The world is abuzz this week with news of the all-new Tesla Model X, which is a minivan that looks like it may at any moment take flight and get tangled up in some power lines.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s right: Tesla has brought the first gullwing minivan to market, and people are excited. And not just slightly excited. Elon Musk is giving press conferences to delighted admirers. Tesla fans are running up and down the streets in Palo Alto screaming “THE TESLA IS COMING! THE TESLA IS COMING!” And Pacific Gas & Electric engineers are currently on the job trying to figure out how to get the first Model X down from some high-voltage wires near Tarzana.
Essentially, it is Tesla pandemonium.
Tesla is yet again updating its Model S range with interesting options on each end of the price scale before the release of the Tesla Model X.
Elon Musk, in a blog post yesterday, announced a new single-motor version of the base model Model S 70 priced at $70,000 — or $52,500 after maximum incentives available in certain states — which is $5,000 less than the all-wheel drive Model S with the same 70 kWh battery pack.
On the other end of the spectrum is a $13,000 (!!!) upgrade to the P85D, pushing Tesla Motors’ top performer to a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds.
We have opined in these pages before about how for every Tesla sold in America, there are two or three glowing stories written about the electric automaker. There are days when over 50 percent of the pieces on auto industry news feeds are about Tesla, which is not bad for a company capturing 0.1 percent of the U.S. automobile market. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is truly a marketing and public relations genius.
Given that, it is fascinating when a negative story surfaces about Tesla’s way of doing business and the slobbering media is strangely silent. (Read More…)
Tesla’s first fleet deal? Around 100 Model S’s were sold to a Las Vegas startup taxi service.
The auto journo world is in a tizzy because electric automaker Tesla refuses to post its car sales numbers on a monthly basis and the numbers they do divulge are suspicious as they are without detail and they vary widely from actual registration numbers. Our friends at Jalopnik ranted about it last week, calling on Tesla to start reporting sales consistently. They based their story on a report by Seeking Alpha that deduced that Tesla may have as many as 12,000 unsold Model S’s, based on registration figures and the automaker’s quarterly financial reports.
We say congratulations, Elon Musk, you truly are the head of an American car company now, as reporting bogus sales numbers to the press is a normal part of an automaker’s modus operandi. (Read More…)
In it’s third quarter letter to investors, Tesla Motors announced that they are pushing back the start of production of their falcon-winged Model X crossover again, this time until the third quarter of 2015. This is the third time that production has been delayed for the Model X, which Elon Musk originally promised for 2013. That was subsequently pushed back to this year, then to late this year and now delayed again. Tesla put a good face on the delay, characterizing it as “a few months”, and attributing the later production start to more extensive validation testing, wanting to “delight customers” when the Model X does start deliveries.
Workers at Tesla’s Fremont plant celebrate the 1,000th Model S body built, 2012.
United Auto Workers president Bob King has said that the labor union is interested in organizing Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, California and that a group of workers at the site have set up an organizing committee for the UAW. That factory is where Tesla assembles the battery powered Model S. Tesla has prided itself in being different from Detroit and its headquarters’ location, the Silicon Valley, is not exactly a labor hotbed.
At the opening of his company’s London store, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk had some comments about the company’s upcoming falcon-winged crossover, the Model X. He said that it will offered only in an all wheel drive configuration that features electric motors in both the front and back of the car, and that it’s starting price will be slightly more than that of the Model S, which starts at $60,000.
The Model X’s price will be very similar to the Model S. It might be slightly higher, but… I can’t imagine that it will be… It’s probably going to be a slightly higher starting price because the Model X will only be offered as all-wheel drive. It will be dual motor, all-wheel drive.
[The relevant remarks start at ~24:00 of the video]
In an e-mailed statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it has decided against launching a formal investigation into the Washington state fire early this month involving a Tesla Model S. The electric car ran over some metal debris that punctured the front battery pack, sparking the fire. NHTSA said that it found no evidence of violations of federal motor vehicle safety standard or that the fire resulted from a vehicle defect. (Read More…)
It seems as of late that Tesla is becoming to cars what Apple already is to computing, smartphones, digital music players and tablets. Thus, it should be as no surprise that the automaker has brought aboard former Apple vice president of Mac hardware engineering Doug Field to help them develop “insanely great” new vehicles.
With California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate looming it is only a matter of time till we see an EV from each of the major players in the California market. Nissan has the Leaf, BMW has the Active E, GM has the Volt and Honda electrified a Fit and Ford has electrified everything that isn’t nailed down. That brings us to the elephant in the room: Toyota. To give us some insight into Toyota’s CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliance plans
and to see the fruits of the unlikely Toyota/Tesla marriage, Toyota flew us to sunny Southern California to sample the 2013 RAV4 EV.