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Transportation Earth Power

Tesla Motors Opens Retail Store 442

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the vaporless-ware dept.
Tesla Motors has opened their first retail store front to allow the masses access to their new cars. Of course, this is assuming you can afford the $109,000 price tag. "The company told the Associated Press that it is impressed with demand: it has taken 600 orders for the Roadster and has a waiting list of another 400. CEO Elon Musk owns the first one produced. The fancy showroom near Beverly Hills takes its inspiration from Apple stores, Musk said. [...] The company plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar that will come in two versions: an all-electric model that will run entirely on its lithium ion battery pack, and a range-extended vehicle that will also use liquid fuel to extend its range. The Roadster will have a range of 220 miles per charge and the mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon."
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Tesla Motors Opens Retail Store

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  • hehe (Score:5, Funny)

    by mdaitc (619734) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:31PM (#23301896)
    Tesla Roaster?

    new battery powered kind of way to cook Turkey?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      There's no air-con...
    • Hawt! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Spacepup (695354) on Monday May 05, 2008 @02:11PM (#23303102)
      I'm a girl. I'm not into cars. I drive a low end toyota because it was cheap and gets great gas mileage. But. that. car. is. HAWT! I just need to convince 110,000 suckers to give me 1 dollar each.
    • Re:hehe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wsanders (114993) on Monday May 05, 2008 @02:13PM (#23303140) Homepage
      Considering the technologies that the namesake Tesla was into, one small mistake and you get fied.

      Once these LiIon powered cars are widely available, firefighters and other emergency responders are a little concerned about digging in to extract crash victims from twisted smoking piles of LiIon battery wreckage so maybe your name is an apt one.
      • Re:hehe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrNaz (730548) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @02:32PM (#23303400) Homepage
        Because the current scenario, stepping into a crash site's puddle of highly flammable liquid, is just so much more appealing.
      • Re:hehe (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:10PM (#23306470) Homepage Journal
        Lithium ion phosphate technology is almost as good as Li-ion technology, and considerably safer.

        Personally, I'd have not much more concern about driving a plain old Li-ion powered car than I have using a Li-ion laptop. Granted, the worst case scenario in a car is much more destructive of the battery, but it doesn't seem to be beyond the capabilities of engineering to render the risk of Li-ion to be on the same order of danger as gasoline or ethanol. If safety is so important, then we should be talking about Li-ion phosphate or NiMH.

        What's holding things back in electric cars and plug-in hybrids are all the patents covering the kinds of things you'd need to do to produce large batteries. It's not so much a question of physical practicality than legal practicality, That's why we haven't seen the next logical step on hybrids: the plug-in hybrid. It's not possible to license the technology to scale the NiMH hydride batteries used in current generation vehicles to a size large enough to make the plug-in idea really work.

        We're pretty close to being able to make reasonably versatile electric cars economically, and given the popularity of hybrids the plug-in hybrid is a no-brainer. If we don't see those technologies become practical for widespread use in the next decade, it won't be because the world lacks the engineering talent to do it.
  • by randyest (589159) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:32PM (#23301912) Homepage

    Tesla Motors has opened their first retail store front to allow the masses access to their new cars. Of course, this is assuming you can afford the $109,00 price tag.
    Only $109? That's amazing. But why is slashdot suddenly using the European decimal punctuation?
  • Neat! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:33PM (#23301918) Homepage Journal

    I can't wait for these types of cars to hit mass production and come down in price so that us normal people can afford them.

    That is what I'd call the ultimate "gas tax holiday."

    • Re:Neat! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei (128717) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:44PM (#23302040) Homepage
      Cars like the Tesla will never come down in price that much, and even if they did, you wouldn't be able to afford upkeep on the batteries (they use laptop cells; they pamper them, but even still, that LiCoO2 cathode is still going to kill the cells after several years). Tesla is simply not designed around low price; it's designed around performance and range for a high-end target customer.

      Now, this doesn't mean that *EVs* won't come down in price. There are already a number of them coming out (see my post further down) with prices in the $25-30k range that'll give you 0-60 in 7-10 seconds and 100-120 miles range, with the whole range of modern safety and comfort features. They use less energy-dense variants of li-ion, such as phosphates and spinels, that have vastly superior lifespans that should last at least a decade, and probably last the lifespan of the vehicle. The batteries should also be cheaper once they enter mass production due to their much cheaper raw ingredients.
      • Re:Neat! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hoplite3 (671379) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:19PM (#23302472)
        Also, companies like Tesla are training another generation of expert electrical vehicle engineers. It's quite likely that some will leave to start their own EV company down the road. One of them might be the Henry Ford of electrical cars.

        As in making an affordable, more practical electrical vehicle for the masses, not as in winning the Order of the German Eagle or whatever Nazi medal Ford got in 1938.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rednip (186217)

      That is what I'd call the ultimate "gas tax holiday."

      But the holiday would only last until it becomes a problem collecting taxes for road repair. The gas tax generally means that cars are taxed by their usage, and weight, but electric cars bypass the taxman. Eventually (perhaps hopefully), the numbers of electric cars would cause a shortfall of funding for the most important part of our national infrastructure.

      • by EMeta (860558)
        Road maintenance issues will continue to be less significant than oil supply maintenance issues for a while longer, I believe.
      • Re:Neat! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ivan256 (17499) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:04PM (#23302290)
        How cute! You actually believe that gas taxes are used to build and repair roads, rather than going into the general fund for congress to spend on whatever they please!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Pragmatix (688158)

          In Virginia at least, gas tax money is separate from the General Fund and cannot be used for anything other than transportation related initiatives.

          In fact, we recently had a pretty big budget shortfall, and even though I am sure the politicians wanted to pillage the transportation fund, they couldn't. I think only in emergency cases where one of the state entitlement programs (like pensions or medicare) is about to fail can the money be tapped.

    • by Kingrames (858416)
      You don't have that option. buy now, before that price tag is beaten by the price of a gallon of gas.
    • Re:Neat! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tgd (2822) on Monday May 05, 2008 @02:22PM (#23303254)
      You should see what you pay in other taxes. Gas taxes pay for the roads (and the taxes are not high enough based on the state of the roads in most of the country).

      What builders of EV and alternate fuel cars tend to learn the hard way is if you're not paying taxes on your fuel, you're breaking the law.

      Most states have substantial (to the tune of $500 or more) additional yearly registration or excise taxes which have to be payed on pluggable EVs.

      You're not going to escape the gas tax one way or another.
  • Im heading out there for vacation in October. Here's hoping they allow test drives :)
  • Air Bags (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:34PM (#23301926) Homepage
    It said in the article that the car got a special exemption for Air Bags. Was that only in the prototype, or also in the final version? I can see a nice lawsuit coming right after the first fatality in one of these.
    • Re:Air Bags (Score:5, Informative)

      by dapyx (665882) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:42PM (#23302016) Homepage
      It includes only "regular" air-bags, having an exemption from the "advanced" air-bag systems, which have been required in the United States since 1998. Such exemptions are common for compact roadsters, including Ferrari.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TigerNut (718742)
      Stock cars (the Nextel Cup or-whatever-it's-called-these-days variety) don't have airbags.

      F1 cars don't have airbags.

      Thousands of racing sedans don't have airbags.

      Instead, the driver wears a safety harness that fits, sits in a seat that fits, and doesn't spend time hunched over sideways fiddling with the radio controls. And they only die in exceptional circumstances.

      Airbags are, like many other "safety" inventions, needless complications foisted on the car-buying public at large because a small percenta

      • Re:Air Bags (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:00PM (#23302242)
        They are also professional drivers whose situation not only allows but forces them to put all attention on the task at hand (driving). The traffic they're in is also entirely made up of professional drivers whose situation not only allows but forces them to put all attention on the task at hand. And there are no pedestrians, wild animals, dropped matresses, or other foreign objects in general in their path.

        This is not to say that the current state of regulation is necessarily right -- but the comparison to race cars is inane. The circumstances are totally different and so the safety concerns are totally different.

        It's all well and good to ask why the law protects some idiot from his own mistake when he drives distracted. But did you ever notice how accidents often involve more than one car, and the other guy -- even if he's doing everything right -- is in harm's way, too? Again, intelligent people can argue about the government's role in regulating safety, but don't try to disguise the issue by pretending only idiots are in car accidents.
      • Re:Air Bags (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:07PM (#23302314)

        Airbags are, like many other "safety" inventions, needless complications foisted on the car-buying public at large because a small percentage of lawyers insist that, as an occupant of a vehicle, you should be protected from yourself, regardless of any lack of common sense you might exhibit in the car.


        What, like being dumb enough to let a drunk driver hit you? Or silly enough to allow your brakes to fail? Ooh, or being too stupid to notice that deer! It's not a "protect[ion] from yourself thing," it's just a "protection" thing, same as your seat belt, safety windshield, center brake light, and a dozen other things. I'd be happy to let you drive a car without those safety features -- just sign this little card explicitly refusing taxpayer-funded ambulance and emergency room services. After all, why should those of us who can be bothered to pay for the bare minimum precautions be forced to support your dumb ass on life support?
      • by noewun (591275)

        Stock cars (the Nextel Cup or-whatever-it's-called-these-days variety) don't have airbags. F1 cars don't have airbags. Thousands of racing sedans don't have airbags. Instead, the driver wears a safety harness that fits, sits in a seat that fits, and doesn't spend time hunched over sideways fiddling with the radio controls. And they only die in exceptional circumstances.

        True. Also true is that those racing seats are custom made to fit each driver (ever watched a 1000 km race and wonder why they switch sea

      • by MaWeiTao (908546)
        A race car is also exceedingly expensive in part because of that safety equipment and also because it's been designed around protecting the driver.

        Passenger require a number of compromises in order to make them practical for the driver. First of all, a helmet is mandatory in a race car because if they're in an accident it's a near certainty that they'd crack their head on the roll cage without one.

        A passenger car needs usable interior space, trunk space, windows that can be opened, comfortable seats in addi
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by vijayiyer (728590)
        The other responses to your post miss your excellent point. Airbags don't do all that much in an accident if you are properly belted in. A 5 point harness would do more for safety, but it wouldn't allow a soccer mom to turn and yell at the kids since she'd be clamped to the seat. Airbags are much more expensive than a harness and provide less safety. Why are they mandated then? Because airbags might protect you even if you don't wear your belt, and the public thinks that airbags are free since they're manda
    • by Rei (128717)
      The waiver, which isn't too unusual for sporty cars like the Tesla, is about the automatic ability to *deactivate* the passenger-side airbag when there's a child in the seat. Airbags can kill small children.
  • Congrats, Tesla (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rei (128717) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:37PM (#23301962) Homepage
    And, for those of you with more down to earth budgets, there's always Aptera [youtube.com], which starts shipping this winter (although reservations are filled through almost the end of '09 already). 2+1 seater, hyperefficient, space-age styling, 120 miles for all-electric or 40 miles electric + 130mpg. Test drives and factory tours start in a month or so.

    If they bring it to the US (probably around the 2010 timeframe), there Mitsubishi i-EV [youtube.com] -- 4 seater, 100 miles, styled like a cross between a VW beetle and a PT cruiser, or perhaps between a Prius and a minivan.

    There's also the Chevy Volt [youtube.com], late 2010, a 4 seater PHEV (40 miles electric, 50mpg after that) with "chopped" styling (I find it ugly, but a lot of people find it "sporty").

    Lastly, as a bit more of a long shot, there's the VentureOne [youtube.com], a tandem two-seater cross between a car and a motorcycle that tilts into turns. 120 miles in the EV version, and should be pretty efficient, too.
    • by ahoehn (301327)
      While I absolutely and desperately want an electric car, I'm trying not to get too excited about anything that's not already on the market after the whole Zap Car debacle [wired.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:41PM (#23302006)
    Tesla plans to compete for the Automotive X Prize, maybe with the Roadster (see Roadster Stat Page [xprizecars.com]), but more likely with the mentioned "Whitestar", about which nobody knows anything except that it has 4 seats and an optional range-extending ICE. The Roadster is actually only borderline able to compete - they have trouble with the 200 grams/mile CO2-equivalent emissions requirement. So it's likely they would have to drive slow (such a shame!).
    • Actually, they never said that it was an ICE. They said that white star would have all electric AND an option of REEV (range extended electrical vehicle). It is possible that they will make a pluggable arch. so that it a number of types can be used. What is interesting is that if done right, it would allow for post manufacturing add-on type work. This would encourage companies to build smaller, better replacements. It would be nice to see them hook up with other electrical companies and come up with a stand
  • he company plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar that will come in two versions: an all-electric model that will run entirely on its lithium ion battery pack, and a range-extended vehicle that will also use liquid fuel to extend its range.
    What about the model using Minbari and Vorlon technology?
  • Bad omen? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Itninja (937614) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:42PM (#23302028) Homepage

    plans to make a luxury sedan next year called the Whitestar
    I seem to remember another European company called White Star. I think they were in the news a few years back about some unpleasantness surrounding a shipwreck or some such. Said the Tesla CEO, "Even God himself couldn't wreck this car!".
  • by shawnmchorse (442605) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:45PM (#23302054) Homepage
    ...of a store opening to sell something they have no inventory of, and have no hope of having inventory of for quite some time due to already existing waiting lists. Seems like an expensive way to just keep their name/product visible, opening a store that can't sell anything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AutopsyReport (856852)
      It's called advertising.

      It's a high-end product and people in the market know they can't purchase one "today" like you can with other cars. They know they have to wait. The showroom is to invigorate the senses and hope a wealthy buyer makes an order. It's the best kind of advertising they could buy.
    • by llZENll (545605) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:11PM (#23302382)
      It's a dealership! No normal mechanics are trained or certified to repair or maintain Teslas cars, so they have to open a dealership in every area they wish to sell cars.

      "Tesla Motors will service your car at our Tesla Stores. We plan to open the first Tesla Stores in our five key markets (metropolitan San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami), each offering direct sales and support for buyers and owners. Our first two stores will open in early 2008."
    • Seems like an expensive way to just keep their name/product visible

      Because there's absolutely no value in advertising... *rolls eyes*

      The point is they are taking reservations and shipping Tesla cars, some are already on the road - albeit in very limited quantity. In addition and as you said, the company is gaining visibility and publicity for their brand. Honestly I think it's a great way to do things.

      I'd also much rather sign over $109k in person than wire it to some random company online... maybe that's just me.

  • Here's the Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Evets (629327) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:47PM (#23302082) Homepage Journal
    Oddly, the Tesla Motors website was missing from both the slashdot submission and the article.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/ [teslamotors.com]
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:49PM (#23302100) Journal
    Maybe it's just me, but I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling with the new electrics under development (or in production).

    Having grown up around adults who worshipped at the altar of limited-run classic cars (59 1/2 Shelby Cobra, anyone?) I feel like we're witnessing (or in some cases, participating in -- lucky bastards) the dawn of a new era of classic cars.

    I know I'm rambling, and slightly OT, but I can easily imagine the Tesla Raodster being the star of some classic car show I'll take my grandkids to.

    Anyway, my point is that I feel that we're finally witnessing the green car revolution, and I'm glad to be here for it.
  • ... are soon parted.

    Tesla's claims are terribly fraudulent [thetruthaboutcars.com]. 220 mile claimed range has already been shown to be as low as 93 miles. Transmissions seem to be vaporware. For that matter, so are production cars, as not a single one has been delivered (I don't count the single unit "delivered" to Elon Musk.

    Tesla sounds cool, as do electric vehicles in general (including plug-in hybrids), but this is just another operation preying on people with too much money and not enough brains. I am firmly in the ca

    • ...this is just another operation preying on people with too much money and not enough brains.

      I'd love to find a way to separate the Intellectually Challenged Wealthy among us from some of their petty cash. Musk just beat me to it.

    • by Rei (128717) on Monday May 05, 2008 @02:16PM (#23303180) Homepage
      The transmission problem is interesting. Basically, they had this neat idea to do clutchless shifting by having the motor controller adjust the RPM during the shift. The problem was something that they didn't count on: the motor had too much rotational inertia, so they couldn't adjust the RPM fast enough. So, the motor would tear up the transmission. It wasn't that the transmission was somehow bad; it was just that their idea was unworkable.

      Tesla gets its stated range... if you drive it like a normal car. If you drive it like a sports car, no surprise, your range gets reduced, just like you get worse mileage on high power gasoline cars when you actually exploit their power instead of driving them normally.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:55PM (#23302176) Journal
    The masses can't afford a $100,000 car like you and Mr gates can.
  • Most individuals can't afford this technology, but a city can.

    Public transportation, if done correctly (a first in America), is safe and clean and cheap or free, runs 24 hours a day or close to it, and allows us to avoid the expense of private cars.

    The rest of our driving can be done on golf carts for those errands near home. Or horses, which are as green as transportation is going to get.

    There are intangible benefits to public transportation.

    It brings us closer together with our neighbors. It ends the illu
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by toddhisattva (127032)

      Or horses, which are as green as transportation is going to get.
      That is a load of horseshit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by strack (1051390)
      Bloody hippy paradise. Intangible benefits to public transportation? How bout the highly tangible drawback that public transport could never be as convenient as a car. Oh, and good luck carrying anything large. Also, people aren't gonna hug their neighbors more cause there on a bus.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moridineas (213502)

      Most individuals can't afford this technology, but a city can.

      Wait, what? What city is going to buy tesla cars for public transit?

      Public transportation, if done correctly (a first in America), is safe and clean and cheap or free, runs 24 hours a day or close to it, and allows us to avoid the expense of private cars.

      Ok, so you've ruled out all existing public transportation in America as any good. Where is this cheap/free (free?! show me ANY public transportation that could be called free by any standard?!)

      The rest of our driving can be done on golf carts for those errands near home. Or horses, which are as green as transportation is going to get.

      I lived in Chicago for several years. You think a golf cart is going to be able to make it around icy/snowy streets? You think a golf cart is going to coexist on streets that have any real cars?

      There are intangible benefits to public transportation.

      And there are very TANGIBLE benefits to owning your

  • The Roaster will have a range of 220 miles per charge and the mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon.

    The Roaster? I didn't realize they were using Sony batteries! Or are they also taking inspiration from Apple laptops as well as their stores?

  • by cocotoni (594328) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:13PM (#23302402)
    Before anyone asks, 135 miles per gallon is 2 721 600 rods per hogshead.

    And that's the way I likes it!
  • Meaningless phrase (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jamesl (106902) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:14PM (#23302408)
    ... mileage equivalent of 135 miles per gallon.

    What is the conversion factor when going from "batteries charged off the grid" to "miles per gallon internal combustion gasoline engine?"
    • $/mile.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by compro01 (777531)
      a gallon of gas has a semi-standard amount of energy. ~125,000 BTUs, ~131.8 megajoules or ~36.6 kilowatt-hours.

      then just do distance/energy (miles and whatever energy unit above) and use that factor to get the equivalent MPG.

  • Tame racing driver (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boot1973 (809692) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:16PM (#23302440)
    Give it to The Stig, Give it to the Stig!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 427_ci_505 (1009677)
      Some say he reads Slashdot every day,

      and others say that despite this, he still can pick up chicks.

      All we know is, he's called The Stig.
  • by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:37PM (#23302664) Homepage
    Dragonweezel opens up a donation site @ paypal to try and garner enough captial to start his new company "AdvertiseOnMyTeslaRoadster.com"

    Donate now!
  • by CottonThePirate (769463) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:39PM (#23302702) Homepage
    I own a Prius, and I hate when you see some mod site say "get 120mpg with our extended battery pack". Oh and by the way you have to plug it into the wall using diesel generated power at $0.35 a kilowatt hour (I also live on Hawaii, power is hella expensive here). At electricity rates here most of these cars are more expensive to run than hybrid gas cars. We need a price per mile measurement. I realize that both gas and power fluctuate, but something similar to an energy guide on appliances. This car costs $.10 a mile on power at $.15 a kwH and gas at $4.00 a gallon. It's not ideal, but we need to quit letting these electric car makers get away with saying 135mpg. They may as well say "our all electric model gets infinity miles per gallon! It's the awesomest!"

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