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Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Hey there boys and girls. It’s Thursday, and you know what that means; the next episode of the TopSpeed Podcast is here! Bonus piece of news, the TopSpeed.com Podcast is now also available on iTunes. If you like the show, be sure to give us a rating or a review over there. It makes us look good, and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

New York has been a crazy-busy show this year, so we are changing things up for this week’s episode to get you guys as much news as we can.

For starters, we are skipping the Weekly Wheels segment this week and jumping straight into news. Don’t worry, it is coming back next week and we have some cool cars to discuss then, including the mighty Nissan GT-R .

Also, there is no video cast this week, but it will be back next week. I had some difficulties with the video recording equipment, and we lost about 65-percent of the video feed.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible

While we didn’t get a chance to hit all of the big news, and lots of it was breaking as we were recording, we did do our best to hit some of our favorite announcements so far like the new Golf SportWagon Concept, the Corvette Z06 Convertible and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT . We also touch on the new Camry, a Land Rover concept and much more. We even find some time to talk about the Saleen-tuned Tesla Model S .

We still found time to answer all your great questions, and the Q & A can be found just after the news. Keep those great questions coming, guys. Click "play" below or above to hear this week’s Podcast.

We hope everyone enjoyed this weeks show, and we will be returning next week with a more traditional format show, and we will also cover more NY Auto Show news. If you have a favorite new car announcement that you want to hear us talk about, hit the comments, drop us a line on Twitter or hit up our email Podcast@TopSpeed.com.

We will see you next Thursday.

Hosts: Christian Moe, Justin Cupler, Mark McNabb

Posted on by Ciprian Florea +  

Although Saleen became famous for its aftermarket take on the Ford Mustang , the California-based specialist is more than just a muscle car tuner. Although its current lineup offers beefed up Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers, Saleen is also known for the S7 supercar .

It’s been nearly 10 years since the S7 was axed, but the manufacturer has already announced plans to return on the supercar battleground with a brand-new creation. Intriguingly enough, Saleen is also going electric and is currently busy making the Tesla Model S even more powerful than it already is. If you remember, we actually broke the story of Saleen going electric when our own Justin Cupler interviewed Steve Saleen.

It’s hard to look at Saleen, who has always been about V-8s and gasoline power, as an electric car tuning firm, but times, they are changing, and Steve Saleen wants to roll out the company’s first ever EV later this year. Basically only a few months away from coming to fruition, the Saleen Tesla Model S is still under covers, with only a few renderings available for us to ogle at.

Powetrain updates? We wish we knew more, but something tells us Saleen’s sedan will outgun the range-topping Model S fitted with the P85 performance package. Specifically, expect the Saleen-badged EV to deliver nearly 500 horsepower and quicker 0-to-60 sprints and sport some interesting aerodynamic updates.

We’ll find out more in Summer 2014 when Saleen officially reveals the project.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Tesla Model S by Saleen.

Tesla’s legal team has yet another case added to their already cluttered desks as the self-described "King of Lemon Laws" attorney Vince Megna files a suit against the California automaker with allegations of a defective product. Already contending with the New Jersey car sales ban fiasco, Tesla must now confront the auto industry’s most notorious lawyer and his Franklin, Wisconsin-based client.

The issues apparently started when Megna’s client purchased a Tesla Model S in March of 2013 for a cool $98,000. Shortly after delivery, the car had troubles starting and holding a charge. With no dealers around, the car had to be towed an hour and a half south to Chicago, IL. Over the first five months of ownership, the Model S spent a total of 66 days in the shop.

After attempting to have Tesla buy back the car on three separate occasions — as possible under the Federal government’s Lemon Law — the owners contacted Megna for help.

With a reputation for never going easy on automakers, Megna has been known to make short videos full of ironic humor, wit, and duct tape-wearing paralegals detailing his clients’ cases, just as you can see in the video above.

Be sure to stay tuned to TopSpeed for any developing information on Tesla’s first Lemon Law case.

Click past the jump for the video and to read more about the Tesla Model S.

To say Tesla is the world’s leading automotive start-up of the last 90 years would be a gross understatement. The company has done extremely well for itself, considering its mere 10-year existence and two-model lineup. Now solely producing its second product — the Model S — Tesla is on the forefront of all-electric car design and manufacturing. The Silicon Valley company can pin the majority of its success on the shoulders of its founder and CEO, Elon Musk.

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley recently sat down with Musk for an interview about Tesla. “Well, I didn’t really think Tesla would be successful,” Musk answered regarding how he could start a car company and be successful at it. “I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought that we at least could address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart.” That sort of tenacity seems to be a driving force behind Musk’s inability to think small. “If something’s important enough you should try. Even if you [think] the probable outcome is failure.”

The Model S has shown an electric car can be successful inside the U.S. It’s so successful, in fact, Tesla is having a hard time keeping up with demand, turning out 600 cars each week, despite a few fiery setbacks. Musk is even planning a $5 billion factory to be built within the U.S. for constructing enormous amounts of lithium-ion batteries. With the eventual lowered cost of battery production, Tesla’s next major goal is producing an all-electric car costing roughly $35,000, making the company and its technology open to a far greater number of consumers.

Click past the jump for more info on Elon Musk’s other projects

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

It is infuriating that this news even deserves printing, but when faced with massive change and new technology consumers are overtly concerned. After a pair of isolated incidents that resulted in Tesla Model S vehicles to catch on fire, due to a damaged battery pack, Tesla has designed an entirely new underbody protection system that uses multiple stage of protection, as well as exotic materials like titanium.

Let us just clear the air first. As Tesla claims in its press release, the odds of any Model S catching on fire are far less likely than in a standard gasoline-powered car. According to Tesla there were more than 200,000 gasoline car fires last year in the United States alone. Compared to two Model S fires. In North America. One of the fires was a result of a collision that happened at more than 100 mph. Would you be even slightly concerned if a car crashing at 100 mph had burst into a fireball?

Nevertheless, people were concerned about safety with the Model S, so Elon Musk and the gang have responded. The new underbody system has been created to prevent punctures and damage from any sort of road debris collision from concrete to hardened steel. During testing, Tesla even mounted pointed objects into the test surface at the perfect angle to force a "piking" event, and the new protective system successfully prevented any damage.

The Tesla Model S was already one of the safest vehicles currently in production, and now it might just be one of the safest vehicles in all of existence.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S’s triple underbody shield.

Very few cars in this world can match burnout wits with a muscle car as revered as the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 so at first glance, you’d be excused if you laughed when you saw that a Tesla Model S was taking a stab it.

But hey, you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

It sounds crazy, but the Tesla Model S, despite being electrically-powered, can do burnouts with the best of ’em. Granted, performing burnouts in a Model S is a little trickier than on a Firebird 400, so you have to excuse the electric sedan ’s short bursts of tire smoke.

William Hawkins II, the guy who owns both cars, admitted that disabling traction control on the Model S only allows you to achieve a certain amount of smoke, not nearly enough to compete with the Firebird 400. But in the end, that Model S burnout could be described as a little more impressive given what the car has to work with compared to the Pontiac, which, let’s be honest, was created for things like this.

So give the Tesla Model S its due props for earning its burnout keep. Impressive for a car that runs on electricity.

Click past the jump to read about the Tesla Model S.

Source: YouTube
Koenigsegg Agera R BLT

I have come to know and love Tesla , though I try to keep our love affair under wraps for the most part. It’s not fair for myself — a journalist — to attest my love for a brand, but in this case, I feel I am in good enough company to let that little tidbit of information out.

The reason I feel so comfortable doing so is that Christian von Koenigsegg — yeah, the dude who some of the most bad-ass supercars in the world are named after — wears his love for the electric car manufacturer on his shoulder. Yup, he actually drives a Tesla Model S every day. Let that sink in for a second; the guy could drive any one of his hypercars to work, but he prefers his Model S.

He went on to say that he feels that about 80 percent of the cars sold by the year 2020 will be electric.

An added twist to this story is that when Koenigsegg was in the market to snatch up the now-defunct Saab , its intentions were to manufacture and sell all-electric cars. This may have led to Mr Koenigsegg singing a different tune had that gone through.

No matter what way you slice it, it is pretty cool to have him give Tesla the ol’ hat tip.

Click past the jump to read about the car he loves so much.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Last week Tesla undertook a world-record continental crossing with what it dubbed the Tesla Cross Country Rally. The goal was simple; take a pair of Model S sedans from Los Angeles to New York while spending an absolute minimum of time charging by using the new Supercharger network.

As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the team decided to take a northern route during what has been one of this country’s worst winters in decades. Along the journey the team encountered temperatures well below zero, closed interstates, and more than a foot of snow in some places.

Despite all these challenges, a full seventy-six hours after leaving Los Angeles, the team rolled into New York City. The total trip was 3,427 miles and the team only spent 15 hours and 57 minutes tied to a charger.

The going was tough enough that one of the gasoline powered support vehicles for the trip suffered a breakdown.

I was part of a cross country record attempt last year with Audi , and I can attest that this type of journey is anything but easy. It is a grueling punishment of your mental and physical health. Aside from the sleep deprivation, sitting in a car for that length causes cramps, muscle spasms and many other maladies.

I personally applaud Tesla for their outstanding effort.

If you would like to see some of the crazy weather they traveled through, as well as see a few more facts about the journey, click the play button on the video we have above.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model S

It’s been a while since we’ve heard an update on Tesla , as it’s remained relatively quiet for the past few months — except for the fire issues. Well the silence is now broken, as the always-vocal Elon Musk has confirmed that the Model S will receive and all-wheel-drive option.

We already assumed that this was in the works, given the Model X — Tesla’s upcoming SUV — will be all-wheel drive and that it will share some of its drivetrain with its sedan sibling. We expect to see the Model X sometime in 2015, so the AWD version of the Model S will likely arrive in the late 2015 model year or early 2016.

Imagining the extra traction in bad weather is awesome, but what really gets me amped up is the thought of how this will affect the performance of the already fast sedan. The Model S Performance already hits 60 mph in an insane 4.2 seconds, and AWD may push that down into the sub-4-second range, rivaling gas-guzzling supercars .

On top of this fantastic news, Musk also outlined plans to release higher-capacity batteries for next year, and how he expects the new "giga factory" to reduce battery costs by up to 40 percent, making Tesla cars more affordable.

Click past the jump to read more about the Model S.


Whenever the end of the year is upon us, we all spend enough time to take a break from all the holiday shopping to reflect on the year that was.

The same holds true in the automotive industry, except that instead of merely reminiscing, there are those that are in positions to hand out what they deem are the best cars of the year. Last week, 48 journalists from North America voted on the North American Car and Truck of the Year, whittling down the list to three finalists in each category with the winners being announced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show this coming January.

Well, Europe has its equivalent in the aptly named "Car of the Year jury." It consists of 58 members from 22 countries in Europe with representation depending on a specific country’s market size and its "importance in car manufacturing."

A subjective criteria, but okay, we’ll roll with it.

What’s important is that the list of contenders for the prestigious award has been narrowed down to seven finalists, all of which have as much chance as the other to succeed the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf . The winner will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March, giving the "Car of the Year" jury enough time to exhaust every analytical measure possible before making a decision on which car to vote for.

Good luck to all the finalists!

Click past the jump to read about the seven finalists for the Car of the Year award


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