Tag archives for Luxury - Page 3

Tesla Plans on Early Repayment of DOE loans, Re-Files Annual Report – Rumor Central

Tesla Plans on Early Repayment of DOE loans, Re-Files Annual Report

In stark contrast to the woes faced by other upstart plugin auto brands Coda and Fisker, Tesla seems to be resolute and resilient in its business strategy. The company is so confident in its success, that it released a statement on the company blog that it intends to re-pay its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loans five years ahead of schedule. This would put the final payment of the loan in 2017, as opposed to the original deadline of 2022.

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’s 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

Tesla Loses $396.2 Million in 2012, Posts Net Loss In Q4 – Rumor Central

Tesla Loses $396.2 Million in 2012, Posts Net Loss In Q4

The 2012 loss grew some $141.8 million over the company’s 2011 losses, bringing the red ink to a total of $396.2 million. According to Automotive News, “manufacturing and supply chain inefficiencies” were behind the fourth-quarter loss of almost $90 million, which was up by $8.4 million over the same period in 2011.

Indeed, the automaker says much of its red ink stems directly from ramping up production of the Model S sedan, 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.

The 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 gotten 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 Automobile 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

Tesla Model S Owners Crowdsource Trip To Counter NY Times Report

2013 Tesla Model S before DC-to-Boston road trip, Feb 2013 [photo: Aaron Schildkraut]

2013 Tesla Model S before DC-to-Boston road trip, Feb 2013 [photo: Aaron Schildkraut]

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It’s been a week of Tesla Model S hullabaloo, centered around last Sunday’s critical New York Times road test, Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway.

Now a set of defiant Tesla Model S owners are setting out to prove Times reporter John Broder wrong.

They will replicate his trip from Maryland to Connecticut, fully recharging their electric luxury sport sedans to show that the cars are quite capable of making the trip he couldn’t.

Three cars will set off at about 11 am tomorrow from the Tesla Service Center in Rockville, Maryland.

Two hours later, they’ll arrive at the Delaware SuperCharger site and connect with three additional Model S drivers, setting off fully charged by 3 pm or so.

They’ll stop again at the Milford, Connecticut, SuperCharger and recharge their cars to full.

Three drivers will even stay at a hotel in Groton, Connecticut, just as Broder did–returning the next morning to the MIlford SuperCharger to recharge once again.

After that, all the drivers will head home.

“We are trying to replicate the trip as closely as possible,” said driver Aaron Schildkraut, “but showing that with proper full charges (and even not plugging in overnight at the hotel) that the trip can be made.”

The owners have asked Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] for access to their cars’ data logs afterward, to provide the same level of detail that Tesla offered in Musk’s rebuttal post, A Most Peculiar Test Drive.

A Twitter account, TeslaRoadTrip, has already been set up so that team members can post regular updates during the weekend. Perhaps Tesla’s tweet-happy CEO, Elon Musk, will RT some of their updates.

The plans stemmed from various discussions on the Tesla Motors Club forum. The plan to crowdsource drives that will ostensibly disprove Broder’s reporting grew over just a few days.

We’ll bring you more details on Monday about how the trip played out.

Meanwhile, for more details on the spat, read our full account of the discrepancies between the Times and Tesla accounts as of yesterday morning.

What do you think? Will the Model S owners make it?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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By John Voelcker

Tesla Hires New Engineering VP From Luxury Maker Aston Martin

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

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While CEO Elon Musk is doing another tweet-hyped conference call today, Tesla has a lot going on in the background.

Not only is it building and selling Model S electric luxury sport sedans, but Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has quietly hired a new vice president of vehicle engineering.

That new VP is Chris Porritt, whose previous job was chief platform manager for British luxury sports-car maker Aston Martin.

He led the development of the Aston Martin One-77 supercar in 2009, and is intimately familiar with developing fast, luxurious vehicles for wealthy, demanding customers.

Porritt’s appointment was first hinted at on Tuesday by British magazine Autocar, in an article on the likely departure of Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez, who has led the company since 2000.

Shanna Hendriks, Tesla’s communications manager, confirmed the news when contacted by Green Car Reports.

“Yes, Chris Porritt has joined us as VP of Vehicle Engineering,” she wrote in an e-mail.

“Chris is the first VP in that role,” she continued, “since Peter Rawlinson left” and returned to the U.K. to tend to personal matters in January 2012.

Until Porritt’s arrival, she said, “Jerome Guillen had been overseeing some of the Engineering responsibilities in the interim.”

Porritt will not be the first former Aston Martin executive involved with Tesla, however.

Chris Porritt

Chris Porritt

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The company contracted with noted designer Henrik Fisker to develop concepts for the large electric luxury sedan that became the 2012 Tesla Model S.

Fisker had styled the Aston Martin Vantage V8 before founding his own coachworks.

The Danish designer worked for several months during 2006 and 2007 on the large luxury sedan project, then co-founded his own startup: luxury green-car maker Fisker Automotive.

That company is largely defunct now, though it has not as yet declared bankruptcy.

Tesla sued Fisker in April 2008 for theft of confidential design information and trade secrets; the matter was settled that December when an arbitrator ruled largely in Fisker’s favor.

Let us hope Porritt has a considerably happier and less contentious tenure at Tesla.

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By John Voelcker

Consumer Reports Rates Tesla Model S 99 Out Of 100 – Rumor Central

Consumer Reports Rates Tesla Model S 99 Out Of 100

The Tesla Model S now has another strong endorsement. Product-review publication Consumer Reports gave the electric car 99 out of 100 possible points — a rating matched by only one other car in Consumer Reports’ history, the 2007 Lexus LS460L.

The Tesla Model S received the ringing endorsement from Consumer Reports because, “It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars,” automotive testing director Jake Fisher said in a statement. The publication called the Model S “the most practical” electric car on sale today, compared its handling to that of Porsche models, and said it is the quietest car CR has tested since the aforementioned Lexus LS460L.

Nonetheless, CR dinged the Tesla for its high price, long charging times, and low rear-seat headroom. The publication also warned that Tesla doesn’t yet have a proven track record of building high volumes of cars, and because so few have been sold, CR doesn’t yet have enough reliability data to give the Model S its coveted “Recommended” label.CR‘s test car is apparently averaging between 180 and 225 miles per charge; the EPA says versions with the 85-kWh battery pack have a driving range of about 265 miles.

This is just the latest in a long line of endorsements for the Tesla Model S electric car, the brainchild of entrepreneur Elon Musk. We named it our 2013 Automobile of the Year, and Motor Trend selected it as its 2013 Car of the Year.

The glowing review comes on the heels of news that Tesla posted its first profitable quarter to date, with a profit of about $11 million in the first quarter of 2013. The company said it had built 5000 units of the Model S in the first quarter, putting it on track to meet its goal of building (and, hopefully, selling) 20,000 cars this year. This news caused Tesla’s stock price to surge; as of writing, according to Tesla data, it was trading for $68, up from a closing price of $55.79 yesterday.

Sources: Consumer Reports, Tesla




By Jake Holmes

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

Nine Road Trip-Ready Vehicles – Rumor Central

Nine Road Trip-Ready Vehicles

Memorial Day weekend means many things to many people, but it universally signals the start of one summer tradition: road trips. Regardless of if you’re heading to see family, escape into the great outdoors, or simply crisscross the country, we’ve rounded up some ideal road trip vehicles for those seeking to hit the road this summer.

Volkswagen Passat TDI front three quarters view 2 300x199 imageI want to…go there and back on a single tank.

Volkswagen Passat TDI

Base Price: $26,225
EPA mileage: 30 mpg city/ 40 highway

There are a number of thrifty, diesel-burning vehicles offered in North America – and plenty from the Volkswagen Group, at that – but few strike us as ideal for long-distance road tripping when compared to the Passat TDI. Volkswagen’s diesel-sipping midsize sedan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel, which cranks out 140 hp. What it lacks in sheer power, however, it delivers in impressive fuel economy. Fitted with the optional six-speed automatic transmission, a 2013 Passat is rated at 30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

These numbers are incredible when you consider the size of the Passat. Yes, it’s deemed a midsize sedan, but at 191.6 inches long, it’s on the larger end of that spectrum. That extra size results in plus-sized interior, with enough space for large adults to sit in both the front and rear seats. Think you sacrifice on cargo space? Wrong again – there’s 15.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up, allowing the trunk to resemble Mammoth Cave – albeit with a bit more plastic trim and carpeting.

Mercedes Benz Sprinter passenger van front three quarters view 300x199 imageI want to…bring the entire family. And I do mean the ENTIRE family.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Base price: $41,315

EPA mileage: not tested by EPA

If the tired stereotype of precocious in-laws and annoying extended family members applies to you, skip this section. If not – and you’d actually like to travel with your large family using as few vehicles as possible – there’s really only one option shy of picking up a used transit bus at public auction: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. In its passenger form, the Sprinter seats up to twelve fairly comfortably, and even more comfortably if equipped with the cathedral-spec, 107.5-inch tall “high roof” option. The 140-inch wheelbase provides plenty of space (23.7 cubic feet) aft of that rear bench, but the elongated 170-inch model provides up to 31.2 cubic feet. We’ve seen (and lived) in urban apartment dwellings with less usable space than a Sprinter.

Yes, the sliding door rattles a bit over bumps; no, interior materials aren’t the fanciest; and yes, the price tag – especially if you go crazy with stand-alone options – isn’t inexpensive – but that’s beside the point. For such a gargantuan people mover, the Sprinter is surprisingly easy to drive – and it’s also incredibly efficient. Its weight class allows it to sidestep EPA testing, but we’ve frequently seen combined averages around the 19-20-mpg mark. For a vehicle that has the aerodynamic profile of a two-story house, that’s impressive.

Tesla Model S front view on road 300x199 imageI want to…use no gasoline, diesel, or combustible fuel at all.

Tesla Model S

Base price: $71,070

EPA rating: 88 mpge city/ 90 highway
Yeah, we get it – electric cars aren’t necessarily road-trip vehicles, or if they are, they’re only so when paired with a range-extending internal combustion engine. Still, if you insist on using a battery-powered vehicle for a road trip, it’s hard to best the Tesla Model S. Why? Space, for starters. There’s room for five passengers within the Model S, although that number grows to seven if you opt for the small, rear-facing jump seat. We’d skip that, as it frees up the rear cargo area for your luggage and other belongings. Between that area and the “frunk” beneath the hood, there’s nearly 31.6 cubic feet of storage available.

Range? That’s still a hot-button topic, but the top-tier Model S Performance comes with a 85-kWh battery that theoretically provides as much as 265 miles on a single charge. Of course, your distance will vary based on temperature, terrain, and your own temperament – but compared to the EPA-rated range of, say, a Ford Focus Electric, it’s fairly sizable. Depending on your journey, we’d still recommend ensuring your planned drive regularly passes charging stations, and that you do budget time for a recharge or two along the way.

Mercedes Benz S350 Bluetec front three quarters view 300x199 imageI want to…travel as far as possible in the lap of luxury.

Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec 4Matic

Base price: $93.905

EPA rating: 21/31 mpg

Diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz sedans have long been sold in North America, but until the launch of the S350 Bluetec in 2012, Mercedes always shied away from selling a diesel-powered flagship here. We’re just glad the S350 finally made the trek from Germany, as it blends first-world luxuries with first-rate fuel economy.  Despite tipping the scales at 4784 pounds and being paired with an all-wheel-drive system, its 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel V-6 and seven-speed automatic help the S350 attain an EPA rating of 21 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. With a full 23.8- gallon tank of diesel, the S350 can cruise over 730 miles without refueling.

That cruise will be quite comfortable, given the S Class is arguably one of the most refined, comfortable, and luxurious sedans this side of a Rolls-Royce. Benz’s premium leather interior boasts attractive hand-stitched accents on virtually every surface, including the dash and door panels. Rear seat occupants are already gifted with 42.3 inches of legroom, but an optional package allows those in the outboard seats to heat, cool, and recline their seats. Add power sunshades, a DVD entertainment system, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and you’ll be cruising in unimpeached comfort.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT front three quarters view1 300x199 imageI want to…haul the family, cargo, and ass.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Base price: $63,990

EPA rating: 13 mpg city/ 19 highway

We wanted to throw a muscle car on this list, but last we tried, packing a family of four and their cargo into a Camaro or Mustang is essentially impossible. Or if it is possible, it doesn’t make for a very comfortable (or tolerable) four-hour drive. But what if there were a way to blend the power of a muscle car with the packaging of a family vehicle? Enter Jeep’s SRT-tuned Grand Cherokee. Seating for five? 35.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up? 470 hp on tap? 0-60 mph in about five seconds? Check, check, check, and check.

Unlike the first generation model, today’s Grand Cherokee SRT is a comfortable chimera that walks the line between performance and civility with few qualms. Adaptive Bilstein dampers at all four corners provide a surprisingly compliant ride quality for long hauls, but stiffen up to snuff out body roll on twisty back roads. The 6.1-liter V-8 slams passengers into seatbacks like a Mercury Redstone rocket, but idles four cylinders under light loads to reduce fuel consumption. Better yet, this latest iteration of SRT Grand Cherokee can tow up to 7200 pounds – perfect for dragging a speedboat behind your speed wagon.

Audi S5 Cabriolet front three quarters view static 300x199 imageI want to…soak up the sun.

Audi S5 Cabriolet

Base Price $60,195

EPA Rating 17 mpg city/ 26 highway


Nothing says summer like soaking up UV rays while behind the wheel of a convertible. Several drop-top models are on sale in the United States, but the Audi S5 is one of the most well-rounded choices available. There’s room for four, with rear seats that are larger than the glorified parcel shelves found in many convertibles. There’s adequate trunk space – 12.2 cubic feet, with the top up, or 10.2 with the top down. There’s the sophisticated interior (note the rear-seat reading lamps integrated into the convertible top) and handsome exterior styling. And, for those who might want to plan a road trip to a ski resort come winter, the S5 is one of the few convertibles offered with all-wheel-drive.

Better yet, the S5 is a blast to drive. Audi’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 serves up 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and emits a delectable growl at wide open throttle. Although S5 coupes are offered with a six-speed manual transmission, S5 cabriolets feature Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic as standard equipment.  No matter – it’s still happy to snap off lightning-quick gearchanges in either sport or manual mode. Do make sure to opt for the so-called “sports differential,” which replaces the standard rear diff with a torque-vectoring unit that helps the car rotate into corners.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited front view in woods 300x199 imageI want to…stray from the beaten path.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Base Price: $26,790

EPA rating: 16 mpg city/ 20-21 mpg highway

Road trips are great, but what if your destination isn’t exactly on a road? For those who want to journey far outside the beaten path, we can’t think of a better choice than Jeep’s eternal Wrangler. By modern SUV and crossover standards, the Wrangler may seem like a bit of a crude anachronism, but in truth, it’s better than ever. A new instrument panel design is more attractive than ever, but the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 tucked underhood finally delivers adequate power – something the JK Wrangler previously lacked.

Although it is possible to squeeze four into a two-door Wrangler, don’t count on bringing all their belongings along for the ride. For that reason – and to give rear-seat passengers legroom for long hauls – we’d go with the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, which still offers the same off-road prowess and open-air sensations but with additional versatility. That said, you’d better act quickly if you’re in the market for one – demand for four-door Wranglers is nearly double that of the two-door model, and dealer inventory is presently at 68 days supply.

Nissan NV Roadtrek NAV 6 front three quarters view 300x199 imageI want to…stay overnight, but not in a hotel.

Nissan NV Roadtrek N6 Active

Base price: $65,260

EPA rating: not rated by EPA

Remember the days when minivans could easily double as mobile camp sites? Decades ago, such vehicles ran rampant across this country, but ever since the Volkswagen Eurovan died in 2003 the good old pop-top camper was virtually extinct. Thanks to Roadtrek, an Ontario-based motorhome manufacturer, that’s no longer the case. The new N6 Active – which is also sold as the NAV-6 – converts a Nissan NV passenger van into a multipurpose camper.

In its van configuration, the N6 Active/ NAV-6 seats six. That’s roughly half that of a standard NV passenger wagon, but understandable when you see Roadtrek packs in everything including the kitchen sink. Cabinetry installed next to the two-passenger third-row bench houses a refrigerator, sink, microwave, and cupboards. Second-row captains chairs swivel to face the rear seat and a pop-up table. The optional pop-top roof increases headroom and provides an extra two berths for sleeping, yet still allows the NV to fit in most garages.

 

Mazda MX 5 Miata side view on road 300x199 imageI want to…take a road trip only using back roads.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Base Price: $24,515

EPA Rating: 21-22 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway

Another convertible on this list? Yep. The Miata’s top – either made of fabric or metal — does fold and stow for top-down fun, but that’s not why we chose it for this group of cars. We revel in road trips that trade the hustle, bustle, and malaise of the interstate system in favor of winding, scenic, two-lane, back county roads. And for that, there’s virtually no way to best the MX-5. We should know – we adopted a MX-5 for a summer two years ago, and frequently sought the curvaceous road less taken instead of the quickest route between points A and B.

Yes, we know the Miata’s cabin is a bit tight, and that packing for a long trip may require you to invest in those vacuum space-saving bags seen on late-night infomercials. Still, if you’re looking to plan a long trip full of entertaining roads – i.e. PCH, Tail of the Dragon, OH-555, etc. – there’s not a better choice. As road test editor Chris Nelson wrote back in 2011, “you can find a lot of little things to complain about, but if you do, you’re missing the point. The Miata is, has been, and always will be a purpose-built automobile. That purpose is to be one of the purest, most enjoyable sports cars on the market. Give it a smooth road, good company, and great scenery, and the Miata takes care of the rest.”












By Evan McCausland

Tesla Now Making, Delivering 500 Model S Electric Cars Weekly

2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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With a backlog of more than 10,000 depositors for the Tesla Model S, its maker is making and delivering electric luxury sedans as fast as it can.

Among other benefits, that may allow Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] to achieve CEO Elon Musk’s suggestion that the company could be profitable for the first quarter of this year.

George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales and ownership experience, said in December that the company had reached its target production rate of 400 cars a week.

And that 400-cars-per-week production rate was backed up in January by Jerome Guillen, director of Model S programs.

Now, in the company’s latest blog post, Blankenship says that rate has risen.

“During the past three weeks we have averaged more than 500 Model S deliveries per week, and it looks like we’ll be setting another record this week.”

And that number is backed up, more or less, by a little-noticed article in the Westfield Republican, an upstate New York newspaper that covers the region where Jamestown Plastics is located.

That’s the company that makes liners for the Model S front trunk–which Tesla insists on calling a “frunk”–and ships them to Tesla’s Silicon Valley assembly plant in Fremont, California.

About “500 a week are fabricated at the Jamestown Plastics, Inc., operation in Brocton,” says the article.

Taken together, it sounds like Tesla Motors is now cranking out its first high-volume electric car at a rate of 2,000 per month or better.

Which should make its investors–and depositors–happy.

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By John Voelcker

2013 Tesla Model S Ready For Delivery: So Close & Yet So Far

2013 Tesla Model S in Queens, NY, service center, awaiting delivery to buyer David Noland, Feb 2013

2013 Tesla Model S in Queens, NY, service center, awaiting delivery to buyer David Noland, Feb 2013

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After just about four years of waiting, my 2013 Tesla Model S has arrived.

Almost.

The call from the Tesla delivery rep came on February 4, the last day of the two-week delivery window promised back in December.

My car, with metallic green paint, 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack, black leather interior, air suspension, had arrived at the service/delivery center in Queens, New York.

To say that I was eagerly anticipating its final delivery to my home–just 60 miles upstate in the Hudson Valley–would be the understatement of the year.

But fate can be cruel.

Tomorrow, on February 7, I’m scheduled to leave for a two-week biking trip in Myanmar.

I briefly considered taking delivery before the trip, driving the car for a day or two, and then heading off to Myanmar. 

But I wasn’t sure I could bear the frustration of abandoning the car after such a brief taste of its pleasures.

And I really didn’t like the idea of my brand-new Model S sitting unused, potentially buried in a snowdrift, for the first two weeks of its life.

So, with very mixed feelings, I have postponed delivery until February 22, two days after I return.

Although this kind of short-term delivery postponements can be arranged, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] recently confirmed that once a customer signs the final configuration paperwork, it won’t allow long-term production or delivery delays (as a few customers have now requested).

The delivery rep assures me the car will be stored indoors and watched over carefully.

Hopefully they’ll have plenty of time to inspect it carefully, correct any small defects, and perhaps install the updated defroster vent that the company is apparently developing.

I’ll report what my new Tesla Model S is like to drive, in detail, as soon as I actually drive it–in two more weeks.

Stay tuned.

David Noland is a Tesla Model S reservation holder and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.

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By David Noland

Life With 2013 Tesla Model S: Range Penalty At Speed Is Lower Than Expected

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan [photo by owner David Noland]

2013 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan [photo by owner David Noland]

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I’ve been surprised and delighted by how efficiently my new 2013 Tesla Model S has been running at higher speeds.

Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] hammers home the message that high speeds can drastically reduce the range of any Model S.

It cautions that its original  range figure of 230 miles for my 60-kWh car is based on a steady 55-mph speed, on level ground, and that higher speeds can significantly reduce this number. 

(The official EPA range, based on a variety of speeds and conditions, is 208 miles.)

But who drives 55 mph? On multilane highways, certainly not me.

According to a range-vs-speed graph on the Tesla website, range of the 85-kWh Model S at a steady 55 mph is about 310 miles.  

At a steady 70 mph, the graph shows a range of 240 miles–a reduction of 23 percent.

If we apply the same 23-percent range reduction to my 60-kWh car, it works out to a range of 178 miles at 70 mph.

Cool temperatures eat away at range as well. According to the range calculator at my local Tesla store,  range declines by about 10 percent at 40 degrees. Now we’re down to 160 miles.

Knock off a few more miles for hills, and we’re looking at a projected real-world range–my real world at this time of year, at least–of maybe 150 miles.

But I actually did much better than that on a trip to New York City last week, under just those conditions.

No hypermiling here; I drove 65-75 mph over moderately hilly terrain, with the outside temperature at 40 degrees and the climate control on a comfortable setting (no shivering, either).

The 117.5-mile round trip consumed 39.2 kWh of juice, about two-thirds of the battery capacity. Average power consumption was 334 watt-hours per mile.  That’s almost exactly 3 miles per kWh.

Extrapolate those numbers out to the full battery capacity of 60 kWh, and we get a max range of 180 miles. That’s a lot better than the 150 or so predicted by the graphs and calculators.

It’s a nice little bonus that makes up for a couple of days of “vampire” electrical power usage while the car is parked in my driveway

David Noland is a Tesla Model S owner and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.

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By David Noland

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