12 Jun

Tesla Motors open sources their technology

Model s photo gallery 01

“Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.


At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.”

(Via All Our Patent Are Belong To You | Blog | Tesla Motors.)

09 Jun

Tesla will open up its Supercharger patents

Wow, that’s fascinating. Reminds me of when Mercedes Volvo allowed the patent for the seat built to be used by anyone because it was of benefit to all people. Getting more superchargers built helps Tesla, if other people do it so Tesla cars can use theirs, obviously. But since Tesla is getting the supercharger network rolled out faster than some others, it’s a big deal.

Also a big deal because I imagine Tesla will be giving away info on how the supercharger works, which might give competitors details about how their supercharger batteries work. That’s the generous part of the offer, here:

“Tesla’s CEO has been carefully dropping hints that he might ‘do something controversial’ with his company’s collection of technology patents, and now we know what he’s on about. Speaking at the UK launch of the Tesla Model S yesterday, Elon Musk said that he specifically wants to open up the designs for his Supercharger system in order to create a standard technical specification that other electric car makers can adopt. As part of this, it’s possible that Tesla might need to give away some intellectual property about components within the cars themselves”

(Via Tesla will open up its Supercharger patents to boost electric car adoption.)

08 Apr

Tesla sets a drag record for fastest production car

What people still fail to realize about electric cars, due to negative PR from anti-green types, is that 100% of the torque is available to the wheels.

Which means, if you want sporty, you’ll want electric:

“The Tesla Model S Performance ended up running a best time of 12.371 @ 110.84 MPH with 0-60 MPH coming up in just 3.9 seconds.  The National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) was on site running their Winter EV Nationals and verified the Tesla runs to have set a new world record for the quickest production electric vehicle in the 1/4 mile.”

(Via » Tesla Model S Performance sets World Record for the Quickest Production Electric Car – DragTimes.com Drag Racing, Fast Cars, Muscle Cars Blog.)

18 Jun

Which midwest state has the largest all-electric car-sharing service in the US?

Well, huh:

“Far from high-tech Silicon Valley or hipster Austin, Texas, the largest all-electric car-sharing service is being built.

If your second guess is Portland or Brooklyn, keep guessing…and moving inland. Indianapolis, the nation’s twelfth largest city, will install 1,200 charging stations at about 200 locations to support 500 electric vehicles. The project is expected to be up and running within a year.”

(Via Indianapolis US Largest Electric Car Share | The Energy Collective.)

06 Jun

Smart Car now has an affordable electric version


“It’s here. The fully customizable, fully full-of-attitude, all-new smart electric drive. Starting at $25,000 before tax credits, or lease with Battery Assurance Plus starting at $199 for 36 months.*”

(Via new electric cars. custom mini electric vehicles. smart USA.)

Well, if I didn’t have to fit two kids in with me, that would be interesting.

I find the Smart as an electric car far more compelling than as a gas car. And as I understand it, it was originally supposed to be electric.

By the way, if you’re terrified of the safety of a Smart, that’s addressed on their page. It’s got a good crash cage (though if someone in a Hummer comes at you, you’re screwed whether in a Smart or any other small coupe).

27 May

Twitter-powered electric car

Well, it’s not really powered by Twitter, as such. But it uses Facebooks likes and retweets to send the signal to continue. An interesting experiment, brought to my attention by Kerry Kuhn in the inbox:

“Converting old gas-powered cars to run on electricity has become easy enough that Minddrive, a Kansas City non-profit, has made such conversions part of an after-school education program for inner-city teen-agers. For this year’s project, Minddrive decided to set a higher bar by challenging the students to build a car powered by tweets and Facebook posts.”

(Via Teens build electric car powered by Twitter, Facebook posts | Motoramic – Yahoo! Autos.)

23 May

TV leaves you dark on Tesla’s loan repayment

Via Ramez Naam:

“The news that electric carmaker Tesla Motors has repaid its federal loan early is being ignored by some of the same outlets that tried to make the bankrupt solar company Solyndra the face of the Obama administration’s green initiatives — including ABC, which suggested Tesla wouldn’t be able to repay its loan.”

(Via After Hyping Solyndra, TV News Ignores Tesla’s Loan Repayment | Blog | Media Matters for America.)

Between the negativity aimed at Tesla by mainstream institutions, including politicians trying to stop it from being able to sell cars in some states, these guys are fighting quite a stacked deck.

It’s going to make a hell of a David and Goliath story if they win out.

14 May

Tesla beating luxury car model sales

CNN takes a closer look at Tesla sales. This reminds me of early adoption practices in other key technologies, like cellphones. First they’re subsidized by the rich and out of our reach, and when are tech, are roundly drubbed by mainstream thinkers as being high priced tech toys.

Today’s electric cars are likely to future electric cars as cellphones in the late 80s are to today’s cellphones.


“You know the Tesla Model S, the $70,000 (and-up) electric car that ‘nobody can afford’? Well, evidently, more than a few people can afford it.

In fact, in the first quarter of this year, more people bought a Tesla Model S than bought any of the similarly priced gasoline-powered cars from the top three German luxury brands, according to data from LMC Automotive. About 4,750 buyers bought a Model S while just over 3,000 people bought Mercedes’ top-level sedan.”

(Via Tesla sales beating Mercedes, BMW and Audi – May. 13, 2013.)

16 Dec

Interesting look at Volt background

According to this interesting look at the background of how the Volt came to be, it was not, as many have come to believe, an Obama-ordered GM bailout project, but something GM started before everything fell apart.

Early in 2006, then Vice Chairman Bob Lutz had an idea after seeing what Tesla was up to with its lithium battery electric vehicle. He invited Lauckner, who at the time was Vice President of Global Program Management, to his office to discuss his vision of a new EV concept car. The purpose of the EV was to achieve petroleum independence — this was a goal that everyone could embrace, from energy hawks like Lutz to dyed-in-the-wool treehuggers to those of us in-between.

Even more interesting is how they made the decision not to go battery-only, or imitate other hybrids. The author made this chart to illustrate why the Volt came to be considered the best option:


11 Dec

TATA’s Affordable Electrical Car

TATA has an electric car with an expected $10,000 price tag:


200km range on a single charge. Affordable.

Yes please.

I can’t verify the 10K price tag anywhere else other than Next Big Future, so take that with a grain of salt (though most TATA products are super affordable). But it’s certainly a development I’ll be following.

Oh, and you won’t see these in the US, but in Spain and India, in the immediate future.