Rave reviews from car journalists
Only a handful of so called auto experts have been allowed to test-drive the latest Tesla Model S P85D — its flagship performance dual-motor 85 kWh battery version — and write about the experience. Their described experiences suggest the vehicle’s performance might have left internal-combustion-engine vehicles in the dust for good. Here are the first two notable accounts to surface.
Britain auto journalist Anthony ffrench-Constant offers a seasoned and well-respected opinion in the auto industry. His writing is carried in many notable car magazines, including CAR Magazine, Car and Driver, and Ferrari Magazine. But despite his long list of test drives in the world’s most exotic cars, Tesla’s P85D left him drooling.
“The last time I drove anything that steps as smartly off the line as Tesla’s new P85D I was sitting in a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse,” he wrote in GQ earlier this week after a test ride in the fully electric sedan near the Berlin airport.
The vehicle’s 691 horsepower and its ability to produce maximum torque from zero RPM, thanks to the electric powertrain, didn’t disappoint.
Off the line, the P85D is, quite simply, remarkable. Stamp your foot on the not remotely loud pedal and the car hitches up its petticoats and flings itself at the horizon in a departure as silent and instantaneous as a model glider escaping a giant rubber band.
…Factor in a complete absence of slack in the drive train and I’ll wager the Tesla hits 30mph faster than anything else out there except an anvil kicked off a cliff.
While the P85D’s starting price of $105,670 might sound like a pretty penny, ffrench-Constant said that would depend on what you are comparing the car to.
After considering Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comment that the car is “obviously expensive,” ffrench-Constant countered, “Contemplating the price of petrol powered machines offering performance parity, I’m more than inclined to disagree.”
Motor Trend‘s Kim Reynolds
Motor Trend Testing Director Kim Reynolds has been writing about test drives since 1982, so he should know a thing or two about good cars.
What does his experience tell him about Motor Trend‘s first test drive of the P85D? With a nod to the car’s driving settings of “normal,” “sport,” and “insane,” he said the car truly is “In-sane.”
On the P85D’s instant torque from zero RPMs:
The torque impacts your body with the violence of facing the wrong way on the train tracks when the whistle blows. Within the first degree of its first revolution, 100 percent of the motors’ combined 687 lb-ft slams the sense out of you. A rising-pitch ghost siren augers into your ears as you’re not so much accelerating as pneumatically suctioned into the future. You were there. Now you’re here.
Why kicking the pedal actually makes a meaningful difference:
Essentially, the two motors’ email-instant reflexes mean the stability control system is the drivetrain itself — and vice versa — not a Band-Aided layer of throttle- and brake-mitigating technologies overlaid on a big-inertia crankshaft and flailing pistons accustomed to Pony Express reaction times.
Consequently, the easiest way to flatten your retinas at a dragstrip isn’t by just stomping on the right pedal. Instead, you draw your foot back and kick the living hell out of it. (I’m serious.) Your foot’s flying start at the pedal means the potentiometer opens the battery’s electron floodgate that much sooner, and without the teeniest tire chirp, the P85D accelerates at the highest rate the road’s mu (its coefficient of friction) allows. It’s surreally efficient.
Reynolds said that in the first 1/20th of a second, the car is four feet ahead of the fastest-accelerating sedan Motor Trend has ever tested, the Audi RS 7, and has a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds — or a tenth quicker than the Audi and the McLaren F1’s accepted time.
Formula E is a new FIA single-seater championship and the world’s first fully-electric racing series.
formula eCommencing in September 2014 through to June 2015, the championship will compete in the heart of 10 of the world’s leading cities – including London, Beijing and Miami – racing around their iconic landmarks. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.
The casino car competition. A noble activity where a gentleman down on his luck, sloping at the slots and cursing his all too light wallet can go to have a shot at winning a beautiful, often absurdly impractical automobile. We wouldn’t have it any other way and thus compiled a list of the best car giveaways casinos around the world have given away, ever. Be it a classic piece of automotive beauty or a hard-revving gas guzzler, these should whet your appetite for winning big, whether it be at a casino in Vegas or online at a site such as http://www.gamingclub.co.uk.
1954 Pontiac Chieftan Custom Coupe
Nothing says more about the booming 50s than the Chieftan. With sumptuous, flowing bodywork, a exquisitely detailed hood and an interior fitting for even the most discerning prom date, the Pontiac is a classic that cannot be beaten. This specimen, given away through a raffle to benefit military-men and their families, is an excellent example of style given away in the name of real substance.
‘The Beast’ Gumball 3000 Rally Car
The word speechless just doesn’t do this prize justice. ‘The Beast’ exudes power, posture and raw, unadultered adrenaline from every inch of bodywork and likely has an engine that would put a pack of stampeding bison to shame (note to casinos: more of this!).
Jaguar XF AWD
With a grand prize of the above Jaguar plus $58,000 in cash and gas cards, one might accuse the River Rock Casino Resort of going mad! Wrong. Only the winner will be driven crazy with this glorious machine, fitted out with a 3l V6 engine capable of generating 340hp and going from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds. All of this whilst still looking magnificently classy at the same time.
1965 Ford Mustang
Winner of the Tiffany Gold Medal for excellence in American design, the Ford Mustang is a piece of automotive history. Winning this beauty would place the winner in with the same ilk as luminaries such as Bill Clinton, Jim Morrison and (naturally) Charlie Sheen. ‘Winning’!
The successor to the historic, timeless E-Type, the second Jaguar on our list is just too good to leave out. In a prize category overflowing with saloons and muscle cars it’s nice to see a sports car on offer, especially one boasting a white-hot 542hp that can achieve 0-60 in under 4.8 seconds. Sun Coast Casino gave this card away to those who came out top at its slots and tables, meaning practice really can get you something perfect.
We know that in 2013 the US market was a total of 16.5 million vehicles with 96,000 classifies as plug-in electric cars. This represents just over half a percent of the market.
Market share is a good statistic: It’s useful, and easy to track. In order get a better understanding it is beneficial to look at the figures in more detail. It’s beneficial to piece together the relationships between vehicle price, type, and market share, with this we can get a better understanding of the electric-car market and its impact on the wider landscape.
So, how did plug-in electric vehicles do compared to similarly priced vehicles?
Light trucks (crossovers, SUVs, and pickups) make up almost half the U.S. market, but the sole electric vehicle in those categories is the Toyota RAV4 EV – a low-volume compliance vehicle. So is it reasonable to include truck and SUV sales in the calculations? Not really.
U.S. new-car market 2013, by approximate price point
Slimming down U.S. sales
Sales figures for all vehicles sold in the United States in 2013 can be obtained in many places; we used GoodCarBadCar.net reported on Green Car Reports.
That data covered about 98 percent of reported U.S. auto sales, good enough for our purposes. The balance consists of commercial vehicles like delivery vans. We estimated Tesla’s American sales based on its quarterly shareholder letters, and estimated sales abroad.
Looking up the entry-level sticker price for each of the 271 models listed, we used that as a proxy for each one’s average selling price. It’s a necessary simplification: automakers don’t break down their sales by trim level publicly.
Sales of deluxe models may push a vehicle’s average transaction price higher, but dealer and manufacturer discounts have some counterbalancing effect–so the entry-level MSRP was a good first approximation.
Netting out Federal credit
For electric vehicles, we added two steps. Since prices on several plug-ins were cut during the year, we used the average of the starting and ending MSRPs. Then we subtracted the Federal income-tax credit for each vehicle, to reflect the price most buyers would have actually paid.
Keeping in mind that our calculated selling prices were rough estimates, we can see that about two-thirds of the U.S. market is made up of cars costing less than $25,000.
U.S. plug-in electric vehicle market share 2013, by approximate price point
These calculations were roughly consistent with findings from Navigant’s recent consumer survey, which showed that 71 percent of new-car buyers don’t want to spend more than $25,000 on their next vehicle.
(Green Car figures diverged from theirs at the low-end of the market, perhaps reflecting the difference between what people want to spend and what they actually end up paying.)
And this data puts last year’s Volt price cut in perspective: Going from $40,000 to $35,000 roughly doubles the potential buyer pool, from 6 to 11 percent of the market. The effect of Federal incentives pushes the Volt down to the high $20,000s–a bigger market yet–but very few consumers are aware of them.)
75 percent can buy Leaf
Most interesting, at $21,300 after the tax credit, the Nissan Leaf is now priced to cover three-quarters of U.S. car-buyers. This year the company may double its Leaf production and sales volumes.
The price-point chart also hints at the effect that eliminating the Federal incentives could have on plug-in electric sales.
In the United States, each price drop of $5,000 roughly doubles the buyer pool; conversely, a $5,000 price increase halves the number of people who can buy the car.
The real world may bring less dramatic effects, since 95 percent of American car buyers don’t know about the various incentives for electric-car ownership in the first place.
Consumer awareness of the cost-of-ownership advantages of electric cars can only increase over time, helping buyers to see past that bottom-line sticker price.
1.4 percent of $25,000-plus cars
Plotting electric-vehicle market share by price point, we used post-incentive prices. As we moved up to the higher price points, market share generally increased.
Under our crude methods, we calculated that electric vehicles had about 1.4 percent market share at the all-important $25,000 price point–including the Volt and its healthy sales.
This would seem to be a more representative measure of electric cars’ market success than the more widely reported 0.6 percent of the overall market. Why compare plug-ins to vehicle price segments (under $20,000) where there are no electric competitors?
Then there’s the issue of vehicle types–specifically, the pickups and SUVs that make up almost half the U.S. market. As noted earlier, the only plug-in there is the low-volume Toyota RAV4 EV compliance vehicle sold in California.
Ignoring truck segments: much better
Dividing the U.S. auto market by price point, and then backing out trucks and crossovers/SUVs (as well as the minimal 1,096 RAV4 EV sales), gives us the best context for analysing the sales of electric cars.
Within that competitive set, we see that plug-ins capture:
- a bit more than 1 percent of passenger-car (non-truck, non-SUV) sales;
- almost 2 percent of the $20,000-plus market; and
- just about 3 percent of the market for $25,000-plus vehicles.
(That makes for a pretty handy mnemonic device–at least for last year’s numbers.)
So the next time someone asks you about electric vehicle sales, you may wish to offer up the “1-2-3s” of the data.
Then, of course, you can go on to explain how battery improvements and corporate commitment (from Nissan, GM, and BMW, in any case) mean those numbers will rise steadily over the coming years.
Tesla’s huge first-year share
At the top of the market, by the way–cars $50,000 and up–the startup Tesla Motors has won more than 8 percent of luxury passenger-car sales in the United States, in its first full year.
If we calculate an estimate for the company’s market share among passenger cars with a base price of $62,400 or more (the lowest Model S price after the Federal tax credit), the result soars to 17 percent!
It may take a frustratingly long time for electric vehicles to achieve substantial market share at the lowest price points in the U.S. market.
But compared to hybrids–with Toyota the only carmaker after 15 years to commit fully to hybrid technology across all vehicle lines–many auto companies are already embracing the plug-in path, with varying degrees of commitment.
Continuing improvements in battery technology, and those commitments, suggest that electricity is indeed the future we’re driving towards.
UK price for Model S – starts at less than £50,000
News from Tesla today that the UK price is set. At the launch event Elon said that the price will be announced with weeks, and guess what he was dead right. We received an email first thing this morning. The full details are below: We were expecting low £50,000. This price includes the £5,000 EV rebate and is of course the lower powered 60KWh model S. Even so that’s not a bad price.
Of course the more you drive the more you save per mile and the more London visits the more you save: Tesla also included a link to the London event.
The most common question we were asked was “how much will it cost?” We are now announcing UK pricing for Model S, which will start at an on-the-road price of £49,900.
Aside from the competitive base price of Model S within the luxury saloon segment, there are numerous other financial benefits that affect the “total cost of ownership” and make Model S even more compelling. Thanks to these additional savings, not only will you be driving the most advanced vehicle on the road today, but you’ll also be saving money on fuel, road and showroom taxes, and congestion charges. In total, Tesla owners can save over £20,000 over a five year period when comparing Model S to its closest UK competitors.
As a Tesla owner, you can say goodbye to expensive stops at petrol stations because your Model S can plug in and charge from any electrical outlet, including Tesla’s free supercharger network. Assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 miles, your fuel costs should decrease by around £8,000 over a five year period when compared to a typical premium ICE saloon (based on current petrol prices and assuming no increases over the coming years).
If you add in the savings from initial showroom and annual road taxes, Model S savings against comparable vehicles in its category increase to over £9,050 from your after tax income.
Currently, drivers of ICE-powered cars face an annual fee of £2,250 when entering into central London’s Congestion Charge Zone – yet another fee that Model S owners will be able to avoid altogether – which equates to savings of another £11,250 over five years.
Model S is also very attractive from a monthly financing perspective. If you take a typical
£800 per month financing payment for a premium ICE saloon, the comparative monthly cost for Model S would be only £465. In line with Tesla’s worldwide policy, the Model S residual value will be guaranteed at the highest level of any premium saloon brand when financed through approved UK banking partners, which will be announced in the coming months.
UK residents who purchase Model S as a company car will benefit from a 0% Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) rate until April 2015, after which the BIK is set to a rate of 5%. Compared to the standard BIK rates of 24-28% for a typical premium ICE saloon, this incentive helps make Model S even more attractive to corporate clients. For further details on the full savings Model S ownership brings, please contact a member of our sales team, or visit our new store in Westfield London.
Tesla UK test drive day
The UK is one of the last major markets to get the Tesla. I guess it’s because it must be a pain and an engineering cost to switch the car to Right Hand Drive. The UK is a large car market and currently the only European market showing any signs of life.
The company is now starting to show the Model S. This weekend Tesla held its first public event to drive the Model S on the UK roads. It was an invitation only affair with pre-booked driving slots held at a hotel near Windsor, close to the Tesla UK office.
They had 5 Model S cars to drive. All left hand drive and from various part of Europe. In the hotel room was a rolling chassis and a white car together with a couple of iMacs where you could browse the Tesla site and place an order. Groups were allocated a two-hour slot to play with the car, speak to the Tesla folk and take a test drive around a set course with an on-board Tesla Co-Pilot. The course was only about 10 miles on length and covered mostly small UK roads with one short stretch on dual carriageway. But before we headed to the road we were subjected to pretty lame presentation about the company and plans. This was a great opportunity to present the company and products. However it was rather dull and poorly presented. An opportunity missed.
The car in the hotel room was definitely the center of attention as people climbed in and out of it. The main comments seemed to be about the size and space. The car is large when compared to most UK cars on the road. The interior space is massive, especially the rear seats that feel very comfortable and airy. This is backed up the front and rear trunks or as the Brits say bonnet and boot. The brochure claims a storage space of 150 in the front and 1640 in the rear that totals over three times the storage of a BMW 5 Series.
The mega control screen was the other key point of interaction. You can do anything with it. All the basics like Sat Nav, radio, climate but also drag the roof open, set the driver’s seat position into memory with a name. The displays for the power usage and range calculations were especially neat and informative. Unlike most hybrids with their graphics showing energy into and out of the pack, the Tessa just showed power used over the last 5, 15 or 30 miles and calculates the expected remaining range based on the most recent driving data.
Behind the wheel
The car drives superbly the ride being especially impressive. Our red car had 21’ wheels fitted with low profile tires. I think the co-pilot said that it was the sportiest of the options. The performance was astonishing, the car just powered away with total ease. We reached no more than 70 MPH and only then for a dozen or so seconds but it reached that speed in a mighty short time. We drove to the event in my Porsche 911 and the Tesla’s performance was far more dramatic than the Porsche. The other big difference was the lack of noise. The car is super quiet and this makes it a relaxing vehicle to drive and be driven in.
Tesla are now taking orders for UK cars. However the price and specs are not fixed yet. So you can place a £4,000 deposit now and in a few months, most likely early 2014, be told the UK price. Your deposit is fully refundable. At that point you will be able to configure your car and have a good idea of when it will arrive.
People that I spoke with seemed impressed with the car. Not knowing the final price will put some people off from pulling the trigger but we have a pretty good idea of the comparisons from other European countries. One Tesla rep mentioned that they registered 650 Model S in Norway in September and this represented the largest of any model, even the best-selling VW Golf.
With petrol and diesel pushing £1.32 per litre, remember that’s equivalent to just under £6.00 per gallon we pay a small fortune for fuel. With a UK average of 10,000 miles per car and say 40 MPG that’s equal to 250 gallons or 1,136 litre of petrol. At today’s price that’s £1,500 just on petrol before you include the road tax and other costs.
Of course the big cost in motoring is the depreciation of the car and the finance of the purchase. The running costs are important of course as they have to be met every month.
On offer we have a 60Kwh, 85 Kwh and an 85 KWh performance models. All have 8 year battery warranty. The larger packs offer a 300 mile range and the 65Kwh a 230 mile range.
Model S Specifications
|60 KWh||85 KWh||85 KWh Performance|
|Range||230 miles||300 miles||300 miles|
|0 – 60||5.9 seconds||5.4 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||120 mph||125 mph||130 mph|
|Power||302 hp||362 hp||416 hp|
|Torque||317 lb-ft||325 lb-ft||443 lb-ft|
Even the 60 KWh offers impressive performance.
Let’s compare with a BMW 5
|Model||S 60 KWh||525d Luxury Saloon|
|Top speed||120 mph||152 mph|
|0-60||5.9 seconds||7.0 seconds|
|Length||4970 mm||4907 mm|
|Width||2187 mm||2102 mm|
|Height||1445 mm||1464 mm|
The standard specifications on the Tesla are mainly options on the BMW. Heated seats, fancy stereo, tire pressure monitoring, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Keyless entry, Cruise, backup camera and of course 17″ touch screen control system.
Everybody wants more for less. That is apparently why more and more value seeking consumers are turning to pre-owned smart cars. There are some good reasons that pre-owned smart cars are moving quickly from area car dealers. One of the biggest is that the innovative, distinctive looking vehicles are being embraced since an approved used smart can now be purchased at 0% APR from smart dealers. The 0% finance offer is for up to three full years. That’s an attractive offer for any vehicle, especially a used one. It makes a pre-owned smart particularly attractive.
The smart car was introduced in 1998, and for over 15 years it has been a trendy choice for those looking to make a statement about the environment. This is in great part due to its extremely economical use of petrol. Others have turned to a smart fortwo because it is perhaps the ultimate commuter vehicle that is exceptionally simple to park. It demure size also makes finding parking spaces a bit easier, particularly in large cities. Whilst you won’t find extravagance and exotic amenities in a smart fortwo, you will find an exceptionally affordable mode of transportation that many have found to be reliable and fun.
The 0% finance offer is bringing in a variety of buyers for the smart cars, but there are other reasons the pre-owned smart is getting so much attention recently. Buyers get complimentary 12 month roadside assistance, a year-long unlimited mileage warranty, and MOT test failure cover. These are proving to be popular perks, especially on a used vehicle. Smart dealers apparently are comfortable in providing these additional perks due to the rigorous multi-point inspection each vehicle undergoes prior to being offered for sale. In addition, each vehicle has its mileage and history verified. Smart dealers are even offering a 30 day, 500 mile exchange program for those who may discover another smart fortwo they like.
This 0% APR smart car on finance offer on approved used smart cars is certainly gaining attention from consumers. It appears to be another way in which the automaker is setting itself apart. It is also another way in which they are giving car buyers more for less.
We know that smart is providing their new and used car customers with value. What is next for the smart car? You can find out in this article from the Telegraph. It has details and photos of the new 2014 smart fourjoy concept car. The car made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show and it gives some indications as to what smart enthusiasts can expect in the future.
The Ampera arrived care of Vauxhall with just over 45 miles of electric power in the battery pack on a press car that has covered close to 20,000 miles. Considering its use by fellow hacks it was in perfect condition looking clean and sharp in the sunshine.
So what is the Ampera?
The Vauxhall is basically the same as the US Chevy Volt branded as a Vauxhall for UK sales, as an Opel Ampera for European sales and a Holden Volt in Australia. All are the same GM car with some exterior modifications for local markets. Confusingly in the UK the Ampera is £4,000 more than the Volt.
The Volt was launched in the US in late 2010 and GM have shipped over 45,000 units since then making it the largest EV supplier in the US. Thought given Tesla’s recent sales numbers that title will be short-lived.
The car combines an Electric motor and battery pack with what GM call a range extender or what we call an Engine. The purpose of the engine is primarily to drive a generator to charge the batteries. This is clever stuff. But it is even cleverer than just that, if the car needs more power the engine will also be called on to drive the wheels via a mechanical clutch. Of course the car recovers power from regenerative braking system. All in all that’s a lot of technology to pack into a mid-sized car. GM have done a fine job in this aspect.
The GM team who delivered the Ampera seemed less impressed and regarded it as just another car to loan out. They offered a DVD and glossy fact sheet.
The best part of the car is how it drives: It is always smooth and purposeful on the road. The performance is rapid enough for everyday events and the car delivers the performance in an almost silent way. After years of driving in petrol or diesel car you are so accustomed to acceleration equalling noise from the engine. In the Ampera this does not happen. The car just increases in speed with no audio increase. Just the digital speed dial increasing.
I was expecting other road users to notice or enquire about the car. Not once was I looked at or question. This is in sharp contrast to driving a Sparrow, where the extreme visual impact was accompanied by constant point, stares and photographs. A quick Strarbucks became a half hour event as a minimum. Not so in the rather dull looking Ampera. It looks different from other cars with a deep nose but otherwise it’s pretty bland on the eye. There are no fancy EV graphics or images. No car of the year sticker. Nothing to announce it.
The engine and battery management is faultless with the transition totally seamless and a non-event. The dashboard gives you a range gauge with both battery and fuel distances till empty. When the battery range goes to zero the engine cuts in and the only real difference a low speeds is a change on the dashboard. At higher speeds you can hear the engine performing work to both charge the pack and drive the wheels.
Inside the car is surprisingly spacious with generous seats front and back and instrument panel that provides sufficient information in a reasonable clear way. The test car had keyless entry, Bluetooth phone connection, GPS, rear facing camera and a few other goodies. The worst component was the integrated heating, map, navigation display panel. During our test we never managed to master the controls and the whole device was let done by the nasty touch push buttons. They had a small button that seemed to work by touch rather than push, but most likely was push. They did not have good feel or hand.
Charging was easy – Just plug the connector into a standard 240 volt outlet and the car gave a short beep and a green light illuminates on the dashboard and the instrument panel gives a time when the pack will be charged. As with most EV ‘s this is quite a long time. Expect a full charge to take 6 hours or so. We never put petrol in the tank as most of our journeys were short enough to complete on the 52 mile EV range.
- 16.5 KWh Lithium-ion Battery Pack
- One 111 KWh motor
- One 55 KWh motor
- 1.4 L petrol engine 4 cylinder
- EV Range 52 miles
- UK Retail price start at £30,000 including the £5,000 EV Plug-In government grant
Great educational video on the Tesla S factory – Care of Mega factories on the Nat Geo Channel on YouTube.
Has some fab views of the old Toyota factory in Freemont just outside Silicon Valley that has been transformed into a gleaming white shrine to electric cars. A vision that Steve Jobs would have loved.
First shown Jan 1st 2013 with video from Geneva show.
Shows a top range of 480 Km from the powertrain and battery pack. They combine 7,000 small AA cell type batteries into one large pack.
The car can be recharged at a rate equal to 100Km per hour of charge.
Learn more care of the video – enjoy.