Posts Tagged ‘RAV4 EV’


Mazda: Mazda has struggled to compete against much larger rivals both in Japan, its home market, and in the US, it’s largest market. First, long-time partner and partial owner, Ford, divested its ownership interest in Mazda, ending some platform and engineering sharing agreements. Then the Great Recession hit, draining Mazda of precious resources needed for future product development.

Deep inside Mazda’s R&D facilities in Hiroshima, engineers worked non-stop to develop a new line of engines, transmissions and technologies that would lead the company into a much more cleaner and fuel efficient future.  Although Mazda lacks the hybrid technology of its larger competitors, it came up with a family of new engines and transmissions marketed under the unfortunate banner of “SkyActiv” technology.  The new drivetrains combine direct injection, variable valve timing, turbocharging, reduced friction, and smarter 6-speed transmissions to bring marquee fuel efficiency to its new models.

First up last year was the CX-5 small crossover that competes in one of the hottest market segments dominated by the likes of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.  This year, Mazda is introducing the completely redesigned 2014 Mazda6 mid-size family sedan, that finally seems poised to capture consumers’ attention from perennial favorites like the Camry, Accord, Altima, Fusion, Optima and Sonata.  The sexy styling reminds me of Ford’s new Fusion – something that may not be as coincidental since the last-generation Ford Fusion and Mazda6 shared the same platform.

The standard engine for the 2014 Mazda6 will be Mazda’s SkyActiv-G 2.5L 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine good for 184 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. Most will be sold with a six-speed automatic, although a six-speed manual will be available on lower trims. EPA figures haven’t been released  yet, but Mazda expects highway fuel economy to beat 35 mpg.

However, the most important  introduction will be the SkyActiv-D engine, a modern 2.2L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that burns clean enough to need no additional NOx aftertreatments.  This promises the fuel economy of a hybrid without all the expensive batteries and dual electric-gas drivetrains.  Expect to see highway fuel economy better than 40 mpg and a substantial increase in city economy over the gasoline counterpart.

The 2014 Mazda6 with SkyActiv-D technology.  It should be available by mid-2013.

The 2014 Mazda6 with SkyActiv-D technology. It should be available by mid-2013.

The front of the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

The front of the 2014 Mazda6 sedan.

The rear of the 2014 Mazda6 diesel sedan.

The rear of the 2014 Mazda6 diesel sedan. Mazda calls its new styling language “KODO” – Soul of Motion.

The interior of the 2014 Mazda6.

The interior of the 2014 Mazda6. The plastics look and feel class-leading and the switchgear feels precise and well-made.

 

Mercedes-Benz: The largest single market for Mercedes-Benz worldwide is Southern California (thank you Fletcher-Jones in Newport Beach), so you’d think Mercedes might introduce some important products here. You’d be wrong.  While I very much like the 2014 SLS AMG Black Series, it’s not like this is a volume car. It gets a few upgrades to the “standard” SLS AMG package, but the engine is the same 6.2L hand-built AMG V8 good for 622 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque.  The  AMG Speedshift dual clutch 7-speed sports transmission, is the same but slightly upgraded. For the extra $100,000+, the Black Series gets ceramic-composite brakes, adaptive performance suspension, lighter alloy wheels, special performance tires that wear out even faster than the standard tires. As you’d expect, it’s also the fastest SLS, leaping from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds – performance you are sure to need while crawling on the 405 at 8:30 am.

Sure we will see a few of them in LA, but they will be owned by collectors with a dozen other exotic cars in their home garage or by misbehaving  scions of Saudi royalty.  The US price hasn’t been announced, however, in Germany it will be 249,900 euros, or around $322,846 at current exchange rates. Get in line now.

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

That rear wing is a sure giveaway that this 2014 SLS AMG is the Black Series, not the run-of-the-mill SLS Gullwing.

That rear wing is a sure giveaway that this 2014 SLS AMG is the Black Series, not the run-of-the-mill SLS Gullwing.

Mercedes showed one concept truck, the Ener-G-Force Concept Fuel Cell Vehicle. It’s said to foreshadow the styling on an upcoming “baby” G-class SUV, perhaps built on the new A-Class front drive architecture. But this is no baby. It’s quite big – bigger than the tank-like G-wagon (short for Geländewagen or cross-country vehicle) that Mercedes has been producing in substantially the same form since 1979.

The styling is quite flamboyant while fluidly-sculptural. I even like the designer LED headlights in the outline of a “G.”  Overhangs are practically non-existent and this thing looks like it could climb over a Range Rover or through the hills and craters of the moon. The built-in front winch is very slick.  Of course, a fuel-cell drivetrain is unlikely for any production car, at least in the near future, but it does hint at possibilities in the next couple of decades when the costs of fuel cells comes down and you can buy a hydrogen refill at every “gas” station. I have more pictures of this that I will include in another LA Auto Show post.

The Ener-G-Force Concept SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

The Ener-G-Force Concept SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

MINI: BMW’s British unit didn’t have any real news for Los Angeles.  It was the first show for the 2013 Paceman, a 2-door version of the widely-popular Countryman SUV that has been the backbone of MINI in the U.S. since its introduction.

2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman.

2013 MINI Cooper S Paceman.

For some reason, the marketeers at MINI thought they needed some “news” for Los Angeles and cooked up the a variant of the Clubman 3-door wagon called the Clubvan. Essentially it’s a Clubman without the rear seats that can be used as a mini panel van. This is from the Answer to the Question That No One Asked department.

2013 Mini Cooper S Clubvan.

2013 Mini Cooper S Clubvan.

Nissan: Not much new from our friends at Nissan. The 2013 Altima was introduced and went on sale months ago.  I’m not a fan of the evolution of the exterior; however, I was impressed with the look, feel, materials and quality of the interior. Now I just need to be motivated to test drive one.  Nissan insists on using continuously-variable transmissions (CVTs) and I’d much prefer a 6-speed automatic in this kind of car.  I think Altima’s interior is excellent – better than the new Accord, but the Honda name will sell more units.

2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima

2013 Nissan Altima interior.

2013 Nissan Altima interior.

Nissan completely redesigned the 2013 Pathfinder too. No longer is it a bulky truck, made for off-road duties but civilized enough for the more likely on-road family-hauling. The all-new Pathfinder – which shares almost everything with its more expensive cousin, the Infiniti JX – is a 7-passenger crossover with car-based rather than truck-based credentials.  This is the Pathfinder’s first major auto show, but, like the Altima, it was introduced a couple of months ago and is already on-sale at your local dealer.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - front

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – front

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - Side. She's a big girl. Good thing you can get a "Bird's-Eye" camera system that shows you the outside from all angles.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder – Side. She’s a big girl. Good thing you can get a “Bird’s-Eye” camera system that shows you the outside from all angles.  It reminds me of the Chevy Traverse, which has been in the market for almost 5 years now.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder shares much in common with other Nissan products. There are lots of buttons here, but all seem logical and easy to grab.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder shares much in common with other Nissan products. There are lots of buttons here, but all seem logical and easy to grab. I’m never a fan of plastic-looking wood.

Nissan’s big reveal was an updated GT-R sports car. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between this 2014 model and the 2013 model.

2014 Nissan GT-R rear.

2014 Nissan GT-R rear. It’s still Godzilla in a suit. And still over $100,000.

2014 Nissan GT-R interior. Still nice. Still six digits.

2014 Nissan GT-R interior. The carbon fiber (yes, it’s real) is a nice touch for the GT-R.

Porsche: Although pictures had been leaked ahead of the LA Auto Show, the big news was the 2013 Porsche Cayman. The Cayman, the hardtop version of the Boxster, always appears several months after the introduction of a new Boxster, so it wasn’t as much of a surprise as it was just a treat to see in person. The Cayman starts at $52,600. The Cayman S starts at $63,800. Unfortunately, like every Porsche, you have to add at least $20,000 of options to make it the car you’d like it to be. Porsche can teach a doctorate level class in nickle and diming.

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman.

2013 Porsche Cayman. Like the Boxster, the rear spoiler is integrated with the taillights and center stop light. The lines flow beautifully.

The interior of the 2013 Cayman is nearly identical to the Boxster - which is a good thing.

The interior of the 2013 Cayman is nearly identical to the Boxster – which is a good thing. This Cayman had the 6-speed manual shifter but the upgraded 2-tone leather interior and Porsche’s excellent navigation system.

The side scoops that are accentuated with the deep creases in Cayman's door sheet metal, is how the engine breathes.

The side scoops that are accentuated with the deep creases in Cayman’s door sheet metal, is how the engine breathes.

This screaming yellow Porsche is the Cayman S. It also took center stage with the “base” Cayman above. The engines and transmissions are identical to those found in the Boxster and Boxster S.

That big lump in the back of the 2013 Cayman S is the engine cover. Like the Boxster, the Cayman has a mid-mount engine which makes it the best handling Porsche. Just don't say that to the Germans at the show as they will always tell you that the 911 is the best. All the car magazines say otherwise.

That big lump in the back of the 2013 Cayman S is the engine cover. Like the Boxster, the Cayman has a mid-mount engine which makes it the best handling Porsche. Just don’t say that to the Germans at the show as they will always tell you that the 911 is the best. All the car magazines say otherwise.

You could call it the Convertible Cayman or just the Boxster.  I love this 2013 Boxster S this special silver color.

You could call it the Convertible Cayman or just the Boxster. I love this 2013 Boxster S in this special GT Silver Metallic color.

There was no sticker on this 2013 Boxster S; however with the PDK transmission, navigation, power seats, full leather, etc., there is probably another $25,000 in options added to the base $60,900.

There was no sticker on this 2013 Boxster S; however with the PDK transmission, navigation, power seats, full leather, etc., there is probably another $25,000 in options added to the base $60,900.

Another previously announced Porsche is the Cayenne Diesel, which starts at $55,750 (a relative bargain in the Porsche Universe). Power comes from a Porsche-tuned version of the VW Group’s 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel engine with a common-rail injection system. Its turbocharger features Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG). The EPA has rated the Cayenne Diesel at 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway. That sure beats the Cayenne S with a V8 rated at 16 city, 22 highway.

Except for the diesel badge, the 2013 Cayenne Diesel looks almost exactly like the Cayenne V6.

Except for the small diesel badges on the front side fenders, the 2013 Cayenne Diesel looks almost exactly like the Cayenne V6.

2013 Cayenne Diesel

2013 Cayenne Diesel

Also making its North American debut is the 911 Carrera4, 4s and Cabriolet variants.

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

Except for a special torque split gauge, in the instrument panel, the interior of the 911 Carrera 4S is the same as the "regular" 911 Carrera.

Except for a special torque split gauge, in the instrument panel, the interior of the 911 Carrera 4S is the same as the “regular” 911 Carrera.

Range Rover:  Now that Land Rover has made Range Rover its own sub-brand,  the name Land Rover was almost non-existent at Press Preview. All emphasis was on the 2013 Range Rover which is trickling into dealerships as the LA Auto Show opens.

2013 Range Rover HSE

2013 Range Rover HSE

The split clam-shell that makes for a good picnic table hasn't changed for the new Rangy.  This black one is the top-of-the-line Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography.

The split clam-shell that makes for a good picnic table hasn’t changed for the new Rangy. This black one is the top-of-the-line Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography.

The instrument panel and dash of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography

The instrument panel and dash of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography. I don’t like the “magic” cylinder that rises out of the console to shift between Drive, Reverse and Park. It’s clumsy in practice and more gimmicky than useful.

The oddities of the last Range Rover have carried over to the new one. The memory seat buttons are on the arm rest where the window switches should be.

The oddities of the last Range Rover have carried over to the new one. The memory seat buttons are on the arm rest where the window switches should be.

The Range Rover's window switches are on top of the window sill, in a very awkward position. I know it's "tradition" but this one needs to be thrown out.

The Range Rover’s window switches are on top of the window sill, in a very awkward position. I know it’s “tradition” but this one needs to be thrown out.

Smart: The diminutive smart fortwo hasn’t been updated much since its introduction 3 years ago. Colors and options change and Mercedes says it’s updated the horrible automated manual transmission, but it still jerks around with little finesse.

The big news for the LA Auto Show was the 2013 fortwo ED (electric drive). Apparently there were so many bad reviews of the 2012 (and first) version of the car that the whole electric drive system has been revised and the battery range has been extended to around 68 miles. The coupe version starts at $25,750 (before the $7,500 federal tax credit) Smart also offers a 240 volt home charger for $1,300.

2013 smart fortwo ED (electric drive) coupe. Base price $25,750.

2013 smart fortwo ED (electric drive) cabriolet. Base price $28,750 (before federal tax credit).

The smart ED bicycle is a fantastic design. The reps told me that it will be sold in the U.S., but there is no specific launch date. It will be expensive, probably in the $3,500 range.

The smart ED bicycle is a fantastic design. The reps told me that it will be sold in the U.S., but there is no specific launch date. It will be expensive, probably in the $3,500 range.

Just for fun, smart showed a Jeremy Scott designed Special Edition of the fortwo. You won’t miss this one coming at you.

smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Concept

smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. I think this thing is actually a driver that is used to promote both the smart brand and the Los Angeles-based designer.

Check out this interior of the smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. No expense was spared here.

Check out this interior of the smart fortwo Jeremy Scott Special Edition. No expense was spared here.

Subaru:  I keep hoping that Subaru will find its way in the design and styling department, but each time a new model rolls out, I’m disappointed.  The media dutifully attended Subaru’s introduction of the 2014 Forester, but there wasn’t much buzz or hurried Tweets of the homely model that was unveiled this week.  The Forester is basically a tall Impreza wagon

2014 Subaru Forester - Front. Is it that different from the current model?

2014 Subaru Forester – Front. Is it that different from the current model?

Here's the 2014 Subaru Forester from the rear. Again, no new ground broken here.  I think that Subaru likes the formula for the Forester and is going to stick with it as long as customers keep buying it.

Here’s the 2014 Subaru Forester from the rear. Again, no new ground broken here. I think that Subaru likes the formula for the Forester and is going to stick with it as long as customers keep buying it.

The interior of the 2014 Subaru Forester is mostly lifted from the Impreza. The infotainment system is easy to use, but lags behind the competition.

The interior of the 2014 Subaru Forester is mostly lifted from the Impreza. The infotainment system is easy to use, but lags behind the competition.

Toyota:  When Toyota introduced the RAV4 in 1996, it was the first small SUV based on a car (the Corolla) platform. The small crossover segment is red hot. The Honda Civic, Ford Escape and RAV4 each sell more than 200,000 units a year. A few generations later and well over a million units sold, Toyota rolled out the 2013 RAV4 for its world premiere at the LA Auto Show.  The simple fact of the matter is that Toyota had to keep up with the competition. Ford has a new Escape that is selling very well. Honda redesigned its CR-V a year ago and it too is burning up the sales charts. As of September 2012, Honda had sold 100,000 more CR-Vs than the RAV4. The new little SUV aims to reverse that trend.

2013 Toyota RAV4 SUV. The looks are fresh, if not exciting.

2013 Toyota RAV4 SUV. The looks are fresh, if not exciting.

2013 Toyota RAV4 side-rear. Note that the spare tire has moved from the rear door to under the cargo floor. The rear tailgate is now hinged at the top like the competition.

2013 Toyota RAV4 side-rear. Note that the spare tire has moved from the rear door to under the cargo floor. The rear tailgate is now hinged at the top like the competition.

The 2013 RAV4's interior looks and feels upgraded. While there is still lots of cheap plastic, soft-touch and textured panels populate the areas you see/touch the most.

The 2013 RAV4’s interior looks and feels upgraded. While there is still lots of cheap plastic, soft-touch and textured panels populate the areas you see/touch the most.

The RAV4's dash has many horizontal layers that I think work. The center controls are easy to reach and mix both hard knobs and buttons with some functions on the touch screen.

The RAV4’s dash has many horizontal layers that I think work. The center controls are easy to reach and mix both hard knobs and buttons with some functions on the touch screen.

Volkswagen: VW finally introduced the convertible version of the Beetle. It will be on sale just in time for convertible season in sunny states like California. All the engine options are the same as on the Beetle – 2.5L 5-cylinder, 2.0L Turbo and 2.0L TDI. The top faithfully recreates almost the exact silhouette of the hardtop Beetle and it lays nearly flat; however you still have to cover it yourself with a piece of snap-in vinyl. Prices start at $24,495.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible. This one has the 2.0L turbo gasoline engine.

2013 VW Beetle Convertible. This one has the 2.0L turbo gasoline engine.

The 2013 VW Beetle Convertible has better rear visibility than the last version. However, the top still doesn't lay perfectly flat.

The 2013 VW Beetle Convertible has better rear visibility than the last version. However, the top still doesn’t lay perfectly flat.

The interior of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible is pretty much the same a the hardtop version. The color-matching interior parts is a nice touch.

The interior of the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible is pretty much the same a the hardtop version. The color-matching interior parts is a nice touch.

VW also showed its first gasoline-electric hybrid car, the 2013 Jetta Hybrid. It starts at $24,995.  VW mates a 1.4L turbocharged and direct-injected TSI gasoline engine to an electric motor. The combination is good for 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.   A 7-speed dual clutch transmission is standard. VW says the 2013 Jetta Hybrid will drive up to 44 mph in EV mode, zero to 60 in 9 seconds flat and deliver a combined 45 mpg.  It should be arriving in VW showrooms now.

2013 Jetta Hybrid

2013 Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium

The interior of the 2014 Jetta Hybrid looks like a nicely upgraded Jetta - much closer to the Jetta GLI. I hope it gets better fuel economy that the company's TDI models.

The interior of the 2013 Jetta Hybrid SEL Premium looks very nice. It should for around $32,000. At least you can get automatic climate control in this Jetta!

Volvo: Poor Volvo. Ever since Ford dumped Volvo to the Chinese, Volvo North America has been starved for new product. The best the company could muster at the show was a custom-built Concept S60 with Polestar performance upgrades. It has a 2.0L inline 6 cylinder turbo engine making an astounding 508 hp with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. Power is routed to all wheels through a 4th generation Haldex XWD system. It can race from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds and the top speed is 186 mph. The cost is said to be around $300,000.  Volvo is testing interest in a  performance version of the S60, but it would have to be much less than $300k to get me interested.

This is the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept Car. Would you buy one?

This is the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept Car. Would you buy one?

Volvo Concept S60 Polestar from the rear.

Volvo Concept S60 Polestar from the rear.


Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley electric vehicle start up company, is working feverishly to bring its “affordable” (base MSRP $49,900) Model S family-sized sedan to market.  Tesla needs the money.  You know, a public company can only lose money for so long before the Wall Street overlords demand to see some signs of a profitable business.

The Tesla Model S sure looks great -- and it's BIG. Photo: Tesla

The interior of the Model S is futuristic and functional. Large LCD high-def screens replace the dash gauges as well as most center console functions like infotainment and HVAC. Photo: Tesla

Tesla is winding down production of its iconic Roadster (base MSRP $109,000), the company’s first BEV (battery electric vehicle) based on a Lotus platform.  Accordingly, it’s time for a new car.

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 Photo: Tesla

The sweet interior of the Tesla Roadster. It should look good for more than $100,000! Photo: Tesla

Production of the Model S will be at the shuttered Toyota-GM joint venture, New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), in Freemont, California, that Tesla bought in May 2010. Production of the Model S is projected to begin in mid-2012 and Tesla says it will create 1,000 new California jobs.

In 2010, Toyota and Tesla announced a $100 million joint venture deal to build the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV at Tesla’s Freemont plant.  However, on August 5, 2011, Toyota said that it will build the RAV4 EV at its Woodstock, Ontario (Canada) plant.  Toyota will pay Tesla $100 million for an electric powertrain that includes the RAV4’s battery module, electric motor, gear box and electronic components. Those parts will be shipped to Ontario for assembly.  Tesla will manufacture these components in its smaller facility in Palo Alto (used for the Roadster) rather than the Freemont plant.

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, electrified by Tesla Motors Photo: Toyota

According to Tesla, the Model S can seat 7 people:  Five adults and two children.  The Model S features two front seats, a rear bench seat for three adults, and optional rear facing jump seats designed for two children. The jump seats will be similar to those available in some station wagons (like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon).  The rear hatchback design endows the Model S with class-leading cargo capacity.

The open hatchback of the Tesla Model S Photo: EVAuthority.com and Jalopnik.com

Tesla Model S Prototype, front and rear. Photo: Tesla

The most important issue for most EV buyers is range and their own range anxiety. Tesla says that the standard-issue battery is good for 160 miles – nearly double the range of a Nissan Leaf. For a whopping $10,000 extra, you can get a 230-mile battery pack and for a mind-numbing $20,000, Tesla crams the 300-mile battery pack into the Model S.  Suddenly that $50,000 car becomes $70,000 – without any other options. Who do they think they are – Porsche?

The Tesla Model S almost looks like a Maserati from this angle. Very sporty! Photo: Tesla

Check out the Tesla-produced videos below.  You get a good idea of just how much time, energy, high-tech components and sheer brainpower goes into producing a pure electric vehicle from a clean sheet of paper.  It’s really impressive to see what is happening right here in California.

Tesla Vehicle Engineering – Part 1 from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

Tesla Vehicle Engineering – Part 2 from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

Tesla Vehicle Engineering – Part 3 from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

This video is a bit boring, but it’s short and it really gives you a sense of what the Model S will look and sound like on the road. Almost all of the “sound” is road noise.  In the “biz” this is referred to as NVH – noise, vibration and harshness.  There are small armies of engineers (at every auto manufacturer) who spend their waking hours worrying about NVH and fine tuning the suspension, wheels, tires and chassis to minimize these problems.

Model S Alpha Hits the Road from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

Tesla teases us with the actual Model S road testing in thin disguise. I think the test area is somewhere near Tesla’s Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.  With the 300 mile battery pack, I think I could live with one. Now if I could just afford one.

Tesla Model S Sneak Peek: Alpha Drives from Tesla Motors on Vimeo.

If you want to know more about the Model S, here are the FAQs from Tesla Motor’s website.

North American Model S

How will I service my Model S?

Tesla operates stores and service centers across North America and plans to open additional locations. In addition, the “Tesla Service Ranger” program sends mobile technicians to customers’ homes in remote areas. Read more about the Service Ranger program.

Reservations

What is the difference between Model S and Model S Signature?

The first 1,000 Model S vehicles delivered in the United States and the first 200 in Canada will be Signatures. Similar to other ‘limited edition’ offerings, Model S Signature will come very well-equipped, potentially with colors and options not available for Model S. Model S Signature will come with the 300-mile range battery pack. Reservation payments vary by country of use:

Model S Model S Signature
US $5,000 USD $40,000 USD
Canada $5,000 CAD $40,000 CAD
Is the reservation payment refundable?

The reservation payment is 100% refundable. All reservation holders receive a one-page reservation agreement, including refund details, during the reservation process.

Ownership and Pricing

When will features, options, and pricing be announced?

Options and pricing for Model S are in development and will be announced when finalized. Tesla will invite reservation holders to configure their Model S approximately three months before their car is produced.

What are the prices of the different battery pack options?

Three battery options are offered: 160-, 230-, or 300-mile range. Model S comes standard with the 160-mile range battery at the quoted $49,900 base price (after the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit). The 230-mile and 300-mile range batteries are optional upgrades. The 230-mile range option is priced at about $10,000 more than the base and the 300-mile option at about $20,000 more than the base.

May I delay production of my Model S?

Yes. You will be contacted by Tesla approximately three months before production of your vehicle to select your options. At that time, you will have a one-time right of deferral. This means, should your life circumstances dictate a delay or a desired option is yet not available, you may relinquish your reservation sequence number and defer to a later position.

Is the $7500 United States Federal Tax Credit likely to be available in 2012?

The $7500 federal tax credit is expected to remain available for many years. The community of EV owners and general enthusiasts can contact government officials to encourage the longevity of the credit. Read more about the current Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicles tax credit.

Are financing and leasing available?

Yes. A full suite of payment options will be offered. Further details will be announced closer to launch.

How does electric vehicle ownership compare to that of combustion vehicles?

Electric vehicle ownership is extremely advantageous compared to typical premium sedan ownership – gasoline is not needed and routine maintenance is minimal. We calculate that fuel cost reductions alone will save Model S owners approximately $8,000 USD over a 5 year ownership period versus comparable vehicles like the BMW 535i.

Can I import a Model S into a market not supported by Tesla Motors?

Tesla vehicles are designed and built to meet the unique requirements of each market and are physically different country to country as required by law. Customers should reserve Model S in the market they intend to register and drive their vehicle. Exporting cars into different markets is not supported by Tesla Motors.

Development Plan and Production

When will Model S be available for a test drive?

Reservation holders will be invited to test drive in early 2012. The Model S Design Prototype will be on tour in some markets in 2011. It is not available for test drives. The production-intent Beta vehicles, produced at the Tesla Factory, will start to be available in late 2011.

When will Model S production begin?

Model S production is scheduled to begin in mid-2012 with the Signature Series. After the Model S Signature Series, production for North America will continue with the 300-mile batteries, followed by 230-mile and 160-mile battery options later in 2012.

How many Model S units will Tesla produce each year?

Tesla plans to produce 20,000 Model S units annually. In 2012, Tesla expects to produce around 5,000 to 7,000 vehicles as the Tesla Factory reaches its planned production capacity.

When will a Canadian version of Model S become available?

Production of Canadian Model S vehicles will begin approximately three months after the US start of production.

Performance

Has Model S been tested for crash safety?

Model S is engineered with the intent to achieve 2012 five-star NHTSA safety ratings. Final safety data is not yet available.

How fast is Model S?

Model S accelerates from 0-60 mph in approximately 5.6 seconds. Model S has a top speed of approximately 125 mph.

How does Model S perform in extreme temperatures?

Model S is engineered to perform in extreme hot and cold weather.  The sophisticated Tesla battery management system uses re-circulating propylene glycol to either heat or cool the battery as necessary.

Is the Model S front, rear, or all wheel drive?

The Model S is a rear wheel drive vehicle. Tesla traction control technology provides excellent grip, even in low-traction conditions.

Range and the Battery

Do Tesla battery packs suffer from “memory effect?” Is it necessary to completely discharge the battery to maintain its capacity?

No. Tesla uses lithium ion cells, which do not suffer from memory effect.

If Model S is parked and not charging, will the battery lose its charge?

Loss of charge at rest is minimal. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport for extended vacations without plugging in.

How does accessory use (radio, climate control, headlights) affect driving range?

Accessory use does not have a dramatic impact on driving range. Exact range fluctuates based on vehicle speed, driving style, road conditions, and weather. Holding these factors constant, using higher consumption accessories like climate control will reduce range approximately five to ten percent. Read a broad discussion about range.

Will Model S use regenerative braking to recharge the battery?

Yes.

How many years will the battery last?

Based on testing, Tesla expects the battery to retain approximately 70% of its initial capacity after seven years or 100,000 miles.

How much does a battery replacement cost?

Given rapidly changing battery technology, it is impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements.

How far can Model S travel on one charge?

Three battery options are offered: 160-, 230-, or 300-mile range. Model S comes standard with the 160-mile range battery at the quoted $49,900 base price (after the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit). The 230-mile and 300-mile range batteries are optional upgrades. The 230-mile range option is priced at about $10,000 more than the base and the 300-mile option at about $20,000 more than the base.

Features and Options

What options and features will be available?

We are finalizing the list of features and options. As production nears, Tesla will release exact specifications, options, and associated prices. Tesla expects the 17” infotainment touchscreen to be standard on every Model S. The panoramic glass roof and rear-facing child seats are planned optional upgrades.

I’m very tall – will I fit?

Yes. Model S is a premium, full-size sedan slightly larger than BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class, or Audi A6. Tesla’s unique powertrain packaging frees up space for passengers and cargo.

Approximately how much will it cost to insure Model S?

Model S is expected to have insurance premiums consistent with other cars in its class.

How does Model S seat seven people?

Model S seats five adults and two children. Model S features two front seats, a rear bench seat for three adults, and optional rear facing jump seats designed for two children. The jump seats will be similar to those available in some station wagons.

Will Model S fit in my garage?

Model S has approximately the following dimensions:

Overall length 16’4″ (4973 mm)
Overall height 4’8″ (1426 mm)
Overall width with mirrors 7’2″ (2189 mm)
Ground Clearance 4.46″ (113 mm)

Charging

How does Model S charge?

Model S can be charged by plugging into any regular 110 volt wall outlet. Typical 220 volt outlets (like the ones used for kitchen stoves and clothes dryers) charge Model S more quickly.

What charging infrastructure will I need in my home?

Model S plugs into any standard outlet. No additional infrastructure is needed.

How long does it take to recharge Model S?

Charging times are based on battery size and the combined voltage and amperage of the power source. Regular wall outlets carry an electrical feed of 110 volts at either 12 or 15 Amps and charge slowly. A 220 volt outlet, such as your clothes dryer outlet, can charge Model S from empty to full overnight. Model S is capable of recharging in 45 minutes using a fast charging station.

When should I plan to charge my Model S?

To maintain optimum driving utility and long-term battery health, Tesla recommends plugging your Model S in each night or when convenient.

Is it possible to install solar panels on the hood to increase range?

Model S is not currently designed to incorporate the use of solar panels.

How can I charge my Model S using solar power?

The best way to charge Model S using solar power is to install a solar panel system on your home. When planning the system, you can estimate your daily vehicle power consumption with the following equation.

Assume average energy usage per mile is approximately 300Wh/mile (188Wh/km)(based on actual Roadster driving data). Multiply 300Wh/mile (188Wh/km) by your daily driving distance to estimate your daily vehicle energy consumption. A trusted local solar installer can use this figure to develop and install a system to support your total daily energy demand.