Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S electric road trip: 5 kids, 3,200 miles, 9* hours of charging

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors

Tesla Model S

With his legions of vociferous fans, there has been no bigger champion for the electric vehicles from Tesla Motors than the man at the helm, Elon Musk. Musk’s latest promotional event to prove the power of EVs will be a cross-country drive in a Model S, using the rapidly growing network of Superchargers along the way.

Musk says the six-day, 3,200-mile trip should only require 90 minutes of charging a day.

Musk first proposed this trip back in May when Tesla announced an expansion to the Supercharger network. At the time, Musk said he wanted to retrace the route of a college road trip, but this time with his five children in the car. With the optional rear-facing seats installed the Model S can seat 7, if some are small enough. On Twitter, Musk said trip planning is done, and the six-day, 3,200-mile trip should only require nine hours of charging. He added, “At 1.5 hrs/day, we will only ever need to charge when stopping anyway to eat or sightsee, never just for charging itself.” But we assume he’s not including overnight charging in that time, since six Supercharger fill-ups – which can each provide three hours of driving – will not be enough for the entire coast-to-coast trip.

To be honest, driving across the country in a Model S – to say nothing of other EVs – is a feat that’s been done before, but when Mr. SpaceX loads up the kids and goes for a drive, people pay attention. People also noticed when, during a much shorter drive, a writer from The New York Times managed to run out of electricity last winter. In response, Tesla fans proved the drive up the East Coast could be done.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S electric road trip: 5 kids, 3,200 miles, 9* hours of charging originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S electric road trip: 5 kids, 3,200 miles, 9* hours of charging

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Tesla Motors

Tesla Model S

With his legions of vociferous fans, there has been no bigger champion for the electric vehicles from Tesla Motors than the man at the helm, Elon Musk. Musk’s latest promotional event to prove the power of EVs will be a cross-country drive in a Model S, using the rapidly growing network of Superchargers along the way.

Musk says the six-day, 3,200-mile trip should only require 90 minutes of charging a day.

Musk first proposed this trip back in May when Tesla announced an expansion to the Supercharger network. At the time, Musk said he wanted to retrace the route of a college road trip, but this time with his five children in the car. With the optional rear-facing seats installed the Model S can seat 7, if some are small enough. On Twitter, Musk said trip planning is done, and the six-day, 3,200-mile trip should only require nine hours of charging. He added, “At 1.5 hrs/day, we will only ever need to charge when stopping anyway to eat or sightsee, never just for charging itself.” But we assume he’s not including overnight charging in that time, since six Supercharger fill-ups – which can each provide three hours of driving – will not be enough for the entire coast-to-coast trip.

To be honest, driving across the country in a Model S – to say nothing of other EVs – is a feat that’s been done before, but when Mr. SpaceX loads up the kids and goes for a drive, people pay attention. People also noticed when, during a much shorter drive, a writer from The New York Times managed to run out of electricity last winter. In response, Tesla fans proved the drive up the East Coast could be done.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S electric road trip: 5 kids, 3,200 miles, 9* hours of charging originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Nissan Maxima gets new Limited Edition model, pricing

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, Nissan

2014 Nissan Maxima

With a new Maxima expected to debut next year for the 2015 model year, Nissan is only making small changes to its big sedan for 2014. Buyers looking to get behind the wheel of Nissan’s “4-Door Sports Car” will be happy to know that the base price for the 2014 Maxima carries over from 2013 starting at $31,000 (*excluding the $810 destination charge).

Aside from two new colors, the only change to the base Maxima S is the addition of a new option group. Sounding very similar to the Sport Package available on the SV, the $750 Limited Edition Package adds smoked Xenon headlights, dark-accented 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and fog lights. Stepping up to the SV trim level, the Maxima now comes standard with a rearview camera, Xenon headlights and a seven-inch screen, but its price has also been increased by $850, so it starts at $34,090. Scroll down for more info on the 2014 Maxima.

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2014 Nissan Maxima gets new Limited Edition model, pricing originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Tesla Model S vulnerable to hackers?

Filed under: Sedan, Safety, Technology, Tesla, Electric, Luxury

Tesla Model S could be vulnerable to hackers.

Next time you walk by a parked Tesla and its sunroof is opening and closing with nobody sitting inside or around it, you could be witnessing a hacker moment. For all of its strengths as a car, the Model S reportedly has a weak spot: the security of its API (application programming interface) authentication, according to an article in the O’Reilly Community by George Reese, executive director of cloud management at Dell. Tesla develops and uses its own API authentication protocols, which have made access to certain Model S functions too easy for hackers, Reese says – himself a Model S owner.

At question is the Tesla REST API, which is accessed via a web-based portal, usually by Model S owners with their iPhone or Android-based smartphone, to perform a variety of menial tasks and check the status of the car. The Tesla-registered e-mail and password of the car owner is used to access the API through a web portal, which creates a “token” that lasts for three months. During that period, owners access the Tesla REST API via the token without the use of their log-in information. Unfortunately, the tokens and their respective cars are stored on website databases that are all too easy to hack, Reese explains, and if a hacker gains access, “it has free access to all of that site’s cars for up to three months with no ability for the owners to do anything about it.” On top of that, there is no way to revoke access of a compromised application.

Reese says that “there’s nothing in the API that (can? should?) result in an accident if someone malicious were to gain access.” The API can check the car’s battery charge, operate climate control, operate the sunroof, identify car location, honk the horn, open the charge port, and perform other similar operations. But, he cautions, “Perhaps the scariest bit is that the API could be used to track your every move.”

At least it’s not a major hack-attack like that experienced by a Forbes reporter in a Prius. Now that’s scary!

Tesla Model S vulnerable to hackers? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Aug 2013 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Study: US diesel model count to double for 2014?

Filed under: Car Buying, Audi, Diesel

Audi's 2014 TDI diesel product line

While diesel cars are popular on most other continents, these less-complex alternative to hybrid-electric vehicles have yet to gain major traction in the US. As an increasing number of light cars and trucks start to offer these fuel-efficient engines, though, sales are expected to climb as well. While BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) continue to lead the way, more non-German automakers like Mazda, Nissan, Chrysler and General Motors are starting to get serious about diesel in America.

TheDetroitBureau.com reports that the 2014 model year will see the number of diesel vehicles offered in the US double to about 40 nameplates, but the news gets even better for fans of these torquey and efficient powerplants. LMC Automotive has released data about future expectations of diesel cars in the US, and it predicts that sales should be very close to one million units in 2015 (up from an expected 600,000 units this year). By 2018, LMC’s calculations suggest that sales will more than double from this year’s expected totals accounting for almost 8 percent of new light-vehicle sales.

US diesel model count to double for 2014? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors, Videos

Tesla Model S NHTSA crash

Tesla Motors is having a good week. Right after the California-based maker of the Model S electric vehicle reported better than expected earnings and vehicle-production numbers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) let it be known that the Model S received five-star crash-test ratings, according to Automotive News. That means the sedan received the best possible marks for frontal and side-impact crashes, as well as for rollover. The bad news: some Teslas were destroyed in the process. It’s part of a trend. Earlier versions of the Model S also received top crash test scores last year. Before that, the all-electric Roadster also passed crash tests back in 2008.

A refresher on the other good news of the week: Tesla announced Wednesday that it increased sales to 5,150 vehicles for the second quarter, and said it may double production next year. After reporting its first profit in the first quarter, Tesla’s second-quarter gross margin was 22 percent and may reach 25 percent by year-end. Tesla’s second-quarter revenue was $405.1 million and the company narrowed its second-quarter loss to $30.2 million from a $105.5 million loss a year earlier.

You can check out several Model S crash-test videos below, though you might want to cover your eyes.

Continue reading Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 10:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla sold 5,150 Model S EVs in Q2, future $35k model will have 200-mile range

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

Finally, we know the number. Tesla Motors announced today that it sold 5,150 Model S electric vehicles in North America last quarter. Divide by three and you see that the California company sold around 1,700 cars a month, which puts it right up there with the current plug-in vehicle champions, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. That’s despite the fact that the cheapest Model S, which starts at $69,900 but often sells for a lot more with better options, costs at least twice as much as the sales leaders. Tesla said it was making “almost 500 vehicles per week” in the second quarter of this year.

Tesla says its “financial position and balance sheet have never been stronger.”

The sales contributed to an overall increase in net income (non-GAAP) of 70 percent compared to the first quarter, up to $26 million. Tesla said it achieved a gross margin of 22 percent (non-GAAP), “despite significant reduction in ZEV credits” (which was no surprise) and should hit 25 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013. That number is simply a company’s sales revenue with the cost of goods sold taken out, divided by total sales revenue. Put it all together and you get the following statement: “Our financial position and balance sheet have never been stronger.” Still, there was no talk in today’s conference call of an overall profitable quarter, as there was three months ago.

With all of the good financial news, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk said the primary focus now is on “expanding production to meet worldwide demand.” Tesla started delivering the Model S to Europe this week (the first lucky countries were Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands) and if demand there matches North America, which Musk said is likely, then the company predicts “annualized sales for Model S could exceed 40,000 units per year by late 2014.”

In China, the Model S will have an “executive back seat” instead of the current “family back seat.”

Musk said the upcoming new-market Model S versions (right-hand-drive for Japan and the Chinese model) are taking up most of Tesla’s resources at the current moment. In China, for example, the company is trying to improve the comfort level of the rear seat, because it is common for people in The People’s Republic to be driven around. The Model S was designed to be the perfect driver’s car, Musk said, but in China it will have an “executive back seat” instead of the “family back seat” the car has now. Things like this mean that work on the Model X won’t really start to ramp up until the end of this year. Deliveries of that car should start at the end of 2014.

Looking further down the road, Musk said that the next-gen Tesla vehicle, the long-rumored $35,000 (without any subsidies) EV, should be a compelling option with a 200-mile range. That vehicle is still quite far away – he wondered aloud how his company might need more battery cells than the laptop industry does if it’s making a half-million cars a year – but at least his automotive competition now has targets to shoot for if they want to beat Tesla in the longer-range EV game.

Tesla sold 5,150 Model S EVs in Q2, future $35k model will have 200-mile range originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla Model S gets new options, price increase on things like XM Radio

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Teslive 2013

During the Teslive town hall with Tesla fans in July, company CEO Elon Musk was his usual interesting, informative self, and he even dropped some news about changes coming to the Model S. The big ones are a valet parking mode (to limit performance so those punk kids don’t go tear things up with your EV), a better navigation system (so that north is always facing up, for example, and a way to download maps for offline use) and a way to use your phone’s data connection instead of the built-in cell network receiver in the Model S. You can see an hour-long video of Musk’s talk below.

Even more recently, the Model S order page was updated with new options like parking sensors and a Subzero Weather Package for $750. That package, recommended for buyers who live wherever it regularly drops below freezing, adds three-zone rear seat heaters, wiper blade defrosters and washer nozzle heaters. The company has also raised the price of some of previously existing features. Adding XM satellite radio, for example, used to cost $950, but it’s now part of the $2,500 Ultra High Fidelity Sound package option.

On the Tesla Motors forum page, some customers and potential customers are expressing their displeasure with the price increases and the lack of a grace period for people who wanted the “old” version and prices. It’s impossible to know exactly how hard these increases will hit individual buyers, but some commenters are comparing the prices today with what they bought their Model S EVs for a few months ago and are finding that the increases add around 8-9 percent to the overall cost of the car.

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Tesla Model S gets new options, price increase on things like XM Radio originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Mercedes drastically reduces size of S-Class with new model cars

Filed under: Mercedes-Benz, Toys/Games

Mercedes-Benz S-Class scale models

Mercedes-Benz takes its all-new S-Class quite seriously, even by German standards. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that even a scale-model Sonderklasse is carefully crafted. The miniatures in question cover the 2014 S-Class and come courtesy of three brands, in three different sizes, and are available through the Mercedes-Benz Collection.

The largest, and not surprisingly priciest, model is a 1:18-scale (making it about 11.4 inches long) creation from Norev. It features 145 individual parts, with opening and closing doors, trunk, and hood. For those that like to play with their expensive toys, the Norev S-Class comes with gloves. Dropping down the line is a 1:43-scale from Schuco that sits at 4.5 inches long. Like the larger model, it has a sunroof, detailed headlights, and multi-spoke wheels. With 55 parts, the doors, hood, and trunk can’t be manipulated, but it does come on a stylish plinth, with a case. The smallest model is by Herpa, and is a tiny 1:87-scale (about 2.3 inches long) miniature. Only 26 parts are used, but like the Schuco, it comes on a plinth and with a case.

All three models come with a choice of three paints, with Diamond White Metallic available across the range. The Norev model adds Blue Anthracite and Iridium Silver, while the Schuco can be had in Diamond Silver and Magnetite Black. The Herpa, meanwhile, runs a mix of the two, with Blue Anthracite and Magnetite Black.

Pricing is only available in euros, and includes Germany’s 19-percent value added tax. The Norev is 79.90 euros ($106.06), the Schuco is 29.90 euros ($39.69) and the Herpa is 15.90 euros ($21.11, all conversions are today’s rates.) Scroll down below for a press release from Mercedes.

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Mercedes drastically reduces size of S-Class with new model cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford to build next F-150, outgoing model concurrently?

Filed under: Spy Photos, Truck, Plants/Manufacturing, Ford, Earnings/Financials

Ford's Atlas-based F-150 testing spy photo

Ford is rumored to be considering concurrent production for old and new F-150 models in a bid to minimize supply chain disruptions and inventory. Automotive News is reporting that the Blue Oval will build both the current F-150 and its replacement, which we showed you testing just last month, side by side for about half a year before switching over entirely to next-generation production.

As IHS Automotive analyst Mike Jackson told AN, “In order to ramp up, you have to retool…and that means you have to take capacity offline.” Building both models alongside could allow Ford to cope with the still strong demand for the current F-150, while populating dealer supplies and working out supply chain kinks for the new model before making a full-time switch.

A loss of capacity when demand is so strong, even for a short period, could spell bad news for Ford, which nets an estimated 90 percent of its global profit on pickups and large SUVs. As AN states, Ford produces the F-150 in both Kansas City, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan, which allows it to maintain some degree of flexibility in production. The new F-150 is expected to arrive at the 2014 North American International Auto Show as a 2015 model, with a design inspired by the Atlas Concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show last January.

Ford to build next F-150, outgoing model concurrently? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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