Archive for the ‘model s’ Category

Pared-down electric experience: Driving one of the first Model 3s off the line

July 29th, 2017

Tesla

FREMONT, CA—On Friday at Tesla’s factory, Ars got behind the wheel of one of the first Tesla Model 3s off the factory line. It was a quick, 5-minute guided drive around the factory, but it gave a quick impression of what may be Tesla’s most important car.

After all, Tesla has been working up to the launch of the Model 3 for years. CEO Elon Musk’s dream has been to build an affordably-priced electric vehicle for mass production, and he’s consistently framed the the Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X  as luxury vehicles destined to subsidize a lower-priced electric car for the masses.

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Tesla’s fastest charging stations claim upheld by ad watchdog

July 20th, 2016

(credit: Lee Hutchinson)

Tesla Motors’ charging stations for electric cars can be described as the fastest currently available in the world, the UK’s ad watchdog has ruled.

While there might be EV charging technology which might one day surpass Tesla’s stations, specifically the GB/T charger from the Chinese manufacturer GuoBiao, the American company was found to be unsurpassed in the current market.

The Advertising Standards Authority investigated two complaints from British green energy company Ecotricity—which operates a number of EV charging stations in the UK—about claims Tesla had made on its website in October last year.

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Four hundred miles with Tesla’s autopilot forced me to trust the machine

May 22nd, 2016

Enlarge / Supercharging at my usual stop in Columbus. (credit: Lee Hutchinson)

A few weeks ago, I finally tried Tesla Motors’ “autopilot” feature. A Tesla rep and I tooled around Houston’s I-45 in a Model X crossover SUV for 15 minutes, just long enough to test the vehicle’s adaptive cruise/automatic lane-keeping wizardry. Once I toggled on the autopilot, the rep relaxed by checking e-mail on her phone. This sent a clear message: keep an eye on the dumb journalist when he’s driving the $140,000 SUV, but once the machine takes over, everything’s fine.

As we pulled back into the showroom (or whatever Texas’ insane dealership protection laws demand Tesla call the places it’s not allowed to sell or service vehicles), I told the rep that I was driving to Austin soon; Autopilot would be just the thing for the long stretches of empty road out on I-10 and TX-71. Without missing a beat, she offered me a loaner Model S.

Ars has officially driven a Model S with autopilot before, but only under controlled circumstances. The Austin trip would let me take the car out for nearly four hundred miles of driving in a big mix of traffic scenarios. Plus, I’d get to log more cockpit time in a Tesla. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t?

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Posted in Cars Technica, Features, model s, p90d, self-driving car, Tesla, tesla autopilot, tesla model s, tesla motors | Comments (0)

Now you can wait out biological warfare in Tesla’s Model S

April 13th, 2016

On Tuesday, Tesla Motors said that it would be adding features to new Tesla Model S electric vehicles, including a HEPA filter that was previously only available on the Model X cars, as well as a new charger that will speed up charging time when the car is connected to higher-amperage sources.

Other new features include a similar front fascia to the Model X and adaptive headlights that turn in order to better light the path of the car on winding roads. “Figured Ash Wood” and “Dark Ash Wood” interior accents are also now available.

All these items now come standard on Tesla’s most popular luxury sedan in production.

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With $275M and counting in Model 3 pre-orders, how can Tesla handle that cash?

April 4th, 2016

A side view of the Model 3. (credit: Megan Geuss)

Tesla launched its low-cost Model 3 last week, and customers responded with a plethora of pre-orders. CEO Elon Musk has been tweeting updates on the early interest since, and here’s the latest missive available at press time:

Each of these pre-orders comes with a $1,000 down payment. Do the math, and you’ll find that Tesla is collecting something on the order of $300 million in pre-order commitments for a product not slated for delivery until the second half of 2017. How will Tesla’s accountants handle this cash influx in the face of potential cancellations and refunds?

Deferred revenues

Pre-order accounting is not a hard science. Tesla’s accountants and CFO Jason Wheeler have some options on how to treat this incoming cash. For example, it could be recorded as revenue up front and then held in a firm escrow account until actual products are delivered. This way, the pre-order cash would be barred from taking any part in Tesla’s business other than collecting some interest.

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Tesla Model S gets its own racing series: The Electric GT World Series

March 11th, 2016

The world’s first zero-emissions GT (road-car-based) racing championships will begin in 2017, and every single car on the grid will be a Tesla Model S P85+.

The new championships, called the Electric GT World Series, will have a seven-race season in 2017, with races in Europe, America, and Asia. It sounds like the organisers are still trying to nail down which tracks will be used, but the press release specifically mentions Barcelona, Donington (UK), Mugello (Italy), and Estoril (Portugal).

There will be 10 teams, and each team will field two modified Tesla Model S P85+ road cars. The power unit and its control software will remain unchanged from the standard road car (416hp, 601Nm), but changes will be made to the aerodynamics, suspension, and brakes to make it more suitable for racing. The car’s weight will also be reduced (presumably by tearing out unneeded upholstery and the like), and the battery’s cooling system will be improved so that the drivers can keep their foot on the throttle for longer.

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Tesla adds “ludicrous mode” to Model S, now goes 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds

July 17th, 2015

In a press call on Friday, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk announced some upgrades to the performance version of the Model S, specifically “ludicrous mode,” which, for an extra $10,000, will take the car from 0 to 60mph in 2.8 seconds.

That’s already half-a-second faster than the “McLaren F1-fast” Model S P85D that Ars reviewed in May, which offered an “insane mode.” When press asked Musk if he hoped this would generate additional sales for Tesla, Musk responded, “I have no idea. We are just trying to make awesome cars,” according to MarketWatch. (A reporter apparently asked Musk what comes after “ludicrous mode,” and he said Tesla watchers won’t see that level until the company’s next-generation roadster in four years—which will come with “maximum plaid.”)

In addition, new purchasers of Tesla Model S cars will have the option to upgrade their car with a 90kWh battery pack (up from 85kWh standard) for an extra $3,000. Musk said that this will give the car an additional 15 miles of range at 65mph. MarketWatch said that Musk called the 90kWh battery “important for the Model X SUV,” which is anticipated in the coming year.

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Review: Tesla’s new Model S P85D—double your engines, double your fun

May 24th, 2015

In its December 1997 issue, Road & Track published the first US road test of the otherworldly McLaren F1. The issue became one of the most famous in R&T’s history due to the 12+ page review of a car that the stateside automotive press hadn’t yet had a chance to spend a few days of unchaperoned time. The daily-driver details about the famous 240mph Lamborghini destroyer inspired true awe. The review, done with a privately owned F1 on loan to the magazine, contained superlative after superlative. The F1’s 627bhp BMW-built V-12 could rocket the car from 60 miles per hour to 160 miles per hour in the time it took to pour a glass of water.

“Surely,” I thought as I read and re-read the review with the fervor that only a teenage boy could have for the hottest of hot cars, “I’ll go my whole life and never get the chance to drive anything even remotely that fast.”

Turns out I was wrong—I had to wait 18 years.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric cars, electric vehicle, Elon Musk, Features, Gadgetology, model s, model s p85d, review, Tesla, tesla model s, tesla motors | Comments (0)

Bill to allow Tesla to sell cars in Texas dies in committee

May 21st, 2015

In a turn of events that isn’t terribly surprising, a bill to allow Tesla Motors to sell cars directly to consumers in Texas has failed to make it to the floor, with various state representatives offering excuses about not wanting to “piss off all the auto dealers.”

The Lone Star State’s notoriously anti-Tesla stance—one of the strongest in the nation—is in many ways the direct legacy of powerful lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Gene Fondren, who spent much of his life ensuring that the Texas Automobile Dealers Association’s wishes were railroaded through the Texas legislature.

That legacy is alive and well, with Texas lawmakers refusing to pass bills in 2013 and again in 2015 to allow Tesla to sell to consumers. Per the state’s franchise laws, auto manufacturers like Tesla are only allowed to sell cars to independent third-party dealers. These laws were originally intended to protect consumers against the possibility of automakers colluding on pricing; today, though, they function as protectionist shields for the entrenched political interests of car dealers and their powerful state- and nationwide lobbyist organizations.

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Tesla Motors bumps Model S battery to 70kWh minimum, goes AWD by default

April 8th, 2015

Tesla Motors has announced a change to its electric-powered Model S line-up: the Model S 60 is out, and the Model S 70D is in. The entry-level Model S sedan now comes equipped with a 70kWh battery (up from 60kWh) and dual motors. The configuration change extends the range of the least-expensive Model S to an EPA-rated 240 miles (about 386km), and also increases the car’s effective power to 329bhp (up from 302bhp for the RWD 60kWh version).

“Entry-level” should still be enclosed in quotes, since the pricing is still targeted firmly at the luxury market—the new 70D carries a starting sticker price of $75,000. This is a bump from the 60 kWh version’s starting price of $69,900. In the United States, all of the varieties of Model S remain eligible for the US government’s $7,500 federal tax credit, and many states offer additional electric vehicle incentives on top of that which further reduce the effective costs.

The model change comes on the back of a strong first quarter for Tesla Motors, with the electric car maker selling a total of 10,030 cars during the first three months of 2015—although the company still faces strong legislative challenges to its direct sales model in a number of US states (including most lately West Virginia). It also means that all three Model S configurations displayed by default on Tesla’s store page are dual-motor AWD—you can still order a rear-wheel-drive Model S 85, but the option must be manually selected.

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