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Transportation Power

Tesla Roadster Runs For 241 Miles In E-Rally 294

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the squeezing-a-battery-until-it-cries dept.
N!NJA writes with the mention of a recent alternative energies rally where the Tesla Roadster managed to cover 241 miles on a single charge, with another 38 miles of juice still left in the battery. "That would give the Roadster a theoretical maximum touring range of nearly 280 miles — 36 miles more than Tesla itself reckons the car will cover on a charge. If the numbers stand up to official scrutiny, Tesla will hold the world record for the longest distance traveled by a production electric car on a single charge. Of course, it should be pointed out that the Tesla was driven by a company staffer doubtless practiced in eking out every last mile from a charge, and that the speeds averaged on the run were hardly blistering — 90kph (56mph) on the motorways, 60kph (37mph) on trunk roads and 30kph (19) in the mountain roads. Tesla reckon the average speed for the entire journey was 45kph (28mph)."
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Tesla Roadster Runs For 241 Miles In E-Rally

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  • Great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yBLUEahoo.com minus berry> on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:24PM (#27537079) Homepage Journal

    Now make it affordable.

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aurispector (530273) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:38PM (#27537189)

      Time for the miracle of mass production and economies of scale.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Samschnooks (1415697)

        Time for the miracle of mass production and economies of scale.

        Yes, for another brand. Tesla, I believe, will be a luxury sports car brand in the spirit of Ferrari. Meaning, technology developed for and by the luxury brand will then be perfected and moved to a grocery getter brand, maybe, the "Maxwell" or better yet, the "Edison" brand of cars.

        • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

          by WCguru42 (1268530) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:19PM (#27537487)

          Tesla, I believe, will be a luxury sports car brand in the spirit of Ferrari.

          I beg to differ [teslamotors.com]. They're already working on a car that has more than two seats and will sell for 1/2 the price of the roadster. I'd say that's quite a jump in affordability. The Model S is nowhere near economy car prices, but it's a large step closer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "I beg to differ [teslamotors.com]. They're already working on a car that has more than two seats and will sell for 1/2 the price of the roadster. I'd say that's quite a jump in affordability. The Model S is nowhere near economy car prices, but it's a large step closer."

            But, who the hell wants a sedan/family car??

            Ok, I guess if you have a family, but the parent poster was, I think, referring to making something like the Tesla more affordable....a 2 seat, well crafted, performance vehicle that doesn't loo

      • by geekoid (135745)

        That explains why Ferrari's are so inexpensive.

    • A Tesla wouldn't be affordable even if it wasn't electric. It's a Lotus Elise with the engine replaced.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        A Tesla wouldn't be affordable even if it wasn't electric. It's a Lotus Elise with the engine replaced.

        The Elise is expensive because it is a low production sports car, not because it is a Lotus. If everybody wanted one Lotus would mass produce them in China for a fraction of the current price.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cinderblock (1102693)

      They are using the high end market to drive the technology until it's cheap enough to work for everyday cars. This is a much better approach than the EV1 that started cheap.

      Even better is TWILL [autobloggreen.com]

      • EV1 (Score:3, Informative)

        by falconwolf (725481)

        They are using the high end market to drive the technology until it's cheap enough to work for everyday cars. This is a much better approach than the EV1 that started cheap.

        I agree Tesla is taking a better approach than GM did with the EV1 [wikipedia.org]. However GM didn't sell the EV1, it was available only for lease and only in California, Arizona, and Georgia for employees of GM.

        Falcon

    • Affordability (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:53PM (#27538195) Homepage Journal

      It's already affordable to people who are in the market for cars that go 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. They can afford it so well that Tesla is back-ordered. That's proof of a market that you can take to the bank (literally).

      Once those people pay the early adopter tax, they fund the transition to higher-volume, lower-price cars like the Model S.

      The Tesla is a brilliant piece of product positioning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ishobo (160209)

        Except the company is runing on fumes. It is using the deposits to fund its operations. If Tesla does not get either the $250 or $400 million federal loans, it will need to enter bankruptacy.

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:28PM (#27537103) Homepage
    Sounds almost like a regular car. I congratulate them.

    Does anyone know how likely the batteries are to catch fire or explode? Imagine a gigantic cell phone or laptop battery blowing up. Yikes!

    • Re:Very promising! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John Hasler (414242) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:32PM (#27537135) Homepage

      > Imagine a gigantic cell phone or laptop battery blowing up. Yikes!

      Imagine twenty gallons of gasoline blowing up. Yikes!

      • I see your point, but gasoline in a tank never blows up spontaneously. Li ion batteries are still a bit dicey, on occasion.
        • I see your point, but gasoline in a tank never blows up spontaneously. Li ion batteries are still a bit dicey, on occasion.

          Either way you have a lot of potential energy in a small volume. I once had a short circuit inside my bicycle tail light... Not pretty.

        • by amn108 (1231606) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:54PM (#27537807)

          Lithium-oon polymer will take over soon enough. Compared to the good old Lithium-ion (not polymer), it packs more energy per weight and volume, does not enforce specific cell proximity and shape (semi-fluid?) and has lower risk of exploding. The price is already about the same.

          Things are always improving :-)

      • by Zakabog (603757)

        Imagine twenty gallons of gasoline blowing up. Yikes!

        There isn't enough oxygen in your gas tank to allow an explosion, batteries aren't as picky.

        Defective batteries spontaneously exploding are a lot more common than defective gas tanks exploding. You might bring up the Pinto, but that was a poor design choice, not a defective gas tank (the gas tank functioned exactly as Ford intended it to, they just put it in a bad location.)

        • Re:Very promising! (Score:4, Informative)

          by Rei (128717) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:24PM (#27537531) Homepage

          I don't know about you, but *I've* seen the smoldering wreckage of a burnt-out car sitting on the side of the highway before. I have no clue whether the occupants escaped alive, but car fires absolutely do still kill people [chicagotribune.com].

          And as I've mentioned elsewhere on this thread, FYI, the Roadster's cells are individually isolated and the packs are tested with multiple cell failures to make sure that fires are contained. And Tesla is near-unique in using laptop cells rather than the "automotive" li-ions which use different chemistries and don't have the fire risk. Oh, sure, the electrolyte in them is flammable, but that's no different from gas in a gas tank.; the big difference is that you can abuse the automotive variants to heck and back and not cause a fire. They pay for their safety in terms of an energy density hit, mind you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BetterSense (1398915)
      Almost like a regular car indeed. My Corolla has a 10-gallon tank, so at typical 28mpg I only get 250 safe miles out of a tank. Of course, I can then instantly fill it back up at any of the very abundant filling stations around the country/world, and it runs just as well with the tank nearly empty as it does with it full (actually better, on account of the missing weight).
      • Re:Very promising! (Score:4, Informative)

        by fnj (64210) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:49PM (#27537271)

        Results vary. I have a Golf TDI, regularly go over 600 miles without coming close to empty, with my best fillup 781 miles. And that's with an automatic transmission.

        Nevertheless I love what Tesla is doing.

        • Impressive, though I consider Miles Per Dollar* more important than Miles Per Tank. After all, what is so groundbreaking about a 750 mile range if your car has a 100 gallon tank in the back seat?

          *Not that Telsa wins in this category, if one factors in retail price.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        "...I only get 250 safe miles out of a tank. Of course, I can then instantly fill it back up..."

        Very true, but how often do you drive the car 250 miles in a day, where you can't park it somewhere to charge overnight?

        I'm very impressed with the 241 miles the car managed to get. This is a real road course, not some "range of 200 miles" crap we keep hearing, where 200 miles is if it's rolling off a mountain and you'll really be lucky to get 100 miles. This course covered highways and mountain roads, wi
    • Re:Very promising! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei (128717) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:37PM (#27537181) Homepage

      The cells are independently isolated. They've done a lot of tests forcing catastrophic failure of individual cells to make sure that the failure of one wouldn't cascade to others.

      Note that this is really only applicable to Tesla; they're one of the only (if not the only) EV makers who use traditional laptop cells. Pretty much all of their competitors are using "automotive" li-ion chemistry variants that sacrifice energy density for faster charge capability, greater longevity, and fire resistance.

      • by SuperQ (431) *

        Tesla doesn't use "traditional laptop cells" either. They're the same size and shape, but they picked specific models with different chemistry to normal laptop cells that suit car safety needs more.

        • Re:Very promising! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Rei (128717) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:28PM (#27537559) Homepage

          No, they really are traditional commodity laptop cells [teslamotors.com]. They're LiCoO2+graphite 18650s purchased in bulk from the same companies that sell those cells to laptop pack manufacturers. They did that because they wanted cells that were already in mass production so as to keep costs down.

    • Re:Very promising! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:46PM (#27537251) Homepage Journal

      As long as their they don't get batteries from Sony, I think we'll be fine.

    • I'd also be concerned about the toxicity of these batteries. Are they 100% recyclable? Will they be safely disposed of, even if Tesla goes out of business? Will they leak?

      • Re:Environment? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rei (128717) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:56PM (#27537327) Homepage

        They're essentially not, essentially, yes, no. [teslamotors.com] The phosphates and spinels most other auto makers are using, even moreso.

        I'm not sure what you think is in li-ion batteries that you're picturing is so toxic. These aren't lead-acid or nickel-cadmium here. Want to know what goes into a lithium phosphate battery? Lithium salts (like you find in mineral water -- in fact, they're actually produced from salt flats where mineral waters evaporated), iron powder, phosphoric acid, sugar (for a carbon binding), porous polyethylene (separator), graphite or amorphous carbon (anode), any one of a variety corrosive but generally nontoxic electrolytes, casing, wiring, and so forth. You'll find worse stuff in a lot of bulk steels than you will in LFP cells.

  • by gapagos (1264716) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:35PM (#27537167)

    Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold, unable to come up with electric cars faster than a 250 employee company [wikipedia.org] (Tesla Motors)?....

    Oh right, it's because they NEVER wanted to get out of the BIG SUV GAS ANNIHILATOR business in the first place and are refusing to evolve.
    I sincerely hope GM and it's ugly cars and old uneducated workforce go fuck off and die.

    Make Tesla Motors the new big one, and let's get over with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by AstroPHX (830253)
      Please see: EV1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1 [wikipedia.org] It's not that they're "unable" but rather they're unwilling.
      • by gapagos (1264716)

        Yeah, thanks I know.
        I wrote: Oh right, it's because they NEVER wanted to get out of the BIG SUV GAS ANNIHILATOR business in the first place and are refusing to evolve.

        Cheers.

    • +1 Insightful (Score:3, Insightful)

      by itomato (91092)

      Amen, brother.

      The Big Three undoubtedly saw the potential of Tesla and smaller companies (who buy a chassis, fit it with their gear, and profit), shit themselves, and immediately made it a necessity that Diesel fuel double in price, Saturn (who would be the GM arm to make it happen) forget what they are about and sell rebadged Opels, and thrusting on the public a prolonged (boring?) four-year introduction of the new Camaro.

      What. The. Hell, indeed..

      Something is seriously fucking fishy, if you ask me.

      There ar

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Samschnooks (1415697)
      You know, he's right. GM went whole hog on the SUV market because that was were the short term profits were. And in the meantime, the Japanese manufacturers, thinking in the long term as usual, kept making the small fuel efficient cars as well as the their versions of the SUVs.

      Troll indeed!

  • Pssht! No big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:35PM (#27537169) Journal

    You can give just about *any* car dramatic improvements in fuel economy if you know how to drive them correctly. See HyperMilingA. [wikipedia.org]

    Just to see if it worked, I tried it with an ageing GMC Van (big, full sized, full of people) and measured an increase in fuel economy from about 20 MPG to over 30! Of course, there's something about driving on a freeway at 45 MPH and coasting to a stop from a half mile away that annoys the bajeezus out of other drivers.... I must have been flipped off half a dozen times!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rei (128717)

      Now, see what sort of mileage you get when you try hypermiling that van through the Alps. This is the Monte Carlo route we're talking about here.

      The Roadster's 241 mile range (Powertrain 1.5) is based on their official MPGe rating from the EPA, which means the same drivecycle that all other cars go through. Now, in practice, you're not going to want to run your car down to empty; in fact, when you hop in to drive it, the Roadster won't even show you all of the charge (part of it is kept in an "emergency r

    • Nice job saving yourself some gas. Too bad you wasted the gas of hundreds of drivers stuck in stop and go traffic behind you because you clogged up the road. Way to go!!

  • because as with any gas mileage ratings they measure them under ideal conditions which are hardly reflective of reality. I've yet to get any closer than 3mpg away from my car's highway MPG rating of 27MPG. I've used the majority of my tank traveling at 50-60 MPH which is the sweet spot for my car's gearing and also with minimal wind resistance compared to 70 or 80MPH. And with that type of driving I still could not get any closer than 24 MPG. I'm sure some people can get their car to meet the manufacturer's
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:50PM (#27537281)

      Maybe you were attempting a joke, but this is a pure electric car. There's no fuel to be efficient with. Besides, no car has its "sweet spot" at 28 MPH, and if you read the summary you'd see that they drove at several different speeds over the course of the journey, which just happened to *average* 28MPH. They never actually drove any length of time at that speed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fnj (64210)

      Results vary. My 2000 Golf TDI automatic was rated 34/45mpg (original sticker, old EPA rating), which is 29/40 under the new EPA rating. In the 150,000 mile life of the car to date, I have averaged 44mpg, including town and highway. And I regularly travel at 70mph.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ant P. (974313)

      they measure them under ideal conditions which are hardly reflective of reality

      You're right, 390km of winding mountain roads is hardly the reality most people will drive in.

      Good luck getting anywhere near 24mpg in those conditions.

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:51PM (#27537293) Homepage
    This is the first near-production electric car that has ever come close to being something that can potentially achieve mass market penetration (I'm assuming that their other less expensive model will be have similar characteristics). It looks like most of the posts are of the "what a piece of shit," or "o yeah, my fossil-fuel-burning ecological nightmare goes faster/farther." Grow up, folks. They're trying to solve one of the biggest problems facing the world. If you expect them to get it right on the first try instead of over a period of 10 or 20 years, you are insane.

    I am aware that I used the word "penetration." It's OK, I'm used to /. I know what's coming.

    • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:03PM (#27537369) Journal

      Grow up, folks. They're trying to solve one of the biggest problems facing the world.

      Actually they are not, which is why they may succeed.

      They are trying to make a kick-ass car. People don't want to drive a large golf cart just to "save the planet", or at least not enough of those people exist to form a market.

      With the singular exception of battery life / recharge time electric vehicles are superior in every way to internal combustion engine vehicles. They have better torque characteristics, less moving parts and simpler maintenance. Once battery technology advances enough that the range is acceptable, electric cars will take over from combustion engine cars because they are simply better vehicles.

    • People bitch about it, because we can't afford it. At $100k, the Tesla Roadster is priced out of the reach of 99% of Western buyers want or need. 99.9999% of worldwide buyers.
      Getting kick-ass performance in a basically limited run prototype is ...ok, not easy, but a LOT easier than doing it at a price regular humans can afford.
      And for a lot of city dwellers...where the hell do I plug it in? An extension cord out the fourth floor apartment window won't cut it. A few years of infrastructure is needed.

      This i
      • At $100k, the Tesla Roadster is priced out of the reach of 99% of Western buyers want or need. 99.9999% of worldwide buyers.

        Which is why they are leveraging their success with the Roadster to build the model S at $50,000.

        Then they will release the bluestar at $30,000.

        See a pattern here?

  • That would give the Roadster a theoretical maximum touring range of nearly 280 miles

    Somehow I don't think the author understands the meaning of the word used. Surely, the range with a long downhill road or strong (as in Katrina) tailwind would be quite a bit more.

  • by The Second Horseman (121958) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:34PM (#27537615)

    My Honda Civic refuels in about a minute and a half, and I can get well over 400 miles on a tank on the highway. Just sayin'.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Mishotaki (957104)

      My Honda Civic refuels in about a minute and a half, and I can get well over 400 miles on a tank on the highway. Just sayin'.

      then we should compare the times your civic can be stopped on idle

      People just like to bitch about good electirc cars...

      How abou ttelling us: do you really do your 400 miles in a typical day? do you even do 200 miles? I highly doubt it... Now how about you think that you could never, ever have to go to the gas station to gas your car, all you gotta do is plug it in when you park it at your place...

    • by evilviper (135110) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:36PM (#27538459) Journal

      My Honda Civic refuels in about a minute and a half,

      Park your Civic in the garage tonight, and hit the button that tells it to drive itself to the gas station, fill-up, and return before you wake up in the morning...

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