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Tesla Model X spreads its wings in Geneva

Tesla Model X

Tesla Motors has introduced at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show the company’s all new Model X which is a 7-seat full-size sport utility vehicle that is able to do the 0-62 mph sprint faster than a Porsche 911 and it also able to travel up to 270 miles with just one charge. The model is scheduled to go into production along with the company’s sexy Model S sedan by the end of next year.

Tesla Model X

About 60% of the X’s architecture is shared with the Model S and weighs about 10% more than the sedan, at just a little under two tons. Because of the additional bulk, the Model X will have a 10% less range in comparison to its sedan sibling. Clients will be able to opt for either the 60 kWh battery pack or the bigger 85 kWh pack. With the first one, the SUV will be able to offer a range of up to 210 miles while with the larger battery pack it should be capable of a 270-mile range.

Tesla Model X

The new Tesla Model X is capable of doing the 0-62 mph sprint in only 4.4 seconds while the Performance model which will be launched later on is going to be even quicker. The SUV benefits from an AWD system whereas the Model S adopts a RWD configuration. Each axle of the X will feature its own electric motor, while the power and torque will be sent directly to the suitable wheel in order to prevent slippage, maintaining the traction and stability of the vehicle without lowering economy or acceleration performance.

Tesla Model X

The word “wings” in the title refers to the car’s “falcon” rear doors which you certainly haven’t seen before on a big SUV like this Model X. Since this is an electric car, it has a second boot at the front for storing your stuff. Inside the cabin we find a massive 17-inch touchscreen display borrowed from the Model S and installed on the X’s center console with which the driver will control all of the car’s functions. One of the available options for the Model X is going to be a panoramic windscreen.

Tesla Model X

In North America, the Model X will have just about the same price tag as the sleek Model S, which means that the base price will be of around $50,000, up to the top-spec version which will cost about $90,000. When the production phase will commence, the Model X is going to be built at the company’s factory located in Fremont, California.

Source: Tesla Motors

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Tesla grabs $40 million worth of reservations for the Model X

Tesla Model X

In just one day after the official launch of the all-new Model X, Tesla Motors managed to register 500 reservations for the electric SUV which translates into about $40 million. The “Model X” term was the third most popular on Google while the traffic on the company’s teslamotors.com website increased by a whopping 2800%.

Tesla Model X

Even though some people said that with the launch of the Model X Tesla would kill the interest for the beautiful Model S sedan, reservations for the latter increased by 30%. Both of the cars will be available with the same three battery packs: 40 kWh, 60 kWh and the big boy 80 kWh pack.

Tesla Model X

One of the main reasons why the Tesla Model X is so popular is thanks to its wing doors that we normally see on very expensive sports cars. These doors can be opened in tight spaces thanks to the implementation of a center hinge that allows the car’s doors to fold a little bit in the middle while they are raised.

Tesla Model X

Another reason for its popularity is due to the huge interior space available. Even though the Model X has just about the same size as an Audi Q7, the interior cabin offers approximately 40% more space, enough room to accommodate no less than seven adults and their luggage.

The production for the Tesla Model X will start towards the end of next year at the company’s factory in Fremont, California. Deliveries are expected to commence in the first weeks of 2014 and Tesla hopes that they will be able to sell up to 15,000 cars annually.

Source: Tesla Motors

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Tesla Model X goes official

Tesla Model X

After months of anticipation, Tesla Motors has finally unveiled the Model X in front of a crowd of a thousand people at the company’s design studio located in California. The model shown in these photos is actually a pre-production version while the production is scheduled to start next year.

Tesla Model X

The vehicle is made by sharing the same architecture that was used for the Model S sedan and it will be available with the same three batteries: 40 kWh, 60 kWh and 80 kWh packs.  The single charge range is lower by approximately 10% due to the fact that the crossover is heavier than the sedan. In other words, we should expect that the Tesla Model X will be able to do 145 miles (233 km) with the entry-level 40 kWh pack, while the top-spec version with the 80 kWh should provide a range of up to 270 miles (435 km).

Tesla Model X

As far as the styling is concerned, the Model X adopts a similar design as the S model, while the sloping roofline gives the car a hint of coupe. The highlight of the design is without any doubt at the rear doors which feature a gullwing configuration that Tesla promises that these provide the easiest access inside the cabin as possible. These doors have been designed with a hinge in the middle of the door in order to allow it to bend for opening the doors in tight spaces.

Tesla Model X

Inside the Tesla Model X there are three rows of seats which can accommodate up to seven adults and their luggage. Speaking of luggage, since there isn’t a combustion engine, the Model X has two luggage compartments, one in the front where the engine normally is and one at the back.

Tesla Model X

Elon Musk, the company’s CEO has stated that Tesla is already working on a fourth model which will be announced in a couple of years.

Tesla Model X

Source: Tesla Motors

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2013 Tesla Model X will be revealed in February

We knew that the upcoming Tesla Model X is scheduled for a Q1 2012 release but we did not know exactly when the event will take place. In an interview given by the company’s CEO Elon Musk, the Model X crossover SUV will make its official debut on Monday, February 9th.

No word at the moment regarding the location of the event, but Musk stated that the unveiling is going to be organized at joint event in order to mark the opening of the company’s southern California design studio.

Just as you would expect, Tesla Motors is very shy in regards of giving details about the upcoming green crossover, but we already know that we are dealing with a compact yet spacious vehicle which will offer just about the same level of luxury as the one found in the upcoming 2012 Model S.

In addition, the car will provide seating for up to seven people thanks to the inclusion of three rows of seats and it is expected to offer similar technical capabilities as the Model S, along with the automaker’s charging port and battery options that will provide enough juice for 160 miles per charge and up to 300 miles.

Source: Tesla Motors via Green Car Reports

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2012 Tesla Model S priced from $49,900 after tax credit

2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors was eager to announce the final U.S. pricing for the upcoming Model S, even though the first deliveries are expected to start in fall 2012. The car will be available in two trim levels: basic and Performance.

2012 Tesla Model S

Clients who pick the entry-level Model S will have to choose from one of the three battery options: 40 kWh, 60 kWH and 85 kWh. The model with the smallest battery costs $57,400, the one in the middle is $64,700, while the big battery versionis going to cost $77,400. However, the price tag of the car will be $7,500 lower thanks to the federal tax credit, which means that the cheapest Model S money can buy will cost $49,900. As standard, the 2012 Tesla Model S will feature an impressive 17-inch touchscreen display, a Universal Mobile Connector with three adapters, and 19-inch alloys.

2012 Tesla Model S

The Performance model will be available only with the 85 kWh battery and will set you back $87,400, without taking into account the aforementioned federal tax credit. This version of the Model S brings a Nappa leather interior, carbon décor, Alcantara accents, 21-inch rims and an Active Air Suspension.

2012 Tesla Model S

For $1,500 more clients will be able to get the car with a glass panoramic roof, while the Tech Package costs an extra $3,750. This one brings a 16GB hard drive, LED fog lights, rear USB ports, turn-by-turn navigation system, Xenon headlamps, keyless entry and high definition rear view camera.

2012 Tesla Model S

The automaker has also published details regarding the specifications of the batteries. The 40 kWh battery will be able to provide an estimated range of up to 160 miles (258 km) at an average speed of 55 mph. The Model S will need 5.9 seconds for the 0-62 mph sprint, en route to a top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h).

2012 Tesla Model S

The version of the Model S fitted with the 60 kWh will have a range of up to 230 miles (370 km) at an average speed of 55 mph. This one can do the 0-62 mph sprint in 5.9 seconds, on its way to a maximum speed of 120 mph (193 km/h).

2012 Tesla Model S

Equipped with the largest battery available, the 85 kWh unit, the 2012 Tesla Model S will provide a range of up to 300 miles (370 km) at an average speed of 55 mph, and it will need 5.6 seconds to hit 62 mph from start, before reaching a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h).

2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla has stated that the 85 kWh models will be launched in mid-2012, followed by the 60 kWh versions three months later, while the entry-level 40 kWh is scheduled to arrive towards the end of next year.

Source: Tesla Motors via Carscoop

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Tesla working on all-new Roadster

2011 Tesla Roadster

The first new model from Tesla that will come out next year is the highly anticipated Model S sedan but the company is also working on a new generation of the Roadster along with other models that will rival the BMW 3-Series.

One of the cars that Tesla is about to launch is the Model X which is based on the Model S and it should come out next year, followed in 2013 by a cabriolet version. In 2014, Tesla will launch the new generation of the Roadster which won’t be based on Lotus mechanicals anymore.

Even though the company has lost money on every Roadster that they have sold, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said that it has helped with the establishment of the firm as well as EVs in general. He also said that the all-new Roadster will be based on a “third-generation platform” which probably will be a shorter version of the architecture that the company has developed for the Model S and the derivates that will follow.

Source: Tesla Motors via Autocar

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Tesla Motors loses libel case with Top Gear

2011 Tesla Roadster

Remember Tesla’s libel battle with Top Gear? Tesla Motors has said that the 55-mile range attained by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson in the 2008 episode of the show gave viewers a false impression of the vehicle’s real 200-mile range. The automaker has stated that this episode has had a “continuing impact” on the company’s business since that episode was aired on a lot of TV channels plus it was also sold on DVDs.

The bad news for Tesla is that they have lost the libel case with Top Gear in an UK high court. The company also made other claims against the very popular TV show and the case is still ongoing, but BBC says that the whole case should be closed.

Will Top Gear manage to do a review of the upcoming Tesla Model S? Probably not.

Source: Green Car Reports

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Tesla Working On Faster Model S

Tesla Model S

Although the regular version of the Tesla Model S hasn’t been launched yet, the automaker is already working on a hotter version of the EV, a model confirmed by the company’s CEO Elon Musk. The standard model will be able to do the 0-62 mph sprint in a decent 5.6 seconds while the hotter version should do it in less than 4.5 seconds, while featuring the exact same 85 kWh, 300 mile-per-charge battery pack.

Musk joked that this new version will be “quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera]” which is “not bad for an electric luxury sedan.” This new model will come with enhanced powertrain in order to cope with the additional current for quicker acceleration and is going to be available alongside with the 120-mile, 230-mile and 300-mile Model S.

Those who want a range of more than 300 miles will be able to order the 2012 Tesla Model S with aerodynamic wheels that will be able to provide an additional 20 miles of range. The automaker mentioned that it takes less than 60 minutes to charge the battery of the 300-mile range model thanks to the new direct current external charger. The onboard AC charging will be done via either the single 10 kilowatt charger or two 10 kilowatt chargers.

Tesla added that they have received 6,000 orders so far for the Model S and each of the clients made a deposit of at least $5,000. If they will manage to sell these cars it means that Tesla will have sold out all of the cars allocated for the first year of production, nine months before the first Model S arrives at its customer.

Source: Tesla Motors via Green Car Reports

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Tesla Model S Still Scheduled For 2012 Release

Tesla Model S

Tesla said recently that the Model S is on course to reach the European market in late 2012 and they also mentioned the fact that already they have 4600 deposits for their sexy electric sedan. We don’t have to tell you how important the car is for Tesla because the chances are that if it’s going to be a flop, the company will face some serious issues, just like SAAB is experiencing at the moment.

Tesla Model S

Tesla in its 8-year of history has never posted a profit and just a week ago they’ve posted a second quarter loss of $58.9 million after a serious cash infusion in R&D for the Model S. The total revenue for the 2nd quarter was $58.2 million, which is a record for the company and this is mostly due to the rise in demand for their Roadster model.

Tesla Model S

As you probably know this by know, Tesla has and still is being financially supported by huge companies like Toyota, Panasonic as well as Blackstar, which is Daimler’s private equity arm. Starting with 2013, the automaker plans on selling 20,000 units per year and those 4600 deposits we’ve mentioned will cover the car’s first year of production which will commence in the summer of next year. About 50% of the demands for the Model S come from sunny California.

The Tesla Model S features a lightweight, high-strength aluminum architecture and upon launch is going to be available with three battery configurations. The entry-level model will be capable of a driving range of up to 160 miles; the mid-range will do 230 miles while the top-spec model is expected to offer a driving range of up to 300 miles until the batteries die. The first 1000 units Tesla is going to roll will be special “Signature Series” that will feature extra goodies and the biggest battery pack, the one that provides a 300-mile range.

In related news, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed that after the launch of the sedan, Tesla will soon launch an SUV version based on the Model S which will be called Model X. They expect that from 2014 they’ll be able to sell 15,000 cars per year. Both of the cars are going to be built in Fremont, California, a facility formerly owned by General Motors.

Let’s hope that everything will go according to plan and next year we’ll see the sleek Model S on the streets and after that the green SUV.

Source: Tesla via Autocar

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Tesla Grabs $100 Million Supply Deal With Toyota For RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV

Several days ago, Tesla Motors announced that they have reached an agreement with the Japanese automaker Toyota to supply powertrain equipment that is worth approximately $100 million. Initially, Toyota agreed to pay $60 million for the development work on the RAV4 EV’s motors and battery packs and has agreed to pay the additional funds for motors and packs to be used in a version of the car that will go into production in 2012.

This supply agreement will start from next year and ends in 2014, according to Tesla. Last year, Toyota acquired a 2.9% stake in Tesla. The latter will start the production of its highly anticipated Model S in mid-2012 at its factory where they’ll also going to make the motors and battery packs for the RAV4 EV.

Source: Tesla Motors via Automotive News

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Third-party Apps for Tesla Model S

Lately, more and more applications for smartphones were developed, so that the automotive industry could not have ignored those technological developments. Consequently, car applications are now in fashion. A few days ago, at Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, revealed the fact that the upcoming Model S electric sedan would be equipped with a supportive system for third-party applications and text-voice capabilities.

“We want people to develop car-specific applications [for the Model S],” he told the audience. “And text-to-speech technology can address some of the issues with driver distraction.”

So, what do you think about Tesla’s initiative?

[Source: Venturebeat]

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Tesla S Alpha Prototype

[vimeo width="470" height="300"]http://vimeo.com/18614767[/vimeo]

A few days ago, one of the employees at Tesla Motors said that the first prototype of the much-anticipated and very beautiful all-electric Model S is up and running. Although the company didn’t confirm any of this, they have however quietly launched a small video of the very first prototype, also known as Model S Alpha. At the moment Tesla Motors is working on the second prototype, dubbed Beta.

Tesla Motors has built at least three of these alpha units which will be used for testing the components and the subsystems. In addition, they will do a whole bunch of test drives. The aforementioned second prototype is under development at the company’s factory located in Fremont, California.

The Tesla S can be charged from any 120v, 208v or 240v outlets. Depending on the chosen trim level, this all-electric sedan will be capable of providing a total range of 160, 230 or 300 miles. The car will be able to sprint to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, onto a limited top speed of 130 mph.

The base price for the car will be around $49,900 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit). A $5,000 reservation fee will be necessary but the money will be refundable.

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BMW, Toyota, Daimler Borrow Battery Strategy From Tesla

Toyota RAV4 EV

It seems that BMW, Toyota and Daimler are looking for new and affordable ways of powering their future electric-powered cars that will replace the conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. These carmakers are testing at the moment the lithium-ion battery packs that are assembled by Silicon Valley for Tesla Motors. These units are more affordable than the bigger and car-only models that Nissan, General Motors and Mitsubishi are using. The beautiful and innovative Tesla Roadster that has a price tag of $109,000 is powered by no more than 6,831 cylinder-shaped cells that are manufactured by the Japanese giant Panasonic Corporation. With this battery, the Roadster is capable of doing 295 km (245 miles) on a full charge.

According to Sanyo Electric Company, who is at the moment the biggest producer of batteries in the world, the development of automobiles powered by lithium-ion batteries will triple the sales of these manufacturers in 10 years to $60 billion (5 trillion yen), from only 1, 5 trillion yen in March 2010. A Tokyo analyst that works for Advanced Research Japan stated that these rechargeable consumer-electronics batteries will benefit from an economy of scale which will most likely reduce the costs for manufacturing and cut the prices for electric cars. Endo added that “it may lead to the total component cost of an electric car getting lower than that of a gasoline car. As the cost lowers, there’ll be more likelihood that retail prices of electric cars will drop.”

According to Bloomberg  New Energy Finance, the cost of an electric vehicle at the moment is more than three-quarters higher in comparison to gasoline cars, as the Chevrolet Volt manufactured by General Motors has a base retail price of $41,000 while the Nissan Leaf’s can be bought for a starting price of $32,780. According to consultant Frost & Sullivan, the cost for an electric automobile is almost double to manufacture in comparison to a gasoline-powered vehicle, because of the very expensive batteries that power these vehicles.

J.D. Power and Associates estimate that the sales of hybrids and electric vehicles will reach by the end of this year 954,000 units worldwide which is about 2.2% of the market share. The biggest shareholder at Sanyo is Panasonic, who is the main supplier of the lithium-ion batteries that power the Tesla. Last month, the Japanese electronics giant bought stakes that value $30 million at the company in Palo Alto, California. Besides Panasonic, other important companies that own stakes at Tesla are Daimler and Toyota.

After opening a new factory in Osaka, Japan; Panasonic raised their annual production rate for small-sized batteries by 9%, reaching 1.4 billion batteries. Due to the tougher competition in the television manufacturing business, Panasonic is searching for ways to increase their sales of energy-related products. The German automaker BMW has leased 450 Minis that will be powered by laptop cells. Volkswagen is at the moment studying the technology in their facility located in California, United States.

Toyota RAV4 EV

Tesla’s founder Martin Eberhard, affirmed that the cost of manufacturing larger lithium-ion batteries is about $700-$800 / kilowatt hour, in comparison to the mass-produced packs that use small laptop cells that cost about $200. He added that “it’s a much more effective approach. There’s a huge advantage in terms of economy of scale.”

He added that in the present, the factories that are manufacturing small cells are running at their maximum capacities in order to fulfill the increasing demand. From this situation will benefit many electric vehicle produces that cannot afford developing their own batteries. General Motors has a partnership with LG Chem Ltd., located in South Korea, for the batteries that power the Chevrolet Volt, while Nissan teamed up with Nec Corporation, who is the largest PC maker in Japan, for making the batteries that power the popular Leaf model.

The Japanese automaker giant Toyota is working side by side with Tesla for the electric version of the small sport utility vehicle RAV 4 model, while the plug-in Prius hybrid as well as the small, electric vehicle that is due in 2012, will employ larger batteries. The president of Toyota Corporation, Akio Toyoda said that “when the customer decides “this is the car I want”, we want to be that full-time marker who has the answers for that customer. By using both car batteries and laptop batteries, we are able to provide customers with a wider variety of choice.”

The Tesla shares rose more than 80% in 2010, compared to an 11% increase in the Russell 1000 Index, although the carmaker delivered less than 1,500 units of their Roadster model since 2008. The shares of Toyota have plummeted 15% in 2010, mostly because of the many car recalls.

The problems that might appear with lithium-ion batteries in the consumer electronics market relate to the fact that they have a long history of recalls due to overheating issues that can cause a fire. The world’s largest cell phone manufacturer, Nokia, offered three years ago to replace no more than 46 million Panasonic phone batteries. In order to reduce the risk of overheating, Panasonic is now using an insulator film located between electrodes, according to a spokesman from the company.

Back in 2006, Sony Corporation recalled about 9.6 million lithium-ion batteries due to metal parts that infiltrated into the cells during the manufacturing process which could have caused overheating and short circuits.

A Roadster owner by the name of Scott Painter stated that he doesn’t have to worry about what is going under the hood of his car as he hasn’t noticed any problems with the battery since he got the car two years ago. He is the CEO of Truecar Incorporated, who is an automotive-sales and data-marketing firm located in Santa Monica, California. He also said that “I’ve never been found wanting on the batteries. I step on the pedal and it goes like a bat out of hell.”

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Panasonic & Tesla Motors Collaboration

Tesla Roadster

Panasonic Corporation, the giant Japanese electronics manufacturer affirmed at the beginning of this month that it invested $30 million in Tesla Motors Inc. in order to cooperate on green powertrain development. Panasonic already produces batteries for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and now joins Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp in taking a significant stake in the automotive start up headed by Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk. At the same time this means that the Tesla model is very well received by the giant electronics and automobile manufacturers which means that in the near future we will have similar more efficient electrical or hybrid automobiles at more affordable prices.

This $30 million investment made by Panasonic was done by purchasing Tesla stocks and the Japanese media states that this acquisition gives the company a 2 percent stake in Tesla Motor. The electric car manufacturer is currently using not only Panasonic battery cells but also cells from other producers, in its battery modules and for developing the next generation power packs it has a strong collaboration with Panasonic.

Tesla S

Except Panasonic, Toyota has also invested a great deal of money back in May. We are talking about $50 million and it will invest another $60 million to team up with Tesla Motor for developing an all-electric version of their small sport utility vehicle – the RAV4.

Panasonic is currently attempting on becoming a top supplier of batteries for the next-generation automobiles that have hybrid powertrains or all-electric. At the moment they have a joint-venture with the Toyota – named Primearth EV Energy Co., in order to manufacture nickel-medal hybride as well as lithium ion batteries. Panasonic is planning on merging with a rival Japan electronic manufacturer, Sanyo Electric Co. – who is another significant producer of lithium ion or nickel-metal hybride batteries.

The Tesla Corporation became famous after the launch of the battery-powered Tesla Roadster that has a starting price of $109,000. In 2012, the company hopes to launch the Model S sedan that will have a basic price of $54,700. The factory where they will be producing the new model will be in California and it is a formerly operated automobile manufacturing unit through a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors.

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Tesla’s Elon Musk mocks Nissan Leaf’s ‘primitive’ battery technology

Tesla's Elon Musk mocks Nissan Leaf's 'primitive' battery technology

More and more electric vehicles are being announced every day, and as such, companies and executives need to do everything they can in order to make their own products be, or at least sound like the best.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is no exception, as he recently decided to target the newest mainstream model in the electric vehicle segment, the Nissan Leaf.

According to Musk, the Leaf, even though it’s becoming increasingly popular with pre-orders going through the roof, doesn’t stand a chance against Tesla.

How so? The executive goes on to say that the lithium-ion battery pack of the Leaf doesn’t have the necessary cooling technology to make it withstand everyday use. As such, the ‘primitive’ pack will see its performance decline in a short amount of time, especially when subjected to extremely temperatures.

Unlike the air-cooled batteries of the Leaf, the Tesla Roadster uses a more complicated cooling system, which costs much more.

Still, you shouldn’t forget that Nissan has announced an 8-year/100,000 mile warranty for the battery pack, so even if Musk’s statements come true, the Japanese company will cover repairs and even replace the whole assembly.

(more…)

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