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Old 05-26-2013, 12:46 PM   #121
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I'd like to know what Zathras thought about their Volt. I'm not a great fan of Consumers Report. We had a 2011 Honda CRV that Consumers Report LOVES and I thought it was one of the WORST cars I ever drove. Poor gas mileage, cheap leather, not very good ride quality and a lot of road noise. What I hated the most was getting in the car. My right foot always got caught under the brake pedal. Yeah I know, why didn't I find that on the test drive? My bad.

A lady stopped me in a parking lot the other to see how I liked the Prius V. Said she was looking at one because she hates her CRV. Guess I'm not the only one.
Good point. Better a couple good anecdotes rather than rely on stupid statistically valid samples.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:22 PM   #122
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We had a 2011 Honda CRV that Consumers Report LOVES and I thought it was one of the WORST cars I ever drove.
If I didn't know you were serious, I would think you were being ironic there.

My new (2013) CR-V is the BEST car I've ever owned. In fact, it's my third CR-V in a row. Incredibly comfortable, quiet even on the highway, and great gas mileage. Recently took a short trip with an old friend, and he was so impressed by it that he went out and bought one himself a month later.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread; just wanted to point out that what sort of car you like is a HIGHLY individual thing.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:37 PM   #123
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If I didn't know you were serious, I would think you were being ironic there.

My new (2013) CR-V is the BEST car I've ever owned. In fact, it's my third CR-V in a row. Incredibly comfortable, quiet even on the highway, and great gas mileage. Recently took a short trip with an old friend, and he was so impressed by it that he went out and bought one himself a month later.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread; just wanted to point out that what sort of car you like is a HIGHLY individual thing.
It certainly is an personal preference. I was just so highly disappointed in our CRV that I was lucky and able to turn it in 12 months early on the lease. As you say, to each his own.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #124
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I'm looking for a nice coal-fired truck. One that can tow a 40' coal trailer. I figure DW and I can take turns driving and stoking. It'll be post-apocalyptic transportation at it's finest. We'll never have to stop at Bartertown for gas. Remember, kids; "Burn American Fuel! For America!"
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:54 PM   #125
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I'm looking for a nice coal-fired truck. One that can tow a 40' coal trailer. I figure DW and I can take turns driving and stoking. It'll be post-apocalyptic transportation at it's finest. We'll never have to stop at Bartertown for gas. Remember, kids; "Burn American Fuel! For America!"

North Korea runs on wood-burning trucks | Grist

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So Dear Leader has once again demonstrated his Everlasting Beneficence and Ingenuity, pioneering the use of trucks that run on firewood and/or coal.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:15 PM   #126
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I'm looking for a nice coal-fired truck. One that can tow a 40' coal trailer. I figure DW and I can take turns driving and stoking. It'll be post-apocalyptic transportation at it's finest. We'll never have to stop at Bartertown for gas. Remember, kids; "Burn American Fuel! For America!"

You need to ask Germans of WWII vintage about performance characteristics. They had plenty of experience, with gasified solid fuel vehicles.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:01 PM   #127
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Fill Her Up

DW is exceptionally happy with her Ford Focus Electric. We have had it since November 2012 and have about 4,000 miles on it, we get an equivalent electric cost of 110 MPG for gas. The 75-80 mile range issue is real for a lot of folks but not so significant for many. It is our second car, actually first by far for frequency of use. Our other car is a Jeep Liberty diesel which is used for longer trips, towing our trailer and carting 87 YO MIL to doctors appointments.( Easier for her to step up than down into a Focus.) The car is really great in how it drives, feels more like a Mercedes than a Ford. There are a lot of two car families that would do well with an electric car. We find we only use our Jeep maybe once a week for us; not MIL, although her trips are short. And the Focus absorbs a large number of short trips and saves our diesel for longer trip uses. We might use the Focus even more as more charging stations are established but one nice thing about an electric car is you have a 'filling station' at home and always leave fully charged. I used to commute about 8 miles to work and there are free chargers there, almost makes me want to go back to work. Just kidding.
I have seen a lot of good deals of $200 to $250 a month 3 year leases on various electric cars, the Ford Focus, Fiat electric, Chevy electric the Nissan Leaf and others. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. Check out the electric cars, I think you will be surprised at how effective they can be in urban settings.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:39 AM   #128
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IMHO

If someone wants to buy an electric or hybrid car, they are under no obligation to justify it to anyone.
Of course not (well maybe one exception to follow). But once they start talking up the environmental benefits, then it opens that up for discussion, right? I think that's all we're doing here. People can buy what they wish.

The possible exception: If they got a subsidy, then 'we' ended up paying for a part of their car, one more expensive than I would buy for myself. So maybe that deserves a little justification? And the justification is often, 'I am being green for your benefit'. or 'I am an early adopter, and you will benefit'. And that is debatable.


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In fact in the case Tesla, I think the green benefits will be minimal just because they made the car so damn much fun to drive. The Edmunds guys made a rough calculation that jamming the pedal to the metal loses about 1 mile of range per second. So going from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds means 5 miles less range. I doubt there is a Tesla owner out there that doesn't do that pretty often.
Interesting point I had not considered. The Tesla is a high performance car, and people who buy performance vehicles don't drive them like they have a goldfish on the front seat. People who buy high mpg hybrids (the comparison for eco-benefits), do tend to drive conservatively. While it's hard to pin a number on that, it does cut into the already marginal eco-benefit. But using those numbers, 'punching' it just 4 times in a 200 mile drive cycle would cut the benefits by 10% - not an unreasonable guess-timate, and not an insignificant drop in eco-benefit.

It's similar to the people who buy tankless water heaters, which are sold as eco-friendly, then brag about how everyone in the family can take half-hour showers now, and how they can fill their whirlpool bath every week and have plenty of steaming hot water!


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Likewise in the Tesla forum,there is a thread devoted solely to owners talking about how instead of taking the 20-30 minute route home from work they take the 1 hour route home. Folks looking for excuse to run errands for the wife, or just taking the car out for a joy ride.
Another good point. Makes sense, who is going to buy an expensive, cool-looking, head-turning, fun-to-drive car, and then leave it in the garage? These comments are really more towards the Roadster. As you move down to lower priced EVs, I do think the subsidy may have some effect on sales volumes as it's a larger % of the price, and the lower priced cars won't have the same 'wow' factor for performance and joy drives (though EVs by nature have lots of low-end torque).


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For those without PV, I can safely say those who will always drive their Tesla in a ecologically friendly manner will be near 0.
Thanks for getting back to this. I keep seeing people make the connection between PV panels and an EV and talking about how they now have no impact on the environment as they generate all the electricity for their driving. But it appears to be false logic, as the two can be purchased independently. Check my thought process on this:

For simplicity, let's assume a household consumes one 'unit' of electrical power average per month. And assume if they purchased an EV, that would consume one 'unit' of electrical power average per month. And that they could install PV solar that would produce one 'unit' of electrical power average per month. Now consider each possibility:
1) NO EV; NO PV; - status quo - consume ONE unit electrical, consume X gallons gas

2) NO EV; YES PV; - consume ZERO units electrical, consume X gallons gas

3) YES EV; NO PV; - consume TWO units electrical, consume ZERO gallons gas

4) YES EV; YES PV; - consume ONE unit electrical, consume ZERO gallons gas
See how they are individual events? The EV trades electrical consumption for gas consumption (the benefit, if any, depends on factors including how clean the local grid is). The PV offsets grid consumption. But there is no magic multiplier effect between the two. Each benefit stands on its own. When people try to tie the two, it's ignoring that you could have used the PV to offset grid consumption - you wouldn't just leave the PV disconnected if you didn't own an EV.

For illustration, say a specific EV actually under-performed (in eco-terms) a high-mpg hybrid in a certain scenario. In that case, one would do more eco-good with PV panels and that hybrid than with PV and EV. With the hybrid, they would be consuming none of that dirty electrical supply.


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Just as all consumers,not just Apple customers, benefited from the innovations that Jobs came up with, I think all car buyers will benefit from stuff the Tesla did right.
I am super-impressed with Elon's ability to bring this car to market. To me, his genius was realizing that the batteries required for long range (which are very $$$) also provide incredible performance, and he could make a super-performance, long range, very expensive EV which could compete price-wise with other super-performance, very expensive cars. And then actually doing it.

But I question if the average driver will benefit from his work. The thing, the big RED X, standing between the average driver and an EV is battery cost/performance. Always has been (there were EVs in the 1900's and 1910's). The rest of the work in producing EVs is just basic engineering, most of which is pretty well understood. There are at least a dozen different car companies with that capability. They just need a superior battery. And battery tech is driven by an array of markets, EVs are small potatoes in that market.

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Old 05-27-2013, 12:46 PM   #129
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As a sports car driver, the Tesla is great because it demonstrates performance cars can still exist in a world of 40+ MPG CAFE standards. Though I suppose MPGe standards are in our future as well.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:02 PM   #130
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But I question if the average driver will benefit from his work. The thing, the big RED X, standing between the average driver and an EV is battery cost/performance. Always has been (there were EVs in the 1900's and 1910's). The rest of the work in producing EVs is just basic engineering, most of which is pretty well understood. There are at least a dozen different car companies with that capability. They just need a superior battery. And battery tech is driven by an array of markets, EVs are small potatoes in that market.

-ERD50

The one commonality among the glowing reviews is this a great car period, that just happens to have an electric motor. Consumer Report said it would get 110 if you could go to a gas station and refill it in 4 minutes. If you listen to this podcast of the Consumer Reports engineers gush about this car, they constantly comeback to liberating experience of starting with a fresh slate.
For instance, why do you need to a start button, if you put the car in drive or reverse it is pretty obvious you want the car to start, so why not just do it.

Lots of new cars have fancy touchscreens. The Tesla's just works. In the same way that the Mac/iPod/iPhone interfaces were all widely copied, I expect to see the same from car manufactures.

Finally the car is software upgradable via the cloud. Why the heck do I need to waste hours driving my car to a dealer, getting a ride etc, just to fix a bug in the engine control firmware, when it can be updated overnight like my computer? Sure eventually maybe some a major manufacturer would have figured that, but even if they did fears off pissing of the dealers might have nixed it ever being implemented. In several years it will be commonplace saving many hours even for non-Tesla owners.

Bob Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit, admonished folks "Don't be encumbered by history go off and do something wonderful." Unencumbered, the folks at Tesla did just that.
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Old 05-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #131
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The one commonality among the glowing reviews is this a great car period, that just happens to have an electric motor. Consumer Report said it would get 110 if you could go to a gas station and refill it in 4 minutes. If you listen to this podcast of the Consumer Reports engineers gush about this car, they constantly comeback to liberating experience of starting with a fresh slate.
For instance, why do you need to a start button, if you put the car in drive or reverse it is pretty obvious you want the car to start, so why not just do it.

Lots of new cars have fancy touchscreens. The Tesla's just works. In the same way that the Mac/iPod/iPhone interfaces were all widely copied, I expect to see the same from car manufactures.

Finally the car is software upgradable via the cloud. Why the heck do I need to waste hours driving my car to a dealer, getting a ride etc, just to fix a bug in the engine control firmware, when it can be updated overnight like my computer? Sure eventually maybe some a major manufacturer would have figured that, but even if they did fears off pissing of the dealers might have nixed it ever being implemented. In several years it will be commonplace saving many hours even for non-Tesla owners.

Bob Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit, admonished folks "Don't be encumbered by history go off and do something wonderful." Unencumbered, the folks at Tesla did just that.
OK, so this was in the context of ushering in the "Silicon Valley" approach to an old nuts-and-bolts industry mentality - that I agree with.

And I recently ran into this firmware upgrade issue. DD has a used 2010 Nissan Altima, and they issued an extended warranty on the CVT drive system. She started having intermittent problems, and long-story-short, they wanted ~ $100 just to check if the FW was up-to-date, even though the service guy said it might be related to the problem (I thought there was an extended warranty?). I might still fight this, but why can't I just download the FW to a USB stick and upgrade it myself?

Bob Noyce, ... that brings back some memories. I recall when you could look at the entire schematic of an IC (maybe a dozen or two transistors)and follow the entire circuit function. Now you can barely follow a block diagram they can be so complex.

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Old 05-28-2013, 11:34 AM   #132
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I agree that the Tesla is still a rich man's car and that the Federal subsidy cannot be justified. OTOH, if one owns a Tesla I am glad for you. Please enjoy it and feel free to keep us up to date on what you think of the car. I would also be interested in knowing what you think of Tesla's service and after sales support.

The importance of Tesla is not that everybody in the Western world will soon be driving $60,000+ electric cars, while we drive the oil rich countries to the poor house. Tesla is important because it shows that the spirit of new ideas, innovation and improvement is still alive and doing well in the USA. It shows that do not have to be held hostage to what is happening in the world, sitting on our behinds and just letting it happen to us, for better or worse. We can take control of some things and build our own future.

As the electric car matures it will get better. A more mature technology continues to improve. My best example is a hybrid car I recently purchased. It gets about 20% more mpg than the previous year's model. That is quite an accomplishment in my opinion. And it does it all with no loss of power, comfort, safety, features, etc, that I can detect. Obviously, the engineers have learned a lot about how to improve the technology and how it is implemented in the vehicle.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:38 PM   #133
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...Tesla is important because it shows that the spirit of new ideas, innovation and improvement is still alive and doing well in the USA. ...
I agree that some of clifp's comments and the video he linked back that up. But it does seem that a lot of that innovation that impressed people is separate from the car being an EV - they were simply fresh, innovative ways to look at a vehicle. That's all good.

Before I tackle your next comment, a little background...

I've always been interested in technology. Since before I had a driver's license I hoped to be owning/driving an EV in the near future. The advantages seemed fantastic. Back then, you had to clean/replace and gap spark plugs; set the gap, timing and dwell on 'points'; and change the oil ~ 3x as often as today. And the moment you drove the car out of the driveway, that 'tune-up' was degrading little by little as you drove. And some of the emissions were hundreds to thousands of times worse than today's cars. An EV threw all that out the window! I couldn't wait!

But every year, the wait seemed to get pushed out another year. I'm still waiting for it to be something I am willing to buy. I'm disappointed.


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As the electric car matures it will get better. A more mature technology continues to improve. My best example is a hybrid car I recently purchased. It gets about 20% more mpg than the previous year's model. ...
The reality is - this is working against EVs. Motors, controllers and the charge/discharge cycle of batteries are already very efficient (in the 90% eff range). There just isn't that much eff% improvement that can be made.

They can be made smaller, lighter, cheaper; and that will help EVs. I don't know how much more range an EV would get if the battery was half the weight - significant I would guess, but probably not a huge amount. So there is only so much improvement available, before we hit physical limits.

But the ICE is still progressing. I've been reading lately about adaptations to utilize an added power stroke. Here's a link for one, no new mfg techniques, nothing different for the driver - the engine just utilizes some of the heat for an added power stroke with an added piston driven by the exhaust heat of two other traditional power pistons. Extracting more heat also means smaller radiators, fans, etc. And there is the 'free piston' design, and other power sources (turbines, stirlings?)that may work better for a serial hybrid like the basic Chevy Volt design. With a serial hybrid, it's possible to have the power source run at a constant power mode, which can be more efficient than our engines which need to go fast, slow, idle, and accelerate.

Bottom line, the EV has to compete against other alternative vehicles, and as you have shown, the goal line keeps moving. I am not optimistic that EVs are going to be any significant % of sales (I'm talking 10~15%) in the next 10-20 years. And even at 10%, if the emission benefit is marginal, multiply that by 0.1 of the vehicle population, and it becomes pretty insignificant. I think improving the entire fleet by a small % will have better return. I esp would encourage efforts to reduce the miles we drive (more tele-commuting, more efficient traffic, more car-pooling) - a person/mile not driven needs no power at all.

If we can get batteries down in size to the point that I can drive 200~250 miles, pull into a 'swap station', and easily swap my battery packs with charged ones in the time it takes to fill up now (and no one cares if the pack is new/old, they are commodities), and those stations were all around, that could change things. But it's all about the batteries. Everything else is engineering that can be worked out in short order, once the demand is there if/when these batteries are available.

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Old 05-28-2013, 06:27 PM   #134
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I have been spending a fair amount of time recently reading the Tesla forum (restricted to those who've put down the $5K deposit). There is not surprisingly a ton of cheerleading for EVs in the forum. Although I'd say that the forum has more car guys, than green guys.

Right now people are starting to collect data on the KWH per mile on the 60 KWH cars vs the 85 KWH cars. Evidently the 60KWH battery pack weighs about 150 KG less than the 85KHW pack, and generates less heat so it is a more efficient. I don't claim to understand the physics but intuitively there has been a lot less $ spent improving EV cars than ICE cars over the last century, so I'd expect faster rate of improvement on EVs than ICE over the next decade.

Regarding battery replacement, the Israel companies "A better place" just went out of business. It is business model was to offer battery swapping. Unfortunately they only could convince Renault to adopt their battery standards. Interesting two of the smartest woman I knew at Intel worked there for a while, (one of the woman left to become the Solyndra VP of Marketing :-( )

Personally, I think the Tesla supercharging is really the right technology to make EV more practical. You get about 150 miles of charging in 30 minutes. So the ratio of driving to charging is about 5 to 1. Since some of the time will be used to grab a bite to eat it is not totally wasted time. So on 450 mile trip you'd need to stop twice with your EV and spent 1 to 1.5 hours vs once with an ICE for 1/2 or less if you just grab a drive through lunch.

The trick is to get enough of these supercharging stations. Some of the speculation is that Tesla will increase supercharging 100 to 200, due to the stock sales. I hope that Tesla partners with Toyota and/or Mercedes to build a 1,000, which would cover most of country.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:35 PM   #135
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I have been spending a fair amount of time recently reading the Tesla forum (restricted to those who've put down the $5K deposit). There is not surprisingly a ton of cheerleading for EVs in the forum. Although I'd say that the forum has more car guys, than green guys.
I came across this forum which is open to all (at least for reading, I didn't try to sign up or post):

Tesla Motors Forum

Some interesting discussions.


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... I don't claim to understand the physics but intuitively there has been a lot less $ spent improving EV cars than ICE cars over the last century, so I'd expect faster rate of improvement on EVs than ICE over the next decade. ...
It's the batteries that are the prime limiting factor for EVs. So I'd say it isn't so important where EVs and ICE/hybrid cars are on the learning curve. A better measure would be where are batteries on the learning curve, compared to ICE/hybrid cars. And batteries have been around a long, long time. And there are tons of $$$ being thrown at battery development, as it is important to all our portable devices, the military, etc. That's a huge market. And the important parameters for those devices match closely with an EV, you just use more of them, so those developments are very applicable.

And hybrids will benefit from battery tech as well (but to a lesser extent).



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Personally, I think the Tesla supercharging is really the right technology to make EV more practical. You get about 150 miles of charging in 30 minutes.
Perhaps, but one issue with this is these will often be charged during the day, negating some of the benefit of EVs charging overnight when the grid is underutilized.

And that is a fair amount of infrastructure to add (ICE/hybrids already have their infrastructure in place). Getting back to my earlier point that EVs have fairly minor (if any, depending on the grid power) eco-benefits over a high-mpg hybrid, is all this worth it? Why 'push it' with subsidies and a bunch of added infrastructure now? Why not wait until batteries get better and cheaper, and see where that takes us? Maybe those super-charge stations won't be needed, or would be different, or the swap system works in the future? In the mean time, if a company like Tesla can find customers who like the combination of power and other features, and can deal with the range issues, that's great. But I just can't see trying to push EVs beyond whatever market they fit at the time.

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Old 05-29-2013, 09:01 AM   #136
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EVs are already driving largely for free on the highways maintained and built using fuel taxes paid by others. Yes, there are local efforts to fix this, but nothing comprehensive. I'd be in favor of getting that funding stream online from the EV drivers before we start talking about gummint funds for EV recharging stations.

For EV drivers that need to occasionally go farther in a day than their batteries will take them, a rental car might make sense. Or, an add-on IC generator (trailer, on the trunk lid, etc) that provides the juice. That's got to cost less and provide more flexibility than building purpose-built fixed sites for the relative handful of these things now on the roads. When there are more of these vehicles, the market will be there for fixed fast recharge/battery swap sites.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:46 AM   #137
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........ Or, an add-on IC generator (trailer, on the trunk lid, etc) that provides the juice..... .
We should suggest this to GM for their electric car.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:57 PM   #138
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We should suggest this to GM for their electric car.
The Chevy Volt ls not a pure electric vehicle in so much as it also has a small gasoline engine that is only used to recharge the battery. So the range really is unlimited (?) or at least to the next gas station. I guess the design is to get you to and from a destination of more than the Volt's electric range (70 miles?). You would think that GM has the ability to have a battery with higher range. Wonder what their thinking is? For one, I'm sure, they want to keep the cost in the reasonable range.

By the way, I posted a couple days ago that I wasn't a big fan of Consumers Report but I did receive my latest copy of the report yesterday. The article was more of a report than a test but they "compared" the Leaf, Tesla S, Prius, Benz Diesel, Infiniti hybrid and a Porsche Panamera and that is the order in which they finished on cost per mile to drive. CR didn't mention why the Volt was not included in the test.
The title of the report was "Luxury Cars, Tesla Model S, earns top test scores". The Leaf and Prius certainly are not luxury cars. Don't understand the test as the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid was tested but not included in the report findings. Anyway, the article was more of a report on the Tesla itself. Kudos to Elon Musk and his company for bringing such a great vehicle to the market in what I think is a short period of time.

Also, in the local paper today was an article about Tesla stock moving up to $110/share. It also mentioned the company's plan to announce an expansion of its charger network. This subject was mentioned in a couple posts. FYI, that article was a reprint from Bloomgerg News.

What is the waiting period now from time of order to delivery?
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:23 PM   #139
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The Chevy Volt ls not a pure electric vehicle in so much as it also has a small gasoline engine that is only used to recharge the battery...........
So I've heard.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:04 PM   #140
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post

What is the waiting period now from time of order to delivery?
Good question. I reserved my order 12/31, and would be getting in next week if I lived in the mainland. I understand backlogs are down because the production is ramping up fairly quickly. My guess is 3 to 4 months based on what I am reading on the Tesla forums.

BTW, some pretty notorious LYBM types are getting a Tesla. Howard Clark who has a Money show, kinda of like Suze Orman, on CNN, bought why.

Here is how he justified it.
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