Tesla launches pricey new accessories

Tesla launches pricey new accessories

Tesla is launching today two new aftermarket accessories for Model S and Model X vehicles and they are not cheap.

Earlier this year, Tesla has introduced a new wireless phone charger for Model S and Model X.

The automaker made the device standard in a new Model S and Model X vehicles.

For the thousands of Model S and Model X owners who got the electric vehicles prior to the change, they needed to rely on third-party aftermarket phone chargers or Tesla’s own wired phone charging system if they want a charging solution on their center console.

Now Tesla is launching the new wireless phone charger as an aftermarket accessory on its shop website:

Tesla describes the device on the webpage:

“Stay charged with the Model S/X Wireless Phone Charger. Simply dock your Qi-enabled smartphone into the holster for quick and secure charging without cables. Provides up to 7.5W of power.”

The automaker does note that for MCU1 Model S and Model X (the one with the Tegra chip), the charging speed is reduced to 5 watts.

Tesla provides a 12-step guide on how to install the device on your vehicle:

At $125, this new accessory is certainly not cheap for those who didn’t get it standard with their new Tesla Model S or Model X vehicles.

There are several third-party options out there for less than a third of that price, like this popular one for $40 on Amazon:

For Model X, Tesla also released today a new cargo net for the rear trunk and at $50, it’s also not a cheap accessory.

Here are a few pictures of the new aftermarket accessory:

Tesla writes in the description:

“Compatible with six and seven seat configurations, the stretchable elastic netting will safely protect fragile items or more secure cargo like sports equipment or luggage. Featuring easy installation, Model X Cargo Net also includes a storage bag for convenient stowing at home or on the road.”

Again, there are plenty of cheaper third-party solutions if you don’t want to pay $50 for some fabric.

Along with the new accessories today, Tesla also updated its Model Y configurator with new prices.

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Porsche Taycan Gets Special Optimized Tires From Hankook

Hankook supplies special e-tyres for Porsche Taycan electric sports cars

Tyre maker Hankook is further expanding its original equipment commitment to the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer and, with its specially developed Ventus S1 evo 3 ev e-tyres, is now also supplying the new Porsche Taycan, the first all-electric sports car from Porsche AG.

Neu-Isenburg, Germany, July 9, 2020 – Premium tyre maker Hankook is contributing to the Porsche Taycan with its Ventus S1 evo 3 ev, which has been specially developed for the needs of electric vehicles. In the size 225/55R19 XL 103Y on the front axle, 275/45R19 XL 108Y on the rear axle and “NF0” on the sidewall, the Ventus S1 evo 3 ev hides a lot of technical refinements that bring the performance of electronically driven sports cars optimally onto the road.

“We are proud to equip the first fully electric sports car from Porsche with our tyres. Providing the original equipment for sporty premium vehicles is already a tradition at Hankook. Our engineers have shown that with our products we are well prepared for the new demands in the field of electric sports cars and are therefore well positioned for the future,” says Sanghoon Lee, President of Hankook Tire Europe.

The tread pattern of the Ventus S1 evo 3 was adapted in the ev version for Porsche in such a way that it reduces in particular those tyre noises which may be perceived as annoying in the vehicle interior due to the absence of engine noise by about three decibels. To meet the heavy demands of the high performance of electric sports cars, the tyre has a reinforced bead with so-called bead-packing technology, as well as high lateral stiffness for precise handling even at high speeds.

“With the tyre development for the Porsche Taycan, our development team has moved into completely new dimensions and we are proud of the result. For the original equipment engineers, such a development project represents a special challenge – because solving the conflict of objectives for optimizing the various performance criteria in an e-vehicle like this high-performance sports car requires the highest level of expertise and the latest technologies”, explains Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Krause, head of the European research and development centre at Hankook.

To meet the specific demands of an electric vehicle such as the Porsche Taycan, Hankook’s developers have also discovered an optimally balanced vulcanisation process for the tyre compound that ensures the right balance of temperature, time expenditure and pressure. As a result, Ventus S1 evo 3 ev achieves 30% greater durability compared to a standard tread compound. Abrasion resistance has been improved by 5% compared to the conventional model and rolling resistance has been improved by 13% overall.

Tesla Supercharger ramp hits milestone with 2,000 stations active worldwide

Tesla Supercharger ramp hits milestone with 2,000 stations active worldwide


Tesla’s global ramp of its Supercharger Network recently hit another milestone, with the company installing the 2,000th station in its worldwide fast charging network. With its 2,000th site going live, Tesla now operates 18,000 rapid charging stalls across the United States, Europe, and in the Pan Pacific region.

The update comes following the electric car maker’s installation of the UK and Ireland’s 500th Supercharger. Interestingly, the recently built station features Supercharger V2 stalls, which boat 150 KW and are capable of charging a Tesla battery to 80% in about 30-40 minutes. Tesla’s next generation chargers, aptly dubbed Supercharger V3, are capable of charging at 250 kW, allowing vehicles to complete their charging sessions in just 15-20 minutes.

Tesla currently operates its Supercharger Network in 41 countries, with 29 of them being located in the European region. It has been a long journey for the rapid charging system, with the first station going live in Los Angeles back in 2013. During that time, Tesla only had one vehicle that was compatible with the network, the Model S. Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched the system as a free service for owners of the Model S and Model X, encouraging EV owners to take their vehicles on long trips.

The Supercharger Network’s ramp accelerated across the United States, and it was not long before the system was expanded to European countries. Scandinavia, Central Europe, and the UK saw their first Supercharger stations in 2014 and 2015. The network has been growing since, with Supercharger stations also being built in countries such as China, Japan, Australia, and other areas in the Pan Pacific region.

Tesla notes that more than 1.4 billion miles have been delivered to European drivers alone, with 170 million of those being accounted for by the UK and Ireland. As noted by The Sunday Times in a recent report, Tesla’s Superchargers delivered 60 million miles worth of electricity to customers across the UK and Ireland last year. Tesla fondly noted that such a figure would be enough to travel to the ISS and back 100,000 times.

The ramp of the Supercharger Network is poised to become even more important in the coming years. With high volume electric cars like the Model 3 and the Model Y becoming more mainstream, the need to have a global rapid charging station increases. After all, Tesla’s Superchargers, which are capable of catering to large numbers of vehicles every day due to their speed and convenience, are pivotal in making electric cars a legitimate and no frills alternative to petrol powered automobiles.

Tesla Supercharger ramp hits milestone with 2,000 stations active worldwide





Tesla patents new technology for lithium metal/anode-free battery cells

Tesla has applied for a patent on new electrolyte solutions for a new lithium metal or anode-free battery cell.

Over the last year, we have been reporting on Tesla’s battery research partner, Jeff Dahn and his team at Dalhousie University, unveiling the impressive results of tests on a new battery cell that could last over 1 million miles in an electric vehicle. The team has been working for Tesla to improve energy density and longevity of battery cells while reducing costs.

But Dahn, who is a pioneer of Li-Ion battery technology, and his team have also been working on next-generation battery technology — beyond improving on current technology.

Last year, we reported on the team patenting an “anode-free lithium-metal cell” for Tesla that they suggested could be the next big thing in battery tech instead of solid-state batteries.

They are still working on the new cells as evidenced by a new patent application Dahn’s team for Tesla’s Canadian research group: ‘Electrolytes with Lithium Difluoro(oxalato)borate and Lithium Tetrafluoroborate Salts for Lithium-metal and Anode-Free Battery Cells’.

Tesla writes about the current problems with lithium-metal batteries in the patent application:

“Rechargeable batteries are an integral component of energy-storage systems for electric vehicles and for grid storage (for example, for backup power during a power outage, as part of a microgrid and so forth.). Some such rechargeable battery systems include lithium metal and anode-free lithium batteries. Lithium metal and anode-free lithium batteries have certain advantages over traditional lithium ion batteries, as they are more energy dense. Anode-free cells are also less expensive and easier to assemble due to their lack of anode coating. However, challenges with lithium metal and anode-free lithium batteries have prevented their wide spread adoption. Improving certain characteristics of lithium metal and anode-free battery systems will allow for more widespread use of such systems. For instance, developing electrolyte compositions that allow for commercially acceptable cycling performance of lithium metal and anode-free lithium batteries is critical to gaining adoption of such battery systems. Until the present disclosure, the general consensus in the industry is that an electrolyte with lithium difluoro(oxalato)borate (“LiDFOB”) salt alone best increases the capacity retention of lithium metal and anode-free lithium cells.”

In short, it offers great advantages when it comes to energy density and costs, but it needs improvements when it comes to longevity.

Dahn’s team claims that its new electrolyte would help improve just that:

“Provided are electrolyte solutions including both lithium difluoro(oxalato)borate and lithium tetrafluoroborate and a solvent component for use in lithium metal or anode-free rechargeable battery cell and methods of using the electrolyte solutions to improve capacity retention of the battery cells. Also provided are rechargeable battery systems including a lithium metal or anode-free battery cell and electrolyte solutions including both lithium difluoro(oxalato)borate and lithium tetrafluoroborate and a solvent component. The systems described herein exhibit improved capacity retention.”

In the patent application, they do release test results showing improvements in battery capacity retention, but they don’t seem to have pushed the cells beyond 50 cycles for now. They would need to put the batteries to many more cycles in order to make them viable for commercialization.

As we reported earlier this year, the Tesla researchers published work on a hybrid lithium-metal battery as an all-electric car range extender.

It’s important to note that Tesla, like most other companies, will sometimes patent technologies that won’t ever actually go into production.

More about Tesla’s battery plans is expected to be announced on September 15 during its “Battery Day.”

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LEVC Presents Details For Its VN5 Range-Extended Electric Van

LEVC ANNOUNCES FULL DETAILS OF NEW ELECTRIC VAN, VN5

  • Bold, distinctive design and lightweight aluminium construction
  • Flexible fast charging and low operating costs
  • 24/7 cross-country capability – zero emissions in the city with a long-distance range
  • Tailored for work – three specifications available
  • Available to order now, visit www.levc.com/VN5 for more details

Ansty, 8th July 2020; LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) is set to revolutionise the commercial vehicle segment with the launch of VN5, its new electric light commercial van.  Available to order now, first VN5 deliveries will commence in RHD form in Q4, with LHD models available from March 2021.

VN5 has a flexible zero emissions capable range of over 300 miles (484 km)1 delivered by LEVC’s innovative eCity electric technology. It also uses with the same reliable, hard-working construction as LEVC’s highly successful TX taxi.  With up to 5.5m3 capacity, VN5 cargo capacity easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload of 830kg. It has been built with a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60/40 split door at the rear to make loading and unloading easy for the driver.

VN5 will enter the market later this year in a highly competitive position, offering generous standard equipment, low operating costs, a comprehensive warranty and strong residual values.

Designed, engineered and manufactured at LEVC’s award winning production plant in Ansty, Coventry – the UK’s only dedicated electric vehicle factory – VN5 can enhance the green footprint of any business. 

LEVC CEO Joerg Hofmann said: “VN5 sets new green mobility standards in the industry and establishes a new and highly desirable electric van segment.  We’ve applied our extensive knowledge from the taxi world to create a high quality, hard-working van with zero emissions and long-distance capability.  As well as offering favourable operating benefits, VN5 fulfils the growing demand from both businesses and consumers for cleaner, more sustainable commercial vehicles.”

Iconic design   
VN5 shares its distinctive styling with the iconic London taxi. Drawing upon the company’s heritage as the leader in the taxi sector for over a century, VN5 features a front end common with the electric TX taxi, a timeless purpose-built model launched in 2018. Combined with bold yet clean surfaces, VN5 is a modern van that stands out from the crowd.  

LED headlamps are fitted as standard, converting 80% the power into light versus a typical 20% for a halogen lamp. These are brighter, longer lasting and are four times more efficient than conventional halogen lamps.

Inside, VN5 also benefits from a driver-oriented cabin shared with TX, featuring an ergonomic, relaxed and stress-free workspace tried and tested on the streets of London by thousands of cabbies. The driver’s seat is ergonomically designed and fully adjustable, while the steering wheel can also be adjusted for reach and rake. The cabin is optimised for professional use, with settings accessed via a large central touchscreen with intuitive interface, while bright LED lighting clearly illuminates other key controls. Ample stowage in the doors, glovebox and central console are all designed to allow convenient access when needed.

Tailored for work

Three VN5 variants are available – Business, City and Ultima – with a high level of standard equipment and always with the demands of the user in mind.  All VN5 models feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), front and side driver and passenger airbags, cruise control, nine-inch touchscreen and dual zone climate control as standard as well as 50kW DC rapid charging and minimum 11kW AC fast charging capability. City trim adds a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, curtain airbags and Lane Departure Warning, while the flagship Ultima features a rear-view camera, luxury seats, metallic paint and 22kW AC charging capability as standard.

Six option packs are available, allowing customers to tailor to their specific preferences. The Comfort pack features luxury driver & passenger seats, Satellite Navigation, under-seat storage and a heated windscreen. The Safety pack comes with Road Sign Information system (RSI), Speed Limit Intelligent Function (SLIF), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and curtain airbags.

In addition, LEVC has worked with a number of Europe’s leading convertors to ensure the VN5 can be equipped with racking, roof racks, light bars and other bespoke modifications required by customers in this sector. In addition, the vehicle will also be available with a range of accessories at launch including seat covers, mats and handheld device holders to enable customers to personalise and protect their vehicles.

Street wise and easy to load

VN5 features a class-leading turning circle of just 10.1m. Like TX, the VN5 has been designed  for unrivalled mobility in busy city environments and can operate effortlessly in tight urban spaces.

The VN5 cargo capacity of up to 5.5m3 easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload up to 830kg. It has been built with a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60/40 split door at the rear to make loading and unloading easy for the driver.

Maximising use, minimising downtime  

Flexible electric power at the heart of V5. Based on the same architecture and proven eCity range-extender technology as LEVC’s TX electric taxi, a pure EV range of 58 miles (93 km) and a total flexible range of over 300 miles (484 km)1 can be achieved.

By eliminating range anxiety thanks to the VN5’s intuitive eCity technology, this new electric van delivers a ‘distribution to door’ service, combines long-distance usability with zero emissions capability. VN5 excels where businesses have to drive a significant number of “stem miles” from the depot to get to the first delivery address. Based on a real-world delivery scenario from a warehouse near Heathrow Airport to four central London destinations, a fully charged and fuelled VN5 can complete a full day’s work and make the 47-mile return trip 6 times, before it needs to recharge/refuel, far exceeding the range of a pure electric van.   

And, with the ability to go from zero charge to 100 percent in 30 minutes thanks to its 50kW DC charging capability, a full charge can be completed in the time taken loading/ unloading at the depot or for a short driver break and be back on the road, working hard for its owner.  VN5’s long 25,000-mile service intervals mean time spent off the road is further minimised.

Built to last

VN5 has been designed to last twice as long as the competition, thanks to its first in sector strong and lightweight bonded aluminium monocoque & SMC construction. This technology is resistant to corrosion and absorbs twice the crash energy of mild steel. In addition, VN5 features SMC panels which are resistant to dents and which shrug off minor impacts and help to keep the vehicle on the road.

VN5 comes with a class leading five year/150,000 mile vehicle warranty and a battery warranty of eight years/150,000 miles. Customers can also opt for an extended warranty of six years/200,000 miles for the vehicle and eight years/200,000 miles for the battery.

Reducing running costs

VN5 continues on its promise to deliver low operating costs with electricity for a full charge costing less than £2 on a low cost electric vehicle tariff, and fuelling costs that could be as low as £2 ppm versus 11 ppm for diesel equivalents.

With zero emissions in the City, operators of the VN5 will be exempt from the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge in London and will benefit from similar treatment in other cities with pro-electric legislation.

Lex has confirmed attractive Contract Hire rates for business users starting at just £493.92 per month + VAT based on a 60 month contract covering 20,000 miles per annum. This further illustrates the VN5’s competitive and class leading total cost of ownership with tailored Contract Hire quotations available from Lex Autolease.

In addition, VN5 is expected to qualify for a number of national incentive schemes for low emissions vehicles, such as the UK OLEV plug-in grant. This means UK operators will receive a discount of 20% off the purchase price, up to a maximum of £8,0003.

Safety as Standard

VN5 was designed from the outset to the highest safety standards. Passive and Active systems work together to protect the vehicle’s occupants, improve road safety for all road users, and reduce the costs associated with high accident rates. VN5’s first in sector bonded aluminium monocoque & SMC construction is immensely strong and absorbs twice the crash energy of mild steel.

The vehicle is equipped with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard, to protect the vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users from accidents at lower speeds. AEB also operates at higher speeds during interurban vehicle operation. Should a collision ever occur, the post-impact braking system will intervene to stop any further collisions on rebound.

Other safety systems available include Emergency Brake Assist and ABS, Front & Side Driver & Passenger airbags and optional curtain airbags.

Comprehensive sales and service support

VN5 will be sold through LEVC’s growing international dealer network, with more than 50 locations in the UK alone by the end of this year, to ensure that customers are never further than a 45-minute drive time to an authorised LEVC service point.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. Measured using WLTP process June 2020 – official VN5 range figures subject to final homologation and certification.
  2. £493.92 per month rental based on Lex Autolease Contract Hire (without maintenance) over 60 months/20,000 mile pa with 9 months initial payment.
  3. Subject to final approval from OLEV. Prices for VN5 start from £46,500.
Tesla Supercharger ramp hits milestone with 2,000 stations active worldwide

Tesla’s SilLion acquisition and Roadrunner batteries will make EVs inevitable


Tesla’s Project Roadrunner is expected to usher in a new generation of batteries that would widen the gap between the electric car maker and its rivals in the EV industry. To accomplish this goal, Tesla has been acquiring companies whose technologies would allow it to develop and produce the best batteries on the market, bar none. One of these companies, SilLion, could very well have developed innovations that would make Teslas, and in turn, EVs, inevitable.

Just last month, Elon Musk stated on Twitter that what really matters in batteries is the cathode and anode material. Musk added that while there are numerous choices available, nickel cathodes and carbon silicon anodes really work great. This is right in line with SilLion’s work. Back in 2017, the company outlined the results of its work on batteries, which, interestingly, is focused on high-loading silicon anodes and nickel-rich cathodes.

According to SilLion, it has manufactured early 2.5 Ah prototypes of its battery cells that are capable of achieving greater than 300 Wh/kg, a prerequisite step to ensure that the company’s tech could be inserted into the markets. What’s more, SilLion’s cell technology, through the utilization of lower cost materials and manufacturing capabilities, is poised to be 30% less expensive than state of the art and industry leading lithium ion batteries at the time.

The reasons behind the acquisition of SilLion have not been disclosed by Tesla, though it is not difficult to speculate that the firm’s battery breakthroughs could be a key factor that attracted the electric car maker. Tesla’s endgame, after all, is developing vehicles and energy storage products with high energy batteries that are also cost effective to produce. If Tesla could accomplish this, it could reach and exceed price parity with gas powered vehicles, and perhaps even more. With such a breakthrough, Tesla could all but ensure that EVs will become inevitable in the auto market.

As noted by Tesla owner enthusiast Sean Mitchell in a recent video, SilLion’s tech, if integrated with the work of other companies like Maxwell that the electric car maker has acquired over the years, could make Elon Musk’s statements about “mind blowing” innovations on Battery Day accurate. Of course, mass manufacturing these next generation cells is a completely different story. Fortunately, such a challenge seems to be addressed by Project Roadrunner, at least up to a point.

Considering the potential output of Project Roadrunner, Tesla’s next generation cells would likely be a perfect match for the upcoming Plaid Model S and Model X. Both vehicles have been announced by Elon Musk last year, and both are expected to be equipped with the best battery and powertrain tech that Tesla has to offer. The Model S and Model X are relatively low volume vehicles compared to the Model 3 and Model Y, after all, which should allow the Roadrunner line to produce enough batteries for the flagship EVs.

Watch Sean Mitchell’s recent feature on Tesla’s SilLion acquisition in the video below.

Tesla’s SilLion acquisition and Roadrunner batteries will make EVs inevitable