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Konstantin Othmer loves his Tesla Model S. The serial entrepreneur was one of the lucky few who took delivery last Friday at the car’s official launch and as such, he is one of just a handful of people who have had more then a mere ten minutes behind the wheel.
He has spent that time well. Besides giving rides to friends and family, he’s also taken the opportunity to share with the world at large what it is, exactly, that he likes about his new all-electric ride in an entertaining video.
We won’t give it all away, but will say that he does touch on a couple of our favorite themes. No gas needed, along with lots of performance. Enough performance, in fact, that his camera person (understandably) let’s out an expletive or two during some acceleration demonstrations. Luckily for those at work or sensitive to such coarse outbursts, he’s just put up a family-friendly version.
We’ve seen initial media impressions of the Model S, as well as those from reservation holders. Now, scroll below and see what an owner makes of America’s first electric performance sedan.
Tesla Motors has made lots of performance claims about its 2012 Model S sedan, and while early test drives have definitely left many with positive seat-of-the pants impressions, there’s nothing quite like a quality instrumented thrashing to back up a company’s assertions.
Edmunds Inside Line has gotten its (dirty, stinking) mitts on a Performance-spec example and has been putting the battery-powered fastback through its paces in a proper track environment. It now has an answer to that rubber-burning question: “Does the Model S do on pavement what it does on paper?”
It does. And, in the case of the all-important 0-to-60 time, slightly better even – 4.35 seconds as opposed to the stated 4.4 seconds. Sweet!
The Model S also lives up to its billing in the quarter-mile metric, with IL tester Mike Monticello matching the 12.6 second claim that Tesla makes on its website. That’s an impressive number, especially if you consider that the company’s Roadster currently (but not, we suspect, for long) owns the NEDRA Street Production record time with a 12.643 seconds.
As well as acceleration, the 5+2 seat Model S was also subjected to skid pad, slalom, and braking abuse where it acquitted itself quite nicely for a 4,770-lb machine. While we are still waiting to share our own impressions of this ground-breaking vehicle (soon, we promise!), we are only too happy to offer this bit of entertaining video from the good folks at Inside Line just below.
Despite irking the National Automobile Dealers Association and being slapped with lawsuits, EV maker Tesla won a license to sell cars near Boston.
Unlike most automakers, Tesla use boutique retail locations to promote its vehicles, circumventing traditional dealer networks. It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off for the niche company, which is a rare instance of a seemingly successful startup in the car world. That game plan hasn’t gone unnoticed.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Future Touchscreen Tech Hinted by Exec
Earlier in the year, Leonard Bellavia, an attorney who specializes in working with auto dealers said “the idea that they’re reinventing automotive retailing is somewhat laughable,” but it seems the joke was actually on Tesla’s naysayers.
Far from feeling intimidated, Tesla sales vice president George Blankenship smiled and said the brand isn’t worried about the lawsuits while talking with AutoGuide.
Tesla won approval for its license by a four-to-one vote for a license in Natick, which is just outside Boston. However, there are conditions. The company is required to transfer its lease on the property to its Massachusetts subsidiary.
The approval “will enable us to provide the residents of Natick and surrounding areas with a complete experience that will take them from initial education and information about EVs to the purchase, delivery and service of their Tesla vehicle if they choose to buy one.”
If Tesla’s future plans actually come true, by 2016 the company will offer the Model S, Model X as well as a premium entry-level four-door, BMW X3 fighter, and new sports car. That’s the news from a Wired report, quoting CEO Elon Musk.
Before Tesla can think about launching a midsize crossover and roadster in the 2016 calendar year, however, the company also has the upcoming Model X crossover, not to mention the BMW 3 Series challenger that could arrive in 2015 after the Model X arrives in dealerships early in 2014.
“We’ll do the X3 equivalent and then a Roadster follow-up in parallel,” Musk said to Wired.
Higher-volume models like the midsize crossover and the entry-level four-door — said to carry a base price around $30,000 when it debuts — will help Tesla reach the sales levels necessary to make a profit on its vehicle architecture. Musk notes that the car will have a similar hatchback design as the Model S, perhaps a similar arrangement found between the Fisker Karma and Atlantic models.
While Musk didn’t specify whether the new crossover model will have the Model X’s flashy, outward-opening doors, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them dropped to help the model reach a lower base price. Speaking of price, Musk hints that Tesla’s next sports car may see a price drop compared to the Roadster.
Which upcoming Tesla would you most like to drive, the Model X, the BMW X3 sized crossover, entry-level four-door, or sports car.
By Zach Gale
Get this: the recharge time in the humongous Tesla Model S battery pack – yes, the 300-mile version – could be as short as an hour. That is, if you happen to have one of Tesla’s Supercharger stations handy.
At the big Model S launch event Friday, Tesla chief technology officer J.B. Straubel told Automotive News that the upcoming 90-kW 440-volt Superchargers will be able to recharge a top-of-the-line, 300-mile-range car in an hour. Say what you want about proprietary technology, that’s far, far faster than today’s DC Fast Chargers, which take 20-30 minutes to give an EV around 80 miles of range. He said that, “If you recharge a Nissan Leaf in 30 minutes, it’s much different than if you can do a 300-mile Model S in 30 minutes,” adding that putting 150 miles of range into a Model S in a half-hour is “not science fiction,” and will be unveiled “in less than one year.”
Other numbers from Friday’s event:
- Tesla is building a Model S a day right now, but this could ramp up to 80/day by the end of the year. That equals 8,000 from the first year, given a single shift working.
- At the end of Q1 2012, there were 9,800 reservations for the Model S, which means putting money down today equals a delivery in May 2013. This could be shortened if Tesla ramps production up quicker than anticipated.
- There should be 22 Tesla stores in the U.S. by the end of the year (there are 12 today). Tesla had expected 1,000 people a month to stop in, but apparently around 4,000 stop by.
For more on Tesla’s Supercharging network, read this and this.
Tesla announced a new offering of 2.7 million shares of common stock today, along with $450 million worth in convertible senior notes.
Tesla plans to use the aggregate gross proceeds of the offerings, which they predict will be around $830 million, to pay back the US Department of Energy. Timing is also crucial with this announcement, as Tesla stock has nearly doubled in value since early April.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced that he will personally be purchasing $45 million in common stock offering, and approximately $55 million directly from Tesla. Currently, Musk owns about 27 million Tesla shares, or 23.6% of the outstanding stock.
In connection with the note offerings, Tesla also announced that it will be entering into convertible note hedge transactions and warrant transactions which are meant to prevent dilution up to %100 over the offering stock price.
Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com
Tesla’s little stand at Cobo Hall, squeezed into a corner near Bentley and Volvo, was mobbed during the company’s press conference, which seemed to serve multiple purposes: to show the Model X crossover concept for the first time at an auto show; to allow the company to gloat over the resounding critical success of its Model S, including the fact that it is the 2013 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year; and for company executives to spread the gospel of Tesla.
Tesla’s supreme leader, Elon Musk, was nowhere in sight, but George Blankenship, the former Apple executive who is Tesla’s Vice President of worldwide sales and customer experience, took to the stage wearing jeans, a blazer, and a wool scarf casually draped around his neck. “Our vision is to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” he said, aping similar comments we’ve heard from his boss. “It’s not about building a car.” But it is, George, it is. Blankenship is particularly pleased with the growing reputation of Tesla, noting that a whopping 1.6 million people traipsed through 19 of the company’s 23 U.S. company stores [Tesla doesn't have traditional dealerships] in the fourth quarter of last year. Tesla will open 25 more company stores in 2013, half of them in the United States. The first store in China opens this spring.
The never-ending question about electric cars, of course, is where and how to recharge them, but Tesla is optimistic about its plans to allow owners to do so easily with its Supercharging stations, which provide a full battery recharge in about 30 minutes and will allow Tesla drivers to travel from San Diego to Vancouver on the West Coast and from Miami to Boston on the East Coast. “In a couple of years, you’re going to be able to drive from San Diego to Maine [using our Supercharging system],” Blankenship promises. “Our charging is FREE, so people will be eager to adopt our technology. [Tesla] is about a bright future for your children and grandchildren,” he concluded, a little too sweetly, before turning the microphone over to design chief Franz von Holzhausen, who was also wearing jeans but no scarf.
Von Holzhausen, who designed the Pontiac Solstice and served as Mazda’s North American design chief, turned to the Model X concept sitting behind him. “We want to transfer our [electric vehicle] technology into a segment [SUVs] that is presently horribly inefficient,” he said. “Minivans are incredibly practical, but you kind of sell your soul to get that practicality. With the Model X, you get practicality in a sexy vehicle.” Von Holzhausen opened the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors, which pivot in two places to open vertically before they swing out, so the Model X can be parked in conventional parking spaces. “Creating the second hinge at the cant rail was the big innovation,” Von Holzhausen told us after the press conference. “When the doors are open, they are seven feet, four inches tall, and most garages are about eight feet tall. There will be sensors to prevent the doors from hitting anything.”
With all of its doors open on the show floor, the white-over-black Model X looked like a multi-winged bird. We wondered if all those huge apertures would compromise structural integrity, but Von Holzhausen reminded us that “the Model S sedan’s structure is equally porous, but both have 60 hertz of structural rigidity. The battery pack is an integral part of the structure.” The front “hood” opens to reveal a huge, wide cargo cavity, and the rear hatch also exposes a considerable amount of storage space. We climbed inside the Model X and found a decent amount of room in the second row, if considerably less in the third row, but all three seats in the second row move back and forth independently, and headroom is good in both rows. The Model X concept’s body is constructed of fiberglass, but the production vehicle, which is expected sometime in late 2014, will have aluminum body panels just like the Model S. The all-wheel-drive Model X will have 60-kw and 85-kw battery packs but no entry-level 40-kw pack like the Model S offers. Tesla promises a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.0 seconds.
Looking even farther into the future, Von Holzhausen is most excited about the prospect of Tesla’s third-generation car, which will, he says, “be an Audi A4, BMW 3-series, Volkswagen Jetta type of vehicle that will offer everything: range, affordability, and performance. We’re confident we can do it at a starting price of $30,000, which is the break-in point, where we can bring all this excitement and technology to the average customer.”
By Joe DeMatio
We’ve extensively tested the Tesla Model S’ range, but after one reporter from The New York Times wrote about his experience with the car running out of power, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken notice. The Model S review suggests that cold weather negatively impacts range, but Musk has expressed doubts about the reporter’s story.
“Essentially, we think the article is a bit of a set up and is unreasonable” Musk told CNBC.
In the NY Times article, reporter John M. Broder planned a road trip around the EV charging stations newly set up 200 miles apart on Interstate 95, in Newark, Del. and in Milford, Conn. With the Model S’s 265-mile estimated range, Broder didn’t experience range anxiety until after the first charge in Delaware.
Broder wrote that he barely made it to the service plaza in Milford, and had range issues the following day. Once the car failed to make it to the nearest charging point, the author noted that the Model S gave the tow truck operator problems, as the electronic parking brake wouldn’t release without power.
Musk, not surprisingly, had a different take on the story. He told CNBC that vehicle logs reveal the author took detours and drove at speeds that decreased the car’s range. In addition, Musk also said the driver didn’t charge up to the maximum amount. In response, the NY Times claimed Broder’s article was completely factual and that he described the entire drive in the story.
Although we experienced a bit of range anxiety in the Model S ourselves, we were able to drive the Model S with the largest available battery pack from Los Angeles to San Diego in one single charge, in which we managed 238 miles at 65 mph on flat terrain with the AC off. From Los Angeles, we traveled 211 miles to Las Vegas and had 74 miles of range left, but on the way back, editor-in-chief Ed Loh was sweating as he barely made it back from the valet garage at the Aria Casino to Motor Trend’s El Segundo headquarters (285 miles on the dot) with range left for about three miles.
Read more about Tesla’s Superchargers here.
Source: NY Times, CNBC
We’ve tested the 2013 Tesla Model S’ range on three single-charge road trips, but how will the car perform on the track? In this episode of Ignition, associate road test editor Carlos Lago puts the Model S through our standard battery of tests to see just how fast and fun the electric car is to drive.
At the test track the Model S reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds at 112.5 mph while it stopped from 60 mph took 113 feet. Despite its hefty weight, the Model S handles well because the battery pack’s mass sits low in the chassis.
Lago then takes the Model S to the streets to see how the electric car behaves in the real world. Check out the video below to hear Lago’s conclusion about the Model S and whether he thinks it’s a viable alternative to traditional gas-powered cars. And if you haven’t seen it, watch the Tesla Model S vs. BMW M5 drag race here.
By Jason Udy
Just because Tesla Motors hasn’t made a profit yet doesn’t mean early buyers of its cars can’t.
At least, that seems to be what one future owner of a Tesla Model S Signature Series is saying by putting his ordered-but-not-yet-delivered electric vehicle on eBay. The seller, who is based in Portland, Maine, has put a $145,000 price tag on the car, but he is accepting starting bids as “low” as $138,500. If the car sells (and it has zero bids, as of this writing), it could make for about a 50 percent profit for the seller. The Model S has an 85-kilowatt battery pack and a 265-mile single-charge range, and the one up for sale is scheduled for an October 14 delivery.
“This may be the only chance in the next few years to acquire one of these amazing, limited edition, game changing vehicles,” the seller wrote on the sale post. Bids are being taken until September 20, but you can also put your order in for a non-Signature Series Model S through Tesla directly.
For the curious, check here for Autoblog’s First Drive impressions of the Model S here.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King