Pharyngula

Sweet ride

i-499270ece32d8a60a5419a1b0bc35413-tesla_car.jpg

I want something like this. I think I’ll have to wait for the model that costs significantly less than $80,000 and is a bit more practically designed for Minnesota winters.

Comments

  1. #1 strait woman
    July 20, 2006

    No wonder you like that thing. It looks like an insect.

  2. #2 Steve_C
    July 20, 2006

    Damn I want one! I was just at the Tesla Motors site yesterday wondering what it looked like. They just have a countdown at the moment.

    I really want the Spinner from Bladerunner though.

  3. #3 ColinB
    July 20, 2006

    Yeah, 3.5 hours to charge fully, but laptop batteries are pretty notorious for wearing out, plus of course there’s always the hazard of them exploding… 🙂

    http://explodinglaptop.com/

    And what happens when you need to replace one or more of these thousands of batteries?

    Plus how much does it cost (in terms of resources etc) to produce these batteries? How about disposing of them?

    How about putting all that research money into drugs that make you feel thrilled by the acceleration of your local bus.

  4. #4 PZ Myers
    July 20, 2006

    Yeah, I’d worry about the way battery life declines with age, and the expense of replacing all of them.

    Actually, my ideal form of transportation would be if they’d restore a regular passenger train run from western Minnesota to Minneapolis, with a few stops along the way.

  5. #5 BruceH
    July 20, 2006

    But P.Z., if they do that (create effective mass transit) how ever will they justify endless miles of new highway construction? To whom will they sell cars and gasoline?

  6. #6 doink
    July 20, 2006

    I’m still patiently waiting for my plug-in flex fuel hybrid. 50 miles electric before it switches to gas. Any entrepeneurs out there, you already have a customer.

  7. #7 Steve_C
    July 20, 2006

    HSR! A country as big as this should have HSR. It’s lame we don’t.

  8. #9 BlueIndependent
    July 20, 2006

    QUOTE: “Yeah, I’d worry about the way battery life declines with age, and the expense of replacing all of them…”

    You may not have much to fear concerning battery technology in the future. A team of researchers at MIT came up with the idea of using carbon nanotubes to hold charges. They claim the benefits over current battery technology are greatly increased surface area for charging, virtually indefinite life span, and a charging time of mere minutes.

    Sounds too good to be true, completely anyways, but the nanotube revolution could finally save battery technology. They’re going to be attempting this nanotube technology in consumer electronics within a couple years.

    http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?type=article&article_id=218392803

  9. #10 quork
    July 20, 2006

    You may not have much to fear concerning battery technology in the future. A team of researchers at MIT came up with the idea of using carbon nanotubes to hold charges. They claim the benefits over current battery technology are greatly increased surface area for charging, virtually indefinite life span, and a charging time of mere minutes.

    I saw an article about that. Technically they would be capacitors, not batteries. Also, those are projections, not results.

    Still, he said, “It’s one thing to postulate it, but that’s a long way from being commercially viable and competitive in price.” Schindall says he hopes to have a finished example by the fall.

  10. #11 Jason
    July 20, 2006

    Since there are thousands of batteries, if one fails it doesn’t really matter. I think the quote from the company spokespan was something along the lines of “it would be like putting a marble in a gas tank”
    Also, if this is anything like the Prius, the batteries are warrantied for 100,000 miles

  11. #12 Shygetz
    July 20, 2006

    I heard on a radio interview that replacement of the entire battery matrix would cost about $20,000 right now, and that they should last about 150,000 miles. Now, this is from a Tesla Motors exec, but I think it’s a huge leap from where electric cars have been, and may just revolutionize the way people think about electric cars (i.e. terribly slow and with no range). I’m excited.

  12. I heard on a radio interview that replacement of the entire battery matrix would cost about $20,000 right now, and that they should last about 150,000 miles.

    That sounds quite optimistic for Li-ion technology (assuming 15,000 miles/yr travel). I’m also wondering if the range of the car will drop from about 250 miles to about 125 miles within two to three years.

    Doesn’t the Prius use NiMH and tranditional lead-acid batteries?

  13. #14 Webs
    July 20, 2006

    doink: I got some good news for ya buddy. Cal Cars. This is a group that not only currently converts hybrids to plugins, but also converts non-hybrid vehicles to hybrids. They have done some amazing things, check them out. Oh and Toyota and Honda have both stated publicly that they plan to implement plugins into their hybrids in the next couple years.

  14. #15 Sifu Tweety
    July 20, 2006

    For a (relatively) bargain solution you could always send your current car to Left Coast Conversions (http://www.leftcc.com/) and let them convert it. Only cost you about 17k, not including the vehicle. I was at their shop the other weekend and I saw an electric ’46 Ford hot rod. Now that’s some hoppin’ zero emissions, right there.

  15. #16 quork
    July 20, 2006
  16. #17 Fernando Magyar
    July 20, 2006

    Ok, it is a really cool car and I’d love to drive it. I’ve owned an Alfa Romeo that could do upwards of 130 mph and get there pretty quickly. So I understand the allure. However it is still a damn car and what we need are better alternative modes of public transportation and a complete redesign of our cities and living spaces to eliminate the need as much as possible for individuals to transport themselves cocooned in a couple thousand pounds of materials. Electric powered or not a traffic jam is still a traffic jam. An electric bus or train makes a lot more sense to me. I still miss living in New York where I didn’t need a car at all. Anyway, sorry to be a spoil sport, but to make up for it check out this beautiful vision of reality. http://www.solarlab.org/. I especially like the solarcab/rickshaw and the solar bus.

  17. #18 decrepitoldfool
    July 20, 2006

    This is the right way to get the public interested in electric cars. Soichiro Honda was a racing fanatic and used to make his engineers work on the racing team.

    Over time, it’ll get cheaper and more practical and more companies will do it.

  18. #19 Poison P'il
    July 21, 2006

    One would think a Tesla vehicle might be continually charged “in transit” by giant Tesla coils, set up at intervals around the countryside (recall his theories of wireless electricity distribution)?

    ;o)

  19. #20 rrt
    July 21, 2006

    Last I heard, this car is essentially a converted Lotus Elise, at double the price. So presumably the conversion costs roughly $40,000. Of course, you’re getting some performance enhancements and trade-offs (long charge time) for that dough…the thing (allegedly) has some numbers that are better than much more expensive cars. I’d love to see a car mag do a track comparison.

    Regarding the batteries’ life: I don’t know what the current situation is with lithium-ion batteries, so this may have changed. However, historically, lithium-ion batteries devour themselves over the course of a few years, whether they’re heavily used or sitting on a shelf:

    http://www.dansdata.com/gz042.htm

    I’d want to be sure that Tesla was offering a battery warranty as good as Toyota and Honda, just to be safe.

  20. #21 arensb
    July 21, 2006

    I think I’ll have to wait for the model that costs significantly less than $80,000

    Dude, you’re a college professor! 80 grand is, what? About a month’s salary or so?

    Surely educators are paid what they’re worth, no?

  21. #22 Torbjörn Larsson
    July 21, 2006

    I’m excited if they have come up with a market solution that works. Electric cars would have some neat consequences – especially work on silent and effective wheels and road surfaces would get more momentum.

    Some of the technical solutions leave me wondering though. Why not have some of the battery packs exchangeable for quick refueling? A special loading outlet adds cost to a building. And why use a gear box with a reverse, if the electronic control pack is so capable that they have DC/AC conversion and regenerative braking?

    But the main idea seems good. IIRC there are some battery improvements in the pipeline for added efficiency and lifetime, at least regards electrodes.

    On supercapacitors with carbon nanotubes it seems odd if they could be so much better than todays supercapacitors, which was already a significant achievement. They have their uses, mainly for buffering temporary peak power. Extended power is something else.

  22. #23 Steve_C
    July 27, 2006

    Just make it look like a Lambretta or Classic Vespa and I’m sold!

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/07/27/the-fhybrid-hydrogen-li-ion-scooter/

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