Tesla first drive, electric road trip, hybrids to supplant diesels? The Week in Reverse

Which controversial new Tesla vehicle did we finally get to drive, and what did we think of it?

And, where is our electric-motorcycle riding contributor Ben Rich headed on this summer’s road trip?

This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending on Friday, June 10, 2016.

We had lots and lots of news this week about Silicon Valley electric-car maker Tesla Motors.

Rusted front suspension ball joint from 2013 Tesla Model S [image: GP Cordaro]

Rusted front suspension ball joint from 2013 Tesla Model S [image: GP Cordaro]

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Friday, we summed up what you need to know about a broken Tesla Model S suspension arm that the NHTSA is looking into.

The issue, first covered on an owner forum late in April, led the agency to express concern over Tesla’s so-called “Goodwill Agreement” some owners must sign, effectively a non-disclosure agreement.

(Things got weirder late Friday, when Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted that 37 out of 40 Model S suspension complaints submitted to the NHTSA appeared to be fakes.)

On Thursday, Tesla had made more news by releasing two new versions of the 2016 Model S electric sedan, with the recent updated styling but slightly less expensive prices.

They’re rated at 60 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity, though owners can pay later to unlock the full capabilities of the 75-kwh packs they actually carry.

Wednesday, we published our 2016 Tesla Model X first drive review, after a few hours in the all-electric luxury crossover SUV with the long and troubled development history. 

The driving experience, we found, is similar to a Model S, and the handling is surprisingly good for a vehicle approaching 3 tons when loaded.

The falcon doors on the test car worked fine and were properly aligned; their finicky sensors will be the subject of a pair of software updates later this year.

On Tuesday, we noted that Korean technology conglomerate Samsung is exiting its fuel-cell business to focus on battery cells for electric cars.

The same day, we reported that Korean carmaker Hyundai will develop electric cars under its Genesis luxury brand.

We kicked off the week on Monday by describing contributor Ben Rich’s electric-motorcycle trip to the four corners of the U.S.

Ben takes his Zero electric motorcycle on a different road trip every summer, meeting with friends and fans along the way.

This may be his most ambitious itinerary yet, and it’s made possible by the addition of DC fast-charging capability to his electric motorcycle. Ride on, Ben!

Map of electric motorcycle rider Ben Rich's Summer 2016 'four corners of the U.S.' road trip

Map of electric motorcycle rider Ben Rich’s Summer 2016 ‘four corners of the U.S.’ road trip

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Over the weekend, we quoted Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson saying that hybrid cars will largely replace diesels, even in Europe, over the next decade.

Most analysts believe that diesels remain necessary for pickup trucks and perhaps large SUVs to meet stricter fuel economy rules.

But Samuelsson’s statement is another suggestion that the bell may now be tolling for passenger cars fitted with diesel engines.

Finally, back to one more Tesla story, this one about the “sudden acceleration” claimed by the owner of a new Model X that drove up over a lawn and crashed into a building.

The company’s engineers reviewed the vehicle operating data it had uploaded to the company.

2016 Tesla Model X P90D after crash while owner was parking [photo: owner 'Puzant']

2016 Tesla Model X P90D after crash while owner was parking [photo: owner ‘Puzant’]

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The owner’s claim to have been braking while the car accelerated? Not so, Tesla says: the accelerator pedal had been fully depressed.

Those were our main stories this week; we’ll see you again next week. Until then, this has been the Green Car Reports Week in Reverse update.


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