The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:27:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/electric-vehicles-2/ Consumer Reports Rates ‘Imperfect’ Car With Perfect Score http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/consumer-reports-rates-imperfect-car-perfect-score/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/consumer-reports-rates-imperfect-car-perfect-score/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154009 Consumer Reports says that Tesla’s Model S P85D initially scored 103 points out of a possible 100, which initially “broke” their rating system. Consumer Reports adjusted the overall score to 100, and said that the Model S P85D wasn’t perfect, but that it was very good: To be clear, the Tesla’s 100 score doesn’t make […]

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Tesla P85D Backside

Consumer Reports says that Tesla’s Model S P85D initially scored 103 points out of a possible 100, which initially “broke” their rating system.

Consumer Reports adjusted the overall score to 100, and said that the Model S P85D wasn’t perfect, but that it was very good:

To be clear, the Tesla’s 100 score doesn’t make the P85D a perfect car—even at $127,820. It has imperfections. The interior materials aren’t as opulent as other high-ticket automobiles, and its ride is firmer and louder than our base Model S.

What’s more, a lengthy road trip in an electric car with a 200-plus mile range can be a logistical hurdle if a quick-charging station isn’t along your route.

It’s also important to note that our Rating doesn’t include the Tesla’s reliability. The Model S has average reliability, according to our owner-survey responses.

The Model S P85D sports upgrades beyond the Model S, including “insane” and “ludicrous” speed modes that can propel the car from 0-60 in fewer than 3 seconds.

Previously, the Model S was the highest-rated car Consumer Reports had ever tested. The 1996 Porsche Boxster also scored a “perfect” 100 almost 20 years ago.

Consumer Reports said that the 103 score and its subsequent re-scoring of 100 wouldn’t impact other cars’ ratings.

“This car is not perfect in every single way,” said Jake Fisher, Auto Test Director for Consumer Reports. “It doesn’t fit in the rest of the automotive marketplace.”

Fisher added that the scoring system was “non-linear,” meaning cars wouldn’t need to accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 3 seconds to score well on the test.

According to the testers, the Model S P85D’s interior shortcomings and initial buyer satisfaction were more-than compensated by the car’s performance and fuel economy, which are both greater than the Model S.

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At This Price, Nissan Just May As Well Pay You For a New Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152793 I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby. Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan […]

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2011 Nissan LEAF

I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby.

Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan Leaf one of the least expensive new cars in America is fascinating.

Right now, Leaf buyers in Colorado can receive the following perks: a $7,500 federal rebate, around $5,000 back from the state of Colorado, and $5,000 from Nissan if you finance your purchase through them. (Georgia, West Virginia and Connecticut are pretty high as well.)

All told, that’s $17,500 back in Colorado on a car that starts at $29,860 ($850 destination included) and your price — before negotiations with the dealer — is $12,360, if your shirt is starched, teeth are white and you max out rebates.

I called up a local Nissan dealer to confirm the details and after a little bit of checking (and a lot of trying to sell me on a lease) she confirmed I could score a Nissan for severely cheap.

FYI: A Mitsubishi Mirage starts at $12,995.

The financing rebate ends at the end of August, and Colorado’s $6,000 incentive (which is the highest in the nation) can’t last forever.

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Interest in Hybrid Cars the Same, But Not When Money is Involved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/interest-in-hybrid-cars-the-same-but-not-when-money-is-involved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/interest-in-hybrid-cars-the-same-but-not-when-money-is-involved/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150945 Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 […]

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2014-b-class-electric-drive-3

Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.

According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.

Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.

Jeff Aiosa, who owns a Mercedes dealership in New London, Connecticut, said his electrified B-Class cars weren’t going anywhere until that state started offering money directly to consumers to buy one.

“We weren’t selling them heavily before,” Aiosa told Automotive News. “The program certainly created some amped-up demand.”

Connecticut is offering money off the cars directly from a $1 million fund aimed at moving cars off lots. The state is putting up to $3,000 on the hoods of some cars, depending on battery size, to incentive purchases of hybrids and electric cars. Through July, about one-quarter of the incentive money available had been claimed.

“This is the type of program that can be a win-win-win for the state, auto manufacturers, dealers and consumers,” said Leo Karl, who owns a Chevrolet dealership. Karl said he was nearly out of 2015 Volts, which qualify for $1,500 from the program, and expects that the 2016 Volt, which will qualify for $3,000, will go quickly too.

Interestingly, part of the Connecticut program allows dealers who sell the cars to keep up to $300 of the incentive.

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Tesla’s Second Stock Sale Nets $738M for Automaker http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/teslas-second-stock-sale-nets-738m-automaker/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/teslas-second-stock-sale-nets-738m-automaker/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148929 Tesla’s second stock offering netted the automaker $738 million in cash for its Gigafactory, Model 3 development, and dealer and service upgrades, Bloomberg is reporting. Banks exercised their options to buy more stock than the initial $500 million estimate, with underwriters Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs buying more than 2 million of the available 3.1 […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

Tesla’s second stock offering netted the automaker $738 million in cash for its Gigafactory, Model 3 development, and dealer and service upgrades, Bloomberg is reporting.

Banks exercised their options to buy more stock than the initial $500 million estimate, with underwriters Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs buying more than 2 million of the available 3.1 million shares. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he would be interested in buying $20 million worth of shares in the offering.

(Before the stock offering, the banking arms of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs loaned Musk a combined $475 million, to which Musk pays market rate and is separate from their investment divisions, according to the offering.)

Shares of Tesla were down more than 3 percent in Thursday trading to $245.

The second offering is aimed at helping the company invest in capital projects that have sapped the company of cash. Its massive battery factory in Nevada, dubbed Gigafactory, and development costs for its lower-priced sedan, the Model 3, have cost the company money, Musk said.

After the company reported substantial losses in the second quarter of 2015, analysts calculated that Tesla lost around $4,000 on each car it sold.

Despite that, a Morgan Stanley analyst said Tesla stock could be massively undervalued, in part, because the company could develop an autonomous ride-sharing business with its electric cars.

Tesla is preparing to ship to dealers its Model X, which is the company’s third vehicle.

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Aston Martin CEO Throws Rocks at Glass House, From Glass House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/aston-martin-ceo-throws-rocks-glass-house-glass-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/aston-martin-ceo-throws-rocks-glass-house-glass-house/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148665 Gearing up to sell its own four-door, all-electric sedan in a couple years, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told well-heeled listeners in Monterey, California that Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” was plain ol’ dumb, Automotive News reported. “We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said. (But selling a variation of a four-door Aston Martin […]

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AstonMartinRapide

Gearing up to sell its own four-door, all-electric sedan in a couple years, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told well-heeled listeners in Monterey, California that Tesla’s “Ludicrous Speed” was plain ol’ dumb, Automotive News reported.

“We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said.

(But selling a variation of a four-door Aston Martin that’s been on sale for 6 years with a 200-mile range for $200,000 to $250,000? That’s genius.)

Palmer also described Aston Martin’s upcoming DBX, an all-wheel drive crossover four-door that could go on sale as early as 2019. That car could be offered as a plug-in hybrid, an all-gasoline model and eventually as an all-electric vehicle, according to the report.

Few details about the all-electric Rapide were made available, however. The four-door sedan could boast around 800 horsepower and a 200-mile range.

Aston Martin currently sells the gasoline Rapide for just over $200,000 in the U.S. Tesla’s Model S P85D with Ludicrous Speed update costs $118,000 before incentives.

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Audi’s First All-electric Car Will Be a Model X Fighter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/audis-first-electric-car-will-model-x-fighter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/audis-first-electric-car-will-model-x-fighter/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145761 Audi’s first production electric car will be a crossover to fight the Tesla Model X, the German luxury carmaker said Wednesday. Concept drawings and initial specifications released by Audi detailed their crossover that is powered by three electric motors — borrowed from its R8 e-tron concept car — with a proposed range of over 300 miles. […]

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Audi’s first production electric car will be a crossover to fight the Tesla Model X, the German luxury carmaker said Wednesday.

Concept drawings and initial specifications released by Audi detailed their crossover that is powered by three electric motors — borrowed from its R8 e-tron concept car — with a proposed range of over 300 miles. According to Audi, the crossover, which is called the “e-tron quattro concept,” would slot between the company’s 182.6-inch Q5 and 200.3-inch Q7. Tesla’s Model X is 197 inches long.

The crossover’s lithium-ion battery would give the car a range more than 300 miles.

The crossover will make its first appearance at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month.

According to Audi, the SUV would be incredibly slippery. Its 0.25 coefficient of drag would be the same as a Toyota Prius. The car would use moveable aerodynamic elements in front, on its sides and at the rear of the car. In addition to moveable aero, the crossover will have a completely flat underside.

Audi e-tron quattro concept – Exterior Sketch – Rear Audi e-tron quattro concept – Cockpit Sketch Audi e-tron quattro concept – OLED-based operating and display Audi e-tron quattro concept – Headlight with e-tron light sign A157360_large

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Cadillac Will Have Diesel Engines in US http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-will-diesel-engines-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-will-diesel-engines-us/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 20:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145481 Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen said future Cadillac cars in the U.S. will have diesel powertrains, Automotive News is reporting (via Autoblog). De Nysschen told journalists that oil burners would make their way to the States after they’re launched in Europe, presumably around 2019. He said engineers at Cadillac were working on 4- and 6-cylinder models, but […]

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2016 Cadillac XT5

Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen said future Cadillac cars in the U.S. will have diesel powertrains, Automotive News is reporting (via Autoblog).

De Nysschen told journalists that oil burners would make their way to the States after they’re launched in Europe, presumably around 2019. He said engineers at Cadillac were working on 4- and 6-cylinder models, but wouldn’t specify what cars those engines would power.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes offer diesel power plants in their compact or mid-size sedans that would compete with the theoretical Cadillac.

In January, de Nysschen said as much, “If you want to play in Europe, you better have some diesels,” he told Reuters.

It wouldn’t be the first foray into diesels for Cadillac, Automotive News points out, but perhaps it’ll be a less smoky one.

Cadillac has shown off a hybrid CT6, but it’s unclear how electrification would play into Cadillac’s future plans.

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Saab is the Automotive Kiss of Death, Apparently http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/saab-automotive-kiss-death-apparently/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/saab-automotive-kiss-death-apparently/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1145401 The resurrected Swedish automaker producing electric 9-3s with a Saab badge signed an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Corporation to help stay afloat, GoAuto in Australia is reporting. National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Chinese company that purchased the remains of Saab after its parent company Spyker went bankrupt, announced that it would distribute electric cars in China […]

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saab-9-3-aero-sedan-my14-09-1

The resurrected Swedish automaker producing electric 9-3s with a Saab badge signed an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Corporation to help stay afloat, GoAuto in Australia is reporting.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the Chinese company that purchased the remains of Saab after its parent company Spyker went bankrupt, announced that it would distribute electric cars in China with automotive giant Dongfeng and add a production facility there, the report details.

In return, NEVS will supply Dongfeng with engineering standards to help it meet safety standards in Europe and North America.

It certainly has been a bumpy road for Saab.

State-owned Dongfeng has a slew of joint ventures with other automakers, including Nissan, Honda and PSA in China.

According to the report, Dongfeng will open a production facility in Tianjin, China to build the Swedish electric cars. Production of the electric 9-3s halted last year when Saab couldn’t pay suppliers.

Dongfeng is apparently unfazed by Saab’s record since the turn of the 21st century.

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Analyst: Tesla Could Surge with Autonomous Ride Sharing Biz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/analyst-tesla-surge-autonomous-ride-sharing-biz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/analyst-tesla-surge-autonomous-ride-sharing-biz/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144945 Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday. Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing […]

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2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday.

Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing service by as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported.

It’s at least the third time that Jonas has publicly pumped Tesla’s stock.

Jonas says that Tesla’s future could be in part-time car ownership or autonomous sharing, which could position the carmaker with the likes of Apple or Google who may be building cars for those purposes.

Jonas dubbed the prospective venture “Tesla Mobility” although the automaker hasn’t publicly shared plans for that kind of service. Jonas said the automaker could make public plans for a ride-sharing program in 12 to 18 months, with a launch shortly after the mid-size Model 3 in 2017. He predicted that Tesla could launch a fully autonomous, ride sharing program in roughly 10 years.

Before people could split payments for robot cars, Jonas says that there would be two phases: a semi-autonomous phase and then a nearly completely autonomous phase before launching a fully driver-less car in 2025.

Jonas asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the program earlier this month during an earnings call and Musk was predictably tight-lipped:

Jonas: First question: Steve Jurvetson was recently quoted saying that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told him that if by 2020 Tesla’s cars are autonomous, that he’d want to buy all of them. Is this a real, I mean, forget the 2020 for a moment, but is this a real business opportunity for Tesla? Supplying cars to ridesharing firms, or does Tesla just cut out the middleman and sell on-demand, electric mobility services directly from the company on its own platform?

Musk: That’s an insightful question.

Jonas: You don’t have to answer it.

Musk: I don’t think I should answer it.

Jonas: Sometimes you can tell more from the non-answer than from the answer.

Shares of Tesla were up 1.5 percent in early trading Tuesday to $259.05.

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England Studying “Charge As You Drive” Inductive Charging Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/england-studying-charge-as-you-drive-inductive-charging-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/england-studying-charge-as-you-drive-inductive-charging-roads/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 17:45:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143369 The British government is continuing on with a study of inductive charging on England’s busy A roads a reality, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo). Feasibility of the technology hasn’t been fully proven as of yet, but England is getting one step closer by tendering bids for off-road trials. If off-road trials are successful, you might […]

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M4 Motorway England, UK

The British government is continuing on with a study of inductive charging on England’s busy A roads a reality, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo).

Feasibility of the technology hasn’t been fully proven as of yet, but England is getting one step closer by tendering bids for off-road trials. If off-road trials are successful, you might be able to drive long distances across the UK without needing to stop to recharge. The trials are expected to take 18 months from 2016 to 2017.

Elon, you might soon lose your killer app.

The technology has been used in the past in England and elsewhere to provide electricity for public transportation fleets. In Milton Keynes, metal plates were installed in the road to inductively charge buses, but those vehicles must stop in order to receive an electrical top up.

The long-term plan to install the technology in public roads might come to a halt even if the technology itself is proven to work in off-road trials. The cost to implement it on British roads combined with advances in battery technology may negate its viability.

However, this does open up the possibility of a whole new class of vehicle — that of the battery-less EV — which would likely be much more efficient as less mass would need motivation. Also, just imagine how roomy it would make the autonomous pods of the future.

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Elon Musk’s $500 Million Moonshot, and it’s Not About Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/elon-musks-500-million-moonshot-not-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/elon-musks-500-million-moonshot-not-cars/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:03:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141258 Tesla filed Thursday to sell nearly $500 million in shares of its company to raise capital and cover investments the electric carmaker plans to make in the future. According to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the proceeds will go toward the company’s planned investments in the Model 3, Supercharger network and […]

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tesladeal

Tesla filed Thursday to sell nearly $500 million in shares of its company to raise capital and cover investments the electric carmaker plans to make in the future.

According to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the proceeds will go toward the company’s planned investments in the Model 3, Supercharger network and its Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada.

By the book, the stock sale is a short-term pain for long-term gain. Exposing Tesla further to the market carries certain risk, especially considering Tesla’s price growth and relative upside-down balance sheet, but if historical stock prices are any indication, it’ll be a cash cow. Elon Musk asking to buy $20 million in his own stock has pumped up the prices too beyond any distillation worries.

But don’t be mistaken: the second stock sale isn’t really about the cars.

Tesla’s long-term plans certainly aren’t to sell cars at a $4,000 loss per vehicle. And if you had asked Ford or General Motors 120 years ago if they’d rather be in the consumer vehicle business or the consumer energy business, Exxon and Chevron consistently rank in Forbes most profitable businesses — Ford and GM do not.

A spokesman for Tesla said their only comment on the stock sale is what is included in the prospectus. Specifically outlined in the prospectus is capital expenditures for Tesla including the Model 3, Supercharger network, service, stores — and its Gigafactory. So it’s clear that cars factor into the short-term future for Tesla.

But churning a profit by 2020 may include more than just selling cars at a loss and so far, Tesla has been run like an idea factory and marketing agencynot a car business.

If Musk can convince the world that harvesting and storing your own power is a good idea, would Tesla get out of the car business entirely? Or is this an automotive dream Elon is willing to captain to the bottom of the sea should Tesla cars continue to anchor the company with thousands of dollars in losses per unit for the foreseeable future?

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The California Air Resources Board, the Automakers, and You http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138418 Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker. […]

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Mary Nichols

Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker.

The state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 is met by an equally ambitious — and onerous — goal for automakers: don’t sell new cars with internal combustion engines in California by 2030.

“If the federal government can’t get it right, we in Cal­ifornia are going to take care of busi­ness,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in an April speech.

Brown tabbed Nichols to run the air quality board during his first stint as California governor in the late 1970s and then rehired her when he was elected to the position again a few years ago.

In her first run, the story points out, Nichols forced automakers to put catalytic converters on their cars to cut down on smog in California cities. General Motors said it would sink them. It didn’t. (Eds note: The Citation did.) 

Now, before the ambitious 2030 goal, Nichols is forcing automakers to comply with her rules — even if it costs them millions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne famously told people not to buy his Fiat 500e because it cost him $10,000.

What’s more, Nichols has the ear of the feds and emerging countries on how best to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases and it could force automakers’ hands into quickly building cars that would comply with more stringent standards. Her policies have scale, too: California is the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Under current rules, zero-emission vehicles sales would need to ramp up in California by 2018, with the eventual goal of having 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2022, although the automakers have been stockpiling a significant amount of credits to offset that.

Bloomberg’s excellent profile, paired with the LA Times’ in-depth look at Nichols last year, draw a picture of the woman who may further upend the automotive world in the next decade.

Neither story directly forecast how the regulations she’s helping bring forward would impact consumers, but a cursory look at the history of how automakers complied with regulations she worked on (at least, in part) 40 years ago reads like a list of carmaker “must-haves” today: catalytic converters, fuel injection, unleaded fuel, ECUs and oxygen sensors.

(Photo courtesy California Air Resources Board)

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Audi’s Plug-in Hybrid A3 Will Start at $38,825, On Sale in October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/audis-plug-in-hybrid-a3-will-start-at-38825-on-sale-in-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/audis-plug-in-hybrid-a3-will-start-at-38825-on-sale-in-october/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 17:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137026 Audi announced this week that its plug-in hybrid version of the A3, dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron, will go on sale in October and cost $38,825 to start — $47,725 in Prestige trim — before federal and state incentives. The car, which combines an 8.8 kWh battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will make a […]

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Audi announced this week that its plug-in hybrid version of the A3, dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron, will go on sale in October and cost $38,825 to start — $47,725 in Prestige trim — before federal and state incentives.

The car, which combines an 8.8 kWh battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will make a combined 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy and range for all-electric driving hasn’t been announced by the automaker, although some reports peg the EV range at 30 miles.

The A3 plug-in hybrid will be the first Audi to run (at least partially) on electricity in the States.

The plug-in A3 starts at roughly $7,000 more than the base A3 sedan and about $4,700 more than the diesel A3 sedan. The e-tron is only available in front-wheel drive configuration.

Audi says that the car would take about eight hours to charge on a standard 120-volt outlet or just over two hours on a 240-volt outlet. An optional residential solar panel program, featured on the automaker’s online configurator, and carbon-credit program is available for the car. The automaker didn’t specifically detail either program in its announcement.

According to the automaker, more e-tron vehicles will be released in the U.S. but those haven’t been announced.

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Report: Tesla Losing $4,000 on Each Car, and is Burning Cash Faster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-tesla-losing-4000-on-each-car-and-is-burning-cash-faster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-tesla-losing-4000-on-each-car-and-is-burning-cash-faster/#comments Sun, 09 Aug 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136986 After Tesla Motors announced last week that it had lost $184 million in the second quarter of this year on lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model, analysts say the company could have a bumpier road ahead if it can’t raise cash soon. According to a Reuters report, Tesla […]

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After Tesla Motors announced last week that it had lost $184 million in the second quarter of this year on lower vehicle deliveries and higher spending on its factory ahead of a new model, analysts say the company could have a bumpier road ahead if it can’t raise cash soon.

According to a Reuters report, Tesla is losing $4,000 on each car it sells, and the company’s ability to raise capital could be severely hampered by its spending now and its inability to create positive cash flow in a luxury market that is extremely favorable.

“A capital raise, given the way they’re burning cash today, given the fact that they have future investment needs, seems very likely at some point,” UBS Securities analyst Colin Langan told Reuters.

Despite favorable press and an extremely effective marketing plan, Tesla has only one profitable quarter in its history and the automaker doesn’t project a cash-positive year until 2020.

Tesla’s stock tumbled more than 10 percent Thursday after the announcement and closed Friday still down around 10 percent from its one-week high.

The story points out that Tesla has had tough times before. In 2012, Tesla CEO Elon Musk steered the company out of a cash crunch and renegotiated a federal loan and sold shares of the company to raise money ahead of the Model S launch.

Musk faces a similar quandary now, ahead of the Model X launch, but with a challenged budget sheet, significantly higher investments in production and more competition in the market.

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BMW CEO Confirms There Are Numbers Between 3 and 8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-ceo-confirms-numbers-3-8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bmw-ceo-confirms-numbers-3-8/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136250 In addition to the battery-powered (or is it a hybrid?) i3 and i8 cars, BMW may build an electrified X3-sized crossover, 5-series sedan and perhaps a larger Tesla Model X-sized SUV in its “i” car range, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. The speculation comes from BMW chief Harald Krueger who said there was room in […]

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2015 BMW i3 orange

In addition to the battery-powered (or is it a hybrid?) i3 and i8 cars, BMW may build an electrified X3-sized crossover, 5-series sedan and perhaps a larger Tesla Model X-sized SUV in its “i” car range, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.

The speculation comes from BMW chief Harald Krueger who said there was room in the “i” range for something else.

“Between the i3 and the i8, there is space if you look at it from the number point of view,” Harald Krueger said in an interview with the German newspaper F.A.S.

Precisely four numbers are between 3 and 8. Let’s speculate!

Perhaps it was a foregone conclusion that BMW would expand its “i” range of cars with other models, such as an electrified SUV or crossover. The Model X goes on sale next month and other German automakers are already preparing for plug-in or electric versions of their cars.

The Detroit Bureau says the X3-sized electric crossover i5 (or maybe it’ll be a 5 Series-sized sedan?) will go on sale in 2017, and there may be more to come.

Of course, BMW could just fold up the “i” brand and assimilate their tech into the current naming convention and then we’d all have less to talk about. Maybe.

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Volkswagen Selling e-Golf SE in August, Targets Nissan Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/volkswagen-selling-e-golf-se-august-targets-nissan-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/volkswagen-selling-e-golf-se-august-targets-nissan-leaf/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135890 A lower priced e-Golf will directly compete with the Nissan Leaf for sub-$30,000 electric car buyers, the automaker announced Wednesday. The e-Golf SE will start at $29,815, before federal and any available state incentives, which is nearly the same price as a Leaf S, Autoblog correctly pointed out. The e-Golf has a range of around 83 miles. […]

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf 3

A lower priced e-Golf will directly compete with the Nissan Leaf for sub-$30,000 electric car buyers, the automaker announced Wednesday.

The e-Golf SE will start at $29,815, before federal and any available state incentives, which is nearly the same price as a Leaf S, Autoblog correctly pointed out. The e-Golf has a range of around 83 miles.

The Leaf has sold nearly 11,000 copies since the beginning of 2015.

The SE trim will have a smaller, 6.5-inch touchscreen, compared to the SEL’s 8-inch model. Additionally, the e-Golf SE will only have a 3.6 kW onboard charger as standard. A 7.2 kW DC fast charger will be available later in the year for the model.

The Leaf S has an available quick charge package that boosts capacity to 6.6 kW for $1,770.

The Golf SE should be arriving in dealerships later this month, Volkswagen said.

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Apparently All Cars Can Be Hacked Now: Tesla Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-tesla-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/apparently-cars-can-hacked-now-tesla-edition/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 16:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135386 Two men say they’ve managed to shut off a Tesla Model S at low speeds, proving that no car is actually safe on the streets anymore and we should all go back to driving Chevrolet Vegas. The hack, which was reported by the Financial Times and detailed exhaustively by Wired, requires physical access to the […]

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2013-Tesla-Model-S-Rear

Two men say they’ve managed to shut off a Tesla Model S at low speeds, proving that no car is actually safe on the streets anymore and we should all go back to driving Chevrolet Vegas.

The hack, which was reported by the Financial Times and detailed exhaustively by Wired, requires physical access to the car’s infotainment system to exploit the vulnerability. The car can then be remotely disabled.

Similar to hackers who recently said they could start and stop OnStar-enabled vehicles, the two men who broke into Tesla’s software said they presented their findings to the automaker and Tesla released a patch for its cars Thursday. Last month, a vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Uconnect system forced the automaker to recall 1.4 million cars.

The hackers say they are presenting their findings at the annual Def Con Hacking Conference, which begins Thursday. The hackers praised Tesla for a robust gateway between the car’s vulnerable systems and the computers that control vital functions such as steering, brakes and throttle.

At speeds lower than 5 mph, when Tesla cars lose power, the vehicles are stopped using the car’s handbrake. At speeds higher than 5 mph, the cars are put into neutral and steering and airbags still remain functional.

“That in itself I think is a huge achievement that I’d like to call Tesla out for,” Marc Rogers, chief researcher for CloudFare, told Wired. “This is a directly contrasting story to the Jeep story … Tesla had actually thought about the ramifications about what might happen and had designed the car to handle it gracefully and be safe … in such a way that catastrophic (failure) would not happen.”

The duo say that they’re using the hack to showcase how little attention some automakers have given to security.

“Early in the industry you have this kind of weird lemming effect, that if nobody does security well, they all kind of jump off the cliff simultaneously,” said Kevin Mahaffey, who is the chief technical officer for mobile security firm Lookout, told Wired. “And if there are one or two companies that are actually doing it well, then shining the light on them … helps raise the overall bar for the entire industry.”

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Formula E as an Olympic Sport? Probably Not http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/formula-e-olympic-sport-probably-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/formula-e-olympic-sport-probably-not/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 22:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133841 Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track). The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched […]

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Richard Branson, his Virgin Racing Formula E team, and the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders

Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track).

The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched the idea to Olympic organizers and offered the Formula E cars for competition.

Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve said he would “definitely” participate and added that 30 years ago tennis wasn’t part of the Olympic program, but now it’s a staple.

But that’s not even the best part.

In the story, organizers speculate on a possible procedure for the event. Three drivers from each country would be nominated for competition: i.e. Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg from Germany; Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Will Stevens for the U.K.; Felipe Massa, Felipe Nasr and probably someone named Piquet from Brazil.

(America would presumably hold open tryouts in non-consecutive weekends until our losing team could be selected.)

Anyway, that is a fun game.

It wouldn’t be the first time motorsport would be at the Olympics. In 1900, motorsports were a demonstration game in the Paris Olympics, alongside ballooning, lawn bowling and possibly cannon firing.

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Battery Tech – Not Better Range – Is Why We Should Be Excited about Chevrolet Volt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/battery-tech-not-better-range-excited-chevrolet-volt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/battery-tech-not-better-range-excited-chevrolet-volt/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 20:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133705 Chevrolet announced Tuesday that its new 2016 Volt would extend its all-electric range from 38 miles to 53 miles, which is a 40-percent improvement and would satisfy more than 90 percent of normal drives. The feat itself would put the Volt on par with many all-electric commuters, whose normal range is anywhere from 60 to […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet announced Tuesday that its new 2016 Volt would extend its all-electric range from 38 miles to 53 miles, which is a 40-percent improvement and would satisfy more than 90 percent of normal drives.

The feat itself would put the Volt on par with many all-electric commuters, whose normal range is anywhere from 60 to 90 miles. Of course, the Volt packs with it a 1.5-liter turbocharged four cylinder that bumps that range up to more than 400 miles, but that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s talk about the batteries.

On paper, the Volt’s new battery capacity is 18.4 kWh compared to last generation’s 16.5 kWh — an only 11 percent increase in capacity. Even further, there’s 96 fewer cells in the 2016 Volt compared to the current model and the batteries themselves are 20 pounds lighter.

So where does the 40-percent bump in range come from? Better batteries and a better approach.

Chevrolet has steadily improved its batteries in the Volt since the car came out in 2011 — 16 kWh to 16.5 kWh — but the bump to 18.4 kWh would be the largest improvement in six years to overall storage. Chevrolet has put the car on a diet, too, and that signals a change for the automaker from previous years.

The overall weight of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt is down 250 pounds over the current car (3,543 pounds vs. 3,781 pounds) and 100 pounds of that alone comes from slimmer energy storage.

All the little things — plus big improvements in battery tech — have equaled a 38-percent increase in EV range in six years and the car still costs $33,995, which is only $453 more than the average new car price in the United States. Range wars may become the new horsepower wars.

Almost two years ago, GM announced it was tripling its investment in its battery labs. It appears that investment is starting to pay off.

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Spyker Emerges from Bankruptcy Charged with Enthusiasm http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/spyker-emerges-from-bankruptcy-charged-with-enthusiasm/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/spyker-emerges-from-bankruptcy-charged-with-enthusiasm/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131465 Spyker — the former Saab owner, F1 contender, and builder of aircraft-inspired supercars — has emerged from moratorium and plans to merge with Portland, Oregon electric aircraft manufacturer Volta Volare, said the company in a release on Thursday. As part of Spyker’s future plans, electrification seems to be the common theme, whether it be for […]

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Spyker C12 Zagato (courtesy zcars.com.au)

Spyker — the former Saab owner, F1 contender, and builder of aircraft-inspired supercars — has emerged from moratorium and plans to merge with Portland, Oregon electric aircraft manufacturer Volta Volare, said the company in a release on Thursday.

As part of Spyker’s future plans, electrification seems to be the common theme, whether it be for airplanes or automobiles. Now silver-tongued Skyper CEO, Victor Muller, only needs to find an electric train company to complete the set for a modern movie remake.

In a statement posted on the Spyker website, Muller stated:

After winning a long legal battle with just one creditor, we have now finally succeeded in exiting moratorium and we are back in business as a healthy, debt free enterprise. In the coming weeks we will finalize the agreements with investors which were held up for over two month by the protracted litigation. But true to our logo “nulla tenaci invia est via” (for the tenacious no road is impassable) we have persevered and we can now move on and pursue our ambitious goals including the merger with Portland, Oregon based electric aircraft manufacturer Volta Volare.

In summary, Spyker is back with a vengeance and we look forward to a bright future for the company I founded 15 years ago and which is now set to build sensationally elegant and classy (electric) motorcars and electric planes for decades to come.

Spyker’s new partner, Volta Volare, has one aircraft — the GT4 — that was announced in 2012 with test flights to start that spring. However, we have been unable to verify if any test flights ever took place.

While the news seems rosy at first, I doubt this is the last we will hear of Spyker’s woes.

 

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Whoa, Don’t Get Amped About Your Free Model X Just Yet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/whoa-dont-get-amped-free-model-x-yet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/whoa-dont-get-amped-free-model-x-yet/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130529 Yesterday, we reported that in a sales call, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced a referral program that could, possibly, maybe net one free Model X for someone who referred 10 new buyers. The qualifications for getting the free car: Refer 10 buyers by Oct. 31 and be the first in your “region” to do so. […]

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Tesla Model S Center Stage

Yesterday, we reported that in a sales call, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced a referral program that could, possibly, maybe net one free Model X for someone who referred 10 new buyers.

The qualifications for getting the free car: Refer 10 buyers by Oct. 31 and be the first in your “region” to do so.

Turns out “region” doesn’t mean what we think it does.

According to a Tesla spokesman, “region” in this case means “country.” As in, apparently, one (1) Model X will be awarded to a single (1) person in the U.S. for referring 10 new Model S buyers.

In case you’re wondering, the U.S. is a larger market for Tesla than the next nine countries combined.

So if you live in Switzerland, it may be a good deal to get your friends to buy a Tesla and score your own for free. If you live in Dallas, however, you should probably line up your friends at the “dealership” today.

Lesson: Elon Musk is really, really good at marketing.

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Senate Committee Approves Bill to Help Detroit Make Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129497 A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting. The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside […]

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Chevrolet_Tahoe_Hybrid_O'Malley_--_01-12-2010

A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.

The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.

Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal.

The proposal, which will now head to the Senate, faces an extremely difficult future. The bipartisan bill, which was sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Michigan Democrat Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, may be a long shot in the Republican-controlled House — if it makes it that far.

Separately, a bill that Peters introduced that would allow states to use highway funding to help advance road-to-vehicle communications, passed the Senate as part of a larger transportation package. The bill, called the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 says what it does and does what it says will be part of the Senate’s larger 6-year highway funding package.

Along with the Vehicle Innovation Act, the “smart road” provision and larger funding bill won’t be taken up by the House anytime soon. Congress is working toward a 3-month stopgap measure and will take up the larger spending packages after its August recess.

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Refer 10 New Tesla X Buyers, Get Your Tesla Model X for Free http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/refer-10-new-tesla-x-buyers-get-tesla-model-x-free/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/refer-10-new-tesla-x-buyers-get-tesla-model-x-free/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129465 Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk told press Wednesday that people who refer 10 people to buy the company’s new Model X would get one for free, Mashable is reporting (via Car and Driver). The caveats: You need to be the first in your region to refer 10 people (we have no idea on what “regions” mean, […]

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk told press Wednesday that people who refer 10 people to buy the company’s new Model X would get one for free, Mashable is reporting (via Car and Driver).

The caveats: You need to be the first in your region to refer 10 people (we have no idea on what “regions” mean, we asked) and you’d need to do it by Oct. 31.

Despite how you feel about Tesla, the company is proving that an automaker can be run like a tech startup and not a car company.

The incentive is part of a larger program that Musk detailed in his call.

Any current Model S buyer who refers another new Model S buyer gets $1,000 off the purchase of another Tesla. The new buyer also gets $1,000 off the purchase price of their new car too. Refer five new buyers, and you get a tour of the new Gigafactory. Refer 10 new buyers and get $20,000 knocked off the price of a new Model X.

There isn’t a similar program in place for Tesla’s used cars, but Musk said he’d be open to the possibility.

So, who wants to be a Tesla dealer today?

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Drivers Hogging Electric Spaces in Illinois May Get Ticketed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125865 An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes. The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois. The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly […]

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ICE-ing Parking

An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes.

The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois.

The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly marked, the bill states. The bill would also make it legal to tow a car from an electric vehicle parking spot, whether in a public place or private garage.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Illinois State Rep. Robyn Gabel, a constituent called her to complain about the practice and that’s what prompted the statewide measure. (Find your state legislator here.)

Several municipalities have already outlawed the practice and there’s a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of reported “ICE-holes.”

In 2012, a Fox News story asked aloud if the parking stations were a perk or privilege and quoted a driver in St. Paul, Minnesota, who said electric vehicle owners could be incapacitated because of the car they’ve purchased.

“This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled,” one customer who didn’t want to give his name to FoxNews.com. “They are usually health freaks, so I wonder why they don’t mind walking a half-mile back to a charging station.”

(Photo courtesy ICEHoles – Internal Combustion Vehicle Shaming via Facebook)

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Tesla Model 3 May Make Appearance Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125257 Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting. The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting.

The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built in a European factory. Representatives from Tesla said they would consider building the Model 3 on the European continent once the automaker started mass producing its three models.

The Model 3 would join the Model S and Model X in the automaker’s portfolio.

In an interview with AutoExpress, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 would be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S and would have a range over 200 miles.

Musk said the car would sell for around $35,000 and performance — from the car company that just announced “ludicrous speed” in the Model S — would be on par with the M3 or M4.

The Geneva auto show begins March 1, 2016.

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