Aug 21

Is Tesla’s Model S the safest passenger car of all time?

 

The Volt has done great in its crash tests, no doubt, but Tesla says the Model S tops all.

On Monday, the start-up automaker announced its electric super sedan received the highest ranking of any car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Model S has several design advantages coupled with engineering that enabled it to score 5.4 out of 5 stars, says Tesla.

 

How is more than five out of five possible? NHTSA tests for frontal impact, side impact and rear impact, as well as for roll over and roof strength. Normally 5 stars is the maximum published, but NHTSA does rate safety levels above 5 and provides these results to the manufacturer.

Other cars have received 5 out of 5 stars, and the Model S technically is among this 1 percent, but in fact it set a new record for the lowest chances of an occupant suffering an injury.

It also topped SUVs and minivans, and one key advantage that enabled it to do very well in the front crash test is the fact it has no engine. Basically, this makes for a far longer crumple zone to absorb crash energy and no engine block is there to be pushed through a firewall into occupants.

Another test the Model S aced was a side pole intrusion test. Tesla says it nests multiple aluminum extrusions at critical spots that redistribute the load so a pole will either be sheared off by the car or the car will stop before the pole intrudes into occupants’ space.

Here the Model S preserved 63.5 percent of driver residual space, Tesla notes, far exceeding the 7.8 percent of another 5-star car, the Volvo S60.

model-s-five-star-safety-rating
 

More crash protection is built into the rear of the car, and Model S sedans with the optional third row jump seats get an additional rear bumper.

“The third row is already the safest location in the car for frontal or side injuries,” says Tesla.

And yet another spot where the Tesla shines is the rollover test. Because the battery is low under the floor, normal methods to induce a roll were unsuccessful. To get it to roll upside down, “special means” were needed, Tesla says.

If this were not enough, the Model S also broke the roof crush test machine. It handled just over 4 gs – the equivalent of four times the vehicle’s weight on the roof – before the machine used to induce the load failed. Tesla says this strength is achieved mainly through a center (B) pillar reinforcement attached via aerospace grade bolts.

Tesla also notes the Model S battery has never caught fire – was this a veiled reference to the Volt which did catch fire in 2011 after a side impact test?

We’ll have to wait and see whether NHTSA parked a smashed-but-charged Model S like the Volt was subjected to but Tesla suggests this answer is already in place.

“The Model S lithium-ion battery did not catch fire at any time before, during or after the NHTSA testing,” says Tesla noting also no one has yet died for any reason in a Model S or Roadster. “It is worth mentioning that no production Tesla lithium-ion battery has ever caught fire in the Model S or Roadster, despite several high speed impacts.”

Tesla’s report on the NHTSA results finish up adding to reasons for which it is proud of its engineering.

“The above results do not tell the full story. It is possible to game the regulatory testing score to some degree by strengthening a car at the exact locations used by the regulatory testing machines,” says the company. “After verifying through internal testing that the Model S would achieve a NHTSA 5-star rating, Tesla then analyzed the Model S to determine the weakest points in the car and retested at those locations until the car achieved 5 stars no matter how the test equipment was configured.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 69


  1. 1
    bobchr

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:31 am)

    Well Ah say those Tesla boy are sharper than a sack of wet mice. Proactive engineering (Tesla) , proactive marketing (Ford a-la EPA)


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:42 am)

    I’d love to know what they had to do to get the Tesla S to roll. Maybe slide it into a curb?


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    taser54

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:50 am)

    All this is coming out nearly a year after the tests?? Not to diminish the accomplishment, but this appears to be PR material to obfuscate the major design flaw of the Model S-Vampire electrical losses. Tesla PR provides a flurry of “new” information so that the press and public do not focus on the vampire draw (or the partial fix) for more than a week.

    And before Tesla nation goes craptastic on this post, answer this: Is there any other reasonable reason to be publishing year old crash test data now?


  4. 4
    Chris C

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (7:16 am)

    taser54,

    It was nice for me since I had not seen it. I would hope that GM and others do not see Tesla so much as a threat, but more as an example to emulate. Elon reminds me of what CEOs used to be, driven to excel and over-deliver in every way. Take note of Tesla, Detroit, and try to keep up.


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    Koz

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (7:24 am)

    The NHTSA takes a long time after the tests to analyze and actually issue the ratings. Tesla new and announced what the results of the tests were long ago. They also announce they broke one testing machine and that it is the safest cars ever built. Don’t take my word, Google it. They just got the ratings or you can be sure they would have been singing from the rooftops sooner. Mr. Musk is not shy of crooning.

    The vampire drain issue has been “out” for a year and they have discussed it whenever brought up. It is also mentioned in the press periodically, mostly when an EV hater does a news piece.

    It is OK to Love your Volt and not hate on Tesla. She won’t mind.


  6. 6
    Sean

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (7:48 am)

    Let’s say if the Tesla Model S rolled on it’s side and the other car smashed into it’s belly do you think it would cause a fire or not I wonder?

    What do you guys think?

    Now we need to see some actual videos of the Tesla Model S in those crash test and to see if it truly is safer then any car especially Mercedes Benz just to say.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ky7E3Cncq0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW1wGa9wAmw

    Alright Jeff I’m counting on you to show us some videos of the Tesla model S getting smashed when it comes to the crash test that the NHTSA did on it.

    The Future Is Electric!


  7. 7
    nasaman

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:03 am)

    Sean: Alright Jeff I’m counting on you to show us some videos of the Tesla model S getting smashed when it comes to the crash test they did on it.

    In the last few minutes CBS This Morning TV News has aired a segment showing video of the NHTSA Model S testing and a 4-5min interview with Elon in which CBS states that “the Model S is the safest car ever tested”. They also said, as Jeff reports above, that the car’s top crush test was so successful that NHTSA’s top crush tester actually broke when the load reached 4 times the required load! So… the news has hit the main-stream media, folks! Great electric car news scoop today, Jeff!!!


  8. 8
    Mark Z

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:04 am)

    taser54,

    Hardly. You didn’t even bother to look.

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/database/aspx/vehdb/testtabledetails.aspx?LJC=8309&existphoto=Y&p_tstno=8309&existreport=Y&r_tstno=8309&existvideo=Y&v_tstno=8309&database=v&tstno=8309

    The test was done less than a month ago.

    There are so many photos and videos at safercar.gov that it is mind boggling. But only for those who are willing to click the links to find them.

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/database/aspx/searchmedia2.aspx?mediatype=v&LJC=8309&existphoto=Y&p_tstno=8309&existreport=Y&r_tstno=8309&existvideo=Y&v_tstno=8309&database=v&tstno=8309

    There are video lists like the one above for the other tests where video is shown. Still photos show more. The search starts here:

    http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/5-Star+Safety+Ratings/2011-Newer+Vehicles


  9. 9
    Koz

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:07 am)

    Sean:
    Let’s say if the Tesla Model S rolled on it’s side and the other car smashed into it’s belly do you think it would cause a fire or not I wonder?

    What do you guys think?

    Now we need to see some actual videos of the Tesla Model S in those crash test and to see if it truly is safer then any car especially Mercedes Benz just to say.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ky7E3Cncq0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW1wGa9wAmw

    Alright Jeff I’m counting on you to show us some videos of the Tesla model S getting smashed when it comes to the crash test that the NHTSA did on it.

    The Future Is Electric!

    Where have you been? There have been plenty of Model S crash test videos. Some linked to in the forums and I Jeff may have even done a story with them. Go to YouTube and search “tesla NHSTA crash test model s”. Very impressive and I suspect frustrating for you.

    Flipped on it’s side and impacted on the bottom, really? How did the Mercedes fair on that one when impacted in the gas tank area? How would the Volt or any other car do? Better yet, why don’t they test it flipped end over end and resting on its nose followed with a car sandwich courtesy of two semis coming from opposite directions?


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    Mark Z

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:47 am)

    For those who cannot search, the link below will help.

    Here is a list of the last 10 tests. Tesla will scroll off this list soon, so don’t delay. Only the Smart and Chevy Truck tests have been published since the Tesla results.

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/database/aspx/vehdb/testtableinfotop.aspx


  11. 11
    Bobc

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (9:11 am)

    Just saw my 4th Tesla Model S in the wild. I’ve seen 2 in NJ, Jersey City 1 on Long Island and one In Brooklyn. They are sharp looking cars.


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    Raymondjram

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (9:35 am)

    GM has the vehicle (Corvette Stingray) and the technology (Spark EV motor) to build its own electric supercar with a 300 HP, 500 ft-lb torque motor. The motor will be where the Corvette transmission is now, and the battery (A123) can lie underneath and partially in the front, freeing up space for a “frunk”. But I doubt they will ever build it, because it would cost more than the Model S.

    I wish GM had more news about the follow-up BEV after the Spark EV, because it is successful. I suggested that the Sonic could be the next BEV, since it is built in the U.S., and avoid the issues in South Korea where the Spark is built. My guess is that it will be the Cruze which is the best sold GM vehicle, and already has a Diesel version.

    So I expect Tesla Motors to build the next BEV (Model C?) as a medium sized five-seat vehicle for a lower price than the Model S, and get a head start over GM and Ford for the next successful American BEV. Then we will see who will build a BEV version of a CUV or a small SUV to compete with the new Model X.

    No more hybrids! Electric all the way!

    Good work, Musk! Now, get going, GM!

    Raymond


  13. 13
    Mark

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (9:44 am)

    My hope is that Teslas success will provide enough pressure for GM to overcome the dealership networks reluctance to sell EVs. As many of us know by first hand experience the Volt provides only a fraction of the service Income that the dealers traditionally get from a new ICE sedan. And dealers make as much or more from servicing a car as they do from selling it….. That is a fundamental problem that GM has to overcome to succeed long term against Tesla.


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    Charlie H

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:13 am)

    Bobc: Just saw my 4th Tesla Model S in the wild. I’ve seen 2 in NJ, Jersey City 1 on Long Island and one In Brooklyn. They are sharp looking cars.

    This must be one of the worst markets (Twin Cities, MN) for Tesla. It gets v-e-r-y cold in Winter and yet, somehow, pretty darned hot in Summer. Wide temperature ranges are not the EV’s friend. There’s not as much local public charging as in many other large cities. There’s also no Supercharger within a thousand miles, getting to the next “big” city is well over 200 miles in any direction and there’s little in the way of charging along those routes, so any exurban travel tests the car’s range limits.

    Yet, there are sightings, so there must be at least one here. And the people who see them (or it) all say it’s about the best-looking car ever. Never mind the EV part, they love the looks.


  15. 15
    DonC

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:17 am)

    I think this is great. Tesla has set the bar high for other manufacturers. This is the first instance where the skateboard design has demonstrated a compelling advantage.


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    kdawg

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:25 am)

    I bet this news irks Mark Modica (among others). I can hear him now, “Rats! Foiled again.”


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:36 am)

    Charlie H,

    Hopefully by 2015 this happens. We’ll see. That is 2 years away.

    MNsc_zps2a9d849f.jpg


  18. 18
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:38 am)

    Good write up Jeff,
    Normally I don’t read the crash test stuff cuz I think it’s boring (you know like an old Volvo yawn) but you made the article interesting.


  19. 19
    steve

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:45 am)

    I’m not against safety, but sometimes feel that knowledge of driving a “safe” vehicle promotes an attitude of aggressive driving. “I can cut this guy off, I can, speed, etc. I’m safe in this car. I won’t get hurt.”

    I first noticed this years ago when the 5mph bumpers regulations came out. I watched a driver park and bang into a pole rather hard. Driver then turned toward me with a big stupid grin on her face.


  20. 20
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:47 am)

    Raymondjram:
    GM has the vehicle (Corvette Stingray) and the technology (Spark EV motor) to build its own electric supercar with a 300 HP, 500 ft-lb torque motor. The motor will be where the Corvette transmission is now, and the battery (A123) can lie underneath and partially in the front, freeing up space for a “frunk”.

    Raymond

    My thoughts also Raymond. GM has all the tools to build a high performance EV and ironically they come from the spark co axial transmission. The exception is the battery. A123 probably wouldn’t be the choice for a 200 mile EV as the A123′s strong point is its high number of cycles. The more AER one designs into the car the fewer cycles are required from a life POV. That is a little known secret as to why Tesla can use the highest energy density battery and still get by with a cycle life of only 500 cycles. GM would have to switch chemistries but that would not be a problem.


  21. 21
    George S. Bower

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:59 am)

    DonC:
    This is the first instance where the skateboard design has demonstrated a compelling advantage.

    Hi DonC

    Please consider the following comparison:

    tesla-model-s-chassis_zps0a29c96b.jpg

    TeslaModelSskateboard_zps42a909e2.jpg

    Voltcutaway_zpsa348e547.jpg

    Which design uses space most efficiently???


  22. 22
    Jackson

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:23 am)

    Now let’s see Tesla put all this in a car most people can actually afford.

    Skateboard battery, yes. 4g+ roof and pole impact resistance, who knows.


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    Blind Guy

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:28 am)

    This is great news for Tesla. This news adds even more value to the Model S in the form of safety for occupants and should help to keep insurance rates more affordable. This news should also give more ammunition to people trying to convince their significant other to let them buy the car  I will be interested to see how the I3 does in comparison; especially the roll-over crush test, since the I3 does not have a B pillar.


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    Jackson

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:33 am)

    Volts, a couple of Fiskers, and a treeload of LEAFs in my area; but no Teslas. Maybe they should try to sell them here? Could this be yet another case of the Left Coast’s dismissal of the Southeast? In this case, the traditional discrimination is hurting them.

    The Atlanta metro has a good climate for EVs (certainly less hot than FL), and people buy them. We have some of the longest commutes in the Country, where the “S”s much longer range would be a clear asset even without Superchargers. Georgia has some of the highest insurance rates in the Country.

    I don’t know why else Tesla would have it’s thumb up it’s bu++ in this region.


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    jeffhre

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:35 am)

    Sean: Now we need to see some actual videos of the Tesla Model S in those crash test and to see

    Let me get this straight, WE are going to look at some video, and decide if the Tesla is safe! Well OK then. If you buy the chips and beer. But I can’t guarantee my results for accuracy!


  26. 26
    jeffhre

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:40 am)

    Mark:
    …for GM to overcome the dealership networks reluctance to sell EVs. As many of us know by first hand experience the Volt provides only a fraction of the service Income that the dealers traditionally get from a new ICE sedan. And dealers make as much or more from servicing a car as they do from selling it….. That is a fundamental problem that GM has to overcome to succeed long term against Tesla.

    Reason number 43,572 of why incumbent automakers are not the best stewards of the technology.


  27. 27
    jeffhre

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:43 am)

    Jackson: The Atlanta metro has a good climate for EVs (certainly less hot than FL), and people buy them. We have some of the longest commutes in the Country, where the “S”s much longer range would be a clear asset even without Superchargers. I don’t know why else Tesla would have it’s thumb up it’s bu++ in this region.

    MARIETTA SERVICE

    Tesla Service Atlanta, located in Marietta, serves Tesla owners in Georgia and surrounding areas. Please contact us to schedule an appointment at our Service Center or your home.

    http://www.firstfives.org/bboard/viewtopic.php?t=3331

    http://imgur.com/r/Atlanta/gnAVqdE

    http://www.chasingexotics.com/forum/showthread.php?26-Best-Exotic-Car-Sightings-in-Atlanta

    eichtolu | 6 MARZO 2013
    A Tesla Service Center in Marietta is indeed open. They received their business license last week and it is not only open but it is packed with Teslas ready for pick-up. There were 8 parked in the lot and probably another 6 – 8 inside, including mine. I just picked up my Black Model S P85. The crew at the service center is fantastic and the car is amazing. My delivery window was March 6 -22.


  28. 28
    Kent

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:50 am)

    Jackson: Volts, a couple of Fiskers, and a treeload of LEAFs in my area; but no Teslas.Maybe they should try to sell them here?Could this be yet another case of the Left Coast’s dismissal of the Southeast?In this case, the traditional discrimination is hurting them.

    Atlanta metro: a good climate for EVs (certainly less hot than FL), and people buy them.Some of the longest commutes in the Country, where longer range would be an asset even without Superchargers.I don’t know why Tesla has it’s thumb up it’s 6u++ in this region.

    In my neck of the woods (SF Bay Area), I see as many Teslas as I do Volts and Leafs. One reason could be that I drive (or ride) past the Tesla factory in Fremont twice a day on my commute.


  29. 29
    unni

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:57 am)

    Good for Tesla, I agree they are doing good and they are using the advantage to associate the brand with success, business , power , modern, proactive , vision full etc. I agree they are winning in it.

    The simple loser here in American sense is Cadillac. They are getting replaced by Tesla. If they really don’t act , they are going to looser.

    Even in Vancouver,Canada , i have seen 10+ Tesla cars where total volts i have seen on road is less than that.

    This proves any product done well with correct marketing will sell like hot cakes if they are positioned right.


  30. 30
    Blind Guy

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:06 pm)

    “Is Tesla’s Model S the safest passenger car of all time?”

    Maybe, the 1934 Chrysler Airflow was certainly an engineer’s car with its innovative design. It was said to have been taken over a 100 ft. cliff, landed on its wheels and then driven off! I think GM was accused of smearing the reputation of the car and Chrysler changed the look and design to get sales back.


  31. 31
    Noel Park

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:07 pm)

    Jackson: Now let’s see Tesla put all this in a car most people can actually afford.

    #22

    Right. +1

    Good for Tesla, but I’m not gonna buy one any time soon.


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    kdawg

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:19 pm)

    Jackson: Now let’s see Tesla put all this in a car most people can actually afford.

    Tesla does appear to be putting a lot into Gen 3, even more than the Model X. I hope to see it within 3 years of now.

    TeslaStock1_zps1f90333a.jpg


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    kdawg

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:27 pm)

    Jackson: Volts, a couple of Fiskers, and a treeload of LEAFs in my area; but no Teslas.

    Kent: In my neck of the woods (SF Bay Area), I see as many Teslas as I do Volts and Leafs.

    unni: Even in Vancouver,Canada , i have seen 10+ Tesla cars where total volts i have seen on road is less than that.

    I don’t know if 3 data points is really reflective, but most EV’s are sold on the West coast. There are a few pockets of EV’s in the rest of the country. It would be nice if automakers would release data showing which states/cities their cars were sold in. Or if states would release registration data based on car type.

    I’ll give a 4th data point. In Michigan I see more Volts than anything. I have seen 1 Leaf in the wild and 1 Tesla in the wild. I saw a Focus EV on a delivery truck with some other Fords.


  34. 34
    Mark Z

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:34 pm)

    The link I mentioned above needs an update since new tests have been posted. Use this one for quick access to photos and videos. Select “Tesla” for “vehicle make” and click “submit.”

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/database/aspx/vehdb/queryvehicle.aspx

    Increase the default of 10 when searching for “vehicle model” of “Volt.” There are 13 results for the Volt.


  35. 35
    Jackson

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    jeffhre: They received their business license last week and it is not only open but it is packed with Teslas ready for pick-up.

    I knew about the service center (thought it would be in Alpharetta), but didn’t know they would be making actual new Tesla deliveries there. Is there anything like a showroom or Tesla store? If not, they should set one up in the nearest Mall (Cumberland?).

    I’ll keep a watch out for a Tesla*, thanks!

    kdawg: most EV’s are sold on the West coast.

    … and I think I’ll stay mad at California. ;-)

    *Perhaps yours? :-)


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    tassieev

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (1:15 pm)

    Although at this time I cannot afford a model S, I do like the look of it. Uses a similar design to a Jaguar or Astin Martin but with the benefit of being an EV.

    The skateboard chassis design is great as it gets more room inside like 5seats as a minimum.

    I will look forward to seeing what the Model E is going to be, perhaps their affordable car.


  37. 37
    Sean

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (1:37 pm)

    Sorry guys I was not trying not to be negative about Tesla I was wanting the safety test to go one step further no I was not hating on it sorry if I made it sound like it and I should have thought about that before I wrote the comment.

    Still I want to see as many alternative vehicles on the road make no mistake about that.

    Also I want to show this to you guys.

    You may remember me talking about The Green Highway Project here on gm-volt.com a few years ago?

    Here’s a website on that project.

    http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/about.htm

    http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/electrichighway.htm

    http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/WAelectrichighways.htm

    I need to be careful what I say.

    Speaking of that next week Me,my mom and my brother Justin are taking a short vacation down in Oregon so we may stumble upon these EV charging stations as we head through Washington State and Oregon.

    The Future Is Electric!

    Go Model S and Volt!


  38. 38
    Dave G

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (2:35 pm)

    nasaman: In the last few minutes CBS This Morning TV News has aired a segment showing video of the NHTSA Model S testing and a 4-5min interview with Elon

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57599474/elon-musk-tesla-to-make-affordable-electric-car-in-three-to-four-years/


  39. 39
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (3:11 pm)

    Sean: Sorry guys I was not trying not to be negative about Tesla

    #37

    Hey, don’t worry about it. It’s OK with me, LOL. +1


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    Dave G

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (3:13 pm)

    George S. Bower: Hi DonC

    Please consider the following comparison:

    Which design uses space most efficiently???

    The model S weighs almost 1000 pound more than the Volt, and that’s with an all-aluminum body. Those batteries are f#&cking heavy!

    Why lug all that extra weight around? Cut the electric range from 300 down to 75 miles and add a range extender. That would cover 90% of typical driving, cost less, weigh less, and wouldn’t have the limitations of a pure BEV.

    Tesla is great company, but I’ll never buy a pure BEV (period). I’m totally sold on the combination of EREVs and biofuels. If Elon Musk wants to sell me a car, he’ll have to start building frogs. With Tesla’s engineering capability, they should be able to compete with the Volt.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (3:23 pm)

    OT: finally some pics/vid of the Silent Cruise

    http://youtu.be/4VVZIjBJsUY


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (3:24 pm)

    Dave G: The model S weighs almost 1000 pound more than the Volt

    It will be interesting to see what the Tesla Gen 3 weighs.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (3:37 pm)

    Dave G: Tesla is great company, but I’ll never buy a pure BEV (period). I’m totally sold on the combination of EREVs and biofuels. If Elon Musk wants to sell me a car, he’ll have to start building frogs. With Tesla’s engineering capability, they should be able to compete with the Volt.

    As others here know, I TOTALLY AGREE with you about this, Dave! Elon’s a smart guy, but my long career, surrounded by geniuses in the space program, has convinced me smart guys can be wrong!


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (4:00 pm)

    Sean: Now we need to see some actual videos of the Tesla Model S in those crash test and to see if it truly is safer

    I wanna see it done “Mythbusters Style”!!!!!

    /when in doubt………C4!


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    Bobc

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (4:44 pm)

    Dave G: The model S weighs almost 1000 pound more than the Volt, and that’s with an all-aluminum body.Those batteries are f#&cking heavy!

    Why lug all that extra weight around? Cut the electric range from 300 down to 75 miles and add a range extender.That would cover 90% of typical driving, cost less, weigh less, and wouldn’t have the limitations of a pure BEV.

    Tesla is great company, but I’ll never buy a pure BEV (period).I’m totally sold on the combination of EREVs and biofuels.If Elon Musk wants to sell me a car, he’ll have to start building frogs.With Tesla’s engineering capability, they should be able to compete with the Volt.

    Musk is not a car guy. Dealing with ICE and the maintenance and all that it entails will take Musk out of his element . He already has a divided focus. All the elements in the Tesla are in his wheelhouse. Electronic, software, electric motors are fine , you start adding ICE’s planetary gears, power splits, where are you buying your engines from, now you have to train your entire service sector. You have also lost a good bit of vertical integration and quality control. What kind of warranty are you going to offer on the ICE. Better you put research into fast charging robust batteries or pairing batteries with Ultra-capacitors than get into ICE’s this is why he’s opting for a supercharging network and battery swapping. You will sooner find a polar bear swimming from the North Pole to the South Pole than you will find an ICE in a Tesla. You and I may see this as a quick cheap way for Tesla to get less expensive EREV’s into the hands of the mass car buying public, but the failure of Fisker has made a terrible business case for putting an ICE into any Tesla rather than doing it tha way they are doing it. Tesla is doing well against the high end market and is using an Apple like business model and will make billions doing it that way. The rest of the car work is stuck with the Legacy ICE monkey on their backs and it will take them at least a half century to eliminate them and finally switch over to fuel cells. Not to mention there will always be that part of the driving public that equates loud noises with more power. Just my take.


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    George S. Bower

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (4:48 pm)

    Sean:

    I need to be careful what I say.

    Nahh.
    Why? nobody else does.
    Certainly no offense taken by me.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (4:57 pm)

    Bobc: Dealing with ICE and the maintenance and all that it entails will take Musk out of his element .

    The best range extender is not an ICE. Since Musk has less experience with ICEs, he would be more apt to realize this. Start with a blank sheet of paper.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (4:58 pm)

    Bobc:

    Just my take.

    I agree and I think kdawg does also. If you plot range extender size as a function of AER, RE size goes to zero at around 200 miles AER.

    …and really if you look at the 3 photos I published above in #21 you can see what eliminating the RE does for packaging.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (5:24 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Yup. I don’t know how to make the “only with a range extender” advocates understand, without going to hypothetical “what if’s”. What if you had a car that had seating for 6, a battery with 500 miles of range, weighed 2000lbs, went 0-60 in 5 seconds, with quick-charging at 200 miles in 10 min or battery swapping in 90 seconds located all across the country, they why on earth would you want to mess with a range extender? Yes this is an extreme, but somewhere in the middle we each draw our line in the sand.

    Apparently by the end of 2015 there will be Tesla Superchargers all around me. If they have a 200 mile BEV that’s $40K or less, I’ll probably buy it unless GM counters. With 200 miles at my disposal and Superchargers along every possible route, there’s no need for me to mess with a range extender.

    (oh it needs to look good too, but i’m not too worried)


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    George S. Bower: Which design uses space most efficiently???

    One gripe I have about Tesla’s design is that they put the plug in the rear. I think Nissan’s design, front & center, makes the most sense. Even w/my Volt port near the front, I have to stretch cables a bit and they can hit the side of your car. Don’t get me started on the EV’s with the plug on the passenger side. Why??

    Of course, when we get wireless L2 charging everywhere this stuff wont matter as much :)


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (5:49 pm)

    steve: I’m not against safety, but sometimes feel that knowledge of driving a “safe” vehicle promotes an attitude of aggressive driving. “I can cut this guy off, I can, speed, etc. I’m safe in this car. I won’t get hurt.”

    Take it from me, speeding tickets hurt!


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (5:49 pm)

    kdawg: Apparently by the end of 2015 there will be Tesla Superchargers all around me. If they have a 200 mile BEV that’s $40K or less, I’ll probably buy it unless GM counters. With 200 miles at my disposal and Superchargers along every possible route, there’s no need for me to mess with a range extender.

    Why mess with a range extender?

    1) 200 miles of range is not a lot, especially in the winter, probably closer to 140 miles. Volt’s range is 380 miles, over 300 in the winter.
    2) Tesla super-chargers take 20 minutes. Volt takes about 5 minutes to fill up.
    3) Not all travel fits nicely along interstates. We often travel longer distances on secondary roads.
    4) The Volt will be less expensive than the Tesla Model E.
    5) Volt ICE maintenance is minimal, change tires more often than change oil.

    In other words, there’s a lot more you have to mess with driving a pure BEV.


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    Mark Z

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    kdawg: One gripe I have about Tesla’s design is that they put the plug in the rear…

    - The side reflector charge port cover is “invisible” at the rear.
    - Tesla owners charge at home and infrequently use public charging.
    - A front crash won’t affect the charge port – could help on a long trip if it’s a fender bender.
    - Backing up into the public charge locations allows for a classy appearance and an energy saving departure.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:31 pm)

    Mark Z,

    A front charge port can also be invisible.
    Charging at home still requires dragging a cable further. Unless you are backing into your garage everyday, which is also a hassle.
    Front crash…. side crash… I’d rather have daily convenience over a rare occurrence where I do get in a front crash, where I can drive away, but somehow my plug port is still damaged, and I need to immediately plug in.
    Even backing in requires the cable to hang by the side of your car. Foot traffic between cars could hit the plug, or doors from other cars. Also, I don’t want to have to back into every spot.

    I dunno, just seems like a front port is the most logical location.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (6:45 pm)

    Dave G: 1) 200 miles of range is not a lot, especially in the winter, probably closer to 140 miles. Volt’s range is 380 miles, over 300 in the winter.
    2) Tesla super-chargers take 20 minutes. Volt takes about 5 minutes to fill up.
    3) Not all travel fits nicely along interstates. We often travel longer distances on secondary roads.
    4) The Volt will be less expensive than the Tesla Model E.
    5) Volt ICE maintenance is minimal, change tires more often than change oil.
    In other words, there’s a lot more you have to mess with driving a pure BEV.

    I’ll preface this with, this is my personal preference (and I think several others). That is why i put the word “me” in my original post.

    1) 200 miles is a lot for me. And so is 140 in the winter. I can get to 99% of the places I drive with those ranges. Add in Superchargers and I definitely get a warm fuzzy feeling. I still would feel a bit fuzzier if it was 250 miles.
    2) When I stop for gas after driving 200 miles, I usually stop for more than 5 minutes. In fact, I’m usually getting something to eat which takes about 30 minutes min. Don’t forget about 90second battery swapping too.
    3) I take the expressways, then surface streets when I get close to my destination.
    4) Maybe, we’ll see. Note, you’ll have to add lifetime gas/oil/maintenance costs to the price of the Volt.
    5) I’m not seeing what I have to mess with an EV? I pretty much drive my Volt in EV mode now. The only time I don’t when I go on a 100 mile trip and the range extender has to kick in. If I had a 200 mile BEV, I wouldn’t need a range extender.

    And before someone says it, I will rent a vehicle if I go on a 200+ mile trip, which I do now w/my Volt. This is because I don’t want to rack up a bunch of miles on my own car. And I should say this happens very rarely for me. Once the distances get longer I usually fly, so I just need something that can take me to the airport.


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    DonC

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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:18 pm)

    kdawg: I’ll preface this with, this is my personal preference (and I think several others). That is why i put the word “me” in my original post.

    A BEV doesn’t work the way you think it does. 200 miles of range is not a lot, and generally won’t take you much of anywhere. For example, if I’m going to LA to the Norton Simon museum, it’s about 228 miles roundtrip. There aren’t any fast chargers near the museum. To make it work I’d need to go out of my way on the way up, fighting traffic and wasting time to get to a charger, and then do the same on the way back. That’s a huge pain and if something you generally don’t want to do because you’re always one accident away from gridlock.

    With the Volt I can get 40 miles on the way up and, using the J1772 charger a couple of blocks away, get 40 miles on the way back. Or not. Hardly matter since the difference is I’d end up using six rather than five gallons. No big deal.

    We won’t even get into why I wouldn’t want to take a Model S when going skiing or hiking. Just won’t work. Could I do it? Not at the moment but probably yes if Tesla builds out its charger network. But it would be terribly inconvenient.

    I know someone who drove his Model S to Las Vegas. Not a great experience. His take was that it was disappointing to have spent so much on a hot car that he had to drive in the slow lane while getting passed by every ICE on the planet. A range of 200 miles may sound good in the abstract but in the real world it’s more like 150 miles of range.

    The idea of renting a car is another one of those things that sounds good but in practice will be a huge PITA.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:52 pm)

    Dave G: The best range extender is not an ICE.Since Musk has less experience with ICEs, he would be more apt to realize this.Start with a blank sheet of paper.

    Exactly, I sort of couched the direction Musk should take in my statement saying that ICE legacy car biz will take 50 years before fuel cells become main stream. Battery chemistry science is material science. This is how integrated circuits are built using the same techniques. Perhaps fuel cells need to be approached from multiple directions. For example how do Electric eels generate electricity? Why does our approach to batteries have to be chemical? Why not hydraulics? Or even flywheel mechanical batteries integrated in a vacuum on a micro mechanical scale. Solid state magnetic bearing using IC tooling rapid charge, rapid discharge capability, modular, connectable components just like chemical batteries. Miniaturizing solid oxide fuel cells would allow using almost anything , even gasified coal as fuel and he CO2 could be sequestered while you were refilling the fuel.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (8:59 pm)

    A bev with 200 miles is a lot until the long trip or the heavy load needs to be taken. Maybe we need to think that bevs should be our commuter cars and ice and erevs for longer distances. Sme people can live with the leaf range and 6.6kw charging or perhaps fast dc. Others say they need 200 miles but perhaps just need an ice car for those occasions. Bevs should be cheap, eventually. Cheaper than ice vehicles and this is probable by 2020 or 2025. If cost of batteries, copper and charging equipment stay low. It srems that it will always be cheaper to burn fuel than to store it in batteries unless those batteries and moror cost the same as a ice drivetrain.

    We just did 800 miles taking my so to college. Needed a mini van for me, my wife, son and daughter. If we had a bev we could have rented a minivan. Already had it, though. Bev ownership and occasional rental seems to be a future workable situation. Id go for a nice 120 mile bev. But only at $33k before federal tax credit. I think this is a viable product by 2020 and i dont think tesla is the one to make it. It will come from gm, ford and nissan and also VW all using mexican factories and labor. Musk took a big leap saying a majority of cars sold in 10 years will be electric. That may be marketing, but given the usage rate of oil, it actually may be a necessity.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (9:04 pm)

    DonC: A BEV doesn’t work the way you think it does. 200 miles of range is not a lot, and generally won’t take you much of anywhere. For example, if I’m going to LA to the Norton Simon museum, it’s about 228 miles roundtrip. There aren’t any fast chargers near the museum.

    Yes it does, but it sounds like it doesn’t work how you want it to. I don’t ever drive in the situation you describe.

    Check out my driving over the last 13 months. With 200 miles of range I would have never used the range extender (except maybe once and I probably could have found a charger in that situation or done something different. It was right at the 200 mark). So that is 1 time in 13 months… which if I had 250 miles would have been a non-issue.

    DDH_zpsdccfebba.jpg


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (9:10 pm)

    Cant easily edit the above with my ipad. But the last thing i want to say is…

    Nothing will progress until workplaces become the catalyst to install a serious amount or evse equipment at work to entice people to buy EVs. There is currently no impetus to get people to buy an electric car. Tesla is now waving the safety flag. Why? I believe orders are now dropping and they need new news to get more flowing. This is the problem. EVs are misunderstood and do not offer enough advantage over standard new cars. Until they are cheap to own, and this includes $10-15k used models for sale for the huge used car market, then they just dont attract. SUVs and luxury attract. Mid sized models like the Ford Fusion and Taurus still attract. I like the Fusion styling over the Model-S. i saw dozens of New Fusions on my 800 miles of driving the last couple days. And tons of trucks, suvs and so on. Safety is fine for Tesla but the sales will wane. EVs looked like they would double this year over last but now appear to only be a 70% gain after the July numbers. And this is after the Leaf, Volt and other models lowered prices, while Tesla raised options prices on Aug 3 to bump up order finalizations by about 500 for that week but now are tapering.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (10:43 pm)

    Bonaire: EVs looked like they would double this year over last but now appear to only be a 70% gain after the July numbers. And this is after the Leaf, Volt and other models lowered prices,

    The July sales of the Volt did not include any at the lowered MSRP. It will be interesting to see if the price cut affected sales #’s. I guess we will have to wait 2 weeks.


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    Aug 21st, 2013 (11:48 pm)

    kdawg: I’ll preface this with, this is my personal preference (and I think several others). That is why i put the word “me” in my original post……

    DonC:
    A BEV doesn’t work the way you think it does. 200 miles of range is not a lot, and generally won’t take you much of anywhere. For example, if I’m going to LA to the Norton Simon museum, it’s about 228 miles roundtrip. There aren’t any fast chargers near the museum. To make it work I’d need to go out of my way on the way up, fighting traffic and wasting time to get to a charger, and then do the same on the way back. That’s a huge pain and if something you generally don’t want to do because you’re always one accident away from gridlock……

    Very well said and I agree completely, DonC! IMO we’re many years away from the time “pure” BEVs will be superior, if they EVER are, to EREVs like the Volt.


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    America1st

     

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    Aug 22nd, 2013 (12:55 am)

    Well, Rush Limp-Baugh will have to find something else to diss about. AMERICA WINS!!!


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    Aug 22nd, 2013 (1:08 am)

    I haven’t driven more than 100 miles round trip in more than 6 years other than one 300 mile round trip. But neither the Volt nor the Tesla would have worked in the situation as I went to pick up 30 10′ lengths of aluminum. So a Tesla would work just fine for me. Truth is I don’t like driving distances much anyway; too slow.


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    Aug 22nd, 2013 (4:49 am)

    kdawg: …I dunno, just seems like a front port is the most logical location.

    I understand your desire for the front port. I was just sharing some of the advantages. GM did it right with the Volt; Tesla did it well with Model S.

    My ChargePoint mounted on the front garage wall reaches perfectly to the Model S charge port. The Tesla HPWC is mounted between the garage doors, so it is easy to use. Some public charge stations have long cords; backing up is not required. Most of the time the range covers the daily drive, so I hardly charge in public.

    SuoerChargers are installed to be easy for the Model S driver, so that is covered. Some Tesla owners are installing proximity charging, eliminating the cable at home or work. What is a surprise are the lack of complaints at the Tesla Forum, it’s just not an issue for the majority of owners.


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    Aug 22nd, 2013 (8:42 am)

    nasaman: IMO we’re many years away from the time “pure” BEVs will be superior, if they EVER are, to EREVs like the Volt.

    I think it simply comes down to, to each their own. It’s like asking who makes the “best” vehicle and then comparing a motorcycle and a truck. Everyone’s needs are different. Like I said in my post at #29, each person will draw their line in the sand at a different spot.


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    Aug 22nd, 2013 (11:37 am)

    DonC,

    This is why choosing an 85 kW battery is critical now. Double the density in the future to a 75 mph 400 mile range for maximum satisfaction.


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    Aug 23rd, 2013 (10:47 am)

    Great post! I wish more car companies like GM and Ford would take note of this. These guys are sure to pass them up soon.


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    Aug 29th, 2013 (1:46 pm)

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