Tag archives for tesla motors
Tesla Motors is just a few days away from handing over Model S key fobs to the first batch of customers. Yes, the company already gave investor and board member Steve Jurvetson and CEO Elon Musk their Founder Series cars, but this time it’s for reals.
While we wait to watch the sleek sedans, painted in the
ten four colors of the company’s current palette Signature series, passed to their new owners – the big event will be broadcast on Tesla’s website Friday at 3:30 PDT – we can now see more of what goes into the manufacturing of this truly innovative electric car. We’ve already watched the massive metal stamping that begins the process, now we can view the whole assembly and paint application operation. Scroll below for three more videos from the Inside Tesla! series.
In other Model S news, Tesla has revealed what’s going to be so special about the area between the front seats, a space Tesla is calling the “Opportunity Console.” Based on buyer preferences, this customizable space should one day be able to be outfitted with “compartments, shelves or phone holders to make this area more organized.” Tesla will reveal prototypes of the consoles this weekend and will listen to customer input on how the final versions develop.
We’ve heard initial reviews of the Tesla Model S from the media as the “Get Amped” tour – a multi-city test-drive opportunity for reservation holders – kicked off at the company’s Fremont, CA factory. But what about the people who really matter? You know, the folks who’ve been waiting for as long as two years, having plunked down as much as $40,000 for a place in line. What did they think of the shiny new machines?
After reading many first-person accounts and watching a good number of in-car videos, we think it’s fair to say they absolutely love it. The sexy fastback looks, the smooth, rocket-like acceleration, the comfortable ride, and confident handling. Love, love, love, and love!
But don’t take our word for it. Scroll down for a handful of videos, starting with a relatively short one from Tesla Motors featuring footage from the official launch and customer test-drive reactions (the last in the Tesla Tuesday series), followed by full length (12-13 minutes) clips from individuals.
Massachusetts auto dealers are not taking “no” for an answer when it comes to Tesla Motors. On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and other dealer plaintiffs filed an appeal after a court dismissed their lawsuit against Tesla’s factory-owned stores on December 31, 2012.
The lawsuit was initially filed by MSADA in October, and by year’s end, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. This suit followed a similar lawsuit filed in October where the MSADA requested the court block an opening of a store by Tesla in a suburban Boston mall. Tesla won approval to open the store in Natick, MA, which fueled the second lawsuit.
Dealers are pointing to a 2002 Massachusetts statue that gives dealers and their association the right to sue to prevent manufacturer-owned stores, Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the dealers association, told Automotive News in an email. “Tesla is spending considerable sums of money across the country in an effort to exploit what they see to be gaps in states’ franchise laws,” O’Koniewski wrote. “The law is the law. Follow it.”
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. Tesla previously has said that it’s being very careful about complying with state laws. The stores are there to educate the public, and when it comes time to selling the car, it’s all being done online.
“People will be walking down the mall and they’ll see a car and they’re drawn in by that…,” said George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of sales and ownership experience, in an interview with SmartPlanet. “We’re educating, not selling. It’s two different things.” So far, so good for Tesla Motors. But the jury – as it were – could still be out.
By Jon LeSage
New Mexico may be The Land of Enchantment, but at least one developer from the state is less than charmed with Tesla Motors.
The electric-vehicle maker has been sued by Rio Real Estate Investment Opportunities for what the developer says was an agreed-upon deal for Tesla to produce its Model S battery-electric sedan in New Mexico, according to website Gigaom.
Tesla allegedly reached an agreement in early 2007 to have Rio Real Estate build a 150,000-square-foot factory and lease it out to the automaker for $1.35 million a year for 10 years. Instead, Tesla decided to start Model S production in California after reaching an agreement with Toyota in 2010 to make the cars at the old NUMMI Toyota-General Motors joint venture plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. We asked Tesla for comment on the matter, but Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks told AutoblogGreen that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Tesla, which in June started deliveries of the Model S, said last week that its second-quarter loss widened by 84 percent to $106.5 million because expenses jumped and revenue fell as the company geared up for the car’s debut.
Related GalleryFirst Ride: 2012 Tesla Model S Beta
By Danny King
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.
In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:
• Under scrutiny for bypassing a traditional, dealership-oriented retail model in favor of manufacturer-owned stores, Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors, defended his company’s strategy in a blog post on Monday. Mr. Musk said Tesla products would be undermined in the setting of a traditional dealership, where a salesperson would be unable “to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business.” Mr. Musk said two lawsuits asserting Tesla circumvented state laws aimed at protecting franchisees were baseless because Tesla has not granted any franchises. (Tesla Motors)
• Facing a crisis of overcapacity at its plants in Europe and a projected loss of more than $1 billion in the region this year, Ford has called a meeting for Wednesday with union leaders to discuss the status of its plant in Genk, Belgium. Some media outlets, including the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, have reported that Ford intended to close the plant outright. (Bloomberg)
• On Monday, the eve of the São Paulo auto show, BMW announced its intention to build a production plant in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Plans for the facility are subject to government approval, but BMW has aggressive targets, saying it would inaugurate the plant in 2014 with capacity to produce 30,000 vehicles annually. (BMW)
• Chevrolet said it would introduce the next generation of the Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck on Dec. 13, a month ahead of the 2013 Detroit auto show. The automaker has not disclosed pricing or powertrain information for the truck, but emphasized it would have progressive design elements, including “jewel-like, projector beam headlamps.” (General Motors)
Watching the video of last week’s Tesla Motors shareholder meeting was like eating a box of chocolates, to paraphrase a certain Mr. Gump. Besides finding chewy sales projections and crunchy Supercharger network tidbits, we also found something equally delicious, but with a more subtle texture.
During a brief discussion of its third generation of electric vehicles, one slide (pictured above) seems to reveal that the company plans on using that future platform for a crossover as well as a sedan. The different body types went unmentioned by CEO Elon Musk, but there it was on wall behind him for all the world to see.
Musk did say, however, that the company expects Gen III production to be an order of magnitude greater than that of the Model S sedan and its platform-sharing sister, the Model X SUV. As well as being smaller, we expect the upcoming cars to be about 40 percent less expensive, which should greatly help drive sales.
What we didn’t hear any news about during the presentation was the next generation of Tesla sports car. Previously rumored to be coming in 2014, it is still likely in the planning stages, though the focus is clearly now on high-volume vehicles. Hit us up in the comments below and tell us if there’s a vehicle type you’d like to see Tesla make.
“It may very well be the most important new car since the Model T.”
That’s the summation of the latest video from Motor Trend and its Ignition video series, speaking of the Tesla Model S. Though the buff site had previously released a video featuring a range-testing excursion from LA-to-Vegas (and back), this time its cameras were out to capture whether it proves its worth as a car.
For MT’s Carlos Lago, the criteria involved in the equation includes important things like, “How fast is it, how fun is it to drive.” And while he does spend some tire-smoking time testing the five-door hatchback’s performance parameters, the approach overall is more holistic than some we’ve seen.
Adding up the performance, style, technology and price, Lago compares the Tesla favorably with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Porsche Panamera. He says it feels “like car 3.0.” It all kind of gives us hope our favorite fastback will come out on top when MT reveals its Car Of The Year sometime in November.
Scroll down to watch one of the best-looking Model S video reviews to date, and let us know in Comments if you agree with its conclusions.
North Carolina is the latest state to line up against Tesla Motors by proposing a bill that would bar direct automaker-to-customer sales within the state, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Still, Tesla says plans to open a showroom there and has sold about 80 cars to North Carolina residents, with reservations for about 60 more.
According to Slate, a bill pushed by the state’s Senate Commerce Committee – and backed, of course, by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA) – would not only prevent Tesla from opening a showroom in North Carolina, it would go as far as banning Internet vehicle sales in the Tar Heel state. We’re not sure how that would be enforced, but it would certainly crimp the success Tesla has had without using the traditional industry dealer distribution model. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R), who claims the goal is to stop unfair competition between manufacturers and dealers (as Slate notes, Apodaca also received $8,000 from the NCADA last year, the most allowed by law). Tesla’s vice president for corporate and business development, Diarmuid O’Connell, argues that the bill is “a protectionist move to lock down the market so we have to go through the middleman – the dealer – to sell our cars.”
Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York are among states that have so far taken issue with Tesla’s dealer-free distribution model, prompting Musk to say last month that he’d consider going to Congress to try and get factory-to-customer sales legalized throughout the country. Musk is likely emboldened by the fact that Tesla earned its first quarterly profit this year and sold more of its Model S electric vehicles than General Motors and Nissan did of their Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and Leaf EV, respectively.
Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive
By Danny King
Motor Trend Car of the Year, 2013 Honda Civic, 2014 Ford Mustang, Global Ford Ranger wins award
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:
- 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
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By Dan Roth