Tesla Model X: Electric, all-wheel drive, and crazy folding doors

LOS ANGELES--The highlight of the Model X introduction, Tesla's SUV, was not the electric power train, but what the company calls the falcon-wing doors.

The manufacturer being Tesla, it was a given that the Model X would be an electrically driven vehicle. So during a preview for a small group of journalists at Tesla's design center in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk focused on the innovative side doors.

These doors lift up from the sides, then hinge in the middle before gaining their full height. Unlike gull-wing doors, Tesla's doors can open in much narrower spaces. Musk said they give the Model X the largest door openings of any passenger car. Impressively, he was able to stand in the car, his head underneath the open door, without crouching.… Read more

Car Tech Live 250: Tesla Model X and Model S orgy! (podcast)

Tesla hits us with an orgy of new cars, Spotify heads into Ford dashboards, a new superfast wireless to rock cars soon, and we drive the 2012 VW Jetta GLI.

EPISODE 250 Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video)

Tesla Model S in 2 minutes

Those who have been waiting anxiously for anything on the Model S, the next electric car from Tesla, will enjoy this new video about the car. And those who doubt Tesla's ability to make a car can view ostensible proof that the Model S will be roadworthy.

In keeping with its high-tech startup nature, Tesla released this 2-minute video on Vimeo, rather than buy expensive ad space during the Super Bowl. The video does read like an advertisement for the car, with a mix of manufacturing and running footage intermixed with apparently thoughtful statements by the car's designer, … Read more

Ford C-MAX Energi garners 2012 Green Car Vision Award

Green Car Journal dubbed the Ford C-MAX Energi winner of the 2012 Green Car Vision Award yesterday at the Washington Auto Show. This is the second consecutive year Ford has won top honors; the Ford Focus Electric garnered the award last year.

The Ford C-MAX Energi, which will be available in late 2012, is built on the same global C-car platform as the Ford Focus and future Ford models, the automaker said.

The C-MAX Energi bested four other finalists, including the BMW i3, the Cadillac ELR, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, and the Tesla Model S.

"The C-MAX Energi delivers … Read more

Musk: Tesla Model S on track, despite executive departures

There's no need to worry: the departure of two Tesla executives was a planned transition that happened sooner than expected, company Chief Executive Elon Musk said today on an early morning investor call.

News that Peter Rawlinson, Tesla's vice president and chief engineer, and Nick Swanson, who supervised vehicle and chassis engineering, left the electric-car startup before the launch of the Model S sent the stock price plummeting almost 20 percent on Friday. Musk assured conference call listeners that Tesla wasn't trying to "dump news into the weekend." Rather, he said, he had made the … Read more

Tesla: Birth of an American car maker

Besides selling electric cars, Tesla Motors is doing something that hasn't been done in the U.S. in a long, long time: a new American car company is starting production at a new U.S. manufacturing plant.

That is indeed an extremely rare event in the U.S. these days, as a Tesla representative pointed out to me at CES. Especially in California which, for much of the last century, was a manufacturing base for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. (See list of past U.S. auto factories.)

That Tesla factory, by the way, is the former NUMMI assembly … Read more

Green Car Journal announces five finalists for 2012 award

Green Car Journal announced five finalists for the publication's annual Green Car Vision Award. The award recognizes innovations in fuel efficiency, low emissions, alternative fuels, or electric power.

To be considered for the Green Car Vision Award, vehicles must be in demonstration on public highways today or nearing commercialization but not yet widely available to consumers, Green Car Journal said in a press release.

The five finalists include the BMW i3, the Cadillac ELR, the Ford's C-MAX Energi, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, and the Tesla Model S.

The 2012 Green Car Vision Award winner will be announced at … Read more

Tesla to reveal Model X electric SUV on February 9

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed in an interview with GigaOM that the Model X will be shown at an event on February 9.

An alpha build of the car was apparently shown to investors last month. Autoblog reports that the Model X will be shown at Tesla's design studio in Southern California.

The Model X will be Tesla's third production model, after the Roadster and Model S. Based on the same platform as the Model S, it will have a larger, SUV-like body reportedly capable of seating seven adults.… Read more

Tesla prices Model S, makes navigation optional

Tesla has laid out the pricing structure for the all-new Model S electric car, and, as expected, higher range will cost you more.

The company launched a Web page today showing the base model, with a 40kWh battery pack, costing $49,900. The 60kWh model runs $59,900, and it's another $10,000 jump to the 85kWh model. Go up to $79,900 for the Performance model, which also comes with the 85kWh pack and a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.4 seconds. All of those prices are after a federal tax credit of $7,500.

Those battery packs give the Model S an estimated range at 55 mph of 160 miles, 230 miles, and 300 miles respectively.

And then there are the options.… Read more

Trying to forecast EV sales? Good luck with that

commentary People are still trying to figure out if electric vehicles will be the Netbooks or the iPads of the auto industry--a flash in the pan or an enduring hit.

There has been a spate of recent articles predicting a glut of batteries because demand for plug-in vehicles won't be strong enough to match supply. The Washington Post yesterday pointed out that many battery companies that received federal aid could hit the brakes or run off the road entirely in the near future.

There are already signs of trouble. Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems had to lay off … Read more