Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power Transportation

Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
mknewman writes "Elon Musk intimated that more-powerful batteries could be on the way for the Model S. The most potent battery pack currently offered in the Model S holds 85 kWh of juice, or enough for 265 miles of driving. Musk wasn't terribly specific, however: 'There is the potential for bigger battery packs in the future, but it would probably be maybe next year or something like that. The main focus is . . . how do we reduce the cost per kWh of storage in the battery pack?' In other words, Musk seems less concerned with stronger battery packs than making cheaper battery packs for the upcoming mid-size sedan, which is expected to be unveiled at the 2015 Detroit auto show. 'Our goal is to drop the cost per kWh by 30 percent to 40 percent.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Elon Musk Says Larger Batteries Might Be On the Way

Comments Filter:
  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @12:44PM (#46260055)
    Just strap it into the passenger seat, plug it into the lighter socket, and head straight for the HOV lane!

    .
    • by slinches (1540051)

      Don't most states grant access to the HOV lane for alternative fuel vehicles? I know mine does. I see at least a couple of Teslas and Leafs (Leaves?) with AFV plates pass me on my way to work every day.

      • Don't most states grant access to the HOV lane for alternative fuel vehicles?

        Most do, but that access will be phased out as zero-emmission vehicles are more widely adopted. California is already phasing them out for hybrids, but not yet for full electrics like the Teslas. The mannequin-battery is a better long term solution.

    • This could be the start of a powerful relationship.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:06PM (#46260185) Journal
    We have reasonably priced mid range battery cars having a range of 50 miles (winter with full heat 70mph) to 100 miles (sprint/fall no a/c, no heat, daytime, 50mph). If we have good Towable Range Extenders, basically gensets on wheels, this would help us switch to electric cars. Already I see (Lotus?) making integrated engine+genset in the same block, designed for constant rpm electricity generation. Many enthusiasts are creating these thingamajiggers with balsa wood baling wire and duct tape. It is time for some standards body like SAE to define standard connectors, tow packages, and electronic communication protocols etc so that we could mix and match these range extenders. I see some people owning them and most people renting them when they need them. Ideally close to highway entrances you should see franchises renting out TREs, may even in highway service plazas.

    The electric utility companies have so much excess capacity at night, mostly idling or off line. If they could come up with special meters and sell electricity cheaply overnight, the break-even point calculations vis-a-vis gas cars will shift dramatically. The utility companies will get a piece of the transportation energy market, currently shared only between oil companies. That is the motivation for the utilities. We need to set dog against dog, thief against thief and coal burning utilities against oil companies.

    I wish someone with the charisma of Elon or pig headedness of Jobs would make the top honchos of these organizations and companies to pay attention.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I like the idea of towable range extenders, but if you're renting one, what are the advantages over automated battery swapping instead?
      • Towable range extenders allow you to take advantage of the existing gasoline/diesel infrastructure immediately. We know how to measure gasoline. Battery charge measuring is not very reliable. The franchise owner has to charge a battery over several hours, before renting it out again. TREs can be turned around and rented to the next customer immediately. This allows for franchises with less capital investment.

        There is no need for every one of us to haul an IC engine all the time. 90% of the trips of 90% o

        • 90% of the trips of 90% of the population can be met with existing battery vehicles.

          The problem is that people will not buy something that cannot do 10% of what they want to do, when the importance of doing that thing they do not do often is around 80% to them.

          • ^ This...

            My truck has a nearly 500 mile range on the highway, but I only need that range a few times a year. 90% of the time, 50 miles a day of range is plenty.

            The problem is, I'm not going to buy a truck that doesn't have the long range as an option. I just won't, and there are millions of people who won't either.

            GM has it right with the Volt. The price is still too high, but put the Volt tech into a Yukon, drop the price premium, and I'm a customer.

            • Not all rentals are beat up. Recently I needed a loaner when my car went to the body shop. Got a brand new Dodge Charger with some insane 290 HP engine. From enterprise. If there is a demand for heavy duty truck rental, the free market will supply it. If there is significant difference in cost per mile between using heavy duty gas truck and using electric truck, the demand will be created. Not every body is insensitive to price, like you.
              • No, they aren't... In fact, some are quite nice... But they are missing features, they are not the same fully loaded versions as what is for sale. My Yukon XL Denali has two DVD screens, it has air conditioned seats, it has power folding mirrors and running boards, it has navigation, etc. The rental Suburban likely has none of that. If I am going to take an 1,800 mile road trip with my wife and three kids, I'm not going to do it in a base model rental Suburban. No one who can afford a Tesla is going t
                • If the savings is enough, you could rent a conversion van. Me and my brother for a week long trip through Canada and New York rented a conversion van. Had seven bucket seats, large (for those days) DVD, mini cooler/fridge, nice nooks and cubbies all over. Presently electrics do not break even with gas easily. But that is based on electricity priced the same day or night. I don't see how long they can continue to do that. Almost all the large customers are on peak demand pricing, utilities have idle capacity
                  • http://www.dfwconversionvanren... [dfwconvers...entals.com]

                    You're right, that is an option. Of course, the cost to rent for a week is $1,200 and doesn't include all that many miles.

                    Then you have to consider that I need something big enough for my family all the time, so I already need a large vehicle. It sounds really nice on paper, less so when reality hits. If gas were $8 a gallon, the idea would have more merit, but at current prices, it makes little sense.

            • One thing to keep in mind is that you may be paying over $10,000 dollars extra for that capacity vs renting a really big long range truck the few times a year you need this ability.

              If it turns out you don't need that extra range, then you paid a lot of extra money for nothing.

              However, there seems to be a severe disconnect between extra range and price. It should be cheap and a simple matter to have a slightly larger gas tank but that's not the way things work out in practice.

              I've seen some people just load

              • If I could rent the same truck that I own, it would be worth at least considering. But it isn't an option, no one rents such vehicles, the people who would rent them, own them.
                • by dasunt (249686)

                  If I could rent the same truck that I own, it would be worth at least considering. But it isn't an option, no one rents such vehicles, the people who would rent them, own them.

                  I can rent a 24 to 26' flatbed truck. I can rent a pickup, such as a Dakota or Quad Cab Ram 1500. This is all local.

                  What do you need that you can't rent?

                  • You misunderstand...

                    Yes, you can rent a pickup truck, but it is a basic, stripped work truck.

                    My daily driver is a 2012 GMC Yukon XL Denali. It is a very nice, well equipped, luxury truck with all the nice stuff.

                    I'm taking my family on a 2 week trip this summer to Disney World, it is an 18 hour drive from here to there, each way.

                    I can rent a Tahoe or Expedition, neither of which is really big enough for all of us and our stuff for 2 weeks, neither of which will be very nicely equipped.

                    I can rent a

              • by Kjella (173770)

                However, there seems to be a severe disconnect between extra range and price. It should be cheap and a simple matter to have a slightly larger gas tank but that's not the way things work out in practice. I've seen some people just load 10 to 15 extra gallons of a gas on a tow mounted shelf behind the car but I guess those shelves cost a five hundred to a thousand bucks.

                With an ICE? For most the people most the time the solution is just to bring a few jerry cans, why permanently waste so much space on a bigger gas tank. That's probably why the people with 10-15 gallons extra keep it outside the car too.

                • With an ICE? For most the people most the time the solution is just to bring a few jerry cans, why permanently waste so much space on a bigger gas tank. That's probably why the people with 10-15 gallons extra keep it outside the car too.

                  Yeah, people do crazy things. The control tower of the Kulalumpur airport caught fire, TWICE. Turns out petrol is more expensive at some places compared to other places in Malasia. One air traffic controller was commuting by motorcycle from slightly distant part. He was buying and storing extra petrol in simple jerry cans under his workstation in the bloody control tower! Yeah, I am not surprised people keep jerry cans of fuel inside the car.

            • by ksheff (2406)
              I'd be happy if GM would sell the Tornado in the US, but that's not going to happen any time soon because of a relic of some 1960's trade war with Germany and France over chickens. If they included Volt tech at a decent price, even better.
        • Rental cars and Zip cars sound like a nice idea, right up until you hit reality. Yes, most people don't actually need long range except a few times a year, but those times are when they want their nice luxury car or truck, not some cheap, beat up rental.

          I drive a GMC Yukon XL Denali, a few times a year I take the family on long road trips. There is nothing I can rent that is the equal of my truck, nor would it be in as nice a condition.

          What I am likely to do however, is replace my second truck with an

        • by timeOday (582209)
          I like the idea of owning a smaller car and renting a bigger one for trips. The problem I have found in trying to do this is that most people want a big vehicle around the same time, in the summer, and prices spike. Perhaps towable range extenders would alleviate this a bit because overcapacity could be stored more efficiently (tilting them up on end) and they would have less routine maintenance.
          • I just looked up some prices... Renting a Tahoe or Expediton for a week from Enterprise is about $500, this week. More in the summer of course. You get 1,500 miles at that price, which might or might not be enough. Neither is as long as a Suburban, which is more useful for road trips with multiple kids and baggage, both will be base model trucks, which can be owned for $500 a month. Luxury versions of these trucks cannot be rented as far as I can tell.
      • by Jonathan_S (25407)

        I like the idea of towable range extenders, but if you're renting one, what are the advantages over automated battery swapping instead?

        I can see a couple advantages to towable range extenders.

        Probably the biggest one is that once you've rented it you can continue to extend the range indefinitely by utilizing existing widely deployed infrastructure (stopping at a gas station to top up the generator's tank). So you can use to for trips into areas where the charging or battery swap stations haven't reached ye

        • I'm not sure I like the idea of $random_driver towing anything. Your typical Freeway Fool is a danger to himself and others with just the vehicle. With a short coupled trailer - especially trying to park or backup - hilarity ensues.

          That said, my next pickup truck is going to be a diesel electric.

        • by rossdee (243626)

          Another advantage of having a towable generator is that it could be used to power a house in those places that don't have underground power lines.
          Storms (both winter and summer) are only going to get worse as the temperature of the ocean increases...

      • I like the idea of towable range extenders, but if you're renting one, what are the advantages over automated battery swapping instead?

        You can use the existing gasoline/diesel infrastructure. Big advantage since automated battery swapping infrastructure essentially does not exist yet.

    • Towable range extenders are not going to happen, the average person has a hard enough time just driving, add a trailer, you're asking for trouble.
  • it would probably be maybe next year or something like that.

    Sounds like he has a handle on making accurate project estimates

  • The battery that is coming will not be SOLD with the cars. They make ZERO sense for regular car driving. 40, 60, and 85 kwh is perfect (though 40 was killed) for running around town.
    What the coming 120 AND 160 KWH battery will be used for is long distance trips. You will simply to to the local service center, and swap your battery out with one of the LD ones. Then do your trip. If you are going to spend time at a remote location that has a service center, you will be able to swap back to a lower KWH batter

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken

Working...