RemetzCar Tesla Model S reveal

New Tesla Model S Shooting Brake unveiled in London

RemetzCar Tesla Model S reveal

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.

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.

RemetzCar Tesla Model S at Dutch Embassy

“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.

RemetzCar Tesla Model S in London

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.”

RemetzCar Model S Shooting Brake chrome

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

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Tesla wants to reinvent the motorway service station

Tesla wants to reinvent the motorway service station

Tesla wants to reinvent the motorway service station

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.

Tesla’s new Autopilot software available in UK

Tesla UK Autopilot

Tesla has written to its UK customers (and prospects) announcing details of the latest update to its Autopilot software. Owners can now experience so-called ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ features, available for £5,000 for all new Tesla models, or £6,000 if retrofitted.

The news comes following a busy period for the firm’s HR department, with a leading AI and computer vision researcher joining the company, but several experts leaving the Autopilot team.

More Tesla news on Motoring Research:

According to electrek, Berta Rodriguez-Hervas, one of the first customer vision experts working on Autopilot, has joined Tesla’s former head of computer vision, David Nistér, at chipmaker Nvidia. Tesla’s Autopilot team has recently lost the head of the visual perception team and the leader of the geometric vision section.

Tesla hires ‘original and most respected’ director

Earlier this week, Andrej Karpathy joined Tesla as the new director of AI and Autopilot Vision, reporting directly to Elon Musk. According to Techcrunch, Karpathy created one of the original, and most respected, deep learning courses taught at Stanford University and is described by Tesla as “one of the world’s leading experts in computer vision and deep learning”.

Karpathy replaced Chris Lattner, who left Apple to join Tesla in January 2017. Tesla told electrek: “Chris just wasn’t the right fit for Tesla, and we’ve decided to make a change. We wish him all the best.”

Lattner tweeted: “Turns out that Tesla isn’t a good fit for me after all. I’m interested to hear about interesting roles for a seasoned engineering leader!” He has since updated his resume, which includes a line about his brief spell at Tesla:

“Overall I learned a lot, worked hard, met a lot of great people, and had a lot of fun. I’m still a firm believer in Tesla, its mission, and the exceptional Autopilot team: I wish them well.”

Safer than a human driver

Away from the HR department, Tesla UK is inviting customers to upgrade to the latest version of its Autopilot software. Features include traffic-aware cruise control, autosteer, auto lane change, parallel and perpendicular autopark, and summon.

Automatic emergency braking, forward and side collision warning, and more advanced safety features are also active and standard. “All Tesla vehicles have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver,” claims Tesla.

The electric car company has released a video to demonstrate the capabilities of Autopilot, which it says uses eight surround cameras to provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 25 metres of range.

Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the previous system. A forward-facing radar is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead, claims Tesla.

Overall, the tour of the neighbourhood using full self-driving hardware is highly impressive. The driver is, quite literally, as passenger and only there for legal reasons. There are, perhaps two incidents which demonstrate that there’s room for improvement. Notice how the car stops for two joggers at around the 55 seconds mark. The Tesla also stops for no apparent reason around the 1:33 mark.

Tesla is the fastest-growing car brand in the world

Tesla Supercharger line-upToyota remains the world’s biggest car brand, with a value of $28.7 billion, according to the 2017 WPP and Kantar Millward Brown BrandZ study. However, this actually represents a 3 percent decline over last year. In contrast, Tesla’s value has shot up a staggering 32 percent, making it not only the eight most valuable automotive firm, but also the world’s fastest-growing car brand of all.

In moving from 10th place to eighth place in the car brand rankings, Telsa has overtaken both Land Rover and Porsche – ensuring Elon Musk’s electric car company is the story of the 2017 survey.

Overall, it is worth $5.9 billion, according to the 2017 WPP/KMB ‘BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands’ survey. Why so much? Because it’s considered an innovative, stylish luxury car brand that gives ‘the performance of a high octane, carbon-burning engine without the guilt’.

More Tesla on Motoring Research:

Toyota’s 3 percent decline, meanwhile, was blamed on currency challenges, rising labour costs and the need for increased investment to compete in the tech-packed future world of the automotive industry.

Indeed, “the financial pressures to deliver current sales while also investing and anticipating the future are placing established brands under great pressure,” said Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ strategy director. This is “creating space for newcomers like Tesla to power ahead.

“Strong brands will not only help car groups boost existing revenues but encourage consumers to stick with them as the vehicle they drive changes fundamentally.”

BMW and Mercedes-Benz remained in second and third place, but Ford moved up one spot, overtaking Honda with a brand value of $13.1 billion. This is despite its recent leadership changes at the top.

Overall, the top 10 global automotive sector brands are worth $139.2 billion. Within this, luxury brands now make up more than half the rankings, a big increase on the 36 percent representation in the first BrandZ survey back in 2006.

Car firms have a long way to go until they match the very biggest brands in the world, though. Google, Apple and Microsoft are the three most valuable global brands of all, with a combined value of over $620 billion. Facebook is in fifth place – and its 27 percent growth in value to $129.8 billion means it alone is worth only $10 billion less than all the top 10 biggest car brands combined…

The 10 most valuable car brands in the world

  1. Toyota: $28.7 billion
  2. BMW: $24.6 billion
  3. Mercedes-Benz: $23.5 billion
  4. Ford: $13.1 billion
  5. Honda: £12.2 billion
  6. Nissan: $11.3 billion
  7. Audi: $9.4 billion
  8. Tesla: $5.9 billion
  9. Land Rover: $5.5 billion
  10. Porsche: $5.1 billion
The best value new electric cars for 2017

The best value new electric cars for 2017

The best value new electric cars for 2017Electric car sales are growing year-on-year, by double-digit amounts. As concerns over city centre emissions grow, and the threat of penalties for combustion engines grows (diesel cars are particularly vulnerable here), many are now looking at electric vehicles (EVs) in a new light.

So is this the year to go electric?

Of course, traditionally, high-tech electric cars have not been cheap. Enter the government’s Plug-in-Car Grant. On electric cars with a range of at least 70 miles, this is worth £4,500 off the recommended retail price (the prices listed here are all pre-Plug-in Car Grant). List prices themselves are also becoming more affordable as sales gain critical mass.

Incremental improvements in battery technology are also stretching the range enough to make them a genuine option for most people. In the early days of EVs, you’d struggle to get 100 miles from a full charge. Now, you can get well over 150 miles from some models, and one real-world choice now claims a 250-mile range. The compromise-free EV is almost here.

In such a fast-growing sector, which are the models you should be looking at? Here, we’ve picked out 10 of the most significant EVs, and ranked them. We’ve also included key specs for driving range, battery size and price. All have their zero-emissions strengths, but some are better than others – particularly when you factor in range and price.

Hyundai IoniqThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 174 miles

Battery size: 28kWh

Price: £28,995 (Premium)

The fresh-faced Hyundai Ioniq is a car available in three flavours: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV. Here, we’re looking at the pure electric Ioniq, which is priced from an affordable £28,995. The claimed range is up to 174 miles, which is more than the class-leading Nissan Leaf. Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is extended further for the electric bits here – they’re covered for eight years and 125,000 miles.

Renault ZoeThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 250 miles

Battery size: 41kWh

Price: £28,695 (i-Dynamique Nav Rapid Charge)

The Renault Zoe is a supermini electric car that’s both brilliant and badly flawed in equal measure. The brilliant bit is the stupendous range of this Z.E.40 model – a new 41kWh battery has stretched it to a Tesla-like 250 miles. But then, Renault has long eradicated the consumer appeal of this with its silly battery hire scheme, meaning you have to fork out £70 a month on top of the list price (or finance cost). The i-branded models cure this by including the battery in the asking price. Trouble is, they mean the asking price of this small EV is the same as the more-family-sized Ioniq EV…

Nissan LeafThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 155 miles

Battery size: 30kWh

Price: £30,290 (Acenta 30kWh)

The first mass-market electric car on sale in Britain is getting on a bit these days, but is a deservedly familiar sight. It was enhanced a little while ago with a larger-capacity 30kWh battery, taking the range up to 155 miles. That’s an improvement on the old 24kWh car, and will give existing owners a nice upgrade come trade-in time. It’s also built in Britain, for patriotic appeal. These days, it’s not the class-leader in terms of range or ability, but it’s still competitive.

BMW i3The best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 195 miles

Battery size: 33kWh

Price: £32,330 (94Ah)

The ultra-clever BMW i3 looks like nothing else, is made from lightweight carbon fibre and is a Tardis-like car that still drives like a real BMW. Trouble is, it’s perhaps a bit too quirky for some; what works in trendy parts of London might not quite be so appealing in rural Dorset. This 2017 model does have a big new battery, though – taking the range up to nearly 200 miles. And the car’s clever engineering means you stand a decent chance of achieving that, too.

Volkswagen e-GolfThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 118 miles

Battery size: 24.2kWh

Price: £31,680

There’s a facelifted Volkswagen e-Golf coming soon, but we’re still recommending this one if you’re able to strike a sharp deal with a retailer. It doesn’t have the biggest battery or the largest range in the family class, but it’s still a Golf, and that counts for a lot. It’s nice to drive and will always sell on for decent money. A few thousand pounds off will solve the issue of that list price, too…

Kia Soul EVThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 132 miles

Battery size: 27kWh

Price: £29,995

The quirky Kia Soul EV is an electric car that’s a bit different. Probably too different for many, but early adopters who like to stand out might love it. The range is decent and it’s extremely practical inside for five, while a fulsome level of standard kit means you shouldn’t feel short-changed by the sub-£30k list price.

Tesla Model S 60The best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 253 miles

Battery size: 60kWh

Price: £65,680 (Model S 60)

We have to include the mighty Tesla Model S here, despite even the basic car costing a whopping £65,000. That’s because it’s a genuine luxury car that’s shaken up the electric car market ever since its launch. The range is long, performance is stupendous and the interior, dominated by that famous touchscreen, is superb. Pity new car buyers no longer get free charges from the ever-growing Supercharger network.

Volkswagen e-UpThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 99 miles

Battery size: 18.7kWh

Price: £25,280

Volkswagen has recently facelifted the little e-Up. Frankly, while able, it’s a bit too expensive for what it is: a tiny city car with a sub-100-mile range. The Plug-in Car Grant helps, but it’s still more than £20k – you can get a petrol-engined Up for less than £10k. Despite this, it’s a likeable and able car that drives well and serves as a nice introduction to electric motoring.

Renault TwizyThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 62 miles

Battery size: 6.1kWh

Price: £6,895 (Expression)

One of the cheapest cars on sale in Britain is also a fully-electric one. The Twizy is rather compromised, of course: it’s a quadricycle, so doesn’t meet the same standards of refinement (or, as Euro NCAP pointed out, crash safety) as a normal car. The range is also just 62 miles, and it’s so slow, it can’t even clock a 0-60mph time because it can’t reach 60mph. Still, for those who want a cheap electric car runabout they can park anywhere, it’s still worth a look.

Smart edThe best value new electric cars for 2017

Range: 99 miles

Battery size: 17.2kWh

Price: TBC

One of the freshest EVs on the UK new car market is the soon-to-be-launched Smart ed range. Because we don’t yet have prices, we can’t yet fully judge its competitiveness – but the range is looking OK for a city car and the manoeuvrability of the Fortwo two-seater is peerless. There’s now even a Forfour ed for those who need a city-friendly five-door four-seater.

Faraday Future: is this the electric car to take on Tesla?

Faraday Future: is this the electric car to take on Tesla?

Faraday Future: is this the electric car to take on Tesla?

Start-up firm Faraday Future has revealed its latest self-driving electric car at CES 2017 in Las Vegas – and it’s not shy about taking on the giant that is Tesla. Or, it seems, Ferrari…

The company says its new luxury car, the FF 91, can hit 60mph in 2.39 seconds – that’s quicker than the fastest Tesla Model S, and faster than supercars such as the Ferrari 488 GTB. Faraday Future has even revealed a video proving this.

Like Tesla’s futuristic cars, the new Faraday Future also contains autonomous features. A live demo showed on screen at CES showed it driving itself around a car park before reversing into a space.

It isn’t flawless, though – something billionaire Chinese investor Jia Yueting demonstrated when he tried to demonstrate the car’s self-parking feature on stage. It failed, with Faraday senior vice president Nick Sampson joking, “OK, it seems like it’s a little bit lazy tonight.”

Fitted with a 130kWh battery, the FF 91 is good for a range of 378 miles says Faraday – and has the ability to charge at more than 500 miles (of range) per hour.

The company – which is plagued by criticism and struggles to be taken seriously as a Tesla rival – says the FF 91 will be released as a production model next year. Like Tesla, it’s hoping to raise revenue by taking refundable deposits of $5,000 to fund development.

Faraday Future revealed a futuristic single seat race-car concept capable of producing 1,000hp and hitting 200mph at least year’s CES. Many likened it to the Batmobile and criticised it for not being realistic.

Since then, Faraday’s been hit by financial difficulties, with question marks over funding. In November, work on a factory it was building in Las Vegas was halted after investment from Jia Yueting’s company, LeEco, is thought to have dried up.

Tesla Model X 90D quick review: 2017’s must-have SUV

Tesla Model X 90D quick review: 2017’s must-have SUV

Tesla Model X 90D quick review: 2017’s must-have SUV

This is Tesla’s long-awaited SUV, based on the same platform as the Model S but boasting SUV practicality and four-wheel drive on all models. At 2.27m wide and 5m long, does it work on UK roads? We’ve had a brief drive to find out.

Prices and deals

OK, so the Tesla Model X 90D will cost you £85,000 (including the government’s plug-in car grant), while an entry-level 75D starts at £76,500. Don’t expect any movement on that: Tesla doesn’t do negotiation, especially with a car as hyped as the Model X.

What are its rivals?

Although the Model X has no obvious rivals, there’s also no shortage of upmarket SUVs you could buy for this money. These include the Range Rover, Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. None of these are electric – although some do offer hybrid powertrains – while Jaguar has just unveiled its electric I-Pace at the LA Auto Show. That’s a couple of years away from hitting the market, though.

What engine does it use?

What engine does it use?

As you’ve probably clocked by now, the Tesla Model X doesn’t have an engine. Instead, it uses a 100kWh battery located on the floor, powering two electric motors located over each axle to provide four-wheel drive on all models.

How fast?

With a drag coefficient of 0.24 (the lowest of any SUV, claims Tesla), the Model X 90D will hit 62mph in an astonishing 3.2 seconds. That drops to 2.9 seconds in the range-topping P100D, while top speed is limited to 155mph.

Will I enjoy driving it?

It depends on the kind of enjoyment you expect from driving. It’s a heavy car, with light steering and relatively high centre of gravity (compared to the Model S saloon), so it’s not fun in the ‘B-road blaster’ sense.

However, there is fun to be had in exploiting the performance. With instant torque (all 325lb ft of it) and no gear changes getting in the way, happiness is an empty motorway slip road. It’s a weird sensation accelerating hard in a Tesla – your insides are thrust backwards, yet there’s none of the usual noise you associate with being propelled forward at such a rate.

When you’re not in the mood for such shenanigans, it’s such a serene car for tooling around town or schlepping up miles. Autopilot makes motorway miles even easier, working like adaptive cruise control but going a step further. Indicate and it’ll check for traffic around you, then change lanes if it feels it’s safe. Legislation dictates that you have to touch the steering wheel regularly, though.

Fuel economy and running costs

Fuel economy and running costs

This is where the Model X could be a huge money-saver. Relying on an electric motor, the 90D boasts an official range of 303 miles. Sure, if you’re enjoying that phenomenal acceleration regularly that’ll dip a bit. But still, as long as you can charge at home, the chances are you won’t have to worry about running out of electricity.

If you do input a destination into the sat nav that’s further away than you’ll get on the remaining range, the Tesla will take you via one of its ‘Supercharger’ points. Get your order in before 1st January 2017 and you’ll be able to use these for free – after that, you’ll have to pay. Tesla hasn’t confirmed how much it’ll cost, but it will work out cheaper than running a petrol or diesel car.

What’s the interior like?

Weird, frankly. Enter the cabin through the incredible falcon-wing doors, and you’ll find up to seven seats (depending on how many you’ve ordered). Up-front, there’s the huge tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system (only bigger than a tablet), while our test car featured a wood-effect dash. Although perhaps not quite up to the standards of luxury you might expect from a car of this price, it feels better quality than an early Model S we’ve previously tested.

Is it comfortable?

You sit reassuringly high up, with light coming in through the huge windscreen-cum-sunroof and brightening up the cabin. We spent less than an hour in the car, but doubt we’d be complaining about backache after a longer journey. One pleasant feature of the Model X is the HEPA air filter, which allows medical-grade clean air to fill the cabin, no matter how polluted the air outside the car is. There’s even a bioweapon defence mode.

Is it practical?

Is it practical?

Unless you really need seven seats, we’d opt for a six-seater for a less claustrophobic feel, while ordering five seats will get you a larger boot. Those huge falcon-wing doors enable easy access to the front and rear, while their design means they don’t need a huge area to open.

Oh, and if you want to lug a caravan with the Model X, now you can. An optional tow hitch gives it a towing capacity of 2,270kg, making it the first ever electric car capable of towing.

Tell me about the tech

Where do we start? As Tesla positions itself more as a tech firm that a car company, it offers updates for all its cars that can be installed remotely, meaning you’ll always have the latest tech if you buy a Model X (or at least be able to get it).

For example, the latest update (8.0) features a new look for that huge 17-inch touchscreen, with changes made to maps and its media player. Autopilot has also been enhanced.

What about safety?

Tesla claims the Model X is the safest SUV ever and we doubt there’s much this side of a Volvo XC90 we’d rather be for a crash. The lack of a combustion engine means most of the front-end is crumple zone, while tech such as automatic emergency braking means you’re less likely to be in an accident in the first place.

Which version should I go for?

Which version should I go for?

How much can you afford? All versions are four-wheel drive, and for most, the performance of the entry-level (if you can call it that) 75D will be more than adequate. If money is no object, the P100D is the one that’ll get you the most respect from Tesla geeks. And scare your mother in law.

What’s the used alternative?

There isn’t really anything like the Model X on the used market. The Model S has been around since 2014, and you can now pick up early examples for around £55,000. If you’re after an SUV, perhaps consider the popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. That’s a bit like buying a Huawei because you can’t afford an iPhone, though.

Should I buy one?

The Tesla Model X won’t be for everyone. Shelling out £80,000 on a car that is still relatively niche isn’t easy to justify – especially when you can get a Range Rover for the same money. And the Range Rover can be filled up in a matter of minutes at your local petrol station.

A Range Rover isn’t set to be 2017’s ‘must-have’, though – and the hype around the Model X is almost entirely justified. Not only is it a quirky family SUV, its low running costs should help make the maths add up, while the gadgets on offer will never get boring.

Pub fact

Pub fact

If you are tempted by a Tesla Model X, we’d suggest getting your order in as soon as possible. Not only will those ordered in 2017 lose the right to free Supercharging, but new VED bands from 1 April 2017 will mean you’ll have to pay £310 a year road tax for the first five years. Register it before then and it’ll be free.

Tesla to charge owners for using Supercharger network

Tesla to charge owners for using Supercharger network

Tesla to charge owners for using Supercharger network

Tesla has announced it will start charging for use of its electric car charger network – with buyers of all new Teslas from 2017 hit by “a small fee”.

The Supercharger network consists of more than 4,600 charging points around the world, allowing Tesla owners to charge their car to 80% in around half an hour.

In a statement released today, the Silicon Valley carmaker said: “We’ve designed our network so that all customers have access to a seamless and convenient charging experience when they’re away from home, as our intention has always been for Supercharging to enable long distance travel.

“That’s why today we’re announcing a change to the economics of Supercharging – one that allows us to reinvest in the network, accelerate its growth and bring all owners, current and future, the best Supercharging experience.”

The move follows that of UK green energy provider Ecotricity, which recently announced it would start charging a flat fee of £6 for electric car owners to use its chargers at motorway service stations.

Like Ecotricity, Tesla suggests its charging network is there to aid its electric car owners complete longer journeys – rather than to be used during regular day-to-day use.

However, Tesla isn’t saying how much it will cost owners to charge up their car. And, curiously, the charges will only apply to new vehicles ordered after 1 January 2017.

Cars sold before this date will continue to be able to use the network free of charge – and this benefit will last the length of the car’s life, passing on to subsequent owners.

Rumours had already suggested that the new cut-price Model 3 wouldn’t be eligible for the free charging when it goes on sale late in 2017.

“There will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car,” explained Tesla. “All cars will continue to come standard with the onboard hardware required for Supercharging.

“We will release the details of the program later this year, and while prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity, our Supercharger Network will never be a profit centre.”

Elon Musk teases 'unexpected' new Tesla to be revealed next week

Elon Musk teases ‘unexpected’ new Tesla to be revealed next week

Elon Musk teases 'unexpected' new Tesla to be revealed next week

Tesla boss Elon Musk has created an online frenzy after tweeting that his car company would be revealing an ‘unexpected’ product on 17 October.

Musk, who is no stranger to hype, said that the launch will be ‘unexpected by most’ – triggering online speculation that it could be anything from an autonomous motorbike to a personal quadcopter.

Other suggestions for what the surprise unveiling could be include an electric van, an automated ‘snake’ charger which plugs into the car automatically, and even flying suits.

The unveiling will be made ahead of a solar roof created in partnership with another one of Musk’s companies, SolarCity. This will come with an integrated Tesla charger allowing owners to charge their car using sunlight gathered by their home.

The US carmaker revealed its affordable Model 3 electric car earlier this year, with deliveries expected to start in 2017. So far, more than 400,000 customers have left deposits for the third model in Tesla’s current line-up, following the Model S and Model X.

Tesla has attracted criticism in recent months following a number of fatal crashes involving its vehicles being used in autonomous autopilot mode. Meanwhile, more than 100 owners in Norway are claiming that the Model S P85D doesn’t accelerate as fast as its claimed 3.0 second 0-62mph time suggests.

What do you think the new Tesla could be? Tweet us @editorial_MR.

Tesla Model S

Tesla has launched the fastest car in the world

Tesla Model STesla has launched a new version of the Model S saloon that it claims is the fastest volume production car in the world.

Thanks to a bigger 100 kWh battery, the new Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode can accelerate from 0-60mph in a scant 2.5 seconds – placing it just behind the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder.

But as those two hypercars were both limited-production models and are also not actually in production anymore, the firm is grabbing the claim that its new Model S is the fastest-accelerating volume production car in the world… ever.

It’s not just about speed either. The larger battery pack extends the range to a hefty 380 miles on the official European NEDC drive cycle, supported by a 315-mile claimed range when tested to the stricter U.S. EPA cycle.

This makes it the world’s first EV to go beyond 300 miles and, thus, the longest-range production electric car yet launched. “By far,” adds Tesla.

The new battery pack, which costs $10,000 (£7,500) extra new or $20,000 (£15,000) for existing P90D Ludicrous owners to upgrade, is also available in the Model X SUV: that now does 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds.

Tesla chief Elon Musk has described the new battery pack as a “milestone”: the cell chemistry is the same and it takes up the same space as the existing battery, but is now able to store much more energy.

“The Tesla Model S P100D is now faster in a straight line than it would be if you dropped it out of a plane,” Musk retweeted.