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!

LG Producing Tesla Model 3’s Huge Touchscreen

With an incredible number of Model 3’s already preordered, Tesla is certainly going to need some help if they’re going to come close to filling the demand. According to Reuters, the first of the companies that may be on board to help get the Model 3 into production are LG, who will be making the huge 15-inch touchscreen information displays for the car.

This is a big deal for LG Display as with so many of the Model 3 already expected to be sold, the production of these displays should be a strong and stable source of income for the company, compared to typical consumer products such as TVs, monitors, and smartphones. Reuter’s anonymous source also stated that “LG Display is a sole supplier for the 15-plus inch centre display of Model 3”.  With no competition over the production of the Model 3’s display and its standardized nature, LG won’t have to work hard to stand out to do business, instead focusing on delivering a consistent and high-quality product.

There was no comment as to what prompted the move away from the unnamed provider of the displays used in the existing Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles, but having an established display firm such as LG on side can be nothing but a good thing for Tesla, who are banking their future on the success of the Model 3, which already seems to be paying off.

Electric Bikes Are Coming to Motorcross

In a world where the focus on electric vehicles seems almost entirely to be on cars and other on-road vehicles, Silicon Valley firm Alta Motors are taking a different path, with the firm preparing to release a number of electric off-road motorcycles and supermoto bikes.

The company was created by motorcycle enthusiasts Derek Dorresteyn and Jeff Sand, whose aim is to build fast, quiet electric motorcycles. An electric motorbike isn’t an original creation, with a number already in existence. What makes Alta’s bikes different is that they want their bikes to be able to tackle the rigours of off-road motorcycling, with riders being able to freely fly over jumps at high-speed and race down tough courses reliably, all while competing with other racers.

Many electric vehicle companies want to have their developments appeal to tech lovers and early adopters, but Alta are different, they want their bikes to be picked up by real motorcycling fans. In order to achieve this, their internal “ride team” have been entering into competitions on their bikes, in the hopes that they will be able to compete alongside traditional petrol-powered bikes. The Redshift MX has one major advantage over regular bikes, a lack of gears. This provides both instant access to the same power regardless of gear and lets the user be free from worrying about shifting in tough track conditions. It is quiet too, which would make it far more acceptable to be ridden near places populated by both humans or animals.

These bikes aren’t cheap, with the MX model coming in at $15,000 and the SM model costing, at least, $500 more. On a bike that is ridden in the most rigorous conditions, however, the reduced number of components that will need to be maintained (it has no exhaust or transmission), could help to cut costs. And with the only competitor for electric bikes, KTM, not selling their bikes outside of Europe, Alto could have the US market all to themselves and even so, Alto claim to be ready to go head-to-head if need be.

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.

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.

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.

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

Aston Martin Developing Hybrid and Electric Cars

Luxury car maker Aston Martin is working on a pair of eco-friendly vehicles – a hybrid DBX and a fully electric Rapide S – it has revealed at the recent New York Auto Show. The hybrid will be a four-door version of the DBX that was showcased in Geneva in March (above). It will serve as a testbed for electric technology which, if popular to Aston Martin customers, “would be a nice place to go,” according to CEO Andy Palmer.

The EV, which is still in the early stages of development, will be based on the existing Rapide S (below), but four-door. The company is currently engaging in a technical study of an all-electric Rapide S, with Palmer projecting a release in two years’ time. It will be priced in line with other Rapide models, so is expected to cost around $200,000.

Source: Engadget

Charge Your Phone in 30 Seconds

Reuters reports about an Israeli company that claims to have developed a prototype that could charge a mobile phone in 30 seconds.

“Using nano-technology to synthesize artificial molecules, Tel Aviv-based StoreDot says it has developed a battery that can store a much higher charge more quickly, in effect acting like a super-dense sponge to soak up power and retain it.”

The technology could eventually charge a car in minutes, rather than hours – this would be something of a massive breakthrough for electric cars, with battery charging being one of their biggest drawbacks.

The company says that the technology now exists, but needs to be refined before it can be implemented into consumer devices. They’ve received $48 million in funding to help them achieve that goal and say that it could be ready for all of us in 2016.

Source: Reuters