Archives for Electric Cars

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

BMW 3 Series Rival “3 to 4 Years Away” Says Tesla CEO Elon Musk

tesla-model-s1

According to comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, a “low cost, compelling electric car” is “3 to 4 years away” from being a reality.

Stating that it has always been a dream of his to create such a product, Musk also elaborated that he wished it could happen sooner. This raises the question as to whether the issue is the technology or the demand for such a vehicle. Or perhaps more likely is the possibility that Tesla currently lacks the capital to invest in such a product. The American electric car maker recently announced it would delay its Model X crossover, preferring to repay its DOE loan quicker.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model X Delayed

In previous reports Tesla reps had indicated a 3 Series rival was in the works, priced at around $30,000. At that time the projected launch was for 2015. It now appears as though it would be 2016 at the earliest.

But if there’s any automaker that can make a compelling and affordable electric car, it’ll be Tesla. While other automakers are struggling to get their electric vehicles off the ground and into the market, Tesla has proved that there is a market for EVs with the right balance of performance and luxury.

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla in the Black: CEO Says

Anyone close to the industry would probably agree that Tesla, of all the small EV makers, is making the biggest strides toward leaving its start-up status behind.

Agree or disagree, it sounds like that might finally be the case. Company CEO Elon Musk released a statement today through Twitter suggesting the company is in the black.

“Am happy to report that Tesla was narrowly cash flow positive last week. Continued improvement expected through year end,” Musk said. 

With orders stacked for months worth of production, and a publicized price increase that helped to clinch last-minute buyers, Tesla seems to have the formula for success figured out. In fact, Musk predicted in early October that the company would reach this target.

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

It probably wasn’t very hard, though. The brand doesn’t build cars before they’re sold. Instead, it takes orders and deals with scheduling a backlog of scheduled builds. That would give a guaranteed income figure the brand can leverage.

It’s also important to remember that while Tesla might be in the black now, there isn’t any promise it will stay there. The company operates on a one-car model, building a run of vehicles before moving on to something else.

There is a buyback program for people who purchased the Roadster, but production is concluded which means buying a used one.

Provided the brand sticks to its formula for the Model X, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see a similar dip into debt while the brand’s crossover bites chunks out of the company’s coffers. Ideally, the Model S will sell with enough success to fund the next car without that becoming an issue, but there are many factors at play.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Model S Named to TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012 List

By all accounts, the Tesla Model S is a formidable offering in the electric vehicle world, a market that’s still considered to be in its infant stage.

Recently, the American automaker’s newest sedan landed on TIME Magazine‘s Best Invention of the Year 2012 list. The publication went so far as to say that the Tesla “has the lines of a Jaguar” but was mostly impressed by its range of 200-plus miles.

Of course, we loved the fact that the Model S delivers 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and in our review commented that; “This might not just be the future of the electric car. The Tesla Model S could be the future of the American auto industry.”

By Jason Siu

Tesla Stock Rises After Elon Musk Teases ‘Exciting Announcement’

tesla-badge

Elon Musk and Tesla have been making headlines the last couple of months, from dealing with The New York Times to promising an affordable electric car within five years.

The American automaker’s stock rose the most in nearly five weeks yesterday after CEO, Elon Musk tweeted that the company plans a “really exciting” announcement next Tuesday. According to Musk, he’ll be putting his money where his mouth is in a very major way. The announcement was originally going to come Thursday, but Musk later stated that it’ll come a few days later so that there would be no end of the quarter distractions.

SEE ALSO: BMW 3 Series Rival “3 to 4 Years Away” Says Musk

Tesla surged as much as 5.2 percent after the announcement, but closed 2.5 percent higher. The 5.2 percent was the biggest intraday jump for the automaker since February 19th.

It’ll be interesting to see what the news is, considering Tesla has no plans to display at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla CEO Says NY Times Article Likely Cost Brand $100M

A public battle between the New York Times and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is still sprouting news after the disgruntled executive told Bloomberg that the article likely cost the electric car maker $100 million.

Musk spoke about the article in an on-camera interview with Bloomberg, and said the article cost Tesla tens of millions, maybe even “on the order of $100 million.” When pressed about the fact that such a number would suggest the brand suffering roughly 1,000 order cancellations, he quickly corrected himself, saying the number wasn’t that high.

SEE ALSO: Tesla CEO Releases Official Rebuttal to NY Times Story

Instead, he said his estimate was based on the valuation of the company after the article was published and order cancellations – of which he said there were probably a few hundred.

Regardless or the scandal, it also sounds like Tesla will reach its 20,000 unit annual sales goal based on current sales. Tesla is currently building 400 Model S sedans per week.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Discuss this story on Tesla-Buzz.com

By Luke Vandezande

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

Tesla Future Touchscreen Tech Hinted by Exec

What if you could have a 17-inch iPad built into your car? It’s almost a reality for one of the more than 250 folks who own a Tesla Model S, save a few key features.

Unfortunately, those features are probably some of the most important ones that give the iPad its massive appeal. Take the interface — it’s something Apple guards dearly. So Tesla can’t copy exactly how an iPad works, and probably doesn’t want to. Or maybe they do?

George Blankenship, vice president of Tesla sales, recently spoke with AutoGuide and hinted at some of the cool developments buyers and owners might look forward to soon. Easily topping the list, there’s a chance Tesla might open its coding crypt to outside program developers.

“Asking us is there something we will never do? That page will never fit in our dictionary,” he said. “Do I see a day when [outside app development] will happen, yes I do.”

Much like what made the iPhone so successful, Tesla wants to think “10 years into the future,” Blankenship said.  While offering an app store is hardly forward thinking when it comes to handhelds, porting that possibility into a car with a massive touch display might be.

“What we want to make sure of before we enable something like that is that we have a complete separation between two things in the car. One is the interface where somebody could do things like that in and the other being the operation of the car itself,” Blankenship said.

With the Model S, Tesla already started offering remote updates. Customers wanted to change steering feel to offer normal, sport and comfort modes. They also wanted a “creep” feature to make the Model S feel more like an internal combustion engine (ICE) car with an automatic transmission. A few weeks after those requests came in, a remote update appeared and the car suddenly met those requests.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Flagship Store Opens in Canada

But those are only a couple of the tweaks Blankenship said customers can expect to see soon. Among the others: automatically extending door handles.

Just one of many steps Tesla engineers took to make the Model S extremely aerodynamic, the car features door handles that sit flush with the panels when they aren’t needed. With the push of a button, those handles extend to offer access, but that’s not good enough. Blankenship said owners will be able to customize their cars soon to make the handles extend automatically when the key fob comes close enough.

At launch, the car offered memory for two driver preference presets, but now there’s capacity for 10. One thing is clear: Tesla is committed to offering its customers a dynamic driving experience.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Motors to be ‘Cashflow Positive’ Before December

Despite skepticism surrounding Tesla Motors, CEO Elon Musk expects Tesla to report positive cashflow by the end of November.

Doubt cropped up when Tesla failed to meet the planned 500-unit delivery mark by the start of the third quarter, but Musk blamed the slowdown on supply constraints. At the end of the second quarter, Tesla had manufactured 359 Model S vehicles, of which 250 have been delivered to customers.

Musk is also commented on the company’s Department of Energy (DOE) loan. “Tesla has never asked for or even hinted at postponing repayment of the loan…Tesla has always made its DOE payments on time,” Musk wrote in a blog post.

Reports that the DOE has been pushing Tesla to repay its loan sooner than originally planned might have cast a negative shadow over the company’s future.

“The DOE believes Tesla will be highly successful and accumulate a large amount of cash, but that we may then choose not to pay off the loan any sooner than is currently required,” Musk said.

In an effort to further emphasize that point, Tesla also issued an early payment today ahead of its March, 2013 deadline. But observing on-time payments is far from enough to affirm an automaker’s future. There needs to be a solid product backing the brand, which the Model S seemed to prove during our tests.

In our test, the Model S received much praise, another solid reason to believe that Tesla will in fact be successful, thanks to a solid product.

By Stephen Elmer

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