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)
Pat b, I am sure that the utility top management is indeed hoping for major growth in the amount that they can sell, but I am wondering where it will come from, since all forms of generation are opposed by some groups. They don't like wind turbines or hydroelectric dams, they don't want coal fired generation nor do they want atomic power generation. Photoelectirc power generation may be acceptable to them but it takes a lot to go from photocells to power mains, and the realestse needed is quite latge. On top of that, while the Tesla is a very nice car I would never cconsider purchasing a car that costly, just because it is that costly. Probably a lot of others feel that way as well. I hav better things to do with my money thatn buy a car like that.
But aside from that, electric cars are just not going to be the major form of transport for quite a while, mostly for reasons other than the initial purchase price. They are simply way to much of what they are, way more complex internally than any other cars, which will make them way more expensive to service than any other cars, with the instant result being that for the folks who keep a car more than a year they will be an obviously poor choice, and a lot of people are going to understand that in the near future. That will be the end of the electric car boom. They will still be around, but not in the dominant market share hoped for.
The challenge of increasing grid capacity is that it will not lead to a greater capability margin, but instead it will bring about increased consumption. That is the way business works, since unused capacity represents a capital investment not generating any returns, which is what gets CEOs repalced. So as fast as additional generating capacity comes on line there will be a big push to sell that additional power to pay for the investment made in production capacity. That is very fundamentaklly how it works in successful businesses. Of course, it may be a bit different in California, which is not tied nearly as tightly to reality as the rest of the world understands it.
In thirty minutes I can pump enough gas to go at least two thousand miles, and at some stations that have faster pumps, one could pump at least 5000 miles woth of gas in a half hour. But that is just theoretical because my tank only holds enough gas for about 250 miles. So at my slow-pumps-but-cheap-gas station my fill up takes most of two minutes.
My other concern is that all of this power that will be "pulled off the grid" is presently being sold for other purposes, and while the distribution network may be upgrading, the utilities are being prevented fro building any more generating capacity.
Am I the only one who sees a conflict in the future?
All of the issues you mentioned are very real, William K. The reason they don't show up here is that Consumer Reports is using traditional evaluation techniques to evaluate an untraditional car. The problem is that cornering, braking, acceleration and all of the other traditional parameters provide an important part of the picture, but they fail to give a full accounting in the terms you describe. I really believe that as pure electrics become of bigger part of the automotive mix, consumer evaluations will have to evolve, as well.
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Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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