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Tesla Delivers First Batch of Model S Electric Sedans 311

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-considered-our-undercoat-treatment? dept.
After years of tantalizing pictures and promises, on Friday the first 10 Model S sedans left Tesla's Fremont, California factory. This first handful of the new S has long been spoken for, and the cars have been delivered (or are on the way) to buyers around the U.S. Even with tax-supported subsidies, the new sedan isn't cheap: the subsidized base price is just under $50,000. Still, 10,000 people have put down five grand apiece for the chance to own one. Wired has a brief piece on what the S is like to drive. What's a 160-miles-per-charge, $50k car worth to you?
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Tesla Delivers First Batch of Model S Electric Sedans

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  • Well (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I suppose a $50,000 ANYTHING would be worth about $50,000 to me. Give it a year and I'm sure that will change drastically.
    • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:28AM (#40421093)

      I suppose a $50,000 ANYTHING would be worth about $50,000 to me.

      Actually its more complicated than that. The car may be worth significantly more or less than the amount paid to an individual person. The car itself may only be worth $40,000 to a person but something else, say greening their image, may be worth $10,000+. One the other hand the car may be worth significantly more than $50,000 to an extremely environmentally conscious person, so this person essentially thinks its a deal. Yet another person may also think it is worth significantly more because they added up the price of the components and found a higher number, appreciate the taxpayer subsidy, and want to purchase now before that subsidy goes away - say due to a change of political administration.

      In short, prices do not always match a person's willingness to pay, a more technical phrase for what its worth to person. A price generally needs to be at or below that willingness to pay. Apple sold a bunch of iPhones at $600 when it was introduced. Those people who thought an iPhone was worth $600 paid less than that when newer more capable models were introduced at $500 and then $400.

      Give it a year and I'm sure that will change drastically.

      Again, that depends. Back to that government subsidy. If the subsidy is removed and the price for a new car goes up then the used car may retain its value to some degree.

  • . . . $50,000 is probably chump change for you anyway.

    A neat toy to park next to your DeLorean.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:30AM (#40420743)
    "What's a 160-miles-per-charge, $50k car worth to you?"

    Just to save some time and energy for posts to come. Yes it's over 20K so you aren't interested.

    Why can't they make one for under 20K? Batteries are too expensive.

    160 miles isn't enough? It wasn't made with you in mind.

    Gasoline suits me fine! Then be prepared for $5 and eventually $10 a gallon. Oil is running out and it will happen eventually. If you get solar panels to recharge from the cost of sunlight never goes up and the trend is for solar panels to get cheaper.

    • by tmosley (996283)
      $30,000 will buy a LOT of gasoline.

      Note that this is the case whether you buy it for yourself or whether some line worker at the Tesla plant does. Money is directly proportional to energy consumption, which means that the amount you spend will inevitably be proportional to the amount of CO2 put into the air. If you are afraid of that, then you need to spend less money, not more. If you don't care, then you must consider the other pros to this vehicle, of which there aren't many.

      If you are worried a
      • Within my lifetime, gas has gone from .23/gal to 4.00/gal. If we are going to repair roads, etc. I suspect that we will need to double taxes. That will mean that we will within a couple of years pay around 6/gal, and I would not be surprised to see us approaching Europe levels of oil prices.
        • by ArcherB (796902) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:29AM (#40421109) Journal

          Within my lifetime, gas has gone from .23/gal to 4.00/gal. If we are going to repair roads, etc. I suspect that we will need to double taxes. That will mean that we will within a couple of years pay around 6/gal, and I would not be surprised to see us approaching Europe levels of oil prices.

          First, the roads were built with the current gas taxes. Why would we need to double them to maintain the roads?

          OK, let's assume gas is $6.00/gallon.

          $30000/6=5000 gallons of gas.

          At 20 miles per gallon, that's 100,000 miles, or the typical life of an American made car.

          How many miles do these batteries last, anyway?

          Doesn't matter, if you are buying one of these to save money, you are making a mistake. If you are buying on of these to save the environment, you'd be better off buying a Honda Civic and spending the $30,000 planting trees or something.

          • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:44AM (#40421233) Journal
            Add in maintenance costs on ICE engines. Add in oil changes. And in the fact that society subsidizes the pollution from these (and will likely be changed by 2020) and it becomes obvious that batteries are at about break-even.

            Now, a tesla model S has higher performance than most cars in the same costs brackets. And have you seen the vehicle. Beautiful. Basically comparable or better quality than German or Japanese cars.

            By 2015, the model S is expected to drop to around 45K without subsidies. Likewise, they will have their sub-30K car out there. I was told that it would get around 120-150 miles/charge and have 0-60 of around 6 secs or less.

            Point is, I will take that. This is no different than what happened with Ships, Trains, ICE Cars, Aviation, and now space.
            • by Teancum (67324)

              There are also maintenance costs for electric vehicles as well, not the least of which is maintaining the lubrication of the chassis (that doesn't change regardless of its being electric of gasoline), tires, and some consumables including stuff like the AC system and other components with movable parts. By far and away the largest expense with maintenance of electric vehicles is the replacement cost of the battery pack though, which Tesla earlier said had about a five year lifetime.

              Perhaps you are the type

      • Ah but nobody wants to say that the solution involves getting rid of high density urban nastiness as the requires a net reduction in population.

        • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:44AM (#40421229)

          Or we could, you know, move toward public transportation in big way - it absolutely excels in high-density urban areas. Want a fast conversion without a lot of expensive infrastructure? Simply set aside one lane on every multi-lane street as a dedicated bus lane and then make sure the drivers stay on schedule (via carrot and/or stick). The resultant increase in both bus speed and automotive congestion would instantly make buses considerably faster, cheaper, and more convenient than cars, strongly incentivizing their use. They technique has proven quite popular pretty much everywhere it's been done, after the initial adjustment period has past.

          • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @12:37PM (#40421569) Homepage Journal

            I have mixed feelings about mass public transportation. My largest complaint is that it is a whole bunch of hurry up and wait, where personal vehicle which do point to point travel is legitimately seen as desirable, where you don't need to worry about making connections or fighting transportation system schedules just to make appointments.

            I've seen some public transportation systems that act very much like a Taxi service providing point to point travel at prices approaching bus transit or cheaper, so it is possible. The largest problem with such a system is that it requires a significant build-out of infrastructure before it becomes something useful.

            Regardless, while some people like living in ant farms like Manhattan (how it is sort of viewed from outside), there are many who don't as well. It is one thing to say it should become more economical for people to move into a situation of high density urban living, but from a standpoint of basic liberties it shouldn't be something forced on people either. I'm also not convinced that the economics of moving most of the world's population into such high density urban lifestyles is even possible to make work without a larger infrastructure in place elsewhere that also needs a fairly large population of people in medium or low density housing.

          • by Luckyo (1726890) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:19PM (#40422555)

            I'd like to pitch in on this one. I live in Finland, city of Tamepere. we have ~200k living in the city. This is the site of our public transportation: http://aikataulut.tampere.fi/?lang=en [tampere.fi] (fully functional english version, we have a lot of exchange students and foreign workers due to being an industrial town). There is also a mobile version of the site and most stops have a printed upcode barcode that you can scan with your phone into an app to help with seeing timetables on the fly.

            Full site has the following:
            1. Per bus line and per stop timetable (which tends to be accurate within ~2 minutes).
            2. Journey planner, where you simply input your start point and end point and set your desired departure or arrival time, and software will provide you with several routes that fit your criteria. You can also set details, like to ignore certain bus lines when doing route calculation or how much margin of error you want to switching lanes.
            3. Traffic monitor of GPS-fitted busses (actually most if not all busses have trackers, but it seems only a few are enabled to broadcast to public at any given time).

            Public transit itself here is excellent. The only times I ever need to use a car is when I leave the city or am in a big hurry. This in spite of the city being so big that it was classified as a "village" by early EU rules due to having extremely low population density, often considered a bane of public transportation. Night traffic also exists, timed with shift changes in bigger working places (for example shift changes for central hospitals or major factories).

            Every bus has been equipped with GPS for a while now. Bus essentially has a notification board inside set to be visible from everywhere in the bus that displays the next stop's name and projected time of arrival as well as current time. Busses are modern Volvo and Scania models, fully air conditioned and equipped with heaters so they're comfortable through hot summers and cold winters. There are many other little allowances for comfort of people, like NFC tickets (you just wave your card through a NFC reader and it shows you the balance on the ticket in front of the driver where you enter, while people exiting the bus do so through middle and rear doors).

            Pricing is reasonable by local standard: you can enter any bus for an hour after purchasing the ticket which costs 2.50EUR. By using preloaded tickets, you shave almost a euro off the price. You can also get a monthly card for something around 50EUR, and there are significant discounts for students children and elderly. They also have "workplace" tickets specially tailored for workplaces to buy for their workers.

            We have bus lanes throughout city centre, which means that you will avoid most of the congestion especially during rush hour by taking a bus.

            In general, if you want to make it work, it can be made to work and work well to the point where even a low density 200k city can have public transit good enough to allow to not even have a car if you don't want to own one. It's one of the major infrastructural advantages here, of you move with your spouse, one car for the family is more then enough, and a single person can go without a car alltogether in many cases. There have actually been calculations done that it's cheaper for an average single student/worker to have a bus card and grab a (very expensive high quality service legally mandated local monopoly) taxi for those few times that bus tables do not suit him/her.

            • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @06:31PM (#40423901)

              I'm jealous. I really am.

              We have public transport in my city too. There's a website which allows you to plan your trip. It comes up with such useful things as "Get on train at 5:30, get to Central Station at 6:00" OR option B: "Get on train at 5:00, go two stops forward, get off train, wait for next train, get to Central Station at 6:00"

              Not that this matters. The published timetables are complete works of fiction anyway, for trains as well as buses. Buses also have another feature where they frequently fill up and start skipping stops unless someone was willing to get off which makes it impossible to catch a bus into the city during peak hour if you live close to the city.

              Then there was the classic pricing problems. $4.50 one person one way for a train ticket. My mate and I don't even bother. I don't have a NFC card. It's too expensive. On a weekend some of the parking garages in the city charge a flat rate of $15. It's cheaper, faster and more certain to simply drive if more that one person is going.

              The stupid thing is this is the best the public transport has ever been. 10 years ago we used to joke about not needed to go to theme parks as a bus ride would outdo the thrill and fear of even the highest roller-coaster. I tried to cycle everywhere, except my city isn't built for it and the road rage here is incredible.

              At least the car I bought has a tiny 1.4L engine so it's cheap to run.

        • by presidenteloco (659168) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:45AM (#40421241)

          Umm. High density urban living has a much lower ecological footprint than low-density sprawled living.

          With high-density urban living with good rapid transit, most people could get by without a car and rent one for the occasional weekend holiday or renovation project.

        • by lgw (121541)

          If you're serious about "reducing the surplus population", well: you first!

          Humans have moral value, other things don't. We have a duty to ensure we find ways to live without soiling our nest, but beyond that the more the merrier.

          The world's population was far lower when pea soup fogs were killing people in London. Now air quality is great just about everywhere in developed nations, and even in those few cities where local geography really conspires against air quality, it's merely annoying not life threat

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#40420893)

      Let me get these out of the way as well.

      I put $5K down 2 years ago. Yes, its expensive, but no more than a mid-level Audi or BMW (I love the S4 as well as the M5, respectively). I make over six figures, and have for the last several years, so I've already put a large downpayment aside and can easily afford the $400-500/month payment.

      I wanted a luxury car that was all electric and could hold my myself, my wife, and my on-the-way kids. It also needed to be usable by my wife for errands, driving the kids around, etc.

      I would buy this car even if gas was $2/gal. Someone has to eat the R&D costs for the price to drop for everyone else.

    • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:02AM (#40420951) Journal
      You missed so many points.
      Tesla is starting high-end and going towards low. In 2014, they are expected to introduce their sub 30K electric car. Unlike the garbage that is out there, it will likely be a 4 seater, and have decent performance and torque (i.e. 0-60 under 6 if not 5) and a range of around 120 miles.

      If 160 miles is not far enough, then for 10K each bump, you can change to 220 or even 300. With the 300 mile range, you also get the improved motor that will drop your 0-60 in the 4's. However, if you can not afford, then you are right. Stay with a gas car or wait another year for a Natural Gas car. For now.

      Sigh. Most ppl drive in the day times. So, installing panel do little for you, unless you have one that works based on night time charging. Regardless, electricity is less than $1.00 per gallon of gas equivalence (for most of USA, it is .80-.90).

      Very little maintenance costs.
      • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:02PM (#40421759) Homepage Journal

        Just wondering here, is there any reason why Tesla isn't going for other high-end electric vehicle markets?

        Specific markets would include things like Delivery vans (like the local delivery trucks used by UPS, DHL, and FedEx), short haul semi-tractors, and other kinds of larger vehicles that would seem like perfect markets for electric vehicles that have a need for real performance. I realize that other companies are getting into those areas as well and that is just a pure business decision on entering such markets, but it would seem like those are some markets where a company making relatively few editions of a high-priced vehicle could work out better than trying to break into the mass consumer market. Other automobile manufacturers have gone into those markets (for gasoline or even diesel powered vehicles), so it isn't that big of a stretch.

    • The range limit is a big problem because it means you need 2 cars. Even if only a small percentage of your trips are over the 160 or 300 mile limit, you still need to take those trips. You could rent a car for long trips, but one of the points of LUXURY items is reducing the amount of time you waste. Even ignoring the cost, many people don't have space to park 2 cars per person. (or even one per person, and a spare).

      It is a bit cheaper (maybe X2) to operate than a gas car, but the difference doesn't cover

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Why do you need two cars?

        Surely you can just rent one if you need to take a long trip. If you need to make long trips more frequently than renting would be feasible then an electric car is not currently for you.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          On top of that, many (many) households have multiple cars anyway. Lets say you're a two adult, two car household and both of your normal commutes are under 150 miles a day. It's fairly unlikely that you're both going to have an unusually long, range-breaking trip (to different places, and with no possible alternative travel arrangement) on the same day. So make one of your cars a range-limited electric, the other can be a conventional petrol/diesel. Trade cars as necessary.

    • To continue the streamlining:

      Why does it take so long to charge the batteries when you are only a third of the way to your long journey's destination? Because as pointed out in another post, the energy density of hydrocarbons coupled with the delivery mechanism WILL ALWAYS beat electricity and batteries, always [slashdot.org].

      Why are we wasting our time with batteries where (a) from an electrochemical perspective never reach the energy density of hydrocarbons and (b) never be able to transfer the energy electrically near

  • Summary says 160, Wired says 265. What gives?

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:35AM (#40420775) Homepage

    It doesn't need to do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. It does need to go further on a fully-charged set of batteries.

    Why the hell do people obsess about 0-60 time? How often do you ever accelerate flat out from 0 to 60?

    • by Eightbitgnosis (1571875) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:40AM (#40420809) Homepage
      The cars with the larger battery options can go 300(reviews say 265) miles on a charge, and can be charged at up to 62 miles per hour of charge. That's pretty decent
      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        See, that's getting there. It still wouldn't get me to my mum's house and back in less than a weekend, but it's getting there.

        • And no car will get me to my mum's because I live in a different country. It's all a matter of perspective... and they have these wonderful things called phones and now "Skype" which means you don't need to visit as often...

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Well that's good then right? Now you have a convenient explanation for why you never visit...

    • 0-60 times are a by product of it being an electric car with high torque. How would increasing 0-60 times extend the range? It's just like a gasoline car. If you floor it 0-60 every single time your MPG drops. If you gently accelerate your MPG increases.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        It could use a less powerful motor, and concentrate on 50-70mph acceleration by picking more appropriate gearing and motor drive characteristics.

        • by Zeussy (868062)
          I don't think you understand how electric motors work/forces accelerating a car work

          Acceleration is a product of power, not torque. (At this point someone will shout F=MA, or A = F / M). I am talking in terms from the engine/motors perspective.

          With the right gearing I could produce with a hand crank the same sort of torque at the wheels that any car engines does, but I would not be able to accelerate a car from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. I simply don't have the power (torque * rotational speed). Using a less
          • 1) Find me the torque curve of an electric motor.
            2) You don't get something for nothing the more gearboxes you go through the more losses you have
            3) Just.. No. "Torque constant" devices? Have you seen the torque curve of an oil burner? They seem to get rather shallow around 0 RPM.
            4) " I am talking in terms from the engine/motors perspective." So motors don't follow the rest of the laws of physics?

            Putting a smaller motor on there would not increase battery life magically.

          • The Tesla Roadster has a "traditional" automobile transmission, and indeed it even had a variable speed gearbox (two speed plus reverse). The torque ranges of an electric motor played hell on the transmission and nearly killed Tesla Motors as a company because the company who was developing the transmission failed to deliver a product lasting more than a couple thousand miles. That it was an unusual engineering domain because it involved an AC variable frequency induction motor instead of an internal combustion engine is where the problem came up. In retrospect Tesla should have concentrated on that transmission as a critical development path item and perhaps even moved its development in-house (which eventually did happen anyway). The failure of this transmission is what cost Martin Eberhard his job as CEO, and pushed Elon Musk into a much more active role in the company.

            One of the reasons for having multiple speeds is that at extremely high RPM rates you start to get some additional performance issues, where the motor starts to act as a powerful gyroscope, making it difficult to turn the vehicle and impacting the handling of the vehicle as well as pushing limits on the equipment when you get to very high speeds that can result in a mechanical breakdown. There are legitimate reasons to be looking for a multi-speed transmission even for electric vehicle, even though you don't need to have nearly so many gear ratios. As for how many electric vehicle manufacturers are building multi-speed transmissions is another story entirely.

    • by Zeussy (868062)
      The 0-60 time is more to do with electric motors producing peak torque at 0 rpm. In top trim according to wiki the Signature performance version produces 310kW (416hp) and 600 Nm! (443 fb-lb) of torque. To put that back into petrol engines, a naturally aspirated engine getting 100 Nm per litre is quite a feat. So this motor is producing the same sort of torque as a well tuned 6 litre V8.
      Electric motors compared to a normal engine has very little friction and other overheads. I can't really see how fitting
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Actually being lead-footed in a Tesla will do far less to your efficiency than in a gas-powered vehicle. Combustion engines typically have very poor efficiency at low rpms, so you'll spend far more Watt-hours worth of gasoline to generate a Watt-hour of kinetic energy until you get into the relatively narrow "optimal efficiency" power band. An electric motor on the other hand will generally have a fairly constant conversion factor regardless of speed, typically around 90% or so.

        • In addition, if doing electric, you have regenerative braking to get back some of your energy. OTOH, with a truck in stop/go, you get a higher maintenance cost in brakes or transmissions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mad Merlin (837387)

      How often do you ever accelerate flat out from 0 to 60?

      Way more often than I go over 200 km in one trip. They need to drop the 0-60 time back into the low 4s range like the roadster, and halve the range if need be.

    • by becker (190314)

      Rapid acceleration is a prominent advertised feature of electric because it's relative easy. Better performance comes along almost automatically once you put enough batteries in to get acceptable range, with impressive performance when you have reasonable range.

      If you keep the battery structure the same, doubling the range also doubles the available instantaneous power from the battery. And electric motors are mostly thermally limited -- you can put 10x or 20x the continuous current into a small motor for

    • Why the hell do people obsess about 0-60 time?

      Because one of the things that contribute to bigger less efficient combustion engines remaining popular is performance. The electric car vendors are merely pointing out that high performance cars do not need to make loud vroom vroom noises. Its an important part of marketing to educate the public that electric vehicles can be "race cars", that going green does not necessarily mean sacrificing performance and fun.

    • Why the hell do people obsess about 0-60 time? How often do you ever accelerate flat out from 0 to 60?

      For two reasons: First, it's a (more-or-less) objective measurement of the cars performance. Second, because many of us do accelerate from near zero to near sixty on a daily basis - on highway on ramps. There, reasonable zero to sixty times equates to greater safety because it's easier to match speed with and merge into existing traffic.

  • Holy fuck get rid of that Ipad in the console and give me analog controls!
  • Do they have an equation, given a specific kWh cost (which varies by region), that shows how much it costs to charge the various sized battery packs? The charging process isn't 100% efficient so there is some amount of loss. That is really the bottom line number people want to know - how much does it cost per mile in electricity to operate.

    Right now with gas prices dropping to below $3 a gallon in my area, a Prius operating at 50 MPG costs 6 cents a mile in fuel. How does the Tesla compare?

    • Re:Cost per charge (Score:5, Informative)

      by WalksOnDirt (704461) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:21AM (#40421053)

      Right now with gas prices dropping to below $3 a gallon in my area, a Prius operating at 50 MPG costs 6 cents a mile in fuel. How does the Tesla compare?

      I make it as about four cents, assuming you pay the national average for power. But, a Prius is not the proper comparison. A BMW 5 series is about right. Really, the question is whether the quiet ride and performance is worth the lack of range - fuel costs don't matter to these people.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Yes, they do, it's pretty complicated though so try not to get lost:

      cost to charge battery = cost per kWh * kWh capactiy * charging efficiency

      Where efficiency is likely at least 0.9 so it won't make that much difference, though there may be a range, trickle-charging is typically more efficient and less damaging to your battery than speed-charging. If I had built the thing I'd certainly give it two charging ports, one that uses a specialized high-power "charging station" cable for quick charges, and a overn

  • I've always been curious, if the TOTAL long-term impact of electric cars during their entire lifecycle is actually better than fuel burning cars. I mean,

    1. what happens with the batteries when it's done?
    2. what is the cost of building these things?
    3. is the manufacturing process cleaner or worse than fuel burning cars?
    4. what about the impact on the electric grid? Is there any?
    5. Isn't COAL a huge part of our electric grid?
    6. Does this increase the dependance on coal?
    7. Is there any r
    • by Dan East (318230) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:25AM (#40421071) Homepage Journal

      The idea is to make the consumer portion "green" and non-emissive, because then over time the underlying power generation can be made less polluting or swapped out for entirely new methods of generating power without requiring any "upgrades" or action by the consumer. It is definitely easier to regulate, and probably less expensive and more efficient to implement, emissions control at a handful of large power stations than millions of individual car engines.

    • 1) batteries are recycled.
      2) less than an ICE once the production is up.
      3) much cleaner. Less metal. ICE vehicles make heavy use of loads of different ore. Think about an engine and complex transmission (to keep the engine operating in a small RPM range) and all the different parts on it. ICE vehicles are COMPLEX. That is why I dislike parallel hybrids and only accept serial hybrids for large vehicles.
      4) electric cars will LOWER the costs of electricity. The reason is that most ppl will charge at night,
      • by becker (190314)

        All matter is "recyclable". But most things are not recycled.

        Automotive and larger lead-acid batteries are among the most completely recycled items. That's because they have a simple, easily separated structure. Once shredded, the metal plates are trivially separated from the plastic. Sometimes by simply floating away in the rinse water that dilutes the acid. The lead-antimony is melted off any support grid at low temperature, then the grid is melted down at high temperature. After reduction and slag

    • 1. what happens with the batteries when it's done?

      They are recyclable. How efficiently recycled? I don't know, but will likely improve in time.

      4. what about the impact on the electric grid? Is there any?

      Not as bad as you think. It could even result in a net positive. A big problem today in the electric grid is peak power. The grid is in many places already maxed out during beginning and end of office hours. However during night time the available capacity is huge. Coincidentally most current electric car owner charge their cars during night time.

      Also note that many power technologies have big problems adjusting to

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      1) Assuming it's based on lithium or any other rare earth you can bet the batteries will be recycled
      2) You have far fewer moving parts, so manufacturing costs are likely lower than ICE vehicles (assuming comparable production runs). Maintenance costs can also be lower since there's less to go wrong.
      3) Probably cleaner: fewer parts = faster, simpler assembly and smaller necessary assembly line. Battery manufacture might be an issue, but I haven't heard of any particular issues there.
      4) The grid will likel

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:09AM (#40420987)

    Even with tax supported subsidies, gas isn't cheap.

    Gas shill Luddites would have us using a hundred year old technology instead of solving the technological problems that new technology always presents, all the while denying that there can be any negative consequences from any technology filling the coffers of right wing bloviating ignoramuses.

    What's it worth to you to keep gas filled blow-hards redistributing money into the hands of cronies preparing the ground with lies and deceit for the next phony yellow cake war of liberation.

    Donate your money to Al-Quaeda why don't you; Exxon Mobil, Shell, etc do with their royalty - and I do mean royalty - payments to Wahabi Arabia.

    Or not.

    If you can't afford the current tesla, wait a little longer; toyota will be using tesla battery technology to introduce an electric suv based on the toyota Rav model.

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+tesla+build+rav4+ev+woodstock+ontario.htm [toyota.com]

    tesla has comitted to introducing a 30k+ model X suv by 2015.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/modelx [teslamotors.com]

    This comment has not been approved by the Ameican Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation, their employees or contractors.

    • by Solandri (704621)

      Even with tax supported subsidies, gas isn't cheap.

      On average, a gallon of gas receives about 2 cents in subsidies. And on average, federal, state, and local fuel taxes on gasoline are about 50 cents per gallon in the U.S. The subsidies are negligible, and the taxes significantly increase the cost of gas. (Not that they're unwarranted.)

      Gas shill Luddites would have us using a hundred year old technology instead of solving the technological problems that new technology always presents, all the while deny

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @12:15PM (#40421425)

    I was recently in the market for a new car and I had the chance to research several of the electric and plugin hybrids on the market and test drive them. I'll brain dump some of my research here in case someone else finds it useful.

    Tesla Model S - The car looks really awesome, and I loved the styling of it. It is quite expensive with the base model starting at just under $50k after a $7,500 federal tax credit. The big reason I didn't but this was that the base model isn't even out yet. They are manufacturing the signature series first which is the fancier model with the giant 85 kwH battery pack. Also, I live in Arizona which doesn't yet have a Tesla showroom to see/drive the car or a service center to service it. You would have to pay a mechanic per mile to come out and service it. Scottsdale, AZ is getting a showroom and a service station later this year though.

    Nissan Leaf - I test drove the leaf, and as with most electric cars this thing was pretty zippy. If you haven't had a chance to test drive an electric car yet I highly recommend trying it. Having 100% of your torque at 0 RPM is very nice. The main disadvantage to the Leaf is the only 100 mile range. I drive between Tucson and Phoenix often enough that this is impractical for me. I would imagine that for many people in large cities or on the east coast where things are closer together this would be more practical.

    Chevy Volt - I really like the design of the engine of the Chevy Volt. An electric drive train with a range extending ICE is a good design that I think other plugin hybrids should pick up and run with. You could design the ICE to be optimized to run at a constant RPM and be way more efficient. The electric range on the Volt was between 25-50 miles with an average of 35 miles. This was actually an excellent range for my daily commute of 26 miles. I could in theory have driven the Volt almost entirely on electricity and only used gasoline very rarely. It has a few mechanisms to support using almost no gasoline. First if the gas engine hasn't come on at all in 6 weeks then it will briefly engage the gas engine to make sure everything stays lubricated and in good condition. Also the gas becoming stale in the tank can be an issue. In general you would want to go through a tank of gas at least once a year. Ultimately I didn't like the cargo space on the Volt and the fact that it only seats 4 people as the center rear position is taken up by the battery running down the center of the car.

    Great comparison of the Volt vs. the Plugin Prius:
    http://gm-volt.com/2012/04/13/cost-per-mile-comparison-2012-volt-vs-2013-prius-plug-in/

    Plugin Prius - This was the car I was leaning towards getting for a while. It's probably the most practical of the other cars that I looked into. I was already a fan of the amazing gas mileage the regular Prius gets and it is a tried and tested technology. Even if you never plugged in the vehicle then you could drive it like a regular Prius and get great gas mileage. The cargo space on the Prius is pretty amazing (you can fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood in there). One drawback is that to fit the new batteries in the plugin model they got rid of the spare tire. They give you basically a fancy fix-a-flat and then tell you not to use it because it will damage the tire pressure monitoring system which costs $600 to fix. However the biggest drawback is the price. While it's only about $3,000 more than a comparably equipped regular Prius, you have to get a bunch of options that I didn't care about. The base model plugin Prius starts at $32k with a $2,500 Federal tax credit putting the final cost at $29,500. The base model (Package 2) Prius costs only $24,000. You do get some features like the navigation system, voice activated dialing, and Entune but all of that are worthless options if you have a smart phone. If I could have bought the plugin prius with the package 2 options for only $3k more then I would have done that, but as it stands it would've been $5,500 more for the plugi

  • The range of these vehicles and the cost are secondary considerations for me - how does it charge? I need a giant electric pad in the garage so I can just drive over it and have the car charge itself, or else at some point I absolutely will forget to charge my car overnight.
  • by fikx (704101) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @01:28PM (#40421889) Journal
    I'm always surprised at the reactions that keep coming up with electric cars. The point that they are worse to produce for the environment. That they are not as efficient as ICE. That the power for them is worse on the environment. Yeah, and?
    As far as I see it, the point is not that and electric car is just better, it's that it makes the infrastructure flexible enough, eventually, to be better for the environment. If you get electric or hydrogen cars or any fuel we can produce ourselves (instead of finding a supply) then you're on your way. The infrastructure is now primed to be able to be adjusted by efficiency, marketing, environmental impact, whatever forces will come up to improve things over time. So, step one gets us to where we can do something, and step one has to happen competitively along side existing established and efficient cars already in place. AND IT CAN BE DONE based on the Tesla. Hence the excitement for many.
    For example, I would be perfectly happy if each filling station switched from pumps to generators. Run the generator from the EXACT SAME FUEL they used to sell and charge electric cars. No net benefit to environment you say? yup, for now. but once most of the cars are electric fun stuff can happen. The gas station can supplement with Solar on the roof and save a few pennies or even switch to pulling electricity from the grid and become middle men. The current coal, gas or other environmentally bad grid sources may one day be phased out to something cleaner and, hey, what do you know, all the cars on the road benefit without a single hardware change at all.
    the funny part is most people know this, but still everyone challenges the immediate benefit....what's the term for that in debate? scarecrow?

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