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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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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 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 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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Tesla Motors – Present & Future

2012 Tesla S

First of all I would like to say that I find the Tesla S to be one of the most beautiful cars in the world, next to my personal favorite, the now archaic Peugeot 607. Tesla Motors became famous with the introduction of the Roadster which showed the world that the company is fully capable of designing a top-notch electric car. With the Model S, they showed us that they are able to come up with an extraordinary, almost perfect design. However, building the S model is somewhat problematic.

Tesla has already made three “alpha build” Model S cars and all of them were assembled at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, sunny California. The bodies of the car were made by a supplier located in Michigan. In the months to come, the company will test the hell out of these cars to find out the good and bad parts of the subsystems and components. In the near future (hopefully), Tesla Motors will enter the “beta builds” stage by making the cars at its factory located in Fremont, California. The cars that will roll out of the factory will be most likely used for federal crash-testing and certification as well as for various additional tests and system integration.

Some people say that the entire fate of the company relies on the success or failure of the Model S. The officials at the company promised some time ago that the S will be able to offer a range of up to 300 miles. In addition, they said that the car will feature all the luxury of a BMW 7-series and space for seven passengers. Speaking of the interior cabin, I really doubt that seven people will fit in the car, maybe five adults and two midgets. Moving on, the company received $465 million from the United States Department of Energy for building the S model; we hope that the money were put to good use and the car will get the green light for production in the near future.

The Tesla S will feature an aluminum body and the company targets a curb weight of about 4,000 pounds, similar to the Audi A8, another all-aluminum model that is considered to be a benchmark for Tesla’s car. Another promise made by the company regards the fact that the S will have the “best in class” aerodynamics from a body designed in-house with the help of Franz Von Holzhausen, the guy responsible for the beautiful Pontiac Solstice and for the bold Mazda Furai concept car. In addition, the aerodynamics of the car will be further tweaked by Robert Palin (ex Williams F1 driver) and Shaun Johnson (ex Ferrari driver).

2012 Tesla S

What we don’t know about the S is the size of the battery pack, but taking into consideration that the Roadster sports a 53 kilowatt-hour unit, the S should have one just about the same. Although the new S model will be a lot more heavier than the Roadster, people over at Tesla Motors said that the two models will use just about the same amount of energy to cover a given distance. Most likely, the S will be capable of reaching the autonomy of the Roadster thanks to its efficient drivertain and superior aerodynamics.

Kurt Kelty, who is the director of Tesla’s storage technologies, said that the car will get more performance out of the battery packs. The pack used for the Roadster offers an energy density of 120 watts-hour / kg that was boosted to more than 135 in the packs that Tesla made for the Smart Electric Drive prototypes.

As far as the suspension is concerned, it was designed by Huibert Mees, a man that worked on the legendary Ford GT and it is tuned by a Lotus employee, Malcolm Burgess. Tesla Motors decided to design its own suspension configuration, although they could have very well chosen to pass this responsibility to Toyota or Mercedes-Benz, companies that have a partnership with Tesla. In the front, the suspension consists of double control arms whereas in the back the S will be fitted with a multilink configuration. Basically all of the major and important components of the car were made in-house – bushings, steering knuckles, control arms and so on, all of them made out of cast and extruded aluminum. The company borrowed other components from big time suppliers like Bilstein, Bosch and Brembo.

2012 Tesla S

Thanks to the fact that all of the above mentioned major components will be placed under the car, the cabin will be more than spacious. According to Tesla, the S will have a trunk where the engine is installed on most cars and will feature an optional rear-facing third row jumpseat, offering the car room for seven people. The company promises to offer 29 cubic feet of cargo space which should be more than enough for most of us.

In addition to all of these goodies, the S promises to be “a driver’s car”. Officials at Tesla said that their new car will offer the best handling capabilities in its class, better than what Lexus, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are offering in the segment. We are very eager to find out if this statement will come to life. But in order to find this one out, Tesla needs to make the car, a production model not an alpha/beta one.

Sources say that the S will enter the production line next year, but the company still needs to finish the car, equip the factory and train the employees. Automotive experts are a little bit concerned regarding the bold 2012 target, although Tesla does not have any problems with money or talent. Basically we will have to wait and see when the car will be launched and if it will stand a chance against the electric 7-Series from BMW which has a starting price of $70,650. The S model will have a base price tag of $57,400 which is very attractive in my opinion.

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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.

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Toyota and Tesla working on RAV4 EV, arrives in 2012


Toyota and Tesla have recently announced that they will partner up and start new research into electric vehicle drivetrains by using existing Toyota vehicles.

Now, the two companies have officially revealed what model will be the result of this research: a Toyota RAV4 Electric Vehicle.

The zero emissions crossover, according to both Toyota and Tesla, is scheduled to appear in 2012 on the US market. If the investment proves successful, the electric RAV4 might also make it to other markets, like Japan or Europe.

No other details have been revealed, so we’ll be in for some wild speculation until 2012 hits.

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Tesla wants more dealerships to look like Apple stores, hires former Apple exec

Tesla wants more dealerships to look like Apple stores, hires former Apple exec

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors really wants to make its products stand out from the rest of the conventional cars.

As such, the company has been militating for existing dealerships to adopt bold styling and make the customers feel differently than they would in regular car dealerships.

Many drew a parallel between Tesla’s desires and how IT company Apple approaches its retail business. Apple stores are famous for offering a unique environment, and cultivating a very loyal customer base.

It seems Tesla realized this as well, as it has just hired former Apple real estate chief George Blakenship, and tasked him with developing the Tesla Motors retail strategy and network.

Blakenship will have plenty of money to throw around, as after Tesla’s IPO, the company will allocate $5 million this year to develop its store chain, while around $5 to $10 million will be set aside for that goal in the next few years.

With sales slipping in recent times, Tesla isn’t doing all that great, but with such a hefty investment and a clear vision, perhaps the company might become the Apple of the car industry.

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Tesla gets $226 million in funding after IPO, sells over 13 million shares

Tesla gets $226 million in funding after IPO, sells over 13 million shares

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors has been through some pretty tough times. Luckily, at least for its CEO, Elon Musk, who is now almost broke after financing the company, the Initial Public Offering of stocks took place yesterday.

With a starting prince of $17 per share, contrary to a lot of nay sayers, the stock sold like hot cakes, ending the day at a whopping $23.89. It is reported that over 13.3 million shares were sold, resulting in $226 million worth of financing, ready to be used by the electric vehicle manufacturer.

This comes as a pretty big shock, seeing as how Tesla hasn’t turned in a profit since its birth in 2003, and that its only current model, the Roadster, is really selling all that well.

Still, after seeing the future plans of the company, which includes the new Model S sedan, a crossover, a van and a next generation roadster, things might be looking up for the California automaker, especially as the money will continue to come in after this IPO.

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Tesla planning electric crossover after Model S

Tesla planning electric crossover after Model S

Tesla Motors, the company responsible for the well received electric Roadster, has some big plans for the future.

As most of you know, the company will enter into production the Model S around 2012, offering a luxury sedan for those with an eco-friendly attitude and a wallet capable of supporting a pricey electric vehicle.

But what about after the Model S? Well, the CEO of the company, Elon Musk, says that the lineup will begin to grow at a more consistent pace. When the sedan arrives, the Roadster will end production. It will be followed, a couple of years after, by a new generation sportscar.

But even though that’s fine and dandy for those with deep wallets, Musk also says that a crossover electric vehicles and many other such projects are on the drawing board and will be built so that they are affordable to the regular customer, not just rich people with a passion for EVs.

Musk, who recently won the Automotive Executive of the Year Innovator Award, concluded by saying that the cars his company will make will push the industry forward and, hopefully, give other carmakers new ideas for EV development.

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Tesla worth half of GM?

I know this might sound incredible, but according to an article from Bloomberg, Californian startup Tesla Motors could be worth half of GM. This is based on last week’s announcement that Daimler has acquired about 9% for a total of $50 million, which values Tesla at $550 million, which is about 47% of how much GM is worth, according to yesterday’s stock price.

I’m saying this is unbelievable because let’s look at the figures. Last year, GM sold 8.35 million vehicles worldwide, bringing in $149 billion in revenue. Comparing to that, Tesla sold 450 Roadsters, which means they had around $45 million in revenue. However, Tesla’s co-founder, Marc Tarpennin, who’s the company’s former vice president of engineering and a current shareholder, says the two companies can’t really be compared, because everyone expects GM to file for bankruptcy on June 1, which explains the very low share price.

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and since then it raised about $200 million in private capital, including more than $70 million from Elon Musk (founder of the popular payment system PayPal) and other investments from Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin and VantagePoint Venture Partners. Also, according to the company’s Securities and Exhange Comission filing, the investors converted $86.2 million of bonds into stock, erasing all of Tesla’s debt.

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Tesla chose California for its Model S electric sedan production

Yesterday, San Jose authorities approved the lease of nearly 90 acres of city-owned land and Tesla Motors announced that they’re planning on building a $250 million facility in California, where they’ll assemble the upcoming Model S electric sedan. Tesla was planning on building the plant in New Mexico, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer worked out a tax break for the Silicon Valley company. Actually, Arnie is such a big fan of the project that he, along with several other celebrities, like George Clooney and Kelsey Grammer, allready placed their orders for the Roadster.

According to Tesla, the new facility will create around 1,000 jobs and will produce 1,500 Roadsters starting next year and 15,000 Model S, after the electric luxury sedan will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2010. Though the Model S will be priced at around $60,000, Tesla’s CEO Ze’ev Drori announced that they’re also planning on creating cheaper and more affordable electric cars, that could appeal to a larger audience. “It is our intention to service the entire market [..] We are not a niche player. We are going to work down the road on cars which will be substantially less expensive again.”

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Tesla continues its hiring spree

Looks like Tesla Motors is becoming a pretty attractive destination for highly qualified personnel and a threat to the other carmakers. After yesterday we wrote about Franz von Holzhausen, which resigned from Mazda and was hired by Tesla, today we found out about Deepak Ahuja, which is Tesla’s new chief financial officer. Ahuja stepped away from Ford, where he was the controller for the company’s small cars product development program.

Tesla Motors CEO, Ze’ev Drori said: “Deepak’s experience as CFO of multibillion-dollar business units with global sourcing and manufacturing operations makes him the ideal person to lead our finance organization through the company’s next period of rapid growth [..] The addition of another seasoned auto industry executive to the senior management team at Tesla demonstrates that Tesla is focused on combining the best of what Detroit and Silicon Valley has to offer in building the next great American automobile company.”

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Tesla Motors ‘steals’ Mazda’s head of design

Last week, on July 31, Franz von Holzhausen resigned his position as Mazda’s head of design at Mazda North American Operations and is now in charge at Tesla Motors. Von Holzhausen, which has an impressive resume, has been with Mazda since 2005 and Holzhausen is responsible for Mazda’s series of great concepts, which include the Ryuga, Hakaze, Taiki and Furai. Before working for Mazda, he was the one that designed the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky for GM and he also had an instrumental involvement in the New Beetle concept project for VW.

At Tesla Motors, he will be in charge with two new projects, the Tesla Model S (a $60,000 electric sedan) and a new affordable electric car, priced below $30,000. The decision to hire von Holzhausen is a part of Tesla’s plan to move design in house (the Tesla Roadster was designed by Lotus). Franz told CarDesignNews that “It’s going to be an exciting adventure [...] I’m looking forward to working at a new startup company that doesn’t have the confines of a large OEM.”

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