Tesla Model 3

model-3-tesla.jpg
Photo: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 is now for sale and on the road! (In California and a few other states as of this writing.)

The first iterations were “delivered” to a captive audience at the world headquarters in Mountain View, California, at the end of July 2017.

Not only is the car finally in production but we finally have finalized specs for the Baby T: Starting with size, the Model 3 is 184.8 inches in overall length compared with 196 inches for the Model S, and a 113.2-inch wheelbase compared with 116.5 inches for the Model S.

 

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Photo: Motor Trend

 

Power in the Baby T is down as well but definitely no slouch. Tesla says the Model 3 will get to 60 miles per hour in 5.1 or 5.6 seconds (depending on battery size). Speaking of which, battery size is now in range, rather than kilowatt hours, of either 220 or 320 miles (standard and long range, respectively).

Speaking of changes…totally free, unlimited Supercharging is out of the question for all Teslas that were purchased after January 1, 2017 (unless you purchased the vehicle using another owner’s referral, or paid a large, one-time fee). What those owners do get is annual “credits” that equate to around 1000 miles of free supercharging. For the new Model 3 owner, though, it seems as though those credits are not in play as, according to the Tesla website, Model 3 Supercharging is “pay per use”.

So the Model 3 definitely looks like a Tesla but it has a different look with almost a smile on its face but it’s definitely not a hatchback, which is a bummer since the trunk opening isn’t as big as the hatch on the Model S.

 

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Photo: Motor Trend

 

Another notable difference between the Model S and Model 3 is the center touchscreen in the Model 3. It’s the instrument panel/HVAC/radio/everything screen that will take some people a while to get used to.

 

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Photo: CNET

 

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Photo: The Verge

 

Here’s all the specs currently from the Tesla website:

 

Safety

  • Automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance
  • Eight airbags
  • Electronic stability and traction control

Convenience

  • 15″ touchscreen with onboard maps & navigation
  • Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity
  • Keyless entry and remote climate control with app
  • Voice activated controls
  • 60/40 split folding rear seats

Standard Interior

  • 15” touchscreen display
  • Dual zone climate control system
  • FM/Internet streaming radio
  • Textile seating
  • Center console with open storage and two USB ports

Premium Upgrades

  • Premium heated seating and cabin materials throughout, including open pore wood décor and two rear USBs
  • 12-way, power adjustable front seats, steering column and side mirrors, with custom driver profiles
  • Premium audio system with more power, tweeters, surround speakers and subwoofer
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Auto dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
  • LED fog lamps
  • Center console with covered storage and docking for two smartphones

Warranty

  • 4 year, 50,000 mile limited vehicle warranty
  • 8 year, 100,000 mile battery warranty (Standard)
  • 8 year, 120,000 mile battery warranty (Long Range)

Here is one of the more comprehensive looks at the Model 3

Me? I’m still waiting for the Tesla Minibus!

tesla_minibus_render

Thanks for reading!

…See You Down The Road!

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2017 RAM Rebel

If you’ve been waiting for the day to get a new Ram 1500 Rebel in Delmonico Red then your wait is over. Unveiled at the Houston Auto Show, the Rebel in Delmonico Red is now a fashion leader with its fancy new paint job to go with all its other features at no extra cost.

Now the seventh color option for the Off Road capable Rebel, Delmonico Red joins other colors such as Bright White, Granite Crystal Metallic, and Mojave Sand.

For those who do not know, the Rebel is a Ram model that shares off road aspirations of other factory models like the Ford F-150 Raptor. It comes only in the short wheelbase crew cab configuration. What makes a Rebel is a factory lift with Bilstein shocks, skid plates, tow hooks, and 33-inch all-terrain tires.

Power for the Rebel comes in three forms: a 4×4 with the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 along with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque; a 4×2 with the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 that features variable valve timing, fuel-saver technology that makes 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to the TorqueFlite; or a 4×4 with the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that features cylinder shut-off and VVT and produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

The Ram Rebel starts at a reasonable $45,095, with a destination charge of $1,395. Expect to see these bad boys at a dealer near you in May 2017.

Another announcement at the Houston Auto Show was the availability of a slick tailgate option on Limited trim package equipped Ram Truck models; monochromatic lettering for an alternative appearance. Coupled with the also announced cab-length body-colored running boards and you’ve got one sharp truck.

There’s definitely a lot going on at Ram these days!

Thanks for reading!

 

…See You Down The Road!

Pearl RearVision

Sometimes you see a commercial and you don’t even need to hear the full pitch. You see the product and get the gist of what it does and you want it because you know it fills a niche in your life. And then, you see the price and you know you will not have one…at least not THAT one.

That happened to me recently when I saw an ad on YouTube that really caught my attention. (As much as I despise those ads, every once in a while they work.) It was for a license plate surround with dual integrated backup cameras. The cool thing about the product was its solar charging built into the surround and lack of wires…along with a plug that goes into your car’s OBD socket and the requisite app to help get the most out of the product.

The company was founded by three former Apple employees who worked on the iPod and iPhone and are, as their web site explains, dedicated to making the same transformative change in the auto industry by delivering advanced, adaptive and continually improving driver assistance features to all 1.2 billion cars on the road.

 It’s a great concept for those of us who have an older vehicle that doesn’t have the backup camera or backup sensors. The app on your smartphone is what provides the view, a regular view and fishbowl view to better see around corners, and the OBD plug that links the cameras to your phone wirelessly.

 It all sounds so nice and simple. And you know what that means, it’s gonna cost you. Call it the Apple Tax but when you get something so complicated yet is supposed to work so simply, you know you’re going to have to pay extra for that.

Pearl RearVision, as it’s called, will set you back $500, which includes the camera frame, car adapter and a phone mount. The first catch is that your car has to be from 1996 or newer, since that is the year OBD II was mandated. The second catch is that you need either an iPhone 5 or newer along with iOS 9 or newer…or an Android phone that has Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer.

Granted, most who would want this tech on their car either have all of the above already or will be buying a new car with backup camera already installed. It seems that the market for this is quite small at the price they are seeking…but if they sell 10,000 units at $500 that’s $5 million. Not a bad payday as long as they didn’t have that much in research and development costs.

My opinion is that they will sell quite a few to tuners and people who think this will help make their cars safer for them to drive. But I think that the market will dry up fast if they don’t either drop the price or come out with a less expensive model.

I think it’s a great product. It seems very well designed and meets a need, at least for the next couple of years as the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has mandated backup cameras on all vehicles that weigh less than 5 tons beginning in May of 2018.

We’ll keep an eye on Pearl’s RearVision to see just how well it does.

… See You Down The Road!

Must…Have…Now

So Tesla will be producing much more than just a couple of awesome cars in the future, as laid out in a few tweets and blog post from Elon Musk, the president, founder, and all around billionaire guy who runs the company.

That blog post, entitled “Master Plan, Part Deux“, basically publicly outed how Tesla plans to move forward in its world domination of all things electric vehicle and technological awesomeness. And of course the Internets are all a flutter of what it all means.

To get you up to speed, the first part of Tesla’s electric world domination looked like this:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive: Tesla Roadster
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price: Tesla Model S and X
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car: Tesla Model 3 (or III?)
    And…
  4. Provide solar power.

The next steps are:

  1. Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage: think on buses and other large vehicles
  2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments (emphasis mine)
  3. Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
  4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it

Number 4 is quite intriguing….make money by letting other people drive your car when you’re not. hmmm.

But what I want is the Tesla Minibus!!!!! Especially if it’s going to look anything like the render posted by Jalopnik:

tesla_minibus_render

Click the pic to head over to their site to see their write up.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X Front Falcon Doors

Tesla has done the unthinkable. They have taken their fast, very fast, Model S sedan and grafted an egg-shaped SUV body onto it and are calling it the Model X. Yes, they’ve been hyping the Model X for a few years now and had some production issues (most notable due to the design of the rear passenger doors) but the official unveiling and first delivery just happened.

Now that we have official specs let the nitpicking begin.

Tesla Model X Rear Wing

There are two models of the Model X slated so far; the 90D and P90D. With the 90D you get all wheel drive, and EPA estimated range of 257 miles, 4.8 seconds to 60 miles per hour and two 259 horsepower electric motors, one for each axle. The P90D (P for performance) gives you a 250 miles estimated range, 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds and one electric motor powering the front wheel with 259 horsepower and one electric motor powering the rear wheels rated at 503 horsepower! Your range may vary.

Tesla Model X Side

Now, about those rear passenger doors. Tesla is calling them Falcon Wing doors. In concept they are like gull wing doors in that they open upwards but that is where the conceptual likeness ends. Falcon Wing doors are hinged near the top of the window glass so that the doors open almost straight up and then out rather than simply opening out. this design facilitates quite a few interesting and awesome ideals; you can stand in the rear seat, it’s easier to get child seats into and out of the vehicle and the children along with them and you can open the doors with about a foot of room between the Model X and the nearest obstacle. And for you ninnies who will complain about low overhangs, there are sensors built in that will detect a low garage ceiling or other obstruction.

Tesla Model X Side 2

One thing that might be a deal-breaker for some people is the lack of folding rear seats. That second row, with either two or three seats, is rigid and not much has been shown yet as to how it works to get people into the far back seats. We do know that they do not fold for cargo purposes like the far back seats do. It will be interesting to see how this pans out once more people get their hands on these machines.

Tesla Model X Rear Tow Rack

Pricey? Yes. But these are not for the mainstream as we know it. No, these are for those on the bleeding edge, those who need to have the latest and greatest technology no matter the cost…and also for those looking for bragging rights. “I’ve got the new Tesla. What do you have?”

Here are some manufacturer’s specs for your reading pleasure:

-Falcon Wing rear doors with built in sensors, which automatically adjust to the optimal opening arc in confined spaces or small garages.
-Automatically deploying rear spoiler
-Maps and navigation with real time traffic updates
-Daytime running lights
-Power-folding and heated side mirrors
-Front trunk with room for luggage, strollers or two golf bags
-Full size rear cargo area for your gear
-Free long distance travel on Tesla’s expanding Supercharger network
8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty
-Automatic keyless entry, with automatically opening front doors
-GPS enabled Homelink
-Parking sensors, blind spot warning and side collision avoidance
-Automatic emergency braking to assist in avoiding collisions, even at highway speeds
-Seating for up to seven adults
-Four LATCH child seat attachments, two in each passenger row

P90D Performance All-Wheel Drive:
250 miles range (EPA est.)
3.8 seconds 0-60 mph
3.2 seconds with Ludicrous Speed Upgrade
259 hp front, 503 hp rear motor power
155 mph top speed

90D All-Wheel Drive:
257 miles range (EPA est.)
4.8 seconds 0-60 mph
259 hp front, 259 hp rear motor power
155 mph top speed

Stow everyone’s gear in Model X’s large front trunk, rear cargo area and under passenger seats. The front trunk is large enough to hold two golf bags and the rear cargo area can easily hold large items like bicycles, skis and snowboards. Hitch mounted accessory carriers hold additional gear. Model X is the first electric vehicle with a 5,000 pound towing capacity.

Model X has the largest all glass panoramic windshield in production, providing an unparalleled view of the stars and sky above. Optimized solar tinting and obstruction-free view creates unlimited visibility for the driver and all passengers.

Model X is able to achieve 250 miles of range in part because it is the most aerodynamic SUV in production. At 0.24, Model X’s drag coefficient is 20% lower than the next best SUV. In addition, an active spoiler deploys from the rear liftgate to optimize highway efficiency and stability.

Falcon Wing doors allow easy access to second and third row seats from even a tight parking space, while traditional SUV doors or Minivan sliding doors would not grant any access.
With only a foot of clearance on either side, Falcon Wing doors articulate smoothly up and out of the way, allowing passengers to enter from both front and rear directions. The side and overhead opening is so large that parents can buckle children in without ducking or straining and without bumping their child’s head on the roof.

Tesla Model S 85 Review

model-s-photo-gallery-11Tesla. The name conjures up the great electricity race of the late 19th century where  Nikola Tesla and Edison fought over two great ways to generate and consume electricity, which are still in use today. Tesla was also an inventor of many things electric- and radio-based. He lived a good life off his patents until his death in 1943.

Today Tesla is a small car company taking after its namesake by building electric-only cars that have become viable and even sexy, with curves and power and handling and high technology.

The Tesla car company story began with the Roadster (2008-2012), a Lotus-based two-seater that was purported to go 245 on a single charge. One guy even made it across the United States in one! Albeit kind of slowly by gasoline car standards.

model-s-photo-gallery-10Starting in 2012 Tesla began making the Model S, a sedan variant with a bigger battery, more room (four seats and plenty of storage) and a style that puts it above many of the luxury brands out there. It’s long and swoopy and  looks great from every angle.

Powering the Model S is two different  battery sizes: a 60 kWh battery good for 208 miles and an 85 kWh battery that should eke out 265 miles per EPA ratings. There’s no transmission on the model S, just a reduction gear. Luckily, it doesn’t affect how the Model S runs; expect a top speed of 120 to 130 depending on the battery and which variant you choose. More on that in a bit

Horsepower ratings across all three Model S variants are respectable considering the league of competition in this class. The base Model S 65 gets a 302 horsepower motor good for 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 120 miles per hour. There are two versions of the Model S 85, the regular variant (362 HP, 5.4 seconds 0-60 and 125 MPH top speed) and the Model S P85+ (416 HP, 4.2 seconds to 60 mph and 130 mph top speed). We drove the Model S 85 and it felt as powerful as it should have.

model-s-photo-gallery-14Inside is an opulent setting for five adults (plus two kiddos with the optional rear-facing jump seat in the hatch the features five-point seat belts no less) with leather surfaces and soft touch materials at every point. The instrument panel is one big LCD that is configurable and easily readable. The center stack, where the radio and climate controls are in most cars, is another LCD panel…a rather large one that is the place for every control, whether changing the radio station, the interior temperature or even surfing the Web. Full specs can be found here.

2014-07-20 14.52.05Driving a Model S is a rare treat and a surreal experience since there is no key nor start/stop button nor any noise letting you know the car is ready to drive.  Once you get in, all you do is select a gear, reverse or drive, and go. Simple as that.

Once you’re moving, the Model S drives like any car on the road today. The only thing that seems different is the lack of engine noise and lack of transmission shift points. Power delivery is instant and forceful when you push the pedal to the floor, like any 300-400 horsepower car should do. Cornering is also a strong suit with the Model S, as it should be in this price range. It is truly motoring at its finest.

Prices start at $69,900.00 for the 60, $79,900.00 for the 85 and $93,400.00 for the P85+, none of which include the $7500 federal tax credit nor any upgrades like $2500 for a panoramic glass roof or $4500 for 21-inch “turbine” wheels or $1500 for leather (or upgrade to sport seats for another grand). THere are other options like the tech package ($3750), dual chargers ($1500) and many others! If you max out your Model S, as most Americans would love to do, expect a final price of almost $125,000.00!

The bottom line is this: The Tesla Model S is a cool vehicle with awesome tech features, a striking profile, drop dead gorgeous looks and exclusivity. The only drawback is the “limited” driving range. It’s only a matter of time before more electric cars hit the mainstream, as long as their range keeps improving and costs keep coming down. The exception is Tesla. HIgh-end cars are always a bit eccentric and that is truly something to revel in.

 

On a side note, There is no key for the Model S. You get a fob shaped like the car that activates the door handles when you walk up to it. Coolest tech we’ve seen in a while!

 

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And here is the actual car we drove, in it’s home, getting charged up:

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And some pics of the center screen and the rear hatch!

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NAIAS 25th Anniversary Music Partnership

This year the North American International Auto Show in Detroit turns 25!

To help celebrate that milestone, the NAIAS has partnered with Pandora, the online music service, to bring the “NAIAS 25 Rocks” mixtape. You can listen to artists like Kid Rock, Eminem, Marvin Gaye and many more when you go here.