The Tesla Model S Floats In Water – Wait, What?
So, what’s the deal with Tesla and the odd features it puts into cars? First, we see the Model X and the demonstration of its “bioweapon defense mode,” then there’s a hack for the Model S that shows a Lotus Esprit submarine car on the display screen. Well, as it turns out, the latter is actually a hint towards a hidden capability of the Model S. Before you get too excited, don’t just go thinking you can plunge the Model S into water and cruise the bottom of the ocean. Furthermore, I wouldn’t really recommend testing this feature unless it’s absolutely necessary, but here it is – the Model S can actually float in water.
So far, this was rather unheard of until the video you see above was released on YouTube after being filmed in Kazakhstan. Without ruining the whole video for you, the Model S does go pretty deep in some water and makes it through a spot that other cars simply couldn’t. After the release of the video, Elon Musk – who is known for announcing things on Twitter – made a subtle post saying “We *def* don’t recommended this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.”
Of course, the Model S isn’t the first car with this capability, as there was a model back in the day – known as the Amphicar – that really did double as a boat. Be that as it may, the Model S can get you through some deep water in a jam. To add to the fact, Musk also tweeted that he’s still planning a sports sub car than can actually drive on the road and safely make the transition into water.
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It’s a question that both electric car and RC car fans have been asking for decades: "If we’ve already got all these great electric radio-control race cars, why are auto manufacturers constantly trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of electric car design? Why doesn’t someone just take a 1/10th scale electric racer, and make it 10 times bigger?" Seems like a simple enough solution, doesn’t it? But making small things bigger often takes someone who isn’t afraid to think big: enter Elon Musk.
In this article, we’re going to compare two cars that at first blush seem very different — but look a bit closer, and you’ll find that they have a lot more in common than not. Both are high-dollar, top-echelon electric cars with surprisingly similar chassis architecture. Both use all-wheel drive, stupid-powerful electric motors, lithium batteries, sophisticated electronic controls and advanced aerodynamics, and both are far and away the fastest, coolest and most desirable vehicles in their niches. They even share the same iPhone compatibility, and eerily similar "digital dashboards."
So, is the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D a scaled-up Traxxas XO-1 Supercar, or is the Traxxas a 1/7th scale Tesla? How different and how similar are these cars, exactly? The answers might surprise you.
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Tesla Motors introduced the Model S sedan for the 2012 model year, a few months after discontinuing its very first model, the Roadster. The all-electric sedan was met with huge enthusiasm, mostly due to its impressive performance figures and extended range, which reached up to 265 miles per charge. The Model S came with three battery pack options that delivered up to 470 horsepower and performance figures that rivaled those of high-performance, gasoline-powered sedans. The Model S received only software and safety updates through the 2014 model year, but that all changes with the 2015 model year. For 2015, the California-based automaker rolled out the first extensive upgrade for the EV’s drivetrain, consisting of an additional electric motor that enables the Model S to become an all-wheel-drive vehicle with mind-bending performance numbers.
The update does not replace the RWD sedan, but adds three new models to the lineup. Highlighted by the use of "D" on their trunks, the AWD Model S’ bring enhanced performance and range into Tesla dealerships. Much-needed convenience and safety features are also offered for 2015, but everything comes at a price. Read on to find out more about the improvements Tesla has introduced for 2015.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Tesla Model S.
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.
It was just a matter of time before Tesla and Fisker had to duke it out for a second time – the first coming in a Fisker-won court battle. This time around, it was Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, that decided to drop the gloves and poke Fisker for a fight. In an interview with Automobile Magazine, Musk said “It’s a mediocre product at a high price,” when talking about the Karma. He also said that “[Fisker] thinks the most important thing in the world — or the only important thing in the world — is design, so he outsourced the engineering and manufacturing.”
Musk did, however, pay a much-deserved complement to the Karma, stating that “It looks good” and “Particularly from the side it looks good." That’s definitely a comment that we can all agree with. Even ousted Fisker CEO, Henrik Fisker, stated that he’s “delighted that Elon thinks the Karma is a good-looking car.” Fisker went on to assure us that Tesla and Fisker are not competitors and that they use two different technologies and are going after completely different customers.
We beg to differ with that statement. Yes, you are using different technologies – Tesla’s is far more advanced – but you are competing for the same customers. Any hybrid customer or extended-range EV buyer would be silly not to look into the technology that Tesla has created and anyone that thinks that they are not in competition with one another is a little bit disillusioned.
We think that Musk was a little brash with his statements and would be better off to keep his opinions out of the corporate spotlight, regardless of how true they may be. Then again, the comments are damn funny, regardless of how inappropriate they may have been. Guess we have to give Musk some credit for speaking his mind.
So many car companies lose sight of the single most important aspect of running a business: keeping cost low and profit high, while maintaining good quality control. This has ultimately landed many start-up companies into early closure and even some juggernauts, like Pontiac and Oldsmobile, into shutting their doors for good.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk really seems to have his finger on the pulse of his business, as they slowly start bringing more mainstream cars – as mainstream as an EV can be – into the market, with its new Model S and upcoming Model X. To help control overhead, each Tesla Model S is built to order, so there aren’t any leftovers on the shelves, but this also poses the risk of not being able to keep up with demand.
At this point, Tesla is manufacturing at its capacity and needs to push out another 5,000 Model S units by December 31st to hit its goal and stay in the black. This is a tall task that will likely not be possible without increasing production, but Tesla’s CEO also knows that increasing production also increases cost, so there needs to be a delicate balance. Musk was quoted saying that “The challenge that Tesla faces over the next few months is scaling production enough to achieve a certain gross margin on our product so we can be cash flow positive. That’s extremely important,” and “If we’re unable to do that, we’ll enter the graveyard with all the other car company startups of the last 90 years.”
Clearly, Musk is willing to take this challenge head-on and he understands what’s at stake. We love the Tesla line and want to see it succeed, and seeing a CEO that is willing to admit the challenges ahead and ready to take them on is a promising start. We’ll keep a close eye on this to make sure Tesla can actually hit its goals for the year and stay afloat.
The TopSpeed time machine has taken us ahead before to see what Porsche has in store, now that VW controls it. It has also taken us to an alternate reality, where we got to see just how the i8 could completely fall on its face. Well, now with McLaren confirming what we all suspected (that the V-12 is about to becomes extinct), we are going to fire the old time cruiser back up and see what the supercar world might have in store for us in 2020.
McLaren has already come out and said that the V-12
"belongs in a museum" and plans to downsize its engine lineup, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in 2014, the FIA is dropping its engine sizes to petite 1.5-liter V-6 plants with turbochargers and energy recovery systems. Six years after that changeover, fuel will likely be so expensive that the FIA may drop to a 4-cylinder regulation, which opens the door for supercars to borrow said technology.
This would mean no more V-12, V-10, V-8, or V-6 engines and just super-powerful 4-cylinders will remain. Pumping 500 to 600 ponies from a 4-pot is not an impossible task, but it requires very precise research and development. The smaller engines will also result in lower weight, more manageable weight ratios, and better handling. Lower weight, in turn, results in better fuel economy and quicker acceleration.
There will be some tradeoffs, as expected. No longer will we have these 200+ mph supercars. You will also have a much less comfortable drive than expected, as these 4-bangers will be much more high-strung and touchy, much like a race car.
The big picture is what matters in all of this. No longer will there be a hunkin’ V-12 engine chugging down a gallon of fuel every 8 to 11 miles. In 2020, we should see smaller 4-pots getting 16 to 18 mpg and still keeping up with their larger ancestors up to 100 mph, which is really all that matters. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I drove 200 mph in my Aventador?”
But what about electric? Click past the jump to read about electric-powered supercars in 2020.
One of the few thorns in the side of the EV market place is the battery charging systems. The vast majority of them require upwards of six to eight hours to reach 100 percent capacity and at the quickest, most can reach 80 percent in about three to four hours. Well, Tesla has been at the forefront of EV engineering, especially with its 300-mile-range Model S, which screams to 60 mph in about 4 seconds.
The Model S, as delivered, is no different than any other EV when it comes to charging, as its 85kWh battery requires eight hours to charge, using its standard 240-volt charging system. Tesla plans to separate itself from the competition once again by releasing a 440-volt fast-charger, which Tesla has cheekily dubbed the “Supercharger” (obligatory rim shot).
Anywho, this new “Supercharger” will be able to get the Tesla S from full discharge to 100 percent in just about an hour. The catch is that this fast charger is not designed for everyday use, it is only for those emergency fill-ups on the road. Tesla is planning to have these stations installed in high-traffic areas for on-the-spot fill ups in just about a year.
Once Tesla releases this new charger for use in the States, it will firmly place itself in the driver’s seat in the EV market, leaving everyone else looking up at it wondering how this small company managed to pull off these stunts. We think the time for the other car companies to start investing more money in EV models is now, before Tesla runs away with it all.
We always see new little wrinkles in automotive dealerships to try and make the car-buying experience seem less stressful and forced. Two key examples are the “No-Haggle” promise offered by now-defunct Saturn and the “Sign-and-Drive” deals offered by several manufacturers now, but started by VW. These are less about making the process easier for the consumer and more about increasing the dealer’s profits while displaying the illusion of an easy-going sales force, which is an oxymoron for any commissioned sales job.
Tesla appears to be going into a realm where car buying is a simple and stress-free environment. How they are achieving this is by beginning with the elimination of the traditional dealership and replacing it with smaller stores in local malls. The second step is to eliminate all commissions and pay the employees a salary. The third step is to not require car sales experience as a prerequisite for hiring, which eliminates the high-pressure “Sell now or sell never” mentality. To get a good picture of what to expect, walk into an Apple store in a local mall and see how laid back it is. You can walk in and play with all of the gadgets without a single sales person bothering you until you ask.
You may be wondering about the floor models and demo models. Keep in mind that all Teslas are built to order, so stores only need a handful of models on the floor and a few test vehicles in the mall’s parking lot. The biggest focus of these stores is to simply educate the customer about Tesla models, and what better place to get plenty of people to educate than a traffic-heavy mall?
Our hats go off to Tesla in its new approach to vehicle sales, but we have a sneaking suspicion that we will see Tesla dealerships and commission-based sales in the near future. Especially if sales start taking off and more models have to be kept on hand for the I-want-it-now customer. So we’ll see exactly how long Tesla can hang onto this low-pressure buying experience before converting into your typical high-pressure dealership.
The anticipated release of the Tesla Model S is nearly here. It began just a few days ago with the launch of the Tesla Model S design studio, so customers could customize their own Model S and place an order. Just a few days later, we are now set to announce that the first Model S has been handed over to its owner over two weeks before the car’s official release date of June 22nd.
You may be wondering how exactly a customer got his hands on one of the hottest new cars available so early. Well, the first Model S went to Tesla board member, Steve Jurvetson. When you’re one of the bosses, we assume that you can pull a few strings to get your ride a little early.
What’s even better is that there is a video of Mr., Jurvetson taking delivery and you can honestly see that he is excited to get his hands on the first Model S and one of the already sold out Signature Series trim levels. Despite some minor audio issues around the midway point of the video, it is all pretty clear. What’s pretty funny is when Jurvetson hops in his Model S for the first time at the 1:47 mark, fires up its completely silent motor, and pulls away, you will notice that he obviously pressed the accelerator a little too hard, as the car launches forward a few feet before he releases the pedal.
That would have been an interesting story to tell had he lost control the first ever Tesla Model S on its inaugural run. Fortunately, he kept it under control and we are left with a cool video of the first model S to hit the streets. In about two weeks, all of you folks not associated with Tesla will start getting notifications that your car is finished and ready for delivery. Until then, just enjoy the video.
Tesla has yet to officially launch its latest EV, the Model S, and already the upstart automaker is setting up some pretty lofty goals. In an interview with CEO, Elon Musk, it was made clear that the company is confident that it will achieve 20,000 total models sold in 2013. With the Nissan Leaf eclipsing just 9,500 total sales in the U.S. in 2011, those are some pretty stratospheric goals.
This is especially difficult considering that Tesla is not expected to infiltrate the European and Asian markets until mid-2013. We do see the logic behind this though, as the base $57,400 price is relatively affordable, considering what you get at that level. Also add in the fact that the Model S is more stylish and ego-massaging than the very odd-looking and soft-feeling Leaf, and Tesla just may be able to hit those numbers.
Once Tesla debuts the Model X SUV, the automaker anticipates a huge upswing in sales at the tune of 75 percent. Yup, Tesla anticipates 2014 sales to eclipse the 35,000 mark thanks to its newest EV SUV, which means the Model X’s sales are expected to hover around 15,000 for the year.
Overall, these are very high goals to achieve for an automaker that really has no reputation or customer base to attach its wagon to yet. However, there are tons of enthusiasts out there that would love nothing more than a 300-mile-per-charge supercar that hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and still hauls the family around. So, if Tesla remains true to its promises with the Model S, we could all see this new automaker well exceeding its projected goals.
We’ll be closely monitoring the sales of the Model S to see if the demand is there and if this upstart can provide ample supply if the demand is high.
Remember when we were all kids and our parents would constantly remind us never to play with anything electric around water? For the most part, we all listened to them, right? We wonder if the same goes for playing with a really big electric toy on top of frozen water – AKA snow and ice.
According to Tesla, the rule definitely does not apply to frozen water, or the company just so happens to be chocked full of bad boys and girls that didn’t listen to their parents. The above video is proof of their frozen water and electricity shenanigans, as the all-new Tesla Model S goes sliding around in the snow and ice, and appears to be having a dang good time in the process.
The video is of the 2013 Tesla S testing in the cold weather, something that has been a thorn in the side of electric cars since their inception. Apparently, the Tesla S not only tested well in the cold weather, but for a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan, it sure did hold onto the track well. We’re interested to see what tires Tesla slapped on this electro-mobile to make it stick the way it did because they definitely aren’t summer tires.
The only time we saw it really break loose was at the 1:15 when it looks to be in a fairly controlled drift. Regardless of its snow handling, we still think the Tesla Model S and its 4.4-second peak 0 – 60 time is pretty awesome. Then again, that $105,400 sticker price will definitely put a small hole in anyone’s wallet.
So we now need to add an asterisk next to the old water and electricity lesson that our parents taught us, so it excludes water in a solid state. No, this doesn’t mean you can mess with your toaster or dry your hair while ice fishing!
Anyways, kick back and enjoy mixing electricity with snow and ice, we certainly did.
When we look back on our lives, we can clearly remember the day when we fell in love with the automotive industry. Although our experience was wonderful, this little boy’s adventure in aTesla Roadster 2.5 tops it.
In this video, a kid was taken out for a spin by his dad in their Tesla Roadster 2.5 and despite not knowing anything about the inner workings of the Roadster, the kid gives out a genuine shriek of both excitement and fear as soon as the dad pushed on the accelerator even calling for his mommy at one time, much to the amusement of the dad.
We know that the Tesla packs some power and we’ve had our share of exciting moments in one, but we never felt like this before. At this moment, this young fella just earned his wheels.
The Roadster 2.5 packs 288 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, helping it hit 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds, although it seems like those two were going a bit faster that just 60 mph.
In a time where we see videos of supercars on a daily basis, this video is undoubtedly one of the best we’ve seen this year.
Looking for a good read about futuristic automobiles and gorgeous women, Playboy has your fix. In the July issue of the long running men’s magazine, reporter Ken Gross will be looking at six new cars that will be coming to showrooms near you. Of course, readers can just get the information for the vehicles here, but then what would be your excuse to buy the magazine? Our recommendation? Get your car fix here and then pretend to read the article when you buy the July issue of Playboy.
The article will be called Reinventing the Wheel and will take a look at the new Porsche 318 Spyder, Bertone Pandion, Aston Marton Cygnet, Mercedes-Benz F800 Style, Ferrari 599 Hy-Kers and the IED Tesla EYE.
The first car on the list is the new Porsche 918 Spyder. This car is a serious case of have your cake and eat it too. It has the appearance of the old Carrera GT, which isn’t really a bad thing from a company that created the horror that is the Cayenne. The 918 will be able to reach 62 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds thanks to its 500 horsepower V8 and a pair of electric motors. The amazing thing is this car’s gas mileage. Porsche claims that this car can get 78 miles per gallon with just 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Stunning.
Hit the jump for the rest of the story.
According to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the high end electric car builder Tesla Motors is planning to raise as much as $100 Million in capital through the aide of public investors. While the entire automotive manufacturing industry is facing difficult times, Tesla hopes that they will be able to supplement the $465 Million loan from the federal government and claim a lasting stake in the new car market by increase the public’s awareness about the forward thinking green car builder’s intent to mass produce electric vehicles for a wide range of consumers.
The California based car builder Tesla is currently offering a lineup of only two cars, with the high performance $100,000+ open air Roadster leading the charge and the $60,000 Model S sedan following closely behind. By opening themselves up to public investors with an IPO, the electric automaker is adding another element of uncertainty to their plans in an already unstable new car market; however Tesla co founder and CEO Elon Musk is no stranger to taking chances.
Continued after the jump.