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.
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.
After revealing yesterday that it will try to create its own infrastructure to swap out and recharge batteries for future customers of the 2011 Tesla Model S, the US company has now revealed, through the voice of its brand development executive Diarmuid O’Connell, that it is preparing three more models based on the S’ platform, including an SUV, an MPV and even a commercial vehicle.
All of these new models will join the already-launched Roadster model and the future under-$30,000 hybrid that the company has revealed a few months ago.
Now you might be inclined to ask just where does Tesla have all the money to fund these projects? Well it seems that it is just taking it out from the US tax payers, as the government’s department of energy has issued a grant totaling $465 million in order to continue development of new electric models. From them, $365 million will be used to finalize the Model S and the other will be invested in an engine facility in California.
This also goes hand in hand with Tesla’s plans to become the premiere electric engine and technology supplier for other automakers, as Daimler already partnered with it for the Smart ForTwo Electric
Would such models like a fully-electric crossover or an MPV attract your attention? What other versions should Tesla look into? Don’t be afraid to leave a comment.
Even though future Tesla S models will have a battery which can recharge to its fullest capacity from 3 to 5 hours, it seems that the company plans on developing a network of so called switching and charging stations, in which future Tesla owners can swap out their batteries with new ones in just 5 minutes.
Similar to going and filling up your tank with gas, according to Tesla representatives, the new project is similar with the Quick Drop from Renault-Nissan. The company will also start lobbying various governments where the its models will be made so that the infrastructure will support the endeavor. Besides the switching capabilities, the stations will also have special 480 V outlets, in which you can plug in your car and quick charge it in just 45 minutes.
Keep in mind that the Tesla S, which will enter production in mid-2011, will cost $50,000 and its normal battery should keep you going for about 260 km (161 miles). Either way, this is still great news for anyone using their electric cars for everyday use, no matter how long the drive will be.
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.
Wow, that’s a very interesting move. German automotive giant Daimler and small California based startup Tesla Motors have announced a partnership, where Daimler bought a 10 percent stake in Tesla. Like I said, that’s an interesting move, but not completely unexpected, because the two companies were already working together to integrate Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack and charging electronics into the first 1,000 electric Smarts. Daimler’s investment in Tesla means the two companies will work more closesly in developing battery systems, electric drive systems and individual vehicle projects. Also, as part of the agreement, Herbert Kohler, Daimler AG’s VP for E-Drive and Future Mobility will take a seat in Tesla’s board of directors.
“Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “As a young and dynamic company, Tesla stands for visionary power and pioneering spirit. Together with Daimler’s 120 years of experience in the automotive sector this collaboration is a unique combination of two companies’ strengths. This marks another important milestone in Daimler’s strategy for sustainable mobility.”
“Daimler has set the benchmark for engineering excellence and vehicle quality for more than a century. It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Daimler would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla,” said Tesla Chairman, CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. “Daimler is also on the leading edge in the field of sustainable mobility. Among others the lithium-ion pouch-cell battery developed by Daimler and especially designed for automotive applications is of interest to us. We are looking forward to a strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s engineering, production and supply chain expertise. This will accelerate bringing our Tesla Model S to production and ensure that it is a superlative vehicle on all levels.”
On March 26, California based Tesla Motors unveiled the Model S all-electric family sedan and a week later the company reported 520 orders already placed for the car. And now, a month and a half later, the 1,000th order was registered. The Model S’ anticipated base price is $49,000 and potential customers need to pay a $5,000 reservation fee, which is refundable.
Though it’s not the cheapest car around, Tesla claims the total cost of ownership is much lower than other similar priced cars and, considering the gasoline’s price per gallon, they claim the Model S is equivalent to a gasoline powered car with a sticker price of about $30,000, like the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord or a BMW 3-Series. They give as an example the Tesla Roadster, which costs $101,500 but a set of factors such as the electricity vs gasoline price or the state and federal tax incentives may result in lifetime savings of at least $26,000 compared to a similar gasoline powered sports car.
“The Model S is a better value than much cheaper conventional cars,” said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. “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.”
Photo Gallery: Tesla Model S
Last week, the Tesla Model S was officially introduced and, as we expected, the car received some incredible feedback. And that’s not all, it seems that people are already lining up for the all-electric family sedan, because in press release made today Tesla has announced there are already 520 reservations made for the car and that the company is planning on opening showrooms in Chicago, London, New York, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC and Munich this year.
“Frankly the number of cars reserved in the first week has exceeded our optimistic internal projections,” said Tesla CEO, Chairman and Product Architect Elon Musk. “Enthusiasm surrounding the Model S is proof that there’s pent-up demand for more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles – including those made in America.”
With the Model S to be one of the world’s first mass-produced when production begins in late 2011, Tesla has big plans for the car and they’ve applied for a $350 million loan from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which would be used to build the Model S assembly plant in California.
Way to go Tesla!
Photo Gallery: Tesla Model S
The new Tesla Model S electric sports sedan was officially unveiled last week in Hawthorne, California and here are some video showing the car running on the street. The videos were taken just before the official press launch from last week.
Check out the rest of the videos after the jump. (more…)
Today, at Tesla’s design studion in SpaceX Rocket Factory in Hawthorne, California, the company unveiled its second vehicle, the new Tesla Model S electric sedan. With the Fisker Karma only a few month away, Tesla really needed to hurry showing this project, which is scheduled to debut in 2011. According to the company, the Model S has a driving range of 300 miles while the battery charge takes only 45 minutes (110V, 220V or 440V outlets). Priced at $49,900, the Model S is able to carry five adults and two children so it is quite practical, not to mention the fact that a full recharge costs only $4, as Tesla says, “a bargain even if gasoline dropped to $1 per gallon”.
The car’s powertran a liquid-cooled 9-inch motor, floor-mounted battery pack and a single-speed gearbox. With these, Tesla says the Model S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 120 mph.
As for the design and the interior, we must admit Tesla did an amazing job. While the Tesla Roadster doesn’t impress us from this point of view, the Model S really does. Designed by Franz von Holzhausen, the electric sedan features panoramic roof with sliding moon roof, retracting door handles for improved aerodynamics, LED and neon headligh and tail-lights, 21-inch wheels and Brembo brake system with new one-piece monobloc calipers, while the interior features 17-inch haptic touchscreen, fully digital instrument cluster and full-time 3G connectivity with Internet, HD and sattelite radio.
So, what do you think about the car? Which one do you think will win this segment, the Model S or the Fisker Karma?
Photo Gallery: Tesla Model S
According to AutoExpress, a lot of Tesla Roadster buyers are angry at the company’s decision to ask them to pay for a kit that initially came as standard. The kit includes extras like High Performance Charger or alloy wheels and US deposit holders are now required to pay an extra $7,000 (around £4,900). As far as we know, the decision is only available in the US, an UK spokesman saying that prices won’t rise in the Kingdom.
We took quite a few cars for test drives and we had a lot of fun doing that. However, sometimes test drives go wrong and there’s no fun in that. After some time ago we saw a Dutch journalist wrecking an Audi R8, this time we have a Tesla Roadster crashed by one of their own. Apparently, a Tesla sales director took a passenger for a demonstration in southern France last Wednesday, when he lost control of the car and crashed it. Beside the fact that the car was going around 100 mph (160km/h), the road was also wet and the visibility was poor. Though the car looks pretty banged up, both passengers survived: the driver suffered a broken hand an minor bruises, while the passenger was released from hospital after some investigations.
Photo Gallery: Tesla Roadster crash in France
In a recent interview for Business Week, Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ CEO talked about how the current economic situation is affecting Tesla. After Musk got more involved in the company where he’s also an investor, the Tesla Roadster proved to be quite a success, with 1,200 back orders for the $100,000. However, the future’s not so bright. Musk’s dream of creating more affordable electric cars is currently going through some rough times. After some time ago he announced that the company’s planning on going public next year, after securing verbal commitments for $100 million in private capital and federal loan guarantees geared at jump-starting development of alternative vehicles. However, after the United States has been hit hard by the credit crunch, investors tried to impose tougher terms, and the negotiations are currently not going so great. Musk, who was the co-founder of PayPal and has a current net worth of more than $300 million, had to invest more from his own money to keep the company’s development plans alive.
Still, the $60,000 Model S sedan, which was scheduled to enter production in 2010, was postponed. And this could mean big trouble for Tesla, analysts say: “If the market wants [electric cars] in the number Tesla is talking about [..] a larger auto company will bury them on cost.” Many auto industry giants, including GM, Toyota, Nissan or Daimler currently have an electric car in development, and Tesla can’t keep up with them.
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.”
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.”