Tag archives for musk

BMW 3 Series Rival “3 to 4 Years Away” Says Tesla CEO Elon Musk


According to comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, a “low cost, compelling electric car” is “3 to 4 years away” from being a reality.

Stating that it has always been a dream of his to create such a product, Musk also elaborated that he wished it could happen sooner. This raises the question as to whether the issue is the technology or the demand for such a vehicle. Or perhaps more likely is the possibility that Tesla currently lacks the capital to invest in such a product. The American electric car maker recently announced it would delay its Model X crossover, preferring to repay its DOE loan quicker.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model X Delayed

In previous reports Tesla reps had indicated a 3 Series rival was in the works, priced at around $30,000. At that time the projected launch was for 2015. It now appears as though it would be 2016 at the earliest.

But if there’s any automaker that can make a compelling and affordable electric car, it’ll be Tesla. While other automakers are struggling to get their electric vehicles off the ground and into the market, Tesla has proved that there is a market for EVs with the right balance of performance and luxury.

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla Stock Rises After Elon Musk Teases ‘Exciting Announcement’


Elon Musk and Tesla have been making headlines the last couple of months, from dealing with The New York Times to promising an affordable electric car within five years.

The American automaker’s stock rose the most in nearly five weeks yesterday after CEO, Elon Musk tweeted that the company plans a “really exciting” announcement next Tuesday. According to Musk, he’ll be putting his money where his mouth is in a very major way. The announcement was originally going to come Thursday, but Musk later stated that it’ll come a few days later so that there would be no end of the quarter distractions.

SEE ALSO: BMW 3 Series Rival “3 to 4 Years Away” Says Musk

Tesla surged as much as 5.2 percent after the announcement, but closed 2.5 percent higher. The 5.2 percent was the biggest intraday jump for the automaker since February 19th.

It’ll be interesting to see what the news is, considering Tesla has no plans to display at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Discuss this story at Tesla-Buzz.com

By Jason Siu

Wheelies: The Change the Batteries Edition

The Tesla Model S.Tesla Motors The Tesla Model S.

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• If Consumer Reports’ recent review of the Tesla Model S is anything to go by, the electric carmaker has produced quite the phenomenal ride. But the big drawback with fully electric cars is, of course, the fact that drivers have to sit around and wait while the car charges. But that may change. Tesla Motors has revived discussion of swappable battery packs, which could be installed at customer service centers. Tesla would not be the first to employ such technology. Better Place unveiled E.V. battery swap technology in 2009, even setting up a network of stations in Israel and Denmark. The company failed to make a splash in America and Australia, but with its supercharger infrastructure already in place, Tesla may be better positioned to make battery swapping feasible. (Green Car Reports)

• Honda unveiled the 2012 Acura NSX concept at the Detroit auto show last year, but now it’s official. The company announced plans Tuesday to produce the cars at a former logistics center in Marysville, Ohio, next to a plant that manufactures Honda Accords. The company said it planned to invest about $70 million in the new factory, which would employ 100 people. Honda produced the original NSX from 1990 to 2005. Pricing for the revived sports car nameplate has not been announced. (The Columbus Dispatch)

• In other Tesla news, the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association is pushing for legislation that will ban automakers from selling their own cars in the state. The bid to protect the business interests of conventional third party dealers flies in the face of Elon Musk’s business plan. Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, has kept sales of his company’s electric luxury cars streamlined by cutting out the middle man, so to speak. Dealership advocates say they’re protecting consumer interests and fair competition, while Tesla counters that it is difficult for an automotive start-up to do business within the established dealership network model. (Slate)

• Although Toyota agreed upon a settlement last year in the 2010 class-action lawsuit connected with claims of sudden unintended acceleration of its vehicles, a federal judge will rule on the amount next month in a “fairness hearing.” The settlement could pay as much as $1.63 billion to nearly 22 million current and former Toyota, Scion and Lexus owners. The settlement will pay $200 million in lawyer fees and another $27 million in unspecified costs. (Automobile Magazine)

• Ray LaHood, secretary of the Transportation Department, discussed talking cars at a connected vehicle convention news conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., this week. Mr. LaHood said the bottom line for vehicles that communicate with one another to avoid crashes is, well, the bottom line. He noted that while technologically advanced vehicles are safer, consumers’ acceptance of them will boil down to how much they cost. Researchers from the Transportation Department and the University of Michigan have been studying connected vehicles since August with the aim of providing information for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as it develops guidelines for avoidance technology on new vehicles. (Reuters)


Tesla’s Elon Musk offers “final” thoughts on NYT spat, but Twitter flames continue

Tesla Model S

For a while there, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was having a kumbaya moment after the public editor The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, wrote that her publication may have been overzealous in its criticism of the Tesla Model S and admitted that Times reporter John Broder was not entirely precise with his mileage or speed logs.

Musk, writing on the official Tesla blog post, thanked Sullivan and the Times for the response and also singled out CNN, CNBC and Consumer Reports for duplicating Broder’s test (without running dry, of course). Musk also sent a shout out to Tesla owners who wrote the Times to tell the publication it may have been off base with its findings. The Tesla chief also used the post to pitch the fact that Tesla’s installing more fast chargers along the East Coast and improving the model’s software.

That was on the blog. On Twitter, thing have been a bit more heated. The New York Times automotive editor, James Cobb, wrote a series of tweets to Elon, which we get into below.

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Cobb praised Musk for what he’s done for plug-in cars but then defended Broder, saying that Musk calling the original post “fake” was “over the line & impugned reputation of a good man and a consummate pro.”

To which Musk responded that there were, “enough sour grapes … to start a winery. Can we just bury hatchet & move on?”

Earlier this month, the Times started the entire brouhaha with a report that a Model S fell well short of its advertised single-charge range during an East Coast drive between Superchargers. Musk responded by calling the article “fake” in a tweet and said the car in question wasn’t fully charged and was driven at faster speeds than reported. As Twitter shows, this story continues to inflame passion on both sides. Check out Musk’s official blog post here.

By Danny King

Wheelies: The F1 Golf Cart Edition

The Twizy Renault Sport F1 mixes diminutive electric car with a Formula 1-style KERS boost.Renault The Twizy Renault Sport F1 mixes diminutive electric car with a Formula 1-style KERS boost.

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• What do you get when you cross a diminutive electric city car and a Formula 1 racer? The Twizy Renault Sport F1, apparently. It’s an exercise in boldness, superimposing Formula 2 wheels, a Formula-style steering wheel and a racy front splitter onto a platform that looks more likely to be moseying around a golf cart path than blasting around a racetrack. But the souped-up Twizy’s secret weapon also comes from F1’s bag of tricks. Where rear passengers would normally sit, Renault stuffed in a kinetic-energy recovery system, or KERS, that’s not unlike the ones their Formula teams use on the track. It doesn’t benefit from the extreme high speeds Formula cars’ KERS units glean their power from, but Renault said that the Twizy – which will be built in Spain – could rocket from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about six seconds to reach a top speed of 68 miles per hour. (Autoblog)

• Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors, appears to be as fed up with the awful traffic on the 405 freeway in Las Angeles as many other gridlock-suffering Angelenos. Mr. Musk has already given $50,000 of his own money to Angelenos Against Gridlock, a group dedicated to speeding up the I-405 widening project that has so far faced delays and is $100 million over its $1 billion budget. He told The Los Angeles Times that he may be willing to chip in more for extra workers to expedite the job, as he has “super had it” with his regular slog through L.A. traffic. (The Los Angeles Times)

• At the Shanghai auto show this week, the American electric sports car manufacturer Detroit Electric and the Chinese automaker Geely announced a partnership aimed at developing an electric passenger car capable of reaching 124 m.p.h. The two companies said in a release that they planned 100- and 160-mile-range variants of an electric car based on Geely’s Emgrand EC7 by 2014. The two companies projected 3,000 EC7-EV sales in its first year of production and 30,000 by the end of three years. (Automotive News)

• Hyundai is under heavy fire over a suicide-theme ad for its iX35 fuel-cell car in Europe. The roughly one-minute clip depicts a depressed-looking middle-aged man who appears to be trying to kill himself by running a hose from his iX35’s exhaust pipe into the car’s interior. He does not succeed. Hyundai’s message is that the all-water emissions of the fuel-cell-driven ix35 are so clean, it’s impossible to kill yourself with the car. A London-based advertising copywriter, Holly Brockwell, sharply criticized the ad in an open letter, saying that it made her feel empty, sick and miss her father, who ended his own life using the same method when she was a young girl. Hyundai pulled the ad and apologized. (The Daily Dot)

• An auto theft ring that is said to have stolen more than 100 cars in several states has been indicted by the United States Department of Justice. The 21 people charged with the conspiracy used a number of methods to steal luxury cars and S.U.V.s, including falsifying loan applications, using fake titles from an Oklahoma Indian nation and tampering with vehicles’ tracking systems. Among the charges leveled at the alleged conspirators were bank fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy and receipt of stolen motor vehicles. If convicted, they face up to 30 years in jail and up to $1 million each in fines. (ABC News)


​Tesla’s Musk will give keynote at inaugural Teslive conference in July

Tesla's Elon Musk

Were you expecting Bob Lutz?

The first-ever Teslive conference for Tesla Motors enthusiasts will be getting a big of company star power when company chief Elon Musk comes to participate as its keynote speaker. The San Jose Mercury News says Musk will headline a two-date event starting July 12 that will take place about 10 miles down the road from Tesla’s Fremont, CA, factory at the Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley.

The convention, put on by the 6,000-member Tesla Motors Club (TMC), will charge $200 a head for attendees, who will have the chance to attend a party sponsored by the electric vehicle maker at its nearby plant. Last month, Musk was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people.

By Danny King

Elon Musk regrets not saying more about NYT Model S review

Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk has always taken pains to pitch how far his cars can go when sufficiently charged. The man himself is proving he can go quite a distance as well.

Sufficiently chafed by a review of the Tesla Model S in The New York Times that said the electric vehicle’s single-charge range was far less than advertised, Musk called the February 8 article a “low-grade ethics violation” in a recent interview at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, Reuters says.

Musk has had his say in the matter. Citing data logged from the reviewer’s car that differed from his report, Musk called the review “false” and said it was “not in good faith.” Following a spat between Musk and the Times, the Times’ public editor subsequently said that there may have been some inaccuracies in the reporter’s note-taking but defended his integrity. Musk has estimated the Times review cost Tesla as much as $100 million in sales.

But there was apparently another response, one Musk himself wrote, that never saw the light of day. Musk said he sent it to an editor at The New York Times, but it was not published. Musk said he might still publish what he wrote.

Currently, Tesla has reached its full production capacity of 400 Model S sedans a week, and Musk has said Tesla could have its first profitable quarter for the three months ending March 31.

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By Danny King

Gentlemen, Start Your Calculators: Checking the Math of Tesla’s Lend-Lease Program

Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk.Noah Berger/Reuters Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk.

The announcement on Tuesday by Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors, of a hybrid lease-purchase plan for its Model S electric luxury sedan, coupled with a guaranteed buyback program for three-year-old cars, generated a great deal of Internet buzz and a lot of armchair number-crunching.

Until now, it has not been easy to lease a Model S, partly because it was not possible to claim alternative-vehicle tax incentives unless the car was purchased outright. So in conjunction with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, Tesla has come up with a purchase plan that resembles a three-year lease. Tesla says the 10 percent down payment will be covered, in many cases, by federal, state and local tax credits or rebates, and the company promises to buy the car back after three years if the customer no longer wants it.

Mr. Musk says he is putting his own money behind the cars. According to Tesla’s news release, after 36 months of ownership and loan payments, owners “have the right, but not the obligation to sell your Model S to Tesla for the same residual value percentage as the iconic Mercedes S Class.” According to Kelley Blue Book, the residual value after three years of a Mercedes-Benz S Class – which Mr. Musk cited as being comparable to the Model S – is 47 percent of the price when new.

Mr. Musk has also guaranteed that if the Model S is worth more than that in three years, he will personally buy the cars back at their higher fair market value.

In making its announcement, Tesla said the new program would give customers a Model S with the bigger 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack for an “effective monthly cost” of $543. But that figure is based upon a number of assumptions, including whether the buyer lives in a state with large electric car tax incentives, like Colorado; that the buyer will claim tax deductions for using the car for business purposes; and that time that might have otherwise been spent at a gas pump is worth $100 an hour. Tesla’s calculator factors in money saved by not using gasoline, but not the time spent charging the Model S.

Confused? So are others. A headline on The Atlantic’s Web site said, “It would take a rocket scientist (literally) to come up with something this crazy.”

Crazy or not, the stock market seemed underwhelmed by Mr. Musk’s creative financing. After rising earlier in the week when Mr. Musk promised, via Twitter, a significant announcement, Tesla shares fell 7.3 percent on Wednesday, to $41.10,  after the details were revealed.

Basically, the new financing plan consists of a 66-month car loan with 10 percent down and a 2.95 percent interest rate. The monthly payment for an 85-kilowatt-hour model should be more than $1,000 per month, but Tesla’s payment calculator will change that number to less than $500 if you check the right boxes. Then there’s the buyback option, which changes everything.

So will the new financing plan – which seems to be a hybrid between a car loan and a lease – be a win for the buyer or for Tesla? Opinions vary. At Business Insider, Sam Ro compares the deal to a put option, declaring it a win for the customer. But Nelson Ireson, writing for Motor Authority, posits that there’s an $873 difference between the projected value of a three-year-old Tesla and the amount a buyer would still owe on the loan. The difference he came up with doesn’t work out in the customer’s favor. (Then again, for someone who can afford a car that costs more than $60,000, what’s another grand?)

At Slate, Matthew Yglesias has a different take on Tesla’s confusing combination of its out-of-pocket loan payment calculator and creative buyback offer. He sees it as a roundabout way for Tesla, its customers and its affiliated banks to divide a tax credit. But there are other views on that. Johnny Lieberman at Motor Trend doesn’t share Mr. Ygelsias’s opinion that the tax credit is equitably distributed.

If you’re still bewildered by all the numbers and ways of looking at this, perhaps Marek Fuchs, from Yahoo Finance, can help you make sense of everything:

After all, lay everything you know about Tesla end-to-end and it may still be hard to reach a conclusion.


Elon Musk: Tesla could go federal with franchise dealer fight

Tesla Model S

Mr. Musk Goes to Washington? Jimmy Stewart references aside, that’s the approach Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk may take in his crusade to get factory-owned dealerships legalized.

Musk tells Automotive News that he may go to Congress in an attempt to take on the country’s auto-dealer groups in order for his company to own all of its distribution channels. Musk’s main argument is that there is a conflict of interest when one dealer sells battery-electric vehicles and gas-powered ones and that the hyper-advanced technology of cars like the Tesla Model S need special explanations. This is why traditional franchise dealer models won’t work with Tesla, at least while sales numbers are still relatively small. Once Tesla EVs account for one percent of all US new-car sales, Musk says, a mix of company-owned stores and franchises would suffice.

“It’s really difficult for a new company with a new technology to be franchised,” Musk told Automotive News. “It’s not possible to effectively sell a new technology like electric vehicles, for a dealer to do that, without undermining the story behind gasoline cars.”

So far, Tesla has taken on states such as Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and, most recently, Texas. Tesla recently gained a legal victory when New York Supreme Court Justice Raymond J. Elliott III wrote that dealers couldn’t cite the Franchised Dealer Act as a motive to sue competitors. New York dealers last fall sued Tesla in an effort to get the company to close its company-owned stores. This patchwork strategy isn’t appealing to Musk in the least. He told AN, “If we’re seeing nonstop battles at the state level, rather than fight 20 different state battles, I’d rather fight one federal battle.”

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By Danny King

Wheelies: The Cheaper Used Cars Edition

Rising new-car sales have led to cheaper used-car prices.Thomas R Machnitzki, via Wikimedia Commons Rising new-car sales have led to cheaper used-car prices.

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• This year’s spike in new car sales is good news for used car buyers. As more people opt for new cars, more vehicles will become available on the used car market, lowering their prices. According to Kelley Blue Book, wholesale auction prices for used cars were at a three-year low as of April, and the average price for a one-year-old used car is 18.5 percent lower than it is for the same model new. Alec Gutierrez, a Kelley Blue Book analyst, estimates that the price drop equates to $110 a month in savings. Of course, used car prices vary from city to city, and some locales offer better deals than others. (CBS Money Watch)

• To what lengths would you go to catch someone’s attention? Paul Scott is willing to chip in more than half of his annual salary — $32,400 — to bend the ear of President Obama at a Democratic fund-raiser. Mr. Scott, a car salesman who is a co-founder of the advocacy group Plug In America, told USA Today that he would do what he could to promote electric cars directly to the president. His money gets him lunch and two minutes of face time with the president, and Mr. Scott said he planned to advocate a carbon tax that would raise the price of fossil fuels and make electric vehicles more competitive. (Torque News)

• Tesla says that by 2016 it will release a smaller electric sedan — currently being called Gen III — with a price of about half that of the luxury Model S already in production. At a shareholder meeting this week, Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, promised a car that was comparable in price to the Nissan Leaf, but with a much longer range, 200 miles. Mr. Musk said he was optimistic that a partnership between Tesla and Panasonic would produce advances in battery technology. (Automotive News)

• Autoblog reports that Ford’s turbocharged 1-liter EcoBoost engine won annual International Engine of the Year honors for the second year in a row. The panel of automotive journalists charged with sorting out the competition were impressed by the power output — 123 horsepower — from the tiny engine. The engine will make its North American debut this year, as a powerplant for the Ford Fiesta. (Autoblog)

• Chrysler has rejected the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s request that the company recall 2.7 million Jeeps that the agency says are prone to catching fire in rear-end collisions. A manufacturer’s refusal to comply with N.H.T.S.A. directives is rare, but Chrysler did not agree with the findings of the agency’s investigation, which affects some of the company’s most popular and profitable vehicles. Agency officials have expressed hope that Chrysler will reconsider, but both sides appear to be digging in for a long battle. (The New York Times)