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When “Insane Mode” Isn’t Enough — Tesla Adds “Luuudicrous Mode”

Battery carmaker adds new base model and introduces even longer-range battery pack.

by on Jul.17, 2015

The updated Model S will now be capable of launching from 0 to 60 in as little as 2.8 seconds.

Anyone who thinks you can’t get a thrill driving an electric vehicle is likely going to be in for a surprise Tesla Model S. Earlier this year, the maker unveiled the high-performance P85d, adding what it dubbed “Insane Mode,” capable of launching from 0 to 60 as quickly as a McLaren.

For those customers who didn’t think it was enough to go “Insane,” Tesla will take things a step further, adding the new Luuudicrous mode. It will allow the 7-seat sedan to launch from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 2.8 seconds while delivering a quarter-mile time of just 10.9 seconds, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today.

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“Nothing like having your own rollercoaster,” laughed Musk during a phone and Internet media conference. But he revealed Tesla is working on something yet again quicker. An all-new Roadster due out in four years will feature what Musk has curiously dubbed “Maximum Plaid” mode.


Tesla Extends Range…on Roadster

Musk’s forgotten child gets some updates.

by on Dec.26, 2014

The Tesla Roadster 2.0 is getting an upgrade to 3.0 to extend the car's range from 245 miles to 400 miles.

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, has been making noise on Twitter about an announcement regarding the company’s first vehicle – the Roadster – for more than a week and now he’s let the cat out of the bag: it can go nearly 400 miles on a charge.

The improved results are coming from a new prototype package the company calls Roadster 3.0. Those changes include an improved lithium ion battery that has 31% more energy, a retro-fitted aero kit to improve the vehicle’s coefficient of drag and low-resistance tires that are 20% better than their predecessors. Tesla officials declined to elaborate on pricing or availability. The Roadster originally had a range of about 245 miles on a charge.

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“Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0,” the company wrote in a blog post. “There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. (more…)

Tesla Announces No-Fault Battery Warranty; “Valet” Loaner Program

CEO Musk hints battery upgrade program “a good likelihood.”

by on Apr.26, 2013

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a prototype Model S.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has announced a series of steps designed to give Model S electric vehicle owners “complete peace of mind” about the durability of their batteries and the cost and convenience of getting the Model S sedan serviced.

Meanwhile, Musk told that there is a “good likelihood” that the California-based automaker will eventually offer owners the ability to upgrade their current lithium-ion battery packs as more advanced battery technology becomes available.

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“We’re focused on creating the world’s best factory service experience to match what many have called the world’s best car,” Musk said during a media conference call on Friday.

The Tesla founder outlined a variety steps that will be taken, including a new valet service program in which customers can have their Model S picked up by the dealer, rather than having to take it to the shop.  The valet will leave the owner with a Tesla Model S 85, the most expensive and longest-range version of the battery-electric vehicle, as a loaner.


British Court Tosses Tesla Lawsuit

Further setback for battery-car maker.

by on Mar.11, 2013

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with a Model S sedan.

It’s been a tough month for Tesla, the California battery-car start-up. While it stood toe-to-toe with the New York Times following a critical review of the Model S sedan, many investors quickly abandoned the company, especially after a worse-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

Now, the British courts have landed a punch, tossing a lawsuit Tesla had filed against the much-watched BBC TV series Top Gear.  The appeals court found no merit in Tesla’s claim that it had been libeled by the program which showed one of the maker’s Roadsters running out of power during a day of track testing.

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Tesla originally filed the lawsuit in March 2011, alleging Top Gear committed libel and malicious falsehood – and claiming that the snarky segment cost it $171,000 in lost sales.

But the court ruled later that year that, “no reasonable person could understand that the performance on the track is capable of a direct comparison with a public road.”


Tesla Falls Behind on Production Targets

EV maker's SEC filing outlines plans to meet projections.

by on Sep.26, 2012

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with the Model S.

Tesla Motors, the ambitious electric vehicle start-up company spawned by California billionaire and  entrepreneur Elon Musk, acknowledged in its filing with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission it was falling behind in its efforts to produce its sleek new EV, Model S, leaving the company in danger of  failing to meet the terms of its $465 million loan from the U.S Department of Energy.

Consequently, Tesla is looking to sell $128 million in new stock, seeking relief from the terms of  its loan from the U.S. Department of Energy and  negotiating new deals with suppliers, the company said in its SEC filing.

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Tesla’s disclosure comes during what is already a bad week for the builders of electric vehicles. Chrysler Group announced Monday it was suspending testing of more than 100 plugin electric pickup trucks because of unexplained battery fires, while Consumer Reports panned the $107,000 Fisker Karma in its review.


Tesla Aims to Ease EV Range Anxiety

Supercharger network offers 30-minute quick charge, providing 150 miles of driving range for Model S sedan.

by on Sep.26, 2012

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announces the Supercharger network at a Los Angelese gala.

Critics of electric vehicles always point to their limited usefulness for long-distance travel. With many EVs having a range of 80 miles, what do you do if you need to go more than 40 miles from home? And where will you plug it in?

Tesla Motors may have an answer. Constructed in secrecy, Tesla unveiled plans for the first six “Supercharger” stations in California. Eventually, Tesla plans to build a network of 100 of the stations across the country.

Just in case you’re planning to take your Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt – or even Tesla’s first model, the Roadster – to one of the stations, don’t bother. The Superchargers will only work on the Tesla Model S, the carmaker’s new all-electric sedan, and only models with the optional hardware package that allows them to use the system.

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Best of all for the green crowd, the Superchargers will be powered solar panels that will actually send excess electricity back to the grid. Model S owners will be able to use the charging stations for free.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the Supercharger network at a gala event in Los Angeles.

“By making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be,” Musk said. “We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight.”

Still, the Supercharger system is not without controversy.


Tesla To Reveal “Supercharger” Network, Add Several More New Models

“Flyings cars” and “alien spaceships.”

by on Sep.17, 2012

Tesla plans to add an assortment of additional models, including a downsized battery crossover to compete with the likes of the BMW X3.

It’s struggling to overcome quality problems and meet bulging backorders for its first mainstream model – but that apparently hasn’t slowed down Tesla Motors’ ambitious plans.

The maker reveals it is already working up an assortment of newer models – and that it will announce, next week, what it has dubbed the “Tesla Supercharger,” expected to be a network of advanced battery charging stations designed to eliminate motorists’ concerns about battery range.

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The new stations might look a bit like “alien spaceships,” suggested Tesla founder Elon Musk. Meanwhile, one of the firm’s primary investors has told his Detroit competitors they should give up on battery cars and work on “flying cars.”

The California battery-car start-up has been struggling to ramp up production of the Model S, its first serious vehicle, since the assembly line in Fremont, California started rolling two months ago. Tesla officials have confirmed they likely won’t approach their production targets until the end of the year, meaning a backlog of orders well into 2013.


Tesla Facing Slow Start, Mounting Uncertainty

Questions arise, but maker insists it can make up lost time.

by on Aug.06, 2012

A slow launch but Tesla insists it can make up lost ground for the Model S in quarters to come.

Half empty or half-charged?  That’s a question facing Tesla, the California electric vehicle maker, as it ramps up production of its first mainstream offering, the Model S.

The start-up seemed to be getting off to a fast pace when it delivered its first sedan two months ago. But Tesla has since revealed that the pace of production is going much slower than anticipated, rolling out barely 50 vehicles since the official Job One, only about half of those going to customers who have plunked down hefty deposits.

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The maker – created by the same billionaire behind private rocket company SpaceX – has since been hammered by industry analysts but now insists it will make up lost time during the latter part of the year.

“The ramp-up is continuing, and we are getting a lot of invaluable information from having all these cars on the road,” wrote Tesla Vice President of Sales George Blankenship in a corporate blog.


Tesla Readying Additional Products – Including Battery 3-Series Challenger

A pickup may also be in the plans.

by on Jul.18, 2012

While the Tesla Roadster - shown here - is now out of production, the maker is targeting a slightly larger 3-Series competitior for its third line.

With its new Model S now in production, Tesla Motors is working up an assortment of additional products, according to the maker’s design chief, including a battery-powered challenger to the compact luxury segment’s powerhouse BMW 3-Series.

The start-up battery car maker is also working on products and powertrains for its alliance partners Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.

But the 3-Series competitor could put Tesla into the luxury segment mainstream while demonstrating that battery power doesn’t have to live inside a narrow – and high-priced niche.

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The new Model S sedan will be followed next year by the launch of a crossover sharing the same platform and dubbed the Model X.  Meanwhile, Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen told the British magazine AutoCar that the smaller BMW fighter could reach market by as early as 2015.

“The third model will continue to drive down the price point as fast as possible,” said von Holzhausen, who also told the publication it could come in at around $30,000.


Tesla Model S: The Battery Car Market’s Moon Shot

Sales of new mainstream model begin today.

by on Jun.22, 2012

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with a Model S.

After a few faulty starts, entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space-X finally became the first private company to launch a cargo ship into orbit last month.  But what has taken real rocket science is coming up with the right product and technology to make Musk’s other firm, Tesla Motors, a viable competitor in the hotly competitive auto industry.

After running up losses off more than $750 million since its founding in 2003, the Silicon Valley start-up will launch a product arguably even more important than the Space-X Dragon cargo ship.  The 2013 Tesla Model-S will be the firm’s first mainstream passenger car and quite likely its make-it-or-break-it attempt to crack a market dominated by multinational giants like General Motors, Toyota Motor Co. and Daimler AG.

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“If it delivers on its promises – not only in sales volume, but also in quality and reliability – the S will propel Tesla into the black and provide working capital to develop of the next line of Tesla vehicles,” said green car analyst John Odell, of the automotive data firm Edmunds.

But Musk and company have made some big promises – with relatively little history to show they can deliver.