Kizashi Club

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 #19133  by KuroNekko
 Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:49 pm
I am sure most of you have heard of the Tesla Model S. As a car nut, I've been following the press on this car from early on. Last year, it won just about every Car of the Year award in the United States.

I work in Washington, DC where the Model S is not a rare sighting. I see one on the road about every day. Tesla also has a store in the city and DC was one of the cities in the controversial DC to Boston run (which after the claims of the NY Times writer, every publication seemed to try out for themselves).

However, yesterday, I finally got to see, sit in, and thoroughly check out the car in person for myself. I went to a mall in Virginia and Tesla had a showroom there. They had a black Model S Performance (P85) for show and they had a red base model which people could crawl all over. I sure did.

Must must say that the car is beautiful on the outside. I pretty much like every angle of the exterior. The front, side, and rear are all impressive. The car flows despite that fact that it's not a small car. The door handles that pop out work nicely and are well crafted. I simply love the car's design.

The interior was a different story. I didn't know what to expect (other than the hyped giant iPad-like center console). Yes, yes, that's all cool and all, but man... For an $75,000 car, the interior is quite cheap. The buttons on the chairs and dash feel cheaper than the Kizashi's. The plastics used aren't the kind you'd expect in a car of this price range. I have sat in Audi A7s which cost about the same and the quality of the interior is a HUGE difference. If you ignore the huge instrument and console displays, the interior actually feels something like 25k car. The design, however, is impressive and the doors even have embedded LEDs, but the quality of the materials was a disappointment. Honestly, Acura makes more impressive interiors.

The seats were very comfortable and leg space was decent, but again, did not feel like the leather seats of a luxury car. I have sat in a Kizashi SLS which I thought had nicer seats. The lack of a drive shaft, traditional transmission, or exhaust system allows for the car to have a completely flat floor. This gives the rear seats even more leg room and there is an awkward flat, unused space between the driver seat and front passenger seat where normally a car would have the shifter, etc.

I was also shocked to see the weight of this car. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating was around 5,900 pounds. The curb weight is about 1000 less, weighing in at around 4,700 pounds. That's quite a heavy car, considering the motor and the inverter are the size of a full standard pillow each and mounted all the way at the back. The chassis is also aluminum (same with the roof) with some high-tensile steel in the front and back for collision reinforcement. As you can see in the photo, under the hood is a storage compartment.
The battery is the heavy part and I was told it weighs about 1,400 pounds. Despite all this, I just seem to think the car is overweight. Maybe it's just me.

The one thing the showroom could not (and these young people working there failed to) do was really express how much of a performance car the Model S is. The car does 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds for the base and 4 for the Performance. I have recently read that these figures are even understated and the car is actually faster. These figures are like Porsche Cayman and 911 numbers, respectively.
Because it's electric, there's 100% torque on tap from 0. I have talked to people who have driven the Model S (who are not at all affiliated with Tesla) and they said the car takes off like nothing else.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this car, but at the end of the day, I can say I am a fan. The car is very impressive in terms of technology, performance, and its role in the future of the auto market. I also highly respect Elon Musk and his commitment to work on solutions to problems instead of merely complaining like everyone else. I think he is perfect for running a groundbreaking, independent auto company like Tesla.

Is the car worth the 60 to 90k? Hard to say. I think it really depends on one's driving conditions and needs. Most people should wait until they release the cheaper model they are promising.

That being said, if I won the lottery, you can bet I will have a Model S Performance in my driveway. To me, it's the most desirable American-made car.
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Tesla Model S base model. 60 kWh.
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Tesla Model S Performance. 85 kWh.
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 #19134  by Ronzuki
 Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:58 pm
Independent car company my be a stretch. Not entirely correct. The government, we the people, did provide funding for this endeavor. Yes, they reportedly paid back the loan...under what circumstances, who's to say. $75k is a starting point...they can go for over $100k. Why pray-tell would there also need to be a $7,500 federal subsidy for the purchase of a luxury vehicle? Not exactly something 'we the everyday people' are really going to benefit from. I also understand that in Calif. Tesla is installing free (to big $$$ model S owners w/ the 85kw option) 'quick' charging stations along highways between the major cities. There's one of these things parked in a lot of the building behind my workplace every day, complete with 2 cars seats in the back. And I will say that around here, it's an extremely rare site. It's 0-60 time is something under 5 seconds if I recall....quite snappy aye?
 #19137  by KuroNekko
 Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:26 pm
Ronzuki wrote:Independent car company my be a stretch. Not entirely correct. The government, we the people, did provide funding for this endeavor. Yes, they reportedly paid back the loan...under what circumstances, who's to say. $75k is a starting point...they can go for over $100k. Why pray-tell would there also need to be a $7,500 federal subsidy for the purchase of a luxury vehicle? Not exactly something 'we the everyday people' are really going to benefit from. I also understand that in Calif. Tesla is installing free (to big $$$ model S owners w/ the 85kw option) 'quick' charging stations along highways between the major cities. There's one of these things parked in a lot of the building behind my workplace every day, complete with 2 cars seats in the back. And I will say that around here, it's an extremely rare site. It's 0-60 time is something under 5 seconds if I recall....quite snappy aye?


Well, by independent, I meant not a subsidiary brand of another major auto corporation like Lamborghini is to the Volkswagen Auto Group.
And yes, Tesla did receive some federal (taxpayer) money. However, Tesla paid it back in FULL already, 5 years AHEAD of time. Let's not forget we taxpayers also bailed out GM and Chrysler. GM has yet to paid back in full and Chrysler is now part-owned by FIAT, an Italian company who is seeking to acquire even more of Chrysler.
In comparison to GM and Chrysler, Tesla is a champ. Not too surprising given the company is lead by Elon Musk, a co-founder of Paypal worth billions who pays himself 34,000 a year. Aside from Tesla, he has a space program company along with a solar technology company.

Also, the base model starts at around 62,000 and the top of the line is around 87,000. The top of the line P85 (Performance 85 kWh) does 0 to 60 in an official 4.2 seconds, but is rumored to be even faster. Despite that, the estimated operating cost of doing a quarter mile at full speed is 5 cents. Not bad at all. Still, toys for the rich.
 #19140  by Moto
 Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:48 am
I have yet to see one in person, but I like the idea. As far as the weight goes I'm sure you have read the same thing. The batteries very low to the ground so I think the car's cg is lower than just about anything else ever produced. Other than needing big breaks it shouldn't hurt it much.
 #19141  by KuroNekko
 Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:43 am
Moto wrote:I have yet to see one in person, but I like the idea. As far as the weight goes I'm sure you have read the same thing. The batteries very low to the ground so I think the car's cg is lower than just about anything else ever produced. Other than needing big breaks it shouldn't hurt it much.


I have heard the car handles like a dream thanks to what you mentioned: the ultra-low Center of Gravity. In the showroom, they had the two cars and also a bare chassis with the motor and battery exposed. The whole powertrain was flat and evenly laid out. Basically the massive battery is in the middle bottom of the car and the surprisingly small motor and inverter way at the back of the car.

And about those wheels and brakes. The wheels are 21 inches. They are huge and give the car a commanding presence. The brake calipers and rotors on both the front and rear are massive. Interestingly, the rear has two calipers. The main one that is large and a smaller one. I believe the smaller one is the parking brake which has a caliper of its own. I have never seen that set-up before.

I also want to say the storage space is generous. The front trunk is bigger and deeper than you would expect. I could crawl in there and shut the hood. The rear trunk is also large and features a deep pocket under the trunk cover. I did not see a spare wheel/tire included in the red show car.

Oh, and the moonroof is massive. It's basically the whole front half of the roof. It's controlled by the center-console touch screen and you just swipe or tab the screen to the place you want it opened up. The touch screen controls work very well, just like an iPad. They control just about everything on the car other than the wipers, turn signals, and shifter.
 #19143  by Ronzuki
 Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:47 pm
[quote="KuroNekko]
Well, by independent, I meant not a subsidiary brand of another major auto corporation like Lamborghini is to the Volkswagen Auto Group.
And yes, Tesla did receive some federal (taxpayer) money. However, Tesla paid it back in FULL already, 5 years AHEAD of time. Let's not forget we taxpayers also bailed out GM and Chrysler. GM has yet to paid back in full and Chrysler is now part-owned by FIAT, an Italian company who is seeking to acquire even more of Chrysler.
In comparison to GM and Chrysler, Tesla is a champ. Not too surprising given the company is lead by Elon Musk, a co-founder of Paypal worth billions who pays himself 34,000 a year. Aside from Tesla, he has a space program company along with a solar technology company. [/quote]

My point exactly...I do not believe our government should be permitted to be a finance company for anything period. Especially rich boy toys. Not its function, not appropriate use of tax money that we don't have to begin with, and more importantly, not approved by me the taxpayer. GM and Chrysler should have both been allowed to fail from a pure business perspective. Better, leaner companies would rise to the top. Hostess comes to mind.

Here's the one behind my workplace:

Image
 #19156  by KuroNekko
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:12 am
Ronzuki wrote:My point exactly...I do not believe our government should be permitted to be a finance company for anything period. Especially rich boy toys. Not its function, not appropriate use of tax money that we don't have to begin with, and more importantly, not approved by me the taxpayer. GM and Chrysler should have both been allowed to fail from a pure business perspective. Better, leaner companies would rise to the top. Hostess comes to mind.


While the sentiment is understandable, I supported the bail out and so did politicians on both sides (Obama and G.W. Bush both supported it). While it's questionable whether tax payer money should be used to save businesses, these major auto corporations employ tens of thousands of Americans. Had they not been bailed out by the US tax payer, they may have died off or much more realistically, been bought by the Chinese or other foreign companies/investors. That would have made the once great and iconic American industrial figures foreign-owned. Of course tens of thousands of lay-offs would of also followed, putting even more Americans out of work. Overall, America would have been much worse off.

Bailing them out is what had to be done and many Democrats and Republicans knew this. While it was quite a disappointment that FIAT purchased part of Chrysler (and is looking to own more of them), it is unrealistic that Chrysler could have turned profitable without FIAT. FIAT is basically keeping the company afloat and making $.

Tesla is in a totally different realm. They were never bailed out. They had a federal loan to start up and build up their business. I have read it was something like 300 million. Not only did Tesla succeed in returning the loan, but they paid it back in full 5 years in advance. Let's not forget these cars are American-made, therefore Tesla employs Americans in-house and also created jobs for their American suppliers.

Compare that with other US gov't funded tech companies like A123 Systems which was a disastrous failure. Upon declaring bankruptcy (despite Obama's hundreds of millions to them) they were snatched up by a Chinese company. This just goes to show what could have happened to Chrysler and GM. Basically, it shows they were too big to fail.
Also, China is now GM's #1 market. They will be making most of their profit soon from China. Had they become Chinese-owned, this would have been a colossal loss for GM (as we know it), their employees, and of course, America.

I also want to add that while corporate welfare and bail outs seem very un-American, the rest of the world does it on a regular basis. The German auto corps are known to be tied to their gov't. I can say with 100% certainty that the Japanese auto industry is in bed with the Japanese gov't. In fact, the whole currency manipulation the Japanese gov't is accused of undertaking was for the sake of Japanese corporations and their profits overseas. The yen was too strong compared to the dollar and other currencies. The prime minister of Japan undertook his economic policy which devalued the yen. This then allowed Japanese companies to make higher profits (or in some cases, finally a profit in years) as their overseas revenues were better protected from the currency exchange. This allowed for companies to remain profitable and maintain the employment of the Japanese people.

The prime example is Mazda. They were a company that stopped producing in the US after the 2008 economic crash and were in the red since then. They had to downsize and move all manufacturing to Japan of their North American market cars yet lost money from the currency exchange. Earlier this year, they finally made a profit for the first time in the last 5 years. It was of course only after Japanese Prime Minister Abe devalued the yen.

So if the rest of the world counts on their gov't to play big daddy, should we lose out just out of principle? While I think corporations need to be more responsible, pay more taxes, and fend more for themselves, some are too big to fail and definitely should not fall into foreign ownership. That would have been much worse than a US tax payer bail out.
 #19158  by Woodie
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:23 am
Ronzuki wrote:My point exactly...I do not believe our government should be permitted to be a finance company for anything period. Especially rich boy toys. Not its function, not appropriate use of tax money that we don't have to begin with, and more importantly, not approved by me the taxpayer. GM and Chrysler should have both been allowed to fail from a pure business perspective. Better, leaner companies would rise to the top. Hostess comes to mind.


I agree with you completely, but the harsh reality is that you're going to look for a long time to find any company large enough to build a decent automobile who does not have their snoot in the government trough.
 #19159  by Woodie
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:44 am
KuroNekko wrote:So if the rest of the world counts on their gov't to play big daddy, should we lose out just out of principle?

Absolutely.
 #19162  by Ronzuki
 Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:48 pm
Not the thread for a political discussion....my apologies for getting off-track.