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A few short months ago, conventional wisdom was poking fun at the Tesla S electric car, with some columnists calling it "a glorified golf cart" (which, in case you don't know, is the N-word analogue for electric vehicles), a NYT auto reporter managing (thanks to an undisclosed combination of stupidity and ill-will) to strand a Model S in rural Connecticut - and most of Wall Street shorting Tesla stock like it's already dead.

That was then. A little while later, in rapid succession, we've learned that

 - Tesla (with Toyota's likely help) has gotten the hang of high-volume manufacturing, and is producing 500 Model S a week to its eager waiting list (which is showing no signs of going away any time soon)
 - Nearly 5000 Model S were sold in the first quarter, making the Model S the best-selling EV/plug-in year-to-date;
 - That same report showed a Q1 profit, and also indicated that if the sales rate is kept up (there's no reason why not), Tesla will see about $1.5 billion in revenue from the S in 2013. Say what you will about Wall Street, they do know basic arithmetic there - so the Tesla stock was sent soaring, leading to the immortal Elon Musk tweet "Seems to be some stormy weather over in Shortville these days"...
 - On the same week, Consumer Reports gave the S a 99 out of 100 score, a score achieved only once before (some 6-7 years ago by a Lexus, I think). They stopped just shy of calling the S the "best car ever".
 - In May, Tesla announced it is paying off its Federal loan in full, 9 years early. (mind you, it was a regular loan, not a "handout" or "bailout")

Ok, I know my fellow progressives. Some of you are thinking: so? Are we now reduced to cheering one corporation against another? Are we celebrating a hedonistic lifestyle of luxury EVs, instead of doing the hard work of educating the public towards _______ (...fill the blank with whatever the ideal green anti-global-warming lifestyle means to you)?

This is a short diary. So my short answer is that if you don't like EVs anyway, and cannot bear to hear about car sales on Daily Kos, stop reading right now. If you are a mellow person, you will just cause yourself a bit of agony. If you are less mellow (not that there are any of those among us, right?...), you will run the risk of breaking the site's awesome-yet-simple Participating in Someone Else's Diary rules.

A slightly longer answer is that we progressives might be fuzzy sometimes about recognizing our allies - but our enemies on the global-warming front are not. State and national auto-dealership associations are already hard at war with Tesla. Pretty soon Tesla sales might be banned across much of the South. And notorious global-warming denialist Patrick Michaels placed an anti-Tesla, anti-EV hate screed on Forbes, titled "If Tesla Would Stop Selling Cars, We'd All Save Some Money". Mind you, this was written in late May, after all the positive news listed above were known.

So we may not always recognize our friends, but our enemies sure know who they are. As kos (and others) said, the EV is a disruptive technology. It disrupts not just the auto dealer's lazy profit-making machine; the EV disrupts the oil economy itself. It is not the only such disruption - but it's an extremely potent one.

Ok... what is this diary about? The one qualm remaining, what stayed Consumer Reports from handing out that 100th point, and what still keeps the EV-uninitiated crowd from fully embracing the beast (besides, um, its price :) - is this issue, as Consumer Reports states it (emphasis mine):

So is the Tesla Model S the best car ever? We wrestled with that question long and hard. It comes close. And if your needs are confined to the Tesla's driving range, it just may be. But for many people, the very thing that makes cars great is the ability to jump in and drive wherever you want on the map at a moment's notice. And on that measure the Tesla has its limitations. So the Model S may not satisfy every conceivable need, but as we've learned through our testing and living with it, the Model S is truly a remarkable car.
At the time of writing, what Consumer Reports knew was that after some 200 miles (for the base model, 250+ miles for the upper model) you will need to stop and recharge the S. The fastest possible recharging (which is free for S drivers) still takes a half-hour or more. Personally, I don't mind stopping for a half-hour on a road trip after 200 miles. But some people might be in a hurry.

Well? A couple of weeks ago Tesla started sending teasers about a battery-swap demo. This demo was successfully carried out last night, MC'ed by Musk in his typical tongue-in-cheek showmanship. Two Tesla S were battery-swapped at the same service stop, each taking 90-100 seconds, while the split screen showed a guy filling up an Audi in what Musk called "LA's fastest gas pump" in almost 4 minutes (pull-in-to-finish-paying).  A rather entertaining video:


Yeah, that Audi filled up some 22 gallons, so a typical fill-up would take only roughly as much time as one Tesla S pack-swap (rather than 2). Either way, the point was made. Musk clearly said that unlike recharging, this service will be for a fee. Not free.

In case you were wondering, on another tweet Musk has indicated that the founder of recently-bust Better Place battery-switching venture actually got his idea from Tesla after visiting their factory. I believe Musk, because Better Place's founder had no prior knowledge about EVs. Tesla also said that setting up a national pack-swapping infrastructure would cost them under $100 million (it was the huge cost of building such an infrastructure before any sales were made that sunk Better Place; not to mention that they chose the wrong country to build it in).

So... is my contention (expressed in this diary) that pack-swapping is only adequate for a sub-niche of the EV market, wrong?  I don't think so. As an EV driver I hardly need public charging stations on a daily basis, let alone a fast swap. Over 99% of my charging is done at home. One such niche (suggested in the diary) is taxis and short-haul trucks. But I've just read of another niche: people who live in apartments or who otherwise won't be able to charge at home on a regular basis. Pack-swapping might make sense for them too. And of course, that mythical 1000-miles-a-day road trip is another niche.

More generally, the war over the EV right now is all about psychology and perception. As Musk demonstrated last night, the Tesla S comes with essentially no limitations save for price and the availability of that charge/swap network. Mind you, these are not technological limitations anymore. The S technology is as unconstrained as any gas car. And once the S sales have paid for all the national infrastructure and manufacturing know-how, Tesla should have little trouble in rolling out a more affordable EV that will be able to capitalize on all this support.  

While this obviously helps Tesla more than any other EV company, the entire field benefits from any step that makes the public see EVs as real (and better) cars rather than novelty toys for green-obsessed geeks. One of the wisest comments I've read about Tesla, EVs and that Consumer Reports score, went something like this:
After only a decade, and only a couple of manufacturers seriously invested in it, the EV field can already put up a consumer car that matches the very-best results of 100+ years of worldwide production and tech refinement on the internal-combustion engine car. So imagine what the EV future might hold in store for us.
This insight draws us away from silly hero-worship of Musk and Tesla, and suggests (correctly IMHO) that EVs are simply a better and more advanced car technology concept.

That, besides being great against Big Oil and global warming.

One thing for sure: keeping this battery-swap design a secret (make no mistake, it was designed to be swappable) and unveiling it now, is quite a PR stunt.

Happy Friday...

10:28 AM PT: Wow-the-Wreck-List Mandatory Update: whew, I really didn't think this diary would make the list. Seems like making it about 10% the length of my typical diaries has helped :)

Just wanted to add vis-a-vis oil-economy disruption. The beauty of the EV effect, is that it should be enough to get the EV market share to just a few percents, with good user experience, to start seeing the estimated market value of all those oil deposits start tumbling down to less-inflated levels. Between the pressure of carbon-pollution regulation, and a viable non-oil solution for its most common usage (i.e., cars), the $$ numbers for projects such as Tar Sands will simply stop adding up.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Assaf

Another Update (2:30 PM PDT): First, I stand corrected by a  couple of commenters, vis-a-vis the potential battery damage from DC fast-charging. They highlighted that 1. The Tesla supercharger system tries to minimize that damage compared with the standard EV fast-chargers, and 2. Tesla covers all this type of damage anyway, so long as it's not intentional.

Second, a big h/t to New Minas, who embedded a video of the demo's second batter-swap, shot by someone in the audience, from a much better angle that shows the actual battery coming down and a new one coming up (some commenters suspected an elaborate hoax... I wouldn't go there...). Also, in this amateur video the sales-pitch narration is mercifully less dominant.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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  •  Tip Jar (178+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Martin, profundo, elwior, Ian S, NMRed, B P Pgh, defluxion10, JeffW, Blazehawkins, coldwynn, art ah zen, shortgirl, JugOPunch, wu ming, carver, Lost and Found, CTDemoFarmer, CwV, Polly Syllabic, Librarianmom, Chi, Meteor Blades, Darryl House, Brecht, Deep Texan, Jay C, trumpeter, The Free Agent, Shadowmage36, Leftcandid, rapala, poliwrangler, buddabelly, thomask, New Rule, nickrud, JDWolverton, mookins, antooo, admiralh, 2thanks, YankInUK, brentut5, GAS, pat bunny, leonard145b, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Mr Robert, DRo, VTCC73, Rosaura, sailmaker, Eric Nelson, AdamR510, Wino, where4art, rubyclaire, nirbama, filkertom, high uintas, Zinman, tapestry, Calamity Jean, AnnetteK, Chaddiwicker, Involuntary Exile, BlueDragon, Crashing Vor, Mother Mags, Sun Tzu, Mogolori, splashy, Sanuk, copymark, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, davespicer, Empower Ink, Pat K California, OldSoldier99, shopkeeper, MKinTN, fumie, JBL55, buckstop, Ginny in CO, Rogneid, offgrid, jiffypop, Railfan, MarkInSanFran, xopher, ColoTim, Supavash, riverlover, old wobbly, second gen, cybersaur, Tool, Mac in Maine, glitterscale, Lujane, sawgrass727, drdana, GeorgeXVIII, Panacea Paola, petulans, tegrat, susakinovember, davehouck, kerflooey, LinSea, stevenwag, MeMeMeMeMe, SD Goat, pgm 01, SixSixSix, Haf2Read, CA ridebalanced, CarolinW, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Flyswatterbanjo, bvljac, highacidity, Lefty Coaster, dRefractor, dewtx, chimene, Habitat Vic, itskevin, SSMir, indie17, KenBee, bluesheep, radical simplicity, sodalis, Odysseus, BYw, Eddie L, b33mm3up, slathe, Albanius, SCFrog, monkeybrainpolitics, mamamorgaine, CamillesDad1, YaNevaNo, Troubadour, RoCali, Trix, Pam from Calif, eeff, AgavePup, jplanner, Alumbrados, Hastur, weck, Celtic Merlin, Turbonerd, Just Bob, politik, Mister Met, begone, xaxnar, Larsstephens, limulus curmudgeon, The Knute, midwesterner, roses, PeterHug, cyberpuggy, ichibon, CalGal47, Miss Jones, MsGrin, madhaus, bgblcklab1, Phil N DeBlanc, MJ via Chicago
  •  No limitiation but for price ... (21+ / 0-)

    But that (and "where am I supposed to get the fuel from) was a problem for internal combustion vehicles until Henry Ford got into the act.

    "Just a plaything for rich people"

    OK ... that's a fair criticism of the Tesla ... EXCEPT ... after the rich people have been playing with their toys for a decade or two ...  someone will come up with an "Any man with a Good Salary can afford one" version.

    Whether that will be a Tesla or not ... frankly, I don't think so--  not unless Tata acquires Tesla, which is  not such a crazy notion when you think about it.

    •  Not a decade or two, more like half a decade. (36+ / 0-)

      Tesla's current plans are to first issue the X (a cross-over 7-seat EV SUV) in 2014-5, and then go for a more affordable model. In 4-5 years max.

      Probably by then, they'll have a much bigger factory built and paid for to crank out really high volumes.

      The other EV makers need to hurry up if they want to remain a viable competition once that happens.

      •  I figure I pay (18+ / 0-)

        between $100 and $200 for fuel per month.  And I have 2 fuel efficient diesel VWs.  That is roughly a monthly payment for a $15k car (pure ballpark guessing).  If a $30K Tesla came around I could swing it.

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:08:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  U guessed right. (14+ / 0-)

          Most affordable EVs on the market are now offering a lease of about $200/month. And not surprisingly, 3/4 of consumers are reportedly choosing a lease.

          We happen to have a $99/month lease on our Leaf, it's a lease offered in the Seattle area (maybe elsewhere too?).

          Most of these deals are lease-back, i.e., you return the car after a few years rather than continuing to pay down its full price.

          •  Hmmm. n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlueDragon, Assaf

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:41:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Several e-car makers are offering very aggressive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, Dragon5616

            leases in a desperate effort to move cars.  Several states have laws that require a certain number of so-called zero emission cars be sold.  Make 'em cheap enough, and people are bound to buy.

            Something like the Leaf should be more popular than it is.  Crappy only car for most folks, but great around town runner.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:12:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Would never use "crappy" to describe the Leaf. (10+ / 0-)

              Never heard anyone complain that e.g., a 2-seater Mustang is a "crappy family car". It is not a family car period.

              Similarly, re: the Leaf.
              It's a great commute and town car.
              It can do some day trips pretty well.
              It is not a road-trip or go-in-the-mountains car.

              Nissan are a bit at fault for stretching the truth on its max range. Cannot be blamed. People have been spoiled to expect a car that can go to the other side of the continent at any time, even if on 95% of the days they use it for 20-40 miles around town, with huge energy waste.
              So when they hear a car easily does 60 miles on a single charge under the worst-case scenario, they freak out, even though most people don't do more than that on 95% of days. That's why Nissan pretends it can do >100 miles.

              Put another way:

              Most gas cars are crappy day-to-day cars, because they stupidly idle in traffic and their road-trip potential goes totally unused. This waste is subsidized by the Big Oil economy and by the incumbency advantage, and made transparent by being "the default".

              OTOH, most gas cars are great road-trip cars. Something which most of us put into use a couple of times a year, at best. But we've come to see this distortion as "normal".

              Fiat is offering a creative solution: they give 12 free car-rental days per year for 3 years, to those leasing their new 4-seater 500e EV. I'm willing to bet that most buyers won't even use all of the 12 days - or they might use some of them in flight-based trips for which they would have had to rent anyway.

              Oh, and I don't think the leading EV makers are "desperate". That's just how the mainstream press wants you to think of them.

              Both Fiat and Honda originally planned their EVs as "compliance cars", to sell only the required minimum as you correctly write. If they thought there's no business upside to EVs, they wouldn't be pushing out good lease deals this summer. No one is forcing them to.

              And the 2013 Leaf sells as much as they can make; their main constraint right now seems to be capacity ramp.

              Again, all a game of perceptions. The Status Quo lobby is working very hard to make us think EVs are a dead end. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth.

              •  You don't listen very well. (0+ / 0-)

                I've heard plenty of people say Mustangs (4-seater, btw, not 2), Camaros, Corvettes,etc were crappy cars for one reason or the other.

                The Leaf would be a pretty crappy car with a gasoline motor.  The electric motor gives it a reason to exist.

                And yes, there is some desperation to move cars.

                http://green.ebay.com/...

                http://www.businessweek.com/...

                http://finance.yahoo.com/...

                http://www.nydailynews.com/...

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:35:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Some good news -- It's working! (0+ / 0-)

                Out of desperation -- results!

                http://e360.yale.edu/...

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:15:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  My car's a perfect example of this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Youffraita

                I.e. great for road trips, cross-country and mountain/country day trips, but awful for city driving. 27mpg hwy for a 21 year old turbo sporty car isn't bad, but 15-17mpg city really burns through gas. It's really fun to drive when you're going far or can open it up on country roads, but it's not a day to day car. I didn't buy it for that, though, but for the other kinds of driving. And at only 75,000 after 21 years, which is laughably low, I don't feel guilty about it.

                Given what you've told me about EVs, if I can hold onto my car until I can afford an EV that will compare well with it in terms of power and handling and also have long-distance capabilities (essential for me), my next car will be an EV. I think I can hold out that long.

                Btw, with 1/2 hour fast charging and the fact that S buyers are likely affluent, this opens a great opportunity for upscale restaurant/cafes with fast charging stations to open up nationwide. Most people are going to want to get out and eat or relax while waiting, making this an obvious combo. Would you like a latte with that charge?

                Starbucks, are you listening?

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:50:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I *was* the perfect target market for Leaf (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Assaf, mamamorgaine, Just Bob, ichibon

              Then I switched jobs and am now commuting (3-4 days/wk) 75mi a day.

              The Leaf is too close in capacity (100mi range) to be feasible for me.  Yes there are charging stations at my work, but they're already full with Volts/Prius plugins/Leaf/Teslas

              However, the Tesla Model S (even base range of 160mi) makes me drool interestedly - I could charge exclusively @home, and be silent running with more power than a Ferrari :)

              --
              Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

              by sacrelicious on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:47:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Tesla S is an audacious car (0+ / 0-)

                I would love one.

                And I hope somebody works out the problems of making a great electric car that ordinary people can afford.

                As it stands, nobody's even suggested trying to make a good alternative to cars like the Ford Focus and similar somewhat-affordable cars, let alone less expensive vehicles.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:38:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Model S doesn't have more power than a Ferrari (0+ / 0-)

                Model S has 416 hp and 317 lb-ft torque, 458 Italia has around 560 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The Ferrari's also about 1400 lbs lighter. Tesla's got a top speed of 130 mph, compared to the Ferrari's over 200 mph.

                That said, the Tesla's likely got quicker acceleration, due to the nature of electric motors. But in terms of top speed and cornering, it's going to be eaten alive. In the end, they'll both get smoked on a track by a Ducati or Mission.

                First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

                by Hannibal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:04:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Accuracy counts =) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Albanius

                  Model S Perf: 416 hp (310 kW), 443 lb-ft (600 Nm)
                  Model S 85Kwh (standard): 362 hp (270 kW), 325 lb-ft (440 Nm)

                  A Ferrari --
                  Modena, Spider, Modena F1 and Spider F1:

                      Maximum power: 405 PS (300 kW; 400 bhp) @ 8500 rpm[1]
                      Maximum torque: 373 N·m (275 lbf·ft) @ 4750 rpm[1]

                  Facts easily found at teslamotors.com and the first link of a google search for "ferrari specs 360".  

                  •  Being current counts too (0+ / 0-)

                    You shouldn't base your argument on a car that's been out of production since 2005. A fact easily found if you google "Ferrari 360."

                    I will grant you that I got the Model S torque number wrong, but that's all. The reality is that the Model S, while an impressive car, does not compare with a Ferrari, or any other high end sportscar. There's a good reason for that: It's not a sportscar, it's a 4400 lbs sedan.

                    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

                    by Hannibal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:01:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ferrari owners say otherwise (0+ / 0-)

                      Here's what one of them said

                      I have had my [Tesla Model S] P85 for 6 months, and I have finally found something bad to say about it: owning the Model S has made me dislike my Ferrari and every other car I once loved. I paid nearly $250,000 for the Ferrari and now I don't really want to drive it. After being in the Tesla, the Ferrari is loud, cramped, primitive, and stressful to drive. In fact, all my ICE vehicles now feel so archaic compared to the Model S. Starting up a car's engine now seems like an asinine waste of time (and oxygen!). Waiting for a drivetrain to "warm up" is now bewildering. Having to work the engine and transmission through revs and gears (even with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission) was once a pleasure -- not it is just frustrating. The existence of gas stations now seems completely moronic (refuel overnight in the comfort of your own garage!). The Ferrari once felt blisteringly, scary fast (0-60 in 3.5s), but believe it or not, the P85 feels a LOT quicker than the Ferrari in the real world. (I don't think any ICE vehicle could ever compare with the instantaneous rush that the P85 provides.) And, I now feel like people are glaring at me when I drive the Ferrari. The attention the Tesla gets is pure admiration. It no longer makes sense to drive the Ferrari - the Tesla provides such a greater depth of satisfaction. In the Tesla, I am driving the future. In the Ferrari (or any other car), I am still stuck in the Industrial Age.

                      The Model S has rendered obsolete the very best cars in the world. My Ferrari is now gathering dust. Thanks a lot, Model S.

                      Similar comments have been made by Tesla Model S owners who've had late model Porsche 911s, BMW M5s and M6s, AMG Mercedes, and Ferraris.  
                •  Quite true, Tesla doesn't make track cars. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Hannibal

                  They not only have top speed limitations, but also their cooling isn't designed to keep up with track duty.

                  But they're not designed as track cars.  They're designed as blisteringly-fast-off-the-line street cars, and they meet that design to a T.

                  And indeed, as you did, it's important to point out that you can't compare electric horsepower with gasoline horsepower directly.  Electric motors run at near peak power output over a wide range of torque and RPM.  Gasoline motors run at near peak power in only a narrow band.  And that's of course ignoring the time saved by not having to shift.

          •  They were offering the $99 lease in the Boston (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PsychoSavannah, jabney

            market when I was shopping for cars in December.

            Alas, our annual mileage is about double what the lease allows, so the penalties for us with a lease would have pushed the Leaf well into the Tesla S price category. That plus a complete lack of charging stations on our one, regular, very long drive made it a no-go for now.

        •  We did the math (4+ / 0-)

          And the new leases are cheaper than keeping the old Volvo so it is going away shortly.

          Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:02:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Note the difference betwee "more affordable" and (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hannibal, Lujane, grover, Eddie L, RoCali

        "affordable".

        We shall see.

        Personally, I hope they ( or somebody else ) pull it off.
        I would love to have an electric car.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:09:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They already have a big factory. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        techno, Hannibal, Just Bob

        I think their current line only takes up a small portion (10%?) of the NUMMI plant.  So, they could turn out a lot more cars by filling the NUMMI building with more production lines.

        •  They seem to be using the Lean methodology (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hannibal

          Get something out the door in small volume to gain traction in the market, then pivot your product design as needed to get past the adoption roadblocks that appear once it hits the real world, based on real world customer (and non-customer) feedback, then and only then do you ramp up production.

          •  oooh - "lean methodology" (0+ / 0-)

            is that an MBA-approved phrase?

            Buzzword soup is not really cool

            Maybe we could radically simplify this to "common sense"? Mmmmmh?

          •  I was rather early on the waiting list (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            radical simplicity

            for an Aptera, which was focused on the Lean methodology... right up until just a couple months before the first car releases*, wherein the board mandated (against the will of the founders) the bringing in of an overpriced team from Detroit, which scrapped the plan, redesigned the car to make it more "mainstream", fired the founders, burned through all the company's money, and went bankrupt.

            Grr.  

            Tesla definitely got it right.

            * - I actually have spreadsheets from Aptera's internal corporate timeline, they were pretty damned close to starting to sell cars.  Yeah, the first cars were not "mass produceable".  They had trouble with consistency on the shells, for example - sometimes they'd produce right, sometimes they'd have defects and need to be scrapped, etc.  But that's irrelevant, the point is to get a market foothold while you work on resolving that, and make use of your hyper-enthusiastic early adopters who are more than happy to put up with defects and will advertise your vehicle to heck and back.

            I'm still quite bitter over it all.  Nobody else is doing what Aptera was doing at more than kit-car scale.  

    •  one suggestion was is (5+ / 0-)

      this would be enabling for the lower price model.

      The big pack is the big cost driver in a TESLA.

      Suppose for the cheaper Crossover, they put in a 100 mile range pack but they have some swap stations all the way up I-95 and I-5.  Then when you need to drive up on a road trip
      you have the ability to swap in packs.

      •  I didn't think the model X (6+ / 0-)

        was slated to be cheaper.  But 100 mile range pack would satisfy the bulk of daily driving.  Wonder if you can allow to swap for a higher range battery for long trips?

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:11:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now, that's a good idea (10+ / 0-)

          Not only that, but as battery technology gets better, you can swap for one that holds more, like we do now with things like external memory cards.

          I paid $80 for a 1gb card several years ago, and paid about $12 for a 16 gb one just a few weeks ago.

          Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:55:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  These are great ideas! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            patbahn, splashy

            I think with a bit of creativity, we will see plenty of options, that I hope will give consumers a chance to pick what works for them. A 100 mile range is good for most daily commutes. If I needed to drive from Oakland to LA, how awesome would it be if I was able to swap out my 100 mile battery for a 250 mile or whatever the day before... I'd still have to swap or charge, but set up charging/swap stations along those main traffic corridors, and we're in business.

            •  yeah, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              splashy

              that's kind of what i was thinking.

              even if it costs me a fair bit to rent a "Swap Pack"
              if it knocks 10K off the front end cost and costs me
              say $500 every time i want to take a big road trip,
              that could still be a good deal.

              I could save years of money that way.

          •  along this line, how soon before they (0+ / 0-)

            offer extra packs, so you can have one charging while you're running off the current one.  That way you can drive to work, come home and switch out to a full pack for driving around town.  Or, for driving that 200 miles to the cabin and having a full pack for the drive home.

            •  People need to stop thinking about these (0+ / 0-)

              things like battery packs in power tools or cell phones.  You all realize that the battery pack weighs about 1400 pounds, right?  That's the weight of...

              This record-holding pumpkin
              This beluga whale
              This giant, dense space rock
              This whole car
              TWO of this whole kindergarten class

              We're not talking batteries as you know them.  We're talking large, massive objects.  Large enough that they're an integral portion of your car's weight balance and structural integrity.

              The solution is not battery swapping (which as described elsewhere, is a really bad idea for lots of other reasons).  The solution is faster charging and increased energy density.  Both of which are evolving at very rapid rates.  Of course, once energy density gets enough, even fast charging becomes irrelevant.  Battery energy density doubles every 8 years.  Once your car can go perhaps 1000 miles a day, what's the point to rapid charging?  You've got to sleep at some point.  To oversimplify, 250Wh/mi = 400Wh, 8 hours charge time a day = 50kW = the power of the socket connected to your electric stove.  Nothing dramatic.

              Of course none of these address the real hindrance for EVs - price.  While there are plenty of ideologues who have trouble with the concept, most people realize that not every car must suit every need (nor does every car), and there's way, way more multi-car families out there with a daily commute than there will be EV production for a long time to come.  So the real advance I like to see is not Wh/kg but Wh/$.

              •  Yes, we are talking about large objects now (0+ / 0-)

                But I remember when computers took up entire buildings. Now the same amount of computing power is in a laptop.

                Considering how technology goes, it's possible we will have much smaller batteries in the future.

                Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

                by splashy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:49:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  model X is targeted at a low price point. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radical simplicity, Eddie L

          30-40K,  if the Model X comes with a 80-100 Mile range pack
          but you can swap out for a fee to a 250-300 mile range pack
          that's a big deal.

          Say I am driving from DC to Chicago.  I have a model X, i load the family, i drive up to breezewood pennsylvania,
          i swap to a 250 mile pack and then push to chicago.

          at the Indiana Plaza on the border of illinois, i swap back to a 100 mile pack.  I spend a week doing vacation stuff,
          then reverse the process.

          even if i spent $30/day for a loaner pack in chicago and $50 for the big pack twice, it's still a heck of a deal, if it knocks off $10K from the price of a Model X.

          Now look Elon knows a lot more about making money then I do, but, I think that would be a heck of an idea.

      •  Swapping is a dumb idea... (0+ / 0-)

        ... whether it's Tesla doing it or anyone else doing it.  And I really think this is more of a stunt to get interest rather than a serious plan.  The reasons for why have been gone into ad nauseum elsewhere, but include the infeasability of stocking such a large amount of such expensive items (let alone owner concerns about ending up with a bad one) which are not only non-standardized between manufacturers, but even within individual manufacturers themselves, and largely cannot be standardized because different vehicles have different shape and weight balance and different drivetrains have different voltage/current/discharge profile/cooling constraints, not to mention that different vehicles simply have outright orders-of-magnitude different  different power requirements and budgets.  It would be economically infeasible even if there was only a single pack type, let alone the real world where there will always be at least dozens in a mature market.  And remember that these thigns cost tens of thousands of dollars each, and you have to stock for the worst case demand scenario (say, labor day weekend travel), and that it's not practical to demand that people drive great distances to get to a swap station.  Then factor in the fact that you're swapping out something that's an integral part of the vehicle's structural integrity and has to have excellent connections on its power connectors due to the large currents you're running through it; you're imposing some serious wear.

        It doesn't matter that it can be done, it's not realistic that it be done to any significant degree in the real world.  But hey, it makes people feel good that it's possible that it might be implemented at some point in time.  But then again, it's also possible that your car will get a fusion power plant at some point and have unlimited range.  

        Don't buy a car on "possible" future developments from the manufacturer.

        BTW, you'd be surprised how much of the cost of EVs today is not the pack.  There's this notion that EV drivetrains are cheap.  Well, they should be cheap - they're pretty simple - but they're not very mass-production optimized yet.  So in the future they will be, but for now, they're still a significant fraction of EV production costs.

    •  Author William Gibson: (23+ / 0-)

      "The future is already here
      — it's just not very evenly distributed"

      http://en.wikiquote.org/...

      "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

      by New Rule on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:44:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I belive... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, second gen, Lujane, Assaf

      Tesla will keep their marquee name and lease their technology to those who know how to make very high volumes of safe, inexpensive, reliable cars.  Namely Toyota.  Once Tesla has built the 'refueling' infrastructure, there is no reason another car manufacturer can't use it.

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:38:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Vehicles in that price range are quite common (5+ / 0-)

      In the SF Bay Area, vehicle in that 40-60K range are all over the place. BMWs, Lexus, Mercedes, Acura, etc all do great business here. I se Teslas themselves pretty frequently on 880 and 101.

      So while it's a bummer that it's pricey, and it's certainly too much for me, it's not really outside of the price range of many consumers here in the Bay Area.... Eventually, I hope to see the technology become a little cheaper, and Tesla and other manufacturers will be able to deliver EVs at lower price points.

      Great stuff, Assaf!

    •  What does affordable mean to you? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, BYw, Just Bob

      Because some cars are available for lease at $200-250 a month (Fiat, Nissan and Ford).  I've never bought a new car but that looks to be as affordable on a car payment on a new gas car.  I think we can declare this barrier already crossed

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:01:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And size. (0+ / 0-)

      The thing is frickin' gigantic.

      That said, I'm glad someone this driven (if you'll forgive the choice of words) is fully backing the technology. It will take over if he and some others keep it up.

      Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

      by rcbowman on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:13:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A couple of things (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, defluxion10, Sanuk, Lujane

    1. Was anyone actually able to see the battery being swapped out?  All I could was that something was happening on the other side of the car

    2. If something as valuable as a battery is designed to be easily swapped in and out, doesn't that make it vulnerable to theft?  I guess someone could just steal the whole car, but people do sometimes only steal tires or rims.

    •  The battery weighs hundreds of pounds. (21+ / 0-)

      And it's as long as the car itself, and sits on the bottom. I don't think you'd be able to steal it easily.

      As to whether this was a hoax - yes, the video is a bit low-resolution for that, but I wouldn't go into conspiracy theories. They know their car. They have a robot that can open the bottom, take out the battery and put another in. This is not high-tech anymore, any auto factory has such robots.

      The only thing they needed to do is design the car to be fast-swappable from the start. Which they apparently did.

      •  And the beauty of a Fast-swap design is that (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, Assaf, GAS, splashy, offgrid, Odysseus, BYw

        any new kind of Battery that might be designed using different materials can be inserted at any time just so long as the Voltage and Amp Output is the same,it's like a 12 Vote DC Car Starter as long it's 12 Votes DC at a few hundred Amps it doesn't care if it's a Lead-Acid Bat. a Lithium Bat a Heavy-duty 120/240 Vote AC Battery Charger a Solar Cell Array or heck even a huge room full of Zinc-Copper Lemon Batteries in Parallel&Series designed to output 12 Votes at Hundreds of Amps to crank the Engine and start the Car.

        •  That's not really true . (5+ / 0-)

          The modern electric car is very much tuned to the battery .
          Charge / discharge , management is very important .
          Changing the battery type is going to be a very big deal .

          What one battery will take
          will kill another battery
          and vice versa .

          The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

          by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:54:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That is what I was wondering. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ginny in CO, indycam, defluxion10

            If the care is tuned to the battery you couldn't have a standard low range battery for daily use and a roadtrip "rental" battery for long trips.  Would be nice though.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:13:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are hitting the nail on the head . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              defluxion10

              A normal battery for daily use , if your daily use of the car is 30 miles and you charge at home , you can buy a light weight battery , it will cost less and weigh less .
              If you want to do 60 miles , you can drive the 30 miles , recharge , then drive the next 30 .

              One of the "problems" with electric cars is the weight ,
              they are heavy .

              With that same car , same standard battery installed,
              you can hook up a battery pack trailer from a U haul place and drive long distance .

              Adding extra batteries for long distance trips could be the way things work out in the future .

              The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

              by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:20:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  heh, back when that was my idea you varmit! (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                buddabelly, defluxion10

                I pitched that idea back years ago when we were first maundering on about EV's here, heehee...in fact I was just musing on the idea some more...a simple battery pack trailer might double the mileage and be more storage space too, but another step up would be like the military driven trailers in that not only having brakes, these could have an accesory electric motor as well as the gen set like a volt for the constant speed quiet perfectly tuned gas engine.
                  The goal would be unliumited mileage except for gas stops, rest stops, and also be home chargeable.

                The goal would be for the trailer performance boost to cause the car to perform similar to the trailer-less car does without the braking and acceleration costs of the trailer...being noticeable to the driver. It would be a 10-15k trailer in some quantity, but could be a not a factory option but leased to an aftermarket firm. A place like Hertz would be an ideal partner for this, altho the people would need a bit of additional training :>

                This machine kills Fascists.

                by KenBee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:11:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  defluxion10

                  The battery trailer does not need to be large or heavy .
                  It just needs to extend the range so that people can make it to the next charge point or place to switch out the trailer . Instead of filling the gas tank at a gas station , a trailer that is "full" would be attached in the place of the "empty" . The empty would be recharged at a safe and sane pace and then switched out for another customer .
                  I don't think a motorized trailer is needed .
                  The difficulties of controls , the odd techniques in driving , etc etc etc .

                  The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

                  by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:57:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I still wonder why no one has designed a sleek (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                defluxion10

                little genset on a trailer so it can be plugged in to the car and provide the same basically unlimited range as a gasoline car without the added weight of a battery trailer though that would work also.

                Seems to me with minor modifications to the hardware and the charging software it should work just like a series hybrid but with pure electric usage as it's main mode. Probably could be made and sold for about 6-8k.

                They could be mainly for rent for those who only need the range once in a while or if someone needs it once a week they could buy their own.

                Not quite as elegant as a pack with more amp hours but it's a quick and dirty solution to the range problem.

                Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                Emiliano Zapata

                by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:14:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  oferchrissakes (0+ / 0-)

                  what the hell difference is there to a fossil-fuel burning car?????

                  Are you aware of the abysmal inefficiency of fossil-fuel engines?

                  Hooing up a fossil-fuel burning generator to a Tesla is worse than taking bottled sea-water on a boat - it makes negative sense. Get a grip

                  •  it turns it into an unlimited milage series hybrid (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    defluxion10, KenBee

                    thereby wiping out most peoples objections to an electric car.

                    Battery tech isn't there yet but will be eventually.  Until then, something like I describe would help sell millions more EVs......

                    And it would be more for the Leaf type cars with limited battery life rather than a Tesla...

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:22:09 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You described a Chevy Volt (0+ / 0-)

                      Chevy Volt is a serial hybrid... it hauls around an explosive liquid and a useless engine in case it needs to go beyond the 30-40 miles the electric pack is capable of.  

                      •  I described an accessory that would allow people (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        KenBee

                        who can't or won't purchase a full electric vehicle due to range concerns to go ahead and make that purchase confident that when needed, their car can go 500 or so miles in a day.

                        An accessory that could open the door for many many thousands more pure electric vehicles to be on the road while only emitting anything a very small part of the time as most overestimate their range needs for daily driving.

                        Not everyone wants a Volt or the costs of dragging a generator around every day when it isn't needed.  Upthread I saw where a Leaf could be leased for a hundred bucks a month after all the rebates and such.  You think removing range concerns wouldn't push a bunch of leaners over the edge?

                        And btw, gasoline is flammable not explosive.... and the Volt is not a true series hybrid though it is close.

                        A true series hybrid has no connection between the ICE and the drivetrain.  All power to the ground comes from electricity generated by the engine which then can be designed to run at absolutely the most efficient speed possible for a combination of better mileage and less emissions....As long as the throttle controls the engine instead of the motor/s there  is lost efficiency.....

                        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                        Emiliano Zapata

                        by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:50:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The frunk of a Model S... (0+ / 0-)

                          The frunk of a Model S is an odd thing -- originally, it is supposed, it was designed to hold more batteries just in case the current battery pack couldn't hold enough energy.

                          But now the frunk could be used for some types of battery tech on the horizon that could be used as range extenders, without the 'flammable' (gee, what moves those pistons... I guess little flames... couldn't be explosions... nope...) portable energy source.  

                          Aluminum air battery tech, maybe something else.  These also could happen, but seem a bit further off.

                          The problem with portable generators is the energy capacity -- a 120v socket doesn't provide enough energy to keep the car going indefinitely.  Need something bigger, like the size of a car engine (IE Volt).  So now you are hauling around a fairly large object.

                          Could work.  Probably should be powered by something else though, like liquid hydrogen.  And they'd need to design it in, since the generator would be an interesting item in a wreck.

                          •  lots of stuff will explode that isn't explosive (0+ / 0-)

                            per se....like grain dust in an elevator... or gasoline once atomized, mixed with air,  and compressed....Though even then it's still a flamefront more than an explosion.....

                            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                            Emiliano Zapata

                            by buddabelly on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:10:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Talk about not seeing the forest through the trees (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    buddabelly, jabney

                    All we're talking about is adding a low-capacity trailer hitch and rear-facing charge port.  That's it.  That's the only thing that has to change to completely eliminate one of the main public arguments against EVs.  And even people who did use it would only be using gasoline for the tiniest fraction of their total consumption - only when they go on long trips.  And even when on the trips, when they get to their destination, they'd be going back to electric.

                    And it makes a lot more sense than a Volt.  Why haul around a gasoline engine all the time that you're only rarely going to use?  Why displace all of that useful space in your vehicle and increase its mass?  If you're going to use more room and mass, why not batteries?  Why impose higher power constraints and higher reserve figure requirements on your pack in order to meet a PHEV profile instead of an EV one?  Why "one gasoline engine per vehicle" instead of a trailer that could be shared among dozens?

                    Genset trailers really look to be the transitional technology, completely eliminating the primary complaint against EVs while imposing practically no limitations to the vehicles themselves (what, maybe an extra 10 pounds?).   I think it's a great shame that almost nobody is supporting them.

                •  They have been designed. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KenBee, buddabelly

                  For example, the AC Propulsion "Long Ranger".  The problem is that manufacturers aren't doing the ridiculously simple step of including a low-capacity trailer hitch and rear-facing charge port.  :Þ

                  And a genset trailer should cost a lot less than $6-8k.  You can get a 10kw generator for a little over $2k and a trailer that size should be well under $1k.  And it's not like everyone would need to own one.  You could buy it, rent it, share it with your friends or neighbors, etc.  It's only needed when going on trips, after all.

                  •  cool, that's exactly what I meant, I figured the (0+ / 0-)

                    cost based on a safety cage for the genset and fuel tank also as well as the unit and trailer otherwise someone would complain about all that "explosive" gasoline riding around back there in an accident....Plus pretty paint and shiny wheels, you know..... shiny.....

                    never mind that a LiPo battery pack itself is a giant bomb should something go wrong with either the hardware or software....

                    I just quit smoking by switching to a vaporizer and have been reading about LiPo packs and what could go wrong  (((shudder)))

                    Thanks for the link and I agree, this is honestly the possibility of the near future as a bridge to better battery tech....Neat looking little unit.  Have to be careful with the design though to make sure the GenSet gets enough air to run right in the wake of the vehicle..

                    I used to work on RVs for a living and I remember when Country Coach had a problem with their gensets, the air intake was in a dead zone where the body created an area of low enough air pressure the genset wouldn't run while the coach was moving at hway speed...Easy enough fix, it is just something that needs tested behind multiple vehicle shapes to make sure there's no problems....

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:59:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  There's a much, much much easier (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee, buddabelly

                solution than battery swap for those rare trips.  I've gone into elsewhere all of the problems with battery swap.  Here's the far better, and universal option:

                A genset trailer.

                All your car needs to have is a trailer hitch that can tow a couple hundred pounds and a power connector in the back.  Genset trailers could be rented like a U-haul.  Unlike battery packs, they could be very easily standardized.  You could buy your own, rent one, get one for your whole neighborhood, whatever you want, and they would not be unusually expensive (neither generators nor trailers are particularly expensive, unlike battery packs).  And even some of the inconveniences of regular trailers have been addressed - for example, the AC Propulsion "Long-Ranger" trailer was self-steering, so it was easy to back up with it attached.

                Such an easy solution.  Too bad that no current EV manufacturers are designing for it out of the box and are instead going for more ridiculous notions like battery swapping.  :Þ

          •  That Needs To Change Too... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hannibal, defluxion10

            That the diarist refers to road trips as 'mythical' was my turnoff.  My typical car usage is, like everyone else, mostly dealing with the shitty day to day dregs of life in general  - getting to and from work (to pay a good chunk of it for transportation to get to and from work, including fuel from terrorists)  Perfect place for a $15,000 electric transportation appliance!

            For those admittedly too rare instances where I love my car as more than a transportation appliance, there's the road trips, the foundation of individual freedom (in my opinion)  I'm old, maybe the next generation can change to the point where they park it for a couple hours for a recharge, but having a way to swap or recharge as fast as a normal refuel seems like an important feature.

            But the fact is, I don't have $80,000 sitting around for spending on a transportation appliance.  This entire Tesla Tesla Tesla fascination is for me no different than reading about the latest features, performance and gizmos in $80,000 Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, etc. in the latest auto magazines.  An entertaining day dream.

            •  Maybe , maybe not . (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              defluxion10, Assaf, KenBee, BYw, ichibon
              but having a way to swap or recharge as fast as a normal refuel seems like an important feature.
              Driving an electric is different , if people accept that its different , change there expectations ...

              There was a time not long ago that people who wanted to go 100 miles away would say goodby to all there friends before heading off . Now if I said goodby I'm going 100 miles away , people would think I was nuts , or more nuts .

              Not long ago it took weeks / months to go across the continent .
              Things sped up .
              Things can slow down , maybe ,
              if people can accept a slower pace .

              I don't know that I need to charge my car as fast as I can fill a gas tank .

              The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

              by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:31:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Mercedes stay at $80,000 (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Assaf, BYw, JohnnySacks, defluxion10

              This one won't. The be-all and end-all is not to dominate a niche market.

              "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

              by sagesource on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:48:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  "Mythical" was not meant in a derogatory manner. (4+ / 0-)

              I love my road trips. I meant "mythical" in exactly the same way that you describe it as a foundation of individual freedom (although calling it "the" foundation is a bit too far for me).

              I love to think that one day all of these road trpis can be done using EVs. Not right now, obviously. For one thing, I cannot afford a Tesla S. For another, our road-trips tend to be a messy affair with tents etc.

              However, I can use my EV for 360 (or 350) days a year, and for the road trips either rent an appropriate gas car, or have a very old one with nearly-zero resale value, lying around just for these type of things (which is our situation right now).

              As to "Tesla Tesla Tesla": Tesla being a for-profit corporation, I won't vouch for their honesty and perfect intentions. But note that the path they've taken (starting from racers, to luxury sedans, then - as currently planned - somewhat less luxurious Xovers, then finally a midrange car), is arguably the most viable economic path for a company that needs to lift its own technology and infrastructure from scratch against an entrenched incumbency.

              If Tesla wanted to succeed, they had to start from the higher-margin market, and among people whose purchasing power is more recession-resistant. So far, it has worked like a charm. They should be able to make a move into the midrange market very soon.

              •  I Hope $15,000 Happens (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Assaf, defluxion10

                ... and the quicker the better.

                When I consider the industrial input to create an internal combustion engine vs. an electrical motor, I see at least an order of magnitude fewer parts, and those parts are high precision machined alloys operating under extreme heat and fatigue.  The current cost of an electric motor is way out of proportion compared to an internal combustion engine.

                The supporting electronics?  I can buy a computer many times more powerful than on the Apollo mission for under a thousand dollars, heck, even hold it in the palm of my hand.

                High voltage equipment... precision TIG and MIG welders, relatively low production items, are a couple thousand and they do some pretty slick pulse control at hundreds of amps.

                It's all there waiting to be mass produced and the more government incentive the better.  Put some of those DOD dollars we've been flushing away for decades to work on it.

            •  Important for displaced workers. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              defluxion10
              And of course, that mythical 1000-miles-a-day road trip is another niche.
              I live and work 3 states away from my family.  Twice a year I drive almost exactly 1000 miles to Mom's house and back.

              Now I'm fine with renting a gas-powered car for long road trips.  But every time I mention that on this site, people jump down my throat that it's an idiotic and evil thing to even suggest.

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              There are no Christians in foxholes.

              by Odysseus on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:23:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)

              You already accept limitations on your vehicle.  Everyone does, because no vehicle does everything.  Can your vehicle:

              * Drive using only a tiny amount of energy on your daily commute?
              * Haul a whole apartment's full (or home full) of furniture around?
              * Drive through rugged terrain / offroad to some remote campsite without wrecking itself?
              * Accelerate / corner / have top speeds like a race car?
              * Give you perfect luxury comfort inside?
              * Be cheap and affordable?

              Of course not; no car does.  So why do people act like, if we add this to the list:

              * Be suitable for taking long road trips?

              That that's suddenly supposed to be a universal deal breaker for every person on the planet?

              What happens when your car doesn't meet something on the original list and you want / need to do it?  Simple: you use a different car.  Maybe you have multiple cars.  Maybe you borrow one.  Maybe you rent one.  Maybe you do it with a friend, who has such a car.  But you don't give up because one particular vehicle doesn't meet every possible vehicular demand.

              So why do people act that way with EVs?

              And different people have a different balance of how often they need each capability.  Perhaps you're a person where your environmental impact is #1 in your driving considerations.  Perhaps you're a person who hauls around big, heavy stuff all the time.  Perhaps you're the sort who's always going offroading.   Perhaps you're a hot-rod junkie.  Perhaps you have the budget for and demand luxury.  Perhaps you're a penny pincher.

              And maybe, just maybe, you frequently go on very long trips.

              Fine.  If that's you, then an EV shouldn't be the car you plan that usage for.

              Now people who feel that way: leave everyone else, for whom that's not the case, alone.

              (This isn't solely aimed at you, BTW - more among the people who act like EVs suit nobody just because they can't go on a super-long trip now and then.  Also, see the comments about genset trailers, elsewhere in this thread)

          •  That could be a software update (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            defluxion10

            No problem.

            Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

            by Just Bob on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:30:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm thinking that as innovations happen (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          defluxion10, Just Bob

          You could get an updated one that works better.

          Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

          by splashy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  GOP needs lots of 12 Vote batteries (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          defluxion10

          in order to get their folks elected

          --
          Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

          by sacrelicious on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:01:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh foo. that answers my question (8+ / 0-)

        which was 'why can't you just carry a spare or two in the car, and swap them out as needed yourself?'

        Had no idea it was that big and heavy.

        •  Won't Batteries Grow Smaller Like Other Tech? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy

          I would think we can expect some tech breakthroughs in battery technology within the next decade that miniaturize battery size, since this has happened in virtually all other tech areas.  Once a EV car's battery approaches the size of current standard car batteries, EV cars should become the dominant mode of personal transportation.  People WOULD then be able to keep an extra battery in the trunk.

          •  That's what I was thinking (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Assaf

            Having it easy to swap out means you can upgrade your battery.

            Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

            by splashy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:59:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They have been growing smaller (6+ / 0-)

            But it's not like Moore's Law, wherein transistors shrink by half every couple of years.  It's a few percent a year.  Compare your laptop or cell phone battery today with the NiCd rechargeables of 20 years ago.

            And small does equal costly.  This is chemistry, and the ingredients in a lithium-ion battery aren't cheap. It's also hard to fabricate safely.

            Higher density also means higher heat problems if it overcharges, and as the Boeing 787 demonstrated, a small error there can be very bad.  So don't expect miracles.  I'd rather see some progress on getting the cost down.

      •  I remember reading it's about a thousand pounds. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        For comparison's sake, a 20 gallon tank of gas weighs about 120lb.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:15:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  1400 pounds for the 85kw pack (0+ / 0-)

          If the reports that it's 30% of the vehicle's curb weight are correct.

          That said, it's not exactly a fair comparison, for a few reasons.

          1)  120 pounds is not reasonable for a 20 gallon gas tank.  It's more like 170 or so (the tank itself has weight, too).  120 pounds full is more like a 14 gallon tank.

          2) The Model S is propelled by a motor the size of two paint cans stuck end to end.  Yeah, the pack is a lot bigger, but the drivetrain is smaller.  You have to look at systems as a whole.

          Yes, the balance of systems today works out that EVs are notably heavier per unit range.  But the difference isn't as extreme as raw gasoline / battery storage would suggest.  If the battery energy density improvement trend that's held for the past quarter century keeps holding, EVs should reach roughly the same mass as gasoline cars in 15-20 years or so.

          •  It would be nice if battery density continues the (0+ / 0-)

            the recent trend, but there is no reason to believe that it will, even less reason to believe that safe and affordable batteries with those increased densities will become available.

            I would like that, because it might mean that I could own an electric car.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:11:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

              •  Grr.. accidentally hit reply after one word in the (0+ / 0-)

                subject line, and DK decided to post it for me.  :Þ

                Why do you think that the battery energy density trend will not continue?  It's been ongoing for about 25 years, and if anything, the rate of advances seems to be accelerating, not slowing.  I mean, I see no reason to expect the curve to be smooth, rather jagged jumps here and there, but I see no reason to expect it to slow down.

                Price is always the tricky one, of course.  If any particular technology is settled on for long enough its price should continue to drop - we're not talking about raw materials costs here, after all.  But who knows when it would be at a more appropriate price point for everyone.

                •  Not exactly. That period more or less coincides (0+ / 0-)

                  with the introduction of lithium-ion batteries, so...
                  from the inception of the technology to today, they have made nice strides, but there tends to be a ceiling -- which is why the search is always on for new batteries.

                  None of which means that the pace won't continue, merely that there is no reason to believe that it will, which is a very different statement.

                  People tend to assume that electronics represent some kind of generalizable pattern, but different technologies have different constraints, especially when trying to take something from the laboratory into the real world.  The 787 battery fires should serve as a reminder of that.

                  That said, I remember reading somewhere about the application ot nano-technologies to batteries and the potential to double energy density.

                  That would be very sweet, maybe even a game changer.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:43:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Li-ion is not one chemistry. (0+ / 0-)

                    Li-ion is really a whole family of chemistries called by one name.  The maximum theoretical energy densities of different varieties go up over 6000Wh/kg.  Current max energy densities are in the 200-something Wh/kg range.  The tech isn't even close to maxing out.  And there's new techs at all stages of the game (from right-about to hit the market to the still very theoretical); I could list many dozens for you.  Some of which are whole new chemistries not even under the li-ion category at varying stages of development.  For example, Lithium-Sulfur is now starting to see usage in niche applications.  There's some non-lithium ones as well out there showing real progress too.

                    If you follow the research and the commercialization progress, in no way shape or form is the technology advancement slowing.

                    The 787 battery fires were pure idiocy in design.  I could go into why, but we'll just leave it at that.  We've lost an airplane (Air Canada Flight 797) due to a short circuit in a toilet controller.  Should we declare toilets as a dangerous backwards technology which will never advance?

                    •  Yes, and still no reason to believe that the rate (0+ / 0-)

                      will continue.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:26:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Apart from... (0+ / 0-)

                        "And there's new techs at all stages of the game (from right-about to hit the market to the still very theoretical); I could list many dozens for you." ?

                        One in-development tech does not a marketed-product make.  But many dozens pretty much guarantee it.  There's just way too many companies and completely different approaches, all backed with solid scientific research (many outright spun off of respected colleges and national laboratories due to lab breakthroughs), for none to pan out.  It's completely unreasonable.  And that's just for the development stuff.  For the next couple years, the improvements are already in the pipeline, it's just about tooling factories.

                        •  Seems likely that we will see some improvements, (0+ / 0-)

                          but your statement was based on the next twenty years or so continuing the improvements of the last 20-25 years, a period of unusually fast progress.

                          You are free to be optimistic.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

                          Still, I see no reason to believe that the next couple of decades will be as anomalous as the last couple were.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:22:31 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Indeed, we're already starting to see that far. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dinotrac

                            The required 4x improvement would be about 1000Wh/kg.  To pick an example possibility, lithium-air has a theoretical max of 12000Wh/kg, and prototypes are already at the 1000Wh/kg level.  Now, they've got all sorts of problems currently, mind you, but it's just an example of how we're already starting to get glimpses of technology that's not "due" to come into play for another 15-20 years.

                            Again, as stated, I see absolutely no reason to see a breakdown in this trend any time soon.

      •  Weighs over 1000 lbs actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        And would be really hard to steal.

        First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

        by Hannibal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:47:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, BYw

      Why would they fake this?  They haven't faked anything yet.

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:40:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not claiming that it was faked (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RichM

        It just seems to me that if you are showcasing something, you'd actually want people to see it, no?

        The reason I asked is because in the video I couldn't really see anything, and I was hoping that there was just something that I had missed.  I was not making a claim that this was a hoax.

        •  OK - sorry... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, grover, PsychoSavannah

          Agreed.  It would have been nicer to see the process.  But I suppose the process may be proprietary and they don't want to show it to anybody else, lest the replicate it.  If somebody else wanted to offer the same service, they would have to buy a license to do so.

          'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

          by RichM on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:55:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's a 1000 pound battery. I imagine you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, sacrelicious, BYw

      CAN steal it, just like you CAN steal an engine. . .

      I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

      by second gen on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:36:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always carry around an engine lift in my car (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, BYw, second gen, Hannibal, Just Bob

        Trunk, just in case I see something I like...

        Bright home a bison from Yellowstone last year that way. He's a nice quiet pet,  and my dog likes herding him around the yard.

        Fetilzes the lawn too.
        :)

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:54:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here is a good view of the battery swap (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, BYw

      You see the car pull up, the machine come up under the car, the first battery go down, the new battery go up, the machine pull away, the car leave.

      ______________
      Love one another

      by davehouck on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:51:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's pretty sweet. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davehouck, KenBee, Just Bob

        So I don't totally understand the plan. Does Musk intend to build these swapping stations  and then you go in and swap batteries for $17 (or whatever) like you  swap propane tanks at Home Depot?

        Seems to me if there's no fee (regardless how minimal), why wouldn't people use the charging stations instead of these swapping stations? Don't swapping stations require labor?

        The husband wants a Tesla. But wow, it's expensive and not practical with its 200 range. We actually had joked about buying an additional battery and towing it with a U-haul trailer. I trust there's a towing package? {grin}

        This definitely moves people who drive a lot into the market.

        Crap. I better tell the dogs that they're being cut off from all treats, and kibble rations are being cut. That will save us... Lets see...

        Not enough...

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:07:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Man, a Honda Civic is so impractical. (0+ / 0-)

          "The husband wants a Honda Civic.  But wow, it's not practical with its lack of a ability to haul around a fridge or washing machine, its inability to drive offroad, its inability to perform at the track, its insufficient luxury for dates or meeting VIPs, it doesn't commute to work on low-cost renewable power, and it doesn't let me fill it up at home."

          Sorry, but no car on Earth does everything.  If your standard for a new car is "it must do everything", you will never find a car that meets your needs.

          Treat a Model S the same way you would any other car.  Look at what it does, look at what it doesn't do, and decide what solutions you'd have for the "doesn't do".  For example, the Model S doesn't haul a refrigerator, either.  So if you needed to haul a refrigerator, what would you do?  Maybe you have a second vehicle that can?  Maybe you'd call a friend?  Maybe you'd rent one?  Maybe you'd pay for delivery?  This isn't hard, right?

          Now why is it so hard for people when it comes to discussing long trips?  It's just one in a long list of things that can limit vehicles' usages.  Is it really so hard to figure out what you'd do on those couple-times-a-year cases where you'd actually want to drive that far?

          •  Wow, aren't you snotty? (0+ / 0-)

            It's a luxury car that he would use for business, mostly to meet clients. His business takes him distances.

            If he can't travel distances, then, uh, what's the point?

            We have seriously discussed the Tesla. We've emailed back and forth with its sales staff -- which I'm guessing is far more than you have. We were just discussing getting down there for a test drive in the next few weeks.

            It's expensive, but I'm a serious environmentalist. He hates what the Leaf looks like. He needs a car that has a certain look.

            I started out my comment by saying that the swapping station is sweet and puts people who might have hestitated into the market. In other words, people like us. If Musk understands our concerns (likely because he too lives in the west  where we have big freaking states where stuff is spread far apart)  what's your issue?

            So send me a note when you've bought your Tesla or similar car, eh?  We can compare notes.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:47:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You called the model S "impractical" (0+ / 0-)

              You didn't call it "impractical for meeting business clients in far-away locations".  You called it impractical, full stop.  Which is simply not an accurate statement.  It is not a car for every use under the sun - no debate on that one.  But neither is any car.

  •  Diary updated wish some afterthoughts and typo-fix (4+ / 0-)

    My apologies to early readers (the only readers?) for the disruption.

    Happy Friday again, I'm going to have some breakfast now.

  •  different Tesla battery packs? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, Ginny in CO

    They must be able to deal with the different battery packs for the Teslas.  The base models have a pack with less range than the high end ones.

    "Dark is the suede that mows like a harvest..."

    by profundo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:26:26 AM PDT

    •  I think they have the same overall external shape. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy

      Or else be compatible somehow. Otherwise, the entire manufacturing process would be a mess, no?

      But perhaps a bigger S afficionado might be able to answer that with more certainty.

      •  Tesla will certainly influence the standard shapes (0+ / 0-)

        if this is to be a future tech feature, as it should be.

        A Better Place has sucked up a lot of venture capital that is going to be hard to replace...maybe.

        Great that Tesla has done this, just excellent and a great future business development that can be predicted rather than just speculated about.

        One thing never speculated about was the stupidity, the arrogant cluelessness that was apparent the moment Better Place wasn't going to allow home charging, that his business model was cell phones. Who likes their cell phone contracts, nobody. The put up with them..and would be gone in a flash if they were better useful alternatives..such as the increasingly popular no committment plans even Verizon is trying to co-opt with their own.

        Better Place's denial of home charging was a great way to alienate the innovators and techno-fans that are always the ones to adopt new tech and to create buzz and demand. These are a group that includes home EV converters, business that convert petro to EV already made cars, the enviro costs already paid on the carcass, these people well versed in the science and business of EV's....instead he treated them like parasites or something..anyway, the reaction went between hostile to meh...only a few seemed enamored of His Ideas after that...meself was waiting for the announcement that was the predictable failure.
            The essential swap idea itself is a good one...it will be developed just like any car accessory and aftermarket product...but an expensive aftermarket product.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:51:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Better Place had done a lot more (0+ / 0-)

          demonstration of battery swap tech than this.  They still went bankrupt.  

          Battery swap is simply an unrealistic and uneconomical approach.  Yeah, you coul swap out a battery.  But you could also offer everyone a private plane to ride whenever there car doesn't go far enough.  That doesn't mean it's an economical option.

      •  ROFLMAO - "S afficionado" (0+ / 0-)

        ever heard of "round peg in square hole"?

        Is there really any doubt that the replacement battery has to be at least smaller than the one it replaces? You have got to be kidding me.

        Plan on the battery becoming smaller with time - trust me on this. Changing the shape is a waste of time if it doesn't F-I-T

        Don't need a Tesla groupie-drooler to answer that one.

      •  S afficionado here (0+ / 0-)

        I guess I qualify, since I own one and <3 it.  

        The battery packs are all the same size.  Part of Tesla's IP is their ability to take consumer grade battery tech and package it into these packs.  Several thousand individual batteries in a standard size typically used for laptops go into one of the packs.  There are patents showing the cooling and crosswiring for the packs as well as the cooling mechanisms and battery balancing.  

        Invented and made is Silicon Valley baby!  =)

        So the 60Kwh pack just used less dense battery tech (less amps per cell, for instance) and the 85 uses the more expensive higher density tech.  The same skateboard design is being used for the Model X (SUV).  

        So the packs were designed to be hot swap from the start.  

        The hard part is the business model around these swap stations... nobody really knows how it'll work until tried.  The estimated cost for a station is ~$500,000 and that likely doesn't include many batteries.

        At this point I think it is just a way for Tesla Motors to qualify for the maximum number of clean air credits, which are worth a lot of money frankly.  Those credits get sold to other manufacturers so they don't get penalized for non-compliance with various clean air initiatives.

  •  When I first read your post I wondered (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, splashy

    If a swap could be done. This is a great idea! Thanks

  •  Great demo... (9+ / 0-)

    but I don't think speed of changing the battery pack is the issue at this point in time. Rather, the high cost of maintaining an inventory of expensive ready to go battery packs at a multitude of charging stations is the real problem. Any Tesla owner wanting to avail themselves of the convenience will no doubt have to pay a pretty penny for it. The other thing that makes me a bit antsy about it is the fact that I'd be getting a used battery pack that might be further along in its lifespan than my own. How many purchasers of new expensive cars want to immediately start swapping used parts into it?

    I'm impressed with Tesla and I believe that as battery technology improves, the point will be reached where there is enough range that the occasional 30-60 minutes at a supercharging station won't be an impediment to the car's adoption.

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:32:01 AM PDT

    •  Maybe you would not own the battery . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf, nirbama, splashy, JohnnySacks
      The other thing that makes me a bit antsy about it is the fact that I'd be getting a used battery pack that might be further along in its lifespan than my own.
      Your battery , the one you bought with the car could be charged and returned to you . You might rent another battery until your battery is returned to you ?
      Or if you did a regular San Jose to LA round trip , you might have 2 or 3 or 4 batteries of your own that no one else uses .

      Is that sig line new ?

      The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

      by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:01:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My answer: chill, it's just a battery. (18+ / 0-)

        It's not the car. The original battery was made by Tesla, the one they'll swap into your car was made by them too; same difference.

        Besides, if you are antsy about it, then take the extra 20-40 minutes, use the fast-charge and grab a sandwich and coffee meanwhile. You've probably been on the road for at least 150-200 miles at that point, so you've earned your break :)

        It's all really a battle over perception and image and narrative. They've waited 1-2 months after the burst of excellent news in April-May, to let the opposition give them its worst, and the mainstream chatter evolve towards "ok, it's a great car and it's selling like crazy, but still, that range...".  And now they drive the final nail in the conventional-wisdom's coffin.

        •  I live in the Northeast (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          profundo, Assaf, ColoTim, Odysseus

          I'd like to see this swapout demonstrated in 10 degree weather, with ice and slush on the bottom of the car and the battery bolts.

          •  They might just have to do a (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pat bunny, Assaf, splashy, BYw

            hot water rinse of the under side
            before the swap .

            The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

            by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:50:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly

              Yes, they'll need to rinse dirt/slush off the bolts -- but obviously the Tesla side of the demonstration was done under laboratory -- not road -- conditions.  They also didn't show the actual process of loosening the battery, moving the the old battery, putting in a new battery, tightening the bolts.  This was designed to make it look easy as pie -- not to show all the crazy real-world stuff that can happen.

              I did notice that the second car's tires ran slightly into the floor guides.  My wife could easily cut up some tires every once in a while that way, until they figure out a different way of ensuring the car is within the change machine's tolerances.

              Brought back memories of the first time my father let me replace the oil pan plug after we changed the oil.  I must have been 12 or 13 years old.  "DON'T CROSS THE THREADS!!!" he warned.  So guess what I did?!?  Hope their robot knows what it's doing, under all conditions.....

              •  Dude , (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                splashy, grover, BYw, Alumbrados
                I did notice that the second car's tires ran slightly into the floor guides.  My wife could easily cut up some tires every once in a while that way, until they figure out a different way of ensuring the car is within the change machine's tolerances.
                that sounds sexist and its almost impossible to cut up a tire on a guide that isn't sharpened / doesn't have spikes coming out of it .

                Think of all the automatic car wash places .
                The driving of the car over the battery changer is not a problem and not worth bringing up or even mentioning .

                The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

                by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:52:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Or Dudette (0+ / 0-)

                  My comment might sound sexist to you, but since you don't know me or my wife (much less my wife's driving record, which is absolutely atrocious, in part because of the wife's traumatic brain injury 15 years ago...) your comment sounds sexist to me!    

                  I assume you assume I'm male and my wife is female, but since I live in Massachusetts for all you know my wife might be the same gender as me, which might be (both) feminine and might be (both) masculine.  Anyway, my comment about my wife's atrocious driving was about my wife's driving, not the generalization about any particular gender that you seem to have taken it for.  

                  Tire guides will be an issue, imho.  Maybe less than the islands they put the gas pumps on, which, if you notice, always have tire marks all over them.  And the posts that protect the islands always have pockmarks all over them, where cars have bounced off them.  I wonder how many people have accidentally driven their cars into the pits at fast-change oil joints?

                  Anyway, my overall point is that I have my doubts that swapping out hundreds of thousands of heavy batteries every day under real world conditions will be as easy a process as shown in the demo video.

                  •  Ok (0+ / 0-)
                    might be (both) masculine.
                    Your wife is masculine ? Interesting .

                    If you want to talk about your "wifes"

                    absolutely atrocious
                    atrocious driving
                    go for it , it doesn't change anything at all re the tesla battery change set up .
                    I don't think anyone is going to design around you or your "wifes" inabilities .

                    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

                    by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:53:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BYw
                    Maybe less than the islands they put the gas pumps on, which, if you notice, always have tire marks all over them.  And the posts that protect the islands always have pockmarks all over them, where cars have bounced off them.
                    Marks on curbs / marks on posts do not equal cut up tires .

                    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

                    by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:06:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I've never used a fast oil change place that let (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Odysseus

                    The customer pull up over the pit. Heck, tire companies don't even let you drive over lifts, at least not regional (Western) and national chains.

                    It's a huge liability issue; plus it would disrupt service for hours and likely damage equipment if something went wrong . Not a single major national chain does it. If an employee does, a gentle letter to management seem in order. Someone could seriously be harmed.

                    It's possible that Tesla will have customer hop out, grab a latte or Fiji water while techs drive the car in and out, then return the car to the customer.

                    I'm certain that any customer who says she's not comfortable driving onto an apparatus because of disability or whatever other reason will be accommodated.

                    © grover


                    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

                    by grover on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:19:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yup, we always kept a little chain across the (0+ / 0-)

                      entrance, yellow plastic with a do not enter sign in the middle.  Still had someone drive their car through the chain and drop half of it into the pit...pretty easy to winch out with the tow truck and minimal damage to anything but it was a harrowing exp.

                      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                      Emiliano Zapata

                      by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:27:29 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  one of our gas stations had manna from heaven (0+ / 0-)

                    a steel storm grate just before our driveway the cement had worn off of and was sharp as heck.....It was good for at least 3-4 tires a week till the city finally fixed it...I guess they got tired of paying for our customers tires....

                    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                    Emiliano Zapata

                    by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:24:54 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  heh, took my son about a week to strip the threads (0+ / 0-)

                out of the head on the spark plug on his first little motorcycle, a little Honda Trail 50.....Easy helicoil job though so no harm no foul and the few weeks he was down until I got to it made him very careful in the future......

                Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
                I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
                Emiliano Zapata

                by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:21:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Oooh that would be nice.. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO, sacrelicious, BYw, Just Bob

              Oh wait, you meant for the car.  

              What?! TMI?

              "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

              by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:32:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  "Chill" that's not a real answer . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas

          The battery is very important to any one who knows what is going on .
          The battery is very much the car .

          The original battery was made by Tesla, the one they'll swap into your car was made by them too; same difference.
          The motor in my car was made by the car company , another motor was also made by the company . If you switch out my motor for another that has more wear , you have now in your hands my better motor and I have your worn motor . Not a good deal for me .
          If I drive into a battery change station with my brand new tesla , with its brand new battery and the battery that is switched out is a battery with 50 thousand miles on it , I've just given a brand new battery for a 50 thousand miles old battery ,and you say "Chill" ?
          That's not going to fly in the real world .
          And now they drive the final nail in the conventional-wisdom's coffin.
          Not so much .
          You might want to think that , but that's not what has happened .

          The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

          by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:47:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ok then , (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          K S LaVida
          Besides, if you are antsy about it, then take the extra 20-40 minutes, use the fast-charge and grab a sandwich and coffee meanwhile.
          the audi wins again .
          The audi gets refilled in 5 minutes and the tesla is at 20-40 ?

          In a real world , the audi wins the speed of refueling test ,
          battery switch or not .

          The audi will use the infrastructures in place ,
          for the tesla to even compete
          it must use infrastructure that isn't in place
          and maybe never will be at anywhere near the same
          saturation .

          Doing a video of the tesla beating the audi re refueling is very misleading . I wish it were true and I hope someday it will be true , but now the audi beats the tesla in refueling .

          The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

          by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:30:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The issue at this point is Mass Psychology. (11+ / 0-)

      Which your comment usefully demonstrates. As you write:

      I'm impressed with Tesla and I believe that as battery technology improves, the point will be reached where there is enough range that the occasional 30-60 minutes at a supercharging station won't be an impediment to the car's adoption.
      The base model is EPA-rated at 208 miles. From my (Nissan Leaf) experience, this means that even under worse-than-average conditions, you can get 150+ miles on the highway before needing a charge. Using the top model, and under average conditions, this becomes 250+ miles.

      If you don't need a half-hour stop (the time of a regular fast-charge) after 250 miles, then you are probably a robot yourself :)

      On a non-road-trip basis, a home-based L2 charge can replenish the entire battery over half a night. So for the vast majority of cars, no one is really talking about constantly swapping out batteries every other day. In other words, the S battery technology is already where it needs to be (although it will most likely keep improving).

      This is really all about changing people's perception of the reality, rather than the reality itself. But in the mass consumer market, perception is the biggest thing. Which is why Musk made such a show of it (besides the pleasure of twisting it into Better Place's Agassi; I'm getting the feeling the two are not the best of pals - tho I might be wrong).

      As to the technical and financial details, I trust Tesla to be careful about both. They have a pretty good track record on that.

  •  The Audi "won" in real life . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    22 gallons in the Audi will get you much farther before the next stop , maybe 500ish miles . The range will be good for any direction , not just good for aiming at the next battery change station .

    The likelihood of finding a battery change station at the proper place along your way is small .

    The battery change station would need to be placed every 200 miles or less in every direction all across the nation for a trip in the Tesla to be really faster .

    The numbers of batteries placed at battery change stations every 200 miles along all major roads in America would add up to a huge number of batteries . There are 121,446 gas stations in USA ...

    I like electric cars , don't get me wrong .

    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

    by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:43:10 AM PDT

    •  Not "won" but "enjoys a huge handicap in the race" (23+ / 0-)

      Audi didn't build these 121,446 gas stations. Big Oil and its government subsidies direct and indirect, did that. Tesla OTOH needs to build its infrastructure (whether fast-charge or battery-swap) from scratch.

      One minor car maker against the entire 100+ year gas-car infrastructure and its supporting econo-political complex - and the fight is already interesting....

      ....so it's way too early to say Audi has "won" IMHO.

      btw, in summer 1998 we almost got stranded on I-70 in Utah, along the (notorious?) 110-mile stretch with no gas stations, in 100-degree weather with a toddler in the back. We arrived at he gas station running literally on fumes, after turning off the AC and letting the car coast in the downhill parts.

      So it's not like gas cars are immune to this; they just enjoy a huge incumbency advantage.

      •  I didn't say audi built the gas stations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        now did I ? Telling me they didn't changes nothing .

        so it's way too early to say Audi has "won" IMHO.
        Real world , right now , the audi won .
        For the foreseeable future , the audi wins in the refueling area . The audi might always win until the gas stations go out of business .
        Trying to say that the tesla is faster because a video was made of a very funny set up that is not showing the reality ,
        gets this electric car supporter to say , Bull !
        So it's not like gas cars are immune to this; they just enjoy a huge incumbency advantage.
        You once almost ran out of gas and that proves what about the speed of recharging / battery changing of the tesla vs refueling the audi ?

        If we are going to do some ,
        what might be comparisons ,
        lets upgrade the gas stations
        to do quick fills ?
        22 gallons of fuel in 10 seconds ?

        The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

        by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:36:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No need to get worked up. The demo's point... (8+ / 0-)

          ...was not to say the S beats gas car on the absolute range-recovery time via the swap.

          That was just for entertainment value.

          The point was that battery-swap enables range-recovery in comparable time to a gas-tank refill.

          Whether one of the other comes out a few minutes ahead, becomes rather moot. It's still a few minutes rather than 30-40 minutes.

          •  Its only "comparable" if (0+ / 0-)

            there are battery change stations ever 200 miles along the road you are driving .
            If there is no battery change station ,
            then you are back to plugging in .
            The audi wins and its not even "comparable" .

            I plug into the charge point charge stations .
            http://www.chargepoint.com/

            What system of charge stations do you use ?

            No need to get worked up.
            Am I yelling ? Am I cursing ?
            What gives you the impression I'm "worked up" ?
            Can I not post what I know without the accusations ?

            The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

            by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:04:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Assaf, BYw

              Just refresh my memory here...

              In 1900, how many gas stations were there across the country compared to livery stables?

            •  No cursing, but quite a bit of attitude ;) (5+ / 0-)

              And also the fact that you've made something like a dozen comments on several threads, most of them with that combative attitude - but without caring to tip or rec the diary.

              As to the actual argument:

              I meant, "Comparable" in the sense that via the battery-swap the S can cover several hundred miles while needing only several minutes for range-recovery.

              No one in their right mind would quibble over whether it is 10 minutes per 500 miles, or 5 minutes or 15 minutes. No one is counting that kind of time when traveling 500 miles on a single day.

              Of course it is limited by swap-point availability.

              This was only the first proof-of-concept demo from Tesla. I thought it was good and interesting news. As of now, >100 site members agree.

              OTOH, repeating over and over that technically right now, a super-long gas-car road-trip is still more convenient than a Tesla S road-trip, is not news. No one has claimed otherwise. They just did a demo.

              •  So you are one of those people who count (0+ / 0-)

                tips and recs ?

                attitude
                lets talk about your attitude . Lets start off with your diary shall we ?
                OTOH, repeating over and over that technically right now, a super-long gas-car road-trip is still more convenient than a Tesla S road-trip, is not news
                Did I say that ? Care to quote me ?
                As of now, >100 site members agree.
                So you do count recs and tips .
                You do know that you can be very very wrong and still get recs and tips right ?
                Or do you believe that tips and recs makes you right ?
                the Tesla S comes with essentially no limitations
                except for the very real and obvious ones .
                Mind you, these are not technological limitations anymore.
                Ok , sure .
                The S technology is as unconstrained as any gas car. And once the S sales have paid for all the national infrastructure and manufacturing know-how, Tesla should have little trouble in rolling out a more affordable EV that will be able to capitalize on all this support.  
                 There are still the same old "problems" . Showing that a battery can be changed on stage doesn't really change that . Switching out batteries is not new . Getting a battery switching system up and running is something that has yet to be shown to be workable in the real world . The gaps between switch out stations is a major hurdle .
                To cover the whole lower 48 states with that system is going to be nearly , if not totally impossible .
                Try doing the math on the number of stations needed to cover the lower 48 . One every 200 miles on all the interstates . That will not cover little towns cities more that 200 miles away .

                The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

                by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:34:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  200 miles isn't enough (0+ / 0-)

              You can't have it such that if a person drives too fast, or misses a station, or makes a wrong turn, or whatnot, that they're dead in the water.  Realistically, I'd say you'd want a bare minimum of every 70 miles or so, if you want people to be able to depend on it.

        •  Although for the right (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO, Assaf, Odysseus

          price I might be very comfortable with a 200-250 range vehicle and renting a car for long trips.  95+% usage is for way less than 200 miles round trip and I won't mind paying for a car for vacation if I am saving $100+ per month of fuel.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:38:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps they could win by bringing back.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, KenBee

        ....actual service stations, with helpful people actually providing service and, I dunno, coffee.

        If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

        by Bensdad on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:58:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we got out of the business when full serve went (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, Just Bob

          away,  We were technicians and service people, not C-Store operators.....

          Here in Az. Exxon sold to a company that actually required us to stop full serve and that was a huge driver for the garage so it became more of a pita with much less profit.

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:33:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, and when they started (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        There were pretty much no gas stations. It took time to extend them out to the rural areas, and there are still many miles between gas stations in many areas.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:05:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grover

        I drive that section four times a year.  There are signs everywhere warning you of the 100 mile gap.  Cars get 250-400 miles per tank.  Just look at your gauge.

        •  Well, we were there only once... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          ... and got on the highway only a couple of miles before that gap.

          We could have planned better, no question.

          My point was, that gas cars don't recharge themselves. Their range isn't infinite, it's just that we are used to their recharge network being very dense.

          Once you have EVs with hundreds of miles of range, plus a couple of ways for them to quickly recover range - the only piece remaining is setting up a reasonable support infrastructure. It's a question of political will and/or economic savvy, that's all. Not a technological one anymore.

          •  There is one EV advantage here (0+ / 0-)

            in this scenario.  Unless you're really out in the boonies, most farmhouses have electricity.  If you mistime when you need to charge, you can always pull over to the nearest farmhouse and ask them if you could pay them to let you charge from a while.  From just a house socket it wouldn't be fast, but it'd be enough to get you to the next proper charging station.

            Run out of gasoline in the middle of nowhere... well I guess you could beg someone if you could siphon out some gas from their car, but I'd expect them to be less receptive to the concept.

    •  I don't see the problem (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat bunny, VTCC73, splashy, BYw, Fiddlegirl

      Seriously, you're making a mountain out of molehills.

      You're worried about having battery changing stations located within 200 miles of each other.

      Compare that to gas stations.  Think about how much gasoline is in underground tanks, and how much trucking is needed to move all those gallons of gas.

      And, just thinking off the top of my head, I can think of 7 gas stations within two miles of my work, with another in the planning stage.

      But you're worried about having a charging station "every 200 miles"?

      •  You misstate / don't understand . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AdamR510

        Pointing out the reality isn't

        making a mountain out of molehills
        You're worried about having battery changing stations located within 200 miles of each other.
        That's not true . Try again .
        Compare that to gas stations.  Think about how much gasoline is in underground tanks, and how much trucking is needed to move all those gallons of gas.
        Whats that got to do with how fast a refill is audi vs tesla ?
        And, just thinking off the top of my head, I can think of 7 gas stations within two miles of my work, with another in the planning stage.
        So ?
        But you're worried about having a charging station "every 200 miles"?
        You have an interesting way , don't you ?

        The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

        by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:58:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Quick question, Indycam... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sanuk, BYw

          Did or did not BOTH Tesla's beat the gas refill?

          (The answer is: "Did").

          Fair is fair.

          •  In real life ? (0+ / 0-)

            No they did not .
            I understand the difference between a staged tape
            and the real world .

            If you are asking did the video show a battery on stage being changed faster than the gas tank in the audi being filled , I'll say sure .

            But you can see that changing a battery on stage doesn't show the reality of driving in the real world .

            If that stage was placed ever 200 miles so that you could use it as you drove from place to place , that would be real world .

            Fair is fair.
            Only if you mix a staged demonstration and exclude the realities of what goes on in the real world .

            The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

            by indycam on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:46:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  the niche is day trips to an important meeting. (10+ / 0-)

    Let's say you live in Deleware on the shore
    about 200 miles away from NYC, and once a week
    you have a client meeting in Northern New Jersey.

    You want to drive up and what with traffic and that sort of thing, you want to drive like heck, at 70 MPH and then
    attend your meeting and drive home in time for dinner
    with the family.

    If you drive real fast to say that last service plaza,
    ( Say Clara Barton or John Fenwick) and you want to do
    a pack swap and keep rolling,  that's a big deal,
    because it knocks 20% off the travel time headed back home.

    Going real long haul, you probably need the break,
    but that day trip where it's time critical?

    Yeah, I can see it.

    •  Good point. Yet another niche. (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sanuk, Ginny in CO
      •  Of course, the green solution is a tele-meeting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO, Odysseus

        If it's a regular meeting, why can't they trust a standard video-conferencing system? They actually need one of the sides to be 6-8 hours on the road every week. What a time and energy waste.

        Or am I missing something? That East Coast culture seems a mystery to me. Watch out, I'm coming over next week!

        •  Videoconferencing is getting bigger over here. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Assaf, Ginny in CO, patbahn, BYw

          But the issue is that there are so many big, old companies headquartered here that take a long, long time to implement any new technologies or ideas. Many of the biggest are 10 years behind current tech.

          As an example? My work laptop is Windows XP still. They're just starting the pilot program to roll out 7. So there's some perspective for you.

          Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything. -Harry S. Truman / -8.00, -6.77

          by Shadowmage36 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:39:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  because you have never done a sales call. (0+ / 0-)

          Ever hear the phrase "The tension was so thick in the room,
          you could cut it with a knife" or "You could smell the fear"
          or "I knew I had him, when i saw the little bead of sweat
          on his forehead"?

          Well none of that ever comes through in a teleconference.

          I will never do an important call with a decision maker
          on the phone or on video.  It works with people you know
          and with a subject you both know, but, if you have to make a deal or sell an individual, you have to be able to see them.

          it's why appeals courts are so deferential to the trial judge
          on credibility, it's why hearings are conducted in person,
          it's why you push for a meeting.

        •  Hardly an east coast thing. (0+ / 0-)

          I can tell you which airlines have early morning and approx 6pm flights from cities from Anchorage to San Diego, so that we can fly out, attend meetings and be home for a late dinner. I can tell you what time those early flights are too.

          Some industries videoconference. And some companies do.

          But it's hardly ubiquitous on the west coast.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:38:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  pitiful corporate wannabe attitude (0+ / 0-)

      "important meeting"

      this is sports-car envy-porn.

      Get a grip.

  •  Are those electric cars so much better ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, Assaf

    It's something I've always thought was a bit strange: to produce a real EV (with the ease of use as a petrol-car) you would need a lot of materials to be found, processed and integrated (many of them rare). The cost of that and the inventing, building and exploiting the infra-structure needed (especially in eco-terms) is immense. Oh yeah, it's all build through a petrol-based economy, which means that creating that has an ecological price. And after that, what to do with those batteries? They are highly pollutive etc. etc.

    Not that I'm against Electric, far from it. We should search for alternative energy-sources. But that also has it's price, which we should talk about. It's a bit like Nuclear: looks good, until you come up close. Then you look again.

    My ex-Father-in-law once told me, when the discussion on the environment started:

    "Look at this earthen mug. We used those in our offices, coffee, tea, yours even with your name on it. Water and soap, next day ready for use. Then, one day, they came with those white plastic cups. 'More eco-friendly', they said. 'It gets recycled' and that would be good for the environment (and of course us, children, grandchildren). But one of those plastic cups takes more energy to create then this earthen mug. Those plastics don't recycle themselves, earthenware does. Do the math and ask yourself 'What's worse: the disease our the cure?".
    Just a thought of caution...

    'We're all flying backwards into the Future'

    by Upie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:49:34 AM PDT

    •  over-cautious? (10+ / 0-)

      I get your point that all new technologies should be given a sober cost-benefit analysis, being sure to include hidden costs. Hard to disagree with that.  I doubt that was done for plastic cups.

      But I don't find your nuclear analogy convincing.  Battery  technology continues to improve, and future batteries are likely to be better and more ecologically correct.  In the Future, it will be technologically trivial to retro-fit battery-swappers to use better types of batteries.

      By contrast, the costs of making nuclear energy safer and better for the environment are huge. Retrofitting existing reactors, even if the technology evolves,  will be expensive or impossible.

      All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

      by YankInUK on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:23:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Lithium-Ion battery is non-toxic. (8+ / 0-)

        The maintenance overhead (oil changes, exhaust and emissions-control fixes, engine fixes, etc. etc.) is drastically lower.

        The manufacturing process is probably powered by the electric grid, which is as clean/dirty as we make it depending upon location. Tesla happens to manufacture in California, whose energy-source mix is rather clean.

        The battery life seems to be on the order of one-half a typical gas engine life; but it is, and will be, improving rather fast.

        Your ex-dad-in-law's allegory is great, but the analogy is poor:

        earthenware mugs (disclaimer: my wife makes stoneware art for a living) have been crafted for over 10,000 years. They are indeed made of earth, fire, toil and ingenuity.

        Can you say the same about internal-combustion technology? If anything, the opposite. Humanity fell in love with it without realizing the cost.

        I'd say: yes, do scrutinize. But don't fall into the trap of making unfair comparisons and buying the crap of professional concern-trolls.

        At this point, the biggest worries about the footprint of alternative technologies, be it EVs or solar panels, are being pushed out by global-warming denialists and other Big Oil funded people.

        By contrast, here's the latest that the Union of Concerned Scientists had to say on the matter.

        •  Sorry, I replied to the another DKos-member, (0+ / 0-)

          didn't look and just pressed a button.

          Still, I would like to present a question on how to generate the necessary power to built and drive those (magnificent) cars. I don't want to make comparisons, I'll just wait and see. But the ultimate problem is how to get some form of energy that's (more or less) portable, easy to get, practical to use and cheap to generate?

          'We're all flying backwards into the Future'

          by Upie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:51:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not sure what you mean. They charge from the grid. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Upie, pat bunny, YankInUK, Just Bob

            Make the grid clean. Wind, solar, responsible hydro. geothermal. etc. etc.

            As to the car-building footprint: to anyone who poses this question, I challenge them to calculate the overall footprint for maintaining the oil economy that eventually brings gas to our pumps.

            Wars, endemic political instability and worse, local degradation and devastation in the extraction regions, refineries, tankers and their spills, etc. etc.

            After they've done that, compare it to the EV overhead.

            This is not personally to you, of course. Just to demo the hollowness of this argument.

        •  absolute nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          Lithium is not a friendly material. Where on earth did you get that idea?

          •  Where did you get the idea that it isn't? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee

            Have you ever drank mineral water?  Many have a fair concentration of lithium salts in then ("lithia water").  For example, if you drink from the fountain at Ashland, Oregon's "Lithia Park" that people go to for its reported health benefits, that's lithia water.  Lithia water is even sold commercially, again, as a health drink.  Drink too much lithium salts, you know what will happen to you?  You'll feel relaxed.  Lithium salts are used as a mood stabilizer for people with bipolar disorder.  The LD50 for lithium carbonate (the most common lithium salt) in rats is a whopping 525mg/kg.

            It's amazing how FUD like "lithium is dangerous" gets spread around.  People will believe almost anything that fits their preconceived paradigms (such as "new technology is more dangerous than older technology") without fact-checking.

      •  I'm not overly cautious, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        because I realize we're all flowing on the river of progress ;-)

        My problem is the energy you'll need to make and, more importantly, the natural resources it takes.

        'Battery-power' is stored power i.e. power generated by any means and then locked for later use. Unless we find a way to lock 'electricity' in the same way as 'petrol' does, it's a long road.

        The real problem is how to get 'power'. Coal, oil, gas, solar, wind and nuclear, do I need to get on. Those cars need translated 'power' to go anywhere or even to be made. Nuclear is going to be used, wether we like it or not, because of the need. So, don't shut out Nuclear. With more study and less fear, it could work (especially fusion).

        'We're all flying backwards into the Future'

        by Upie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:42:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the nuclear option (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee

          A full discussion of the pros/cons of nuclear is beyond the scope of this diary and is a tad off-topic.  We should not let our fear nuclear blind us to its possibilities, and it deserves further study.

          EVs would become even more viable if we could fill the grid with cheap, safe atomic power.  But should we be building more reactors right now, using current technologies?  I say no. Our investment is better spent placing a bunch of little bets on alternatives, with the hope that one of those produces an unanticipated breakthrough.

          I'm not fundamentally against nuclear.  I find David MacKay's calculations (Sustainable Energy--Without the Hot Air) pragmatic and convincing.   I wonder, however,  if he has given adequate consideration to future technological advances.

          All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

          by YankInUK on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:19:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  this speculation is built in in EV comment threads (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob

            as if the commenter had never thought of the problem before, and how could EV's be successful without all these awful power plants and their pollution and on and on.

            And among those commenters is of course the good people that do want to generally and sincerely discuss the power sources, the trolls always try to tip the discussion in this way, and the only benefits is that these libertarian/petro/wall street/industry trolls have to keep repeating occasional good information as their disguise...but eventually the whole understanding shifts, they are losing, this is the future, they are only trying to get paid.

            ..and I have no accusations against any particular commenter at dkos, I am seeing this widely on Yahoo threads and elsewhere on the topic.

            This machine kills Fascists.

            by KenBee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:16:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Old argument. (0+ / 0-)
      : to produce a real EV (with the ease of use as a petrol-car) you would need a lot of materials to be found, processed and integrated (many of them rare)
      Same applies to a gasoline car.  And a car like the model S actually uses less "rare" elements than a gasoline car.  Lithium, for example, is not a particularly rare element, being found in vast quantities in certain salt flats and essentially limitless quantities in the ocean.  Platinum, on the other hand, used in catalytic converters, most definitely is rare.

      Oh, and if you were trying to talk about rare earth magnets: "rare" earths aren't actually super-rare, and the Model S doesn't use them, relying instead on an AC-induction drivetrain (aluminum).

      The cost of that and the inventing, building and exploiting the infra-structure needed (especially in eco-terms) is immense.
      One, infrastructure is constantly wearing out and being replaced.  You have to be building "inventing, building, and exploiting" something; might as well have it be as clean of a "something" as you can get.

      Two, the environmental cost of the construction of vehicles and infrastructure is nowhere close to the environmental cost of powering them.  Here's a thought experiment for you.  Average car weighs, say, 2500 pounds, gets, say, 25mpg and is driven something like 12.5k miles per year.  That's 500 gallons of gasoline per year - 3000 pounds.  Your average car burns more than its weight in gasoline every year.  That car won't hit the scrapheap for decades, and when it does, most of it will be recycled.  And do we even need to go into all of what has to happen in order to turn hydrocarbons deep in the Earth into refined fuel in your tank?

      They are highly pollutive etc. etc.
      No, they are not.  This is a myth, which persists back from the days when the main choices of batteries - lead-acid and nickel-cadmium - actually were.  This is no longer the case.  Lithium salts are found naturally in mineral waters.  The electrolytes contain no heavy metals and are generally so non-toxic that one manufacturer even shows off by having its CEO drink it.  The most toxic component of a conventional lithium-ion battery (which isn't all that toxic), the cobalt in the cathode, doesn't exist in most types of li-ion batteries used in cars (they generally use a phosphate or manganese chemistry instead).  And to top it all off, the batteries are recycleable.

      On the other hand, your internal combustion vehicle still uses a lead-acid battery.  A single lead-acid battery represents a much greater health hazard than all the batteries combined in a Model S. (thankfully, they too are generally recycled!)

  •  Recap: Tesla Motors was ignored, then laughed at, (13+ / 0-)

    & is now being fought.

    Coming soon: a win.

    Great news; thanks for posting.

    It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

    by Leftcandid on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:51:50 AM PDT

  •  coming soon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, Ginny in CO

    Virginia, Washington, and Nebraska will figure out a way to tax this new technology.

    All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

    by YankInUK on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:05:28 AM PDT

    •  I can see this... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, grover, buddabelly

      Tesla puts just as much wear on the road as a regular car, so the states need to figure out how to collect excise tax to continue to maintain the roads.  States collect this through fuel tax.  Tesla is by-passing this tax.

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:48:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It has been a problem under consideration (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RichM

        for awhile. IIRC the LP vehicles are also a part of this, as are those converted to burn used vegetable oils. The increase in electric vehicles is adding to the total percent. Given current budgets, even a small percent that will grow steadily, is a problem.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:38:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not a trivial problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RichM, Ginny in CO, Assaf

        Supporting road maintenance via taxes is necessary. Can we find a tax structure that doesn't appear to be "punishing" users of EVs/hybrids for producing less CO2?  Is there a carbon tax structure that is fair and progressive?  EVs have a smaller carbon footprint, but it is not zero.

        License fees don't account for the degree of usage, and if apply we the tax via odometer readings, gas-guzzlers pay the same as eco-cars. We may indeed end up with a situation whereby the energy at the Tesla charging stations is "free forever"--except for the tax.

        All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

        by YankInUK on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:18:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cars do not destroy roads. Semis do. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, YankInUK, Just Bob

        DOT.gov: What Can Be Done to Enhance HVUT Revenues?

        The need for road surface maintenance is greatly attributable to the heaviest vehicles. Based on the findings of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) road test, damage caused by heavy trucks was long thought to increase with approximately the fourth power of the axle load. This means that one axle of 10 tons on a heavy truck was 160,000 times more damaging to a road surface than an axle of 0.5 tons (car scale).

        In recent years, however, it was determined that the relationship between axle weights and pavement damage is complex and varies based on numerous variables, including environmental factors, type of terrain and roadway design. The National Pavement Cost Model (NAPCOM), which is the pavement model currently used by FHWA, estimates that for some types of pavement deterioration, doubling the axle load causes 15 to 20 times as much damage; for other types of deterioration, doubling the load only doubles the damage.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:35:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Link please. (8+ / 0-)
    Also, that fast-charge is notorious for frying the battery and shortening its life
    [Ovidiu Sandru]: Does the Supercharger employ a charging strategy that minimizes battery wear (like pulsed charging)? We’ve been hearing of how lithium dendrites form and destroy batteries lately, and it’d be reassuring for our readers and your pontential first-time EV adopters to know this. I know battery faults are covered by warranty, but it’s still an important point.

    Elon: Our Supercharger computer is in constant communication with the car’s battery computer and continuously adjusting the power input to ensure that the battery is able to take the maximum power rate without damage. They have to dance a tight tango to make this work, which is part of why it isn’t something that any random electric car can use. Supercharger use does not affect the warranty.

    Interview
    •  I guess I might stand corrected... in any case, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdamR510, Leftcandid

      Tesla is covering supercharger under warranty, as another commenter wrote. I will just strike-thru that text in the diary.

      •  This actually answers the other question... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Assaf

        Another commenter asked about getting his battery back.  A darned good question with possible answers of 'retrieve it with some additional logistical cost plus likely cost of storage, etc., for the facility' and 'no worries because Tesla warranties all batteries'.  

        Tesla has made statements effectively letting any non-purposely-destructive actions (IE normal usage like battery swapping, driving ya stole it, supercharging, etc) work under the warranty.  They are that confident in their battery tech and maintenance.

  •  Good diary.. (8+ / 0-)

    Tipped and rec'd.

    A few things:

    Consumer reports actually gave Tesla a rating higher than 100, but backed it down because it was an EV.  

    You state:

    But some people might be in a hurry. Also, that fast-charge is notorious for frying the battery and shortening its life, so if you do it often it will end up costing you.
    I don't believe this is the case.  I believe Tesla has lifetime replacement of batteries for everything short of direct damage (such as a crash).  Even if you hook it up to the wrong power source, they guarantee to replace the batteries.

    Tesla is leasing its technology to other car companies who are smart enough to see the fossil fuel EOL - this includes Toyota - it's no wonder Toyota is helping with the manufacturing process.

    I am blown away by this demo.  I've read a lot on this care and I always believed that the battery pack was fundamental to the car's chassis.  But they thought of everything.  And made it easily replaceable on purpose.  A true stroke of genius in a car that is filled with genius.

    'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

    by RichM on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 11:36:12 AM PDT

    •  You R right. Battery might be fried by fast-charge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM

      But Tesla will cover all damages. I forgot that.

      Well, that's the kind of stuff a maker can afford when selling luxury cars.

      •  might? MIGHT??? (0+ / 0-)

        does anyone here bother to read the core technology, or is everyone here an arts major, lawyer, MBA?

        Whoever thought that STEM education was suffering apparently doesn't know the extent of the problem.

        Li-ion batteries need a very specific re-charging profile to last, and to be non-dangerous.

        Poetry and art, business, finance all have a place, but for chrissakes if we're (some of us anyway) are going to have Tesla/Musk love-ins please at least try to look at "the Google" for a basic grounding in reality.

        Elon would be so proud of you

        http://www.digikey.com/...

        •  Or instead of just googling the word (0+ / 0-)

          "li-ion", actually learn about what you're talking about first.

          First off, for most EVs, "li-ion" doesn't even mean the same thing.  It's not the same chemistry as is found in cell phones and the like - most use a non-cobalt chemistry, which is a lot more stable.  Some of the high-ends of these varieties are almost ridiculous in the level of punishment they can take - I've read threads on RC forums from people deliberately abusing their cells beyond measure (full charges and discharges in a matter of a couple minutes, repeated discharges down to zero volts, letting the cells get burning-hot, doing physical damage, etc) and it's amazing how resilient they are.

          Now, in this case, we actually are talking about the same general chemistry as is used in laptops and cell phones.  Tesla is unusual in that they actually use standard 18650 laptop cells for their packs.  But how they treat them is very different and is what leads to their different levels of longevity and how they can stand to be treated.

          In a laptop, you've got a chain of a few 18650s end to end.  There's no climate control - quite to the contrary, they're not only generally completely sealed, but even situated right next to a burning hot processor.  There's also no cell balancing of any kind - a defective cell will ruin the whole chain.  Charge and discharge monitoring is rather rudimentary, and the cells are generally allowed to charge fully and discharge fully or near fully.

          First, the last element.  Not only does Tesla (and all EV manufacturers) enforce a longevity-maximizing charge/discharge profile, but typical EV use does as well.  Rarely do people do a deep discharge of their packs.  Most drives are quite shallow discharges.  So people are being very gentle on their packs in typical discharge usage.  Charging, too, is generally over a long period of time.   So when you're talking about fast charging, that's an exception to the rule of in general completely babying the pack.

          Note also that 45 minutes or so charging isn't that extreme.  There are plenty of home appliances nowadays that charge faster than that.

          But back to the design.  At the most basic level is the "brick".  In the case of the roadster, a brick consists of 69 18650 cells, sealed to prevent failure propagations from leading to a catastrophic failure.  The cells are not in series but parallel.  In the failure of one cell, the others simply take up the slack.  It requires an awful lot of failures per brick to have an impact on its performance.  This also makes charging a lot safer.  A higher internal resistance, instead of leading to charge heating, simply leads to less of the current being routed through the cell.

          In the Roadster, 9 bricks are then combined in series into a "module".  Each module monitors the performance of its bricks.  11 modules are in turn linked into a "pack".  The pack can keep track of and balance charge between all of the different bricks in the system, including handling failures.

          Of course, this isn't all that's done.  One of the most key aspects is climate control.  Rather than cells just heating up and heating up until they reach radiative equilibrium (as what happens when you try to fast charge, say, a laptop batter pack), the Tesla packs are climate controlled, both for during operation and during charging.  They're even climate controlled when the vehicle is just sitting outside in the sun if it gets too hot (an early bug in this system on the Roadster led to excessive power waste when the vehicle was sitting idle, but it was quickly remedied).  At no time are the cells allowed to get to a temperature that allows rapid degradation of performance or risk of fire.

          It would have been an awful lot easier for Tesla had they simply been using an easier li-ion chemistry.  But there were a couple reasons for their decision.  One, they started early - at the time, these alternate chemistries weren't widely available and were significantly more expensive.  Now they have spent a lot of research developing and optimizing their current technology, and at the present, it only makes sense to continue using it.  And two, they get higher energy densities, and thus more range.  Also benefitting them is that 18650 cells have themselves been advancing quite a bit, and not only in terms of energy density, but also safety, power density (charge / discharge rates), and longevity.

          Anyway, what's the moral of this story?

          1) Just googling for the word "li-ion" doesn't make you an expert on the subject.  Heck, I'm far from an expert on the subject, but at least I know this much.

          2) Batteries, like everything else, are designed to meet whatever expected use case they're going to be exposed to, nothing more.  If you're only expected to use your cell phone or laptop for a couple of years and only charging at regular speeds with a stock charger, etc, why would they expend great resources engineering a battery to do otherwise (in turn making the battery heavier and more expensive)?  It has nothing to do with li-ion chemistries themselves, just basic common sense here.  Nobody is going to put an elaborate climate control system in your cell phone to make its battery last 10 years.  Nobody is going to make an intricate cell balancing system for your i-Pod to make it be able to rapid-charge.  It'd be stupid.

  •  Here some more excellent EV news: (12+ / 0-)

    Consumer Reports gives a glowing initial look at the new Chevy Spark EV (which, unfortunately, will only be available in California & Oregon at first):

    First drive: The Chevrolet Spark EV shocks us

    The Spark EV is General Motors' entry in the crucial California market to meet that state's Zero Emissions Vehicle requirement. But it's also one of the most enjoyable electric cars we've driven and a compelling overall package.

    Turning the diminutive Spark into an EV transforms it into a punchy, zippy, fun little runabout...

    The Spark goes on sale this summer in only California and Oregon for $27,495. But it is eligible for $10,000 worth of tax credits in California or $8,250 in Oregon. The Spark EV can also be leased for $99 down and $199 a month for three years (which includes the tax credits; you don't get them separately).

    We think the Spark EV is by far the best version of this car, and it has the potential to appeal to others interested in electric vehicles beyond California and Oregon.

    Meanwhile, here in the Metro Detroit area, I've seen about a dozen Chevy Volts driving around in the past week. One of my neighbors has one, I just saw a Volt at the bank a couple of hours ago.

    For all the official sales figures being bandied about, the secret weapon of the Volt (and I would imagine other EVs) is how many of them are being leased. My guess is that leases are going to far outweigh outright sales for a few years, which is fine.

  •  When was it conventional wisdom to poke fun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Wizard, KenBee

    at Tesla?

    I don't remember anything of the sort.
    Ever.

    If anything, conventional wisdom is that Tesla is doing a bang-up job and putting out some very interesting cars.

    Even when all they were selling were more or less much heavier Lotus Elises.

    There will always be critics, of course, but Tesla's always gotten pretty good press.  

    Unless you consider it somehow unfair to point out that electric cars start out with an infrastructure disadvantage and that new American car companies prior to Tesla have a 100% failure rate in the last 50 years or so.

    OK -- it's true that a few reviewers had the temerity to mention that added weight is the enemy of sports cars, but most of the reviews I read on the roadster were quite positive.  As to the S,  even Consumer Reports is gushing.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:08:27 PM PDT

  •  I live in Maine & drive an AWD Subaru Legacy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman, Assaf, KenBee

    My commute to work is about ten miles each way, and church is only five miles away, so an EV is something I think about a lot.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the drive and the weather), whenever I need to go anywhere other than work or around town, I can count on a pretty long drive.

    It would be cool if turnpike rest areas and the like will be part of the swappable battery infrastructure

    When EVs become more affordable for the likes of me, I will be looking even closely at them than I already am.  Sure hope they have an AWD (or 4WD) model in the pipeline!

    •  It is definitely not for everyone, right now. But. (0+ / 0-)

      the number of people for whom EVs or PHEVs could be a great solution right now (in usage and $$ terms), is far greater than the number actually considering it.

      In other words, it's still a battle over hearts and minds.

      When you next need to buy a car, I hope you will find affordable plug-in hybrids that suit your needs. Or maybe even the EV infrastructure would be good enough by then!

  •  I'd really like a "very mild" hybrid version (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    Battery swap is a great idea if it can be pulled off.  But I worry about availability in the boonies.  Living in New England, I sometimes drive into nowhereland, and it will be a long time before they get charge points, let alone battery swap.

    But then I've heard that the typical car only uses an average of 12 horsepower while driving.  It needs lots more for acceleration, hill climbing, and peak use, but then it cruises on very little power.  Batteries are great for that.  

    So what if a car was a plug-in electric but also carried a backup generator of its own?  Honda makes a 10HP engine that weighs 69 pounds.  While obviously that's not a partner for Tesla (a Toyota partner), somebody's engine in that range, coupled with a generator (about 6 kW) and a smalll gas tank (maybe 6 gallons, under 50 pounds of fuel) could charge the battery in a pinch. It would not sustain pure-generator driving (it would want to be plugged in normally), but it would be like the regular home charger when parked, and help sustain the range when the car is running.  Adding about 200 pounds to the whole load would not be tragic, and it might allow a smaller battery (cheaper, lighter) to suffice.

    With something like that, I'd be willing to drive an electric car into the hills of Vermont or upstate NY. With a pure plug-in, uh-uh.

    •  There are plug-in hybrids, as well as range-extend (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      EVs.

      The former are bona fide dual-motor hybrids (electric and gas) that can also charge from the grid.

      In the latter, there's a smaller combustion engine that is used only as a generator to charge the EV motor (which is the only one that can move the car). Perhaps that is what you mean. I don't thing.

      There are plenty of PHEV (most famously the Volt and the Plug-in Prius), but RHEVs are still in their infancy in mass-market terms. This article predicts a rosy future for them, however.

    •  Several comments. (0+ / 0-)

      1) An engine is not a generator.  It's a major component of a generator, of course, but it's not a complete system.  A full 7kw (~10hp) generator is several hundred pounds.

      2) 7kW will only cruise you in a Model S at about 35mph.  To cruise at 70mph steady, you need 22.7kW.  80mph takes 30.4kw.

      3) Do you really want to be planning for a best case scenario, or a worst?  What about when you're going from lowlands to highlands in the winter, for example?

      These things are the reason that, for example, the Volt has a 55kW generator.  It's not that it runs all the time at 55kW - far, far from it.  It's just planning for the worst.

      Now, here's a better thought for you: instead of sticking the generator in the car, why not simply put it on a trailer that you can tow when you want it and leave behind when you don't?  Own it, rent it, share it with your friends, whatever you want; a single one could serve dozens, and you'd only have it with you when you needed it.

      This is the "genset trailer" concept, and I think it makes an awful lot of sense,.

      •  It's not that heavy (0+ / 0-)

        While the engine is 69 lb, Honda sells a portable generator set rated at 6500 watts that weighs 189 pounds.  With wheels and a fuel tank included.  Neodymium magnets do reduce the weight compared to iron; I suspect Honda uses them.

        The goal is not to cruise on gas.  It's to not get stuck in the sticks.  So you can let it recharge itself while eating lunch in Brattleboro.  It's not the Volt's very nice mo-gen hybrid combo, which is heavier and costlier.  More like a spare tire.

        •  Precisely. (0+ / 0-)

          That's slightly less than the kw capacity that I quoted.  Now adapt it for automotive use, which means tigher pollution controls, heavy sound / vibration damping, route cooling and exhaust, and on and on.  All in all it's not a light little item to add to a vehicle, nor is it as easy as one might at first think.

          As for "not getting stuck in the sticks", even in most parts of the "sticks" there are farmhouses with 120V sockets.

  •  If I ever won the lottery, that would be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    the car I buy.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:32:23 PM PDT

  •  This is a game changer! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdamR510, Assaf

    It obliterates the whole concept that environmental protection will cause an inconvenience, those onerous "regulations" that Boehner complains about in another diary today.

    It even obliterates the idea that environment protection will cost more. That Audi driver put $100 worth of gas in the car, and it took him a longer period of time to do it. The Model S can be charged for free, or more quickly at a price that should be much cheaper than the gasoline.

    Yes, the Tesla is expensive, but a large part of that price is the battery pack. If the Model S came without a battery installed, and the batteries were just rented or leased by independent battery companies, the initial cost would be much less.

    And is this the end of the technological development? Is this the best it can be? Hell no.

    The future is here.

    •  agree and note your name.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf, offgrid

      I'm glad we are talking about the Tesla. We have to spread the word about this technology so the Boehners of the world don't have a leg to stand on.

      Or rather, they don't appear to Have a leg to stand on/a legitimate point to people who don't know about what's going on with electric vehicles now. He already doesn't have a leg to stand on.

    •  charged for free? Fantastic (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't know that the era of free power had arrived.

      So great to know that someone's giving away power (or solar cells etc.).

      Now, if I could just figure out where those free solar-cells are being given away.

      If some people can get electricity really for free, why is is that there are people who DIE IN WINTER because they can't afford electricity (in apartments) in winter?

      Produce data to support your assertion that "a large part of tesla cost is battery" (while you're about that the address for free power would come in handy)

  •  This is the future (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    If we are not all driving EVs then the future is mighty bleak as this is the best way to get to sustainability for personal transportation. These breakthroughs will be keenly remembered. Now lets get behind innovations like this in EVs and lets get behind moving our power grids to sustainable sources, rapidly. The Tesslas, the Leaf, the FIT EV, the Chevy Spark EV, and others all give us choices, but the ultimate choice is for survival and we have been just given this technology on a silver platter along with large wind turbines and cheap Solar. We must insist that these are the technologies that prevail and are not squashed in the marketplace because a few troglodytes want to protect the status quo. It's time to price externalities in fossil fuels. That externality is the entire cost of transitioning out of the Fossil Fuel Era and into the Sustainability Era and  the cost of remediation of the damage to the environment from burning fossil fuels.

  •  'How much do we spend on gas?' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, Just Bob

    her: about $160

    me:'so if a new EV is no down, $259/mo lease, and we could be driving a new Honda EV for $100/mo plus $20 for electricity.'

    me: ' you awake?'
    'mmm'

    me again: 'so when the transmission finally smokes itself to a stop, what would we do?'

    her:'that's silly, lease the Honda, now go to sleep dammit!'

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:58:40 PM PDT

    •  Hahaha, now all u need to do is smoke up that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Just Bob

      ...transmission already!!!

      Good luck :)

      •  no hills! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Assaf

        at 300k miles, we go up a hill slowly and only if really necessary!

        actually I am nuts enough o keep it and convert it, kits are made for it, but the body and parts problems make it not the greatest candidate carcass wise...93 honda civic.

        My wife is the CarKilla, I am the night crawler..'cmon you old fart!!!' yells the wife beater clad pu truck driver racing me to the red light.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:27:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just a general warning for EV conversions: (0+ / 0-)

          They're generally a LOT harder than you'd expect to do right, and their resale value is generally pathetic (most people don't trust home-converted EVs, they're often lacking, and the source cars are generally not that great to begin with)

  •  What would really kick things up a notch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdamR510, Assaf

    will be as the Model S ages, how well does it hold up?  The fact that it's a much simpler car than internal combustion ones should begin to show dividends, and people who can't afford a new Model S may be able to afford used ones well before Tesla unveils its mass-market car.

    "She's terse - I can be terse. Once, in flight school, I was laconic." -Wash

    by Troubadour on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:42:38 PM PDT

    •  What's to go wrong? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Troubadour, Just Bob, Assaf

      Replace the battery pack. Nothing else. Simple. Elegant. The S is without question a "game-changer".

      •  Funny that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Assaf

        ...years down the road when it becomes necessary to get a new battery pack it will take just 90 seconds.

        I think it's funny anyway.

      •  Well, it does have steering and tires (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, Assaf

        There are many of the usual items -- steering column, tires.  There is also the big center console which likely has the lifetime of a computer.

        Stuff might need to be dropped in after 10 years or so.  Same stuff that happens in regular cars.

        Tires and shocks are still there.  Windshield, wipers, windows, hatch, etc.  

        But the drive-train should be very low maintenance.  

        •  I wonder how much of a power drain (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Assaf

          the heater and A/C are. Must be at least 25%. Still, not having an engine and drivetrain (including differentials, pumps, belts, timers, hoses, various fluids and their systems, etc.) must make things MUCH easier to maintain and fix.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:55:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both have been measured and aren't tooo bad (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, Assaf

            There is some power drain for the 'always' on nature of the car and the battery pack cooling/heating.  About 3%, I think.  Heating and cooling have an 'eco' mode but I don't think really required -- cooling is a few percent as well.  Heating can be brutal tho because the batteries lose some capacity in cold and the car has some mass.  

            Keep in mind the 265 mile EPA is the 5-cycle test which includes heating, cooling and mixture of speeds.  The Leaf has sub 100 mile EPA estimate for the 5-cycle test.

            Going 70mph instead of 65mph will eat as much energy as sub freezing temperatures vs non using the heat at all.  Wind resistance is brutal for mileage.  

            •  The power remains the same, but the range drops. (0+ / 0-)

              Using the AC or heating fan will eat up some 20% of the range on the Leaf. Speaking from firsthand experience. And irritatingly enough, on rainy chilly weather the windshield fogs up really fast, so you will need at the very least to turn the fan on and off intermittently. It dose have heated seats, though, which saves some energy - you don't have to have the fan constantly on to remain comfortable, as long as you can see through that dang windshield :)

              The fan effect is the main reason for the gap between Nissan's and EPA's range estimates. Plus the fact that the 2013 estimates are based on 90% battery b/c Nissan recommends charging to 100% only on special occasions and 80% the rest of the time. I don't know what the other makers tell their users.

              Ambitious acceleration is actually estimated at costing only 10% or so. Similarly for high speeds.

  •  Tesla is an exciting company (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdamR510, Just Bob, Assaf

    glad to keep abreast on what they are doing as they push the envelope.
    I'm not one that can afford a Tesla but don't mind...price will come down on their technology, as some have said.

    I know someone (brother of a friend) who bought one of these a few months ago. It's surreal to open the hood and see a blank storage space(!) where the engine would go! I had the opportunity for a ride (not a drive, unfortunately)-it rides so Quiet.

    I know this guy doesn't make a ton of money, though he's comfortable (he only supports himself, works in IT but in a nonprofit). He saved up for it because it was a priority expense for him.

  •  wow a changeable battery (0+ / 0-)

    hold the press. A battery you can swap.

    oh wait .. . . not amazing. I swapped my tractor battery last summer in under 2 minutes.

    Color me "not amazed". is there anything about Tesla that the swarming hordes of sycophants won't post as "amazin"?

    Rabbit out of a hat? U srs 'bout that?

  •  We're just waiting for critical mass (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf, KenBee

    Put enough electric vehicles on the road, and eventually there will be enough momentum driving the market that it will be unstoppable - something the enemies of electric vehicles are very aware of. Numbers will bring down prices from manufacturing in volume and as more suppliers of components get into the game.

    And if battery technology keeps improving, trading up to a better battery will be almost like getting a new car. Plus, electric cars should have a better service life. They don't have the same wear issues as an internal combustion engine and power train.

    Just for fun, here's what you get if you take an old Datsun, rip out the the engine and transmission, and put in high capacity batteries with an electric motor: White Zombie

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:54:50 PM PDT

  •  What about a really long extension cord? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    Or maybe using the rotation of the wheels to recharge the battery?

    --R. Goldberg

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:38:31 PM PDT

  •  Heh, called it. =) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    Turns out I did point out the battery is swappable back in November.  

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    •  Right, it was acknowledged, but the CW was: now... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that Better Place has one bust, no one will dare talk about battery swapping for a long while.

      The perfect CW for someone like Elon Musk to challenge.

      That said, if they have any brains (and seems like they do :) they will not implement it in more than 2-4 locations initially. Then they will decide whether to expand based on demand and on their ability to reduce the thing's overhead costs.

      What sunk Better Place (beyond a gazzillion other errors they made along the way) was the amazingly stupid contention that in order to be viable, they must first have a full national network in Israel before any sizable number of switchable-battery EVs hit the road. And they also built a partial network in Denmark simultaneously, also with hardly any cars on the road - just to make sure they burn enough cash.

      The stations cost some 4x-8x more than planned, and their cash reserves went almost overnight from several years to a couple of months. Knock-out.

  •  Fast swap has always been the way to go. (0+ / 0-)

    It might not have been achievable at first, but it has to be the destiny of the Teslas, and maybe most EV cars in the future.

    Here's how it SHOULD be done, I think.

    1. All Tesla batteries should be swappable.  A standard should be designed and stuck to.

    2. Gas stations, particularly those in out of the way places, should be encouraged, perhaps with payments, to be Tesla battery swappers.  If anybody comes in with a Tesla battery, even if it's not in a car, they swap it out for a set fee.  

    3. The stations could recharge them, PERHAPS, but it might be better to just have a Tesla rep pick them up and replace them.  It makes it easier for them to look for obvious damage before it is recharged and reissued.  

    4. Owners should have some kind of cheap swap-out insurance plan available through Tesla which reimburses them if a swap-out ever damages their car electrical system.

  •  But, but, it's made in Finland! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Assaf

    Faux News told me so, so I know it's true! That means that it's a SOSHULIST DEVIL-COMMIE IDEA!! BURN THE SOCIALISTS!!!one!!

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:06:47 AM PDT

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