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Consumer Reports weighs in with its first Tesla Model S review





Everyone has been chiming in with their thoughts on the Tesla Model S lately, and with the car taking home awards like the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year, this probably won’t change anytime soon. Not wanting to be left in the dark, Consumer Reports has managed to get its hands on a Model S to give its own impressions of the luxurious electric hatchback.



Like many other outlets (including our own first drive), CR praised the Model S for its styling (which it compares to an Audi A7) and performance (which it says “can put serious hurt on a Corvette”). With limited time with the car, the video doesn’t touch on the specific range the institute attained, but it appears most of the car’s time was spent on the track anyway.



On the flip side of things, CR dinged the Model S for its retractable door handles which the reviewer refers to as “fussy,” and as much as CR has blasted Ford and its MyFord Touch for being distracting and largely button-less in the past, we were surprised at how much it seemed to adore the lack of buttons on Model S. They even glossed over the fact that drivers can surf the Web on the 17-inch touch screen while driving.



Scroll down to watch the first drive video and then head over to Consumer Reports for the write-up.

Related Gallery2012 Tesla Model S: First Drive

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By Jeffrey N. Ross

Toyota shows off RAV4 EV’s eco tricks with new videos





If a picture paints a thousand words, Toyota’s hoping that a couple videos do a little better than that for its RAV4 Electric Vehicle.



The Japanese automaker recently released a couple of videos touting the EV and its evolution through the company’s partnership with Tesla Motors. The first five-plus-minute video features engineers discussing the benefits of collaborating with Tesla, including software advancements and battery technology that complemented Toyota’s engine-packaging expertise.



The other video, clocking in at almost five minutes, delves into the issue of aerodynamics and how engineers cut drag coefficient in an effort to boost range and chip away at drivers’ potential feelings of “range anxiety.” Toyota used its sleekest wheels, tires and headlamp lenses while customizing the front facia, adding a rear spoiler, removing the roof rack and smoothing out the underbody in order to allow the SUV to better cut the wind.



Toyota, which first announced the RAV4 EV in 2010, said in May that the SUV will have a 100-mile single-charge range and will be priced at $49,800, with sales starting by the end of this year. Initial markets will be contained to California and Toyota is only expecting to make and sell around 2,600 vehicles during the first three years.



You can see the videos below.

Related GalleryToyota RAV4 EV

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By Danny King

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

Motor Trend suggests Tesla Model S may be most important new car since Ford Model T

2013 Tesla Model S in silver - front three-quarter view. Motor Trend Ignition video screencap.



“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.





By Domenick Yoney

Tesla Model S vs Chevy Volt drag race ends exactly how you think it will

tesla model s chevy volt drag race



It may have a sliver of Chevrolet muscle car heritage, but the plug-in hybrid Volt didn’t stand a chance of beating the Tesla Model S in a recent quarter-mile race.



As you can see in the video below, shown recently on That Racing Channel, the Model S took the lead in the race right away, hitting the finish line in 12.562 seconds at 108.34 miles per hour. The Volt took a leisurely 17.201 seconds and only reached 80.36 mph. “Hey, that one on the left was so quiet!” a member of the audience remarks about the Model S right after the race finishes. Yes, that’s part of its all-electric beauty.



About a week earlier, the same Model S set a quarter-mile speed record for a production vehicle, hitting a time of 12.371 seconds at 110.84 mph. Motor Trend has done better than 80.36 mph with a Volt – netting 16.8 seconds at 81.5 mph – but in a race against the much more powerful and much costlier Tesla, it’s just an unfair fight. Check out the video below.





By Jon LeSage

‘Monster’ Tajima drives Tesla Model S, wants one

 Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima driving the Tesla Model S



Pure driving joy, with a big open-mouthed smile. That’s what we see on the face of Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima as he puts a 2012 Tesla Model S through its paces on a test drive down some curvy California roads.



Best known for winning the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb six times in a row – including in 2011 when he became the first to accomplish the feat in under ten minutes. Tajima-san attempted to top that this year in his custom-built electric Monster Sport E-Runner Pikes Peak Special, but a motor failure less than a mile from the start ended his day. That short circuit, however, hasn’t seemed to dampened his enthusiasm for battery-powered cars.



Indeed, the jovial racing giant appears to have quite enjoyed his time behind the Tesla wheel, as the video below shows him piloting the all-electric fastback like one might expect a driver of his stature would. Using the whole road and with little regard for the possibility of a speeding ticket, Tajima has his passengers both bracing and grinning nervously while he guides the Model S roller-coaster-like through the twists and turns.



His assessment of the new electric American hatchback? Well, scroll down for video of a little Monster-on-Tesla action and see for yourself.





By Domenick Yoney

And now for a different sort of Tesla Model S review…

KBB Tesla Model S Video



Our friends at Kelley Blue Book have taken an unflinching look at the Tesla Model S in a new video. The crew originally planned to pack up and whip the electric sedan all the way to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, but got sidelined by a flat tire. The ensuing detour to a Tesla service center resulted in a day of hopping from charge point to charge point and a number of close calls on the range front. Confronted with cold temperatures, a desire to make time and some serious topography, the Model S pulled up short on projected range but never left the guys stranded.



The team eventually makes it to Vegas and discovers the aggravation of trying to charge the car with anything other than the company’s supercharger stations. The return trip goes quite a bit better, however, and KBB starts to figure out what makes the Model S so special. We won’t ruin the end for you. You can check out the full clip below.





By Zach Bowman

Musk: Tesla Model S production up to ‘around 80 cars’ per week *UPDATE





Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently spoke to Fox Business about the state of Model S production, and to hear the CEO tell it, things are going very well. Assembly line production has been climbing every week; the interview was conducted on September 13, and Musk said when asked how many cars they’d build, “I think it’s probably going to be around 80 cars this week.” If they hit that number it would represent double the production of the week before.



Tesla’s Model S production goal this year is 5,000 units, and the outside estimate is that 400* have been built so far. To make the target in the roughly 14 weeks left in the year, Tesla would need to – as of this week – quadruple last week’s production to a little more than 320 units. That’s a steep climb, but the numbers so far point to it being still being possible. Musk said that orders continue to come in and the company is working through its backlog, and he expects an annual profit to come in 2013. You’ll find both parts of the interview in the videos below.



*UPDATE: Tesla spokeswoman Christina Ra pointed out that the last publicly confirmed number is just 100 Model S units, and that Tesla will “likely make another announcement on that front soon.” She added, “400 is really inaccurate.”





By Jonathon Ramsey

Tesla Model S finally has its date with a dyno

Tesla Model S on dyno



The performance abilities – and even the burnout potential – of the Tesla Model S has already been well documented, but, surprisingly, we haven’t yet seen the all-electric luxury hatchback strapped to a dyno. Fortunately, the crew over at Dragtimes has posted a video that finally gave us some real-world numbers for the family- and environmentally friendly Tesla.



As the article points out, the results might be off a little (on the low side) due to the run not starting from a dead stop, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. Immediately upon throttle application, the dyno records almost 300 horsepower at zero miles per hour, and power peaks at 368 hp at around 55 mph (we imagine the “386HP” quoted on the video title is a typo) before trailing off to around 220 hp closer to the car’s limited 130-mph top speed. This compares quite favorably to the power numbers provided by Tesla putting max output at 416 hp; the dyno provided no torque figures for the car. Dragtimes also believes this number bodes well for the car on the track, too, quoting a quarter-mile time of 12.2 seconds at 112 mph.



The video of the quiet, zero-emission dyno session is posted below, so check it out.



By Jeffrey N. Ross

Musk says New York Times debacle may have cost Tesla $100 million

Tesla CEO Elon Musk being interviewed by Bloomberg TV - screencap



Despite the old chestnut that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, there’s always a cost incurred – sometimes it’s hidden, and sometimes it’s front and center. Enigmatic Tesla CEO Elon Musk seems to think his company’s now-infamous Model S range dustup with The New York Times is falling squarely into the latter category. According to Musk, fallout from the back-and-forth battle over the newspaper’s cold-weather road trip story may have decimated Tesla’s stock value by as much as $100 million. Musk believes the report resulted in a lot of cancelled orders, probably costing Tesla “a few hundred” Model S purchases.



According to the report, Tesla’s shares have tumbled some 12 percent (going from $39.24 to $34.38) since the report was published. Bloomberg further notes that the company’s market capitalization has skidded by around $553 million over that same period. With the company’s stock-market value pegged at $3.91 billion, $100m represents a not insignificant chunk of money to Tesla.



So how does Musk feel about embattled Times writer John Broder, whose controversial report he previously called “fake”? During the interview with Bloomberg TV, which you can watch below, Musk opines, “I don’t think it should be the end of his career – I don’t even think necessarily he should be fired – but I do think he fudged an article.” No word has surfaced about any actions taken against Broder after the Times’ public editor admitted he did “not especially” exercise “good judgement” in the course of his reporting.



There’s a lot of interesting ground covered in the Musk interview, including a discussion on the impact of early adopters on Model S sales, as well as how demand might be affected if the federal $7,500 tax credit were to end, so check it out by scrolling below.




By Chris Paukert