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

MT Poll: Which 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender Will Win COTY?

MT Poll: Which 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender Will Win COTY?

It’s Car of the Year time again! Over the past two weeks we’ve been teasing new 2013 Car of the Year contenders every day. With the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year announcement coming Monday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. EST, we thought it’d be fun to ask which contender you think will take home the golden calipers.

But since we get this question at each Of The Year event, we’d like to provide a friendly reminder that Car of the Year is only open to new or significantly updated vehicles that cost $120,000 or less. That means that the 2013 Ford Fusion is eligible for Car of the Year because it’s a full update, while the 2013 Ford Focus ST isn’t, since only one trim level is new, not the whole car. With that cleared up, let’s take a look at the contenders.

2013 Acura ILX front motion view 300x187 imageAcura ILX – We Like: Available swift-shifting manual and Honda Civic Si drivetrain. We Don’t Like: Questionable value in certain trims.

BMW 3 Series – We Like: The developed and mature feel of the car; “amazing” handling. We Don’t Like: A bit softer than previous 3 Series cars

Cadillac ATS – We Like: Excellent steering, firm chassis and impressive dynamics. We Don’t Like: Balky manual transmission.

Cadillac XTS – We Like: Exceptionally smooth ride; rock solid at triple-digit speeds. We Don’t Like: 3.6-liter V-6 could use a bit more refinement.

Chevrolet Malibu – We Like: We generally liked the Malibu’s interior design. We Don’t Like: We found the backseat too cramped for adults.

2013 Chevrolet Spark front side motion view4 300x187 imageChevrolet Spark – We Like: Surprisingly fun to toss around; well-appointed interior. We Don’t Like: Low handling limits.

Coda EV Sedan – We Like: It’s a cheap and cheerful electric car, with a long range. We Don’t Like: Subpar interior, bland design.

Dodge Dart – We Like: Pleasant styling, excellent value. We Don’t Like: “Dead” steering feel.

Ford C-Max—We Like: Ease of electric-only driving, the fact that it’s a fun-to-drive hybrid. We Don’t Like: Tires lack the grip to live up to the chassis.

Ford Fusion – We Like: Excellent steering feedback on 1.6 EcoBoost model; vast array of engine, transmission, and drivetrain options. We Don’t Like: Not as fun to drive as the outgoing Fusion.

2013 Honda Accord coupe front motion view 300x187 imageHonda Accord – We Like: Crisp handling, and buttoned-down interior. We Don’t Like: Surge-y, on-off throttle response at low speed with the CVT.

Hyundai Azera – We Like: Comfortable, roomy cabin with huge trunk. We Don’t Like: Polarizing styling.

Lexus ES – We Like: High-quality interior and roomy backseat. We Don’t Like: Hybrid suffered from a sloppy transition between regenerative and mechanical braking.

Lexus GS – We Like: Whole lineup was fun to drive – even the Hybrid; high-caliber interior design and materials. We Don’t Like: The haptic, mouse-like controller that operates the infotainment system.

2013 Lexus LS front motion view 300x187 imageLexus LS – We Like: Comfortable and quiet ride; V-8 grunt. We Don’t Like: Not as much of a game-changer as the original LS.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class – We Like: An excellent Grand Tourer; felt unflappable at high speeds. We Don’t Like: More horsepower than handling prowess.

Nissan Altima – We Like: Beautiful interior and comfortable seats. We Don’t Like: Could benefit from retuned steering.

Nissan Sentra – We Like: Baby Altima styling, and genuinely roomy interior. We Don’t Like: CVT and engine moan.

Porsche 911 – We Like: An incredibly usable supercar. We Don’t Like: Too obvious that Porsche spent more time developing the PDK than the manual.

2013 Porsche Boxster front motion view21 300x187 imagePorsche Boxster – We Like: Exceptional build quality, beautiful balance. We Don’t Like: Poor value.

Scion FR-S – We Like: Incredibly fun to drive and an excellent value. We Don’t Like: Cheap-feeling interior.

Subaru BRZ – We Like: Terrific chassis; superb balance, and steering. We Don’t Like: We want more power.

Tesla Model S – We Like: Long range combined with excellent performance. We Don’t Like: Styling a bit safe.

Toyota Avalon – We Like: Great ride and handling; nicely appointed interior. We Don’t Like: A face only a mother could love.

2013 Toyota Prius C front side view1 300x187 imageToyota Prius C – We Like: Cheap and cheerful appeal. We Don’t Like: This car is no fun.

Which contender do you think will take home the Golden Calipers as our 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year? Sound off in the poll and in the comments below.

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 Christian Seabaugh

Motor Trend suggests Tesla Model S may be most important new car since Ford Model T

2013 Tesla Model S in silver - front three-quarter view. Motor Trend Ignition video screencap.



“It may very well be the most important new car since the Model T.”



That’s the summation of the latest video from Motor Trend and its Ignition video series, speaking of the Tesla Model S. Though the buff site had previously released a video featuring a range-testing excursion from LA-to-Vegas (and back), this time its cameras were out to capture whether it proves its worth as a car.



For MT’s Carlos Lago, the criteria involved in the equation includes important things like, “How fast is it, how fun is it to drive.” And while he does spend some tire-smoking time testing the five-door hatchback’s performance parameters, the approach overall is more holistic than some we’ve seen.



Adding up the performance, style, technology and price, Lago compares the Tesla favorably with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Porsche Panamera. He says it feels “like car 3.0.” It all kind of gives us hope our favorite fastback will come out on top when MT reveals its Car Of The Year sometime in November.



Scroll down to watch one of the best-looking Model S video reviews to date, and let us know in Comments if you agree with its conclusions.





By Domenick Yoney

10 Things You Need To Know About The 2012 Tesla Model S

Electric cars come in all shapes and sizes – not just the compact, mass-production models that most Americans have become familiar with over the past couple of years. The 2012 Tesla Model S represents the new vanguard of battery-powered automobiles, cars that don’t compromise on features, power, or style while still delivering completely emissions-free operation. The Tesla Model S might not be as common as the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Volt, but it’s an important step in the maturity of the electric vehicle marketplace.

Let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2012 Tesla Model S.

01. The 2012 Tesla Model S Is All-Electric

Unlike a hybrid vehicle – or even an extended-range hybrid such as the Chevrolet Volt – the 2012 Tesla Model S derives 100 percent of its motivation from electricity, with no assistance whatsoever from a traditional internal combustion engine. As such, the vehicle does not produce any emissions, and is almost completely silent when underway. The Tesla Model S relies on a single AC electric motor that is capable of generating a monstrous 416 horsepower along with 443 lb-ft of torque – output that is sent to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission.

02. The 2012 Tesla Model S Features An Extended Range

The 2012 Tesla Model S can be ordered with three different battery options. The entry-level battery offers a 40 kWh capacity, which translates into a range of 160 miles on a full charge. Moving up to the 60 kWh battery expands the Model S’ cruising ability substantially to 230 miles, while selecting the top-of-the-line 85 kWh battery boosts the maximum distance that can be traveled to 300 miles. Each battery comes with an eight year warranty, and while the base storage pack is guaranteed for 100,000 miles of operation, the 85 kWh features an unlimited mileage warranty – one of the first such promises to be made in the electric car industry.

03. The 2012 Tesla Model S Can Recharge Quickly

Like most electric vehicles, the 2012 Tesla Model S offers a variety of different charging options. 110 volt charging from a standard household outlet is of course included with the vehicle’s onboard electrical connection, and an adaptor is also provided in order to connect to 240 volt and J1772 public charging stations for more rapid filling of the automobile’s battery. Using the vehicle’s available 10 kW on-board charger, Tesla claims that the car can travel 31 miles for every hour that it spends sucking juice out of the wall. Upgrading to the 20 kW twin charger doubles that figure to 62 miles of range per hour of charge. The latter is recommended for use with Tesla’s optional High Power Wall Connector, which can be installed in a home garage.

04. The 2012 Tesla Model S Is Rear-Engined

The 2012 Tesla Model S has been designed in order to minimize the impact of the weight of its battery pack and electric engine. The battery pack has been mounted in the floor pan – an absolute must to keep the car’s center of gravity as low as possible, given that these electric storage cells account for one third of the automobiles total mass. In the same vein, the Model S features a rear-mounted motor, squeezing the unit between the vehicle’s two back wheels. Heat exchangers at the front of the car to keep the battery pack and other electronic systems cool.

05. The 2012 Tesla Model S Offers Exceptional Performance

Despite being saddled with a significant amount of weight due to its battery pack, the 2012 Tesla Model S is an impressive performer in real world driving scenarios. The Tesla Model S tips the scales at a hefty 4,642 lbs when ordered with the 85 kWh battery, but that same configuration in Performance trim is capable of zooming to 60-mph from a standing start in an astonishing 4.4 seconds. The Model S 85 kWh Performance also devours the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds, which is fast enough to startle many dedicated sports cars. Top speed for the Model S is limited to between 110 and 130 mph, depending on the model, and even the base 40 kWh edition of the car blows past 60-mph in well under seven seconds.

06. The 2012 Tesla Model S Is A Hatchback Sedan

The 2012 Tesla Model S flirts with the current four-door coupe trend currently sweeping the luxury segment, but ultimately the automobile provides a compromise by offering a hatchback sedan body style that is both elegant and practical. Borrowing more than a few styling cures from Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Maserati, the Tesla Model S provides a long hood, a sweeping rear roofline, a wide oval grille, and a long wheelbase that give it significant presence out on the road. A generous hatch opening makes it a cinch to load the Tesla Model S with cargo.

07. The 2012 Tesla Model S Can Seat Up To Seven Passengers

The 2012 Tesla Model S can handle more than just luggage behind the second row of seating. Thanks to the availability of two optional, rear-facing seats, the Tesla Model S can push its passenger capacity from five to seven, making it a viable crossover challenger for families that need to be able to transport a few extra bodies in a pinch. The most recent vehicles to offer this type of seating configuration were station wagons offered by Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, making the Model S the only hatchback sedan to provide such an appealing option.

08. The 2012 Tesla Model S Can Be Had In Four Different Models

The 2012 Tesla Model S is offered in four distinct models. The base Tesla Model S can be had with either of the three battery pack options, retailing for MSRPs of $49,900 (40 kWh), $59,900 (60 kWh) and $69,900 (85 kWh). Opting for the Model S Performance edition – the quickest of the hatchback sedans, and one that offers additional luxury equipment plus an upgraded suspension system – pumps the price up to $84,900. The Model S Signature and Signature Performance models represent the first 1,000 examples of the car to be built, and they retail for $87,900 and $97,900, respectively. Both Signature models and the Performance version of the car come standard with the 85 kWh battery pack.

09. The 2012 Tesla Model S Comes With High Tech Features

The 2012 Tesla Model S isn’t just a technological tour-de-force under the skin – it also packs a number of sophisticated features aimed at improving the experience of those driving and riding in the electric car. Of these, the most prominent is the 17-inch touchscreen that is mounted on the vehicle’s center stack. This unique LCD panel is used to control almost every single vehicle function, from its heating and cooling controls to its entertainment system and wireless networking capabilities. Opting for the Tech Package adds additional equipment such as a turn-by-turn navigation system, a high definition backup camera, and LED fog lights.

10. The 2012 Tesla Model S Has No Direct Competition

The 2012 Tesla Model S is in a class by itself, as no other automaker is currently offering an all-electric luxury car costing anywhere near the Tesla Model S’ $50k starting MSRP. Broadening the scope, it’s possible that buyers considering the Model S might also look at vehicles such as the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the Lexus GS. That being said, if zero emissions, a decoupling from gasoline as a mobile power source, and pure prestige are the most important components of the purchasing decision, then the Tesla Model S emerges as the clear winner in its particular niche.

By Autobytel Staff

On the Money? Hagerty’s Top Future Collectibles List Includes VW GTI, Audi RS5

On the Money? Hagerty’s Top Future Collectibles List Includes VW GTI, Audi RS5

Hagerty has released its annual “Hagerty Hot List” of the top 10 cars the insurance company believes will become collectible in 20 years. Hagerty’s list is comprised completely of 2013 model-year vehicles that the company thinks will still be desired by enthusiasts in 20 years.

Unlike our own list of future collectibles, Hagerty’s rules are a bit less stringent. To qualify as a future collectible on the Hagerty list, the vehicle must be mass-produced, and available for sale as a 2013 model, with a base price of less than $100,000.

Here’s Hagerty’s List:

2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition Left Front 300x187 imageSRT Viper: The new SRT Viper is one of just three cars that made both our list and Hagerty’s. Hagerty chose the Viper for its list because it’s “one of the last living examples of the once-celebrated mantra of ‘there is no replacement for displacement.’”

Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible: The Corvette 427 is a no-brainer for this list. As Hagerty points out, the Corvette celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and the 427 is not only a limited-production model commemorating that fact, but also the last model year for the C6 ‘Vette, ensuring the 427′s status as a future collector’s car.

2013 Audi RS 5 front end 300x187 imageAudi RS5: Hagerty named the RS5 on its list because the collector car insurance company “think[s] the basic Audi A5 is one of the handsomest coupes on the market.”

Porsche Cayman S: According to the press release, the Cayman S made its way on to this list because it’s “Porsche’s atonement for the sin of the diesel [Cayenne].” We didn’t realize a diesel-powered SUV was such a bad thing.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible: We might prefer the hardtop Camaro ZL1 (which made it on last year’s Hagerty list) to its portly soft-top sister, but Hagerty nevertheless expects the ZL1 drop-top to command a premium among buyers in 20 years’ time.

2012 Tesla Model S front 2 300x187 imageTesla Model S: This list wouldn’t be complete without the revolutionary new Tesla Model S. The Model S earned its spot as a future collectible because it’s one of the first electric cars built with enthusiasts in mind.

Mini John Cooper Works GP: Hailed as “the fastest Mini ever built,” the John Cooper Works GP’s future as a collectible is ensured by the fact that it’s limited to just 500 units in the United States – well that, and the fact that its $39,950 base price is likely a little too dear for all but the biggest Mini fans.

Subaru BRZ side in motion1 300x187 imageSubaru BRZ: Hagerty reasons that the Subaru BRZ will be a future collectible because the rear-drive sports car injects a bit of “tire-smoking” adrenaline into the Subaru brand.

Volkswagen GTI: The latest version of the original hot hatch gets a spot on this list because of theGTI’s “cult-like following,” and because “the 2013 version may be the best yet.”

Ford Focus ST: The final spot on Hagerty’s list goes to the Focus ST, because it’s one of the first European Ford products we’ve gotten in the U.S. in a long time, thanks to Ford’s One Ford global initiative.

Do you agree with Hagerty’s picks? Who had the better future collectibles list, Hagerty or us? Sound off below.

Source: Hagerty

By Christian Seabaugh

2013 Tesla Model S

  • BY AARON ROBINSON

    Driving the new Tesla Model S out of its factory in Fremont, California, you pass the empty glass and steel husk of neighboring Solyndra Corp., another Silicon Valley technology venture that was propelled by optimism and bountiful government loans. Solyndra made solar panels, but it broke apart on the rocks of business reality, and its politicized bankruptcy has been a daunting daily reminder to Tesla’s 1700 employees of the consequences of  failure.

    However, there are reasons for at least temporary optimism for Tesla. We only got 10 minutes in the car so we couldn’t test its range, but here’s what we can report: Our few miles in the Model S revealed a vehicle that would meet a BMW owner’s definition of a sports sedan.

    The 362-hp Signature model we drove, priced at $96,570 before a $7500 federal tax rebate, strained its leash with its prodigious electric muscles and flat-tracked through 80-mph sweepers directed by fast steering with piano-wire tension to the wheels. It pounced from an on-ramp like the jaguar on the hood of the Jaguars it resembles, hitting 100 mph with a whisper of electromotive acceleration. Tesla says the hottest model, the Signature Performance ($106,570), which has the largest available battery and produces the most torque, will hit 60 mph in the mid-fours. At this point, we don’t doubt it.

    The windows are leak-free, the doors don’t squeak, and the seats feel comfortable, though rear headroom is pinched. The various menus of the giant, glowing, iPad-like central display are easy to learn and access while driving, and the combination of a long wheelbase, stiff structure, and compliant tune of the air-spring suspension makes for a gentle, cosseting ride. Besides that, the Model S looks like Beyoncé draped over a chaise lounge.

    The first customer deliveries were in June, but, in reality, most early buyers won’t receive their cars until much later this year or into next. The sprawling industrial campus that was once a GM/Toyota joint-venture plant spewing out 6000 vehicles per week is currently assembling just one Model S a day in an unusual, vertically integrated process that has the Tesla workers stamping their own sheetmetal, injection-molding their own bumper covers, winding their own motors, and upholstering their own seats.

    The company plans to ramp up to 80 cars daily by the end of the year, but since our last visit in October 2011, the crisply refurbished production hall with its army of idle red-painted robots maintains the quiet grand ambience of Westminster Abbey several days before a royal wedding.

    Eventually, after the first 1000 cars are built as loaded-up Signature models, ordering a Model S will involve choosing from two motor-power levels, three battery packs, two onboard chargers, two trim packages, and several stand-alone options.

    Specifications >

    VEHICLE TYPE: rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 5-door hatchback

    BASE PRICE: $58,570–$106,570

    MOTOR TYPE: AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor, 362 or 416 hp, 325 or 443 lb-ft

    TRANSMISSION: 1-speed direct drive

    DIMENSIONS:
    Wheelbase: 116.5 in
    Length: 196.0 in
    Width: 77.3 in Height: 56.5 in
    Curb weight: 4650 lb

    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
    Zero to 60 mph: 4.4–6.5 sec
    ¼-mile: 12.6–13.7 sec
    Top speed: 110–130 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 147 ft

    FUEL ECONOMY:
    EPA city/highway driving: 88/90 MPGe

    Continued…

  • BY AARON ROBINSON

    The base Model S uses a liquid-cooled AC motor producing 362 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, while the Perform­ance models have a 16,000-rpm motor juiced with additional windings to produce 416 horses and 443 pound-feet. Performance models also will have 21-inch wheels and summer tires instead of 19s and all-seasons.

    Initially, only the top 85-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will be supplied for an advertised range of  300 miles, but lighter, less-expensive 40-kWh and 60-kWh packs will come later, offering claimed ranges of up to 160 miles and 240 miles, respectively. The Model S comes standard with an onboard 10-kW charger, while a 20-kW unit can be purchased initially or retrofitted for $1500. It will cut recharge time on the mega 85-kWh pack from eight hours to about four, depending on the amp and voltage ratings of the garage circuit.

    The Model S concentrates much of its 4650-pound curb weight in the 7000-cell battery pack installed under the floor, so it doesn’t feel the pull of lateral g’s like conventional cars with higher centers of gravity. Thus, Tesla is able to get away with a relatively soft suspension while still keeping pitch and roll in check. The driver can choose from three distinct steering-boost levels, and the air-spring suspension offers four ride heights. The monolithic, half-ton battery case underfoot gives passengers the sense of sitting atop a granite slab. Road bumps are heard but barely felt through the dense structure. The Tesla is a double-bacon porker, but what it does with the pounds makes it magical. Somewhere, Colin Chapman is nodding.

    By producing the aluminum-bodied Model S, Tesla has taken on challenges far exceeding those of building the roadster it has been selling since 2008. With five doors, the option of seven seats, an all-glass dashboard of multicolor display screens, and a battery pack that is promising up to 300 miles of driving, the Model S is co-founder Elon Musk’s moonshot.

    Though it may seem expensive, the more-made-in-America-than-most-“American”-cars Model S can’t possibly turn a profit at its price, given all that is clean-sheet new and novel about it—at least, not until Tesla has closed out a few Decembers at or near its 20,000-per-year sales goal, which, given the cruel history of the auto industry, may be never.

    Various investors, from Toyota to ­Daimler (which supplies a Benz steering ­column to the Model S) to Uncle Sam—with its $465 million in loans—to Tesla’s shareholders on Wall Street, have all bet money and material that Tesla won’t flame out like Solyndra. Without them, there would be no Model S. And unless the car succeeds, there may be no more investors.

    Specifications >

    VEHICLE TYPE: rear-motor, rear-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 5-door hatchback

    BASE PRICE: $58,570–$106,570

    MOTOR TYPE: AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor, 362 or 416 hp, 325 or 443 lb-ft

    TRANSMISSION: 1-speed direct drive

    DIMENSIONS:
    Wheelbase: 116.5 in
    Length: 196.0 in
    Width: 77.3 in Height: 56.5 in
    Curb weight: 4650 lb

    PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
    Zero to 60 mph: 4.4–6.5 sec
    ¼-mile: 12.6–13.7 sec
    Top speed: 110–130 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 147 ft

    FUEL ECONOMY:
    EPA city/highway driving: 88/90 MPGe

    View Photo Gallery

    By AARON ROBINSON

  • Update: Tesla, Top Gear Continue Verbal Spat Over Libel Suit

    Update: Tesla, Top Gear Continue Verbal Spat Over Libel Suit

    Last week we reported that Tesla Motors, maker of the of the 2-seater all-electric Tesla Roadster, is serving Top Gear with a libel suit claiming that an episode featuring the sports car contained false and exaggerated criticisms, some of which included failed brakes and an overheated and immobilized motor.  A complete explanation of the claim is posted on Tesla’s website.

    Recently, Top Gear’s executive producer Andy Wilman responded to the suit in a blog post on the show’s website, providing a detailed counterpoint to each claim.

    He starts with the Roadster’s range, claiming the show never refuted the company’s advertised range of 211 miles, but instead boasted a short 55-mile range based on hard track use.  He points out that Tesla engineers back in California confirmed their calculations.  And when the engine overheated from their testing, Wilman says the show stated the car had “reduced power” while Tesla maintains that they said it was “completely immobilized.”  Lastly, Tesla claims that Top Gear lied when they stated the brakes were broken.  Though a failed vacuum pump fuse required the driver to push the brake pedal harder than normal, the brakes were still operable.  Wilman argues that broken is broken, especially if something requires a visit to the shop for repair.

    Wilman says the BBC normally stays quiet while preparing their defense for court, but took the unprecedented step of fighting back since Tesla is “being quite noisy with their views” of the show’s conduct.

    Shortly after Wilman issued his take on the matter, Tesla issued its own response.

    “Mr. Wilman seems to want Top Gear to be judged neither by what it says, nor by what it does,” corporate representatives wrote on Tesla’s official website. “Top Gear needs to provide its viewers, and Tesla, straightforward answers to these questions.”

    Tesla insists it “wants people to know the truth, and correct the public’s misperceptions” of its electric two-seater. Since the episode first aired on December 14, 2008, it has been re-broadcasted on both the BBC, syndication, and several dozen websites. Tesla wants the episode to disappear for good, and is banking on the courts to agree.

    At this point, it seems the only point both sides can agree on is this may prove to be a lengthy legal argument…

    Source: Tesla, Top Gear

    By Erick Ayapana

    Wheelies: The Exit Velocity Edition

    Driver Stephane Sarrazin in a Peugeot 908 racer during qualifying sessions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race last June. The factory team announced its withdrawal from the 2012 race calendar this week.Jean-Francois Monier/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesThe driver Stephane Sarrazin in a Peugeot 908 during qualifying sessions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race last June. The factory team announced its withdrawal from the 2012 race calendar this week.

    In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

    • Peugeot, which has competed with Audi for dominance of the Le Mans series in recent years, has announced its withdrawal from the 2012 race calendar. The factory team is not a priority for the French automaker this year, as PSA Peugeot-Citroën tries to reaffirm its market position in Europe and abroad. According to a report earlier this month by Automotive News, PSA lost 405 million euros, or roughly $529 million, in the second half of the fiscal year. Audi beat Peugeot by a margin of 14 seconds to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June last year. (Autosport)

    • An advertisement for the Citroën DS4 was banned from British television after a broadcasting standards authority received reports that the spot brought on symptoms of epilepsy in some viewers. The ad features quick cutaways and, at one point, the word “Yes” flashing against a background filled with the word in alternating black and white lettering. A spokeswoman for an epilepsy awareness group applauded the authority for taking action. (BBC)

    • Proton, the Malaysian parent company of Group Lotus, which consists of the niche sports-car manufacturer as well as a Formula One racing team, was sold this week to DRB-Hicom, an investment holding company. The government’s 42.7 percent stake in Proton was bought for a reported 1.29 billion ringgit, or roughly $416 million. An executive for DRB-Hicom said it would entertain the sale of Group Lotus, which has not been profitable in the 15 years it has been owned by Proton, at a later time. (The Wall Street Journal)

    • On Tuesday, Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors co-founder and chief executive, announced on Twitter that he and Tallulah Riley, the British actress, were separating after four years of together and one year of marriage. “@rileytalulah It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day,” Mr. Musk wrote. He and his first wife, Justine Musk, have five sons. Earlier on Tuesday, Mr. Musk led a conference call to assuage concerns that Tesla was on shaky ground after the departure of two executives caused the company’s stock to drop by 19 percent. The stock has since rebounded. (Forbes)

    • John Fitch, the former Le Mans driver and one of the subjects of the documentary “The Quest,” which was recently featured by Wheels, was reported missing from his home in Salisbury, Mass., last week. He was found on Jan. 9 and admitted to a local hospital. A spokesman for the Connecticut State Police confirmed that Mr. Fitch, 94, was found in the town of Stockbridge, near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border.  (Litchfield County Times)

    By THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Electrifying Celebration for Musk and Co. at Tesla’s Newport Beach Dealership

    Electrifying Celebration for Musk and Co. at Tesla’s Newport Beach Dealership

    It’s been a busy few days for the folks at Tesla Motors, perhaps the busiest in company history. Last night, the company capped off an epic week that included a $226.1 million dollar IPO and the debut of its updated Roadster 2.5 with the grand opening celebration of its Newport Beach, California, dealership.

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    It’s Tesla’s 8th sales and service operation in the U.S. and 12th worldwide (the company’s 13th store was opened simultaneously in Cophenhagen, Denmark). Although the Newport Beach facility has already been open for a few weeks, that didn’t stop Tesla team members and invited guests from cutting loose. Libations flowed as fancy hors d’oeuvres circulated among the tanned and enhanced revelers and handful of new Roadster 2.5 models spread around the showroom floor. For the young and young at heart, Tesla set up a basic remote control car racing area in the back. Out front, guests were given Roadster rides along PCH. Overall, the mood was optimistic, upbeat — you might even say electric.

    CEO Elon Musk was on hand, chatting and posing for photographs with owners and prospective customers. Musk also delivered opening remarks before handing over the keys to a new roadster buyer. Also working the crowd was Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief designer and veteran auto couturier.

    Located on the Mariner’s Mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in the heart of Newport Beach, the dealership is located across the street from the area’s swankiest yacht club, just down the road from several luxury and exotic car purveyors, including Bentley, BMW, Porsche, and Ferrari. It’s an impressive facility befitting its surroundings; fronted by gaudy neo classical columns, the enormous showroom space boasts soaring ceilings and yards of glass. No surprise a Rolls-Royce dealer occupied the space until 2008.

    Located at 1100 West Coast Highway, the Newport Beach dealership is also the newest regional hub for Tesla’s mobile service squad, which offers house calls for customers. Technicians Tesla calls “Rangers” will travel throughout the southwestern U.S. to customers’ homes to perform annual inspections, firmware upgrades and other services.

    By Edward Loh