Tag archives for electric

Mercedes to market Tesla-powered 2014 B-Class EV in U.S.

2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class - white - front three-quarter static view

Looks like another Tesla Motors investor will be looking to cash in on their connection. Autoweek reports Mercedes-Benz will offer their B-Class in the U.S. with Tesla propulsion.

The magazine says their source at the German automaker confirms plans for a B-Class electric-only vehicle. While Tesla already provides battery packs for the battery-powered Smart ForTwo, the B-Class EV will reportedly have Tesla batteries, motor and other components. U.S. residents should be able to procure one sometime in 2014.

The same Mercedes source says plans for a hybrid B-Class have been postponed for now. Adding a range-extending, gasoline-powered engine to an electric vehicle would put the car into a different class for which rebates and incentives aren’t as favorable in the States.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler owns a 4.7-percent share of Tesla. Toyota also owns part of the electric-car company with which it builds electric RAV4 crossovers.

By Chris Tutor

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 investor says Detroit 3 has lost electric car war, should go build flying cars instead

Venture capitalist Tim Draper at Palo Alto Film FestivalTim Draper, co-founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a multi-billion venture capital firm that supports Tesla, came to Detroit on Thursday slinging either inspiration or insults, depending on what side of the fence you sit on.

“Don’t live in your reality distortion field here in Detroit,” Draper told the Detroit Free Press in an interview during Teleconomy conference at Wayne State University. “You’ve got to look at it and say, ‘Yeah we could do something here. We can innovate.’”

“Create a flying car,” he added. “Create something different because you’ve lost the electric car battle. See if you can win another.”

Accord to Draper, Detroit’s automakers are just too far behind to be competitive in the EV field: “They have not innovated nearly enough in the auto industry here… they really should wake up.”

Of course, given that Draper and his VC firm are big Tesla backers, it’s perhaps natural that he would prefer that potential competitors would step aside and give Tesla Motors some breathing room, especially as the company has never turned a profit.

Of course, the Palo Alto-based Tesla says it will sell 5,000 examples of its all-new 2013 Model S electric sports hatch this year. The well-reviewed car is just getting underway, having built over 100 units so far (it has orders for more). Next year, Tesla projects it will sell 15,000 units and the company’s head, Elon Musk says the carmaker will finish in 2013 in the black. Of course, that doesn’t include all of the losses it has incurred so far.

By Scott Burgess