Toyota and Tesla working on electric RAV4

July 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota and Tesla have officially announced that the companies are in partnership and are building an electric prototype based on the RAV4 crossover. A production version of the concept is expected by 2012. The initial prototypes are currently in development with a Tesla electric powertrain and two vehicles based on the Toyota RAV4 platform should be finished by the end of July.

If it all works out, it will be great news for fans of the original RAV4 EV which debuted in the late 1990s over in the States.

The new RAV4s will use Tesla’s liquid cooled lithium ion battery configuration that contains thousands of laptop cells. The very first prototype is already running and a larger fleet will be prepared this year for further testing by Toyota.

Click here to read a Car and SUV road test of the RAV4 diesel currently available in NZ.

Tesla planning new compact SUV model for 2013

May 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

American electric car maker Tesla has announced that it will be introducing an all-electric crossover utility vehicle in 2013.

Seeking brand expansion beyond its current model lineup of the Tesla Roadster and the upcoming Model S sedan, Tesla is developing electric car products clearly targeting the mass market.

But the California-based company may not be quite as ambitious as they initially seem.

Tesla is currently in a partnership with Daimler to supply electric vehicle technology to be used in its vehicles like the Mercedes A-Class and the Smart brand’s range. It does appear more likely that Tesla technology will see a greater road presence in the future through a partner alliance rather than its own products.

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport vs. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

April 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport vs. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Tesla begins production of RHD roadster

February 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Tesla Motors has begun production of the right-hand drive version of its all-electric Roadster, to be launched in the UK later this month.

“The right-hand-drive model is our response to growing demand from high-performance car buyers in the UK who are also interested in their impact on the environment,” said Cristiano Carlutti, Tesla’s Vice President for European Sales and Operations. “Tesla is dramatically expanding its retail footprint in Europe, we look forward to building our community of owners and fans throughout the continent.”

Further to the new right-hand drive system, the Tesla Roadster has also seen a few upgrades for the 2010 model year. These include improvements to noise-reduction materials, a new stereo system and other minor enhancements.

Tesla has delivered about 1,000 Roadsters to customers in 21 countries since the car went first went on sale in 2008. The new RHD version, is available exclusively at Tesla’s Knightsbridge showroom in London but it’s likely some examples will be exported to markets like Japan and Australia and possibly even here in NZ.

Disappointingly, the move to RHD production comes rather late as the current version of the Roadster is due to cease production next year in order for the Lotus factory in which it’s built to receive an upgrade.

2008 best inventions of the year

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Run, ride, swim and sing through some of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2008

New Tesla model S four door sedan electric vehicle

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

New Tesla model S four door sedan electric vehicle

Tesla Roadster

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus-derived electric supercar

Daimler buys 10% stake in Tesla Motors

May 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tesla Roadster Brabus fq

During a recent press conference held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Dr. Thomas Weber, the head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz, announced that Daimler is buying a 10% stake in Tesla Motors. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also present for the big announcement. The companies did not specify the amount paid by Daimler, other than to say it was in the double digit millions USD. Daimler will be bringing engineering support to the party and possibly parts that may go into the Model S. Tesla, will chip in by providing battery packs for the second-generation Smart ED due out later this year. Tesla will also focus on battery pack integration and battery management systems for Daimler vehicles in the furture.

The deal will also give Tesla access to the automotive lithium ion cells being produced by Daimler’s investment in Li-Tec, a joint venture between Evonik and Daimler. Weber announced that Daimler would commence series production of fully electric Smart vehicles in 2012.

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