Finally, an American car to be proud of again

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Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:07 pm

http://www.teslamotors.com/models

It's been a while, but you have to admire this company - started off as the butt of jokes, produced an amazing supercar with Lotus, just produced this sweet sedan, Car of the year, has an SUV coming and is next to target the mass markets. And they are based in SC.

Three hours of driving requires a 30 min of charge - about right for a road trip. They say they are going to have this down to 15 mins soon. They already have their network of charging stations in Southern California - see supercharging in "go electric" on their site and they are building more. They claim these solar powered charging stations produce more power than needed and feed it back into the grid (I have to wonder if this would be the case once electric car volume increases).

It wouldn't be hard to imagine a near future where combustion engines become limited to niche and back country uses. Better performance to internal combustion, incredibly compact drive train, no tail pipe emissions. Electricity production can be clean - oil production will never be clean.

Anyway, it's nice to see good American design, mated to innovative American engineering.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by nxski » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:04 am

If they can get the charge time down, that's great, but I still see a few problems, and feel free to correct them if my knowledge is out of date...

1. The quicker the charge, the shorter the batteries lifespan
2. Long haul drivers still have to wait longer than re-fueling which could be a pain
3. Who's going to let you plug in for 30 min on route?
4. Considering how expensive a simple ipod cable is would this car cable not be a high theft item?
5. As with the Prius, are these batteries not quite harmful to the environment?
6. With the Tesla Roadster, when put to an actual road test, the numbers were no where near what was on paper
7. If everyone were to switch to electric, where would all this extra electricity come from?
8. Assuming there is enough electricity being generated, how is this electricity being produced?
9. Since we're not all wealthy, are prices of these vehicles coming down?

I'm glad to see some major improvements have, in theory, been made. Still, I see hydrogen as being more viable currently.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by drrod » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:13 am

No doubt the issues with EV's will contine to be addressed and improvements made. To date, there are still many issues (mainly range) that keeps them from becoming too mainstream.
I do wonder though why manufacturers are not using high efficiency diesel engines to power onboard electric generators in vehicles (a system like GM's Volt). The diesel engines already exist. It seems logical to use these as a bit of an interim solution until other issues (eg. where/how is plug in recharging electricity coming from) can be addressed.
On the same note, I wonder why many of these high efficiency diesel engines are not offered for sale here in NA (politics aside).

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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:35 am

Nxski - you haven't been keeping up with this rapidly evolving technology.

There won't be a "the replacement" for fossil fuel - there will be many. There are many circumstances that electric is not practical. But they have made significant improvements, and this is why electric cars are starting to hit the mass market. They made the technology sexy first - to make it desirable to the mass market

As for your #3 - Tesla has already built the charging stations throughout southern california. They are already there. They are building more in other key markets.

As far as performance - they actually have been performing very well in the real world. There was a funny incident, between a NYT journalist and Telsa motors. They guy apparently deliberately ran the car down, then documented it being towed from the side of the road (not unlike the top gear test drive). Telsa quickly engaged this guy, and confronted him with the digital driving records of the journey. http://www.treehugger.com/cars/tesla-vs ... logue.html

Like I said, electricity can be clean - fossil fuel will never be clean. Obviously, coal fired generation stations don't produce clean electricity. And again, now that Telsa has proven their technology in a high end - high performance platform - they have their sights on the mass market.

Hydrogen is not a viable option - people like it because it lets them stick to their internal combustion engine. The fact is, Hydrogen is more like a storage medium - it doesn't occur naturally in a way that can be harvested, and it takes a tremendous amount of power to produce it and it is very difficult to store. Where would all this electricity come from? Same problem as electric cars. Hyrdrogen will never be a viable fuel for cars for many reasons. It's hardly considered anymore.

Internal combustion engines are not very efficient. Just look at the waste-heat they produce. The days of the internal combustion engine as our primary means of locomotion are numbered. Just as climate change deniers are being undoubtedly proven wrong, so will attitudes towards the role of the internal combustion engine. (when Time magazine publishes an article like this, you know the tides are a changing:http://swampland.time.com/2013/02/28/im ... e-huggers/

Anyway, there will always be those who are slow to adapt to new technology, and those that embrace it. Early adopters are cool - and they work out the kinks before things hit a bigger market. The other thing to remember about electric cars is that the performance is stunning. There are hardly any moving parts. Very little to fix. And very clean.

Embrace this new technology. No one is going to push you out of your delica and into a golf cart.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by drrod » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:20 pm

Interesting read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government ... c_vehicles

I am not posting this trying to be a troll. Just as a point of interest. As a counter, I wonder how one would go about finding out what the "subsidy" is for petro powered vehicles when everything is taken into consideration.

What will drive the sale of alternate fueled vehicles will be, as virtually everything else, the cost of ownership. I am not so sure that the general tax payer should be helping lower the cost of these vehicles but that is a discussion for another time.

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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:08 pm

drrod - agreed, if I understand you. If you took into account all of associated costs of oil production and consumption, including environmental damage and re-mediation, not to mention the links with health related costs like the increase in cancer rates, the cost of petrol would be astronomical. Some one (us) is paying for all these costs while the oil companies reap huge profits. Tar sands are the poster child of this kind of mindset. Pay later.

I absolutely agree about affordability too. If great engineering like Tesla is doing is made available within reach of most people, I think you will see rapid shift to that technology. The lack of moving parts and complicated propulsion systems is a huge net reduction in life cycle costs.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by nxski » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:44 pm

glenn wrote:I absolutely agree about affordability too. If great engineering like Tesla is doing is made available within reach of most people, I think you will see rapid shift to that technology. The lack of moving parts and complicated propulsion systems is a huge net reduction in life cycle costs.
That's the biggest problem with any technology. Less moving parts will mean much more reliable vehicles but lost jobs for a lot of mechanics not to mention people working in the oil industry. Do you think battery production will yield a similar amount of jobs?
glenn wrote:As for your #3 - Tesla has already built the charging stations throughout southern california. They are already there. They are building more in other key markets.


Hydrogen fuelling stations are being used in souther California as well with the Honda Clarity being affordable and reliable as well as maintaining job opportunities.
glenn wrote:As far as performance - they actually have been performing very well in the real world. There was a funny incident, between a NYT journalist and Telsa motors. They guy apparently deliberately ran the car down, then documented it being towed from the side of the road (not unlike the top gear test drive). Telsa quickly engaged this guy, and confronted him with the digital driving records of the journey. http://www.treehugger.com/cars/tesla-vs ... logue.html
I want a car that I can have fun driving. Tesla makes a roadster that must be driven like a limo to work properly and then accuses the driver of draining the battery too quickly!? This is the same reason car enthusiasts hate Prius', they are only really functional for city driving and are no fun at all to drive. We used to play games at BC Hydro to see how bad we could get the fuel economy to be and managed to drive it at 57L/100km! :-D
glenn wrote:Like I said, electricity can be clean - fossil fuel will never be clean. Obviously, coal fired generation stations don't produce clean electricity. And again, now that Telsa has proven their technology in a high end - high performance platform - they have their sights on the mass market.
Clean electricity is available and for those locations, if you're not going on long trips, electric cars make sense. To put them on the market for the entire world and to send them to places that do use coal fired generation, etc, does not make sense.
glenn wrote:Hyrdrogen will never be a viable fuel for cars for many reasons. It's hardly considered anymore.
You hardly hear about it in the news anymore but I see more and more hydrogen powered vehicles on the roads here. The Whistler bus' for one, cement trucks, semi's and cars.
glenn wrote:
Embrace this new technology. No one is going to push you out of your delica and into a golf cart.
I don't mind embracing this technology and would gladly swap out my internal combustion engine for an electric or hydrogen powered one so long as it allows me to keep using my vehicle as I currently do. I don't want to stop and recharge my vehicle constantly because I decide to drive with my foot to the floor, I don't want to run out of juice on the side of the road and have to call for a tow rather than just re-fueling from a jerry can or the like. How will we drive on a long off-road trip without some way of re-fueling? When I can buy a reasonably priced car that is both practical and fun as well as being better for the environment, I will. Until then, I will be converting my van to WVO.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:31 pm

My point is that electric technology is getting to the point that it is as convenient as gas, and there are tons of advantages. A 15 minute charge every 3 hours is not at all inconvenient to me. I'm sorry, but your point by point rebuttal has a lot of holes in it.

I don't know about you, but I would way rather spend money on art, fine craft, my house, live music, a vacation, etc than paying to maintain a dirty complex machine. The economy will adapt - I sure wouldn't pin my hopes on the oil industry.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by nxski » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:56 pm

glenn wrote:My point is that electric technology is getting to the point that it is as convenient as gas, and there are tons of advantages. A 15 minute charge every 3 hours is not at all inconvenient to me. I'm sorry, but your point by point rebuttal has a lot of holes in it.

I don't know about you, but I would way rather spend money on art, fine craft, my house, live music, a vacation, etc than paying to maintain a dirty complex machine. The economy will adapt - I sure wouldn't pin my hopes on the oil industry.

I totally agree with that, but electric cars are expensive off the bat, require frequent charging when driven for fun, have no way of refuelling on the go if you are to run out of juice and a network of charging station have yet to be set-up. I'd love to pioneer a technology, but I don't have enough expendable income to do so. I will wait on purchasing until the bugs have been worked out.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:39 am

I'd love to pioneer a technology, but I don't have enough expendable income to do so. I will wait on purchasing until the bugs have been worked out.
Exactly! But the early adopters that do are working out the bugs for us. I said it earlier - it's brilliant for Tesla to target the high-end, high performance market first because they will give the technology credibility before it hits the mass market. I hope you don't take Jeremy Clarkson too seriously - on the episode they took a Tesla to the track they had written the scene in where they were pushing the car before they even had the car. They planned to run it down. In the law suit against top gear, it turns out that the car wasn't even run all the way down, they pushed it for the cameras.

As far as charging stations go, there is one in Burlington at the outlet mall. Failing that - you can plug it into a wall.

You said you would like drive with your foot to the floor - if you did that in a tesla roadster, you would probably end up either in a Hospital, or in Jail.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:36 pm

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I was down in Burlington today, and there are three charging stations at the outlet mall. I saw a tesla model S charging while it's owner was shopping - and wow, in the flesh, that is one sexy car! There was also a Nissan leaf charging as well.

0-60 in 4 seconds, no engine, 300 mile range, very few moving parts. The chassis and power supply are beautifully minimal. The batteries are part of the chassis.

Don't worry, there will probably historical societies devoted to the internal combustion engine - just like there are societies that maintain and operate steam engines as a curiosity.

the internal combustion engine and related drive train reminds me of the classic rube goldberg machine. So many unnecessarily complicated systems. Enjoy this analog:

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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by nxski » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:29 pm

glenn wrote:I hope you don't take Jeremy Clarkson too seriously
It's a scripted comedy, how could you!? :-D My friends dad owns a tesla roadster and I've been talking to her a lot about it.
glenn wrote:I was down in Burlington today, and there are three charging stations at the outlet mall. I saw a tesla model S charging while it's owner was shopping - and wow, in the flesh, that is one sexy car! There was also a Nissan leaf charging as well.
It's cool that they've created some charging stations, there still aren't enough to make it feasible as an only car and I think buying two cars when I only need one is wasteful. Nissan Leaf...ugh...boring :-D
glenn wrote:0-60 in 4 seconds, no engine, 300 mile range, very few moving parts. The chassis and power supply are beautifully minimal. The batteries are part of the chassis.
I love all of this, assuming after the 300 miles I could recharge quickly and be on my way for another 300 (as is typically the case, I doubt the claimed mileage is anywhere near what it is in practice).

If the batteries are part of the chassis, are the easy to remove and re-install?
glenn wrote:Don't worry, there will probably historical societies devoted to the internal combustion engine - just like there are societies that maintain and operate steam engines as a curiosity.
Don't care, I have no sentimental attachment to the technology, it's just the most useful currently.

Also, that's a great video to go along with a great song, thanks for posting!
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:18 pm

Yeah, I love Rube Goldberg machines. Apparently, although the video was taken over several takes to get the band members in all the scenes, they reset and restarted the machine from the beginning each time. That's why they are plastered in paint to various degrees in different scenes.
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by nxski » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:25 am

glenn wrote:Yeah, I love Rube Goldberg machines. Apparently, although the video was taken over several takes to get the band members in all the scenes, they reset and restarted the machine from the beginning each time. That's why they are plastered in paint to various degrees in different scenes.
That's awesome! It must have taken ages to build as well as re-set. Imagine all the tv's they had to wreck too!
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Re: Finally, an American car to be proud of again

Post by glenn » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:16 pm

If you watch it closely, you see the pile of smashed tv's behind the one being smashed.
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