Tesla Returns to New Jersey After Year-Long Ban

Almost exactly one year ago, Governor Christie’s administration, working with the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, put forth a proposal which prevented direct auto sales to consumers. Instead of addressing this issue in a public forum or through New Jersey’s legislature, the proposal was approved behind closed doors with almost no opportunity for public discourse.

Now, one year later, Governor Christie is rolling back that proposal, signing a bill which would allow Tesla to resume retail operations in the Garden State. This new law will allow manufacturers of zero emissions vehicles to construct up to four direct sale dealerships, so long as they also operate one dedicated service location, which Tesla already runs in Paramus.

The law goes into effect immediately and benefits not only Tesla, but any company working on EV’s and zero emission vehicles. Conceivably, Nissan could open up a quartet of showrooms specifically built around the Leaf to also sell directly to consumers in New Jersey.

This is a significant PR victory for Tesla, as the company continues to fight similar direct sales bans around the country.

You can read the details of New Jersey State Assembly Bill A3216 here.

Man Fixes $4500 “Failed” Toyota Hybrid Battery with $20 in Cleaning Products.

This is an incredible story. People often complain about the costly battery repairs on hybrids and EVs. Redditor Scoodidabop is quoted $4500 to replace the battery in a Toyota Camery Hybrid, as the car’s management system says the battery is failing.

toyota camry hybrid failed batteryTurns out he’s an electrician, so he removes the pack from the car and tests each individual cell. ALL of them check out. No problems.

Turns out a bunch of little copper connectors had corrosion. That corrosion was preventing the battery from operating normally. $20 worth of cleaning products later, his battery is functioning normally.

totyota camery hybrid battery

The frustrating aspect of this story is the notion that car manufacturers charge individuals to replace the entire battery pack, when individual cells sell for around $50. Let alone cases like this where there really wasn’t any need to pay almost $5000 to gut the car and replace the battery. It seems very wasteful considering how many rare elements go into producing EV battery packs.

You can read through the whole process on Scoodidabop’s IMGUR gallery.

Japanese Research Group Develops Battery with 7 Times the Capacity of Li-Ion

rav4ev battery cutawayThe longest running smartphones on the market today last at best two days. Imagine if they ran for almost two weeks.

A group at the University of Tokyo School of Engineering led by professor Noritaka Mizuno, and working in cooperation with Nippon Shokubai Co Ltd. are developing a new manufacturing method which might substantially improve energy density in cars and as storage units for homes connected to a smart grid.

Using an “oxygen rocking” design, the team is confident their new storage technique should be capable of storing up to seven times the energy of traditional Lithium Ion cells, while maintaining a high degree of reliability and safety.

Of course like several of the other recent “exciting” scientific battery discoveries, this is still at the research phase. However developments like this should mean improved run time for our gadgets and vehicles is getting closer.

Students Aim to Build Record Breaking Solar Powered Car

14652765876_5a9a687e2f_oStudents at the University of New South Wales hold the Guinness World Record for fastest Solar Powered Electric Vehicle. They set the record in 2011 with a car that hit a top speed of 55mph. Now they have their sights set on another record to smash.

On July 23rd the Sunswift Student Team is looking to unleash the newest version of the eVe electric car, and they’re hoping to break the record for fastest average speed over a 500km distance, which currently sits at 73km per hour (around 45mph). They’re being coy by how much, but they’re confident they can break that record by a “comfortable” margin. Continue reading “Students Aim to Build Record Breaking Solar Powered Car”

Catching up with Tesla Motors: Battery Armor, New Cars, and New York Sales!

model-s-blue-front2_960x640In light of Reddit banning Tesla related posts over the weekend, there were actually a couple interesting stories coming from the electric vehicle manufacturer.

New York!

Following the disappointing actions of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and they’re success at sneaking in a ban on Tesla sales, the Associated Press is reporting that Governor Cuomo has laid out the details for an agreement between New York and Tesla Motors. The state will be examining how to strengthen automobile franchise protections, but Tesla will be allowed to keep its five retail locations in the state to sell directly to consumers.

Tesla Model S Battery Armor!

Following a pair of “extremely uncommon” collisions resulting in battery damage which led to fires, Tesla is introducing new undercarriage armor capable of crushing cinder-blocks. It will add a small bit of weight to the car, but Tesla estimates it will only reduce the car’s range by .1%.

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Starting with vehicles manufactured March 6th, this shield comes standard on new Model S sedans. For those of you lucky enough to own a Model S made before that time, Tesla will install the shield on your car free of charge. More info (and shield tests) on the Tesla Blog.

Lower Priced Tesla to Arrive in 2015?

This one is from the rumor mill, but we’re deeming it as “likely”, that a new Tesla sedan will debut in 2015, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk is blaming himself for some of the car’s delays. In an interview with Bloomberg Musk said “I really am quite insistent that the production version be superior to anything we’ve demonstrated before.” There’s little room for error here as this car, often called the Model X, will represent the largest push into mainstream consumer sales. There’s plenty to focus on, and we know that Musk is also pushing for self driving vehicles to hit roads in the next three years.

 

UPDATED: New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers with Governor Christie to end Tesla Sales Starting April 1st

***UPDATED***

It’s official folks. Live blogged from TransportEvolved from the floor of the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission meeting, you will no longer be able to buy a Tesla in the state of New Jersey starting April 1st. The proposal was approved without public comment.

*** Original Post***

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Announced this morning on Tesla’s Blog, New Jersey consumers interested in shopping electric vehicles might not be able to peruse Tesla’s offerings if a proposal being snuck into the state legislature passes today.

48 states currently have limitations or outright bans on manufacturers selling cars directly to consumers. Tesla was working with the Christie administration to expand retail operations in the state, and through previous negotiations had received two retail licenses. It was agreed that Tesla and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers would hold an open session in the NJ legislature to address the situation. That plan seems to have been discarded.

Proposal PRN2013-138 would require some form of middle man in auto sales, and would undo the current retail licenses Tesla has already acquired. Instead of a public forum to discuss, the proposal is being voted on today at 2pm EDT in Trenton.

It’s another frustrating example of how the game is played behind the scenes through lobbying efforts on behalf of organizations like NJ CAR, and it certainly doesn’t shine the most positive light on Christie’s administration, which has had to field a couple embarrassing political hot potatoes of late.

You can read the full Tesla blog post below.

Continue reading “UPDATED: New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers with Governor Christie to end Tesla Sales Starting April 1st”

CBS Interviews Elon Musk: Tesla Model S completes cross country road trip in 76 hours

model-s-blue-front2_960x640This is a giant leap for EV’s!

Handily answering concerns about range and charge time, two Model S Tesla sedans have completed a cross country road trip starting in LA and arriving in New York a little more than three days later.

Tesla’s Supercharger stations quickly recharge or swap batteries on the Model S, making electric vehicles a more attractive solution for people who drive long distances. More Supercharger stations need to be built for the system to appeal across the country, but this is fantastic progress considering how non-existent the infrastructure for EV’s was even just a couple years ago.

Now hopefully I’ll NEVER have to field that inane question from people here in LA “B-b-b-but what if I suddenly and unexpectedly want to road trip to Vegas like I never do?”

Interview below.

German Federal Motor Transport Authority Gives Tesla Clean Bill of Health Following Vehicle Fires

model-s-blue-front2_960x640Posted on the Tesla website yesterday, the German Motor Authority (KBA) reviewed the Tesla data provided following the incidents in Seattle, Tennessee, and Mexico. The KBA has the power to perform investigations and initiate recalls.

They’ve concluded that no manufacturer defects were found and Tesla was not responsible for the vehicle fires. This could’ve been a disaster for Tesla as Germany is aggressively pushing alternative energy and electric vehicles. As Tesla sock has already taken a hit, a move from the KBA would likely have tainted Tesla’s reputation for an entire generation of consumers.

Instead, Tesla got a fist bump and a “we cool”, so hopefully this will help their reputation recover in Europe. Nice timing indeed as the Model X Sport Crossover should start delivering next year.

It also leads me to wonder why vehicle fires in internal combustion engine cars aren’t covered as viscerally in the media as the three fires Tesla Model S sedans have encountered…

Read the full statement at the Tesla blog.