Last night Tesla hosted an event where they formally announced their Tesla Semi. Which can achieve a range of at least 500 miles on a single charge, and can charge to 400 miles of range in 30 minutes. It's impressive stuff and offers the most range out of any of their - at that moment - current line up of vehicles. I was impressed by 500 miles but equally curious as to how large the battery must be to achieve that on a vehicle pulling 80,000 pounds.

But that changed.

At the end of the event Tesla surprised us with the new Tesla Roadster. It's a pretty insane car, where Tesla claims it reaches 60mph from a standing start in 1.9s. Which, if true makes it faster than six figure cars and even some Formula 1 cars. However, it's worth noting this page may not be up-to-date as there's no "Last Updated" or "Published" date associated it with it, but judging by the oldest date it seems this article may be current as of 2014 to 2015. It just says that typical F1 cars have been recording going 0-60 in 1.7s but most modern day F1 cars are between 2.1 and 2.7. Which, again, if it's current then even the Tesla Model S P100D has just as fast acceleration as your average F1.

But what's more surprising is the range. A projected 620 miles, or as Musk put it: Going from Los Angeles, to San Francisco, then back to Los Angeles on a single charge. Which is nuts. My gasoline car, a 2008 Volkswagen Golf can get around 430 miles on a single tank of gas if I were to stay on the highway the entire time. (Yes, that's from experience). When I bought this car in 2013 I told myself I'll have this car for 10 years and that my next car would be electric. At the time electric cars were a weak figure in the car world and hybrids dominated the EV category by legal definition. That's still true today. Outside of Tesla electric cars only have ranges of 60 miles and are this ugly facade, as if it tell everyone you're driving a real electric vehicle. It's not looking well for electric cars today.

On top of the range, there's another challenge that I feel will hold back the widespread adoption of electric cars: the plug. Yes, there are charging stations every where and they're popping up with increased frequency. But it doesn't solve this issue that there are multiple types of plugs. Yeah, there are adapters so you can plug in at a variety of chargers but until it's as convenient as putting gas in a combustion vehicle, electric vehicles won't take off. I want the plug to be standardized; that's when I expect gas stations to put in 2 or 3 charging stations at each location. When you know, as an EV driver, that every gas station will have EV plugs will drivers forget about range anxiety.

But, we also have charge times. My average duration at a gas station is about 5 minutes. I pump the gas, clean my front and rear windshield, maybe check my oil level. Sometimes the pump finishes before I've made my rounds. Which is fine. With a combustion car I also need to fill the tank each time. I could get by filling it up to a quarter, or even half a tank. But I'll need to visit another gas station pretty soon. That's not the case with an EV. I can do a quick charge at a gas station to add a decent amount of range in a matter of minutes, then continue on my way. I can finish the charge when I get to work or when I get home. When I get to the mall to shop or when I get to the restaurant for dinner. I can charge in the very stall I park in. Combustion cars don't have that luxury. On top of that, the only EV's that would generally require charging would be those on road trips, as a 600 mile range would get me through at least 4 weeks of driving to and from work, perhaps I'd plug in at home every weekend. I would literally have zero reasons to charge at a gas station or at a destination unless I was on a road trip.

I don't need a 0-60 speed of 1.9s. I don't need a top speed above 250MPH. I don't necessarily want a Tesla. But I do need that range. Here's hoping automakers start competing. I want to see Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and all the others to bring affordable long range EVs to the market in 2020. The Tesla Model 3 is a start but it's the only affordable option. $35,000 for 300 miles of range. The Tesla Roadster 2.0 is $200,000 for 620 miles of range BUT you get those crazy numbers. I don't need those numbers. Just put that battery pack in something like a Model 3 and I'll be so happy.

Who knows what can happen over the next 2-3 years and what other vehicles will be available when the Roadster enters production in 2020. Heck, even in 6-7 years from now when I start to get to the end of the ten year mark with my Golf.

Is there anything you like about EVs? Anything you dislike? What advancements to EVs would you like to see over the next 10 years? If you are hoping to buy a car in the next few years, are you planning to get an EV or a gasoline car?
Alex wrote:
It's a pretty insane car, where Tesla claims it reaches 60mph from a standing start in 1.9s.


That is not really hard to do with electric motors, given the torque/rpm curve of electric motors vs. combustion engines. Electric motors can deliver their maximum torque at 0rpm.

Alex wrote:
What advancements to EVs would you like to see over the next 10 years?


Range. However, batteries aren't really a new research topics. Tesla gets its range by simply stuffing a big battery in the car, something other carmakers have just been reluctant to do (possibly because they are trying to fit the battery inside a chassis meant for an ICE, while Tesla can design their chassis around the battery).

430 miles on a tank of gas at US highway speeds sounds pretty low (might be because everything is expected to run on regular over there, whereas VW designs their downsized engines for higher fuel grades). I'm expecting at least 600 for my new car (VW Touran, European model), and if that doesn't happen, I intend to complain.
CtrlEng wrote:
430 miles on a tank of gas at US highway speeds sounds pretty low (might be because everything is expected to run on regular over there, whereas VW designs their downsized engines for higher fuel grades). I'm expecting at least 600 for my new car (VW Touran, European model), and if that doesn't happen, I intend to complain.
That's on the high end of typical for US vehicles, and my (entirely unsupported) understanding is that manufacturers tend to size the fuel tank to achieve 300-400 mile range.

I was skeptical of your claim of significantly longer range in Europe, but that seems consistent with how the fuel efficiency standards compare, assuming similar fuel capacity:

(I found this chart in a comparative study commissioned by the EU parliament.)
Tari wrote:
I was skeptical of your claim of significantly longer range in Europe, but that seems consistent with how the fuel efficiency standards compare, assuming similar fuel capacity:


Basically everything in Europe runs on premium gasoline (some countries have phased out regular gasoline altogether), while in the US everything is expected to run on regular and vehicles requiring premium gasoline are the exception.

I can see that the concept of downsized, small displacement engines with two dozen turbo- and superchargers bolted on requires higher-grade fuels.

My 2004 Touran gets 650-700 miles per tank, but it's a dirty old Diesel (but it's legit - from before they used the emissions cheating software).
I noticed the talk a couple days ago, and as expected, the plan seems very ambitious at best. I'd been keeping up with the model 3 production rates, which crawled along well below their expected levels, and the first thing I thought when I saw the talk was "ok, but what about what is going on right now...". I guess I wasn't the only one, because I am seeing all sorts of articles pop up about how Musk is trying to "Distract from Model 3 production problems". He didn't mention anything at all about the model 3 production.
What he did talk about was very nice though, he claimed that the new semi would outperform conventional semis by having similar range, being virtually impossible to tip over, costing about the same upfront, obviously being electric, etc. Which I find a little hard to believe since it is still in such early stages of development (They are set to begin shipping them out in 2019). Of course, if those "goals" are met, it would make a significant difference in the trucking industry, and it seems some companies have already started putting some eggs in that basked...
The roadster seems like a weird thing to be announcing now, basically, they want you to pay 250k right now to get a roadster in 2020?? Even to someone who has a lot of money, I'm sure this doesn't sound very appealing. Granted, the numbers he announced were nothing less than amazing, but the car is only going to begin shipping in 2-3 years... I'm sure some millionaires will be willing to make the investment, and this might be what Musk is bidding on, but it looks weird nonetheless.
As for the mileage being better in the EU, this is hardly surprising given that Americans drive much larger vehicles on average
Quote:
[...]larger vehicles accounted for 63 percent of total US sales in 2013. Meanwhile, large vehicles only accounted for 25.4 percent of all vehicles sold outside the US during the same year.

And, diesel cars are much more popular in Europe than they are in America, which also surely contributes a little chunk.

Anyways, I'm not buying an EV yet because as of right now, I think the wiser choice is to do just what Alex did, which is buy a gas car for now, and have another look when it's time to change that one.
mr womp womp wrote:
He didn't mention anything at all about the model 3 production.


Because it wasn't a Model 3 Production Update Event. That's like expecting Apple and Google to talk about issues with current line up at an iPhone Launch Event and I/O respectively. They're there to announce their new products and nothing else. The Tesla Semi event was no different. However, I too have reservations about Tesla being able to scale production of the Semi and Roadster. Let's hope they can solve this problem before then.

Quote:
The roadster seems like a weird thing to be announcing now, basically, they want you to pay 250k right now to get a roadster in 2020??


While you're not wrong, it's actually a $50k deposit (and a $200k price tag) on the standard Roadster but if you want the Founders Edition, then you need to pay the full $250k price tag when you reserve it.

Quote:
Granted, the numbers he announced were nothing less than amazing, but the car is only going to begin shipping in 2-3 years... I'm sure some millionaires will be willing to make the investment, and this might be what Musk is bidding on, but it looks weird nonetheless.


That's exactly who these cars sell to. With performance comes price. Tesla is luxury car brand, just like Ferrari, Bugatti, Porsche, etc. A 2015 Ferrari 488GTB goes 0-60 in 3 seconds and sells for ~$270k. A 2017 Bugatti Chiron can do the 0-60 in 2.3 seconds and it's a $3,000,000 dollar car. That's 7 digits. A Tesla Roadster 2.0 can beat it with a 6 digit price tag and at a lower cost than the Ferrari 488.

Also, cars are never an investment. Of course there are cars that do go up in value but if you look at cars as an investment, you're going to be be disappointed. I didn't buy my car new and I can't find historical pricing for it, but a similar VW Golf today runs for $22k. I'm sure there are a few factory upgrades on this thing (heated seats for one) so let's say it was around $25k. I bought my car for $12k in 2013 and today, in 2017 is worth around $6k. So it seems to lose half it's value every 4-5 years. It's not a car I expect to go up in value because it'll deemed a "classic."

Quote:
Anyways, I'm not buying an EV yet because as of right now, I think the wiser choice is to do just what Alex did, which is buy a gas car for now, and have another look when it's time to change that one.


Yup! I love getting excited for electric cars and technology today because it'll be so much better in the next decade. I love dreaming and imagining where the tech could go. Maybe consumer solar panels will see a drastic increase in efficiency and we'll start to see them on cars. Now charging is a thing of the past because you can get a charge from anywhere. That's not something I expect to happen in a decade, maybe 2-3 decades, but it's really exciting!
_iPhoenix_ gave us some food for thought:
Alex wrote:
Is there anything you like about EVs? Anything you dislike? What advancements to EVs would you like to see over the next 10 years? If you are hoping to buy a car in the next few years, are you planning to get an EV or a gasoline car?


I enjoy the fact that EVs generally produce fewer GHG emissions than ICE cars, but I don't particularly care for the way this has been presented to the public. Labeling electric vehicles as "Zero Emissions" distracts from the fact the the production of the electricity usually results in greenhouse gas emissions and the emission of other pollutants like nitrogen oxides and mercury. In order for EVs to truly be zero-emissions, the electricity must come from renewable sources.

However, renewable energy production also has some downsides: land use, habitat destruction, low reliability/capacity factor, visual impact, etc. I do see that Tesla is trying to address these challenges with their energy products (solar roof and powerwall), but it is still going to be more cost effective and profitable to build large commercial wind and solar farms.

A while back, I created a topic called "Fake Green Technologies" which was intended to highlight some of these issues. I don't mean to say that a transition to EVs won't have a positive environmental impact, I just think that the real impact is much less than people are led to believe.

It is my belief that we should focus more on solving the root societal causes of the problem, instead of making it every individual's responsibility to make environmentally responsible choices. I grew up in SW Washington State, where everything I needed was only a short walk away from my house. For the past few years I have been in Arizona, where it takes over 30 minutes to walk to the nearest store (Walmart) and even longer to get somewhere else. The bus service is infrequent, and bicycle infrastructure is incomplete. This basically leaves people with little choice but to purchase a car and drive everywhere they need to go.

Buying a Tesla (or any other EV) does not reduce the number of cars on the road, it does not make cities and suburbs more walkable, it does not improve the quality of public transit. Until we address these issues, the environmental damage caused by driving will only increase as the population and miles driven continues to rise.

I do acknowledge that the EVs generally do result in less pollution per distance driven, can reduce smog in cities, and that the cost of the energy and maintenance is also lower.

Here are some articles:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-cars-are-not-necessarily-clean/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/nyregion/new-york-today-how-did-the-subways-get-so-bad.html?_r=0
I can attest that most people's ignorance in US society stems from the "it's a free country, you can't stop me" mentality. As long as people keep this on (and corporations continue to feast and capitalize on the mentality), then consumption, not the environment, will be in the mind of the American.
jonbush wrote:
However, renewable energy production also has some downsides: land use, habitat destruction, low reliability/capacity factor, visual impact, etc. I do see that Tesla is trying to address these challenges with their energy products (solar roof and powerwall), but it is still going to be more cost effective and profitable to build large commercial wind and solar farms.


Perhaps if it were privatized. I'd love for a city government to embrace renewables. Set aside money to invest in these technologies. There are lots of unused city-owned space, I'm not talking about land. I'm talking about poles for street light and stop lights, and perhaps other things. Put a vertical axis wind turbine on top of each. They don't got to be huge, like those in the wikipedia link, but one on top of each pole in a city could maybe generate enough power to keep the street & stop lights on. That's of course assuming the lights use LED and other energy efficient technology.

But yes, renewable energies do cause habitat destruction. It'll be a few years before a technology, such as solar, is efficient enough to use smaller amounts of land. Until then stuff like the Solar Roof entirely viable. Much like a city using wind turbines a top poles, neighborhoods could have a network of solar panels on top of their roofs. So that if a certain residence isn't generating enough electricity (such as being in the shade), the neighbors can pitch in.

There's also tons of unused potential in parking lots. Quite a few businesses are figuring out all the wasted energy that parking lots soak up, so they're installing solar panels about 12-20 feet above the ground. It's a win-win: Provides shade to the vehicles, provides energy to the business. As solar panels get cheaper and more efficient, private businesses (such as malls) could erect solar panels over the entirety of their lot, they could power the massive building AND sell that power to the city.

To tie this into the topic. Electric cars are the big player in all this. They'll likely drive the transition into renewables. As batteries can store more power1, and thus more range, people may start to wonder how long their homes could be powered with a similar battery. People will start to be less dependent on gas stations and more dependent on charging stations and since there's no big infrastructure related to charging an EV, they'll want those charge points at their destinations. For example, a mall could construct solar panels over their parking lots then provide charging plugs at each parking space. It'd be expensive, sure, and there's unlikely to be enough energy to charge every car but that's okay. People are at malls for hours and probably not everyone will need to charge. Everywhere I go is largely within 20 miles. Let's assume I have the 200kWh battery in the Tesla Roadster and the 620 mile range along with the infrastructure to charge at most locations:

  • 15 miles to work. Top off the charge at work.
  • 15 miles to home. Top off the charge at home.
  • 6 miles to the mall. Top off the charge at the mall.
  • 8 miles to dinner. Running late so I won't take the time to charge.
  • 2 miles home. Top off the charge at home.
Realistically, a majority of EV drivers probably won't be charging a full 200kWh battery anyways.
Realistically, an EV with 60 miles of range is more than enough for a majority of drivers.
Solar power grids at malls and stuff could realistically handle these types of charges en masse. That's a charge that can take 2-3 hours for all I care. I'm hardly in a mall for an hour, so if it takes 2 hours to recharge the 6 miles I drove, so be it. They'll definitely be greedy and require payment for drivers to charge but it's still less than gas.

But, having that range of 620 miles is so nice. I can elect to forgo charging. If I want to go on a road trip I don't need to stop and find charging locations every 50 miles. And that's what a lot of people are unequivocally concerned about: Going from a car that can go ~300 miles to a car that can go ~60. Regardless if it's an EV or gas. No one would buy a gas car that get's 60 miles per tank, so why would anyone buy an EV that gets 602?

1) 200kWh will always be 200kWh but battery sizes shrink. For example, the Roadster is smaller than the Model S and Model X, yet it has twice the battery size. Both the S & X can fit 100kWh batteries. Imagine the same size battery that the the S & X have now but at the density of the Roadster, that'd maybe be a 300kWh battery? So, about 900 miles of range?

2) Granted, people do buy EVs with 60 miles of range. But those are likely people who have a gas car as well. They have a low range EV for commuting and around-the-town errands and a gas car for anything longer and farther. But, I'm talking about the people who can realistically have one car. They'll likely buy a gas car over an EV because that one car has a lot more potential. I know because I thought about it. If I had gone with an EV, I wouldn't have been able to drive to San Diego in a day, or to an event 40 miles away without researching where the nearest EV station was.


Quote:
For the past few years I have been in Arizona, where it takes over 30 minutes to walk to the nearest store (Walmart) and even longer to get somewhere else. The bus service is infrequent, and bicycle infrastructure is incomplete. This basically leaves people with little choice but to purchase a car and drive everywhere they need to go.

[...]

Buying a Tesla (or any other EV) does not reduce the number of cars on the road, it does not make cities and suburbs more walkable, it does not improve the quality of public transit. Until we address these issues, the environmental damage caused by driving will only increase as the population and miles driven continues to rise.


I think this is the biggest market for EVs. As we're seeing in Chandler, AZ Waymo has driverless cars to pick up residents. Uber just ordered 24,000 Volvos for a driverless fleet. Granted, these are all gas powered but this transition is happening. Pretty soon ride-hailing services will be as simple as requesting a driverless car. They'll probably be compact so the service provider can have a stash of them tucked away somewhere, ready to be dispatched when requested. Now, not only are taxi's being threatened by ride-sharing but now public transit is starting to be threatened. When Driverless EV's happen, I bet it'll be so cheap. Uber is expensive compared to public transit because you're the sole rider, public transit can subsidize the cost across every rider/passenger that takes the bus. However, a Driverless EV won't need expensive gas or an expensive driver. So all the sudden, these ride hailing services can offer faster and more localized transportation much cheaper than public transit. The bus stop at work is about half mile away, a driverless EV can drop me off at the door.

As a driver, I would seriously consider this if it cost me $7-10 to get to work. Uber would cost me between $26 to $37. Lyft would be ~$30. Right now, it costs me about $2 to get to work, and another $2 to get home. Just in gas. Once I factor in insurance, routine maintenance, and other stuff, it's probably an additional $3 a day3. Still, I'd be paying more than if I drove but it'd be worth it. I could get work done while the driverless EV takes me to work, it's technically be a net gain for me.

It'd be faster than public transit too: Public Transit would take 2.5 hours and cost maybe $5-10? Driving, whether with Uber/Lyft or myself, takes about 30-45 minutes. So, when Driverless EVs take off, and if the service is insanely cheap, many folks will probably refrain from buying cars altogether.

3) Worth noting here that my car is paid off. If I had a monthly payment, it'd be another $6 a day. So instead of $7 a day to drive, it'd be $13. I also had a pretty low payment because I financed less of the car and had a lower interest rate. Payments can be as high as $400. Which ~$13 a day and insurance can certainly be higher than I pay based on various factors. It could easily be $30+ a day to own a car. That's not even factoring in the maintenance and gas costs.
  
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