Tesla Motors plans to roll out a “compelling, affordable electric car” that will sell for about half the price of its high-profile Model S by the end of 2016, company chairman Elon Musk said last week.
“We definitely need to be able to bring a lower cost car to market,” Musk said at the company’s recent annual shareholders’ meeting. “Hopefully, in about three to four years we will be able to do that.”
Musk’s statement was consistent with past comments. In 2012, he predicted that half of all cars on the road would be fully electric within 12 to 15 years. Last week, he added that an affordable EV “has really been my goal since the start of Tesla.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “That has really been my goal since the start of Tesla.” (Source: revengeoftheelectriccar.com)
Musk, clad in blue jeans and a T-shirt, provided few details to attendees at the shareholders’ meeting. He did say, however, that the vehicle would be a “smaller version of the Model S at about half the price.”
To date, Tesla’s vehicles have been sold at luxury-car prices. Its Roadster started at $109,000. The base Model S starts at $69,900 for a 60-kWh battery pack and goes up to $79,900 for an 85-kWh pack, before federal tax credits are applied. If the new vehicle sells for half the price of the Model S, it could potentially run as low as $30,000 after tax credits are applied.
At the meeting, Musk talked little about battery technology, except to say that he believes the creation of a battery for an affordable EV with a 200-mile all-electric range is doable. “There’s definitely a significant improvement in technology needed to have a compelling, affordable electric car,” he said. “We are working with companies like Panasonic and others on new cell electrochemistry that’s really optimized for automotive use. I feel pretty optimistic that we can get there without any miracles occurring.”
You raise some very good points, AREV. There's a big difference between the 12V electrical architecture of today's conventional vehicles and the 300V, 400V, or 500V architecture of some of today's hybrids and electric cars.
It warms my heart to see engineering issues brought to light on electric cars. The current cars are full of issues that should be addressed prior to manufacturing. I like the critical question comment.
I would recommend putting a car beside a golf cart beside a bicycle beside skate board beside rollerk skates. Start with the roller skates and add only what is necessary to propel the operator to thier desired destination. If the end result looks more like the car than the skates start over with fresh eyes. Weight and size is tthe enemy.
Safety is also an unaddressed issue with electrics. In my opinion if an air bag like sensor goes off the battery cables should be severed by some means that would ensure no current to any other portion of the vehicle.
I have a pet category where I mentally file much of what I see in life. I call it "Asking the wrong question". Apparently standard procedure in politics. ;^) Not that I, of course, ever ask the wrong question. Chuckle.
Technological advancements in "electrical stuff" tend to look like magic (I know little about computer tech, looks like wizardry to me) so we expect all "electrical stuff" to be subject to magical rules.
As is often the case, Dennis, I agree with your comments on batteries. Moore's Law is based on manufacturing advancement -- using machines to reduce the feature sizes on semiconductor devices. The battery challenge is one of pure science.
Battery tech-I would be cautious about comparing it to the advances in computer tech. Batteries have been in the refinement process for approx. 2 centuries. Improvements tend to be incrementle rather than revolutionary. Not saying it can't happen but expecting More's law type improvements would be a poor bet.
Solar-Even if solar cells reach 100% efficiency they have a firm upper limit in output, They cannot produce more power than the watts of energy the sun provides per a given square area on average at their location. Even at 100% the ground area covered to be a significant source will be really large.
WK, Some additional good points. One thing though, I live in Australia and in summer we have days 105deg and more. Without A/C they've found that there are more accidents on hot days. For this and other reasons I have A/C. the differnce in fuel consumption at idle on a hot day is about 6% compared to about 7% when I turn on my headlights (actual measure figures). If you recalculate this to driving consumption at 100kph it's about 1.25% (computed). Admittedly I got additional window tinting to improve A/C efficiency but it tells me that the benefits of A/C in warmer climes outweigh the drawbacks. The A/C is actually driven exactly as needed only, most of the time it runs at only a few %. Also some older A/C's used to run the cooler flat chat and then adjust the temperature with the heater. It was a simpler thing to manufacture but very costly.
The bigger issue is idiots driving with the A/C on and the windows open, or having all of the lights on at home or the heater cranked up to 25C in winter with the doors open. Not EV issues of course but all part of the environmental challenge.
We could both write a book of what can easily be done to reduce environmental impact.
ETMAX, You are cretainly correct! You have repeated the same points that I have offered repeatedly, and whichg are almost universally ignored. Why is it so very hard for so many to understand that the "electric bush", where power just magically appears, is only good in cartoons? A simpler improvement can be had by providing cars with a manual "stop-Start" system that has a computer assist function available. And then they can add a 25% surtax on automotive air conditioning, except in California, where it should be at least 45%.
The other added costs of EFVs are maintenance labor and parts, since there will be no aftermarket part available, and nobody will know how to repair the controls, only how to replace those expensive modules. That is what we know for certain.
Nice try for the DOE but I don't think so. I would love to see how they get that number. average electric car is also 1/3rd of a gasoline car in weight in average. How many Silverado's, f150's and so on are all electric? Efficiency on the drive itself between an electric drive and gasoline is something in the order of 6 to 1. And yes this includes any battery losses and converter losses on the electric drive. What kills the efficiency of the electric drive is power density. a gasoline driven car can store a lot more energy for less weight. If you were to compare the two vehicles having the same range it will become apparent that gasoline wins. However if the consumer is intelligent about the use of their vehicle, has a back up vehicle, can live with the limited range then we can have an efficient all electric car that has that efficiency.
A few weeks ago, Ford Motor Co. quietly announced that it was rolling out a new wrinkle to the powerful safety feature called stability control, adding even more lifesaving potential to a technology that has already been very successful.
A well-known automotive consultant who did an extensive teardown of BMW’s i3 all-electric car said its design is groundbreaking in multiple ways. “We’ve torn down about 450 cars, and we’ve never analyzed anything like this before.”
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.