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I think Tesla's approach to EV should be considered by others

Discussion in 'EV (Electric Vehicle) Discussion' started by Skoorbmax, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    Tesla took a wildly expensive car, made it a little more wildly expensive, and sold it to owners because it's also wildly fast as hell. This exceptional power is what certainly convinced some portion of its buyers that it was ok paying so much for the thing.

    Contrast with the other competitors in the market, and it seems their only two motivators are price and range. They want to minimize the first while maximizing the second. This inevitably leads to vehicles that are to be compared with their non-EV equivalents--slowish, non-fun vehicles. This forces the buyer into an analysis driven heavily on cost benefit (which is not good on any of the EVs).

    I have to wonder how well the Leaf, for example, would do if it was capable of 0-60 in 6.5. How much would that add to the cost? At least then you have paid a lot for an EV but it's pretty darn fast as well. The battery capacity would not need to change, merely the quality of the motor and the performance of the battery (which I realize can be increased by increasing capacity, so less stress on any given cell if one is looking for more watts). Without performance, a Leaf is really just a very expensive Nissan Versa.
  2. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    You are welcome to your opinion, but I think it crazy. So you want a faster Leaf? So you want a bigger motor which will add weight and require added batteries or a big reduction in range?

    It is not as though Tesla has a sterling sales record. The Roadster production run will be 2500 cars or so and the models S and X are not yet for sale. They might be sales hits, but I do not see a guarantee. There is just no sales data to back up your position.
  3. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    With higher performing batteries you'd not necessarily need a substantial increase in weight, as not all batteries are equal.

    It isn't entirely crazy, it's not even without precedent. I doubt Tesla would have sold nearly as many of its cars if they weren't capable of super-car acceleration.
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how many cars has tesla sold?
  5. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    My guess is 2300. They will sell the entire production run of 2500. Maybe sales figures are disclosed in the annual report or 10-k form but I'm too tired to look.
  6. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    There are a couple of misconceptions included here. First the motor in a tesla is not heavy, certainly not much heavier than the one in the leaf. The second is that tesla customers don't care about range. The large battery pack that gives a tesla its acceleration gives it its range.

    That then goes to the question if a leaf had more power, to accelerate to 60 mph in 6.5 instead of 10 seconds would take a battery pack around 40kwh like in the tesla S. Technology may make this less expensive, but for now, shoving it in a car like a leaf would make it prohibitively expensive. You therefore make it a nicer car, or lighter with better aerodynamics. Small battery advancements could let a pack of the same volume and price get 90 miles range and 0-60 in 8 something.
  7. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    If so, this tells me that the Leaf's battery is about as reasonably powerful as it can be--its ability to deliver watts over time as a percentage of its capacity. Therefore, the only way to increase the draw is to increase the capacity, and I can therefore see its cost going up hugely.

    In theory, with better battery tech, the capacity could stay the same but its C-rating (at least that's what they call it in the RC world--the higher the C, the quicker you can discharge the battery) could increase such that a similar sized battery could deliver more power and give more performance.
  8. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Tesla began with the Roadster for business reasons: A high-end, high-performance, hand-built sports car was the only way for a new company without the deep pockets of the big, established automakers, to enter the car market. They also wanted to showcase their technology and demonstrate that an EV need not be a golf cart. They hope in 2 or 3 years, to bring a $30,000 EV to market.

    As for the Leaf being slow and dull, I found it to have more power than my Prius, and great fun to drive all electric. (Though in my case, I'd been driving all electric for four years in the Zap Xebra. That little three-legged clown car was the most fun car to drive that I ever owned until I got the Roadster.)

    If you look at sales numbers, you'll see that the Leaf will get far more people into EVs than the Roadster will. The simple fact is that a car with a 6.5 to sixty would cost a lot more to build than the Leaf. I'm sure that if Nissan could have given the Leaf that much power without sacrificing range or increasing cost, they'd have done it.



    I agree with the above. As a Roadster owner, I do love having the range. I'd have settled for a Leaf, if Nissan had cared enough to treat me half-way decently. But the range is great to have. And also, as above, range and power are related, as power is voltage times current, and if you increase the current (higher C rating) you'll deplete the battery quicker, for a loss of range. (The Tesla, like any EV, has less range at higher speed, where it takes more current to compensate for drag. Accelerating hard has a similar effect.)

    So, again, Nissan built a car that more people can afford. Tesla built a super-car as its way to break into the car market.

    And I think the Model S is already sold out for the first couple of years' worth of production. Things are looking good for Tesla right now. But Nissan's a bigger company with a lower price point, and so will sell far more electric cars. At least until Tesla is ready to move into that price range in two or three years.
  9. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I think it is going to be really interesting to see how the launch of the Model S comes off. It seems like every new hybrid and EV has a long list of folks who have given a deposit only to back out close to launch. I know that I was once with the Leaf. It seems like there have been a few folks here on PC who have backed out of their plug-in Prius and have posted here. There will be some number of this with the Model S - who knows if it will be a big or small % though.

    I also think it will be interesting to see just how Tesla handles the change from almost coachwork manufacturing with the Roadster to volume production. That is going to be a big challenge.

    It is my understanding that Tesla is promising a launch date towards the end of the year with few thousand being sold by the end of the year. It will be interesting to see what happens as we get closer to launch - will we be getting price bumps and delays ala Fisker? What about changes to the promised specs? Maybe, maybe not, but right now we just do not know.

    I have said before that I think Elon Musk is the big wildcard. We all know that is is smart and entrepreneurial. We also know that he is an egomaniac who took a great deal more credit for Paypal/X.com than he should have - yes he was an important part, but he was not responsible for it all as he claims. Can he pull this off - I would not bet against him, but I do not think it is a sure thing.



  10. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I wonder if they can be successful there. The current market they compete in has no competitors really, at least not near the same price. I'd be surprised if Tesla can come up with a car that is competitive with a major brand's offering like Nissan.

    I don't see Tesla creating 3k S's by the end of the year if that's what they claimed. If they can really put these on the road at a starting price of $60k though it's a nice vehicle. Looks really smart, too.
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    6.5 0-60 would be only require small design changes in a car like the volt. The karma and porsche 918 allow the engine and battery to blend in a sport mode to give higher acceleration. Lease rates in the leaf and volt are not very different.

    I expect battery tech to improve both kwh/volume, kwh/$ which will allow packs with the same cost and volume to accelerate better as long as a better motor is put in the car to take advantage of the pack.

    I do not see any problems with tesla designing a better car than the leaf. The big problem when battery tech gets cheaper is for tesla to be able to manufacture what they design. That may require that they partner with a company with better manufacturing expertise and slack capacity. This is what toyota did with nummi in the beginning.:D Unfortunately gm did not learn that much from toyota's expertise in manufacturing, but toyota did learn about gm's supply chain management.
  12. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    Didn't Toyota and Tesla do some financial thing last year? Maybe it's to setup the ability to use Toyota's manufacturing ability coupled with Tesla's EV knowledge to do a sort of partnership down the line. Given Toyota's Hybrid leadership, and Tesla's EV leadership, it could be a good marriage there. I'm sure the RAV 4 EV will be in play here, but who knows what the future may hold for it.
  13. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    No, in my opinion the performance that defines The Leaf, is the ability to plug it in and operate it without using gasoline. That's why the majority of Leaf buyers and owners, buy and own a Leaf. Unless you can plug a Versa in, and drive it without filling it with gasoline, then a Leaf is NOT just an expensive Versa.

    I think, I hope as time passes, EVERYTHING improves. I would expect this to happen.

    But for now? I think Toyota, and Nissan, are taking separate approaches but correct approaches. To be real, you have to mainstream your product as much as possible.

    That means making a product obtainable by more people, and that more of the masses would buy.

    Yes there will be exceptions. But in general? That means high performance Sports Cars will be bought by people wanting a high performance Sports Car, and MPG's be damned.

    And "Alternative" vehicles will be bought by people wanting to embrace alternatives. Whether that by Hybrids or Full Electrics. And usually this crowd is far less concerned with 0-60 times.

    Again, ultimately I don't believe it will always be Either/Or. With the passage of time, I expect advances in technology on all fronts that allow for a improvement of the product on all fronts.
  14. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Yes the deal included toyota investing in tesla, tesla taking over nummi, which got rid of a little bad toyota PR, and Tesla doing the drive train design on the Rav4 EV.

    Tesla Hires Toyota Manufacturing Expert | Press Releases | Tesla Motors



    http://content.usatoday.com/communi...t-volt-costly-nissan-leaf-ugly/1#.T1-H4hEgd2A


    I'm sure some sales are effected by performance, but styling and range are bigger problems for the leaf.
  15. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  16. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Only time will tell. I'm optimistic. I would not have bought my Roadster if I didn't think they'd be around for the long term to service it.
  17. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    I believe Tesla's new line up is more than a couple of years away. It's been 3 years since I mailed my deposit. Building on the same platform will save some design time but I don't believe you'll see the production SUV in that time frame.
  18. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Was Tesla even taking reservations 3 years ago?
    Certainly not for their SUV which was only announced last year?

    As for their new lineup, the model S is starting production this year. Currently on track for July/August start.

    As for Tesla's approach? I like their approach and think it has a number of advantages. Especially for a start-up.
    However, I also think that society is best served by a variety of approaches. So I applaud the approach taken by Toyota, Nissan, Ford and yes, even GM.
    If everyone had only one 'approach' to choose from, it would be a much smaller market.
  19. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

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    I'll try and watch that. I saw him in the recent electric car documentary now available on netflix and he's quite interesting to watch. Certainly has an aura of competency and vision that the vast majority of people just never have; they are boring to listen to and he isn't.
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Build an EV like the Tesla? If it's so practical ... go for it. ;)
    Build an EV like the Tesla? ... you mean unaffordable for all but 1/2 of 1% of the richest large country? Maybe if stats show more and more folks are becoming more wealthy I suppose.
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