Tesla Motors’ Model S sedan “blew away” its $90,000 gasoline-burning competitors in a recent review and may be the best car Consumer Reports has ever seen, the magazine recently said.
"It beats the best," Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, told Design News. “It’s faster; it’s quieter; it’s roomier; it rides better. This isn’t about new technology or environmental impact. This is simply a better vehicle.”
Fisher said the engineering staff at the Consumer’s Union 327-acre test facility in Connecticut agreed that the Model S had the best performance of any vehicle over the past six years and possibly the best score ever in the battery of 50 tests that the organization performs. In tests of acceleration, braking, handling, quietness, ride, and energy efficiency, no other vehicle came close, he told us.
Click on the image below for a closer look at the Tesla Model S.
In a battery of tests at Consumer Reports’ facility, the Tesla Model S outperformed every gasoline-burning vehicle. “We have a Porsche Panamera in our fleet that costs the same as this car,” Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports told us. “This car is quicker; it rides better; it’s roomier. It has much more storage capacity. It’s a better vehicle.” (Source: Tesla Motors)
Ironically, Consumer Reports engineering staff concluded that the vehicle was great, not in spite of being electric, but because of it. “The Model S has a flat battery in the undercarriage of the vehicle,” Fisher told us. “It’s like a structural member. It’s part of the chassis. It keeps the center of gravity low, makes the car handle well, gives you a huge trunk in front and lots of trunk space in back. This is a great vehicle because it was designed from the ground up to be electric.”
The vehicle that the organization purchased cost $89,650, plus another $1,200 for Tesla’s High Power Wall Connector, so its engineers compared it to similar luxury vehicles, including the Audi A6, A7, A8, and Porsche Panamera, among others.
Fisher acknowledged that the tests performed at the Connecticut-based facility did ignore certain factors that are best left to consumers. “Obviously, it isn’t perfect,” he said. “We don’t know anything about reliability of the car. And we can’t drive it from New York to Cleveland, which we could do in a Yaris.”
In tests, Consumer Reports engineers concluded that the vehicle has an all-electric range of slightly more than 200 miles. By comparison, the Nissan Leaf, which costs about one-third as much, offers a range of about 75 miles, he said. Much of that range is directly related to the Model S’ use of an 85-kWh battery -- more than three times the capacity of the Leaf’s 24-kWh lithium-ion power source. Charging of the vehicle’s battery took about five hours, Fisher told us. "Clearly, you need another car if you want to take a long trip," he said. “Or you need to rent a car, which is an inconvenience. But most people who buy $90,000 cars have more than one vehicle in the family.”
But by shooting for a $90,000 price point in this version of the Model S (other versions offer smaller batteries at lower prices), Tesla was able to make use of the best qualities of an electric powertrain. When compared to other $90,000 gasoline-burning vehicles, the Model S makes sense, whereas the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf don’t fit as well in their price categories, Fisher said.
"This is a whole new lens to look at electric cars through,” he said. “It definitely changes what we think about electric cars and what everyone should think about electric cars. No electric car we’ve seen up to now is even in the same category.”
30 minutes to charge for a 200 mile distance for a car costing $90,000 a pop? That may be fine for city purposes but not for cross-country distances. Then again would you take a luxury car on a long road trip?
With Telsa's nationwide charging network, perhaps this not be a big deal after all.
"Still, the range is lacking (200 miles, then wait for 4-6 hours?). T"
The Tesla Model S comes in 2 models 60 KWH and 85 KWH. The 85 KWH model has an EPA rang eof 265 miles and a Tesla Range of 300 miles.
According to Tesla their Supercharger will put 200 miles of range on in 30 minutes,
now if you use a Level 2 charger yes it will take a long time, but the supercharger network is meant to allow reasonable long distance trips. It's not ideal and the Tesla is not the perfect car, it's a luxry performance car not a Model T, but, that's okay.
Add to this mix that electric car companies and support companies are going broke by the buckets. Yesterday it was Better Place that robotically replaced batteries. I think the business plan is kiltered against the electrics. One percent can buy $90,000 cars. They will not build a base. If a stripped commuter for the 5-10 mile driver cost sub $15,000 they may sell like popcorn. Studebaker went broke even though they had the coolest car - the Avanti. No buyer base to support the car company type cool. Electrics need to be Model Ts that the consumer could not afford to pass up.
I live on a highway. From time to time somone will try to stretch an extra 20 miles out of a tank of gas. They fail. Someone brings a gallon of gas, the car proceeds to the filling station and 2 minutes and $50 later they are on their way. What is the plan for electrics? Pick up the car with a tow truck, take it to a charger, wait 6 hours . . .I could see a battery on a two wheel cart that could be attached to the back of the car, plugged in and the car limps somewhere fro a charge. If the dead battery could be dropped off and another installed and you're off. I aslso can see in excess of 200 wind mills from my home. They are never all running. If a truck full of batteries could pull up to the base of a un needed power source and one hook up charge 400 battery packs for no detriment to other power users and a source to save power that was not needed else where . . Benifit to power creator, car owner, midle man trying to supply charged batteries to car owners, we have a winner. There would probably be some Obama bucks too.
What is going to happen when someone is electrocuted, burnt or killed possibly after an accident? Are all first responders told to take a VOM meter to an accident site now?
Again a good business plan needs to carve a path to success that I have not seen.
I'm glad to see that Tesla has spent a lot of effort making the creature comforts the best in the biz. For a $90K price tag, one would expect nothing less. One might ask why their competitors (Audi, Porsche) wouldn't want to spend more effort in making a better ride for their high-end cars. Keeping the driver happy with how her car handles is always a wise focus. For the 10% of the 1% that buy a Tesla, it's a great deal.
Still, the range is lacking (200 miles, then wait for 4-6 hours?). To get a mass-market car, you'll only be selling to commuters on a fixed route. The price tag better be REALLY cheap (less than $20K out the door) if they want any traction in the extremely competitive mass-market. You're asking the average consumer to sacrifice a lot of convenience in driving an electric car. We all like to come and go as we please, change our daily routes at a whim, or even drive another 100 miles without a second thought.
Even the wealthy don't like having to have a backup car for any long commutes as plans can change within minutes while the battery pack takes hours to catch up. No one likes to get stranded (even with a 50 foot extension cord in the trunk). Even for this best of all electric vehicles, a paradigm shift in the car culture is still required and this is a really big ship to turn.
too optimistic indeed...even if electric cars make up 15% of the cars on the road today, is there enough lithium world-wide for all the battery cells needed? Be prepared for conflict in south america unless there's a more abundant chemistry out there.
The linchpin is in the battery packs. Re-double the battery life (170+ kWhr) and then cut the recharge time (empty-to-full) by one-fifth (1 hour max.) and you "may" have a outside chance to displace the internal combustion engine. Until then, it's liquid hydrocarbon fuels for vehicles for the forseeable future (15 years and beyond).
It's a nice goal to have more electric cars, but there are very practical reasons why it hasn't happened before or any time soon.
Pat b, if you use your 8KW solar generation capacity to charge the EV battery, and if your system is 100% efficient, then by my math it would require 10 hours to restore 80KwH of battery charge, if that was what was needed, whiich is the anticipated capacity of a medium size EV battery. But if you drive to work and work during the daylight hours, or at least some of the daylight hours, those can't be spent charging the EV. So now there exists an inconvenient logistics problem of the type that has been bothering the EV folks for quite a while. It also is a sore point for the solar power folks.
While it would certainly be wonderful if we could make it work for everybody, most of the benefits would only be available to a small portion of our people, for a multiplicity of reasons, which include a complete lack of anything even starting to approach technical competence. And I do NOT feel that technical incompetence should be rewarded.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.