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More on the Tesla electric car
Old 03-28-2012, 04:43 AM   #1
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More on the Tesla electric car

This article updates us on what is happening with the Tesla electric car - in particular the Model S. It also notes that Tesla took advantage of the recent problems in the auto industry to buy equipment for pennies on the dollar. However, the $7500 tax credit for people to buy electric cars does not sit well with me.

Tesla Takes Luxurious Route to the Electric Car - WSJ.com

Also interesting are the comments on the Volt and the Leaf.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:07 AM   #2
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Nice article, one of the better ones I have seen in a while, thanks

Not a big fan of subsidies myself. But while the government is subsidizing other private businesses I am not going to get bent out of shape over any single subsidy more than others.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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As far as the subsidies go, it's true, but if you think of all the subsidies the gas-powered car received in the last 75 years or so (gas taxes don't pay for it all)....
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Not a big fan of subsidies myself. But while the government is subsidizing other private businesses I am not going to get bent out of shape over any single subsidy more than others.
But since you are a fan of EVs, and want to see wider adoption, you should get bent out of shape over this subsidy.

1) It casts a negative light on EVS - others can (and do) use it as a target and an example of why EVS can't 'make it on their own merits', etc.

2) Subsidies can actually slow adoption.

3) It is a lost opportunity - I would think you would/should be upset about this. Let's focus on this one:

I can't imagine that a single Tesla Roadster owner made a go/no-go decision based on a $7,500 rebate for a $109,000 car. If a few did, I'm sure there were other buyers in line to replace them. So that is (roughly) 2,000 * $7,500 = $15 million dollars in lost opportunity to date. Money that didn't do squat to promote EVs, but just handed out to rich people buying rich people toys. If we were to subsidize the EV industry, wouldn't it make a LOT more sense to invest $15 million directly into battery research? Battery performance is the big RED X, not whether a manufacturer makes a few incremental sales because of a rebate.

The Model S is in a $57-$98,000 price range. Again, not exactly the area where the typical buyer is looking through his/her bank account to see if they can scrape up that last $7,500. More lost opportunuity.

If anything, Tesla should be able to offer the subsidy as needed, and reserve the 250,000 unit limit to use later. If/when they come out with a $30,000 model, well then a $7,500 subsidy could actually affect sales in a meaningful way. They might use up their subsidy before they reach that price point. But for people buying the car largely to make a statement, or just because they want one for the technology, I don't think $7,500 is a deal maker or breaker. It's a gift.

to ziggy's comments: two wrongs don't make a right. And let's not forget that EVs won't be paying those gas taxes to support the roads they drive on. Another gift.


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Old 03-28-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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As far as the subsidies go, it's true, but if you think of all the subsidies the gas-powered car received in the last 75 years or so (gas taxes don't pay for it all)... deductions people happily and without question take for their mortgage interest every year it's a drop in the tax bucket
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
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deductions people happily and without question take for their mortgage interest every year it's a drop in the tax bucket

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I can only speak for myself, but I don't take the mortgage deduction w/o question, and I'd be happy to see it eliminated if it was part of a sweeping simplification of tax code.

and

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #7
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And let's not forget that EVs won't be paying those gas taxes to support the roads they drive on. Another gift.
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Legislatures have already brought that up in my home state. They are considering adding an extra fee to the the license fees paid by an electric car. IMHO, this is only fair.

My other thought is that electric cars only make environmental sense if there is plenty of extra electricity production capacity from relatively non-polluting sources. If the local utility has to build another coal fired plant to charge all the electric cars, we may be defeating the purpose of them.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:26 PM   #8
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Legislatures have already brought that up in my home state. They are considering adding an extra fee to the the license fees paid by an electric car. IMHO, this is only fair.

My other thought is that electric cars only make environmental sense if there is plenty of extra electricity production capacity from relatively non-polluting sources. If the local utility has to build another coal fired plant to charge all the electric cars, we may be defeating the purpose of them.
Well, we have hashed out the coal issues on other threads, so I don't think I want to re-hash it here. But a thought did cross my mind today, so I will share it here:

A) An EV, which uses electricity generated by a variety of sources ( ~ 49% coal on average in the US) is referred to as 'Zero Pollution'.

B) An incandescent light bulb, which uses electricity generated by a variety of sources ( ~ 49% coal on average) is referred to in derogatory terms.

How can that be? The electricity doesn't create any pollution when powering an EV, but is the devils work if it lights my closet one minute a week?

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:17 PM   #9
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But a thought did cross my mind today, so I will share it here:

A) An EV, which uses electricity generated by a variety of sources ( ~ 49% coal on average in the US) is referred to as 'Zero Pollution'.

B) An incandescent light bulb, which uses electricity generated by a variety of sources ( ~ 49% coal on average) is referred to in derogatory terms.

How can that be? The electricity doesn't create any pollution when powering an EV, but is the devil's work if it lights my closet one minute a week?

-ERD50

I'm puzzled here, because you are a smart, thoughtful guy, yet the answer is obvious. Incandescents are vilified only because they consume significantly more energy for the same amount of light compared with CFLs. This is unrelated to your arguments against CFLs (subsidies, light quality, etc.).

If there were two otherwise-identical EVs, and one used five times as much energy, it would be referred to in derogatory terms, just as Hummers are.
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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I'm puzzled here, because you are a smart, thoughtful guy, yet the answer is obvious. Incandescents are vilified only because they consume significantly more energy for the same amount of light compared with CFLs. This is unrelated to your arguments against CFLs (subsidies, light quality, etc.).

If there were two otherwise-identical EVs, and one used five times as much energy, it would be referred to in derogatory terms, just as Hummers are.
Well, it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to make a point. The point being, if an EV is touted as "Zero Pollution", than a light bulb using the same energy source should also be called "Zero Pollution", right?

Now, a CFL may use 1/4 the energy of an incandescent, but what is 1/4 of ZERO?

And just to be clear, I do use CFLs in some high use sockets, where the light is OK for me, and that are not dimable circuits. I don't drive a hummer or an EV.

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Old 11-15-2012, 01:36 PM   #11
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I see that the Tesla Model S is the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2012.

Tesla Model S wins Motor Trend's Car of the Year. Are electric cars here to stay? - CSMonitor.com

I am not a big fan of the MT car of the year award. I don't think I have ever purchased one in my life. I must admit, though, to being very interested in what Consumer Reports will say about the Tesla Model S when they get around to testing it. Here is an article on their initial impressions. As always, wait for the FULL test report.

http://news.consumerreports.org/cars...very-myth.html
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:53 PM   #12
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... As always, wait for the FULL test report.

Tesla Model S - The electric car that shatters every myth
You wait, I will be enjoying the best driving experience I have ever had
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:40 PM   #13
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A 100 K car. No way I will ever have one. No matter how good they are. I bought a nice F 150 for 15 K. Leaving 85 K for gas, oil, maintenance and insurance. 50 K of gas would get me about 300 k miles. Longer than the truck would last.

I am sure its a great car but its not feasible for most people. Including me.
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Old 11-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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A 100 K car. No way I will ever have one. No matter how good they are. I bought a nice F 150 for 15 K. Leaving 85 K for gas, oil, maintenance and insurance. 50 K of gas would get me about 300 k miles. Longer than the truck would last.

I am sure its a great car but its not feasible for most people. Including me.
Oh sure, you can spend that much if you pay for one of the first 1200 signature editions with all the possible options including the performance version.
I am guessing more people will be buying the 57k model.

It's kind of funny. I would never buy a luxury sedan like a BMW, Mercedes, etc. but the drive experience really won me over. If one of those guys would build an EV I would consider it now.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:06 PM   #15
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Oh sure, you can spend that much if you pay for one of the first 1200 signature editions with all the possible options including the performance version.
I am guessing more people will be buying the 57k model.

It's kind of funny. I would never buy a luxury sedan like a BMW, Mercedes, etc. but the drive experience really won me over. If one of those guys would build an EV I would consider it now.
The max I have ever paid for a car is 16 K. For a new 2000 Honda Accord.
Drove it till it died.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:27 PM   #16
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The max I have ever paid for a car is 16 K. For a new 2000 Honda Accord.
Drove it till it died.
Tesla was very clever - they make luxury/performance class vehicles that sell for a high price, so they can 'bury' the high cost of the batteries at that price point.

I think it will be some time before we see a 200+ mile range EV at a Honda Accord price point. And who knows where competing technologies will be by then?

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Old 11-16-2012, 08:46 AM   #17
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The max I have ever paid for a car is 16 K. For a new 2000 Honda Accord.
Drove it till it died.
Which is wonderful, glad that has worked for you. I just wanted to make sure no one got the incorrect impression that the Model S was a "$100,000 car".
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:49 AM   #18
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Tesla was very clever - they make luxury/performance class vehicles that sell for a high price, so they can 'bury' the high cost of the batteries at that price point.

I think it will be some time before we see a 200+ mile range EV at a Honda Accord price point. And who knows where competing technologies will be by then?

-ERD50
The other thing Tesla did was to build a car that not only matched the other luxury cars out their, but in the drive experience far surpassed them

I look forward to competing technologies surpassing EVs for my driving needs. I don't see it happening, but more competition is good, so bring it on!
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:39 AM   #19
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Found an article on what happens if you let a Tesla battery go all the way dead. It must be replaced and it is not covered under warranty.


Could a bricked Tesla battery cost you $40,000? | ExtremeTech
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:48 AM   #20
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The other thing Tesla did was to build a car that not only matched the other luxury cars out their, but in the drive experience far surpassed them
I don't have enough experience with cars in that price range to have an opinion on that. We will see whether buyers in that price range agree in large numbers - though certainly the quietness and torque are attractions that you just can't get with any ICE.

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I look forward to competing technologies surpassing EVs for my driving needs. I don't see it happening, but more competition is good, so bring it on!
That's cool, but to me the larger question is whether EVs meet the needs of large numbers of drivers. Until they do reach big numbers, any environmental benefits (which I believe may be very marginal to possibly non-existent to begin with) are not even a drop in the bucket. Much ado about very little, IMO (environmental impact-wise). Though I do find the technology interesting, and I like to follow the advances.

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