Tag archives for tesla model s - Page 2

Tesla CEO Hints at Electric Truck and Electric Supercar

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk recently sat down with Motor Trend for an interview, and hinted that the company has plans for an all-electric supercar, as well as an electric truck.

When asked about future products, Musk said “we’d like to do an electric supercar. We have this idea for an electric truck that could really be a big improvement in truck technology.”

Tesla’s next vehicle that will hit the market is the Model X SUV, followed by a 3 series competitor that the brand hopes will be there first large quantity seller. Tesla is looking to become “more experimental as a brand,” says Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Developing Third Model to Take on 3-Series

Also in the experimental category are autonomous vehicles, another area that Musk touched on. “I do think it will be interesting to do self-driving cars, perhaps working in conjunction with Google, who’s quite close to us in Silicon Valley,” he finished.

[Source: Motor Trend]

By Stephen Elmer

What $20 million means to both Tesla and Fisker





When is $20 million not equal to $20 million? When, for some, it’s an interest payment and, for others, it’s all someone else thinks they’re worth. Here’s how that one number means two totally different things to two different green car companies.



Speaking to Bloomberg Television about the early repayment of Tesla Motors’ DOE loan, CEO Elon Musk said today that, “ultimately, the US taxpayer actually made a profit above $20 million on this loan. For this loan at least, people’s tax bill actually went slightly down.”



Musk said that, now that the loan has been paid back, more people might take a look at Tesla. “We were attacked a lot in certain quarters for having some government debt,” he said. “I think that actually matters to some consumers out there, whether or not a company actually does have government debt, and being able to say we fully repaid that debt with interest, I think it is helpful to some number of people out there in thinking about buying a car.” So, for Tesla, which recently raised over a billion dollars, $20 million is an easy price to pay to potentially sell more EVs.



Now, let’s look at Fisker Automotive, which is still fending off bankruptcy. We learned this week that VL Automotive and Wanxiang made an offer to buy the troubled automaker for an undisclosed sum. Word out today is that the amount that the two companies are willing to pay for Fisker is, you guessed it, $20 million. That’s about one percent of Fisker’s $2 billion-plus value back when the Karma plug-in hybrid was launched, according to Reuters. It’s unclear how a potential Fisker buyer will have to deal with the outstanding DOE loan amount of $171 million and other issues, but the $20-million offer a striking contrasts to Musk’s statement on Bloomberg Television, which you can watch in the video below.


By Sebastian Blanco

Tesla announces ‘World’s Best Service and Warranty Program,’ hints at future 500-mile battery





Tesla Motors has just revealed the latest edition of it 5-part announcement trilogy. Whereas the previous first installment had to do with the company’s new leasing program, this episode is all about service and warranty, comes gift-wrapped in the glittery descriptor of “World’s Best,” and is accompanied by hints of a future battery upgrade.



The new plan improves on the California automaker’s service program by adding a valet service that brings you a top-spec Model S Performance – or a Tesla Roadster, if you prefer – to temporarily replace your personal vehicle while it’s being serviced. CEO Elon Musk states that this fleet of Model S service vehicles, which will initially number about 100, will ideally be less than three months old and also be available for immediate sale. Like your loaner more than your own car? You can keep it, paying “a price that is lower by 1% per month of age and $1 per mile” for your new ride and taking, likely, a similar hit on your trade-in.


Musk hinted that a 500-mile battery would not be an unreasonable thing to expect in four or five years.

Not only should the purchase scheme keep the loaner fleet nice and fresh, it may also create a cache of certified pre-owned inventory for buyers who are looking for a deal on a Tesla that starts at $69,900 from the factory, or who would rather not wait a couple months for a new, made-to-order car.



As well as no-travel hassle, Tesla has also made its $600 annual service optional without effecting the standard 5-year/50,000-mile warranty. The company has also made the battery portion of the warranty unconditional, meaning that, if you manage to somehow turn it into a useless brick (something that should be quite difficult to accomplish with the Model S), you will get a replacement unit of equal capacity free of charge.



Speaking of battery capacity, during the media call, Mr. Musk also offered some hope for those anxious for packs that hold more energy than the current EPA-estimated 265-mile/85 kilowatt-hour packs now available. In response to a question about upcoming technology improvements, he hinted that a 500-mile battery would not be an unreasonable thing to expect in four or five years. He then added that, eventually, Tesla would likely offer owners the opportunity to upgrade their vehicles with longer-range capabilities.



It all sounds pretty good to us, and we can’t help but think if this upstart company keeps it up, surpassing sales of the Chevy Volt might seem a minor accomplishment. For more details on this newest warranty arrangement, you can get more details in a blog post on the Tesla website.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Domenick Yoney

Tesla Model S is emissions-free burnout machine after pulling fuses

Road & Track Tesla Model S Burnout



Add one more feather to the proverbial cap of the Tesla Model S. Road & Track West Coast Editor Jason Cammisa figured out how to make the electric luxury sedan extra frisky and then set about nuking the rear tires with electric-motor torque.



“Holy hell there’s a lot of torque here,” Cammisa wrote in his notes after pulling a fuse that took the ABS, stability control and traction control offline. That fuse also took out the speedometer and air suspension – no big deal – but power steering and brake assist went out, too, making hooning a parking-lot-only affair.



The best part is that they shot a video to accompany the hijinks, so you can see for yourself how the Model S does. If you want to try it for yourself, just be careful.



“There’s no rev-limiter to contend with,” notes Cammisa, and that means “you’ll be spinning tire up to the car’s 132-mph top speed.” That makes the Model S capable of blowing tires very effectively. The upside to disabling the assistance systems is that the raw dynamics of the car show through, and Cammisa reports that the underlying car is very good, indeed. You’ve waited long enough, scroll down for the video.





By Dan Roth

Tesla Model S reviews are in: it’s a bona fide, unbelievable smash hit

tesla model s white



At the big launch event Friday for the Tesla Model S, invited journalists were able to get just a few precious moments behind the wheel. The drives were far too short, everyone agreed (most were just 10 minutes long), but people made the best of it, including our companions over at Engadget, where Myriam Joire says, “you don’t have to be a car nut to appreciate all the innovation and technology that’s gone into Tesla’s sophomore vehicle.” She continues, “So what’s it like to drive the Model S? In a word: amazing. … The Model S is surprisingly nimble for such a large and heavy automobile, and it doesn’t sacrifice ride quality for the sake of dynamics – it handled rough roads with composure and just the right amount of stiffness.” Our favorite bit is this one: “Acceleration is where the Model S shines. The electric motor dishes out gobs of linear, head-snapping torque, quickly propelling you past the speed limit – you’ve been warned.”



We’re working on getting some real Autoblog seat time, but for now we look at other first impressions from around the internet, which are universally positive, something that’s darn hard to come by in this day and age:

  • Motor Trend calls it, “an out-of-this-world sedan that happens to be electric” and adds that, “after a walk through the factory, a visit to a dealer showroom, and an hour-and-a-half spent driving the car on a mix of roads, my eyes are wide and my jaw has dropped.”
  • CNet says that upon, “seeing a straight road ahead I … let the pedal meet the floor. The Model S felt like a freight train, with inexorable acceleration pushing forward without a break. There were no power peaks – it was all torque all the time.”
  • GigaOm says, “The low center of gravity, smooth ride, and lack of vibration were pretty amazing.”
  • Yahoo! News reports that, “the Tesla Model S successfully challenges a century of assumptions about what a great car can be” and that, “from behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S, you feel you’re driving the future, instead of burning increasingly limited gallons of the past.”
  • Our old friend Damon Lavrinc, now at Wired, says, “if our brief seat time is any indication, Tesla hasn’t just delivered a functional, all-electric sedan – it’s made a luxury EV that can outpace and outclass the stalwarts of the premium sports sedan segment, while changing the perceptions of electric mobility. It’s also a complete hoot to drive.”
  • USA Today makes it simple: “There’s no other way to put it: Tesla’s Model S luxury sedan is spectacular.”

What you read there, in other words, is a paradigm being shifted. We’ve got some video reviews below.

Related GalleryTesla Model S: Quick Spin













By Sebastian Blanco

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

Tesla gains legal ground in New York dealer fight

Tesla Model S



Tesla Motors gained a legal victory in its continuing efforts to expand sales across the US now that New York Supreme Court Justice Raymond J. Elliott III decided that local dealers will not be allowed to cite the Franchised Dealer Act as a reason to sue competitors, Automotive News reports.



Tesla has been embroiled in a legal tussle in the Empire State (and others) since last October, when New York dealers sued Tesla in an effort to get the California-based company to shutter the state’s company-owned stores. Tesla operates three stores and two service centers in New York.



Tesla has long argued that it should be allowed to operate its own stores because of the different nature of cars like its Model S and the fact that servicing those vehicles is simply different than working on conventional vehicles. Traditional laws dictate that car sellers be franchises that are independent from automakers.



Tesla chief Elon Musk was in Texas this week lobbying for a law that would allow electric vehicle companies to sell their cars directly to the public. He hinted Tesla could build a factory in Texas, the state with the second-highest number of publicly accessible charging stations to (after California), at some point in the future.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Danny King

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 posts first quarterly profit; Model S becomes best-selling plug-in car in US (probably)





Julie Christie, the rumors are true. After plenty of hint-dropping over the past few months, Tesla officially released 2013 first quarter (Q1) financial details today, and it was the first quarter in which the ten-year-old company was actually profitable. CEO Elon Musk, speaking on a conference call to investors today, made it clear that the numbers are good, but behind-the-scenes factors make them even better.



Take, for example, Tesla’s capital expenditures. The automaker was profitable in Q1 despite spending a lot of money on things like new stores and Supercharger stations, things that won’t require as much money moving forward. Tesla says it plans to spend about $200 million on capital expenditures in 2013. Or how about the Tesla’s gross margin, which grew from eight percent to 17 percent from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013. That’s the average for the whole quarter, Musk said, and “the gross margin at the end of Q1 was much better than at the beginning.”



The call wasn’t all about money-rolling-in news. We knew Tesla would make money selling zero emission vehicle (ZEV) credits to other automakers, and it did, to the tune of approximately $68 million (12 percent of revenues). Musk said Tesla expects ZEV credit revenue to decline throughout the year, going to zero in Q4. The shareholder letter reads, “We expect this to decline significantly in future quarters, as ZEV credits will only apply to about 1/6 of worldwide deliveries, versus roughly half of US deliveries, and the price per credit has declined.” Some estimates put Tesla’s annual ZEV credit income at $250 million.



More numbers and tidbits from the announcement can be seen below.

Related GalleryTesla Motors, Inc. – First Quarter 2013 Shareholder Letter

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  • Tesla had record sales of $562 million, which was up 83 percent from last quarter and resulted in a profit of $15 million (GAAP profit: $11 million).
  • 4,900 Model S EVs were delivered in North America last quarter. This was higher than expected, and likely beat both the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, which has Q1 sales of 4,244 and 3,539, respectively, in the US.
  • Tesla now expects US to exceed 15,000 Model S EVs a year, with global demand probably more than 30,000 a year. This breaks down to least 10,000 Model S sales in Europe and 5,000 in Asia (but it could be more, since China is a wild card, Musk said).
  • Over a million people visit Tesla stores every quarter. Only a small number actually buy a car, of course, but, “There are lots of people who buy T-shirts,” Musk said. “We actually have millions of dollars in apparel sales, without really trying.”
  • Musk said, “We are thinking of reducing the initial [Model S] deposit number, because we don’t really need the cash at this point.” The number is currently at $5,000 but it could be dropped to “some lower number.”
  • Production rate for the Model S – currently around 400 a week – could increase. “We haven’t really started to push volume really hard yet, because you need to make sure your house is in order and the car is being made as efficiently as it can be made before you push volume,” Musk said, adding that we could see a “fairly significant increase in volume” next year.
  • Musk remains confident that financing the Model S is the way to go. “If our car was exclusively available for purchase and not by financing, it would be available for roughly one million US households. With the right financing, it’s probably available to the top ten million households.” The deal is even better in Europe, where the gas prices are so much higher.

Looking further down the road, Musk said the company is “certainly making progress on the Model X” and will finalize the design of that vehicle in the second quarter. The company’s focus remains on Model S production and service but the X “will become our top focus towards the end of this year” in the lead up to the start of production towards the end of 2014.



TSLA stock jumped way up (over $70 a share as of this writing) in after-hours trading. It closed at $55.79. Musk stands to benefit hugely if all this good news continues, thanks to the 2012 CEO Grant, which you can read about here. You can see Tesla’s shareholder letter in the gallery and find SEC information about Tesla’s June 4, 2013 Annual Meeting here. But get ready for less glowing numbers at the next Tesla quarterly call. Tesla’s letter includes this bit of cold water:

The lease accounting treatment for cars sold through our new financing plan will have no impact on our cash flows, and we expect to be roughly breakeven on cash flow from operations in Q2, despite launch costs in Europe and a huge increase in service centers, stores and Supercharger stations. However, the deferred revenue recognition required by GAAP for lease accounting will lead to a net loss on paper in Q2.

By Sebastian Blanco

Autoblog Podcast #308

Motor Trend Car of the Year, 2013 Honda Civic, 2014 Ford Mustang, Global Ford Ranger wins award



autoblog podcast logo



Episode #308 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Zach Bowman and Jeff Ross talk about the Tesla Model S being named Motor Trend Car of the Year, the 2013 Honda Civic and the new hybrid systems and Micro Commuter concept also coming out of Honda, the 2014 Ford Mustang and the departure of the Boss 302, and the global Ford Ranger winning an International Truck award. For those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Keep reading for our Q&A module for you to scroll through and follow along, too. Thanks for listening!



Autoblog Podcast #308:



play




Topics:

  • 2013 Honda Civic, plus new hybrid systems and Micro Commuter concept
  • Rest-of-World Ford Ranger wins International Truck award
  • Motor Trend Car of the Year
  • 2014 Ford Mustang details and the departure of the Boss 302



In the Autoblog Garage:

2013 Volvo S80 T6 AWD Inscription

2013 BMW 640i Gran Coupe

2013 Infiniti FX37



Hosts: Dan Roth, Zach Bowman, Jeff Ross





Runtime: 01:17:54




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[MP3] Download the MP3 directly



Feedback

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com



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By Dan Roth