Posts

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with their cars

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with cars

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with their cars

American safety regulators are looking into claims Tesla has forced owners to sign non-disclosure agreements over Model S suspension issues in exchange for out-of-warranty repairs.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of a defect causing Model S suspension control arms to break and the driver to lose control of the car.

One member of the Tesla Motors Club forum reported that Tesla offered to go halves on repair costs for suspension issues if they signed a ‘goodwill’ agreement.

The agreement said: “You agree to keep confidential our provision of the Goodwill, the terms of this agreement and the incidents or claims leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. In accepting the Goodwill, you hereby release and discharge Tesla and related persons or entities from any and all claims or damages arising out of or in any way connected with any claims or incidents leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill.

“You further agree that you will not commence, participate or voluntarily aid in any action at law or in equity or any legal proceeding against Tesla or related persons or entities based upon facts related to the claims or incidents leading to or related to this Goodwill.”

A NHTSA spokesman said that the agency learned of a ‘troublesome’ non-disclosure agreement over a repair issue that could have serious safety implications.

In a statement, the NHTSA said: “The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and NHTSA expects Tesla to eliminate any such language.”

Tesla representatives have reportedly told the agency that it was not the company’s intention to dissuade owners from contacting NHTSA.

Motoring Research has contacted Tesla Motors UK to find out if any models in Europe have been affected – and whether owners have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements similar to those used in the US.

Tesla Model S

Tesla introduces gimmick-free car finance for Model S

Tesla Model STesla has announced its PCP-style HP finance packages for private buyers of the Tesla Model S in the UK – and its guaranteed resale values are amongst the best in the class.

The company promises 50% of the purchase price of a base 60kWh Model S after three years, plus 43% of all options (including the upgrade to the 85kWh battery pack).

That means, if you buy a new Tesla Model S through the scheme, you know you’ll be able to sell it for around half its value after 36 months.

A typical finance plan for the Tesla Model S through the company’s partner Alphera Financial Services, will involve a 15% down payment and an APR rate of 5.9%.

After three years, the customer can sell the car back to Tesla at an agreed price and pay off the HP contact, or keep hold of it and continue paying the finance.

Of course, payments are likely to be out of reach for the majority of us, with buyers expected to pay £820 a month in finance.

But Tesla points out that the typical Model S driver will save around £156 a month on fuel, as well as additional savings on road tax and London’s congestion charge.

So, in reality you’ll be paying around £650 a month for a car with few additional running costs. Worth it to be driving one of the coolest electric cars on sale?

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla's bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla’s bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

In a move that is most un-Tesla, the American car brand has released these pictures of its mid-life facelift for the Model S – and revealed that new interior trims will be available, featuring wood.

Yes, the interior will come with two new interior finishes – called Figured Ash Wood and Dark Ash Wood. Outside, the new Model S gets a grille-less front-end (just how will it look with a number plate?), as per the Model X and Model 3.

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

These pictures were leaked yesterday – Tesla responded by sneaking them onto its own press website and claimed that was its intention all along. As such, information is on the scarce side, but we do know the Model S will be getting yet more clever tech. Because Tesla.

This includes the ‘bioweapons defence mode’ which, unfortunately, isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. It’s essentially a fancy air filtration system which, Tesla says, is 100 times more effective than a regular cabin filter at removing particulate exhaust pollution as well as allergens, bacteria and contaminants.

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

What could be exciting to existing owners is the faster charge time. Although the electric motor remains unchanged, the standard charger has been upgraded from 40A to 48A, meaning charging from Tesla’s Supercharger network will be even quicker.

Prices will start at £53,800 (post Government grant) for the entry-level 70D model, and American websites are speculating on a range-topping P100D model on its way. That’s yet to be confirmed – but the rest of the facelifted range is on sale now.

Tesla Model 3

Traffic to Tesla's website surges 798% as Model 3 is revealed

Tesla Model 3

The hype around Tesla’s affordable electric car has been massive in recent weeks – and figures revealed today show that traffic on the firm’s website attracted an incredible seven million visits over the three days around the Model 3’s unveiling.

Reservations for the Model 3 opened on March 31, with traffic increasing by 798% the following day. US visits jumped from 220,000 on March 31 to a peak of 1.9 million on 1 April.

To put that into context, the data (revealed by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb) shows that Ford’s website received 358,000 US visits on 1 April, followed by Toyota (320,000) and 130,000 for Nissan.

Potential customers could register their interest in the $35,000 (£25,000) Model 3 by leaving a deposit of $1,000 (or £1,000 in the UK) online. Within 24 hours, 115,000 orders had been received – rising to 325,000 within the first week.

Nearly half (48%) of visitors to Tesla’s website during this period were from the US, followed by Canada (6.64%) and the UK (5.58%).

Tesla Model 3

Traffic to Tesla’s website surges 798% as Model 3 is revealed

Tesla Model 3

The hype around Tesla’s affordable electric car has been massive in recent weeks – and figures revealed today show that traffic on the firm’s website attracted an incredible seven million visits over the three days around the Model 3’s unveiling.

Reservations for the Model 3 opened on March 31, with traffic increasing by 798% the following day. US visits jumped from 220,000 on March 31 to a peak of 1.9 million on 1 April.

To put that into context, the data (revealed by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb) shows that Ford’s website received 358,000 US visits on 1 April, followed by Toyota (320,000) and 130,000 for Nissan.

Potential customers could register their interest in the $35,000 (£25,000) Model 3 by leaving a deposit of $1,000 (or £1,000 in the UK) online. Within 24 hours, 115,000 orders had been received – rising to 325,000 within the first week.

Nearly half (48%) of visitors to Tesla’s website during this period were from the US, followed by Canada (6.64%) and the UK (5.58%).

Tesla Model 3

Video: Telsa Model 3 revealed in California

Watch Tesla chief Elon Musk pulls the covers off the new Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3: all you need to know – with video

Tesla Model 3 first lookThe waiting is over – Tesla has launched its $35,000 (£25,000) high-volume Model 3 electric car and the world is buzzing with excitement.

The firm is already accepting $1,000 (refundable) deposits – £1,000 in the UK – for the new Model 3 and during the launch event, Tesla chief Elon Musk revealed 115,000 orders had already been placed in the first 24 hours alone.

This figure currently appears to be rising by many hundreds every single minute…

Tesla Model 3: need to know

  • Price: From $35,000
  • Range: From 215 miles
  • 0-62mph: Less than 6.0 seconds
  • Seats: 5
  • Delivery: 2017
  • Driverless functionality: Auto Pilot standard
  • Ordering: $1,000 (£1,000) refundable deposits taken from now
  • Target annual production: 500,000

Video: Tesla Model 3

Musk started the launch event by setting the scene for Tesla: record high global CO2, making it “very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport”. Enter the four-part ‘Tesla Secret Masterplan” that started with the Tesla Roadster, evolved to the Model S and Model X, and now takes in the Model 3.

GM’s Bob Lutz credited the Telsa Roadster with inspiring the Chevrolet Volt programme, which also led to the Nissan Leaf. Already, Tesla’s had a big effect on the auto industry. And now the Model 3 is set to take the next step.

What is the Tesla Model 3?

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is a mid-size model that will compete with models such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. It is all-electric and Musk says the range will be a minimum of 215 miles on the U.S. EPA test cycle; all models will have Telsa Supercharger recharge functionality as standard (and the Supercharger network is set to double, to 441 global locations, by the end of next year).

It will be a fast car – even the ‘slowest’ model will do 0-62mph in less than 6.0 seconds. “At Tesla, we don’t make slow cars” says Musk. And there will, of course, be models that go much faster, he confirmed.

Both all-wheel drive and air suspension will be optional.

The Model 3 will be “an incredibly safe car” said Musk, with 5-star ratings in every category. “Safety has to come first” said the company founder. We can thus expect glittering Euro NCAP test results when the Model 3 is assessed in Europe.

Active safety will be boosted by the standard fitment of Tesla Auto Pilot, the autonomous ‘self-driving’ technology already seen on the Tesla Model S.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Inside, the Model 3 is a full five-seater with the “best roominess of any car of this size”, promised Musk: five adults will fit comfortably and the cabin will fully swallow a 7-foot surfboard. As with the Model S, there are luggage compartments both front and rear, offering class-leading capacity “and more cargo space than any same-size gas car”.

Tesla Model 3 interior

The cabin incorporates the familiar oversize touchscreen in the centre of the dash – although this time it’s mounted horizontally rather than portrait-style. There’s also no traditional instrument panel dashboard – the designers have instead shifted the cabin layout, seating those in the front much further forward than normal to maximise interior space.

As for the price, Musk was clear: it will “of course” cost from £35,000 – that’s around £24,500 in the UK, although it will likely rise to around £30,000 once it arrives in the UK.

The base model won’t be a stripped-out, featureless machine though, promised Musk. All the key features of the Model 3 will be standard across the range.

And when will deliveries begin? Next year, he said: a 2017 delivery date is something he’s “fairly confident” of (although Tesla perhaps doesn’t have the best track record of meeting delivery date targets…).

Tesla Model 3: a high-volume EV

Tesla Freemont

Tesla wants to significantly ramp up its global volumes with the Model 3. This is its mainstream model, the car that should take it from 50,000 units to 500,000 units per year.

The Freemont factory – a former GM/Toyota joint venture called NUMMI – already has the capacity to make half a million cars a year, said Musk: the challenge is the batteries. 500,000 batteries a year represents the world’s current total lithium ion production!

Tesla Gigafactory

Hence Tesla building a new battery factory, the Gigafactory (pictured above). This will boast the largest footprint of any building in the world and be second in overall size only to the Boeing factory in Washington. It’s enormous – and its success is essential to the Model 3’s viability.

Video: watch the Tesla Model 3 launch

What are the rivals to the Tesla Model 3?

The Model 3 is a revolution for Tesla but it’s not a car without rival. Here are the established contenders and ambitious newcomers set to go up against the new Model 3

Chevrolet Bolt

Similar price, all-electric ability, similarly ambitious goals: GM’s first modern EV is being pitched as the real world alternative to the fancy Tesla Model 3 and will be a fierce competitor to Elon’s baby. But is it a bit too real world?

Nissan LEAF

2015 Nissan Leaf 30kWh review: Verdict

Musk namechecked the Nissan LEAF during the reveal of the Model 3: the original Tesla Roadster led directly to its development, he said (which may be news to Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn). Today the world’s most successful fully electric car, it’s a groundbreaker that will become even more formidable in next-gen form that’s likely due around the time of the Model 3’s launch…

BMW 3 Series

BMW 320d LT part 2

Tesla aims to make a full EV that can challenge the compact executive hierarchy with the Model 3, and there’s no finer example of this than the BMW 3 Series (a car we’ve been living with for the past few months). Most are sold with conventional petrol or diesel engines but there’s also now a plug-in hybrid. BMW also offers…

BMW i3

BMW i3 in Central London

… The brilliantly ingenious i3, which has ingenious construction, brilliant driving manners and all the reliability, solidity and cut-above feel you’d expect of a BMW. If a full EV is a step too far, there’s even a range extender version with a tiny motorbike engine in the back

Toyota Prius Prime

Revealed at the 2016 New York Auto Show, Toyota has added extended-range plug-in hybrid capability to the established, multi-million-selling Prius hybrid. But what if buyers truly want zero emissions? Toyota has an answer there too…

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

… With the brilliant Mirai, an all-electric car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell rather than the Tesla’s plug-in batteries. It’s the first volume fuel cell car on sale and as much of a ground-breaker as anything Tesla’s done. Could this be the one the Model 3 must really watch?

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 teased ahead of March 31 reveal

Tesla Model 3Tesla will reveal its crucial Model 3 electric car on March 31 – the £30,000 volume EV it hopes will give it the higher sales necessary for long-term sustainability.

Sitting below the Model S saloon and new Model X crossover, the Model 3 will be similar in size to an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class: not only that, it also has those three cars directly in its sights as a full EV alternative to the top-selling German compact executive cars that dominate the sector.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has revealed the Model 3 is around 20% smaller than the Model S, a car nearly 5 metres long. The Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are all around 4.6 metres long.

The all-electric Model 3 will, on the insistence of Musk, have a range of at least 200 miles, although the reality is that most customers expect at least 20% more, he added. Call it 250 miles then – not far shy of the larger Model S.

Technically, achieving such a range in a more compact car is an interesting challenge – particularly as Tesla will also have to maximise interior space and luggage capacity to ensure its market appeal is as broad as possible. This makes it likely some next-generation battery technology may debut in the Model 3.

This will also give it the standout performance that’s becoming a Tesla trademark. Expect best-in-class acceleration figures, with numbers likely to challenge sports cars for potency.

Following the reveal at the Tesla Design Studio in California on March 31, pre-orders for the new Model 3 will open, although first deliveries are not expected until 2017.

Musk has also said a crossover version derived from the Model 3 will be launched later, likely to be called Model Y.

The Model 3 will be key to Tesla hitting its goal of selling 500,000 cars by 2020. Last year, it sold 50,000.