Tesla Up In Arms Against the New York Times

Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors, has called the recent New York Times Review on the Tesla Model S as ‘fake’.

The Tesla boss went on Twitter denouncing the review and defending the carmaker’s highly touted family super saloon all electric car. The review said that the electric car ran out of power sooner than expected when it was driven on one cold winter day. Musk tweeted, “NYTimes article about Tesla range in cold is fake.” He added that Tesla is preparing a blog to detail what actually occurred in the test driver and is now “lining up other journalists to do the same drive”.

For its part, the New York Times defended its review, claiming Musk’s assertions as ‘flatly untrue’. The review was done by John Broder, who test drove the Model S from Washington DC to Connecticut. He said that during the trip the battery charge drained sooner than touted, which then forced him to turn down heating and drive beyond the speed limit. Ultimately, the car did not reach its destination and had to be towed to a charging station.

As for the tweet by Musk, the New York Times in a statement said that the review was ‘completely factual, describing the trip as it occurred. Any suggestion that the account was fake is of course, flatly untrue.” It further added that there was no unreported detour that occurred during the test drive.

Tesla has repeatedly stated that the Model S has a range of 265 miles or 426 km on a single full charge. In some instances, the car firm said that the Model S can run up to 300 miles.

Many industry experts has observed that the range of electric cars lower because of cold weather.

In another move, even Model S owners are organizing to set the record straight regarding the review John Broder did for the New York Times on the Tesla Model S. These concerned Tesla owners would be replicating the travel done from Maryland to Connecticut to show that the vehicles are more than able to complete the trip he couldn’t complete. The counter-review trip would start from Tesla Service Center in Rockville, Maryland and they would pick up several other Tesla Model S owners at the Delaware Supercharger, stopping over at Milford Connecticut SuperCharger to recharge their vehicles to full. The drivers would even be staying at the Groton, Connecticut hotel that Broder was billeted during his trip. The crowdsource trip is replicating the Broder trip as closely as possible.

A Twitter account has been set up so that team members can update one another during the trip. The car’s data logs would also be provided to support Musk’s rebuttal to the New York Times review.

The New York Times review has caused a ripple in the share prices for Tesla, falling two percent since the review came out last February 8. Overall though, the last twelve months have shown that Tesla share prices rise by 23.5%.

Electric Car Use Tips in Winter


Many would-be purchasers concern with electric cars would be their functionality during winter time. This has readily been addressed by many electric car owners and physics doesn’t help, as it shows that EVs in Southern California perform better than in the frigid Northeast and Canada.

While a greater part of the United States experiences snow weather during winter, the following are some tips that can help extend the range of your electric vehicle in your neck of the woods.

  1. Keep the electric car plugged in. One of the features of electric car would be providing heating or cooling of the battery pack to maintain their ideal temperature. With the battery pack being warmer during winter, this would provide more range available.
  2. Pre-conditioning the cabin before leaving. One of the newer features of electric vehicles is the use of grid power instead of batteries. This can be done through a smartphone app before even leaving the comfort oh home. This is also one reason to keep your EV plugged in.
  3. Choose Seat Heaters Instead of Cabin Heater. Cabin heaters utilize a lot of electrical power, so the next viable option is to have seat heater since the cabin would have been preheated before entering the vehicle. With the back warmed up and the cabin preheated when plugged in, driving the vehicle in cold temperatures would be a cool experience altogether.
  4. Have the EV in a Garage Indoors. If you have a garage attached to your house, it is best to store the EV indoors. Having them indoors would allow for a few degrees lower in ambient temperature compared to the chill when out in the open. Aside from the temperature, it would keep your EV safe from the biting cold.
  5. Tires Properly Inflated. Tire pressure is lower in colder climes and this results in greater friction for the tires designed for low roll resistance. It is best to check on tire pressure before leaving the house.
  6. Allow Leeway for Charging. Because some the car’s charge is used to keep the battery warm and crisp, it would be best to add on a few more minutes to recoup that lost charge before heading up the cold roads of winter. Adding an hour at best would do the trick.

Clearly, there is a bit of more chores to do when using an electric vehicle during wintertime. This would prove to be all worth the while with the mileage achieved with a bit more enthusiasm in using your electric vehicle.

German Firm to Design All Electric Passenger Aircraft


Bauhaus Luftfahrt, the foremost German aerospace research firm, have released information as to a design concept for a zero emission aircraft. The 190 seater airplane is set to be taxiing off runways by 2035.

The aircraft is named the Ce-Linar and the design showcases twin electric engines that takes its power from a bank of up to sixteen battery arrays. Bauhaus Luftfahrt forecasts that the batteries can power the plane up to 600 nautical miles or 1,110 kilometers of range. They also project that this battery design can be achievable by 2030.

Unfortunately, this aircraft can only cover nearly sixty percent of the routes in the 180 to 200 passenger aircraft sector. This is the category defined by experts as having the greatest potential for emissions reduction in the airline industry.

The company further declares that by 2035 the available technology would allow range extension of up to 900 nautical miles, which can then cover about 80% of market share. Should the unveiling of the aircraft be delayed to 2040, then the concept aircraft’s range can be extended to 1,400 nautical miles along with it improvements in aircraft configuration such as increasing aerodynamic efficiency through the ‘C-wing’ non-planar design. This configuration would be able to increase performance without sacrificing wingspan limitations.

The German design firm says that this concept goes ‘far beyond’ all current designs for all-electric flight concepts. The statement further states, “Recharging the batteries during turnaround is postulated to remain challenging, hence an exchange after each flight is assumed.” Other innovations include electric motors and power transmission wirings that would require high-temperature superconductor technology to allow an increase in available power to weight rations crucial for the plane’s ability to lift itself off the ground.

Other aircraft projects in the pipeline for Bauhaus Luftfahrt is the Claire Liner. This design uses clean air box wing concepts that provide extreme short take off capability through the use of laminar airflow and wing fan integration. This design would be undertaken in partnership with IABG, Germany’s foremost aeronautical testing organization. Other partners include EADS, Liebherr Aerospace, MTU Aero Engines and the Bavarian Ministry of Economics.

Italy’s Wireless Electric Buses


One of the main reasons why electric vehicles are not being viewed to form part of public mass transportation is the need for frequent stops at charging depots. This limitation may soon become a thing of the past, as new technologies especially in the realm of wireless charging technology can make electric vehicles viable for mass transport use. The Weil am Rhein, Germany based company Conductix-Wampfler has introduced the public bus system of the future has been operating in the streets of Italian cities Torino and Genoa for the past ten years.

The Conductix-Wampfler IPT Charge system currently operates on thirty buses in the northern cities of Italy. The main recharging system uses a primary coil charging unit on the road surface of bus stops, terminals and hubs. There is secondary coil attached to the bus chassis that receives the charge. Each time a bus stops at a charging station, the coils are positioned within forty millimeters or about an inch of the half of each other.

Overnight the batteries of these buses are recharged at the bus depot and then recharged at each charging point during the bus route. This topping off would ensure sufficient range available for the battery to reach the next station as this refreshes the system between ten to fifteen percent of the battery capacity according to the German firm. This can even be done when passengers board and exit the vehicles.

The Torino bus route travels about 200 kilometers or 125 miles per day without a need to require a stop for a prolonged period or return to the depot for charging. This is not new, as early as the 1950s through the many urban areas throughout the United States. The electricity was delivered through overhead wires carrying power from the grid to the pivoting relays on the roofs of these buses. Quite a few remain as these electric systems have given way to buses that are powered by internal combustion engines.

The transfer system is done through inductive power transfer that Conductix-Wampfler sends 95 percent of the charge to the secondary coil, with the five percent loss considered as negligible. The central technology here is magnetic resonance coupling, which is also used in charge pads or mat technology in mobile devices. Even with the many companies putting their technological expertise into the field, only a very few companies have lasted for the last ten years successfully.

One of the major concerns is the health effect of the magnetic field on passengers and users. In response, the company says that the passengers and users are situated far from the relay coils and the magnetic field values are below the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, a nonprofit scientific watchdog group.

Another drawback is the cost of the electric buses compared to the cost of an internal combustion engine bus. Conductix-Wampfler currently estimates that the payback period of about four years at current prices of U.S. $9,000 per year compared to the U.S. $50,000 of diesel fuel vehicles.

Conductix-Wampfler is also working with Daimler to create a plug free charging system for passenger cars. It also has in the offing pilot and test projects of its technologies in two key cities in the United States, namely Los Angeles, CA and Chattanooga, TN.

Nissan Leaf Upends Preconceived Notions


The ideas that have pervaded about electric cars such as the 2012 Nissan Leaf is that these kinds of vehicles are expensive and are able only to travel short limited distances. While there have been Nissan Leaf tests done that the vehicle can run 15,000 miles in just a year, others have pushed the boundaries of the electric car milieu.

One such trailblazer is a 2011 Nissan Leaf owner that has traveled 36,000 miles in just eleven months. The performance of this vehicle has proven that electric cars do more than just a short hop, skip, and jump to the nearest convenience store.

Steve Marsh is the owner of this Nissan Leaf, as he faced a 130 mile daily commute to his workplace at Taylor Shellfish in Washington State. Faced with monstrous gasoline bills for the travel, he opted to purchase a Nissan Leaf to see if his fuel costs would go down, as promised.

He said, “I really bought it with the idea that there was a chance I could save money buying this car. My Honda Accord had over 300,000 miles on it and I started thinking about another car. I have driven more than 200,000 miles on every car we have owned so I looked at the Leaf expecting it to do the same.”

The savings he earned were not quite what he predicted, but still was beyond expectations. He added, “I thought maybe my net cost of ownership would be nearly zero taking into account the much lower operating costs – like getting gasoline for $0.80 per gallon. I now know that this expectation was unreasonable, but after all the tax credits and no sales tax in the state of Washington, I feel it is like purchasing a $23,000 new car. So far, at 36,000 miles, I’m now under $20,000 in equivalent costs.”

While he made the decision was made out of financial reasons, he still paid a $99 online reservation fee before test driving the car. He was only able to test drive the Nissan Leaf when the 2011 model was available in Seattle.

He recounts, “It was cold, no snow but it was really cold. My wife looked at it and said, ‘It’s a regular car!” She was expecting something small like the Smart Car. We drove it around the block and that was the end of our tour.”

Marsh’s commute is well above the 73 mile EPA approved distance of the Nissan Leaf. It wasn’t the commute though that was the issue. He said “We bought the house when the kids were born. We’ve lived here for 22 years and now our kids are about to graduate from college. This house is paid for and this is the shortest commute I’ve had in my working life. It gives me a chance to wind down on the way home from work.”

The 130 mile commute is not easy for the Leaf, especially on the freeway. The only solution was to get a charging station at his workplace. Ecotality did not agree to install one at his workplace. What he was able to do was convince his company to install one as it is good PR for the company, to which they agreed.

During all that travel time and distance, the 2011 Nissan Leaf has performed impeccably. His travel is between 62 and 65 miles one way, depending on the route taken. He averages sixty miles per hour and admits that the Leaf gets to rest during the weekends. There is one downside though, sacrificing heat for range, to make sure he gets to work or home when traveling during winter.