If we told you that an electric car outpaced BMW, Mercedes and Audi to start of the year, you would likely be making sure you haven’t figured out time travel by mistake. Well, folks, this is no glimpse into the future; it’s reality (sort of).
During the initial three months of 2013, the Tesla Model S actually managed to beat BMW, Mercedes and Audi in total registrations in the U.S. for similar models. The S-Class saw 3,077 registrations, the BMW 7 Series had 2,338 registrations and Audi pulled up the rear with 1,462 A8 deliveries. In the same amount of time, the Model S saw 4,750 new registrations, beating all three of the German giants.
Sure, the Model S is a totally different kind of car that is prone to seeing sudden spikes in registrations and it lacks the internal competition between models that Bimmer, Benz and Audi all have. Additionally, buyers get a hefty $7,500 tax credit just for buying the model S. But, the Model S is severely handcuffed by its limited sales avenues, thanks to weird laws in most states that prohibit direct builder-to-buyer sale and Tesla refusing to sell independent franchises.
Another handcuff to consider is the fact that the Model S is an electric car that can easily leave you stranded, should you run out of charge.
Despite the fact that this new information only covers the first few months of the year and is likely skewed by other factors, the pure fact that the Model S can hang with the big boys in sale is a promising sign for Tesla and all electric vehicles.
Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S Full story
A few months ago, Elon Musk announced Tesla’s intention to develop an optional package that would put Tesla Model S on same level as the McLaren MP4-12C. Quite an interesting decision, but it finally came to life – sort of – with the announcement of a new "Plus" package priced at an extra $6,500.
The new package can only be ordered with the 85-kWh Performance version of the Model S and, according to Tesla, it improves "performance, comfort and efficiency."
The package will add revised suspension dampers and bushings, updated stabilizer bars and tires. The rear tires are 20 mm (0.78 inches) wider and staggered for improved acceleration on low-grip surfaces. Range improves 6 to 12 miles with 21-inch wheels.
Alongside to the new Plus package, Tesla also plans to offer a Plus Retrofit package for current Model S owners. It will be available this summer and will cost $13,500. According to the first details, this new package will "provide the enthusiast driver with a more responsive car and added cornering grip while maintaining excellent ride quality."
Click past the jump to read more about the standard Tesla Model S. Full story
Have you ever noticed that the most impressive tests aren’t being made by the automaker itself? For example, Tesla never published enough information to show us what a truly amazing car the Model S Performance is. The folks over at DragTimes.com, however, put it to an extreme test at the Palm Beach International Raceway.
The result was pretty astounding, as it ran the quarter-mile in just 12.371 seconds at a speed of 110.84 mph, making the quickest production electric vehicle in the quarter-mile. The result was booked by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA), so this is as official as it gets. Additionally, DragTimes.com clocked the model S from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds – 0.5 seconds faster than Tesla’s published time.
To add a little flavor to the mix, the above video shows said model S laying the beat-down on a Dodge Viper. Sure, the person driving the Viper likely needs to go back to racing school to learn how to correctly launch from the starting tree, but it still beat a Viper...
The Model S put to test was equipped with a special set of 21-inch wheels that weigh more than the standard 19-inch rims offered by Tesla, making the results doubly impressive. Under the hood, the electric car has an AC induction motor that delivers a total of 416 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.
As a reminder, DragTimes is the same site that put the Tesla Model S Performance on the dyno and obtained a pretty monstrous 388 horsepower at the rear wheels.
Is not every day that you have the chance to see an electric car tested on a dyno machine, but the guys over Dragtimes were the first ones to have the Tesla Model S Performance tested on dyno – as far as we know.
The end result is a pretty monstrous 388 horsepower at the rear wheels. The factory-stated horsepower is 416 horsepower, meaning this beast only loses 28 horsepower through its drivetrain. That’s a mighty astounding number considering the 2013 Viper GTS loses 80 horsepower through its drivetrain. That’s a 12.5-percent loss for the viper versus a 6-percent loss for the Tesla – mighty fine work, Tesla. Then again, Tesla has the advantage of having a direct-drive system and no traditional transmission to gobble up horsepower on the way to the wheels.
The Performance model is offered exclusively with the larger capacity 85 kWh battery and is priced at $87,400 or $79,900 if you deduct the $7,500 federal tax credit.
It’s no big news that most electric engines have immense torque to compensate for meager horsepower. And we all know that the Tesla Model S has enough torque and power to burn those rear tires. Jay Leno did a burnout once and he was surprised. But, with the PR guy sitting shotgun, he never really could unleash it like Ken Block would do in a Ford Mustang. So, we never really could see how capable an EV was in performing a simple yet spectacular stunt.
That was until Road and Track got a hold of a Model S and started torturing it like a prisoner of war. The car was hurling chunks and leaving masses of smoke from its tire in its wake, which to any motorhead would look quite fascinating. And thanks to the 600 Nm of constant peak torque, the Model S will vaporize its rear tires without breaking a sweat.
One intriguing aspect of this burnout is the noise. While a Ford Mustang would have to be screaming at the top of its voice, the Tesla Model S doesn’t even open its mouth. Even with the volume at maximum, you can only hear the tires screaming for mercy and the faint hum of the electric motor.
If this is what the future of EVs looks like, then bring it on...
Currently, prices for the Tesla Model S range from $57,400 to $77,400 — $49,900 to $69,900, if you add the $7,500 federal tax credit. However, we are all well aware of the fact that the Model S is being sold at, or even possibly well below, the cost to build it. This means that it is only a matter of time before a price hike is in order.
Tesla has now lifted the veil of silence on this topic and announced that there will be a price increase in the near future. Surprise! Well, not really, since the rumors have been floating around about a price increase for a while. There is no information on just how much of an increase we are looking at, but we would guess that it will be significant. It may even push the upper end of the Model S toward the base price of the Fisker Karma. One bit of information that Tesla let us in on is that some features that are now standard equipment will later become option packages, which means that we will not only see a price hike, but also a decrease in standard features.
This price increase will not apply to the existing reservations. Those customers who have placed a reservation will receive an email from Tesla where they will be advice to finish their configuration and order within a "fair, predefined time frame."
For those of you who do not remember, the Model S has a variety of battery and motor choices. Depending on the version, the Model S can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in in 4.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 126 mph.
Full details on the price increase will be announced in the next two to three weeks.
After nearly a year of seeing Mitt Romney and Barack Obama fling mud – maybe even a little poo – back and forth at each other, the election is finally over. Love him or hate him, Obama is in office for another four years and he has already shown that he likes to dwell in the automotive realm (see: automotive bailout, Chrysler bankruptcy, and DOE loans for EV technology).
A big one on our radar these days is the renewal of the CAFÉ standards – yes, it was a renewal; the CAFÉ standards are nothing new – and their direct impact on the sport car realm. By the year 2025, all automakers must have a corporate average fuel economy rating of at least 54.5 mpg, a number that sports cars often drag down.
There is a good possibility that one of three things will happen due to these standards. First, is the chance that automakers install more advance turbocharging technologies on vehicles in order to keep their power output high and fuel economy high too. With those technologies come rising price tags – something we are already experiencing today. The second – most unlikely – scenario is the complete elimination of all powerful sports cars, leaving behind just the likes of the underpowered-for-a-true-sports-car Scion FR-S-like vehicles. The third scenario is one that would satisfy our itch for fast cars and the EPA’s itch for eco-friendly cars, and that is the widespread development of super powerful electric, hydrogen fuel cell or natural gas sports cars.
The latter situation is one that we already know is possible. Have a look as the Tesla Model S and you’ll see a car that can travel 300 miles on a charge and still zip to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. And that is a rather large sedan, so imagine it as a sports car. Same goes for the mid-5-second sprint to 60 mph that the 5,000-pound Fisker Karma completes. The final example is the Maxximus LNG 2000 and its 1,600-horsepower natural-gas-powered engine.
We think that this renewal of Obama’s stay at the White House won’t necessarily bring about the conversion to alternative fuel sports cars in the next four years, but it will certainly accelerate the process significantly. We honestly think it is a thing to look forward too, not be afraid of. Just think, no more gas station trips!!
Typically, when Jay Leno gets his hands on a car, it is all about horsepower and loud exhaust, but he does have his eco-friendly moments. This time around, Jay gets the best of both worlds, sans the loud exhaust, as Tesla stopped by to let him take the Model S on a drive. There is not an abundance of Model S driving footage available and certainly none to the degree that Jay Leno does it.
Jay gets us a good look inside the car and we even gets a nice idea of how the Model S’ driver information center – you know, the massive, iPad-looking deal in the center of the dash – works, and we are certainly impressed. It literally controls everything, taking the old days of buttons aplenty strewn up and down the center stack to a well-placed screen that offers up the same controls.
Then the part that we want to see: the drive. Jay takes it pretty easy on the main roads, as he focuses more on its economy and regenerative systems. He does manage to get into the Model S a little bit, but only in small doses. Well, at the end, we get exactly what we have all wanted to see: a Tesla Model S doing a burn out.
Good call, Jay. We bet that poor PR guy had to beg Mr. Musk to allow that one. Then again, that burn out likely sold a lot of `tweeners on this EV performance sedan.
So, for anyone that watched the Debate last night – I did and I am suffering today thanks to the late evening – you saw presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, hit our sector a few times. One time, he took a direct swipe at two alternative-energy car companies in one statement. If you missed the statement, here it is:
"Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives," Romney said during the first of three Presidential debates. "You put $90 billion — like 50 years’ worth of breaks — into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said, you don’t just pick the winners and losers; you pick the losers."
Now, we’re not here to debate politics, but to call Tesla and Fisker “losers” is not quite fair. As a matter of fact, Tesla announced on Wednesday – the same day that Romney labeled it a “Loser” – that despite its struggles meeting delivery goals, which are due to supplier issues, it will become “cash-flow positive” by next month and will hit the 500-unit mark in just a few weeks.
Hitting that black in the ledger is a huge step for an upstart company and to see Tesla hitting it this soon is impressive. Musk also announced that despite criticisms of the DOE loan to Tesla, the company has always paid the loan installments on time and has never even given a thought to postponing the payments.
We are not too sure exactly what will come of Tesla in the long run, but it is already prepping the release of its second vehicle, the Model X SUV, and there is a light at the end of the very long upstart tunnel for Musk and Tesla. We’ll keep an eye on the ledger sheet and let you know if Tesla meets this anticipated milestone on time or not.
Click past the jump to read Mr. Musk’s blogged press release.
In the world of electric vehicles, Tesla is busy placing the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel while the rest of the automotive world is still fumbling around with paint-by-numbers kits. Tesla managed to pull off making an EV lineup that is sexy, efficient, range-heavy, and cost effective while the rest just can’t keep up.
We knew that Tesla had its new “Supercharger” that it was working on, but we were none too sure exactly what it was going to end up being. Well, now we know. The Superchargers are a line of charging stations that Tesla is building to help make driving EVs nearly as convenient as combustion vehicles by providing extremely fast charges.
Tesla announced that the initial six chargers will all been high-traffic corridors in California and will be 100 percent fueled by sunlight, which makes them 100 percent green too. They can provide 100 Kw of power in just 30 minutes, which is good for about three hours of driving at 60 mph. In the future, Tesla plans to crank them up to 120 Kw. To boot, Tesla also announced that these Supercharger stations will be completely free of charge for Tesla Model S owners to use.
Tesla plans to extend the Supercharger network next year to other high-traffic areas and eventually plans to have enough stations to travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal, and L.A. to New York in an electric vehicle without worrying about discharging the batteries. For Tesla Model S owners, this would mean completely cost-free travel across the country, sans wear and tear on the car and food.
We must tip our hats again to the genius that is Tesla. How exactly it pulls off these types of advancements in technology without going belly up is beyond us. Let’s just hope it can keep this trend up and get us away from fossil fuels altogether and into EVs that put most gasoline-powered cars to shame.