Tag archives for range

Tesla adds $6,500 ‘Performance Plus’ option to Model S; adds range, improves handling

Tesla Model S



Tesla Motors is adding a special performance package for its all-electric Model S that not only will add miles of single-charge range, but will make sure those miles aren’t driven sideways.



The automaker is charging $6,500 for its new “Performance Plus” option, which includes wider rear tires, upgraded stabilizer bars and bushings, among other goodies. Tesla says it took “hundreds of iterations affecting every detail of the suspension,” but “our vehicle dynamics team was able to achieve the rare outcome of simultaneously improving performance, comfort and efficiency.” The new rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires are 20 mm wider than previous tires and are “staggered for improved acceleration on low grip surfaces.” Folks will also be able to get between six and 12 miles of range from those new tires.



Tesla continues to move its already up-market car into the proverbial stratosphere, and for good reason. The company, which beat its first-quarter sales targets, discontinued its cheapest variant of the Model S because of lack of demand even as it has improved the financing options for the EV.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Danny King

Motor Trend tests Tesla Model S, finds 0-60 in 3.9 sec and 100.7 MPGe

2012 Tesla Model S - front three-quarter dynamic motion shot



Tesla has said the highest-end Model S has a range of 300 miles (at 55 miles per hour), but until recently, it’s been tremendously difficult for anyone outside the company to verify this number. When the EPA did its testing thing, it came up with a 265-mile range estimate for the version with the 85-kWh battery pack. Tesla is even offering a prize of some sort to anyone who drives a Model S over 400 miles on one charge.



Now, Motor Trend writers has had the chance to spend some time in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal Performance Signature Model S to see just how far the electric car can be driven. The result? Your results may vary.



First, the good news. Motor Trend ran a battery of tests on the Model S, and its independent measurements discovered the following ways that their independent testing beat the manufacturer’s official numbers:

  • 0-60 time: 3.9 seconds (Tesla official number is 4.4 seconds)
  • Quarter mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph (12.6 seconds)
  • 100.7 MPGe during a 200+ mile drive (EPA says 89 MPGe).

So, then, what’s the bad news? At roughly 65 mph with no A/C, MT “only” got 238 miles out of the battery. That’s less than advertised, but MT offers an important and reasonable take on this issue:

But the range that matters is really a psychological/perceptual one, not a specific number. Think about it: We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales.

Word.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

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By Sebastian Blanco

‘Real world’ electric vehicle test easily beats EPA ratings

Toyota RAV4 EV



Some Republicans decry what they say are the liberal leanings of the federal government, but when it comes to rating the single-charge range of electric vehicles, the feds’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is decidedly conservative.



At least, this is what Edmunds found in a recent EV road test of nine models, including the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf and a prototype version of the Volkswagen e-Golf. In fact, all eight non-prototype vehicles beat their EPA ratings in a 105.5 mile course through Orange County, CA, that Edmunds says “includes exactly zero freeway miles, more than a few hills and dozens of signals and stop signs along the way.” Edmunds says the cars, which were driven during rush-hour morning traffic, didn’t hit speeds of more than 50 miles per hour and didn’t use any air conditioning.



The proverbial superstar of the group was the Toyota RAV4 EV, which lasted 144.5 miles (i.e. it had 40 miles left at the end of its lap), or about 40 percent more than its stated range. The Ford Focus EV reached about 100 miles, compared to its 76-mile single-charge range rating, while the BMW ActiveE, Coda Sedan and Honda Fit EV all cleared 100 miles and beat their EPA ratings by 15 percent to 20 percent. The Leaf surpassed its 73-mile rating by 20 miles, while the Tesla exceeded its 265-mile rating by about four miles. The VW came in just short of 100 miles, while the Mitsubishi i beat its 62-mile-range by an impressive 14 miles.



Of course, Edmunds couldn’t resist getting some performance numbers from the EVs, and those held up as well. It’s no surprise that the Model S went from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a tidy 4.3 seconds, but the RAV4 also turned out to be pretty quick, going from 0 to 60 in 7.7 seconds. The Bimmer, Coda, Honda and Ford all went from 0 to 60 in just under 10 seconds, while the VW and Nissan came in at about 10-seconds flat. Only the Mitsubishi turned in a golf-cartish 0-60 time of 14.9 seconds. Check out all of Edmunds‘ summary here.

Related Gallery2012 Toyota RAV4 EV: First Drive

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By Danny King

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

Motor Trend tests Tesla Model S, finds 0-60 in 3.9 sec and 100.7 MPGe

2012 Tesla Model S - front three-quarter dynamic motion shot



Tesla has said the highest-end Model S has a range of 300 miles (at 55 miles per hour), but until recently, it’s been tremendously difficult for anyone outside the company to verify this number. When the EPA did its testing thing, it came up with a 265-mile range estimate for the version with the 85-kWh battery pack. Tesla is even offering a prize of some sort to anyone who drives a Model S over 400 miles on one charge.



Now, Motor Trend writers has had the chance to spend some time in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s personal Performance Signature Model S to see just how far the electric car can be driven. The result? Your results may vary.



First, the good news. Motor Trend ran a battery of tests on the Model S, and its independent measurements discovered the following ways that their independent testing beat the manufacturer’s official numbers:

  • 0-60 time: 3.9 seconds (Tesla official number is 4.4 seconds)
  • Quarter mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.9 mph (12.6 seconds)
  • 100.7 MPGe during a 200+ mile drive (EPA says 89 MPGe).

So, then, what’s the bad news? At roughly 65 mph with no A/C, MT “only” got 238 miles out of the battery. That’s less than advertised, but MT offers an important and reasonable take on this issue:

“But the range that matters is really a psychological/perceptual one, not a specific number. Think about it: We drove from Fontana on the eastern edge of the L.A. basin to San Diego and all the way back to L.A.’s Pacific edge on one charge. Five hours of continuous driving. This is a breakthrough accomplishment that ought to knock down the range anxiety barrier that’s substantially limited EV sales.”

Word.

Related GalleryTesla Model S

Tesla Model Stesla model sTesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model STesla Model S

By Sebastian Blanco