Search Results

Your search for tesla returned the following results.

Leave it to the Aussies. A Tesla owner and his friend drove 313 miles, from Australia’s Northern Territory to South Australia, on one fully-charged battery. The cap over the socket was sealed at the outset.

Owner Simon Hackett and his friend Emilis Prelgauskas took 12 hours to drive that far, averaging 34 mph. So no speed records were set, certainly, but they did set a world record as part of the Global Green Challenge.

Tesla’s published range for the battery is 200 miles under normal driving conditions, so the Australian roadster did better by half than expected. Granted, the guys were keeping the throttle as steady as possible to conserve energy, but it’s a reassuring result for consumers wary of battery range.

The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize made its first round of cuts, leaving 43 teams still in the running for the $10 million prize. All these teams have passed round one — design judging. Round two, which will examine the technical feasibility of the entrants, begins in spring 2010.

Those still in the running include corporate teams, like Tesla and Zap, and schools like Western Washington University, Cornell, and a team from a West Philadelphia high school. For the conspiracy buffs, Illuminati Motor Works has made it past round two. International teams from Italy and Switzerland made the cut, too. And of course the space-age white Aptera 2e is hanging in there.

For a complete list of the teams so far, and a detailed description of the prize, visit the X Prize web site.

Smart has a couple bits of news this week. First, as of November 2009, the electric Smart Fortwo will have a lithium-ion battery pack from Tesla Motors on board. It’ll sit between the axles, so as not to compromise the already precious space inside the Fortwo, with the motor in the back, where it’s always been. The new battery gives it a range of about 70 miles, and will fully charge at a 220-volt socket overnight.

The electric Fortwo is currently being leased to “select markets,” as they say, in Europe and the U.S. for real-world testing. It’ll go on sale to anyone who wants one in 2012.

If you want 41 mpg in a gasoline car, plus a dash of je ne sais quoi, check out the new Smart Fortwo Highstyle, in chocolate brown with 12-spoke alloy wheels. The interior gets an upgrade to leather and fabric, and the car is available with start-stop technology to increase the gas mileage even more around town.

Tesla S

I wish I were a bookie, or knew how to put odds on events. Starting a betting pool on Tesla chairman Elon Musk’s plans for the company’s future would be fun. The company is seemingly doing pretty well, despite internal disputes, lawsuits, changes at the top, and who knows what all. Musk keeps on keeping on, though. Tesla’s got a deal with Daimler to help build electric smart cars, and Musk recently announced the addition of an SUV to Tesla’s future lineup and reiterated the company’s plans for an affordable sedan.

During an interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose last week, Musk said the sedan will sell for around $50,000, or half the current price of the Roadster, and be produced in much larger numbers. Like, 20,000 a year, compared to 1,000 for the Roadster this year. An electric SUV and a new, smaller, more affordable car will follow sometime in the future. But you can look for the Tesla S sedan in two years … or can you? Place your bets!

Image of the Tesla S courtesy of Tesla Motors.

2SSIC vs Tesla

I spent the weekend at the Wayland Invitational, an electric vehicle drag racing event held at Portland International Raceway and sanctioned by the National Electric Drag Racing Association. Didn’t know they had such a thing, did you? Well, they do, and the electric cars repeatedly beat the pants off the gasoline-powered competition. Even the little Tango surprised the fans by beating a souped-up Mustang.

The weekend’s big (and little) draw was KillaCycle, Bill Dube’s electric-powered drag motorcycle. He built it to do one thing: go fast in a straight line. And it does just that. It’s the fastest electric vehicle in the world, and I saw it turn in quarter-mile times in the 8-second range. In contrast, the Teslas that drove down from Seattle turned in consistent 12.9-second times — and they were hitting 100 mph pretty regularly.

KillaCycle also wowed the crowd by racing against a miniature version of itself. A remote-controlled electric scale model of KillaCycle lined up on the track against the monster drag bike and did its best to hold its own. Do I need to tell you that the big bike won? It did. But it was fun to watch, in any case.

KillaCycle, Tesla, and every other electric car that took the track were there to prove one thing: green doesn’t have to be slow and boring. There were a lot of surprised newbies to the EV scene in the stands who flocked to the electric race cars in the pits after their runs to find out just what the hell was going on with these battery-operated cars, and found drivers and builders happy to tell them all about it.

Diesel prices are, on average, lower than gasoline prices for the first time in two years. The question is, will it matter to Americans?

In the wake of crazy high gas prices last summer and the collapse of the U.S. auto industry over the past nine months or so, all three Detroit car makers shelved plans for new diesel engines slated for pickup trucks. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen forged ahead with their clean diesel plans, but sales haven’t been as peppy as they had hoped.

Now, with cheaper diesel and tougher CAFE standards in the future, will U.S. car buyers flock to clean diesels? Or will the stinky stigma remain while we save our pennies for the Tesla S electric sedan or the Chevy Volt, which GM has promised not to abondon despite bankruptcy?

I’ve driven a couple of the clean diesels on sale in the U.S. and had pleasant experiences. You can revisit the Mercedes Blue-Tec and VW Jetta TDI posts for the scoop.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has acquired a 10% stake in California EV upstart Tesla Motors. The two companies have been working together to develop a battery pack for Daimler’s future electrified Smart car, as Tesla chair Elon Musk announced in Detroit earlier this year.

While Daimler is learning from Tesla’s lithium-ion know-how, including the development of battery packs and recharging systems, Tesla is taking advantage of the bigger, older company’s experience and supply chain to develop its own, supposedly less expensive Tesla Model S electric vehicle.

There are already 100 electric Smart cars testing in London. The results of this partnership with Tesla will produce 1,000 second-generation Smart EVs, which will be built at Smart HQ in France and used in pilot European programs.

And Mercedes fans, start saving up now. The company promises to introduce an electric M-B in 2010.

Image courtesy of Daimler AG.

Several California counties, the state of Oregon, and now Seattle have hopped on the electric interstate idea by signing EV-charging infrastructure deals with Nissan. The car company plans to introduce its EV in limited numbers next year, and it wants to have recharging stations in place.

With San Diego and Seattle on board, the ends of Interstate 5 are pinned in place with EV charging agreements. Coverage along I-5’s length is spotty so far, though, so don’t plan a road trip in your Tesla just yet. Also, as John O’Dell reported on the Green Car Advisor blog, Seattle’s hydroelectric power source makes it the first utility in the world to be able to lay claim to the carbon-neutral crown.

Nissan’s EV has been making the rounds on the West Coast lately, with the technology tucked inside a Nissan Cube. The company won’t confirm that the final vehicle design will be based on the Cube, nor will it let journalists take a peek inside the battery pack. I assume details will be coming this fall as the first versions, suitable for real-world testing, become available.

Tesla Recharging

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk blogged last week about the latest member of his electric vehicle family: the Tesla Model S, a four-door sedan. The company has its collective fingers crossed that the U.S. Department of Energy will approve its $350 million loan to work on the new family-friendly car; if it all works out, production could begin in 2011.

Musk had a slew of good news to report, in addition to the high hopes he has for the Model S:

  • The faster, performance-tuned Roadster Sport will be available in June 2009
  • Two new sales and service locations will open in Chicago and London, with more in the pipeline
  • The company is expected to turn a profit by mid-year (but who knows how many high-level personnel changes there’ll be in the meantime)
  • He reiterated that Tesla has partnered with Daimler to supply the batteries and chargers for the electric Smart car

Tesla RoadsterSmart EV

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at the 2009 Detroit auto show that the company will supply the batteries for the forthcoming Smart electric vehicle. Musk had just gotten the go-ahead from Smart parent company and Tesla partner Daimler this morning to make the announcement at the press conference this afternoon — the last auto manufacturer’s press conference of the show.

Musk said Daimler felt Tesla had the best engineering and technology, and so chose the small Silicon Valley electric car maker to supply the batteries for its Smart microcar. The Smart EV will use the same batteries as the Tesla Roadster, but in a smaller pack.

Musk also mentioned that his goal is to bring EVs to the masses, something that could be done through this partnership with Daimler. While the technology is expensive, it goes into expensive cars like the Tesla Roadster (which sells for upwards of $100k and is sold out through November 2009). By working with a large car maker to build EVs in volume, Musk hopes to lower the costs and partner with Daimler to build tens of thousands of cars, instead of the 1500 Roadsters Tesla hopes to build this year.

Tesla likes this partnership model so much that Musk says it’s looking for more deals of the same kind. “The notion of Silicon Valley versus Detroit is completely untrue,” he said.

Lotus Designs

After hiring out its design arm to create chassis for Tesla and Chrysler’s electric vehicles, Lotus has hinted that it may throw its own hat in the EV ring. The Financial Times reported — and’s Inside Line passed it along — that Lotus CEO Michael Kimberley said there may be an electric Lotus “shortly.”

According to the Edmunds blog post, “shortly” may be as soon as the Geneva auto show in March. The concept EV wouldn’t be fully functional, but it would give potential buyers an idea of what a 300-mile-range EV from the British sports car manufacturer might look like.

Looking at Lotus’s current lineup, I think we can assume it’ll be along similar curvy lines. And the company already has a tradition of model names that start with E (Elise, Elite, Evora, Europa … ), so coming up with a clever EV name should be a snap.

Image provided by Lotus Designs, from its 2009 calendar. As far as Good Green Cars knows, it’s not the EV Lotus is talking about, but, you know, it could be.

Like a lot of people interested in green cars, I recently saw a press release from a company called L.A. Electric Motors. They announced that they had a “total electric SUV.” The 5-seat Testament has, according to the release, lithium-ion batteries, and can go 70 mph with a range of 350 miles per charge. The company claims to have a web showroom with physical locations on the way, but the link to the site didn’t work.

With claims like that, I was a bit suspicious. Now that green cars and alternative fuels are in the public eye, we have to watch out for outrageous claims from companies that seem unlikely to deliver. I mean, the Tesla Roadster gets 244 miles per charge from its Li-ion batteries, more than almost any EV out there right now, and look how long its taken to get those cars on the road–with a placeholder transmission, no less.

My radar really went up when I noticed that the company wanted to save consumers from “ever flocculating gas prices.” Further investigation turned up a web site URL that didn’t go anywhere and an email address that bounced back when I asked for more information.

So keep your skeptic hats on, readers. Many fantastic-sounding breakthroughs are real (remember when veggie diesel was funny? Now it’s a booming business), but if it sounds downright miraculous, do a little research before you repeat it as gospel. And if you see anything that makes you cock an eyebrow and say, “Really?” pass it on to me in the comments. I’d be happy to look into it and share what I find.

Tesla Upgrades GearboxIf you’ll recall, when the Tesla Roadster finally started rolling off the production line, the company promised that the transmission shipped with the car was not the final edition. Anyone who took delivery of the car in that first run would be eligible for a free gearbox upgrade — as soon as Tesla figured out what that would be.

The gearbox prize goes to supercar parts supplier BorgWarner. The 27 current Tesla Roadster owners can ship their cars back to the factory in California for an upgrade, which delivers 30% higher torque (in a car that already had plenty) and an EPA-calculated range of 244 miles on a single charge.

The gearbox Tesla planned to use at first turned out to be not so durable under the high-torque conditions generated by an electric supercar. The new BorgWarner setup has a single-speed gearbox.

Tesla says the new gearbox was the final hitch in production (we’ll see about that), and that it plans on upping its weekly production from 10 to 20 in the next few months. It wants to be churning out 40 per week by early 2009. Right now, it takes about six weeks from ordering a roadster to taking delivery and driving it away.

EVs Get a Theme Song

Los Angeles-based songwriter Trudee Lunden is using her rock-n-roll powers for good rather than evil. Check out her MySpace page and listen to the song “Electricity.” Though it is not one whit like the song about electricity that used to play on “School House Rock” when I was a wee girl, it is the first and so far only song I’ve heard about electric vehicles.

The song is performed by co-writer Tom Fair “Extraordinaire” and includes subtle lyrics like “let’s keep building electric cars” and “Electricity charging up my battery.” It name-checks Tesla and Aptera, both companies at the cutting edge of EV technology. This places the tune in the pantheon of songs devoted to the cars one loves, like “Little Deuce Coupe” and “Little Red Corvette.” Though I don’t know that anyone has penned an ode called “Unleaded Gasoline” yet.

If I’m being persnickety, I did find a safety issue in the lyrics. If an EV driver, especially one new to the technology, put the pedal down and pushed it hard, as suggested by “Electricity,” they’d be riding a whole lot of torque. Not much of a problem in your Zap Xebra NEV, but a big deal when you can finally get into a Tesla.

Photo by flod.

Tesla Motors, the fine folks who brought us the all-electric Roadster sports car, are working on a five-passenger sedan called the S. The company plans on bringing the car to market in 2010, after its California manufacturing plant is complete.

While the Roadster was based on a Lotus platform, the S will be completely developed in-house. It will also be a bit cheaper than the $100k Roadster, since its body will be formed from aluminum rather than carbon fiber. According to Autocar, a U.K. site, there will be three models of the S available: a 160-mile range for $60,000; a 220-mile range for $68,000; and a future 300-mile range version that hasn’t had a price pinned on it yet.

Tesla will use the same lithium-ion battery technology that powers the Roadster in the S series, and it expects to eventually sell 20,000 S cars a year. If the California company can pull off building a four-door EV sedan for $60,000, the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt — which still requires gasoline and will likely retail for more than $40,000 — may have a serious challenger on its alternative-fuel hands.

Tesla S concept

The image is obviously from

eQocar\'s homepage

Say you’re spending a week in sunny southern California on business, and you just know you’re going to be mortified driving around in your Chevy Cobalt or similar rental car while Jamie Lee Curtis is tooling around town in her Honda FCX Clarity. Fear not — eQocar is here to help your eco-ego and your carbon footprint.

The three-month-old car rental agency in Burbank has a lot full of hybrids, from the lowly Prius to the massive GMC Yukon hybrid. Prices aren’t cheap — the Prius runs $59 a day, while the Yukon goes for $139. And if only the best will do, the hybrid Lexus LS600 can be had for $650 a day.

The Green Car Advisor blog from says business is brisk for eQocar, and that it hopes to expand further into California and across the nation. It also wants to add the Volt, Tesla, Aptera, and other cars to its current fleet of 45 as they become available.

Hearing aid battery from PanasonicToyota’s researchers in Japan are working on using zinc air batteries for powering EVs. That’s right — batteries that create electricity out of thin air.

When oxygen from the air around us is introduced into a battery cell, it reacts with a zinc electrode to create electricity. The materials to build these batteries are cheap, and they have high energy density. So why aren’t these things powering your Mini already? Because not even a Mini is small enough to be powered by zinc air batteries. Right now, the most common use for zinc air is in hearing aids.

Despite the small size, Toyota hopes that the move from lead-acid and even lithium-ion batteries to zinc-air will blow open the doors of the EV market, providing the range and speed consumers want from a daily driver. There is a lot of possibility here — it wasn’t that long ago that li-ion batteries were only found in cell phones and laptops, not 100+ mph supercars like the Tesla Roadster.

First Tesla Crash

It had to happen sometime, but did anyone think it would be so soon? Jet Black Tesla #6 was involved in a fender-bender in San Francisco, with its nose under a Mercedes-Benz and it’s rear snuggled up to a Toyota Camry. The company thinks the car is repairable, according to Darryl Siry, Tesla’s marketing VP.

Read all about it, and see the pics taken at the scene 10 minutes after the accident, on Wired’s blog.

Image from RMI SolutionsSay you take the plunge and buy an electric vehicle, be it a neighborhood EV like the Zap Xebra or a supercar like the Tesla Roadster. You tool around all day, and you plug your car in at night to recharge. It only takes a couple hours to fully top up the batteries, though, even when they’re nearly depleted. Soon, you and your electric car can put those idle cycles to work while you sleep.

The Rocky Mountain Institute has published its first “Solutions” journal, which is available as a PDF. In it, they discuss the research conducted by RMI on vehicle-to-grid technology. Electric cars, with their built-in, onboard electricity storage devices (batteries, to you and me) can smooth out the power flow and provide emergency backup power:

The real benefit of electric vehicles is that they bring a new level of stability and control to the grid—including giving power back when it’s needed most (in blackouts or at times of peak demand). By some estimates, a battery-electric vehicle, with about 40 kilowatt-hours of usable energy, could power an entire residential block for over an hour if necessary.

During the 17 years that RMI conducted its V2G research, the grid in the U.S. became robust enough to handle this kind of power exchange. But RMI went further and imagined what they call a “smart grid” that can communicate with homeowners about, say, when electricity is in high demand and therefore more expensive.

There are also serious benefits, both economic and ecological, to getting more solar and wind power onto a smart grid — the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions alone would be significant. To see how all this plays out in the real world, keep an eye on the pilot project in Boulder, Colorado.

Tesla Roadster

The government released its latest fuel economy numbers, and one company was clearly at the head of the class. Telsa Motors, builders of the all-electric Roadster, rated a corporation-wide fuel economy of 244 mpg. The federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard is currently 27.5, so Tesla left that figure in the dust.

2008 models across the board, though, only rated 26.8. In 2007, the overall rating was 26.6, so that’s not a big improvement.

Analysts say the feds need to figure out a more fair way of comparing alternative-fuel vehicles to their conventional, gasoline-powered counterparts. The numbers are pretty revealing as they are, though. Handicapping EVs and other vehicles running on more efficient fuels to make the combustion engine look better seems misleading.

Tesla isn’t worried, obviously. They plan on selling their surplus CAFE credits as soon as they’re allowed to trade them with lower-scoring auto manufactuers.

In other Tesla news, the production line is cranking out Roadsters, after a fashion. There are 27 being assembled as of July 12, with a goal of 100 a month being produced by December of this year. The company has also opened its second store, this one in the San Francisco Bay area, with another four to come in the near future.

Image courtesy of Tesla (and the car is a different color! Not red!).