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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology 137

Posted by timothy
from the let's-talk-about-supercharger-deserts dept.
PC Magazine reports that following Elon Musk's announcement that Tesla would be freeing for other electric car makers to use the various patents that the company has amassed, at least two companies — Mazda and BMW — are said to be interested in meeting with Tesla, for a very good reason: According to undisclosed sources speaking to the Financial Times, both Nissan and BMW would be interested in working with Tesla to craft up some universal vehicle charging standards. To quote unnamed official: "It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars."
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BMW, Mazda Keen To Meet With Tesla About Charging Technology

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  • nissan or mazda? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mishotaki (957104) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:22AM (#47244445)
    i'm confused.... is it Nissan or Mazda that is interested?
    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:46AM (#47244511)
      Probably confused as Nissan have their own EV, the Leaf. I wouldn't be surprised if Nissan jump on the bandwagon too and gobble up that fast-charging / battery tech ASAP; It would make the Leaf a usable compact car. Current 8 hour charge cycle and ~90 mile range on a good day is pretty limiting, especially for £25k for the base model.
      • Re:nissan or mazda? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:54AM (#47244541)
        Nissan doesn't have problems with charge times (at least, no more than Tesla). The base model takes 8 hours to charge from empty, but they offer a 4 hour charge option (that runs off the same Level 2 charging stations) and a Quick Charge option that gets an 80% charge in 30 minutes. Pretty similar to Tesla.
        • Quite right. My information came from online automotive review sites, which didn't mention a fast charging option. Still, though, the Tesla charges to 80% in 10 minutes, and full capacity in 30. I'm certain Nissan would be up for this, especially considering the limited range.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The fast-charge thing was added to the leaf in the 3rd model year.
            BTW, that's pretty amazing all on its own, nissan has been selling electric cars for nearly 4 years now.

            • Re:nissan or mazda? (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:32AM (#47244629)

              Negative. Fast charging (CHADEMO) was in the Nissan Leaf since the very first model (2011 if i remember OK).

              And BTW, the charging on Tesla models is more than twice faster than the Nissan's simply because battery packs on any Tesla is at least twice as big ( 24khw Nissan vs 60/85Kwh on the Model S).

              So, no, the problem is not with the technology itself, but the the limited 24 kwh or less batteriy packs offered by other manufacturers of electrical vehicles. The bigger the battery is, the longer it will take you, the longer it will last in year, the faster it will be able to recharge.

              Some maths:

              24kwh pack at 2C charging =~ 50kw charging capability (CHADEMO).
              85kwh pack at LESS THAN 2C charging =~ more than 100kw charging capability (Tesla own's).

              Yo see, Tesla's approach is even more conservative

        • by milkmage (795746) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:33AM (#47245701)

          charge time might be the same, but Tesla owns RANGE.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]
          The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official range for the Model S Performance model equipped with an 85 kWh battery pack is 265 miles (426 km)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]
          The US Environmental Protection Agency official range for the 2013 model year Leaf is 121 km (75 mi) and rated the Leaf's combined fuel economy at 115 miles per US gallon gasoline equivalent (2.0 L/100 km).

          yeah, a Tesla also costs 4x more than the Leaf, but if others get onboard and develop a standard... guess what - that cost goes down

          Musk is a smart guy

          • I agree that a good shared standard might allow for efficient production of batteries by removing the market fragmentation that dissuades people from starting up "gigafactories".

            That said, Tesla hasn't demonstrated a superior battery technology. The 2013 Leaf's range was rated lower than it really should have been. It offered a "Long life" charging setting, where it would stop charging at 80% instead of 100% to extend battery life. The EPA decided to base the estimated range on a 90% charge to split the dif

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Except that 80% of 85 miles is a far cry from 80% of 265 miles.

          A local Nissan salescritter mentioned to me last week that Nissan will be offering
          a range-extender battery, to boost the Leaf's range to 150 miles.

          In that case, it makes sense that Nissan might be interested in a more powerful
          Level 3 charging system.

          Sunny Guy

        • No LEAF has a 3.3kW charger any more. All models, including the base S support 6.6kW beginning with the (now current) 2014 models.

          • Not according to Nissan's website. The base S model has a 3.6 kW charger. You can add a charge package for $1250 that upgrades it to a 6.6 kW charger and adds a Quick Charge port, but the base model doesn't support 6.6 kW charging or a Quick Charge port by default (similarly, the mid-level SV model comes with a 6.6 kW charger, but requires an add-on package to get Quick Charge). Might be hard to find a completely base S model without the charge package, but Nissan claims it's an option.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Probably confused as Nissan have their own EV, the Leaf.

        You mean like how Mazda has its own EV, the i-MiEV?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The current base model is £15k and can fast charge to 80% in half an hour. I'm thinking of getting one because for my daily commute and most regular trips the range is fine.

        • At £15k it makes more economical sense, especially as a second car. It would start saving me money within 4 years, compared to 10 at £25k.
      • I've been driving a Leaf for a year and it's the best car I've ever owned. It's very "usable" right now.

    • Mazda has stated it is not going to spend money on EV so - it is Nissan.
      Also, that Mazda could be changing it's mind would be news on its own.

  • It's Nissan (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:24AM (#47244449)

    For everybody who's confused by the title like me, it's Nissan (not Mazda) in TFA.

    I wonder why no american companies are interested in cooperating?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Mostly because GM, Ford, and Chrysler are ran by some of the dumbest people on the planet. Which means we will get a standard that the European and Asian cars use along with tesla, and then something completely different from Ford, GM and Chrysler. Causing an even larger fall of domestic car buying with the executives having press conferences asking, "WE have no idea why people are not buying our cars"

      • Re:It's Nissan (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:31AM (#47244623) Homepage

        The real problem is that they didn't standardize on high-power charging in the beginning. We got the SAE J1772 standard, but it tops out at 80 amps / 240V. Europe's a mess as it stands, with a bunch of competing connectors implementing IEC 62196-1, and again, no solid fast charging standard. This leaves everyone to have to pick and choose their own high-power coupler. It's idiotic, they should have standardized from the beginning, it's obvious that it's going to be a necessity for mainstreaming EVs. 20 minutes to charge your car while you take a lunch stop, fine. 3 hours to charge your car while you take a lunch stop, Not Fine(TM). Until you get fast charging standardized and available, the majority of consumers will continually hold that up as their excuse as to why they can't buy an EV (there's often some big holes in that logic, but that's neither here nor there).

        There are a couple other possibilities for mainstreaming other than fast charging, but I don't see them around the corner. One is to have a whole day's worth of driving - or most of a day's worth (enough that if you charge during your meal / rest breaks, it's a full day) - on a single charge. In such a case, the upper end of J1772 is enough for all but very high consumption vehicles to charge you to full while you sleep, so you can drive another full day immediately after. But that requires multi-hundred kilowatt hour packs which would weight 1-2 tons and cost $50-100k with today's tech. It'll happen eventually, batteries double in energy density every 8 years or so (price drops happen too but they're more irregular and harder to predict) - but we're not to the point yet where this would be a viable option. The other option is making available self-steering genset trailers, like the AC Propulsion Long Ranger. It seems such an obvious stopgap - you've got a generator when you need it but don't have to drag it around when you don't, you could buy them, rent them, share them, etc. Your car uses gasoline on those occasional long trips but otherwise is pure electric with none of the problems of PHEVs. Unfortunately no major automakers are pursuing this approach (I'm not really sure why, the Long Ranger got good reviews). As it stands, the majority of manufacturers are pursuing some form of fast charging, but as mentioned, the standards situation is a mess right now. :

        And then there's the issue of how fast charging changes incentives. As it stands, utilities *love* EVs because it lets them sell more power for rather little added infrastructure cost, they're largely stable nighttime loads. But once you start getting to 480V multi-hundred-amp daytime fast charges, it's just the opposite, that's horrible for them. It's possible to make them become once again something desirable for utilities by including a battery buffer inside the charger (trickle charges when not fast charging a car, then burst discharges), but I'm not aware of any fast chargers that come like that by default.

        The other option is to accept that disadvantage of allowing fast charging EVs in exchange for having EVs smart grid integrated, so that all the cars left plugged in during the day charge when demand is low and stop charging or even reverse flow during those brief peaks. It's possible to incentivize EV owners as well - let them pick at what time their car needs to be fully charged, whether they want to allow reverse flow, etc. The more flexible they are about timing, the more their car can wait to buy power when it's cheapest, and they could get a rebate on reverse flow power sold at higher prices during peaks. Such a system would work well, leaving owners with the ability to choose the balance between speed and price (even potentially to earn a net profit on their car if they're flexible enough), and it'd leave utilities with a nice smooth generation/demand balance, much better than today. Unfortunately, neither the grid nor current EVs are to that point.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's possible to make them become once again something desirable for utilities by including a battery buffer inside the charger (trickle charges when not fast charging a car, then burst discharges), but I'm not aware of any fast chargers that come like that by default.

          Gee, I can't imagine why nobody would want to fill a box up with batteries that would cost what the batteries in your electric car cost, and which will have to go through nearly as many if not as many charge cycles, and then pay the efficiency loss of charging a battery from the battery from the mains. That makes absolutely no sense. Battery swapping would make sense, but a fillup station full of batteries makes none. If we get meaningful supercapacitors at a low low price, THOSE would make sense. Any decad

          • by Rei (128717)

            I cover battery swapping later. The short of it, it's a non-starter.

            You overestimate the cost of batteries, especially at fixed installations, and underestimate the cost of the other charging hardware. The charger's battery bank would probably run them about $0.15-0.2/Wh. So to fill even a max-range Model S (the one with the 85kWh pack, by far the largest) would be $17k (plus overhead). But multi-hundred-kW chargers themselves cost as much as a small house, they're not cheap.

            Percentage-wise, battery charge/

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I cover battery swapping later. The short of it, it's a non-starter.

              If battery swapping is a non-starter, then having a charger full of batteries is also a non-starter.

              Why is everyone obsessing with supercapacitors? They're the *expensive, low energy density* option.

              Because if they weren't expensive, they would be awesome.

              How can you talk about "cheap" and "supercapacitors" in the same sentence?

              Time marches on. Physics says that it should be possible.

              And what's the reasoning for expecting them to get cheaper faster than batteries, when the opposite has been true?

              Oh, none whatsoever. Thing is, they solve the charge/discharge rate problem, so we all want it to happen. More likely they will become part of the power storage system, not the whole thing, at least any time soon. Even that would be an improvement, particularly in the area of regenerative braking.

              • by Rei (128717)

                If battery swapping is a non-starter, then having a charger full of batteries is also a non-starter.

                What's your logic?

                Because if they weren't expensive, they would be awesome.

                If they weren't super-expensive, and super-low energy density, they'd be great. But that's not the case on either account.

                Time marches on. Physics says that it should be possible.

                Where does physics say that? Where does physics say anything about price?

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  If battery swapping is a non-starter, then having a charger full of batteries is also a non-starter.

                  What's your logic?

                  I already explained that in an earlier comment. You are invited to go back and refamiliarize yourself with the thread to which you are adding.

                  • by Rei (128717)

                    You made a claim, I made a counter, you made a remark that your claim still stands without presenting evidence. I'm asking you to present evidence.

                    In what way is a charger's battery pack the same as a vehicle battery pack? It's not even *remotely* close to the same use case. Weight is irrelevant for fixed installations so cost per watt hour is dramatically lower, pack size can be dramatically larger given the use case, which decreases cycling rate, the overall cycling behavior is totally different, the asso

                    • by drinkypoo (153816)

                      In what way is a charger's battery pack the same as a vehicle battery pack?

                      If it's residential then space is an issue. If it's commercial then being able to charge multiple vehicles in one day is an issue, and then space is an issue all over again. If you have to trickle-charge a commercial charger and it's making numerous charge cycles in a day, its job is actually harder than that of a car which is probably not making more than two. The only way in which the charger batteries don't need to be like those of the car is that they can be heavier. Making them much larger, however, is

                    • by Rei (128717)

                      If it's residential then space is an issue

                      In what world are you envisioning that residential users are going to be installing $100k fast chargers the size of a couple soda machines in their homes? In what use case is that remotely necessary?

                      If it's commercial then being able to charge multiple vehicles in one day is an issue

                      In what manner? Do you think the charger is powered by a hamster on a wheel? The as has been stated half a dozen times, the purpose of a battery bank is to average out the grid draw inst

                    • by drinkypoo (153816)

                      A station battery pack is far more like a UPS.

                      Ballocks. A UPS battery doesn't go through repeated cycles like that.

          • Gee, I can't imagine why nobody would want to fill a box up with batteries that would cost what the batteries in your electric car cost

            There is no reason why this would have to be the case. As the buffer batteries don't have to have the lightweight requirements of a battery you literally carry with you, they could easily be made of a cheaper but heavier chemistry. Maybe even a room full of deep cycle lead acid batteries.

            • by Rei (128717)

              Not to mention, the charger itself is much more expensive than your whole car, and fast charges vehicles orders of magnitude more often than you have your vehicle fast charged.

              Heck, if it's in a spot where maintenance isn't an issue, one may just go with deep-cycle lead-acids and oversize the battery bank. Maybe 200kWh or so. That'd make charging a model S only a 40% duty cycle and a full discharge would take half an hour, which is actually rather gentle for many types of PbA. The overcapacity would give y

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              There is no reason why this would have to be the case. As the buffer batteries don't have to have the lightweight requirements of a battery you literally carry with you, they could easily be made of a cheaper but heavier chemistry. Maybe even a room full of deep cycle lead acid batteries.

              Which room in your house do you plan to devote to these batteries? How much do you imagine you'll have to pay for the freight and installation charges? Why don't we focus on charging these vehicles during the day with solar energy from panels which pay back their energy investment in three years (as thin-film panels do today) instead of adding another lossy well to put energy into (with losses) and draw it out from again (with more losses)? It just makes no sense to fill your house up with batteries —

              • by Rei (128717)

                "Room in your house"? You have no clue what a fast charger is, do you?

                These aren't little sockets that cost $50. Those are Level 1.
                These aren't "a little box on a wall or post" that cost a couple K. Those are Level 2.
                These aren't even the lower end of level 3 "fast" chargers, which are the size of a small refrigerator or so; a few dozen kilowatts is not sufficiently fast to replace gasoline for travel. If you're talking a 400kW** fast charger, the kind of thing needed to fill up an 85kWh pack to 80% in ten

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  You said In such a case, the upper end of J1772 is enough for all but very high consumption vehicles to charge you to full while you sleep, so you can drive another full day immediately after. But that requires multi-hundred kilowatt hour packs which would weight 1-2 tons and cost $50-100k with today's tech. But here we are in the land of land yachts. Even if the charger only needed half as much battery as the car had to make up what it's not getting from the mains, it's still a hard sell. Maybe in disaste

                  • by Rei (128717)

                    You said

                    In such a case, the upper end of J1772 is enough for all but very high consumption vehicles to charge you to full while you sleep, so you can drive another full day immediately after. But that requires multi-hundred kilowatt hour packs which would weight 1-2 tons and cost $50-100k with today's tech

                    Reading comprehension fail. Immediately before that I wrote:

                    There are a couple other possibilities for mainstreaming other than fast charging, but I don't see them around the corner.

                    Other than fast charg

          • For a fixed installation, you can use cheaper batteries (even lead-acid if you've got a lot of room and can handle the weight) or batteries that are too degraded for in-car use, reducing upfront costs significantly.

        • by Rei (128717)

          Also, there's the issue of economics. A high power fast charger, say, 400kW, costs on the order of $100k and is the size of 1-2 soda machines. If you're only servicing 1-2 EVs a month, you're never going to pay for it. If we assume a 25 year lifetime and, after factoring in the time value to money assume that it needs to pay for itself plus, oh, let's say $50k of maintenance, during 15 years, then it needs to average $10k a year, or $28 per day, or $1.14 per hour. Since the charger provides 400kWh/h, then t

          • Also, there's the issue of economics. A high power fast charger, say, 400kW, costs on the order of $100k and is the size of 1-2 soda machines. If you're only servicing 1-2 EVs a month, you're never going to pay for it. If we assume a 25 year lifetime and, after factoring in the time value to money assume that it needs to pay for itself plus, oh, let's say $50k of maintenance, during 15 years, then it needs to average $10k a year, or $28 per day, or $1.14 per hour.

            Such an exhaustive analysis of a topic Elon Musk doesn't particularly care about. The high power fast chargers aren't there to be economical. They're there to combat range anxiety. That's all. Even though literally 99% of all trips are under 70 miles. 98% are under 50 miles. Average trip length is 5.95 miles. Average daily mileage is less than 100 miles for 93% of vehicles in the US. High power fast chargers are unnecessary for 99% of the 4.2 trillion passenger miles Americans travel every year. Th

            • by Rei (128717)

              Yes, but Musk isn't going to pony up to put up a terrawatt or two worth of fast chargers at several thousand locations across the US. It's just too large of a task to expect Tesla, or even a Tesla/Nissan/BMW alliance, to do it. You need private interest. Musk may be able to handle densely populated areas of high Tesla sales, but it's never going to get full national coverage - and thus eliminate the complaint of "I can't get there in an EV" - without economic viability.

              I know that such complaints usually do

            • The average trip lengths are irrelevant here. The number of trips under 50 or 70 miles isn't completely relevant. Over the next holiday weekend, we're going to be going somewhere 200-300 miles away, and we're going in one of the current family vehicles. So, it's important to us that one of our cars be capable of long range (the other one could be restricted to 100-mile range, allowing for two days of my commute without a recharge available). Therefore, either we want one heck of a battery pack, or the

      • Re:It's Nissan (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:07AM (#47244743)

        Mostly because GM, Ford, and Chrysler are ran by some of the dumbest people on the planet. Which means we will get a standard that the European and Asian cars use along with tesla, and then something completely different from Ford, GM and Chrysler. Causing an even larger fall of domestic car buying with the executives having press conferences asking, "WE have no idea why people are not buying our cars"

        I remember the lots full of Escalades and other huge SUV's no one wanted a few years ago.

        At the same time that the big three have no idea what people want to buy, that incompatibility will hurt.

        But to their way of thinking, interface standardization is a socialist construct. Much better to invent a non-standard "freedom connector" that if you are lucky, you will dominate the market, and others will have to pay you royalties to use.

        Coupled with a non-trivial segment who wants to see electric vehicles fail, and their starting to sound silly sycophants, it is amazing that we don't have politicians trying to ban all EV's on patriotic grounds.

        As preposterous as that sounds, consider that "Heartbeat of America" (tm) Chevrolet were touting patriotism as a hallmark of their big trucks, and the present day efforts to ban Tesla sales in certain, states. There is enough money in the hands of people who would benefit at EV's failure to set the stage for some entertaining shenannagins.

      • Chrysler is NOT American. It is subsidiary of Fiat.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          Chrysler is NOT American. It is subsidiary of Fiat.

          Well that explains why Chrysler and Jeep are such crap... Fix It Again Tony.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      If the Fiat EV is any indication, the American motor companies only want to make an EV to prove that the tech is doomed to fail so they can get the govt off their backs. Collaborating on creating a viable standard for charging or increasing battery capacity would go against that.
  • Finally - EVs will become practical. Hopefully this leads them toward working together to develop ultracapacitors that charge in seconds to a couple of minutes so it can be a true ICE replacement, and allow for a small swappable ultracapacitor so that if your battery goes flat a few miles from a charging station all you need is a state trooper or AAA and exchange a capacitor to get the car going long enough to reach a charger. Once you've achieved that you've largely eliminated the need for ICE (except poss

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:40AM (#47244491)

      if your battery goes flat a few miles from a charging station all you need is a state trooper

      Hah, finally an ethical use case for tasers!

    • ... a small swappable ultracapacitor so that if your battery goes flat a few miles from a charging station ...

      The best super capacitors have an energy density two thousand times less than gasoline. A small portable battery or flywheel would make far more sense.

      • by sjwt (161428) on Monday June 16, 2014 @08:02AM (#47244715)

        Gasoline gives you 12,200 Wh/kg [xtronics.com]
        University of California's currntly running a SC @ 39.3 Wh/kg [gizmag.com] So thats 310 times less, the gap keeps closeing.
          Worryed about the extra weight? Why not make your supercapacitor part of the load bearing structure of the car

        • by sjwt (161428)

          http://news.vanderbilt.edu/201... [vanderbilt.edu]

          bleh, missing third link.

        • by Rei (128717)

          There's a big difference between a lab demonstration (which, BTW, only gets the energy density of lead-acid) and a functional marketable product. I mean, if you want to count lab demonstrations then you should compare with lithium-air batteries at nearly the energy density of gasoline (plus with far higher efficiency).

          The problem isn't ultracapacitors versus gasoline, it's ultracapacitors vs. batteries. And FYI, battery packs are major structural components of the vehicles. It's pretty hard for something th

        • by rahvin112 (446269)

          Why does this always need to be repeated? The burning of gasoline in an ICE engine is ridiculously inefficient (vast majority of the energy goes into heat) and the conversion of battery power to forward motion via the electric motor is very very efficient. As a result you don't need the energy density of gasoline to power an electric car.

          The Tesla 85kw/hr battery pack is equivalent to a tank of gas for that car weight and profile even if it is 300x less energy overall, all we have to do is get the cost of t

    • by Two99Point80 (542678) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:11AM (#47244581) Homepage
      Now I'll be sure to remember how impractical my LEAF is as I drive to a morning meeting, then the mall for some mallwalking, then the free charging station near the gym for half a "tank" while I work out, then... Silly me, driving 2300+ around-town miles over the past three months for a total fuel cost of $9 (because one of my city's free charging stations is inside a parking deck) without ONCE realizing how impractical it was! :-)
      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        For some like yourself that drives so little they are definitely practical, I don't drive a lot but I easily do more than triple your daily average, even if you doubled your mileage you will quickly run into serious limitations.

        • by Rei (128717)

          9200 miles per year isn't that much below the US average. Just because you drive freakishly much doesn't change that.

          • by bloodhawk (813939)

            triple that is only 75 miles a day average. hardly a freakish amount. my drive to work is 25 miles a day and same home. That covers 2/3rd of that mileage, I am pretty damn sure a 25 mile commute is not a freackishly rare number.

            • by Rei (128717)

              Congratulations, you're in the top 10% of US drivers in terms of range driven per day, and shouldn't be purchasing a short-range daily commuter.

              Anything else we need to discuss here?

      • Now I'll be sure to remember how impractical my LEAF is as I drive to a morning meeting...

        Just because you have a lifestyle that works well with a Leaf doesn't mean the rest of us do. On a typical day I drive close to the range limit of the Leaf. One extra visit to a customer and I could easily exceed it. I'm also going to visit my in-law's this weekend who live approximately 200 miles away. Unless I want to make it a 2-3 day trip, a Leaf is useless to me as primary transportation.

        The Leaf is a decent little car if you live in a densely packed urban area and never need to drive more than abo

        • by Rei (128717) on Monday June 16, 2014 @09:22AM (#47245171) Homepage

          Leaf isn't designed to be a car for everyone. But it is a car that fits the usage patterns for a huge number of households, vastly more than its market penetration. For example, a large chunk of US households are multi-vehicle households, where one is used primarily as an in-town/commuting vehicle. Why, exactly, isn't a car like the Leaf appropriate for that?

          *No* car suits all needs. A vehicle that can be used to carry a load of gravel isn't going to be an ideal daily commuter. A car that's comfortable as a daily commuter might not be so comfortable on long trips with the kids. None of the above is probably great for the track. And that track car will suck off-road. And on and on. The fact that tradeoffs exist is why vehicles on the market are so widely varied. I don't get how you don't see that a vehicle like the Leaf fills a very common role in this diverse spectrum. No, it's not some universal, ideal all purpose vehicle. But there is no such thing as a universal, ideal all purpose vehicle. It, like all vehicles, is for its niche, and its niche alone. And despite how you want to portray it, it's not even that small of a niche, it's an extremely common one.

          • But it is a car that fits the usage patterns for a huge number of households, vastly more than its market penetration.

            Consider why that is. People don't buy a car based on what might fit their typical usage 90% of the time. They buy a car that will fit what they think they need/want 99.9% of the time. And most of us who own cars do on occasion drive farther than the range of the Leaf. You also are making the mistake of thinking that car purchases are rational. The number one selling vehicle of any type in the US is the Ford F150 pickup. You think they sell that many based on a rational needs analysis? The majority o

            • All your issues are solved.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

              OK this is a niche adaption of a production vehicle. And it's no doubt very expensive. But it shows that you are not highlighting any fundamental problems.

              • by sjbe (173966)

                All your issues are solved.

                Not likely. Though the link was interesting so I do appreciate that. I've been saying for years that trucks should be built like diesel locomotives. Electric drive with an onboard generator. Preferably a diesel since they are optimized for running at a constant speed. This would make tremendous sense for semis, box trucks and pickups.

                OK this is a niche adaption of a production vehicle. And it's no doubt very expensive. But it shows that you are not highlighting any fundamental problems.

                So you are saying that there is no economically viable electric or electric hybrid that meets my needs and yet there are no problems? I'm a HUGE fan of electric vehicles

            • All your issues are solved.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

              OK this is a niche adaption of a production vehicle. And it's no doubt very expensive. But it shows that you are not highlighting any fundamental problems.

        • A little more information... the LEAF is my daily driver, but when I leased it I kept my paid-for Corolla for longer trips only. My annual driving comes to something over 15000 miles, and the annual mileage cap on the LEAF is 12000. I expect to put about 5000 miles/year on the Corolla including vacation driving. At that rate it'll last a good long while. Other EV owners have been known to rent cars for their occasional longer trips, and some lease deals even include rental credits.
      • The Leaf is not an economical car, either in monetary terms or for the environment.

        My car, similar in performance and physical size to a Leaf, gets 40mpg average and costs £50 to fill the tank, which I do bi-weekly. It looks like we have roughly the same annual mileage, too, of around 8 - 10k. Maintenance and tax is approx 500 per year, covering tyre changes, brake pads etc as required, adding up to approximately £1800 per annum. My car was purchased for £7000, brand new
        • I'd suggest looking elsewhere than the right-leaning Wall Street Journal for an objective analysis of costs and benefits. And I've owned entry-level cars over the years ('76 Rabbit, '79 Mazda GLC) but to compare their level of features to a LEAF is simply bogus.
          • I was comparing a compact, economical car to a compact, economical car. Obviously you'd get the same disparity in price picking a top-of-the-range Audi A1, but the killer feature of the LEAF is the power train. It makes sense to compare those two features of each car. If there was a LEAF for sale for half the price without the sat nav and other pointless gumph I already own, I'd have bought one already. As I said to the parent; It seems we have similar commutes and usage. However, at the current, minimum pr
        • Odd that you don't mention what your car is. I'm not doubting you, but it seems a little odd.

          Oh and a word of warning, since you appear to be British, and you're quoting a US link, and may be making comparisons with US figures. UK MPG and American MPG is not the same thing.

          • I drive a Hyundai i20 1.4l petrol. I didn't mention the model as it didn't seem relevant. Mixed driving I get 40mpg (UK) which works out at approx. 33.3mpg (US). Thanks for pointing out they're not the same.
    • by Rei (128717)

      Finally - EVs will become practical. Hopefully this leads them toward working together to develop ultracapacitors that charge in seconds to a couple of minutes so it can be a true ICE replacement

      So you're talking about an ultracapacitor instead of a battery? Yeah, good luck with that. Ignoring the price issue, they're struggling to even get up to lead-acid energy density.

      Li-ion cells have no problem taking fast charges. Some types can even charge in a couple minutes without problem. The issue comes when you

      • You missed the point the GP was making. Fast charge for daily use, with a tiny swap ability if you happen to run down your charge and the car dies on the side of the road somewhere. That wouldn't be a half ton pack being exchanged, closer to a 20-50 pound supercap.
        • by Rei (128717)

          Why would a person need "fast charge for daily use"? What's the point? "Daily use" for most people is a couple dozen miles tops, and even low-end EVs at present have about a hundred miles range. And why would people prefer to drive out to a fast charge station when they can just plug in at home or at work? Or are you envisioning everyone having $100k fast charging stations the size of a couple soda machines dealing out the power of a small power plant in their garage? And FYI, a 25 pound supercap wth presen

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@kHORSEe ... minus herbivore> on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:26AM (#47244455) Homepage

    Musk announced this days ago during a briefing call. BMW and Tesla are already talking. They were just at the plant on Wednesday.

  • by l2718 (514756) on Monday June 16, 2014 @06:47AM (#47244519)

    For wide adoption there needs to be a full market around electric vehicles: opportunities to build charging stations, sell home charging equipment and so on. Gas stations are possible since practically all cars use the same fuel, but also because they have very similar intake openings so that the pump can stop by itself.

    Tesla by itself is too small to set standards, so this is good news. It also shows how disclaim in patents helps: the benefit from a greater and more active market exceeds the payoffs from discouraging competition.

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Monday June 16, 2014 @07:37AM (#47244639)
      Prepare to be burned as a heretic. Everyone knows that patents CAUSE innovation by forcing inventors to do the same mundane tasks differently. Plus, they help keep attorneys employed, which is vitally important. Disclaiming or sharing patent rights that you've already acquired is socialism, which is the ultimate evil.
      • by Kagato (116051)

        Patents aren't nearly as bad when the holders of said patents actually make things. Most of the time the end result is cross-licensing agreements. Things went down the tubes when Lawyers figured out they could buy some vague patents and PO Box in East Texas.

  • Sounds like pretty much every time there's a new industry standard, where the major players all come up with their own incompatible option, trying to be the one that wins and gets to charge everyone else licensing fees for their patents and trademarks. And so, as usual, the innovative new field is fragmented, confusing consumers, wasting money, and delaying or even killing the new industry. These sorts of format wars happen so often that I can only think of one case (CDs) where it didn't happen. You think t

    • by raxx7 (205260)

      It's actually pretty natural.
      Usually, standards aren't created in a void. Before a standard can be written and agreed, someone has two design, test, maybe deploy real stuff.
      More often than not, different teams will explore different avenues of research. And once they have invested, nobody wants to throw away their work and move to someone else's spec.
      On the other hand, this often takes multiple iterations to reach a good standard

      If you look at it...
      CHADEMO has been around since 2010 and for a while, it was

  • I wonder if Tesla building a huge battery factory plays into this. If other auto makers build to the Tesla standard, I bet they will need batteries that can handle it.

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