Archive | May 2013

Tesla Will Have Free Coast to Coast Supercharger Stations by 2014

Tesla 2014

Proposed Tesla Supercharger stations, end of 2014

Tesla will be jumpstarting the construction of its Supercharger stations to the point that a trip from the West Coast to the East Coast can theoretically be taken by the end of this year; by 2014, there will be enough stations to make different journeys than the sole narrow Midwestern corridor that will exist this winter. By 2015, Tesla aims to have enough of the extremely quick charging stations to cover the entire United States.

In addition to the ambitious growth plan, Tesla also announced that the Supercharger stations will be able to bring a depleted car to half full in just over 20 minutes, compared to CEO Elon Musk’s prediction of 30 minutes, as previously planned. This is accomplished by using 120kWh chargers rather than the 90kWh units that were expected to go into the stations. The 20 minute window gives a Model S enough juice to travel roughly 200 miles (as usual, this sort of nice, round number for an EV surely has more than a few caveats).

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Isle of Man: New World Racing, Old World Danger

Isle of Man TT Course

The Isle of Man road course, from iomtt.com

I am terrified to write this.  Not start line of the Isle of Man TT terrified, mind you, but any discussion of the relationship between motorsport and danger is fraught with peril.  When a driver or rider comes out and says racing has gotten too safe, he is castigated as a lunatic, or just another headline seeker.  And woe be to the journalist or fan who admits to such thoughts.    I do not think racing has become too safe.  When I watched Robert Kubica’s horrific crash at Montreal in 2008, I was sure there was a possibility it was fatal, or at least near-fatal.  I held my breath and trembled, I stood up and paced around the room waiting for some signs of movement.  It was horrible to watch.  But it was a feeling I knew well after thirty-plus years as a dedicated racing fan.

In the end, he bruised his ankle.  Miraculous, and all due to the incredible advances in safety throughout motorsport, but especially within Formula One.

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The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Replaces the Last V12 Equipped With a Manual Transmission

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Front 2

All photos from Aston Martin

The Aston Martin V12 Vantage is a killer automobile. It is the British marque’s smallest sports car with the engine of its most powerful shoehorned under the hood. The 6.0L 12-cylinder makes a respectable 510hp, and that power flows through the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, the only option available. From the huge motor to the massive braces cradling the engine and exclusive splitter and diffuser, it is a car made for the somewhat rare Aston buyer who wants a little bit more than a GT wrapped in silky, beautiful sheetmetal. With the upcoming V12 Vantage S, the more powerful V12 from the new Vanquish will give the car an extra 55hp, to 565, making its top speed just north of 200mph. The extra grunt comes at a price, however, and I don’t mean an expected sticker greater than $200,000 at the local dealership. The V12 Vantage S will only be offered with an updated version of Aston’s Touchtronic sequential gearbox, which gains an extra cog for seven gears. The outgoing V12 Vantage will be the last 12-cylinder car driven by a manual transmission.

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Audi’s Electric R8 Supercar is Dead in the Water

Audi R8 E-Tron

Audi may want to check out that “production” part. From Audi

According to British car blog Autocar, Audi has killed the production e-tron, the all-electric version of Audi’s R8 supercar. Ten will be built for internal research and development for future products, but none will make their way to consumers. It looks like there will be no challengers to Mercedes’ throne when the SLS AMG Electric Drive goes on sale next month.

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Formula 1 Teams Protest Pirelli’s Private Tire Test With Mercedes

Rosberg Monaco 2013

Nico Rosberg winning the Monaco GP. From Mercedes

A tire test conducted by Pirelli with current Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 cars is under intense scrutiny this week, and possible violations are expected to be brought in front of the FIA, F1’s governing body, ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix. A few days after the Spanish GP, Pirelli used Mercedes’ current car, the W04, to conduct laps around the Circuit de Catalunya to test tires supplied to F1 teams. It’s been no secret that the W04 burns through tires more quickly than its rivals, which gives Mercedes a serious disadvantage on the track, where tire conservation strategy is more important than ever. Ferrari and Red Bull have lodged protests against the Pirelli test, which they allege violates current FIA regulations.

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Nico Rosberg Leads Every Single Lap to Take Monaco Grand Prix

For one week per year, celebrities, magnates, and titans of industry descend upon the tiny seaside town of Monte Carlo, Monaco, to see and be seen at what is arguably the most famous race of the Formula 1 season. While the streets become clogged with those who become temporary F1 fans, the Monaco Grand Prix also is special for true racing devotees for a number of reasons. The street course has been a staple of F1 racing since the late 1920s, and draws huge interest due to its low speeds, narrow roads, and extremely tight turns and hairpins. Overtaking is extremely difficult as a result of those narrow roads, so setting hot qualifying laps is crucial to earn a top position for the race.

While Nico Rosberg has started in pole position during three of the six Grands Prix so far, he finished the races in Bahrain and Spain several places behind in each. This time, however, 30 years after his father, Keke Rosberg, won the Monaco GP for Williams, Nico crossed the finish line after leading every lap of the race; he handily outperformed Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, while Rosberg’s Mercedes colleague, Lewis Hamilton, finished just outside the podium.

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Rosberg Takes Pole For the Third Time for Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has finished qualifying laps in pole position for the third consecutive race ahead of tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver previously held the pole in the Spanish GP two weeks ago and in Bahrain at the end of April. He would finish in 6th and 9th places, respectively, during the actual races. Just as in Spain, teammate Lewis Hamilton will start alongside Rosberg and make the front row all Mercedes.

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