Surprise Telsa Rival Emerges from China

A wild Tesla rival appeared! From nowhere, Chinese electronics company LeEco has unveiled its first electric car, designed to be a direct rival to Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sedan, while adding more self-driving and connectivity features

The vehicle, called the LeSEE (a name that gives me unpleasant flashbacks to Final Fantasy XIII), is only a concept car for the time being, but the ambitious company hopes it will help usher in an age of Chinese dominance in the electric car market, with a number of other local companies set to launch battery-powered cars in the next few years.

“When everyone is questioning us over our ability to develop a car like this and is laughing at us, we are still able to be here and show you this car […] I am so emotional,” said an excited Jia Yueting, co-founder and CEO of LeEco, at a launch event in Beijing on Wednesday (via Reuters).

Jia even claims that LeEco hopes to give its electric cars away for free one day, making its money back on ads delivered to the vehicles through its connectivity platform.

“Our cars’ pricing model will be similar to pricing models for cellphones and TV sets we sell today,” he said. “One day our cars will be free […] We are getting there some day.”

Apple Poaches Telsa’s Engineering VP

Apple, hard at work developing its own electric car – codenamed Project Titan, and rumoured to be undergoing R&D at a secret facility in Berlin, Germany – has poached Telsa Motors’ Vice President of Engineering Chris Porritt to work on a “special project”, according to Electrek. I wonder what that could be..?

The move follows reports that former Project Titan lead Steve Zadesky has left Apple, with Porritt appearing to be his natural replacement. Porritt’s CV includes a stint as Aston Martin’s Chief Engineer, a period during which he helped develop the One-77 supercar, V12 Zagato, and Aston Martin DB9 before leaving in 2013. Do you know who one of the biggest Aston Martin fanboys is? Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, who famously owns both a DB9 and a Vanquish.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has previously joked about his company’s employees moving to Apple, calling the company the “Tesla graveyard”.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

While much of the design work for the Apple Car is said to be handled from its Cupertino headquarters, the Berlin lab is handling the development side, while the vehicle is due to be built in Austria by automotive engineering outfit Magna Steyr. The car is expected to hit the market in either 2019 or 2020.

Faraday Future Pins Hope of Beating Tesla on “Extreme” Electric Supercar

A mysterious US-based, Chinese-backed electric car manufacturer has opened up to provide us with a glimpse of its future – a stunning new electric supercar, and an equally impressive new factory complex – as it attempts to position itself above Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors as the premier electric vehicle maker in the world.

Faraday Future, after the showing off its beautiful FFZero1 concept car earlier this year, has unveiled its new factory, which has begun construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, the same state as Telsa’s Gigafactory. The Apex Industrial Park – a 3-million square-foot facility, which will handle the manufacture the company’s series of as-yet-unknown electric car fleet – is due to be completed in 2018, backed by $335 million of incentives from the state of Nevada.

‘”Our aim is to complete a program that would normally take four years and do it in half the time, while still doing it right,” Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future global manufacturing Vice President, told the Daily Mail.

“We are moving extremely quickly for a project of this size,” Reckhorn added. “We have received tremendous support from local government officials and the community, and look forward to making a significant, positive impact on the local economy.”

Faraday Future revealed its remarkable new concept car, the FFZero1, at CES 2016 back in January, where it earned comparisons to the Batmobile and was described by the company as “the most extreme iteration of what it can build.”

“To be like the Batmobile is not a bad thing right?’ Chief Designer Richard Kim said. ‘If Batman wants to drive this then tell him to come and talk to me.”

Kim revealed that its first production car is being road-tested and will be revealed “very soon”.

Tesla to Release Upgraded and Redesigned Model S

Tesla is committed to continually updating their cars and while this usually takes the form of small tweaks and over-the-air software updates. Now, as had been rumoured, Tesla plan to release a newly redesigned and upgraded version of the Model S saloon, which has been on the market for 4 years. This new version of the Model S advances its stylings both in and out in order to bring the popular sporty electric car into line with their newer Model X and Model 3 vehicles.

The starkest change to the Model S is the nose, which has been reshaped to look more like the blunt-nosed Model X as well as including new LED headlights. The interior of the vehicle was also subject to a number of changes, again mostly in the vein of the Model X. Firstly, Tesla’s HEPA-rated air filter that is used on the Model X now makes its appearance on the Model S, complete with the “bioweapon defense mode”. Also included is a new centre console unit as well as two new décor choices, Figured Ash Wood décor and Dark Ash Wood décor both of which are popular choices for the Model X and certainly look good on the Model S too.

Faster charging has also been enabled on the new Model S, the standard charging unit seeing an upgrade to 48 amps from the previous 40 amp charger. There is even an option to upgrade to a 72A “high amperage” charger, compared to the previous offerings of a 40A standard and 80A dual charger.

The price increase for this version of the Model S is surprisingly modest too, with the price looking to be as little as $6000 at the 90D tier. When you consider the upgrades that are rolled into this price that would previously cost more, such as the improved charger and improved centre console, the new Model S may, in fact, cost less than the old one equipped with some of the optional extras that are now standard.

It is great to see Tesla are capable of putting together such a feature-packed new version of the Model S while also working on development and production of their other vehicles. It also gives the older Model S a stronger place in the new Tesla lineup and may tempt some people who were unwilling to buy a car with a 4-year-old design into a purchase. These new vehicles will be going into production at Tesla’s Fremont factory from Tuesday, so if you want one, you may not have to wait long.

Upgraded Tesla Model S Expected Next Week

It is the Model 3 that has been getting all the attention towards Tesla lately with its remarkable preorder figures continuing to balloon. It isn’t the only car that the California-based EV firm have been working on lately, with rumours beginning to show that they have also been looking to upgrade their existing sporty saloon, the Model S.

Tim Stevens of CNET has reported that an updated version of the Model S could be making its debut as soon as next week according to sources at Tesla. The changes made to the Model S are said to include a number of new features to make it more “luxury” in order to compete with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The changes will also bring the Model S up to date with some of the features included in the Model X and Model 3, including new seats, ventilation and adjustments to the nose both aesthetically and functionally with the headlights employing LEDs. Of course, with all of these positive changes, the price is set to reflect the higher quality of the car, but the sources were unable to state exactly how much the price would be raised for this new Model S.

Tesla themselves have remained tight-lipped about the revision, issuing the following statement regarding it:

We don’t comment on rumor or speculation about future releases. Tesla is constantly innovating and adding new features to our vehicles to perpetually improve Tesla vehicles for our existing and future customers. We price our vehicles consistently throughout the world which requires us to adjust pricing to foreign currency exchange rates. We have let customers know that some price changes will take effect in early April. We always encourage those interested in purchasing Model S to place their order so they can start enjoying the many benefits of Model S today.

More news regarding this updated Model S will be covered as it becomes available.

Tesla Model 3 Receives 325,000 Preorders in Just One Week

There was no doubt that the Tesla Model 3 was going to be a big hit after last week saw the newly announced electric vehicle receive 180,000 preorders in just 24 hours. One week on and Tesla has revealed that the preorders kept flowing in, with the number already having reached 325,000.

If all of the preorders are converted into sales when the Model 3 is released next year, Tesla is set to make around $14 billion from sales of the Model 3 alone which will make it the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever. Due to the required $1000 preorder deposit too, Tesla have already made $325 million just for the orders so far and although the deposit is refundable for those who change their mind, it should certainly keep Tesla going until the Model 3 makes it to market. In a tweet today, Musk revealed that despite the cap on preordering two Model 3’s for each person, only 5 percent of customers ordered two cars

Furthermore, the EV firm boasts that they got this huge amount of preorders without advertisement or paid endorsements with only the enthusiasm and passion of the Tesla team and the fans who believe in them and their vision having pushed them and the Model 3 to this level of popularity. In fact, Musk himself was shocked at the number of preorders, stating on Saturday that he expected only between a quarter and a half of the 235,000 preorders that had already been placed although now he expects that it could hit half a million before the second part of the reveal later in the year.

The Model 3’s enormous popularity could just be the stepping stone that electric vehicles need to go truly mainstream, a dream that I am sure Musk and many others share. For other manufacturers hoping to release their new electric offerings in the near future, the bar has certainly been set high by Tesla and the Model 3 is the success story that many will hope to match.

EV Wireless Charging Almost as Good as Plugging In

Wireless charging for electric vehicles has been an option to their owners for some time now, but the existing solutions are hardly efficient, with charging times far longer than the typical wired charger and there was no assurance of compatibility especially for larger vehicles. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists are close to solving the wireless charging issue for good. Their latest wireless charger is a 20-kilowatt unit that touts up to 90 percent efficiency, which should be close to matching many plug-in chargers, while charging just by proximity, such as when you pull into your garage. This new charger is just as safe as ever, despite the massive increase in power output, as the magnetic fields that transfer the energy fall of quickly.

This charger won’t be available for consumers anytime soon, unfortunately, and would not render plugging in completely obsolete for those needing a charge in a hurry. The laboratory is not stopping here either, with the next aim being to develop a 50 kW wireless charger with similar efficiency, which would be able to match many of the “quick charge” systems that are currently on the market. Should they succeed, it will be a milestone achievement for electric vehicles, as plugging in would no longer have any benefit as well as making electric vehicles far more convenient to charge up and use. An on-the-move version of the technology is also in the pipelines, which would allow EVs to charge while travelling down specific routes without needing to stop and replenish their supply, which would really change the game for electric vehicles. Powered roads for electric cars could be real sooner than we think!

Tesla Have Taken $7.5 Billion Worth of Model 3 Preorders According to Elon Musk

Yesterday, Tesla unveiled their long-awaited affordable electric car, the Model 3. Tesla may have expected that there would be great interest in this new car for the masses, but the response to it has been enormous, with over 180,000 pre-orders being taken in the first 24 hours alone.

Despite not knowing anything about the new car prior to the reveal, Tesla enthusiasts were queuing up at their dealerships around the US in order to be one of the first to pre-order the Model 3 and gain a favorable spot on the pre-order list. Even by the time that Musk had finished his presentation of the Model 3 at their Hawthorne facility, he announced that 115,000 preorders had already been placed that day, even though each one required a $1000 deposit.

After pre-orders had been made available for over 24 hours at US dealerships, Musk announced via Twitter that 180,000 Model 3 pre-orders had been taken by Tesla. According to Musk’s estimate of the car’s price, $35,000, that’s $7.5 billion worth of cars sold is just one day. The pre-orders show no sign of stopping either, with Musk continuing to tweet that the pre-order numbers had reached 198,000, growing the waiting list considerably.

This is a massive victory for Tesla and the electric car industry, which just shows how adoption for these types of cars is growing. Now, however, Tesla are under massive pressure to deliver on these orders, as 180,000 cars is no small amount, especially when the firm manufactured only 50,580 cars throughout 2015. Tesla claims that after production has been ramped up, they will be capable of delivering as many as 500,000 cars per year. Let’s hope that Tesla and Musk can make good on this figure, or they could be facing a lot of upset customers who may start to consider another competing electric vehicle, such as the Chevrolet Bolt.

Tesla Reveals Their Model 3 Electric Car

Technology companies love-making new toys, especially those that people have wanted for years. When it comes to technology, people have been looking forward to affordable electric vehicles, something which the company Tesla have been keen on creating. This may all come true with Tesla revealing their Model 3 electric car.

With their long-term plan always being that the high-end electric cars, like the Model S, were just a way to bring the technology to everyone at an affordable plan, it is safe to say with the Model 3 they are one step closer to the dream. At its debut event in Los Angeles, the Model 3 appears just like any other car. With a range of 215 miles, the Model 3 will give people access to electric vehicles for everyday drives, and with 0-60 in under six seconds and supercharging as standard the car already gives a wide range of options that make it stand out above electric vehicles before you get the $35,000 price tag.

While a little more expensive than the initial guesses at $25,000, the pre-orders of the Model 3 seems to have already caught people’s attention with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk stating the over 115,000 pre-orders have already been received. You may have to wait a year or two, with the delivery of the Model 3 not expected to begin until 2018, so a small wait until that new car of your dreams but just in time for testing on the new roads that could see your car charging as you drive.

Chevrolet Bolt Electric Car Preparing to Enter Production

It has been a while since we reported on Chevrolet’s new all-electric car, the Bolt, but now Chevy has declared that the electric vehicle is still set to make its 2017 release. The Bolt’s production will begin before the end of 2016 and with a range in excess of 200 miles as well as a modest price tag at $30,000 after tax credits, it seems to be setting up as a major rival to Tesla’s new Model 3 mass-market electric vehicle. To accompany this announcement, Chevrolet released teaser video of pre-production Bolt vehicles already travelling through its production line in Orion Township, Michigan before production kicks off with Bolt EV Chief Engineer Josh Tavel stating that, “we’re at another critical and important point in the development of the Bolt EV. We’ve moved from working in math and building cars by hand to building Bolt EV’s on the line.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qt4iUjpjeU

With the Bolt expected to be in showrooms by the end of 2016, the battle for the electric vehicle mass market between Chevrolet and Tesla appears to be heating up. Chevy may be able to have vehicles on the road sooner than Tesla’s projected late 2017, but Tesla have hype on their side and with reservations for the Model 3 costing $1000 and starting next Thursday, part of the market may be taken before any cars are even produced. Whether Chevrolet or Tesla manage to get more customers, 2017 looks to be a great year for anyone looking to purchase a new electric car.

Tesla Explains How to Reserve a Model 3

Tesla’s new Model 3 may be about to debut in only a few months, at an event scheduled to be held at the company’s Hawthorne, California facility. Any hopeful owners of Tesla’s newest offering will have a long wait ahead of them, though, as the car is only currently expected to be on roads by late 2017. The ordering process won’t be easy either, as Tesla announced in a recently published blog post.

Reservations for the Model 3 will be opening on March 31st in Tesla stores, which matches the date of the debut event for the car. They will also be available online starting at 8:30 PM PT, which is around the time the reveal will be made. The catch is, that to pre-order a Model 3, you’ll have to pay $1000 upfront to even get your name on the waiting list. Considering the car itself is set to cost $35,000, this is a lot of money, but for diehards who want a Model 3 as early as possible, it may be a price you have to pay considering Tesla still haven’t cleared their reservations for the Model X. Tesla states that the best way to stand a chance of getting a good spot on the waiting list is to visit Tesla stores in person, as when reservations finally go live online, many will have already pre-ordered.

Unfortunately, the Model 3 won’t be available everywhere initially either. Initially, the car will be available on the West Coast of the US, before moving east. After the US rollout is complete, versions will be made available for those in Europe, APAC, and right-hand-drive markets at later dates. Tesla “recognize that everyone wants to get their Model 3 as quickly as possible. Our overarching goal is to maximize total customer happiness within the bounds of what is physically possible.”

More news on the Model 3 itself will be available following the reveal next Thursday.

Super-Charged P100D Tesla Plans Discovered in Firmware Update

Tesla enthusiast and self-proclaimed white hat hacker Jason Hughes has been doing some digging, taking apart the latest Tesla firmware update that was sent his own Tesla P85D, and it looks like he’s uncovered a secret!

The Model S currently comes in three variants, but it seems Elon Musk has a fourth model in the pipeline, and it’s going to be powerful! Jason claims to have spotted files pointing towards a 100kWh car, which is quite a bump from the current 70 and 90kWh models available. With the available models being named the 70D, 90D and the P90D, it would be safe to assume that a new 100kWh model would be called the P100D.

The information was discovered in Firmware Update 7.1 and while he could have release the information immediately, he decided to tease Elon a little bit first with the following tweet as well as some forum posts. Followed up later the next day with “You guys are great. Fun to get home and find people have cracked some SHA256 I posted. Nice work.”

I don’t have to tell you this whole thing needs a pinch or fist full of salt, but it’s certainly believable that some information to a future car would be held within the firmware. Tesla would likely use their cars firmware to test future models and we’ve seen similar leaks in the past for graphics cards and other bits of tech.

“There are quite a few things that are in the firmware that I’m not prepared to share publicly. Just like the P100D has been in there for months with my lips mostly sealed.” said Hughes.

However, Tesla rolled back an update, perhaps to remove the files or tighten up the encryption keys on the files unlocked, and potentially other parts of the system that used the same keys, who knows. Either way, Elon seems to be playing it cool right now, so we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Speed Record Claimed by Modified Electric Corvette

The world record for the fastest street-legal all-electric vehicle has been awarded to the Genovation GXE, an all-electric conversion of the 2006 Z06 Corvette, which achieved a top speed of 186.8 mph at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The GXE is a prototype vehicle that employs state-of-the-art electric motors and batteries to deliver over 700 horsepower and 600 foot-pounds of torque. Genovation, the company responsible for the GXE stated that the record-breaking run took place on only their first day of testing and that it is expected that the vehicle will be pushed even further in future.

While 186.8 mph is an impressive speed for an electric car, beating out the Tesla Model S by over 30mph, the GXE will have a fight on its hands to keep the record. Many other high-end electric vehicle teams could be staged to take the record away, including Mitch Medford’s Bloodshed Motors, whose Zombie 222, a modified 1972 Datsun 1200, which was a previous holder of the world record, able to reach 173.2 mph last year. In an interview with The Verge about the GXE’s record run, Medford said that he and the Bloodshed Motors team were making some adjustments to the Zombie 222, which, when complete, aim to achieve over 200mph at the Texas Mile.

One of the concerns over electric cars was always held by enthusiasts, believing that electric vehicles could never be as impressive or capture the imagination the same way the internal combustion engine has. However with companies like Genovation and teams like Bloodshed Motors pushing electric vehicles to speeds that can compete with many traditional sports cars, I think we can rest assured that the excitement of cars will not end in the electric generation.

Elon Musk “Tempted” to Build Electric VTOL Jet

Not content with his fleet of Tesla electric cars, his astronautics startup SpaceX, and his attempts to revolutionise public transport with Hyperloop, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed that he is “tempted” to build an electric vertical-take off and landing (VTOL) jet plane.

“I’ve been thinking about the vertical-take off and landing electric jet a bit more,” Musk said at a recent Hyperloop event, International Business Times reports. “I think I have something that might close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it.”

While the audience initially responded with disbelieving laughter, the statement was met with cheers and applause once it was clear that Musk was being serious. Though, it did prompt a question: “How do you convince people that your ideas aren’t crazy?”

“In starting SpaceX, they definitely thought I was crazy,” Musk replied. “One of my best friends compiled a long video of rockets crashing and made me watch the whole thing. Other friends involved in a rocket startup said it was a terrible idea, and I thought we had a really tiny chance of succeeding anyway, like 10%… and it was very close [to failure] but I think, ultimately, seeing is believing… that’s what convinces people.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab2VVp1GfmA

Musk has voiced his desire to build an electric VTOL jet before. “I do like the idea of an electric aircraft company,” he told Marketplace in 2015. “I do think one could do a pretty cool supersonic, vertical-take off and landing electric jet. That would be really fun.”

Elon Musk Bans Venture Capitalist from Buying Tesla Model X over Blog Post

A venture capital investor has been banned from buying a Tesla Model X by company CEO Elon Musk. Stewart Alsop, who has a history with Musk, wrote a post on Medium entitled “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself,” in which he detailed how he and others had been invited to an event to showcase the Model X electric car, which was slated to begin at 7pm.

Every member of the crowd had paid a $5,000 deposit on a pre-order for the Model X, and was expecting to be given a test drive of the electric vehicle. After being made to wait close to two hours for Musk to show up – sans apology – Stewart was given a token to determine his place in the queue for his test drive: no. 1344. After calculating that he would have to wait until about 2am for his go in Model X, Stewart chose to go home, instead writing his critical blog post.

“You should have apologized right then, but you didn’t,” Stewart wrote. “You have our email addresses, since we’re all the people who put a $5,000 deposit on your new Model X. When I was invited to the launch event, I was excited to hear that I could drive to the factory and see and touch a new Model X, even if I’ll have to wait another 3–4 months to actually get mine.”

Instead of apologising, though, Musk threw his toys out of the pram and banned Stewart from ever purchasing a Tesla Model X. In a follow-up Medium post, entitled “Banned by Tesla!“, Stewart revealed: “Dear @ElonMusk: Thank you for reaching out to me. I heard from our phone conversation that you feel that my post, “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself”, was a personal attack on you. I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.”

“It’s funny because I wasn’t acting in my old role as a press pundit critiquing companies and their executives. I have done that a lot over the last 30+ years and am used to having CEOs of companies get upset with me,” Stewart continued. “In this case, I was actually just a customer who felt he had been ignored at an event designed for customers and ripped off the odd post about that event.”

It seems that Stewart and Musk aren’t entirely strangers, though; the pair were involved in discussions over PayPal funding back in 1999, according to Techly, a deal Stewart chose to walk away from.

Musk appeared pretty apathetic over the whole affair, tweeting:

Lead Behind Apple Car Leaves Company

Its been on the cards for a while that Apple has been looking at making a car. They’ve even gone so far as to invoke the wrath of Elon Musk by taking in staff straight from Tesla. The Apple Car project hasnot been shown off to the public yet, but it’s already caught people’s attention, it would seem to be in trouble though with the lead behind the project leaving the company.

Steve Zadesky, an employee with an impressive 16 years at Apple, is said to have been running the secret project behind the companies exploration into vehicles for two years; Zadesky is departing from the company for personal reasons.

Zadesky started for Apple in 1999 and has worked on their first iPod’s and iPhones, meaning he has been there to see some of their greatest moments. With a recent expansion for the electric car project, offering to triple their staff from 600 to almost two thousand, the projects green light for 2019 looks to be getting closer and closer.

This latest revelation could be yet another to a long line of knocks that the project has taken, with reports coming in that they have not only had trouble laying out goals for the project but that they have been given “ambitious deadlines” which the teams involved feel might not be attainable.

People leaving companies can come for various reasons, personal or professional, but the biggest threat is that leaders of projects and experts in their areas leave when the project is at its most vulnerable. If the information is correct we wish Zadesky the best in the future and look forward to seeing Apple’s progress with this project.

Elon Musk Welcomes Apple’s “Open Secret” Electric Car

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of the Telsa Motors electric car company, has confirmed that, as far as he knows, Apple is developing its own electric vehicles, calling it an “open secret”, and a welcome one at that. Speaking to the BBC, Musk said that increased competition for electric cars means a healthier market and a big step towards his idealised world of electric cars, whether they are produced by Tesla or not.

“I think companies like Apple will probably make an electric car. It seems like the obvious thing to do. It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,” Musk told the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones. When pressed by Cellan-Jones as to whether that means he knows that Apple is definitely developing an electric car, Musk responded, “Yeah, I do. It’s an open secret.”

Musk is supportive of Apple’s endeavour, claiming that “It will expand the industry.”

“Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal, while at the same helping other companies to make electric cars as well,” he added, saying that, “In the long term, nobody will buy a car unless it is autonomous. You will only drive if you want to drive.”

Jaguar to Join Formula E in 2016

Formula E is very much the up-and-coming motorsport. It may never be able to steal the spotlight from its petrol-powered big brother, Formula 1, but it’s certainly drawing attention in recent times. Firstly  with its announcement two weeks back that it was planning a driver-less “Roborace” championship for self-driving cars, but now famous luxury car manufacturer, Jaguar, are getting in on the action with a plan to join the championship next season.

Many key automotive manufacturers already have some involvement in the motorsport, entering partnerships with existing Formula E teams to provide them with electric power units and other components. Jaguar’s entry into the sport has been made possible due to the exit of the Trulli Formula E team following disappointing results in their first two seasons.

In order to make their entry into the sport, Jaguar is partnering with Williams Advanced Engineering (who are related to the Williams F1 team). The two companies have shown greatness together before, collaborating on Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar and with Williams’ experience in the sport, as the battery provider for all the cars on the field, the result could be spectacular.

This could be a kick-off event for Jaguar to develop electric road cars too, with Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering director, Nick Rogers going on record stating that “Jaguar Land Rover’s made no secret about the fact that we will make electric vehicles.” “Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies,” said Rogers.

It is definitely a very exciting time for both motorsport and car enthusiasts. Many purists may believe that the petrol engine is the only way, but only time will tell what exciting racing Jaguar could bring to Formula E, and how they will pair their great sport and luxury cars with the modern electric engine for the road.

Image credit to Jaguar Land Rover

Tesla Superfan Given First Model X to Drive and Review

While us plebs have to wait until next year to get our hands on the new Tesla Model X electric sedan, Tesla superfan and former Citrix CEO Mark Templeton has had one for the past two months, and his review suggests that he might be a little bit in love with the vehicle. Templeton’s evaluation of the car, published by Canadian electric vehicle enthusiast site EVandMORE.com, suggests that the Model X has even surpassed the lauded Model S as Tesla’s premier vehicle.

“I have to admit that I like it better than my Model S,” Templeton writes. “In the fossil fuel world, I like the Porsche zCayenne over the Panamera for the same reason –  it’s a sports car, a sedan, and an SUV. The multi-purpose aspect of the X is stunning. The storage space is amazing. In fact, the deep trunk allows two of the 34-inch rolling luggage pieces to stand side-by-side! Add the folding third row, it far exceeds SUVs of similar size. The underseat space is great – more comfortable for passengers and added space for storage. The seats are by far the best of any vehicle I’ve owned – design, comfort and function. And, I love how the middle row sets tilt and slide.”

The Tesla Model X sedan is set to hit the market during the second quarter of 2016, priced between $132,000 and $142,000.

Meet MARTY – Stanford’s Self-Driving Drifting DeLorean

On the day that most of us are asking “where is my flying car and hoverboard?”, Prof. Gerdes of Stanford University and his students revealed a kind of DeLorean you won’t see in Back to the Future. It doesn’t fly, it doesn’t run on fusion power and it definitely doesn’t travel in time, but it does drift all by itself!

Named MARTY, which stands for Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control, the name doubles as a tribute to the film series that made the DeLorean famous. It may look like a regular DeLorean on the surface, but under the recognizable steel bodywork is a whole different machine. After all, a stock DeLorean would struggle to drift even under the best circumstances. Instead, MARTY sports an entirely new electric engine and gearbox supplied by Renovo, able to deliver over 20-times the power of the standard DeLorean V6 as well as a new steering system incorporating the ability to self-drive. And in the footage released by Stanford University, the results are sublime. The simple drift on open tarmac doesn’t seem like much, but it is just a stepping stone towards greater things, with Gerdes and his team aiming to have MARTY compete in drifting competitions alongside human drivers.

The idea of a drifting DeLorean competition seem all fun and games, but the research going into its functionality has very real applications in developing self-driving cars that hold up even outside of very controlled situations.

“The very best rally car drivers do this all this time, sacrificing stability so they can use all of the car’s capabilities to avoid obstacles and negotiate tight turns at speed. Their confidence in their ability to control the car opens up new possibilities for the car’s motion. Current control systems designed to assist a human driver, however, don’t allow this sort of maneuvering. We think that it is important to open up this design space to develop fully automated cars that are as safe as possible.” said Gerdes.

Maybe one day we’ll all be treated to a casual drift to work courtesy of our self-driving cars. It’s good to dream, right?

Image via

Tesla Model S Does Record-Breaking 452.8 Miles On One Charge

Tesla’s premium electric sedan, the Model S P85D, has managed a world-record 452.8 (728.7 km) mile journey on a single battery charge. The feat was achieved in Denmark by Bjørn Nyland, a programmer with the University of Oslo, who affectionately nicknamed his Tesla Model S the “Millennium Falcon”.

Nyland, who is not affiliated with Tesla, decided to push his Model S as far as it would go. After charging the vehicle at a charging station in Rødekro, Denmark, he and his friend took turns driving the car at 25mph, avoiding any elevation, before returning to the charging station. The journey took the two men 18 hours and 40 minutes, with a total of 1 hours’ worth of stops.

Nyland posted video highlights (to be generous) of the journey, which ends with him and his friend looking rather delighted with their feat:

A self-confessed Tesla nut, Nylund has a number of Tesla test drive videos on his YouTube channel, including one of him driving 125mph for 39 miles down a German Autobahn.

The previous world record, according to Tesla, was 423.5 miles on one charge, achieved by David Metcalf and his son Adam in a Tesla Model S back in 2012.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Car and Driver.

Europe Might Take the Lead in Adopting Electric Vehicles

It’s really surprising to hear something like this, but the fact is that Europeans are more interested in electric vehicles. I know the EV hype has been going on in the US for quite some time, but according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, Europe has seen a 78% rise year over year in Q1 2015. So if you were eyeing these futuristic vehicles, it’s time to get informed because you never know when they might rule the EU roads!

Of course, the majority of people interested in acquiring EVs are found in countries such as France, Germany, UK, but the interesting thing is that developing countries are interested in them as well. It might not be a big number of them, but selling a dozen or more EVs instead of a couple of them is still big progress for a developing country. The report states that there are already a little over 53,000 EVs sold in the EU, with more to come in the near future.

The huge gap between the US and Europe EV sales seems to come from two problems. Fuel prices are about the same amount you get for a full EV recharge in Europe and the distance that a regular individual travels is in the range of what an EV can offer. These two factors are really a game-chager for EV adoption. I myself live in the EU and to be honest, I would definitely choose an EV over a fuel-powered vehicle anytime, should I be given the option to choose between the two.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Komu

Faraday Future Officially Confirm Launch Date for Their First Electric Car

First thing’s first… who is Faraday Future? According to their website, they may be a soon-to-come competitor for Tesla Motor’s electric cars. But this is not why they are so interesting to talk about. What is more interesting is when they plan on releasing their first car and who they have on their side.

Faraday Future, commonly known as FF for short, may become the leading pioneers of electric cars in the near future. Oh sure, they follow the same “100% electric, zero-emission, fully-connected” principle as Tesla Motors and the rest of the electric car manufacturers, but there are two things that set them aside from the rest.

One of the things worth mentioning is that they plan on allowing customers to customize their vehicles “in ways you’ve never even considered possible”. We don’t know any specific details at the moment, but when you hear something like that and take into account the possibilities of what could be done to an electric car, your mind sparks, doesn’t it? Still, anyone could say that, but what makes their plans a bit more ‘believable’? Now we come to the second important bit.

According to sources, FF already has important people working for them. From Tesla’s chassis designers and the director of Wal-blue Chevrolet Volt, to the engineering staff who worked on BMW’s i8 concept car. This is probably what sets them aside from everyone else on the market right now. Also, when you get together people who worked on important projects like the ones previously mentioned, you pretty much can expect anything.

However, we still need to see more of what they plan to bring to the market. At the moment, all we know officially is that they will be releasing their first electric car in 2017. There is also a picture of what looks like their first model, though we don’t know if it is a concept or the actual car they are working on. More details about the company can be found over at their website here.

Image courtesy of Faraday Future

Tesla Model S to Get ‘Ludicrous Speed’ Upgrade

Think being environmentally friendly means you tear up the roads? Think again. Elon Musk, CEO of electric car pioneer Tesla, has announced that its flagship P85D Model S sedan is to get a ‘Ludicrous Speed’ upgrade. By “ludicrous”, Musk means that the car can reach 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, can travel a quarter-mile in 20.9 seconds, and can hit a top speed of 155 miles per hour.

It won’t come cheap, though: the upgrade alone will cost $10,000, while the Model S is already priced at a hefty $105,000.

Musk was effusive during the announcement of the upgrade, saying:

“While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren’t exactly sure when it will or won’t melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty.

That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current.

The net result is that we can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don’t know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail.

What this results in is a 10% improvement in the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.8 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.9 secs. Time to 155 mph is improved even more, resulting in a 20% reduction.

This option will cost $10k to new buyers.”

“It’s faster than falling”, Musk added. “It’s like having your own private roller coaster.”

See people testing the insane launch mode upgrade to get a taster of what is to come.

Thank you TIME and Forbes for providing us with this information.

Australian Students Developing First Road Legal Solar Sports Car

The Southern Hemisphere’s first road legal solar sports car is being developed by a team of undergraduate students from the University of South Wales. The students are working on turning the eVe – SunSwift’s record-breaking solar vehicle, the world’s fastest electric car over 500 kilometres on a single battery charge – into a road legal mode of transportation.

SunSwift Business Manager Rob Ireland told news.com.au, “To be able to register the car for the road, we need to include side impact protection, windscreen wipers, headlights and a number of other components.”

“Making these changes will add weight to the vehicle, so its energy system will also need an upgrade,” he added.

The plan is to make the eVe as practical as a regular car, while maintaining its sports car prestige. “To make the vehicle a commercially viable product and not just a science experiment, we need to offer the luxuries found in a petrol powered car,” Ireland said. “We want a two-seat car that can travel long distances at very high speeds without losing the comfort.”

The project, being not-for-profit and led by students, is relying on donations and sponsorship to continue. “Other teams working on similar projects have multi-million dollar budgets and we don’t receive anything close to that,” he said. “To think we are just some Aussie battlers fighting against the odds and competing on the world stage is pretty rewarding.”

SunSwift hopes to complete the project by July 2015.

Thank you news.com.au for providing us with this information.

TESLA Model S P85D at NVIDIA GTC 2015

GTC 2015: As part of our ongoing GTC 2015 coverage, we were instantly hooked when we saw the epic Model S P85D from Tesla. As someone who has driven the P85 and P85+ and even contemplated buying one for several months, I thought that I finally got it out of my system.

I was wrong. After seeing the P85D in person, it brought back all of those wonderful emotions to me again, and knowing that it now has an INSANE mode, made me want one even more.

Sadly, we didn’t get to drive it, but I am in talks with NVIDIA to try and get back into the drivers seat and show you not only the TESLA power, but what NVIDIA have done to this car to make it so awesome aswell.

Better Smartphone Battery Live Coming Thanks to Dyson

Known best for its vacuum cleaners and fans, Dyson is turning its attention smartphones, particularly their batteries. By investing $15 million dollars into Sakti3, a University of Michigan company, they’re helping Sakti3 develop the technology which could enable batteries to last twice as long.

What makes the technology so great, is its ability to work with more than just smartphones, such as electric cars, toothbrushes, and pretty much anything else you can think of that has a rechargeable battery. Imagine two plus days battery life with a phone, or an electric car that can do 600 miles per charge.

Sakti3’s technology works by using solid lithium electrodes inside their lithium-ion battery, instead of a liquid mix of reactive compounds. The result is a significantly higher energy storage. This also allows for battery construction that is lighter and smaller, meaning phones will be lighter as well, and possibly thinner.

When speaking about the technology, James Dyson said:

“Sakti3 has achieved leaps in performance, which current battery technology simply can’t. It’s these fundamental technologies – batteries, motors – that allow machines to work properly.”

Dyson helping out Sakti3 will enable the development to come to fruition much soon than was planned, although no official word yet. It is expected that a Dyson device will be first available with the technology.

Source: The Gadget Show