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181 comments

Never going to take off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021559)

The problem with the Tesla Roadster, and I've taken a test drive, is that it sits too low to see the traffic signs.

I got pulled over on the test drive, as a matter of fact. The cop asked me if I could see the signs.

Re:Never going to take off (2)

Woek (161635) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021623)

We're talking about the Model S

Re:Never going to take off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021641)

So? Does that somehow make the Roadster any better?

Re:Never going to take off (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021665)

No. That makes the Roadster off-topic.

Re:Never going to take off (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021855)

No. That makes the Roadster off-topic.

It's no use anyway. Few people will buy Model R anyway, and Model S is going to be quite expensive for normal people. I'm waiting for Model T, something tells me that that could be the one.

Re:Never going to take off (-1, Redundant)

strack (1051390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022101)

Henry Ford maybe?

Re:Never going to take off (1, Funny)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022175)

Can we a get a "-100 Raped and Murdered the Joke" mod?

Re:Never going to take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022409)

Just as soon as we get a "-100 delusional signature in post" mod.

Re:Never going to take off (0)

SpzToid (869795) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022215)

'Model T' gets modded +5 insightful on slashdot?

In other news: The relevance of insightful Slashdot commentary declines.

Re:Never going to take off (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022675)

In other news: The relevance of insightful Slashdot commentary declines.

The moderation system is broken by design and this is one of the results. Funny mods don't give +1 karma so many people use other positive moderations instead of funny to prevent karma rape by people who don't get the joke, or get it but don't like it.

Re:Never going to take off (2)

horza (87255) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021667)

The Roadster is a fun sports car. I've been in the petrol version (the Lotus Elise), my friend has one, and you do sit very low to the ground. I wouldn't buy one personally. It's a bit of a pain to get in and out of. The Model S looks amazing though, that model really will take off if priced right.

Phillip.

Re:Never going to take off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021799)

The Model S is actually built on the platform of the Lotus Evora [wikipedia.org], which is less hardcore than the Elise.

Re:Never going to take off (5, Informative)

frontiersman (656479) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021945)

The Model S is actually built on the platform of the Lotus Evora [wikipedia.org]...

The Model S is actually designed from scratch and has no Lotus heritage whatsoever. The Roadster has 7% of its parts in common with the Lotus Elise and was built on the same production line.

Re:Never going to take off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022155)

You're right. I meant the Tesla Roadster, not the Model S. My bad

Re:Never going to take off (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021741)

You have never driven any real sports car have you. Lamborghini, Ferrari,etc. They are not SUV's they sit 2 inches from the ground. The Lamborghini countach could not be backed out of a parking spot without sticking your head out of the window and sitting backwards.

You dont buy a sports car for ease of visibility.

Re:Never going to take off (4, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021961)

Lambos and Ferraris are supercars, designed for people with more money than sense. Sports cars are usually taken to be about $20000-$60000, and usually have pretty good visibility all round.

Re:Never going to take off (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022817)

You, sir, are confusing normal cars with sports cars.

Re:Never going to take off (4, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022855)

Sports cars with good visibility, at least good enough to park without leaning out the door/window:
Mazda RX-8
Nissan 370Z
Audi TT
Alfa Romeo Brera
Porsche Cayman
Any convertible sports car

I could go on.

Re:Never going to take off (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023489)

And you forgot the Corvette, which is a sports car that can hang with super cars.

It's a super sports car!

Re:Never going to take off (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023583)

Good point - it may have leaf springs, but the C6 is a surprisingly capable sports car.

Re:Never going to take off (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41024105)

You have never driven any real sports car have you. Lamborghini, Ferrari,etc. They are not SUV's they sit 2 inches from the ground.

Lamborghini built an SUV. I thought about buying one once, but fortunately common sense prevailed.

range (4, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021599)

300 miles is impressive, and probably because they are using Lithium Ion batteries, it should weight less. With gas prices touching sky, I would certainly be interested in this kind of researh ongoing. Some interesting add-ons to this could be PV cells embedded in the body to charge batteries while driving and add couple of hundred miles on the fly.

Re:range (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021681)

300 miles is impressive, and probably because they are using Lithium Ion batteries, it should weight less. With gas prices touching sky, I would certainly be interested in this kind of researh ongoing. Some interesting add-ons to this could be PV cells embedded in the body to charge batteries while driving and add couple of hundred miles on the fly.

should read: ...couple of hundred miles on the life of the car.

Not me!! (0, Offtopic)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41024003)

I'm going "anti-green" on the car thing.

Right now...I'm starting to shop around for a mostly restored '74-'76 Pontiac Trans Am, 455 ci 4-speed.

Yep...I'm looking to get between 8-10MPG...and have a hell of a time doing it.

These things are torque monsters, and were the last of the dying breed of muscle cars, insurance, govt. regulations and even then, gas prices were killing them off. But one can be had for a decent price now, and with some resto-mod work, these engines can be bulked up to nearly 500hp, new suspension will have it handle well.

Sure, I guess I could get a new camero...but I'd just be one more shmoe driving the same thing as everyone else. Not to mention....these new cars just don't sound as good as the old big blocks.

So, the hell with green, and high gas prices....I have a decent job...might as well enjoy an old ride while it is still available.

Re:range (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021751)

you are grossly overestimating the output of PV cells. you would need to tow a 40 foot long trailer of the highest output PV cells to increase the range like that.

and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

Re:range (2)

Pisus (1444647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022039)

and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

Here in Italy we are very very near $9.36 per gallon... sigh now i use an app to find the cheapest price around a 5 km radius...

Re:range (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023919)

Yes, but much of that price goes to your health care. Here, my health insurance premiums far outstrip my gasoline consumption. If I didn't have to buy healh insurance I wouldn't mind paying $10 per gallon.

Re:range (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022135)

Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries and we're still paying £1.30 / 1.30 Euro a LITRE which is 6 $USD for a US gallon. And you know what? People still pay it, because there is still no viable alternative. Drive anywhere in Europe, it's all the same.

I sat down, did lots of calculations and set my own limit a while back - at £2 per litre, that's $12 for a US gallon, I have to *start* reconsidering the amount of driving I do. Chances are that by the time it hits that, interest rates will have risen to match, salaries will have risen to match, fuel efficiencies will have risen to match, I'll need a new car anyway, and public transport prices will still be as ridiculous as they are now.

And my reconsideration might just be "Well, nothing I can do about it" or even just "Actually, the relative value is still the same". It's not going to be "Oh, wow, I have to go out and spend tens of thousands on a new car with a new fuel, the money for which I'll have "saved" before it ends up as scrap metal." without some hugely drastic amount of physics being changed so that it's viable.

Until anything approaching 60 mpg can be gotten out of a *SECONDHAND* car with ranges of 400-500 miles, where I can fuel up ANYWHERE without having to consult lists of stations and maps, where I can repair the car for no more than an ordinary one and where I can trade in that car for some decent percentage of the original price I paid, then every other technology is going to lose out.

Hell, I did some maths the other day. If you add up the price of every car I've ever owned, every repair I've ever done (not including my own time), and fuel for several years, it *STILL* doesn't come to the price of one of the fancy hybrid cars that they want me to buy. Hell, for some models I wouldn't even get the second-hand price. In the face of such economics, it's no shock that the people who actually travel a lot aren't buying alternative fuel cars.

For £300, I have a car that's lasted 4 years with me and required about £300 of repairs and parts in all that time. It burns £400 a month in petrol but I get 50mpg (UK gallon!). That's almost impossible to compete against with such technology. A complete engine replacement for my car? About £300 off the scrap heap or a grand or two for something "newer".

When alternative fuel will honestly cost me more money than I've ever spent on my current car + fuel for a year before I even start driving it, it's hard to pitch those technologies. And replacing one hundred granny's cars who do 10 miles a month is pointless if you could replace just one heavy road user with a decent car.

Hell, I don't even care about speed, I'd poodle along in the slow lane quite happily, so long as it was motorway-capable (which means at least 60mph by law in my country). But you just CANNOT get close to anything the petrol offers at the moment, and petrol can quite literally double in price and STILL it would be more worthwhile. It would have to literally quadruple or more in price to actually price myself out of using it, and then things like LPG conversion (was quoted £800 for a full conversion last year) would probably get me another doubling of price before I was priced out again.

Petrol is amazingly cheap for what it gives you compared to EVERYTHING else that's at the cutting edge of research.

Re:range (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022279)

Petrol is amazingly cheap for what it gives you compared to EVERYTHING else that's at the cutting edge of research.

You apparently did not do the actual maths.

Electric: 0.09 euro/kWh, or about 0.025 euro/MJ
Gasoline: 1.5 euro/liter, or about 0.047 euro/MJ

In other words, the energy for electric costs half that of gasoline, and that's still excluding the much higher efficiency of the electric car. Per driven kilometer, it is even more extreme.

If you don't like electric for it's limited range and slow charging times, sure. But despite the expensive batteries, it's getting damn close to the gsaoline cars.

Re:range (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022547)

You apparently did not do the actual maths.

Electric: 0.09 euro/kWh, or about 0.025 euro/MJ
Gasoline: 1.5 euro/liter, or about 0.047 euro/MJ

In other words, the energy for electric costs half that of gasoline, and that's still excluding the much higher efficiency of the electric car. Per driven kilometer, it is even more extreme.

If you don't like electric for it's limited range and slow charging times, sure. But despite the expensive batteries, it's getting damn close to the gsaoline cars.

You apparently didn't read the parent's post properly, where the comparison was the total cost of ownership, not just the fuel cost.

Re:range (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022461)

Chances are that by the time it hits that ... salaries will have risen to match

ROFL. I stopped reading here.

Re:range (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022533)

Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries and we're still paying £1.30 / 1.30 Euro a LITRE which is 6 $USD for a US gallon.

Yep, and the UK government keeps telling the oil industry to slash prices because they are "harming the economy". The oil industry tells them to go to hell each time, and you know what - I don't blame them since 64% of the petrol price is tax and the government still keeps increasing the tax. It *is* harming the economy, but if the government is serious about doing something about that they should be cutting the tax instead of expecting the oil industry to take the hit all by themselves.

and public transport prices will still be as ridiculous as they are now.

Part of the problem here is that public transport get taxed on their fuel just like the public. Every time the government says "we need to raise fuel tax to encourage more people onto public transport", they increase the tax that public transport pay for their fuel as well, so all the bus fares go up to cover it. If taxes are going to be as high as they are at the moment, we need them to be used in investing in infrastructure (that means giving public transport a break instead of taxing them heavilly, maintaining the pothole riddled roads, improving the rail infrastructure, etc.).

The british train prices are beyond belief - if you book 2 weeks in advance you can get a good deal, but if you book within a week of travelling then things get much more hit and miss. If you have to make a last minute decision to go somewhere then forget about using the train. I frequently take a late night train which costs £14.50 each way if I book 1-2 weeks in advance (commically the first class tickets for *the same train* are £175 a pop); meanwhile if I leave it to a day or 2 before travelling, the ticket will cost me £80 each way. I can do the *round trip* for £55 in the car (and it takes almost half the time), so unless I'm in a position to plan a couple of weeks in advance it doesn't make any sense to take the train. The rising prices would all make some sense if the train capacity was very limited, but these are late night trains which are practically empty - by offering tickets at these unrealistic prices, they just ensure that it is emptier, even though they still have to pay the fixed costs of actually running the service.

And before anyone says that I'm comparing apples and oranges since I haven't considered the cost of owning a car in the above prices: no, I haven't considered the cost of owning a car because the public transport is so bad that I (and most other people) have to have a car anyway, so it is legitimate to just compare the fuel cost of running your existing car against the cost of taking public transport.

It's not going to be "Oh, wow, I have to go out and spend tens of thousands on a new car with a new fuel, the money for which I'll have "saved" before it ends up as scrap metal."

My take on this is that not only are electric cars still pretty expensive, but the batteries wear out and will be expensive to replace. If I buy a brand new petrol car, it will still be running in 15 years time and it'll still be running in 150,000 - 200,000 miles, probably without having had significant repair work done on it. Can the same be said for an electric car? I doubt it.

Then there's the range - yes, 300 miles is a reasonable range, but there are times that I do journeys longer than that and I can't just spend 2 minutes at a petrol station refuelling an electric car. For this reason alone, I'm not convinced that the current form of electric cars are going to replace petrol ones for the majority of the population. Driving into the fuel station and having the entire battery pack replaced with a fully charged one would give you the equivalent "recharge rate" of a petrol car (and with the batteries essentially just "on loan", the cost of replacing them when they wear out could be included in the cost of filling up). Similarly, a car running on hydrogen or methanol can be refuelled as quickly as a petrol car, whether or not it has an internal combusion engine or a fuel cell. Flow batteries may also hold some similar promise since the elecrolytes can be quickly pumped out and replaced.

Maybe a better option for "alternative fuels" will eventually be to use electrical energy (e.g. from nuclear plants) to produce hydrocarbon fuels and just carry on as normal with ICEs burning hydrocarbons...

Re:range (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022913)

Yep, and the UK government keeps telling the oil industry to slash prices because they are "harming the economy". The oil industry tells them to go to hell each time, and you know what - I don't blame them since 64% of the petrol price is tax and the government still keeps increasing the tax. It *is* harming the economy, but if the government is serious about doing something about that they should be cutting the tax instead of expecting the oil industry to take the hit all by themselves.

Yeah, those poor oil companies who have, even adjusted for inflation, been making record profits as oil prices have skyrocketed might have to actually have less profits. I think I'll have to cry myself to sleep tonight over their pain.

Re:range (4, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022551)

Someone has to buy these first models, so that less expensive ones can be made in the future.

The Tesla models are for those people. And people with that sort of money tend to want the amenities seen in more expensive cars.

In a decade these things will trickle down in price and become more common.

Re:range (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022749)

This is Tesla's whole business model. Build expensive cars for people with more money than average. Keep refining the technology, and build a cheaper car. Rinse and Repeat until everyone can afford to buy a Tesla Model C (Cheap).

Re:range (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023085)

Are you saying trickle down economics works? And you are saying that on /.?

Re:range (4, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023181)

This is the opposite of trickle down economics. Trickle down says that you should give money to rich people first, so that eventually it finds its way to poorer people.

Tesla's model is to take money from rich people first, to fund research that eventually helps poorer people too. That sounds a lot more like a progressive stance when put that way, right?

Re:range (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41023755)

Tesla's model is to take money from rich people first

When put that way, it does sound more progressive. I see the business model as Convince the rich people to give them money to fund further research, by offering them a bleeding-edge look-at-what-I've-got piece of technology with all the bells and whistles that the look-at-me crowd wants, because the look-at-me crowd has money, while the I-just-want-to-get-to-work crowd doesn't have that kind of disposable cash.

Re:range (2)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023421)

No, he's saying that new technologies are introduced in luxury products and then gradually become mainstream. In cars that was true of power-adjustable seats, power windows, stability control, side curtain airbags, automatic transmissions with more than four gears, automatic transmissions that use electronic clutches instead of a torque converter (like the Audi DSG - first available on their top models, now available on some cars that cost less than $30,000), touch screen systems, DVD players, and so forth.

Likewise the Tesla Roadster was $100,000. The Model S starts at $57,500 before tax incentives, although if you purchase a charging station and a few other features it will probably really cost closer to $65,000. The longest range version of the Model S starts around $75,000 although you can add luxury and high performance features to drive the cost up to $100,000. Hopefully Tesla gets better at managing their production processes and high sales volume, technological advances, and (if we are lucky) competition between component vendors will all drive down their costs. Maybe in five years the successor to the Model S will deliver an equivalent product to their current $75,000 version for $50,000.

Even at $75,000, if the battery pack can maintain 75% of its charge up to 200,000 miles it's about as cost-effective to own as a $55,000 sedan with equivalent performance and a traditional gasoline engine. The Tesla Model S requires about 0.3 kwh of charging per mile driven, so as long as the price of electricity rises more slowly than the price of gasoline the long term savings are good. On the other hand, if you're looking to save money it will never pay off compared to a used car or a new Prius (or even a new Fiat 500, Honda Civic, etc... ) but of course those vehicles are substantially slower.

Re:range (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022667)

Until anything approaching 60 mpg can be gotten out of a *SECONDHAND* car with ranges of 400-500 miles, where I can fuel up ANYWHERE without having to consult lists of stations and maps, where I can repair the car for no more than an ordinary one and where I can trade in that car for some decent percentage of the original price I paid, then every other technology is going to lose out.

And that's why Diesel is doing so well everywhere but the USA, where cars like that are outlawed on one pretext or another.

Re:range (2)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023487)

They're not outlawed. The emissions standards are difficult to meet, but they can be meet. The real problem in the US is that taxes on diesel fuels are higher than on gasoline. So the diesel engine vehicle might use 40% less fuel, but since your cost per gallon is 30% higher the savings are negligible.

Also remember that the United Kingdom uses "imperial gallons" for measurement, which are 20% larger than US gallons. Every so often someone mocks the poor fuel efficiency of economy cars on the US market without realizing the difference.

Re:range (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022919)

So what? Because you don't want one you think the whole electric car industry should pack up and go home? Every time electric vehicles are discussed around here, somebody always pipes up with this sort of calculation, as if their personal needs should dictate the use of a technology. Yes, if you were not going to buy a new car, then one of these models is not for you. Yes, if you don't drive much then there won't be any fuel savings.

There are nearly 150,000 new cars sold in the UK every month. You might not want to buy a new car, but a lot of other people do. Those are the people who it is hoped will head down the alternate fuel route.

Re:range (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023657)

You aren't actually closer. The US gets most of its oil from Mexico and South America.

Re:range (2)

asavage (548758) | about a year and a half ago | (#41024055)

It doesn't change your point but Canada supplies the most oil to the USA. 2x more than Saudi Arabia and 3x more than Mexico who are 2nd and 3rd in supplying the US with oil.

Re:range (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41023671)

Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries and we're still paying £1.30 / 1.30 Euro a LITRE which is 6 $USD for a US gallon.

Lucky you. 1.7e here in Finland =)

Re:range (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41023683)

Maybe I'm missing something, but you're saying that you bought a car four years ago that cost only £300 and yet gets 50 imperial gallons to the mile? What car is this?

Doing a little converting so my American brain can grasp this it comes out to about $470 dollars that you paid for the car and it gets about 41 miles to the gallon. Here I have never even heard of a car that got above 40mpg before the year 2010. So one again, what is this uk super car that was made at least four years ago and gets above 40mpg and yet costs under $500? I want one.

Re:range (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41024051)

Maybe I'm missing something, but you're saying that you bought a car four years ago that cost only £300 and yet gets 50 imperial gallons to the mile? What car is this?

Doing a little converting so my American brain can grasp this it comes out to about $470 dollars that you paid for the car and it gets about 41 miles to the gallon. Here I have never even heard of a car that got above 40mpg before the year 2010. So one again, what is this uk super car that was made at least four years ago and gets above 40mpg and yet costs under $500? I want one.

Diesel VW Rabbit (Golf in Europe) got over 40 miles per U.S. gallon back in the 1980s.

Re:range (1)

nazsco (695026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41024093)

So much unit idiocy... Can uk and us stop acting like that soon? That post could have been half the size without calling out an explanation for every unit of measure.

Re:range (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023769)

and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

I'm very skeptical of that now because of the huge increase in natural gas production in the last few years. Gasoline and natural gas aren't fully interchangeable of course, but there is already a compressed natural gas Honda Civic, for example.

I have mixed feelings about natural gas. I'm sure it will delay the adoption of wind, solar, and electric cars. But it's so much better than coal, and mostly better than gasoline.

Re:range (2)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022085)

300 miles is because it has a HUGE battery. The Volt has LiIon batteries, too, and only gets 42 miles (give or take).

The Volt has a 16kw battery pack, of which it uses about 10.4kw to get the 42 miles.

The high end Model S is a 85kw battery pack for ~300 miles. I've seen nothing that talks about what percentage of that it uses to get the 300 miles, but it sounds like its probably nearly identical to the efficiency the Volt gets. GM determined that its battery life is maximized by both actively maintaining the temperature of the battery -- heating and cooling, and only using the middle 2/3 of the battery's storage range.

Now, that means to add 100 miles of range to the Tesla, you'd need to generate about 28 kwh of electricity. (Enough to power 5-6 houses!)

If you can invent PV cells that fit on the roof of a small sedan and can generate that kind of power in a day, I can tell you -- there's a much better market for them.

Problem is, you're two orders of magnitude off.

Re:range (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022187)

Get your units in order, man! An amount of energy is given in kWh. Watt is a unit of power (as in unit of energy per unit of time). To get the amount of energy, multiply by the time, hence kWh.

28kWh is enough to power 1000 houses for a very short time or 1 house for a thousand times longer.

This stuff matters if you want to discuss matters on a level above "it's got electrolytes" (which it does, btw).

Re:range (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022453)

+1.
Units are a mess in the GP.

28kWh would not power my (1300 sq.ft.) house for an entire day (I average 41 kWh per day).

FUCKIN GOD DAMN HIPPIES (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021643)

electricity is for faggots give me sumodem red blooded oil cars!

Re:FUCKIN GOD DAMN HIPPIES (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021673)

Yeah, but it's the year of Linux on the dash board!

Re:FUCKIN GOD DAMN HIPPIES (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021757)

Actually it is. the number of Android car stereos are exploding on the market. Why pay extortion to microsoft for the inferior windows CE when you can use the free android version of Linux.

Re:FUCKIN GOD DAMN HIPPIES (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022027)

Actually it is. the number of Android car stereos are exploding on the market. Why pay extortion to microsoft for the inferior windows CE when you can use the free android version of Linux.

I tend not to like electronics in my car that explode...

So I read the article... (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021719)

Are there any regular readers of IDG here? Are their articles normally such total fluff pieces? 'cause that was such a fluff piece I'm still trying to dig out from under all the marshmallows. Seriously, journalism about electric cars is still at the level of "the entertainment console computer is independent of the drive train computer"? Like, I dunno, every OTHER car on the road with a touchscreen in its console? "Ooo. Aaaaaa."

Yeesh.

Re:So I read the article... (1)

xs650 (741277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022275)

The electric car people make Apple Fanboys look like rational people.

you FAIL It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021765)

as one of the W00t pr0-hIomosexual the facts and

Eyes on the road (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021769)

I wonder what the safety implications are of packing a 17 inch tablet into a vehicle for people to play with when their eyes are supposed to be on the road. Even if Tesla were to disable stuff like the browser, twitter, facebook, videos etc while the car is in motion, what impact does it have on safety if the driver still has to screw around with a large flat glass screen to find the AC control, or to change radio stations, or look down for other reasons? In most vehicles they'd have a physical dial or switch in a fixed position which they could locate without taking their eyes off the road. Here there is no tactile feedback - just glass, no certainty of where buttons are since the screens change or move around. It sounds pretty dangerous really.

Re:Eyes on the road (1)

Imbrondir (2367812) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022173)

Depends on their menu design. With a huge tablet and a well designed menu, it's quite possible to get an overview at just a glance, and get a lot done by pressing a button or two.

Compare this to many modern cars (like Audi and BMW) where they seem to prefer a complex menu, 5" screen, controlled by a wheel. Operating these still require 100% focus on screen. They also still have some normal one-use buttons, but are the teslas absolutely stripped from all buttons?

I don't want a linux based "software system" (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021773)

I don't want a Windows based one
I don't want an OS/X based one
I don't want a BSD based one

What I want is a system specifically designed to run a CAR. Not some desktop kernel thats been massaged and kicked into shape until it can do an ok job at it. I want a kernel thats been designed FROM THE GROUND UP to run a vehicle. Is that too much to ask these days?

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021865)

Actually, if you think about it again, you'll find out that the components that make your car go and stop and turn into corners shouldn't be run by an operating system at all. You'll want low level code for the controls and the loops delivering information about the state of the control to a device that makes it human readable.

Those devices could be looking like a dashboard you're used to, or fed into a central information system that will present the data in various ways.

Tesla's Model S does have 2 screens to present all the data generated by the car. The one mentioned in TFA is the one in the middle console and is a pretty impressive thing of it's own. You could do perfectly fine without that one though - it's a piece of design. The other one, which IMO is a lot cooler is the one replacing the dashboard. It's got all the info you need to drive the car, and for instance displays a smaller version of the navigation so you don't need to take your eyes off the road.

The following video I found will give you an impression on how those features work out in the Model S: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agP9NVD9KjU [slashdot.org]

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

frontiersman (656479) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022089)

AFAIK both the center console and the dashboard display are controller by the same computer. It's the low-level stuff that doesn't use Linux.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021907)

The only reason it wouldn't make sense to use the _Linux kernel_ would be if your hardware is too small / underpowered for it to fit

Linux isn't a "desktop kernel" or a "server kernel" or a "phone kernel" or a "tablet kernel" or a "set top box kernel" or a "satellite navigation system kernel" or anything else like that. It's a general purpose OS kernel, because it turns out the tradeoffs you're imagining do not exist.

Microsoft spent /years/ telling people that the "different" needs of desktops and servers had meant they had to make custom NT kernels that were different. Then somebody figured out how to unlock a Windows NT "desktop" machine to be a "server" by changing a registry entry and showed it had all been bullshit. Of course it's bullshit. Imagine if somebody told you that you needed a different and more expensive calculator to add up how much gold you have than for iron or wood. You'd see through that bullshit immediately right? The same for kernels. They're general purpose, no need to have a special expensive one for each use.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

tippen (704534) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022389)

Being a good general purpose OS kernel doesn't mean it appropriate for _all_ purposes. Control systems are generally better off using an RTOS.

Linux has certainly gotten much better in the last few years, but it's not a one-size-fits-all best answer.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (4, Informative)

OlivierB (709839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021915)

the article is not that long so you could have at least skimmed through it. The Tesla guy makes a key point in saying that Linux runs the entertainment system and dahsboard (google maps, speedo, etc.). The cars propulsion system (i.e. what runs the motors, battery, brakes, etc..) is completely separate. The linux front-end can crash completely and the car will continue to drive just fine. RTFA

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021941)

I wouldn't call a non working dashboard "just fine" , would you?

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (2)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022029)

I wouldn't call a non working dashboard "just fine" , would you?

Certainly "just fine" for driving purposes.
If you can't safely drive the vehicle without the dashboard, either the car is fundamentally broken, or you are.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022731)

As long as you don't need to know what speed you're going or how much charge you've got left in the battery then sure.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41024037)

You should meet my uncle. He's got at least three old cars that have that problem.

Not to mention no radio, no heater, no air conditioning, and some of them don't even have seat belts.

Sure, he's not comfortable with the idea of going out on the Interstate, but for local around the town driving? It's fine for what he does.

Heck, on at least one of the vehicles, he has to jump start it since the key-start ignition is out.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022513)

I'm not sure what impact the status of either the in-car entertainment system or a piece of interior trim would have on the performance and handling of a car.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (4, Informative)

nzac (1822298) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021939)

RTFA...

For the control and motor and things like that, we don't have operating systems. They run in a lower level and are actually running C code, so we have engineers upstairs writing in the C programming language, building the control loops from scratch.

Linux is for running the UI. The article covers your concern quite well.

Calling Linux a desktop kernel does not contribute to credibility of your rant.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021963)

What about a QNX based one?

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

frontiersman (656479) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022087)

What I want is a system specifically designed to run a CAR.

The Model S has a webkit-based browser, plays MP3's, etc, etc. I'm glad Tesla did not write their own OS which then runs on 100,000 cars. I'd much rather have an OS that has been running on 100 million CPU's for many many years. The low-level stuff (controlling the power to the ~300kW motor) doesn't use Linux.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022447)

So you wan't to add 10 years of development and bug fixing to make Kernel to do nearly the same thing as the other Kernels out there.

Most of these kernels are for general purpose. And they all need to do the following.
1. Memory Management. App 1 and App 2 are both running. lets make sure they don't use the same memory space.
2. Get App 1 and App 2 to multi-task. and Make sure one doesn't kill the other.
3. Interface with the hardware. So the programmers don't need to do System level coding for everything.

Linux was probably chosen because it has an active and large group of people who know more about the kernel and can make a custom OS around it.
BSD would be my second bet.
Windows is possible however Tesla would need to license and work with Microsoft.
OS/X kernel is based on BSD anyways.

The Kernel isn't the OS. The Kernel is only part of the Full OS. That is why there is a difference between Google Android and GNU/Linux. OS/X and FreeBSD. In theory you could take the Windows Kernel and make an OS that isn't Windows.

The Kernel Handles a lot of the lower level stuff. And OS has a lot more then a kernel.

Re:I don't want a linux based "software system" (1)

SiChemist (575005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023197)

OS X uses a mach kernel with a BSD userland and a custom Apple GUI on top. (I know it's pedantic. I can't help it.)

C code (3, Insightful)

spongman (182339) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021777)

apparently the control and motor thingies are running C code which is lower-level than the Linux kernel.

not a computer guy, then.

Can I update the kernel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41021797)

...without rebooting or parking the car?

Re:Rebooting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022055)

Oh, TFA says they come with trunks - no need to do anything to, or replace the existing one...

My gawd (5, Insightful)

ballpoint (192660) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021853)

FTFA:
"something called Linux"
"if the Linux crashes"

Sigh. I really don't see why an article that clearly addresses a "different audience" is posted here.

Re:My gawd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022681)

The Linux, my The Linux, it cries to me of it's need.It is I, the ubernerd, your destined defender, show me where it hurts!
"Destiny's powerful hand has made the bed of my future and it's up to me to lie in it. I am destined to be a superhero, to right wrongs and pound two-fisted justice into the hearts of evil-doers everywhere. You don't fight destiny, no sir! And you don't eat crackers in the bed of your future or you get all...scratchy. Hey, I'm narrating here!"
  Won't someone take a stand for our beautiful The Linux!?!?!?

Yeah, but... (0)

Ecuador (740021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41021949)

Yeah, but does it run Li... Oh, wait...
Hmm, so, this is a car that runs Linux. I know that if it didn't come with Linux it would be a great thing to run Linux on it and all Slashdot would rejoice etc etc, but is it a good thing now that it comes with Linux already installed? Hopefully it is just for reporting and entertainment, not actually running the car? I mean, when you hit the brakes there is no chance the absd will die because authd exited early or such crap, right?

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022119)

It could be much much worse, it could have come with Windows, imagine trying to brake whilst staring at a BSOD and wondering why nothing works from that point on...

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Docasman (870959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022149)

Linux is touted to use less system resources... so it should prevent the WAM from overheating,

oh man ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022005)

Remember back before 9/11 when gas was like 99 cents a gallon? All this terrorism stuff sure has been a huge boon for Saudi Arabia!

Pun!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41022313)

But if it's running Linux, it totally might [i][b]Stall, man![/b][/i]

Sweet. (0)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#41022753)

Now that I've found Linux embedded, I will purchase that item I've refused up until now. It's been grossly expensive, hard to charge where I go, and insanely pricey on repairs. But c'mon. Linux, man! I mean, LINUX! /snark

I sooo want one (4, Interesting)

DCFusor (1763438) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023593)

I traded my hotrod (2010 camaro SS) in for a Volt, and haven't looked back. Even if I had the money for a model S tesla, I can't have one yet - that's the real challenge Elon's outfit has - ramping up production before the bigger base loses interest.
.

FWIW, here in VA, it takes about 200 sq feet of high efficiency solar to charge the Volt once a day. That's around 45 miles worth of range, which gets more than 80% of my own driving done, even though it's a 27 mile roundtrip to the nearest general store for beer/munchies. I can get to the nearest town, do all my errands, come back, still have a little under half my range left. It works for me. Not as sexy as the Tesla, but it's no slouch either and does get a lot of favourable attention.
.

Sure is nice to have that unlimited range due to also having a gasoline engine, tuned just for this use so it can be more efficient than just about any other out there. 40 mpg from a 3800 lb car ain't shabby. I don't use it much, but what it does for you is remove worry if you're going to be pushing the battery only range.
.

For once, GM really leapfrogged everyone else. The GM haters are out in force to dis this car, but that kinda tells you who isn't doing much critical thinking and saves you from time wasted thinking they are OK (kinda like hank hill's comment about body piercing - you know right off someone "just ain't right").
.

I wish Tesla every success, they've "Bet the farm" and gotten a heck of a lot of stuff right. But now they need to transition from a design-only outfit to a major manufacturer - not trivial in real life. Go Elon!

cold weather? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023809)

how does your volt do on a cold day? how is the defroster? how long to melt ice buildup on the windshield?

VW beetles failed to sell in cold weather regions for these reasons. electric cars and air-cooled cars don't have excess heat for the defroster.

How long does it take to boot? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year and a half ago | (#41023825)

I can just see the horror film scene where the scantily clad heroine escapes the scary character to a Linux-based car only to find out that it takes 30 seconds to start.
IMHO, if the Linux development community really wants it to gain acceptance as an operating system for appliances, they really have to get boot times (especially when USB support is enabled) down to the sub-two-second range. That and file systems that work instantaneously after a sudden power loss. None of this graceful shutdown crap.

Re:How long does it take to boot? (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41024063)

Uh, you do realise that Linux is already one of the most commonly used embedded operating systems and you probably have several 'appliances' in your house running it?

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