Tag archives for california
Tesla Motors is expected to release quarterly earnings figures within the next few days, and the Silicon Valley automaker is thought to have attained profitability for the first time ever. As it turns out, a good bit of that profit will reportedly come from the State of California.
According to an article from the LA Times, Tesla, which is reportedly on pace to sell 20,000 vehicles in 2013, receives as much as $35,000 in environmental credits from California for each Model S it sells. These credits can then be sold to other automakers that do business in the state but don’t sell zero-emission vehicles of their own. Some experts believe Tesla could earn up to $250 million from such ZEV credits.
While profits from ZEV credits equals good news for Tesla, some experts and rival automakers aren’t very pleased with California’s strong-arm tactics when it comes to the sales of electric vehicles. “At the end of the day, other carmakers are subsidizing Tesla,” said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner Inc.
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, counters by saying, “We are in the air pollution business, not the car business… There is some jealously of Tesla going on here.” Check out the entire article from the LA Times here, it’s an interesting look into the inner-workings of the business side of the eco-friendly automotive marketplace.
Related GalleryTesla Model S
9:39 p.m. | Updated
On Monday night at its design studios in Hawthorne, Calif., Tesla Motors introduced its Supercharger, a glittering monolith capable of bringing the battery of a Model S sedan from flat to full in about an hour.
Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, has always known how to manufacture excitement around the company’s products, and the introduction of the 480-volt Supercharger was attended by enough smoke and lasers to suit a reunion of Spinal Tap. Mr. Musk said the chargers would dispense free electricity generated without emissions through a partnership with SolarCity, a builder and installer of photovoltaic equipment led by Peter and Lyndon Rive, cousins of Mr. Musk. The Tesla executive is also SolarCity’s chairman.
The Supercharger will be installed at solar carports loosely resembling filling stations and are capable of charging several vehicles simultaneously, as well as returning surplus power to the grid. Khyati Shah, a spokeswoman for SolarCity, wrote in an e-mail that two of the six Superchargers already installed had solar capability, with the others running off of grid power. One solar unit is 24 kilowatts and the other is 26.
Mr. Musk said the Supercharger network would address some anxieties that might be inhibiting wide consumer adoption of electric vehicles, including concern about power-plant emissions related to charging; the cars’ inability to travel long distances; and operational costs. The Supercharger will charge at 100 kilowatts and eventually up to 120 kilowatts, he said. “What it means is that you can drive for three hours, stop for less than half an hour, recharge, and be ready to go again,” Mr. Musk said. A Model S would reach a state of half-charge in 30 minutes.
The system is not compatible with existing Level III fast chargers. It complements elements of the company’s charging system unveiled earlier, including the high-power wall unit and plug design the company demonstrated for Wheels last year.
Tesla has six Superchargers in operation, all in California, with more to come in the state by the end of the year. The first stations are expected to be opened to the public in coming weeks.
Mr. Musk said the company intended to have Superchargers installed across much of the United States in the next two years and to have the entire country, and the lower part of Canada, covered in four or five years.
The ability to connect to the Supercharger will be standard on Model S cars with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery, the highest-capacity battery marketed by Tesla, and would be optional for buyers of the sedan fitted with the 60-kilowatt-hour pack. That said, Model S sedans equipped with the 40-kilowatt-hour batteries, and the existing fleet of Tesla Roadsters, will be excluded from using the Supercharger.
Mr. Musk said Model S customers with the necessary equipment would “travel for free, forever, on pure sunlight. It’s pretty hard to beat that.” Not one to understate the company’s accomplishments, he said the Supercharger’s introduction was likely to “go down as being quite historic, at least on par with SpaceX docking with the Space Station earlier this year,” a reference to his space-freight venture. “I really think this is important.”
Courtesy of Terrafugia
In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:
• Have you ever wished you could just fly over traffic like Doc Brown at the end of “Back to the Future?” Massachusetts-based Terrafugia says it will have a flying plug-in hybrid car on the market by 2015 or 2016. The company’s name is Italian for “escape the land,” and its car, the TF-X, is designed to take off vertically with tilting electric rotors. A gasoline engine and fan would then propel the car forward through the air at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia’s chief executive, said the TF-X is still in the early design phase, but that it could be built using readily available parts. As with increasingly automated land-based cars, the TF-X would feature an intelligent flight system, Mr. Dietrich said, ruling out the need for a licensed pilot to fly the car. (The Wall Street Journal)
• General Motors won approval from Chinese legislators to build a Cadillac plant in China. Building cars in China would give G.M. direct access to the Chinese market, as well as allow the company to bypass China’s 25 percent import tariff. G.M. said the $1.3 billion plant would have an annual capacity of about 150,000 cars. G.M.’s Cadillac sales in China last year were 30,010, while Audi sold 405,838 vehicles, BMW 327,341 and Mercedes-Benz 196,211. (Bloomberg)
• According to analysts, California’s push to increase the percentage of zero emissions vehicles on the state’s roads could benefit Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla Motors to the tune of $250,000 this year. Tesla sold 2,650 of its electric cars – with a starting price at just under $70,000 – in 2012 and hopes to sell closer to 20,000 this year. According to The Los Angeles Times, California’s energy credits – aimed at hitting the state Air Resource Board’s mandate for 15 percent of cars sold there to be zero emissions vehicles by 2025 – give Tesla as much as $45,000 on top of each car sale. (The Los Angeles Times)
• According to evidence from a military auto insurance agency and other sources, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are 75 percent more likely to die in a traffic accident than civilians. A Washington Post article last week highlighted drunken and reckless driving and driving without seat belts as factors in veterans’ post-deployment traffic fatalities. (The Washington Post)
• Note to motorists: Driving near the ocean is risky business. A Ram public relations team taking pictures of a prototype 2014 Ram pickup found this out when the truck got stuck on rocks at low tide at Moonstone Beach, in Northern California. Help did not arrive before the tide rose and inundated the new truck, attracting the attention of area surfers and photographers. (Automotive News)
Elon Musk, tech mogul and co-founder of Tesla is coming to the defense of his company as it faces a lawsuit from dealers in Massachusetts and New York.
They allege the Palo Alto, California-based electric-car maker is violating franchise laws that forbid factory-owned stores, something that’s restricted or prohibited in 48 states. Naturally, Musk denies this claim. In a blog post he said the company has taken “great care not to act in a manner contrary to those rules.” He backs up this assertion with several arguments.
The first point he makes is that most dealerships have an inherent conflict of interest. Pushing consumers toward electric cars undermines the sales of traditional vehicles, which is the majority of their business. Tesla, of course, does not have this problem.
Another one of Musk’s arguments centers on franchise laws. Factory-owned Tesla dealerships cannot unfairly compete with franchised dealers because there are no franchised Tesla stores, therefore no harm can be done.
One of his last points has to do with the location of Tesla dealers. By putting them in high-traffic areas like shopping malls Tesla hopes it can reach potential customers before they decide what kind of car to buy. The stores are staffed by non-commissioned salespeople are there to educate consumers. Vehicles are purchased from the company’s website.
By Craig Cole
Tesla just launched its network of “Superchargers,” speeding up one of the most important aspects of its EVs, but it might not be what you think.
“Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars for all practical purposes,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk Said. “However, by making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be.”
Where the term “Supercharger” would conventionally refer to a belt-driven device that crams air into an engine, the Tesla Supercharger crams electricity into the car’s battery pack at a greatly accelerated rate. While it doesn’t make the car any more powerful, the system is
capable of replenishing enough power to carry the car for three hours at 60 mph in 30 minutes.
Tesla constructed the units in secret before revealing their locations scattered across California and reaching to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. The automaker worked in conjunction with California’s Solar City to power its charging stations through solar panels, making them capable of offering Tesla owners charging at not cost.
“We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight,” Musk said.
Each of the charging stations is designed to absorb just over the amount of power consumed by Tesla vehicles over the course of a year, adding a small percentage of energy into the grid.
Anyone who’s California Dreamin’ about test-driving the battery-electric version of the Toyota RAV4 can now get their chance.
The Japanese automaker is taking the EV on a tour of the Golden State with its Charge-to-Charge Tour, complete with a web series hosted by Treehugger founder Graham Hill.
The tour started this past weekend in Richmond, just across the bay from San Francisco, and will work its way south through the end of the month. The RAV4 will be exhibited at events such as 40th Annual EAA Electric Vehicle Rally and Show in Cupertino before finishing up at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, which takes place at the end of next week, September 28-29.
Last week, Toyota outlined its loan and lease options while disclosing that the EPA put a single-charge range rating of 103 miles on the Vehicle. The Japanese automaker, which will start sales of the model at some California dealers starting next week, will offer a 36-month lease option for $599 a month with a $3,499 downpayment. For buyers, Toyota will offer an APR loan at 1.9 percent.
In May, Toyota said it would price the EV at $49,800 and would make about 2,600 of them through 2014. And late last month, Toyota released a couple videos elaborating on Toyota’s work with Tesla Motors on the vehicle and on efforts to cut the RAV4 EV’s wind drag as a way to help boost range. Find more Charge-to-Charge Tour details in the press release below.
Related GalleryToyota RAV4 EV
By Danny King
The Golden State is providing some green for the Tesla Model X.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors $10 million to expand its Fremont, CA, plant to accommodate production for the Model X SUV.
Tesla, which currently employs around 3,000 people, will add more than 500 jobs to build the Model X. Production is expected to start in 2014, and Tesla itself is investing $50 million getting ready for Model X production. Tesla unveiled a prototype of the Model X, complete with its “falcon-wing” doors, in February.
The CEC’s grant was part of $20 million in awards for “clean transportation” projects within the state. Details on these grantees are available below, but readers will likely be most interested in the $1.8 million that Zero Motorcycles received to “expand the company’s full electric motorcycle production capacity.” There’s also $300,000 for a compressed natural gas (CNG) station that will refuel CNG-powered garbage trucks.
By Danny King
Yuri Kochetkov/European Pressphoto Agency
In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:
• Bentley and Lamborghini, each having introduced ultraluxury crossover concepts in 2012, may be forced to sit on their production plans until economic conditions brighten for Volkswagen Group, the parent of the British and Italian marques. The Bentley EXP 9F and Lamborghini Urus concepts were officially introduced at the Geneva and Beijing motor shows, respectively. Reuters reported the models were up for review, along with other planned expenditures, according to two unidentified sources. (Reuters)
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., ranked 11th on points in the Nascar Sprint Cup chase, will forgo the series’ next two races after sustaining two concussions in six weeks, most recently last Sunday at Talladega, in a spectacular final-lap pileup. Earnhardt was informed on Wednesday by a physician that he sustained the first concussion on Aug. 29 at Kansas Speedway. The withdrawals effectively dash Earnhardt’s chances for winning the Sprint Cup championship this year. (The New York Times)
• Tesla Motors received a $10 million grant this week from the state of California to use toward developing and building the Model X, the crossover introduced by the electric-vehicle start-up in February. Tesla intends to hire 500 workers with the grant, as well as purchase equipment, to meet the automaker’s target production year of 2014. (Bloomberg)
• A grant of nearly $2 million was also awarded by the California Energy Commission to Zero Motorcycles, based in Santa Cruz, to quadruple its production capacity. The company introduced a revamped product line last week at Intermöt, an industry trade show in Cologne, Germany. (Zero Motorcycles, via Roadracing World)
Highway etiquette states that slower moving vehicles stay to the right. Those slowpokes may want to stay off California highways altogether this Friday.
That’s because Tesla Motors has declared October 19 as “Supercharging Day,” when the electric-vehicle maker’s first six fast chargers will be opened to the public, according to Hybrid Cars. Tesla announced the news via an e-mail to car owners.
The company’s Superchargers, which fact charge at 90 kW and 440 volts, can put 150 miles into a top-of-the-line Model S 85-kWh battery in about a half-hour, or about as long as it takes from a Model S driven by a deranged owner to get from Palo Alto to San Francisco.
Earlier this month, Tesla said it’s getting $10 million from the state to help prepare its Fremont, CA, factory to one day start making the Model X SUV there. That model is expected to see the light of day in 2014 and will be Supercharger-capable.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
Tesla’s next project, the Model X crossover, is at least one step closer to reality thanks to a $10 million grant from the California Government.
Grand as that figure might sound, it’s only a small chunk of what the company will need to spend in developing its SUV. Tesla itself is providing $50,200,000 in funding for the project. Initially revealed early this year, Tesla’s largest product to date will enjoy California funding because of the 500 manufacturing jobs it will create in the state.
Said to run from 0-60 mph in under five seconds, the car will be powered by two electric motors sucking power from either a 60- or 80-kWh battery. The brand expects to offer up to 250 miles of range on a single charge in what will be the first electric crossover to hit the California market. It will also offer loads of storage space both in the cabin and under the hood where an engine usually sits.
It isn’t clear when the Model X will be available, but the latest report suggests the project is still moving forward.