Tag Archives: Tesla

Tesla Released New-Gen All-Electric Semi Truck

After building most of its affordable car and ultimately accelerating the advent of clean transport and renewable energy generation with the all-electric cars, Tesla continues to expand its production line, this time a “green” transportation introducing the inventively, futuristic all-electric semi truck.

“We designed the Tesla truck to be like a bullet,” said Tesla co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk who unveiled the new vehicle at an event on-site the automaker’s design bureau and the headquarters of SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, the aerospace company he also founded.

The Tesla Semi was created in mind to deliver a far better experience for truck drivers, while “increasing safety and significantly reducing the cost of cargo transport,” Musk said. This makes the all-electric Tesla to be more fun and quicker to drive. Touting on performance, the company says Tesla Semi are “more economical than today’s diesel-powered trucks.”

The operating cost of a diesel truck is said to be 20 per cent more than the Tesla Semi, which makes the Semi “more responsive”, and compared to a diesel truck, it can “cover more miles in the same amount of time,” he said.

Unveiled: The futuristic all-electric Tesla Semi combines efficiency, safety & performance

Tesla latest creation of the all-electric Semi Truck is sleek with aerodynamic efficiency for a better down force and improved cornering forces. Its body work which resembles a high-speed bullet train will strike you the most on the road, with its somber matte or metallic colour.

Tesla semi has four independent electric motors on each of its four wheels and a transmission that requires no shifting of gears, and a regenerative braking system that “gives it basically infinite brake life,” Musk said.

The truck can nudge a speed up to 100 km per hour in five seconds and reach that speed in 20 seconds hauling a maximum 80,000-pound load. Which means Tesla Semi can perform better than the traditional diesel truck. For example, you can go to your destinations as far as 500-mile range, which is long enough for most truck routes, and return without recharging as 80 per cent of which, according to Musk, are 250 miles or less.

Innovative Cab’s Design

Instead of fitting the driver’s seat to the side, it is now positioned in the centre. With no front engine or gear shift, the driver can be placed closer to the panoramic windshield to get a dominating view of the road. There’s also enough head and legroom to stand up and move around.

India Just Lost Tesla Electric Car Manufacturing to Shanghai China. What happened?

Tesla electric car manufacturing has been considered as not just a net creator of jobs and employment but also one with the added boon of technology and knowledge transfer. Thus when the Trump administration continued to pivot the United States away from eco-tech and environmentally-friendly products, countries in Asia, specifically China and India saw the potential to incentivise non-fossil fuel products and place emphasis on green, renewable energy projects, attracting the attention of electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla.

On 14 June 2017, Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla had himself tweeted that Tesla was working with the Indian government to be granted temporary relief on import restrictions until it can build a factory. The tweet followed persistent rumors about Tesla launching in India, with the Model 3 as its first product in sometime late 2017, or early 2018, adding fuel to the flame (bad pun, sorry), Tesla opened channels for customers in India to make reservations on the new Tesla Model 3. But this wasn’t to be.

Onerous sourcing requirements which legislated that a Tesla Gigafactory would require as much as 30% of parts and components to be locally sourced and after some study, Musk himself concluded that India not only lacked suppliers of EV parts but also the infrastructure to support electric cars, essentially torpedoed the idea of Tesla Electric Car manufacture in India and Musk decided to strike a deal with the Shanghai municipal government to set up the brand’s electric car factory there instead.

India Lost Tesla Electric Car Manufacturing to Shanghai China. What happened?

If one considers that three out of the world’s six largest auto markets are Asian countries: China, India and Japan. It is quite likely that Musk was leveraging India all along. Before his 14 June tweet, he had already posted on social media on 21 May 2017 that he had already learnt that India didn’t have industries which could supply the necessary components. Prior to that, Chinese giant Tencent had already made investments in Musk’s company, hinting to decisive strategic and financial implications to come, in essence, Musk’s pivot to China, while likely the result of push and pull factors, telegraphs somewhat that he might have been setting up a long play to make Tesla the first wholly foreign owned car manufacturing facility in the Shanghai’s free-trade zone. Before Tesla, foreign auto makers could only built cars in China through joint ventures with local manufacturers, a deal which forced many foreign carmakers to split profits.

Musk’s Tesla Gigafactory deal with China has already changed the state of play. That said, this win bodes well for both Musk and China, already the fastest growing developer of green energy sources and renewable tech. This deal will boost the already fast-growing segment of electric vehicles in China and will continue to haunt India for years to come.


Business of luxury: Bet on Renewable Energy and Tesla stocks

Shortly after Trump announced US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was cosying up to Macron with a pledge to move India three years ahead of schedule to achieve its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” to the Paris climate agreement: Instead of the original objective of 40% renewables by 2030, Modi pledged for India to hit their those targets by 2027 and it looks to be a reality – the country is already on track for 175 GW wind (from current 57 GW) expected by 2022 and 75 GW solar PV by 2027. Meanwhile, India’s installed capacity for solar energy has tripled in the last three years to its current level of 12GW. This turn to renewable energy is driven in a large part by declining coal prices where India once derived 60% of its 330 GW energy production from.

Meanwhile, Tesla, held in the last 12 months as one of the most heavily shorted stocks is on the verge of a breakout as investors look at the new agreement to establish electric vehicle manufacture in China. The People’s Republic is home to rapidly growing population of wealthy car shoppers which have already bought more than $1 billion in Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles in 2016. According to The Street, Tesla has 8.6% of China’s booming electric car market on a unit basis, making Tesla fourth overall and the only non-Chinese firm to place in the top ten.

According to 2016 statistics, China is the world’s largest auto market with growth rates higher than its closest rival, the United States. China was up 23.6 million from 16.3 million in 2013 while the US had grown to 17.4 million from 15.5 million in 2013. Europe currently accounts for 15.1 million. Followed by Japan with 4.1 million and India with 2.9 million.


Asia also is the world’s largest market for EVs forming 45% of the market in 2016, up from 35%. With this deal, China looks set not only to lead in car sales but also dominate in the manufacture of EVs. Tencent, a major player in China with market cap of US$275 billion and a consumer base of 889 million across communications, shopping, gaming and payments not only has the cash but strong political connections to push Tesla to greater heights. Tencent currently owns 5% of Tesla, tellingly, Tencent been a research leader in AI for autonomous cars.

Based on these factors, Tesla might be a little pricey now at US$380 per share now but signs point to the stock growing a heck of a lot more expensive in the months to come.

LUXUO is not responsible for financial investments taken as a result of the news presented here. Caveat Emptor.




NIO's inaugural production car for the Chinese market, an all-electric SUV codenamed ES8. Image courtesy of NIOSocial Facebook Page

New car launches, Asia: Shanghai Auto Show 2017 to feature the first all-electric SUV codenamed ES8 by NextEV’s NIO

NIO's inaugural production car for the Chinese market, an all-electric SUV codenamed ES8. Image courtesy of NIOSocial Facebook Page

NIO’s inaugural production car for the Chinese market, an all-electric SUV codenamed ES8. Image courtesy of NIOSocial Facebook Page

NIO is the international name (Weilai in Chinese) for the Chinese start-up NextEV’s new automobile brand. On the occasion of the Shanghai Auto Show, which will be open to the public from April 21 to 28, 2017, NIO is set to unveil its first ever mass market vehicle, an all-electric SUV, along the lines of models already produced by US manufacturers Tesla (with the Model X) and Faraday Future (with the FF91).

The carmaker already created a sensation in the autumn of 2016 when it unveiled the EP9, 1342 brake horsepower all-electric supercar. As for the other specifications of the NIO EP9, the figures speak for themselves: the supercar can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 2.7 seconds and from 0 to 200 kilometres per hour in just 7.1 seconds. It can also reach a top speed of 313 kilometres per hour, and travel more than 420 kilometres without a recharge, which lasts just 45 minutes. Only a small number of EP9s will be produced, which is not surprising in view of the vehicles price tag of around one million euros. More recently, NIO presented EVE, a sedan concept that will be launched as a mass market vehicle by 2020.

In Shanghai, NIO plans to move ahead with the global premiere of its first SUV, codenamed ES8. According to specialist websites, the all-electric vehicle will have a range of more than 300 kilometres. It will also feature a spacious interior that can accommodate seven passengers. More interestingly, it will be equipped with autonomous driving technologies, however precise details on this capability have yet to be announced. It should be noted that the new SUV is not due to be launched in Asia before 2018, and not before 2020 on the US market.

NIO’s strategy is reminiscent of the one adopted by US manufacturer Faraday Future, which followed up the unveiling of its spectacular FFZERO1 concept, a 1000 horsepower single-seater with a top speed of 320 kilometres per hour, with the Las Vegas CES presentation of its first connected and customisable electric crossover.

The brand is also involved in the FIA Formula E Championship (all-electric single-seaters) through its NextEV NIO stable.

The 17th Shanghai Auto Show will run April 21 to 28, 2017 at the city’s National Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Tesla Model S P100D © Tesla Tesla Model S P100D

Tesla Keeps Pace with LaFerrari, Porsche 918

The third fastest accelerating production car is now a Tesla. The Model S P100D with “Ludicrous mode” is capable of going from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. That is slower only than the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder two-seaters, according to Tesla.

By way of contrast, the Model S P100D sedan has four doors and seats five adults and has room for some cargo (Tesla claims the car can seat five adults plus two children and has ample boot space but we think this seems overly optimistic or based on the adults being being horse jockey size!). And we haven’t even got to the price yet…

The Internet has exploded into action on the heels of this news, with many sites crowning the P100D as the fastest production car on earth (it actually isn’t) and noting that its acceleration time beats gravity (it does; gravity accelerates objects to 100km/h in 2.75 seconds). As usual, Tesla founder Elon Musk shows he knows how to grab the headlines but we’re glad it isn’t for claiming we live in a simulation this time.

The P100D’s 100 kilowatt battery increases the range to an estimated 315 miles by US regulatory standards, or 613 kilometers by a European Union standard, making it the first electric production vehicle to break the 300-mile barrier, according to Tesla. The larger battery pack is also available on the Tesla Model X, making the world’s fastest SUV even quicker and giving it a range of up to 289 miles on a charge.

The new P100D had a starting price of $135,000 and has its top speed limited to 155mph. You should be arching your eyebrows in disbelief at that because its speedy competitors the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 were obviously priced north of $1 million.

“While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasize that every sale helps pay for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is in development,” the car maker said in a blog post. Tesla didn’t say anything about this but it should be noted that no other car at this price is able to achieve this level of acceleration. Furthermore, this is the only full production vehicle still available from the manufacturer because the Ferrari and the Porsche ended their runs some time ago.

Early this month, Tesla Motors reported a larger second-quarter loss than expected as it worked to speed production in the face of strong demand for its electric cars. Tesla reported a net loss of $293.2 million, or $2.09 per share, in the quarter ended on June 30, up from a $184.2 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Revenue at the California-based company climbed to $1.27 billion in the second quarter from $955 million a year ago. Tesla is touting the new models as it faces a wave of bad publicity about self-driving capabilities in its electric vehicles.

A fatal accident in the United States and other less serious incidents in China prompted concerns about the safety of autonomous driving systems, but Tesla remained devoted to improving the technology.

Updated Tesla Masterplan, Nissan Autodrive

Plagued by the bad press and an investigation into two crashes (one of which was a tragic accident that resulted in a fatality), Tesla is set to update its “secret masterplan”. Announced by founder Elon Musk, the electric car company is planning to update the roadmap that was first established in 2006.

The South Africa-born entrepreneur has been battling regulators and critics these last few weeks, with regards to the Autopilot program. Though still in “beta” testing mode, the program is under scrutiny as many may have actually misunderstood the functions and limitations of an autopilot system. However the company has no plans to disable the system — one that is thought to be the most advanced driver-assist system available to consumers.

Some consumer feedback and understandable worry with the faults in the system are linked to how the Autopilot program is unable to recognize cars that are stationary on the roads. Some feel that the system has given drivers a false sense of security in thinking that the car will drive itself — resulting in drivers not watching the road. With 130 million miles under its belt, the Autopilot function is now being analysed by Telsa Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States.

Partially Autonomous Driving System by Nissan

Partially Autonomous Driving System by Nissan

While Tesla grapples with its issues and consumer doubt, another car manufacturer announced a similar system being introduced to its minivans. Called the ProPilot system, the program is still a long way off from being openly called a self-driving anything. The technology by Nissan relies on an internal camera that determines the location of the vehicle. “The point is it’s not fully autonomous driving, but driver assistance technology, so it can’t handle everything for you,” Hideyuki Sakamoto, a Nissan executive vice president, told reporters Wednesday.

Future Alternatives: What’s Next For Chinese Cars?

With the Beijing Auto Show ongoing this week, some of the important questions being talked about involve solving some huge problems attached to the idea of transport – such as the issue of pollution, or how to fix China’s road congestion. Electric cars and driverless cars may be the next big thing in the Chinese automobile scene but quite a lot of work is needed to get these measures off on the right track.

Electric Measures

Everyone has a general picture of Chinese smog and air pollution as a big problem but fixing it has always been quite rough. China’s government, though, is turning to electric cars as the key to solving the health crisis. Only one percent of the cars owned by the huge populace are actually electric cars, but that accounts for much. The country already took the number one spot for electric models last year with some 247,000 “zero emission” cars sold — quadruple the number in 2014 — according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. To incentivize drivers, the government is giving up to 55,000 yuan subsidies ($8,500) for each car, and electric cars are even exempt from traffic restrictions in China’s congested major cities.

Yet, while electric cars are more popular worldwide, particularly high-end brands like Tesla, the hefty price tags and restricted driving range means it’s still a niche market. Their evolution has been mainly state-subsidised, as in Norway, which has the world’s highest penetration at 17 percent of new sales in 2015. Still, the sizable market in China tantalizes many manufacturers.

Jean-Francois Belorgey, an expert with consultancy EY, predicted that by 2020, up to 750,000 electric cars will be sold in China every year. “China is perhaps the one place in the world where the automobile industry can achieve the economy of scale needed to bring down costs,” he said. In the meantime, the government is aiming for the loftier goal of at least five million rechargeable cars on the roads by 2020.

Both domestic manufacturers and foreign manufacturers are already planning their models and releases. One of these, on the domestic front, is market leader BYD, which also makes the Denza brand in a joint venture with Daimler. France’s Renault plans to release its Fluence ZE in China in 2017, and PSA group will be showing a unique C-Elysee electric sedan at the Beijing show that is due next year. Chinese companies have also provided funding for Western firms’ development projects, including Britain’s Aston Martin and the US’s Faraday Future, which sees itself as a possible competitor to Tesla.

Still, this isn’t the end of the problem. Ben Scott, an expert of electric cars with IHS, noted that it was merely “moving the CO2 from the exhaust pipe to a power plant somewhere” and, although it addresses the issue of “the concentration of particles”, it helps way less for the greenhouse effect. As long as power is still generated in carbon-intensive ways, the problem will still stick.

Drive Less

While many people would argue that the joy of the car comes from the control of the ride, the larger and more pragmatic Chinese populace are less particular about that. According to a survey by Roland Berger consultants in 2015, which found 96 percent of Chinese would consider an autonomous vehicle for almost all everyday driving, compared with 58 percent of Americans and Germans. We’ve heard, seen and perhaps experienced the horror stories of the accidents, often captured on Youtube and propagated on social media, and that probably accounts for the appeal – better safety through autonomous technology.

Still, the road has many flaws, especially because of large questions looming about the technology itself. “If you have someone jumping out in front of an autonomous car, does the car have to choose between killing that person, or swerving and crashing and killing the passenger?” asked Robin Zhu, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Quite a paradox worthy of Isaac Asimov himself, if you ask me. Yet, Chinese businesses are ready to jump into the fray, taking the same path as companies like Google, BMW, Volvo, and Toyota.

Last week, ahead of the Beijing Auto Show opening on Monday, two self-driving Changan cars made a mountainous 2,000 kilometre (1,200 mile) journey from Chongqing in the southwest to the capital in the country’s first long-distance autonomous vehicle test. Another Chinese Internet giant, LeECO, is also venturing into autonomous technologies, unveiling Wednesday in Beijing an electric car that can park itself and be summoned to its owner’s location via smartphone. And late last year Baidu tested China’s first locally designed driverless vehicle, a modified BMW, with a 30 kilometre ride through the streets of Beijing.

The ready market is also bringing in interested parties from the outside, with top companies aiming to refine their driverless technologies. Swedish manufacturer Volvo, owned by China’s Geely since 2010, this month announced plans to test drive up to 100 of its vehicles on Chinese roads this year. Changan, a partner of Ford, is set to roll out commercial autonomous vehicles for motorways from 2018, while mass production of driverless city cars is projected to begin in 2025. The ultimate prize, notes the analysts, will be when mass transport firms such as taxi-hailing giant Uber, or its Chinese rival Didi, can deploy huge fleets of robot taxis.

On the logistical side of things, analysts are less optimistic. Production costs were still too high to make a robot taxi fleet viable, BCG’s Mosquet said. “There are still many questions to be resolved” before fully autonomous vehicles can be put into public use, said Jeremy Carlson, a senior analyst for HIS, pointing to an inadequate infrastructure and “chaotic traffic situations” on roads shared with cyclists and pedestrians.

In the push towards the future, though, it may be hard to stop moving. The only way to face the various hard-hitting issues within the country is an open mind, and a will for innovation.

tesla model s p85d

Tesla to launch self-driving features Thursday

tesla model s p85d

The latest software update for the Tesla Model S, which is set to be delivered on Thursday, October 15, 2015, will introduce a new Autopilot mode, making the car semi-autonomous.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, announced the news via Twitter: Tesla Version 7 software including the Autopilot mode will be launched on Thursday, October 15. The inclusion of these new features, which were first revealed a year ago, is a major step forward for Tesla.

The Autopilot mode combines several autonomous driving features.

It includes automatic alignment behind another car, automatic respect of speed limits and emergency braking, using a camera, radar and ultrasound sensor.

This update is aimed at owners of the Tesla Model S, but also covers the brand’s upcoming SUV, the Model X, which is set to launch in the US at the end of the year. Note that to receive the update you must have signed up for the Autopilot package.

A pioneer in the electric car industry, Tesla unveiled its first model, the Roadster, in 2008. The Model S range is described as the world’s fastest 100% electric sedan. At the end of 2015, Tesla is set to add to its catalogue with the Model X, its first SUV, which is also 100% electric.

A look back at Elon Musk’s presentation of Autopilot mode in 2014:

Tesla to launch Model X crossover on September 29

Invitations were sent out to the media on Monday for the launch of the car manufacturer’s Model X electric crossover SUV.

Tesla’s third car was first shown three years ago, but has experienced several delays. On Monday, September 21, invitations were sent out for a press launch, featuring the silhouette of the long-awaited crossover on the cover complete with falcon doors forming the “X” shape.

Its shipping date had already previously been announced as September 29, in order to meet the company’s end-of-the-month deadline.

The launch will take place at Tesla’s factory in California at 7 pm.

Tesla Model X concept car

 promises that the production version of the Model X will be even better than the concept and that it will arrive with gullwing doors.

The Model X SUV will also be getting permanent all-wheel drive and customers will get the option of a third row of seats.

In an email sent to everyone that has already reserved the car, Tesla promises that the Model X “will be a production car that exceeds the promises made when we first showed the concept,” and that when deliveries start in early 2015 that the car will represent “the most stylish way to combine an SUV’s utility with a sports car’s performance.”

Tesla first took the wraps off the Model X prototype back in 2012 and production was earmarked for 2013, but the overwhelming success of the Model S in the US and now beyond, got in the way.

Now that the company and its production facilities have grown, it has capacity to start making its first SUV. Although the final price for the car is yet to be confirmed, 13,000 customers have already paid a $5000 deposit to reserve a standard Model X or $40,000 for the special Signature edition.

Tesla Supercharging station

Tesla introduces recharge network to Manhattan

Tesla Supercharging station

 has addded charging stations in Manhattan and plans to add more to facilitate urban driving.

A dozen more charging stations have been installed in Manhattan parking garages, and another dozen are planned, along with the city’s first Supercharger station, which delivers 130 kilowatts of electricity — gving the car nearly 170 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

Tesla explains: “We strategically place Superchargers along well-traveled highways and in congested city centers. In addition to Superchargers, we have a growing network of charging partners with dedicated Tesla Wall Connectors at their properties.”

An increased number of charging stations will make owning an electric Tesla vehicle far more practical for Manhattan’s commuters and residents.

Tesla Model X Signature

Tesla Model X car now available for customization

Tesla Model X Signature

Customers who have already reserved their Tesla Model X electric sport utility vehicle are now able to choose paint color, wheel size and a “ludicrously fast” speed option, according to Bloomberg.

The start of personalization options is a good indicator that production of the vehicles is on schedule. The company has said that deliveries will begin at the end of September.

Reservation holders can now choose their Model X Signature vehicle in either Signature Red, Titanium or Deep Blue.

The “Ludicrous Speed Upgrade” comes as an add-on for an extra $10,000.

The limited edition in the Signature series is available for $132,000 and has already been reserved by hundreds of people.

Tesla partners with Airbnb

Tesla Stations at Airbnb Locations

Tesla partners with Airbnb

Joining forces with Tesla Motors, home sharing startup Airbnb is to install chargers for Model S cars in a select batch of rental locations.

To be eligible, Airbnb hosts must have their entire home up for rent, and have a history of more than five bookings and an average rating of more than four stars, according to Venture Beat.

Those selected will receive the $750 charger at no cost to them, although they will be obliged to pay for the installation, which could cost up to $900.

To charge your car for the night would cost $10 if you own a Tesla.

Tesla Model S Sedan

Tesla will soon enable an autopilot mode

Tesla Model S Sedan

 is testing its latest autopilot feature with the electric car’s upcoming semi-autonomous tech being tested by Model S drivers.

With the help of a camera, radar and an ultrasound sensor, the autopilot function includes automatic alignment behind other vehicles in all directions, a programmed adherence to speed limits and an emergency brake.

In the future, all owners of the Tesla Model S will benefit from the technology via a systems update. For the moment however, Tesla is a long way from presenting an entirely autonomous electric car.

The car manufacturer has also worked hard on its charging poles and presented a surprising prototype over the summer. The charger moves like an automated snake and automatically plugs itself into the vehicle without any human intervention. The motor brand would like to favor this sort of solution in the future rather than opting for the induction charging method, tested in particular by Volvo. The latter method involves transferring energy using an electromagnetic field in order to charge electric cars wirelessly.

Discover Tesla’s prototype charging cable:

Tesla Model S Ocean Blue

Tesla announces new entry-level car

Tesla Model S Ocean Blue

The California-based company has revealed its Model S 70D, an all wheel drive electric sedan with a starting price of $75,000.

Among its specs, the Model S 70D has a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds and a 250-mile range at 65 mph.

Features include independent front and rear motors, Supercharging for free long-distance travel, Autopilot hardware, navigation and blind spot detection.

Model S cars can be ordered now, and three new colors are available: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black and Warm Silver.


Tesla Model S P85

Tesla testing battery-swapping service

Tesla Model S P85

Instead of plugging their Model S into the mains or a supercharger to re-energize their car’s depleted battery, Tesla owners in California are now able to simply swap an old cell for a new one in a matter of minutes.

In fact, at around three minutes, Tesla claims it can whip the old battery out of a Model S and put in a new one in less time than it would take for a gas-powered executive sedan’s tank to fill with gasoline.

Tesla’s network of superchargers can add a 50% charge, or 130-153 miles of real-world driving range, to a Model S battery in just 20 minutes.

However, swapping out a battery altogether will mean up to 306 miles of extra range in just 90 sec. But there are two catches to the service.

The first is that, unlike the supercharger network, battery swapping will not be offered free of charge. Tesla says that the cost will be equal to or just under the cost of a full tank of gasoline.

And the second snag is that it is initially launching as an invitation-only service in California where Tesla has built a special facility at Harris Ranch, opposite one of its Supercharging stations, for the purposes of testing the service.

The Tesla Roadster in London

Tesla to offer Roadster battery upgrade

Tesla Roadster

Electric supercar early adopters rejoice: Elon Musk is going to double the performance of your car for 2015.

In a tweet sent on Christmas Day, Tesla’s CEO revealed that the first car to carry the company’s badge is going to get a battery upgrade which “will enable non-stop travel from LA to SF — almost 400 mile range.”

The Roadster was revolutionary when it went on sale in 2008 but with a battery range of less than 200 miles it pales in comparison to the company’s latest car, the Model S executive sedan, which can cover almost twice that distance on a single battery charge.


Musk has been dropping hints during interviews and shareholder meetings throughout the year that he hadn’t forgotten about the Roadster and that the company had something up its sleeve.

However, until now the speculation was focused on an entirely new model.

As for what exactly the upgrade will involve or how existing Roadster owners can take advantage, Musk has promised to tweet further details in the coming days.

Saleen FourSixteen

Tesla Model S-based Saleen FourSixteen unveiled

Saleen FourSixteen

One of America’s foremost performance car makers has turned its expertise to the Tesla Model S to create the Saleen FourSixteen.

At first glance, the changes to the stock electric executive sedan may appear cosmetic. But the tweaks to the outer shell all serve the same purpose: to help the car cut through the wind even more smoothly, while keeping the engine and brakes sufficiently cooled and the four wheels sufficiently planted.

Inside, the cabin has a very sporty feel too. The addition of racing seats, harnesses and a two-tone leather finish that extends to the dashboard all hint at the car’s capability.


However, even here there is a little nod to practicality. The Saleen offers more in-dash storage space than a stock Tesla, as well as a cup holder and a drawer for charging smartphones.

But it’s under the hood where the biggest changes have been made. The car gets a three-phase, four-pole AC induction motor that’s connected to a redeveloped drivetrain with a higher final gear ratio to increase acceleration.

Saleen FourSixteen interior

It also gets a clever locking differential and a stability control system to push the right amount of power to the right wheel so that the Tesla can corner as quickly and as confidently as it travels in a straight line.

And to make sure that the extra performance doesn’t compromise everyday ride quality, the suspension system is adjustable.

“Tesla has created an entirely new class of American automobile,” explained Steve Saleen about Tesla’s decision to spice up the Model S.

“There are many similarities to this and how Ford created the ‘pony car’ class in 1964 with the Mustang, which is how these vehicles stand out from the rest of the pack.”


All of which means that customizing electric cars is set to become an automotive trend and one that Saleen is looking to spearhead.

Saleen isn’t yet prepared to go public with performance figures. All the company will say is that it will be faster off the line than the standard or performance versions of the Tesla Model S and that, thanks to the aerodynamic tweaks, it will have a longer range before it needs recharging.

The FourSixteen will cost $152,000 if delivered as a complete car. However, existing Tesla Model S owners can have their cars upgraded to the Saleen specification for less.

Model S

Tesla unveils pricing strategy for China

Electric carmaker Tesla Motors said its flagship vehicle will have the same pre-tax price in China as in the US, after Chinese media criticised foreign companies for charging higher prices in the country.

Model S

The Tesla Model S sells for $81,070 in the US and the company will receive the same sum for it in China, the world’s biggest auto market.

Nonetheless the sticker price for the premium car will start from 734,000 yuan ($121,370), with the difference accounted for by $36,700 in taxes imposed by the Chinese government and shipping costs of $3,600, it said.

Tesla said the Chinese market could have absorbed a higher price for its cars and attacked rivals for charging more.

“We know that our competitors will try to convince Chinese consumers that our relatively lower price tag means the Model S is a lesser car, when the real reason their car costs more is that they make double the profit per car in China compared to the United States or Europe,” Tesla said.

Foreign brand vehicles have performed well in the China market, helped by perceptions of higher quality and better recognition, making the country a critical market for global automakers.

Tesla has received more than 200 pre-orders for its Model S and Model X in China, state media reported, but analysts say the company will face challenges from the slow development of the country’s electric car market.

Tesla London store

Tesla opens first London store

Tesla London store

Located in the Westfield shopping center, the Tesla design store, the first of its kind in the UK was officially openrd by the company’s co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk who also confirmed that first right-hand-drive version of its Model S will hit UK roads in March 2014.

“Tesla is taking the UK market very seriously, and there are more stores and service centers to come. We’re also going to establish a Supercharger network so Model S customers will be able to drive long distances anywhere in the UK using our network for free, forever.”

“The first Supercharger will be energized next quarter and we’ll aspire to have the entire country covered by end of next year. Most importantly, we are hard at work with Right Hand Drive Model S, and we aim to deliver the first one by the end of March 2014,” he said.

As well as showcasing the existing cars and technology, the design store offers consumers the chance to design and customize their own Model S and to learn more about the company’s electric engines.

Since arriving in Europe in August, Tesla has wasted no time establishing itself. As well as building a supercharging network in the UK, Tesla has pledged to offer similar networks throughout the continent.

By the end of 2014, 100% of the population of Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, will also live within 320 km of a Supercharger station, (the car’s driving range) where they will be able to recharge their Tesla free-of charge for the life of the vehicle.

And it’s the combination of the company’s battery technology and commitment to recharging stations that makes it such a formidable force.

The Tesla can travel 500km on a single charge and, when plugged into a special Tesla Supercharging station, battery power reserves can be topped up by 50 percent in just 20 minutes. Other electric cars need to be left overnight to charge the batteries.

During the Tesla store’s official opening, the company confirmed that the entry-level UK edition of the Model S will cost £49,900 (€60,000).

Tesla Model S touch screen

Tesla cars are going Android

Tesla Model S touch screen

Tesla is often seen as the Apple of car makers so Elon Musk’s decision to update the current flagship Model S with a Google Chrome web browser and Android emulating OS could surprise some.

The company’s CEO made the announcement at a special Tesla event in Munich, Germany this week, but pointed out that the changes will not happen overnight.

So, from late next year Tesla customers will be able to access the internet in-car via Google’s Chrome, and the informatics platform will be fully Android-compatible — it currently runs a version of Linux that can support modified Android and iOS apps — meaning that it will be easy for developers to write Tesla-specific apps or to port existing Android apps to run on the car’s software systems.

As well as being the pure electric vehicle with the longest range on a single battery charge currently in production, the Tesla Model S also has the largest touchscreen interface of any road car.

The 17-inch system not only offers an online connection and access to the vehicle’s navigation system, but also replaces many of the analogue switches and dials — for features such as air conditioning — that litter most vehicle cabins.

However creating something that takes full advantage of a display more than twice the size of the average tablet could take some doing on the part of Android app developers — Apple CEO Tim Cook has described most tablet apps on Google Play as simply stretched smartphone apps.