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Old 04-02-2016, 10:25 AM   #141
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I don't think anyone is buying these cars thinking they'll take them on long trips.

About 60% of the population lives on 3.5% of it's land, so long trips aren't an issue for most folks driving needs.
I agree. While I have read about Tesla owners doing cross country drives, I get the impression that the main goal of that trip was to drive the Tesla a long way. If a Tesla owner actually wanted to spend a lot of time driving about the Rocky Mountains or the back roads of the Southern states, I imagine they would have to rent a gasoline powered vehicle.

For comparison, my hybrid has a range of 600+ miles on one tank of gas. (40 mpg x 17 gallon tank).
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:25 AM   #142
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Smart metering can only do so much. The reality is that with more EV cars, the base grid demand will go up.
No doubt. Smart metering doesn't reduce total demand. It just moves the same demand around so you can supply it more efficiently.

EVs, meanwhile, definitely increase demand.
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:34 AM   #143
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Yup. With smart metering every EV becomes a little power price arbitrageur - buying power when it's cheap and selling it back to the grid when it's dear.
I'm just imaging the latest car virus circa 2030. Some nefarious group releases it to wreak havoc with the grid by replacing the cooperative rules with rules that result in all the electric cars drawing maximum loads coordinated to cause trouble.

Sort of a DDOS attack on the grid.
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:37 AM   #144
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I must not be the average person targeted by Tesla. I haven't paid near that much ($35k) for any car to date nor do I plan to. ...
Agreed, and me too. I didn't say that a $35,000 car targeted the average person, I only said that a $35,000 EV with 170 mile & 30 minute supercharge capability made it practical for more people. And maybe (probably?) cost effective for high mile, mid-distance trip drivers.

I don't have time for the math, but it would be interesting to see where the kWh, $/gal, annual miles, purchase price graph intersects. And would high miles need to factor in a battery replacement at 6-7 years or so? Or just sell it to someone who can handle a 30% (or whatever) reduction in range, which is workable for many based on 200 mile initial range, but gets really marginal for the initial 80 mile range vehicles.

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Old 04-02-2016, 10:37 AM   #145
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I'm just imaging the latest car virus circa 2030. Some nefarious group releases it to wreak havoc with the grid by replacing the cooperative rules with rules that result in all the electric cars drawing maximum loads coordinated to cause trouble.

Sort of a DDOS attack on the grid.
Probably. A universal world constant we always need to design against: douche bags.

But can't those same DBs mess with power plants today?
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:39 AM   #146
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Well for instance, google Maps shows I'm currently 236-246 miles from various parts of Lake Tahoe.

I don't go regularly and haven't been in a long time. But a lot of people do and not just skiers.

I don't think even the Model S with the biggest battery is a safe option to go up there, especially if you hit traffic jams and especially in winter when cold temperatures limit ranges.

Don't get me wrong, I fully back EVs. But at best they should be second cars for many people.

Or look at people who live in hurricane zones? It may not be unusual for people to evacuate hundreds of miles from home.
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:59 PM   #147
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Some hotels are installing charging areas for EVs. But, I doubt it's the dives I normally stay in.

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/thre...hargers.44652/

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/thre...hargers.43184/
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:12 PM   #148
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Most people don't buy a dually F350 to pick up a load of wood once a year, but the grid HAS to be sized to meet the daily requirements. There will always be cloudy and windless days where the demand outstrips the intermittent generation from wind and solar. Smart metering can only do so much. The reality is that with more EV cars, the base grid demand will go up.
Yea, but.........not everything has to run at once. The dumb grid just lets water heaters, AC units and electric heaters, car chargers and other high load devices kick on randomly. With minimal coordination, this can be managed to a much lower uniform level. And I don't see us relying exclusively on wind or solar, there will be an underlying fossil fuel base grid for a long time.
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Old 04-02-2016, 04:19 PM   #149
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The demand rate in many places already incentivizes people to shift their usage where it's possible. In my area, in the summer I pay 22.26c/kWh from 1PM-8PM, but only 7.41c/kWh off-peak. So, I programmed my pool pump to run in the morning, and also installed a timer to cut out the water heater during the on-peak period. We also do not run the washer, particularly the dryer during the peak-demand period.

Now, if I can find a cheap storage method to arbitrage the 15c difference, I will save some more money. I am waiting to see cheap lithium batteries from Elon Musk, but I am not holding my breath though.

I also have been calculating the cost of installing enough solar in a stand-alone off-grid system to run a small AC. It takes a lot of panels to run the 5-ton unit, but a small stand-alone AC to supplement the central AC is doable. Doing everything myself, I still calculated a decade to payback. But if the cost drops some more, I may do it as a hobby project to keep busy.
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:27 PM   #150
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I don't have time for the math, but it would be interesting to see where the kWh, $/gal, annual miles, purchase price graph intersects.
I'll try. Am sure there is a good site out there who did it thoroughly as well.

300 - 400 wh/mile seems to be the fuel use for the Tesla. At 10 cents per kwh that's 3 to 4 ct/mile. Got those numbers from Tesla forum. Assumes a fair bit of night charging.

Gas costs about 0.6 usd/litre in the US, a reasonably fuel efficient car can burn 6 litres/100 km. So 0.036 usd/km, or 5.8 ct/mile. Sorry for the european units, it's easier for me that way.

So let's say every mile closes about 2 cents in this example. This means driving +/- 50.000 miles to catch up a 1.000 USD in price difference.

Gives a ballpark figure, hope I did it right, am a bit tired.

In terms of what high mileage does to the battery, I don't know. What I do know is that maintenance on an EV should be less than a gasoline (fewer moving parts), especially with higher mileage.

The fun part is shifting countries: Sweden retail electricity is only 5 ct/kwh, and gas costs x2.5 the US price. So there it catches up much faster: nearly 11 cents per mile (let's say 10 ct/mile), or catch up 1.000 USD every 10.000 miles.
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Old 04-02-2016, 07:00 PM   #151
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I'll try. Am sure there is a good site out there who did it thoroughly as well. ....
I did find a decent calculator (and a few poor ones).

Electric Car Calculator

[ Hit "CALCULATE", not your 'enter/return' key - that takes you to ads! ]

Wow, I really thought EVs would result in more savings.

I left miles at 12,000 (supposed annual average in US?).

I 'faked' a $35,000 Model 3, and assumed the tax credits have run out (selected the Leaf, and then changed the price and credit). Then chose a Prius V to compare (larger, and 'only' 44 mpg versus 50 for the smaller Prius). I used their estimated maintenance cost (~ $371 for Leaf ~ $600 Prius)

I also upped gas prices to $3.00 from their ~ $2.00 (I really doubt gas will stay this low), and changed $/kWh down to $0.11 (closer to my marginal rate) from their ~$0.13. All those are advantages to the EV.

And.......

Years to break even: 12 years 9 months



Even a plain old vanilla Honda CR-V 4WD (21/27 mpg) is 8.5 years.

edit/add: And as is typical, they don't appear to take into opportunity cost of the > $10,000 purchase price delta to the CR-V. Let's see, losing your 3.5% WR estimate - another $350/year. So... subtract that from the CR-V maint costs, and you are at 11 years 8 months.


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Old 04-03-2016, 05:33 AM   #152
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Why the facepalm?

Cars last on average I believe for 20 years. So if there is a cross-over point after 12 years that should translate in a higher residual value.

And we were talking high mileage cars, 12k is average in the US. 30k should be the high use case. Shortens it a bit more.

Also, the US combines moderate electricity prices with lowish gas prices, and road taxes aren't tied to tailpipe emissions (as far as I know).

We're not at "EV, unless" vs. "Hybrid/Gas, unless", but it's getting closer fast.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:11 AM   #153
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Years to break even: 12 years 9 months


Am I reading your post correctly? You're comparing an entry level luxury car to a Prius and are surprised to find that the luxury car takes so long to cost less?

If someone told me I could get an Audi A4 and it would cost me less to own over it's lifetime than a $26K MSRP Honda I'd think that was a pretty amazing discovery.

I don't think people are paying $35K+ for a car because they think it will save them money. You pay that kind of coin for status, the appearance of quality, and gee-wiz features. But if you still want to run a break-even, comp against it's actual competition: BMW, Audi, Mercedes.

And like all new tech, when (if?) production ramps up prices will fall. Not necessarily on the Model 3 which will probably stay at that price point, but for the next model down.

I still remember the first ever flatscreen TV I saw in a store retailed for $20K. I think it had a 36 inch screen.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:14 AM   #154
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Erd50/G4G's comments, are thought provoking. However, I don't see the EV as anything but a niche market if it has to depend on power plants. The problems with generating enough electricity to swap say 50/50 EV/Gas seems impossible. What is the costs, and the environmental impact of producing the batteries? Can lithium batteries be recycled efficiently? A break in fuel cell prices would, IMHO, change everything.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:05 AM   #155
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Am I reading your post correctly? You're comparing an entry level luxury car to a Prius and are surprised to find that the luxury car takes so long to cost less? ...
You have a point of course, but it depends where your focus is. For my example, the focus was overall economics. Since we don't have any other $35,000 or lower EVs with 200 miles range, it becomes the comparison to other transportation that would be very economical. I chose the Prius V for one case - the largest and lowest MPG model Prius - if I were really trying to put my thumb on the scale, I would have compared to the standard Prius, and I would not have adjusted their default gas & kWh prices to favor the EV. Then I compared to a popular vehicle that gets the job done for us, just as another data point.

No, they are not apples-to-apples, but it is what we have. And it won't be apples-to-apples until I could use that EV to drop my kid off at a rural college 250 miles away, then turn around and drive back the same day without any more delay than an ICE fill up.

Just like the first Tesla models were able to 'bury' the battery cost in performance, the Model 3 (to a lesser extent) is 'burying' the cost of batteries in a little luxury. And since it hasn't been reviewed yet, it's hard to say what a real comparison is.

If you can point out a 5 passenger EV with 200 mile range that sells for less and compares feature-wise with a Prius V, I'll run that comparison. That's my point - there is a premium for those batteries, and it affects the comparisons at the lower end. Until batteries/motor are on par with ICE/tank, something has to give. As they get closer to par, the payback for miles driven will be quicker. And we still need to see if battery replacements are going to be common at 100,000 or 120,000 miles - engines are lasting significantly longer than that these days.

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Old 04-03-2016, 10:18 AM   #156
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The longevity of the expensive battery is the elephant in the room. Nowadays, it is common to see combustion-engine cars with 150K miles or higher with no needed major repairs.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:39 AM   #157
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there is a premium for those batteries, and it affects the comparisons at the lower end. Until batteries/motor are on par with ICE/tank, something has to give.
I'm completely agnostic on all of this but I don't think we can even really hazard a guess until we see what economies of scale do for us. Right now building an ICE vehicle is about as cost efficient as it's ever going to get. Building an EV is still heading down the cost curve.

So comparing the cost of today's EVs at minuscule production volumes against ICE vehicles at scale doesn't really tell us much about the economics of the various technologies unless we assume EVs stay a niche product.

But will they?

Right now we have a luxury EV that's gone from zero to category leading sales volumes in a couple of years.

We have an entry-level EV in the works that people are excited enough about to part with $1,000 just to get on a waiting list to own one.

That doesn't mean the Model 3 will be a good or even popular car. If it flops then this discussion is probably moot or, at best, really premature.

But on the limited evidence we have, Tesla makes a car that surpasses the previously entrenched competition. If it can do the same thing with the Model 3 it will go a long way toward bringing EV technology to a critical mass of production and ownership where at least some of the objections in this thread (price, limited support infrastructure) start to fix themselves on economically justified terms.

We'll see if that happens or not. I'm not making any predictions. It's just fun to watch. And I'll be rooting for the underdog.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:42 AM   #158
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Article on the plugin hybrid market for the foreseeable future:

The Best Plug-in Hybrid | The Wirecutter

Lot of models are going to be released but most of them offer like 20 miles all-electric range.
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:33 AM   #159
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I'm completely agnostic on all of this but I don't think we can even really hazard a guess until we see what economies of scale do for us. ....
I agree with much of this post, but I'll challenge a few things...

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... Right now building an ICE vehicle is about as cost efficient as it's ever going to get. Building an EV is still heading down the cost curve.
Agree somewhat on EVs and cost curve. But the components - batteries, motors, controllers have been around a long time in similar functions, so the curve might not be as steep as you are thinking.

I'm also not betting against future improvements in the ICE. I went through the numbers a while back, the Prius has seen some considerable improvement in mpg over the years, and is continuing with recent models. In the time frames we are looking at, other options might be feasible (free-piston engines, micro-turbines, heat recovery systems, etc).


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We have an entry-level EV in the works that people are excited enough about to part with $1,000 just to get on a waiting list to own one.
Or standing in line to snatch the remaining $7,500 credits with a low risk $1,000 refundable deposit?


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We'll see if that happens or not. I'm not making any predictions. It's just fun to watch. And I'll be rooting for the underdog.
And I'll be rooting for whatever makes the most sense overall, not a particular technology - a balance between meeting our transportation needs and reducing pollution. Which takes us back to the discussion you don't care to continue, that until we have an excess of green kWhrs that are regularly available to power a fleet of EVs, they are running on mostly fossil fuel, and creating more pollution than a decent hybrid that anyone can buy today w/o needing to wait for infrastructure or worry about range.

So my question is why even go down this path, other than for niche applications?

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Article on the plugin hybrid market for the foreseeable future:

The Best Plug-in Hybrid | The Wirecutter

Lot of models are going to be released but most of them offer like 20 miles all-electric range.
My crystal ball says something like a 10-20 mile range series hybrid (like in that article) is where we may be going. I'll give the run down again:

Start with a series hybrid like the Chevy Volt. Forty mile range on plug-in, then switches to ICE for extended range. Smaller battery pack than a full EV, so lower $/space premium. 110V charging is probably practical for most. No range issues.

Here's the deal with the 40 mile EV-mode range - the car needed enough batteries to accelerate on battery/motor alone. That was the design requirement - decent performance. Poor performance was a deal killer. The 40 mile range was just the result of that requirement. So, looking forward, say we can just get more peak current out of batteries (for acceleration), even if we didn't improve them overall in terms of total energy/size/cost. If we double the instantaneous current draw, we can get by on half the batteries. That cuts our range in half, but so what? The ICE takes over, produces less pollution than from the the plug in the wall, and the series configuration can lead to better efficiency with the ICE running within a 'sweet spot' of speed/power/efficiency (it can just run flat out to charge the batteries - the electric motor deals with acceleration and stopping at idle).

Maybe batteries progress where we can pull 4x the instantaneous current (with no other improvements - just focus on this one attribute), and we use just 1/4 the batteries. Since you reduce the weight, you actually get more than 4x improvement. At that point, you could drive the batteries even harder, to get even more current out - that would reduce their life-span, but it is 1/4 the cost to replace them. There is a point where it makes sense to view them as a recyclable element that you just swap for new every 4 years or so. OK, electric only range is just 10 miles then - but that means you don't start the ICE to just move the car out of the garage onto the street, or to go from one store to another that's a mile away. Since an ICE isn't efficient for start-stop, this will help overall mpg as well. Use both the ICE and the electric motor for what they excel at.

-ERD50
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Old 04-03-2016, 12:25 PM   #160
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For anyone interested in the technology side of this, I'll expand a bit on the battery "peak current" (or peak power) portion of my previous post.

As I said, the batteries in an EV or series EV need to be able to provide enough instantaneous peak power to provide an acceptable level of acceleration. This is separate from the total energy the battery can provide over the long run. The total energy is what is needed to give you range in miles.

In electronics, power is watts, measured at any instant - like "that toaster is drawing 1000 watts of power while it is on".

Energy is watt-hours (usually described in kilowatt-hours), power measured over time - like "that 1000 watt toaster has been on one hour, it has used one kWh of energy").
I mentioned that other factors have driven the improvements in batteries, and this is mostly our portable electronics - laptops, tablets, cell phones, GPS, music players, etc. But for those devices, we are interested in the total energy - we want them to run for a long time between charges. And when we have a big enough battery to run a long time, it provides plenty of peak power for our devices. A GPS or laptop doesn't draw the kinds of (relative) peak power that accelerating a car requires.

What that means is, battery improvements haven't so much been focused on peak power delivery, because that hasn't been the limiting factor. But it is the limiting factor for a series hybrid (the ICE takes over to provide the total energy required).

The first Tesla models are an example of this - with enough batteries to provide the energy for a 200 mile range, those batteries also have enough instantaneous power to accelerate like crazy. But if we use 1/20th the batteries to provide a 10 mile range for a series hybrid, we run into those instantaneous power limits, and we go from 'bat-outa-hell' acceleration to 1/20th of that, and that is unacceptable for normal driving. I don't know if it's linear, but a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds stretched to 1 minute 20 seconds (20x) just won't cut it.

So perhaps, batteries can be greatly improved in their instantaneous power delivery factor, such that series hybrids are more and more practical?

-ERD50
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