Archives for Electric Vehicle - Page 15

Elon Musk: At Tesla, “you’re choosing to be the equivalent of Special Forces”

elon musk

Lots of people are looking for jobs these days, and if you’re interested in seeing just how many work hours you can pack into a week, then perhaps you should apply at Tesla Motors. The electric vehicle automaker is hiring like mad – CEO Elon Musk told us recently that “we’re at almost 3,000 people” – but they’re only looking for people who dislike having time off.

Musk told us that he works seven days a week, and his employees, well, they have to work hard, too. Other companies might ask you to just work 40 hours a week, he said, but at Tesla, “the minimum is really a 50-hour week and there are times when it’ll be 60- to 80-hour weeks.” He said he recognizes that working seven days a week is not sustainable, but he does think that 50 hours makes “a good work week.”

Musk, like all good salespeople, tries to make that extra work sound like a good thing. To wit: “The general understanding is that if you’re at Tesla, you’re choosing to be at the equivalent of Special Forces. … That has pluses and minuses. It’s cool to be Special Forces, but it also means you’re working your ass off. It’s not for everyone.”

Tomorrow, we’ll publish the full transcript of our one-on-one interview with Musk. We’ve teased a few things he said, but we’ve saved some good stuff, too. Stay tuned.

By Sebastian Blanco

CO2 credits: The ultimate rebate?

Time For Buyers To Have Some Skin In The EV Game

CO2 warning

Politicians know that $8- or $9-a-gallon gas like in Europe would end their careers.

The back-and-forth between those writing the fuel economy rules and auto manufacturers is designed to see how far the CO2 regulations can be pushed without inconveniencing the general public.

Rather than taxing fuel like they do in Europe to encourage buyers to opt for the most fuel-efficient vehicles, in America it’s up to the manufacturers to develop a fleet that averages some magic number, in this case 54.5 mpg by 2025. That’s because most politicians know that $8- or $9-a-gallon gas like in Europe would end their careers.

Matt DeLorenzo is the former editor-in-chief of Road & Track and has covered the auto industry for 35 years, including stints at Automotive News and AutoWeek. He has authored books including VW’s New Beetle, Chrysler’s Modern Concept Cars, and Corvette Dynasty.

There is no fundamental change in overall buying preferences.

On the other side of the coin, the manufacturers will work the system using whatever credits or loopholes they can carve out until it becomes apparent that they will no longer be able to build V-8 engines or large pickups. In fact, CAFE is precisely why fullsize rear-wheel-drive sedans and station wagons have largely been replaced as the family vehicle of choice by fullsize SUVs because of the two-tier fuel economy regulations that gave trucks a break.

This approach is what I call trying to solve a retail problem at the wholesale level. By making the manufacturers do all the heavy lifting, the public does benefit with cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars. On the one hand, we are getting cars that are good for us, on the other, the changes are so subtle, we really don’t notice it. Naturally, interest in small, fuel-efficient cars increases when gas spikes up, but then dissipates as prices fall. There is no fundamental change in overall buying preferences.

And by not having any skin in the game, it’s hard for anyone to get truly excited about new technologies like clean diesels, hybrids and EVs.

Elon Musk could offer the Model S for much less than the fake $500 per month lease rate.

So, if government lacks the courage to pass high fuel taxes that would encourage the use of hybrids, diesels or EVs, why don’t they open the doors up to incentives instead? I read with interest in the Los Angeles Times that Tesla has been able to sell CO2 emission credits that amount to as much as $45,000 per car for each Model S it sells and that the company expects to reap a cool $250 million in the process.

Why not require manufacturers to pass those credits along to the customers who will actually be driving the cars and making a difference in air quality? If it’s true that Tesla stands to make 45 grand on emission credits per car, then Elon Musk can pass that along and offer the car for much less than the fake $500 per month lease rate he initially calculated by factoring in your time saved at the pump.

Keep the sticker prices where they are, and let the consumer decide what to do with the credits.

Better yet, keep the sticker prices where they are, and let the consumer decide what to do with the credits. In fact, if the emission credits are part of the package, it might allow makers to sell EVs closer to their true cost rather than at some subsidized rate.

If buyers get the CO2 credits, they can opt to sell them immediately back to the manufacturer to lower their cash outlay, peddle them to another higher-bidding manufacturer or hang onto them in the hopes that their value will climb over time as government standards tighten. Or, if they are truly altruistic, never cash in on them. If they do so, they will be making a real difference in lowering CO2 because those credits would give someone else the ability to offset excess emissions.

Best of all, it takes behind-the-scenes-maneuvering and makes it a public topic, thereby making both the costs and benefits of high fuel economy standards much more transparent.

By Matt DeLorenzo

Tesla sells out top-of-the-line Model S Signature series

Tesla Motors has sold out of the top-of-the-line version of its Model S battery-electric luxury sedan and is taking deposits on its Model X crossover vehicle,’s Inside Line reports.

The Model S Signature version, which starts at $92,400 and tops out at $105,400, is no longer available for pre-order on Tesla’s website, Inside Line says. The company continues to take deposits on the base Model S – starting price is $57,400 – and has started taking orders for the Model X, which is set to arrive by the end of next year.

Tesla said last month that one of its Model S testers beat the company’s goal of a 300-mile single-charge drive under a combination of city and highway driving. If you want to go that far, you should look into the longest-range Model S, which will sell for a minimum of $77,000. Tesla says it expects Model S sales to reach about 5,000 units this year.

Late last month, Tesla put out a video from its factory showing off its Model S stamping machine and is counting down to the first delivery, which is scheduled for 15 days from now.

By Danny King

Tesla increases lease calculator costs; Supercharging, ‘mystery’ announcement coming soon

tesla model s driving

Even Tesla Motors hasn’t totally figured out the details of the just-announced Model S “lease” program. Yesterday, when the financial product was first revealed, the small print on the company’s online calculator described a 66-month loan and a tiered monthly payment structure, depending on which model you chose: $1,199 a month for the 85-kWh Model S, $1,421 for the 85-kWh Performance model and $1,051 for the 60-kWh version. Today, all three of these prices have been increased slightly, to $1,252 (85-kWh), $1,483 (Performance) and $1,097 (60-kWh). Tesla spokesperson Shanna Hendriks told AutoblogGreen, “We made a small change to the site overnight – changing the 66-month term to a 63-month term. We were incorrect with putting 66 months initially. I believe this is the reason for the discrepancy.”

Today, all three of these prices have been increased slightly.

So, yeah, there’s some confusion out there. Since the announcement, the Internet has been abuzz with critics taking Tesla to task for CEO Elon Musk’s insistence that the “true cost of ownership” can be driven below $500 a month. It can, using Telsa’s calculator, if you live in a world where you’re always getting paid $100/hour and therefore your 15 minute gas station stop is valued at $25. And you fill up four times a month. With premium gas. In a car that gets terrible fuel economy. We found that making these assumptions were the best way to get our “effective monthly cost” down to $500 or less. Oh, and claiming your Model S for business purposes helped tremendously. You can see why Tesla’s stock went down 7.3 percent since the “lease” news came out.

Nonetheless, Musk is confident that his numbers are right – he told Automotive News that “Even if you don’t count the time savings, you can own the car for net cash out of pocket for $500 a month, no marketing gimmicks. Some people wanted to call bull—t on us because we had certain default [calculations] set up on the site, and we have fixed them” and also “I just want to make sure people really do appreciate that $500 is a real number and not some sort of marketing fiction” – and is promising more announcements throughout all of April. Next week, we’ll learn something about servicing and the week after that will be one about Supercharging and after that, Musk said, “there will be a mystery announcement. Then we’ll shut up and hopefully people won’t be sick of us.” It all depends on what those announcements will be.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

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By Sebastian Blanco

Motor Trend tests Tesla Model S, finds 0-60 in 3.9 sec and 100.7 MPGe

2012 Tesla Model S - front three-quarter dynamic motion shot

Tesla has said the highest-end Model S has a range of 300 miles (at 55 miles per hour), but until recently, it’s been tremendously difficult for anyone outside the company to verify this number. When the EPA did its testing thing, it came up with a 265-mile range estimate for the version with the 85-kWh battery pack. Tesla is even offering a prize of some sort to anyone who drives a Model S over 400 miles on one charge.

Now, Motor Trend writers has had the chance to spend some time in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal Performance Signature Model S to see just how far the electric car can be driven. The result? Your results may vary.

First, the good news. Motor Trend ran a battery of tests on the Model S, and its independent measurements discovered the following ways that their independent testing beat the manufacturer’s official numbers:

  • 0-60 time: 3.9 seconds (Tesla official number is 4.4 seconds)
  • Quarter mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph (12.6 seconds)
  • 100.7 MPGe during a 200+ mile drive (EPA says 89 MPGe).

So, then, what’s the bad news? At roughly 65 mph with no A/C, MT “only” got 238 miles out of the battery. That’s less than advertised, but MT offers an important and reasonable take on this issue:

“But the range that matters is really a psychological/perceptual one, not a specific number. Think about it: We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales.”


Related GalleryTesla Model S

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By Sebastian Blanco

Tesla’s Elon Musk: most new cars will be electric by 2032, no matter who’s in White House

Twenty years ago, Car and Drive wrote about “the emergence of the minivan as the new family car.” If you believe Elon Musk, twenty years from now will be a lot more fun.

Flush with the success of the first production Model S deliveries, the Tesla Motors founder said most new vehicles will be battery-electric by 2032, and that the age of EV majority rule could come sooner than that, Reuters reports. Specifically, he said, “In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric.”

Musk, whose company plans to deliver 5,000 of the Model S battery-electric sedans this year, said in a press conference that he feels “quite safe in that bet,” according to the wire service. Earlier this month, Musk forecast Tesla vehicle sales of 20,000 units for next year. The Model S base model starts at about $57,000, or about $50,000 less than the base price of the Tesla Roadster convertible that debuted in 2008. Venture-capital executive and Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson received the first production Model S, while Musk received the second, Reuters said. Nissan, which introduced its battery-electric Leaf to the U.S. in late 2010, has estimated that as many as 10 percent of new cars will be battery electric by 2020.

Meanwhile, speaking to BusinessWeek, Musk said that the advance of the electric vehicles will continue no matter who’s in the White House. “Romney [winning] would have a minor impact. There’s such momentum behind electric vehicles, and Model S is going to ensure that that happens.”

Last week, the EPA give the Model S a miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating of 89, putting it 29 MPGe behind the Honda Fit EV – which has the highest rating among all U.S. cars – and 10 MPGe behind the Leaf. Tesla has estimated the single-charge range of the Model S to be 265 miles, which would be the longest of any production EV.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

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By Danny King

MT attempts no-recharge LA-to-Las Vegas drive in Tesla Model S

Some would say these Motor Trend editors hit the jackpot before and after they hit Vegas.

With a three-day loan of a Tesla Model S, the magazine’s editors were given the opportunity to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego, then later do a round trip from the LA area to Las Vegas and back.

The goal was to see if the all-electric luxury sedan delivered the EPA-estimated single-charge range of 265 miles and approached Tesla’s own estimates of a 300-mile single-charge range.

The results? For the 211-mile trip from the outskirts of Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the Model S was able to go the distance with a fair amount of charge to spare, and that included an elevation climb of about 4,000 feet, running part-way with the air-conditioning on and cruising at about 65 miles per hour.

For the return trip, an editor was able to make the 285-mile drive between Las Vegas and Motor Trend’s El Segundo, CA, offices with three miles to spare. Whew. That said, the editor kept the A/C off for most of the ride, cruised at speeds as low as 52 miles per hour on freeways, and hit slow traffic (which helps range) near the end of the drive.

Either way, it can be argued that the Model S came up aces. Had the car had trouble, there is an electric-vehicle charging station along the way in Victorville, CA – at a Nissan dealership. See below for the nearly nine-minute video from Motor Trend.

Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin

By Danny King

Tesla will assemble, distribute vehicles in Holland for European market

Tesla Model S assembly

Later this month, Tesla Motors will open its European Distribution Center in Tilburg, Holland, and will start stocking the stocking the site with Tesla Roadster and Model S parts as it prepares to start distribution in continental Europe next year.

The 200,000-square-foot factory will support about 50 jobs. Production of the European left-hand-drive versions of the Model S all-electric sedan will start next March. Tilburg is about halfway between Amsterdam to the north and Brussels to the south. Check out Tesla’s press release below.

California-based Tesla is looking to ramp up sales of the Model S, which started production earlier this year. The car won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award last month.

In November, Tesla also announced an increase in the price for the Model S for next year by $2,500 for US customers to a base of $59,900 and a top-end maximum of $94,400. Since no European price had been set for the Model S, anyone in Europe who places an order before the end of the year will get 1,700 euros (or the local currency equivalent, roughly $2,500 US) off that price.

Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin

By Danny King

How many kindergarteners can you fit in a Tesla Model S?

Kindergarteners cram into a Tesla Model S

Details on where and when this video of a gaggle of kindergarteners packing themselves into a Tesla Model S was shot are slim – we think Phoenix, AZ, based the license plate and this Tesla Motors Club post. Of course, all of that is kind of secondary compared to the obvious fun these kids are having. It’s not a record-setting effort, which is why there’s so much room left over – it’s more of a chance to try and get an entire kindergarten class into one car. As a member posting on the Tesla Motors forum wrote, “We could have fit three more easily, without anyone sitting on top of someone else.”

In any case, it’s pretty adorable, and it has also given us our new favorite phrase: “Frunk Monkeys.” Hazard your own guess as to how many youngsters will fit, then watch the video below to see how many kids can cram into the benchmark electric hatchback below.

By Sebastian Blanco