Tesla. And NVIDIA.
Although the Tesla Model S, which had its first customer deliveries last week, is just a car, it is in many regards more than a car for both the company and for the electric vehicle industry. As John O’Dell, green car analyst for Edmunds.com put it, “Make no mistake: the Model S is a make-or-break product for Tesla. If it delivers on its promises – not only in sales volume, but also in quality and reliability – the S will propel Tesla into the black and provide working capital to develop of the next line of Tesla vehicles, which the company promises will be priced at more consumer-friendly levels. [The car starts at ~$57K before incentives and quickly goes well north of that.] And while the company is still quite a way from being a mass-market automaker, the Model S should give the electric-drive industry a lot of very visible EVs on the road, with many influential opinion leaders behind the wheels.”
The rear-drive vehicle can be fitted with 40-kWh, 60-kWh, and 85-kWh battery packs, with the largest of the three providing approximately 300 miles of range (assuming traveling at 55 mph). The car in the Model S Performance version has a stated 0 to 60 mph of 4.4 seconds. The standard version can do it in 5.6 seconds. And it can, when equipped with rear-facing child seats, can seat seven.
But one of the more interesting, from a technology point of view, aspects of the Model S is the 17-in. touch screen infotainment and navigation system. That’s right: 17 inches. It is said to be the largest ever in a passenger car.
It is driven by the NVIDIA Tegra Visual Computing Module (VCM). It uses what is said to be the “world’s first mobile superchip”: the integration of a multicore ARM CPU, an ultra-low-power NVIDIA GeForce GPU, and dedicated audio, video and image processors.
There are actually two Tegra modules, with the second being used for the instrument cluster, which has a high-resolution, 12.3-in. LCD display with 3D graphics.
Whether it will be a success remains to be seen. But what is quite evident—17-in., full-color evident—is that the car is a technological tour de force.
Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
The Mazda CX-5 first appeared on the scene in 2012, and for 2017, the vehicle has undergone some major transformations, to enhance what was already a notable small crossover.