Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2014 05:33 PM
The new face of Tesla finally is taking shape, with emerging details about its upcoming mainstream-priced sedan and its soon-to-be-built gigafactory beginning to emerge.
The electric vehicle-maker, which so far has fielded only the $70,000 Model S all-electric sports car, this week confirmed that it will launch a $35,000 Model III in 2017, a vehicle that finally will test whether even the sexy Tesla brand can make a truly general-market proposition out of all-electric vehicles. No automaker to date has been able to do that.
Speaking of sex, Tesla’s other upcoming vehicle is the Model X crossover, a falcon-winged, all-wheel-drive model that is set to be released early next year. Founder Elon Musk would prefer that the brand’s model lineup spell “S-E-X” – but Ford maintains the rights to “Model E,” and Musk hasn’t fought that so far. Maybe Musk will turn the “III” sideways on the new model and it’ll resemble an “E.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 24, 2014 11:29 AM
Recall madness has been obscuring most of the other news out of the auto industry these days, but there’s plenty of scrambling that has nothing to do with safety campaigns and investigations. At the top is the still-intensifying competition among BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the global lead in premium-vehicle sales.
Audi has just thrown the latest punch with news that it has drawn up blueprints for a range of high-performance electric cars, according to Reuters. The brand had sidelined EV-development efforts a couple of years ago in the face of slackening prospects but recently has stepped up such efforts again in the wake of the sales success of Tesla and accelerating EV moves by BMW, the news service said.
One of the new blueprints Audi has drawn up is for an electric version of a new Q8 SUV that would pit the vehicle against Tesla’s upcoming Model X crossover, Reuters said. Audi also has improved the once-limited range of its first EV, the R8 e-tron, which now is slated for a 2015 release in Europe, according to Digital Trends.Continue reading...
start your engines
Posted by Dale Buss on June 19, 2014 05:10 PM
It emits a metallic purr rather than a throaty roar, but Harley-Davidson’s first-ever electric motorcycle is expected to make a big statement for how the brand is transitioning to an era that is increasingly friendly to EVs and more suspect of old-fashioned power supplied by internal combustion of hydrocarbons.
Dubbed Project LiveWire, the brand is taking the new EV prototype across the US to give fans a chance to try out the new technology. The tour will kick off with a journey along Route 66, the fabled US highway in the western part of the country, visiting more than 30 Harley dealerships this year. Riders will be able to ride the Project LiveWire prototype and non-motorcyclists will be able to enjoy a simulation. The tour will extend to other parts of the United States, Canada and Europe next year, the company said.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 13, 2014 04:37 PM
There's no real doubt that Elon Musk is a visionary; he keeps opening new portals in business and elevating his game above competitors—but he is also raising the risks for himself and his enterprises if his continued bold choices take him down the wrong path.
Musk’s latest gambit is to “give away” Tesla Motors’ patents, or at least let other companies use the EV maker’s inventions under an open-source approach at the company that, Musk hopes, will lead to more widespread electrification of the auto business as rivals bring economies of scale and their own ideas to increase the effectiveness of Tesla technology.
“Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology,” Musk wrote in a blog post.
And the way he sees it, nothing less than the future of the planet may be at stake in this move. “I don’t think people quite appreciate the gravity of what is going on” in global warming “or just how much inertia the climate has,” Musk said during a conference call. “We really need to do something. It would be shortsighted if we try to hold these things close to our vest.”Continue reading...
now hear this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 23, 2014 05:36 PM
Back in the Eighties, cigar-chomping Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca was known for his candor, and the brand even capitalized on it in commercials. “If you can find a better car, buy it,” was one of Chrysler’s tag lines, uttered in ads by Iacocca himself.
Now in the Teens, sweater-donning Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has adopted the mantle of candor on behalf of his company and has built a reputation as the most straight-shooting auto chief in the world. It helps that he’s been able to engineer a comeback for Chrysler and survival for Fiat in a troubled European auto market, so any Marchionne utterance can be as significant as it is direct.
Two new examples emerged this week as Marchionne weighed in on a couple of issues that are especially big for the auto industry if not so monumental right now for Fiat Chrysler: recalls and EVs.
“I hope you don’t buy it,” Marchionne quipped this week about the new $32,650 Fiat 500e, a well-executed electric vehicle, “because every time you do it costs me $14,000.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 19, 2014 05:12 PM
Electrified vehicles may—eventually—become the future of automotive transportation, but EVs actually seem to be slowing down in a takeover that many still believe is inevitable. In fact, except for Tesla and Prius, no hybrid or EV brand has really proven itself, and many remain in trouble or may become stillborn.
Because of Tesla’s success with its $70,000 Model S all-electric vehicle, traditional premium car marques believe there’s enough of a market at the top end for their own growing incursions into EVs to be worth the risk. BMW, for example, continues to grease the skids for the introduction of two electrified vehicles this year.
This month, BMW is rolling out its i3 city car, an extremely light-weight, small entrant that is available in an all-electric version or, for those afflicted by range anxiety, in a version with a small onboard gasoline engine. And later this year comes the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, which it will position as a worthy rival to the Tesla Model S—even though the latter is fully electric while the i8 won’t be.
BMW is using an extension of its DriveNow car-sharing program in the San Francisco Bay area, which competes with Zipcar and other car-sharing services, to promote its EV lineup by injecting the program's available car lineup with a few dozen new ActiveE electric cars.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 03:37 PM
Get ready for the mother of all site-location battles as four Southwestern states attempt to lure the highly anticipated, multibillion-dollar new "gigafactory" that is supposed to be churning out state-of-the-art batteries for Tesla cars and other purposes within three years.
The competition and attention likely will rival that garnered by General Motors' Saturn project in the Eighties. After an unprecedented bidding and lobbying war by states across the country, Saturn landed in Tennessee and did a good bit to change GM and the auto industry before the company knocked the brand out of its orbit five years ago as part of the federal bailout.
Tesla already said it had narrowed its choice to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas for a plant that would cover 10 million square-feet and employ 6,500 people. But considering that the plant is one of the biggest economic-development prizes in recent American history, the hoopla will be endless.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2014 04:49 PM
With the European auto market showing signs of life after a five-year recession, and mobile-connectivity technology coming to dominate automobile design worldwide, there are hundreds of car brand executives flocking to Geneva and Barcelona this week.
At this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, increasing news about the latest in automotive technology is being made alongside myriad announcements about smartphone advances and news from the "internet of things." It's similar to how the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January has emerged as a crucial venue for advancements in automotive digital technology.
The Geneva Motor Show kicks off next week at a time when it appears European auto sales finally may have bottomed out. Combined with the fact that many of the advances they show won't be available for a year or a few years anyway, the Geneva show is a more important platform for car brands than it has been in some years.Continue reading...