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Electronics & Test
Tesla CTO Says EVs at Tipping Point
3/30/2012

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Next year, Tesla expects to bring to market its Model S, which features multiple configurations, including a base model priced at less than $50,000, according to CTO and co-founder JB Straubel. (Source: Tesla)
Next year, Tesla expects to bring to market its Model S, which features multiple configurations, including a base model priced at less than $50,000, according to CTO and co-founder JB Straubel.
(Source: Tesla)

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Beth Stackpole
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High priced tipping point
Beth Stackpole   3/30/2012 7:22:34 AM
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Tesla's price point of $30,000 for its third-generation vehicle will still keep in the category of luxury EV maker as opposed to some of the mainstream EVs like the Nissan Leaf. That said, there is a significant number of folks willing to pay a premium for top-of-the-line cars and EVs will be no exception. Is the high price tag on Tesla vehicles directly tied to the battery or is it because they equip their vehicles with more luxury type features--leather seats, heated seats, GPS, and whatever else is considered standard fare in top-of-the cars?

GlennA
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What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
GlennA   3/30/2012 10:19:32 AM
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I realize this is probably a pipe dream, but is solar anywhere near to being a cost-effective way to re-charge or improve range ?  I think the Toyota Prius has a solar option, but it is only enough to vent the hot air from the interior for a few minutes before driving.

Charles Murray
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Re: High priced tipping point
Charles Murray   3/30/2012 7:10:00 PM
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Their $109,000 Roadster is equipped with luxuries, Beth. I doubt that would be the case for a $30,000 vehicle. When a customer's battery recently died (it was the customer's fault) Tesla quoted him a $40,000 pricetag for a replacement battery, according to the NY Times. I don't know how they'd have room for luxuries, even if battery price comes down dramatically.

tekochip
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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
tekochip   4/1/2012 10:53:21 AM
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No, solar would never really be possible, but I did convert my lawn mower to solar.  There's just enough energy to charge the batteries once a week, and that gives you an idea of how much energy you can collect from a 4 square foot panel.  I never thought I'd recover the cost of the solar cells, but with current fuel prices I may even recover the cost of the SLAs too.

didymus7
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Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
didymus7   4/2/2012 9:34:03 AM
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Currently 90-100% of electricity is generated from fossil fuels.  How will an electric car cut our dependence on fossil fuels?  As electric cars increase in number, a greater burden will be placed on the Power Infrastructure, meaning more fossil fuel buring generators.  So far, alternative energy sources have been laughable.  The only thing this headlong rush to electric cars is doing, is shifting the fossil fuel burden from one sector to another.  And may even increase dependence due to the energy lost from the now 2nd energy conversion.  I think what we have here is the cart before the horse.

GeorgeG
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Re: High priced tipping point
GeorgeG   4/2/2012 9:47:44 AM
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Enough with the Tesla Roadster cost disinformation. 0-60 in 3.7 seconds!  This is not a family sedan by any stretch of the imagination. The only cheaper comp is the Chevy Corvette at ~60K. Any of the rest ... if you have to ask, you can't afford it. The Tesla roadster is not a commuter econobox - the Nissan Leaf possibly is intended to be.

I expect we'll see more and more electric motors on performance vehicles due to the high low-end torque that electric motors can deliver and due to the ability to provide independently controlled torque on each wheel. 

As far as the luxury market is concerned, it's smaller but what it lacks in volume it makes up in price. Eventually, you might be able to compare a Tesla SUV to a Lexus hybrid SUV ... Tesla's target price doesn't seem to be out of line. 

     

GeorgeG
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Re: Cut our dependence on fossil fuels??
GeorgeG   4/2/2012 10:08:50 AM
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Oh please ...

First, fossil fuels do not account for 90-100% of power generation, although they contribute way too much with or without EVs. This is a problem in itself. The assumption that fossil fuel power generation is the way of the future is sick. Also, the available fraction of renewable energy during off-peak hours, when EVs are likely at home on the charger is much higher. Natural gas in particular is primarily used for on-peak peaking.  

Second, vehicles run on an entirely different form of fossil fuel than most power generation. Power generation is predominantly coal and natural gas while motive power is mostly from petroleum with the former being largely domestic supply and the latter imported. So, EVs and PHVs will at least reduce dependence on foreign oil. The alternative is to keep funneling huge amounts of American dollars to foreign despots.

Third, IC vehicle engines are a poor way to convert the energy in fossil fuels into useful energy. The carbon intensity of motor vehicles is so poor that even with transmission and conversion losses, electricity from NG is better than gas. Also, in spite of the state of the art pollution controls, centralized energy conversion with scrubbers and carbon capture would way outperform the local burn of IC motive power.

There are multiple problems to solve including reducing the carbon intensity of transportation, reducing dependance on foreigh oil, improving economic productivity of fossil fuel use and improving urban air quality. EVs and PHVs address all of these issues.

    

         

GeorgeG
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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
GeorgeG   4/2/2012 10:22:45 AM
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The potential is small, but important. A solar roof on a small vehicle could generate something like 500 Wh per day in the southwest. Compare that to a Leaf, that's ~2% of the full charge. I once calculated that for a compact hybrid and average commuting, a good solar roof could improve fuel economy by about 5%. One thing to consider is that modern vehicles have a huge phantom load i.e. they drain battery power when parked so the solar option might be good for vehicles that are infrequently driven.

As for PV assisted AC, the cheaper option is to buy a silver or metalic white vehicle.              

Walt
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30-minute recharge @ 150mi?
Walt   4/2/2012 10:28:57 AM
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Even the "fast" charge of 30 minutes for 150 miles would add significant time to trips when we can currently go 400 miles with a 5-minute fill-up.  That's a hard sell.  And think of the high current capability charge station infrastructure that would take - regardless of battery technology, Coulombs are Coulombs.

Will states raise the speed limits by 20% for EVs to make up for the lost time?:)

 

ervin0072002
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Re: What about a hybrid Solar EV ?
ervin0072002   4/2/2012 10:34:17 AM
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Hey GeorgeG,
Solar is good however i dont believe it belongs on a car. Its better to have it on your roof at home rather then the car. A car has a life expectancy lower then most homes. Accidents, wear, vibration, temperature ETC. I dont think it would be economical to place the cell on the roof of a car. At these prices the solar panel would never pay for itself. a Parking garage wired for 208 or 230 would be something else entirely. Then when you park you charge. If your car has RFID then the owner of the lot can bill you fairly for the energy.

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