Tag archives for evs

Tesla CEO Says NY Times Article Likely Cost Brand $100M

A public battle between the New York Times and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is still sprouting news after the disgruntled executive told Bloomberg that the article likely cost the electric car maker $100 million.

Musk spoke about the article in an on-camera interview with Bloomberg, and said the article cost Tesla tens of millions, maybe even “on the order of $100 million.” When pressed about the fact that such a number would suggest the brand suffering roughly 1,000 order cancellations, he quickly corrected himself, saying the number wasn’t that high.

SEE ALSO: Tesla CEO Releases Official Rebuttal to NY Times Story

Instead, he said his estimate was based on the valuation of the company after the article was published and order cancellations – of which he said there were probably a few hundred.

Regardless or the scandal, it also sounds like Tesla will reach its 20,000 unit annual sales goal based on current sales. Tesla is currently building 400 Model S sedans per week.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Discuss this story on Tesla-Buzz.com

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Supercharger Network Launched for Fast Charging

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.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Model S ‘Performance Plus’ Handles like a Supercar

2013-tesla-model-s

Tesla is taking the Model S into “supercar handling territory” according to a product description on its retail site.

The new Model S Performance Plus variant costs $6,500, improves efficiency and improves performance. It manages that by adding upgraded dampers, bushings and stabilizer bars. Tesla also added higher performing tires and wider, staggered wheels.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Resale Value to be Industry’s Best, Says CEO Musk

Those wheels are 20 millimeters wider and Tesla says the car’s range improves a modest six to 12 miles.

Apart from the improved range and performance parts, Tesla hasn’t made specific claims to performance improvements like improved lap times or specifications for cornering grip.

Owners with the previous top-dog Model S Performance can also upgrade to the Performance Plus variant, but the tweaks come with a much heavier $13,000 price tag. Unfortunately, the upgrade doesn’t the revised dampers and stabilizer bars.

Discuss this story at Tesla-Forums.com

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Shares Jump 24% After Maker Reports Profit

model-s

Tesla’s stock price rose 24 percent Wednesday after the electric car maker reported its first quarterly profit.

The maker said that it’s first-quarter net income totaled $11.2 million, up from a $89.9 million loss a year before. Tesla’s revenue grew from $30.2 million in the same time period last year to $561.8 million in this quarter on sales of the Model S sedan.

A total of 4,900 Model S sedans were sold in the first quarter, and the maker said it raised the full-year sales forecast to 21,000 from the previous 20,000 figure.

But the brand’s success isn’t as straightforward as car sales translating to income. It gathered $68 million in zero-emissions vehicle credits sold to other automakers. Brand boss Elon Musk said the ZEV credits were a one-time-time gain.

Despite that, he also expects Tesla to manage a 25 percent gross margin return by the end of the fourth quarter.

[Source: Automotive News]

Discuss this story at Tesla-Forums.com

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Wins License to Sell Cars in Boston Suburb

Despite irking the National Automobile Dealers Association and being slapped with lawsuits, EV maker Tesla won a license to sell cars near Boston.

Unlike most automakers, Tesla use boutique retail locations to promote its vehicles, circumventing traditional dealer networks. It’s a strategy that seems to be paying off for the niche company, which is a rare instance of a seemingly successful startup in the car world. That game plan hasn’t gone unnoticed.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Future Touchscreen Tech Hinted by Exec

Earlier in the year, Leonard Bellavia, an attorney who specializes in working with auto dealers said “the idea that they’re reinventing automotive retailing is somewhat laughable,” but it seems the joke was actually on Tesla’s naysayers.

Far from feeling intimidated, Tesla sales vice president George Blankenship smiled and said the brand isn’t worried about the lawsuits while talking with AutoGuide.

Tesla won approval for its license by a four-to-one vote for a license in Natick, which is just outside Boston. However, there are conditions. The company is required to transfer its lease on the property to its Massachusetts subsidiary.

The approval “will enable us to provide the residents of Natick and surrounding areas with a complete experience that will take them from initial education and information about EVs to the purchase, delivery and service of their Tesla vehicle if they choose to buy one.”

By Luke Vandezande

Electric Car Range Suffers in the Cold: Why it Happens and What’s Being Done About it

Nissan leaf driving in snow

Recently the New York Times and American electric car maker Tesla got in a highly publicized war of words over a review of the Model S electric car. Amongst other contentious issues, the range of the vehicle didn’t meet the Times’ writers expectations.

Tesla, as well as throngs of alternative fuel fans, were quick to point out that any hybrid or electric vehicle tested in the cold will suffer from lower performance.

Almost all batteries will suffer similar side effects in the cold, but unlike in your laptop or phone, the change in a car’s range could be the difference between making it to your destination… or waiting for AAA.

WHY DO EVS SUFFER IN THE COLD?

2011 Chevrolet Volt 16-kWH lithium-ion battery cutaway renderingThe simple explanation is that batteries use a chemical reaction to provide power. Chemical reactions are slower in the cold, and the battery doesn’t produce the same electrical current that it can at room temperature. As a result, EV batteries have to work harder as the mercury sinks, reducing range.

Each vehicle’s range will differ in the cold and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what to expect when dealing with a cold vehicle and driving range. The folks at TheCarElectric.com, a Consumer Electronics Advisory Group website specializing in EV news and advice, say a change of 10 degrees Fahrenheit can sap 50 percent of a battery’s output.

AVOIDING BATTERY-FREEZE

2013 Nissan LEAFAll EV batteries suffer from these issues. Hybrids do too, though due to smaller batteries the issue isn’t as severe. Also, hybrids are able to use their gasoline engine to warm the electric components.

Automakers are currently developing similar ways to achieve the same result in purely electric cars. For example, the Nissan LEAF is equipped with a battery heater that activates to help the car turn on if left unplugged in the cold. Without it, the battery would get too cold and the car wouldn’t start. This battery heater kicks in only when the Leaf is left in extremely cold weather (around 14 degrees Fahrenheit) and uses minimal power to avoid draining the battery.

HVAC IS THE ENEMY

Tesla-Snow-3It’s also worth mentioning that if the vehicle is cold, the driver will be too. Cranking up the HVAC system will put a larger drain on the battery and reduce range even further.

“Since battery range is much more important in fully electric vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 EV, we employ a number of HVAC strategies to help preserve driving range,” says Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight. “The RAV4 EV has a pre-conditioning system that can be activated before you get in to drive, while the car is still plugged in and using household electricity.”

That can be set up either through a smart-phone app that is registered with the vehicle, or through the car’s infotainment display. Furthermore, the RAV4 EV features a few different HVAC modes to help make the car comfortable without killing the battery. While a “Normal” mode works just what is expected in any other car, the “Eco-Lo” and “Eco-High” modes are far more conservative in regards to energy usage.

2012-Toyota-RAV4-EV-dash.jpg

“Eco-Lo balances cabin comfort with range improvement,” says Knight. “The blower level is slightly reduced and the compressor and electric heater operate at lower levels to reduce power consumption.” Additionally, the driver’s seat warmer is activated automatically and adjusted. The other setting, Eco-High, is much more serious about saving energy. “Eco-High maximizes driving range at the expense of cabin comfort,” says Knight. “It reduces the blower, compressor, and heater levels and does not activate the seat heaters.”

By using these different modes instead of the normal mode, the range of the Toyota RAV4 EV increases by 18 percent in Eco-Lo, and 40 percent in Eco-High.

Other EVs have features just like these, including the Nissan Leaf.

“For 2013, Nissan will be equipping all Leafs with a new hybrid cabin heating system that will keep the cabin warm while using significantly less energy than previous models,” says Nissan spokesman Steve Yaegar. This change might not make a big impact on the EPAs tested range, but Yaegar is confident that it will make a difference in real-world driving.

OTHER TIPS FOR THE COLD

Tesla-Snow-2There are some other ways to protect an EVs range in the cold.

“Generally speaking, the less use of HVAC, the better,” says Daniel Gray of MPGomatic.com. Gray’s site slogan is “Burn Rubber, Not Gasoline” and the site has a focus on fuel-friendly vehicles. He offered some tips on how to keep an EV going in colder weather.

“The defroster is a double-whammy, because it turns on the A/C,” he says. The best practice, according to Gray, is to turn it on, defrost and defog, then use it sparingly. Gray also advises owners to keep their car in a garage if possible.

In order to reduce the reliance on the HVAC systems, many EVs have seat warmers, and drivers are encouraged to use them.

“Seat heaters are much more efficient and faster at warming the driver and passenger than blasting the HVAC” says Knight.

CALCULATING THE COLD

2012-Toyota-RAV4-EV-electric.jpg

It’s important to recognize that all EVs are sensitive to cold weather, and are going to suffer from reduced range in those conditions. Through new innovations and owner initiative there are ways to reduce the impact, but if you’re considering buying an EV for daily driving, and live in an area where it gets really cold, you may not find the vehicle’s range enough when the winter weather hits.

By Sami Haj-Assaad

Tesla Supercharger to be Unveiled on September 24

Continuing to push the envelope on electric vehicle technology, Tesla will be unveiling its ‘supercharger’ on September 24th, which the American automaker claims will charge the Model S to full charge in one hour.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a recent tweet, the Tesla Supercharger will “feel like alien spaceships landed at highway rest stops.” Quite the image to depict, but Musk has always been known for his vibrant statements. Though the misnomer might have you believe that the Model S was getting some form of forced induction, the Tesla Supercharger is in fact a quick-electric charger for the electric sedan.

The American automaker hopes to quell range anxiety for electric vehicle owners interested in taking long trips with its supercharger. Details on Tesla’s deployment plans will also come on the date of its unveiling, but it’s not expected for home use but rather on the road. According to some media reports, the stations could be solar powered and can charge up the Tesla Model S in as little as 45 minutes.

By Jason Siu

Is free charging for EVs actually a hindrance, long term?

evse



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

Tesla Model X Gets $10M Grant from California

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.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Model S Bound for Price Bump

Tesla confirmed in a blog post that it will soon raise the price of its Model S electric luxury sedan.

It isn’t clear how much the price will climb, but the company was also quick to clarify that clients with orders already placed will not be subject to change. Those holding reservations who haven’t finished configuring their cars will receive a deadline soon, after which the price will raise. Provided those reservations are completed by the son-to-be-released date, those customers will also avoid the price increase.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Future Touchscreen Tech Hinted by Exec

Currently, there are more than 13,000 Model S sedans booked for production, which will keep the company’s production line hopping for months to come. Still, waving a price hike in front of potential buyers will likely work to spur indecisive buyers toward action sooner.

Part of the change, Tesla says, will include a change in a few options packages where certain things that are currently standard will move into more upmarket price brackets for the car.

Official word on what the revision will mean are coming soon — Tesla expects to release full details on the changes in the next “two to three weeks.”

By Luke Vandezande