Auto blogWed, 03 Sep 2014
Tesla has been fighting challenges from dealer groups in several states for years due to the company's decision to sell directly to customers at stores rather than through franchise dealers. The business has won some of these battles like its recent compromise in Pennsylvania, which allows the company to open five stores there. Now, Tesla has another legal struggle ahead of it because the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association is hoping to shut down the brand's boutiques.
The Georgia dealers recently filed a petition to revoke Tesla's dealer license in the state and prevent it from reapplying for another one, according to Automotive News. The company currently operates just one store in Marietta, GA, but it reportedly has two more locations planned around Atlanta in the future. The association claims that Tesla's license limits it to direct sales of a maximum of 150 vehicles a year. It's now selling more than that, but attempting to increase the restriction.
If Tesla wants to keep selling cars in the state, which boasts high incentives and strong popularity around Atlanta for EVs, it needs to switch to franchises, according to the dealers. "No one should be allowed to act as if they are above the law, especially when there is a simple path to compliance that everyone else has agreed to follow," said Bill Morie, president of the association, to Automotive News.
Tesla Fever has extended far and wide, winning over critics and everyday enthusiasts alike. The company is rapidly expanding its efforts both in its home market and abroad, but for some of its wealthy fans, that move isn't happening quite fast enough.
Dmitry Grishin is one such enthusiast. The 35-year-old multi-millionaire founder of Russia's Mail.ru is a big fan of Elon Musk's operation, so much so, in fact, that he's decided not to wait for sales to begin in the Russian Federation. Instead, he's gone off on his own and simply imported a Model S to get around Moscow.
The acquisition was not easy, as detailed by The Verge, and Grishin's car isn't quite as full-featured as a Model S sold in America - he's forced to use his phone's data connection rather than the car's . But, Grishin clearly has no regrets, spending a total of $180,000 to bring the EV to Moscow. In fact, Grishin has gone so far as to say he'd invest in the American EV manufacturer, if it hastened the brand's arrival in the motherland.
While Pebble Beach is traditionally thought of as the refuge of the pristine and pricey vintage vehicles of the world, there's no shortage of newer vehicles on display. And when we say "new," we mean really new. As in, not even in production new. This is the concept car lawn, and it's home to an eclectic group of vehicles from past and present.
Of course, calling it the "concept car lawn" is a bit of a misnomer this year (as it has been in previous years, too). Production models like the Alfa Romeo 4C were on display, alongside known quantities like the Hennessy Venom GT and modified versions of already-on-sale models, like the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Waterspeed Collection.
There were a few concepts on display, though. Toyota debuted the critically acclaimed FT-1 Concept in a new shade, while BMW's Beijing Motor Show stunner, the Vision Future Luxury, was also parked on the expensive grass. Also appearing were the Nissan GT-R in sheep's clothing, the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, and the recently debuted McLaren P1 GTR.
It's still about a year away, but the arrival of the Tesla Model X is already expected to have a major impact on the premium SUV market. According to Morgan Stanley, the all-electric Model X, Tesla's third model following the Roadster and Model S sedan, is "ready to feast" on the current crop of high-end SUVs.
Not only does Morgan Stanley expect the Model X to do well against other vehicles in its class, it's expecting the new SUV to even outpace the critically acclaimed Model S, with the X accounting for a larger share of sales by the end of 2016. The sales boost provided by the Model X should also contribute to a healthy jump in Tesla's current $250 stock price. MS is expecting Tesla shares to hit about $320, and has called it a "top pick in US autos," according to The Los Angeles Times.
As for how Morgan Stanley is expecting such strong results for a car that literally no one outside of Tesla has driven, it cites Elon Musk's company's increased access to both money and technological expertise relative to the Model S project. The firm also points to Tesla's larger investments in the Model X project so far.
The Tesla Model S has turned into the breakthrough model that electric cars needed. Instead of looking like a futuristic jellybean whizzing by, the Tesla would still be incredibly attractive with a V8 stuffed under the hood. But beyond its appealing styling, the luxury sedan offers a realistic driving range, impressive performance and oft-praised driving dynamics. It's everything many drivers are looking for. However, as more long-term reviews come out, it's becoming clear that living with one of these wonder cars isn't without its fair share of problems.
A few weeks ago, Edmunds published its 17-month ownership experience with a Model S. It praised the experience being behind the wheel of the luxury sedan, at least when it was possible. Edmunds reported that it had to make seven unscheduled trips to the service bay and even left a writer by the side of the road once. The biggest issues included replacing the drive unit three times, needing a new main battery and numerous resets of the center screen.
Consumer Reports just wrote about its own driving impressions after 15,743 miles, and its experience with the Model S has hardly been a walk in the park, though not nearly as bad as Edmunds' rough time. The infotainment screen needed a hard reset once after blinking out, and one unscheduled service left the sedan in the shop for two days. There have been other, smaller issues too. In Tesla's favor, the repairs were done under warranty.
Torque. Lots of torque, right off the line. That one benefit presented by an electric motor over its internal-combustion sibling, and the Tesla Model S delivers it in spades. 443 spades, to be precise, or about as much as a Bentley Continental GT or McLaren 12C. But when one Emmanuel Chang put his electric sedan on a dyno up (way up north) in Edmonton, Alberta, it registered a whopping 2,000 pound-feet!
Of course that number isn't correct, as no car on the road produces that much torque. Even a Bugatti Veyron produces "only" 1,000 lb-ft, give or take. Clearly something's amiss here, but the problem the dyno had in reading the Tesla's torque apparently doesn't come down to its electric powertrain. (Nor does it have anything to do with the northerly latitude or the interference of polar winds.) It comes down to the shiny, ten-spoke alloys.
Apparently this type of dyno measures torque by running horsepower and wheel revolutions through an algorithm. It measures horsepower at the wheel (which, at 436 hp, wasn't far off of Tesla's own rating of 416 hp) and uses a stationary optical sensor interfacing with a reflector on the wheel. Every time the reflector passes the sensor, it counts one revolution. But since the Model S has shiny ten-spoke wheels (and we presume because it was taken outdoors under bright sunlight), the sensor thought that each passing spoke was one revolution of the wheel... when it was, in fact, ten times too much.
After years of fighting, Tesla has finally put its trademark dispute in China with businessman Zhan Baosheng behind it, thanks to an undisclosed settlement. The news comes at a perfect time for the automaker, which is still setting up its dealers there.
According to an email from Tesla cited by Bloomberg, the two sides came to an agreement "completely and amicably," but the business isn't revealing what it cost to resolve the conflict. As part of the settlement, Zhan is also transferring his ownership of the tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn over to the company. "Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla," said the statement, according to Bloomberg. "Collectively, these actions remove any doubt with respect to Tesla's undisputed rights to its trademarks in China."
Zhan had claimed to hold the trademark on the Tesla name in China since 2009, but he was appealing a ruling by the country's courts invalidating those rights. The situation heated up even further in July when Zhan sued the automaker for trademark infringement and asked for 23.9 million yuan ($3.9 million) in damages, plus for the company shut down all of its operations there. Tesla had reportedly already attempted to settle with him years ago for 2 million yuan ($325,000 at current rates), but Zhan countered with a figure of the equivalent of over $32 million.
Thu, 31 Jul 2014
There's no doubt that Tesla is downshifting while Fisker has been grinding its gears. But it wasn't always that way.
In the wake of Tesla's recent success, it's easy to forget that there were once two California electric carmakers with bright futures.
We generally don't report on other outlets' long-term model tests, but Edmunds just completed a 17-month ownership experience with a 2013 Tesla Model S. It's just too interesting not to share.
The site bought a 2013 Model S Performance model for the added range of its 85-kilowatt-hour battery and tossed on a good variety of options for a total price of $105,005, including a wall charger. In terms of driving the electric hatchback, the folks there seemed to love it. There were a few minor gripes, but for the most part it offered sufficient driving range, plenty of space and generally good quality.
However, the ownership experience was hardly flawless. The journalists there were never quite able to hit the Model S' promised range of 265 miles, with a best real-world result of 230.4 miles during their ownership. Also, while they had it, the Model S had a rash of unscheduled trips for service - seven times - and their Tesla left them stranded by the side of the road once.
We all have controversial opinions. Be it whether you think the Nissan Juke is actually pretty attractive, manual transmissions aren't always better, or you honestly didn't hate the Pontiac Aztek, we all harbor some persuasion, be it big or small, for which we catch copious flak upon expression.
In recognizing that all of us here at Autoblog harbor at least one viewpoint that stubbornly goes against the grain of popular opinion among auto enthusiasts, we've decided to come clean with them right here, proudly speaking our minds in a mature, structured manner - a striking contrast to how these things tend to come up while debated in the office.
We'd also like to invite you to share your unpopular and controversial opinions with us and the Autoblog faithful down in Comments. Don't be ashamed - this is a safe place.