The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has said you need to work 80 hours a week to “change the world”
Tesla buyers in the United Kingdom could expect their Model 3s to start arriving as soon as mid-2019, according to Elon Musk on Twitter.
It seems Musk’s Twitter has become our best source on Tesla news of late… and this time, it’s positive news for Brits, particularly those who have placed a £1,000 deposit and have been waiting patiently for news.
Many claims were made about this car when it was revealed, and some inevitably are yet to be delivered. A $35,000 base car and mainstream availability in other markets continue to elude us. However, a new mid-level car was revealed last week, with the promise of the base car soon to follow.
Around mid 2019
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 25, 2018
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 25, 2018
Now, Elon Musk has confirmed right-hand drive Model 3s are on their way to the UK and Australia. We reckon the quality control issues ought to be in hand by then, too. Once an entry-level Model 3 lands on a UK driveway, the Model 3 should be a fully resolved and matured, mainstream production car.
Tesla has even posted a $311million profit recently, prompting a pleasing share price rise for the company. It’ll make even more if it can get some right-hand drive Model 3s into the hands of UK and Australian customers in the not-too-distant future…
Tesla has introduced a new, more affordable version of the Model 3. Or, we should say, Elon Musk has introduced it. The Tesla CEO tweeted yesterday, telling his followers about a mid-range version of Tesla’s crossover EV.
The new model costs from $45,000 (£34,550) in the US and offers 260 miles of range. Incidentally, it uses the same battery pack as the 310-mile-range model, only with fewer cells.
Performance is down, too. While the long-range car will do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and a 145mph top speed, the new one needs 5.6 seconds and tops out at 125mph.
Just released lower cost, mid-range Tesla Model 3 & super simple new order page https://t.co/cz0TQn7IOZ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 18, 2018
The Model 3 has already brought a mixture of success and criticism for the company. While it’s selling very well, Tesla has struggled to keep up in terms of production, quality and delivery. The £26,900 ($35,000) introductory model is yet to reach showrooms, too, with a debut planned for 2019.
This mid-range Model 3, it seems, is intended to serve as a stop-gap. Nevertheless, Tesla ownership is now $10,000 closer for many American buyers.
It could well turn out to be the sweet spot in the range, offering the best mileage for your money.
One of the many innovations Tesla has propagated in its short and action-packed lifetime is over-the-air updates. In other words, the ability to fix or improve its cars without physically touching them.
The car you climb out of one evening could have new and improved technology when you get back in the following morning. And Tesla’s latest update actually helps its cars get better over time.
Software Version 9.0 will be rolling out to all Teslas imminently. “Tesla owners will be waking up to a car that is smarter, safer and more intuitive than ever before,” says the company.
We’ll be sure to ask our friend with a Model 3 just how effective the update is. In the meantime, here are the highlights.
What’s new in Tesla Software Version 9.0?
- Phone integration – the relationship between your car and your mobile phone is about to become more intricate. As well as initiating software updates remotely, you can send map destinations to the car’s navigation system.
- Dash cam – You can now record 10 minutes of footage from onboard cameras (featured on cars built after August 2017).
- Full 360-degree view – Eight cameras around the car will now help with data for Autopilot autonomous driving systems, which used to rely purely on ultrasonic sensors.
- Atari games – Classic Atari arcade games now feature as ‘easter eggs’. “If you find them, your car becomes a game console”. OK then…
Say what you want about Tesla, it has always been a market disruptor – one that’s given every single established car manufacturer food for thought.
While the ‘Ludicrous’ pace and the electric drivetrains grab headlines, the exceptional connectivity of these cars is what will keep them competitive. It’s innovation we can’t wait to see spreading to other cars.
Tesla has responded to news its Model S has come bottom of a major 2018 car reliability survey – by calling the results ‘statistically meaningless’. What Car?, which carried out the survey, has since countered Tesla’s claim (see below), arguing its survey was “more than representative of Tesla’s real-world presence”.
The What Car? reader reliability survey allows owners to contribute their experiences with their cars for a wider collation of consumer experience. This year, more than 18,000 motorists responded.
The long-serving Model S was by far the worst performer, with a reliability rating of just 50.9 percent. The next ‘worst’ car above the bottom-rung Tesla was the Range Rover, at 67.3 percent. That’s 16.4 percentage points above the Model S.
‘This survey is statistically meaningless’
“Only 28 Model S owners responded out of a total of 18,000 car owners surveyed by What Car?” said a Tesla spokesperson. “That’s less than 0.3 percent of UK Tesla owners, so this survey is statistically meaningless.”
“The results of this survey are also at odds not only with our internal figures showing customer satisfaction scores for Model S and X at well over 90 percent, but with statistically valid surveys like our Net Promotor Score and Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey, which we’ve topped every year since 2013.
“90% of Tesla owners saying they would buy the same car again – more than any other brand.
“We are committed to making the world’s best cars, and in order to ensure the highest quality, we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement before it leaves the factory.
“To the extent repairs are needed, the majority of work carried out on cars up to 4 years old is done under warranty and free of charge to the customer while they are supplied with a courtesy car.
Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla repairs can also be carried out in a customer’s driveway or office by mobile service, or even via over-the-air updates, to minimise any disruption.”
The Motoring Research view
That such a small portion of the UK Tesla customer base took part in the survey is interesting. Technically, it’s not very telling of the experiences of all UK Tesla owners.
That said, what could have prompted such a poor score from this small cross section? Do they have a grudge to bear? Would the result have been echoed by other owners?
What we can note is that this isn’t Tesla’s first disappointing performance in the survey. The marque came 30th out of 32 in the reliability by marque survey last year, at 52.4 percent.
What constitutes “unreliable” is an interesting question too. Where a conventional-fuel car developing a misfire would be considered a problem, so too could a screen freeze and forced reboot on a Model S. Concerning results and burning questions – that’s what we take from all of this.
Update: What Car? responds
What Car? has responded to Tesla’s statement. “Tesla owners represented 0.19 percent of what was a very robust total sample of 18,000 UK car owners in the What Car? survey,” said the motoring magazine.
“Compared with Tesla’s actual UK market share of 0.11 percent (according to official figures obtained from the DVLA), this means that the What Car? Study was more than representative of Tesla’s real-world presence in the British car parc.
The rate at which Tesla Inc. – formerly Tesla Motors – has gone from nothing to something is rivalled only by a Model S P100D in Ludicrous mode. Love him or hate him, Elon Musk has put the electric car maker at the centre of the automotive universe, but the journey hasn’t been as smooth and linear as an EV’s acceleration. This is a brief timeline of Tesla events.
Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 “by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars”. Its founders: Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright, J.B. Straubel and a guy named Elon Musk. You may have heard of him.
According to a brilliant piece on Business Insider, the story began when product designer Malcolm Smith took a call from Martin Eberhard. He was invited to an office in California where he found Eberhard and his partner Marc Tarpenning working on an electric car using a Piontek Sportech kit car as a base. The car was called the Tzero, and the pair harboured dreams of building an electric car to sell to the public.
Incorporated July 2003
Marc Tarpenning purchased the teslamotors.com domain in April 2003, before the company was incorporated on 1 July 2003. The name pays tribute to Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor of the AC induction motor.
Musk ups his game
Malcolm Smith was one of the first 20 employees of the new car company, with an official title of vice president of vehicle engineering. The next step was to secure funding, as building and sustaining a volume car manufacturer wouldn’t be cheap. Cutting a long story short, Musk invested $7.5 million in the business and became chairman of the board.
PayPal and space rockets
Elon Musk made his money when PayPal was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. He also established SpaceX in the same year. Interviewed for a National Geographic documentary, Musk spoke about his plans for the future of the world. These plans, which he made at college, centred on the internet, making life multiplanetary and sustainable energy.
With so much at stake, it’s understandable that things got a little heated. Musk fell out with Eberhard, who resigned from his executive position and became president of technology, with Michael Marks taking over as interim CEO in 2007. Later in the year, he was replaced by Ze’ev Drori, the former CEO of Clifford Electronics, before Musk took on the role of CEO in 2008.
Tesla Motors wasn’t in the best of shape. By the time Musk became CEO in October 2008, he had already invested $55 million of his own cash and was forced to fire 25 percent of the workforce. The fact that he managed to secure $40 million of funding saved the company from bankruptcy.
The story of the Tesla Roadster begins in 2003, when Eberhard and Tarpenning muscled in on the Lotus stand at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Tesla knew that it had to piggyback an existing platform to get established – the cost of building an entire car would be too prohibitive. Lotus seemed like a good fit, with its own engineering and design divisions, not to mention a track record of working with other companies. At the time, Lotus was building the VX220/Speedster for General Motors.
Tesla struggled to agree on a design for the Roadster. The team didn’t want something that screamed electric like the GM EV1, but it was the British designer Bill Moggridge who sent the team down a path of building something that looked like a traditional sports car, with a hint of retro about it. Following another call for designs, one proposal stood out: that of Barney Hatt, the principal designer at the Lotus Design Studio.
Martin Eberhard emptied a room at his house and invited friends and colleagues to vote on the different proposals. Each person was given red and green sticky-notes, with red for ‘bad’ and green for ‘good’. Writing in 2006, Eberhard said: “No doubt about it. Barney had a few red notes to be sure, but he was hands-down the winner. I never expected it, because his first proposals (before Bill’s brief) were awful.”
The first design mule was completed in 2004, before the Tesla Roadster was unveiled in 2006 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Tesla hoped to sell 100 cars at the event, with guests invited to spend $100,000 on the electric dream. Two weeks later, Tesla had received 127 reservations. The plan was to start shipping in 2006, building 500 cars a year by 2007, before making a profit by 2008. In reality, the Tesla Roadster didn’t start shipping until February 2008, with regular production commencing a month later.
At the time, Tesla claimed that the Roadster could deliver a range of up to 245 miles, although this was revised to 211 miles. It could also hit 60mph in just 3.7 seconds, giving it supercar-levels of performance. Not that Top Gear, and in particular, Jeremy Clarkson, was about to give the Roadster an easy ride.
Tesla vs Top Gear
Clarkson famously claimed that, when driven hard, the true range was just 55 miles, and television footage showed the car being pushed into a hangar by four men. We also watched as one Roadster overheated and the other one suffered from brake failure. Tesla sued the BBC for what it called “libel and malicious falsehood”, claiming “the breakdowns were staged and the statements [were] untrue”. Tesla lost the case.
Early troubles and a 2009 recall aside, the Roadster successfully put Tesla on the automotive map, but what was essentially a second car for wealthy individuals was only ever going to be a springboard for bigger things. Tesla knew that it needed a larger car with mass appeal. That car would be the Model S.
The year 2010 was to be a significant one in the history of Tesla. Elon Musk started by telling a judge that he was out of cash and living off emergency loans, while Tesla had lost a reported $290m in seven years. At the time, the company had sold just 1,063 cars and could boast a mere 12 showrooms around the world. However, the dream was far from over.
Tesla goes public
In April 2010, Daimler acquired a 10 percent equity stake in Tesla, with the American company receiving $50m in return. A few weeks later, the firm received a $465m loan from the US department of energy. Then, in June, Tesla made history by becoming the first American car company to go public since Ford in 1956. It sold 13.3m shares at $17 each.
Tesla factory opens
The next significant step was the purchase of the former General Motors and Toyota factory in Fremont, California. Tesla added skylights to provide the workers with natural light and painted the floors white, giving it the feel of a tech plant, rather than a factory first used by GM in 1962. Employees were also given access to bikes to make their way around the 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space, with machines painted red to make everything feel on-brand.
A new sales and marketing model
Ever the maverick, Elon Musk ripped up the automotive sales and marketing rulebook and adopted a strategy that was more tech-led. There are no dealers, with Tesla creating its own-branded stores. “The type of place we are striving for combines the feel of an Apple store with a Starbucks and a good restaurant,” said Musk. Meanwhile, Tesla decided against using an ad agency or paying for advertising.
Tesla Model S
Musk’s maverick approach to Tesla’s growth strategy was bold but effective, seeing him likened to Tony Stark of Iron Man fame. Invest in reputation first, then worry about profit later, he said in a documentary, with his showmanship helping to mask delays, product issues and financial woes on more than a few occasions. His decision to host a ‘ride and drive’ event to satisfy and pacify impatient Model S customers was a stroke of PR genius.
Tesla Model S
To achieve its aims, Tesla hired the former Toyota production engineering manager Gilbert Passin as vice president of manufacturing. Meanwhile, Tesla drafted in former Mazda North America design chief Franz von Holzhausen as its chief designer. “Tesla is changing the paradigm,” said Franz. “We’re going to turn the world on its ear and create high demand through design. There is a new hunger in the air for automotive design and looking to where automobiles are going in the future. Tesla will capture this through good design and engineering.”
Tesla Model S
Model S deliveries began in June 2012 and the electric saloon started collecting awards within a few months. It also helped Tesla achieve its first quarterly profit in May 2013, before outselling the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series and every large luxury saloon in the US. A year later, Morgan Stanley labelled Tesla “the world’s most important car company.”
The first Supercharger
To satisfy demand, Tesla opened its first Supercharger in California in 2012, before embarking on an ambitious growth strategy. In June 2018, Tesla tweeted that it had opened its 10,000th Supercharger – located in Belleville, around 100 miles east of Toronto. A Supercharger can provide a Model S with around 170 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
The Model S soon became the poster star of the EV industry – a glamorous, tech-laden advertisement for the electric car. But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the world’s first all-electric luxury car. A series of fires in 2013 led to a drop in share value, with Tesla also reporting disappointing third quarter results. The first fire involved a sharp object puncturing the battery pack, with Musk defending the Model S, saying: “For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.”
Tesla Model X
Tesla unveiled the Model X in 2012, with deliveries commencing in September 2015. Tesla calls it “the safest, quickest, most capable sport utility vehicle ever”, with the Model X boasting seven seats, all-wheel drive, a five-star safety rating and a range of up to 295 miles. In December 2015, Tesla announced that it had sold the 100,000th Model S, making it the second best-selling electric car behind the Nissan Leaf.
In 2015, Tesla Motors unveiled Tesla Energy, with a promise to deliver storage systems or batteries for homes, business and utility companies. It’s part of a vision to create a fossil fuel-free lifestyle in which people generate their own electricity to power their homes and recharge their car batteries. A year later, Tesla announced plans to buy SolarCity to “create the world’s only integrated sustainable energy company, from energy generation to storage to transportation.”
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 was unveiled in 2016, with Musk saying the firm had received 276,000 pre-orders for its affordable electric car. Customers were asked to put down $1,000 deposits to reserve their vehicle with Musk aiming to produce around 500,000 units a year once production reached full capacity. In October, Tesla announced its second and only other quarterly profit.
Tesla Model 3
The first 30 Model 3s were delivered to their owners at an event in Fremont in July 2017, although by the end of the year the firm admitted that delivery numbers were falling well short of expectations. Shares fell as Tesla said: “As we continue to focus on quality and efficiency rather than simply pushing for the highest possible volume in the shortest period of time, we expect to have a slightly more gradual ramp through Q1, likely ending the quarter at a weekly rate of about 2,500 Model 3 vehicles. We intend to achieve the 5,000 per week milestone by the end of Q2.”
Easter eggs and theatre
Always keen to divert attention away from production and financial matters, Tesla has incorporated many so-called ‘Easter eggs’ in its models. These include the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me on the suspension menu, a Mario Kart setting for Autopilot, a door and light display for the Model X, and the surface of Mars on the map display. More seriously, in February 2017, Tesla Motors officially changed its name to Tesla Inc, marking a symbolic shift for the company.
Tesla began manufacturing in Portugal and Taiwan in 2017, which followed the opening of an assembly plant in the Netherlands in 2013. The Tilburg factory serves as the final assembly and distribution point for vehicles sold in Europe, with Bryan Batista, European sales director, commenting: “It’s very exciting to see our cars arriving in Europe and being welcomed by their proud owners here in Tilburg. This location is pivotal to Tesla’s European operations, which are expanding rapidly over the coming months with openings of around 15 new stores and service centres.”
In February 2018, Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster into space, claiming: “It’s kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important.” The Roadster was placed on the nose cone of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket on earth, with the stereo programmed to play David Bowie’s Space Oddity on repeat.
Model X accident
A fatal crash involving a Model X hit the headlines in March 2018 after it was revealed that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident. “The driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” said a company statement. In 2016, a Model S driver was killed in Florida when a driver failed to spot a lorry crossing its path. A preliminary investigation into the Model X crash revealed that the vehicle increased its speed from 62mph to 70.8mph in the three seconds before the collision. Tesla is keen to stress that Autopilot is designed to be used with both hands on the wheel.
Share slumps and losses
In April 2018, shares rose by 6.9 percent when Musk announced that Tesla would not need to raise more capital in 2018, only for the value to slump by 8.6 percent following a bizarre and heated conference call with a group of analysts. He told one analyst he was asking “boring bonehead questions” that were “not cool.”
5,000 Model 3s
In July, Tesla announced that it had built 5,000 Model 3s during the last week of the month, only to reveal its biggest ever loss in August. However, the value of Tesla shares actually increased, with Tesla claiming it will deliver positive cash flow and a profit in the second half of 2018.
Tesla to go private?
Elon Musk announced in August that he was considering taking Tesla private, although the company’s board of directors subsequently said that they had yet to receive a formal proposal. In the latest update, Musk said: “I’m considering taking Tesla private because I believe it could be good for our shareholders, enable Tesla to operate at its best, and advance our mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy.”
Tesla has crammed enough events, achievements, controversies and tweets into its first 15 years to last other companies a lifetime. We haven’t mentioned the Gigafactory, which broke ground in 2014 and is expected to be the largest building in the world. Or the ill-advised tweet following the rescue of the boys stuck in a flooded cave. Or the all-new Tesla Roadster and Semi truck. And you can bet your bottom dollar that we haven’t heard the last of Musk’s tweet about taking the company private. Whatever happens, the next 15 years are going to be far from boring.
Tesla is adding classic Atari games to its cars as part of a version 9.0 software update, Elon Musk has tweeted. In response to a reply, he implied that Tempest, Missile Command and Pole Position would be included, with the latter linked to the car’s steering wheel.
Two hours after posting the Atari tweet, Musk invited video game developers to “consider applying to Tesla”, adding that he wants to “make super fun games that integrate the centre touchscreen, phone and car irl [in real life].”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 1, 2018
The update was confirmed by Atari’s official Twitter channel, which said: “Exciting stuff happening at Atari!”
We’ll have to wait for the final list of games, but gamers might want to see the likes of Pong, Pitfall! and Frogger. The inclusion of Pole Position is almost a given, as the 80s classic essentially created the racing genre and led to the development of countless driving games.
Playing the game in a car will seem like a world away from the days of being huddled around a television screen, switching cartridges and stretching the controller lead to its limit. A touch of nostalgia for Tesla owners as they wait to collect their kids from school or the sports club. Needless to say, the Tesla will need to be stationary for the games to operate.
Exciting stuff happening at Atari! https://t.co/QwPbZOe0Nb
— atari (@atari) August 1, 2018
Elon Musk is no stranger to Easter eggs, with many hidden features revealed by the CEO or Tesla owners. Highlights include the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me on the suspension menu, a Mario Kart setting on autopilot, and the map showing your vehicle on the surface of Mars.
The Atari news was welcomed by the majority of Tesla fans, with the Model 3 Owners Club requesting a leaderboard for the games. Another owner seemed less than impressed, tweeting concerns about replacement trim parts.
As a Tesla fan and model S owner I don’t get the Easter egg chat – how many Tesla owners are 13 years old? Have been waiting 7 months for some replacement trim parts damaged pre-delivery and we are dicking about with games. What’s that all about ?.,.,,,,,,,
— Robblaah (@batmansboots) August 1, 2018
The games are likely to appear as part of the Tesla V9.0 release in about four weeks.
Anyone with a remote interest in cars will have been closely watching the story of Tesla as it has unfolded.
Controversies aside, Tesla and its high-profile boss, Elon Musk, are arguably the most significant market disruptors the automotive industry has seen in recent years. The U.S. firm is among those leading the charge to make cars and the latest technology and connectivity capabilities collide.
Now, Tesla’s most important new model to date, the Model 3, is set to make its European debut at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, long before the right-hand drive UK-spec cars are expected to hit driveways.
As it stands, the Model 3 at Goodwood will be a U.S.-spec car, rather than the one we can expect to start seeing silently traversing the roads of Britain around 2020.
Tesla arguably fast-tracked the EV revolution when it brought the Model S to market a few years back. Here was a good looking, cool and, most importantly, viable electric car. Promise of an expansive charging network, along with the fact that it was a genuinely impressive car, made it popular. But the Model S isn’t what you’d call cheap.
The significance of the Model 3 is its primary task: putting the Tesla phenomenon within reach of a much larger consumer audience. It’s expected to cost from around £30,000 (after incentives), or around half the price of the cheapest Model S and be good for a range of between 220 and 310 miles, depending on spec.
The car’s first appearance on European soil is an important occasion, then, especially as this comes not long after the factory claimed to hit its 5,000 cars per week production target.
We wonder how many of the Goodwood visitors taking a close look at the Model 3 will have a purchase in mind. How many would-be BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class buyers are likely to be swayed to add to the circa-500,000 Model 3 orders rumoured to have been received by Tesla?
These are questions that have no doubt been asked and over-analysed by supremo Elon Musk. We look forward to getting a closer look for ourselves.
The Tesla Model S estate is a shooting brake for the new millennium. Forget images of the thoroughly British Lynx Eventer, pheasants hanging from the tree and long liquid lunches in the village pub. This Dutch-American effort is more dotcom than Dog & Duck.
It’s the work of Schiphol coachbuilders RemetzCar, under the watchful eye of London-based designer Niels van Roij. A total of 20 electric shooting brakes will be built, and the first one is taking a tour of Europe ahead of its official debut at the International Concours d’Elegance Paleis Het Loo at the end of the month. Today, it made its UK debut at the Dutch Embassy in London.
Video: Tesla Model S Shooting Brake
We’ll gloss over the fact that the Model S has too many doors to be classed as a real shooting brake – manufacturers have been blurring the lines for many years now – and instead, marvel at what could pass for a Tesla factory build. The Model X might have fancy gullwing doors, but it can’t match the Dutch creation for style, grace and charm.
The team at Niels van Roij Design penned the Model SB at the firm’s base in Woolwich, before briefing hearse and limousine experts RemetzCar. The Dutch coachbuilding company has over two decades experience in the field, with a CV featuring the likes of a Bentley Flying Spur station wagon, a six-wheeled stretched Range Rover Sport and a Rolls-Royce Phantom pick-up.
Electric Shooting Brake
Today marks the London press launch of the #Tesla based #ShootingBrake. It is the very first time this tailor made car, designed in #London by Niels van Roij Design and hand made by coachbuilder Remetzcar, will been seen in the UK!
— Niels van Roij Design (@NielsvanRoij) June 12, 2018
It’s not the first Tesla Model S shooting brake – Norfolk-based Qwest unveiled its SportsWagon earlier this year, before showing it at the London Motor Show – but car collector Floris de Raadt turned to his Dutch compatriot when he required a little more practicality from his electric hatch.
“We’ve invested a lot of time in the design process of our Shooting Brake,” said Niels van Roij. “We started with writing the design strategy, after which the design research was initiated, then sketching began.
“The aesthetics of this conversion have been developed thoroughly by producing three design propositions, within which 16 different design themes were generated. Our research focused on benchmarking high-end performance station cars, one-off vehicles and market trends.”
RemetzCar began the process by translating the design sketches, leaving the core structure and the crumple zones intact. To achieve a seamless transition from hatchback to an estate, the coachbuilders developed a bespoke tailgate featuring a rear spoiler with a brake light and a concealed rear wiper.
Finishing touches are provided by a chrome strip running from the A-pillar, along the roofline and around the panoramic roof, with a body finished in green metallic paint with a twist of gold. Inside, the exterior colour is complemented by a cream, green and black cabin. Overall, it takes five months to complete the conversion. Is Mr de Raadt pleased with the result?
“The idea was to translate my Tesla Model S into a dynamic and sporty yet elegant Shooting Brake, rather than creating a car with maximum luggage space,” said de Raadt. “Niels van Roij Design developed several options for the conversion, focusing on premium design combined with limited conversion costs: thus making coachbuilding available for a larger group of connoisseurs.
“Our favourite was the option called ‘Bold Chrome’, featuring remarkable high gloss chrome window trims emphasising the bold, dynamic lines of the car. The result is truly stunning.”
At the launch, it was revealed that it costs around £80,000 plus local taxes to convert the Model S, which is in addition to the cost of the base car. Tesla Model S prices start at around £65,000 for the 75D, rising to around £123,000 for the P100D. Not cheap, then, but with a further 19 planned, exclusivity is guaranteed.
In pictures: Tesla Model S Shooting Brake
Electric car manufacturer Tesla has hinted that it may soon be launching its own take on the traditional petrol station.
Rather than petrol pumps and a shop selling lukewarm pasties, Tesla is looking to open “mega supercharging locations” where owners can top up their electric cars in half an hour.
Currently, Tesla Model drivers can make use of the firm’s supercharger network. This uses 480-volt fast chargers to provide up to 120kW of power in 30 minutes, translating to up to 170 miles of range in a Model S. It’s currently attempting to double its number of superchargers, with 10,000 mooted worldwide by the end of 2017.
But the new mega-sites will go a step further than simply providing somewhere for drivers to charge their car. Speaking at FSTEC 2017, a food technology conference in California, Tesla’s chief technology officer JB Straubel explained these mega-stations would have up to 40 charge points, a lounge where drivers could sit back and relax, and coffee on-hand.
“People are coming and spending 20 to 30 minutes at these stops,” he said. “They want to eat, they want to have a cup of coffee, they want to use the bathroom.”
The firm plans to introduce the new supercharger stations between major cities, with the first one currently being built in California between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A similar one is expected to be built between LA and Las Vegas, while another is planned near Oslo in Norway.
Speaking about plans to reduce demand on Tesla’s current supercharger network earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk said: “We should see some immediate relief even for S and X customers on some of the key supercharge locations whilst we – experimenting with our first sort of – I don’t know what we call it – mega supercharging location, like really big supercharging location with a bunch of amenities.
“We’re going to unveil the first of those relatively soon. And I think we’ll get a sense for just sort of how cool it can be to have a great place to – if you’ve been driving for three, four hours – stop, have great restrooms, great food, amenities, hang out for half an hour and then be on your way.”
The firm isn’t expected to build and operate the locations itself. Instead, it will work with hotel and restaurant chains to act as partners.
About Motoring Research
Motoring Research is a multimedia publisher that’s been delivering the goods to clients since 1986.
We are growing fast, developing the Motoring Research Network of freelancers around our highly experienced in-house team. Together, we have more than half a century’s experience of motoring journalism…
- ShutterstockThe best money-saving motoring secretsSeptember 16, 2019 - 9:23 am
- ShutterstockHow to avoid distractions behind the wheelSeptember 13, 2019 - 5:45 pm
- No-claims bonus savings on car insuranceHow much does a no-claims bonus save you on car insurance?September 13, 2019 - 7:41 am
- Motoring ResearchHow to buy the right tyres for your carSeptember 12, 2019 - 4:25 pm
- ShutterstockCar finance explained: the difference between PCP, PCH and leasingSeptember 12, 2019 - 7:39 am
- Ferrari F8 Tributo review: Instant iconSeptember 4, 2019 - 10:00 am
- 2019 Vauxhall Astra review: cleaner engines slash running costsSeptember 2, 2019 - 12:14 pm
- MountuneFord Fiesta ST M225 review: Mountune making the best, betterAugust 22, 2019 - 4:27 pm
- Audi A4 35 TFSI Sport S tronic 2019 reviewAugust 21, 2019 - 4:43 pm
- New Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary 2019 review: 30-loveAugust 21, 2019 - 10:12 am