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Tesla Future Touchscreen Tech Hinted by Exec

What if you could have a 17-inch iPad built into your car? It’s almost a reality for one of the more than 250 folks who own a Tesla Model S, save a few key features.

Unfortunately, those features are probably some of the most important ones that give the iPad its massive appeal. Take the interface — it’s something Apple guards dearly. So Tesla can’t copy exactly how an iPad works, and probably doesn’t want to. Or maybe they do?

George Blankenship, vice president of Tesla sales, recently spoke with AutoGuide and hinted at some of the cool developments buyers and owners might look forward to soon. Easily topping the list, there’s a chance Tesla might open its coding crypt to outside program developers.

“Asking us is there something we will never do? That page will never fit in our dictionary,” he said. “Do I see a day when [outside app development] will happen, yes I do.”

Much like what made the iPhone so successful, Tesla wants to think “10 years into the future,” Blankenship said.  While offering an app store is hardly forward thinking when it comes to handhelds, porting that possibility into a car with a massive touch display might be.

“What we want to make sure of before we enable something like that is that we have a complete separation between two things in the car. One is the interface where somebody could do things like that in and the other being the operation of the car itself,” Blankenship said.

With the Model S, Tesla already started offering remote updates. Customers wanted to change steering feel to offer normal, sport and comfort modes. They also wanted a “creep” feature to make the Model S feel more like an internal combustion engine (ICE) car with an automatic transmission. A few weeks after those requests came in, a remote update appeared and the car suddenly met those requests.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Flagship Store Opens in Canada

But those are only a couple of the tweaks Blankenship said customers can expect to see soon. Among the others: automatically extending door handles.

Just one of many steps Tesla engineers took to make the Model S extremely aerodynamic, the car features door handles that sit flush with the panels when they aren’t needed. With the push of a button, those handles extend to offer access, but that’s not good enough. Blankenship said owners will be able to customize their cars soon to make the handles extend automatically when the key fob comes close enough.

At launch, the car offered memory for two driver preference presets, but now there’s capacity for 10. One thing is clear: Tesla is committed to offering its customers a dynamic driving experience.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Motors to be ‘Cashflow Positive’ Before December

Despite skepticism surrounding Tesla Motors, CEO Elon Musk expects Tesla to report positive cashflow by the end of November.

Doubt cropped up when Tesla failed to meet the planned 500-unit delivery mark by the start of the third quarter, but Musk blamed the slowdown on supply constraints. At the end of the second quarter, Tesla had manufactured 359 Model S vehicles, of which 250 have been delivered to customers.

Musk is also commented on the company’s Department of Energy (DOE) loan. “Tesla has never asked for or even hinted at postponing repayment of the loan…Tesla has always made its DOE payments on time,” Musk wrote in a blog post.

Reports that the DOE has been pushing Tesla to repay its loan sooner than originally planned might have cast a negative shadow over the company’s future.

“The DOE believes Tesla will be highly successful and accumulate a large amount of cash, but that we may then choose not to pay off the loan any sooner than is currently required,” Musk said.

In an effort to further emphasize that point, Tesla also issued an early payment today ahead of its March, 2013 deadline. But observing on-time payments is far from enough to affirm an automaker’s future. There needs to be a solid product backing the brand, which the Model S seemed to prove during our tests.

In our test, the Model S received much praise, another solid reason to believe that Tesla will in fact be successful, thanks to a solid product.

By Stephen Elmer

Elon Musk Calls NY Times Piece on Tesla Model S a “Fake”

A recent article published in the New York Times by John Broder about the Tesla Model S is creating some fuss today, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk says it is fake. 

“NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake. Vehicle logs tell true story that he didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour,” tweeted Musk.

Broder drove the car from Washington, DC to Boston to test Tesla’s new superchargers that have been set up at rest stops in Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn., about 200 miles apart from each other. He claims that the car barely made it between stops, and on one of the last legs of the trip, it didn’t make it at all and wound up on a flat bed.

Broder claims that after a cold night, his Model S test vehicle lost 65 miles of range. He was told by a Tesla representatives that he needed to “condition” the battery pack to restore lost energy, which consists of sitting in the car on low heat for about a half hour. After completing the process, he still didn’t have enough juice to make it where he was going.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Supercharger Network Launched for Fast Charging

“Tesla’s experts said that pumping in a little energy would help restore the power lost overnight as a result of the cold weather, and after an hour they cleared me to resume the trip to Milford,” claims Broder in the article. After setting out once again, Broder says that the car never displayed the amount of range he needed to get back to his destination, and that the Model S subsequently ran out of charge on the highway.

Each Model S is fitted with a data recorder that can be turned on at the owner’s request, though Musk says that every media vehicle is equipped with an active one. In this particular car, Tesla’s CEO says that Broder took a long detour which was not mentioned in the article, and that the car was not at full charge, according to the data recorded in Broder’s Model S.

The New York Times quickly issued a rebuttal: ”Any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue,” the statement said. “Our reporter followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel. He described the entire drive in the story; there was no unreported detour. And he was never told to plug the car in overnight in cold weather, despite repeated contact with Tesla.”

A similar issue arose when Top Gear tested a Tesla and claimed that the Tesla Roadster ran out of juice. Elon Musk says that was also untrue, and that the Roadster still had 50 miles of available range.

 [Source: New York Times, Twitter]

Discuss this story at gasstinks.com

By Stephen Elmer

Tesla CEO Musk Admits Fault for Creative Finance Calculator

tesla-ceo-elon-musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has admitted that the automaker’s online finance calculator was misleading and has confirmed it will be fixed to not include non-financial factors in the online monthly payment.

Musk admitted fault with the calculator during a conference call on Friday, stating that Tesla was in the wrong, and the media was right to criticize it. The online calculator displays the monthly cost of owning a Tesla under its lease-to-buy offer. Problem is, the calculator included factors such as time saved by not having to pump gas, helping lower the monthly payment presented to shoppers with non-cash savings.

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

Tesla will be fixing the online calculator so that the cost savings estimates are more conservative.

“We were wrong, those people were right,” he said. “We need to fix it.”

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla Model S Gets $2,500 Price Increase

The Tesla Model S is getting a bump up in price, and will now start with a base price of $59,900 before federal tax credits. 

Tesla points out that general inflation has increased by 8.75 percent since the original Model S was priced, which should have increased the price by $5,000, but instead Tesla only tacked on an extra $2,500. Every model gets the same price increase of $2,500, which puts the 60-kWh model at $69,900, and the 85-kWh model at $79,900.

New features include 12-way adjustable, heated front seats as standard equipment, and new standard 19-inch wheels for performance model cars. Adding on 21-inch wheels will cost you $3,500 extra, and a new red multi-coat paint shade is also available, for $1,500.

Battery pack replacements were also priced by the brand, with the price of a 40 kWh pack starting at $8,000. Another $2,000 gets the 60 kWh pack, and the 85 kWh pack costs another $2,000 on top of that.

By Stephen Elmer

Massachusetts Dealer Denied Injunction Against Tesla

The Automobile Dealers Association in the state of Massachusetts was denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Tesla Motors Inc., which allows the American automaker to continue operating its store in Boston.

The dealers requested the Massachusetts Superior Court for a restraining order and injunction in hopes of stopping the Tesla-owned showroom from operating. The group is now considering an appeal and other judicial remedies, but currently hasn’t made a decision as to its next step.

“Tesla looks forward to continuing to focus on advancing the knowledge of EVs in a convenient, accessible environment,” said Shanna Hendriks, Tesla spokeswoman in an email. “We remain hopeful for a positive outcome of this case.”

SEE ALSO: Tesla Sued by Auto Dealers Association

One thing is for sure, the lawsuit isn’t going to be dropped any time soon according to Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts association.

“Dropping the lawsuit is not an option at this point,” he said. “We feel very strongly that Tesla is operating a factory store outside parameters of our franchise law and our license law, and they are operating that store illegally.”

The injunction is part of an ongoing lawsuit in both Massachusetts and New York, where members of the Automotive Trade Association believe that Tesla is operating illegal dealerships in those states. The Tesla stores, which are mainly boutiques located in shopping malls and other high-traffic areas, have come under attack even though the automaker states that they comply with federal and state laws where they operate.

[Source: Automotive News]

By Jason Siu

Daimler Deserves Credit for Saving Tesla Says CEO

American electric automaker Tesla is enjoying great success, at least in terms of the EV market, and its CEO Elon Musk credits Daimler for saving the automaker in its time of need.

Three years ago, Daimler invested a hefty $50 million into Tesla Motors, a move that surprised even the most enthusiastic Tesla supporters. In a recent interview, Elon Musk revealed that Tesla Motors would now be extinct if Daimler hadn’t stepped in with its funding. In Musk’s own words, “There were a couple of near-death situations.”

Surprised? The bold CEO now has no problems sharing his thoughts on competitor Fisker, and Tesla is clearly heading towards in the right direction. Had Daimler not stepped into the picture however, we wouldn’t be speaking about Tesla at all today, and who knows where Musk would be in terms of finances.

Thankfully Musk confirmed that Tesla’s financial status is “pretty good” and we should be seeing plenty more from the automaker for years to come.

[Source: Autoblog]

By Jason Siu

Tesla DOE Loan Repayment to Finish Years Early

With confidence in spades, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said yesterday that the electric car maker will repay its $465 million government loan in “five years or less.”

The announcement came just days after Musk said he expects the company to be profitable in 2013. Indeed, deliveries of the brand’s second vehicle – the Model S – have picked up with  2,400 shipped in the fourth quarter compared to only 250 during the previous three.

Despite that, Tesla is still losing money so far. The company posted a loss of $89.9 million in the fourth quarter.

SEE ALSO: Chinese Volvo Owners Likely to Buy Fisker

Tesla is faring relatively well, though, compared to automakers like Fisker. Last year the maker of the exotic Karma plug-in hybrid suffered a salvo of negative press after several of its cars caught fire in separate scenarios. Now, Fisker is looking for possible suitors.

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

 [Source: Automotive News]

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Model S Rated a 99 Out of 100 by Consumer Reports

Tesla Model S test

The Tesla Model S continues to earn rave reviews, the latest coming from the notoriously picky team at Consumer Reports.

In recent testing of the American-made electric luxury sedan the outlet says getting behind the wheel, “is like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future.” But the praise doesn’t stop there.

After performing the same thorough test as all of its cars, CR says the Model S, “is brimming with innovation, delivers world-class performance, and is interwoven throughout with impressive attention to detail.”

SEE ALSO: Click Here to Build and Price Your Tesla Model S

As a result, the car has earned the highest rating the consumer outlet has bestowed on a car: 99 out of 100.

Perhaps the closest rival, the Porsche Panamera, earned an 84, while the plug-in Karma sedan from the nearly bankrupt Fisker company was slapped with a paltry score of 57.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Wins AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Car of the Year

Calling it, “the most practical electric car we’ve tested,” it also delivers performance that CR says, “will make many sports cars weep with envy.”

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Colum Wood

Tesla Dealers Association Lawsuit Dismissed

Dealers in Massachusetts suing Tesla over what they say is an illegal dealership lost today when a judge dismissed the case from the court. 

Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman ruled that the dealers association lacks the grounds to sue the American EV manufacturer.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Wins License to Sell Cars in Boston Suburb

The issue raised by the dealers association is a state franchise law which states that a factory cannot directly own a dealership. Tesla’s response was that no business is done at the dealership, and all cars are purchased online. The dealerships merely exist to showcase the vehicles.

The dealers association say that they will not stop trying to shut the dealer down, because of the precedent that will set.

 [Source: Automotive News]

By Stephen Elmer