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Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

AaronW Thoughts (147 comments)

One thing is that in most states the laws were written to protect franchises against the car manufacturers but in this case there are no franchises to protect to often these laws don't apply.

This podcast gives a lot of insight as to why the dealerships are so anti-consumer blood sucking parasites.

http://www.thisamericanlife.or...

One other thing to keep in mind is that the dealership model has changed significantly. It used to be a bunch of mom and pop dealerships throughout the country. These aren't the dealerships complaining about Tesla. Instead it's the huge dealership conglomerates that have gobbled up and consolidated many of the smaller independent dealerships. These are also huge political donors in many states, getting laws written to protect them, often to the detriment of the automobile manufacturers.

Part of it is the way the car manufacturers have the dealerships competing against each other, giving them huge incentives to sell a certain number of cars by the end of the month, etc. The dealerships also make a lot of their money off of service, whether it be warranty service or just plain service.

Tesla does things differently. The people who work at the showrooms do not earn commissions on cars sold. Their job is to show the car, not play all these silly games pushing cars that people don't want to get their numbers.

Also, Tesla generally does not maintain an inventory of cars. Every car is built to order with only the features the buyer wants. They don't have huge lots of cars that they have to push since every car is already spoken for.

Their service is also different. They have publically stated that their goal is not to make a profit off of service. I have had to have things repaired that were not covered by warranty (I broke some clips). The cost to repair was actually fairly reasonable and was much less than what the cost would have been had the same sort of thing happened to my Prius.

My biggest complaint about service is that there is often a long wait to get an appointment because they're having trouble keeping up with the growing number of cars out there.

Tesla took a cue from Apple with the Apple stores. They want to provide a consistent experience for their customers without all of the hassles and problems often encountered at dealerships. The company has also consistently bent over backwards in favor of their customers. When news of the fires hit they quickly extended the battery warranty to cover fires caused by hitting objects then actively worked on methods to mitigate it. They retroactively increased the drive train warranty to unlimited miles.

yesterday
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Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

AaronW Re:Jailbreak (317 comments)

How about bluetooth pairing? I have a bluetooth adapter and all I have to do is hold my phone up to it and it's automatically paired with it. I have a little bluetooth sticker in my car. I just hold my phone up to it and my phone reconfigures itself to how I want it in the car. The one on my keychain basically gives some contact info if found (i.e. email and phone number). There are a lot of interesting uses for NFC besides payment.

yesterday
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:More importantly (384 comments)

While I don't get snow where I live from everything I've heard the Tesla does quite well despite being rear-wheel drive due to how smooth the electric motor is. I also understand the 19" tires last quite a bit longer. The 21" summer tires are crap in cold weather and especially in snow. I had to drive from Reno NV to the Bay Area last March and hit snow coming down and it wasn't too fun, especially since the 21" wheels cannot use chains. The traction control on the Tesla is better than most cars since the electric motor is much more responsive. I read that the TC is able to monitor and control the wheels around 1000 times/second. My experience is my model S is a hell of a lot better than the Toyota I used to drive. That car would lose power for a good second if I so much as ran over a pothole and good luck if a tire slipped on snow. My model S P85 is able to keep the wheels just on the edge for acceleration.

When I was driving back the snow was starting to really come down. I had just beaten the chain requirement. It was not fun with my tires but none of the problems were due to acceleration or traction control, more just from the fact that the tires had no grip and given that fact the car still did fairly well. Driving up to the summit to try and beat the snow was fun though. That car doesn't seem to care if it's a steep grade or not :)

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:Still pretty affordable (384 comments)

Much of the cost was the cost to replace the main panel which is something I have wanted to do for some time anyway since the old one was almost 50 years old. Additionally, the previous owners did a lot of less-than-legal electrical work on the house and I wanted it done right. I corrected a lot of mistakes but I wanted a licensed electrician to go over it as well (he found a few issues I had missed). I could have continued to use the 30A dryer outlet in my garage indefinitely or installed a 50A outlet for considerably less money but I chose to do it right. I might have been able to use my existing breaker box and just run the 6 gauge wire needed for a 50A outlet for a few hundred dollars but I chose instead to do something that is more flexible in the future. Besides, my existing breaker box was almost full. The upgrade allowed me to add some additional circuits for other things.

Afterwards I ended up rewiring most of the outlets in my garage and adding some new ones using a couple of 20A circuits since the previous owners had tied everything into a 15A circuit that the doorbell transformer was on. It's also nice now that my air compressor doesn't cause the lights to dim and I don't have to risk tripping a breaker all the time when using power tools. I also feel better running 10 gauge wiring on the long run between the main panel and my garage for those outlets. 50 years ago the power requirements for houses were a bit different than they are today and this allows me to continue to upgrade things as I see fit. The car charger uses 1 gauge aluminum wire for much of the run with 2 gauge copper in the conduit. I had a neutral line run as well so that the wiring could be used for other purposes in the future if needed such as putting in a sub-panel in the garage. I have a few more circuits I plan to add now that I have more room available in my main panel.

When I got the house I found boxes hidden under the sheetrock and splices made with just electrical tape without any boxes plus putting 20A breakers on circuits that can't handle more than 15A, light switches put on the neutral line, etc. Some people shouldn't be allowed electrical wiring.

Besides, my house is paid off in full. If it wasn't for that there's no way I would have bought that car, let alone run the charging circuit for it. Most owners just go for a 50A outlet, which is all the Tesla will handle without an optional charger upgrade.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:More importantly (384 comments)

I rarely use the brakes and typically only at very slow speeds. Even with my previous car, a Prius, people typically got at least 100K miles without needing to change the brake pads and Tesla's regenerative braking is a fair amount stronger than what my Prius was capable of.

The pre-paid service plan covers everything but the tires, so for at least the next eight years even if I do somehow wear down my brake pads they are covered. The service plan covers everything but the tires. The service also includes applying various fixes and changes that have been discovered since the car was manufactured, including minor things that affect things like rattles and noises. It includes a wheel alignment and check and replacement of all expendables. Combined with the warranty basically the only things I have to pay for are tires and some tire rotations.

So for at least the next four years I will pay $0 for brake pads.

http://www.teslamotors.com/ser...

It works out to around $475 per 12K miles, which for a car of its class is quite reasonable, especially given the level of service I get.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:$50K would not be that out of line (384 comments)

I replaced my 2006 Prius with a Tesla model S. I ended up selling my Prius because I just wasn't driving it. For those times when I need a car like that, it's cheaper to just rent a car than to pay the registration on my Prius, plus I no longer have it taking up space in my driveway. Surprisingly a lot of owners moved from non-luxury cars to the Tesla model S.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:More importantly (384 comments)

Brakes are different in the Tesla than in BMW. In the case of Tesla there is a lot of regenerative braking so the brakes should last a lot longer. Tires on the other hand... I have the performance version of the Tesla model S with the 21" rims. When I got my car there was no price difference between the 19 and 21" rims. Anyway, I managed to get a bit over 15K miles on the original tires. The negative camber Tesla uses tends to be a bit hard on the rear tires, plus I tend to accelerate rather hard.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:More importantly (384 comments)

The battery should also last a very long time. I have read the post from one owner who has already racked up over 100,000 miles and still has over 95% of his original battery capacity. Tesla has a battery replacement policy where you can pay up-front to get a new battery after 8 years and get a $1000 rebate each year you wait beyond that.

Instead I decided to take some of that money and buy some stock when it was at $38. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more.

The electric motor in my Tesla won't need a lube job for another 10 1/2 years according to the person I spoke with when I had service done. While there is still coolant, many of the issues with ICE vehicles don't apply. The brakes will last much longer since most braking is regenerative. I still need tire rotations and the cabin air filter and the windshield wipers replaced periodically though. I suspect that even the coolant will last a lot longer since a gasoline engine generates far more heat.

A lot of other components should last much longer. There's no transmission, only around a dozen moving parts in the entire drivetrain and few friction points. The AC compressor is electric and completely sealed and there's no flexible hoses. Power steering is electric, not hydraulic which should last a lot longer as well.

Also, it is far easier to reach stuff than in an ICE car. Most things are easily accessible by removing the plastic frunk liner or removing a panel under the front of the car. The entire drivetrain is also easily removable as a unit. Similarly the battery can be easily removed. The car is far simpler to work on.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re: Still pretty affordable (384 comments)

I just checked the prices last night, not that I use gasoline any more. $3.99/gallon for 87 regular. EVs also get a special rate through the utility so it's no where near $0.32/KWh if you charge at night.

2 days ago
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Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

AaronW Re:Still pretty affordable (384 comments)

I added a second meter for charging my Tesla. Other than paying an electrician to do the wiring I just had to fill out some forms to get a permit, add a second address for PG&E and pay for a disconnect-reconnect from PG&E. I don't think I paid more than $100 for the permit and second address. I pay around $0.12/KWh on my second meter when I charge between 11pm and 6am on weekdays or any time on weekends. It was trivial to set my Tesla to start charging at 11:05pm at whatever current draw I want (up to 80 amps in my case). Most EVs and plug-in hybrids let you choose the charging times. Now I did end up paying $4500 for all of the electrical work I had done, but this involved replacing the main breaker panel on my house, installing a second one with the two meters and running a 100A circuit around 100 feet to my garage with a fair amount of thick conduit and an emergency shut-off in the garage. The Tesla charger was another $1200, which as far as car chargers go is not bad especially considering that it handles 80 amps.

Before getting two meters I was able to get a special time-of-use EV rate so the cost wasn't that bad.

I typically pay $40-60/month for charging my car and I average around 15,000 miles/year.

2 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

AaronW Re:The UK Cobol Climate Is Very Different (267 comments)

I consider my workplace a professional workplace. In my group we're working on the Linux kernel, networking code and in my case bootloader code for some massive embedded processors (right next to me I have two 48-core 64-bit processors running in tandem (total 96 cores) with 40Gbps ports hooked up. Nobody in my group, from the manager on down wears a suit. If I wore a suit to any of the engineering jobs I've had since college a lot of questions would be raised. A number of people commented on the fact that I did wear a suit when I just started out because I was the only one.

I don't think they care what we wear as long as we're wearing clothes.

Then again I live and work in Silicon Valley but it was the same way when I visited our other engineering facility in Massachusetts.

2 days ago
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Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

AaronW Re:reading the results wrong (207 comments)

The problem with phones and tablets is they're pushing more and more pixels despite the fact that they're already smaller than what you can see. The drawbacks of having more pixels are that less light passes through and it takes more processing power to manage all of those pixels. My 7" tablet does 720P resolution. I can't see a discernable difference between a tablet with more pixels. The differences I see are things like how well they display color and viewing angle and brightness.

about a week ago
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The State of ZFS On Linux

AaronW Re:Unfamiliar (366 comments)

I can do most of those things using my old Areca hardware RAID controller and XFS.

Data integrity is maintained in my RAID array which has its own battery-backed ECC memory. I can grow and shrink logical volumes on the fly. I can change the striping or even the RAID level without any downtime. I replaced all of the drives in my RAID array (one at a time) with larger drives with zero downtime.

Running XFS makes it easy to do incremental backups or doing the equivalent of DD on a mounted filesystem using xfsdump. It also supports defragmentation while mounted.

The RAID array also does data scrubbing and runs all of the SMART checks.

I can easily add more capacity without downtime, just drop another disk in the array and add it.

While I can't do snapshots or native compression, I can do most other things. Compression would do nothing for me since most of my data is already compressed. I run continuous backup software to back up onto removable SATA drives as well as to a cloud backup service (Crashplan) which encrypts everything. It maintains snapshots of everything and I have several TB backed up that way.

While I haven't played with ZFS, I did try out BTRFS but had to throw it out. Performance was abysmal on the SSD I was using and without a clear way of knowing how much space is free is a major issue. If everything is snapshotted, how do you deal with deleted files when you run low on space? The performance of trying to put my IMAP server on it was unusable. I gave up after a couple of hours trying to write all of my emails to it on a SSD. On XFS or EXT4 it takes a fraction of the time, despite it being hundreds of thousands of small files.

Also, I can still run bcache or some other method of using a SSD to cache my data.

I have been using XFS for years and always found it to be reliable, more so than my experience with EXT2/3/4 though I'm also one of the rare people who never had a problem with the killer Reiserfs. My IMAP server ran for 10 years on Reiserfs with the same hard drive with uptimes on the order of years before I finally retired the machine (the hard drive has over 10 years of uptime according to SMART). The only major problem I had was that the Linux kernel had a bug where the uptime would wrap after 497 days. After that happened a few times I finally had to reboot the computer when the UPS died and it loaded an updated kernel.

about a week ago
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Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia

AaronW Re:They are stagnant (157 comments)

I agree with you. I'm also the owner of a Tesla (18 months, 19K miles). Tesla is constrained by batteries. They can't make them fast enough. There's also a huge demand for the model X with thousands of pre-orders yet it is sight unseen. This is from a company that does no advertizing other than their showrooms.

about two weeks ago
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Reno Selected For Tesla Motors Battery Factory

AaronW Re:This company would be nowhere without handouts. (157 comments)

Tesla is making over 25% profit on every car sold. All of that money is going into growth and expansion. While they get emission credits, they don't rely on them since they are shrinking.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

AaronW Re:Probably not. (546 comments)

In my case I studied computer engineering. I did not take a programming class per-say. I took classes where you were expected to learn the programming language but it was more about the algorithms than the language. For example I learned C in my first upper-division algorithm programming class but most of our time was not spent on the programming language.

My degree also gave me access to a lot of things that would not be easily doable outside of the university such as a lot of hardware concepts. A lot of what I learned was also hands-on. For example, we designed and built our own CPUs and systems built around the CPUs. Back when I did it it was a combination of wire wrap and FPGAs and a number of discrete chips. We had access to the various data sheets and learned about concepts like fan-out, propagation delay, glitch free logic and more.

The skills I learned in college I use to this day even though it was 20 years ago and those skills are in high demand. It would be far more difficult to be self-taught in all of the knowlege I learned there. What I learned in college gave me a good start to continue learning once I joined the industry and where I continue to expand my skills where I work on the bootloader and the Linux kernel for multi-core 64-bit MIPS CPUs (currently 48 cores) and high speed networking (40Gbps).

about two weeks ago
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Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

AaronW Re:Coal is vegetation, i.e. Trees (708 comments)

There also was a long period of time where fungus and bacteria were unable to digest lignin so dead plant material would just accumulate. This is what formed most of our coal. Only later were fungus and bacteria able to evolve mechanisms to break down and use the lignin.

While it is possible to sequester plant based carbon, it would require heating it to charcoal and burying it in order to prevent it from being recycled back into the atmosphere.

http://www.scientificamerican....

about three weeks ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

AaronW Somewhat prepared (191 comments)

All of my bookshelves are strapped to the wall. My hot water heater has three straps (only 2 are required). Emergency rations are available plus I have my camping equipment and propane for my stove. Next to my bed I have an emergency radio that charges via USB, solar or a hand crank. I'm not terribly concerned about water though I keep several gallons of bottled water. I have a water purification system for camping but the main water supply is literally two blocks away from me though it's on the other side of the Hayward Fault. They just retrofitted the water pipes crossing the fault a few months ago right near my house. In an emergency there's always 50 gallons in my hot water tank. I also have a wrench handy for turning off the water and gas. I'm more worried about gas, especially given that we're supplied by PG&E. It took many years of complaining by my parents until they fixed a rather sizeable gas leak under their property. The only thing I'm missing is a generator.

I imagine I'll have a lot of stuff falling off of my shelves making a huge mess.

My house is only a few hundred feet from the Hayward fault. The fault goes right through one of the nearby apartment buildings. Many years ago the developers would conveniently relocate the fault to suit them. Our old city hall which was built on stilts was built on top of a mound that was pushed up between two traces of the Hayward Fault.

My house is bolted to its foundation and is only a single story so it will probably be OK though I might have some damage from my chimney. I also have earthquake insurance though it's quite expensive (around $4K/year).

about a month ago
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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

AaronW Re:Meh. the time limit is still there (174 comments)

The superchargers are not subsidized in any way by taxes. The cost of the electricity used is factored in to the price of the car itself for the 85KWh battery or is a $2000 option for the 60KWh battery car. The actual cost of the electricity is not much. If Tesla is paying $0.10/KWh then a full charge is $8.50. $2000 would cover a lot of charges. Since most charging is done at home overnight it ends up not costing Tesla much money at all. As they build out their solar the cost of the electricity drops even further. Tesla also paid back, with interest, their government loan. The $80K cars are being used to fund their development of $30K cars.

Tesla has agreements with the property owners for installing their superchargers in their parking lots and it's often in the property owner's interest since that means that someone with an expensive car will be stopping by there for half an hour or so to charge and will likely want to use the amenities in the area. Public funds are not used in any way.

about a month ago
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Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

AaronW Re:Meh. the time limit is still there (174 comments)

Currently there are far more superchargers than hydrogen filling stations and they are expanding very rapidly. On top of that, there are tens of thousands of public charging stations at shopping centers, parking garages and elsewhere. Electricity is everywhere. A supercharger is estimated to cost under $200K. A hydrogen filling station cost a minimum of between 2 to 4 million to build and the cost of hydrogen will never be competitive with gasoline, especially if made from cracking water water.

The cost of a battery swapping station is still far less than the cost of a hydrogen filling station. Most of the time the only thing that is needed for the battery swap is electricity and periodic restocking of batteries, which may not be all that often since the cost of swapping includes swapping again for your original battery. For one thing, the hydrogen filling station will need to be manned when it's open for safety, the battery swap does not need that since it is fully automated. Second of all, the cost of a hydrogen filling station will be far higher. If hydrogen is not made on site then a LOT of trucks will be needed to transport the hydrogen since a truck can typically only carry enough hydrogen to fill around 200 vehicles due to the heavy high pressure tanks involved. Regular pipelines cannot transport hydrogen due to embrittlement and leaks. High pressure pumps are also required. The equipment to make hydrogen on-site is also very expensive, and if it is made from water then a tremendous amount of electricity is required. Most likely it would be made from natural gas through steam reforming which also releases CO2. It takes several times as much electricity to make hydrogen to power a single hydrogen fuel cell car as it does to power an EV. In fact, 20% of hydrogen's energy content is used just to compress it.

Furthermore, you will need far more filling stations since EVs typically do most of their charging at home. With hydrogen this is not really possible. The only time I need to use a supercharger is during long trips. I have no need for most of my driving which is within the range of the battery. I spend 5 seconds plugging in at night and 5 seconds unplugging in the morning. Superchargers are typically needed along long distance routes, not in every town like gas stations or hydrogen filling stations.

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/...
http://www.teslamotors.com/sup...

about a month ago

Submissions

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Researchers Closer to Industrial Graphene Production Due to $10 Bet

AaronW AaronW writes  |  about two weeks ago

AaronW (33736) writes "After trying and failing to convince Nina Kovtyukhona to test her technique of separating layers of graphite and boron nitride to instead try graphene, Thomas E. Mallouk made a bet with Nina that her technique method would work. If it worked, Nina would owe him $10. If it didn't, he would owe her $100. Thomas is now $10 richer and we are now a step closer to industrial scale graphene production."
Link to Original Source
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3mm Inexpensive Chip Revolutionizes Electron Accelerators

AaronW AaronW writes  |  about a year ago

AaronW (33736) writes "Scientists and engineers at the US DOE SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have discovered an advanced accelerator technology smaller than a grain of rice. It is currently accelerating electrons at 300 million volts per meter with a goal of achieving 1 billion EV per meter. It could do in 100 feet what the SLAC linear accelerator does in two miles and could achieve a million more electron pulses per second. This could lead to more compact accelerators and X-ray devices."
Link to Original Source
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Earth May Once Had Two Moons

AaronW AaronW writes  |  more than 3 years ago

AaronW (33736) writes "According to a story at space.com, Earth may once have had two moons. The smaller moon, estimated to be 750 miles (1200km) wide and only 4% of the mass of the larger moon, crashed into the far side of the larger moon which caused the features we see today on the moon. The surface of the far side of the moon is quite different than the side facing the earth, having a different composition and a much rougher terrain."
Link to Original Source
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Moon Rock from Apollo 11 Sent Back Into Space

AaronW AaronW writes  |  more than 4 years ago

AaronW writes "According to this article at collectspace.com, a rock collected by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission was quietly sent up to the ISS back in March. It was sent up in a special case to protect it with instructions given to the astronauts to not open it. Contamination isn't a huge issue since the rock sample had already been exposed to the air and was not that remarkable, resembling Hawaiian lava. It will be revealed tonight for a 40th anniversary celebration at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC."

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