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Tesla To Blanket US With Superchargers In Two Years

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the across-the-country dept.

Transportation 311

dublin writes "Electric car manufacturer Tesla is planning to triple its construction of "supercharger" rapid charging stations, with a trail of stations in place for L.A. to New York trips by the end of this year. In addition to the east & west coasts, islands in Colorado, Illinois, and Texas will grow together to cover nearly the entire continental US by 2015. The two biggest obstacles for electric cars are high cost and range problems. Cost is still a problem, but this move to blanket the US with supercharger stations could fix the range half of the e-car equation."

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311 comments

But the real question is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867367)

... how long until flying electric cars?

Re:But the real question is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868139)

Until they have a Tesla dealership in Oklahoma City. What? Too soon?

Business Model (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867377)

This is great, but what they need to do is create and sell a highly inexpensive electric car, somewhere in the neighborhood of about $5 to $9k that everyone can buy, then as human envy takes over and everyone starts to covet the higher priced models with the more fancy gadgets and/or capabilities over what their neighbors and friends have, they will start buying higher priced models until they reach the $40k and $50K models and up.

Re:Business Model (4, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about a year ago | (#43867429)

That was Henry Ford's model, of course. But don't forget that before the Model T, there were a number of very expensive automotives available that only the rich could afford...

Re:Business Model (4, Interesting)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#43867997)

I always figured Tesla would (literally) make a model T, soon after the model S.

The Tesla Model T, the electric car for everyone.

Re:Business Model (4, Insightful)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43867477)

No, that is not Tesla's job. Tesla are fulfilling a very important part of getting the industry to take electric cars seriously by appealing to the car enthusiasts. This group represents a big barrier to green technology cars because they are traditionally seen as pokey, boring machines. Tesla are changing that perception and there are plenty of other companies who are now starting to produce cheaper electric vehicles. Tesla should keep doing what they are doing - challenging the dominance of the petrol driven sports car.

Re:Business Model (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year ago | (#43867773)

Car enthusiasts think every single one of the world's top selling cars are pokey boring machines and that doesn't matter the tiniest bit to anyone else. I can guarantee that most car enthusiasts would pan every car I've ever owned. No one gives a crap about the opinion of car enthusiasts. For that matter the primary issue that car enthusiasts have had with electric cars is that they're slow, which the Tesla still is(by car enthusiast standards anyway).

If Tesla wants to change the world, instead of targeting the dominance of the petrol powered sports car of which a few hundred thousand exist in the entire world, they should target the millions of family sedans, small vehicles and other perfectly ordinary cars. You know the ones regular folks use to drive at or below the speed limit on their short daily commutes which is the perfect market for what a Tesla can actually do. Of course then they'd have to try and sell the entire car for less than they currently charge for the battery pack, but if they stopped trying to make it do what it still can't do(be an electric Ferrari), it might actually be possible.

The bigger question is who on earth would be insane enough to drive from New York to LA in one of these things?

Re:Business Model (4, Informative)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43867873)

Spoken by someone who clearly has no idea what car enthusiasts think or how much influence they have on the industry. The Tesla model S goes from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds which puts it in the seriously quick category. Now, exactly what makes you think it's slow? Or are you just playing internets?

Re:Business Model (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43868005)

At some point, you can count on someone commenting that electrics cars are stupid and slow because they can't do the 1/4 mile in 4 seconds.

Re:Business Model (4, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | about a year ago | (#43867905)

Or perhaps they could disrupt a profitable market, sell at an appreciable margin, and make lots of money before trying to build massive, Toyota-scale factories out of nothing?

Re:Business Model (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868531)

You have no experience in business, do you? Tesla is taking a huge risk to develop a product that requires a major shift in consumer behavior and a major outlay for charging stations.

These normal people you suggest targeting have budgets and already are suspicious of a technology they have no desire to be early adopters for. You even said this yourself. "Who would drive from New York to LA in these things?" If you're also selling a car that is $5-10K too expensive, you're toast, because you have no room to maneuver if the inevitable unforeseen costs give you any trouble.

Compare that to targeting an enthusiast market with low price sensitivity by making it the best driving experience you can, and where I can easily charge an extra $10-20K if I need to without drastically affecting my demand. Plus, I likely prefer lower production runs anyway because I'm still developing my process before I can benefit from economies of scale anyway.

This is the only way to make it happen.

Re:Business Model (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868223)

Tesla should keep doing what they are doing - challenging the dominance of the petrol driven sports car.
 
Oh Christ, stop treating it like it's a crusade. That makes you come off like a loon. What Tesla should keep doing is making a better car than the last car they made. If they have that in mind any other bullshit will go by the wayside and they'll be successful.

Re:Business Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867781)

Except that's not their business model because no one knows how to make an electric car that cheap. Their business model is to sell expensive cars to fund the research and development for better and cheaper cars. They have problems supplying enough cars to cover their demand, so their prices aren't too high, they just aren't organized for producing a large number of cars.

Re:Business Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868085)

Half the cost of such a vehicle would be the battery pack. A car that only goes 5 miles wouldn't sell no matter how many charging stations exist.

Re:Business Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868267)

Good luck getting anyone to sell a $5 car.

As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867383)

cost is the MAIN problem.

Wait till you get to replace those batteries and discover the real costs :D

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43867623)

cost is the MAIN problem.

Wait till you get to replace those batteries and discover the real costs :D

From what I've read about the Prius the battery life is exceeding expectations by a wide margin.

Most drivers have never faced a battery replacement, because they are easily managing 10 years (200K miles) and the batteries
have shown no sign of needing replacement [wikipedia.org] .

Admittedly it costs around 2000 to 2500 bucks when you do need a replacement, although salvage yards will sell them
to you for around $500. A cottage industry has sprung up refurbing Prius batteries.

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43867701)

A cottage industry has sprung up refurbing Prius batteries.

If they don't need to be replaced, why is there a market for refurbs?

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43867887)

Nobody said they don't have to be replaced.
Just that the vast majority of them are running much longer than expected.
Only the first generation of Prius vehicles are reaching their 10 year life.

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (1, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about a year ago | (#43867927)

Because he never said that you imbecile, the very first line of his post is "battery life is exceeding expectations by a wide margin" and then he goes on to elaborate that even after 10 years most people still don't need a replacement.

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867921)

$20,000.00 for a Chevy Volt battery

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868401)

Not so much a cottage industry as a redneck trailerpark industry.

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868441)

As long as Chinese peasants are happy to put up with Lanthanium extraction on their doorstep.
(Hint: rare earths aren't rare - only places dodgy enough to allow them to be processed economically are.)

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868515)

From what I've read about the Prius the battery life is exceeding expectations by a wide margin.

Posting anonymous to avoid losing mod points....

The detractors of electric cars and even solar panels have one serious misconception. A lot of them believe that as soon as the warranty runs out, the things quit working.

Re:As far as I'm concerned . . . (1)

codepunk (167897) | about a year ago | (#43868241)

Exactly it is like me going to a car dealership and buying the car and the gas for the life of it and paying interest on both up front. Then we add another 5K paid by someone else all for the luxury of having a low range inconvenient vehicle. I have nothing against electric vehicles but they are going to have to get hell of a lot more practical before I jump into one.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867397)

Don't tell me what you are going to do, tell me when you have it done.

I am sick and tired about all this "flying car in every garage" public relations dreck.

Re:Seriously? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43867641)

But if they don't tell you what they will do, then who will invest? Who will be ready to buy as soon as they hit the market? It's a pretty stupid advertising strategy to roll your product out the door and then start telling people about it.

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43868153)

I am sick and tired about all this "flying car in every garage" public relations dreck.

Can someone tell me why a readership that embraces every speculative technology suddenly gets downright angry about the very thought of an electric car? Or for that matter any mention of energy produced by any alternative means?

Why does it make you so damn mad?

Map of intended locations (5, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about a year ago | (#43867419)

Tesla has made a map of where they intend to put the stations and how far you can drive from them. http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger [teslamotors.com]

Re:Map of intended locations (1)

kat_skan (5219) | about a year ago | (#43867663)

Interesting that they're free. Just curious: is that distance round-trip or if you drive to Vegas will you be walking back to LA?

One way range. (1)

pavon (30274) | about a year ago | (#43867751)

The range bubbles are one way distance. To verify this look at the one surrounding Denver. Colorado is about 380 miles across, and the diameter of that bubble is slightly larger, so they have about a 200 mile radius. The advertized range for the two Tesla S models are 230 & 300 miles, so neither can drive from a charging station to the edge of a bubble and back.

re: one way range (2)

Freedom Bug (86180) | about a year ago | (#43868113)

I think the idea is that you're supposed to charge overnight at 115V or 230V in Vegas.

That's fine when the edge of the circle is your destination. But the fact that these are one way circles makes the map very deceptive. For example, take a look at the Fall 2013 map. It would seem that Toronto to NYC is a feasible trip, but it isn't, at least not by supercharger.

Re:Map of intended locations (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43867719)

Very interesting, but most people would still have to charge at home, and plan routes very carefully, even at the end of the timeline.

This is really an around town roadster, maybe a daily driver, but not something most people will want to set off on a road trip in.
By the time Tesla gets these built, the industry will have moved on to Fuel Cell technology [washingtontimes.com] . Tesla is a stopgap measure at best.

Re:Map of intended locations (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43867965)

The Toyota fuel cell has reduced the platinum needed. From http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/05/07/toyota-fcv-r-hydrogen-fuel-cell-concept-set-for-production-in-2015/#.Uafv79gzVc0 [greenoptimistic.com]

Toyota has managed to reduce the amount of platinum in the fuel cell to about 30g, just over $1,600 worth and is looking to reduce this even further.

I wonder what makes the cars cost $50k-$100k then. Is it just the low volume production? Are there things about fuel cells other than the platinum that make them expensive?

Re:Map of intended locations (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#43868243)

You're talking lithium cell rechargeable batteries, which aren't exactly cheap. Just look at 6-cell laptop batteries, now multiply by a couple hundred, that's pretty pricey. That combined with production costs is a pretty penny, why the premium is usually $20-30K over a comparible petro-fueled car.

Re:Map of intended locations (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43867971)

Interesting. It seems like they're solving the range problem, but not necessarily the convenience problem. There's about 20 gas stations within 5 miles of where I live, but there won't even be 1 of these supercharger stations. That's not really a problem being at home, but I think it's probably going to be a problem for some people. Not to mention, with 4 to 10 stalls and the charge time, there's a good chance that people are going to be stuck waiting once they get a lot more of these on the road like I hope they do.

That said, these stations look straight out of the future. I wouldn't mind having one in the neighborhood, if they weren't completely unmanned - they're going to get tagged to hell by dumb kids with spray paint.

Re:Map of intended locations (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43868167)

with 4 to 10 stalls and the charge time, there's a good chance that people are going to be stuck waiting once they get a lot more of these on the road like I hope they do.

When they get a lot more of them on the road, there will be more charging stations.

That's how this stuff works. When there's a need, somebody will step up.

Re:Map of intended locations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868253)

In his world, economies are planned.

... with government funds and subsidized charging. (1, Troll)

eepok (545733) | about a year ago | (#43867447)

First, 100 fast chargers does not a nationwide blanket make.
Second, these things are extremely expensive to install (especially if they're not immediately next to major power lines). We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Third, fast charges are very inefficient by comparison to level 2 chargers-- there's a lot of waste energy.
Fourth, fast chargers are most likely to be used midday when electricity is at its costliest.

So, they're expensive to install, wastes electricity, and are most likely to be used when electricity is at its most expensive. Thus, if they want to install them and want people to use them, there's going to have to be massive subsidies.

Or Tesla's spending themselves into a hole again because they figured out that the quagmire that is proprietary charging payment systems has stymied adoption and they're going to just do it themselves... because their product depends on it! And because they missed out on the only true future for battery-electric vehicles: Battery Swapping!

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (5, Informative)

nebbian (564148) | about a year ago | (#43867547)

Third, fast charges are very inefficient by comparison to level 2 chargers-- there's a lot of waste energy.

As much waste energy as carting around an inefficient internal combustion engine, that gets at best 30% efficiency? I think not.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1, Interesting)

eepok (545733) | about a year ago | (#43867613)

You're right that they're more efficient than combustion engines, but so are bicycles. The point is that fast charges are not the future-- they're a dead end to a technology.

Battery swapping, on the other hand, is the most cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and quickest form of refueling an battery EV.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43867713)

Battery swapping, on the other hand, is the most cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and quickest form of refueling an battery EV.

That would seem more credible if the company that tried it hadn't recently gone out of business.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43868067)

It would be more credible to claim that the ONLY company that tried is bankrupt. You can almost always find a pioneering company that failed.
Perhaps fuel cells are the future or maybe someone will invent the Shipstone or Mr Fusion, but battery swap, I believe, can be viable and profitable.
Better Place was too far ahead of the curve or was focusing on the wrong niche.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867819)

If you belive that's a good idea, I'll trade you my fully charged 5 year old laptop battery for that mostly depleted new one.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#43868015)

If the company owned the batteries and you just rented them it would work. Combined with some sort of standardized battery and automated swapping system it sounds relatively fast and easy to me.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#43867987)

You're right that they're more efficient than combustion engines, but so are bicycles. The point is that fast charges are not the future-- they're a dead end to a technology.

Battery swapping, on the other hand, is the most cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and quickest form of refueling an battery EV.

I think chargers are a pretty reasonable solution to a relatively rare problem: how to recharge your car when you want to drive more than a couple of hundred miles at a stretch.

What's more, the batteries weigh quite a bit (http://www.roperld.com/science/TeslaModelS.htm) 1200lbs for the S. Anyone can plug a car in. 1200lbs of battery would be a bit rough to handle. Even 1/10th that would be too much to deal with.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#43867777)

Third, fast charges are very inefficient by comparison to level 2 chargers-- there's a lot of waste energy.

As much waste energy as carting around an inefficient internal combustion engine, that gets at best 30% efficiency?

I think not.

The efficiency of the average power plant isn't much better.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43868105)

CHP / cogeneration's efficiency is pretty good; hydroelectric's efficiency is very close to awesome.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (4, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43868231)

30% is max efficiency, which usually occurs at around 75% output power. You don't use anywhere near that much power cruising (with the possible exceptions of Montana and the Autobahn). Average efficiency in driving is 14-26% according to this: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/atv.shtml [fueleconomy.gov] That's a frustratingly wide range, but you get the idea. IIRC coal plants are about 40%. Combined cycle natural gas powered plants are approaching 60%.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867793)

Third, fast charges are very inefficient by comparison to level 2 chargers-- there's a lot of waste energy.

As much waste energy as carting around an inefficient internal combustion engine, that gets at best 30% efficiency?

I think not.

I wonder about that, because of line losses, which are significant, a lot of power is lost just sending the power to the charging station. Then you're ramping up losses further at the charging station and adding battery losses on top of that. You sure you aren't past the 30% mark by this point?

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (3, Insightful)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | about a year ago | (#43868065)

Yeah, that is a valid comparison, because it is well known that gasoline flies by itself from refineries to gas stations, right ?

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year ago | (#43867795)

Well, when you consider that the Tesla engine isn't 100% efficient, that the charging process isn't 100% efficient, and the charging station is probably being powered by a 40 year old coal powered power station which is actually less efficient than an internal combustion engine in the first place, not to mention substantially dirtier(yes even coal power can be more efficient than your car, but only if you have a new plant and most places don't).

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (5, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43868125)

If you improve one inefficient plant, that automatically improves 10000 EVs.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43868217)

and the charging station is probably being powered by a 40 year old coal powered power station which is actually less efficient than an internal combustion engine in the first place,

Funny, I was just reading this a little while ago:

"âoeAt the time of the latest record, wind generation accounted for 22 percent of the power demand of 34,318 MWâ¦Wind farms expanded rapidly in Texas until 2009 when production began to overwhelm the existing transmission capacityâ¦Texas is building more than 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of high-voltage transmission in a $6.5 billion plan to expand the grid by late 2013 to accommodate wind-farm growth of up to 18,500 MW" - Reuters.

Maybe those 40 year-old coal plants won't be needed too much longer. I imagine getting 18,500MW without burning or consuming anything at all is pretty efficient.

Re: ... with government funds and subsidized charg (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#43868447)

Also, they can build biomass digesters near the windfarms to convert all the eagles, condors, and migratory birds being chopped up into even more clean energy. It's a win-win situation for sure.

Re: ... with government funds and subsidized charg (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43868679)

Also, they can build biomass digesters near the windfarms to convert all the eagles, condors, and migratory birds being chopped up into even more clean energy.

They don't have to. They can use all the birds, fish and crabs that were killed in the gulf oil spill. Better than just letting them rot on the beaches all across the gulf coast.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867591)

Actually, you are a bit off, Cost of install depends on size of install. 4 station charger will cost more than a 1 or 2 station. The power draw is easy enough to get around as they are installed in commercial districts with more than enough power available. Most of them are being installed in conjunction with Solar panels anyways. Eventually these will be refueling stations at a cost to all electric cars so the costs to build them will be fully recouped.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43867665)

Interesting idea with solar powered recharge stations... you could put automated recharge stations in the middle of nowhere where it's inconvenient to ship gas to, like long stretches of empty highway in the American Southwest. Of course, it will be a while before solar can keep up with the demand of anything more than a very low volume station but the potential is there.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (5, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | about a year ago | (#43867883)

Second, these things are extremely expensive to install (especially if they're not immediately next to major power lines). We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I'm guessing that you've never had to build a gasoline station. Environmental assessments. Underground excavation. Costly double-walled tanks and plumbing. Inspections. Insurance in case you contaminate the local soil or water with spilled fuel. And it's not like you get a pipeline direct to the station--every gallon you sell has to be trucked in.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868165)

Such stations could have their own storage systems that charge when the electricity isn't as expensive, which would replace their need for generators as well if they can hook it up to their systems as a backup. Not a great cost saving measure, but it would be in the right step. That is if EV are the way of the future. Another source of energy than gasoline is needed for sure, but electric vehicles just don't seem good enough. There just isn't any other good alternative aside self-charging cars maybe or fail-safe mini-reactors.

Re:... with government funds and subsidized chargi (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#43868281)

Second, these things are extremely expensive to install (especially if they're not immediately next to major power lines). We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If it only cost hundreds of thousands, great!

However, it seems to me that you don't even have a basic understanding of construction costs.

bah...Humbug (0, Troll)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#43867483)

The negligible benefit of POV's that recharge from the fossil-fueled grid makes the entire carbon footprint thing a moot point. Essentially, the more individuals who take advantage of the electric automobile, the less the overall benefit to us as a community. We can barely/not quite barely amp the grid up in Texas and California to cover the summer's A/C demands... the supply is not there for millions of drivers to switch from a fossil fuel to electricity generated from the burning of fossil fuels.

Re:bah...Humbug (3, Insightful)

Z34107 (925136) | about a year ago | (#43867579)

A few quibbles:

  1. Have you tried filling your gas tank with solar, hydro, or nuclear power? It's actually pretty hard. Being able to power an electric car with anything that makes electricity is actually a benefit.
  2. Fix your power grid.
  3. I like the assumption that someone's supposed to buy an automobile for your benefit, and that you won't benefit anyway.

Re:bah...Humbug (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43867681)

Could electric cars have rooftop solar panels to slowly charge the batteries while the car sits in a parking lot all day? It's too small of a surface to charge them to capacity, but it might make enough of a difference to be worthwhile, especially in sunnier areas.

Re:bah...Humbug (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43868175)

The efficiencies are too low and the cost is still too high. A rooftop solar panel was an (grossly overpriced) option on the Fisker Karma but would only generate enough power to keep the car cool on a hot day and power some electronics.

Even at 100% efficiency, the most that could be generated from a 1 meter square panel would be 1 kW.

If you build it, they will come (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#43867495)

Electric cars have long been a chicken or egg problem. We would have gladly rented a Tesla model S for our trip to New Orleans from Dallas last weekend (Elon, lend me a car when we can do this and we'll document the trip), but A) you can't readily rent a Tesla and b) there are no charging stations yet.
 
I think it's interesting that they're building out a "free forever" stations, and carpeting the nation with them. They probably represent a fixed cost, as you can only charge so many cars per day, and eventually competing stations will pop up along the most popular routes. Electricity really isn't that expensive.
 
I was thinking about how US automakers might try and sue Tesla in federal court over providing "fuel" for the cars, but I wonder if the "free forever" is due in part to the fact that it's much more difficult to sue a company for anti-competitive practices if there's no money changing hands in the fueling process.

Re:If you build it, they will come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868271)

Bolding the whole interesting thing doesn't make it interesting .

Open platform charging ? (1)

Lexor (724874) | about a year ago | (#43867513)

Are these plugs public ? If so, do they only key to Tesla cars ?

Or can I deliver the Lexor 3000 to the masses and have 'em charge for free at the Tesla stops ?

(then again tin cans for the masses aren't working so well for Tata right now...)

Re:Open platform charging ? (4, Informative)

voidptr (609) | about a year ago | (#43867645)

Right now they're Tesla only. However, Tesla also has a side business selling power trains to more traditional car companies, and they're probably likely to license access to the network to those cars as well once they've built it out some.

Genius Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867529)

It also partly solves the cost equation, since you will save money on gas. OK, it doesn't cover the cost of the battery / car, but those prices will come down over time. I'm starting to think that this could in fact be the start of a new era for transportation.

Re:Genius Idea (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about a year ago | (#43867649)

Back of the envelope calculation: [(10k miles per year) / (30 miles per gallon)] * (4 dollars per gallon) = 1.3k$ per year. Over ten years, 13k$. Tesla offers a pre-paid battery replacement (pay when you buy the car, get the new battery much later) for 12k$. So, if the battery lifetime is on the close order of ten years, then you're not far from the break-even point. If gas prices go up, or if you drive more, or if your gas mileage is worse, or if the battery replacement price comes down, then less than ten years will do.

cost of charging (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about a year ago | (#43867545)

And then when everyone has an electric car, they will start charging to charge your car. 5 dollars a KW or something lol

Re:cost of charging (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867609)

In California it'll cost $10/KWh because the electricity will be specially formulated to reduce emissions!

Re:cost of charging (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | about a year ago | (#43867731)

And not cause cancer.

Re:cost of charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867811)

WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.

My first thoughts on seeing the title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867675)

DATELINE Shoreham, New York

Elecrical wizard Nicola Tesla plans to cover these United States with a system of his power-distributing towers by the end of 1915. These wonders of the modern electrified age will send power to homes and appliances without the need for wires and cables and surely put the makers of gas lamps out of business!

What an awesome future, the past had.

Superchargers are of really limited value. (0)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year ago | (#43867683)

Of course they will only work with Tesla cars. While I understand that it helps sell Tesla brand cars, it does not really help the electric car movement as a whole. Is he going to include a Mc Donalds at every location so they can have a wonderful, healthy bite to eat while they wait?

The only real way to get people on-board with electric cars is to not waste time having to futz around with charging, slow, fast, or 'super'. The only real solution to this is really to have battery swap stations. You pull up, the battery is swapped, and you pay for the power used in the old battery plus a service charge for the swap. It's really the only way to get charged up in just a few minutes, not tens of minutes. In this model, you do not own the battery but rather renting it. This also takes care of the expense of having to replace the battery that you own after ten or so years. As battery technology progresses and power densities increase, you get the benefit of increased range in the same battery format. All automatically.

The down side to this is that electric car manufacturers have to standardize on just a few specific battery pack configurations. Oooooh. That's a deal breaker. Fucking get over it and standardize already.

Now, I know that this is /. and I can already hear your cries of 'That will never work' and 'What a stupid idea' and 'They already tried that and they failed'. Well, to that I say - yes they tried, but it does not mean that it is the wrong way to go. They just could not sell it to enough people. Open your mind to the possibility of it actually being done right.

Re:Superchargers are of really limited value. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43867763)

yes they tried, but it does not mean that it is the wrong way to go. They just could not sell it to enough people

Doesn't sound like a great business model.

Re:Superchargers are of really limited value. (2)

Cosgrach (1737088) | about a year ago | (#43867839)

I do not agree. Many great ideas have failed on their first attempt simply 'the time is not right'. It does not mean that it was a bad idea. Subsequent tries on the same idea, modifying a few points have managed to succeed and thrive. Being the first to do something is not always best.

Anything to be done about the 30 minute recharge? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43867687)

While 30 minutes is great compared to waiting several hours, they need to really bring that recharge time down by a factor of 5 or more. Being able to stop for a recharge in many places is good, but for longer trips (which mentioning coast-to-coast travel seems to be pointing towards) waiting for half an hour every charging cycle will start to add up on your travel time.

EVs not really for long road trips (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867691)

I feel like this is trying to force the current gas station paradigm (refuel, adding 300-500 miles of range in 5-10 minutes) onto EVs, when that paradigm doesn't really fit well.

Based on a little Googling, Tesla's Superchargers can apparently charge 50% of an 85 kwh battery in about 30 minutes. Not bad (a bit over twice the charge rate of DC fast charging on a Leaf), but based on the EPA estimated range of 265 miles, that gives you about 130 miles of range. So every 130 miles, you stop for 30 minutes - more if all Superchargers at a station are in use. While I'm all for taking frequent breaks on long trips, this is a lot more than the usual 10 minutes every few hundred miles.

To match gas station refuel times, the power requirements get ridiculous pretty fast. Superchargers put out 120 kw according to Tesla. Let's say we have a hypothetical battery that can take a full 85-kwh charge (265 miles) in 5 minutes like a gas pump. That's 12 times faster than the Supercharger rate of half-capacity in 30 minutes, or 1.44 MW per car! By way of comparison, most (many?) homes in the US have 240-volt, 100-amp service, or 24 kw maximum available power. 1.44 MW is equivalent to 60 homes all maxed out and about to trip breakers! If a typical charging station will service a similar number of cars as a gas station, multiply that by maybe 10 - or 600 maxed out homes. For one refueling station. Insanity. It gets even worse if you want more than 265 miles of range in 5 minutes.

The bottom line is that even if battery technology gets there, how will the grid handle such quick charging? I see that being the bigger obstacle to EV road trips as convenient as gas-powered trips are now.

The easier solution is to shift the paradigm - how we think about and use our vehicles. Everyone could have an EV for commuting and regular driving within its nominal range. You charge at night or any other time when you're not using the car anyway - NOT when you are on a trip and just want to keep going (but can't, until you wait to recharge). If/when you need to take a long road trip, you take a gas-powered car. Either an extra car in your household, a rental, borrowed from someone you know. Whatever. Or if you're not hauling a bunch of stuff, maybe it makes more sense to fly.

As a current EV owner (Nissan Leaf), I've already made the switch in paradigm - and I love it. I'm saving tons of money on fuel costs, driving my Leaf over 16k miles per year. Pretty much every trip within its range will use that car, because it's cheaper and fun to drive. Going to Vegas (from SoCal)? We use the other car. Or any longer trip. Most multi-driver households have multiple cars, so road trips shouldn't really be an issue. I think this kind of strategy makes way more sense than seriously increasing travel time (waiting to charge) or the failed battery swap idea.

Re:EVs not really for long road trips (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868147)

Simple, every "gas" station will have a nuclear reactor. Solved.

BTW, I fill my gas tank (with approximately 450 miles range) in much less than 5 minutes. I might take 1 minute at most.

30 minutes?? Are you serious? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43867825)

I am NOT stopping for 30 minutes every "half tank" on a 3000 mile road trip from LA to NY.

Fuck no.

When an EV can go 500 miles on a charge and refill in 5 minutes, then we'll talk.

Re:30 minutes?? Are you serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868313)

Even the Canonball 3000 guys stop after each leg.

It takes me 15 minutes right now in my ICE car to fill up, longer if I have to wait in line. I also have to put a quart of oil in the engine each time too. So, if I get something quick to eat, it could easily be over an hour.

If you live your life at such a fast pace, it is you that has a problem.

Plus you should not be a little patient with new technology, it will take over in a few years.

Re:30 minutes?? Are you serious? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868655)

I also have to put a quart of oil in the engine each time too.

You have to put a quart of oil in your car every fill?

Re:30 minutes?? Are you serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868539)

Simple. This car is not for you.

"Blanket" the US like wireless coverage? (1)

PNutts (199112) | about a year ago | (#43867859)

If so they'd better include a pair of sneakers with the purchase of each car.

sure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43867865)

doomed to failure.
go from here to there only on the path we pick?
not going to work.
regards
mike

Is the charge connector and rate standardized? (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | about a year ago | (#43867899)

If other car makers could license the charging connector and rate from Tesla through them or through a standards body the EV market could take off once all of these charging stations are built. Only issue then is waiting half an hour for 66% charge and waiting for others to finish charging.

Better be an open system (2, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43868017)

If they only charge Tesla vehicles, that would be like building gas stations that only sell proprietary fuel for Ford vehicles. Maybe sell the juice cheaper to Tesla owners but they need to provide high current plugs for all of the major electric vehicles.

Cross-country travel is still gong to be a hard sell, tho. They're talking about 30 minutes to 50% charge. So call it an hour to 90% and 1.5 hours to 100%. And I assume they're talking about the small Tesla pack to get the best numbers. And non-Tesla vehicles will have to be charged at a more conservative rate so they're going to have people hanging around for an hour or two charging their vehicles. That's a lot of time to kill.

Smarter Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43868069)

A smarter solution would be a standardized replaceable battery pack, then centralize charging.

I Cant understan Tesla (0)

websaber (578887) | about a year ago | (#43868173)

Great car but they don't get it. A car isn't practical for the general public unless you can add at least 300 miles or range in under 5 minutes. What I can't understand is why they don't just make a exchangeable battery pack that fits in the trunk. For day to day use the on board battery is fine and for long trips you can just swap out a extended range battery. There is still room for luggage in the front.

Re:I Cant understan Tesla (1)

skine (1524819) | about a year ago | (#43868545)

I think that you're grossly underestimating the size and weight required of a battery to carry the 300 mile range.

Swapping out a 600lb battery pack isn't going to be as easy as pumping gas.

Backup plan for extended power failure? (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about a year ago | (#43868379)

With a gas-powered car, you can drive to the next town or next state and fill up. Maybe even the next street if the gas station has backup generators. If the "gas" station relies on the same grid, you're up the creek in a really bad way that you aren't right now.

Here's the sad and obvious truth. (1, Insightful)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43868409)

Big Oil has long gone out of its way to stifle any advances in automotive technologies which would depends on other sources of fuel than petrol. More than likely by now electric cars should be a defacto standard for urban driving. We are at least 20 yrs behind because of Big Oil. I wish it was a conspiracy theory, but its true and many people got either paid off and/or were silence all in the name of gasoline.

Put them at restaurants (4, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#43868489)

Every restaurant along a major highway should be looking at installing an electric vehicle charger. If I'm taking a trip in an electric car and getting hungry, you can bet I'll choose the stop that lets me charge the car at the same time.

Sure, the Tesla supercharger may be expensive to install due to the power requirements, but even a standard 220V charger would be enough to make me decide to eat there instead of somewhere else. Even if my trip doesn't require extra charging, having extra power in case I encounter something unexpected is a good thing.

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