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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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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Followup: NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Tesla, Electric, Luxury

Tesla Model S after crash frontal crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraion

In response to Tesla’s claim that the Model S is the safest car ever tested, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a statement clearing up how it rates cars. While not denying that the Model S is a very safe car, the agency said that its rating system is only between one and five stars – nothing higher and nothing lower.

This means that, unlike honors classes in college and high school, there is no way to score above the highest rating, and Tesla says that it received a 5.4-star rating (although there is no indication where it got this information). Also, NHTSA made no mention of any broken equipment it suffered while testing the Model S; another claim made by Tesla. Scroll down for the Model S crash video courtesy of ABC News as well as NHTSA’s brief statement.

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NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Trademark trolls cause headache for Tesla in China

Filed under: China, Government/Legal, Electric

It happened to Apple when it first tried to enter the Chinese market, and now it’s happening to electric vehicle maker Tesla: the automaker’s name has already been registered in China by trademark trolls, reports Want China Times. Trademark trolls are people or organizations that register company names in anticipation of selling them when said company decides to enter the market. After two years of litigation, Apple ended up paying Chinese computer monitor maker Proview $60 million to buy the “IPAD” trademark. Tesla has been in litigation since 2009 for the use of its name, and so far, it doesn’t have much to show for it.

“Tesla” was registered in 2009 by Zhan Baosheng, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker already made an offer to buy it for two million yuan ($326,000), but Baosheng wanted the equivalent of about $32.6 million for the trademark. Tesla’s fight to use its name has been somewhat fruitful – it bought the rights to “TESLA MOTORS” on May 6 – but the name can’t be used for finished automotive products for various legal reasons.

The Silicon Valley-based EV maker might have some leverage in its case to acquire ownership of the “Tesla” trademark, because Baosheng hasn’t used the name since he registered it in 2009, and he hasn’t yet proved that he develops products relating to EVs.

Trademark trolls cause headache for Tesla in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 13:30:00 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.

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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 ZEV credit changes will alter profit picture, but Musk still confident

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors, Legislation and Policy

tesla model s logo

Tomorrow, we will get a fresh glimpse into the financial situation over at Tesla Motors. That’s when the California automaker, always ready to go its own way and not release monthly sale figures, will discuss its second-quarter SEC filing. From what we’ve been told, it won’t be as rosy at three months ago. In early May, when Tesla announced Q1 results and said it had made its first-ever quarterly profit, it warned that the second quarter results would not be as good. Specifically, the company said, “deferred revenue recognition required by GAAP for lease accounting will lead to a net loss on paper in Q2.” But we’ll find out the details soon enough.

Looking forward, there is another possible hurdle for Tesla’s profits. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is thinking about changing the way it calculates zero-emission vehicle bonus credits. These would not be retroactive, but CARB may no longer allow battery swapping – which the Model S has – to get the bonus as a fast refueling option. This would reduce the value of Tesla’s ZEV credits that it sells to other automakers. In the first quarter, Tesla made $11.2 million in profit and took in $67.9 million in revenue from selling ZEV and other “regulatory” credits. You can see how, if the ZEV value declines, the company’s profit could also go away. Three months ago, Tesla said it was prepared for Q4 2013 ZEV credits to equal zero and yet Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company will be profitable by the end of the year even without selling credits.

Tesla has long relied on ZEV credits, and all the way back in 2010 there were stories about how the credits were running out so this is well-trodden ground. You can find all of the details of Tesla’s 2013 Q1 profits here and read more about the potential CARB changes here.

Tesla ZEV credit changes will alter profit picture, but Musk still confident originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 17:29:00 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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Report: Tesla buys test track adjacent to its factory

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Tesla

Tesla executives - including Elon Musk - walk away from newly purchased NUMMI plant with Roadster in foreground

Two months ago, Tesla hired Chris Porritt to be the vice president of its vehicle engineering program. Tesla’s purchase last week of a 35-acre parcel abutting its factory in Fremont, California will give Porritt, formerly the boss of Aston Martin’s Vehicle Engineering team (he’s the father of the One-77 supercar), at least a portion of a test track where he can challenge and hone the EVs of the future.

The land was part of a parcel of more than 160 acres that had been owned by the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., the former joint venture factory built by General Motors and Toyota. When NUMMI (shown above) closed, the land was bought by Union Pacific Railroad, which sold the lot to Tesla.

While Tesla hasn’t laid out its plans, we’re guessing they’ll eventually expand the track as the factory footprint grows; CEO Elon Musk has said Model S production could equal 800 cars per week by the end of next year. As for Porritt, from his new base in Fremont and with that new test track, he’ll oversee further development of the Model S and the birth of the Model X, Roadster successor and the “affordable Tesla” due by 2017.

Tesla buys test track adjacent to its factory originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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