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Toyota Partners With Tesla To Make Electric Cars

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer? dept.

Earth 327

An anonymous reader writes "Toyota just announced that it will invest $50 million in Tesla Motors and the two companies will partner to manufacture electric vehicles to meet California's growing demand for greener cars. Bay Area residents should be especially excited, as this venture is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the San Francisco Bay area, and is sure to be a boon to California's flagging economy. Tesla fans as well should rejoice as the new partnership will allow the EV startup to bring its highly coveted, iconic design to more affordable electric vehicles like the Model S sedan, which will sell for $49,900 and gets 300 miles on a 3- to 5-hour charge."

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All bugs are now electric... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291572)

Can't blame that ICE now!

I can't wait. (5, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291586)

As one of the last eleven people in the country with a job I look forward to buying one!

Re:I can't wait. (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291604)

If they make a flying one, I'll even look into getting myself a driverspilots license!

Re:I can't wait. (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291756)

I'll wait. I have been waiting since I was in elementary. I've been hearing about electric cars all my life, but I've never seen one on the road except for a few hybrids. The closest thing I've seen is the Zenn [zenncars.com] , but it only clocks at 40km/h and it isn't street legal in Canada. I kept hearing and seeing ads for this Chevy Volt, but I never seen it in action. And even if a number electric car models do manifest into reality, am I going to be able to afford it? At this rate, I think I'd rather wait for a unicorn.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292048)

I've been waiting for the Zenn too, but it looks like the high-speed, high capacity version is turning out to be vaporware. The current production version is no good to me because I do a lot of highway driving. I'd get a Toyota/Tesla though, in a minute.

Re:I can't wait. (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292060)

I used to sell the GM EV1 and EV2 in a past life as a car salesman (just recently my immortal soul finally came off lease from the Devil).

Those cars were awesome, some of the tech that went into them was mind blowing, yet all the leases were canceled and all the cars crushed. This, in spite of some owners offering up to $100,000 to keep them. At my work now we have two EVs, both homebrew. I have been thinking of building my own, based on a small truck chassis.

$50K for 300mi at a 4Hr nominal charge is something I would consider buying. My current design goal for a homebrew is 50mi unrestricted acceleration A/C or Heater and 100mi @ controlled acceleration topping at 55mph no AC or Heat.
-nB

Re:I can't wait. (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292730)

I used to sell the GM EV1 and EV2 in a past life as a car salesman (just recently my immortal soul finally came off lease from the Devil).

With all due respect, you never sold a GM EV in your life. They were all leases, as you then go on to say in paragraph two.

$50K for 300mi at a 4Hr nominal charge is something I would consider buying.

Yeah, you and a lot of other people. It's not impossible that a reasonably affordable next-gen EV might hit 200mi. 300, I think, is still out of reach.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292782)

>>>some owners offering up to $100,000 to keep them

It would cost GM more money than that to keep a stockpile of parts for the EV1 (as required by law). It was cheaper for them to crush the cars. That said if I owned an EV1 I'd probably "disappear" with the car to some other state. Maybe hide it in some farmers barn in Wyoming, and then put it in a museum ~20 years from now. The EV1 deserved to be preserved.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292850)

One unit was sold by the dealer accidentally.
It is in a museum (albeit with it's computer removed by GM).

Re:I can't wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292256)

There's a Tesla in the parking lot of my building right now. Nice looking car.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292702)

>>>I've never seen one on the road except for a few hybrids

How do you know? Many hobbyists convert gasoline cars to electrics, and you'd never know it just by looking at them.

As for me, electrics don't but it. I make frequent ~1000 mile trips, and I can't waste time while the battery takes 4 hours to recharge. Instead I have a hybrid which "recharges" with gasoline in just five minutes.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

xorsyst (1279232) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292790)

The other day I saw my first hydrogen-converted car (which looks more feasible than electric at the moment). I'm not sure if it was a hybrid or pure hydrogen though. The future is coming!

Re:I can't wait. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292964)

Yeah but where do we get they hydrogen from? Hmmm.

Re:I can't wait. (1)

scottwilkins (1224922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292196)

Buying one will send the profits of the sales to Japan and reduce even more jobs. There may be only 10 jobs left in the country after your purchase, which you will probably need to sell to one of those 10 to pay off other debts.

Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291588)

"flagging economy"
"more affordable"
"sell for $49,900"

one of these things is not like the others... ?

Re:Did I miss something? (1, Troll)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291628)

You left off labor costs in California in general and the Bay Area in particular.

Wait for the announcement that they're moving production somewhere else with lower labor costs.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291724)

A part of the Bay Area where people will work for less than those who are currently employed because they'd rather have a job that pays money than have no job and live in an underpass?

Seriously, the economy is tanked. Expect to take a pay cut, and a lifestyle cut. It's a crying shame, but hey; Nobody has any money at the moment, including Tesla.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292830)

That won't reduce the cost. When Toyota sold Rav4 EVs, which were made in a foreign country with cheap labor, the thing still cost $45000 to purchase..... about double the cost of the gasoline version. The high cost comes from the battery which is 4x larger than the one in a hybrid, and of course 4x as much money.

The Rav4 EV was also costly to maintain. The battery required replacement every 100,000 miles - that's a cost equal to replacing an engine in a normal car, but about 3 times more frequently.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291642)

50,000 is still cheaper than 100k and would be more affordable compared to the tesla electric vehicles.

Re:Did I miss something? (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291774)

Oooh, ooh, you also forgot "green cars". Attention, ecomentals: what do you think is generating the electricity to power the (energy intensive) construction and use of your "green" car? Fairy farts?

Electric cars will drive demand for electricity that may (and should, but who knows?) be generated from renewables or even (hold your nose) "clean" coal, but right now? You're just moving the emissions from your exhaust to the dirty old coal plant up the road, plus the even worse one in China where they dug up the Unobtanium to make your car.

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291862)

Are you suggesting that they shouldn't bother?

You've got to start the conversion to 100% electric somewhere, plus the transition to renewables can happen in parallel.

This again? (5, Insightful)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291918)

How many times do we have to hear this argument? Central production of electricity at a power plant is more efficient than millions of cars producing it in internal combustion engines. Shifting the pollution away from where cars drive should be a benefit (i.e. breathing less smog in LA). Then there's the effect of burning fuel to transport fuel to all the gas stations when we already have an electrical infrastructure to deliver energy to electric cars. I agree that not all power plants are green, but compared to burning fuel in our cars, it's greener. And once demand for electricity goes up, maybe we'll finally get the push we need to expand renewable energy generation. There's no instant solution but there is progress.

Re:This again? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292080)

Yes. Also the west coast has lots of hydro power, which while not good for the fish, is good for the air.
-nB

Re:This again? (1)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292760)

It's called economy of scale. Of course a power outage means you don't go to work.

Re:This again? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292890)

If you are concerned, but a solar panel array up just to charge your car.
The last power outages in CA had nothing to do with power availability and everything to do with Enron's attempt at controlling the market.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291930)

Wait, you seriously think that an internal combustion engine in your car is just as efficient as a steam turbine in a coal-fired power plant?

Here's a hint: one of those engines just throws away all the heat it generates into a radiator, and it ain't the steam turbine.

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292012)

Oooh, ooh, you also forgot "green cars". Attention, ecomentals: what do you think is generating the electricity to power the (energy intensive) construction and use of your "green" car? Fairy farts?

Electric cars will drive demand for electricity that may (and should, but who knows?) be generated from renewables or even (hold your nose) "clean" coal, but right now? You're just moving the emissions from your exhaust to the dirty old coal plant up the road, plus the even worse one in China where they dug up the Unobtanium to make your car.

Two problems with your complaint here.

One, you have to start the ball rolling somewhere. If we want to move to 100% electric cars powered by 100% clean/renewable/green electricity, then we need to start rolling out the electric cars sometime.

Two, centrally generated electricity is generally going to be cleaner than all these scattered combustion engines we've got now. Even if you're burning smelly ol' coal, you've got a single source of pollution to monitor/control.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Israfels (730298) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292846)

Two, centrally generated electricity is generally going to be cleaner than all these scattered combustion engines we've got now. Even if you're burning smelly ol' coal, you've got a single source of pollution to monitor/control.

Wait, so are you saying that the problem with burning carbon based fuels is simply location?

How exactly is burning fuel that was transferred to the plant by burning fuel in order to produce steam to produce kinetic energy to produce electricity that's transferred hundreds of miles that produces a charge in a battery that's used to produce kinetic energy again..... more efficient?

It's physics, in every step of the process there is loss of energy. It's more efficient to have the fuel directly produce kinetic energy in the engine.

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292178)

The other responders have pretty much deconstructed your post, but they left out a few other interesting benefits of getting off the oil nipple and exploring other energy sources. There's a geopolitical and strategic advantage to weaning ourselves off oil, in that if we can do so, we (the West) would no longer need a strong military and diplomatic presence in the middle East. That presence, more than any other expense, is bankrupting the US, and involves making deals with some of the most unsavoury governments in the world. Moving away from an oil economy would allow the US to tell the Arabs, Persians and Israelis to go away, and take their blood vendettas with them. That more than anything would bring about an American victory in the "war on terrorism," as all the terrorists really want is for the US and other Western powers to stop meddling in their affairs.

Also, some of us greenies are willing to take a second look at nuclear power tech, especially if re-use of the fissionables was on the table. Either as a transition to a fully renewable power supply, or as an on-demand supplement to wind and solar energy over the long term.

But hey, flame away, and keep paying the price for your oil dependency. Other countries in the world are starting to figure out just how high that price is, and they'll be more than happy to replace the US as the global hegemonic power.

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

Tyr_7BE (461429) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292284)

"Attention, ecomentals: what do you think is generating the electricity to power the (energy intensive) construction and use of your "green" car? Fairy farts? "

Yes, in a sense. [wnhydro.com] Specifically, 25% of my power is generated by wind. 50% is Nuclear. 75% of the electricity I use is exhaust-free.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292708)

That 25% is water, not wind. It's referring to the various hydro-electric plants. 75% of Ontario power is indeed exhaust-free (and we sell a lot of that power to the US), but both hydro-electric and nuclear are quite destructive to the ecosystem (nuclear because of heat pollution). Still, they are *by far* the best option we have right now. It's very sad to see that environmentalists are just as much against nuclear as they are coal. It's even more sad to see people like GP who think nuclear plants powering electric cars are worse than internal combustion engines.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291794)

Tesla has been working on this sedan concept for years. The $100,000 Roadster was their entry into the electric car market. The S sedan is the "more affordable" step toward their ultimate goal of a $35,000 car for the common person. Whether or not they achieve this goal, I support their vision. The state of the economy has shifted the perspective on the value of Tesla, but I'm still looking forward to owning one some day.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291940)

You missed the part where "more affordable" is a relative measure, and they're comparing it to their roadster with a 6-figure price tag.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292076)

no no, I understand this point, but in 49 states of this country, people are still much more likely to say "screw it, i'll buy a comparable regular car for $20,00 - $30,000 less"

I suppose it's ironic that they're basing the plant in the one state that people WILL buy with idealism instead of sense.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292000)

It means $5,000 second-hand electric cars in 5-10 years.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292108)

what's the average monthly spend on petrol? what's it cost to charge a full electric car overnight? If you look at monthly payments then the price of the car looks a lot more attractive.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Interesting)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292400)

I suspect that this tradeoff will be a lot more attractive in areas of the world where gasoline/petrol is $7 ($us) a gallon, but here where the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of that, I'm guessing that the loss of freedom and spontanity is not worth meager price savings.

a lot of people say that "once the US catches up with the rest of the world in gas prices, the demand for hybrid, synthetic (e85), and electric vehicles will shoot up". This is true, the demand will shoot up... but not the means to afford them. gas prices in the US doubling would tank the economy very badly, as this country is built upon cheap gas. Shipping by truck, commuting from suburbs, vacationing by car (we have several states that depend on tourism income), etc.

I'm not saying this is long-term sustainable, but the US trying to ween itself off gasoline nearly cold turkey would have catastrophic economical consequences.

Plus, who the hell wants to walk out to the garage in the morning and say "oh crap, I forgot to plug in the car / the charging outlet it blew a fuse / a rat chewed up the cable" etc.

Electric cars will become popular when:
1. the price is sane compared to similar traditionally powered vehicles
2. the inconvience downsides have been minimized.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292934)

Yes people don't seem to understand how BIG the U.S. is. If I order from amazon.com, it has to travel 2000 miles from California, and there's not much in-between. By car it's a 3 day journey. First the steam engine and now gasoline/diesel-fueled vehicles are what keeps this country connected.

If the cost doubles, it will have a major impact on our goods, our food, and our business travel. The EU has an advantage, as most of their goods can be shipped via water (for example from Poland to Spain) which is cheaper than land travel. The U.S. doesn't have that. Goods travel over the roads or rails.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292350)

You tend to lose something once you lose competition. Sometimes it's quality, sometimes it's low-prices.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Informative)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292884)

Yes you missed something. Comparable cars to the Model S would be BMW's, Audi's, etc. Base model Audi's start at $32,000 [audiusa.com] , base model BMW's start at $30,000 [bmwusa.com] . The original Roadster was $110,000 and the sport model is toping $140,000. So yeah the model S is more affordable, especially considering it will save you over $4,000 a year in oil and gas charges. And I'm basing that $4,000 a year off my 35 MPG Corolla, compared to maintenance on a comparable car I'm sure it would be more.

I've started saving for my model S. The Corolla is just to hold me over. I hope to have a Model S within 5 years.

When the accelerator gets stuck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291592)

Just unplug it.

Toyota + Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291600)

Toyota + Tesla? That's great.

But Tesla might want to throw a few more engineers to double the stopping capacity of their brakes. 'Cause, you know.

Re:Toyota + Tesla (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291658)

Do electromobiles use ICE style brakes? The trolleybuses (that use electric engines and have been using them since 1882 [wikipedia.org] ) just reverses engine revolution to stop (or somesuch). Same principle could be used in electric cars as well.

Re:Toyota + Tesla (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291708)

Usually electric vehicles use a combination of both - conventional brakes and some flavor of regenerative braking. Just using the engines is not sufficient in most cases, conventional disk brakes have a braking power that is roughly double that of the engine.

Re:Toyota + Tesla (1)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292432)

Yeah, but I wasn't talking about regenerative braking. AFAIK the trolleybuses (at least ones that we have here in Moscow), use active electrical braking, which is NOT regenerative. On other hand they have different movement context. They are tethered to the power lines, and they were not designed to reach speeds, that cars can reach.

a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291608)

Answering the "is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer?" in the header:

Yes, collectively in the long term. Every new electric car put on the road will contribute via networking effects to the development of an infrastructure to support electrics, and every gas-burning car taken off the road will contribute to the dismantling of the infrastructure that drills (and spills) for oil underwater, ships (and slicks) it in tankers around the world, etc. A new car is only manufactured once; it will continue to interact as a part of our environment for years (possibly decades) to come.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (4, Interesting)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291748)

Answering the "is-a-new-tesla-greener-than-an-existing-hummer?" in the header: Yes...

Can anyone think of a vehicle that is NOT greener than an existing hummer?

Apparently even a 100 year old Model T has a better mpg rating [wanttoknow.info] and they seem to last forever.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291764)

Arg... I should have found a better reference, that one is crap. Just forget I said anything.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (4, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291752)

Yes but...

Didn't I read somewhere that 75% of a car's lifetime energy consumption is during manufacture? So wouldn't it make more sense to rehabilitate existing autos? (And in a perverse way hasn't Cuba been doing that for decades?)

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (3, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292154)

yes.
And TopGear looked into a Prius Vs. a BMW M3 and found:
for a given speed (highway) the M3 had better milage.
The M3 cost less (energy) to manufacture.
The M3 batteries were greener to manufacture.
The Prius NiMh batteries were:
  * Mined in Canada at a dirty mine
  * ore was shipped to China to be smelted
  * raw metal was shipped to Europe to be "foamed"
  * Foamed nickel plates were shipped to Japan to be built into batteries
  * Batteries were shipped to the US for assembly into the Prius.

In other news: Recycling a plastic bottle is worse for the environment than burning it as fuel.

I don't know about the rest of /. but I do not expect people to care about that, nor do I expect them to believe me.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (2, Informative)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292526)

Penn and Teller taught me that the only material that actually makes economic and environmental sense to recycle is aluminum, and the rest (plastic, paper, et al) is all feel-good BS and attempts to create jobs. A good idea that is flawed in practice and doesn't work out as well as one might hope... Just like hybrids.

Is there a FUD mod? (5, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292834)

Because that post deserves it. What a load of BS.

First off Top Gear isn't a source of factual information, they are an entertainment program. They have a massive anti-EV, anti-Hybrid bias. Do you remember Tesla story where they had to push the Tesla off because it ran out of power? Well it didn't actually run out of power, they just did that for dramatic effect. I love watching Top Gear as entertainment, but they are not credible source of anything.

So who knows what the actual facts of the M3 run where, but still you are just making the information up, because even top gear didn't make those claims.

They raced a Prius around a track at it's absolute limit, pedal to the metal 100% of the time, and followed it in a M3 which could match the Prius easily at part throttle and under those circumstances and claimed the M3 got better gas mileage. That is possible but given it is Top gear, in no way guaranteed.

But even Top gear didn't claim that an M3 got better highway MPG.

The rest of the post is just a reiteration of the debunked Hummer is better than a Prius FUD.

Pure FUD, no facts. If there isn't a mod for that, there should be.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292948)

That was a horrible Top Gear. The tests where all favored the BMW.
You don't drive a Prius like you do a BMW.

Why don't the hook a trailer to the Prius and compare it to a big rig? The Prius would loose there as well.

They always make excuses for the big engine. I could easily come up with latest where the Prius beats the fell out of a BMW. say traveling S. on the 605 from City of industry into hunting beach at about 5PM.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (5, Informative)

jcupitt65 (68879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292234)

It's the other way around, actually. 80 - 90% of a vehicle's lifetime energy use is in driving it around. You can google many versions of this calculation, but here's one from Slate [slate.com] .

You might be remembering the report from a few years ago that claimed a Hummer was more efficient than a Prius, but that's been pretty thoroughly debunked [thecarconnection.com] many times now.

Re:a journey of a thousand miles per gallon.... (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292878)

You might be remembering the report from a few years ago that claimed a Hummer was more efficient than a Prius, but that's been pretty thoroughly debunked many times now.

Unfortunately, it's not actually well-debunked by your link, which claims that the report was well-debunked, but then goes on to quote only that report when giving any lifetime per-mile energy consumption figures. Do you have any useful links with which to debunk the report?

In other news ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291612)

Tesla in an effort to save time and improve efficiency has announced it's first recall before the plant has opened.

There will be no stopping this (5, Funny)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291618)

It'll keep going forward even if they try to put the brakes on.

Re:There will be no stopping this (1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291818)

My goodness, a Toyota joke? Are people still making those? Well, since you forgot to bring the funny, here's an actually amusing commentary [youtube.com] to make up for it.

Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291630)

Tesla, to me, seems to be the same old inefficient car bodies with a bunch of batteries squeezed into it. Batteries where the elements come from strip mining and other nasty things, so the environmental impact is just shifted and reduced a bit, but not a lot.

OTOH, Aptera, to me, represents a new way of thinking.

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (1)

ahixon (1796290) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291648)

Yes, but you also have to look at what the market wants. Especially for a large sales-driven company like Toyota. I can't imagine that many people willing to drive around in that thing, but I'm sure they'd love to drive around in a Tesla Roadster.

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291666)

Actually, I wish that they had done either GM or Ford. Aptera has no real capabilities. They are running out of money. The problem is that both GM and Ford are runned by accountants that think SHORT TERM

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291740)

Lol and what part of a normal car isn't strip mined from somewhere?

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292242)

The seat covers ;)

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291768)

Batteries where the elements come from strip mining and other nasty things, so the environmental impact is just shifted and reduced a bit, but not a lot.

Speaking of shifting the impact, where do people think the power comes from to recharge these things? Rainbows and unicorns? According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , just shy of 70% of our power in the US comes from coal, natural gas, and petroleum, and 20% comes from nuclear (not saying nuclear can't be clean or is bad, just that the people begging for these "clean" cars out in Cali are likely against nuclear power as well). So, rather than burning the fossil fuels directly, they're just shifting it off to giant, pollution-spewing plant miles and miles away and out of sight.

Now, I'm all for advances in clean technology, cars included. People just need to recognize that just because you're driving an electric car doesn't mean you're have no negative impact on the environment.

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291800)

I'm pretty sure that the environmental impact of the current generation of electric cars is actually more than petroleum ones, just much better hidden. The electricity that's used to make and power them today is coming mostly from burning fossil fuels in 30 year old power plants. That might change in 10 years time, but it's not 10 years time, it's now.

Re:Damn, I wish they partnered with Aptera (4, Insightful)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292442)

I'm pretty sure that the environmental impact of the current generation of electric cars is actually more than petroleum ones, just much better hidden.

And I'm pretty sure that's wrong, because:

The electricity that's used to make and power them today is coming mostly from burning fossil fuels in 30 year old power plants. That might change in 10 years time, but it's not 10 years time, it's now.

While that is true, it's a sad fact that a 30 year old fossil fuel burning power station is STILL greener than the ICEs in most of the cars on the road on a power-generation to output-of-bad-stuff comparison...

Plus of course, a small amount of power generation DOES come from greener sources, and this will be used equally along with the non-green sources. As green sources increase, that automatically makes all these cars greener without being changed. Unlike ICE vehicles which remain equally as non-green no matter what you do to processes external to them.

I agree, but... (2, Insightful)

inkyblue2 (1117473) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292638)

Even if generation 1 electric cars are a mess, SOMEONE has to make them viable enough and sexy enough to get the market moving in that direction. As soon as electric cars start becoming a significant chunk of the automobile market we'll see battery, motor, and material research go through the roof. This has already started, and I think it would be hard to argue that Tesla hasn't played a big role in swaying the general perception of electric cars from "slow ugly thing that hippies drive" to Serious Business.

Aptera is awesome in their own right, and you're right that their design pushes the envelope a lot further. Hopefully gen-2 mass market EVs will go more in that direction. I just don't think anyone should downplay the importance of Tesla (etc.) making the generation of cars that bridges the gap between what we drive now and what we'll drive once electric cars are pervasive.

Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291670)

(...and running, and running, and running, without stopping...)

Nissan LEAF has been announced at a price point that makes it cost-competitive with the Prius, which nobody expected. Toyota is now terrified because they bet the farm on hybrids, which have shitty mileage! Yes, I said it, their mileage is shit. You get the same effective mileage or better with a small TDI. In the really real world, 1.8 TDI Golfs get better mileage than any Prius. And that doesn't even get into the Lupo with 1.6 BlueTec diesel... which we can't have here because it won't pass federal crash test requirements.

Parallel hybrids are a really dumb idea and nobody has brought us a plug-in series hybrid yet. Enter: Nissan LEAF, to actually change the game. Nobody will take people like Aptera seriously without EVs gaining more market traction. Thanks, Ghosn.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (0, Flamebait)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291820)

Top Gear taught me that Hybrids were garbage years ago, and that even a v8(!) jag deisel can get "hybrid mileage" if driven carefully, while a small 4 cylinder turbo deisel will whallop the mileage of a hybrid

It's just that in THIS country, hollywood celebrities drive, and push the merits of, hybrids, so they MUST be right. I mean, celebrities certainly know way more than we peons do.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292184)

Also from the hybrid episode:
BMW M3 beats the Prius on mileage.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292854)

Didn't the Prius get something like 13mpg on the track, whilst the M3 got 20something under the same conditions (driving at same speed)?

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292938)

somewhere in that range.

Now, what TopGear didn't show is that in all stop and go driving the Prius would win, especially with jack rabbit starts.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291834)

What!?! You mean hybrid vehicles actually do NOT break the first law of thermodynamics ? That's unthinkable! I'm calling CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera to change their headlines!

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291904)

And that doesn't even get into the Lupo with 1.6 BlueTec diesel... which we can't have here because it won't pass federal crash test requirements.

Cars with small diesel engines aren't exactly a rarity in Europe. You've used the Lupo as an example but every manufacturer has a couple of other cars of similar size which generally get similar mileage.

Though much of Europe probably pays twice or three times what you pay in the US for fuel...

But it is already running.... (3, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292046)

The important part is that now the foucs is on fuel efficienty and not on maximum power.

And i am still suprised there are no diesel hybrids yet from anyone. Maybe the extra diesel noise would give a strange driving expierence?

There is one small detail:

One can buy a running toyta prius 5 years ago, but a nissan leaf is not yet for sale. You cannot compare a previous generation car with a future generations car. Well actually you can because parent poster did just that.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292236)

BS. Hybrids can get pretty damn good gas mileage actually (my dad's Prius gets 48MPG on the highway, which by all accounts is the WORST scenario for hybrid), and the comparison to diesel is not a 1:1 comparison. The energy density of diesel is higher than gasoline, therefore a gallon of diesel can do more work than a gallon of gasoline. So, of course you can go more miles on a gallon of diesel than gas, but you also get less diesel out of a barrel of oil than you do gas (research a little something called the crack spread to see what I mean).

And, I laugh when I see comments about how terrible for the environment the batteries are for hybrids. 0MG!!111 Nickel! Guess what else Nickel is used for? STEEL, which is in every single automobile produced. Guess what else? NiMH are highly recyclable.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292470)

Oh yeah, need I point out that a Golf is smaller than a Prius?

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292272)

Jeez I get tired of saying this. THERE IS MORE ENERGY IN DIESEL THAN IN GASOLINE. Maybe yelling will help.

It's about 12% more. So parity between a diesel and a gas hybrid means the gas hybrid is more efficient.

And according to Edmunds, the Golf TDI gets 34 mpg combined. The prius gets 50 mpg combined. yeah, I know the EPA estimates aren't ideal, but ... 16 mpg different, combined with the 12% energy difference on the input ... I think you're way off base in saying the mileage is shit. Especially for a midsize car in it's weight class. Comparison to small cars like the Lupo ... apples and oranges my friend.

'course you're dead right about a series hybrid. Hell, make it a diesel series hybrid! And operate in the fixed rpms diesel sweet spot.

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292368)

posted MPG for the Golf TDI is 32/42 mpg... might want to review what the 2010 Prius offers... (psst, its 51/48 mpg)

Re:Nissan LEAF has Toyota running scared... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292662)

And that doesn't even get into the Lupo with 1.6 BlueTec diesel... which we can't have here because it won't pass federal crash test requirements.

It's a damn shame we can't get our high-mileage, unnecessarily-dangerous imports.

Stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291712)

Interesting, a 'green' car that never wants to stop.

Kudo's Tesla and other observations (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32291866)

I like it! First, I've been around Tesla; involved as a third-party with drivetrain development. They are a GREAT group of engineer's with entreuprenurial spirit... Everyone I worked with took ownership with the goal of designing/engineering top quality. Those of you who are not in the automotive world don't have any concept of what goes into building a passenger vehicle nor the cost associated with development of new technologies for this market. Yes with a decent bank-roll I'm guessing that 80% of the /. readers could come up with a functional electric vehicle (batteries, VFD, a couple of seats, 4 tires and a steering wheel), but it is much more than this when you consider safety (MVSS), reliability / durability, comfort (A/C, radio with bluetooth and mp3).... building vehicles and being competitive in that market is challenging. Breaking into that market with a totally new brand, product line, and technology is the most daunting concept I've ever contemplated. $50M is chump change in terms of vehicle development. Consider that Toyota paid $16.4M as a fine for the recall debacle... 33% of what they are investing with Tesla... What I see as important in this is the alignment of the planets; Toyota's manufacturing facility in San Jose (Matrix / Pontiac Vibe) is currently idled; pushing the Tesla sub-$50k will require sales volume... manufacturing volume can not be accomplished without a proper manufacturing facility...

Re:Kudo's Tesla and other observations (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292290)

Mr. Coward, could you please get yourself (or use your) handle? I am interested in your post and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Honda Clarity? (-1, Troll)

mvar (1386987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32291882)

Why do they even bother with electric cars? The recharging time they need every few hours makes them at least inconvenient for everyday use. I believe that hydrogen power is the way to go.

Re:Honda Clarity? (4, Insightful)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292042)

I believe that hydrogen power is the way to go.

That's 'cause you haven't thought about storage issues yet.

The recharging time they need every few hours makes them at least inconvenient for everyday use.

"everyday use" usually means commuting. So your car was charged overnight, and you drive to work. If your work is less than 150 miles away, you just plug it in when you get home (real world mileage is probably not so precise, but I really doubt there are many ~300 mile/day commuters out there). Long road trip? That's not everyday use, and presumably something like a "car share" program would cover you for the few times you're going on a long drive.

Re:Honda Clarity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292150)

Swapping batteries is an option when you're doing more than 300 miles, but how many days a year do you do more than 300 miles ? for many people, the answer is 0.

Re:Honda Clarity? (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292158)

I think they are less inconvenient than it sounds. Most people commute a fairly limited distance, a 300 mile range will handle almost all of the average person's everyday driving. The inconvenience is for people who drive a lot (for business probably) and recreational/vacation driving. I couldn't take a car like this on the 800 mile trip we take every summer to visit family.

That said, people who live in big cities have realized this for years. You own transportation that supports your regular commute habits. In many cases, people who live in NYC don't own cars. They can rent a car for extreme cases. Likewise, our family makes ~2-3 trips a year that would push this car over it's limit. It would be worth it for us to own a car like this for commutes, charging it over-night, and rent a car for those trips.

That said, the cost is still way to high to make it economically feasible for us.

Re:Honda Clarity? (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292244)

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
you're joking right?
H2 is made by steam cracking CH4 (natural gas), thus is a carbon fuel.
Also, do me a favor:
  Set your odometer trip meter to 0. Drive your normal drive for a day, what does it read? 10mi? 25? 50? most people have commutes that are under 50 miles, which means this car wouldn't have to "fill up" but once a week overnight. If you are not "most people" then don't buy this car. Bonus points, many employers will let you charge the car for free at work.
-nB

The thing that makes electrics un-economical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292044)

Electric vehicles would be cost competitive for short run (ie. local) driving except for one thing. The batteries wear out and have to be replaced every few years.

Electric vehicles can be, as many amateur constructors have demonstrated, built for a lot less than $50,000. Electricity is cheaper than gas (around here at least). It's just that those darn batteries are real expensive and don't last long.

I was seriously thinking about building an electric but the battery thing made it too expensive for me. The other thing is that we currently have a 100 year supply of natural gas. If we go for unconventional natural gas, there's a lot more. If you don't believe that CO2 causes catastrophic global warming, then there is no point for electric cars. Peak oil isn't a problem and we don't have to buy natural gas from people that hate our guts.

Re:The thing that makes electrics un-economical (1, Troll)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292106)

The batteries wear out and have to be replaced every few years.... It's just that those darn batteries are real expensive and don't last long.

Citation needed...

Re:The thing that makes electrics un-economical (1)

acdc_rules (519822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292216)

i just don't get it either. my laptop battery was able to a hold charge for 4 hours when new. one year later, i'm happy to see it last for 2 hours. same tech as electric cars, same cells in some cases. cars have higher demands on them.

Scalability??? (1)

GNUPublicLicense (1242094) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292116)

Have those people ever thought about the scalability of their technologies and the issues that will reveal themselves at mass market scale??????????

Toyota quality? (0, Troll)

scottwilkins (1224922) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292278)

Great, Toyota quality in a Tesla. There goes Tesla down the tubes... Personally, I see this whole deal failing. Toyota is a preditory company, they will invest in Tesla only to bring them down in order to remove competition in the market. In 5 years, Telsa will be gone. Mark my words.

price tag (4, Insightful)

viridari (1138635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292592)

Anyone who would describe a US$50K car as "affordable" has more dollars than sense.

Re:price tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292902)

I agree, 50 grand for a car I cant take on vacation?

50 grand for a car that if my "tank" is low I cant turn on the radio?

50 grand for a car if I run out of "fuel" im screwed for 12 hours?

Tell ya what, make one that cost less than my 16 grand Kia and wont screw me for an entire day if I forget to plug it in and maybe we will talk

Rolling Blackouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32292612)

All right! More rolling blackouts for California!

Oh, no one thought of that?
 

The Plugin Plug Challenge, Street Parkers (2, Insightful)

FathomIT (464334) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292748)

The challenge is bringing the ability to self-charge vehicles to more people.

Apartment people are not going to be able to charge their own electric car anytime soon, so they are out of the self-charge market (they’ll have to go to a station). At least until there is some portable battery pack...

Few people in America have Garages to charge their electric cars.

More have Street parking in front of their townhouse or single family house.

Target market=In front of your home street parkers.

There are two hurdles in this market
1. Biggest=Legislation. Allowing homeowners to install a plug near the curb (like a parking meter, but less obvious: could even be delivered via the route in the existing gutter drain from the house).

2. Technical Challenge=Developing a fully waterproof (top to bottom) electrical cord, that requires a key or combo to unlock it, and installed on a retractable coil. This is where potential $millions await.

Of course we cannot forget the unmentioned challenge = fighting for that exact public space to do the charge.

Sudden Acceleration (1)

Walter White (1573805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32292862)

What could possibly go wrong?

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