Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Saleen may have built its reputation on tuning the most iconic American cars like the Chevrolet Camaro , Ford Mustang , and Dodge Challenger , but company front-man Steve Saleen seems bent on making his mark in the budding performance electric car category as well.

Rumors have circulated for more than a year regarding Saleen’s entrance into the category, with TopSpeed’s own firsthand confirmation coming from Steve himself in a late-2013 interview.

Well the rumors and speculation can all be put to rest as the company debuts the Saleen Tesla Model S Foursixteen at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance . This Tesla Model S receives a bespoke exterior design, interior updates, and of course, increases in power and performance.

Thankfully this isn’t some one-off show car, but rather a pre-production example of what will be publicly available to those looking for extra spice in their Model S. The performance upgrades include a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes, upgraded rear differential, and more aggressive aerodynamic surfaces.

Click past the jump for all the info on the Saleen Tesla Model S Foursixteen.

Hackers are some of the most competitive people in the world. I personally know this because I have some friends who treat this kind of thing as if their lives depended on it. So when hackers are invited to do something like hack a car and get paid for doing it, naturally, those competitive instincts kick in.

On July 16, 2014 hackers will get that chance at the SyScan conference in Beijing. The objective is simple: hack a car and win $10,000. Sounds simple enough, right?

Only it isn’t, because the car-to-be-hacked is none other than the Tesla Model S . Forbes is reporting that the company is opening the competition to anyone who registers for the conference. A Model S will be in attendance. So will a bunch of computers that we assume will be used for the competition. Whoever gets to turn the Model S into his or her puppet through hacking wins the prize.

This is the kind of challenge that hackers live for. Give them onions and they’re likely to do something with them. The same applies with a Model S, a computer, and the incentive to take home a whole lot of Benjamins.

Apparently, Tesla isn’t involved in the competition and its unlikely that it’ll give its blessing on the contest. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad publicity for the electric car manufacturer. After all, the company’s security reputation is top notch and hacking a Model S isn’t as simple as hacking, say, a PlayStation 4 .

So if a hacker somehow finds a way to make the car’s in-dash browser remotely visit TMZ or worse, control its steering from a computer, Tesla would likely want to find out how the hacker did it.

The rules and details behind the contest are still unknown, but we’ll update you once we learn them.

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

Source: Forbes

The culture of open-source information just got a massive supporter. Tesla Motors has voluntarily revoked every patent the company previously held in the field of electric-powered vehicles, opening up other companies to use Tesla’s original ideas for free.

The unprecedented move comes as Tesla Motors’ founder and CEO Elon Musk released a statement citing his passion for zero-emissions vehicles and his belief in the growing need for such vehicles. “Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis.”

With that, the company is now open to sharing its discoveries and innovations in developing, building, selling, and recharging electric vehicles. Well-established automakers like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Corporation, and others will now have free access to Tesla’s once-protected innovations.

Musk further elaborates in his candidly written letter that the electric car industry and eventually the world will benefit from having access to open-sourced and rapidly evolving technology.

Tesla originally held patents on its developments out of fear the large automakers would copy the technology and snuff out Tesla’s small operation. However, now that Tesla has made a such a name for itself and has a well-established (yet still rapidly growing) network of Supercharger recharging stations, that likelihood has diminished. What’s more, Musk points out that out of the 100-million vehicles produced annually, less than one percent of those are zero emissions. Thus far, Tesla’s competition seems noticeably absent.

Click past the jump to read more about Tesla’s giveaway.

Tesla Motors stepped on a lot of toes back when it launched the Model S , an all-electric sedan that proved quite popular with North American consumers. Sure, the EV is far from being perfect, and it’s not even that affordable, but it delivers great performance and good range.

When a couple of these sedans caught fire last year due to damaged battery packs, the California-based automaker received a lot of heat from anti-Tesla "movements" and had to come up with a new, titanium underbody shield . Well, it appears Elon Musk’s company can’t catch a break as some crazy flyers started showing up on the windshield of Model S cars in the San Francisco area.

The printed page contains a so-called "consumer alert" message that accuses Tesla of having been involved in "organized crime" and bribing "Congress people and federal staff" to get initial funding for the Model S. What’s more, it also claims the company "buys" car reviews and pays journalists to write only favorable articles about its product. Funny, we’ve done Model S reviews and never received a check signed by Mr. Musk himself.

The flyer even goes as far as to claim that Tesla drivers, who have a "higher-than-average inclination towards strange sexual behavior, drugs and risk", are supporting both corruption and spying. Why spying you may ask? Well, the anti-Tesla writing is quoting a secret partnership between the automaker and Google — "the worlds largest surveillance company".

But that’s not all. These giggle-inducing arguments are accompanied by absurd theories that have no scientific backing whatsoever, such as the fact that Tesla’s lithium ion batteries can blow up and lead to "catastrophic fires" if they "get wet or bumped". Making things even more ridiculous is a conspiracy-like assumption saying Tesla investors urged the U.S. invasion into Afghanistan! Should we bother to mention that Tesla was established two years after NATO intervened in the said country?

This manifesto could very well be some sort if joke, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the flyers came from a disturbed group of people having trouble getting a good night’s sleep over unfounded issues with Tesla Motors.

Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S and to see the flyer for yourself.

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

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

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.


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