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back to article Tesla electric supercar may be delayed

Tesla Motors, the widely-lauded California company behind the Roadster high-performance electric car, may have run into problems. promo shot of redTesla Roadster The Roadster - possible teething troubles? The Tesla Roadster is planned to be one of the world's first true all-electric cars for consumer users, as opposed to …

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ben

Yeah I'm going green... Gonna buy another car.

So the answer to all our problems is electric cars?? The fact that more resources and energy is wasted in building and scrapping a car than is ever used in driving the thing during its lifetime seems to be lost on people.

Maybe stop buying cars completely and use a bicycle, train, pedalo etc...

An ecofriendly car is an oxymoron.

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Roadster Toasties

Considering that they're using the same battery type that we've been using for the last several years in our laptops and cell phones... anyone have this innate fear that your $100k green machine may turn into rolling pyrotechnic display like all the Sony, Dell, and Apple laptops? Now if you can just figure out a trigger for this HUGE bomb... "in the name of Allah, I curse you for trying to impoverish my sons and daughters of their oil moneys in your decadent sports car."

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pedalo - lol!

It has rained enough this year in many places in the UK, but not quite enogh for me to use a pedalo from home to work - an elevation difference of approx 150 metres.

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Anonymous Coward

Just imagine the battery recall!

Can you imagine an exploding battery story and associated recall? I'd prefer to take my chances with a Nokia phone or Sony laptop!

I can see the Reg headlines already...

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Silver badge

Beta testing?

"and also the software that controls everything from door latches to battery cooling..."

" we will soon enter the next phase of durability testing that incorporates all previous fixes."

Sounds familiar to long-suffering Windoze users used to the rush of patches for new systems.

Who's building this car and where?

I just hope it's got the right drivers.

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No pollution?

>But the Roadster itself emits no pollution whatsoever into the atmosphere.

Erm, beg to differ, what about the tyres, or does it run on some sort of anti-grav? The biggest cause of harmful particulate matter (<pm20) is from vehicle tyres wearing away on road surfaces. Please conduct research before making such claims.

Yours,

A. Treehugger

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Moeller

I assume Arhnold has a deposit down with Moeller, too.

Rescue crews are frightened enough of Priuses (Pria?). Imagine how they'll treat the Tesla.

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Re: Yeah I'm going green... Gonna buy another car.

Popular myth, but it's not true. Assuming 120,000 miles driven over the lifetime, manufacturing uses about 9% of the total energy required.

See http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=433981

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Delays?

Delays? Incompetence! They don't know what they are doing.

Oh what, it's not an operating system by MS, therefore delaying to get it reliable is a good thing, no?

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Anonymous Coward

The rich won't save the world

In order to affect any significant change you have to make eco friendly vehicle for the masses and not for a handful of rich people.

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How can it take so much effort, or so many people?!

First question has to be about the amount of work it seems to be taking to get a modified Elise to market.

After all, the only significant modifications are going to be to remove the existing engine, transmission, cooling and fuel systems and drop batteries, a charger, a motor and a motor controller in. Everything else is cosmetic tweaks to existing parts. And lets face it, an Elise isn't a particularly complicated car to be begin with...

Ok, it's not a 10 minute job but then again there's nothing new or radical involved. And I'd assume the boys in Norfolk are doing the tricky stuff like the mechanical design and chassis setup.

Crash testing surely can't be too difficult given this basic chassis has already passed as a Lotus, apart from maybe protecting the batteries. Though I'd guess they'd go in the sensible place (replacing the fuel tank) which on an Elise chassis isn't particularly vulnerable being embedded in the centre of the chassis. So surely it can't be too bad. Front impact is probably unchanged, and rear may even be better than standard given the reduced size of the powertrain. Side and rollover probably haven't changed noticeably either as the structure looks to be unaltered. It may even be they could argue read-across from the Elise tests and get a reduce test program...

Durability is more of an issue - the batteries are going to die relatively quickly, and the motor might not last too long. Plus extremes of temperature could be a big problem. Especially for the occupants given how difficult it would be to get a decent heating /cooling solution to work from batteries. But overall there can't be much real 'new' stuff to deal with so surely durability can't be too hard to sort, especially given pre-tested content from reusing the Elise platform, and all the other standard COTS parts any car would use.

The biggest shock though has to be how a company producing a product like this, in low volume, with high bought in content and which hasn't actually shipped anything could possibly employ 250 people?! What are they all doing? Unless it's mostly marketing and legal departments, and only a minority are actually involved with the product.

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Re: Re: Yeah I'm going green... Gonna buy another car.

Pollution is more than just energy consumption. Refining metals, creating plastics, processing glass, &etc all create by products and waste. Most of that is totally useless and must be discarded, thereby creating pollution.

Most of the arguement against hybrids and/or electric cars is that battery manufacture creates lots of toxic waste, especially when compared to most conventional car parts.

I think that our planet and race is just screwed, so we should just go with it.

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RE: Beta testing?

"Who's building this car and where?

I just hope it's got the right drivers."

Excellent Keith, excellent.

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Silver badge

How what ?

"The biggest shock though has to be how a company producing a product like this, in low volume, with high bought in content and which hasn't actually shipped anything could possibly employ 250 people?! What are they all doing? Unless it's mostly marketing and legal departments, and only a minority are actually involved with the product."

Well, maybe they're employing a few engineers and technicians ? Like 200 or so ? People think making a car is easy, but that's simply not true. Every new model is different in its size and shape, and therefor in its mass and the way mass is distributed. That probably makes for changes in behavior on the road and thus, creates constraints when testing for proper braking power and all the rest. Then there's the specific issue of cooling the batteries, ensuring that the draw fits the usage and possibilities of the batteries, not to mention innovations such as finding the most cost-efficient way of recharging them during the trip.

It takes a lot of manpower to solve all these issues, and there are a lot of intelligent people that work in the automotive industry. One can only hope that some of those are working for this company.

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L-ion batteries? You must be joking!

What is the lifetime of the batteries in this car?

We have lots of laptops here, I've not come across one yet where the battery has lasted more than a year without a 50% drop in capacity.

It costs us £120 on average per 8 cell battery to replace.

My own latop has a 2 year old battery and lasts around 7 minutes before telling me it needs charging (Was originally 3 hours when new)

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Re:The rich won't save the world

Got one already. It's called the bicycle. It works wonderfully for commutes of up to ten miles with a little practice, and it has the additional advantage of removing the need for gym membership. For longer commutes it can be combined with the train (if you're lucky enough to live somewhere where the rail service is reasonably priced and reliable.)

Okay, it doesn't work everywhere, and there's a depressing tendency for people to live and work in places with no effective commuting links other than the car, but if I'm honest I feel more hope from biofuels than I do from soemthing that _could_ be charged from a green source, if one wasn't already using that green source to run the equivalent three-and-a-half houses...

Pff. In a couple of hundred years it isn't going to matter. The survivors will be rebuilding feudal societies and passing down tall tales of horseless carriages and flying ships and the magical land of Second Life where penises flew and furries talked... Difference is this time round there'll be no fossil fuels to power a second industrial revolution and we'll scratch around until the lizards invade or the comet hits. Best news is we won't see it coming.

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RE:No pollution?

@neil a.k.a A. Treehugger

If tyre wear is considered such an important form of pollution - enough to criticise a vehicle with zero-emission potential and the greenest credentials - perhaps he will also be condemning holier-than-thou cyclists who *also* have tyres?

There has to come a point when these eco-nutters accept that we don't all want to go back to the Stone Age...

If you want to live in a cave, foregoing a thousand years of technology, then go. I'll wait for my Tesla and accept a bit of tyre wear in lieu of tyre wear *and* emissions.

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RE:No pollution

Treehugger, I dread to think how much pollution you've caused by all that wear from your keyboard

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Well

I read a review of this little fella in the Sunday Times In Gear mag a few weeks ago, it was written by Jay Leno as Clarkson was on holiday (I don't quite follow that thinking but I digress). Anyway, about halfway through Leno's evangelising about how wonderful this car was it occurred to me that he'd never actually seen one let alone driven one. The entire article was based on all the bumph he'd been given by Teslas marketing department making it a big free 2 page ad for the car. This all now makes sense as the car doesn't live up to it's claims so there's no way he could have actually reviewed it.

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Blast from the past

Driven, no doubt, by Tesla Girls ...

"Testing out theories,

Electric chairs and dynamos

Dressed to kill they're killing me ..."

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Fears and disclaimers

Americans want eco-cars, however much a misnomer that is. A lot of existing infratructure has evolved over the last 100 years to accommodate and then necessitate the use of cars. An electric car is not necessarily the answer, whether it is charged from the mains or derived from fuels ranging from petrol to hydrogen. Putting that to one side, let's look at the electric car in general.

The fears over high-voltage batteries are largely unfounded. Let's face it, nobody seems very concerned about carrying gallons of highly flammable gasoline around in their petrol cars. Similarly, if hydrogen leaks, it doesn't create the same vapour risk as petrol - it burns gently with a blue flame. Rupture of a pressure cylinder containing hydrogen is much less likely than a regular fuel tank. Admittedly, the presence of high voltage is not obvious. However, if there's something wrong with the car's powerplant and transmission, it probably going to be simply loaded onto a transporter, not diagnosed at the roadside.

With any (recently) unproven technology there are bound to be some teething problems with control systems, the honesty about this has possibly not generated the best press. Telsa need to be absolutely confident in their product before handing them over otherwise their business will fail.

As for the rechargeability of laptop batteries, if you leave your laptop plugged into the charger all the time and rarely run it on batteries, it will quickly lose its capacity. I tend to run my three-year-old laptop down and recharge each day and it still lasts at least two hours. Similarly with the car - in fact, you cannot leave it plugged in whilst driving, so you are require to partly discharge it with each use!

The batteries will be the most expensive part of the car. Other electric vehicle start-ups like www.think.no are considering leasing the battery at a low rate (including insurance and a contract with countrywide breakdown services) rather than saddling the owner with the risk and cost. As for the idea that charging is inconvenient - you won't be spending 24/7 in the car, so charging overnight and keeping it topped up means that you won't ever need to visit a charmless filling station again!

From a bloke on a waiting list.

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Working with Lotus

@Starace

It can actually take quite a while to convert what is basically a Lotus into a production car. The Toyota MR-2 Mk1 was basically a Lotus Elan (possilby a Lotus 90, never released, but basically an Elan, maybe, or something) chassis with a rather wizzy engine and accessories that were developed by Toyota. That one took just over ten years. Albeit with an oil crisis delaying the project...

If they do half as well as they did with the MR2 MK1, I'm getting one, although maybe 18 years like I did with the Mr2.

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Anonymous Coward

Truth about BIG OIL and BIG COAL!

1. If you correctly charge a L-ion battery power vehicle it will last up to

100,000 miles or more. As was mentioned before if you run the battery down and charge it up continually it will last. The L-Ion battery is 90% recyclable. Thats why electronics stores have customer service boxes to deposit them.They don't just throw them away when they cant charge eventually. In fact old battery packs from the cars can be used for MANY APPLICATIONS THAT USE LESS POWER.

2. If we used Wind,Solar,Geothermal,SolarThermal,Methane and Hydroelectric power correctly we would not need the MASSIVE OIL REFINERIES/OIL TANKERS/OIL DELIVERY/GASOLINE DELIVERY trucks and MASSIVE COAL MINING/POWER PLANTS that we have today(which as we have seen KILL INNOCENT people). What was the last wind power or solar plant that killed people?

If we use those sources for energy and even if we have to use a small amount of nuclear or bio-fuels to power our nation can you not see THE BENEFITS from that?

Do you NOT SEE the opportunity for JOB CREATION for an extended period of time that decreases the cyclical or man-made causes of global warming?

3. Imagine trains transporting us at unheard of speed on magnetic rails using 100% clean energy. Imagine trucks that can delivery real payloads with electric power Newton Trucks/UK , Phoenix SUT.

ITS TIME TO LET GO OF BIG OIL(which yes has reached its peak) and BIG COAL(which is the #1 contributor of mercury pollution in the world). The time of the Internal Combustion Engine with its ridiculous cost structure and complexity thats simply not needed should END!

The sad thing is that WE CONTINUE TO MOVE TOO SLOWLY THEREFORE HARMING THE EARTH WE LIVE ON.

IT SHOULD HAVE DEVELOPED 30 or 40 years ago. If NASA used it in the 60's why did that research NOT REACH THE EVERYDAY WORLD.

WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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