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Tesla Back in Consumer Reports’ Good Graces

Models S, X rewarded for return of auto-braking.

by on May.24, 2017

Tesla temporarily disabled auto-braking when it revised its hardware before finish a software upgrade.

After slamming the automaker for some serious concerns over safety, Consumer Reports has upgraded two of Tesla’s battery-electric vehicles.

The non-profit publication slammed both the Tesla Models S and X last month when it discovered the recently updated EVs did not have working automatic emergency braking, or AEB, systems – something that was offered on the older versions of the electric sedan and SUV. Using over-the-air updates, however, Tesla has activated that technology on the newer models.

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“It’s uncommon for a newer vehicle to be less capable than an older vehicle, especially when it comes to safety,” said CR’s director of automotive testing, Jake Fisher.

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Audi Electrifies Shanghai with E-Tron Sportback

Debut underscores China’s growing push for electrification.

by on Apr.19, 2017

Nearly productionr ready? The Audi e-Tron Sportback Concept rolls into Shanghai.

As the Shanghai Motor Show gets underway, two trends dominate: growing consumer demand for SUVs and the government’s push for electrification.

Audi hopes to score on both counts with today’s debut of the eagerly awaited e-Tron Sportback concept. It’s the latest in a series of battery-electric show cars the German luxury maker has revealed over the last several years – and the closest yet to the production model now in the final stages of development.

What a Conceptt!

“Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi E-Tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance,” said brand Chairman Rupert Stadler, during the Sportback concept’s Shanghai unveiling.

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Tesla Sets Q1 Production, Sales Records

Despite analysts' caution, investors continuing driving up shares.

by on Apr.03, 2017

Tesla has been launching non-traditional showrooms and displays, like this one at a Nordstrom's.

Tesla got a jump on the rest of the auto industry, reporting late Sunday that it set new production and delivery records for the first quarter of the year.

That comes as particular good news for the Silicon Valley manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla stretching its finances as it prepares for the launch of the all-new Model 3 sedan later this year. Sales had slumped during the final quarter of 2017 due to a mix of production snags, including the shift to a new version of the maker’s Autopilot system.

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Tesla was forced to return to Wall Street late in the January-March quarter, raising about $1.4 billion in a new stock offering. Investors responded positively, despite CEO Elon Musk’s warning that the maker’s finances were “getting very close to the edge.”

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Despite Ongoing Quality Issues, Tesla Owners Bond with Their Cars

“Owners see themselves as pioneers.”

by on Mar.21, 2017

Despite endemic quality problems, Power finds strong emotional attachment to Tesla products.

Tesla owners could be accused of having a love/hate relationship with their vehicles. The maker’s Models S and X have repeatedly been slammed for serious quality issues, yet owners retain a strong emotional bond to those battery-electric vehicles, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

But the question is whether those buying the next generation of Tesla products, starting with the Model 3 sedan set to go into production in July, will be nearly as forgiving. Moving into the mainstream carries significant risks, according to various analysts.

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“Tesla owners see themselves as pioneers who enjoy being early adopters of new technology,” said Kathleen Rizk, director of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power. “Spending $100,000 or more on a vehicle that has so many problems usually would have a dramatically negative effect on sales and brand perception. Right now, though, Tesla seems immune from such disenchanted customers.”

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Chrysler Portal EV Concept Opens Door to Millennials

People-mover prototype offers 250 miles range, 20-minute fast charge.

by on Jan.03, 2017

The Chrysler Portal Concept offers a different take on family transportation aimed at Millennials.

Call it a minivan, if you want, but with the debut of the new Portal Concept, Chrysler is looking at an entirely new approach to family transportation.

Making its debut at CES, the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, the Chrysler Portal envisions a “fifth generation” people-mover that is clean, roomy and even roomier than today’s familiar minivans despite a smaller exterior footprint.

Out of the Box!

Following on the recent launch of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid which, despite its name, is actually an extended-range plug-in, the Portal opts for an all-electric drivetrain that can deliver up to 250 miles of range on a charge. And, using one of the new DC Fast Chargers just starting to pop up across the country, the Chrysler Portal can add another 150 miles of driving in less than 20 minutes.

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Tesla Deliveries Surge 70% in Q3

Upturn after EV maker’s first-half sales shortfall.

by on Oct.03, 2016

The Tesla Model X launch has been a thorn in the company's side, production still a challenge.

Tesla Motors saw third-quarter deliveries of its Models S and X battery-electric vehicles surge 70% during the third quarter, a significant improvement over recent quarters that saw the California-based manufacturer fall short of its targets.

Tesla also said that it expects deliveries during the fourth quarter to come in “at or slightly above” the July to September numbers, something that would put the maker on a path to rolling out more than 2,000 of the battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, each week for the rest of the year.

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In turn, company officials have indicated that could translate into a profit for the maker – using non-standard accounting procedures – after some recent, heavy losses.

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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 Cuts Price on Model X and Drops Buyback Guarantee

Moves follows cut in Model S price, shortfall in Q2 production and sales.

by on Jul.14, 2016

The Model X 60D cuts range to just over 200 miles but is $9.000 less than the 75D.

Struggling to build sales momentum, Tesla says it will launch a new, lower-priced version of its Model X crossover-utility vehicle. The automaker took a similar step to deliver a more affordable version of its Model S sedan last month.

The move follows news that Tesla had missed both its production and sales targets for the second quarter of 2016 – and as the automaker faces three separate investigations related to potential problems with its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

We'll Keep You Charged Up!

But while potential buyers will now be able to purchase a Tesla Model X 60D for $74,000, or $9,000 less than the old base battery-electric SUV, Tesla is doing away with the guaranteed buyback program that covered the Model S sedan, assuring owners they would get at least 50% of the purchase price back after three years.

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Tesla Production Up, But Sales Fall Short of Goal

Investigation ramps up into fatal Model S Autopilot crash.

by on Jul.05, 2016

The Model X accounted for barely a third of Tesla's second-quarter production.

While the U.S. new car market is clearly slowing down after a spectacular rebound from the Great Recession, Tesla Motors continues to boost sales at a double-digit pace – but still managed to fall short of expectations.

Tesla says it delivered 14,370 vehicles during the second quarter, but that was 15% less than the 17,000 the battery carmaker had predicted as recently as May. While Tesla had been hoping to roughly split production between the Model S sedan and newer Model X battery SUV, volume was still weighted more than two-to-one towards the electric sedan, apparently reflecting ongoing quality and production problems with the utility vehicle.

Beyond the Headlines!

News of the weak market performance comes at an inopportune time for Tesla. The maker is facing an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the fatal crash of a Model S being driven in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. There has been growing concern about the system, with numerous reports of it being misused by owners.

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Chevrolet Volt Plugs into the Battery Car Sales Lead

Nissan Leaf loses momentum despite increased range.

by on Jun.02, 2016

The second-gen Chevy Volt got a new, roomier design, better performance and longer EV-mode range.

After seemingly coming unplugged, the newly redesigned Chevrolet Volt has charged into the U.S. sales lead among plug-based vehicles, overtaking long-time rival Nissan Leaf.

That’s based on the likelihood that at least 10% of the demand for the Tesla Model S has come from abroad through the end of May, a strong likelihood considering the long-range electric sedan now is being marketed in a number of countries, including China and the European Union.

Green Tech!

Even factoring out those overseas sales, and with a number of manufacturers not yet breaking out May battery-car numbers, there’s good reason for EV advocates to celebrate. After taking a tumble last year in the wake of a sharp downturn in gas prices, sales of plug-based vehicles have been recharged in recent month.

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