In one respect, Tesla is taking a pragmatic and cost-effective approach in using 18650 Li-O cells, as opposed to engineering a totally new battery. 18650's are already produced in large numbers so their unit cost is already pretty decent due to economics of scale. They are just engineering the packaging of them, and due to their small individual form factor, the enclosure can be wrapped around drivetrain components as needed. It is not a long-term battery solution, but it is a good bridging approach and gets them into the market as the range leader. I think they will do OK.
Could be that there are better ways to power EVs than what is presently being show outside of the research labs! This transistion has more to do with BIG OIL than it does with alternate energy...and YES they DO exist! Nikola Tesla DROVE a alternate zero energy car more than 70 years ago and I believe he would be proud of his name sake company and the way they are navigating the road blocks of of EV naysayers.
The $50K price is just $10K-$12K more than the leaf, volt, and focus. For a performance vehicle, I find the Tesla S to be a good value. The Tesla S has exceptional styling, excellent cabin room, enormous power, and outstanding range. In the high performance models, the price gap with other performance cars all but disappears. You simply cannot compare this vehicle with the leaf, focus or volt. Those are $16K cars that cost $38K. It appears that the cost per kw in the Tesla is about half that of the other EV cars.
The Model S is a step in the right direction. The market for a pure electric vehicla is relatively small. The Tesla brand has offered previous models with the emphasis on pure performance, but these Teslas had limitations. The British car show "Top Gear" tested a coulple of Teslas and proved that if you drive these cars insanely (flat-out) the published range figure is a joke. I think Tesla should be congratulated on offering a car that the devout EV buyer/user could feel proud to own and drive, recognizing the compromises in range/battery cost/performance that were made. The feeling of driving a performance car with the pickup and handling of a Porsche 911 with absolutely no noise and truly linear acceleration is unbelievable! Depending on recharge time, I could own a $50K Tesla as a 2nd vehicle; the deal breaker would be re-sale value. Ultimately I'm looking for the fuel-cell vehicle. One H2 fuel cell that would provide power for my car and house interchangeably. Meanwhile manufacturers like Tesla can give us vehicles like the Model S to keep our interest up.
Tim, the TERM scientific ZERO / energy refers to but sometimes also refered to COLD or DARK energy as found in/at space temperature NOT the absence of energy. Refer to Tesla, Moray, Bostick, Bearden, Bush,R.T.,Cook,M.B., Davidson D.A., Dirac P.A., Farnsworth P.T. and many many more. This istuff that will get you killed if markerted. READ John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and you'll start to understand what this is all about.
PS Tom when you see the light please pass these words to others.
One thing about this car as opposed to most of the other way too expensive consumer EVs on the market... if a much better battery does come along during the next 10 or 20 years it could be worth the cost of refurbishing and upgrading the Tesla S.
It's a good looking car in a classic kind'a way, and it sounds as though it was designed to be fun to drive... with a touch of luxury included.
Although I am a skeptic about the probability of a sudden leap in battery energy density/drop in kwh costs... if that does come... this could be a great platform for a car enthusiast (or anyone for that matter) to restore as a daily driver... w/the newer 1,000 mile range/high speed rechargeable battery pack of course.
I have to admit that I'm not a big oil conspiracy theorist. I'm sure that big oil would have no qualms about conspiring with the auto companies. But from what I've been able to tell over the last 24 years of writing about this subject, a conspiracy hasn't been needed. Batteries haven't come close to oil in terms of energy or cost. And none of the materials science professors I've ever talked to at more than a dozen universities are familiar with a battery, or any other kind of energy source, that could put oil out of business. I ask this question in all sincerity: What are these (conspiracy) batteries made from and where are they?
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