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back to article Tesla Roadster runs for 241 miles in Monte Carlo e-rally

As an answer to those who say e-cars will never take off because their range is limited, this isn't at all bad. A Tesla Roadster managed to cover 241 miles on a single charge while taking part in the Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives. Organised by the Automobile Club of Monaco, the annual rally is open to cars powered …

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385 kilometres

Is about the range I get from my 1994 Townace van in city traffic. That is easily enough to get me to a nice spot in the country. If I had a tesla might have to charge it to get home though but even now I can think of easy ways to do that.

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Pushed to the limit...

all cars get terrible economy.

A BMW M5 gets better fuel economy than a Prius if they are driven around at the Prius' limit.

A Ferrari 355 gets about 4-6mpg when thrashed. But it does look like fun. Screw the environment, I want one.

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Then there is the Top Gear Episode

They thrashed the Telsa around on their track, and it barely survived a day. Of course, they were trying to set a course record. The problem they had was the battery died or some such.

So much for LapTop batteries.

Me? I just like the 356 (1962 model year). Vintage, and very nice with the top down at 90+ MPH. Unfortunately it is a ticket magnet at that speed (*SIGH*).

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Agining batteries...

You might get 250+ miles whilst the batteries are new, but wait a few years and the capacity could be not much more than half that. Like all batteries, Li-Ion ones age and lose capacity.

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How Slow?

"Tesla reckon the average speed for the entire journey was 45kph (28mph)."

This is supposed to be a frikkin Sports Car FFS.

Take your pick, Tesla. Speed or Range?

No, you can't have both, as this clearly shows.

8hours and 36 minutes to do 241 miles! You have to be kidding?

Sorry, that's a FAIL.

"Nobody is saying what sort of range Frentzen got from the car."

I'll bet it wasn't anywhere *near* the "indicated 61km (38 miles) of juice left in the battery pack"

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Getting there...

But I do have to say, those speeds look dangerously low, particularly for such a small vehicle, which could easily be run right over by an artic.

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Go

Still Impressive.

It still shows that for everyday use (driving to work and back) that leccy cars are fine. Most people could go a week or 2 without having to recharge.

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Average speeds

Those speeds actually look pretty normal. 56mph on the motorway is lorry speed. 37mph and 19mph on main roads and mountain roads respectively look pretty normal as well. Remember these are AVERAGE speeds, not 'average cruising speed' or something else. The average speed includes stopping at traffic lights, crawling round hairpins etc etc. Put it this way, I believe my all-time average speed over the past year is about 35mph, and much of the time I drive on the motorway, off-peak, at speeds the local constabulary probably wouldn't approve of.

241 miles of 'normal' driving is pretty good range, and puts it in petrol car territory.

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Anonymous Coward

Tesla Battery Facts

The battery life is ~100,000 miles or 160,000 km with typical driving patterns, at which point capacity is reduced to 80%. That's how they define "life" - reduced to holding 80% of the "as new" charge.

Why is that naysayers get the facts wrong *so often*?

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@Herby

Actually, the problem was that Jeremy took his foot off the pedal. The Tesla never ran out of charge. He later claimed he was "demonstrating what would happen if it had run out of energy." Funny he's never done that before in any other car.

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Happy

Lots of whine, and not just from the motors

"90kph (56mph) on the motorways, 60kph (37mph) on trunk roads and 30kph (19) in the mountain roads."

So it did 241 miles , with (they say) another 38 miles in the battery. The thick end of 280 miles of range. About 40% more than the EV1's range. It can hit and sustain US legal free way maximum speeds and can still hit 19mph going up hill (interested to hear what the gradient is)

And as an EV its acceleration from lights is likely to be pretty good.

And what do people notice.

"This is supposed to be a frikkin Sports Car FFS"

And this looks like a race on public roads.

As they say Your Mileage May Vary. Just like real cars.

Although the loss of storage on the batteries is a concern. It does look as if the real issue on EVs will be handling the battery pack. Keeping a spare, replacing it, financing it.

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Orv
Paris Hilton

Expensive

The Tesla proves you can get a lot of range out of an electric car -- if you throw a lot of money at it. It still costs two or three times what a gasoline car with better capabilities costs.

My prediction is it will sell very well to celebrities who want to maintain green cred, and not at all to the rest of the population.

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Paris Hilton

e-rally

If it was a gravel rally stage it was taken to I'd doubt anyone in a road car would be doing over 20mph. Especially not a lardy battery holder.

PH doesn't need batteries.

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Stop

Can we have an independent test please!?!?!

The Achilles heel of this, and any other all-electric is going to be the "how far" issue. I have yet to see in any article a complete, independent test of what is reality in terms of range. All we see are anecdotal things like this, plus marketing communications (hype?) from the manufacturer. In this particular case, was this car "stock", or did they strip out things to hold the weight down and/or turn off/disable accessories? Will we ever know? Will anybody ever publish an independent, controlled series of tests?

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Re:Then there is the Top Gear Episode

Except of course that the pushing it into the garage was just 'an example of what would have happened, if the Roadster's battery actually had been depleted'

There was no failure of any type.

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@Then there is the Top Gear Episode

You've got to be careful here. Tesla protested all sorts of things about that day, including the 'fact' that the TG team had to push the car home. Which was untrue and TG had to admit it later.

A friend of mine did some work for Tesla (only body parts) and he said TG were determined to stitch them up. He said the acceleration, for example, is so strong he couldn't move his head of the head-rest.

No doubt battery life won't be as good as they say here, but since when have any manufacturers told the truth about this?

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@Dave

Please hurry up and squash them all for me... I'll personally blow a gasket if I get stuck behind one of those in the mountains!

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No Air car??

Promising performance from the Tesla. But I'm waiting for air cars, at least for city travel.

http://www.engineair.com.au

http://www.promci.qc.ca/pureinvention/apuq/APUQAutoPneumatique.htm

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4217016.html

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still crippled

by the fact that Lithium batteries are in such short supply that it would cost an unreasonable amount if they wanted to start adding them to cars on a large scale. They also degrade over time so don't expect that range to last more than 3 or so months.

AND there's also the little detail that when you do run out of fuel its not just 30 seconds to recharge.

Replacing batteries doesn't seem like the answer either as you still have the same battery degrade problem, if a battery capacity is reduced say 20%, which happens very quickly do you get a 20% reduction in your erm..... battery... bill?

There would also be the problem of cheap Asian batteries people would doubtlessly start buying as replacements :-). Would be interesting to see one explode at a charging station.

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Boffin

AC@16:43

80% charge after 100 000 miles sounds potentially quite good. IIRC the er "Vintage" cars Top Gear have had on a rolling road have often lost *substantially* more HP. Brushless electric motors don't have many wear mechanisms. The motor is likely to fail totally. So you trade no loss of torque (which gets you away from traffic lights fast) for a shorter distance travelled afterward.

Torque can be restored by an engine and transmission re-build to spec. Replacing the battery pack may be more expensive (going rate for an engine re-build on a Lambo anyone?) but I doubt by much. And it should be fairly straightforward.

But what is the average round trip commute for the average workaholic wealthy Californian to work? 150-200 miles a day will soon rip through that 200k mile limit but I have no idea if merkins really drive that much.

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Refuelling

To all the naysayers - there is a solution to the re-fuelling problem and it's in development.

EVs will use interchangeable battery packs - you'll just pull into the electric version of a petrol station and swap for a fully charged pack. The station will then charge your flat one ready for whoever else needs it.. It's a similar model to the one used by Calor Gas where they own permanently the container and the container pays for the energy contained within it.

241 miles is greater than the range of the Metro Van I had to use for a while in the early 90's - for reasons never made fully clear it had a tiny petrol tank and would struggle to do 200 on a tank.

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Not too bad on the speed really

On the basis it appears to have been an economy run with the best economy winning those speeds are allright, 20kmh below the wet weather and 40kmh below the dry weather motorway limits, and thats ignoring the fact it is averages which can be considerably lower than your top speed.

19mph seems poor in the mountains but then what Per Gunner Eriksson can do in a Ford Focus knowing there is nothing comming the other way round the corner and some bloke telling him exactly how sharp the corner is, whether or not there is a big rock sticking out and if the handbrake or scandinavian flick is a good option.

In comparasson it's range on a single charge is better than I can get out of 40L of Premium Unleaded (95RON), 30mpg if I stick to 50 up the A9, regular route takes 2 hours not caring about economy (22mpg) to do 94 miles, 47mph average speed. (A90 from dundee to Perth, A9 to Dalwhinnie, A889 to Laggan Bridge, then a small bit of A86, fair whack on HQ Dual carriageway, and usually get a fairly clear run on the A9)

I think it would be a great test of the Tesla, compare it to a 25 year old SAAB on a typical trip to the highlands.

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Happy

@ Martin 15:54 GMT

As a Truck driver myself.. I'm glad someone else understands averages.

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Funny

Funny that. I noticed this morning my Jetta's trip counter read "241.6". Given that I've only used 3/8 of a tank of grease, I'm well on my way to touching 600 miles "on a single charge".

It looks alright, but I suspect I won't see any in Tucson -- given that the nearest city is about 100 miles away, you'd be getting awfully familiar with the interior of the Ford F-750...

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Boffin

Replacing batteries

"Replacing batteries doesn't seem like the answer either as you still have the same battery degrade problem, if a battery capacity is reduced say 20%, which happens very quickly do you get a 20% reduction in your erm..... battery... bill?"

Check your laptop battery sometime. The battery on my Thinkpad died so I checked IBM diagnostics - the detail was amazing; max temperature, average temp, number of charges, date first used etc. Given the size and cost of a Tesla battery pack (which may not need to be the entire car pack), they could build a Wifi enabled computer capable of storing gigs of data. Possibly deals could be done so that a computer swaps packs so that on average you end up with a similar level of usage even if sometimes you get a newer/older pack.

Like inkjet carts, you could imagine a hacking community or 3rd party dodgy Chinese versions of the battery pack for half the price coming available over time, but initially you could imagine that you pay a premium (petrol like prices or more), for getting a new battery pack swapped over at a charge station. For most people such as myself, charging will be done on the cheap at home frequently and charge stations only used very infrequently.

There are other issues; who pays for the battery swap infrastructure (same issue with Hydrogen and others), and battery design compatibility? I like Top Gear, but they are wrong when it comes to EV's - hydrogen is ultimately a dead-end & batteries will power EV's in the future. Hybrids still offer a interim solution though, that solve the problem of range.

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Anonymous Coward

@John Smith

I understand the motor is very robust. I expect battery replacement would be relatively expensive at the 100,000 mile mark (or thereabouts), but ongoing maintenance would be almost nil (tyres, brakes, check wheel bearings and steering, diagnostic ... that's about it) so over the life of the car, maintenance may even break even.

The average daily commute in the USA is 33 miles and average annual driven distance is 13,000 miles. As you suggested though (if I read you correctly), prospective Tesla purchasers may live further out - in their mansions in the hills or on the beach.

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Anonymous Coward

And...

The important question are surely:

1. What's the range of an Elise when driven over the same course at the same speed?

2. How would the the Tesla manage on the Montecarlo Rally proper?

These events are exhibition events for EVs, what we want to see is EVs pitched against IC so we can make a comparison. Who really cares how one EV does against another?

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Impressive...

That is an impressive range and one that they can build upon for other cars.

Did they have the air conditioning, radio and lights on as well - that would be a good real world test?

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Expensive?

Any car that's produced in small quantities will be expensive. If it's also pushing the technology envelope, doubly so. So at this time, the Tesla is for enthusiasts with plenty of money. As is a Maserati, a BMW M6, or even, on a smaller budget, a Smart Coupe.

The real electric car problem is where to get the materials needed for batteries for a future fleet of a few billion electric automobiles. Whether you pick Lithium or NiMH as the right technology, both require a hard-to-obtain element. (The M in NiMH is a rare earth metal, such as Lanthanum). Then there's considerable additions needed to the electricity grid.

I think Tesla has proved that an electric car with adequate range and more than adequate perforrmance is possible. Kind of like early horseless carriages proving that one could do at least as well as a carriage with a horse. Things can only get better with time, but it'll take a few decades for the petrol age infrastructure to be replaced.

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@Terry Barnes

Ah! That hoary old chestnut. It has a few unfortunate show-stopping problems.

1) It requires all vehicle manufacturers to sign up to a standard pack and a standard way of getting it in and out of the car. You can feel the fail right there. Apart from the obvious cooperation problems (whose? licensing? technology?) in an industry where product differentiation is the very stuff of life this one's dead on the floor. You're also killing development (I have a new type of battery that charges in ten seconds and offers 500 mile range, but it doesn't fit the standard pack, so it's now of no use). Finally here, design a "standard" pack to fit both a seven seat, three tonne SUV and a Smart car. Anything less is a multiplier on problem 3, below.

2) Nobody's been able to find a way of doing this that works around the rather scary health 'n safety issues. Letting Joe Public move 50 kilo packs around on a garage forecourt is a no-no in most places (and a recipe for bankruptcy via court judgement in the good ol' US of A - drop on foot, make 20k. I would.). The alternative is drive in bays with qualified staff swapping packs which, apart from the logistics of the bays themselves and 24x7 staffing in all "refuelling" locations, ain't going to be cheap bringing us to...:

3) Cost. Providing plugin points is cheap, cheerful and simple. Providing the infrastruture to swap, handle, keep reserves of and charge packs at umpteen million outlets is going to be hugely bloody expensive whichever way you slice it. Think about the number of packs you need on standby on an August Bank holiday at one (1) service station.......(!!)

4) Whose fault is it? Your pack runs down in your new car and you pull in for a replacement. 20 miles down the road your "new" pack loses charge / expires permanently / bursts into flames unexpectedly. Somebody's looking at a warranty claim, recovery costs, hire car, potential damages etc. etc. Who? Anyone looking at touching this idea with anything short of a bargepole hasn't taken legal advice IMHO.

I could go on, but I fear that I already have.....

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Battery *swap* station - standards required!

O-kay. Just for a minute let's go down the *swappable* battery route.

You'll need these to be of a standard size, or restricted to a range of, say 3 standard sizes (I'm saying 3, as that's likely the broadest choice of fuel at your 'average' filling station at the moment, petrol/gasoline, diesel & LPG)

You'll also need to have a *standard* set of connections for these.

A *standard* method of accessing / removing them, common to ALL 3 types, if you want to make this easy. You could use 3 different set-ups (current fuelling arrangements are broadly similar across the 3 fuel types) but that could lead to queues forming for the more *popular* battery format.

Storage& recharging facilities. I figure that volumetrically, batteries are going to take up way more space than the equivalent liquid fuel per given energy/range unit.

Increased manpower. Your 'average' filling station likely runs on 2-3 people, with the customer conducting their own refuelling.

Now, as an engineer , I can envisage ways of making this a DIY process, but it's likely to involve some complicated equipment, and a reasonable degree of accuracy in aligning vehicle with equipment. Given the inability of a vast number of 'drivers' to park a car evenly inside a parking space (check out any supermarket car park), that's going to add some time to the *refuelling* process. (You could have a bank of equipment akin to the pull-through car wash for alignment/*refuelling*, but that leads on to my next point neatly...)

Finally, the big one. COST

Just how much more expensive is it going to be to go down this route?

No environmentalist bullshit here please. For the vast majority of people, it's all down to the bottom line.

"How much is this going to cost ME, NOW?

Not my kids/grandkids/great-grandkids in 20/40/60 years time, but ME, NOW?"

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Anonymous Coward

Wow

The comments on this page are just depressing as hell "Well, Electric Cars are hard so we should just give up on them now and keep on using petrol"

The problem these people are trying to solve isn't just going to go away if you don't think about it.

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Boffin

AC@09:27, @Nigel

AC@09:27

"As you suggested though (if I read you correctly), prospective Tesla purchasers may live further out - in their mansions in the hills or on the beach."

Yes that was the question I was wondering about. I suspected the European image of US car journey (epic commuting hours *demanding* huge range) was a myth (which I suspect US auto makers encourage). 33 miles is an hour at built up speed limits. At 13000 miles for an average years driving that's about 7 years before the battery falls to 80%. Not unreasonable. I expected the motor to be pretty reliable. Once you avoid brushes most motors are pretty simple (although their design and control gear can be formidable). It'd guess the main failures would be any bearings or gears present.

@Nigel

"real electric car problem is where to get the materials needed"

Yes and no. With a big enough customer base for a certain battery design the replacement by another type, which honours its form factor and discharge characteristics, becomes viable. It's the lack of market that stops anyone trying. One option would be the NiCl-S cell ZEBRA battery from MES_DEI of Switzerland at around 120Wh/Kg. A version powers the Modec 3.5T delivery van used by Tesco UK. Note while it operates about room temperature (at about 250C, which even some plastics can tolerate) all of its core elements (it uses beta alumina but does not loading with molten Sodium during mfg) are readily, although I'm not sure what the price difference of Ni Vs Li is. It exists, its available and a real company is really using it. I

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