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See the Tesla S at the Detroit International Auto Show (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the as-low-as-$49,900-but-you'll-wait-until-2013 dept.

Technology 143

The weather in Detroit was frightful and Slashdot editor Timothy Lord was nine hours away. No problem! He loaded his camcorder and a bunch of other stuff in his car and drove to Detroit for the 2012 International Auto Show. In today's video he looks at the Tesla Model S. Next week we'll have more video highlights of the auto show for you, so stay tuned...

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143 comments

TESLA SHO*LD SUE ON TM INFRINGMENT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767454)

And take down that car maker !!

Not interested... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767686)

Not interested, until they bring back the roadster...now THAT was a car.

Not interested in any family cars....more than 2 seats.

Re:Not interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767840)

Not interested, until they bring back the terrible handling over priced lotus...now THAT was a car.

Re:Not interested... (2, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768522)

The Roadster was not an Elise with a different nameplate. Yes, the chassis was made at the same factory for both vehicles, but that is pretty much where the similarity ended.

Re:Not interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768846)

They all the best parts of the Elise and threw them out. What you are left with is a massive pile of shit.

Re:Not interested... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767946)

If you haven't sat in the Model S then you're opinion is pointless. Its an AMAZING machine and a beautiful piece of engineering.

Re:Not interested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768064)

If you haven't driven a F1 car then you're opinion is pointless. Its an AMAZING machine and a beautiful piece of engineering.

Re:Not interested... (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768572)

It may be amazing...for a sedan. It is not a sports car.

Anything with more than two seats...is not a sports car, it is a family car.

Re:Not interested... (2)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768996)

Um, 3000 GT VR4 twin turbo? (okay, okay, the rear seats are only useful for children and beer... But it has over 400 HP, and has been on the track.)

Re:Not interested... (1)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38771200)

Yes, sporty... 0-60 5.4s.

See also Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR (4.8s) and Subaru WRX-STI (4.4s). The WRX-STI comes in a station wagon and is a 4.x second car factory standard. For anyone needing a practical family race car.

what is with that shitty synth voice (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767496)

don't use that again, thanks in advance

when did this happen (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767502)

Slashdot has reporters who do on-site video pieces now?

Insert quip about how they can do that but can't hire editors to make sure the summary blurb is accurate. ;-)

Re:when did this happen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767720)

I think the real news is that Timothy left his moms basement.

Re:when did this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767768)

Not for any money. It's called Blogger editor whores. Probably leftovers from the great Gawker media firing of 2011

Why do you think Taco left?

Re:when did this happen (0)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768326)

I was wondering how I missed the fact that Timothy was actually Harry Potter all these years. At least we still get to hear Slashdot's own robotic overlord. That was comfortingly familiar.

Re:when did this happen (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768902)

"Oh the weather in Detroit was frightful,
Electric cars, so delightful."

Okay, I'll stop.

Re:when did this happen (2)

timothy (36799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769282)

No new people, actually -- the content on the site is put up pretty much by the four guys whose nicks you see on the site ;) (Maybe eventually there *will* be new people to make more video, and better than I know how to, but for now it's an ongoing experiment.)

And what -- you want everything?!

timothy

Waiting for my favorite reviewer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767522)

I'll wait til Jeremy drives one on Top Gear.

Re:Waiting for my favorite reviewer (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768230)

Mod parent up. Best comment up until this point.

Re:Waiting for my favorite reviewer (2)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769140)

Yes, great comment. Let's wait until Clarkson and company do another hatchet job on it because they don't like electric cars...or American cars.....why Tesla even loaned them cars to review is beyond me.

Top Gear is a great show, very entertaining. A LOT of people (and I am not saying either one of you are one of these people) do not realize that it is pretty much completely staged. Outside of the stig's track times...and the star in a reasonably priced car....you have to take anything on that show with a grain of salt.

Re:Waiting for my favorite reviewer (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769292)

Not saying they do a scientific job of evaluating vehicles. Just that up until this point in the thread this has been the most valuable suggestion in my opinion. I would love to watch one of those Top Gear folks try to endure a road-trip in the back child seat.

Re:Waiting for my favorite reviewer (2)

unrtst (777550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769384)

Top Gear is over the top on lots of stuff, and I think that's blatantly obvious (disclaimer: I love the show). But to call it a "hatchet job" is also overly exaggerated.

Sure, they staged the filming of the Tesla running out of battery, but the point that it would have run out very quickly was absolutely true. Sure, they were driving it like maniacs, and that's part of the point. Driving any car like that will result in far higher fuel consumption than the advertised average mpg (or miles per charge). But that's what they were saying... for a sports car, it sure doesn't last long on its available fuel capacity, and recharges take a LONG time.

I'm also looking forward to a Top Gear review of this car. Personally, I'm hoping it's one of their challenges and it pits it against a few other electric cars.... that could be fun. Maybe a sort of cannonball run in all electrics across ?somewhere?, so they have to make sure they pitstop at places that can charge them and deal with the charge times, and a Robin Reliant as the emergency car that they are forced to use if their car is stranded (which would probably win the "race").

So jealous (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767566)

Every day I drive pass my local Tesla dealership and see all those rows of beautiful cars and think of just stopping in and buying one right on the spot. And then I remember that Tesla cars aren't actually real, there are no Tesla dealerships, and the company stays pretty much on the verge of bankruptcy, with models that always seem to be on backorder or are "coming out sometime next year...we hope." Then I notice that Natalie Portman is my girlfriend sitting in the seat next to me, and realize that I'm dreaming.

Re:So jealous (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767926)

You're an idiot - there is a Tesla dealership here in Chicago that I pass by each day on the way to work, oh while driving my Tesla. Perhaps you should move to a community that has a higher relevancy score.

Re:So jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768066)

That's odd. A Tesla Roadster just passed by me the other day while I was walking across the street. And that was just in a tiny suburb.

Re:So jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768256)

Tesla does have a few stores ... see: http://www.teslamotors.com/buy/stores

Re:So jealous (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768440)

You could be dreaming, or you could simply be living or working in Menlo Park [teslamotors.com] , CA. I used to drive past here all the time. All the car dealerships on El Camino Real left that strip of real estate sandwiched between the road and the CalTrain because there simply wasn't enough space for them to store enough inventory to be competitive with dealerships in Redwood City and Palo Alto. Strangely enough, lack of space for on-hand inventory was not a problem for Tesla, so they took over one of the empty lots.

Re:So jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38770712)

One of their top performing sales office is in Park Meadows mall in Colorado. They are so overwhelmed that they are going to move to that model for future showrooms. Cheap way to show case the car, with LOADS of traffic. You should grab the LRT to there.

Now, if it would be possible to get them to manufacture their own extras to buy, such as the water bottle. At the least, make it in the west, such as SIGG so that I do not have to be concerned about lead or other pollutants being in it.

Useless review / video (2)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767604)

Other than the hot chick in the boot, that was a worthless video.

Re:Useless review / video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767622)

I'm not able to view the video. Has slashdot slashdotted itself?

Very cool car (5, Informative)

ClayDowling (629804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767656)

I saw it there, and it's one of the few cars on the floor that shows you all of the mechanicals (Ford did it with their trucks, which was also really cool). The mechanics of this car are incredibly simple. This should significantly reduce ongoing maintenance costs and make car ownership easier for the majority of people.

Re:Very cool car (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767856)

Of course the most difficult repairs in a car are electrical ones, and guess what a Tesla has in spades? Diagnosing electrical problems can be a real nightmare in regular cars, I hope Tesla has engineered in better diagnostics for their cars.

Re:Very cool car (3, Insightful)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768278)

Diagnosing electrical problems can be a real nightmare in regular cars

Regular cars have a whole bunch of solenoids and sensors all over, to run systems that electric cars don't have.

No matter what, an electric car with X features will be dramatically less complex than an IC-engine car with X features.

Re:Very cool car (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767938)

Perhaps, but electro-mechanically and electronically it is quite complex. I wonder how rugged and durable it will prove to be in everyday use. And I don't mean the battery, but all the ancillary systems like the adjustable suspension, the glass roof, the touch screen and the various powered gizmos. Perhaps they will be just as good as any other car, but they are a potential point of failure.

Re:Very cool car (4, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768794)

For components that matter and are in areas that need to be protected, I'm pretty sure Tesla uses milspec components, and Elon Musk publicly announced that for most of the interior components they use stuff found in more ordinary consumer electronics.

The really complex part electrically is the battery monitoring system, where Tesla has a dedicated system monitoring the voltage levels and maintaining consistent heat levels in an attempt to keep the Li-ion battery pack from overheating or "melting down"... as sometimes happens with the technology. The cells are isolated with the system in a way that if one cell burns up, it won't take the whole battery pack out with it. That is mechanical engineering, but it doesn't have moving parts.

As for the moving parts themselves are concerned, the Tesla vehicles have a simple electric motor (AC variable frequency induction motors) with a transmission to match wheel speed.... and the transmission is rather simple compared to internal combustion engine transmissions. The hard part there is simply getting a transmission built that would handle the torque put out by the electric motor. Going from 0-60 in under 4 seconds (the Model S appears to match this same performance spec that the Roadster also had) is a whole lot of torque to put onto the drive shaft. An auto mechanic would have no problem recognizing or repairing the transmission. Electric motors are quite famous for being rugged, and would likely outlast the chassis of the vehicle it is mounted in.

The other miscellaneous gizmos you are talking about are what you would find on any luxury automobile. Yes, they are potential points of failure, but it won't stop the vehicle from operation and they are also repaired quite easily. Replacing those components is no different than trying to change a bulb inside the dash of a more ordinary automobile. None of those components should take more than an hour to replaced even if your were a novice mechanic.

Seriously, I fail to see where the complexity is at, other than simply putting together the whole thing. Compared to modern ICE automobiles, it is significantly less complexity. Compared to a hammer or a crowbar, yes it is more complex. What is your standard here?

Re:Very cool car (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38770636)

The battery will be significantly more expensive to replace. It's an easy job though.

Re:Very cool car (2)

Rebelgecko (893016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38770700)

I think the point of that might be some day you could just go to a gas station (or gas station equivalent) and swap out your dead battery for a full one, which would let you drive significant distances without needing to stop and charge overnight.

Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1, Interesting)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767658)

I know I'm dying to see a government funded vehicle that only the wealthiest 10% of Americans can afford!

Yes, I know that the government gave out $25 billion in loans under that program and Tesla got just $465 million, but still. I can't imagine a dumber way of promoting green transportation for the masses than building a $60,000 sedan.

So ten thousand or so greenwashing celebrities, financiers, and Ivy League professors will buy one and then...what? They claim they'll make a cheap model when they work out the kinks and get enough funding from selling the rich-people version, and I know trickle-down economics sorta works in cutting-edge technology, but Nissan already has an electric sedan for $20,000 less.

I just don't see why Tesla deserves our adulation.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767774)

>>I just don't see why Tesla deserves our adulation.

Do you really think the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt would exist if Tesla did not?

And clearly someone thinks Tesla has value as Toyota has inked a deal with them to build battery packs and power electronics for EV versions of the RAV4 mini-SUV. Daimler Benz also has agreements with Tesla to build battery packs.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (2)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768462)

"Do you really think the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt would exist if Tesla did not?"

Of course they would. No one looked at a struggling boutique electric car manufacturer with a single car priced over $100k and said "let's be like them". If you want the inspiration for other manufacturers stepping up their efforts just look at the Toyota Prius. Yes, it's a hybrid, but full electric is just the obvious evolution of what was done there and a way to avoid being just "another Prius". The success of that car showed the big makers that there was a market. These big automakers don't want to sell 2000 cars a year, they want to sell millions .

Now as for the battery packs, Toyota and Daimler probably want to remain flexible and avoid the expensive tooling that producing in house would entail. Better to just have someone else supply as needed like any other component. If someone else comes up with a better battery pack, you just have to get one made to fit your cars, not overhaul your battery making factory.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (3, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768908)

So the reason why Toyota decided to make a major cash investment into Tesla Motors and had the CEO come to California to meet with Elon Musk was because they already were the world leader in electric vehicle transportation and didn't need to copy or learn anything from Tesla?

Seriously, please explain that one.

BTW, it was the CEO of General Motors who met with Martin Eberhardt when Tesla was in Detroit (doing a sales demo in that city) that was the clinching case to build the Chevy Volt. The Roadster really was the inspiration for getting the Volt built. The Volt was also the only new vehicle project that survived the GM bankruptcy as well. I think that says Tesla was a bit more than a "boutique electric car manufacturer".

I could get into more details, and certainly the inspiration to use standard Li-ion cells was something that neither Toyota nor Daimler ever got the gumption to try out. Keep in mind the EV-1 used ordinary Lead-acid batteries, and until Tesla came out with their battery packs it was not even considered something possible to try Lithium technology for automobiles.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38770848)

The Volt was also the only new vehicle project that survived the GM bankruptcy as well.

It should, perhaps, be noted that GM didn't manage to sell even 10,000 Volts last year. Not an especially inspiring start....

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767812)

People who can afford 60k are not wealthy, but rather people who *can't* are poor.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767838)

It depends on "afford", I suppose. Many middle-class people could shell out $60k if it were absolutely necessary, but most financially prudent people making mid to high five figures wouldn't spend that much on a car.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768170)

There is a Tesla project for a $30,000 sedan. It will go into production several years after Model S production starts. There is also another project to make a crossover in the same price range as the Model S.

Since Tesla has neither the huge amount of engineering manpower nor the massive amounts of capital of a Detroit or Tokyo Big 3 automaker, starting in the high end and working their way downwards is their best option.

A Nissan Leaf will go about 100 miles on a charge. A Volt, while not a true EV, will do around 40 miles. The Model S can be optioned out to a 300 mile range. No other manufacturer offers anything remotely like this.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768300)

Agreed, unless $60K is a rounding error for you, if you are going to spend that much on a car you would rather get a practical SUV made by a reputable manufacturer, not some science project that has no road experience.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768494)

Electricity is cheaper than gas where I live. Good luck affording the ongoing costs of that SUV.

That is, unless your SUV is just a status symbol you want parked in your driveway to impress your neighbors.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1, Insightful)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768566)

...practical SUV...

Bzzt! Sorry, death barges are many things, but practical isn't one of them. Unsafe, gas guzzling, underperforming, overweight and overpriced, yes, certainly. But practical? No.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769408)

Unsafe

Citation needed. In fact, how about I will just post one to the contrary: http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=50 [iihs.org] http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=55 [iihs.org] http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=110 [iihs.org] Now as to practicality - you fit 5 family members, 3 tents, inflatable boat, cooler and 3 days worth of food and water for a camping trip, or bring an Ikea dining room set from the store in your sedan, I dare you.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38770928)

Unsafe

Citation needed. In fact, how about I will just post one to the contrary: http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=50 [iihs.org] http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=55 [iihs.org] http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=110 [iihs.org]

Turns out it's better to avoid a crash than to get in one. Try this: http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html [gladwell.com]

Now as to practicality - you fit 5 family members, 3 tents, inflatable boat, cooler and 3 days worth of food and water for a camping trip, or bring an Ikea dining room set from the store in your sedan, I dare you.

Already brought the Ikea dining room set home in my compact sedan, thanks. 8 person table with 6 chairs. Need more room? Buy a minivan.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768288)

Median household income in the US -- one of the, if not the richest nation on earth -- is about $50k. If you make $50k, buying a $60k car makes you a fucking idiot, not un-poor.

This is just the way new technology is created (4, Insightful)

Smeagel (682550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767860)

Often times the first generations of new technology are so extremely expensive, that only the rich can afford them. Then slowly, with iterations and perfections, the prices come down to normal consumer prices. Almost every breakthrough technology has been that way, car's, computers, tv's, home entertainment. The thing is, unless there's the initial generation of very expensive technology, there's usually no starting point for engineers to slowly develop improved and cheaper ways to build. It's rare a technology goes from non-existent to every consumer can afford it. Also keep in mind Tesla isn't trying to compete with Toyota sedans, it's trying to compete with high-end BMW, Audi, Infiniti sedans. As in other automobile technologies, the cheaper sedans benefit from all the R&D that goes into the more expensive sedans, as their features slowly trickle into the cheaper sedans.

Re:This is just the way new technology is created (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768090)

Soon Teslas will be as cheap as superfluous apostrophes.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767868)

I'm not a Tesla nut-swinger, however Tesla deserves credit for one very solid reason: they are the ONLY company making electric cars that are actually oriented towards people who enjoy driving. The aforementioned Nissan isn't a car, it's a transportation appliance. There's no passion in it.

The closest other car along those lines is the Fisker Karma, which quite frankly is a joke. It has a 32 mile range on electric, after which it has a horribly underperforming 4-cylinder that gets an abysmal 20mpg.

So, that's why Tesla deserves some credit: making an electric car that actual car people might be excited about.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38770060)

I'm glad you taxpayers helped develop the car I drive - the Volt, which was shepherded through by Bob Lutz, the original "car guy" - read his book or drive any of the other cars he made great (stupid things like Vettes and such). Saw a great Charile Rose interview with him and Elon Musk - and I admire them both. But don't count out the Volt as not fun to drive without driving one. I also have a 2010 Camaro SS - and on the twisty roads around here - the Volt is more agile and more fun if not as quick. The Camaro shines on straights and sweepers where it pretty much eats any other car around (all of them so far) - but you have to drive as though you were strapped into a fighter plane because that is what it is. The Volt is more like a euro sporty car, much more comfortable with quick switchbacks, it's just more agile and plenty fast when its the curves that limit your speeds anyway. The Camaro would beat it - but at the end of the road the Camaro driver is going to be really tired, and the Volt driver is going to have a mile wide grin - and not be very far behind anyway.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768130)

I know trickle-down economics sorta works in cutting-edge technology, but Nissan already has an electric sedan for $20,000 less.

One third the price, one third the range.

The market for luxury sedans is pretty significant, and it's possible that the existence of the Model S will drive the costs of battery packs with ranges large enough for the masses to feel comfortable down enough that maybe the next generation of $20,000 electric sedan will be something everyone will want.

I just don't see why Tesla deserves our adulation.

Hey, I get your point and it's a fair one. There are other reasons to adulate the company other than them being a champion of the masses. For some of us, just making cool tech is enough. :)

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768262)

Because the Tesla car is what electric cars SHOULD be to be competitive. The leaf's range is too short for 60% of American commutes (including mine) while the Tesla S is capable of all but the longest commutes. The leaf's battery pack cannot be swapped while the Tesla S can swap batteries to make longer trips possible given a battery swap station along the way.

I think the government grant money was grossly mishandled overall (much of it went to companies that only had ideas that sounded good on paper). But in Tesla's case I think it's working out very well.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768386)

The leaf's battery pack cannot be swapped while the Tesla S can swap batteries to make longer trips possible given a battery swap station along the way.

Or you can hitch up a team of Unicorns to pull you the rest of the way.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768378)

Oh, oh, if you are dying for a 60,000 dollar car, wouldn't you die 50% more if you had to pay a 50% more for a government sponsored car?

You can get this Al Gore mobile (Fisker Karma) for just 95,000 USD. [politicons.net]

Well, you can get one, once they are shipped back to USA from Finland, where Fisker is outsourcing the manufacturing to. I wonder how the Finnish are taking this, after all, it's only 529,000,000 USD that the Obama administration (well, US gov't), has 'invested' into this deal.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768570)

I live right by a Fiskar dealership, yet i never see any on the road, EVER. I live in So-cal, so its not unusual to see very high end cars all the time. You would think i would see at least one by now. Ive seen multiple Teslas, A Reventon, R8s, Murcilagos etc etc.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (5, Insightful)

deanklear (2529024) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768580)

The planes you fly are modified bombers funded by decades of investment by the US government. The computer you use is based on technology that progressed under enormous investment by the US government. The internet, which is probably the source of all of your entertainment and possibly your income was invented, funded, and developed by the US government.

It's one of the few things we do well, and it does our society a tremendous amount of good to invest in new technologies, even if they don't immediately produce profitable outcomes. That's why we were the world's number one economy, and it's shortsighted nonsense like demanding that everything be developed by private industry -- most of which can't see past their next quarterly report -- which is going to continue our slide to last place in the western world.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768680)

You're missing the fact that it was a LOAN, not a grant. Remember that the government actually made money on the loans in TARP which brought the total cost down to $34B, a small fraction of the $700B initial outlay.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768956)

Remember that the government actually made money on the loans in TARP which brought the total cost down to $34B, a small fraction of the $700B initial outlay.

I would still call that a waste of taxpayer money to prop up failing businesses.

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (1)

dak664 (1992350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769680)

TARP looks like a success on paper, but a big chunk of another $3 trillion was involved to prop up the assets of those companies so they could repay the TARP loans with subsidized valuations. Fannie May and Freddie Mac took the heat for a lot of those losses. http://pra-blog.blogspot.com/2011/03/true-costs-of-tarp.html [blogspot.com]

Free market could handle this were it not for the lobbies and regulations that favor big business. Why *must* automobiles have airbags and be built to survive impacts of 100 km/hr? So drivers don't have to worry about messing their hair with helmets? A $10000 car with 1000 km range could easily be fielded, and let the courts decide who is to pay when the occupants are smeared by an SUV.

  A $3K electric bicycle can easily carry 200 kg with 100 km range at a top speed of 50 km/hr. It would be illegal in most civilized countries :)

Re:Yay! Government funded luxury wanker mobiles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38771112)

Apparently you don't know anything about trickle-down economics. Every worthwhile technological advancement you use today is a direct result of it.

In 5-6 years Tesla has not only proven it can make a far superior vehicle to that of combustion, but it has cut it's price point in 1/2 at the same time. Why do you think Nissan HAS an EV available on the market? The entire EV revolution that exists today is a direct result of Tesla, who had a production vehicle on the market FIVE years ago. The Roadster was a proof-of-concept vehicle that not only proves superior engine capability but battery technology as well. This is just the beginning. Without Tesla pioneering this market there wouldn't be ANY EV vehicles in mass production today. Someone had to step to the plate and take the big risk... you think ANY of the major manufacturer's would have bothered which such an experiment? Hell no! They have SHAREHOLDERS to think of.

Tesla received an extremely small fraction of government funding compared to the big 3 US automakers. And they are making good use of it. Clearly you can't afford a $50k automobile, but there are quite a few of use of us who can. Your idea of who buy's such a car is either clearly warped or you're just being an asshole about it... by the tone of your post I'm going to go with the latter.

I dare you to share with the world ANY technological product in the last 100 years that started from the bottom up. NOBODY wants what poor people can afford. Television set's, radio's CD/DVD/BLU-RAY players, automobile's, computer's, smart-phones, tablet PC's, ELECTRICITY, PLUMBING... all things things that were owned by the rich first. That's the way things work. The rich get it first. If it's desirable, then less affluent people want it... supply and demand is what brings down cost for the rest of us.

This isn't rocket science... it's basic economics. If you can understand how to use words like "adulation" then you have no business posting such ignorant nonsense.

Fact is I've had the opportunity to sit in the drivers seat of the Model-S and it's an AMAZING machine. It's NOT overly priced, quite the opposite, and if they are able to succeed bringing it to market it will be the best available EV on the road for the price, performance, luxury, etc. I will be purchasing one myself as soon as they are in mass production.

Please fix the story title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767858)

It's the Tesla "Model S", not "Tesla S".

Humbly yours,

A Tesla employee

Boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38767886)

Electric vehicles are just toys for idiots and public figures who want to show the world how 'green' they are.

If it's not powered by an ICE, it's not a real car.

Re:Boring. (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38771222)

There was a time when electric, steam and gasoline competed against each other with no clear winner. That was until gasoline engines got better. If something changes in the equation, another mode of generating motive power may be more competitive.

Hardly a Sedan (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767892)

Optional rear facing mini-seats? This isn't a family car, this is just a roadster that can transport a family in a pinch.

Re:Hardly a Sedan (2)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768044)

Judging by the pictures (can't see the video) it is a pretty standard 4-door sedan. I assume the optional rear facing seat are to allow kids to sit in the trunk area or something. In fact, on their website it says seating up to 7 - that would be 5 normal seats plus two kids in the trunk I guess.

Re:Hardly a Sedan (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768200)

Optional rear facing mini-seats? This isn't a family car, this is just a roadster that can transport a family in a pinch.

Right, just like most other luxury sports sedans. It's for well-off folks who like fast cars but need something practical enough to justify owning when you have a family.

Guessing by the number of these kinds of cars by BMW, Lexus, etc I see as I drive around, this is not a tiny market.

Re:Hardly a Sedan (1)

ickpoo (454860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768268)

It is a family car, has four normal seats (the expected ones), and has optional additional 2 seats. The rear facing seats are in the trunk. (it is a hatch back).

Video features comment (3)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767896)

I kinda like these video features, but *wow* is that 1960s era robotic voice obnoxious. It's incredibly grating to listen to.

The Tesla is great but... (0)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 2 years ago | (#38767972)

It's a pity, this is a great example and great use of technology but deep down, it's just not able to deliver any real benefits over any other sedan.

The energy costs of the car in an entire lifespan are probably equal or worse than petrol. This technology requires more energy to make and involves expensive mid-term disposable battery packs. Energy used for it has probably had 50% of it's already non-optimal conversion efficiency wasted in down-the-wire transmission.

When that's taken into account, what's the point really? Lets just get over to being a renewable power produced hydrogen economy already. There are no other options that really help.

I still want one though. Shove an apple logo on it and it'd sell by the shipload.

Re:The Tesla is great but... (1)

DanDD (1857066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768360)

A hydrogen economy is so far off that it's even more fiction than a Tesla. There are at least two Tesla dealerships in the Denver, Colorado area, and these cars are in fact driving around (at least the Roadsters).

First, hydrogen is just an energy carrier. How are you going to produce this hydrogen?

Second, once you produce hydrogen, how are you going to distribute it around? Replace natural gas? Not for hundreds of years....

If you have the energy to produce hydrogen, why not just use the existing grid? Sure, the US electrical grid needs some TLC, but it is quite functional and is capable of serving a significant number of electric vehicles, especially when charged during off-peak hours. We have no infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen on any usable scale.

Re:The Tesla is great but... (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769084)

Hydrogen can be produced at the point of delivery or even in your home, so the distribution system doesn't need to be nearly so extensive as natural gas or other fuel distribution systems. It can also be shipped in bulk as ordinary water for those few places that may need to have it shipped in from a distance. A tanker truck full of water is not really a significant danger on a highway other than the sheer mass of the vehicle.

Getting fueling stations set up is a bit harder for hydrogen, and by far and away the hardest part is simply getting the chicken or egg problem going where you need a sizable enough fleet of hydrogen vehicles to justify building the fueling stations in the first place. There is a fleet of natural gas vehicles, and even then it is hard to come by fueling stations for that fuel source.

A similar problem is happening with electric vehicles, but recharging stations are beginning to appear now that you can find electric vehicles that would be able to use them in the first place. Home charging stations are the key here that makes it work. I'm just suggesting that a similar kind of set-up could be used for hydrogen cars as well.

What would make hydrogen become a viable fuel source in my own opinion would be the development of nuclear fusion as a viable energy source. Discounting cold fusion completely, if something like the Polywell or even the Tokamak fusion reactors ever got to a production power situation, they could make hydrogen gas cheap enough as a fuel source to make it practical. Since neither of those fusion reactor types can ever be scaled down to the size of a consumer automobile, something like hydrogen would be the next best thing.

Re:The Tesla is great but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768380)

The batteries are recyleable and your ICE loses more than 50% of the energy from its fuel.

Hydrogen is a scam. It brittles everything and there is no good source for it. Most of it comes from Natural Gas reformation.

Re:The Tesla is great but... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768434)

This technology requires more energy to make and involves expensive mid-term disposable battery packs.

They aren't going to just dispose of a component that comprises a third of the price of the vehicle. Already all the electric vehicle makers are finding buyers for used battery packs when they don't have enough charge left to be useful in the car. And once that's gone they'll be recycled for the lithium.

Energy used for it has probably had 50% of it's already non-optimal conversion efficiency wasted in down-the-wire transmission.

That seems highly pessimistic. Transmission losses are less than 10% on the grid, and will be much less within the car.

Lets just get over to being a renewable power produced hydrogen economy already.

Hydrogen fuel cells also require high-tech manufacturing.

You can get there in a Prius... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768080)

You can get there in a Prius with a plug-in recharge retrofit. Why would you want to drive there in your Prius? To smirk at the chumps paying $80k for this shit or course. Because you're a Prius driver, so not only is your car one of the most efficient on the road, you're also an asshole about it.

Relevancy of the weather in Detroit? (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768316)

The first 1/3 of the video is this dude with whack glasses complaining about the drive to D-town. Counting the lame intro/outro, a full 1/2 of this video is complete fluff. Thanks for wasting my time /.

Re:Relevancy of the weather in Detroit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768438)

Not to mention that the Slashdot video system buffers and pops every 30 seconds or so. Dislike old man Harry Potter.

Nice but....Volt! (3, Interesting)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768464)

Picked up my new Volt in Oct. Loving it. If I had to charge it off power company power, it would cost me about $1/40 miles. But I have plenty of solar panels. And yes, it has a nice engine too. Having a sense of humor, I just bought some nice flame decal stickons for it. It's actually a right sporty car, particularly off the line in traffic, and an utter blast to drive on the twisty mountain roads where I live.

You can hate on "government motors" all ya want - They did a great job on this one, and unlike the haters, I'm getting that bailout money back in the form of something pretty darn cool. Could it just be sour grapes? Or is it all astroturfing by people with errrm, illiquid investments in the oil patch who are desperate?

More here: http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=48 [coultersmithing.com]

Don't get me wrong - I admire Elon and his projects quite a bit. They're just behind. A big company might take longer to get the word, but once they get in motion, look out - I couldn't get a Tesla, or afford one, but this is in my driveway now. And I promise to exit the car within the three weeks it takes to catch on fire after being total lossed sideways into a pole. I'd rather not starve to death before burning.

Re:Nice but....Volt! (4, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38769366)

You can hate on "government motors" all ya want - They did a great job on this one, and unlike the haters, I'm getting that bailout money back in the form of something pretty darn cool.

Also it should be noted that GM is once again the world's largest seller of automobiles [latimes.com] . So it would appear the bailout had its intended effect -- instead of a gaping hole where GM used to be, we now have a successful domestic auto company.

Convertibles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38768552)

So doing a quick search, I can pay $120,000 for a new convertible that saves ~$50 a month on gas (I have a very short commute) and costs an unknown amount of additional electricity over whatever charge duration.

Ignoring the power costs, and assuming my Sebring requires less than $20,000 maintenance during the following math: A car named after an absolute pioneer in the field of electromagnetics will pay for itself in ... .... a little under 200 years. Ok, in that time scale I'm sure my Sebring will take more than $20,000 in maintenance costs, and I'll probably either be dead, or otherwise lose interest in having a convertible long before that time. If I was prepping to spend around $120,000 for a car, I'd probably buy something else [trendsupdates.com] and bank the difference to cover some of the fuel.

Re:Convertibles... (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 2 years ago | (#38771224)

Clearly you didn't read the summary or watch the video (or read the title for that matter?)

The Tesla Model S is around $60K, and is a sedan.
The Tesla Roadster is around $120K, and is a two seater sport car.

Please read before posting.

Video feature? Hmm, alright, but... (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768716)

Love the idea of video features, however this is all I took away from that piece:
* the trunk has rear-facing child seats
* the battery has 4 bolts for quick exchange
* someone with functioning ears could help improve the "robot seizure" intro and outro clips

Detroit "International" Auto show? (0)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38768882)

Is this where International Auto makers come and show Detroit how to make a proper automobile? I can't believe anyone would come from overseas looking for something to buy. How does an auto industry the size and strength of the US can fail so miserably with the quality of their products?

Built with your Communist Tax Dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38770374)

And in Finland. Eat it you lemmings.

Tesla is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38770730)

I'd give any practical electric car 150 km range with careful driving, and far less under spirited driving.
Once you run out of juice you're SOL for 3-4 hours while your green ride recharges.
If the thought of spending $60k for a neighborhood grocery getter appeals to your sense of responsibility, then Tesla might actually have a chance of turning a profit.

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