The Truth About Cars » Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/tesla/ Nevada Legislature Deliberates Tesla Tax Package In Special Session http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevada-legislature-deliberates-tesla-tax-package-special-session/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/nevada-legislature-deliberates-tesla-tax-package-special-session/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910626 Last week, Tesla and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval jointly announced the automaker would be bringing its Gigafactory to Reno. Now, it’s up to both houses of the state’s legislature to pull it all together with a $1.3 billion tax break. Reuters reports the Nevada Legislature gathered in Carson City for a special session at noon […]

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Tahoe Reno Industrial Center

Last week, Tesla and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval jointly announced the automaker would be bringing its Gigafactory to Reno. Now, it’s up to both houses of the state’s legislature to pull it all together with a $1.3 billion tax break.

Reuters reports the Nevada Legislature gathered in Carson City for a special session at noon Wednesday to hammer the details of the package, which Sandoval believes will spur $100 billion worth of economic benefits for his state during the next two decades at an investment payoff of 80:1.

The package would provide the following for Tesla in exchange for hosting the Gigafactory:

  • $725 million in tax exemptions through 2034
  • $300 million in various tax savings through 2024
  • $120 million in tax credits for meeting the state’s investment threshold of $3.5 billion
  • $75 million in tax credits for up to 6,000 jobs created
  • Reduced utility rates

In turn, Tesla will invest over $37 million into Nevada’s education systems during the next five years, and will bring a total of 25,500 jobs to the state, from construction to indirect employment.

As of this writing, both houses are set to return for a second day of deliberation Thursday morning. Until then, this is the tax break bill as established during Wednesday’s session.

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Tesla, Toyota May Develop New Project Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-toyota-may-develop-new-project-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909122 Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time. Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S […]

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Tesla Toyota RAV4 EV

Though Toyota and Tesla have, to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, gone their own way while their RAV4 EV project draws to a close, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he sees his company working with Toyota in two to three years’ time.

Automotive News says Musk made the proclamation during a ceremony for the first Model S sedans delivered in Japan Monday, stating the project “would probably be something significant, maybe on a much higher volume level.” He added that Tesla loved working with Toyota, and held great respect for the automaker.

When the gesture was brought up with Toyota, however, representative Dion Corbett said the automaker had “nothing to say.” This is likely in part due to recent comments between the two companies over their respective paths toward a greener future; Toyota sees EVs as impractical, Tesla believes FCVs are for fools.

The RAV4 EV joint venture is expected to end once the last of the 2,500 crossovers are sold by the end of the year; Toyota has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August 2014.

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Sandoval, Musk Announce Tesla Gigafactory To Be Built In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/sandoval-musk-announce-tesla-gigafactory-built-nevada/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=907097 It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval. KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades. In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and […]

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Elon Musk and Brian Sandoval

It’s official: Tesla will build its Gigafactory in Nevada pending legislative approval.

KOLO-TV reports the battery factory will bring its 6,500 jobs to Reno, along with $100 billion dollars and up to 22,000 jobs over the next two decades.

In turn, Governor Brian Sandoval will ask the state for $1.3 billion in tax breaks and incentives at a special legislative session next Wednesday at the earliest. The package is meant to last for 20 years.

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Tesla Gigafactory May Land In Nevada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/tesla-gigafactory-may-land-nevada/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906057 After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City. AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though […]

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Tesla Gigafactory

After months of wondering as to where Tesla’s massive Gigafactory would end up, an answer could come as soon as 4 p.m. Mountain, when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and the automaker plan to hold a joint press conference in Carson City.

AutoblogGreen reports the location for the 6,500-strong battery factory will likely be Reno, though Tesla hasn’t said much as of this writing. Four other states were in contention to be the Gigafactory’s host: California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Local ABC affiliate KOLO-TV — which has live-streaming news, if you wish to tune in later this afternoon — adds that the factory will be placed in the city’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, where 3.5 million cubic yards of earth were moved in less than four weeks to establish a pad for a large structure, all under the project name Project Tiger.

Once up and running, the Gigafactory will supply packs for as many as 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020, including the upcoming $35,000 Model 3 due around 2017. Project cost is projected at $5 billion, with the host state expected to chip in $500 million in the form of massive tax breaks.

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Capsule Review: 2013 Tesla Model S P85 Performance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2013-tesla-model-s-p85-performance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/capsule-review-2013-tesla-model-s-p85-performance/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 14:51:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=898442 It’s difficult for any test drive of a Tesla Model S to result in a review that doesn’t become an analysis of the company’s business model, an attempt to justify the cost of the car because of the fuel savings, or a simulated comparison test with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But what if the Tesla was […]

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Tesla Model S P85 black It’s difficult for any test drive of a Tesla Model S to result in a review that doesn’t become an analysis of the company’s business model, an attempt to justify the cost of the car because of the fuel savings, or a simulated comparison test with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

But what if the Tesla was just a car made by any other conventional automaker? What if we stopped thinking of its electric propulsion system as a sacrifice, or ignored its unique means of generating thrust? And what if we recognized that, because of the company’s desire to operate unconventionally and because it’s plugged in and not fuelled up, no such comparison test can be validated?

My friend, who we’ll call Rob, recently acquired this black Model S P85. He isn’t a wealthy environmentalist; he is a true gearhead. Last time I saw him, he was driving a previous-gen Nissan Pathfinder, having shuffled through various performance cars before discovering married life with children. He wasn’t cross-shopping the Model S with an S-Class or a Porsche Panamera or a Jaguar XJ or really anything at all. He wanted this car, and not just with a little bit of desire.

Thankfully, he also wanted me to drive it.

2013 Tesla Model S Summerside LighthouseBefore even acquiring the all-electric Tesla, Rob had a few advantages not available to residents of, oh, I don’t know, Rawlins, Wyoming. Rob lives in Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, a bona fide shrinking sandbar in the Northumberland Strait. Rob could drive his Model S tip to tip, North Cape to East Point, and still have enough range to get back to his home in the western part of the island outside the small city of Summerside. And yes, Summerside is absolutely littered with electric car chargers. There are eight within a three-mile drive of Rob’s business, in part because of the government’s attempts to show what all of their wind turbines can do. None of the chargers are in use as I write this.

So Rob’s range, especially if he decides not to cross the Confederation Bridge to the mainland, is as much (if not more) limited by the size of his island as it is the capacity of his Tesla’s battery.

Not that the top of the line Model S is particularly range-limited, but once range anxiety is removed from the equation, a Tesla owner is simply left with the benefits of low energy costs and always available torque. After a brief tutorial from Rob – the car is on because you got in it, align your personal settings at the top of the screen where it says Rob, open the glass roof by virtually sliding it open here, check Tesla’s share price via the free-for-life web browser – he encouraged me to suspend the speech of my passengers with firm prods of the accelerator, such is the capability of all that right now torque.

2013 Tesla Model S Freetown PEIRob headed back into work; I left Summerside for greener pastures and emptier roads. Veering away from an awkwardly-designed roundabout between Summerside and Kensington with the right pedal set to loud and the Model S not really leaning at all through a fast, getting faster, really fast, almost too fast right-hand sweeper, my mother-in-law was in fact silenced. My father-in-law, who’s ongoing root canal left him half-high on Tylenol 3, may have clenched his teeth tight enough to need an extra visit to the dentist. These folks are used to passenger rides in fast cars, and I’m accustomed to driving them.

But electric torque is different.

The twin-turbocharged Cadillac CTS V Sport reviewed here recently weighs less than the Tesla and produces similar power. Yet no matter what we say about the removal of turbo lag in modern cars, and indeed no matter how we laud the best naturally-aspirated V8s for their instantaneous throttle response, they just don’t feel like this. They may also not lose three miles of range over the span of a 650-yard acceleration run.

Up to cruising altitude, Tesla has effectively hushed the aggressive 21-inch 245/35ZR Michelin Pilot Sports. Wind noise, particularly around the driver’s side A-pillar, is another matter. It’s likely that a conventional car may overwhelm that swshh with a vibrating V8; the Tesla has no such powerplant to drown out the sound of the wind. Nevertheless, the future of silent propulsion will necessitate an even greater focus on noise and harshness, if not vibration, of which there is none.

2013 Tesla Model S P85 InteriorThe P85’s straight-line performance (416 horsepower, 443 lb-ft of torque, quarter mile in the low 12s) doesn’t stop impressing, especially on an island full of two-lane roads with tourists who need overtaking, but in daily driving I have to believe that the car’s balance and rough-road composure will provide greater satisfaction. 48/52 weight distribution, particularly when that weight is settled way down low with a centre of gravity of just 17.5 inches, makes for the kind of tossable handling you’d never expect to find in a car that weighs around 4700 pounds. Ride quality is certainly no worse than what you’d expect in a five-passenger car that costs this much, perhaps better given its roadholding skills.

The Tesla’s accurate and realistic steering is best left in the Standard setting, as Sport’s hefty weight is better left reserved for twisty-road hustling and Comfort is unnecessarily light, though not unusable. If there is one dynamic complaint, it’s a small one concerning the car’s knack for remaining on an even keel, as there’s not much to signal that the Tesla’s high limits are approaching. A small measure of body roll would be enough for the chassis to effectively communicate its current status.

There are certainly no complaints with the brakes, which I hardly ever used. Somewhat more normal braking with less regen is available by way of a simple settings change, but leaving the brakes in Tesla’s standard mode, and thus backing off the throttle, is distinctly more pleasant in town. It also provides a more performance-like sensation when the car’s being driven with gusto.

2013 Tesla Model S Cargo areasInside, the Tesla Model S is vast. Rob’s car didn’t have the optional third row, so the cargo area (26.3 cubic feet) appeared all the more expansive. Don’t forget, there’s another 5.3 cubic feet of space under the front hood, space which Rob uses as a change table for his toddler. Rear seat leg room is plentiful, but the floor does feel much too high back there. Up front, I found the driver’s seat needs more side bolstering, but the seat is hugely adjustable and sufficiently lengthy for those of us who are long of thigh. The large minivan-like area between the front seats is more than a little useful but some extra dividing options wouldn’t go amiss. I was no fan of the Model S’s spindly cruise control lever, and the seatbelt buckles are far from premium in a car which emphasizes high end materials, as exemplified by the Alcantara headliner.

The interior, however, centres around the vertically-mounted 17-inch screen. I found myself grateful for the simplicity of the controls. After all, I wasn’t going to have a week with Rob’s Tesla as I typically do with manufacturer-supplied press cars. The ease with which I shuffled between menus, read TTAC readers’ disagreeing comments on last Friday’s Impala story, and operated the always-visible climate controls speaks to the lack of complexity in the system. Yet I was more fond of the speed with which the screen operated. All too often, current vehicle-installed infotainment systems possess none of a modern computer’s speed. The Tesla’s device never required a wait. The big screen’s one letdown? Rob told me a system reset would be required if we left the browser for an extended period on any page other than Tesla’s own website, as other websites tend to cause the screen to freeze.

2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boatSpeaking of freezing, Tesla’s fortunately going to take care of Rob’s leaking cargo area before winter temperatures set in by flying in a technician to solve the problem. This is symptomatic of Rob’s overall service experience. I asked him whether he put up with the car’s (admittedly few) faults just because he loves the car so much, noting that a flooded trunk in a new Honda Civic would have consumers up in arms. “No,” he said, “it’s the service experience.” If problems are resolved this efficiently, the problems which should seem substantial become trivial, even forgotten.

Priced from $95,000 and fully-optioned at $130,000, the Tesla Model S P85 is not the electric car for the masses. Tesla’s upcoming crossover won’t be either. Yet if Tesla can continue to prioritize performance and market the best-looking cars, they’ll be special devices at any price point and in any category.

To a certain extent, the Model S transcends “car” to function in a broader consumer marketplace as the next best thing. After an extended test drive in Rob’s Model S, I’d argue that the Model S transcends “car” because it’s better than other cars, regardless of its place in popular culture alongside advancements like the iPhone, Google Streetview, and gourmet burgers.

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Consumer Reports’ Long-Term Tesla Develops Reliability Blemishes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/consumer-reports-long-term-tesla-develops-reliability-blemishes/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889626 Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing. Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including: Automatic retracting door […]

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Tesla Model S

Though the Tesla Model S is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended darlings, the premium EV garnered its share of reliability blemishes during long-term testing.

Consumer Reports’ Gabe Shenhar says that over the 15,743 miles he and his colleagues have spent driving the Model S, a number of problems have popped up, including:

  • Automatic retracting door handles “relucant to emerge from the coachwork”
  • A broken seat buckle in the third row seating section
  • Front trunk lid failing to release via touchscreen
  • Said screen going blank, blocking all access to the car’s functions

Shenhar noted every one of these problems were quickly remedied by the service center in Milford, Conn. or over-the-air from the mothership in California.

He concludes that the sedan’s reliability ranking may fall a bit when the publication’s related survey is examined in September, but only if other Model S owners have had similar problems occur with enough severity and frequency to merit a downgrade.

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Tesla Diffusing Demand For Model X Prior To Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883178 Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead. Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the […]

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Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the automaker is actively steering customer demand away from the upcoming X, going so far as to convince showroom visitors who want to put their name on a (non-existent) wait list for the SUV to buy the S.

The “anti-sell” tactics are a part of Tesla’s strategy to create at-will demand for the X, citing complaints from Chinese customers who were “upset about waiting too long” before taking delivery of their electric sedans. Musk just doesn’t want U.S. consumers to begin forming iPhone-esque lines for the next big thing from his company. Not yet, anyway.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Gigafactory Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-gigafactory-agreement/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=877393 It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory. In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s official: Panasonic and Tesla have signed an agreement regarding their partnership involving the Gigafactory.

In their joint press release, Tesla will be responsible for preparing, providing and managing the basics of the factory, while Panasonic will build and provide the cylindrical lithium-ion cells needed for Tesla’s battery packs, as well as any equipment Tesla may need. Tesla will also continue to purchase cells from Panasonic’s factories in Japan to meet projected demand.

Tesla Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel said the Gigafactory “represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized,” especially when it comes to dramatically reducing the cost of energy storage “across a broad range of applications.” Panasonic Executive Vice President Yoshihiko Yamada added that the Gigafactory partnership would “accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market” once production of Panasonic batteries begin.

The Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of packs annually by 2020 for both electric vehicles and stationary applications, employing up to 6,500 to produce the batteries.

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Panasonic, Tesla Enter Into Production Equipment Agreement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-into-production-equipment-agreement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/panasonic-tesla-enter-into-production-equipment-agreement/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874865 It’s almost official: Panasonic and Tesla will enter into a basic agreement where the former will supply the latter with battery-production machines for the automaker’s up-and-coming Gigafactory. Reuters reports the deal — which will be officially announced by the end of this month — comes with a price tag of ¥20 billion – ¥30 billion […]

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Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo

It’s almost official: Panasonic and Tesla will enter into a basic agreement where the former will supply the latter with battery-production machines for the automaker’s up-and-coming Gigafactory.

Reuters reports the deal — which will be officially announced by the end of this month — comes with a price tag of ¥20 billion – ¥30 billion ($196.4 million – $294.7 million USD) paid to Tesla by Panasonic.

The battery maker, which wants to be the sole entity under the roof of the as-yet-to-be-located factory, will invest $1 billion overall into the ambitious project, estimated to cost $5 billion in total investment.

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Tesla Idles Plant For Two Weeks For Model X-Related Production Upgrades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tesla-idles-plant-for-two-weeks-for-model-x-related-production-upgrades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tesla-idles-plant-for-two-weeks-for-model-x-related-production-upgrades/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871402 Those who just ordered their Tesla Model S may need to wait a bit, as the premium EV automaker has idled its California factory in order to tool up for the upcoming Model X SUV. Bloomberg reports the reconfiguration — including 25 new robots on the floor and other modifications — began June 20, and […]

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tesla-model-x

Those who just ordered their Tesla Model S may need to wait a bit, as the premium EV automaker has idled its California factory in order to tool up for the upcoming Model X SUV.

Bloomberg reports the reconfiguration — including 25 new robots on the floor and other modifications — began June 20, and will conclude in two weeks to the tune of $100 million and a 25 percent increase in production.

Tesla has given its assembly workers the option of reporting for maintenance and training shifts during their time off, as well as using that time for vacation.

Once completed, the newly upgraded floor should pump out some 1,000 units of the Model S per week, as well as allow for both the S and the X to be screwed together next to each other. Pricing for the EV-SUV has yet to be announced.

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Low-Cost Tesla EV To Be Dubbed Model 3 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-be-dubbed-model-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-be-dubbed-model-3/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=867218 Tesla announced the name of its low-cost EV due to arrive around 2017: Model 3. Autoblog reports the name was announced on its Facebook page Tuesday, after Ford rebuffed CEO Elon Musk’s desire to call the $35,000 EV the Model E earlier this year. Musk adds the name will be written as a Roman numeral, […]

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Tesla announced the name of its low-cost EV due to arrive around 2017: Model 3.

Autoblog reports the name was announced on its Facebook page Tuesday, after Ford rebuffed CEO Elon Musk’s desire to call the $35,000 EV the Model E earlier this year. Musk adds the name will be written as a Roman numeral, and would occupy the space between the S and the X as far as now-vague sexual references go.

Beyond the new name, not much has been revealed aside from a 20-percent size reduction over the Model S, the increased use of steel in its construction, and that the 3 would go up against the BMW 3 Series.

Roadster owners, meanwhile, will receive an update that would swap the current battery pack for an improved model delivering 400 miles per charge over the former’s 245 miles.

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Hyundai, Tesla In Spat Over Funding Of Supercharger Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hyundai-tesla-in-spat-over-funding-of-supercharger-network/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866874 Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars. Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars.

Green Car Reports says during a discussion of his employer’s view on hydrogen fueling infrastructure, O’Brien stated that Hyundai has not received any funding from the federal government for its hydrogen vehicles, while Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with “grants and loans from the government.”

In turn, this assertion infuriated Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuld O’Connell:

Those sites have been paid for entirely by Tesla Motors — which continues to spend money in expanding the network. This stands in stark contrast to certain foreign carmakers, including Hyundai, who have no manufacturing presence in California but expect the state’s taxpayers to spend up to $200 million to set up hydrogen stations.

For his part, O’Brien did acknowledge hydrogen would only take off “when other states start investing in infrastructure.”

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Low-Cost Tesla EV To Use Steel To Hit A4, 3 Series Pricing Levels http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-use-steel-to-hit-a4-3-series-pricing-levels/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/low-cost-tesla-ev-to-use-steel-to-hit-a4-3-series-pricing-levels/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857993 Though Tesla’s low-cost EV won’t be able to put the E in between the S and the X, it will be able to meet its price target thanks an alloy swap in its construction. Autocar reports steel instead of aluminum will make up the low-cost EV, which CEO Elon Musk stated will be 20 percent […]

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Though Tesla’s low-cost EV won’t be able to put the E in between the S and the X, it will be able to meet its price target thanks an alloy swap in its construction.

Autocar reports steel instead of aluminum will make up the low-cost EV, which CEO Elon Musk stated will be 20 percent smaller than the Model S. The steel construction will likely be assembled through bonding and rivets, as well.

The use of steel will allow the new EV — expected sometime between late 2016 and early 2017 — to better compete against the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series on price, backed up by the reduced cost in battery production once the Gigafactory goes online at the same time as the low-cost Tesla arrives in showrooms.

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BMW M235i Bests Corvette, 911 In Consumer Reports Road Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/bmw-m235i-bests-corvette-911-in-consumer-reports-road-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/bmw-m235i-bests-corvette-911-in-consumer-reports-road-testing/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855833 BMW’s M235i has earned the highest marks ever bestowed upon the German automaker’s lineup from Consumer Reports, while also besting the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette in road tests whose results were recently released online. Bloomberg reports the coupe earned a 98 out of 100 in its road test, falling one point short of the […]

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BMW’s M235i has earned the highest marks ever bestowed upon the German automaker’s lineup from Consumer Reports, while also besting the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette in road tests whose results were recently released online.

Bloomberg reports the coupe earned a 98 out of 100 in its road test, falling one point short of the all-time leaders, the Tesla Model S and Lexus LS460L. The 911 and Corvette, packing more firepower with less comfort than the M235i, earned 95 and 92 out of 100 in their respective road tests.

Deputy editor Jon Linkov proclaimed the M235i a “dual-purpose car” that anyone “could drive to work every day of the week” without leaving the driver in pain, followed by a weekend at the track taking on the likes of the 911 and Corvette. He added that this particular BMW “has almost a direct lineage” to BMWs of the past that lived up to the marketing of “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Neither of the trio were recommended by the publication, however, as the BMW and the Corvette were too new for reliability reports, while the 911 has below average reliability according to those surveyed.

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Few Majors Taking Up Tesla’s Open-Source Patent Offer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/few-majors-taking-up-teslas-open-source-patent-offer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/few-majors-taking-up-teslas-open-source-patent-offer/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855713 Remember when earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released all of the patents related to his company’s offerings in the hope that all of the major players would eagerly buy into his vision thing of widespread EV production? It hasn’t turned out as well as Musk had hoped. Autoblog Green reports only Mahindra is […]

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Remember when earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released all of the patents related to his company’s offerings in the hope that all of the major players would eagerly buy into his vision thing of widespread EV production?

It hasn’t turned out as well as Musk had hoped.

Autoblog Green reports only Mahindra is interested in the patents and their potential application in future products; the company once had the e2o EV in its lineup, and is working on an EV version of its Verito Sedan. Meanwhile, General Motors is more interested in how Tesla does its business than how to put together a Model Volt S, Honda is satisfied with its own EV technology, and most of the other players aren’t saying much.

The lack of excitement may be attributed to the fact that, according to The Motley Fool:

Tesla is not revealing its trade secrets. There often is only so much information that you can get from a patent. Only Tesla knows how to put it all together in a cost-effective manner. Besides, by the time the competition digests the patents, some of them may have become outdated, and Tesla likely will have advanced to the next generation of its technology.

Though the patents seem to have more in common with a Cosby Christmas sweater than an Apple iPhone, Nissan and BMW are having secret meetings with Tesla to discuss charging technology. BMW of North America’s product and technology communications manager Matthew Russell proclaimed his employer and Tesla were “interested in the success of electro mobility” for their electric vehicles, though he declined to comment on similar announces from BMW’s competitors.

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NJ Assembly, NY Governor Pass Direct Auto Sales Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nj-assembly-ny-governor-pass-direct-auto-sales-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nj-assembly-ny-governor-pass-direct-auto-sales-legislation/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=845817 Tesla is one step closer to resuming direct sales of its electric vehicles in New Jersey after the N.J. Assembly passes a bill that would allow it and other ZEV manufacturers to bypass the independent franchise system in selling electric vehicles. Automotive News reports the bill comes after the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission banned the […]

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Tesla is one step closer to resuming direct sales of its electric vehicles in New Jersey after the N.J. Assembly passes a bill that would allow it and other ZEV manufacturers to bypass the independent franchise system in selling electric vehicles.

Automotive News reports the bill comes after the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission banned the automaker from using its business model within the state earlier this year. Once passed in the N.J. Senate and signed by Governor Chris Christie, Tesla and any other ZEV manufacturer who sold direct to the public prior to January 1, 2014 could now return to business in full.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed similar legislation that had already been approved, allowing Tesla to continue direct sales in its five stores. However, no other manufacturer is allowed to use the EV automaker’s business model for their own, and Tesla’s stores must be transferred to an independent dealer should things change for it. Cuomo said the bill would ensure “that both sides will thrive to be able to grow the market for cutting edge zero emission vehicles.”

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Tesla Opens Patents To All Potential EV, ZEV Automakers Immediately http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-opens-patents-to-all-potential-ev-zev-automakers-immediately/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-opens-patents-to-all-potential-ev-zev-automakers-immediately/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=843506 Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made available to all interested parties — including automakers — every patent related to the automaker’s electric-vehicle technology in the hope more EVs will be built. Autoblog reports Musk had made a personal policy not to take out patents on any project he created, believing doing so actually meant buying […]

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made available to all interested parties — including automakers — every patent related to the automaker’s electric-vehicle technology in the hope more EVs will be built.

Autoblog reports Musk had made a personal policy not to take out patents on any project he created, believing doing so actually meant buying “a lottery ticket to a lawsuit.” With Tesla, however, he claimed as many patents as he could to protect the EV automaker from the competition. To his dismay, the competition wasn’t competing at all:

… electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.

Thus, all patents in Tesla’s front office have been taken down as a sign of Musk’s willingness to help spur EV and ZEV development among the majors, believing “Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.” Musk also stated the open-sourcing of the patents would boost Tesla’s position as a technology leader.

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Tesla May Soon Make EV Patents Available To All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-may-soon-make-ev-patents-available-to-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/tesla-may-soon-make-ev-patents-available-to-all/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841474 Ever wanted your own Tesla, but didn’t have the thousands of dollars to order one? The automaker could soon make your dream possible by providing the patents to anyone who wants to make their own Tesla-based EV. Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk is considering making the patents to his EV tech freely available for […]

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Ever wanted your own Tesla, but didn’t have the thousands of dollars to order one? The automaker could soon make your dream possible by providing the patents to anyone who wants to make their own Tesla-based EV.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk is considering making the patents to his EV tech freely available for anyone to use as a way to expand the EV market. Musk remarked during the United Kingdom market introduction of the RHD Model S that he didn’t just “want to cut a path through the jungle” only to lay out mines behind him, but did want “to write something so that [he could] articulate it properly and explain the reasoning for the decision” prior to freeing up the patents.

As for when such an announcement would occur, Tesla had “nothing further at this point” to say. Musk has freely distributed technology in the past to any and all interested parties, including the automaker’s Supercharger, and the Hyperloop rapid transit system.

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New Jersey Assembly Committee Approves Tesla Direct-Sales Bill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-jersey-assembly-committee-approves-tesla-direct-sales-bill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-jersey-assembly-committee-approves-tesla-direct-sales-bill/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840458 Earlier this spring, Tesla ceased direct-sales at its two New Jersey showrooms due to enforcement of state law that prohibited such sales from auto manufacturers. That may soon change once a bill that would allow direct-sales to begin again comes to a vote before the New Jersey Assembly. The Star-Ledger reports the bill — which […]

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Earlier this spring, Tesla ceased direct-sales at its two New Jersey showrooms due to enforcement of state law that prohibited such sales from auto manufacturers. That may soon change once a bill that would allow direct-sales to begin again comes to a vote before the New Jersey Assembly.

The Star-Ledger reports the bill — which would also allow Tesla to open two new stores — was drafted and passed by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee in a 4 to 0 vote. A3216 isn’t limited to the Californian EV automaker, however, as the bill’s language welcomes any ZEV manufacturer to sell directly to the public at as many as four stores, and requires all to have at least one service facility for the vehicles sold.

Though no one testified against the bill, both the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers wanted the status quo of franchise dealership sales maintained. AAM director of state affairs Amy Brink called for language to bring direct-sales to an end if a ZEV automaker is sold to another automaker, while NJCAR president Jim Appleton held out hope that Tesla would be forced to enter the franchise game once operations have fully ramped up.

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Musk: Location Of First Tesla Gigafactory To Be Announced By Year-End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/musk-location-of-first-tesla-gigafactory-to-be-announced-by-year-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/musk-location-of-first-tesla-gigafactory-to-be-announced-by-year-end/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:30:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=837873 For those awaiting when and where Tesla will build its first Gigafactory, the automaker announced the decision should come near the end of the year, and that said Gigafactory will have siblings. The Detroit News reports CEO Elon Musk told shareholders at Tesla’s annual meeting in Mountain View, Calif. that as many as three states […]

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For those awaiting when and where Tesla will build its first Gigafactory, the automaker announced the decision should come near the end of the year, and that said Gigafactory will have siblings.

The Detroit News reports CEO Elon Musk told shareholders at Tesla’s annual meeting in Mountain View, Calif. that as many as three states could see one of the battery factories land in their boundaries, with Gigafactory 1 delivering 6,500 jobs at a cost of $5 billion between it and its investors to one of four states before the end of 2014. Musk added the plans were “quite advanced,” and that his company talks with Panasonic — who wants the Gigafactory all for itself — on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to sharing the love with the concept of American-made battery packs, Tesla plans to boost deliveries of the Model S by 56 percent as markets in China and elsewhere come online. Musk himself will travel to the United Kingdom this week to oversee delivery of the first RHD models assembled by Tesla, with other RHD markets — Japan, Hong Kong et al — to receive theirs down the road. All Ss will also receive software upgrades to provide the owners with more customization abilities, with auto-pilot features to come sometime in 2015.

Finally, Musk himself proclaimed he would not leave the controls of his company until sales of Tesla’s third-gen EVs began, a inevitability not due for the next four to five years.

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S&P Delivers Junk Status On Tesla http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/sp-delivers-junk-status-on-tesla-stock/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/sp-delivers-junk-status-on-tesla-stock/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=833497 Though still riding high all over equity markets, Tesla’s debt offerings took a severe hit in status when Standard & Poor’s bestowed a rating of junk status due to increased possibility of default by the EV automaker. Automotive News quotes Standard and Poors [Tesla has a] arrow product focus, concentrated production footprint, small scale relative […]

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Though still riding high all over equity markets, Tesla’s debt offerings took a severe hit in status when Standard & Poor’s bestowed a rating of junk status due to increased possibility of default by the EV automaker.

Automotive News quotes Standard and Poors

[Tesla has a] arrow product focus, concentrated production footprint, small scale relative to its larger automotive peers, limited visibility on the long-term demand for its products and limited track record in handling execution risks that could arise in managing high volume parallel production.

The automaker issued $920 million of 0.25 percent unsecured convertible senior notes due in 2019, another $1.38 billion in 1.25 percent unsecured convertible senior notes with a date in 2021, and a previous issue of such notes due in 2018 totaling $660 million. The notes are being used to fund two Gigafactory projects and further development of the Gen III EV platform meant to underpin the compact vehicle formerly known as the Model E.

In the meantime, the rating company expects the debt to remain stable over the next 12 months in part to improvements on the company’s gross margins. The rating also offers the potential for high returns for investors who know the risks and rewards the status entails.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly termed Tesla’s stock as “junk”, when it should have referred to Tesla’s debt offerings. We regret the error.

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Tesla Surpasses Toyota In Employment Numbers Among California Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-surpasses-toyota-in-employment-numbers-among-california-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-surpasses-toyota-in-employment-numbers-among-california-automakers/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=826218 Thanks in part to Toyota’s decision to relocate its U.S. base of operations from California to Texas, Tesla is now the former state’s largest automotive industry employer. Bloomberg reports the EV automaker has over 6,000 employees so far, with plans to add 500 by year’s end. Meanwhile, Toyota has 5,300 employees in California, the majority […]

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Thanks in part to Toyota’s decision to relocate its U.S. base of operations from California to Texas, Tesla is now the former state’s largest automotive industry employer.

Bloomberg reports the EV automaker has over 6,000 employees so far, with plans to add 500 by year’s end. Meanwhile, Toyota has 5,300 employees in California, the majority of whom will pack their bags for Plano by 2017.

Tesla could end up doubling that number should California get the nod for the 6,500-strong Gigafactory, which would also place it far ahead of fellow tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook.

The major block in bringing the battery factory to California the high cost of doing business in the state, including industrial power rates and workers’ compensation, both of which are the highest in the nation. The Brown administration aims to fix some of this through tax credits for companies who maintain or add jobs in California.

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Tesla-Toyota Battery Deal For RAV4 EV Concluding By Year-End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-battery-deal-for-rav4-ev-concluding-by-year-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/tesla-toyota-battery-deal-for-rav4-ev-concluding-by-year-end/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=819329 Tesla’s deal with Toyota to supply the automaker with battery packs and motors for the latter’s RAV4 EV will come to a close by the end of 2014 at the same time the electric crossover is expected to cease production. Bloomberg reports Toyota announced in May of 2012 that it would purchase components from Tesla […]

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2013 Toyota RAV4 EV, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Tesla’s deal with Toyota to supply the automaker with battery packs and motors for the latter’s RAV4 EV will come to a close by the end of 2014 at the same time the electric crossover is expected to cease production.

Bloomberg reports Toyota announced in May of 2012 that it would purchase components from Tesla for 2,600 RAV4 EVs over three years with the possibility of extending the agreement. With word that the EV would cease production at the end of this year, however, Tesla announced in its quarterly filing — where it proclaimed that the deal netted $15 million for Q1 2014 — that related production would draw to a close, as well.

Meanwhile, Toyota spokesman John Hanson claims the EV hasn’t been cancelled, nor has his employer “made any announcement about the relationship or what [Toyota will] do with Tesla in the future.” To date, 1,594 of the $50,000 electric crossovers have left California showroom since 2012.

In the meantime, Toyota will introduce in 2015 a hydrogen fuel sedan based upon the FCV Concept introduced in late 2013, while Tesla — in addition to its own product plans — will boost component production for Daimler AG, who, like Toyota, is an investor in the EV automaker.

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TTAC Long Term Tesla Part 5: The Mystery Of The Vacaville Supercharger, Or Why I Miss Gas Stations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-5-the-mystery-of-the-vacaville-supercharger-or-why-i-miss-gas-stations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-5-the-mystery-of-the-vacaville-supercharger-or-why-i-miss-gas-stations/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 04:01:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=817762 Vacaville, California. Population 93,899, as of two years ago. Median income $57,667. A series of stripmalls. A Buffalo Wild Wings. And one of Tesla’s Superchargers – the weirdest Supercharger, the Supercharger that I cannot understand the location of, nor the existence of – unless, of course, you’re driving like I was from Napa to San […]

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Vacaville, California. Population 93,899, as of two years ago. Median income $57,667. A series of stripmalls. A Buffalo Wild Wings. And one of Tesla’s Superchargers – the weirdest Supercharger, the Supercharger that I cannot understand the location of, nor the existence of – unless, of course, you’re driving like I was from Napa to San Francisco, and needed a quick charge.

The “Supercharger” in question is really just a line of Supercharging units – the tall white holders that you get your power from. Next to it is a gigantic, billowing generator (I think) that makes a sound like a jet engine. And that’s it. The phrase “Supercharger” in the past had become synonymous with a performance accessory for supercars. If you’re a weirdo like me, you associate it with some sort of Tesla experience – a “place” where you take your car that has an “experience” attached to it. Instead what it is is a peculiar charge-bank in a strip mall.

The chargers themselves worked…strangely. When I parked and plugged my car in, with three other cars next to me, I charged at 100 miles per hour (of course, this denotes how much juice you get in a given amount of time, not the traditional measurement of velocity). This kicked up slowly to 150 “mph” once another car left. This was totally fine – I was spoiled by the speed of the Freemont Supercharger, which at my last trip was able to get me to 320 miles per hour of charging.

The Vacaville Supercharger has a bigger problem, though – culture. On the Supercharger Promise Scale, it succeeds only in being able to give you a place to go to the bathroom (a 5 minute walk across the parking lot) and a bite to eat (a vending machine with some candy in it). The scenery is weird – you’re by the highway, there’s a Coldwater Creek Outlet and some other stores, and nothing else.

In short, the Supercharger feels horribly out of place. As did I charging my car. People would walk past the line of Teslas, running their hands on them, or slowly drift by gawking and staring me in the eyes as I waited for it to charge. I don’t mind, really – hands are fine, at least they’re not keys. It just felt a spectacle.

As a functional “charger”,  it worked well– and as far as travelling to/from Napa, it was about as perfect it could be. It also brought up the interesting definition that Tesla needs to make between a SuperCHARGER and a Supercharging STATION – a secondary term that doesn’t exist yet, but should.

I am frustrated that Tesla seems so ardently unable to follow through on the basic statements on their website. While their definition of Supercharger is a very fast charger, the pictures they use on the website suggest beautiful, scenic chargers – not a line of weird stalls alongside a strip mall, or awkwardly sandwiched next to the sales office at HQ. In the same way that gas stations function as refueling facilities for both the car and the driver, the Supercharger should be a station not a charger – especially since you’re there for a lot longer than it takes to fill a car’s gas tank.

If the Tesla network is to grow illustriously and truly make a go of being an alternative to gasoline, they have to provide more of a service at a Supercharger. Yes, it’s great that I can get back 50% of my power in 20-30 minutes. However that’s 20-30 minutes I’m sitting around in the car – messing with the screen, twiddling my thumbs – that would be a lot better spent stretching my legs. And no, saying “it’s by a strip mall” is not a sufficient answer.

Considering the amount of care and attention to detail put into the Model S, the Superchargers – at least based on my experiences in Vacaville and Fremont – feel deficient. No doubt they’re expensive to install and maintain, and would be even more so if you added actual services on top of them, but perhaps now is the time for Tesla to make the next step. Sorry, Elon, but I shouldn’t be missing gas stations. And I am.

I realize that sounds immensely bratty – but the basic existence of the gas station is one that is there to partially support the driver. Even if it’s just to have a pee, grab a drink, stretch your legs and then get driving, it’s an experience that is unglamorous but necessary. And until Musk recreates it for the Tesla, it’s something that will effect my willingness to take particularly long drives.

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TTAC Long-Term Tesla Part 3: (Super)Charging http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-3-supercharging/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ttac-long-term-tesla-part-3-supercharging/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 12:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=813305 Here’s a blunt statement for you: If you don’t have at least a 240V charger in your home, or plan on getting one very quickly, or live very near (10 minutes or less) to a Supercharger, do not buy a Model S. I hate to say that because I love this car. But charging without […]

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Here’s a blunt statement for you: If you don’t have at least a 240V charger in your home, or plan on getting one very quickly, or live very near (10 minutes or less) to a Supercharger, do not buy a Model S. I hate to say that because I love this car. But charging without having a charger at home is frustrating and/or expensive.

I live in San Francisco and commute to Mountain View. For all the talk of this being the official car of the Bay Area Tech Douche, there are few convenient chargers available in the Palo Alto or Mountain View area. The nearest Supercharger is in Fremont, which is 30-40 minutes away – more if there’s traffic.

The Chargepoint network is an abomination. Finding a charger using their app (a hodgepodge of HTML mashing into Apple Maps) is ponderous. When you do find one, you had best hope it’s not a 120V charger. Because that will get you anywhere from 3 to 10 miles for each hour of charging, which is not useful when you drive 30 to 40 miles each way. This is also assuming one is *available* – many Chargepoint stations have two outlets, and you can’t reserve many of them.

You can also find chargers with SemaCharge, which is just as bad.

In San Francisco there are many chargers inside large, expensive garages, such as 3 Embarcadero. For $3.99 an hour for the first four hours, then $6 an hour afterwards, you can charge your car at a decent pace – I forget the exact rate, but I think I was at 50% and was quoted 5 hours to charge. So you’re paying for the garage, the charger, and whatever wacky rate they add on top of it.

Get your own charger if you want to save money on gas. Actually, get your own *240 Volt* charger. This will charge you at – I think – 20-30 miles for each hour of charging. This is bearable overnight, and will get you back on your feet for the next day. A 120V (as in a normal plug) will get you three miles an hour. That is not practical for any human being.

If you can, get the high-powered wall charger that Tesla sells. It can go from 40-80 miles for each charging hour, which will mean that you can just go to bed with your car charging. I got my building to install one, and if an apartment building can do it, you can do it.

Now, the positives. My Volvo cost about $50 a tank if memory serves, and that wasn’t even using premium gas (yes, I know miles per gallon is better, but I can’t remember). I’d say that I’d be gassing up on my current schedule two or three times a week. At a conservative estimate, that’s $400 a month. $4800 a year, $38,400 over the course of the 8 years of my warranty (yes, I bought an extended warranty). This is actually an underestimate deliberately engineered to ward off the potential comments of “you suck at math.” If I was filling up the Audi Q5 I drove via Zipcar, the cost of the premium gas they demand would be more like $80 a tank from about a quarter left. Yes, that’s an SUV, I know. But mathematically speaking the Tesla can and will save you money, and the additional stress of finding a gas station.

The “but what if I travel?” argument leads to the Superchargers, which I’ll talk about shortly. However, the general argument I can give you is that while the Chargepoint network sucks for the constant need to juice up, there generally seems to be – at least in California – a good network of places to charge. 4 star and 5 star hotels consistently seem to have 240V chargers – I spotted one in Charlotte, NC at the Ritz Carlton – and even some lower-end hotels in Napa appeared to have them. This isn’t to say that it isn’t inconvenient. The infrastructure of the overall EV-charging network needs significant work to establish the convenience of readily-available gas. However the argument of “you’re gonna get stranded” does not seem to apply in this state. Outside of California, it’s a different world, and I recognize that our state is in a unique situation.

 

Superchargers were originally advertised as beautiful little oases – places you could go, charge your car, get a cup of coffee, eat a bagel and relax. However, at least in Fremont, the result is less glitzy. A line of chargers, some metal chairs and a lot of buildings that you can’t go into. I was dreaming of being able to grab a cup of coffee and relax while the car juiced up. My dreams are shattered. Other Superchargers may be different – but you’d think the marquee Supercharger where you pick up your car would be gorgeous.

To quote the website: “Simply pull up and plug in, take a quick bathroom or food break, and get back on the road.” There was no usable bathroom at Fremont – at a late stop (10pm) I was able to use the intercom and security let me into the one in the delivery center. There was no food. I had to pathetically ask a secretary for a glass of water. Unless I intended to walk across a highway, there was no readily-accessible way to take a quick bathroom or food break unless I brought snacks and intended to pee on the ground.

When the Supercharger *works* it’s fantastic (and free). I really mean it. The ones that work can charge you with 200 miles worth of juice in just an hour – you can swing in, get your car powered up while you sit inside and then get out of there in 30 minutes to an hour. The new 6.0 firmware update allegedly will up the rate of charge at Superchargers to 400 miles an hour.

The problem for me personally is that Fremont is not convenient. Neither is Burlingame. I’m confused as to why there is no Palo Alto or Mountain View or San Francisco Supercharger.

There are also the issues of the deficient Superchargers. I’ve been to the Fremont charger three separate times. Chargers 1A and 1B charged my car at 180-200 miles per hour. However, 4B trundled along at 80-90, and took three tries to get it to even charge. I head similar complaints of other chargers doing the same from other people parked there, who were apparently not as big of an asshole as I am and thus just stayed at one point to charge. I did not call the Supercharger complaint line like it says to on the chargers. I would not be surprised if nobody ever has. I probably should have. But you’d think at the Tesla plant, where Tesla is, where Elon Musk (I assume) sits upon a throne of skulls, that the Supercharger would be flawless. It isn’t.

The Supercharger network is growing across the country, but there’s a fair amount of obfuscation as to where. You can’t zoom in on the list, you can’t click the red circles to find out where the exact spot is (and my geography sucks). The list doesn’t even update when you move to “coming soon.” There are fan-made listings that work based on permits, but there is no reason in the world that Tesla shouldn’t be providing this information themselves. Unless, of course, they’re worried that they’ll get railroaded if they reveal their plans.

From my research it appears that you could do a cross-country drive. I would be a little bit nervous to, or get the help of someone good at planning. By the end of 2014 it would appear that it’ll be a lot easier, and over time I can imagine the network will be good, even if you do have to settle for 80-90 miles per hour.

 

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