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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]

Tesla S Alpha Prototype

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.

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.”

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.

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…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Tesla presents the new Roadster 2.5 refresh

Tesla presents the new Roadster 2.5 refresh

Tesla is definitely in a much better place these days, as after its IPO, a lot of money has been added to the accounts of the electric vehicle manufacturer.

In order to celebrate this, the company has just revealed the 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 refresh, which improves the looks of the electric sportscar, but also adds new options to the range.

The biggest change is at the front, where a new grille has been added, in the vein of the Model S concept we saw some time ago. The rear bumper has also received a new diffuser, but not a lot is known about its impact on the aerodynamics of the EV.


On the inside, the seats have been redesigned, in order to offer a better comfort to the driver and passengers. They will also be able to enjoy a 7-inch touchscreen display, which can be wired to a backup camera system.

No pricing has been revealed as of yet, but you can’t expect any huge changes here.

(more…)

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’s future plans revealed in IPO presentation


Electric carmaker Tesla is getting ready for its initial public offering. As such, its CEO, the recently broke Elon Musk, has started giving out presentations to future investors, through which he is highlighting the strong points of the company.

One of these presentations has now been revealed onto the Internet, and the biggest surprise concerns the future models of the EV manufacturer.

Besides the Tesla Model S we’re expecting in 2012, it seems that the same architecture will be used on a cabriolet, a crossover and a van.

The Model S platform will boast new technologies, including its battery pack installed beneath the floor (like in the Nissan Leaf), but also liquid-cooled power electronics and motor. The new tech will jack up the price, but it is also expected to increase reliability for the future Tesla electric vehicles.

More research is still needed before we can see any of these models on the road. Hopefully for Musk, the money from the upcoming IPO will get the company out of the financial hole it has dug for itself and allow for that research to take place.

(more…)

Tesla boss Elon Musk says he’s broke

Tesla boss Elon Musk says he's broke

Believe it or not, starting your own car company, especially one dedicated to selling electric vehicles, isn’t that easy.

If you need an example, here’s Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who used part of his money from selling PayPal to EBay to start the electric carmaker, as well as a few other companies. Now, the rich guy isn’t so rich, as he revealed in court documents for his divorce from his wife, Jennifer, that he is almost broke.

According to the statements, Musk now relies on personal loans from friends and has monthly expenses of around $200,000. His only income is “just” $8,255, probably his salary as Tesla CEO. As such, his only remaining liquid assets are worth $650,000.

Musk did reveal that he hopes to get some cash incoming after Tesla goes public in the near future, but until then, he is just making ends meet. So, if you thought of getting your own electric Roadster, help Musk out and buy one now.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Three Tesla employees die in plane crash


It has been confirmed that a small Cessna twin-engine airplane has crashed in East Palo Alto near San Francisco yesterday, carrying three high ranking employees from Tesla Motors, the manufacturer of the popular electric roadster.

It seems that due to dense fog, the plane, owned by senior electric engineer Doug Bourn, crashed in the neighborhood after hitting a couple of power lines. The hulk of the plane damaged a number of homes, but there were no other casualties besides the Tesla employees in the plane.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk released a statement about the events:

Three Tesla employees were on board a plane that crashed in East Palo Alto early this morning. We are withholding their identities as we work with the relevant authorities to notify the families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Tesla is a small, tightly-knit company, and this is a tragic day for us.

The news is quite tragic indeed, as Tesla is quickly becoming a major player in the new electric sportscar market. The Roadster is quite popular, and with the plans for the Model S sedan coming to fruition in the near future, growth was guaranteed.

Source: Autoblog

Green violence: Toyota Prius pushes Tesla Roadster under the wheels of a VW Touareg

Green violence: Toyota Prius pushes Tesla Roadster under the wheels of a VW Touareg

It seems that the Toyota Prius isn’t happy with the popularity that the Tesla Roadster is experiencing these days and has decided to start taking out the models that have been sold already around the world.

This, at least, is the conclusion that can be drawn out of a recent accident from Denmark, where a Toyota Prius bumped a Tesla Roadster in the rear and pushed it under the big wheels of a Volkswagen Touareg SUV.

Although the concrete details aren’t know, it still makes a pretty interesting picture to look at, to say the least. You can even see a bit of the Tesla’s bodywork hanging by the rear bumper of the Toureg high in the air.

Hopefully we won’t report any other green car on green car crime anytime soon.

Source: Autopia via Jalopnik

Win a Tesla Roadster with the Dark Void video game contest

Well this is certainly interesting, Japanese games developer and publisher Capcom is certainly pulling out all the stops in order to promote its upcoming Dark Void video game. The company is taking it as far as holding a contest for which the grand prizes are either a Tesla Roadster, costing about $109,000, or a jet pack.

All you need to do is to head on over to the website of the competition, and, from what I could tell, fill in a contact form. You do need to be a resident of the United States though. Besides the guy or gal who will be walking away with the car, Capcom will also be choosing five more contestants and taking them on an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2010 so that they can ride in a Tesla Roadster with the development team of Dark Void, a futuristic third person shooter set to be released at the beginning of 2010 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Enjoy the hilarious video promoting this campaign below.

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