Tag archives for 2012 tesla model s

Consumer Reports weighs in with its first Tesla Model S review





Everyone has been chiming in with their thoughts on the Tesla Model S lately, and with the car taking home awards like the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year, this probably won’t change anytime soon. Not wanting to be left in the dark, Consumer Reports has managed to get its hands on a Model S to give its own impressions of the luxurious electric hatchback.



Like many other outlets (including our own first drive), CR praised the Model S for its styling (which it compares to an Audi A7) and performance (which it says “can put serious hurt on a Corvette”). With limited time with the car, the video doesn’t touch on the specific range the institute attained, but it appears most of the car’s time was spent on the track anyway.



On the flip side of things, CR dinged the Model S for its retractable door handles which the reviewer refers to as “fussy,” and as much as CR has blasted Ford and its MyFord Touch for being distracting and largely button-less in the past, we were surprised at how much it seemed to adore the lack of buttons on Model S. They even glossed over the fact that drivers can surf the Web on the 17-inch touch screen while driving.



Scroll down to watch the first drive video and then head over to Consumer Reports for the write-up.

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By Jeffrey N. Ross

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.

Word.

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By Sebastian Blanco

First Tesla Model S delivered to board member Steve Jurvetson

first tesla model s delivery



We noted yesterday that some 2012 Tesla Model S buyers have already received their cars even though deliveries won’t officially begin until June 22. Now we’ve got video proof.



The very first Model S, decked-out with license plate TSLA S1, left the Fremont, CA factory this past weekend, Green Car Reports believes, in the hands of venture capitalist – and Tesla board member – Steve Jurvetson. Now that the U.S. government has fully homologated the car, people who invested early are getting their just desserts. Jurvetson is one of those and made sure he would get the first Model S during a board meeting back in 2010. “Regular” deliveries will reportedly start in two weeks. The entire first batch of Model S vehicles is made up of the sold-out Signature Series that offers the best performance (0-60 in 4.4 seconds, a top speed of 130 miles per hour) and range (up to 320 miles).



The video of the first key handover, available by scrolling below, is unfortunately filled with low-quality audio, but it does offer pretty enthusiastic evidence that scribe Dan Neil is a big step closer to owing $1,000 to charity. We expect there will be a lot more of this sort of excitement as Tesla’s new premiere EV makes its way market.





By Sebastian Blanco

Dan Neil eats crow, donates $1,000 to charity on behalf of Tesla CEO Elon Musk

2012 Tesla Model S



Dan Neil, he of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism fame, has made a decent living peddling his automotive snark, and for good reason, as Neil is unquestionably one of the best and funniest at what we do. Tesla CEO Elon Musk – also an outspoken salesman of some merit – differs from Neil in one primary respect, which is that Musk is worth some $2 billion and thus doesn’t have to drive someone else’s cars around.



When these two agreed to resolve their disagreement over Tesla’s seemingly pie-in-the-sky production plans by means of a wager, those of us familiar with both affable egos were deeply amused. Neil most certainly did not expect to lose his end of the bet: That Tesla would fail in its promise to deliver its second model on time. What with the prevailing view at the time being that Tesla’s game plan was merely to get bought out by some larger entity and that the Model S was just vaporware, a means to that end, we probably would have gone with Neil had someone forced us to take sides. Of course, we can all learn a lesson here, which is that you don’t bet against the guy who owns the casino.



Musk and Tesla clearly kept up their end of the bargain, so Neil’s public mea culpa ran in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. He states that he’s made his $1,000 contribution to Doctors Without Borders, the penalty for the loss being far less than Musk’s promised $1 million debit. Neil’s pride is likely hurting more from the comeuppance than the cash outlay dented his savings account, but as he writes, “I lost, and happily so. As a proponent of electric mobility, I have said many times that I wanted to lose the bet… As a critic, I’ll reserve judgment on the Model S until I get a chance to drive it.”

By Jeff Sabatini

First Tesla Model S delivered to board member Steve Jurvetson

first tesla model s delivery



We noted yesterday that some 2012 Tesla Model S buyers have already received their cars even though deliveries won’t officially begin until June 22. Now we’ve got video proof.



The very first Model S, decked-out with license plate TSLA S1, left the Fremont, CA factory this past weekend, Green Car Reports believes, in the hands of venture capitalist – and Tesla board member – Steve Jurvetson. Now that the U.S. government has fully homologated the car, people who invested early are getting their just desserts. Jurvetson is one of those and made sure he would get the first Model S during a board meeting back in 2010. “Regular” deliveries will reportedly start in two weeks. The entire first batch of Model S vehicles is made up of the sold-out Signature Series that offers the best performance (0-60 in 4.4 seconds, a top speed of 130 miles per hour) and range (up to 320 miles).



The video of the first key handover, available below, is unfortunately filled with low-quality audio, but it does offer pretty enthusiastic evidence that scribe Dan Neil is a big step closer to owing $1,000 to charity. We expect there will be a lot more of this sort of excitement as Tesla’s new premiere EV makes its way market.





By Sebastian Blanco

Tesla: Earnings still down, but rate of Model S production way up

Tesla Model S - black - rear three-quarter view at sunset



According to its Third Quarter 2012 Shareholder Letter, Tesla “is now at over 200 cars per week or 10,000 cars per year, which is at the critical threshold needed for Tesla to generate positive operating cash flow.”



That’s an important milestone to be sure, but the news is actually even better; Tesla expects to ramp Model S production up to 400 cars per week (20,000 units/year) by December of 2012, and says it will deliver 2,500 to 3,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s lower than the previous target of 5,000 in 2012, but it’s more an issue of delayed achievement rather than missing the mark altogether.



All of that production bodes well for the future, but as of today, the automaker has yet to earn real money. Revenue for the third quarter of 2012 was $50 million, equating to a net loss of about $110 million after expenses were tallied. The stock market likes the numbers, with TSLA shares rising 8.9 percent on Monday after the report was released.



With production up to 400 cars per week, we’re pretty sure company CEO Elon Musk isn’t able to personally inspect each Model S as he was when Tesla was producing fewer than 80 cars per week. In any case, accolades have been rolling in for the Model S, with two recent scores including being named Automobile Car of the Year and one of the 25 Best Inventions of the year by Time Magazine.



Check out Tesla’s complete Q3 earnings report here.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Jeremy Korzeniewski

Tesla Motors CEO on production rate, positive cash flow and DOE loan

tesla ceo elon musk



A new blog post by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk shows a bit of attitude, reacting to the way the company’s stock and reputation took a bit of a hit last week (despite its supercharger announcement) after downsizing its 2012 production and resulting revenue estimates. Tesla also announced a follow on stock offering, which had some pessimists pouring themselves some long tall glasses of haterade.



Elon’s response? Well, he makes it clear that things are going pretty well, actually. Tesla, he says, is doing another funding round as a means of risk reduction, not out of necessity. Wham! Further, the automaker will likely be cash flow positive by the end of next month. Bop! Also, despite being a few weeks behind in production – due, in part, to flood damage at a supplier – the company has built 500 vehicle bodies, finished 359 Model S sedans and placed over 250 in the hands of customers. Pow!



He also goes on to state that Tesla has never suggested postponing its DOE loan repayment. Yes, it did renegotiate some terms that weren’t part of the original arrangement, but the federal agency is still confident in the company’s ability to pay up and is, in fact, bullish about Tesla’s future. Finally, he reiterates once again that the company fully intends to pay back the DOE “at the earliest opportunity.” There has even been talk of early repayment. You can read Elon’s words here.

By Domenick Yoney

Dan Neil eats crow, donates $1,000 to charity on behalf of Tesla CEO Elon Musk

2012 Tesla Model S



Dan Neil, he of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism fame, has made a decent living peddling his automotive snark, and for good reason, as Neil is unquestionably one of the best and funniest at what we do. Tesla CEO Elon Musk – also an outspoken salesman of some merit – differs from Neil in one primary respect, which is that Musk is worth some $2 billion and thus doesn’t have to drive someone else’s cars around.



When these two agreed to resolve their disagreement over Tesla’s seemingly pie-in-the-sky production plans by means of a wager, those of us familiar with both affable egos were deeply amused. Neil most certainly did not expect to lose his end of the bet: That Tesla would fail in its promise to deliver its second model on time. What with the prevailing view at the time being that Tesla’s game plan was merely to get bought out by some larger entity and that the Model S was just vaporware, a means to that end, we probably would have gone with Neil had someone forced us to take sides. Of course, we can all learn a lesson here, which is that you don’t bet against the guy who owns the casino.



Musk and Tesla clearly kept up their end of the bargain, so Neil’s public mea culpa ran in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. He states that he’s made his $1,000 contribution to Doctors Without Borders, the penalty for the loss being far less than Musk’s promised $1 million debit. Neil’s pride is likely hurting more from the comeuppance than the cash outlay dented his savings account, but as he writes, “I lost, and happily so. As a proponent of electric mobility, I have said many times that I wanted to lose the bet… As a critic, I’ll reserve judgment on the Model S until I get a chance to drive it.”

Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin

By Jeff Sabatini

‘Monster’ Tajima drives Tesla Model S, wants one

 Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima driving the Tesla Model S



Pure driving joy, with a big open-mouthed smile. That’s what we see on the face of Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima as he puts a 2012 Tesla Model S through its paces on a test drive down some curvy California roads.



Best known for winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb six times in a row – including in 2011 when he became the first to accomplish the feat in under ten minutes. Tajima-san attempted to top that this year in his custom-built electric Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, but a motor failure less than a mile from the start ended his day. That short circuit, however, hasn’t seemed to dampened his enthusiasm for battery-powered cars.



Indeed, the jovial racing giant appears to have quite enjoyed his time behind the Tesla wheel, as the video below shows him piloting the all-electric fastback like one might expect a driver of his stature would. Using the whole road and with little regard for the possibility of a speeding ticket, Tajima has his passengers both bracing and grinning nervously while he guides the Model S roller-coaster-like through the twists and turns.



His assessment of the new electric American hatchback? Well, scroll down for video of a little Monster-on-Tesla action and see for yourself.





By Domenick Yoney

And now for a different sort of Tesla Model S review…

KBB Tesla Model S Video



Our friends at Kelley Blue Book have taken an unflinching look at the Tesla Model S in a new video. The crew originally planned to pack up and whip the electric sedan all the way to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, but got sidelined by a flat tire. The ensuing detour to a Tesla service center resulted in a day of hopping from charge point to charge point and a number of close calls on the range front. Confronted with cold temperatures, a desire to make time and some serious topography, the Model S pulled up short on projected range but never left the guys stranded.



The team eventually makes it to Vegas and discovers the aggravation of trying to charge the car with anything other than the company’s supercharger stations. The return trip goes quite a bit better, however, and KBB starts to figure out what makes the Model S so special. We won’t ruin the end for you. You can check out the full clip below.





By Zach Bowman