The latest Tesla to hit the streets in now close to available and has been reviewed by a number of motoroing journalists. One such review is in the Wall St Journal where Dan Neil gives it a super write up. Dan is no fool having been a contributing editor to Car & Driver. Read Review here
The S is a high performance salon car that looks like a Jaguar. The Signature model is powered by a 416 HP AC motor that produces a nice little 443 pounds-feet of torque bringing 60 MPH up in 4.4 seconds from standstill.
The four door gives plenty of room and looks great. The battery pack accounts for 30% of the vehicles total weight of 4,650 pounds.
As a company Tesla has grown from strength to strength. It starting be building an electric 2 seater base don a Lotus. It acquired the Fremont CA plant that was a GM/Toyota JV proving the company with an instant car factory. The S is defiantly a real Tesla car. With an EV the designers have the ability to try things that folks with a IC power plant just cant do. There is no engine to go under the bonnet and the need for a radiator is greatly reduced giving far more options for sexier looks.
The Tesla Model S has a choice of 3 power packs: 40, 60 and 85 KWh. These packs change the rage of the car from 160 to 230 to 300 claimed highway miles. The pack is a large matrix of Nikel Cathode Lithium Ion Panasonic batteries, more than 7,000 in total.
The car with two names and three brands has taken the highly coveted Car of the Year award at the Geneva motor show. What’s more you still cant buy one in Europe.
The Volt or Ampera is a EV with a motor that acts solely as a generator, or what the trade calls a range extender.
From the judges report:
Volt/Ampera offer is a mature product, after years of development and perfectioning by General Motors, and the first example of an electric vehicle with extended range. Others will come along this path. The concept, addressed to the fears of potential customers in front of an incipient recharging net of electricity for vehicles, implies energy generated on board, to continue the journey, once exhausted the rechargeable batteries. In the case of the Ampera/Volt, that means a 1.4 petrol engine working in semi-stationary regime. The balance between electric drive range and combustion-engine help takes in account the usually short daily displacements of the average car user. The electrical autonomy is rated at around 60 km with normal driving, then it comes the 1.4 to the rescue.
Viability of such approach, in a time when recharging possibilities on the road are limited, has been positively assessed by Jury members, who see in the Volt/Ampera a product better suited to consumers’ needs than the conventional electric car. By the way one of those preceded the Opel/Chevrolet in the CotY title. In the early phase of distribution in Europe, Opel has reckoned to have around 7,000 firm orders of this model, in spite of a high price, somewhat moderated by public subsidies.
Some stringent crash test in USA recorded heat control problems in the battery pack, and the possibility of a fire. GM has thoroughly addressed the matter and applied new solutions, with better protection of the batteries and more efficient cooling systems, so customers can be assured.
VOLT TECHNICAL DATA
– Body: 5-door hatchback
– Size: 4.50 X 1.79 X 1.43 m. Wheelbase: 2.69 m.
– Transmission: Front wheel drive. Automatic clutch. Single gear.
– Tyres/wheels: 215/55-17 (7.0 X 17)
– Engine: Electric AC syncronous motor.
– Power – torque: 111 kW (151 hp) – 273 Nm
– Maximum speed – 0-100 km/h acceleration: 160 km/h – 9 s.
The Kisker Karma that recently failed in the hands of high profile magazine Consumer Reports was stopped by faulty battery components supplied by A123 systems. The company, a spin out of MIT, acknowledged a manufacturing fault or defect that caused the Karma to stop.
News from the US – Care of post on Engadget, that renowned testing journal purchased with $108,000 of their own cash a Karma to test, but it broke down on them within 200 miles and had to be collected on a flat bed. Oops.
The EV Van subsidy scheme, which was first announced last month, means buyers can get 20% off the cost price of a new vehicle, up to a maximum of £8,000. This scheme is actually an extension of the plug-in grant launched for ordinary domestic cars last year.
Yet despite the deal, take-up has been slow. Government figures show there were just 892 applications made for the plug-in grant in 2011, despite the fact that several big manufacturers launched new, electric models for the first time. The bulk of those applications also came in the first quarter of the year, with the figure tailing off to just 106 for the final three months.
The UK government is determined to fund electric motoring for at least another three years, as part of its plan to meet ambitious emissions targets. “Our new grant demonstrates that you can be a motorist and still be pro-environment,” says Transport Secretary Justine Greening.
“The new plug-in grant also makes business sense as it’s been estimated that a small electric van will typically cost £100 less in fuel for every 1,000 miles driven compared to a diesel equivalent.”
It is not just the grant either. If you drive an electric vehicle you can benefit from zero-rate company car tax and you won’t pay the congestion charge in London.
There are plenty in the industry that believe electric motoring is currently more suited to business use than to domestic use. Think of all those white vans dashing around your town or city. They will cover no more than 100 miles in a day (that’s the rough range of an electric van), and the companies don’t use them at night, so it is easy to plug them in at the depot ready for the next day.
The boys from Top Gear drive the Fisker Karma on tonight’s show.
See more at Fisker website
Telsa unveiled their sweet looking Model X at their LA design studio and claim that in the first 24 hours 500 reservations of $5,000 have been placed.
That’s not bad for a car with no advance advertising.