance Plus Package With Sportier Tires

Tesla says that a new upgrade package for the Model S electric car will endow it with “supercar handling.” Whether that’s exaggeration remains to be seen, but the new $6500 Performance Plus pack does add stickier tires and other suspension enhancements 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.

2013 Tesla Model S interior view1 300x187 imageOpting 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.

Source: Tesla

By Jake Holmes

Tesla’s Elon Musk Shares Thoughts, Data Logs to Refute NY Times Model S Review

Tesla’s Elon Musk Shares Thoughts, Data Logs to Refute NY Times Model S Review

The controversy continues surrounding the recent The New York Times article written by reporter John M. Broder, who was left stranded when the Model S he was driving ran out of charge before reaching a charging station. Since then, his review has received lots of attention, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently provided his side of the ordeal and shared extensive data from the Model S driven by Broder.

2012 Tesla Model S interior2 300x187 imageThe controversy began when Tesla approached Broder to evaluate a Model S (with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery that provides 265 miles of EPA-rated range) and two new charging stations installed in Newark, Delaware and in Milford, Connecticut. These stations are 200 miles apart and include the company’s new Supercharger, which can recharge batteries at a much faster rate than a typical charging unit (Tesla says the Supercharger can provide up to 150-160 miles of range in just 30 minutes).

In fact, in a February 12 update, Broder says the test was intended to evaluate the Supercharger network on the East Coast, not the Model S, explaining why he didn’t plug in the car overnight in Connecticut.

“This evaluation was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a ‘normal use,’ no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it. Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop,” Broder wrote.

Broders Tesla Model S speed log 300x187 image

Broder’s Tesla Model S speed log

Broder’s trip began at the Delaware station with 242 miles of range (he was unaware of a “max charge” feature that would’ve topped the battery off at 265 miles). He claims to have experienced fluctuations in the battery’s claimed range, which may have been affected by the colder temperatures. Still, Broder claims to have properly charged the battery, drove at reasonable speeds, and even reduced the cabin temperature, all in an attempt to increase range. In the end, however, Broder says he ran out of charge before reaching Connecticut, and the Model S was consequently towed to the charging station.

Since then, Tesla has compared Broder’s account to the data log from the Model S test car he drove. Yesterday, Musk published an extensive blog with that data, which points out a number of claimed discrepancies in the highway speeds at which Broder said he was traveling, charging times, as well as possible errors in his article’s math. Musk also suggested the evaluation was a lost battle for Tesla in the first place, pointing to a March 2012 article by Broder in which he says “the state of the electric car is dismal.”

Check out Musk’s full February 13 blog here, and Broder’s February 12 follow-up here.

Source: NY Times, Tesla Motors

By Erick Ayapana

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender: Tesla Model S

Tesla claims it has 250 patents covering its Model S sedan, with more pending. The electric motor sits between the rear wheels, contributing greatly to the car’s 47/53-percent front/rear weight distribution.

Tesla offers three lithium-ion battery packs for the Model S — 40-kW-hr, 60-kW-hr, and 85-kW-hr — that are claimed to provide ranges of 140, 200, and 265 miles, respectively. The base 85-kW-hr powertrain delivers a stout 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the performance version makes 416 hp and 443 lb-ft.

Read more about the Model S: 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification

Tesla Model S interior 300x187 imageGuest judge Wayne Cherry, a former GM design boss, summed up the exterior design theme of the Model S as “somewhat safe and conservative.” His only criticism? “The front end is a missed opportunity to establish brand identity.”

A number of the interior design solutions need more polish. However, all judges were impressed with the Tesla’s unique user interface, courtesy of the giant touch screen in the center of the car that controls everything from the air-conditioning to the nav system to the sound system to the car’s steering, suspension, and brake regeneration settings.

For the 313 miles of road loops during the COTY evaluation, where the car was driven at normal speeds by all the judges with the air-conditioning running, it averaged 74.5 mpg-e. Impressive numbers, especially considering the 4766-pound Tesla Model S Signature Performance version will nail 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and the quarter in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph, with a top speed of 133 mph.

Other Car of the Year Contender WOT Posts:

Acura ILX
BMW 3 Series
Cadillac ATS
Cadillac XTS
Chevrolet Malibu
Chevrolet Spark
CODA EV Sedan
Dodge Dart
Ford C-Max
Ford Fusion
Honda Accord
Hyundai Azera
Lexus ES
Lexus GS
Lexus LS
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Nissan Altima
Nissan Sentra
Porsche 911
Porsche Boxster
Scion FR-S
Subaru BRZ
Toyota Avalon
Toyota Prius C

To compete for the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year title, contenders must be all new or significantly revised 2013-model-year cars or 2012-model-year cars that went on sale too late for 2012 COTY consideration. All eligible vehicles are invited to compete. Check back to MotorTrend.com on November 12 at 3:30 p.m. PST / 6:30 p.m. EST to discover what will become the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year!

By Motor Trend Staff

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

Tesla Confirms Plans to Increase Model S Prices

The price of a Tesla Model S will be increasing soon — but the company hasn’t yet disclosed by how much prices will rise. However, Tesla did confirm that some features that were previously standard on the Model S will become paid options.

The Tesla Model S is an all-electric sedan built in California by billionaire visionary Elon Musk. The car is Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year. Prices currently range from $57,400 for an entry model with a 40-kWh battery pack (before any tax rebates), to $105,400 for the loaded Signature Performance model with an 85-kWh battery.

Tesla Model S interior1 300x187 imageTesla confirmed in a blog post that it will raise prices on the cars in the near future, but noted that customers who have already placed a reservation for the electric car won’t have to pay the higher price. Musk mentioned in August that over 12,000 people had placed a $5000 deposit for a Model S. Only customers who order after the price increases take effect will be locked into the higher prices.

When the price increases take effect, Tesla may also reorganize the car’s equipment list. Tesla warns that some items that are currently standard on the Model S may become paid options. That could mean a double-whammy when prices increase, as customers must not only pay a higher entry price, but must also cough up extra for features that used to be included for free.

It’s unclear why Tesla plans to increase Model S prices so early in the car’s production run. The decision could be important to increase profitability on the electric sedan, or could be a reflection of higher than anticipated customer demand. But raising prices would seem unlikely to help Tesla reach its publicly stated goal of selling 20,000 cars in 2013.

Tesla’s blog post says the company will announce the new prices and options lists within two to three weeks.

Sources: Tesla, Forbes

By Jake Holmes

Tesla Announces Early Repayment of Loans, Annual Report Correction

Tesla Announces Early Repayment of Loans, Annual Report Correction

In what could prove to be a symbolic moment for the strength and potential of the electric vehicle industry, Tesla Motors, on its company blog, announced its intention to re-pay its Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan five years ahead of schedule, with the last payment being on 2017, instead of 2022 the original deadline for payback of the loans.

In the heated political climate surrounding government-subsidized green energy initiatives, the company was quick to point out the that ATVM loans were initiated and approved under the Bush administration, and were completely separate from the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as being the smallest of the ATVM loans granted, the others being Ford at $5.9 billion, Nissan at $1.4 billion, and Fisker at $529 million. Tesla’s loan was for $465 million.

In the blog post, Tesla VP of Business Development, Diarmuid O’Connell, said the company expected to show a modest profit in the first quarter of 2013, excluding non-cash option and warrant-related expenses.

The company’s upcoming models were briefly mentioned in the post, including the Model X crossover, and the third-generation model, described as a high-volume, low-price model, sometimes referred to as the “Blue Star.” During its development, the Model S was coined the “White Star” by many automotive media outlets.

However, being a publicly-traded company, Tesla is under the scrutiny of investors and regulators, and announced that its annual report would be delayed due to errors in its filing, according to Bloomberg. Some unpaid capital expenditures from 2011 and 2012 will be re-classified as operating activities in the revised report.

Source: Bloomberg, Tesla

By Edward A. Sanchez

Teslas on Video: From Model S Road Trips to Roadster vs. Porsche Boxster Comparo

Teslas on Video: From Model S Road Trips to Roadster vs. Porsche Boxster Comparo

Now that we’ve crowned the Tesla Model S the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year, we’ve dug up the best videos of the electric cars that we could find. From videos documenting the development of the Tesla Model S to a Motor Trend comparison with a Tesla Roadster and a Porsche Boxster, get your fill of Tesla videos right here.

Tesla Model S with Frank Markus and Elon Musk 300x187 imageThe Tesla Model S was designed and engineered with one goal in mind: to cure electric-vehicle range anxiety. To put it to the test, we drove it to Las Vegas and back in one single charge and documented the journey. How do we know what Tesla’s goal was with the electric sedan? Before setting off on the excursion to Sin City, we toured the Tesla’s Silicon Valley factory and spent some time with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk to learn more about the Model S.

We’ve tested the 2013 Tesla Model S’ range on three single-charge road trips, but how did the car perform on the track? The Model S reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph, and its performance was all caught on video for an episode of Ignition. While the Model S is a great performer all on its own, we were also curious to discover how it behaves when matched up against an unlikely rival in a drag race — the BMW M5.

Before we got our hands on the Model S though, we followed the development process and all the engineering that went into it with a series of three videos. We also caught a trio of prototypes testing on the track, and it appears the Model S also enjoys a bit of winter weather, as we’ve also caught it playing in the snow. Before the Model S though, was the original Tesla Roadster, which we compared against a 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. Let’s not forget about the upcoming Model X, in which we got to check out its awesome gullwing doors at its official debut.

Watch the Tesla videos below.

By Karla Sanchez

Topline 300-Mile Tesla Model S Projected to Earn 265-Mile EPA Range

Topline 300-Mile Tesla Model S Projected to Earn 265-Mile EPA Range

The top-of-the-line Tesla Model S with a claimed 300-mile range is expected to earn an EPA window sticker displaying an official range of 265 miles.

The Model S’ drawn-out unveiling has ingrained three specific driving ranges related to battery size – 160, 230, and 300 miles – but the EPA will have its own stamp of approval. An official blog bylined by CEO Elon Musk and CTO JB Straubel dives right into the matter, presumably foreseeing questions and concerns about the 35-mile disparity with the farthest-traveling selection.

2012 Tesla Model S side 300x187 imageThe difference between 265 and 300 miles extracted from the Model S’ substantial 85-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery comes down to the EPA’s testing methodology. The stated 300-mile range with the highest-capacity battery was always Tesla’s target. From one perspective, it has actually exceeded the mark, claiming 320 miles under the EPA’s old 2-cycle fuel economy evaluation. It’s when the EPA’s updated 5-cycle test enters frame that “265 miles” rears its head. For comparison, the 245-mile-rated Roadster and Roadster 2.5 endured the elder cycle while the Nissan Leaf has a 73-mile range under the 5-cycle assessment.

Going from the 2- to 5-cycle test can drastically impact vehicle ratings. The simpler 2-cycle had an approximate weighting of 55-percent city and 45-percent highway use; the more comprehensive 5-cycle is more representative of 43-percent city and 57-percent highway driving. The certifications are run on dynamometers, and the specifics are as follows:

1)      Federal Test Procedure: 2-cycle, 5-cycle

2)      Highway Fuel Economy Driving Schedule: 2-cycle, 5-cycle

3)      Cold Federal Test Procedure (run at ambient 20 vs. 75 degrees Fahrenheit in standard FTP): 5-cycle

4)      SC03 (air conditioning test at ambient 95 degrees F): 5-cycle

5)      US06 (aggressive acceleration test, up to 80 mph): 5-cycle

Exactly how much the 85-kW-hr battery’s claimed range figures matters will likely be determined as Model S driving impressions roll in from customers and media outlets.

Tesla hasn’t disclosed its anticipated EPA ranges for the 160- and 230-mile batteries, but a 12-percent loss like the 300-mile option would peg them at a predicted 141 and 203 miles under the EPA 5-cycle, respectively. The 160- and 230-mile estimates from the respective 40- and 60-kW-hr packs can be achieved from a steady 55-mph cruise, per Tesla spokeswoman KC Simon.

Interestingly, the blog gives insight into the Model S’ range and electricity consumption behavior with graphs. These graphs often have little bearing on the real world since Main Street USA is not a laboratory with fixed inputs. Nevertheless, considering the less expensive Model S is considerably heavier, it’s reassuring to see the family-friendly electric four-door head and shoulders above the Roadster from an efficiency standpoint.

The Model S costs from $57,400 (160-mile battery) to $105,400 (Signature Performance model with 300-mile battery) depending on battery size and trim, excluding the highly touted $7500 federal tax credit that gets applied to your income tax return. Depending on your state of domicile, there may be additional state and local tax credits or rebates as well.

Source: Tesla

By Benson Kong

Tesla Model S 60-kW-h Version Rated at 94/97 MPGe, Goes 208 Miles

Tesla Model S 60-kW-h Version Rated at 94/97 MPGe, Goes 208 Miles

The EPA has released official ratings for the mid-range Tesla Model S with the 60-kw-h battery, which scores a rating of 94/97 mpge city/highway, and 95 mpge combined. In addition, the government agency has rated the mid-level battery pack’s range at 208 miles. Although the 60-kW-h battery provides less range than the 85-kW-h unit, found in our 2013 Car of the Year, the mid-range model uses less energy to travel 100 miles.

Where it takes 38 kW-h of electricity to travel 100 miles in the Model S equipped with the larger battery pack, it requires 35 kW-h of energy to travel 100 miles in the mid-range model. Model S models equipped with the 85-kW-h battery are estimated to travel 265 miles on a single charge while achieving 88/90 mpge, according to the EPA.

Tesla Model S cockpit 300x187 imageDuring three different range verification tests, we were able to travel 233.7 (with an indicated four miles of range left), 211 (74 miles of range left), and 285 miles (three miles of range left) on a single charge in a Model S with the 85-kW-h battery. That equates to 100.7-123.4 mpge – well above the EPA ratings. Just like fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the Model S’ mileage varied depending on load, driving style, terrain, and environmental conditions.

The Model S proved to be efficient in testing, but that’s not all the EV is good at. At the test track, we were able to reach 60 mph in 5.0 seconds with the standard 85-kW-h Model S, and 4.0 seconds in the performance-tuned version.

One more Model S variant is on the way with a 40-kW-h battery pack under the floor. Tesla expects that model to have a range of 160 miles, though that number may come down as the automaker initially expected the 85-kW-h and 60-kW-h batteries to provide 300 mile and 230 miles of range, respectively.

Source: EPA

By Jason Udy

Tesla Model X Production Pushed Back to Late 2014

Tesla Model X Production Pushed Back to Late 2014

Production of the Tesla Model X crossover has been pushed back from the end of this year to the end of 2014. A Tesla representative told the Los Angeles Times that the wait for the electric crossover has increased as the company focuses on filling orders for the Model S four-door, which could reach 20,000 units this year.

Tesla Model X Rear Three Quarter Doors Open1 300x187 imageThe original Tesla Model X was supposed to go on sale early in 2014, but now deliveries will likely begin early 2015. While Tesla focuses on Model S sales and delays the Model X, the company has pledged to pay back its Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan by 2017 – five years earlier than the original deadline.

We’ve taken a ride in a Tesla Model X prototype, which has flashy “falcon doors” that Elon Musk said will make installing child seats easier. At the time, Musk estimated that the Model X would weigh 10-15 percent more than the Model S, or about 4700 pounds.

Tesla also expects to make a modest profit for the first quarter of 2013. The company has also raised $40.5 million from sales of zero-emission vehicle credits and greenhouse gas credits to other undisclosed companies, according to its annual report. The next Tesla model in the pipeline is a smaller electric sedan at a lower price point to appeal to broader range of customers.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Tesla

By Jason Udy

Judge Dismisses Massachusetts Dealer Suit Against Tesla

Judge Dismisses Massachusetts Dealer Suit Against Tesla

Tesla and Space-X founder Elon Musk has a well-deserved reputation for being somewhat of an iconoclast, doing things his own way, and not being constrained by convention or tradition. That approach to business also extends to his model of selling cars, taking a factory-owned store approach with Tesla, a relative rarity in the U.S. market, and in some states may be illegal, at least according to car dealer trade associations. The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association was so incensed at the building of a Tesla showroom in the Natick Mall, that it filed a suit against the electric car maker.

But Massachusetts Judge Kenneth J. Fishman dismissed the suit, stating “The court is unconvinced that the 2002 amendment to Chapter 93B expanded the purpose of the statute to protect the motor vehicle franchise system,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Musk addressed the legal victory by Tesla in a statement: “We are delighted by the outright dismissal of this case, and the validation that we are operating our business in compliance with the laws and expectations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

But the dealer association hasn’t given up its fight entirely, saying it is considering an appeal. “It’s just another bump in the road we have to address,” Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the state dealer association said.

Source: Bloomberg

By Edward A. Sanchez