CarsDiva’s Blog

An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for May, 2013

The New(er) Kid on the Block…. TESLA

Posted by carsdiva on May 26, 2013

I’m sure by now most of you already know, but just in case, Tesla Motors is an American [electric] car maker, headed by co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Elon Musk, (who’s prior claim to fame was as co-founder of PayPal.) The car maker gained attention first with the Tesla Roadster, the first fully electric sports car, followed by their current hot commodity, the Model S, an electric luxury sedan.  Tesla also supplies components to major auto makers like Toyota and Daimler, helping contribute to their bottom line, but back to the Model S….

Tesla front viewWith a driving range of between 208 and 265 miles, a full charge for the Model S takes 6 hours (using an ordinary 240 volt outlet.)  They’re in the process of installing Supercharger stations in high-traffic corridors throughout the country, to enable consumers to make long distance trips. Depending on the battery, the power output ranges from 302 – 416 hp, coupled with 317 – 443 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at about $70,000, and that doesn’t include any incentives, federal or state, for the electric car.

Now here’s some food for thought…..Did you know Tesla Motors is named after the renowned Nikola Tesla?  An inventor, engineer, physicist, and futurist, he is best known for his contributions to the AC electricity supply system.  The AC induction motors found in the Tesla Roadster and Model S descend from the original 1882 design.

Recent Happenings

After announcing Q1 profits for the first time, Tesla’s shares surged 24% (and have since continued to rise.)  Net income was posted at $11.2 Tesla side viewmillion, quite the contrast from last year’s loss of $89.9 million.  However, a large chunk of profit did come from ZEV (zero-emissions vehicle) credits, sold to other automakers. In any case, Musk plans to exceed their initial forecasted performance of 20,000 vehicle deliveries.

Furthermore, Tesla recently announced that they’ve paid off their entire [original] $465 million Department of Energy loan with interest, and 9 years early.  The final payment of $451.8 million was made this month, making them the only American car company to have fully paid back the government. (Well, I should add there is some controversy there as Chrysler claims to have done so prior to Tesla, but needless to say, the point is they’ve paid off their government debt.)

Elon Musk and his outspoken demeanor seem to jive well with Wall Street these days. His influential tweets about the company are becoming synonymous with a boost in Tesla’s stock, as well as well-timed to prevent dips.  The company is now valued at an astonishing $8.8 billion. Quite an effective use of social media, if I may say so myself.

Tesla and Elon MuskAffirmative Word on the Street

Although often looked at as being a controversial company, the positive press is definitely flowing. Consumer Reports claims that the Tesla Model S is the best car ever tested, earning a 99 out of a possible 100 points. According to Jake Fisher, head of auto testing, the car’s performance is “off the charts.”  Consumer Reports has yet to recommend the vehicle as it’s too soon, and furthermore, they’re waiting to receive crash test scores from the government and IIHS to determine the vehicle’s reliability.

Motor Trend calls the Tesla S a “truly remarkable car” bestowing upon the vehicle the title of 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year.  They say it “drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive. But it’s also as smoothly effortless as a Rolls-Royce, can carry almost as much stuff as a Chevy Equinox, and is more efficient than a Toyota Prius… and it’ll sashay up to the valet at a luxury hotel like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk.”  Well, I couldn’t have put it better myself.  I’ve seen more and more of them on the road and they’re definitely head turners– at first glance, sleek and impressive… but that would be an understatement.Tesla rear view

In a realm where the competition continues to drop off– Fisker is in financial turmoil, and Coda Automotive already went under, I’d say they’re on the right track. (No pun intended.)  And what about the challenge of long-term sustainability? Well for now, plans for the Tesla Model X crossover are in the works, and then there’s talk of a future, less expensive vehicle.  Perhaps a partnership with Google to add driverless technology?

Stay tuned……

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Team Chevy’s Fast & Furious Female….

Posted by carsdiva on May 12, 2013

Kudos to the up and coming, [female], IndyCar Racer, Simona de Silvestro.  A native of Switzerland, she joined the KV Racing Technology team in October 2012, which competes in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  For this year’s series, she’ll be driving the Chevrolet-powered #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car. An advocate of clean air and a sustainable future, she’s a proud owner of a Chevy Volt.  Check out this video to see what Simona’s got to say…..

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