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Test Driving the Tesla Roadster

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the 1.21-gigawatts dept.

665

stacybro writes "Wired has an article about the Tesla Roadster. It is similar to other electric cars that we have seen in that the electric engine's serious torque will allow it to do 0-60mph in about 3 seconds. Part of what is different about this is that they are using over 6,831 laptop-type lithium-ion batteries. They are claiming the range is about 250 miles. As the battery tech for laptops improves, so will the range of these cars. The car will run about $80,000, which is about par for an exotic two-seater. So who is doing the poll on which tech CEO will be seen driving one first? My guess is one of the Google or E-Bay guys, since they are investors. It is nice to see more companies serious about helping to getting rid of our oil dependency. It is odd that the big car companies aren't more on this track!"

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665 comments

Global "Dependencies" (3, Insightful)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747345)

It is nice to see more companies serious about helping to getting rid of our oil dependency.

Now all we have to do is get rid of our electronics, consumer products and innovations dependencies, and we can tell the rest of the world to take a hike!

If only all countries could have such a lack of inter-relatedness with their neighbors, imagine what a beautiful world it would be...

Re:Global "Dependencies" (4, Insightful)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747361)

I consider our reliance on oil much more "evil" than our reliance on electronics. PDA's aren't killing the earth quite as fast as cars are ^_^

Re:Global "Dependencies" (4, Insightful)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747391)

I consider our reliance on oil much more "evil" than our reliance on electronics. PDA's aren't killing the earth quite as fast as cars are ^_^

Until something replaces Coal power plants as the main method of generating electricity, you're just replacing one evil for the other.

Yes, I'm aware of Nucular, Hydro, Wind, Tidal, Natrual Gas. Doesn't matter. Coal is the most popular choice today.

Re:Global "Dependencies" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747561)

I disagree, Powerplants have already been showen to be a solvable problem. So if we get rid of the oil dependencies then you technically have a complete end to end solution already, you just need to actually implement the required technology.

Re:Global "Dependencies" (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747517)

I consider our reliance on oil much more "evil" than our reliance on electronics. PDA's aren't killing the earth quite as fast as cars are

Their, and the electric cars', significantly limited-life batteries, and the inefficiences in recharging them, certainly are.

Re:Global "Dependencies" (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747557)

Their, and the electric cars', significantly limited-life batteries, and the inefficiences in recharging them, certainly are.

Do you, always write with, so many commas, in your text, so that it's, one, big, run-on, sentence? Plus, it makes no sense... it should be "they" instead of "their" -- "their certainly are" vs. "they certainly are".

Most people are quite capable of reading text that has no commas and understanding the meaning of the text without having to be cued as to when you would have had to pause to take a breath.

Now back to your regular programming...
 

Re:Global "Dependencies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747385)

You know, you're right. I was thinking about cutting back on my heroine dependency since it's bad for me and it's getting unaffordable, but instead I'm going to nourish my relationship with my neighborhood dealer. That's what neighbors are about!

Re:Global "Dependencies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747393)

I think "helping to getting rid of our oil dependency" is flawed from the gate. How are you going to generate the electricity for the car? A lot of that comes from oil.

And as for you, my commentor, not having oil dependency can have a lot to say to stability and security. I.e. someone can not threaten your energy supply and it will free the US from all those blood for oil wars that the US keeps getting accused of.

Re:Global "Dependencies" (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747428)

I think "helping to getting rid of our oil dependency" is flawed from the gate. How are you going to generate the electricity for the car? A lot of that comes from oil.

And as for you, my commentor, not having oil dependency can have a lot to say to stability and security. I.e. someone can not threaten your energy supply and it will free the US from all those blood for oil wars that the US keeps getting accused of.


Yes, but our electric grid uses several diverse forms of energy. Say if our oil supply was cut off completly and we all used electric plugin cars. Sure we would be hurt but we would still be able to get to work if we cut back on other things and conserved. As it is I and many others would be forced to start sleeping at work and many jobs would simply shut down as the economy experienced a complete freefall.

Re:Global "Dependencies" (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747440)

If only all countries could have such a lack of inter-relatedness with their neighbors, imagine what a beautiful world it would be...

Yea, but then the poor politicians would have nothing to distract from domestic issues...

Please learn how to write. (1)

panchondo (869537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747347)

This staceybro character cannot write worth shit. Your lame introduction is not written well.

Exploding Batteries? (4, Insightful)

glowworm (880177) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747348)

I am left wondering if this car is involved in an accident if the batteries will vent like the recent /. articles suggest.

Exploding Dells, fires on planes, and soon at an intersection near you... cars venting more flame than the batmobile.

Re:Exploding Batteries? (5, Insightful)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747420)

Much safer to use something like 15 gallons of liquid petrolium distillate that is highly inflammable at room temperature.

Re:Exploding Batteries? (2, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747457)


Last time I checked cars don't explode while driving down the street; while it seems laptops might...

(And with over 6 thousand batteries one might expect a failure rate of 1 in 10000 to be a little high...

Re:Exploding Batteries? (1)

Apraxhren (964852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747441)

An accelerometer, smoke detector, voltage meter, temperature gauge, and water sensor can detect a crash or other failures and shut the batteries down to prevent fire or explosion

Re:Exploding Batteries? (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747454)

I think batteries are going to be a lot safer than gasoline. Obviously, there would be more measures taken to make them safer. In Dell's case, the reason is because the batteries are designed to be cheap rather than safe.

Re:Exploding Batteries? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747502)

Gasoline has a long proven history of relative safety. The liquid isn't flammable at all. You can douse out a match in liquid gasoline, as long as the vapors are well ventilated.

And if you don't think a car using 6000 cells is going to have rigorous cost containment measures taken in the cells' design, you're dreaming.

Re:Exploding Batteries? (4, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747496)

Notice the fast acceleration. Maybe this car uses a lithium-ion Orion drive, where the force of exploding batteries drives the car forward forcefully.

Re:Exploding Batteries? (5, Insightful)

Sinistrad_D (121333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747497)

Looks like the company that is manufacturing the batteries has replaced graphite with a "Lithium Titanium Oxide" that they've tested and claim doesn't have the smoking, venting, or explosive problems of normal lithium ion batteries. Here is a link to a rather informative article about the battery technology that will be used in the Tesla:

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/07/ altair_batterie.html [typepad.com]

I mean based on the stuff I've read about the founders of the company and a lot of the people who have invested in it (i.e. Elon Musk, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, etc.) I feel I'll wait and see before passing any judgement.

a-sploding slashdotters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747516)

sorry, several anonymous informed slashdot screen names say electric cars will never work, in every article about electric cars, hence all those other investors are idiots, especially the billionaire ones. I mean, what do they know anyway?

that's just how it works here. and on most forums.

where are the flying pieces of cars? (4, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747351)

Here in Texas, where I suspect temperatures exceed battery design, I think this idea will bomb spectacularly.

Seriously, though, Li-ion? I shudder to think of how those will get disposed of, eventually.

Re:where are the flying pieces of cars? (2, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747475)

I shudder to think of how those will get disposed of, eventually.

They will be recycled. Almost all lead-acid batteries get recycled today, and lithium is far more valuable than lead.

Re:where are the flying pieces of cars? (4, Informative)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747548)

Seriously, though, Li-ion? I shudder to think of how those will get disposed of, eventually."

Um, probably the same way you dispose of alkaline batteries. You throw them in the trash. Lithium-Ion batteries are classified as "non-hazardous waste and are safe for disposal in the normal municipal waste stream."

Or punture and flood with saltwater if you're paranoid.

"Discharge: with the cell or battery pack in a safe area, connect a moderate resistance across the terminals until the cell or battery pack is discharged. CAUTION: the cell or battery pack may be hot! Discard: puncture plastic envelope, immerse in salt water for several hours and place in regular trash."

Li-Ion and Li-Poly batteries are a non-problem if they're discharged, and they are environmentally friendly, to boot.

Pricy, but.... (2, Interesting)

Sergeant Beavis (558225) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747353)

A 250 mile range gets an electric car into the "very practical" range IMO. Now the challenge is to get the price down to something acceptable. Range has always been the biggest downside of electrics and the reason I would never consider one. However if I can have something with the sized between a Mini and a Civic and be able to easily commute to work AND not pay through the nose for it, I'm in.

Re:Pricy, but.... (3, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747371)

You can get used to a lower range, easily. My Honda motorcycle has a range of about 150 miles. It doesn't bother me one bit. Every one of those miles is 1000x more fun than any car-driven mile, even if I do have to fuel up once per week instead of once every other week.

Fuel economy could be better though. 35 MPG isn't much better than many cars.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747388)

That is far, far better then what most cars get on the road. My Cougar gets around 22MPG and I think that is spectacular compared to the Sonoma Truck I was driving. Although after I took off the truck's bed the mileage was comparable. I also had a sundance that pushed 28MPG but after someone ran a stop sign and smashed into my passenger side it just wasn't the pimpmobile I was looking for. Something about opening the driver side door for a women and saying "Hop over the console" isn't appealing for most memembers of that gender.

Hm? Oh, you were talking about new cars? Oh well.. uh yeah... 35 mpg... must be rough...

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747511)

My '93 Saturn has over 180,000 miles with no major rebuilds or mantenance and gets 32MPG. And that's with an engine that is presently buring about 2/3 of a quart of oil with every gas fill.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

Sergeant Beavis (558225) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747390)

For something that would be strictly used as a commuter, yes I could get used to it. However for a vehicle that is used for more than just commuting, it might not be enough. That is ok, if you can own more than one car though. Go ahead and keep the SUV, just use it when you actually need it and use the electric the rest of the time....

Of course there are many other options to consider as well. I just think this car might be a good step in the right direction.

Re:Pricy, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747431)

35MPG is worse than my car. I average 45-50MPG, depending on how long of trips I'm making, and amount of hills.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747439)

150 miles isn't bad unless your living some some isolated places. There are plenty of roads in texas where there is litterly a gas station every 250-300 miles with nothing in between. You simply couldn't make it.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747493)

A 250 mile range is absolutely no problem in a motorcycle where it takes 3 minutes to gas up, and it's fine in any case if you're just commuting, but 300 mile trips are not uncommon, and a multi-hour pit stop to charge the battery isn't going to work for most people.

When either the range is 1200 miles and hotels have recharging outlets or charging takes less than ten minutes is when these things become mass-buyable for the anyone at the Christmas and Easter environmentalist level.

It's not price... (0)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747389)

It's not just price that will get electric cars used... it's the dork factor. The first company to figure out how to make electric cars less dorky (marketing, design, I don't know) will be the winner. I don't care if gas goes to $20/gallon. I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those things.

Re:It's not price... (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747416)

That's what this company is doing. If some "cool" kid in his Camaro (hell, as the article says, even his Porsche) pulls up next to me and thinks I look funny in my electric mobile, wait until he sees how funny I look when I've left him in the dust. I wouldn't buy one of these ($80,000 ...and with a range of 250 miles I'd be fscked because I have to travel about 300 miles to get home from where I am now).

Re:It's not price... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747518)

You know what they say. The only thing a Camaro stops at is every gas station along the way to fuel up.

Re:It's not price... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747526)

This isn't a practical car -- it's a sports car. This car isn't intended for you.

Recharging time? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747403)

A 250 mile range gets an electric car into the "very practical" range IMO


Not if they are like my Ni-Cd battery electric shaver, which takes 14 hours to recharge.

Re:Recharging time? (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747515)

You've just asked my major question. I can get from Columbus, Ohio to London, Ontario on a single tank of gas, although i usually stop once for fuel (at the duty free), and refueling my car will take me less time than it will to get across the border. But if i had a car with a range of 250 miles, then i would have to stop on my trip, and it had better not make a 5 hour trip 12 hrs longer, due to recharging time.

That said, i've got two different energizer battery chargers, one of which takes 8 hrs, and the other which takes 15 to charge the same batteries for comparable use. I'm curious what sort of possibilities there are for rapid charging, and what the potential hazards are of moving large amounts of energy very quickly are.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747425)

For a car that 0-60 in 3 seconds and top speed of 130mph, $80k isn't out of line. Once they get going, they make a typical performing sedan geared lower and costing much less. I would love to test drive one.

Re:Pricy, but.... (1)

punkrockguy318 (808639) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747563)

Hybrids are pretty practical nowadays if you can get a hold of one. The Honda Insight gets ~60 miles to the gallon, and has a 10g tank. So, that makes for about 600 mile range. They go for about 20k, not much more than any other new car.

Umm... (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747354)

It is nice to see more companies serious about helping to getting rid of our oil dependency.

Yeah, it uses close to 7000 laptop batteries and costs over $80K. These guys are REEEEEAL serious about it.

Re:Umm... (3, Interesting)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747472)

You know what's odd about this -- that's roughly $10/battery.

I saw we buy one and part it out on ebay...

Re:Umm... (1)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747481)

Yeah...the *concept* car uses 7000 laptop batteries and costs over $80K. Just imagine what it will be like when the electrical engineer that came up with the concept refines the design...

Re:Umm... (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747521)

What did you expect, some sort of magical engine that ran on dreams and happiness?
 
It doesn't use laptop batteries, the article was just comparing the batteries used to laptop batteries.
 
They're serious enough to put time and effort into it; seems to me they're serious enough.

Re:Umm... (2, Insightful)

Voice of Meson (892271) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747537)

Put it another way... It only cost $80K and it has similar acceleration to the Ferrari Enzo!

Plus it's only a prototype. How can you be negative about that? Are the batteries made from harp seal eyes or something?

Hot car? (1)

wbean (222522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747355)

Wow! Can you imagine what this will look like if the batteries come from Dell's supplier. Frying eggs will be nothing :)

roadsters (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747356)

While i love the roadster design, and I applaud their efforts, and am happy to see them working on a sedan, I think I would have really liked to see a cheaper, less break-neck car for my commute. something in the $20k range would have been much easier to sell with the missus :) Yes, I've looked at the Smart Roadster, but it's not US available, and not that cheap.

Still, I'll be trying to afford it...

Re:roadsters (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747399)

something in the $20k range

The batteries are about three bucks apiece in bulk. Now that you've spent your $20K, all you need is a car.

Eccles, if you're still out there, please note that these are off the shelf, consumer item batteries made by the megabuttload. There is going to be no reduction in cost when they go "into mass production."

Good . . .batteries. . .are. . .expensive.

KFG

P.S. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747419)

You'll need to buy a new set every five years or so, even if you don't use them, because these batteries have a shelf life. Mistreat them once, and you may have to buy a new set, even if they're only a few months old.

You might want to factor that into your cost per mile.

KFG

Re:roadsters (2, Insightful)

lionheart1327 (841404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747507)

There's a good reason that this is a roadster.
That most electric cars are billed as roadsters.

1. It's going to cost around $80,000 no matter what you do.
The parts are just that expensive.
So they need to classify it as something that is already that expensive to be competivite.

2. Electric engines have an intrinsically very high accelleration rate.
This isn't even really something you can turn off.
The sedan version of this is still going to accelerate faster than a porsche.

So if it has to be expensive, and high accelleration is built it, you might as well call it a roadster.
Its the only chance you have of making it appealing for somebody.

Sigh (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747363)

It is nice to see more companies serious about helping to getting rid of our oil dependency.

Oil isn't the problem, ENERGY is. So instead of burning oil everwhere, we'll be burning more coal in a few places. Maybe this is the kind of thing we need to turn public sentiment away from the greenies and get some more nuclear power plants built.

LK

Re:Sigh (1)

EdZep (114198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747438)

Maybe. And, I believe one of the founders of Greenpeace or Sierra Club has come out in favor of nuclear power, as you suggest.

Re:Sigh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747490)

you do realize that a power plant is much more efficient than a car's combustion engine, right?

Re:Sigh (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747543)

You do realize that a power plant is much more efficient than a car's combustion engine, right?

Exactly. Even with transmission losses, and losses due to charging and discharging, I bet this thing is considerably more efficient than a gasoline engine. What gasolene has as an advantage is that it's not so heavy with respect to the amount of power it has. And that batteries are expensive, have a very limited life span and possibly an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. There was a guy on Science Friday that suggested that we could convert to methanol use, it's easy to make from oil, it's easy to make from biomass, easy to haul and so on.

Re:Sigh (1)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747522)

What? You've got it exactly backwards. Energy isn't the problem; we've got plenty of that. FUEL is the problem. We don't use oil to generate our electricity (for the most part), and we don't use electricity to power our cars, except for this ridiculously expensive prototype, anyway.

Re:Sigh (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747532)

Maybe this is the kind of thing we need to turn public sentiment away from the greenies and get some more nuclear power plants built.

I have no idea what the figures are, but nuclear has to be infinitely better for the environement than natuarl gas and coal. Tidal, sun ray, and wind turbines are doing what they can, but it just isn't much.

Have we gotten to the point of a high effeciency house being economical? Private solar pannels on the home, with low wattage bulbs and such? This past weekend I was washing my dogs and discovered that the water left in the hose all afternoon was actually hotter than what comes out of my hot water heater. I need to build a solar pre-heater contraption for my gas water heater.

The time is right? (3, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747365)

There have been some great inovations in vehicles over the years which have been supressed and even shut down by the big auto companies in the past, but with current technology its hard to keep information and good innovation down. Perhaps with the help of the internet this company has a chance of not going the way of the Tucker.

Re:The time is right? (1)

stecoop (759508) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747398)

Nah, RC street track racers know that the fast cars are battry powered. They go like hell for 10 minutes and then you get to do a charge cycle. The complexity (remember this thing has >6000), charge time of the batteries, and low millage are holding electric cars back; once these are solved then I would bet that a battery car would indeed be faster and more popular than a gas one.

Over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747369)

Part of what is different about this is that they are using over 6,831 laptop type lithium-ion batteries.

Over 6,831 batteries? Why cite an exact value as random as that if it is a ballpark value anyway?

TFA: The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries ...

Yeah, but how much oil does it take to build? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747370)

So this car costs $80,000. I bet a lot of that is for the oil (and other forms of fossil fuels) it takes to mine, transport, process etc the raw materials needed to build the car. A $10,000 petrol-powered car would probably use less oil over its lifetime than this thing.

Not that research into electric cars isn't a great thing. It is. And one day this kind of car will cost a fraction of that $80,000. Just remember that not all the oil a car uses is burned up on the road.

And this is a good idea? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747372)

Considereing this :( Exploding laptop old news to Dell? Anonymous writes "CRN is reporting that Dell had about a dozen reports of burned laptops before they announced last year's battery recall. The recall was launched in response to a exploding laptop caught on film at a Japanese conference. Dozens more cases popped up with apparently severe overheating, melted cases, etc., according to the report." ), and the fact that there is a lot of toxic/EPA unfriendly chemicals in laptop batteries (which will need replaced- the discarded ones will go where?), and what EPA unfriendly processes are needed to produce the batteries in the mean time, how can this be good news?

Okay, the tech acheivments are to be commended, but this seems more an answer looking for a valid question.

Maybe I'm wrong and over-reacting, if so, help me out here.

Re:And this is a good idea? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747424)

Yes, you are overreacting. Do you know how many automobile gasoline fires there are every day? Also, the newer Lithium and NiMh batteries don't have the toxic problems of older lead and NiCd batteries.

Now that's a car (3, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747376)

Part of what is different about this is that they are using over 6,831 laptop type lithium-ion batteries. They are claiming the range is about 250 miles.


Now THAT's a car that'll hit the market with a bang! Not only do you have the instant response of electric motors and full torque from a dead stop, but you will also get rocket assist when you put a heavy load on the Li-ion batteries!

Over 6,831 batteries? (4, Funny)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747377)

Part of what is different about this is that they are using over 6,831 laptop type lithium-ion batteries
Over 6831? You mean 6832 batteries?

Re:Over 6,831 batteries? (2, Informative)

solafide (845228) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747402)

Eh, seems to me from reading the article that Mr. Submitter was just a little over-enthusiastic about using the word over; the article claims -exactly- 6,831 batteries.

Bed buddies (1, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747378)

It is odd that the big car companies aren't more on this track!

Just like Dell is in bed with Microsoft, the auto manufacturers are in bed with the oil companies. No surprises.

Re:Bed buddies (1, Insightful)

martinX (672498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747553)

That's one conspiracy theory I could never understand. There's nothing in it for the car manufacturers. If they make a great car that runs on blueberries, the oil companies may be upset, but what could they do? If they sell lots of cars, great. Not like big oil can do anything about it.

So, is it 6,832 batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747382)

What does "over 6,831" mean? I'm guessing it's closer to 6,832 that it is to 60,000.

Solve the Battery Problem = Die Rich (5, Insightful)

loose electron (699583) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747387)

Whoever comes up with a significant advance in battery technology will die a very rich person.

Li-Ion batteries have excellent amp-hour ratings for their size, but like all other batteries are still pretty limited.

Acceleration/Torque for electric cars is not a problem. High performance capabilities are there if you want them. However, you are playing battery energy against performance against distance, and all electrics, or fuel-electric hybrids have been designed to be "green" in their approach. (Any Hummer oweners want an environmentally aware vehicle?)

Right now the weakest link in many electronic systems is the energy source. A good solution there and you can be a very wealty person.

Forget batteries, go with Ethanol (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747412)

If we here in the United States are serious about removing dependence on foreign oil, shouldn't we follow the Brazillian model and switch 100% to ethanol rather than wasting time with batteries?

More info:

-NPR [npr.org]
-Carnegie-Mellon [sciencedaily.com]
-ABC News (why corn ethanol is not so great) [go.com] , and which points out:

For consumers, switching to ethanol would cost only about $100 per car. Kammen said all it takes are some new hoses and a new gas cap. "This is actually a switch we could make very easily and very quickly," he said.

Kammen is working to get an initiative on California's November ballot requiring that all new cars sold in the state be flex-fuel ready within five years. According to UC Berkeley, in 2004, ethanol-blended gasoline accounted for just 2 percent of all fuel sold in the United States, though nearly 5 million vehicles are already equipped.

"Converting to fuel ethanol will not require a big change in the economy," Kammen said. "We are already ethanol ready. If ethanol were available on the supply side, the demand is there."


An interesting report on "locking down CO2 emissions" can be found at
The News Hour with Jim Lehrer [pbs.org]

Re:Forget batteries, go with Ethanol (1)

sr180 (700526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747505)

Brazil have an excellent source of ethanol from their extensive sugar plantations. The US does not have the environmental conditions to make sugar, and hence would have to make ethanol from corn, which is not energy productive. Current surveys show this as breakeven in energy terms as best (ie 1 barrel of oil is required for the equivalent amount of energy from ethanol.)

Re:Forget batteries, go with Ethanol (1)

Hyperx_Man (936387) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747520)

There is not enough land in the U.S. to grow saw grass, corn or other ethanol friendly plants to remove 100% dependance. Biodiesel has more future because you get more yield from soy beans per acre than ethanol from saw grass. On the flip side, even 20% decrease in dependance is great. And if anyone says ethanol is energy negative to produce, so is gasoline.

Lithium Polymers may be a better choice (1)

Dunhill_BKK (822052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747415)

Lithium ion batteries are known to be a bit hazardous, however lithium polymer batteries seem to be a safer option. Lithium polymer batteries can be formed to fit different shapes, do not require rigid metal casings, don't use flammable solvent liquids and are, therefore, less likely to fail dangerously. They also seem to provide a greater number of charging cycles. Large size lithium polymers are available to the electric scooter and bike market now. They are often the battery of choice in solar racers.

Powered by Dell batteries I'm assuming? (1)

melted (227442) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747427)

It's Powered by Dell batteries I'm assuming? It's a great car for 4th of July then.

Power, not torque (0)

flibbajobber (949499) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747446)

the electric engine's serious torque will allow it to do 0-60mph in about 3 seconds
The engine's power does this. To get a X-kg mass up to 60mph requires about 400J per kg (e.g. a 500kg car would require about 200kJ)

...in about 3 seconds
Change in energy / change in time = POWER, not torque! An engine's power dictates how fast a given mass can accelerate.

I'll tell you why big auto companies... (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747450)

arent moving to alt fuels
1) they make money from oil either directly or indirectly
2) it would require updating the thousands of gas stations in some manner or creating yet another sub industry
3) it would require quite a bit of money to retool factories - when US companies are not doing all that great now

80K?+batteries once a year (5, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747451)

I would wager that this vehicle is more like a Lotus Elise, or a Corvette, or even a S2000, all of which can be had for under 50K. Any performance benefits over those sports cars can be attributed to the natural advantage of this car, namely that you can go from 0-60 without switching gears, and it is easier to get it perfectly balanced without an engine. Anyway, The true test of a sports cars, as opposed to just a fast car, is the handling, which was not mentioned in review. Without proper handling, it becomes a Mustang at 30K.

Which is to say we are still in the same world, in which low volumes and other issues cause electric cars to be 50%-100$ higher than traditional cars. All that seems to have happened here is that an electric car has been targeted to the high end market and priced accordingly. It is kind of like taking the hummer, putting a cheap truck base on it, calling it an H2, and pretending that it still has the dubious value of the original.

Oh well, I suppose if they can build a sedan for 35K I would be impressed. We would also have to look at maintenance cost of the vehicle, which would be dominated by the battery replacement. A sports car car easily run 20 cents/mile in maintenance. Knowing that laptop batteries can only handle a couple hundred charge cycles, one can image where the long term maintenance cost could approach three or four time that amount.

I wish we had electric cars. I think the technology is there, and the pricing could be reasonable. But even companies that could be using the electric car to revive themselves, for instance Mazda and Ford, still seem to be married to the antiquated internal combustion engine.

220V .... 70A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747453)

It's cheap (about $4 for a "fillup" for me) ...until I have to rewire and order another feed from the utility to charge this thing up... (Still with 110V and 100A service here)

Definitely not a 'roadtrip' car however.

battery life degradation? (3, Insightful)

knBIS (743731) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747456)

After a year or two of serious use my laptop batteries last about 1/2 as long as they originally did... And those things are pretty damn expensive to replace.. i would guess that a large percentage of the price is going to pay for all the batteries. What happens when they don't hold their charge anymore?

Dell (1)

Jozer99 (693146) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747461)

I wonder if they are Dell laptop batteries. If they are, we are probably in for a level of destruction never before seen on earth.

4 not 3 (1)

wallior (617195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747467)

"The Tesla Roadster, powered by more than 6,800 lithium-ion batteries, can go zero to 60 mph in about four seconds. Top speed: 130 mph."

Re:4 not 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747566)

True, the site does say 4. There's a huge difference :). 3 seconds is phenomenal. 4 seconds is quite good, but somewhat slower than, say, a current year Z06 Corvette.

Still, impressive for an electric vehicle I think...

Top speed of 130 with a 4 sec 0-60 time implies to me AWD is giving it a great launch, but there isn't as much power as you'd think, so it wouldn't be as fast from a roll. Typically 4 sec 0-60 times go hand in hand with much higher top speeds. For example, the above mentioned Corvette has a top speed of 198 MPH. Other sports cars of the same class (some mid to high end Porsches, Ferraris, etc) are similar.

Finaly (1)

pcbob (67069) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747482)

An alternative power car that doesn't look like crap. In fact to me it looks fantastic. Compare this to all the Priuses and Insights in the world, and those are just hybrids. Sure there is that Ford hybrid SUV, Toyota's large sedan and I beleive Honda has hybrid Accord as well that look like a regular car, but again, they also burn fuel in the car (yes, electricity has to get produced somewhere, bu doesn't have to come from coal - how about wind/solar/hydro, the more demand grows, the more we will see these eco-friendlier plants appearing).

Interestingly enough, their main site http://www.teslamotors.com/ [teslamotors.com] says there is still couple an hours to go before unveiling. If this thing actaully performs as advertised, it will finaly give the name Tesla some more cradit that it surely deserves. I have already started saving for it (hope they have financing plans available)!

*flare* *whooom!* (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747492)

(the above is an attempt at visualizing all those lithium ion batteries igniting all at once).

If you put enough of something together that are prone to a certain sort of behavior, it seems very likely that said behavior will happen somewhere in the population. Hasn't there been discussion recently about these batteries spontaneously igniting?

It just doesn't seem like a good idea to amass that many of them in a big movable cluster that can crash and cause cell ruptures. Really, it just doesn't.

OB Airplane! reference (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747509)

Eberhard suggests it would be easy enough to pump MP3s of prerecorded engine roar into the car's Blaupunkt stereo. And for those with even older tastes, the sound of horse hooves could be substituted.

Or turboprop engines. :)

not viable for big car companies (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747535)

How many big car companies can sell small roadsters for $80k? Not very many. The car has range because it's light and impractical. This won't scale into a typical sedan.

Charge It (1)

Mignon (34109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747539)

... 0-60mph in about 3 seconds ... range is about 250 miles ... about $80,000 ... 6,831 laptop type lithium-ion batteries

Good work, guys. Your next project is to design a power strip with room for 6,831 wall warts.

Electric cars do not reduce the dependency. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747540)

From the Slashdot story: "It is nice to see more companies serious about helping to getting rid of our oil dependency."

That's why democracy doesn't always work: Many people don't understand the issues. Electric cars do not necessarily reduce the oil dependency, and definitely not greenhouse gases, because the electricity to run the car comes from power plants.

--
Like where your money goes? [costofwar.com]

screw you guys.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15747551)

Get a motorcycle.. my ST1300 gets 45MPG...

-Dirtbag

What if they hybridize it? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747555)

How about taking out, oh... 80% of the batteries, cutting the pure electric range to 50 miles, and using the space and weight that's freed up to install a small IC engine for longer trips?

Aside from that, for those who argue that electric cars just move the problem to the power plant, this is true, but emissions problems are easier to solve at the power plant. Also, grids can choose to shut down plants that use fuels that are temporarily expensive. Grids can transform to new generation technologies without impacting the end users.

Thumpa ... Thumpa ... Thumpa (1)

Newt-dog (528340) | more than 7 years ago | (#15747560)

This is commander Chuck, your eye in the sky! Hey everyone we have a major Sig Alert here on the 405 tonight. We have a major car fire in the middle lane with billowing clouds of black smoke. Reports say it's one of those new electric cars that use the laptop batteries."

(Bob at the desk) Wow, Chuck, this wire report lists' the car as having over 6,831 laptop batteries. That's some fire!

(Carol at the desk) Gee, 6,832 batteries on fire all at once, that's gotta be a mess!

(Bob) Uh, I thought I just said " over 6,831 laptop batteries".

(Carol) That would make it 6,832 batteries, right Bob?

(Bob) Whatever Carol! Hey Jim, How did those Dodgers do today?

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