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Tesla Motors Is Delivering Cars

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the year-late-but-hey dept.

Transportation 520

jamie found the news that Tesla Motors is delivering roadsters in California. (We've been following developments on the Tesla front for a couple of years now.) According to a letter from the CEO, "9 production Roadsters have arrived in California, another 3 arrive this weekend, and they will keep arriving at the rate of 4 per week... In fact, currently there are 27 Roadsters in various stages of assembly." The early owners must be proud, but there could be complications.

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Title (3, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178911)

Erm, the title has an error.

Now only if... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178945)

Great, they are being delivered.

Now, only if other people besides
the "elite" can get their names on
a list to be eligible to buy one of
these things at some distant time
in the future for a price less than
that teaser price of $100k.

I would love to be a:
Signed-Up-Future-Tesla-Owner
but they will have to get their act
in gear (all pun intended) to become
viable before another...

Who Killed the Electric Car? [wikipedia.org]

-AI

Re:Now only if... (4, Interesting)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179069)

don't blame them. Blame GM, Ford, VW, BMW, PSA, Toyota. I don't find it surprising that, all of a sudden, various car-makers are developping electric cars and fuel-cell cars, ... why couldn't they do that 10 years ago? I am waiting for those a long time now.

Re:Now only if... (4, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179167)

Blame GM, Ford, VW, BMW, PSA, Toyota. I don't find it surprising that, all of a sudden, various car-makers are developping electric cars and fuel-cell cars, ... why couldn't they do that 10 years ago? I am waiting for those a long time now.

They did occasionally but as long as petrol was cheap, there was not very much demand. Also, the car industry is a very conservative one which rarely tries something dramatically new. Most of them would rather wait for the competition to take the risk, and then copy the idea if it worked.

The last such attempt was Toyota releasing the Prius, which was a success. Now, various car makes have released hybrids or are working on them (which confirms the wait and copy attitude).

On the positive side, I think introducing hybrid technology is a breakthrough because it allows the industry to make progress in its traditional way of little steps. The "plug-in hybrid" is one of those:
Make the batteries larger and add a charger - nothing spectacular and risky here ;-)

Re:Now only if... (2, Insightful)

xalorous (883991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179451)

Big Oil has been buying and burying patents for 50 years. So the "why haven't we seen cheap, ultra-efficient cars?" question is answered by, "BIG OIL wants it that way."

PENIS PENIS HAHAHAHAHAHA PENIS!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179453)

schlong cock penis wang dick unit and BALLS

Re:PENIS PENIS HAHAHAHAHAHA PENIS!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179483)

schlong cock penis wang dick unit and BALLS

Who needs a thesaurus when we have our friendly anonymous cowards to help us out in our time of need. Many thanks, woody.

Re:Now only if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179517)

Release Order was Honda Insight then the Prius. Honda took the leap, Toyota improved the concept.

Re:Now only if... (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179199)

Because sometimes when they try something new and exciting they get the Edsel [wikipedia.org]

as pogo said... (1, Interesting)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179365)

we have met the enemy, and he is us;-}

the pp is obviously a product of our marxist-infiltrated public school system, parroting the party line of blaming business, when in reality (also obviously foreign to the aptly-named p-red;-) people demanded gas-guzzlers...

some-1 mentioned the edsel: proof-positive that the evil car marketeers can make us buy things we don't want or need;-}

marxism? 'Reds'? wtf? (1)

xalorous (883991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179475)

proof-positive that the evil car marketeers can make us buy things we don't want or need;-}

I'm going to assume you were being sarcastic since the Edsel didn't sell enough to get off the ground. I know people like you. It is true, even paranoiacs have enemies. Usually the rest of us just get pissed off at the "They're out to get me" BS.

Re:Title (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178953)

Apparently tagging it with the word "typo" will alert them to the mistakes. Yet 50million comments wont.

Re:Title (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179131)

Who's "them"? AFAIK, Slashdot replaced its "editors" with a very small shell script back in 2002.

Re:Title (2, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179141)

You don't talk about "them", especially now that they've got a weapon that can penetrate the trusty tinfoil hat.

Re:Title (1)

cailith1970 (1325195) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178955)

Anyway, back on topic.

This is good stuff. It's the early adopters that push the technology along, making it accessible for the rest of us (one day). I would LOVE an electric car, if the problems of range, battery life and recharging time can be (are?) solved practically. As the price of fuel continues to rise, these sorts of technologies start to become more cost effective.

Re:Title (0, Troll)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179103)

Indistinguishable from sarcasm.

Re:Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178965)

You must be new here. The so called editors don't give a shit.

Re:Title (1, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178971)

It's a CAPTPHA - "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Pedants and Humans Apart".

Re:Title (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178989)

Erm, the title has an error.

Quite uncommon on Salshdot...

Re:Title (3, Funny)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179025)

No no, Telsa Motors is a rival company that makes cars powered by magnetic slinkeys.

Re:Title (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179319)

Combined with Jacob's ladder technology, I think you just invented Free Energy! Have a gazillion dollars!

Broken link (1)

Mortice (467747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178913)

The summary's second link is to http://tech.slashdot.org/hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/05/151234

I don't think that will work. :)

It's not a real Tesla (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178921)

..until it's ion-propelled, RADAR navigated, coming complete with a charged particle beam and a death ray [wikipedia.org] as standard safety features against enemy vehicles (eg: anyone who dares to race you at the traffic lights).

Re:It's not a real Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178977)

Oh, and an earthquake machine [wikipedia.org] for moving the bastards who park in MY spot (it's the one right beside the entrance to the store, JSYK).

What's Going On Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178925)

I'm sorry, did the "editor" actually do any "editing" on this write-up before posting it? I THINK NOT.

Re:What's Going On Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178949)

You must be new here.

Re:What's Going On Here? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178961)

What do you mean? I've seen that guy posting all the way back in 1997.

Re:What's Going On Here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179011)

Ok, he/she have been having a seniors' dementia moment, then. It's still like being new here.

Already Saw One! (1)

blackirish (794322) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178927)

A blue Tesla was parked on Homer Ave in downtown Palo Alto on Sunday.

Anybody want to fess up to owning it?

Re:Already Saw One! (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179081)

I wish I could!

toys for billionaires (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24178931)

now sergey and larry and elon have some toys to play with

Re:toys for billionaires (3, Insightful)

lhorn (528432) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178975)

Expensive toys, now, but this technology will migrate to ordinary cars fast.
I expect motor/generator combinations in replacement hubs for oilburners in less than 10 years,
Batteries is the main problem now.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178995)

I expect motor/generator combinations in replacement hubs for oilburners in less than 10 years,

Its a bit weird that this car has a two speed gearbox.

Re:toys for billionaires (4, Informative)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179057)

Gearboxes are really for converting torque to rotation. IC engines have limited rpm ranges and "optimal" torque and power rpm bands. The gearbox is there to allow effficient use of these zones.

Electric motors have a very flat torque curve all along the rpm range (torque starts right after 0 rpm). Also Electric engines usually have a much wider rpm range and their efficiency in converting energy to mechanical energy is much more constant tha for IC engines where the efficiency drops very quickly when you approach max rpm. Hence a gearbox is only so useful for an electric car.

Mind you as well that electric motors have bags ans bags more of torque than IC engines and as such a reduction gear is not really necessary to get teh car in motion (as with a 1st gear in a regular car). This high torque is also a challenge for designers as traiditional design gearboxes flop with electric engines.

Hope that helps you understand why there are only 2 gears on this car.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179077)

Hope that helps you understand why there are only 2 gears on this car.

Actually I was wondering why it doesn't have just the one ratio. I assume the reason was to get a nice high maximum speed, ie, the top gear is an overdrive.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179099)

At high rotation speeds the metal of the axis and wheel will/could desintegrate, because of the centrifugal force.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179133)

At high rotation speeds the metal of the axis and wheel will/could desintegrate, because of the centrifugal force.

Are you talking about the motor? Or the wheel?

The wikipedia page about the Tesla says that the motor only goes to 14000 rpm. If the driveline spins the motor much faster than the wheels then its maximum speed could be exceeded at 200km/h. Sports cars obviously drive at 300km/h without destroying their wheels.

Re:toys for billionaires (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179377)

Was that a very poor attempt at joke, or do you just know nothing about cars and metals?

Assuming the same diameter of wheels, they would be be spinning just as fast at 200mph in an electric car as they would be in a combusion engined car. I would also expect that the axels would melt from friction before the metal 'disintegrated'. Metal doesn't even 'disintegrate' unless you count rusting. It's usually quite malleable and would simply deform if large stresses are places upon it.

Re:toys for billionaires (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179171)

Actually I was wondering why it doesn't have just the one ratio. I assume the reason was to get a nice high maximum speed, ie, the top gear is an overdrive.

Yep. And they've decided to scrap it in favour of a single speed, slightly higher ratio gearbox on newer models, also. I think they'll start delivering those in about 6 months or so, from what I read on their blog.

Re:toys for billionaires (0, Redundant)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179195)

Actually I was wondering why it doesn't have just the one ratio. I assume the reason was to get a nice high maximum speed, ie, the top gear is an overdrive.

Yep, that's exactly right. They're also planning on replacing the gearbox with a single-gear one (slightly higher ratio, IIRC) starting some time next year, IIRC. There's lots of technical posts on their blog about this kind of stuff. Look for articles discussing "powertrain 2.0".

Re:toys for billionaires (4, Funny)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179107)

I remember reading somewhere that the Tesla's reverse gear simply spins the engine in the opposite direction, meaning it's possible to reach top speed and acceleration while going backwards.

That alone is worth the price of admission to me.

Re:toys for billionaires (5, Funny)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179335)

meaning it's possible to reach top speed and acceleration while going backwards.

That alone is worth the price of admission to me.

Are you from the french military ?

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179433)

DAF cars used to be able to do that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DAF_Trucks#Cars [wikipedia.org] In the seventies, the dutch held backward driving races. Great fun!

Re:toys for billionaires (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179201)

(torque starts right after 0 rpm)

Close, but the torque starts right at 0 rpm. Actually for most electric motors, the torque peaks at 0 rpm. Thats why there's no need to "idle" the electric motor when the vehicle is stopped, and also why there is no "torque convertor" as in automatic transmission equipped IC engines.

Besides, if there was no torque at 0 rpm, then it would never begin to move...

Re:toys for billionaires (4, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179259)

Actually for most electric motors, the torque peaks at 0 rpm.

Close, but not quite [machinedesign.com] . I don't exactly remember why the curve looks like that, something do to with inductive reactance.

Re:toys for billionaires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179097)

Why is that weird? Because of the engine? Electric outboards have them even though combustion outboards don't (or at least I have yet to encounter one). I must confess that I, however, don't know why that is the case.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

IhuntCIA (1099827) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179227)

Its a bit weird that this car has a two speed gearbox.

I think it's quite handy for single motor electric car.
Low gear is used to get car into the motion, and more importantly to keep electric motor cool at low speed.
High gear is usable for driving at high speed, especially when high acceleration is needed. Then if driver wants to save battery juice, it can switch into the first gear while driving at high speed and use the energy from regenerative braking, or cruise at low torque / high rpm where electric motors should run more efficiently.

It looks like normal car, but it is made to be driven in slightly different way. To drive more efficiently drive it at high rpm, to accelerate shift it to the high gear first, then hit the accelerator pedal.

Re:toys for billionaires (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179459)

That seems a bit backwards to me. A taller gear would have slower acceleration. So you'd use the shorter gear to get into motion, and then if you want to run the motor at a slower speed you switch into the high gear.

You'd also need to switch into higher gear to achieve higher speeds at some point as you'll simply run out of revs in the electric motor on the lower gear.

If the driver wants to "save battery juice" then moving at high speed and then using regenerative braking isn't a way to charge up your batteries. They'd just stay at lower speeds otherwise they are wasting power. Regenerative braking is nice to reclaim some of your velocity as power again. You have to balance motor efficiency vs aerodynamic drag.

I don't know much about electric motors, but I know about gear ratios and drag from first-hand experience :p In fact I have an electric scooter as well, but the motor in it is incredibly weak so it's hard to tell its performance characteristics.

Telsa, not Tesla (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24178973)

The summary has it right, the caption does not. I was a little confused when I read that: "Telsa motors. Mmh. Maybe competition for Tesla motors or something."

Awesome (5, Interesting)

shplorb (24647) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179009)

Despite any flaws, I think they're an absolute breakthrough and a sign of things to come in the next decade.

Not only do they have performance, but they also go the distance and I believe they're also astoundingly cheap. If I had a spare $100,000 laying around and they were shipping to Australia, I'd buy one in a heartbeat!

The price of carbon fibre is declining faster than predicted and battery production is ramping up in line with Toyota's ramp-up of hybrid powertain cars and GM's announcement to mass-produce an electric car so hopefully the price of batteries will come down a lot as well.

Things are definitely looking good. Now we just need to start building a bunch of nuclear power plants so they'll be ready in time for when the plug-in hybrids and pure-electric vehicles hit critical mass.

Re:Awesome (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179059)

Agreed, lets open a Australian dealership :D

Greenies don't like nuclear (3, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179191)

In fact they don't like any form of power generation.

nuclear = [insert glowing green fluffy sheep horror stories]
fossil = [insert global meltdown story]
wind power = [insert migrating insert birds killed by blades sob fest] or [blot on lovely landscape rant]
tidal power = [insert moan about marsh habitat of less spotted wading snot gobler flooded]
Solar power = [insert some fucking rare tortoise issue]
hydro = [insert whinge about flooded valleys/woodlands/displace peasents etc etc]

You just can't win with this brainless hippies.

Re:Greenies don't like nuclear (1, Funny)

dodecalogue (1281666) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179231)

I'm usually not one to follow up a reasonable and well-thought argument with a spelling correction, so here goes:

You just can't win with these brainless hippies

fix'd

Re:Greenies don't like nuclear (-1, Troll)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179289)

Could it perhaps be that the infestation of Earth with this parasitic species called "humans" is bad for everything else?

In the (paraphrased) words of Agent Smith, human effect upon the Earth is comparable to that of a virus upon an organism.

Whether you agree with them of not, hippies' (sometimes overzealous) efforts to bring to everyone's attention the effect humans have on the world is not ignorable. You may not know it, but your lifestyle is dependent on that "fucking rare tortoise" you demean so crassly. Ever component of the ecosystem co-operates to bring you everything from the wood used to construct your house to the meat in that microwave meal. As unbelievable as it may seem, those things still primarily consist of natural ingredients that rely on the wider ecosystem on this planet.

Re:Greenies don't like nuclear (5, Interesting)

dasunt (249686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179341)

Could it perhaps be that the infestation of Earth with this parasitic species called "humans" is bad for everything else?

I'd say that the infestation of Earth with the "parasitic" cyanobacteria 2.5 billion years ago was bad for almost everything else. By poisoning the atmosphere with a deadly chemical (oxygen) that they carelessly released as a byproduct of their energy system, they killed off most of the dominant life on earth. :p

Re:Greenies don't like nuclear (3, Insightful)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179387)

Wow.
Humans are a parasitic species and like a virus infestation on the Earth.

That's +5 Insightful (regarding the thinking of greenie wackos, that is).

And you thought "religious people" were dangerous.

Re:Greenies don't like nuclear (3, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179427)

Whether you agree with them of not, hippies' (sometimes overzealous) efforts to bring to everyone's attention the effect humans have on the world is not ignorable.

So what's their solution? Kill off the whole human race?

Sure, no power generation method is perfect, but we should be selecting the best options rather than rejecting all of them.

Re:Awesome (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179235)

Astoundingly cheap? Fuck you.

Re:Awesome (1, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179487)

For a sports car, and even more a lightweight carbon fibre one with a completely new drivetrain philosophy, YES it's astoundingly cheap.

No, I can't afford one either. Stop whining.

Re:Awesome (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179293)

Now we just need to start building a bunch of nuclear power plants so they'll be ready in time for when the plug-in hybrids and pure-electric vehicles hit critical mass.

Troll.

Vaporware (4, Funny)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179013)

I'll believe it when they ship... wait this isn't how vaporware is supposed to work.

Next thing you know they'll be telling me that these solar panel thingys are real too.

Re:Vaporware (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179239)

Nonono ... Tesla Delivers! (cue link to tesla lolcat)

Telsa vs Tesla (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179023)

Ahem

Should it be Tesla not Telsa?

Re:Telsa vs Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179053)

OK OK OK OK OK! WE GET IT! There is a fracking spelling error in the fracking title! Get a fracking life already, Miss Fracking Spelling Teacher! Jesus Sweet Fracking CHRIST!

Complications only if you can't plan ahead (4, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179045)

About those alleged "Complications" ... well yes sure, if you run out of stored power then you're in trouble. However, this isn't exclusive to electric cars, but applies similarly to liquid-fueled vehicles. If you set out on a voyage of 500 miles with only 200 miles of gasoline and you can't find anywhere to refuel, then you're in trouble too. Fortunately, most people understand power and refueling constraints and know how to plan ahead.

Admittedly, electrical recharging infrastructure is almost non-existent at the moment. However, this isn't a total disaster nor an unforseen "Complication". It's thoroughly forseen, so any early adopter who can add and subtract won't be travelling further than the stored energy allows, minus a safety margin since nobody likes getting stuck. In many cases, it'll be a second car anyway, mainly for short hops around the local area and short office commutes.

But let's look at the worst case scenario as well. When the power runs out in between recharge points, will it be a total disaster? Well, it certainly will be a big annoyance, but that's where the recovery services come in. All it takes is a phone call and some waiting in the comfort of your car while you sulk at your arithmetic incompetence, but soon your vehicle will be sitting snugly on the back of the recovery truck, and remedial transport sorted out. This is normal today in the event of breakdowns, and it will be just as normal when cars go electric, both for breakdowns and for recharging mishaps. (The vehicle recovery industry will certainly boom for a few decades, until vehicle recharging infrastructure is widespread.)

So while "Complications" will exist in the short term, they're not exceptional ones. We already have similar issues today, and solutions to them as well. It's just a matter of degree. For the next few years, trips in EVs will have to be a fair bit shorter on average. We can cope with that.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179067)

This Tesla should at least be easy to push to the next available power point. Probably a lot easier to find one of those in the country than a petrol station, even today.

Our electricity infrastructure needs to have a service a bit like USB. You plug in and get 100mA or so. Then your hardware negotiates with the network and arranges to pay for a full feed of charging current.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179431)

... and they could install those charger-things in parking lots...

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179087)

AFAIK, breakdown services (in the UK at least) bill you the full cost of delivering fuel to your vehicle / recovering it, since it was your own dumb fault for running out. I imagine that they'll pretty quickly start applying the same principle to electric vehicles, if it's not in their contracts already.

I'd venture that the big drawback is the slow charging, 3.5 hours on the Roadster. Forgetting to plug in at night means that you're either going nowhere in the morning, or you're going to have to cross your fingers and hope for a following wind.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179163)

AFAIK, breakdown services (in the UK at least) bill you the full cost of delivering fuel to your vehicle / recovering it, since it was your own dumb fault for running out. I imagine that they'll pretty quickly start applying the same principle to electric vehicles, if it's not in their contracts already.

I dare say they will. However, if you've spent £50,000 or thereabouts on a second car (as this will be for almost everyone who has one, because the range isn't long enough for long distance journeys) that saves you money by being cheaper to run than your primary vehicle, are you going to worry about a few hundred quid for recovery every now and then?

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179317)

I don't think we'll see too much dual ownership for handling long distance hauls. Renting a gasoline car for those once-a-month trips to the cabin is a much better deal.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179137)

A person can walk to a gas station and buy 2 or 3 gallons of gasoline and carry it to their car. That isn't ever going to happen with batteries.

(that doesn't make batteries useless or anything, but there is a fundamental difference in the convenience and portability of the energy storage)

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (2, Informative)

deek (22697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179165)

Batteries don't suddenly run out of energy, like you can with gasoline tank. That doesn't make petrocarbons useless or anything, but there is a fundamental difference in the convenience and availability of the energy storage.

*wink*

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179225)

Yeah, they just reach the point where discharging them further would damage them.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (3, Interesting)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179471)

If they are anything like laptop batteries, after a year they will get down to 50% charged and then suddenly pop up the low battery warning, and the shut off before you can do anything about it. My biggest problem is when are battery charge indicators ever close to being correct. At least with a floating meter in the gas tank, I can count on it to tell me how much further I can go.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (2, Interesting)

notadoctor (1296593) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179443)

Throw a solar panel on the roof. You can move at 10-15 mph to get to a charging location. If it's nighttime, rather than tow the vehicle, have the tow company bring out a trailer with a fast charger on it and you can be fully charged and on your way in 15 minutes.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179145)

We'll adapt. Kids will throw out their lemonade stand signs and wait outside with an electron hose. :)

Besides, the Tesla has an optional "on the road" charger for the car that operates on normal household current so you'd simply need to find someone willing to "rent" you an outlet for a little while.

Cheers,

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (2, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179307)

Given that it will be a while before gasoline cars go away, surely you could "jump start" an electric car to get 12v out of a gas car's alternator and use that to give you a charge for a while, just enough to get home.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179237)

Well, it certainly will be a big annoyance, but that's where the recovery services come in. All it takes is a phone call and some waiting in the comfort of your car while you sulk at your arithmetic incompetence, but soon your vehicle will be sitting snugly on the back of the recovery truck, and remedial transport sorted out.

Dude no offense but you must be a very young engineer... As a grizzled old engineer, my solution is a $500 honda generator and extension cord in the trunk... And no, you don't need to charge it for 8 hours straight at the side of the road, but only long enough to put-put to the freeway exit and a free power outlet somewheres...

There is also the obvious unlikelihood of the situation anyway, because if I had $100K to toss on to a new car, I would be driving occasionally for fun, not for some drudgery commute, and if I had that kind of money to toss around and my $100K car broke down I'd just call my butler Jeeves on the cellphone and have him swing by with my helicopter by to pick me (and the car?) up.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179381)

Fortunately, most people understand power and refueling constraints and know how to plan ahead.

a BULK of tow truck calls on highways are due to empty fuel tanks.

Most people do NOT understand that. you have to take into consideration the bulk of the population out there, and most of them can barely talk on a phone and drive let alone pay attention to that gas gauge thingy.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179515)

Fortunately, most people understand power and refueling constraints and know how to plan ahead.

a BULK of tow truck calls on highways are due to empty fuel tanks.

Most people do NOT understand that. you have to take into consideration the bulk of the population out there, and most of them can barely talk on a phone and drive let alone pay attention to that gas gauge thingy.

OTH it should be possible for an EV to know in advance that it is likely to be driven out of range of a charging station and tell the driver what to do about it.

Re:Complications only if you can't plan ahead (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179415)

I don't think the recharging infrastructure is as technically difficult as we tend to think. The problem is the way we tend to envision solving the issue, which is stuck in the gasoline mindset.

We imagine pulling into a filling station and attaching a cable to our car and filling the battery; the problem is that you need to either (a) deal with dangerously high currents or (b) deal with dangerously high voltage. However, I think it would make sense to swap the entire battery. If we got to the point where an electric vehicle recharging infrastructure were needed, it would make sense to standardize battery formats so you can swap it out. Since the batteries are heavy, it'd be done robotically. You could be in and out of the filling station faster than with gasoline.

The batteries would have microprocessor monitors on them that estimate remaining capacity and efficiency; you'd only pay for the energy the battery has the capacity to deliver within certain parameters, and you'd get a credit for the remaining energy in the battery you swap out. If you needed extra range, you could ask for a fresh battery and pay a bit more. If you wanted to save money, maybe you'd get a discount for using a partially charged battery from a busy charging queue.

What about carbon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24179079)

I only hope that they are taking care not just about the carbon that those (nice indeed) cars will blow in the atmosphere, but also about the carbon (as well as other pollutants) their farms and their suppliers farms will add.

my grasp does not reach tesla (1)

dotmax (642602) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179083)

As currently envisioned, the Tesla Roadster is SO FAR out of my reach at $109k, with an additional $55k to lock in your delivery date. oy! Not knowing much more about the Tesla than "it's an electric sports car" i'm wondering how the second/third generation models are envisioned to ring up $$-wise. Is their manufacturing process projected become a production line or will the cars "always" be assembled by a team of craftsmen (i.e. more like a chevy or a ferrari?). Will there be compromises in the materials schedule so as to lower the price? Are these questions best asked 5 years from now? Oh ya -- is anyone here on The List?

Re:my grasp does not reach tesla (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179181)

i'm wondering how the second/third generation models are envisioned to ring up $$-wise

They're different cars. The second model will be a minivan type vehicle, and priced at the high range for that style of vehicle - which is much much less than the current Tesla.

The third model will be geared for, and I quote, "if you can afford to own any car, you can afford this one"

Why not sooner? (3, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179127)

Because, conspiracy theorists, it is very hard to build safe, reliable, high capacity, rapid discharge batteries. Like fuel cells, it has proven much harder to commercialise them than anyone suspected. Looking at the design of the Mercedes A-Class, it's obvious it was intended to be a Mk 1 fuel celled or battery powered vehicle (the giveaway is the underfloor space for the batteries, and the very restricted space for the engine.) In fact, it just didn't happen.

It looks like the thing that has largely fixed the EV issue is the laptop computer/mobile phone - which has justified the research effort into lithium batteries.

From a volume point of view in the short term the manufacturer to watch is Mitsubishi: they have a joint venture factory with Yuasa, and last week they delivered a test sample EV to a Japanese police force (they already have them with Tokyo utilities.) The Miev may not be as large and fast as the Tesla, but it is likely actually to be affordable. $100000 will only appeal to the rich who want a status symbol, as the payback compared to (say) a Mercedes Bluemotion clean Diesel will be forever. But a $30000 commuter vehicle may well make economic sense. I could justify one right now if oil reaches $200/barrel.

In fact, there are reports that sales of the EVs currently available are very poor, presumably because people who might have bought one as a third car are spending the money on new, efficient vehicles which will show a real cost saving in a sensible payback period.

Re:Why not sooner? (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179435)

But a $30000 commuter vehicle may well make economic sense.

again only to the rich. Call me when you have a $15,000 Commuter vehicle. as 90% of the population in the United states can barely afford that price. $30,000? Hell most people cant even think of paying that much for a new car. It's why Hybrids are only in the hands of the rich people and not the poor. I dont see the bulk of the population driving the priuses and other hybrids. Maybe it's because Most people make less than $45,000 a year. and the payment on a $30,000 car is more than they pay for their rent.

CarAnalogies (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179147)

ObCarAnalogy: It's like if someone made a really trendy sportscar, but it was also run on electricity!

so what happens when you DO run out on the road? (1)

zelik (1131765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179153)

In the current combustion engine, running out on the road (rare, but it happens when you try to squeeze that extra few miles before refueling) meant calling up your buddy or AAA for a quick gallon of gas to get you on your way to the nearest filling station. I can't imagine any "instant battery" systems exist for this type of situation and I doubt your nearest service station has a "recharge" plug for your car. If they did, would it be compatible? Yes yes, I know the infrastructure is non-existent yet. But I hope everyone has the foresight to create a unified universal charging "plug." Does the tesla charge using those EV charging stations that you might see every now and then? I guess if you have 100k for this car you probably wouldn't flinch at having it towed to your house.

You make sure you don't. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179209)

Anyway , come on , who runs out of fuel these days? read the friggin gauge! Plus if you did you could damage some modern fuel systems so you wouldn't be restarting your piston engine car either.

Re:You make sure you don't. (1)

zelik (1131765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179271)

you're stating the obvious but you're missing my point. Accidents happen, I'm just wondering what alternatives, if any, there are to towing

Re:so what happens when you DO run out on the road (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179361)

I can't imagine any "instant battery" systems exist for this type of situation

An "Instant Battery" is also called a generator. Honda makes tiny little ones that weigh about as much as a toddler, or perhaps as heavy as a fat feline house-cat. Strap a one quart gas can to it and an extension cord and you're set.

I've been thinking about those trailer hitch shelf devices that people stick on the back of their obese SUVs... I wonder if you could stick a trailer hitch on a Tesla, then one of those "shelves" and strap a generator to the shelf plugged into the charger and basically drive forever in "hybrid mode"

I doubt your nearest service station has a "recharge" plug for your car. If they did, would it be compatible?

It has a 110V onboard charger for this use. If you can plug in a floor lamp, tv, or a PC, you can probably figure out how to plug in the charger.

Yes yes, I know the infrastructure is non-existent yet.

Yes, always entertaining to make fun of the local electric utility, but seriously they more or less do a good job.

But I hope everyone has the foresight to create a unified universal charging "plug."

Yeah we got this 110V AC system figured out pretty well after a century or so of use. Even have those new fangled GFCI outlets for the past couple decades. Of course those Europeans insist on using 220V. At least the Japaneese use a civilized 110V AC system like us, and since most innovation seems to come from Japan, that is convenient for the US.

I guess if you have 100k for this car you probably wouldn't flinch at having it towed to your house.

If you have that kind of money, your butler will pick you up in your personal helicopter, or perhaps one of the paparazzi whom follow you everywhere will help you out in exchange for some pix. It's just not an issue dude. Besides rich people don't sit on their behind for enough hours to drain the battery anyway, if it's 100 miles away just hop in the learjet or helicopter and zoom over there in 5 minutes, not sit in traffic.

Re:so what happens when you DO run out on the road (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179493)

Of course those Europeans insist on using 220V.

You get double the power for the same current that way. 20 amp power outlets are pretty common in Australia for industrial applications. At 250V thats 5000 watts for charging with no new interface required.

Re:so what happens when you DO run out on the road (2, Interesting)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179485)

The charging plug has been standardized. Its likely one of the reasons why the EV-1 was killed off. GM used an inductive paddle style charger "plug", while the standard that was eventually agreed on uses a more traditional conductive charger. Its a moot point though since the car will have the option to charge on standard household 120V outlets (albeit at slower charging rates).

Performance after Time/Distance (4, Interesting)

BossBostin (930932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179157)

I've always wondered (and not really seen stated anywhere) how an electric vehicle's performance varies from the point of being fully charged to fully flat. i.e. does the performance (speed, acceleration, etc.) gradually get worse as the car's charge dwindles or does it suddenly just stop when the batteries are exhausted? A petrol or diesel car performs just as well (if not better due to less weight) when the tank is almost empty. Does a Tesla that has only 5 miles worth of charge left perform like a milk-float?

Great Idea!! (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179205)

Take a portable generator and some liters of gas.

Use the generator to recharge the car in case the batteries run out of juice.

A sort of hybrid card ;-)

How much more efficient is an electric Car? (1)

jimboindeutchland (1125659) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179217)

So now that we all want to switch to an electric car, I have to ask, how much more efficient is an electric car and also, roughly how much would one reduce my CO2 output?

It seems to me that we're sweeping the vehicle exhaust issue under the carpet by moving it to the power station. Sure there are exceptions, but most power stations still burn fossil fuels so these cars still contributes to warming up the planet.

Just imagine this thing run over by an SUV (-1, Flamebait)

TedRiot (899157) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179251)

Just imagine what will happen when a soccer mom runs over this thing with an SUV (or someone else with any other proper size car)! Aboslute deathtrap!

(And I live in a country where Toyota Corolla is a proper size family car)

Re:Just imagine this thing run over by an SUV (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179285)

One simple solution: Built-in tesla attack coil.

The SUV wouldn't stand a chance.

Re:Just imagine this thing run over by an SUV (1)

ArmyOfAardvarks (1281154) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179511)

If they came with that ability, I would find a way to come up with the $100k+.

Meh (1)

MoreDruid (584251) | more than 6 years ago | (#24179391)

So when are we going to see "normal" and "diesel" electricity? I mean the electricity corps need to squeeze more money out of the consumer, right?
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