Tesla Launches Model S Lease Program

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Luxury electric-car manufacturer Tesla this past weekend announced the launch of its new U.S. Bank-backed lease program that practically dons a polyester suit and says, "What's it gonna take for me to put you in a new Model S, today." Not only does the lease price work out to a more than $150-a-month net savings compared with purchasing a Model S outright, but it allows lessees to return the car without penalty if they're not satisfied.

Related: Tesla Unveils All-Wheel-Drive Model S, New Driverless Tech

"Leasing now comes with the Tesla happiness guarantee," Elon Musk said in a Tesla Motors blog post on Saturday. "If you don't like our car for any reason in the first three months, you can just return it and your remaining lease obligation is waived." But there's a catch.

By Matt Schmitz | October 28, 2014 | Comments (1)

'Price Is Right' Contestants to Bid on 'Dream Cars'

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OK, playing "The Price is Right" rules, as close as you can without going over: How much would you expect to pay for a Porsche Cayenne? How about a Range Rover Sport SE? A Maserati Quattroporte S Q4, Tesla Model S or Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster? All next week contestants on the iconic game show will be making bids on that half-million-dollar quintet of luxury vehicles in hopes of hearing Bob Barker … er … we mean, Drew Carey, announce that they've won "A NEW CARRR!!!"

What Car Would You Buy if You Won Mega Millions?

"Dream Car Week" runs Oct. 13-17 on the four-decade-old-plus shopping-themed game show that asks contestants to wager on the retail price of merchandise in hopes of winning extravagant prizes presented by comely models. The show was famously hosted by Barker from its inception until 2007, when bespectacled comedian and sitcom star Carey succeeded him. The show runs 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Standard Time weekdays on CBS.

By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (5)

Tesla Unveils All-Wheel-Drive Model S, New Driverless Tech

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Thursday evening, California electric-carmaker Tesla made good on CEO Elon Musk's eyebrow-raising tweet a day earlier that it's "about time to unveil the D and something else." Well, the D is here, and it's an all-wheel-drive, dual-motor (hence the "D") Model S. USA Today reports that the Model S variant, available in Model S 60D, Model S 85D and Model S P85D, will include all-wheel-drive with two motors, one for each axle.

Related: Tesla Selects Nevada for Site of New Battery "Gigafactory"

When the all-wheel-drive Model S arrives in February 2015, it should increase Tesla's appeal on the East Coast and in the Snow Belt states, where the car's top-shelf rivals — cars like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8/S8 and Lexus LS — all offer all-wheel drive. The Model S P85D, meanwhile, will offer unrivaled performance: Tesla says it hits 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.

That's a mammoth increase over the already-quick Model S Performance (4.2 seconds), given how blistering these times already are. It torches the S63 AMG and Audi S8 (both 3.9 seconds), plus the BMW Alpina B7 (4.3 seconds). And it does this with two electric motors that make 691 horsepower — 221 hp at the front and 470 hp at the rear.

By Kelsey Mays | October 10, 2014 | Comments (10)

Tesla Selects Nevada for Site of New Battery "Gigafactory"

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Tesla Motors and the state of Nevada have jointly announced that the company has selected Nevada for the site of its new "Gigafactory," a manufacturing plant that will supposedly supply the electric vehicle automaker with enough batteries to build 500,000 cars annually by 2020. Speculation has been rampant for months about where the site of the new plant would be, ever since Tesla began courting several Southwestern states for tax and construction incentives in exchange for locating the plant in their state.

Related: Glitches Call Reliability of Tesla Model S Into Question

The plant itself will be a joint venture between Tesla and the company's battery supplier Panasonic, which has agreed to produce cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells there, providing machinery and manufacturing equipment while Tesla provides the land, facility and building management. Half of the plant will be used by Panasonic to manufacture lithium-ion cells, the other half of the facility will be used by Tesla's various suppliers to create battery packs and ancillary support systems for the packs.

Tesla maintains that the plant will eventually produce enough battery packs to support the Model S, Model X SUV (concept shown above) and the recently announced smaller Model 3 sedan, Tesla's less expensive, more accessible EV luxury car. The 500,000 claim is a bit staggering as no luxury brand sells nearly that many cars in the U.S., and Tesla has only just begun exploring sales in China. The company claims that the plant will eventually employ 6,600 people, and Nevada is expecting the plant to generate more than $100 billion in economic impact for the state over the next 20 years.

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By Aaron Bragman | September 5, 2014 | Comments (1)

Glitches Call Reliability of Tesla Model S Into Question

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Automatically extending door handles that don't extend, a multimedia screen that blanks out, a creaky roof, difficulties with the trunk latch. These are just some of the glitches with Tesla's long-range-electric luxury sedan, the Model S, that have resulted in backlash from Consumer Reports after initial praise of the vehicle, USA Today reported. We at Cars.com noted these and other quirks during our tests of the 2012 model. How might this affect the Model S' reliability ratings in the future? Get the full USA Today story here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | August 12, 2014 | Comments (10)

Tesla to Launch Compact, Low-Cost Sedan in 2017

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Tesla has confirmed a third model, dubbed the Model 3, will show up around 2017. Tesla CEO Elon Musk originally wanted to call it the Model E — which, together with the extant Model S sedan and forthcoming Model X SUV, would have landed Tesla enough S-E-X appeal for late-night comedians to have a field day. But Ford sued because it had rights to the Model E name, explains British car magazine Auto Express, which broke the story, so Tesla had to go with Model 3 — or Model III, depending on exact nomenclature. The all-electric Model 3 will have a smaller platform than the Model S and take on the BMW 3 Series. Musk told Auto Express it would be priced around $35,000, or half the cost of a Model S. Still, the Model 3 images that Auto Express posted "were mock-ups based on their own speculation," Tesla tweeted on Tuesday.

Read more from our friends at USA Today here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Kelsey Mays | July 16, 2014 | Comments (6)

Toyota, Ford Top Consumer Reports' Brand-Perception Survey

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People love Toyota but think Land Rover stinks, according to Consumer Reports' 2014 Car-Brand Perception Survey. The magazine quantified Toyota's brand image to an indexed score of 145, which put it ahead of second-place Ford (120 points), third-place Honda (109) and Chevrolet (105). On the flip side, Land Rover's 4-point index score placed it last; sister brand Jaguar scored just 9 points.

Consumer Reports Survey Shakes Up Rankings

Consumer Reports said brand perception reflects how consumers view auto brands across seven categories: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design/style and technology/innovation. Myriad factors, from marketing and recalls to actual hands-on experience and awards, influence the scores. And it's those categories — in that order of importance — that consumers find most important in cars, the magazine said.

By Kelsey Mays | February 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Tesla Model S

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 29,222 model-year 2013 Model S electric cars equipped with 240-volt NEMA 14-50 Universal Mobile Connector adapters.

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that during charging, the adapter, cord or wall outlet could overheat.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

How Quickly Does the Tesla Model S' Battery Charge?

"How quickly does the Tesla Model S' battery charge?"

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By Rick Popely | November 9, 2013 | Comments (10)

Tesla Chief Wants To Sink 007's Lotus

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At first, his identity was as secret as British super-spy James Bond's next mission. But the name of the mystery bidder who purchased the Lotus submarine-car prop used by Roger Moore's 007 in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) ultimately was revealed: Musk … Elon Musk. The "eclectic billionaire" CEO of Tesla Motors purchased the Lotus for $989,000 last month at a London auction, according to USA Today.

Musk told USA Today that the car held great childhood nostalgia for him and he had been disappointed to learn that it did not really transform into a submarine; Musk plans to change all that by outfitting the vehicle with a Tesla powertrain. While the Aston Martin perhaps is the car most closely associated with the iconic Bond character, the Lotus is easily one of the most famed gadgets in 007's arsenal. In the film, Bond drives the car off a pier and into the ocean, the car's wheels retract, fins extend and voila, a luxury-sub sports car. (Bond, after all, would never be seen in a sub-compact.)

Related
Tesla's Elon Musk buys 007's sub to make it real
(USA Today)
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By Matt Schmitz | October 21, 2013 | Comments (1)

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