Tag archives for News

Ford, GM Promoting Workplace EV Charging

Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Nissan, and Tesla are among 13 companies joining together as founding Partners of the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.

“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The mission of DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge is to increase the number of employers with workplace charging by tenfold within the next five years in hopes of strengthening the nation’s electric-vehicle infrastructure while increasing consumer exposure to plug-in electric vehicles.

Joining those automakers are 3M, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, General Electric, Google, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, and Verizon. The DOE will be providing technical assistance and establishing a network where Partners and Ambassadors can share their best practices.

“These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce – setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry,” Chu said.

Discuss this story at GM-Volt.com

By Jason Siu

Tesla Roadster Trumps Supercars in Drag Race

Plenty of exotic supercars made their way to Russ Beach Smith Falls Airport to take part in the ‘Race the Runway 2012′ charity event that raises money for the Russ Beach Smith Falls-Montague Aviation Museum. At the event, millions of dollars worth of exotics took part in a 1/4-mile drag race on the paved runway, with an electric Tesla Roadster turning in the best time of the day.

The Tesla Roadster ran an impressive 10.39 seconds in the quarter mile and bested the likes of a Nissan GT-R (11.536), Ford GT (11.691), Dodge Viper ACR (12.023), a Porsche Carrera GT (12.273), and even a Ferrari Cailfornia (12.639). Of course most of those vehicles listed aren’t made to go fast in a straight line, but other things to take into account is driver experience and traction, two main components of a fast e.t. in drag racing.

That’s not to say the time wasn’t impressive for the electric convertible. Any 10-second car is a fast one, but let’s not jump to any hasty conclusions that the Tesla Roadster would outperform a GT-R or a Viper on a road course.

By Jason Siu

Tesla Model S Software Update Boosts Range by 8 Miles

A software update to the Tesla Model S will add a few extra miles of range according to the brand.

The update will bring a few changes, the largest of which is a new “sleep” setting. When in use, the new “sleep” setting will power down the cars display and vehicle electronics when the owner exits the vehicle,  which will add about 8 miles of range a day. The trade off is that now the screens will take longer to power up when the car is started, though Tesla says it is only a ”modest increase” in wait time.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Gets $2,500 Price Increase

Along with the new screen sleep function, owners will get enhanced synchronized door handles, new voice commands, enhanced throttle response and a few other small changes.

as an interesting side note, the best part about Tesla’s software updates is that they happen over a 3G connection with minimal effort by the owner.

By Stephen Elmer

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

tesla-model-s1

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 in the Black: CEO Says

Anyone close to the industry would probably agree that Tesla, of all the small EV makers, is making the biggest strides toward leaving its start-up status behind.

Agree or disagree, it sounds like that might finally be the case. Company CEO Elon Musk released a statement today through Twitter suggesting the company is in the black.

“Am happy to report that Tesla was narrowly cash flow positive last week. Continued improvement expected through year end,” Musk said. 

With orders stacked for months worth of production, and a publicized price increase that helped to clinch last-minute buyers, Tesla seems to have the formula for success figured out. In fact, Musk predicted in early October that the company would reach this target.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model S Gets $2,500 Price Increase

It probably wasn’t very hard, though. The brand doesn’t build cars before they’re sold. Instead, it takes orders and deals with scheduling a backlog of scheduled builds. That would give a guaranteed income figure the brand can leverage.

It’s also important to remember that while Tesla might be in the black now, there isn’t any promise it will stay there. The company operates on a one-car model, building a run of vehicles before moving on to something else.

There is a buyback program for people who purchased the Roadster, but production is concluded which means buying a used one.

Provided the brand sticks to its formula for the Model X, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see a similar dip into debt while the brand’s crossover bites chunks out of the company’s coffers. Ideally, the Model S will sell with enough success to fund the next car without that becoming an issue, but there are many factors at play.

By Luke Vandezande

Tesla Model S Named to TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012 List

By all accounts, the Tesla Model S is a formidable offering in the electric vehicle world, a market that’s still considered to be in its infant stage.

Recently, the American automaker’s newest sedan landed on TIME Magazine‘s Best Invention of the Year 2012 list. The publication went so far as to say that the Tesla “has the lines of a Jaguar” but was mostly impressed by its range of 200-plus miles.

Of course, we loved the fact that the Model S delivers 362 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and in our review commented that; “This might not just be the future of the electric car. The Tesla Model S could be the future of the American auto industry.”

By Jason Siu

Tesla Stock Rises After Elon Musk Teases ‘Exciting Announcement’

tesla-badge

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

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

Elon Musk, Akio Toyoda Named to Forbes List of World’s Most Powerful People

What do Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Toyota boss Akio Toyoda have in common? The same thing Bill Gates and the Pope do: they’ve been named to the Forbes magazine list of the world’s 71 most powerful people.

With 7.1 billion people now living on the planet, Forbes says its list is of the 71 who matter, averaging one person for every 100 million.

Of the political, religious and business leaders, just two (Musk and Toyoda) are the head of car companies, though both automakers vary greatly.

Ranked at number 66 on the list is Musk, the man who founded PayPal and used his fortune to fund Tesla Motors, which after selling its electric Roadster sportscar in limited numbers for years, went more mainstream in 2012, launching its Model S electric sedan, which has earned accolades from the automotive press, including being named Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year.

However, Musks’s position on the list has less to do with Tesla and more to do with another of his companies, SpaceX. Launching a rocket to the space station this year and delivering supplies, Forbes calls him “the most powerful man in space” and says that he, “stands to make out like a 19th-century railway tycoon.”

Ranking above Musk is the CEO of the world’s largest automaker and great-grandson of its founder (with the name to prove it), Akio Toyoda. With the Japanese auto-giant about to solidify its third year as the world’s top selling automaker, it has sold over 200 million vehicles since it was established. In addition to being an automaker, the company’s Toyota Financial Services division also makes Toyota a bank. In addition, Toyota is seen as a pioneer in green technology, with its Prius model synonymous with the word hybrid.

Compiled by Forbes’ senior editors, each of the 71 individuals on the list are there based on individual rankings in four “power categories”, including how many people they have power over, the financial resources they control, how many different areas they have power in (political, religious, economic, etc.), and finally, they must actively use their power.

Placing first on the list is US President Barack Obama, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with Russian President Vladimir Putin in third.

By Colum Wood

Tesla Model S Offers a Lesson in Electric-Vehicle Economics

Tesla Model S, near the start-up's factory in Fremont, Calif., on June 22.Noah Berger/ReutersTesla Model S, near the start-up’s factory in Fremont, Calif., on June 22.

A handful of fully electric Tesla Model S Signature Performance sedans were presented to their owners at the company’s factory on June 22, each priced around $100,000. The luxury sedans were fitted with the most powerful battery pack available from the start-up automaker, rated at 85 kilowatt-hours. In combination with the vehicles’ electric motor and other running gear, those reserves of energy are capable of generating 416 horsepower, Tesla claims.

A Model S with the 85-kWh pack but without the Signature Performance frills would cost $77,400, before tax credits. Smaller packs, with proportionally diminished prices and estimated driving ranges, are scheduled to be offered later this year: a 60-kWh model starting at $67,400 and a 40-kWh model at $57,400, again excluding tax credits.

By setting three distinct benchmarks for performance and price, Tesla offered customers, and the industry, an invitation to engage in some rudimentary calculations to determine the price Tesla placed on each kilowatt-hour of capacity.

Taking the difference between the prices of cars fitted with the 40-kWh and 60-kWh packs, Tesla ostensibly charges $10,000 for 20 kWh of capacity, or $500 per kilowatt-hour.

Because the battery packs are constructed of thousands of smaller batteries, the cost of the battery is expected to escalate as its capacity increases. But the 85-kWh pack offers 25 kWh for $10,000, or $400 per kilowatt-hour.

Of course, equipment levels are part of the Model S equation as well. Tesla expects buyers of the Signature Performance level to pay roughly $20,000 over the basic 85-kWh sedan for features like a performance-goosing inverter, sport-tuned suspension and nappa leather.

In return for the extra dollars and deeper reserves of battery power are extended range and better full-throttle performance. The Environmental Protection Agency recently rated the Model S equipped with the 85-kWh pack at a range of 265 miles, which is about 3.1 miles per kilowatt-hour. That is in keeping with the widely acknowledged capability of lithium-ion battery packs, which deliver about 3 miles per kilowatt-hour in a car weighing slightly more than an equivalent vehicle with an internal-combustion engine.

Consequently, the 60-kWh Model S should offer a range of about 187 miles, and cars with the 40-kWh pack should be capable of about 125 miles.

On its Web site, Tesla more optimistically cites range limits of 300, 230 and 160 miles for the three packs, assuming a constant speed of 55 miles per hour under ideal conditions. Driving in extreme cold can reduce the range of a lithium-ion battery, and any number of factors can erode their performance, be it excessive heat, overcharging or deterioration of the electrolyte.

Battery packs used in E.V.’s have safeguard systems built in that prevent overheating and overcharging, but no device exists that forestalls the march of time. Maximum range, in other words, isn’t a forever proposition.

The hope throughout the industry is for battery prices to decline as the technology matures and manufacturing efficiencies are developed. Tesla declines to cite a price for battery replacement, saying on its Web site that it is “impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements.”

To that, one might add that it is impossible to forecast the cost of future electric vehicles.

By PAUL STENQUIST

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