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Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

Soulskill posted about three weeks ago | from the economics-of-scale dept.

The Almighty Buck 247

An anonymous reader writes The biggest complaint about Tesla Motors' electric vehicles is that they're far too expensive for the average motorist. The Roadster sold for $109,000, and the Model S for $70,000. Chris Porritt, the company's VP of engineering, says their next model will aim for much broader availability. The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range. To reduce cost, the Model E won't be built mostly with aluminum, like the Model S, and it will be roughly 20% smaller as well. The construction of the "Gigafactory" for battery production will also go a long way toward reducing the price. Their goal for launch is sometime around late 2016 or early 2017

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247 comments

What about range on this smaller car? (1)

Nightshade72 (3618953) | about three weeks ago | (#47383405)

People will like the smaller car and lower price,but if it doesn't have the range... they will not flock to it...

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47383437)

Musk has mentioned [insideevs.com] in the past a range of around 200 miles.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47383761)

If they go with steel instead of aluminum that'll probably cost them about 10% range (matters less for big structural elements, but overall it has a significant weight difference), which means more batteries. Seems weird that this would work out to be overall more economical.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

quetwo (1203948) | about two weeks ago | (#47383847)

Since the time that the S has come out, battery technology has gone significantly further... I'm sure that by the time this hits the road it will be far enough to compensate the difference in material...

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47384017)

The question is not whether you "can", it's what it costs and what constraints it imposes. It's possible to make an EV that goes a good chunk of a thousand miles, it'd just be a totally impractical absurdly-expensive monstrosity.

No question that batteries are advancing - usually a gravimetric energy density doubling every 8 years or so. But the trend for volumetric isn't as impressive, and the price changes per watt hour are far less predictable. Sometimes the next generation which improves your battery stats is more expensive than the previous one. Sometimes it's cheaper. Overall the trend is negative, but it's very bumpy and not as fast.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

knightghost (861069) | about two weeks ago | (#47384037)

Unlikely. Battery technology has only improved 5% annually over time without using exotic substances.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384023)

they could always go for wood / plastics in a fair bit

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about two weeks ago | (#47383775)

I'm not an electrical engineer or anything but I keep thinking that a high performance gas or diesel generator should be able to charge one of these while driving and get good mileage {much higher than a regular gas engine} and better range. Doesn't the chevy volt already do this?

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47383849)

That's certainly possible, yes. It's sometimes called a "series hybrid". While conventional "parallel" hybrids have both gas and electric engines connected to the drivetrain, in a series hybrid the drivetrain is 100% electric, but there's also a gas generator that feeds into the electric system when needed.

Whether you should call that en electric vehicle or not seems to depend on what proportion of the energy is expected to ultimately come from gas vs. wall charge. If most of the energy comes from gas, then it's just a different configuration of hybrid vehicle. Diesel trains work that way, for example (electric drivetrains powered by a diesel generator), and are not considered electric trains. On the other hand, if it runs mostly electric and there is a tank just used for occasional range-extension, those are being marketed as "extended-range electrical vehicles".

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about two weeks ago | (#47383949)

I looked it up the chevy volt gets about 38 miles electric and about 380 mile on a full charge and a full tank of gas... I'd probably just go over the electric range by a few miles everyday which is fine if it got 60 miles electric I'd have to make sure I used the gas engine occasional to make sure it didn't have problems.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

organgtool (966989) | about two weeks ago | (#47384043)

One of the advantages of a fully-electric car is that it has very few moving parts and requires hardly any maintenance. With a series hybrid such as the Volt, you now have a generator that adds a lot of the maintenance that would be required with an ICE. The Volt may be a nice option at the moment to help some people overcome range anxiety, but the better long-term solution is to ditch the generator and the maintenance it requires and go fully-electric.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about two weeks ago | (#47384091)

True, that's why I like electric mowers and weed eaters.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383485)

And a separate compartment for the children. And three noisy horns. And tailfins.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

flyingsquid (813711) | about two weeks ago | (#47383557)

People will like the smaller car and lower price,but if it doesn't have the range... they will not flock to it...

A lot of families have more than one car. You could have a large, gasoline powered car to go visit Aunt Mabel or on a camping trip in the Grand Canyon, and a smaller electric car for commuting, runs to the supermarket, etc. The hope is that eventually electric vehicles will have the range, rapid recharge rate, and charging infrastructure that they can compete with and replace gas engines; in the meantime the technology may already be mature enough to compete in particular niches. The nature of disruptive technology is that it initially plays to its strengths and gets a foothold in a market where conventional technology does not perform as well, and as it improves it eventually moves in and takes over from the conventional technology.

That being said, we are a long way away from a fleet that is all-electric or even substantially electric. It's growing rapidly compared to where it was a few years ago (basically, no electric cars), but it's still a tiny segment of the automobile market. According to Wikipedia, .62% of all cars sold in 2013 were electric. Even if that were a much higher figure- say, one-third of all cars sold each year- the average car is around 10 years old. So assume we replace ten percent of the fleet every year, then it would take years to reach a fleet that was one-third electric. Internal combustion engines are not going to go away any time soon. Tesla's stock price is soaring but GM, Ford, and Chevrolet still sell a lot more internal combustion engines than Tesla sells electrics.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | about two weeks ago | (#47383583)

Or you could rent a car for the few times year you need to travel more than 200 miles. Some people almost never travel that far. Some people go that far every weekend.

I've always wondered how big of a generator you would need to keep an electric car running continuously, and whether it would be feasible to just tow it behind you on a trailer. Maybe make those available to rent so that people can make long trips on their electric car. It would probably be cheaper to rent than an actual car, and the money you'd save from using an electric car for most of the year would easily offset the cost of renting the generator once in a while.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383625)

One big reason that that families end up buying two cars isn't because they needed one gas guzzler and one commuting machine, but rather it's because two people needed a car at the same time, and one of the two people only drives a short distance so they don't care about the fuel economy.

For a family like that (which I dare say is most nowadays) if the further away commute is less than 100 miles away, you'd buy one Tesla and keep the other vehicle large so it has all that versatility you want, and it still isn't costing an arm and a leg to run because it gets, perhaps, 10 miles a day usage.

Also, never lend your car to anyone ever, period. You are responsible for anything they do with it, as your insurance travels with the vehicle. That and most insurance wouldn't cover a rental situation on a personal vehicle. Not that it matters when you renew your license and wonder why you have black marks for drunk driving, running red lights, a police chase, 30 or 40 speeding tickets, and 100 parking tickets. Yay $30k a year insurance!

Re: What about range on this smaller car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383695)

What country do you live in that this is legitimate?

Here red light tickets don't go on your record if you pay them. Then you goto your friend who borrowed your car and get your money. Running from the police? That's the driver not the insurance or plates.

Sure they will investigate if they don't catch the car. They rarely don't catch the car.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

AlecC (512609) | about two weeks ago | (#47383789)

Your last paragraph is definitely not the case in the UK. All moving vehicle offences go to the driver. The owner has a legal obligation to tell the police who was driving when an offence was committed, but after that the person who was driving takes all the penalties.

And the insurance is the other way round. The named drivers get fully covered to drive the insured car, and they also get bare legal minimum insurance driving another car if they don't own it. But if somebody else drives the insured car, it is up to them to get insurance.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

penix1 (722987) | about two weeks ago | (#47384301)

And the insurance is the other way round. The named drivers get fully covered to drive the insured car, and they also get bare legal minimum insurance driving another car if they don't own it. But if somebody else drives the insured car, it is up to them to get insurance.

That is not true. If the driver is not the owner, but was authorized to drive the car by the owner, then the owner's insurance covers. It doesn't matter if the driver was named on the policy. If the driver drives without the owner's permission, then not only is it grand theft auto but it is considered uninsured. I know because I was hit by a driver in a stolen car where the thief ran away in all the confusion. Luckily I had full coverage and my insurance paid my medicals. Had I just had liability then I would be left holding the bills.

If you drive a car that is not covered by insurance, whether you have insurance on another car or not, it is still considered uninsured.

Having said all that, since automotive insurance is a state thing I suspect the laws governing the insurance varies by state. What I said above is correct for my state.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

rainmaestro (996549) | about two weeks ago | (#47384331)

Well, that's only partially correct. Drunk driving and speeding tickets will have no effect on your insurance because both of those issues apply to the policyholder and any additional named parties, not to the vehicle. Since your buddy isn't on your insurance, he gets the premium penalty for the DUI, not you.

In the event of an accident, the driver's policy covers bodily injury while the owner's policy covers physical damage. Typically, your insurance company would also seek partial compensation from your friend's carrier as well, and you both will be affected.

Also, where the hell do you live that parking tickets affect your insurance? Even if you don't pay them, the only consequence is that you can't renew your registration until you pay them off. Or if you live in a city that uses parking enforcement to generate cash, your car gets towed and you have to go pay it off immediately.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (4, Insightful)

GNious (953874) | about two weeks ago | (#47383635)

Or you could rent a car for the few times year you need to travel more than 200 miles. Some people almost never travel that far. Some people go that far every weekend.

From discussing this very solution, it seems people (At least american flesh-people) are very opposed to the notion of renting a car for the purpose of driving long-distances, or carrying large things around or just about anything.
Instead, most insists on having a vehicle that can solve every imaginable situation, even if most of these situations come up once yearly (or even not-at-all).

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (4, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | about two weeks ago | (#47383735)

You nailed it. My neighbor drives a big dodge pickup with a hemi. Drives it 60 miles every day to work round trip. Gets 15 mpg tops. Bitches constantly about the price of gas. Why not drive a commuter car with double the gas mileage and save $2k a year? Because once a year he hauls his boat to the lake and once a year he hauls it back. (Honestly I think he just likes driving a big ass truck, and the boat is an excuse.)

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about two weeks ago | (#47384403)

You nailed it.

(Honestly I think he just likes driving a big ass truck, and the boat is an excuse.)

No, but you did.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47383813)

I disagree. Most people don't have a car that can move furniture or large appliances. They just pay to rent a vehicle for those occasions. I find it odd that they don't apply the same logic to EVs. No car solves every imaginable situation. A good furniture mover's not likely to be an affordable commuter. Both will likely suck on the track. All three of those will likely suck off road. Etc. Vehicles come in radically different varieties for precisely that reason.

Actually, my preferred solution for EV range is like the AC Propulsion Long-Hauler trailer - a small self-steering (aka, easy to drive) genset trailer. You could own one, rent one, borrow one, have a group of friends/neighbors that share one, whatever. You've got range when you need it, and are otherwise you're pure electric and not having to haul around an engine that you don't use and which takes up space and weight in your vehicle (aka, PHEV).

Not American, but... (0)

itsdapead (734413) | about two weeks ago | (#47384103)

From discussing this very solution, it seems people (At least american flesh-people) are very opposed to the notion of renting a car for the purpose of driving long-distances, or carrying large things around or just about anything.

... I'm not completely opposed to the notion of buying a "green" commuter car and renting for long trips (assuming that you live somewhere where you can get rental cars delivered at short notice in the event of a family emergency etc).

The notion I'm opposed to is buying a $70000 luxury saloon and still needing to rent another one for long-distance trips. If I bought a $50k+ car it would be precisely because I found myself making long journeys and wanted the comfort.

The Tesla S seems to have a niche for people with a home-based daily commute of, say, ~70 miles each way - long enough to justify wanting to do it in a really nice car but comfortably within the maximum range (so you could still pop out in the evening without waiting for the overnight recharge).

As for gas savings... If you're paying $70k for a new electric car when you can get a really nice gas one for $50k, a couple of k$ a year on gas is hardly a consideration. If you buy a brand new car rather than a 1-year-old one, the devaluation when you drive it off the forecourt could have kept you in gas for a couple of years...

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about two weeks ago | (#47383727)

I've always wondered how big of a generator you would need to keep an electric car running continuously, and whether it would be feasible to just tow it behind you on a trailer. Maybe make those available to rent so that people can make long trips on their electric car. It would probably be cheaper to rent than an actual car, and the money you'd save from using an electric car for most of the year would easily offset the cost of renting the generator once in a while.

It might be cheaper, but for now certainly the cars would have an big advantage due to economies of scale. You'd also have to haul around the battery back, electric motor and engine (though it only just needs to be large enough to top up at highway speeds, not accelerate), and all on a relatively high drag trailer.

Also, since you're travelling a long distance, I'd assume there's mostly highway cruising, which means one of the other electric car benefits, regenerative breaking, would not be an enormous benefit, unlike for city driving.

The other thing of course for renting is you get to choose a different sized model if you wish as well, e.g. more luggage space or just plain old more space for sitting in on a long journey.

TL;DR I'd could work, but I'm not sure it would be worthwhile.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

AlecC (512609) | about two weeks ago | (#47383811)

If you are on a long trip, you are usually passing filling stations: very few people do 200 miles entirely on back roads. And good safety means that you should take a break about every 150 miles or so. So, as soon as filling stations do electrical recharge, the problem goes away for drivers not trying to keep going avery minute of the day. The problem is always chicken-and-egg: until people have the cars, the charging station will not exist.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384115)

If you are on a long trip, you are usually passing filling stations: very few people do 200 miles entirely on back roads. And good safety means that you should take a break about every 150 miles or so. So, as soon as filling stations do electrical recharge, the problem goes away for drivers not trying to keep going avery minute of the day. The problem is always chicken-and-egg: until people have the cars, the charging station will not exist.

Off topic to be sure, but the whole chicken and egg thing was solved by my 10 year old kid. She said obviously the egg came first. When asked where it came from, she said, "a dinosaur."

Of course, the chicken and egg thing had to work hand in hand, with small changes over every generation until we got the animal that we can cram into nasty barns by the millions in Maryland, stinking up the whole coast and probably doing more to harm the environment than cars. They end up as KFC, killing millions and making hundreds of millions more sick, raising everyone's health care premiums and taxing our taxes.

Electric cars sound great when they're being zoomed around California by the few people who can afford to buy and maintain them. Once they trickle down to the public and everyone is charging at home... once the drivetrains and batteries aren't being maintained properly and far more electricity is needed to go the same amount of miles, Republicans will insist that the grid will have to be supplemented heavily by coal. Once warranty claims backed by the bad publicity of millions of Facebook posts and clueless news teams force manufacturers to replace prematurely depleted batteries, that 30k car is going to bump back up to 40k, with the profit coming from useless options that tack another 10k on top. Once there are enough electric cars, there will be mod chips to further reduce efficiency, aftermarket wings and accessories to increase drag and decrease battery life, and, likely, ICE retrofits.

If you want to help the environment, buy yourself an electric car and tell everyone who asks that it's garbage. Don't demand that gas stations start charging, or that electric cars need an extended range option so that everyone can buy one. With our tendency to abuse everything we're given, it would't be a net gain in the end.

Just like the chicken and the egg, it wouldn't have mattered which came first, what matters is that we'd be better off without the it.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

Webcommando (755831) | about two weeks ago | (#47384229)

If you are on a long trip, you are usually passing filling stations: very few people do 200 miles entirely on back roads. And good safety means that you should take a break about every 150 miles or so. So, as soon as filling stations do electrical recharge, the problem goes away for drivers not trying to keep going avery minute of the day. The problem is always chicken-and-egg: until people have the cars, the charging station will not exist.

In the Chicagoland area, they have a number of oasis situated on the expressway [illinoisoases.com] that have food, restrooms, gas. I imagine if the tollway authority added charging stations to the parking area, you would see an uptick in adoption. I know other metropolitan areas have the same type of setups; a few strategically place charging stations could start turning the tide.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about two weeks ago | (#47384099)

The trailer thing is perfectly feasible. The tzero [wikipedia.org] had one.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (2)

haruchai (17472) | about two weeks ago | (#47383651)

The recognition of how long it would take to replace the current driving stock versus Tesla's manufacturing capacity was one of the reasons for opening up their patents.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (5, Funny)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about two weeks ago | (#47383703)

People will like the smaller car and lower price,but if it doesn't have the range... they will not flock to it...

And cargo capacity, don't forget that. This is why I always drive a Peterbilt. First, it's crucial that I can drive 3000 miles with no load, because I reckon some day I might need to drive all the way across the country without stopping.

A semi in that case is handy because I can fill up the back with energy drinks to keep me awake, and a portacabin so I don't have to waste valuable time finding a restroom at a stop.

But the cargo is what's really important. I once thought I would have to move house. It turns out I didn't in the end, but the thought of the panic I would have undergone had I not owned a semi made it all the more worthwhile!

Oh and it's a vocational model on the off chance I might need to move house to somewhere without a paved road.

Honestly, until I see them building small "cars" with this kind of cargo capacity I just don't see people flocking to them.

Re: What about range on this smaller car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383767)

This is the best comment on the internet.

Re:What about range on this smaller car? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383871)

If it had a 150 mile range and could charge to 100 mile range in 10 minutes, that might get me to consider it at that price. They're working on getting more quick-charge stations out there. Freeing up their patents was a huge step in that direction. The door is open for any establishment that wants to attract Tesla drivers who need to "stretch their legs" anyway, and may buy something.

There is no model E (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47383429)

Not sure why people are still reporting "Model E".

"It’s Official: Tesla Model E Won’t Be Called The Tesla Model E"
http://transportevolved.com/2014/05/06/official-tesla-model-e-wont-called-tesla-model-e/

Re:There is no model E (2)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47383517)

What will it be called? Thatâ(TM)s something we think itâ(TM)s impossible to say at the current time, but weâ(TM)d be keen to hear your nominations for suitable names nonetheless.

Since nobody outside of Tesla has a clue what this car will be called, "Model E" is better than nothing.

Re:There is no model E (1)

haruchai (17472) | about two weeks ago | (#47383657)

Since that announcement, more than a few car forums have taken to calling it the Gen 3 or Gen III.

Re:There is no model E (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383661)

Or, you can call it what others call it: blue star or 3rd gen.

Re:There is no model E (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about two weeks ago | (#47384157)

It's Tesla Motors, so why not "Model T"? Oh, wait...

As a Quebecer... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383445)

I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things. Our billionaires mostly do things like wearing clown noses in space or union-busting convenience stores.

With our hydro electric resources, we should be pioneering electric cars.

But no, *doing* things is not in our culture. Corruption, incompetence and thinking small, that's Quebec.

Re:As a Quebecer... (1)

L'Ange Oliver (1521251) | about two weeks ago | (#47383469)

At least we found out about the corruption. Maybe now we will start to THINK BIG, sti!

Re:As a Quebecer... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383529)

I doubt it. The CEIC is mostly a show, no one will get accused of anything, no money will be recovered, taxes will not go down, services won't improve.

I've started looking to leave this province.

Re:As a Quebecer... (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47383519)

Our billionaires mostly do things like wearing clown noses in space or union-busting convenience stores.

Oh, the U.S. has plenty of those too: 6 of the top 10 richest Americans have either the surname "Walton" or "Koch", and they do roughly the same kinds of things with their money that someone like Péladeau does. One of the remaining four has the surname "Ellison", and his visionary thoughts mostly involve yacht races.

Re:As a Quebecer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383553)

Yeah, but we have none of the Musk type. As for Péladeau, all I can do is wish better luck next time ... to the bike.

Re:As a Quebecer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384133)

Yeah, but we have none of the Musk type. As for Péladeau, all I can do is wish better luck next time ... to the bike.

I believe we're only borrowing him. Wikipedia says he's Canadian-American? WTF, he's born in South Africa. Does he spend a lot of time in Canada? If so, why are we getting all the credit?

Re:As a Quebecer... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about two weeks ago | (#47383975)

Waltons and Kochs do much more for the current society than Musk is, they are bringing cheapest goods possible to the most people that the possibly can. Musk's creativity is actually very narrow in its target market, but he can become Ford of today if he manages to find efficiencies and actually mass produce cheaper and cheaper vehicles even in the modern age of enormous government created inflation.

Re:As a Quebecer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384311)

Waltons and Kochs do much more for the current society ... they are bringing cheapest goods possible...

Emphasis on _cheap_! And they do it by shoveling billions to China while pocketing a healthy percentage for themselves at the same time they pay their employees so little that many of them have to resort to food stamps to survive. Meanwhile we the taxpayer – the 99% – get to pay for the foodstamps and the devaluation of the dollar due to the balance of payments with China. It's corporate welfare at its worst.

And the Kochs are pocketing the best politicians money can buy.

I have no respect for the Waltons or the Kochs – they're ruining this country.

Re:As a Quebecer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384363)

Waltons and Kochs do much more for the current society than Musk is

Indeed comrade! Waltons and Kochs are helping the government keep all those lazy unproductive Americans entrenched in the illusion that their food stamps and USD have value.

If the Walmarts in American aren't stocked, Americans might actually wake up and realize they're dirt poor and racking up debt. That would spell an end for the US government.

They're keeping the current society, with all its socialism and collectivism, together much more than Musk or anyone else is.

Re:As a Quebecer... (1)

rmstar (114746) | about two weeks ago | (#47384303)

I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things.

Elon Musk is south african.

The big picture (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383451)

Tesla Model S, E and X ? there must be some joke in there ...

Re: The big picture (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383509)

Elon said at the last shareholder meeting that Ford wouldn't let them use the Model E name as they already have a trademark on it therefore "Ford is killing SEX"

http://youtu.be/VvWDBnhe588

Re: The big picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384169)

It's probably easier to trademark S3XY anyway, plus it looks more haxx0rish.

Re:The big picture (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about two weeks ago | (#47384081)

Tesla Model S, E and X ? there must be some joke in there ...

I'm sure the creator of Virgin Galactic wouldn't think along those lines.

*Wonders how many slashdotters would buy a Model S, E, and X.*

Sometimes I wonder... (1)

spacefight (577141) | about two weeks ago | (#47383455)

...if Musk is in for the long run or for an exit within the next 2-3 years. Any ideas?

Re:Sometimes I wonder... (3, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about two weeks ago | (#47383499)

He's planning on a big exit in 15 years or so. To Mars.

Re:Sometimes I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383877)

Said he needs to start some kind of reactor, IIRC.

Re:Sometimes I wonder... (1)

olau (314197) | about two weeks ago | (#47383505)

Judging from his words and actions, it's seems unlikely to me that he'll exit as long as there is still potential to change the world. Once electric cars are common (and they will be if the current trends in battery tech and oil prices continue) then I could see him exit to pursue other things. But we're a long way from that happening.

Re:Sometimes I wonder... (1)

AlecC (512609) | about two weeks ago | (#47383839)

I would say he is in it as much for the fun as for the money. Of course, he wants to make profits, because that is the proof that your idea is good rather than a billionaire's toy. But I think his main motivation is to be the worlds coolest engineer. So I don't see him taking an exit any time soon. I think he will only exit when there is no more novelty to be wrung out. Which is probably when all the other manufacturers are treating electric cars as mainstream, not niche.

I'm so glad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383513)

... to see the pollution made by cars around my home in the city center moving far away in the countryside where we'll have to build a lot of wonderful power plants to recharge all these shiny new electric cars.
Thank you so much.

Profit before subsidy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47383555)

Glancing here [fueleconomy.gov] , I gather the new vehicle will probably be able to qualify for a $7500 subsidy from the US government. What bothers me is whether Tesla can produce that car in the absence of the subsidy? A reliance on temporary subsidies for profit would explain why there has been calls to turn Tesla into solely a battery manufacturer.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about two weeks ago | (#47383585)

The same question can be asked about gas vehicles if you were to remove all the subsidies that come into their operation. The oil industry gets a fair amount of it, many manufacturers got sweet deals for building their factories where they did, etc. You can't selectively remove one subsidy from one end but not do the same to its competitors.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47383601)

You can't selectively remove one subsidy from one end but not do the same to its competitors.

Tesla enjoys those subsidies as well. The problem here is that up to 25% of its revenue on this particular vehicle will be due to a single, not very well protected subsidy source.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383687)

Well, even at 37,500, the blue star will likely be a steal.
If nothing else, look a their Model S.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

flink (18449) | about two weeks ago | (#47383659)

I just did the calculation for myself, and compared to my $15k 40mpg Hyundai, and given the amount of gas I go through on a weekly basis, if I pay sticker price for the model E it will be just about at the break even point. Any subsidy is just gravy. My current car is only 2 years old, so I won't be in the market for a while, but I'll definitely take a long hard look at a Tesla when I am.

I can't be that unique. Hopefully this car will find it's niche.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47383853)

That's a lot of traveling. Ignoring time value, the $15k difference in price buys you about 160k miles of travel (at $3.75 per gallon).

I doubt most people put 160k miles on a car before they get rid of it. So for them, lifetime costs of the Hyundai would be cheaper than that of the Tesla even if the Tesla had zero energy cost per mile driven.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

flink (18449) | about two weeks ago | (#47384053)

Ha, well 40mpg is highway. My commute is 16 city miles round trip, all of then city miles, where I get substantially less than 40mpg. What it boils down to is I'm paying $200/mo car payment + $120/mo for gas. If I could trade that for $300/mo for the car + cost of electricity, I think it would come out basically even, especially if maintenance cost are lower or the car lasts longer than a comparable gas vehicle.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47384319)

It'd be $400/mo since you're doubling the cost of the car.

I think it would come out basically even, especially if maintenance cost are lower or the car lasts longer than a comparable gas vehicle.

The big unknown with electric cars is that battery pack. I gather that's roughly a quarter to a third of the cost of the Tesla presently. Maybe the "Gigafactory" will knock that down a lot.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (2)

fermion (181285) | about two weeks ago | (#47383981)

Many vehicles are subsidized. For instance, one reason there were so many Hummers on the road were because of the tax rules that applied to the purchase for business use. While passenger vehicles are depreciated at a normal rate, something like a Hummer can be depreciated much more quickly. And while something like and F350 is clearly a utilitarian vehicle, a Hummer is simply a loophole to have the taxpayer fund your luxury vehicle.

Re:Profit before subsidy? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47384411)

while something like and F350 is clearly a utilitarian vehicle, a Hummer is simply a loophole to have the taxpayer fund your luxury vehicle.

I wish I knew what percentage of F350s were actually ever used for something you couldn't do with a Tundra or a Taco, but I'll bet you it's pretty goddamned low.

Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47383627)

Aluminum is as cheap as steel if you make very many vehicles, because of various advantages in the production process. It's also cheaper to recycle than steel, which in addition to its many other advantages is a big reason why the industry is headed in that direction. Ford is even going Aluminum for the F-150, and other models are likely to follow as they have become pretty well bloated and bringing the weight down is mandatory for meeting future mileage targets.

If they plan to make many cars, then Aluminum should not really make the car cost more, especially starting from a blank sheet. And it really is a superior material in every way except repairability, and who repairs cars with any notable damage any more anyway? They just get written off and broken down for parts.

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47383957)

It's weaker, so the weight savings on major structural components isn't as great there. But I agree with you, I find this an odd move on their part. Unless they've got something out of left field in mind, like a composite frame.

I really despise steel. I just got back from walking over to a muffler repair shop to have them fix a flange that's rusted away for my pickup. : One of many, many parts that's had to be swapped out over the past year due to rust damage. Oh, I better go back out and spray bolts on my Insight with some rust remover after I submit this post... got to do that daily now for a week or so or those rusted-to-hell bolts are going to strip when I remove the cover to change out the gasket. And the Insight is an "aluminum" car - but the engine is still mostly steel.

I'm building a house now and am even looking to avoid steel in the concrete. For the foundation, we're just going to use fiber for reinforcement. For the walls (assuming the engineer signs off on it) we're going to use basalt fiber rebar. Most people don't realize that when you design a concrete wall, you decide how long it's going to live. The cement carbonates at a relatively constant rate (give or take somewhat depending on various factors like moisture), a given depth per year, which brings it down to a more neutral pH, which then when it gets to the steel allows the steel to rust (the highly basic environment normally protects it). When steel rusts it expands nearly tenfold, and thus the wall spalls out and is ruined. The lack of use of pozzolan in concrete because everyone wants it to harden super-fast so they can finish and move on to the next project only makes the problem worse. Roman concrete (with a volcanic ash pozzolan and no steel) has lasted for thousands of years, but little that we build today with concrete will last even 100, and in hostile environments (for example, bridges near the ocean) you may only get a couple decades. Basalt rebar should hopefully allow for the durability of ancient concrete while allowing for the tensile strength of modern concrete (my home is also going to have a vaulted structure to keep as much force as possible as compressive force, which concrete naturally tolerates well), and I'm going to use a pozzolan (basalt dust), which minimizes the CO2 footprint as well as increasing ultimate strength, durability, and watertightness. Oh, and my gravel/sand will also be basalt, and it's being built on basalt bedrock. ;) Mmm, lava....

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47384035)

I'm building a house now and am even looking to avoid steel in the concrete.

I'm not an expert, but the steel is protected from corrosion in most forms of concrete due to the mildly alkaline chemistry of the concrete. And if you throw on sacrificial metal [wikipedia.org] , you can keep that steel corrosion-free indefinitely.

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (1)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47384211)

I'm not an expert, but the steel is protected from corrosion in most forms of concrete due to the mildly alkaline chemistry of the concrete.

Gee, I wish I'd written something like:

The cement carbonates at a relatively constant rate (give or take somewhat depending on various factors like moisture), a given depth per year, which brings it down to a more neutral pH, which then when it gets to the steel allows the steel to rust

;)

And if you throw on sacrificial metal [wikipedia.org], you can keep that steel corrosion-free indefinitely.

Galvanic protection of concrete is rather tricky versus something like a ship's hull, the electric potential depends a lot on its environment, even where it is in the structure, and if there's too little it doesn't protect and if there's too much you cause electrolysis of the water in the cement (it's a hydrate), which leads to hydrogen embrittlement of the steel. And it's usually not some single electrode, it's generally a lot of separate cast electrodes or are applied to the concrete as a coating, so it's a big issue to replace/redo. And if you don't, it rusts and falls apart.

I strongly prefer passively stable structures. :) Something that could be completely forgotten and still be there after a thousand years.

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47384293)

Sorry about that. I realized my mistake about a couple minutes after I posted, but I couldn't issue a correction at the time due to the "Cowboy" timeout.

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about two weeks ago | (#47384309)

Like the parent said, the ph of concrete become more and more neutral as the years go by. Here in Quebec pretty much all the old bridges, pedestrian bridges, etc built in the 60s-70s need to be teared down because they're basically 100% concrete and the rebars have swollen make them lose chunks all the time. As you can imagine that's not a very positive experience for cars going under those bridges.

As for sacrificial materials, well the whole point is that they get "sacrified" ie: eaten up before the metal you want to protect. At some point depending on conditions, your anode will have been fully corroded, galvanized or whatever the reaction is. So, it's not going to be indefinitely. I had a to swap the anode on a 4 year old water heater for example because of the water composition here.

Re:Not Aluminum? Not a good sign. (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47384245)

Sorry about the reading comprehension fail in my previous reply. It's clear you've given this a great deal of thought and have ambitions beyond the normal horizons for a typical modern building.

Who designed this one? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about two weeks ago | (#47383683)

The model E looks awful in comparison to what we've seen from Tesla so far. The Roadster, the S, and the X are all great looking cars. The E looks like it was co-designed by Nissan or Kia. If they shortened the E by around a foot by lowering the roof line it would look much better.

I do like the idea of finally seeing a RWD sedan for $30k or less for sale in this country again, though. The big 3 have been completely ignoring this market for a long time and the Asian car makers have basically never even acted as though it ever existed.

Re:Who designed this one? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383771)

The model E looks awful in comparison to what we've seen from Tesla so far.

That's an interesting opinion, considering the planned revealing is at the Detroit auto show in 2015.

Re:Who designed this one? (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about two weeks ago | (#47383783)

I'm puzzled... Where did you see the E? It's not in either of TFAs and a cursory Google search provides no results either.

Re:Who designed this one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383851)

Chrysler 300 is RWD and one of the more comfortable cars around.

Re:Who designed this one? (1)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47383979)

Shortening a car is usually bad for aerodynamics, which is bad for range. Lowering the roofline reduces the frontal area, which increases the range, but are you sure there'd be enough headroom if you did that?

Re:Who designed this one? (3, Funny)

jo_ham (604554) | about two weeks ago | (#47384047)

Can I borrow your time machine please?

many are missing something important. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47383729)

When this comes out, Tesla will have at least 100 stores open in the US alone. In addition, they will have not only their network of chargers, but probably their quick battery exchange. What that means is that people that buy blue star will have the ability to drive all over USA and charge for free. And yes, when driving across the US, you DO have to be concerned about range. While Tesla has a nice 1 hour charger, the others are 4-8 hours. That is a LONG time.
But the ability to change the battery out for one with 400-500 MPC will appeal to many people.

Re:many are missing something important. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about two weeks ago | (#47383893)

And yes, when driving across the US, you DO have to be concerned about range

How often do you drive across the US?

Out of all your friends and family, how often do they drive across the US?

Re:many are missing something important. (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about two weeks ago | (#47384187)

How often do you drive across the US?

Why does it have to be across the US?

The problems start when you have to drive more than about 100 miles. Yeah, you can do 200-300 miles in a Tesla (depending on model) but then you have to start to think about things like do you need a heater/ air con/lights? Will you be able to recharge at your destination? If not, is there a supercharger en route? How much distance does that add? Hoe much time does that add?

So, forget trans-USA road trips. Just imagine a 100 mile each-way trip to a meeting somewhere (there and back in a day), with no guarantee of a power point at your destination, with no guarantee of 'goldilocks zone' weather.... and you're already worrying about range, whether there's a supercharger en. route, and having to leave an hour earlier.

That said, Tesla's fast battery swap looks like a much more practical alternative to a gas station. The 'charging station' idea doesn't scale if EVs get more popular: if you sometimes have to queue at a gas station with 15 pumps and a 5-minute turn around time, a couple of charging bays where people park and then head off for a meal just isn't going to cope.

Re:many are missing something important. (1)

Rei (128717) | about two weeks ago | (#47383989)

I saw a Tesla store in Reykjavík the other day. Haven't seen a Tesla on the roads, but still, neat to know that they're here. :)

Iceland = poster child for EVs (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about two weeks ago | (#47384275)

You should offer a service: if one of us is feeling guilty about burning gas, but we're not sure if using electricity from gas, oil or nuclear, we can offset our carbon footprint by buying you a Tesla that you can run on 100% guaranteed green* Icelandic geothermal power.

(*well, all those volcanos and geysers probably pump out obscene amounts of CO2 and radioactive shit, but that's not humanity's fault and they're still gonna do that if you don't harvest the energy).

Gull Wing Doors? (1)

ssufficool (1836898) | about two weeks ago | (#47383867)

Can't wait for someone to park too close so I can't get in or out. And being a tall guy, I LOVE twisting and gyrating to get out of cars without bumping my head. Ugh, we haven't learned from the 80's have we?

The main problem with all elec (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about two weeks ago | (#47383881)

The main problem with all electric cars, so far, is needing to have a personal garage to park it in to recharge. If I live in apartment, I can't charge it. If the garage of my single family home is otherwise taken up with 'stuff', I can't plug it in.

Eventually that issue will change. But for today, how can I buy an all electric if I have no where to plug it in?
Even if it were sold for $300, I still cannot plug it in!

Re:The main problem with all elec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384175)

You having so much pointless shit boxed up in the garage is no ones dilemma but your own.

Re:The main problem with all elec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384233)

I don't know anyone with a personal garage who doesn't park their car in it - and apart from apartment style condo owners, if you own a dwelling, you have a garage. Maybe parking 1 car in a 2 car garage because the other half is full of crap - but everyone around here who owns a garage uses it for the purpose of parking cars.

Note: This might be driven by the fact that in the winter, it gets COLD here.

I hope they're planning another model after that (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about two weeks ago | (#47383937)

The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range.

So... is there going to be a compact Model LC for the sub-30K$ market? A car for the majority of drivers?

Re:I hope they're planning another model after tha (4, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about two weeks ago | (#47384059)

The compact Model E aims to be competitive with the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, which both start in the low $30,000 range.

So... is there going to be a compact Model LC for the sub-30K$ market? A car for the majority of drivers?

I'm sure they are. They started with the premium sedan Model S, then next is the Model X SUV, then this 30k Model E. The trend is definitely towards more affordable vehicles. You just need to establish yourself as a solid manufacturer first with high-profit sales. The success of the 70k+ Model S has helped to fund the factory to allow them to build the cheaper models to come.

It just takes some time.

Re:I hope they're planning another model after tha (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about two weeks ago | (#47384195)

It's gonna take a long time until I can get a Tesla moped...

Re:I hope they're planning another model after tha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384399)

That's what I've been saying all along. Publicity-grabbing luxury sports cars are great, but electric vehicles won't matter at all here in America until we here in flyover country can afford them, and if we can't afford them you can bet the Indians and the Chinese sure as hell can't either. I also get that it's important to maintain a sense of familiarity with other vehicles, but the American (and global) idea of what a 'car' is really needs to be rethought. Moving in the direction of Volkswagen's XL1 would be a welcome development. I complain about the Tesla Model E being too expensive, but really, pretty much all cars are these days - and that's before gas.

20% smaller? Not likely (1)

twasserman (878174) | about two weeks ago | (#47383969)

As a San Franciscan, I'd love to have a smaller and less expensive Tesla, even if the range were considerably less than the 200 miles of the Model S. But 20% smaller is unlikely, since that would make it the same of a Mini Cooper. If they are going to compete with the BMW 3-series or the Audi 3 in the $30K price range, then the Model E should be 8-10% shorter than the Model S. At 196 inches, the Model S is about 20 inches longer than the new Audi 3 sedan. Typical extras on the German cars puts their sticker prices closer to $40K (or even above that). But a Model E measuring around 180 inches and selling for $35K would make it my first choice to replace my old Honda, especially when you consider that a Chevy Volt, with only a 40 mile range, lists for more than $40K.

OS Vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384205)

Why would I pay that much for a Tesla when I could get an Open Source vehicle for under $10k?

http://www.osvehicle.com/

I'm awaiting model "i" (1)

erroneus (253617) | about two weeks ago | (#47384271)

I would be "inexpensive." I know we're a way from that at the moment. But while we note that progress is being made and at the same time, the slow (!) march in progress of more affordable, inexpensive, mass-produced solar and other at-hand, non-centralized power continues, I always feel we're on the cusp of a major paradigm shift. Still... we're beyond the year 2000, no flying cars and no serious advancement since the 80s really. I may be dead before real change is allowed to occur.

Smaller? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384299)

Another consideration is the size reduction, 10% smaller is not a good thing for Americans. I weigh about 200lbs and because of the way the steering wheel adjusts in the model S I can't physically fit in the driver's seat. I have actually sat in the car so I think the steering wheel could be designed to tilt instead of just going in and out a few inches. The model S is not a large car to begin with, if you make things smaller still you are greatly limiting your market from the majority of Americans.

Tesla's Ugly Duckling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47384431)

I thought Tesla had turned the corner when it comes to electric car styling. I see that thought was a bit premature.

It seems that when vehicle manufacturers cheapen up a car, the first thing they throw out is looks. I understand why attractive women are expensive, but I don't see why the same rule has to apply to cars.

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