Tag archives for Europe
In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:
• Under scrutiny for bypassing a traditional, dealership-oriented retail model in favor of manufacturer-owned stores, Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors, defended his company’s strategy in a blog post on Monday. Mr. Musk said Tesla products would be undermined in the setting of a traditional dealership, where a salesperson would be unable “to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business.” Mr. Musk said two lawsuits asserting Tesla circumvented state laws aimed at protecting franchisees were baseless because Tesla has not granted any franchises. (Tesla Motors)
• Facing a crisis of overcapacity at its plants in Europe and a projected loss of more than $1 billion in the region this year, Ford has called a meeting for Wednesday with union leaders to discuss the status of its plant in Genk, Belgium. Some media outlets, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, have reported that Ford intended to close the plant outright. (Bloomberg)
• On Monday, the eve of the São Paulo auto show, BMW announced its intention to build a production plant in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Plans for the facility are subject to government approval, but BMW has aggressive targets, saying it would inaugurate the plant in 2014 with capacity to produce 30,000 vehicles annually. (BMW)
• Chevrolet said it would introduce the next generation of the Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck on Dec. 13, a month ahead of the 2013 Detroit auto show. The automaker has not disclosed pricing or powertrain information for the truck, but emphasized it would have progressive design elements, including “jewel-like, projector beam headlamps.” (General Motors)
The Zero Race, an appropriately named zero-emissions race designed to raise awareness about environmentally friendly vehicles, started its 18,000-mile, 80-day journey in Switzerland earlier this week.
Zero Race began in Geneva, Switzerland, and the competitors — four small teams that specially designed their electric vehicles — will make their way through Berlin to Shanghai, China. After their trip to the Far East, they’ll resume the race in Vancouver, Canada, and then on to Cancun, Mexico, in time for the World Climate Change Conference that starts November 29.
Over the course of the next few months, the competitors will cover more than 18,000 miles and travel for more than 80 days. All four of the competing vehicles are powered by electricity acquired from renewable resources, such as wind or the sun. Each vehicle can achieve a minimum speed of 55 mph and travel 155 miles between charges. In this fashion, the teams will travel the world without the vehicles ever emitting a pollutant from exhaust or from an electrical source. However, as the vehicles need to be shipped across several oceans, the event won’t be completely emissions-free.
Although called a race, time is anything but the determining factor in who wins. The competitors are scored on their reliability during the race, energy efficiency, safety, performance, and design popularity as scored by spectators along the way. At the end of the race, the competitor with the highest score wins.
“Such a clean technology initiative underscores the importance of individual efforts in building a green, low-carbon future for the world,” said United Nations Environment Program executive director Achim Steiner.
The race reflects growing interest in low-emissions vehicles. This interest, along with government incentives and regulations, has pushed automotive manufacturers to investigate hybrid and electric vehicles, such as the upcoming Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. The small, startup automaker Tesla only builds electric vehicles, such as its Roadster and planned Model S sedan.
Head over to Zero Race’s Web site to view the competitors’ progress as they make their way around the world and look for the race to end at the World Climate Change Conference in November.
Source: Zero Race, Bloomberg
Tesla Motors has announced European pricing for the Model S all-electric luxury sedan and has given a time frame for first sales of both left-hand and right-hand-drive versions across the Pond.
Tesla is giving the Model S vehicles earmarked for the Netherlands a base price of about $96,000 and a Performance version of about $129,000. The company said on its blog that the prices, which mark about a $30,000 premium on US versions, factor in transportation costs, import duties and other “minor business expenses” and factor out the $7,500 US federal tax credit. In explaining the price jump, George Blankenship, Tesla vice president of worldwide wales and ownership experience, writes, “Our goal is to make the same level of profit per car no matter where it is ultimately delivered around the world. We do not think it is right to seek higher profits from customers in some countries just because other companies do.” Take that, other companies.
European left-hand-drive vehicles will go on sale in the late spring, while UK right-hand drive units will start being produced by the end of the year. Last week, Tesla said it was about to open its European Distribution Center in Tilburg, Netherlands, and would start bringing in parts ahead of European distribution. Last month, the company priced the Model S for the US next year, boosting the price tag by $2,500 to a base of $59,900 and a top-end maximum of $94,400. European buyers can take advantage of the pre-increase price by placing an order before the end of the year.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
This Tesla-Fisker tit-for-tat thing could get fun.
Last week, Fisker launched its first national advertising campaign for its extended-range plug-in luxury sedans in the form of a multi-page ad in the Wall Street Journal on the same day Tesla unveiled its all-electric Model S, Hybrid Cars reports.
Fisker, which has generated more than $100 million in revenue through sales of its Karma sedan, included a statement in the ad from company founder Henrik Fisker that noted that the automaker’s path “wouldn’t be easy” and that the company “set out to redefine and reshape how the world thinks about cars.”
Additionally, the California-based company said it widened its European distribution network after granting Guanieri, which operates BMW, Ferrari and Porsche dealers in Spain, exclusive rights to import the Karma to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Fisker is also opening an Oslo showroom in an old shipyard and added that, in the Netherlands, the Karma has outsold the Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series through the first four months of the year.
As for the U.S., the production date for the less-expensive Fisker Atlantic has been delayed in part because the U.S. Department of Energy froze most of the $529 million in loans earmarked for Fisker. Fisker first showed off the Atlantic at the New York Auto Show in April.
Related Gallery2012 Fisker Karma: First Drive
By Danny King
The “Odyssey of Pioneers” world tour has the Tesla Roadster visiting some 15 major cities and at least 150 smaller towns during the course of its road trip. The electric sports car is in Europe this week where it will be making a historical pit stop in Budapest, Hungary.
What’s the connection? Well, Budapest was one of the many stomping grounds of Tesla’s namesake — Nikola Tesla. Better yet, it’s said that while living in Budapest, Tesla thought up the original design for the alternating current motor — the same type of motor used in the Roadster — during a feverish hallucination.
“Without his vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “If he were alive today, I’m sure Nikola Tesla would be a very happy Roadster customer and a passionate advocate of electric vehicles.”
Budapest is the fourth stop on the Tesla’s tour. Luke McClure, the EV’s driver, has used standard electric outlets at hotels along the route, a solar panel array, and even a power feed located inside a Swiss barn to keep the roadster fully “fueled.” The Tesla Roadster accomplishes this feat because it’s equipped with its own charging equipment, so there is no need for specialized outlets or charging stations.
Tesla Motor will be hosting a VIP celebration, along with test drives for prospective customers from April 15-16 at the TAG Heuer Boutique in Budapest. The Roadster will then resume the tour to its next stop — Warsaw, Poland. The entire journey is tentatively scheduled to last eight months, and is expected to end come October, when the Tesla is due in Paris.
The days of free public charging for electric vehicles may soon be coming to an end, despite there being a lot of it out there right now, whether solar powered or as an incentive deal when buying the EV. Plug In Car’s European correspondent Laurent Masson, though, is looking ahead and is making the argument that free electricity will actually hinder growth of charging networks. Instead, he writes, utilities and charging station providers need to become more like *shudder* oil companies.
With a small number of EVs on the road, free public charging at restaurants or hotels is a perk for attracting customers, and the corded parking spots are not costing the property owner that much. It would be totally different if there were millions of EVs out there roaming for electrons.
For example, Tesla Motors is offering Model S owners free fast charging at its Supercharger network. Masson says that Tesla could be giving away $5,000 of free electricity per Model S based on rates in the area he lives, if it drove 100,000 miles solely on Supercharger power (not a likely scenario). Masson assumes the Model S would consume 300 watt hours per mile, which would make for 30,000 kilowatt hours after 100,000 miles. If a lot of the Model S electric car get sold, how long can Tesla afford to give away electricity? How long can anyone? The answer is that sooner or later, there needs to be sales and profit involved, somehow, Masson argues.
So, more private investors are needed to expand public charging networks as EV sales numbers grow. Pat Romano, CEO of EV-charging station maker Coulomb Technologies, said that EV owners are willing to pay somewhere around $1 an hour for charging, and think that $2 an hour is “expensive.” In the US, most EVs are charged for a rate of about 3.3 kilowatts per hour, and that much energy usually costs about 50 cents. The days of free charging are coming to an end, but so far, EV owners expect to see the fee stay at a low level.
By Jon LeSage
Later this month, Tesla Motors will open its European Distribution Center in Tilburg, Holland, and will start stocking the stocking the site with Tesla Roadster and Model S parts as it prepares to start distribution in continental Europe next year.
The 200,000-square-foot factory will support about 50 jobs. Production of the European left-hand-drive versions of the Model S all-electric sedan will start next March. Tilburg is about halfway between Amsterdam to the north and Brussels to the south. Check out Tesla’s press release below.
California-based Tesla is looking to ramp up sales of the Model S, which started production earlier this year. The car won the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award last month.
In November, Tesla also announced an increase in the price for the Model S for next year by $2,500 for US customers to a base of $59,900 and a top-end maximum of $94,400. Since no European price had been set for the Model S, anyone in Europe who places an order before the end of the year will get 1,700 euros (or the local currency equivalent, roughly $2,500 US) off that price.
Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin
By Danny King