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New Video of Tesla's Mass-Market Electric Car

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the where-are-the-battery-swap-out-centers dept.

Transportation 462

Slatterz writes "The Tesla Roadster has almost mythical status among electric car enthusiasts. It's fast, with high torque over a wide RPM range, and can beat a Ferrari in terms of acceleration. Now Tesla has released new video of its upcoming new electric car, called the Model S, which Tesla Motors claims is the world's first mass produced fully-electric vehicle. Unlike the Lotus-Elise based Roadster, the Model S is a traditional sedan of the type millions of commuters might actually drive. Tesla claims it will fit seven people (if two of them are 'children under 10'), and has mounted a rather large 17in LCD in the dash. Key to Telsa's future will be the evolution of lithium-ion battery technology. Tesla Motors claiming the new Model S can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, but the battery will still take 45 minutes to quick-recharge." (And for those in countries where it matters, this article mentions that it should also be available in right-hand drive.)

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462 comments

New Video of Tesla's... (0, Offtopic)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#28582001)

And here I was expecting video of something of Tesla's. Now that would be cool. Instead it's just some electric car.

Re:New Video of Tesla's... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582015)

No he actually designed an electric car before he died. Some professor at MIT found the plans in an archive and started the company based on the original ideas.

Re:New Video of Tesla's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582347)

I call bullshit. Got any citations for this?

Re:New Video of Tesla's... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28582125)

I, too, enjoy watching AC induction motors going round, and round, and round, and round, and...

Re:New Video of Tesla's... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#28582357)

That's cool, but film of his broadcast power transmitter in action would be just a bit more exciting (just before it crashed the power plant).

Memory Effect (0, Troll)

bezking (1274298) | about 5 years ago | (#28582009)

After about a week you'll get a message like this:

Your battery can only hold 2% of it's original capacity. To learn about replacement options, please click here.

Re:Memory Effect (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#28582267)

Well, I don't know if I can wait til 2011!

$49K USD? Is that in 2009 dollars, or 2011 dollars? :-) If there is a massive period of dollar hyper-inflation in the next year, I think Tesla can stand to make a lot of money on promises no one can afford to keep.

Oh, well. The Maserati Quattroporte is available today, and the 5l, V-12 Aston Martin Rapide will be out momentarily. Along with Jaguar's recent XF and 2010 redesign for the XJ, these seem to be the flag-carriers that Tesla seems to be following in the style and design department.

Rapide: Girls NOT included, but driving this car? They will likely show up of their own accord.
http://randomepics.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/aston_martin_rapide_067.jpg [wordpress.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFta44S_JFs [youtube.com]

Re:Memory Effect (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#28582299)

And what's up with the interior, Tesla?

Ugh. Were the Mitsubishi plants in Normal, IL shutting down, and offering a bargain on Eclipse fittings?

Re:Memory Effect (1)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#28582433)

$49K USD? Is that in 2009 dollars, or 2011 dollars? :-) If there is a massive period of dollar hyper-inflation in the next year, I think Tesla can stand to make a lot of money on promises no one can afford to keep.

Fictional dollars. The price of the roadster went up significantly between pre-order and release; no reason the S will be any different. And as with the Roadster, I think we'll see the specs change for the worse as well. (45-minute charge? As has been pointed out, the math doesn't add up, and the chemistry doesn't work either)

Re:Memory Effect (3, Informative)

Zantetsuken (935350) | about 5 years ago | (#28582475)

You seem to be missing the entire point - the Rapide is gas, Tesla's are all electric and still get great performance/torque/etc

Wikipedia: The Roadster's 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) acceleration time is 3.9 seconds for the Standard Model and 3.7 seconds for the 2009 Sport Model.
Aston Martin Rapdide: 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph): 4.7 seconds
Model S: 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds
Nissan Sentra (2007+): 6.4 seconds. (for comparison)

So the Tesla Roadster actually has better acceleration than the Rapide, and considering Wikipedia quotes the Rapide at $240k USD compared to the $110~120k USD for the 2009 Roadster, I'd say the roadster wins on bang for buck there. The Model S in tfa is set to cost ~$49k USD and is still one helluva luxury car. And more than just the initial price, the Model S (supposedly according to Tesla marketing anyway) will cost only $4 dollars to fully recharge from empty.

I could probably rant all day, but the point is, the offerings from Tesla Motors puts an electric car with performance as high as the gas equivalent in the price range of mere mortals and doesn't require you to be an Apple stock millionaire or sell your ocean front property just to buy the damned car...

Re:Memory Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582351)

Really? They won't be able to hire someone who can tell ITS from IT IS?

Circus car? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582019)

7 people? Where are the clowns?

Model S not T (3, Informative)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | about 5 years ago | (#28582029)

At $50,000 do they think it is too expensive to call it the model T? Do they think calling it the model T would be too arrogant? Maybe the next one will be cheaper and then they will go ahead and give it the next name. After all we would all like to see the model T version of the electric car that will get us off of expensive oil.

Re:Model S not T (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | about 5 years ago | (#28582095)

"After all we would all like to see the model T version of the electric car that will get us off of expensive oil."

For that to happen, early adopters must drop the cash on much more expensive vehicles, just as they did before Henry Ford produced the Model T. Early adopters will be more likely to forgive faults that buyers of an econobox would not.

At fifty grand for a beta version, I'll be better off letting the rich folks purchase those.

Re:Model S not T (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | about 5 years ago | (#28582341)

Early adopters make economies of scale a realize goal. People who bought the roadster showed that there was continuing interest in a cheaper, more massly produced vehicle. People who buy the model S will do the same. Tesla does want to create a car that they can sell for $20k to $30k. If you have the money why not become an early adopter? Right here is hopefully the future of the automobile industry.

Insane price (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 5 years ago | (#28582055)

So much for it being affordable...

$49,000 USD AFTER deducting the $7,500 federal tax credit.

Europe (5, Insightful)

fenring (1582541) | about 5 years ago | (#28582185)

$50.000 ~ 35.000 euros Tesla model S looks like a luxury sedan. The same money would buy you a low end Mercedes or BMW in Europe, but with nowhere near the performance of 0-60mph in 5 seconds. For that kind of performance you would probably have to go with a turbo-charged compact, but the fuel economy is gone and you won't have the same interior space. If the numbers they advertise are true, it's quite a cheap car to buy, all things considered.

Re:Europe (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 5 years ago | (#28582525)

+1 Insightful

I must say that's an interesting take on things and I can't find fault with your position. Which of course raises the question, how did you find your way to slashdot? ;)

Re:Europe (0, Offtopic)

queequeg1 (180099) | about 5 years ago | (#28582557)

Given your gratuitous compliment and lack of attempt to slander the parent with FUD, I think the real question is how did YOU find your way to Slashdot?

Re:Insane price (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#28582239)

They aren't an established company like GM or Ford, it makes sense for them to start out with high-end customized vehicles, grow large on that, and then slowly descend into the mass market as economies of scale start to kick in. There's no other good business model that does not require eight digits of initial capital.

Re:Insane price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582335)

What I really want is one of those little cars from Tata Motors. Actually, I want two, so I can say "Hey, who wants to come out to the garage and see my Tatas?"

Re:Insane price (1)

torkus (1133985) | about 5 years ago | (#28582531)

Affordable is relative. The first product in any area is expensive but that expense is relative. The first cars were not cheap. The first computers were not cheap. The first...and so on. However each item had relative value. Both in utility and 'early adopter' shinyness.

Besides, care to count the number of people driving a $40k lexus, BMW, Infinity...not to mention the 50-60k SUV's...erm..tanks.

50k isn't inexpensive, but it is certainly within the reach of your upper middle class car buyer. Especially when you figure in the lower 'fuel' cost, green ego points, and the cool factor.

Lithium Ion battery safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582075)

How does it shield the batteries against impact, etc. causing fire/explosion?

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (1, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about 5 years ago | (#28582209)

There is a bigger issue with regards to the batteries... where do we get all of the lithium for them?

While it's certainly a noble effort to try to reduce/end our dependency on foreign oil, few realize that the major supplies of lithium are outside of the USA... effectively meaning we replace one addiction/dependency for another.

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (2, Interesting)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 5 years ago | (#28582237)

True, but lithium from old batteries is more recyclable than the CO2 that comes out of a normal tail pipe. The supply/recycling thing might work even better if instead of relying primarily on recharging, a network of battery swapping stations is built up, where you'd lease the battery, and the manufacturer would necessarily get it back at the end of life for refurbishment. That said, I still think the future is synthetic gasoline that runs in a normal engine. Less of a pain in the rear to implement and no additional infrastructure to build up during the phase where petroleum-based gas and whatever new thing is are both in use.

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#28582287)

I don't know. Plants seem to be pretty damn efficient at recycling CO2.

Recycling plants (1)

argee (1327877) | about 5 years ago | (#28582539)

What crops do I plant that take in CO2 and output gasoline?

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | about 5 years ago | (#28582515)

Actually its set to have swappable batteries also...

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582337)

Imported oil is consumed by driving... maybe at an average rate on about one tank full of gasoline per week.

Imported lithium for replacement electric batteries will be consumed at maybe an average rate of one battery pack replacement per 10 years, with probably some recycling ability of the lithium from a used battery pack.

I think we are talking about drastically different scales of foreign import dependence.

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#28582339)

Since not many will buy them, i don't think it will be a huge problem.

I also assume that you can recycle used lithium?

Re:Lithium Ion battery safety? (5, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about 5 years ago | (#28582631)

STOP THAT NONSENSE! Lithium is CHEAP. You can extract it from the saltwater for $50-70 per kg. if all else fails, but right now it's just easier to buy it for $20 per kg. in Bolivia.

Lithium so far is SO CHEAP that it makes no sense to make geological surveys specially for it.

Also, it's almost perfectly recyclable.

Anyone know the economics on these? (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#28582077)

It's great to see an electric car this cool for so cheap. I mean, $50k isn't cheap, but it's cheap in comparison to their other car, an it seems generally more practical. If I were going to buy a car, I might consider this, but I might very well decide that $50k is just too much.

I'm wondering, though, does anyone know what kind of profit margin Tesla is getting on these? Is the government subsidizing these at all (for environmental reasons)? Are they in the sort of situation where, as they start selling, Tesla will enjoy economy of scale and prices will go down substantially? Or is this price pretty firm?

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28582119)

If I were going to buy a car, I might consider this, but I might very well decide that $50k is just too much.

Don't forget that the initial price isn't the total cost of ownership. The site doesn't say what the battery capacity is or the charging efficiency, which means that we can't tell how much it costs to drive for a mile. It has fewer moving parts than a typical ICE vehicle, so maintenance costs are probably lower, with the exception of the cost of replacing the battery every few years (I think they are rated for 70% capacity after 5 years, so you probably want to replace at least every 6-8 years).

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#28582175)

True, but at this point, there's just no way of knowing how the TCO compares with a conventional car. As you said, there might be lower maintenance costs in general. On the other hand, with a new product that includes a new design, it takes a few years to know how well that design holds up under real use. Battery replacement costs are sure to be expensive, but you'll probably save some money on fuel costs on a day-to-day level. And how will it keep its value if you decide to resell it? It's hard to say ahead of time.

Still, I'm glad to see that there is a US car manufacturer who is trying to do something innovative.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (2, Insightful)

polymeris (902231) | about 5 years ago | (#28582213)

It actually does say: They claim capacity 300 miles, $4 a recharge. Thats 1.35 cent a mile.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 5 years ago | (#28582479)

That's based on an absurdly low price of electricity, though. My current PG&E top tier rate (and every kWh I add is billed at this rate) is $0.33/kWh, for a total of over $23 per recharge. If the new Honda Fit hybrid really comes out to 45 MPG highway, it will cost less (@$3 per gallon) than this Tesla car to operate and will cost over $40,000 less to buy the car.

Put another way, assuming a 200,000 mile lifespan of both vehicles, gas would have to average a whopping $12.47 per gallon without electricity prices increasing by a single cent for me to break even with the Tesla, and that's discounting any interest I'd get by putting that extra $40,000 in the bank. Once you factor that in, the Tesla becomes laughable. If gas prices get that high over the lifespan of an automobile bought today, the economy will utterly collapse, and affording electricity or gas will be the least of your worries. You'll have to hire an armed guard to keep people from stealing that car and burning it for warmth.

I love the idea of an electric, but a $10,000 conversion of a standard vehicle (or $2,000 to add batteries to a hybrid) makes a heck of a lot more sense than spending such an insane amount of money for a Tesla. When the Tesla falls below a $20,000 price point for their entry level sedan, I'll stop using the phrase "Cars for people with more money than brains," but for now, it very much applies, IMHO.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (4, Insightful)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 5 years ago | (#28582601)

Purely on economics, the Fit hybrid or any economy-oriented turbodiesel car will beat out the Tesla Model S, no doubt about it.

But none of those are capable of doing 0-60 in under 6 seconds. The Model S is a luxury sedan meant to compete with the offerings from BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar etc., not with econoboxes.

Your $10,000 vehicle conversion will be nowhere near the same quality nor performance as a Model S, you're being silly.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#28582425)

I don't know the economics of these for the average person, but right now America is consuming a big chunk of the energy the world produces and is way far ahead per capita than most other countries, even other 1st world countries with similiar standards of living (maybe except Canada), something like Germany. Some of it due to our car oriented culture (which no product will fix, but an infrastructure issue - go by a European high school vs American suburban high school and check out ratio of cars to bicycles in the parking lot). Another is just poor construction practices like inadequate insulation or outdated heaters. Etc.

Looking at this car, the profile doesn't seem any more efficient than a regular car, which is way something like the Aptera. It's electric, which is a good start, especially considering the possible modular nature of the energy source, and coupled with a tiny hybrid petroleum engine which only has to produce constant energy instead of big enough for a "peak" performance need.

But it doesn't push air out of the way more efficiently, the other side of the equation. Because electricity isn't "clean" right now, just a bit better. And the chemicals for batteries need to be mined, itself a dirty process, as well as being processed at the end of its life - so it makes a difference if a car can get a 300 mile range on X amount of units instead of 2X or 3X or more.

That's why I woud always support something like the Aptera
http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=1104622 [jaylenosgarage.com]

This model Tesla looks pretty sexy like it's bigger brother so it will have an easy time selling, but beyond the gas vs electric issue, I wonder really how efficient it truly is.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582523)

So you're saying you would rather see 3-4 Apteras on the road so you can transport 5-7 people that 1 Model S can provide?

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#28582587)

Some of it due to our car oriented culture (which no product will fix, but an infrastructure issue - go by a European high school vs American suburban high school and check out ratio of cars to bicycles in the parking lot). Another is just poor construction practices like inadequate insulation or outdated heaters. Etc.

I'm with you there. Part of the reason I said, "If I were going to buy a car..." was that I don't own a car and ride a bike to work. But if I were going to buy a car, I'd like to be able to buy as efficient and environmentally friendly of a car as I can without breaking the bank, so I'm happy to see someone working on the problem.

As far as the Aptera, sure I'd like to see something like that be successful. Hell, I'd like to see even more radical solutions proposed, e.g. single-person transports for cities, but then you still have to address all the technical and economic problems like cost and recharge time. Then on top of that you have to convince people to accept these new things as "normal". If not "normal", than "cool". It's a tough sell for most people.

Re:Anyone know the economics on these? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582441)

Are they in the sort of situation where, as they start selling, Tesla will enjoy economy of scale and prices will go down substantially? Or is this price pretty firm?

They've clearly stated that this is pretty much their goal. First they came out with the expensive roadster for the very well-to-do people out there. That helps lower production costs to the point where they can release the slightly less expensive coupe (that's what this is). Sales of this (and the roadster) will help fund the next round of cars, which will be ~$25k. Their entire plan is to use economies of scale to lower the production costs (and recoup R&D costs) so that they'll have a range of cars for sale to nearly anyone who can afford a car.

How about better range? (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 5 years ago | (#28582079)

Instead of wasting energy making it accelerate unnecessarily quickly, how about giving it a usefully long range? A 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds is all very well, but the range and top speed can't compete with ordinary cars. I guess it fits well in the American market where cars seem to need to have a quick 0-60 time but never need to go any faster than 65mph.

Re:How about better range? (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#28582131)

Instead of wasting energy making it accelerate unnecessarily quickly, how about giving it a usefully long range

Why would you assume they can trade battery life for low end torque? One property of electrical engines is they allow for faster acceleration on the low end. It's not like they can somehow get rid of this acceleration while still having an electrical motor with the same top speed and I don't see how they can get more battery life out of the same either.

Re:How about better range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582311)

The top speed is the issue, not the acceleration. A high top speed requires a certain engine power and electric motors of that caliber provide quick acceleration. A lower top speed would not require as strong a motor and such a motor would also not provide quick acceleration, but it would be more economic due to its lower weight and an efficiency curve more in line with average use. The range of electric vehicles pretty much limits them to city and commute driving, so a high top speed is entirely unnecessary. Unfortunately however, a car, especially an electric car, is unmarketable without certain performance numbers, because it will instantly receive the image of a slow electric car.

Re:How about better range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582545)

Assuming that the 300 mile range is accurate for highway speeds, such a car would be fine for most road trips I take - anything over 250 would require a meal break during which it could be recharged. Anything over 500 would likely put it in the 2 meal break range. True, the epic college road trip stopping only for gas is out, but with a little bit of adjustment to the stopping schedule, would have worked for any family vacation I have been on. Most such road trips were done in a minivan, so the cargo capacity might be an issue, but even there it looks like it should match station wagons.

Further, at least stateside, 65-70 mph on commuting routes are far from uncommon, so even for a commute car moderately high speed is needed. 120 mph is probably overkill, but 90-100 mph is probably appropriate to allow for highway speeds on inclines.

Re:How about better range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582623)

The range is with new batteries and decreases as the batteries age.

Aerodynamic drag increases with the square of the velocity and is the dominant power sink at highway speed, so a 25% higher top speed means you need a 50% more powerful engine.

Re:How about better range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582439)

Its about how quickly the battery discharges. If you discharge quickly, you get more power - if you discharge at the optimum rate, you get the optimum distance. The batteries in the Tesla probably are rated to drive at freeway speeds for 300 miles. If you drive at that speed, you will maximize the distance you can travel.

Re:How about better range? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582153)

It's about the torque. Those electric motors have full torque when they start moving, unlike the internal combustion types that need to spin up to a certain RPM to maximize torque. The transmission tries to even this out, but with an electric, you just have more acceleration from a stop by the nature of the design. I'm more interested in how fast they can go from 60-100 mph, like when you need to pass someone. In theory it would be similar, but not better.

If I had the money, it would be a no-brainer for me. Since I don't have the money, it's still a no-brainer, but on the side of "no".

Re:How about better range? (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#28582167)

> Instead of wasting energy making it accelerate unnecessarily quickly, how about giving
> it a usefully long range?

This is electric, not gas. That isn't a tradeoff. Any electric motor capable of acceptable performance at highway speeds will accelerate very well: it's the way electric motors are. If you put in a feeble motor barely able to go 65mph on the level you would only gain a little range, and nobody would buy it. And it could still lay rubber.

You prob want a rest after 300 miles (3, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 5 years ago | (#28582097)

300 miles will take some 4 hours to drive, you could prob do with at least a 45 min rest ... so this is finally acceptable range for an electric car.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#28582127)

It's not for me. 4 hours is nothing in the midwest. I currently live 5 hours from my parents house. When we drove to NYC last year it took 12. 15-20 minutes max for a break, otherwise your journey takes for ever.

I'll stick to my Diesel Jetta which can run on Diesel, Biodiesel created from waste oil, crushed soybeans, algae, liquefied natural gas (GTL), or liquefied coal gas (GTL), any one of a number of renewable resources. If I stretch it I can get 800 to a TANK and still refill in 5-10 minutes.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 years ago | (#28582243)

It's not for me. 4 hours is nothing in the midwest. I currently live 5 hours from my parents house. When we drove to NYC last year it took 12. 15-20 minutes max for a break, otherwise your journey takes for ever.

Still, that's not too typical for most people's day-to-day routine. And like the previous poster said, I would expect that most people can live with a 45 minute break every 4 hours on long car trips. You stretch your legs and maybe get something to eat, and then you're ready to go.

Actually, the funny thing in my mind is that, given your examples, I would probably be much more frustrated with the 5 hour trip than the 12 hour trip. If you're already taking a 12 hour trip, adding an extra hour or two of rest time doesn't seem that extreme to me. Hell, you might even think of it as a safety feature to help prevent road-hypnosis.

But imagine your battery lasts for 300 miles and you regularly make a trip that's 320 miles long. To have to stop 20 miles short of your destination and recharge for 45 minutes then would be pretty annoying. On the other hand, I would suppose you could just charge for 10 minutes and keep going. If it's like most batteries, it recharges most of the way pretty quickly, and then takes a long time to get that last 10% of charge.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (2, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 5 years ago | (#28582301)

What people don't get is that the point of liquid gasoline or CNG or LNG or whatever is that it takes 5 minutes at most to fill up and off you go. That and range are the two criteria that make electric cars unacceptable to Joe Sixpack at the moment. If you can make an electric car that gets 300 miles per charge and charges up in 5 minutes, then you've got a competitor (except for the problem of not being able to hitchhike down the road to bring back a can of gas in an emergency). Until you bring those two parameters down to the convenience of the gas powered car, the electric vehicle will be confined to things like taxis and delivery vehicles with well-defined operating modes. Normal people aren't going to buy a vehicle that lets them do less than a normal gas-powered car.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about 5 years ago | (#28582493)

the can of gas thing is easy: one large battery that fills most of the available space, and a small one that can be taken out, carried and put back in for the remainder. some circuitry to balance things out would be needed, but i don't think that'd be too hard. of course, i am not an electrician.. wiring dude? circuit maker?.. thing. IANAEWDCMT, man, don't quote me on this one!

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#28582261)

Carry two sets of batteries?

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 5 years ago | (#28582291)

Where in the midwest is 12 hours away from NYC? Maybe my sense of geography is all out-of-whack being from Washington State...

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 5 years ago | (#28582389)

Indianapolis. Maybe it's the map projection, but distances aren't as short as they seem.

Indianapolis to Minneapolis is 10 hours.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582585)

Purdue in West Lafayette IN to Westfield MA is ~13hours with a fair amount of speeding

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582307)

4 hours is nothing in the midwest. I currently live 5 hours from my parents house.

Not enough juice to get to visit the parents? That sounds like a bonus to me...

Battery swap stations (1)

acheron12 (1268924) | about 5 years ago | (#28582485)

The easy solution is to replace gas stations with battery swap stations.

You trade in your current battery for a full battery and maybe get some credit for the 10% energy you had left. They then add your battery to the ranks of charging batteries waiting for the next customer.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#28582159)

300 miles will take some 4 hours to drive, you could prob do with at least a 45 min rest ... so this is finally acceptable range for an electric car.

The article says 80% charge in under 10 minutes.

The article says 80% charge in under 10 minutes. (3, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 5 years ago | (#28582297)

The article is optimistic in my opinion.

Let's assume they're talking about the same pack as in the Roadster (even though the pack you get for $57.4K is lesser capacity). That means you're putting in 45kWh in 10 minutes. That's a charge rate of more than 270kW. That will require 440V power (3-phase) at 600A! And that's assuming 100% efficiency!

There's going to be a lot of places where you can't get that much power. And even if you can, the amount of waste heat giving off by the charger, and in the pack will be very difficult to manage. Also, the charging cable would be a bit of a hassle to wrestle because it's going to be very thick.

Re:The article says 80% charge in under 10 minutes (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 5 years ago | (#28582403)

I guess you would fill it up at a gas station, just like you do with your existing car.

Re:The article says 80% charge in under 10 minutes (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#28582495)

I'd be surprised if they even let electric cars drive into a gas station, let alone let them fill up... the risk of sparks leading to fire/explosion is way too great. These will have to be purpose built electric stations.

At a 45 minute fill up time they'll have to be *big* to accomodate all the waiting cars, too.. and provide refereshments/food.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582189)

You're not American, are you?

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (4, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 5 years ago | (#28582231)

The battery pack you get for $57.4K (the cheapest model) is a 160 mile pack, not a 300 mile pack.

And you aren't going to be able to fully charge it in 45 minutes. LIons just won't stand for it. You should be able to put 85% of the charge in in 45 minutes, but since it such rapid charging reduces the lifespan of the battery, Tesla doesn't recommend you charge it in 45 minutes (at least they don't recommend it for the Roadster, this has a similar pack so I presume this is the same).

Acceptable range is kind of a tricky idea, if you had a charger everywhere, then this might be okay. But instead, you are likely to drive to your range and find there is no place to charge it at your stopover or destination.

Here's an example of how the difficulties in recharging an electric car makes it less useful than a gas car.

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog5/?p=68 [teslamotors.com]

This guy took a 40 hour trip and spent 8 hours of it waiting for his car to charge. 4 hours walking (twice) around an RV park waiting for his car to charge to 88%.

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582537)

Why in the FUCK wouldn't you be sleeping those 8 hours of out 40? HONESTLY?!?!

Re:You prob want a rest after 300 miles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582633)

The battery pack you get for $57.4K (the cheapest model) is a 160 mile pack, not a 300 mile pack.

And you aren't going to be able to fully charge it in 45 minutes. LIons just won't stand for it. You should be able to put 85% of the charge in in 45 minutes, but since it such rapid charging reduces the lifespan of the battery, Tesla doesn't recommend you charge it in 45 minutes (at least they don't recommend it for the Roadster, this has a similar pack so I presume this is the same).

Acceptable range is kind of a tricky idea, if you had a charger everywhere, then this might be okay. But instead, you are likely to drive to your range and find there is no place to charge it at your stopover or destination.

Here's an example of how the difficulties in recharging an electric car makes it less useful than a gas car.

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog5/?p=68 [teslamotors.com]

This guy took a 40 hour trip and spent 8 hours of it waiting for his car to charge. 4 hours walking (twice) around an RV park waiting for his car to charge to 88%.

And he really enjoyed his trip! The point is for the battery to last for everyday commutes, if you're going to do any kind of distance you can either wait for it to charge and read a book or something (people are so impatient these days) or just rent a car for the trip...

99% of people won't need more than 100 miles a day, and that's the whole point. How often do you actually do more than 300 miles in a day, for me it would be 1-2x a year and i wouldn't mind renting something for those trips.

Right hand drive is overrated (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582137)

I live in Ireland, drive a left-hand drive and it has never caused me any problems. The odd time I can't overtake because I cant see but other than that I actually prefer the left hand drive. i started off in a right hand drive but never really liked it. I never had to get used to the left hand drive and if i go back to a right hand drive now it will take me ages to get used to it.

Re:Right hand drive is overrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582317)

In Australia, years ago, power steering and automatics were much less common.

I think steering with your right hand (which for most people is stronger and more accurate) and changing gears with your left, is preferable in that situation.

Will anybody really save money with this car? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582157)

I could go buy a new Toyota Corolla and drive it 400,000 miles for what it cost to buy one of these.
It will be purchased buy rich people who will spend more time in airplanes than they will in this car.

7 People? (0, Troll)

basementman (1475159) | about 5 years ago | (#28582165)

I think the only way 7 people are going to fit in them is if 2 of them are dead bodies in the trunk.

Re:7 People? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582217)

Do they blend?

How useful in hot climates? (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 5 years ago | (#28582191)

It's just under 300 miles from Banning, CA, to Phoenix, AZ. Wonder what the mileage would be for that drive leaving Banning around 10 am the first week of September and using the air-conditioner. Probably wouldn't get to Blyth which is about half way. The electric and hybrid car ads and news stories never talk about the added burden of the air-conditioner and its power requirements.

Re:How useful in hot climates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582281)

300 miles but with no air conditioner, no spare tire, no luggage, single passenger, no radio, no GPS.

Just like how they say it'll seat 7 "people*".

*people defined as children no older than 5 years.

From their site:

Seating for 5 adults + 2 child seats

Though I still have no idea how they plan to seat 5 real people plus two kiddy seats. In the trunk maybe?

Re:How useful in hot climates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582473)

They probably mean 5 people that are not obese... being slashdot and all, I guess they aint regular people here.

Re:How useful in hot climates? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#28582305)

With something like this I wonder if it isn't worth dropping the weight of the conventional AC and using the old-fashioned 4/70 AC*.

*4 windows/70 mph

Re:How useful in hot climates? (1)

rothic (596907) | about 5 years ago | (#28582345)

That probably wouldn't do any wonders for its drag coefficient.

Re:How useful in hot climates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582365)

7/40 wont work when its 120-150F on the blacktop, itll just feel like you are cooking yourself faster

Re:How useful in hot climates? (1)

chinakow (83588) | about 5 years ago | (#28582417)

You do realize that all the established car companies talk about 0-60 times and fuel economy in the same brochures right?

Right-hand drive? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#28582215)

And for those in countries where it matters, this article mentions that it should also be available in right-hand drive.

Where it matters? Do some countries have laws dictating that sort of thing? AFAIK, that sort of thing of more de facto than de jure. I, personally, would love to have a right-hand drive car here in the US. Because otherwise when you park on the street the most-used seat/door is exposed to traffic.

Re:Right-hand drive? (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 5 years ago | (#28582323)

Its safer to make a left turn when the driver is sitting on the left and gets a better view of oncoming traffic. I imagine that people in countries that drive on the wrong side of the road would take that safety feature very seriously when deciding to buy any car.

Re:Right-hand drive? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 5 years ago | (#28582421)

It Britain you can drive a left hand drive car, but it is probably going to be more expensive to insure it. Insurance companies ask if it is a right hand drive car. I'm not sure what happens if you say it isn't.

Re:Right-hand drive? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#28582521)

You can drive it as an import but can't register it in the UK, so it'll have foreign plates. Insurance would be insane on something like a Tesla, given that there are approximately zero garages that know how to fix them and no parts availablility, plus with that 0-60 it's going to be classed as sports.

Re:Right-hand drive? (2, Informative)

asquithea (630068) | about 5 years ago | (#28582619)

Not true. An imported car must be registered with the DVLA, and must meet certain standards. LHD cars are perfectly legal, and relatively common -- especially with sought-after vehicles, such as the early Smarts.

See: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/BuyingAndSellingAVehicle/ImportingAndExportingAVehicle/DG_4022583 [direct.gov.uk]

Recharge time error (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 5 years ago | (#28582223)

Summary says it takes 45 minutes for a quick charge while the article states: "Batteries that last for 289,000 km have been demonstrated, as well as the ability to 'quick charge' batteries to 80% in less than 10 minutes. " Perhaps it's 45 minutes for a full charge?

Re:Recharge time error (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#28582431)

> Perhaps it's 45 minutes for a full charge?

That's 45 minutes when plugged into an "ordinary" 480V outlet. For the ten minute charge you'll need 480V 3 phase (at least).

Celeb sound effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582251)

Sounds of silence
Celeb voices ring true
Homer goes Wroom wroom!
Solved that for ya

More affordable alternatives (0, Offtopic)

A12m0v (1315511) | about 5 years ago | (#28582283)

Chevrolet Volt (has a gas engine that works as a range-extender after the first 40 miles)
http://www.chevrolet.com/experience/fuel-solutions/electric/ [chevrolet.com]

Aptera (fully electric)
http://www.aptera.com/ [aptera.com]

I'm personally considering an Aptera as soon as they are available for sale near me.

Taxes (-1, Troll)

sbiefeld (1472061) | about 5 years ago | (#28582329)

Every tax payer is giving Tesla money, regardless of them purchasing a Model-S, http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/06/24/1947208/Tesla-Nabs-465M-Government-Loan-To-Build-Model-S [slashdot.org] . If someone chooses to purchase a Model-S the amount they had to pay in taxes for the government loan should be deducted from the price tag.

Re:Taxes (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | about 5 years ago | (#28582517)

Troll, that's a loan. Loans typically have to get paid back with interest.
Also, according to wolfram alpha, there are approximately 115.2M people employed in the United States. The loan was for $465M. This averages out to $4.04 per taxpayer. Not a whole lot to take off now is it?

7 People? NOT! (-1, Troll)

markdavis (642305) | about 5 years ago | (#28582361)

I seriously doubt you can seat seven people [properly, safely] in a Tesla sedan with two front bucket seats and one rear bench. Perhaps 4 comfortably (2+2) or 5 uncomfortably (2+3), like most sedans.

Re:7 People? NOT! (2)

Kufat (563166) | about 5 years ago | (#28582423)

I believe the two child seats fold out into the trunk area...the rear-facing kids' bench used to be common on station wagons, but it is quite unusual for a large sedan. Interior pictures would be nice.

Swapable battery infrastructure needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28582379)

Instead of recharging the batteries, why not just swap out the battery itself? You know, kinda like propane tanks. Range problem solved! But batteries are heavy, so there has to be a standardized, automated way to change them.

I could see buying one (1)

UttBuggly (871776) | about 5 years ago | (#28582415)

I like the looks, the center "iCar" console screen, and it's unlikely I'll ever drive anywhere further than 300 miles. For any significant distance, I'm on a plane.

The price doesn't seem that bad, but I bet it's closer to $60K by launch. Even then, I will probably take a look at one.

Re:I could see buying one (1)

Batzerto (543710) | about 5 years ago | (#28582665)

I like the looks, the center "iCar" console screen, and it's unlikely I'll ever drive anywhere further than 300 miles. For any significant distance, I'm on a plane.

The price doesn't seem that bad, but I bet it's closer to $60K by launch. Even then, I will probably take a look at one.

I personally don't like the big video screen being used for controls. In my "analog" car I can change the radio station, adjust the temperature, and turn on the AC with convenient knobs and buttons that I know where to find without even looking and I get good tactile response. My in-law's Lexus has a smaller screen to do this and it was always in the wrong mode and difficult for the driver to quickly change the temperature or radio due to having to change modes. That said, the screen would be nice for watching videos, but please, not to control the car's functions.

Lord, won't you by me a Tesla Model S (1)

NoBozo99 (836289) | about 5 years ago | (#28582589)

My friends are drivin Prius
I'm feelin depressed
Worked hard all my lifetime, I need to impress
So, Lord won't you by me a Tesla Model S

Tesla Roadster test drive report (5, Interesting)

thrillseeker (518224) | about 5 years ago | (#28582671)

A (wealthy) friend had his delivered recently. Here's my twisty road test report.

Executive Summary: Oh. My. God.

Systems Lacking: 4-point harnesses, sufficient handholds for passenger, automated system to maintain directional control during GLOC on launch, earplugs to block whimpering sounds from passenger seat
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