Tag archives for Hybrid & EV - Page 5
Just how far can you drive an electric car? That’s the subject of a mild argument between Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and The New York Times, after the latter published a story claiming a Tesla Model S electric car couldn’t drive as far as its range estimates predict.
Reporter John M. Broder planned to test Tesla’s new Supercharger network by driving a Model S with an 85-kWh battery from a Supercharger point in Newark, Delaware, to Milford, Connecticut — a distance of 206 miles. Yet Broder says that the car arrived at the Supercharger point with its range readout pointing to 0 miles, because parking the car overnight in cold weather had apparently sapped 21 miles of battery range.
Eventually Broder ran out of charge on a highway exit ramp, and the Tesla Model S had to be towed to a charging station. “If this is Tesla’s vision of long-distance travel in America’s future,” he wrote, “it needs some work.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, however, was less than pleased with this story. He publicly accused the Times of manipulating the story and providing an unfair verdict on Model S driving ranges. Musk’s assertion was based, in part, on checking vehicle charging logs that are available through the Tesla’s in-car telematics system.
“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,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “Am not against NYTimes in general. They’re usually fair & their own prev Tesla test drive got 300+ miles of range!”
A spokeswoman for The New York Times told Reuters that the paper denies Tesla’s claims. She said that Broder, “followed the instructions he was given in multiple conversations with Tesla personnel” and that his account of the road trip, “was completely factual, describing the trip in detail exactly as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was ‘fake’ is, of course, flatly untrue.”
Tesla predicts versions of the Model S equipped with an 85-kWH lithium-ion battery can drive 300 miles on single charge, although the EPA said the cars can manage just 265 miles on a single charge. While Tesla acknowledges that battery life can degrade by about 10 percent in cold weather, the automaker still believes its car should have traveled than Broder managed in his road trip.
It’s worth noting that our colleagues at Motor Trend managed to drive a Tesla Model S from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a distance of 212 miles, even despite crossing tall mountain ranges and occasionally using the car’s air conditioning. And subsequently, editor in chief Ed Loh drove the same Model S 285 miles on a return trip to southern California.
We named the Tesla Model S our 2013 Automobile of the Year. Motor Trend also selected the electric sedan as its 2013 Car Of The Year.
Sources: The New York Times, Reuters
By Jake Holmes
Lately, it seems Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been on tour around the country speaking in favor of his factory-direct sales model, against influential state dealer associations that see factory-direct car sales as a threat to the traditional dealership business model. Musk was most recently in Texas at a legislative hearing defending the factory-direct model. A New York Supreme Court justice ruled on Thursday that franchised dealers could not prove sufficient injury to prevent Tesla from operating factory-owned stores, Automotive News reports.
Naturally, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association voiced its displeasure at the ruling, claiming Tesla’s factory-owned model is “clearly prohibited” by state franchise dealer law. The dealer association has not yet said whether it will appeal the case, or seek recourse by other means. Tesla currently operates three stores and two service centers in the state.
The fear of state dealership associations across the country is that an exemption granted to Tesla would open the door to existing automakers to circumvent the independent franchise model and start opening factory-owned stores in competition with independently-owned dealerships. Franchise laws vary from state-to-state, from outright prohibition, to non-compete language preventing factory-owned stores from opening within a specified distance from an independent franchise.
Chrysler was forced to sell its Motor Village concept store in Los Angeles, after area dealers petitioned the DMV, alleging violations of state franchise law. Tesla’s case is unique in that it is creating a network of new stores for an all-new brand, not opening new outlets for an existing brand.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)
The Tesla Model S has exceeded sales forecasts, which has helped the company pay back its Department of Energy loans years in advance. To encourage long-distance travel, the automaker is speeding up its plan to install Supercharger charging stations all over the U.S. and today we got a first look at Tesla’s plans.
By the end of next month, the number of operational Supercharger stations will triple, and the company claims that within six months, there will be enough Superchargers to service most major metro areas in North America. A year from now, the company says, Superchargers will provide coverage to 80 percent of the population of North America and 98 percent a year later.
The automaker also announced that new technology will significantly cut charging times. While the chargers at 120 kW are in beta test mode (versus 90 kW currently), the faster chargers will be ready this summer. At 120 kW, Tesla claims it will only take 20 minutes to replenish three hours of driving in the Model S.
Some Tesla Supercharger stations have roof-mounted solar panels (from Musk-owned SolarCity) that are said to pump more electricity back into the grid than what is used to recharge cars. Since the Tesla Supercharger has a unique charger receptacle, the stations can’t charge other EVs. Currently, Model S cars with the 85 kW-hr batteries can recharge for free, while those with the 60 kW-hr model can do the same once they purchase Supercharger capability. Musk says all future Teslas will be capable of using the Superchargers.
So what’s next for Tesla? The company is still kicking around the idea of a sub-$40,000 electric sedan as well as a high-torque electric truck and a second production plant in Texas. Of course, those models would likely arrive after the Model X crossover goes on sale around late 2014 and early 2015.
By Jason Udy
Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Model X prototype to the world today at the site of his other big endeavor, the Space X rocket factory in southern California, which builds the Falcon 9 rocket ship.
The signature feature of the Model X prototype is a falcon of a different kind, what Tesla calls falcon-wing doors, a two-piece articulated gullwing door. Unlike ‘ordinary’ gullwings, the Model X’s powered articulation allows them to stay close to the car’s sides as they rise, making ingress and egress in tight parking spots a snap, just step in and sit down. Musk stood up under them to show how much room there is with the falcon doors in full flight. The opening’s unusually long length also helps accessing the Model X’s twin, third-row seats (there are seven seats in all).
While the Tesla Model X is still of course a prototype with many details that will change, it will share much with its Model S sedan sibling, including its imposing 17-inch hi-res, multi-touch display and its overall vehicle architecture.
Also the same as the Model S will be its pancake-flat, under-floor battery packs in two sizes (60 and 85 kW-hrs). The small, 40 kW-hr size will only be available in the S. Given the bigger size and weight of the Model X, range will likely be at least 10 percent less than what is expected from the Model S, somewhere between about 214 to 267 miles depending on the battery. Recharge times are unchanged at about four hours for the big battery.
Extending the Model X’s extruded structure between the front and rear cast aluminum subframes has allowed the wheelbase to grow by about four inches over the Model S. Combined with the low, flat battery and the small-size and low-positioning of the electric motors (a second, front motor with about half the rear’s estimated 300 horsepower will be optional), there’s room galore. There’s a generous rear cargo hold even with the third-row seat erected, plus a decent front trunk as well. The Model X’s air suspension will allow it to vary its ride height by about an inch. Musk estimated the Model X will weigh between 10-15 percent more than the Model S at about 4700 lbs.
Tesla says power can be transferred instantly between the front and rear motors (lateral distribution being via individual brake application). There’s also greater regen braking available. Musk claims the Model X will move from 0-to-60 in as little as 4.4 seconds to 60 mph (from presumably a sport edition). Pricing is expected to about the same as the Model S, which starts at $49,900 after the Federal tax credit. Production of the Model X is expected to start late next year with volume delivery happening in 2014. -Photos by Jason Davis