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Report: Tesla Letting Roadster Owners Trade In For Model S – Rumor Central

Report: Tesla Letting Roadster Owners Trade In For Model S

Technophiles often want to own the newest technology, but don’t always have something to do with yesterday’s device. Tesla, however, will be making it easy for current Roadster owners to upgrade to a Model S.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Tesla has created a buyback program for current Roadster owners who are looking to move into a new Model S. Tesla’s program works just as any other trade-in deal would work, and has been created to help simplify the process for Model S/Roadster customers, according to Tesla representative Christina Ra. Since some Model S variants are actually priced well below the Roadster, it is possible for an owner to receive more on a trade than the cost of the new car. “In that case, we’d write you a check,” vonReichbauer, Tesla’s director of finance, told the Chronicle.

Pricing for the Model S hatchback starts at $57,400 for the 40 kWh battery, steps up to $67,400 for the 60 kWh car, and $77,400 for the 85 kWh model (all prices are before any government tax rebates). The EPA has already rated the 85-kWh Model S at 89 MPGe and a range of 265 miles. Currently, the only Model S versions being built are the top-spec Signature Performance models that use the 85-kWh battery; an upgraded interior, suspension, and wheels; and the exclusivity of being just one of 1000 units built. Once all the Signature models are built, the automaker will begin to produce the Model S and Model S Performance versions.

Having a cache of Roadsters will also help Tesla, the Chronicle points out. Having another vehicle to sell alongside the Model S until the Model X crossover debuts will help the automaker keep retail sales going. It’s expected that a Roadster would be resold for anywhere around $73,000 to $94,000 depending on age and mileage of the car.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle





By Donny Nordlicht

We Hear: Tesla Sets Up Roadster-to-Model S Trade-In Program

We Hear: Tesla Sets Up Roadster-to-Model S Trade-In Program

Tesla is ready to help out those owners who feel that their Roadsters aren’t new and shiny enough. According to a new report, the electric car maker will be giving owners a credit when they trade in a Roadster for a new Model S.

2012 Tesla Model S rear three quarter 2 300x187 imageThe San Francisco Chronicle reports that Tesla has created a buyback program for current Roadster owners who are looking to move into a new Model S. Tesla’s program works just as any other trade-in deal would work, and has been created to help simplify the process for Model S/Roadster customers, according to Tesla representative Christina Ra. Since some Model S variants are actually priced well below the Roadster, it is possible for an owner to receive more on a trade than the cost of the new car. “In that case, we’d write you a check,” Tom vonReichbauer, Tesla’s director of finance, told the Chronicle.

Pricing for the Model S hatchback starts at $57,400 for the 40 kWh battery, steps up to $67,400 for the 60 kWh car, and $77,400 for the 85 kWh model (all prices are before any government tax rebates). The EPA has already rated the 85-kWh Model S at 89 MPGe and a range of 265 miles. Currently, the only Model S versions being built are the top-spec Signature Performance models that use the 85-kWh battery; an upgraded interior, suspension, and wheels; and the exclusivity of being just one of 1000 units built. Once all the Signature models are built, the automaker will begin to produce the Model S and Model S Performance versions.

Having a cache of Roadsters will also help Tesla, the Chronicle points out. Having another vehicle to sell alongside the Model S until the Model X crossover debuts will help the automaker keep retail sales going. It’s expected that a Roadster would be resold for anywhere around $73,000 to $94,000 depending on age and mileage of the car.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

By Donny Nordlicht

IP Uh-Oh: Tesla Filing Reveals Roadster Production to End in 2011

IP Uh-Oh: Tesla Filing Reveals Roadster Production to End in 2011

Electric car purveyor Tesla filed paperwork for a $100 million IPO with the SEC earlier today, and after deeper perusal of the 173-page form S – 1, the company looks to be treading on extremely thin ice. The filing has revealed that not only will the company stop making its only car — the Lotus Elise-based Roadster — in 2011 because Lotus will be retooling its plant to make way for a new Elise/Exige line, but also that it has no solid agreements in place for further development or procurement of electric powertrain components with third-party suppliers. While the company hopes to have a new Roadster on the road by 2013, the discontinuation of the present car means Tesla would have no vehicle to sell for the better part of two years — unless of course its proposed Model S sedan magically appears in 2012.

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The filing — specifically, the 39-page-long “Risk Factors” section — makes Tesla’s entire operation look quite shaky as it includes far more than the usual warnings about outside factors that could affect a company’s business.

It’s no secret that the future of the company rides on the success of the Model S and Tesla says that it already has 2000 orders. However, 2012 is less than two years away and the company still does not have a way of actually building the sedan. In fact, the company lists 11 assumptions that it’s operating under with regards to the launch of the Model S:

that we will be able to identify and secure an appropriate facility for the manufacturing of our Model S;
that we will be able to secure the funding necessary to build out and equip the manufacturing facilities in a timely manner, including meeting milestones and other conditions necessary to draw down funds under our loan facility with the DOE;
that we will able to develop and equip the manufacturing facilities for the Model S without exceeding our projected costs and on our projected timeline;
that the equipment we select will be able to accurately manufacture the vehicle within specified design tolerances;
that our computer aided design process can reduce the product development time by accurately predicting the performance of our vehicle for passing relevant safety standards, including standards that can only be met through expensive crash testing;
that we will be able to obtain the necessary permits and approvals, including those under the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as building and air quality permits, to comply with local zoning, environmental and similar regulations to operate our manufacturing facilities and our business on our projected timeline;
that we will be able to engage suppliers for the necessary components on terms and conditions acceptable to us and that we will be able to obtain components on a timely basis and in the necessary quantities;
that we will be able to deliver final component designs to our suppliers in a timely manner;
that we will be able to attract, recruit, hire and train skilled employees, including employees on the production line, to operate our Model S manufacturing facility;
that we will be able to maintain high quality controls as we transition to an in-house manufacturing process; and
that we will not experience any significant delays or disruptions in our supply chain.”

It generally takes established automakers that do not have to worry about supplier contracts, facility procurement, and government permits at least three years to bring a new vehicle to production, so we fail to see how Tesla is going to produce the Model S by 2012, barring a minor miracle. The company admits that it does “not have a full production intent prototype, a final design, a manufacturing facility or a manufacturing process.”

Furthermore, the production of the Model S also depends on Tesla finalizing a number of agreements with Daimler (which has a small stake in the company) that would result in the German automaker providing it with access to parts as well as engineering help. There are also clauses that would allow Daimler to terminate all of its agreements should current CEO Elon Musk leave the company or invest in another automaker.

Even if Tesla manages to overcome the multitude of hurdles in its way, it remains a mystery as to how it would make money in the time that passes between the end of the present Roadster and the launch of the Model S.

The full text of the SEC filing can be found HERE.

By Kirill Ougarov

Panasonic Gives Tesla A $30-Million Jolt Of Cash For Powertrain Development

Panasonic Gives Tesla A $30-Million Jolt Of Cash For Powertrain Development

Electrons are small. You may think that dead pixel on your computer screen is small, but it’s a city block compared to an electron. This may be why many people don’t understand how hard it is to store enough of them to power a car. Two companies with an intimate knowledge of the problem are electric car pioneer Tesla, and electronics giant Panasonic.

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This week, the Japanese tech company announced it was investing $30 Million into Tesla to jointly develop new battery technology for its upcoming electric sedan and to be licensed by other manufacturers. Tesla currently uses Panasonic cells to power its Lotus-based Roadster and is working with Toyota on developing their next generation of hybrid and all-electric vehicles. The infusion of cash came in the form of Panasonic acquiring a 2-percent ownership stake in Tesla.

Panasonic recently announced its own joint-venture with Toyota, dubbed Primearth EV Energy Co. The goal is to develop more efficient nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries. Future plans involve the merger of Panasonic and current rival Sanyo to become a battery development powerhouse for the quickly expanding electric car market.

Factoid: Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most efficient type being used in electric vehicles and are roughly 64 times less energy dense than good ole gasoline. The best Li-ion cells are currently capable of roughly 0.72 MJ/Kg while gasoline is roughly 46.4 MJ/Kg.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

By Motortrend Staff

Tesla Retail Stores Defended by Brand CEO

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 Raises $226 Million Through IPO

Tesla Raises $226 Million Through IPO

Tesla has become the first American car company to go public in 54 years, and has raised some $226 million in the process. The electric vehicle producer is the first automaker since Ford in 1956 to have an initial public offering (IPO).

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Initially, Tesla planned on offering 11.1 million shares at $14-$16 each, but later increased that figure to 13.3 million. According to Bloomberg data and a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla also increased the share price to $17 each for a total around $226 million. The company will trade under the symbol TSLA. Tesla CEO Elon Musk rang the NASDAQ Stock Market opening bell today.

Going public may seem like a good way for several Tesla affiliates, as well as Musk — who has reportedly gone broke after spending more than $70 million of his own money — to recoup their losses.

The cash infusion from the IPO comes at a good time for the company yet to turn a profit after seven years. Tesla will use the funds from its IPO along with a $465 million federal loan to buy a factory in which to produce the Model S sedan and put the sedan into production. Toyota and Tesla have already been in talks about reopening the now abandoned New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated plant in Fremont, Calif.

The federal government, however, has put a few measures in place with its loan to ensure that Musk, along with a few other key players, remain Tesla investors. In order for Tesla to secure the loan, Musk and other certain unnamed Tesla affiliates must retain 65 percent of their stock in Tesla for at least one year after completing the Model S project.

As part of the deal to reopen NUMMI, both Tesla and Toyota would produce an electric vehicle there in 2012. Tesla’s plan: a production version of the Model S, as well as possible Model S derivatives and a new Roadster. Toyota’s EV plans for NUMMI, however, remain less clear. In addition to reopening the NUMMI plant together, Tesla and Toyota also came to a deal in which the Japanese giant invested $50 million in the American startup and would later be granted common stock. Following the IPO, Toyota now owns roughly 2 percent of Tesla.

Source: Bloomberg

By Andrew Peterson

VW Reconsidering BlueSport Roadster? Here Are Our Top 5 Dream Mazda Miata Rivals

VW Reconsidering BlueSport Roadster? Here Are Our Top 5 Dream Mazda Miata Rivals

Is the Volkswagen BlueSport on-again or off-again? Last we checked the diesel-powered mid-engined roadster had been canned, but Volkswagen’s design chief recently hinted that VW is still interested in building a small sports car. With the Volkswagen in mind, we thought it would be fun to create a list of five automakers that should make a Mazda Miata rival.

The recent BlueSport news comes from a recent interview between Auto Motor und Sport and VW design head Walter de Silva. In the interview, de Silva suggested that a small Volkswagen roadster wouldn’t be the worst addition to the automaker’s global lineup. Though the BlueSport concept came with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4, in a perfect world, here’s what we think Miata rivals from Volkswagen and four other automakers should look like.

Volkswagen BlueSport Concept top down 300x187 imageVolkswagen: The BlueSport is an attractive concept, even four years after its Detroit auto show debut. We wouldn’t change much in the production BlueSport; it should keep its mid-mounted engine, and turbodiesel I-4, although since it’s a sports car Volkswagen should also offer the 2.0-liter 210-hp turbo I-4 from the updated Beetle Turbo and Jetta GLI. The only other change we’d make is to its name; surely Volkswagen can combine more animal names (may we suggest Velociphant or Sharphin?) for its new roadster.

2007 Dodge Demon concept 300x187 imageSRT: We bet SRT Ralph Gilles would love to make a Miata-competitor, and by all accounts it could already be in the works. Our dream SRT Miata-fighter would be a two-seat roadster powered by a souped-up version of the Dodge Dart’s 2.4-liter turbo-4 – we’re thinking around 250 hp in a lightweight roadster should do the trick. That would leave just enough room in the lineup for SRT to offer a 470-hp Hemi V-8 powered TA version. Hey, when you’re dreaming, why not dream big?

Honda: Honda once built fun sports cars, but the S2000 died a few years back. We’d like to see Honda bring back the S2000 just as it was. Seriously, don’t change a thing: the circa 1999 design still looks fresh to this day, and by all accounts its 239-hp high-revving I-4 left little to be desired.

Chevrolet Code 130R front three quarters 300x187 imageChevrolet: Just build the damn Code 130R already, Chevy. The Alpha platform three-box coupe would not only give Chevy a convincing Mazda competitor, but it’d also give Chevy an entry-level sports car that could lead to Camaro sales, and then ultimately the Corvette. With that kind of sporting tradition it only makes sense for the bowtie to build a Miata fighter.

Tesla: An entry-level followup to the Tesla Roadster would be pretty awesome. The Miata-fighting Roadster Mk II could use the chassis of the upcoming entry-level Tesla, with the Model S Performance’s motor and 85 kWh battery. That’d give it blistering performance, and the ability to enjoy the EV all day long.

What company do you think should build a Miata fighter? What would it look like? Sound off below.

Source: Auto Motor und Sport

By Christian Seabaugh

Watch Out Tesla: Porsche Tests Full-Electric Boxster E

Watch Out Tesla: Porsche Tests Full-Electric Boxster E

Porsche may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think electric vehicles. However Ferdinand Porsche developed what is believed to be the first hybrid car in 1906 for Austrian car builder Lohner. In the last few years, Porsche has begun using modern hybrid technology to increase efficiency in their SUVs and even a few race cars. The forward thinking company is again looking forward by building three full electric Boxsters to test the practicality of the drivetrain and current state of infrastructure in place for the use of electric powertrains.

Details are still scarce, but the vehicles are said to have one or two electric motors with as much as 180KW or roughly 240 horsepower. While this is 15 horsepower short of a standard gas-powered Boxster, the electric version undoubtedly stomps it in torque output. Porsche claims the Boxster E is capable of performance figures that match a Boxster S.

The three Boxster E’s are currently just rolling laboratories for testing the propulsion technology and the infrastructure needed to maintain electric vehicles. Porsche currently has no plans of a full electric production vehicle. However with hybrids currently for sale and possibility of their next super car using a kinetic energy recovery system, this work surely won’t go to waste. If at some point in the future we are all forced to commute in electric vehicles, wouldn’t you rather it rolled out of a factory known for building race cars rather than refrigerators?

Give us your opinion on this; are electric vehicles the way forward, and if so, do you want manufacturers to make them as entertaining as possible, or should we just throw in the shop towel?

Source: Porsche AG

By Mike Febbo

Update: Tesla, Top Gear Continue Verbal Spat Over Libel Suit

Update: Tesla, Top Gear Continue Verbal Spat Over Libel Suit

Last week we reported that Tesla Motors, maker of the of the 2-seater all-electric Tesla Roadster, is serving Top Gear with a libel suit claiming that an episode featuring the sports car contained false and exaggerated criticisms, some of which included failed brakes and an overheated and immobilized motor.  A complete explanation of the claim is posted on Tesla’s website.

Recently, Top Gear’s executive producer Andy Wilman responded to the suit in a blog post on the show’s website, providing a detailed counterpoint to each claim.

He starts with the Roadster’s range, claiming the show never refuted the company’s advertised range of 211 miles, but instead boasted a short 55-mile range based on hard track use.  He points out that Tesla engineers back in California confirmed their calculations.  And when the engine overheated from their testing, Wilman says the show stated the car had “reduced power” while Tesla maintains that they said it was “completely immobilized.”  Lastly, Tesla claims that Top Gear lied when they stated the brakes were broken.  Though a failed vacuum pump fuse required the driver to push the brake pedal harder than normal, the brakes were still operable.  Wilman argues that broken is broken, especially if something requires a visit to the shop for repair.

Wilman says the BBC normally stays quiet while preparing their defense for court, but took the unprecedented step of fighting back since Tesla is “being quite noisy with their views” of the show’s conduct.

Shortly after Wilman issued his take on the matter, Tesla issued its own response.

“Mr. Wilman seems to want Top Gear to be judged neither by what it says, nor by what it does,” corporate representatives wrote on Tesla’s official website. “Top Gear needs to provide its viewers, and Tesla, straightforward answers to these questions.”

Tesla insists it “wants people to know the truth, and correct the public’s misperceptions” of its electric two-seater. Since the episode first aired on December 14, 2008, it has been re-broadcasted on both the BBC, syndication, and several dozen websites. Tesla wants the episode to disappear for good, and is banking on the courts to agree.

At this point, it seems the only point both sides can agree on is this may prove to be a lengthy legal argument…

Source: Tesla, Top Gear

By Erick Ayapana

WOT Episode 4: C7 Breaks Cover, Mercedes AMGs, Tesla Model X – Motor Trend YouTube Channel

WOT Episode 4: C7 Breaks Cover, Mercedes AMGs, Tesla Model X – Motor Trend YouTube Channel

In the fourth episode of Wide Open Throttle, Jessi Lang tops off the hottest stories of the week, starting out with more than a dozen models coming from AMG in the next few years, electric-powered BMWs, and spy shots leaking out of the upcoming seventh-generation Corvette just around the corner, and Tesla’s sporty new Model X electric crossover. Finally, editor-at-large Angus MacKenzie talks with Jessi about Acura’s upcoming NSX.

We’re all fans of high-performance models, so whenever we hear more are coming, we get excited. And in the case of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance AMG division, we’re not just getting a few, but 17 new hot-rod Benzes, most of which are expected to come to the U.S. as well. Starting off, two AMG versions of the new SL roadster are coming, the V-12 SL 65 and V-8 SL 63, both twin-turbocharged. Next up is a Black Series version of the SLS gullwing with 600+ hp from the beloved naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter AMG V-8. Finally, AMG is aiming for the Porsche 911 with the new SLC model in 2014, expected to be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing 550 horsepower with a rear-mounted transaxle.

BMW is hoping it can balance mean and green with its new “i” series models, retaining the brand’s reputation for superb driving dynamics, while offering a more environmentally-friendly choice for enthusiasts.

Corvette traditionalists will be relieved that the C7 Corvette will still be front-engine, rear-drive, and V-8-powered. Although many expected the iconic “split window” from the 1963 model would be applied to the new model, it looks like the C6’s conventional one-piece glass hatch will carry over. The biggest news, other than the direct-injected fifth-generation small block V-8 under the hood, is a dramatically improved interior, something that’s been a constant criticism of the car since the C4.

Testing Director Kim Reynolds takes a look at the new Model X crossover, and talks with Tesla chief designer Franz Von Holzhausen about the vehicle’s “falcon wing” doors, and their practicality as well as their dramatic looks.

Regarding the upcoming Acura NSX, Angus discusses how much further the bar has been raised in the supercar segment with the Ferrari 458 Italia, with the previous NSX coming out around the same time as the Ferrari 348, one of the low points for Maranello. Can the new NSX compete with what many consider to be the zenith of Ferrari’s development?

Stay tuned to the Motor Trend YouTube channel for a new episode of Ignition on Monday, where we take a look at the new F30 BMW 335i.

By Edward A. Sanchez