Return of the Sports Car: Tesla’s Future Includes BMW X3 Fighter, Roadster Successor

Return of the Sports Car: Tesla’s Future Includes BMW X3 Fighter, Roadster Successor

With news of upcoming expansion plans, Tesla appears to be continuing its journey from just barely surviving to thriving. In a Wired report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admits the company is planning a BMW X3 fighter as well as a sports car successor to the original Tesla, the Roadster.

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.

Tesla Model X Rear Three Quarter Doors Open 300x187 image“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. In a comparison test involving a Tesla Roadster Sport along with a Porsche Boxster Spyder, we called the Tesla “a genuine car to reckon with on the world stage” but knocked it for having an “extraordinary price” and limited range.

Source: Wired

By Zach Gale

Crashed, Tested, Sold: Tesla Announces Model S Delivery Date – Rumor Central

Crashed, Tested, Sold: Tesla Announces Model S Delivery Date

The Tesla Model S is officially showroom ready, at least according to the U.S. government: after passing initial Environmental Protection Agency tests, the car has also reportedly passed crash testing at the hands of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not one to waste time, Tesla Motors subsequently announced the car’s initial delivery date is June 22nd, 2012.

The crash test announcement comes from the personal Twitter account of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who took a break from observing his SpaceX rocket launch to tweet that the Model S finished NHTSA crash testing. Musk claims that the car completed all tests with five-star scores, although we were unable to independently confirm that claim with NHTSA by press time.

With crash testing completed, along with the aforementioned EPA certification, it appears to be full-speed ahead for Tesla’s next model launch. The company plans on handing over keys to early production models to owners within the confines of its assembly plant in Freemont, California, but then intends on quickly ramping up volume. Tesla hopes to deliver 5000 Model S sedans by the end of the year, but claims that the waiting list for one of the five- or seven-passenger (depending on options) EVs stretches some 10,000 names. Those names should be satisfied by the middle of next year, as Tesla is shooting for a 20,000-unit year in 2013.

As to-be owners anxiously wait for their cars, Tesla also announced that customer cars will receive some special finishing touches. Tesla VP George Blankenship announced via blog post this week that Model S sedans will now come with adjustable steering effort, suspension height, and regenerative braking settings – all of which are configurable through a menu accessed by way of the 17-inch touchscreen center stack.

The Model S will go on sale this year and cost between $57,400 and $105,400, not including a possible $7500 federal income tax credit.

Source: Tesla




By Ben Timmins

Tesla CEO Hints at Electric Truck and Electric Supercar

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk recently sat down with Motor Trend for an interview, and hinted that the company has plans for an all-electric supercar, as well as an electric truck.

When asked about future products, Musk said “we’d like to do an electric supercar. We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology.”

Tesla’s next vehicle that will hit the market is the Model X SUV, followed by a 3 series competitor that the brand hopes will be there first large quantity seller. Tesla is looking to become “more experimental as a brand,” says Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Developing Third Model to Take on 3-Series

Also in the experimental category are autonomous vehicles, another area that Musk touched on. “I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google, who’s quite close to us in Silicon Valley,” he finished.

[Source: Motor Trend]

By Stephen Elmer

After Model X: third-generation Tesla models will be sedans, crossovers





Watching the video of last week’s Tesla Motors shareholder meeting was like eating a box of chocolates, to paraphrase a certain Mr. Gump. Besides finding chewy sales projections and crunchy Supercharger network tidbits, we also found something equally delicious, but with a more subtle texture.



During a brief discussion of its third generation of electric vehicles, one slide (pictured above) seems to reveal that the company plans on using that future platform for a crossover as well as a sedan. The different body types went unmentioned by CEO Elon Musk, but there it was on wall behind him for all the world to see.



Musk did say, however, that the company expects Gen III production to be an order of magnitude greater than that of the Model S sedan and its platform-sharing sister, the Model X SUV. As well as being smaller, we expect the upcoming cars to be about 40 percent less expensive, which should greatly help drive sales.



What we didn’t hear any news about during the presentation was the next generation of Tesla sports car. Previously rumored to be coming in 2014, it is still likely in the planning stages, though the focus is clearly now on high-volume vehicles. Hit us up in the comments below and tell us if there’s a vehicle type you’d like to see Tesla make.

By Domenick Yoney

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

MT Poll: Is the $49,800 Toyota RAV4 EV Priced Right?

Lots of car doors open when you have $50,000 to spend. A 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca and a base 2013 Porsche Boxster cost about $50,000, but if an electric-powered crossover is more your style, then you’ll also have enough to afford the Toyota RAV4 EV, set to go on sale later this summer with an asking price of $49,800, before credits.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV instrument panel 300x187 imageIs that asking too much? Toyota doesn’t think so. Ed Larocque, Toyota USA’s national marketing manager for advanced technology vehicles, defended the RAV4 EV’s price point to WardsAuto: “All things considered, [including] what you’re getting with the product, we think it’s priced right for the market in California.” Following the initial launch in California, Toyota will decide what U.S. markets will get the RAV4 EV.

The RAV4 EV includes a powertrain developed with Tesla Motors. Toyota claims it will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds in sport mode and 8.6 seconds in normal mode, while reaching a top speed of 100 mph. Its lithium-ion battery pack will need about 6 hours to charge (level 2, 240V), providing a range of 92-113 miles, depending on driving modes and conditions. Standard creature comforts include navigation, heated front seats, and seating surfaces wrapped in Toyota’s new Neutron fabric.

Last but not least are the tax credits. Combining the federal tax credit of $7500 with California’s $2500 credit and the RAV4 EV’s price was knocked down to about $39,990. By comparison, the all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchback is $36,050 (before credits), while a fully loaded 2012 RAV4 Limited AWD V-6 is priced at $32,820.

Source: WardsAuto, Toyota

By Erick Ayapana

Positive Charge: Toyota, Tesla Formally Announce Details on New 2012 RAV4 EV

Positive Charge: Toyota, Tesla Formally Announce Details on New 2012 RAV4 EV

We’ve already reported on Toyota and Tesla Motors forming a partnership to develop electric vehicles, but now we’ve learned a little more about the program. According to an official release from Toyota, the two are working together to build a fleet of electric RAV4 compact SUVs, which are due to hit the market in the next two years.

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The official announcement is billed as the first of several “updates” on the project promised by Toyota Motor Company president Akio Toyoda. According to Toyoda’s statement, the first prototype of the new RAV4 EV has been completed and is currently undergoing a battery (no pun intended) of tests. Ultimately, the prototype will be the crest of a wave as Toyota and Tesla plan on building a fleet of the electric compact SUVs. According to the automaker, the first next-generation RAV4 EV will be pushed into the consumer market in 2012.

Toyota hopes the liason with Tesla, which was formally inked back in May, will help it develop, produce, and manufacture electric vehicles in a short time frame. In a very NUMMI-like twist, Tesla hopes to learn the ways of Toyota’s manufacturing process and gain from its engineering expertise, while Toyota reportedly aims to capitalize on Tesla’s “daring spirit,” along with its EV technology.

As previously reported, the RAV4 EV will utilize a lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Tesla, but officials at both companies have refrained from releasing more details on the new vehicle. Likewise, we haven’t heard any more information surrounding another electric vehicle, which has been reported to be based upon the Lexus RX.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more about the program in Toyota’s next update. Should all go well, look for the second iteration of the RAV4 EV to reach consumers in about two years.

Source: Toyota

By Andrew Peterson

Tesla stock breaks $83; CEO Elon Musk steps way from Facebook founder’s immigration group

tesla model s driving



As A. Whitney Brown once said, “There’s really no use in beating a dead horse. I mean, except for the pure joy of it.” Well, if Tesla’s recent string of successes is said horse, then we hope you enjoy the rest of this post.



Let’s start with politics, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s step back from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s new immigration reform political action group, Fwd.us. Musk is one of the big names that is taking his name off the supporter list because Fwd.us gave money for ads that supported US senators who also supported the Keystone XL pipeline and Alaskan oil drilling.



Then we have Tesla stock, TSLA, which has more than doubled so far this year. It was news when it crossed the $50 mark a few weeks ago but right now it’s sitting at $83.75, up almost $7 from Friday. The reason for the rapid rise is clear to anyone who’s paying attention, as you can see in the interactive widget below, but there is a trading history here that involves a lot of people betting against Tesla. There’s a good rundown on the history of TSLA stock shorting here, and it includes these words of warning: there are a number of factors that “could drive the stock down in time. Probably will, say some analysts” and “If you own Tesla stock, enjoy the ride.” We recommend the same if you own an actual Tesla.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

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Tesla’s share price rise on Dipity.

By Sebastian Blanco

Alpha Testing: Tesla Details Engineering Advances of Model S Development

Alpha Testing: Tesla Details Engineering Advances of Model S Development

Tesla’s out to prove its electric Model S luxury hatchback is unique in its technological advancement. To make that happen, the company has released three videos featuring Peter Rawlinson, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, talking about the car’s structure.

We’re expecting to find more information about the Model S at the Detroit Auto Show next week but, for now, we’ve got these videos highlighting the aluminum structure.

“We’re particularly pleased with this,” Rawlinson says, “it’s a very advanced form of architecture, which is a combination of castings, extrusions, and stampings.”

Currently, the Model S is in its Alpha testing and development stage. In other words, it’s in stage one of two. As though having an electric powertrain wasn’t enough, the Model S will also distinguish itself from other luxury vehicles with its seven-passenger seating.

“Model S has such extraordinary package efficiency, it’s possible to endow it with a third row of occupants,” Rawlinson says.

Underneath that third row you’ll find the compact electric motor and rear suspension — we’re eager to see just how comfortable that third row will truly be.

Rawlinson continues in the third video, discussing how the battery pack helps increase torsional rigidity. Many still doubt whether Tesla will be capable of introducing the Model S quickly enough and selling it at a reasonable price.

“We have a very lean team,” Rawlinson says. “We have people from different disciplines sitting right next to each other and sharing the collective experience of designing and packaging the car.”

Source: Tesla

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By Zach Gale

Your Say: Top 10 Cars That Should Be Renamed

Your Say: Top 10 Cars That Should Be Renamed

There was a time when most automakers actually bothered to give their vehicles real names. Cars had elegant names like Continental and Fleetwood, while trucks had tough-sounding names like Bronco and Ram. More often than not nowadays cars get named random alphanumeric characters like FX50 and Z4 sDrive35is.

Last week we asked readers in a Thread of the Day which new cars should be renamed. Today, we’re sharing with you 10 of our favorites from your suggestions. Here are your picks:

2013 Cadillac ATS front three quarter in motion 300x187 imageOne car that showed up a few times in the comments was the Acura RLX. Readers pointed out that Acura’s nomenclature had no easily understandable logic to it, and that the luxury brand once had good names like Legend and Integra.

The 2014 BMW 4 Series was another car mentioned more than once. Though the reasoning behind changing the name of the two-door 3 Series to the 4 Series may be sound, some feel there’s too much heritage behind the 3 Series name to make the change. “Renaming the 3 Series Coupe the 4 Series was a stupid idea,” said –i4Collin-.

The Cadillac XTS and ATS also made the list. “Cadillac has a rich history of names to choose from, but they ignore it and go with alphanumeric names,” said Kavman, who also pointed out that the CTS name has become somewhat iconic within the brand.

2014 Chevrolet SS with USAF Thunderbirds F 16D 300x187 imageThe 2014 Chevrolet SS generated some comments, too. Many thought GM was cheapening the “SS” brand (traditionally a high-performance trim level) by naming a car after it. “Chevy SS is a cop-out,” wrote BlackDynamiteOnline, “There are like 30 Chevys with the SS moniker somewhere on them, past and present. The car is as generic as the name.” Suggested alternative names to the 2014 SS included the Impala SS (as a follow up to the mid-’90s version), Caprice, Biscayne, and Bel Air.

Similarly, commenters had a problem with names like Lincoln MKZ. Just like Cadillac, some felt that Lincoln had too rich of a history to rely on meaningless alphabet soup for names. “Lincoln needs real names for its cars,” said Dan Murphy, “The alphabet soup is lame – so much redundancy.” Many want Lincoln to bring back the Continental, Town Car, and Mark names.

2012 McLaren MP4 12C front on water 300x187 imageOne commenter said the McLaren 12C needed to be renamed…again, perhaps to something that isn’t reminiscent of a fax machine.

Though the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG name comes from Mercedes tradition, the general consensus was that the numbers in the automaker’s names should reflect the displacement of the engine, as they once did. Thus, the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8-powered E63 would become the E55 AMG, and the 6.2-liter V-8-powered C63 would become the C62.

The Scion FR-S appeared in the comments section as well. The most common suggestions from commenters were to rebadge it as a Toyota and name it the GT86 or the Celica.

2013 Tesla Model S front three quarter 5 300x187 imageThe Tesla Model S is one of two cars on this list that doesn’t actually have an alphanumeric naming scheme. The main complaint, from MistyJ, was that the name “doesn’t have much personality.”

Like the Tesla, the Volkswagen Tiguan doesn’t have random letters for a name, but readers still don’t like it. “Tiguan” is a made-up word (a combination of “Tiger” and “Iguana”).

What new cars need a name change? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Elon Musk might start Tesla, SpaceX holding company; talks electric supercar

elon musk



Elon Musk is talking about maybe forming a holding that would own stock in both of the companies he’s incredibly busy with these days – Tesla Motors Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) – basically to simplify his life. “No actual plans under way,” he said. “[It] gets unwieldy to have lots of companies with me as the only connection.” The holding company may own public shares of both California-based companies. Tesla Motors went public in 2010, and Musk is looking at launching an initial public offering of SpaceX next year.



SpaceX has been doing pretty well lately. In May, it became the first private company to send a spacecraft to supply the International Space Station. In August, SpaceX landed a $440 million U.S. government contract to develop spacecraft for future cargo missions.



Tesla Motors is looking forward to becoming profitable, and that may happen in 2013 through sales of its Model S battery-powered sedan. Next year will see the launch of its all-electric Model X crossover sport-utility vehicle.



Musk also mentioned on a Web chat on Jalopnik that Tesla is thinking about rolling out an electric “supercar.” This would cost more than the Tesla Roadster – supercars from brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini can cost more than $200,000.



This will need to wait about four-to-five years, he said. It was going to happen right after the Model X, but it might be a good idea to make a less expensive electric car, since it is “more important to the world that we do a more affordable electric car.”



As automakers are learning, offering more affordable electric cars is a good idea. A $7,500 federal tax credit is usually available, but on cars like Model S, it probably doesn’t make much of a difference. The Model S, which began production in June, has a starting price of $57,400 and can cost more than $100,000, depending on battery pack size and other options. If you’re thinking about buying one of these or a $200,000-plus Tesla supercar, a $7,500 tax credit is, proportionally, peanuts.

By Jon LeSage