Tesla Comes Through for its Customers as they Scramble to get out of Harm’s Way
Now, there’s no denying that after Hurricane Harvey kicked the hell out of Texas, it was a ridiculous for Mother Nature to rape all of Florida too, but sure enough, it happened anyway. Originally deemed the most powerful storm ever recorded, Irma was larger than the state of Florida itself and has left a path of destruction as it made its way from the Atlantic toward the sunshine state. It decimated a few smaller islands and kicked Cuba’s ass a bit too before crossing directly over the Florida Keys and wrecking the West coast of the Florida peninsula. As Irma made its deadly approach toward the land of oranges, evacuation orders were issued and panic set in – not so much so that looters didn’t take their chances, of course, but we’ll leave that story for another time. In the end, the last few days before Irma made landfall in Florida were chaotic, to say the least.
Air traffic was a nightmare, leaving us to question how air traffic control even managed to prevent disaster, and the highways were jammed up like Satan himself was birthing from the bowels of the earth. Gas prices skyrocketed, and so did the price of bottled water as everyone tried to take advantage of the situation, claiming supply and demand as the reasoning for price gouging. Meanwhile, Tesla took a different approach and helped out its customers as they struggled to evacuate.
So, while some local businesses showed their ugly side by hiking prices like the apocalypse was coming, Tesla decided it would remove the range limiter on its lesser Model S and Model X vehicles in Florida, effectively giving owners an extra 30 to 40 miles, according to Electrek. And, it was all thanks to one owner who reached out to Tesla saying he needed just an extra 30 miles to get out of his mandatory evacuation zone. So, once Tesla heard from this customer, it decided that other Tesla owners might need the same, and temporarily unlocked the extra range via an over-the-air update. The update was effective on all 60D models of the Model S and X, which were sold with 75 kWh batteries that were limited with the option to unlock their full potential at a later time – something that would cost owners between $4,500 and $9,000 depending on the vehicle and time of the update. Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent upgrade, and it will expire, but it certainly served an important purpose and has proven that not all automakers are greedy and self-absorbed. Keep reading to learn more.
TopSpeed’s Top 5 Street Cars With Ridiculous Spec Sheets
We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but things have been getting a little out of hand lately. In the never-ending quest to one-up the competition, automakers have unleashed some truly astounding machines upon the world, each packed to the brim with jaw-dropping stats. The numbers these things bring to the table are simply ridiculous – outrageous power, mind-warping speed, and otherworldly performance potential. Any one of these rides will permanently alter your perception of what it means to go fast, even if all you do is digest the numbers. As such, we’ve listed here our top five favorite street cars with simply ridiculous spec sheets.
Obviously, super cars make up the majority of the entries, but we’ve also got the king of the muscle cars and even an all-electric icon on the list as well. Each entry is fully capable of melting face in its own special way, and each serves as a reminder that we are indeed living in a special time. Enthusiasts, say hello to the ultimate bench racers, the four-wheeled monsters bringing the hottest of the heat. Which would you have? Let us know in the comments section below, or post up your pick for the car with the most ridiculous spec sheet.
Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Cars With Ridiculous Spec Sheets.
Growing Pains – The Tesla Autopilot Crashes And Our Autonomous Future
The past few weeks have not been kind to Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Three separate high-profile crashes involving the autonomous driving system have been reported since June 30th, including one fatality, raising serious questions about self-driving cars and their implementation on public roads. Are autonomous cars safe? Are regulators doing enough to protect the public? How will advances in self-driving technology be affected?
Well, I’m here to tell you the hard truth – what we’re witnessing now are the growing pains of our inevitable autonomous future.
Perhaps it’s crass to label a deadly car accident as part of the “growing pains” of technological progression, but the reality is any tech has the potential to be dangerous. Add in a few tons of metal traveling at highway speeds, and you raise the stakes. Of course, the fear mongers will be quick to point fingers and assign blame, but when considered logically, each of these three incidents are the unavoidable result of humanity’s perpetual experiment for a better tomorrow.
Basically, it’s like this – it was bound to happen, it’ll happen again, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Continue reading for the full story.
Tesla Model S Storms Pikes Peak; More EV Racers Expected
This past weekend, a modified Tesla Model S set the new Electric Production class record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, cresting the summit in 11:48.264. The new record is part of a surge in EV competition at the world-famous motor race.
Piloting the record-setting Tesla was Blake Fuller, CEO of Go Puck, a Florida-based producer of mobile device charging solutions with a history in developing race car battery technology. Fuller first raced at Pikes Peak in 1999, earning the title of Rookie of the Year at the age of 18. In 2002, he took a win in the Open class.
This year, the Go Puck Tesla was the only entry in the Electric Production class. Fuller trounced the previous record of 12:55.591, which was set in 2014 by Roy Richards driving a 2012 Honda Fit EV.
Overall, the Go Puck Tesla placed 65th in a field that included some of the most badass speed machines on the planet, including the 2016-spec Norma M20 RD of Romain Dumas, and the 1,600-horsepower Drive eO PP100 of Rhys Millen.
To put it in perspective, Fuller’s time slotted between two entries from the Time Attack 1 class – the Toyota Starlet of Mikko Kataja (11:48.877), and the Subaru WRX STI of Andy Kingsley (11:55.849), which placed 11th and 12th in class, respectively.
Compared to the leaderboards, Fuller’s time might not seem that impressive, but trust me, it is. The Go Puck Model S is breaking new ground for Tesla’s popular four-door, forging a path towards that holy of holies – racing. What’s more, it represents a critical facet of the real EV Revolution currently taking place at America’s Mountain.
Read on for the details, including a profile of the Go Puck Tesla Model S race car.
Continue reading for the full story.
One of the best ways to determine that a car has reached mainstream acceptance is the arrival of the tuners, and for electric cars that moment may have arrived. German tuner Brabus, known for hot-rod versions of Mercedes and Smart vehicles, has turned its attention to the 2015 Tesla Model S. Brabus revealed its Zero Emissions range of Model S upgrades at Frankfurt. While many electric cars would seem unlikely recipients for tuning upgrades, the Model S has already turned heads thanks to its luxury-class ride and ultra-high-performance “Ludicrous Mode.”
Brabus says that more Zero Emissions products are on the way. For now, the company is sticking to cosmetic upgrades – sensible, considering that the Model S can be insanely fast on its own. Exterior and interior upgrades are designed to allow Tesla owners to personalize their cars in proper moneyed sports-sedan style: Brabus wheels, aero components and leather interior upgrades will be offered. Whether Brabus will find a way to make the 772 maximum-horsepower 2015 Tesla Model S P85D even more powerful remains to be seen.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Model S By Brabus.
We’ve heard about Tesla’s plans for an articulating charging cable that automatically finds its way to the Tesla’s charging port with no human assistance, but seeing a working prototype is the stuff of future-cybernetic-overlord nightmares. This is almost certainly how those human-hunting sentinel robots from the Matrix movies first came to be, so thanks, Tesla.
If you can look past the possibility of being enslaved in your own home by a 240-volt robot snake, Tesla’s charger prototype is actually pretty cool. Shown doing its thing in this video, the segmented, metal, snake-like cable could potentially be used at Tesla’s supercharger stations or in home garages. Tesla drivers would just pull their cars up next to it and let the automated cable do the rest.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about it in December of 2014 saying, “Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.”
It starts out pointing straight up in the air, and then wakes up when the 2015 Tesla Model S’s charging port pops open. It wobbles around for a split second before catching a whiff of the port and then slowly starts bending towards it. It then locks on to the port’s location, engages and the port light begins flashing to let you know its working.
Continue reading for the full story.
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.
Continue reading for the full story.
Power comes in many forms, but it’s hard to find two cars that epitomize horsepower and performance quite like the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat and the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D. And though the two represent the fastest American-made sedans, you couldn’t find two cars more different in their deliveries of their power.
To see how different they are and celebrate their pure awesomeness, MotorTrend has pitted the pair on the drag strip and on some curvy California back roads. Who’s the winner? You’ll have to watch the video for that.
The cars? Yeah, we’ll cover that here.
The Tesla Model S P85D represents the baddest Model S money can buy, and hands-down, the quickest (and fastest) production electric car on the planet. Unlike the standard Model S, the P85D comes with dual electric motors – one on each axle – with a combined 691 horsepower and 687 pound-feet of torque. That translates to a 3.2-second sprint to 60 mph, all while not releasing one ounce of emissions. You could say it gets the green in more ways than one.
The Hellcat, on the other hand, is a snarling, rip-roaring, V-8, monster of a beast with a whopping 707 horsepower and a staggering 650 pound-feet of torque. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 sends power to the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. The Hellcat does the sprint to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Sure, there’s a 0.5-second difference in times between the two, but who cares when there’s that ferocious V-8 thundering from the dual exhaust?
This is a great Head 2 Head from the boys at MT.
While today’s market is packed with tuning shops and aftermarket suppliers, there aren’t many modified electric cars you can buy. That’s mostly because there aren’t many EVs on offer to begin with, but it’s also because most shops would rather stick to conventional vehicles. As a result, the Tesla Model S, an electric sedan of great potential, got very little attention, mainly from Saleen and Revozport, which didn’t do much as to enhance its styling. That changed recently, as Larte Design, a custom kit builder known for upgrading Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover vehicles, came up with a wild-looking package for the Model S.
Dubbed Elizabeta and designed as a tribute to famed inventor Nikola Tesla, the body kit adds "lightning-like clear lines" to the Model S. And while this might sound like fancy PR talk, it is not. Larte’s Model S is unlike any other Tesla released as of 2015, featuring completely redesigned components that change its appearance quite dramatically. Making it that much more spectacular is that’s so well integrated into the stock shell, it could easily pass as an official Tesla product. More good news comes from the fact that it is based on the outrageous P85D. Find out more about that in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Model S Elizabeta By Larte Design.
There’s no such thing as the "perfect car." There — said it right off the bat. Not because I subscribe to the platitude that perfection is completely subjective, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder or any of that. Objective standards do exist. For instance, objectively, Scarlett Johansson probably looks better in a bikini than Steve Buscemi. Any dissenting opinion there? No? That’s because we can apply certain dimensional criteria, certain mechanical evaluations to determine who likely wears Spandex best. The same is true for non-human machines, like cars.
Even so, finding "perfection" that way means setting criteria, as opposed to expecting perfection as some kind of absolute. Absolute perfection is always an ideal. It’s kind of like the North Star. You can use it to navigate, to figure out which direction you’re going; but no matter how long you sail toward it, you’ll probably never get perceptibly closer. You’ve got earthly limitations in the here and now that kind of preclude the possibility.
So for this article, we’re going to stick to the earthly limitations of the here and now. We’ll look at our guiding star of ideal perfection first, just to get a navigation point. But from there, we’re on our own, left to sail those uncharted waters to find the closest thing to automotive perfection, sticking as closely as possible to the shores of today’s technology.
To be completely honest — and this is coming from the biggest admitted Tesla fanboy in the Southeastern United States — I just don’t really get the point with Tesla’s new Home Battery. Maybe it’s a West Coast thing. Like Katy Perry, 26-inch rims on Jeep Wranglers, or measles. But something about Elon’s newest non-automotive venture just does not make sense in this neighborhood.
Essentially, it’s a cool-running, lightweight, compact battery pack. But here’s the twist: It’s for your...HOUSE! Wait. House? Yes, just what everyone always wanted and could never do without: A big, rechargeable battery pack in their homes. It’s amazing nobody ever thought of this before, considering the fact that people have been doing exactly the same thing with cheap, sealed lead-acid batteries for the better part of a century now. Yeah. So, what’s the point here? Why does Tesla think this newest non-automotive venture will reach a market that’s had its needs met with cheaper battery technology for a hundred years or more? What’s the assumption here, Elon? Are houses suddenly worried about their power-to-weight ratio?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Or maybe Elon’s assumed assumptions aren’t the question here.
Continue reading for the rest of the story
Donating money to charities is always a good way to give back (and get a tax write-off, too), but the Friends of Chicago Chesed Fund have another reason to fork over your hard-earned money: a chance to win a 2015 Tesla Model S. The Tesla Model S is definitely one of the hottest cars on the road right now, and the raffle is limiting ticket sales to just 3,999.
The grand prize winner will be announced on Labor Day (September 7th) with the opportunity to win a new Model S. According the prize rules, the car itself is worth $71,070, and the winner will get up to $8,930 for required taxes and/or fees. Of course, if the winner ends up not wanting the car, the alternate grand prize is a check for $50,000.
The Chicago Chesed Fund (Chesed is Hebrew for kindness) is celebrating 25 years of helping Jewish families in the Chicago area with everything from food and clothing to financial assistance. Here’s your chance to help a good cause and possibly drive off in your very own Tesla.
Continue reading to learn how you can win a 2015 Tesla Model S.
First launched for the 2012 model year, the Tesla Model S has gone through countless updates, ranging from minor over-the-air tweaks to huge powertrain updates. Despite these updates, there are two things that have remained consistent with the Model S, and those are its timeless looks and its status as a revolutionary model that’s trying to change the world’s view on electric vehicles. In late 2014, Tesla introduced a significant overhaul that marked the introduction of the “D,” which has a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system. For 2015, Tesla is introducing the new entry-level Model S 70D that replaces the old 60 kWh model.
This Model S 70D marks another key change for the Model S lineup, as it is the end of the line for rear-wheel-drive in the Model S. Like the elimination of the underpowered and shot-ranged 40 kWh model during the 2013 model year, and the introduction of the “D” in 2014, this is a natural move for the automaker. However, with the electric vehicle still in the toddler phase, is the market ready for this model?
Continue reading my full review to find out what I think of the Model S 70D.
Normally, a Tesla Model S P85D would pretty much mop the floor with any stock sedan in a drag race from a dig, whether RWD or AWD. As a confirmation, a P85D demolished even a mighty Challenger Hellcat on the drag strip a couple of months ago. Now it’s time for a rematch between the two cars, although it comes with a twist. The Hellcat’s owner has added a set of drag radials to his RWD ride in order to at least pose a slight threat to the all-wheel-drive Tesla, so the race result is quite a bit different than the first time.
As some of you remember, the Challenger’s main issue in the first race was the lack of traction off the line and its driver’s lack of experience with the car. In the footage above, this is no longer the case, as the Hellcat hooked up much better thanks to its stickier tires, while the driver has had a lot of time to practice its launches since he lost to the P85D driver at the same strip.
In case it isn’t obvious by now, the improved Hellcat won the rematch against the Tesla. Both cars launched almost perfectly, but the Challenger’s better gearing and higher power proved to be decisive factors. Since the score between the two is now equal, another rematch is likely on the horizon, as I’m sure the Tesla driver will not let this one pass so easily.
Veterans Day is a big deal because it gives Americans a chance to pay homage to all the men and women in the military who protect this beautiful country. American automakers usually play their own part in commemorating this day and this year, California-based Tesla Motors is front and center with the unveiling of the one-off Model S P85 Veterans Edition. The special edition Model S Veterans Edition is the latest example of the automaker’s commitment to honoring the military and its veterans. It’s also proof that Tesla takes this responsibility very seriously.
Veterans Day may have come and gone, but I don’t think it’s too late to join Tesla’s salute and extend our own gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has served and continues to serve the United States Armed Forces.
To every past and present member of the US Armed Forces, all of you risk your lives to protect our freedom and don’t ask anything in return. For that, we couldn’t be any more grateful. Thank you!
Click past the jump to read more about the Tesla Model S P85.
Launched for the 2012 model year, the Tesla Model S revolutionized the electric car industry with a package that blends modern looks, high performance and a battery pack good enough to run at least 208 miles on a single charge. Although the sedan remained largely unchanged since its introduction, Tesla’s expanding Supercharger network helped increase the Model S’ popularity, which managed to outsell many of its gasoline-powered competitors. As we move onto the 2015 model year, the EV is getting its first major update as Tesla is rolling out a much-anticipated all-wheel-drive version that is dubbed the Tesla Model S P85D
Although based on the range-topping P85 Performance model, the all-wheel-drive sedan is more than just a P85 that moves with all four wheels connected to its drivetrain. The "D" in its name stands for the dual-motor configuration hiding under its body, which comes not just with all-wheel-drive, but with more power as well. With the P85D, the Model S just gained a hefty power update, a bunch of impressive performance numbers and even an improved range. Excited? You should be, the AWD Model S is not just the quickest electric car, but also the fastest production sedan.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D.
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.
Updated 9/8/2014: Saleen has revealed a video of the Foursixteen in action, and "breaking the sound barrier." It doesn’t literally break the sound barrier, like supersonic jet, but rather it makes a noise unlike any other Tesla Model S. Have a look at the video (above) and let me know if you think the noise is cool or annoying as all hell.
Updated 11/21/2014: Saleen announced it has now begun deliveries of the Model S based Saleen Foursixteen. Next to the 2014 model, the company is also accepting orders for the 2015 model lineup, including 60, 85, and P85D Model S chassis. Details after the jump.
Click past the jump for all the info on the Saleen Tesla Model S Foursixteen.
It looks like Tesla’s sales plan is paying off. The electric carmaker Tesla Motors have already booked over 1000 orders for their Model S sedan, a vehicle that can carry up to seven people for a range of up to 300 miles. The Model S starts at $49,900 after tax rebates, but Tesla claims that the operating costs are so low, that it is rely the equivalent of owning something like a $30,000 vehicle.
Tesla has already put more than 400 examples of their $100,000 electric roadster into the hands of customers. The Tesla Roadster is capable of running from 0 to 60 MPH in only 3.9 seconds, besting most sports cars, while being twice as energy efficient as the Toyota Prius. Roadster owners also benefit from a far lower cost of ownership than comparably priced sports cars, with none of the traditional internal combustion maintenance and the added benefit of the cost of electricity compared to the fluctuating price of gas, an amount that could be back up to $5 per gallon by the end of summer. Tesla believes that owning an environmentally friendly Roadster can add up to a savings of around $26,000 over the lifetime of the vehicle as opposed to say, a $100,000 Porsche.
Tesla Motors CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk believes that “despite the enormous environmental benefits, lower total cost of ownership will soon become the primary motivation for consumers to evolve from gas guzzlers to EVs.”
Press release after the jump.