Author Topic: Tesla Model S  (Read 18956 times)

stevedoug

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Tesla Model S
« on: April 03, 2013, 11:54:33 AM »
I think most of us can agree on the craziness of the Tesla Model S,
But also can marvel at the technology that will be in all of cars in the future.

Anyone notice Elon Musk's sneaky "guaranteed lease" he is offering?
http://www.teslamotors.com/true-cost-of-ownership

Motor Authority breaks down the marketing:
http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1083324_tesla-model-s-for-500-per-month-no-just-no

It uses a lot of bogus numbers, flat out. The offer is quite anti-mustachian. Curious on thoughts, on the Telsa, the program, or even Mr. Musk himself

Khao

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 12:48:38 PM »
I think Tesla is the Apple of cars. Sure they're pumping those really high-end and high-price cars, but they're doing it perfectly. They put a ton in R&D and they are truly pushing to achieve the perfect electric car. They WILL change the auto industry towards something better (in my opinion), but for now, they are exclusive to the really rich people. Maybe in 10~15 years every auto manufacturer will be trying desperately to copy Tesla.

The "guaranteed lease" is a trick to get more rich people to go with Tesla. A lot of people won't outright buy a Tesla because "blah blah electric cars no way! I'm a big American I need a car with FUEL that makes a lot of noise and pollution!" but with their short-term lease I guess more people will consider just "trying" it, and then falling in love with it. I think they need to trick people like that because they're not targeting typical consumers.

Reepekg

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 02:14:26 PM »
I'm an automotive engineer who loves his tech. In general, I have a very high opinion of Tesla and expect continued great things from them in the future. Their financial engineers, however, are far inferior to their automotive ones. I guess they thought if they threw enough whizbangs into a leasing plan it would seem cutting edge?

All I know is Monday they announce they've become profitable and stock soars from $38 to $46. Tuesday they announce a crazy lease plan and they drop hard to $41. They should have left well enough alone in this case.

It's a luxury car. People drool over it. Trying to wave your hands and say "look! It's not really as expensive as you think!" makes people roll their eyes and not take you seriously. The Apple comparison is a good one, except when was the last time Apple offered you a deal on anything. Their technology is (ahem, was) the best and them making people pay through the nose for it somehow adds to the experience for consumer fanboy sukkas.

Disclosure: I hold TSLA in the 3% high risk just for fun section of the portfolio. Much better than owning a Model S (though a guy can dream).
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 02:19:03 PM by Reepekg »

bo_knows

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 02:52:58 PM »
Their whole business plan, from the beginning, was to sell a super-high-end car (Telsa Roadster) to pay for the development of a luxury sedan (Tesla Model S). Then, to use that money to fund the development of a lower-end cheap electric car for the masses.

It looks like they're developing an SUV at the same time as the lower-end car.   I'm very very interested to see the budget Tesla model, whenever it comes out.

Pete914

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 03:15:10 PM »
A lot of people won't outright buy a Tesla because "blah blah electric cars no way! I'm a big American I need a car with FUEL that makes a lot of noise and pollution!"

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

stevedoug

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 03:23:16 PM »
Tesla is doing a lot of things differently.
He is running things like a tech company, as opposed to running thins as an automotive company.

Time will tell if that is feasible

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 03:44:16 PM »

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

I agree that electricity from coal is a bad thing.  But the grid is changing, and here in the Pacific NW, the majority of our power is hydro-electric (92%), followed by 4% wind, 2.5% nuclear, and 0.5% coal.  Our electricity cost is also 1/3rd the national average, so electric cars are very attractive here.

Here's an interesting energy source and end use graphic:


As an engineer I think the Teslas are great cars, but as a mustachian I won't buy one.  My electric bike gets the equivalent of 1500mpg-e on the same rating system, and is an endless source of learning opportunities, whether I ask for them or not :)

MountainMan

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 04:32:40 PM »
Elon Musk and his ideas are definitely cutting edge and ahead of its time.  A lot of people don't get it.  I'm not sure I get all of it.  But I'm pretty sure he will make it into the history books as one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of our time. 

Here is an interest TED talk where he talks about Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City.

http://www.ted.com/talks/elon_musk_the_mind_behind_tesla_spacex_solarcity.html

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 05:36:05 PM »
In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

You're falling victim to the "Chicken vs Egg" fallacy.  If the goal is a non-fossil fuel automotive infrastructure, two things must be done: A) electric vehicles; and B) a grid that doesn't use fossil fuels.  Refusing to do A because B is not 100%, while refusing to do B because there's no demand from A, just keeps you stuck.

Also a few points need to be noted.

  1) Even if the electricity is 100% from coal, the overall CO2 emissions from electric cars would be the same or less than from conventional petrol-fueld cars.

  2) As noted, only about half of the US electricity supply comes from fossil fuels.  The rest is nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.  (Apropos of which, yesterday's news said that the local power company is starting to phase out its older coal-fired power plant, and will replace it with geothermal, solar, etc.)

  3) If it really bothers you, you can always put PV panels or a wind turbine on your house, and charge your car off-the-grid.

Pete914

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 08:17:00 AM »
In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

You're falling victim to the "Chicken vs Egg" fallacy.  If the goal is a non-fossil fuel automotive infrastructure, two things must be done: A) electric vehicles; and B) a grid that doesn't use fossil fuels.  Refusing to do A because B is not 100%, while refusing to do B because there's no demand from A, just keeps you stuck.

Also a few points need to be noted.

  1) Even if the electricity is 100% from coal, the overall CO2 emissions from electric cars would be the same or less than from conventional petrol-fueld cars.

  2) As noted, only about half of the US electricity supply comes from fossil fuels.  The rest is nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, etc.  (Apropos of which, yesterday's news said that the local power company is starting to phase out its older coal-fired power plant, and will replace it with geothermal, solar, etc.)

  3) If it really bothers you, you can always put PV panels or a wind turbine on your house, and charge your car off-the-grid.

I'm not falling to anything.  An increase in the popularity of electric cars does not directly correlate to a greener grid- these are two independent variables.  I'm not refusing to do A because B is not 100%- just stating the facts as they are.

1.) C02 emissions are not the only environmental concern with burning coal,  Sulfur and NOx being the other two major issues.  Cleaner requirements on coal burning have reduced but not eliminated this.
2.) Many coal plants are being converted to natural gas, which is a great intermediary step.  While I personally support Nuclear, has a new nuclear plant been built in the US in the last 25 years?  Solar, wind and hydro?  These are minuscule slices of overall US energy production.  Most supportable hydro dams that can be built have been built.  Wind works only in certain places and takes up a huge amount of land.  Solar is the same way.  They are great niche ways to improve the overall picture, but the reason they haven't taken off isn't some anti green conspiracy- they are far less efficient and economically viable forms of creating power.
3.) What bothers me is that it's touted as a green, yet will likely produce a ton of battery waste and is still indirectly supported by fossil fuels. 

Reepekg

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2013, 08:51:11 AM »
I'm not falling to anything.  An increase in the popularity of electric cars does not directly correlate to a greener grid- these are two independent variables.  I'm not refusing to do A because B is not 100%- just stating the facts as they are.

1.) C02 emissions are not the only environmental concern with burning coal,  Sulfur and NOx being the other two major issues.  Cleaner requirements on coal burning have reduced but not eliminated this.
2.) Many coal plants are being converted to natural gas, which is a great intermediary step.  While I personally support Nuclear, has a new nuclear plant been built in the US in the last 25 years?  Solar, wind and hydro?  These are minuscule slices of overall US energy production.  Most supportable hydro dams that can be built have been built.  Wind works only in certain places and takes up a huge amount of land.  Solar is the same way.  They are great niche ways to improve the overall picture, but the reason they haven't taken off isn't some anti green conspiracy- they are far less efficient and economically viable forms of creating power.
3.) What bothers me is that it's touted as a green, yet will likely produce a ton of battery waste and is still indirectly supported by fossil fuels.

I'm going to call complainypants.
1) Your fascination with coal is exciting. I mean, everyone agrees it is terrible and polluting, but increased electricity demand from electric vehicles isn't going to be met with more coal. Natural gas use you mention in point 2? Now we're on to something.
2) Exactly. Grid energy gets more efficient and greener every day, even if it happens slowly. EVs benefit from that. Every gasoline burning car is stuck being just as polluting (or more so!) than the day you bought it.
3) Now we're on to battery waste. What is this, the 1980s? The toxicity/waste comparison between something like lead acid and lithium ion isn't much of a comparison at all. Let's talk about all the oil changes we won't be going through and all the iron that won't be mined and processed when we stop making so many internal combustion engines.

Electric cars are an advance on what we have today. This is something to be optimistic about, even if they don't have the same environmental footprint as walking.

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2013, 11:07:18 AM »
1.) C02 emissions are not the only environmental concern with burning coal,  Sulfur and NOx being the other two major issues.  Cleaner requirements on coal burning have reduced but not eliminated this.

Would you like to bet on whether, as with CO2, the SO2 & NOx emissions from a coal-fired power plant producing electricity to move a car X miles are in fact lower than the emissions generated by driving an equivalent petrol-powered car the same distance? 

Of course that's if grid electricity is 100% from coal.  Currently it's much less than 100%, and decreasing (and standards on existing plants keep being tightened), so it's an automatic win.

And putting solar panels on your roof doesn't take up any land at all.

sherr

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2013, 11:58:48 AM »
So this isn't the first or the last time the "electrical grid uses coal-based electricity, that's dirty!" argument has come up when related to electric cars.

What most people don't realize though is that power companies have enormous incentives to eke every last bit of efficiency out of their power plants, while car owners do not. A medium-to-largish coal power plant can burn through $1,000,000 worth of coal every day. A 0.01% increase in efficiency is worth $3.6 Billion / year to them, so they have a huge financial incentive to burn as little coal for as much power as they can get.

Gas-burning cars in contrast are like having a million power plants driving all the road in various states of disrepair. Which do you think is better for the environment? How much would you be willing to pay your mechanic to increase your engine's efficiency by 0.01%?

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2013, 04:27:56 PM »
Generators in power plants are much closer to 100% efficiency than a gasoline engine. Same basic theory as a hybrid car actually; there's a point where the engine/generator is the most efficient. In a power plant or a hybrid vehicle, the engine/generator is run at the optimal rpm to produce the most energy from the least fuel. A regular car engine (non-hybrid) is vastly inefficient the vast majority of the time.

The power company's generators are still more efficient than a hybrid car's engine (more efficient...I don't know about less polluting...last I checked they were less polluting than a regular gas engine).

Once a car is built, you're not going to be able to do much to increase the efficiency. Yes, you can hypermile, but you can do that on day 1 or day 1,000 and get the same results. You could perhaps upgrade to a newer battery technology when it's time to replace (assuming a hybrid), but the gain would likely be negligible (still have the same engine charging the batteries).

If you have an electric car, and a new greener power plant is built nearby; congratulations, your car just got greener! Or you get some solar panels on your roof; congratulations, your car just got greener! The new nuclear power plant is overloaded, melts down and causes a nuclear winter; congratulations, your car...er...bad example.

Point is, the electric car being charged off a coal power grid is still greener than a normal gas engine (perhaps greener than a hybrid, but I haven't looked into those stats in a while). Assuming the power grid itself keeps getting greener and greener, then every electric car will also get greener and greener.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 03:49:05 PM »
I really like the car, the look and the technology. It's obviously not mustachian, but I think it'll find a niche amongst people who would otherwise buy a high-end BMW or Mercedes and want something "green" and cutting-edge. Acceleration is better than most performance sedans and it's range is going to meet the needs of most suburban dwellers.

CALL 911

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2013, 06:57:53 PM »
I may be wrong, but a lot of the Mustashians are missing something here. Musk isn't building a Mustashian (or even a green) car. He isn't really pretending to. Mustashians aren't the target audience, and never were. We won't spend $70k on a car. Any car. No matter how cool, or green, or what it saves us on gas. He's trying to convince people not to buy a BMW M5, or Lexus LX whatever number. His price point is competetive with those cars. His fit and finish is too. His performance is on par with true sports cars, as long as you don't want to go much faster than 100. It also happens to be greener by almost any measure. If you drive from home, to work, to home, to the country club, to home, to the vacation house 3 hours away, this will work for you, and he knows it. I find it odd that this car has numerous detractors and a page here, but the MB CLK, Porsche Panamera, and Range Rover Sport are accepted by society as, well, acceptable.
Carry on.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2013, 10:01:39 AM »
Musk isn't building a Mustashian (or even a green) car. He isn't really pretending to. Mustashians aren't the target audience, and never were.

Hence why this post is in the antimustachian wall of shame. Musk is building a green car, that is one that is perceived as being eco-friendly, and like other green cars, the actual reduction in harm to the environment is highly questionable.

We as Mustachians can also like and comment on fancy things without actually wanting to buy them. The success of the Model S could drive further innovations in electric cars to the point that they may someday be available for less than, say, a Honda Fit, at which point Mustachians will be a target audience.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2013, 10:23:08 AM »
If I had $110,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I would have bought a Roadster.

I mean, I guess I could, but my husband would murder me.  I have been on Tesla's e-mail list for years, and I oogle them regularly. 

Mmmm

CALL 911

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2013, 07:10:51 PM »
Musk isn't building a Mustashian (or even a green) car. He isn't really pretending to. Mustashians aren't the target audience, and never were.

Hence why this post is in the antimustachian wall of shame. Musk is building a green car, that is one that is perceived as being eco-friendly, and like other green cars, the actual reduction in harm to the environment is highly questionable.


Touche on the first line, and the second was part of my point. That being said, once I have more money than good investments to put them in, I'm gettin' on the build list (or more likely buying a used one)!

JR

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2013, 11:21:04 AM »
Tesla is not going to make big money selling cars, they will make their money on licensing technology. They are just making the cars as proof of concept and will then license technology to larger car companies that can use economies of scale (I think they already do this).

stevedoug

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2013, 01:26:28 PM »
Musk isn't building a Mustashian (or even a green) car. He isn't really pretending to. Mustashians aren't the target audience, and never were.

Hence why this post is in the antimustachian wall of shame. Musk is building a green car, that is one that is perceived as being eco-friendly, and like other green cars, the actual reduction in harm to the environment is highly questionable.

We as Mustachians can also like and comment on fancy things without actually wanting to buy them. The success of the Model S could drive further innovations in electric cars to the point that they may someday be available for less than, say, a Honda Fit, at which point Mustachians will be a target audience.

Exactly why I posted it here :)
He's runnin' the car game! And I'm a bit jealous...
and to be honest, extremely apprehensive about his production and distribution model

Reepekg

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2013, 04:32:33 PM »
We have a hit on our hands, coming soon to a street near you. 5000 made in the first quarter and stock up 98% since the beginning of the year.

amicableskeptic

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 01:47:31 PM »
Stevedoug your posts do sound like Tesla trolling, but since we're in MMM forum the land of no trolling I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

A few thoughts on this.  Tesla is just the tip of the iceberg.  They are making a luxury car right now and it certainly isn't for mustachians, but it is getting electric cars into the public consciousness in a way that all other electric cars have failed to.  People see a Tesla and viscerally understand that it is fast and powerful.  The read the numbers on its range and see that the 50 and 100 mile ranges we've seen in the past are nowhere near the limit.  The start to understand that an electric car does not have to be a compromise and this is opening the door to a future with many more electric cars. 

So that's the value of Tesla, the opening of the door to a world of electric cars, but based on your other posts I think it is this world that you're truly afraid of.  I'd like to try and reduce that fear right now by showing how incredibly key massive battery deployment is to the future of power.  There is a huge curve to daily power consumption with a big midday peak and another smaller peak around 6 pm when people get home from work.  Power companies must always have enough generation running to be above this curve or they are forced to black out homes.  Power companies estimate the day's demand then the always run more generation than the estimate (to account for mini spikes).  As the peak gets closer to the max total generation capacity of the power company they start up their less efficient, older and dirtier plants.  Some of these plants can take a whole day to get going so if an estimate calls for a high peak they are coming up a day before just in case and wasting lots of energy and time if they aren't needed (and wasting energy with their low efficiency if they are needed).  Power companies have been thinking about deploying large battery banks to help deal with the mini spikes and the tops of the peak for years, but unfortunately batteries have been too expensive.  Once a critical mass of big battery electric cars are deployed it sets the stage for using their combined batteries as a backup to the grid.  Say you have a 300 mile range tesla but it's only 20 miles to work (and you don't bike cause you're not a mustachian yet).  You get to work and have 280 miles left in your battery, you only need 20 miles to get home so you could sell 240 miles back to the grid.  If your car knows when you are going to leave it could even sell all 280 miles back to the grid and then charge back 20 miles after the peak (or 30 miles if you don't like range anxiety).  Obviously work needs to be done to get us to this sell back to the grid point in time, but it is definitely doable once there are enough electric cars out there.  And the beauty of it is that it could keep those dirtiest of powerplants offline entirely and also let power companies generate even closer to the actual demand (sometimes even under it) so there is less wasted energy generation.  Does that make sense?  Do you see how a huge battery base will actually increase the efficiency of the grid as a whole?

Well, that's not all there is to it.  The other huge possibility with a ton of batteries out there is the enabling of variably timed renewable resources like wind and solar.  A quote that has dogged the solar industry for years is "the sun don't shine at night".  Well with enough batteries charged up during the day and the reselling some of that energy at night that problem gets solved.  With the advances in solar research it seems inevitable that in the next decade or so solar will become the lowest cost per kilowatt generation solution.  The combination of that and a massive battery deployment of electric car batteries will truly transform energy generation across the world because business will finally be able to go for renewable energy without be limited by needing subsidies.  Without electric cars solar will still go big once its costs hit this point, but with them it can go huge.

As for nuclear.  I am sometimes tempted by its benefits but I see two huge issues.  First, no private insurance company will insure a nuclear power plant in the U.S. which seems like a sign that they are still too risky.  And second, none of the waste from existing U.S. power plants has been moved off site to a "long term" storage facility.  Nuclear waste can last for hundreds of thousands of years, but it seems unlikely that these companies will be around that long.  See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-does-the-us-do-with-nuclear-waste for more details.

stevedoug

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2013, 07:59:08 AM »
Wow, thanks for the deeply thought out reply amicableskeptic.
No 'trolling' was ever intended!
I find the Model S, Tesla, Musk, and the philosophy behind them all quite interesting and marveling.

As background, I've spent a decade in the automotive industry (Southeast MI, #whatyagonnado) and am certified by Wayne State in Alternative Energy Technology. I'm also working towards early retirement and follow most of the ideals on this site. I also like to bike, homebrew, and geocache (unrelated :)).

I agree that batteries (in EVs) as part of a 'smart grid' is absolutely necessary as we move towards an all EV world!
As of right now, in most average city or suburban blocks, if every owner had an EV (or even 50%) the current grid would NOT be able to keep up with that power demand. A smart grid needs a lot (no, like a lot a lot) of money and research. And many industries and agencies need to be involved. Someone needs to push this advancement along, however. Hopefully someone (Tesla, government, GM) can do that. I fully support the technology, philosophy, and environmental impact behind EVs)

My reservations or questions regarding Tesla (and Musk) are more related to his 'unorthodox' approach to running a car company.
The American (and Japanese and German) car companies have been running with dealer networks and old school marketing for 100 years. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't! But I can say it isn't easy. Automotive is one of the top most regulated industries in the world (aviation wins). The liability is high and the profit margins are thin. The supply base is well established and some of the leaders in manufacturing. It's a big big world to shake up.

Musk is running Tesla like a tech startup (which it is, kinda, eh?). No dealer network, press releases every week, fancy-goofy finance plans. I'm not saying one way or the other is the right way! I'm excited to see what the car world is going to look like in 15 years.
(and I'm taking my EV and Hybrid continuing education either way!)

amicableskeptic

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2013, 10:35:58 AM »
Thanks for the reply Stevedoug and proving once again that the MMM forum isn't infected by the usual internet trolling.

I think you have one more mistaken assumption though.  You say that "if every owner had an EV (or even 50%) the current grid would NOT be able to keep up with that power demand".  This is only true in a very unlikely scenario of people charging their cars during peak times.  This could happen but there are many ways utilities could prevent it by educating/encouraging/bribing customers.  Here's a good article about electric vehicles that shows how the current grid can easily support them.

http://www.elp.com/articles/powergrid_international/print/volume-17/issue-6/features/can-infrastructure-support-ev-demands.html

A couple key quotes:
"If you took 10 million EVs and put them on the road, that represents less than a 1 percent increase of electricity depending on the grid," Gross said.

"EVs probably would charge overnight when electricity demand is low, she said."

Basically EVs wouldn't add much kw draw to the grid compared to normal and if they are charged overnight when we have a huge amount of available capacity (maybe 50% available, maybe more) then we could easily charge them all with existing infrastructure.  Smart meters would make it easier for cars to sell energy back to the grid but they are not the only way to do it.  The only reason you need a smart meter is so the utility knows how much energy you have given back to them and when.  We could just have that tech built right into the car, it basically already is, a small software update is all that is needed to make it usable.  Imagine a network of 10,000 Teslas that all have their software updated to do this.  When the grid needs power it simply has to send an internet request out to all these cars (they all have internet built in) and then the cars that are set to allow resale of power would start pumping it back to the grid and metering it themselves.  Then at the end of the month the utility asks the cars how much energy they sold back and when and treat it just like other home energy generation devices which resell to the grid (like solar panels).  The only big question here is whether the utility could trust what the cars report, but it is very conceivable that the utility would have a trusting enough relationship with the people who wrote the software to accept this (the same trust is needed with smart meter manufacturers and smart meters are just as hackable as a car).

I work with power companies on a daily basis and while they can be slow moving they definitely understand business.  When there is a significant network of batteries ready to resell energy to them to meet peak demand they will figure it out and start using it (or some other smaller company will figure it out for them and resell it in a way that is easy for them to consume).  And the power companies definitely see this coming and are super excited for it because they will get to cannibalize the profits that the oil industry currently makes from powering cars.  They will be involved in EV deployment and excited to work with EV manufacturers to integrate EVs with the grid.

As for Tesla's unorthodox sales method, I'm pretty much for it.  Generally I buy used via craigslist but I've been to some dealerships looking for used cars (and sometimes being pushed to try new cars).  Every single experience I have had with a car dealership has been revolting and I don't think I'm alone in this view.  I cannot wait for dealerships to be killed.  There's a great Planet Money about the current dealership system (how it got here how it is trying to stay).  http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/02/19/172402376/why-buying-a-car-never-changes  I sincerely hope the dealerships do not win.

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2013, 11:40:20 AM »
As of right now, in most average city or suburban blocks, if every owner had an EV (or even 50%) the current grid would NOT be able to keep up with that power demand.

But that is just a straw man.  There is no way you are going to wave a magic wand and have even 50% of cars become EVs overnight.  Even if all new cars sold were EVs, that's only replacing 5-10% per year.  So electric demand increases gradually (the way it did when people started buying electric refrigerators, washing machines, A/C, etc), utilities build generation to meet demand.

And there's always the option of solar PV on the roof to go along with the EV.

NYD3030

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2013, 10:50:29 AM »
As of right now, in most average city or suburban blocks, if every owner had an EV (or even 50%) the current grid would NOT be able to keep up with that power demand.

But that is just a straw man.  There is no way you are going to wave a magic wand and have even 50% of cars become EVs overnight.  Even if all new cars sold were EVs, that's only replacing 5-10% per year.  So electric demand increases gradually (the way it did when people started buying electric refrigerators, washing machines, A/C, etc), utilities build generation to meet demand.

And there's always the option of solar PV on the roof to go along with the EV.

In fact Elon Musk himself will help facilitate this option for you.  Solar City, one of his other startups, does big business (relatively speaking) in rooftop solar.

FYI, one of my coworkers just got a Model S.  It is hands down the nicest car I've ever been in, and there are a lot of advances in the vehicle beyond the fact that it uses electricity rather than gas - particularly cool was the customizable LED HUD in place of static physical gauges, and the iOS/Android app that lets you do things like start the car and set a desired internal temperature from anywhere on the planet.

Would I buy one? Absolutely not.  But I sure as hell want one!

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2013, 12:00:04 PM »
...particularly cool was the customizable LED HUD in place of static physical gauges, and the iOS/Android app that lets you do things like start the car and set a desired internal temperature from anywhere on the planet.

Now why would you want/need to "start" an electric car remotely?

Honestly, things like that are why I'm not all that enamored of the Model S (plus the fact that it's a 5/7 passenger sedan :-().  The Roadster, yes, but I just do not want all that extra crap to deal with.  And of course it would all be useless to me anyway, 'cause I don't own an iAnything :-)

NYD3030

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2013, 01:51:14 PM »
...particularly cool was the customizable LED HUD in place of static physical gauges, and the iOS/Android app that lets you do things like start the car and set a desired internal temperature from anywhere on the planet.

Now why would you want/need to "start" an electric car remotely?


I suppose if you feel justified owning a 100K car, you probably feel justified draining the battery to cool it down before you leave the office?  And yeah, "start" is an interesting choice of words for what is actually going on there!

amicableskeptic

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2013, 03:13:23 PM »
Maybe this is the car for mustachians?

http://www.gizmag.com/elio-motors-84-mpg-three-wheeler/27454/

That of course assumes it isn't vaporware, which is a big if.

Spork

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2013, 03:53:42 PM »
Maybe this is the car for mustachians?

http://www.gizmag.com/elio-motors-84-mpg-three-wheeler/27454/

That of course assumes it isn't vaporware, which is a big if.

I looked at that a month or so ago and it scared the bejebus out of me.  There was all sorts of things like
* putting money down doesn't guarantee you a vehicle
* we don't really know what engine/transmission/running gear we're going to use (but trust us on the mileage!)

I'd say it's a big if.  But cool idea if it isn't.

Nords

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2013, 05:51:59 PM »
... and the iOS/Android app that lets you do things like start the car and set a desired internal temperature from anywhere on the planet.
I'm pretty sure that the Nissan Leaf can do that now, and it's probably becoming a standard feature of EVs. 

It'd be frightening to see an entire summer parking lot of conventional vehicles start their engines and A/C at the end of the workday.

SnackDog

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2013, 01:57:47 PM »
Most cars are horrible money-pits as has been discussed today, partly because of their crashing operating costs and depreciation. Teslas have low OPEX and may have extremely low depreciation.   There are other interesting cars which could be considered frugal buys because of their gravity-defying lack of depreciation.  1995 Porsche twin turbo. Acura NSX.  BMW Z8.

Another Reader

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2013, 02:07:44 PM »
The real reason you don't want one of these is you don't want to be like the guy that pulled into the handicapped parking space at the Wells Fargo Bank ATM last week in one.  He sat there for several minutes before all the glaring made him decide to move instead of getting out of the car and going to the ATM.  Guess he and his equally expensively dressed friend were afraid that the nice white paint might be keyed.  Not the best advertisement for the car....

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2013, 02:12:16 PM »
There are other interesting cars which could be considered frugal buys because of their gravity-defying lack of depreciation.  1995 Porsche twin turbo. Acura NSX.  BMW Z8.

Can't tell if you're being serious. Really? Buying a $130k BMW is a frugal choice because it'll maintain it's value?

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2013, 02:14:59 PM »
The real reason you don't want one of these is you don't want to be like the guy that pulled into the handicapped parking space at the Wells Fargo Bank ATM last week in one.  He sat there for several minutes before all the glaring made him decide to move instead of getting out of the car and going to the ATM.  Guess he and his equally expensively dressed friend were afraid that the nice white paint might be keyed.  Not the best advertisement for the car....

Wait, so since one person did something rude while driving the car I shouldn't want one of them? Wow, I guess that eliminates every single car ever made except for the Popemobile.

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2013, 11:49:28 PM »
Can't tell if you're being serious. Really? Buying a $130k BMW is a frugal choice because it'll maintain it's value?

Why not?  If you can buy it today for $130K, drive it for a few years, then turn around and sell it for $140K, isn't that a better deal than buying something for say $5K that you can sell for scrap after the same period?

SnackDog

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2013, 02:59:56 AM »
If you are as frugal as you all claim to be and only drive a couple thousand miles per year, a collectible car could make a lot of sense.

Reepekg

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2013, 04:14:38 PM »
Can't tell if you're being serious. Really? Buying a $130k BMW is a frugal choice because it'll maintain it's value?

Why not?  If you can buy it today for $130K, drive it for a few years, then turn around and sell it for $140K, isn't that a better deal than buying something for say $5K that you can sell for scrap after the same period?

No. If you buy a $5k car and invest your remaining $125k yielding 5%, you end up with (...pushes buttons...) $152,000 and a pile of scrap. Buying a beater is a bet that allocation in other investments will outperform the appreciating collectible car asset class.

Now, would I "pay for" driving a z8 (or Model S!) through a probably underperforming investment? Maybe... :-)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:21:18 PM by Reepekg »

stevedoug

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2013, 11:16:23 AM »
As a key open comment (sorry for my lack of involvement in this thread)!

I would love to rock an electric car, and hope we all get the chance/choice to!
Unfortunately the auto industry is a bit more complicated (government regulations, complicated dealer networks, massive supply network) than many people think. It's not going to be easy! and damn, that infrastructure needs some work too!
I hope Tesla succeeds. I also hope, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Fiat, etc all succeed!

Also, as a note, I participated in a seminar put on by battery researcher from University of Michigan. It was based on his study that I made the comment "our grid isn't ready." He took an average suburban block, assumed everyone put cars away @ 6pm, and didn't plan to bring them out until 8am the next morning. based on his research, all cars on that block would not be able to be charged 100% in that time frame. I do not have a link to his study, sorry.

Alternative energy is a somewhat developing field. There are some good studies, some bad studies, and some that are probably outright lies.  As time goes on we will learn more, and it will all shake itself out.
I look forward to the future!

Cheers

cdub

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2013, 08:21:08 AM »
A lot of people won't outright buy a Tesla because "blah blah electric cars no way! I'm a big American I need a car with FUEL that makes a lot of noise and pollution!"

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

This is a straw man. Even a coal powered EV is cleaner than a gas car.... and depending on where you get your power it gets even cleaner.

With solar on your roof it's completely clean.... can you put a gas refinery on your roof?

mgreczyn

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2013, 02:10:52 PM »
A lot of people won't outright buy a Tesla because "blah blah electric cars no way! I'm a big American I need a car with FUEL that makes a lot of noise and pollution!"

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

Chicken and egg problem, and not one that should stop anyone from buying an electric car.  The grid is currently getting significantly greener for 2 reasons: first, wind and solar installations have exploded over the last several years and second, natural gas is currently overtaking coal as the most common form of generation due to the ridiculously low price of nat gas.  A mass market electric car could actually significantly boost the market for wind energy; currently the chief economic argument against wind is a supply and demand one: many wind farms produce more at night, highest demand occurs during the day.  Large numbers of electric cars being charged at night could change that. 

mgreczyn

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2013, 02:17:10 PM »

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

I agree that electricity from coal is a bad thing.  But the grid is changing, and here in the Pacific NW, the majority of our power is hydro-electric (92%), followed by 4% wind, 2.5% nuclear, and 0.5% coal.  Our electricity cost is also 1/3rd the national average, so electric cars are very attractive here.

Here's an interesting energy source and end use graphic:


As an engineer I think the Teslas are great cars, but as a mustachian I won't buy one.  My electric bike gets the equivalent of 1500mpg-e on the same rating system, and is an endless source of learning opportunities, whether I ask for them or not :)

92% of your region's generation is hydro, agreed, but the PNW imports a decent amount from other regions, which tends to include a lot of coal-heavy thermal.  For example, PacifiCorp's generation is very coal-heavy, and they have a decent slice of the market up there.  They just unsuccessfully fought having Oregon's RPS mandate applied to them. 

mgreczyn

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2013, 02:24:43 PM »
So this isn't the first or the last time the "electrical grid uses coal-based electricity, that's dirty!" argument has come up when related to electric cars.

What most people don't realize though is that power companies have enormous incentives to eke every last bit of efficiency out of their power plants, while car owners do not. A medium-to-largish coal power plant can burn through $1,000,000 worth of coal every day. A 0.01% increase in efficiency is worth $3.6 Billion / year to them, so they have a huge financial incentive to burn as little coal for as much power as they can get.

Gas-burning cars in contrast are like having a million power plants driving all the road in various states of disrepair. Which do you think is better for the environment? How much would you be willing to pay your mechanic to increase your engine's efficiency by 0.01%?

Not sure I agree on the utility incentive claim.  My understanding of the utility business model in rate-regulated areas is basically that they get to pass on all costs, including fuel, to the ratepayer I mean customer.  They make their money by getting a guaranteed rate of return on PUC-approved capital projects.  Hence, there is actually a perverse incentive for utilities to operate their power plants as inefficiently as they can get away with, since they will be able to justify more capex to the PUC and hence get more of that juicy guaranteed return.

Jamesqf

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2013, 03:43:59 PM »

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

I agree that electricity from coal is a bad thing.  But the grid is changing, and here in the Pacific NW, the majority of our power is hydro-electric (92%), followed by 4% wind, 2.5% nuclear, and 0.5% coal.  Our electricity cost is also 1/3rd the national average, so electric cars are very attractive here.

Here's an interesting energy source and end use graphic:


As an engineer I think the Teslas are great cars, but as a mustachian I won't buy one.  My electric bike gets the equivalent of 1500mpg-e on the same rating system, and is an endless source of learning opportunities, whether I ask for them or not :)

92% of your region's generation is hydro, agreed, but the PNW imports a decent amount from other regions, which tends to include a lot of coal-heavy thermal.  For example, PacifiCorp's generation is very coal-heavy, and they have a decent slice of the market up there.  They just unsuccessfully fought having Oregon's RPS mandate applied to them.

It also exports significantly more power, depending on season & time of day.  See for instance the Pacific DC intertie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_DC_Intertie which ships power from the Columbia River to Southern California.  There are a number of smaller lines: for instance, the local (northern Nevada) power company gets something over a third of its power from the PNW.

mgreczyn

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2013, 05:58:04 PM »

In all seriousness, the biggest source of electricity in the US is from burning coal.  Pretty much the dirtiest and most polluting substance that can be used to produce any sort of power.  The "Electric Car is the Greenest thing going" is a media constructed fallacy.

I like the idea of electric cars, but until the grid itself is greener, they're just fancy status symbol cars that can't be used for long road trips.  IMO, the Volt or plug in Prius is a great in between option that works better for most (not all) people.

I agree that electricity from coal is a bad thing.  But the grid is changing, and here in the Pacific NW, the majority of our power is hydro-electric (92%), followed by 4% wind, 2.5% nuclear, and 0.5% coal.  Our electricity cost is also 1/3rd the national average, so electric cars are very attractive here.

Here's an interesting energy source and end use graphic:


As an engineer I think the Teslas are great cars, but as a mustachian I won't buy one.  My electric bike gets the equivalent of 1500mpg-e on the same rating system, and is an endless source of learning opportunities, whether I ask for them or not :)

92% of your region's generation is hydro, agreed, but the PNW imports a decent amount from other regions, which tends to include a lot of coal-heavy thermal.  For example, PacifiCorp's generation is very coal-heavy, and they have a decent slice of the market up there.  They just unsuccessfully fought having Oregon's RPS mandate applied to them.

It also exports significantly more power, depending on season & time of day.  See for instance the Pacific DC intertie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_DC_Intertie which ships power from the Columbia River to Southern California.  There are a number of smaller lines: for instance, the local (northern Nevada) power company gets something over a third of its power from the PNW.

True.  The imports tend to occur in the winter, peak season for PNW power usage and the lowest season for hydro generation.  Exports tend to occur in the spring, when there's more hydro (and wind, for that matter) than demand.  All things considered, the northwest probably has the least carbon-intensive grid in the US, but things in the electricity world get very complicated very quickly.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2013, 06:16:33 PM »

Would I buy one? Absolutely not.  But I sure as hell want one!

+1

I want to test drive one REALLY bad

KimPossible

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2013, 09:29:35 PM »
I've been parking next to one at work.  This thread made me go look at the website.  Cool car.

Too much $$ though :)

AlmostIndependent

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Re: Tesla Model S
« Reply #48 on: July 26, 2013, 10:58:45 PM »
I thought it was cool. When Consumer Reports rated it as the best car they've ever tested I got a little obsessed. Still not enough to buy one though.