See inside the Tesla Factory

Great educational video on the Tesla S factory – Care of Mega factories on the Nat Geo Channel on YouTube.

Has some fab views of the old Toyota factory in Freemont just outside Silicon Valley that has been transformed into a gleaming white shrine to electric cars. A vision that Steve Jobs would have loved.

First shown Jan 1st 2013 with video from Geneva show.

Shows a top range of 480 Km from the powertrain and battery pack. They combine 7,000 small AA cell type batteries into one large pack.

The car can be recharged at a rate equal to 100Km per hour of charge.

 Learn more care of the video – enjoy.

Just how fast is the Tesla S?

We expect the Tesla Model S to be a hot ship. Our first-hand experience in the sub 4 seconds to 60 Tango lets us understand the stunning performance available from electric car. On paper the Tesla looks good.

The Tesla corporate brochure claims that the 85 kWh Model S have an impressive 265-mile EPA-rated range, and that it’ll do the benchmark 0-60 mph sprint in only 4.4 seconds.

That means the all-electric luxury sport sedan from Tesla Motors is at least as fast as a high spec Porsche 911 and decidedly faster than my 911.

But how do you quantify that sort of speed in the real world? If you’re Drag Times, you put it on the strip, preferably head to head against an American legend like the Dodge Viper SRT10. And then you beat it.

Indeed, the electric Tesla made a mockery of the shiny red sports car–posting a quarter-mile time of little over 12 seconds in the process.

A second video shows the Tesla’s fastest pass, at 12.371 seconds and 110.84 mph. There aren’t a great many production cars which would do better–mostly vehicles well into the “supercar” or “hypercar” brackets, and at even higher cost than the Model S.

Some of the other statistics are outstanding too.

Drag Times recorded a 3.9-second 0-60 mph time on their VBOX timing gear. Given the Tesla’s hefty weight at the curb of 4,690 lbs, it’s even more impressive–weight is always the enemy of speed.

Huge low-down torque helps, of course–the 416-hp Model S Performance develops 443 lbs-ft or 600 newton meters

from zero to 5,100rpm, and power delivery is much smoother too.

While that driver in the Viper had to manage wheelspin and shift gears, the Tesla driver just has to sink the right pedal and keep it on the floor until he passes the 1/4-mile mark.

With zero emissions and supercar-slaying acceleration, it seems you can really have your cake and eat it too.

Tesla shows Model X Crossover Electric Car at Detroit Auto Show

The Detroit Auto Show is not one of the greats but it is in the heart land of the established US auto industry. Tesla took the opportunity to show the old guard the future and displayed a concept interior for the Model X. Tesla themselves called this an ‘interior exploration’, but it gives us some ideas of what to expect in the production Model X scheduled for later this year.

The work has been done by Tesla Design Studio, and uses a mix of white and black leathers to bring contrast to the three rows of seats–the back rows, of course, accessed via the unusual Gull Wing rear doors for access to the second and third row of seats.

The black and white theme continues to the dashboard facia, dominated by the same huge iPad like touch screen display you’ll find in the Model S sedan–albeit mounted proud of the dashboard.

The exterior, also contrasting in black and white, is unchanged from the last time we saw the Model X.

Much of the Model X’s hardware is based on that in the Model S, with 60 kWh and 85 kWh battery options. Befitting its crossover body, the Model X will also offer electric all-wheel drive. Production is expected to begin in late 2013.


Tesla Motors win suit to sell cars direct to the public

Tesla has been opening stores in shopping malls across the US. Most states have antiquated laws that prevents auto manufactures from selling direct to consumers thus enforcing that sales are made through an independent dealer.  Of course dealers love this.

Tesla Model S in Bellevue Store - Right window Tesla Model S in Bellevue Store - Driver window Tesla Model S in Bellevue Store - Store FrontAfter opening a store in Natick Mall, Massachusetts, Tesla Motors has been embroiled in a battle to let it sell cars from the store.

Permission was granted for the store to sell vehicles back in December, and now a judge’s dismissal of a dealers’ lawsuit against the company has stepped a further direction in Tesla’s favor.

It all centres on state regulations about the Tesla Store’s legal identity.

Tesla Motors would not be allowed to sell cars itself, directly from the factory. The state requires franchisees to own dealerships, preventing companies from competing unfairly with independently owned dealerships.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously weighed in on the matter, which has reached far beyond Massachusetts. Musk feels that franchised dealers, selling gasoline cars alongside electric vehicles, may not feel incentivized to put time and effort into electric vehicles–just in case they harm the dealer’s profits from regular vehicles.

Musk also says his stores offer a more pleasant, educational experience than traditional dealers.

Both the town selectmen back in December, and now Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman, have decided in Tesla’s favor that its store is legally separate from Tesla Motors.

Automotive News reports that the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association is currently debating whether to appeal the ruling. The Association’s case hinges on dealers being able to sue for injunctive relief if they feel the public is being harmed. Of course as most consumers have little regard for car dealers this seems like a long shot.

It may also go to the state attorney general, which has enforcement power over state franchise law.

Welcome to 2013: Our take on trends that will drive electric vehicle adoption

EV Update for 2013

The US electric vehicle industry came in for some pretty sharp criticism during 2012, especially during the Presidential campaign when candidate Mitt Romney called thriving start-up Tesla “a loser” – lumping it in with some of the other failed investments that the Obama administration has made in advancing the industry. Interesting take – someone forgot to tell Mr. Romney that the company’s Model S hatchback (pictured below) sold out for this model year, with 5,000 cars made to order.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

 So, what’s the reality? To be sure, there are nowhere near as many electric-powered cars being used in the United States as was hoped just one year ago – research from Mintel estimates shipments for this year at around 50,000 units. President Obama had hoped to have 1 million on the road by 2015, which looks like an incredibly unrealistic goal at this point.

2012 also began with a high-profiles series of recalls related to battery technology, leaving both Fisker and Chevrolet with a bit of a black eye.

Still, the outlook is relatively optimistic for the next 12 months, with probably 400,000 electric vehicles (which includes bicycles, by the way) expected to be on the road by the end of 2013.

Hey, as we reported previously,  Washington state feels there are enough electric vehicles on the road now in order to introduce a brand-new EV highway tax, you know mainstream adoption must be accelerating.

So what’s around the corner? Cleantech market research firm Pike Research has issued its set of predictions for the year ahead, implying that the “industry will be racing ahead in second gear.”

Here are some highlights:

#1: The e-bicycle market will explode. Pike predicts that North American sales will grow by 50 percent to about 158,000, as component costs decline and the number of brands offering models multiplies. The market for e-motorcycles will remain relatively custom, though.

#2: Higher capacity, 48-volt batteries will charge up the market for stop-start and micro-hybrid vehicles. Right now, the predominant technology is 12 volts, which has seriously limited the applications. This class of teeny vehicles, which is particularly popular in Europe, shuts down at red lights or during stop-and-go traffic, helping to reduce fuel emissions.

#3: Fuel cell vehicles will gain more prominence. This technology uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce enough energy to run the car, but its commercial potential is still relatively limited. Pike predicts that about 3,500 units will be shipped from the likes of Toyota, Daimler, Hyundai and Honda – primarily to companies that manage public and private fleets.

#4: Germany will lead growth in Europe. If you think electric vehicle adoption has been slow in the United States, you’ll be surprised to hear that things across the Atlantic Ocean have been even slower. That will change next year, with the emergence of at least seven models optimized for the European market, according to the Pike Research predictions. The most dominant player (at least for the next 12 months) will be Volkswagen, which has six different models in the pipeline that have an electric twist. The company’s home market in Germany will emerge as the single biggest market on the continent, with about 14,000 vehicles by the end of 2013. One thing that could help charge up the European market will be the emergence of IBM technology that helps drivers travel regionally, without having to worry about whether or not there is a place to refuel their battery.

#5: A larger diversity of public charging infrastructure will be in place. There are several forces as work here. First off, we’ll finally see some activity around a new fast-charging standard, which should make for more installations. Most of the equipment currently in place takes woefully long to charge up a vehicle – an average of four to eight hours, which is fine if you’re parked somewhere for the whole day but not-so-fine if you are traveling outside of your immediate community. Another thing to watch will be deployments of wireless charging infrastructure that don’t require plugs at all. Sales should reach 283,000 units annually by 2020, according to a separate Pike Research report.

#6: Natural gas will cut into the electric truck market. The interest in manufacturing or purchasing natural gas trucks has grown along with the abundant supply of natural gas. Cost factors will help the market grow to more than 47,000 vehicles sold in 2013. One limiting factor will be the dearth of places to refuel them.

Reporting with assistance from ZdNet: