Tag archives for 2013 tesla model s

Elon Musk explains why Tesla has its own stores, defends service program





Elon Musk is taking his argument for a different kind of customer-dealer relationship directly to the people. In this case, the Tesla Motors CEO writes on his company’s blog to list the reasons why the luxury electric-vehicle maker decided to own all of its dealerships instead of offering franchises.



Musk, who said the Tesla Model S sedan aspires to be “the best car of any kind” in his new post, says that using the traditional dealer franchise model would have created conflicts of interest withing the salespeople. The reason is that any energy used to educate the public about electric vehicles would detract from conventional-vehicle sales. “It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business,” Musk writes.



Additionally, most buyers purchase the same make as their previous vehicle, which means there are few buyers who would walk into a multi-brand dealership and be willing to take the time to learn about Tesla. Musk added that Tesla would have 19 dealership stores in the US by the end of the year, up from 10 at the beginning of the year.



While the Model S has been universally praised, its pricey service program has not. Earlier this month, David Noland, a Model S reservation holder, wrote that Tesla’s $600-a-year service program is more than 10 times the cost of the service program for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid. Tesla has argued that its service plan is more comprehensive than usual because it includes an inspection, replacement parts such as brakes and windshield wipers, roadside assistance, system monitoring, remote diagnostics and software updates.



Finally, Musk addresses the recent lawsuits over Tesla’s stores. As you might expect, Musk doesn’t back down:

Regrettably, two lawsuits have nonetheless been filed against Tesla that we believe are starkly contrary to the spirit and the letter of the law. This is supported by the nature of the plaintiffs, where one is a Fisker dealer and the other is an auto group that has repeatedly demanded that it be granted a Tesla franchise. They will have considerable difficulty explaining to the court why Tesla opening a store in Boston is somehow contrary to the best interests of fair commerce or the public.

We’re sure the case will be made, though, and we’ll see how well it’s delivered.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

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By Danny King

Tesla Model S requires $600 annual service plan to keep warranty active

Tesla Model S in for service



It appears that Tesla’s new $600-per-year service program for its Model S is not going over well with some of the owners and wait-listers. David Noland, a Model S reservation holder and freelance writer, has dug into it the details and clarified the one he’s finding most annoying. And as it turns out, he’s not the only one taking issue with the program.



According to Green Car Reports, Noland owns a 2011 Chevrolet Volt and likes the service coverage for the plug-in hybrid’s electric motor and battery thermal-management system. It only needs minimal maintenance – a $49 annual system check at a local dealer and a $35 oil change every two years. That’s $84 for two years of routine maintenance. For the Model S, it’s a lot higher: $600 per year, and that electric car doesn’t even need the oil change.



Tesla’s official website says that the annual fee includes an inspection, replacement parts such as brakes and windshield wipers, roadside assistance, system monitoring, remote diagnostics and software updates, so it is more comprehensive. Looking for more detailed information, Noland contacted Tesla’s public relations department but reportedly never heard back. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, though, did eventually respond to Noland’s questions. “We are matching service cost to be less than a Mercedes of comparable purchase price,” Musk wrote. “This basically amounts to $50/month and covers all software upgrades as well as concierge level service.”



When Noland responded with a question about whether Tesla owners who opt out of the service program won’t receive software upgrades, Musk apparently didn’t respond.



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Further investigation showed that the matter is even more serious. In a recent blog post on Tesla Motor Club forum, Tesla’s vice president, George Blankenship, made the policy more clear in comments on a post about the new service plans: failure to pay $600 for an annual inspection voids the warranty. Plus, any visit to a non-Tesla shop for any type of service will void the warranty, a provision that could run afoul of the law.



This isn’t going over well with Model S owners. In a Tesla Motors Club forum survey, 12 percent agreed that Tesla had “screwed the pooch,” and would cancel their orders. About 48 percent think the price is too high but will reluctantly pay it since they don’t think they have another choice. Only nine percent think it’s a great deal worth every dollar.



Noland thinks it’s odd that Tesla is taking what looks like the opposite approach with the Supercharger, offering the fast charging for free. He’d like to see Tesla do something similar with its Model S maintenance plan, or at least follow the example of BMW, where every one of its luxury cars comes with four years/50,000 miles of included service.

By Jon LeSage

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

Elon Musk to remain at Tesla for “several more years,” personally inspects Model S

2013 Tesla Model S - maroon - front three-quarter view

Few automakers’ fortunes and CEOs are as intrinsically linked as Tesla Motors and Elon Musk. The boss of the full-electric automaker can influence the stock of his company with something as simple as an outlandish statement – exactly the sort of utterance the mercurial executive is fond of making. In the latest Musk news, it appears he has no plans to change any of that, saying that he will stay with Tesla for “several more years.”

Investors want him to remain at the company through – and past – the launch of the Model S. To leave now would potentially derail any momentum that the company can muster from the all-electric sedan.

Perhaps the investors like the idea of having a lighting rod like Musk around for when questions about cutting production – or when the company will make money – are asked.

Part of his duties through the rest of his tenure at Tesla will also reportedly include personally inspecting production examples of the Model S. To find out exactly what that entails, we reached out to the automaker for comment. According to Tesla spokesperson Christina Ra, Musk checks “Everything from functionality, to fit and finish. Anything from door handles to carpet to molding, to driving… The things we are potentially having to work on are not big things – 98-percent of the car is ready to go.”



Ra would not comment on exactly how many cars he checks at the Fremont, California facility, but tells us, “At a high level, he’s looking at everything.”



We’re still not exactly sure what that means, but its always refreshing to see a CEO down in the trenches – even if it might just be a publicity stunt.

Related GalleryFirst Ride: 2012 Tesla Model S Beta

By George Kennedy

Tesla Model S Gets $2,500 Price Increase

The Tesla Model S is getting a bump up in price, and will now start with a base price of $59,900 before federal tax credits. 

Tesla points out that general inflation has increased by 8.75 percent since the original Model S was priced, which should have increased the price by $5,000, but instead Tesla only tacked on an extra $2,500. Every model gets the same price increase of $2,500, which puts the 60-kWh model at $69,900, and the 85-kWh model at $79,900.

New features include 12-way adjustable, heated front seats as standard equipment, and new standard 19-inch wheels for performance model cars. Adding on 21-inch wheels will cost you $3,500 extra, and a new red multi-coat paint shade is also available, for $1,500.

Battery pack replacements were also priced by the brand, with the price of a 40 kWh pack starting at $8,000. Another $2,000 gets the 60 kWh pack, and the 85 kWh pack costs another $2,000 on top of that.

By Stephen Elmer

Tesla Model S wins 2013 World Green Car of the Year

2012 Tesla Model S at sunrise - front three-quarter view, black



The automotive journalist judges behind the World Green Car of the Year apparently with the overwhelming majority of AutoblogGreen readers, as they’ve just named the Tesla Model S their winner. We don’t yet know what the official ballots were, but our informal poll had the Tesla beating the other two finalists – the all-electric Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid – with over 82 percent of the vote.



This is just the latest win for the Model S. The all-electric sedan was named “Car of the Year” by both Automobile and Motor Trend in 2012 and even Time Magazine called it of the 25 Best Inventions of the year.



Previous winners include the Mercedes-Benz S250 CDI BlueEfficiency (2012), Chevrolet Volt (2011) Volkswagen BlueMotion (2010) and Honda FCX Clarity (2009).

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Sebastian Blanco

Tesla Model S vs Chevy Volt drag race ends exactly how you think it will

tesla model s chevy volt drag race



It may have a sliver of Chevrolet muscle car heritage, but the plug-in hybrid Volt didn’t stand a chance of beating the Tesla Model S in a recent quarter-mile race.



As you can see in the video below, shown recently on That Racing Channel, the Model S took the lead in the race right away, hitting the finish line in 12.562 seconds at 108.34 miles per hour. The Volt took a leisurely 17.201 seconds and only reached 80.36 mph. “Hey, that one on the left was so quiet!” a member of the audience remarks about the Model S right after the race finishes. Yes, that’s part of its all-electric beauty.



About a week earlier, the same Model S set a quarter-mile speed record for a production vehicle, hitting a time of 12.371 seconds at 110.84 mph. Motor Trend has done better than 80.36 mph with a Volt – netting 16.8 seconds at 81.5 mph – but in a race against the much more powerful and much costlier Tesla, it’s just an unfair fight. Check out the video below.





By Jon LeSage

Tesla Model S production reaches 400 cars a week capacity

Tesla Model S assembly



Civil War Admiral David Farragut has famously been credited with saying, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” when he was presented with a challenging path ahead during the Battle of Mobile Bay. Specifically, the path was full of torpedoes. The Admiral has some “move forward!” ideological company in one Elon Musk.



While the torpedoes are only figurative at Tesla’s Fremont plant, Musk has pushed Tesla Motors to double its weekly output of the Model S all-electric luxury sedan over the last three months and is now approaching full capacity of 400 vehicles a week – 20,000 a year – Automotive News says.



With more cars out on the road, Tesla’s over-the-air software update system is proving its worth. This system allows for important software changes – which allow the driver to turn on a “creep” mode, for example – to take place without drivers spending time in a Tesla service center. In November, Motor Trend named the Model S its 2012 Car of the Year.



In the third quarter of 2012, Tesla lost $110.8 million on $50.1 million in revenue. With production humming along, Tesla should finally be able to realize its first quarterly profit this year, Musk told Automotive News. Of course, Musk didn’t say which quarter.

By Danny King

Tesla takes New York Times to task for damning Model S review





The social media tête-à-tête between The New York Times and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, stemming from a defamatory review by John Broder of the Model S and Tesla’s new “Supercharger” network on the East Coast, is heating up in a major way. Just yesterday we summarized the Twitter spat, and now Musk has expanded upon the data recorded during Broder’s test drive – adding major credence to the criticism of the NYT writer.



The smoking gun in this case is the information that was captured by the data recorder in Broder’s loaned Model S. The data recording function is one that is only activated for consumers when permission has been expressly granted, says Musk, but is always turned on in the case of media vehicles. Thusly equipped, Broder’s vehicle was keeping track of speed, charging data, map data and more, presumably without the writer’s foreknowledge.



The evidence recorded by the in-car systems happens to contravene Broder’s most damning claims of the Tesla, says Musk in his article titled A Most Peculiar Test Drive. First, and perhaps most shockingly, the Model S “State of Charge” log shows that Broder’s test car “never ran out of energy at any time.” Broder’s reporting indicated that the car ran completely out of juice at one point and had to be evacuated on a flatbed truck. The data log also points out that the trip was made at speeds ranging from 65 to 81 miles per hour, where the writer claimed to have set the cruise control at 54 mph, with periods of driving as slowly as 45 mph.



Musk’s piece also indicates that Broder – who was ostensibly driving to test the charging network – didn’t tell the truth about how long he charged his Model S. At one stop he specifically writes that he charged the car for 58 minutes on his second stop, where the log indicates that he was on the Supercharger for just 47 minutes. Tesla claims that the writer charged his car to 90 percent of capacity on his first stop, 72 percent on his second and just 28 percent on his third – all despite his concerns over just barely having enough energy to complete the respective legs of his trip.



Taken at face value, Tesla’s data seems compelling to say the least. With that said, we’re no more in a position to attest to the veracity of the logged data than we are the claims of Mr. Broder. At the very least it will be fascinating to see what the NYT does to respond, if anything at all, to this rather serious, high-profile assault on its credibility.



For its part, Tesla is taking Elon’s article as the final word on the matter. A company spokesperson released this statement, just this morning: “Please note, no one from Tesla – including Elon – will be providing additional comment on this topic moving forward as we feel the blog speaks for itself. At this time, this post is the company’s final statement on the issue.” We’ve collected all of Tesla’s charts and graphs from Broder’s trip in our attached gallery, so you can have a closer look for yourselves, too.

Related GalleryTesla Charts

By Seyth Miersma

Tesla’s Musk says Obama win means good things for plug-in vehicles

tesla ceo elon musk



That gift horse? Elon Musk ain’t looking it in the mouth.



The Tesla Motors chief appears to be pretty happy about last week’s presidential election results, saying that four more years of President Barack Obama likely means more electric vehicle (EV) production, Reuters reports. More newsworthy, Musk also said that the first East Coast Superchargers will soon be installed in Washington, DC and Boston.



Musk added that, unsurprisingly, he’d support raising the federal tax credits for EVs to as much as $10,000 per vehicle. That’s about a tenth of the pricetag of a top-of-the-line Tesla Model S sedan, which just won Motor Trend magazine’s 2013 Car of the Year Award. Obama previously suggested the $10,000 level, which would represent an increase of $2,500 to the maximum tax credit currently allowed.



EV production subsidies were a hot topic leading up to the election, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney taking aim at US Energy Department (DOE) loans to companies like Tesla, Fisker and Ford. Tesla received a $465-million DOE loan in 2010.



Not to merely rest on federal loans, Tesla said last month that it will get $10 million from the state of California to upgrade its San Francisco Bay Area factory for Tesla’s Model X crossover, which is slated to start production in 2014.

By Danny King