AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Fresh from a conference call (on his G6, presumably), Musk just signed a $100 million deal with the Japanese automaker, but has dropped the hint that they could be thinking larger. “We’re in discussions with them for a deal that is an order of magnitude larger than that,” he said. Musk had spent the call informing Toyota about ending their best quarter in the young company’s history, with demand for the Model S and recently-departed Roadster still high.
Toyota, being the world’s largest car company, fortunately has this sort of cash to burn. Hopefully Musk has made a convincing case for the 8-year old Tesla and the electric car of the future.
Last Sunday, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosted Refuel 2011, the third annual track day for electric cars and motorcycles. The event was open to anyone with an electric car, ranging from the Tesla Roadster to DIY conversion cars. This year’s event was the first time that fully electric production vehicles from mainstream car makers were present at the event.
Joe Nuxoll, Tesla employee and racing instructor achieved the fastest lap time in the production electric class and the Nissan Leaf wasn’t far behind. The Leaf was two seconds behind the Tesla with a commendable time of 2:10.223. Leaf owner Nadar Assemi took a video of the Leaf competing on the track. The Leaf surprisingly didn’t suffer from overheating issues like the Tesla and the DIY cars did.
“To my surprise almost every other EV out there (production or otherwise) had heat management issues after 2-5 laps. Tesla’s were hitting power cut by lap 4-5. Most of the other kit cars could do one or two laps due to heat or range issues.” Explained Assemi on a Nissan forum. “Conversely, the Leaf was pulling strong all day and the battery temp gauge didn’t move over 6 bars. Energy efficiency on the track was a stellar 1.2-1.3 m/kWh.”
Check out the video after the jump!
It’s last call for the ur-Tesla. The electric car company will stop taking orders for the Roadster in about two months.
Production for the Roadster is ending soon, after 1,650 examples sold. The Roadster was always a proof-of-concept for Tesla’s existence, and now that they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, it’s time to let the little guy out to pasture.
The Model S sedan is Tesla’s next latest and greatest, and it is slated to begin sales in the middle of next year. It will be built in the old NUMMI plant once shared by Toyota and GM, in Fremont, California.
[Source: CNN Money]
Taking swapping to a whole new level, Martin Provost is out to prove that you can trade your way into a Tesla Roadster.
Determined to get his own electrified Tesla, Green tech geek Provost has taken the cue from famous Internet swapper Kyle MacDonald (that’s the Canadian blogger who traded up to a house from a single red paperclip over the course of a year through a series of online swaps). Provost has teamed up with Swapsity in his quest to go from a $30 camera to a $100,000 Tesla Roadster.
“It’s 100 percent electric, so any gadget geek out there, if you ask them, what’s your dream sports car, they’ll probably say the Tesla Roadster,” says Provost.
He started with a $30 camera and he’s now onto his seventh item, a 12-month enterprise online store package from Shopify! worth $3,000. Provost is making his way to the Roadster slow and steady, and we can’t wait to see what happens along the way. Do you think he can make it?
You can watch the video of Provost describing his journey after the jump.
For the second year in a row, while competing against alternative-fuel cars and hybrids, an all-electric Tesla Roadster has won the Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally.
Former F1 driver Erik Comas was chosen by Tesla to compete in the 800-km (497-mile) rally against more than 100 competitors. It ended Sunday, and included sprints on the Monaco F1 track. “Thanks to the incredible efficiency of the Roadster, we were able to drive for more than 450 km on Saturday. There is nothing on the road like it,” said Comas. “Next year I will enter five Roadsters owned by my company, Green Car Challenge, into this amazing event.”
According to Myra J. Pasek, Tesla’s director of communications for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, the Palo Alto company’s innovative electric vehicle won out over a variety of technologies. “The Tesla Roadster was competing in efficiency and regularity against other EV’s,” Pasek said, mentioning the Venturi Volage, as well as “full and mild hybrids, bioethanol, CNG’s … ”
The rally’s course followed some of the route used by the historic Monte Carlo Rally, and challenged cars to climb to an elevation of 1230 meters (4035 feet) as they passed over the Col du Corobin. Tesla reports its Roadster was the only electric vehicle that could fully endure the challenging course.
This long-range race win comes as Tesla is suing the BBC after its Top Gear program allegedly faked a video of the Roadster running out of power while competing against a Lotus in 2008. Tesla has also recently said cumulative owner miles of around 1,500 Roadsters have topped the 10 million mark. Tesla said the $109,000-128,500 all electric sports car has an EU-certified range of 212 miles (340km) on a single charge.
A complete list of the contenders can be downloaded at the Monte Carlo Rally’s Web site.
With most car manufacturers, the different trim levels often signify how well-equipped a vehicle is. But the new Tesla Model S electric car will use them in a different manner, with the three trims carrying different batteries, ranging from 160 to 300 miles.
The first cars produced by Tesla will be a limited run of the Signature Series – which features the 300 mile capable battery -and will get unique badging and options, in a limited run of 1000 units. Following the Signature Series, the standard versions of the 300 mile car, along with the 230 and 160 mile versions, will come online.
North American deliveries are expected to begin in mid-2012, with European deliveries following later, and right-hand drive models arriving in mid-2013. At that point, Tesla should be producing 20,000 Model S sedans per year, up from 5,000 in 2012.
Tesla Motors share price feel by roughly 15 percent Monday as company insiders rushed to dump their shares after the expiration of a 180 day limit on selling their stock holdings.
The shares being sold were previously not available on the open market, and were reportedly offered to investors and other insiders as a form of compensation. Tesla’s stock rose more than 40 percent since its debut towards the end of June, and the company received $465 million in loans from the Department of Energy to help develop its Model S sedan.
As of 11:30 AM Tuesday, Tesla’s share price was steady at $26, up from Monday’s close of $25.55
[Source: Automotive News]
With all the introductions of next-generation electric cars at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, it’s safe to say that they’re becoming the vehicles of the future. Whether or not electric cars and/or hybrids will fully replace what we’ve known to love over the last decades, we won’t know for a while, but it’s nice to see that many sanctioning bodies of motorsports are already accepting electric cars and hybrids.
Tesla, known for their high-end stylish electric car, recently took their roadster race cars out to the 2010 Race of Champions to show off what modified electric cars can do. This particular race cars can hit 62 mph in under 4 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph.
Driven by Formula 1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost, the Tesla Roadster race cars made quite the noise (despite being so quiet themselves) out at ROC. It’s simply fascinating to see how these vehicles will pave the way for the future with performance and zero emissions bundled into one nifty package.
GALLERY: Tesla Roadster Race Cars
When we test drove the Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 , we did our best to provide you with an accurate impression of what it feels like to drive something so completely different from anything else on the road.
Even with the limited range, the lack of practicality and the huge pricetag, we would still have one without thinking. This video should explain why.
The young auto enthusiast in this video best represents the mixture of fear and exhiliration when you put your foot down and feel the car just GO. Although we managed to get a giggle out of Peter Miller, our photographer for the Tesla review, Peter races go-karts at a high level and is used to going fast. For the average person, the video below is much more accurate of what it really feels like to hit warp speed in Elon Musk’s electric speed-demon.
Hit the jump to see the Tesla Roadster acceleration video.
[Thanks to Autoblog for the link]
General Motors is attempting to trademark the phrase “range anxiety”, a term that apparently describes how electric car owners feel when the battery charge drops to near empty levels.
GM Spokesman Rob Peterson confirmed the move to the New York Times, but gave no timeline on when the process would be complete. “We’ve been told the process will take nine months or so,” Mr. Peterson said, “but I’m not an attorney so I can’t say for sure.”
While the Chevrolet Volt uses a gasoline motor as both a generator and a means of powering the car after the electric power source is exhausted, the trademarking of the phrase could be an attempted swipe at other electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster, which operate solely on electric power and do not have a “range extender”.
While the Leaf has a variety of systems to alert the driver to the vehicle’s battery life and potential charging spots, Tesla, which uses only two simple readouts displaying battery life and the distance the vehicle can travel before a charge is needed, was dismissive of the campaign. “By all means, G.M. can have ‘range anxiety,’ said Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes, to the Times. “To Roadster owners, the term is as irrelevant as ‘gas stop’ or ‘smog check.’ ”
[Source: New York Times]
Hot on the heels of Tesla’s IPO (which is down $1.89 as of 3:40 PM today) comes their newest product, the Roadster 2.5, which receives a host of largely inconsequential updates designed to keep an old model in the public eye just a little bit longer (perhaps Tesla isn’t that different after all).
The Roadster gets the usual revised fascias and wheels, as well as a 7″ LCD touchscreen, a backup camera and more sound deadening. Power is unchanged. The Roadster 2.5 should hit showrooms in a few weeks, to coincide with new Tesla stores opening in California and Denmark.
Los Angeles based rapper J Brave describes himself as an “MC, poet, activist for peace, and visionary…”, so we can understand why he would shun Maybachs and Bentleys in his lyrics in favor of the eco-friendly, uber-liberal chariot known as the Tesla Roadster.
Unfortunately for J Brave, his rap song “Dippin In My Tesla” doesn’t quite have the same vibe as other odes to automotive related conspicuous consumption. Songs like those are all about escapism, letting you step out of your 1997 Nissan Altima and into a world where your ride costs more than your house. Saving the planet isn’t a common fantasy for most hip-hop heads (at least not in the green sense). We’ll let you be the judge of the artistic merits.
Hit the jump to see J Brave’s video for “Dippin In My Tesla”
The end goal for most venture-capital financed start-ups is to issue an IPO and help get some money into the hands of those investors brave enough to give the company money at the early stages. Tesla Motors, perhaps the first Silicon Valley car company(and headed by Elon Musk, a former dot-com executive), is about to do just that, after filing papers with the Security and Exchange Commission, detailing terms of their IPO.
Tesla is expected to issue roughly 11 million shares of the company, with the shares going for $14 to $16 each. As a reward for the IPO, Toyota will invest another $50 million in the company, as part of an alliance between the two companies, which includes the NUMMI auto plant in California, and a new mass market sedan in 2012.
So far, Tesla only sells a 2 seat sports car, the Tesla Roadster, but the company plans to introduce a high end sedan, known as the Model S, in the near future. So far, Tesla has continually lost money each quarter, with total revenues of just under $150 million.
[Source: Detroit News]
After acquiring the former NUMMI plant jointly owned by General Motors and Toyota, Tesla Motors was immediately targeted by the UAW for a guilt-trip campaign by the United Auto Workers to re-hire the 4,700 workers set to lose their jobs as the plant closed.
In an interview on a California radio show, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was asked about the hiring situation, Musk affirmed his commitment to getting the workers their jobs back, telling listeners that “It is always easier to hire from the neighborhood” and that “hiring former HUMMI workers is a priority for us.”
Being a low volume manufacturer, Tesla will likely only need 1,000 workers, but the opportunity always remains for expansion. More interestingly, the plant’s union status could be a future contention. No doubt the UAW will want to see it continue, but past issues with the union, and the need for strict quality control in an ultra-premium vehicle will likely not mesh well with the union’s mentality towards hiring and firing workers.
[Source: Autoblog Green]
Consumer watchdog, Consumer Reports has released its list of 2010 cars, which includes the Hyundai Accent and the Chevrolet Aveo, that do not come with the electronic stability control (ESC) safety feature.
A computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle’s stability by detecting and minimizing skids in a turn, electronic stability control will become a standard feature in all light-passenger vehicles come 2012. This category includes cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. According to Consumer Reports, the majority of manufacturers have already equipped their vehicles ahead of the mandate.
The list was a short one – only nine other cars managed to make the cut. Others on the list include the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Viper, Kia Rio, Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Scion tC.
But don’t worry if you’re in the market for a Hyundai Accent – it will have electronic stability control upgrade shortly. According to Hyundai spokesman Dan Bedore, “The Accent is our only non-ESC vehicle. It is also the oldest in our lineup. We continue to roll out new technologies as vehicles are freshened and replaced.” At this time, the Accent is the only current vehicle made by Hyundai that does not come with ESC.
[Source: Inside Line]
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announces 1,000th Tesla Roadster to be auctioned off, with proceeds going to environmental groups
Tesla has a significant presence at the Detroit Auto Show and shared its section of the show floor with such revered brands as Audi and Lotus. Displaying three models, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company’s latest project, the Model S, is expected to be on sale in two years.
This fully-electric luxury sedan has a range of up to 300 miles and can hit 60 mph in just over 6 seconds. With room for five adults and two children, Tesla has previously announced that it hopes to sell the Model S for a retail price of 49,900 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. Both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive versions are planned.
In addition to the Model S news, Tesla displayed a Roadster model (the company’s original car), that recently drove across America.
Finally, an additional Roadster model is the brand’s 1,000th vehicle produced. Musk announced that the car will be auctioned-off with the proceeds going to help several environmental groups.
GALLERY: Tesla Model S
Ahead of Tesla’s media event and press conference, set to be held today at noon Pacific Time, three images of the electric car company’s latest project have leaked onto the interwebs.
Two of the three photos depict a vehicle that looks alarmingly similar to Jaguar’s XF sedan – a car on which it might just be based. Remember, the Tesla Roadster is essentially a Lotus Elise underneath. We might even go so far as to say the Tesla model looks better than the Jag – especially with that stunning panoramic glass roof.
Oh… and those wheels are VERY SLR.
The third photo is of the incomplete interior of the car, with hi-tech looking gauges and what appears to be a large LCD screen for HVAC and Audio controls.
The new Model S from Tesla will be priced from $57,400 and be available for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
There is no word on what the specific powerpant will be in the Model S but we’ll be sure to bring you more details later today.