As Department of Energy relaunches loan program, we consider past successes and failures
Jun 21st 2013 @ 11:00AM
Tesla Motors has already revolutionized EV ownership with their award-winning Model S sedan and ever-expanding Supercharger network. Now, the Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle manufacturer is adding another quick charge option for Model S owners and it doesn't involve plugging in their cars.
Tesla announced a new battery swap option for Model S Owners yesterday at their Hawthorn, Calif. design studio.
May 30th 2013 @ 2:45PM
May 22nd 2013 @ 7:00PM
Tesla Motors announced Wednesday that it has paid off a $465 million U.S. Department of Energy loan in full with interest. In doing so, Tesla becomes the first U.S. automaker to completely repay loans distributed under the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.
Fresh off of two major Car of the Year awards and posting its first ever quarterly profit, things are going quite well for Tesla and its all-electric Model S sedan. But, in what may be some of the highest praise the car has received to date, Consumer Reports calls the Model S the best car it has ever tested.
May 8th 2013 @ 12:15PM
Tesla is considering adding an 'autopilot' feature to future vehicles and is apparently discussing the potential for such technologies with Google, according to a report by Bloomberg. Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg in an email, "I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car...However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google."
Apr 5th 2013 @ 7:45PM
Apr 2nd 2013 @ 8:30PM
Tesla Motors announced Tuesday that it's unveiling a lease-to-own program that could bring the cost of ownership, for some buyers, to less than $500 a month.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the loan program is designed to make the Model S "affordable to a much broader audience" than most people expect. The CEO is riding a wave of publicity this week after announcing the EV company will be profitable for the quarter after selling more than expected Model S EVs.
Most critically, though, the program gives people who lease a Tesla the $7,500 tax break that the government gives out for electric and hybrid cars. Until now, Tesla lease customers lost out on that rebate, which went instead to the bank that provided the lease.
Leasers (who have excellent credit) will get that rebate from US Bank and Wells Fargo, which have agreed to provide the 10 percent down payment required to lease a Model S. Monthly lease payments are based on how much the buyer leaves as a down payment, and then calculated by how much the car should be worth when the car is turned back in. So Tesla is promising the Model S will be worth the same as a Mercedes S Class.
It apparently is not an April's Fool gag: Tesla Motors, the publicity-hungry electric-car company, is finally profitable.
Telsa announced today that sales of its new Model S, which won MotorTrend magazine's Car of the Year award, is exceeding sales targets, prompting the company to project a profitable first quarter. It is the first profitable quarter since the company went public in June 2010. Tesla's projected operating profit stands in sharp contrast to the $89.9 million it lost during the final three months of 2012.
"I am incredibly proud of the Tesla team for their outstanding work. There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution," said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO. "I would also like to thank our customers for their passionate support of the company and the car. Without them, we would not be here."
Profitability is somewhat surprising because the U.S. buying public is still very lukewarm toward electric cars. The lack of charging stations and high prices of vehicles have dampened interest, along with gas prices that remain below $4 per gallon in most parts of the country. Tesla's Supercharger network allows Model S owners to recharge for free at locations in California and along the East Coast.
Tesla continues escalating production of the Model S, which costs between $94,900 and $105,400 for versions that will go 208 miles per charge 265 miles per charge respectively. The company said it is suspending production of a lower priced model with a shorter range that cost $57,000 and only went about 100 miles on a charge. Only 4 percent of buyers have reportedly been purchasing that version.
That product mix would indicate that early purchasers are very wealthy, and probably buying the Model S as a third, fourth or even fifth car.
Investors have been betting against Tesla with investors holding nearly 30 million Tesla shares short. Shares of the company responded to the news by climbing 13.5 percent in early trading after the announcement. Tesla was trading at $43 a share, well above its 52-week low of $25.52.
David Kiley is Editor-In-Chief of AOL Autos
Mar 26th 2013 @ 4:25PM
Last summer, Elon Musk announced the Tesla Supercharger network--strategically placed, solar powered fast chargers for Model S owners across California. Musk also noted Tesla would continually add stations until customers could complete a coast to coast trip using only plug-in power. Since then, every few months they have been updating us with new station locations. And now we have a few more to add.
Mar 19th 2013 @ 10:15PM
In the most bizarre interview we've seen since Space Ghost was cancelled, 'Office' star and SoulPancake founder Rainn Wilson tossed some thoughtful questions at Tesla CEO Elon Musk...in the back of a 70s-era van, while eating a chicken burger.
The exchange got off to an awkward start after Wilson denied Musk a bite of the sandwich. "You may be a billionaire, entrepreneur, inventor, man extraordinaire, but you're not getting any of my chicken burger," said Wilson.
From there, the interview takes on a slightly more serious tone, as the two discuss Musk's stated interest in colonizing mars and compare thoughts on global warming. Musk also admits to having attended Burning Man festival wearing a Darth Vadar costume. (We said slightly more serious.)
You can watch the interview in its entirety below. Kudos to Musk for his good-humored and candid answers, and to Wilson for making us laugh, as per usual.
Also, check out our interviews with Musk regarding SpaceX and Tesla. They're a bit more straightforward:
Mar 1st 2013 @ 10:00AM
Feb 15th 2013 @ 12:30AM
Following a major dust-up between The New York Times and electric carmaker Tesla Motors, many are left wondering who to believe.
Times reporter John M. Broder claims his Model S test vehicle ran out of battery range while he attempted a trip along Tesla's East Coast Supercharger network. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk called the article a "fake," and published data logs that appear to refute Broder's account. Broder, however, says the data doesn't tell the full story.
While the two parties duke it out, CNNMoney's Peter Valdes-Dapena took to the streets in a Model S tester of his own on Thursday. Valdes-Dapena followed a similar route to Broder, driving the all-electric luxury sports car from D.C. to Boston, while making stops at Tesla's strategically placed Supercharger stations along the way.
"The most scary part of the trip: the 200 miles between charging stations in Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn.," admitted Valdes-Dapena in his article. He reports setting his cruise control between 60 and 65 miles per hour and his climate to 72 degrees, in an effort to conserve energy. But even after extending his route some 30 miles and running into traffic, Valdes-Dapena said he realized he had more than enough juice to finish the journey. "Not only did I have enough battery range left, I had plenty. I had at least 40 miles...left to play with," said Valdes-Dapena.
For those looking to point to the CNNMoney report as definitive evidence that Broder lied, Valdes-Dapena cautions that it was 10 degrees warmer on the day of his trip and that he completed the trek in a single day, as opposed to Broder's overnight excursion in colder conditions. Further, Broder admits to not fully recharging the car, on advice from Tesla personnel.
Still, it's hard to argue with this: "In the end, I made it--and it wasn't that hard."
Feb 14th 2013 @ 3:00PM
Regardless of outcome, anti-electric biases revealed
Tesla's Supercharger network dispels "range anxiety" for Model S owners