You can sell the car, but not the reservation for it. That’s the gist of a Green Car Reports post about Tesla Model S reservation holders looking to “sell” their spots in line on eBay.
With the half-dozen or so reservations for the all-electric sedan being posted for sale on the auction site, Tesla confirmed to Green Car Reports that none of the approximately 14,000 reservations can be legally sold because the holders have signed an agreement saying that the reservations are non-transferable. In fact, the agreement specifically states that the only way the reservation is “transferable or assignable to another party” is with the written approval from an Tesla authorized representative. And Tesla says that no such approval has been given. That said, the car itself can be sold as soon as the reservation holder takes possession of it. Mere details.
Last month, the Model S won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. Tesla in November also announced that it hiked the Model S price for next year by $2,500 for US customers. That means the prices for the sedan will range from $59,900 for the base model to $94,400 for the top-end version.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
Tesla Motors is in the middle of a spat with the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, but that isn’t stopping CEO Elon Musk from mapping out his future plans in Texas. If Musk has his way, Texas could be home to Tesla’s second assembly plant, he told Automotive News. And if that weren’t enough, he said the new plant could produce an EV truck, if the company ever offers pickups.
Musk didn’t specify which cities he’s considering for the new plant, but he did say the process could start as soon as three years from now. “When we do establish a manufacturing plant outside of California, Texas would be a leading candidate for that,” Musk told Automotive News. California is currently Tesla’s biggest market and Texas has the potential of becoming the automaker’s second-largest money maker.
In addition to the logistical benefits for Tesla, the new plant will produce thousands of new jobs for the state. Musk also hinted that the new location could build an EV truck. “I have this idea for a really advanced electric truck that has the performance of a sports car but actually more towing power and more carrying capacity than a gasoline or diesel truck of comparable size,” Musk said.
First, though, Tesla must determine how it will sell cars in the state. As previously reported, only franchised dealers are allowed to sell cars in Texas, which means Tesla’s factory-owned stores (one in Austin and another in Houston) are prohibited from conducting any sales-related activity including test drives, financial transactions, or deliveries. The same applies for service work. Current owners must initiate service-related requests outside of the state before going to a subcontracted garage in Texas.
Tesla is attempting to gain exemption from the state, but is facing resistance from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. The automaker faced a similar battle in Minnesota, but has temporarily earned an exemption around that state’s franchise law.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)
Auto News, Dealers, Government, Hybrid Car/EV, Tesla
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In Sunday’s Automobiles section, Bradley Berman reviews the 2012 Tesla Model S in a more thorough manner than any other journalist has yet.
In addition to driving the electric sport sedan in the vicinity of his home in Northern California, he takes his test car, fitted with a 362-horsepower drivetrain and 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack, from the north shore of Lake Tahoe to Tesla’s design studios in Southern California, driving 531 electric-only miles in a single day.
Along the route Mr. Berman avails himself of charging stations erected by Tesla in strategic locations around the state, a process he also describes in Sunday’s Automobiles section.
Mr. Berman has quibbles with the rear lighting, impractical sun visors and a lack of grab handles above the doors for passengers. Beyond these, however, he finds the Model S to produce a thrill that — if it can be transferred to higher-volume, lower-price vehicles — could very well be game-changing for the industry.
Read the entire review, check out the slide show and share your thoughts on the Model S in the comments.
It’s been a little while since Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk made any interesting declarations about product or development, which means we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Musk spoke of a future with Tesla Motors making pickup trucks in Texas.
For what it’s worth, Tesla neither makes pickup trucks now, nor does it make vehicles in Texas. At this point the experiment of making electric sport sedans in California has been a relative success: Tesla says that it’s now making a profit after years of red balance sheets. One of the more significant problems at this point–beyond the occasional question of range or creative accounting–is that Tesla’s unique method of selling cars might be under fire.
Dealers in Massachusetts and New York have already filed suit against Tesla, saying that Tesla’s retail setup, which uses corporate owned “galleries” that show off cars and allow people to place deposits via the internet, violates existing automotive franchise laws. In Texas, Tesla galleries are not allowed to plan test drives or talk car sales at all, and Tesla service centers can’t process warranty work in the same manner as a franchised dealer.
Musk and Tesla received two gifts this week, however, in the form of a bill in the Texas legislature that would allow Tesla (and other EV manufacturers with no pre-existing dealer network) to sell and service its own cars. Meanwhile in New York, a judge struck down the lawsuit against Tesla, saying that “dealers cannot utilize the Franchised Dealer Act as a means to sue their competitors.”
Where does Tesla go from here? South, and not in the metaphorical sense. Musk said on Wednesday, while he was in Texas supporting the bills, that Texas has the potential to become one of the company’s biggest markets, selling perhaps 1500-2000 Model Ss a year. Musk thinks that success for the Model S in Texas could pave the road for a new production plant there.
What will the plant make? If Musk gets his way, the as-yet-unbuilt Texas plant could make the as-yet-undeveloped Tesla pickup truck we’ve heard about before. Musk told Automotive News “I have this idea for a really advanced truck that has…more towing power and more carrying capacity than a gasoline or diesel truck of comparable size.” That makes Musk the second Tesla exec (behind designer Franz von Holzhausen) to mention the truck in one year. Does it mean that this will happen? Not necessarily, but we do like the sound of it.
Source: Tesla via Twitter, Automotive News (Subscription required)
By Ben Timmins
Tesla Motors wants to build a competitor to the Nissan Leaf, CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg. Musk said that his electric-car company would develop a more affordable model that was nicer and more desirable than the Nissan Leaf.
Musk admitted to Bloomberg that his company’s only current offering, the Model S, has somewhat limited appeal because it is very expensive. He says Tesla will develop a more affordable model that would compete with — and beat — the Leaf (pictured).
“With the Model S, you have a compelling car that’s too expensive for most people… And you have the [Nissan] Leaf, which is cheap, but it’s not great. What the world really needs is a great, affordable electric car,” Muks told Bloomberg.
Musk said the more affordable Tesla would be priced below $40,000 and would have a range of about 200 miles per charge. It will reportedly go on sale within three or four years’ time. The 2013 Nissan Leaf starts at $29,650 (including an $850 destination charge), and has an EPA-rated 75-mile driving range.
In an interview last year, Musk told us that Tesla would launch a $30,000 electric car in three to four years’ time. He said the scaled-down Model S design would be “about the size of a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4,” both cars which are significantly larger than the Nissan Leaf hatchback. Still, he said that Tesla’s key market was, “for premium sedans above $50,000.”
Earlier this year, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen reiterated that the company is preparing, “an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Volkswagen Jetta type of vehicle that will offer everything: range, affordability, and performance.” He claimed the car would cost as little as $30,000.
However, Tesla’s confirmation that it will launch a cheaper car comes only a few months after the company eliminated the most affordable version of the Model S sedan. The company killed off the option for a 40-kWh battery pack because only four percent of Tesla Model S customers asked for it.
Tesla is also planning an electric crossover called the Model X, but the company says production of that model has been delayed until 2014. Tesla did, however, fully pay off its U.S. Department of Energy loan ahead of schedule.
By Jake Holmes
In this week’s edition of the Rumors Video Roundup, we’ve got the Focus ST’s little brother, the Ford Fiesta ST, getting put through its paces in Belgium, a factory-fresh Tesla Model S getting chomped to pieces by the Jaws of Life in the interest of safety, and the owner of a Koenigsegg CCR get his keys out the same way us workin’ stiffs with Civics and F-150s do.
In addition, we take a look at some of the epic driving done by Porsche test driver Walter Röhrl, and ask if it’s possible that a front-drive hot hatch have too much power, in this case in the form of the Mazdaspeed 3. Check out our weekly video roundup below.
Feature Flick: Watch a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST on a Hot Lap
We’ve always though that the U.S. could use more pint-sized pocket rockets, and Ford seems to agree. The Blue Oval’s 2014 Fiesta ST will be joining the Fiat 500 Abarth here in the U.S. later this year. Ahead of its debut, Ford has just released a quick video of the new Ford Fiesta ST on a hot lap at its Belgian test facility.
Feature Flick: Tesla Model S Gets Ripped Up by the Jaws of Life
Electric cars like the Tesla Model S offer up a unique challenge to firefighters. Rather than engines, fuel tanks, and fuel lines, electric cars have motors, batteries, and high-voltage cables that can potentially electrocute someone trying to save an occupant after an accident. Because of the challenge, Tesla has just put out a video showing just how firefighters should dismantle a Model S in the event of an accident.
Feature Flick: Koenigsegg Keys Locked in Car
It turns out that this “oops” moment doesn’t just happen to college students – it also happens to owners of Koenigsegg CCR supercars. Automotive blog Carscoops came across this video of said Koenigsegg owner fishing his keys out of his apparently locked car through a crack in the window — and, yes, that does seem to be a wire hanger he’s using.
Feature Flick: Celebrating Walter Rohrl’s 66th Birthday
Today marks the 66th birthday of Walter Röhrl, rally driver extraordinaire and present-day Porsche test driver. Born on this day in 1947, Röhrl grew up as a ski instructor and chauffeur, but at age 21 he tried his first rally. The rest is history: Röhrl became one of history’s most storied and accomplished rally drivers, immortalized on YouTube for his fancy footwork and daring driving.
Feature Flick: Does the 2013 Mazdaspeed3 Have Too Much Power?
The 2013 Mazdaspeed3 channels 263 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque to its front wheels, making for an entertaining drive. On this Feature Flick, Carlos Lago asks if the hot hatch, which is rough around the edges, is fun because of or in spite of its powertrain.
Hybrids and electric vehicles may not stimulate the senses as much as, say, a highly strung V-10 with a six-speed manual transmission, but at least said alternative-power vehicles look more exciting today than they ever have before. Today’s Tesla Roadster was nowhere near physical conception two decades ago, and today we are graced with a bevy of electric-motor-assisted and electric-motor-driven vehicles that look as visually appealing as their conventionally powered counterparts. What do you believe is the best-looking hybrid or electric vehicle?
Thanks to Futurearchitect for today’s TOTD!
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By Benson Kong
Servicing a vehicle can easily mar the ownership experience, but Tesla Motors is taking steps to ensure its customers are satisfied. Tesla recently revealed improvements to the manner in which the automaker provides service.
Musk said his goal is to transform Tesla’s service experience from “OK” to “great.” To start that process, a fleet of loaded Model S cars(and in some markets, Roadsters) will be offered as loaner cars while owners have their vehicles serviced. The company can have the loaner car delivered to owners for no extra fee. Additionally, Tesla hopes to keep the service fleet fresh and new by allowing customers to purchase the loaner if they like it better than their current car. Tesla says the loaner cars will depreciate at a rate of 1 percent per month and $1 per mile. The cars traded in will simply be put up for sale as a used vehicle.
Tesla also hopes to wipe out any doubt potential electric-car owners have surrounding its batteries. The automaker will replace a defective battery regardless of cause, even if the owner is found to be at fault. That means if the battery fails due to improper charging habits, Tesla will still replace it. Obvious attempts at abuse won’t be covered (one of Tesla’s examples: “lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered”). The battery warranty (eight years or 125,000 miles, whichever comes first) won’t change and Tesla will used a refurbished battery pack with equal or better battery capacity than the original.
That said, Tesla is now making the $600 annual checkup completely optional. The automaker points to the fact that its cars require very little service. Brake pads in a Tesla, for example, don’t wear as quickly as those in gas-powered car thanks to the regenerative braking system that recaptures energy while simultaneously slowing down the car. In all, Musk hopes the updates to his automaker’s service and warranty methods will provide customers added peace of mind, even those who have never opened the manual.
“Any product that needs a manual to work is broken,” Musk said in the webcast.
Earlier this month Tesla announced a new financing option that makes owning a Model S more affordable.
Alejandro Rodriguez/Gooding & Co.
In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:
•Gooding & Company will sell George Clooney’s 2008 Signature 100 Tesla Roadster at its Pebble Beach Auction on Sunday, Aug. 19. Mr. Clooney bought the car, No. 0008, when Tesla introduced the Roadster as a high-performance electric sports car. With only 1,700 miles from new, Mr. Clooney’s Tesla Roadster is finished in Obsidian Black Metallic over a premium, two-tone leather interior. The Tesla’s estimate of the car’s value is $100,000 to $125,000. Mr. Clooney has selected a nonprofit organization that he helped found, the Satellite Sentinel Project, as the beneficiary of his sale proceeds, the auction house said. (Gooding)
•Less than a week before he was to become the design chief of Opel/Vauxhall, Dave Lyon left the parent company, General Motors. Mr. Lyon was to succeed Mark Adams, who G.M. appointed to be the new global design director for Cadillac and Buick. An Opel spokesman confirmed Mr. Lyon’s sudden departure without elaborating. Mr. Adams will remain Opel’s design chief until a successor is found, the spokesman said. (Autonews)
•BASF, in its Global Automotive Color Trend Report, predicted brown, blue and green would be trending in the next five years as preferred vehicle colors. Consumers want more choices than just silver, white and black. Still, silver, white and black will make up 50 percent to 80 percent of all car colors. (USA Today)
In the same week that Audi said “not so fast” to some claims from Tesla, Chrysler has responded to a new press release from the California-based EV-maker by saying “not exactly, Tesla.” The statement, released through the company’s blog, comes in response to Tesla claiming it was “the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.” Chrysler notes that it, too, recently paid back Uncle Sam from its 2008 bailout. Similar to Audi’s recent press release, which was eventually and mysteriously deleted from the German automaker’s site, Chrysler is both right and wrong in its statement.
Tesla specifically said that it had paid back the Department of Energy loans that many automakers received – including Fisker and VPG Autos – while Chrysler’s retort argues Tesla is “unmistakably incorrect” since it repaid the government in 2011 a full six years early. Technically, the statements from both automakers are correct, but Tesla’s startup loan originated from the DoE, while Chrysler’s loan came in bailout form from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Further, as The Detroit News notes, Chrysler’s loan still cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars after all was said and done – those negative assets tied to “old Chrysler” in the bankruptcy did not require repayment.