Archives for September, 2013

Why Tesla will need more loans to make it through 2013





It’s fun to bet against Elon Musk and Tesla – that’s the best reason we can find for so many people doing it even though the man, his company and his cars are still here and still very popular. The latest name inscribed in the column labeled “Skeptical of Tesla” is John Shinal at Market Watch who, in year-end commentary on Tesla’s financials, says that the “carmaker’s financials are reminiscent of a dot-com’s.” He does not mean that in the good way.



To be fair, Shinal isn’t exactly betting against Tesla, he’s saying that if you check the bottom lines, the only thing keeping Tesla alive is the hundreds of millions in Federal Department of Energy loans it has received. Based on its filings, he says the company has less than six months of cash on hand, hasn’t produced as many cars as it promised and had to lower its revenue forecast for 2012, has had a “year of net losses and negative operating cash flow,” and was underwater by at least $37 million at the end of the third quarter.



But Shinal’s not done there, summarizing Tesla as an operation with “a poor habit of failing to deliver to customers the cars it has promised them, while simultaneously raising the prices of those yet-undelivered cars,” and “a lousy level of customer service.” He says there are more damning things to be found in Tesla’s SEC registration settlement from September, but we’ll have to wait for his next column to find out what those are. The takeaway, in Shinal’s opinion, is that even though Tesla will keep getting money from the government, that investors have no business dealing in Tesla stock.



Early in his piece, Shinal says Tesla’s financials are worse than those of Zynga and Groupon, two hot dot-coms that have fallen on their faces since their IPOs. Shinal knows far more about finances than we do, but we wonder if it makes the most sense to compare a brand new car company developing brand new technologies – with the colossal amounts of up-front cash each one of those things requires, and a company with Tesla’s record so far – to a social media game developer and an online coupon distributor. Head over to Market Watch to read the full piece.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S

By Jonathon Ramsey

Ford, GM Promoting Workplace EV Charging

Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, and Tesla are among 13 companies joining together as founding Partners of the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.

“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The mission of DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge is to increase the number of employers with workplace charging by tenfold within the next five years in hopes of strengthening the nation’s electric-vehicle infrastructure while increasing consumer exposure to plug-in electric vehicles.

Joining those automakers are 3M, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, General Electric, Google, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, and Verizon. The DOE will be providing technical assistance and establishing a network where Partners and Ambassadors can share their best practices.

“These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce – setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry,” Chu said.

Discuss this story at GM-Volt.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla Roadster Trumps Supercars in Drag Race

Plenty of exotic supercars made their way to Russ Beach Smith Falls Airport to take part in the ‘Race the Runway 2012′ charity event that raises money for the Russ Beach Smith Falls-Montague Aviation Museum. At the event, millions of dollars worth of exotics took part in a 1/4-mile drag race on the paved runway, with an electric Tesla Roadster turning in the best time of the day.

The Tesla Roadster ran an impressive 10.39 seconds in the quarter mile and bested the likes of a Nissan GT-R (11.536), Ford GT (11.691), Dodge Viper ACR (12.023), a Porsche Carrera GT (12.273), and even a Ferrari Cailfornia (12.639). Of course most of those vehicles listed aren’t made to go fast in a straight line, but other things to take into account is driver experience and traction, two main components of a fast e.t. in drag racing.

That’s not to say the time wasn’t impressive for the electric convertible. Any 10-second car is a fast one, but let’s not jump to any hasty conclusions that the Tesla Roadster would outperform a GT-R or a Viper on a road course.

By Jason Siu

Tesla Model S will gain range in “sleep mode” software update





Tesla figures owners of its Model S all-electric sedan will happily trade a little dashboard start-up speed for a few more miles of range. That’s the crux of a software update from the luxury EV maker that will include a so-called “sleep mode.” That mode powers everything off when the car is shut down.



The upshot is that there will be what Tesla says is a “modest increase” in the amount of time the car’s instrument panel “wakes up” from sleep mode (don’t we all have that problem?). The good news is that the car’s range increases because of sleep mode. In fact, folks willing to put their cars into sleep mode will get about eight more miles of range for every day that the car’s not used and not plugged in. In other words, a non-sleeping Model S loses roughly a mile of range every three hours its just sitting there. Tesla says the software update will also improve voice-command and media-browsing features.



Tesla said late last month that it is boosting the price of the Model S by $2,500 for US customers, putting the base price at $59,900 and the top end hit at $94,400. Those prices don’t factor in the federal tax credit worth up to $7,500. Details can be found in Tesla’s announcement for the software update below.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

Tesla Model Stesla model sTesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model S

By Danny King

Edmunds.com 2010 Tesla Roadster Overview

Edmunds.com 2010 Tesla Roadster Overview

Edmunds.com 2010 Tesla Roadster Overview


Introduction:

The 2009 Tesla Roadster is now for sale, and customers on the waiting list for this instant collector’s item are starting to get the keys to their sporty little roadster. By now, you’ve probably heard of Tesla — the startup electric car company brought to you by Silicon Valley rather than Detroit. And you might have heard rumblings that its Lotus Elise-based Roadster has been far from problem-free, with the most notable being a failed two-speed transmission that had to be replaced (including in those vehicles already sold) by this year’s one-speed automatic. The company itself has had issues, from fired executives to shuttered dealerships. The future remains questionable for the Tesla Roadster, but for now, it remains an intriguing choice for wealthy, green-minded car buyers in search of a little fun.

Here are the important things to know. The Tesla Roadster is an all-electric car with a range of 227 miles under judicious driving (although as a sports car, that could be difficult to accomplish). Using Tesla’s High Power Connector recharging device, it takes 3.5 hours to refill the lithium-ion batteries from near-empty. With only 2,750 pounds to lug about, the 240-horsepower electric motor provides a rush of seamless power, bringing the Roadster up to 60 mph in about 4 seconds. Plus, it does it with the eerie quietness of a Prius in all-electric mode.

Aside from going fast, the Tesla’s Lotus-based chassis allows it to be one of the finest-handling automobiles you can buy. Thanks to the aft positioning of the electric motor and battery pack, the Roadster’s weight distribution is even more rear-biased than the Elise’s — 35 percent front/65 percent rear, compared to 39/61 for the Lotus. The manual steering that is a pain at low parking speeds nevertheless contributes to excellent steering feel and control.

And then there are the environmental benefits. The Tesla Roadster produces no emissions on its own, though electricity produced by coal- or natural-gas-fired power plants obviously has associated emissions. Because of the Roadster’s highly efficient nature, however, Tesla claims the associated carbon dioxide emissions would only be about a third of those for a popular hybrid car. Although if you have enough cash to buy a Tesla, why not make like Ed Begley and pony up for one of those home solar panel systems, too?

The 2009 Tesla Roadster has undeniable appeal, but there are some major drawbacks. Chiefly, its lofty asking price makes it attainable for only the most deep-pocketed buyers. And for them, the tiny spartan interior may not seem to befit a $100,000 car, not to mention the manual steering and the awkward entry and exit. The electric battery range should also be an issue since it makes road trips a near impossibility. However, every new technological road has to start somewhere, and with GM’s EV1 long since forgotten/killed, the Tesla Roadster could very well become known as the electric car that really started it all. Or it’ll be an interesting footnote in the history of the automobile, 2000-2050. Either way, it could be fun to have one in your multicar garage.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:

The 2009 Tesla Roadster is a two-seat roadster with a targa-style removable soft top. Only one trim level is available. Standard features includes 16-inch front and 17-inch rear alloy wheels, the High Power Connector for a 3.5-hour charge, cruise control, leather upholstery, heated seats, a leather Momo sport steering wheel, power windows and locks, air-conditioning, a universal garage opener and a CD player stereo with an iPod interface. Options include a body-colored carbon fiber hardtop, upgraded leather upholstery, microfiber cloth upholstery, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker upgraded sound system with navigation and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance:

The 2009 Tesla Roadster is equipped with a 375-volt AC-induction air-cooled electric motor that produces 240 hp and 276 pound-feet of torque. As is the case with all electric vehicles, that torque is immediately available. A single-speed automatic is the lone transmission. Tesla estimates the Roadster will go from zero to 60 mph in just under 4 seconds. It reaches an electronically limited 125 mph. Based on the EPA’s combined city/highway cycle, the Tesla Roadster should travel about 244 miles before needing a recharge, which takes 3.5 hours using Tesla’s High Power Connector. Just as with a gasoline-powered car, this range will obviously drop the more vigorously you drive.

Safety:

Standard safety features on the 2009 Tesla Roadster include antilock brakes and traction control. Notably, side airbags are unavailable.

Interior Design and Special Features:

Like the Lotus Elise on which it is based, the tiny 2009 Tesla Roadster features a rather spartan interior. The heated seats and Momo steering wheel are trimmed in leather, but otherwise don’t expect the sort of luxury normally associated with a car costing $100,000. However, the Roadster does differ from the Elise in its modified transmission tunnel that hosts the exclusive automatic shifter, along with the LCD information readout for battery charge, range and optional navigation.

The seats are supportive but confining and the footwells are extraordinarily narrow, though at least there’s no clutch to worry about. As with the Elise, taller drivers could find the circus act required to get into the tiny, cramped Roadster — particularly with the removable roof in place — to be more trouble than gas-free travel is worth.

Driving Impressions:

You’d think an electric car would have electric power steering, but you’d be wrong. Instead, the Tesla Roadster goes with an unpowered rack. It’s not fun at parking lot speeds, but it’s a treat around corners. Despite the Tesla’s slightly softened suspension settings, this is one of the best-handling (and stiffest-riding) cars on the market. The real story, though, is the eerily muted thrust from the electric motor. Tire noise is more audible than the subdued whine from the electronics tucked behind your left shoulder, yet the Roadster’s acceleration is breathtaking, especially from a standing start with all that torque on tap. It’s fast, but the very opposite of furious.


Copyright Edmunds.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


By Autobytel Staff

Watch A Citroen DS Battle A Tesla Model S – Rumor Central

Watch A Citroen DS Battle A Tesla Model S

The Citroen DS-19 and the 2013 Tesla Model S duke it out in the latest Head 2 Head episode. The pairing seems odd at first, but host Jonny Lieberman argues that the Model S and the DS are packed with innovation, making both contenders worthy of a comparison.

Lieberman argues that the Citroen might be the most innovative car in the 20th century for many reasons. For starters, the car’s futuristic body is constructed of fiberglass and aluminum, and its oleo-pneumatic, auto-leveling suspension was unlike anything the public had seen back in the 1950s. And the list of innovations continues: its Citromatic transmission (which Lieberman explains in the video), high-mounted brake lights, and lightweight chassis construction.

Next is the Model S, which was the recipient of our 2013 Car of the Year award. Most of you are probably well versed when it comes to this innovative Tesla, which provides drivers with road-trip-worthy range and supercar-like acceleration, all while producing zero emissions. Both cars are impressive indeed, but only one is declared a winner in this Head 2 Head. Watch the video, and let us know which car you’d rather own in the comments below.





By Erick Ayapana

Watch Tesla Model S get assembled, painted; find details of ‘opportunity console’

Tesla Model S in paint shop



Tesla Motors is just a few days away from handing over Model S key fobs to the first batch of customers. Yes, the company already gave investor and board member Steve Jurvetson and CEO Elon Musk their Founder Series cars, but this time it’s for reals.



While we wait to watch the sleek sedans, painted in the ten four colors of the company’s current palette Signature series, passed to their new owners – the big event will be broadcast on Tesla’s website Friday at 3:30 PDT – we can now see more of what goes into the manufacturing of this truly innovative electric car. We’ve already watched the massive metal stamping that begins the process, now we can view the whole assembly and paint application operation. Scroll below for three more videos from the Inside Tesla! series.



In other Model S news, Tesla has revealed what’s going to be so special about the area between the front seats, a space Tesla is calling the “Opportunity Console.” Based on buyer preferences, this customizable space should one day be able to be outfitted with “compartments, shelves or phone holders to make this area more organized.” Tesla will reveal prototypes of the consoles this weekend and will listen to customer input on how the final versions develop.













By Domenick Yoney

Tesla Model S Software Update Boosts Range by 8 Miles

A software update to the Tesla Model S will add a few extra miles of range according to the brand.

The update will bring a few changes, the largest of which is a new “sleep” setting. When in use, the new “sleep” setting will power down the cars display and vehicle electronics when the owner exits the vehicle,  which will add about 8 miles of range a day. The trade off is that now the screens will take longer to power up when the car is started, though Tesla says it is only a ”modest increase” in wait time.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Gets $2,500 Price Increase

Along with the new screen sleep function, owners will get enhanced synchronized door handles, new voice commands, enhanced throttle response and a few other small changes.

as an interesting side note, the best part about Tesla’s software updates is that they happen over a 3G connection with minimal effort by the owner.

By Stephen Elmer

Nissan Leaf races Tesla Roadster at Sportsland

nissan leaf nismo rc racer



Give Nissan some credit, here: the company is proudly publicizing coming in second.



The Japanese automaker entered a souped-up Nissan Leaf in an all-electric-vehicle race at Japan’s Sportsland Sugo earlier this month, with hopes of knocking off proverbial favorite Tesla in the 50-kilometer race.



The Nissan Leaf Nismo RC was customized with a groovy, sleeker body as well as having its motor shifter around to make the car rear-wheel drive. The battery pack was moved to the middle for better handling. Additionally, Nissan added more crumple zones and automatic electric-power shut-down capabilities the event that the car got munched.



The good news as that the car didn’t. The bad news is that it finished second to a Tesla Roadster.



“Tesla’s speed on the straights was much more impressive than we anticipated,” driver Tsugio Matsuda said (in translation). The racer did look like he enjoyed the challenge, though, as you can see in Nissan’s six-minute video below.





By Danny King

Tesla adds $6,500 ‘Performance Plus’ option to Model S; adds range, improves handling

Tesla Model S



Tesla Motors is adding a special performance package for its all-electric Model S that not only will add miles of single-charge range, but will make sure those miles aren’t driven sideways.



The automaker is charging $6,500 for its new “Performance Plus” option, which includes wider rear tires, upgraded stabilizer bars and bushings, among other goodies. Tesla says it took “hundreds of iterations affecting every detail of the suspension,” but “our vehicle dynamics team was able to achieve the rare outcome of simultaneously improving performance, comfort and efficiency.” The new rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires are 20 mm wider than previous tires and are “staggered for improved acceleration on low grip surfaces.” Folks will also be able to get between six and 12 miles of range from those new tires.



Tesla continues to move its already up-market car into the proverbial stratosphere, and for good reason. The company, which beat its first-quarter sales targets, discontinued its cheapest variant of the Model S because of lack of demand even as it has improved the financing options for the EV.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S2012 Tesla Model S

By Danny King

1 2 8