Unplugged Performance has its offices right by the Tesla's Supercharger in Hawthorne, CA, and sales manager Mark Borushko told AutoblogGreen that Tesla employees often express their appreciation for what UP has done to change the look of the Model S. The upgrade parts are made in the US and were designed in-house by an ex-Ferrari guy, Borushko said.
What upgrades are there? There's the front spoiler and diffuser (starting at $995), the rear spoiler and diffuser ($1,550), trunk spoiler ($895), side skirts ($1,450) and the Complete Front Fascia System ($1,000). Those prices are all for the unpainted parts. Add a few hundred bucks to each to upgrade to matching paint colors or carbon fiber parts. Borushko said that in the year that Unplugged Performance has been around, they've sold about 30 kits meaning one of everything worldwide. There are people who just buy just the trunk spoiler, for example, he said, but about 90 percent of UP's customers opt for the full kit. Borushko said UP will have to see if there's interest in a kit for the Model X, but there likely will be.
In China, Tesla Model S is missing one basic feature
There were questions about the nav system in the Tesla Model S when the vehicle launched in the US, and there are still people who don't like it. But here's the thing: the US version at least has a nav system. With the luxury electric vehicle now available in China, drivers are discovering that the car is shipping without a working navigation system at all.
As China EV blogger Alysha Webb reports, Tesla's explanation for the lack of a nav system is that "Google maps are not supported." At least the company is working on an alternative map database for the land where Google doesn't work right. We've confirmed with Tesla PR in the US that Webb's report contains an official Tesla response, which includes the following:
Currently there isn't a navigation system in Chinese Model S as Google maps are not supported in the country. However, teams are currently working on a solution with Chinese text and voice recognition. We plan to introduce navigation to Chinese cars later this year (as already communicated to our customers). Once it's available, maps will be pushed to customers' vehicles through software updates.
One interesting quirk is that Tesla can't yet push the updated map to everyone over the air, since, "remote over-the-air software updates are not yet supported in Chinese Model S." Instead, Tesla will have to rely on its backend system to update the EV to what most American customers would consider standard equipment in a car in this price range.
Tesla trademark suit in China ends with settlement
After years of fighting, Tesla has finally put its trademark dispute in China with businessman Zhan Baosheng behind it, thanks to an undisclosed settlement. The news comes at a perfect time for the automaker, which is still setting up its dealers there.
According to an email from Tesla cited by Bloomberg, the two sides came to an agreement "completely and amicably," but the business isn't revealing what it cost to resolve the conflict. As part of the settlement, Zhan is also transferring his ownership of the tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn over to the company. "Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla," said the statement, according to Bloomberg. "Collectively, these actions remove any doubt with respect to Tesla's undisputed rights to its trademarks in China."
Zhan had claimed to hold the trademark on the Tesla name in China since 2009, but he was appealing a ruling by the country's courts invalidating those rights. The situation heated up even further in July when Zhan sued the automaker for trademark infringement and asked for 23.9 million yuan ($3.9 million) in damages, plus for the company shut down all of its operations there. Tesla had reportedly already attempted to settle with him years ago for 2 million yuan ($325,000 at current rates), but Zhan countered with a figure of the equivalent of over $32 million.
Tesla's Chinese business is absolutely booming at the moment. Since starting sales in April, the company is predicted to have moved around 1,000 examples of its Model S there at around $120,000 a pop. According to its second quarter financial release, it's only selling cars in four cities currently and expanding to two more in the near future.