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More Trouble for Tesla: Consumer Reports Trashes Reliability

Model X rated “sixth least reliable vehicle” in latest owner study.

by on Oct.25, 2016

Tesla's Model X has had a series of major quality problems, especially with the falcon doors.

Already facing growing concerns about quality issues with its newest electric vehicle, the Model X SUV, Tesla Motors was hammered by influential Consumer Reports magazine this week, the non-profit publication ranking the California carmaker 25th of 29 brands in its annual automotive reliability study.

It wasn’t all bad news. After faring poorly in the 2015 auto survey, CR said the Tesla Model S actually had “improved reliability.” But the newer Model X “has a long way to go,” with a variety of issues including balky falcon wing doors, locks, latches and other systems.

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The Model X is “the sixth least reliable vehicle in our survey, and there are some monumental challenges with that vehicle,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing, said during an appearance before the Detroit Automotive Press Association. “It’s unclear,” he added, “whether they will get the ‘falcon wing’ doors right ever.”

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Tesla Warns of Slow Model 3 Deliveries.

Bad news for Tesla could be good news for Chevrolet’s new Bolt.

by on Oct.19, 2016

Tesla still hopes to have the first Model 3 sedans in production during the 2nd half of 2017.

Looking to buy one of Tesla’s new Model 3 battery-cars? You can look for a long wait.

Those who put in an early reservation for the carmaker’s first mainstream model might yet get a Model 3 delivered before the end of next year, Tesla now says more recent orders won’t be fulfilled until 2018. And some analysts questions whether the company will even meet that goal, considering its history of missing targets with new products.

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That could be good news for Chevrolet, however. The Detroit maker expects to start delivering the first of its own affordable, long-range electric vehicles before year-end, and battery supplier LG Chem said this week that it believes there will be demand for as many as 30,000 Chevy Bolt EVs in 2017.

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Tesla Set to Reveal “Unexpected” New Product

Musk also says there is no need to raise more cash.

by on Oct.10, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with an image of the troublesome Model X which missed production targets, is unveiling a new product on Oct. 17.

Even as it moves forward on the development of its first mainstream product, the Model 3 sedan, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says the battery-carmaker will lift the covers on an all-new product on Oct. 17.

Musk, a savvy user of social media, suggested in a Monday morning tweet that the new battery-electric vehicle will be “unexpected by most,” but offered no other clues as to what is in store.

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In recent months, Musk has dropped a variety of hints, along with broader indications, as to what he would like to see in the Tesla line-up in the years ahead. That includes a crossover-utility vehicle to complement the downsized Model 3, and even a battery-electric pickup. The Tesla founder has already confirmed that an all-new version of Tesla’s original product line, the Roadster, is in the works. (more…)

Fisker Launching All-New Battery-Car Company

Breakthrough battery promised; range could top 400 miles.

by on Oct.04, 2016

Henrik Fisker shown in Geneva before his earlier company, Fisker Automotive, collapsed.

If at first you don’t succeed…

If you’re Henrik Fisker, it seems, the next step is to start yet another car company. Three years after the collapse and bankruptcy of his original effort, Fisker Automotive, the Danish designer is back in business. The new Fisker, Inc. plans to launch a new line of long-range electric vehicles that will rival the likes of upstart Tesla Motors, as well as the more mainstream manufacturers now pushing into the battery-car business.

While specific details are limited, Fisker said the company is targeting a minimum range of 400 miles per charges, something that would allow a driver to go even further without interruption than with all but a handful of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles.

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“This is really the revival of the original Fisker, though it will be a completely new company,” the 53-year-old automotive veteran told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview.

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Chevy Prices New Bolt EV at $37,495, Under $30k After Tax Credits

Maker beats Tesla Model 3 on range and availability.

by on Sep.20, 2016

Chevy says its 2017 Bolt EV will come in at $37,495 or just under $30k with government tax credits.

Chevrolet released the price on its new Bolt electric vehicle, coming in under the $37,500 before tax incentives executives had been suggesting for months: by $5. The new EV costs $37,495.

After the aforementioned government sweeteners, the Bolt will cost $29,995, according to Chevy officials. The new battery-powered car is the first to market for less than $30k with the ability to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge.

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The new Bolt will go 238 miles, which means it tops its chief competition in two ways: distance and availability. (more…)

Tesla Gigafactory Delay Complicating Tesla’s Worsening Financial Woes

Maker likely to blow through at least a third of its cash.

by on Aug.09, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Barely two weeks after Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk led a tour of the company’s new Gigafactory, it turns out that battery plant is running both late and likely over budget – something that is expected to worsen an already troublesome financial situation for the battery-carmaker.

Intended to be the world’s largest lithium-ion plant, the Gigafactory is already set to begin partial operation, and Musk last week boasted of plans to eventually boost output far beyond the original plans. But Tesla now says it spent nearly $120 million to prep the facility during the first half of the year with costs for all of 2016 expected to balloon to $520 million.

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That’s one reason the carmaker’s cash reserves are fast on the decline. In fact, Tesla said it will have to lay out $1.1 billion, or about a third of its cash, during just the third quarter of this year. And with plenty of work left both on the Gigafactory and on the development of the Model 3 sedan, the financial pressures on the company are expected to grow more severe –especially in light of its unexpectedly sharp second-quarter loss.

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Tesla Losses Mount as Sales Fall Short

CEO Musk insists production getting back on track.

by on Aug.03, 2016

Tesla CEO Musk with an image of the troublesome Model X which missed production targets.

Burdened by a slower-than-expected roll-out of its Model X sedan, with sales overall falling short, Tesla Motors delivered an unexpectedly deep loss for the second quarter of the year.

The automaker, which has been using its own accounting procedures, said it lost $293 million, or $2.09 a share, for the April to June quarter. Excluding special one-time items, the loss narrowed to $150 million, or $1.06 a share. But that was still well below Wall Street’s expectations, analysts predicting the maker would lose $0.65 a share.

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The maker tried to put a positive spin on the weak performance by looking forward. “Production and demand are on track to support deliveries of approximately 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016,” CEO Elon Musk and CFO Jason Wheeler said in a joint statement announcing the earnings.

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Tesla to Complete SolarCity Takeover Despite Concerns

All-stock deal worth $2.6 bil, but critics cite conflicts of interest.

by on Aug.01, 2016

A series of SolarCity solar panel installations.

Despite concerns about potential conflicts of interest, Tesla Motors said Monday morning that it would complete its takeover of the solar power company SolarCity, a move it believes will lead to numerous synergies in its broader green energy strategy.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the all-stock, $2.6 billion deal will almost immediately result in $150 million in cost-savings, describing the deal as a “no-brainer” that “we should have done sooner.” But reaction has been skeptical since the proposed takeover was announced more than a month ago.

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Together, Tesla and SolarCity “expect to save customers money by lowering hardware costs, reducing installation costs, improving our manufacturing efficiency and reducing our customer acquisition costs,” Tesla said in a statement.

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Hyundai Working Up 250-Mile EV

Move would more than double range of new Ioniq model.

by on Jul.15, 2016

Hyundai will offer three version of the Ioniq: a regular hybrid, a plug-in and a pure battery model.

The Hyundai Ioniq hasn’t even come to market yet, but some analysts are arguing it’s already out of date.

The purpose-built model is designed specifically to use any of three different battery-based drivelines: conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure battery-electric. The latter is designed to deliver about 110 miles per charge. That’s slightly more than the original Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus EV, but still well short of what Tesla is planning with the Model 3 – or the 200 mile range from the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt.

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But Hyundai apparently recognizes that “range anxiety” is a problem keeping lots of potential buyers out of the EV market and it intends to more than double what the Ioniq will initially offer before the end of the decade.

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SEC Launches Probe; Tesla Blamed for 3rd Autopilot Crash

Troubles mounting for California battery-carmaker.

by on Jul.12, 2016

Joshua Brown, 40, said his Tesla Autopilot system had prevented an earlier crash before his death in Florida on May 7.

Things are heating up for Tesla Motors, the battery-carmaker finding itself blamed for a third crash using its Autopilot system, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly begins an investigation into Tesla’s delayed public disclosure of the first crash.

That May 7 accident led to the death of a 40-year-old former Navy Seal but while Tesla did disclose the situation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nine days later, the company took nearly two months to make a public announcement. It waited until after a $2 billion stock offering, CEO Elon Musk later tweeting that the crash was “not material to the value of Tesla.”

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Whether that’s accurate could be up to the SEC to decide. Meanwhile, some other critics are calling for an investigation of Tesla’s plan to purchase SolarCity, a deal that has raised flags for some because of CEO Musk’s personal ties to the solar panel maker.

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