Archive for: March, 2011

Tesla Model S

Mar 25 2011 Published by under Cars, Changing scene

I drove down to Newport Beach to see the Model S at the Tesla dealer. I had been invited to a special showing of the touring Model S. Getting there and seeing the car being rope off I was disappointed. Then to find out that we were not going to be able to touch or even get in the car was a real bummer.  Apparently this particular Model S is a concept Model S and not a production version.  The sale person claimed that the the concept car cost over two million dollars to build.  So no touching.

The real reason is the exterior and interior of concept are close to the production but not exactly the same. The exterior is about 90% the same, just some minor aerodynamics changes for efficiencies.  As for the interior there will be major differences. Seams the concept was built on a existing rolling platform.   So the concept still has a drive train tunnel. The production Model S will not, as the entire drive train is only 12 moving parts mounted around the rear axial. Sales staff said the will be considerable more room in the cockpit of the production Model S.

Good news is the 17 inch touch screen that makes up the center stack will be in the production version. This will be a full connected car.  The dealer/Tesla will push out updates to you car automatically.   Tesla also said there will be third party apps available for the car. Using a smart phone you will be able to check the stats of you Tesla, charge levels etc… Remember that two big investors in the start-up of the Model S were founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It is rumored that an internet connect car was a stipulation of the investment.

Now the bad news. The touring of the concept model is a road show to get you to put down a $5,000 get in the queue deposit. The sale person said she would be happy to put it on your credit card. Definitely an upper crust crowd, no cash.  Mind you the 5 grand does not get you a relative position in line. It just gets you in the queue. What to put more money down or sign up for more options you move up the list. But the options are expensive.

To start with there is the “Signature”  edition. It will cost you 40 grand down to order the “Signature”, but you will one of the first to get a Model S Tesla.  Plus ALL the “Signature”  edition model S cars will be the 300 mile version of the battery pack, which is a $20,000 upgrade. In addition the the battery upgrade the “Signature”  edition will also be the highest trim level. So this is not the $50K Model S, it will be more like $100K.

So what about everyone that does not to sign up for the “Signature”  edition? Will, the first non-”Signature”  edition cars to roll off the assembly line will also be the 300 mile battery pack version. So if you want a reasonably priced Tesla Model S, like the advertise $50 price point, you are going to be waiting a long time. Maybe another 24 to 36 months.

But like the sales person said it is a “luxury electric Car” . She said it with a BIG smile.

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Chevy Volt Test drive

Mar 17 2011 Published by under American Consumer, Cars, Changing scene

My wife made a visit to the local Chevy dealer to check out the Chevy Volt.  Thought they may have one on the show room floor. To my surprise that had several on the lot. so we started look at a few that were on the lot. A salesman approchased and invited us into the show room to look at and drive  the Volt.

So here are my first 10  impressions.

  1. I like the concept car/ show car styling a lot better, the production version is dumbed down a lot
  2. No leg room in the back seat when the drivers seat is move back all the way. I mean non, not any, zero, so forget about using the back seat if the drive it Tall like me 6’4″
  3. Do not like the painted center stack of buttons. Overwhelming at first maybe it grows on you.
  4. Loved the multiple display screens and the total glass dash
  5. The electric motor provide tons of  low end torque.
  6. Front grill in not a grill so do not make it look like one, get daring and create something different
  7. It is EXPENSIVE compared to the Nissan Leaf, but cheaper then the Tesla model S.
  8. Dual power plants revealed the wifes “Range anxiety”
  9. Drives like any other car
  10. Very quite aka no tailpipe.

So bottom line, Would I buy this half electric, half Gas powered car? Not for me but my Wife loved it. So I guess we will be buying one in the next 12 months or so.  How is that for a positive answer. But I would still like to see the Nissan Leaf.

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