back to article Tesla drops veil on TOP SECRET solar Superchargers

Elon Musk's e-car company Tesla has unveiled its built-in-secret Supercharger network, which will supply free juice to Model S sedans but no other plug-in cars. The Superchargers are loaded up with solar energy and will give their charge to Model S cars for free, but other electric vehicles won't be able to use the stations. …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Gold badge
Facepalm

The cake is a lie!

"....will take its toll on the lithium-ion batteries in the vehicles..."

"....electric long distance travel at no cost - an impossibility for gasoline cars...."

How much is a new Li-ion pack for a Tesla and how much petrol can you buy for that? Mr Musk can either have his cake or eat it, not both.

9
2
Silver badge
Devil

Re: The cake is a lie!

Take this cake from me- after I've licked the icing off...

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The cake is a lie!

From flat to charged in one hour?

Wonderful, how convinient on my journey, an hour sat around twiddling my thumbs.

Isn't that double the time it takes to fast charge a Nissan Leaf at their garage - or is it not a comparible charge?

1
0

Re: The cake is a lie!

Depending on the battery (there are 3 for the car) and what your doing. Could this not be drive til lunch, stop charge while eating then finish journey?

But as mentioned cost of replacing battery is still a factor.

0
0
TRT
Silver badge

Drive anywhere for free...

(1) blue sky thinking

(2) not round Glen Shiels etc etc it won't.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Drive anywhere for free...

I can do this using RFID technology called an Oyster card.

There is an up-front cost, but it's a lot less than a Tesla

4
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Drive anywhere for free...

You are rather limited where it will take you though (any bus stop in London, plus parts of the tube network depending on how much you paid). You're also limited as to load, can't take passengers (unless they also buy a card) and have a restricted service at night. There are many reasons that lots of people in London own cars also.

3
0
Stop

Re: Drive anywhere for free...

Anywhere? Try getting up to Yorkshire and see how far your Oyster card gets you! Mind you a solar powered charger wouldn't help you much for that journey either.

1
0
Silver badge

If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

Why the hell is California not covered in solar panels? I assume if a car charging station had enough surplus to feed back into the grid and make a profit to pay for the land and the panels and the maintenance that others could do likewise.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

Opportunity cost. The payback time is very long. You could make a profit just generating solar power, but you could make a lot more profit by just investing the money in something else.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

"If the solar panels capture more energy than they need "

They only capture more than they need because about 3 people own the cars that'll use them. I bet these "super chargers" couldn't supply enough power if a large amount of the population were using them.

6
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

In the beginning of the internal combustion automobile not many people had them but forward thinkers built the petrol dispensing infrastructure and look what you've got 100 years later.

I'm not a fan of Tesla cars (I saw one in San Jose) and it just seems cheap and cheesey, and the performance is pants, but a recharging infrastructure might make him even wealthier.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

DrXym asks, "Why... is California not covered in solar panels?"

Why? Because enough can not be manufactured.

In the United States, there is a desire by those in political parties, with high degrees of Red Communist influence, to transfer their economy from dependency on The Middle East (for petrol) to China (for rare metals.)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101083154.htm

"A lot of rare metals are needed to make photovoltaic panels, rare earth magnets for wind generators, fuel cells and high-capacity batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. But most industrialized nations, including the United States, are almost entirely dependent on foreign sources for those metals. The only way this is going to change is if there is more domestic exploration and mining, a leading expert says."

With political parties, heavily influenced by Red Communists, in positions of power in the United States - resource mining on public lands have been curtailed, increasing influence of The Far East rare earth imports. Also, with the heavy deficit spending by Red Communist influenced political parties in the United States, the price of petrol continues to rise, to drive the influence to the other side of the globe.

The driving factors for adopting alternative energy is not with energy independance (otherwise domestic mining or domestic drilling on public lands would have seen increased permitting by the American President, rather than decreased permitting over the past 3.5 years.)

The driving factors for adopting alternative energy is not global warming (otherwise domestic mining on public lands woud have seen increased permitting, rather than the American President decreased permitting over the past 3.5 years.)

Clearly, the driving factor why alternative energy sources are not more wide-spread is the bottleneck of natural resources - China is the supplier of nearly 90% of the rare-earths required to make this happen.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/us-rareearths-crackdown-idUSBRE88P1ET20120926

"China produces more than 90 percent of rare earths, a group of 17 elements used in defense, electronics and renewable-energy industries."

The Democratic Party control California (and The United States pretty effectively over the past 8 years through the House, President, and Senate) has disposed of energy independance and chosen a new master: Atheistic Red Communist China (90% of rare earths) over Islamist Middle East (40% of imported petrol.)

1
19
Anonymous Coward

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

If all Californians buy a Tesla we'll need enough solar super-rechargers to cover the state completely in silicon. This would be really efficient, since no-one would actually be able to drive.

Must have been a spin-doctor who put this story together!

0
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

It's so nice to see a proper red baiting swivel eyed loon.

There are just not that many of you around these days.

9
0
Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

>With political parties, heavily influenced by Red Communists, in positions of power in the United States

With statements like these, you make it obvious you are a fruitcake. Many people have varying opinions about who controls whom in the US political systems, but only a raving loon would think the Commies are in charge.

9
0
HMB

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

You know, Not-Red-Communist-Anonymous-Coward, I can't help feeling that at least in argument, your long message wasn't all that bad, with the critical exception of a whiff of conspiracy about global warming and repeated "Red Communist" rubbish.

Presumably you think the homeless should die on the streets so long as you don't have to see them? I mean helping them would be a little bit communist. Perhaps you feel America's highway system should be privatised and turned into a long toll road network? A balance of philosphies can be a good thing.

2
1
FAIL

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

if you think china is a communist country you really are a swivel eyed loon (i love that phrase kudos commentards). China is as communist as the National Socialists (Hi Godwin) were Socialist i.e in name only.

don't believe me? no free healthcare for all (kind of a main pillar of a communist state ), crap education and an urban rich (and likewise very poor rural).

As for rare earths these are covered by the reg before they arn't that rare its just china is one of the few places willing to process them (and the associated toxic sludge) at the cheapest price. you could process them in the good ol USA but they would likely cost ten times as much as you couldn't just dump the toxic slurry in any old landfill/river/school playing ground (adjust according to size of brown envelope given to the local Chinese apparatchik). So it gets done in China due to market forces, wait that there be some good ol capitalism in action. USA, USA, USA!

3
0
Anonymous Coward

@ Don Jefe

note the propriety plug bit.

Imagine if Fords only ran on 1 very special type of petrol, Peugeot's on another special type, Jags on another, BMW's on another, Merc's on another and on and on.

Image a petrol station with 50 odd pumps, but only one for each type of car.

Now imagine it now takes 1 hour to fill each car up.

willing to wait 5 days to get your allocated slot?

2
0
Silver badge

Re: If the solar panels capture more energy than they need

"Opportunity cost. The payback time is very long. You could make a profit just generating solar power, but you could make a lot more profit by just investing the money in something else."

Lots of companies specialise in renewable energies and their business model involves large up front costs and a payoff over the long term. So I don't understand why solar isn't more prevalent.

As an aside I enjoy the way the responses to my question have taken 90 degree turn from reality. Swivel eyed loon, must remember that one.

0
0
Gold badge

DrXym

My deepest apologies.

I was referring to the AC with their 12 paragraph "Communist" rant.

Your comments made perfect sense.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

One of these things is not like the other...

"[...]take a Model S from flat to full in an hour,[....] "

"The rapid charging from the carport [....] "

One of these things is not like the other...

Now, if they put these devices in at restaurants, or movie theaters, or shopping malls, or just about any place else where you might actually want to spend an hour, it might make sense.

4
0

cars per day?

And how long does the carport take to charge its batteries?

Solar energy is ~1kW / m^2 (directly facing the Sun), panels are around 5-15% efficient at converting that to electricity.

I seriously doubt that the carport has 200m^2 of solar panels, so it must be slowly charging a fixed battery, which then rapidly charges the car's battery.

0
0
Devil

Re: cars per day?

This is why the use of the Supercharger "Damages your battery", otherwise they would always be empty.

So, rather than pay for electricity, get it for free but pay Telsa the $20000 (this figure made up) for a new battery 2 years earlier.

Sounds like a great deal..

1
1

Re: cars per day?

It's most likely that the "supercharge" is taken largely from the grid and thatt he solar array slowly pays it back, plus a surplus that gains the profit.

5
0
FAIL

Hmmm...

Is this just a thinly disguised way of farming subsidies from some Californian feed in tariff system?

"will bag more juice than the cars need, so the firm will have extra power to sell back to the grid."

My guess is that that would be 100% of the generated electricity then as surely nobody is going to wait up to an hour to charge their car AND knacker their battery?

0
1

Re: Hmmm...

"Is this just a thinly disguised way of farming subsidies from some Californian feed in tariff system?"

Yes, and it's not just California.

Home-scale producers are can inject power into the grid. They are paid for it at the full retail price. It's a major, high-value hidden subsidy.

The retail rate pays for the electric distribution system, maintenance, capital risk, pricing risk, etc. It's approximately double the wholesale rate. And even the wholesale rate is the wrong reference, since the distribution company can choose to buy at that rate, while being forced to buy home solar/wind excess.

Right now it's such as minor part of the grid that the subsidy isn't distorting the electric market. But the subsidy is distorting the solar PV cell market. It's encouraging the installation of solar panels in sub-optimal locations (cloudy locales, incorrectly angled roofs that don't face south, etc) instead of high-value locations (remote locations with long high-loss connections to the grid). In California you'll find PV installations in foggy San Francisco are more common than in sunny high-altitude rural areas.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Hmmm...

I don't know about California, but the power bills I have seen from other US states have a power charge and a delivery charge. Presumably the feed-in retail price is the power charge which does NOT pay for the distribution cost. It DOES pay for generation capacity, up-keep, and profit margin. Which, the home-owner should be just as entitled to as any other power vendor.

Distribution with Ameren is about .121 USD/kWh in IL (this may be different now, I last looked about 4 years ago). This is paid to them in any area they serve REGARDLESS of if they are providing power or not. Power itself can be purchased from a number of vendors (depending on region, some municipalities have power as a municipal service). If the power company in question's power is worth x/kWh WITHOUT delivery, then surely Bob's PV covered house's power is also worth the same amount. Anything else is just a scam.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The harm to the battery is not a high as most people here are making it out to be.

It's about the same as charging your laptop from near empty to 100% full with a "good" adapter while the laptop is off.

Electric vehicles (I own a Plugin Prius) tend to give the user IMHO too much insight into the batteries. I like what Toyota has done with the Prius line, carefully managing the battery state of charge, of course it has a gasoline engine it can use when it opts away from the battery.

Tesla, Nissan, etc need to have a battery "red zone" at the top and bottom that you know you should not go into unless you "need" it. Also the home charger should have a setup that you can tell it to stop at the upper red zone. IMHO Laptops should have this too, so that you can get more cycle counts out of the battery. For some reason people still think you should drain the battery to 0 and then charge to full (ie memory effects in NiCd, which don't exist in Li or NiMH).

This is why I am not interested in anything smaller then the 60kwh Model S, and would probably spend the extra $ for an 85kwh.

Basically the "damage" to the batteries for these really fast charges is about the same as 5-10 normal full charges, but these cars are designed to NOT have full charges, so it's more like 2 weeks worth of use.

Not enough to keep you from wanting to make a trip (just think, long distance driving can also be more harmful to a gas engine depending on where your driving, and people still do it), but enough that this should NOT be your primary charging method.

4
3

Long distance driving in petrol or disel engines, is actually less damaging per mile than shorter distances.

Constant high speed (70mph), over long distance will do less harm to your normal engine than short distances, as the engine is running at a constant rpm and temperature.

If you're buying a second hand car, and you know it's spent most of it's life on long motorway cruises, then you can discount some of the higher mileage, as the engine won't have taken as much punishment, from one doing the same milage in urban driving.

5
0

Some laptops do have this

At least my Thinkpad X301 does have options to prolong battery life. Battery is not fully charged & discharged unless needed, charge does not start above 95% reported capacity, etc. Full juice is provided when needed - 44Wh battery only reports 35Wh capacity, but can run the laptop for an hour at 0% (about 9Wh more).

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

"For some reason people still think you should drain the battery to 0 and then charge to full (ie memory effects in NiCd, which don't exist in Li or NiMH)."

Memory effect didn't exist in most consumer NiCd batteries either. Technically the memory effect was only a problem with NiCd batteries with sintered plates and under specific and consistent charge / discharge cycles. What you are referring to is actually related to battery age, temperature or voltage depression. The last of these is mostly perceptual because what has happened is the battery has developed a discharge curve that drops slightly farther initially before flattening out and most devices have a "battery gauge" based on voltage alone and think it has gone flat sooner than it has. Naturally this doesn't help electronic gadgets that need a certain voltage to work properly but your cordless drill won't care.

Voltage depression can be improved by cycling the cells down to zero and fully recharging. Unfortunately, taking a battery pack, not individual cells, down to near zero is bad idea because the weakest cells can go past zero and acquire a reverse charge as the stronger cells continue to push power through the circuit. Note that this is not a NiCd specific problem and more than one Li battery pack has gone up in smoke as a result. I've seen it happen with some fairly sizable 72 V Li packs being tested. Needless to say, this will cause a permanent decrease in the pack voltage and it will continue to get worse with every cycle.

3
0
Silver badge

Although there have been Telsas written off because they were parked in garages without a charger while their owners were away for a few months, and the battery was depleted to the point it needed to be replaced.

0
0
Silver badge

With a super fast charge time of an hour verses a normal refill time of a couple of minutes, electric cars are dead. Nobody want to pull into a service station and watch a movie.

As they said on Top Gear while reviewing hydrogen cars "The car of tomorrow looks exactly like the car of today"

1
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Tesla drops veil on TOP SECRET solar Superchargers

I'm sorry, surely that should be LIFTS veil - dropping the veil would mean hiding it?

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Tesla drops veil on TOP SECRET solar Superchargers

Perhaps skirt or skivvies is the right word.

0
0
Thumb Down

Just not suitable for longer distances

How many petrol cars would get sold if the dealer told you "It only takes an hour to fill the tank" or "If you fill it too fast, you'll damage the tank"?

2
2
Coat

Re: Just not suitable for longer distances

As many as electric cars would get sold if the dealer told you "you have to go to a special station to refuel when you're commuting, it doesn't just refuel at home at night" :)

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Just not suitable for longer distances

You read the section in the manual about not overfilling a car, ie. fuel temperature/expansion in the fuel tank ??

0
2

I seem to remember a figure of 10000 being said for a replacement battery pack for a Telsa but not sure if that was Dollars or Pounds as it was a while ago i heard it. Still a lot of money either way.

0
0

Re: Cost of a replacement battery pack

It's worse than that:

"Tesla Motors stated in February 2009 that the current replacement cost of the ESS is slightly under US$36,000, with an expected life span of 7 years/100,000 mi (160,000 km), and began offering owners an option to pre-purchase a battery replacement for US$12,000 today with the replacement to be delivered after seven years."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Roadster#Battery_system

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Why not just make the roof of the car out of solar panels and park it in the sun...?

I can't really imagine people being happy to go to one of these charging stations and wait an hour for a charge - most people would be impatient if their regular cars took more than a few minutes.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Why not just make the roof of the car out of solar panels and park it in the sun...?"

In a word PHYSICS.

Or you could wait a week or two between charges

1
0

"Or you could wait a week or two between charges"

Only a week or two? Yours must be quite small.

You can only put about 100 watts of PV panels on a car. You might be able to get a bit more power out if you park in the corner of the parking lot that has no shade, tilts to the south, manages to point all PV surfaces towards the sun, is always at midday, during the summer.

Estimate that you get that power output for 4 hours a day. 6 to be generous. So we'll call it 500 watt-hours a day.

The smallest battery you can get in the Tesla Model S is 40KWh, or 80 sunny days of charging. The large battery is 85KWh. Counting seasonal variations in solar radiation, weather, and a bit of self discharge we'll just round up to a year.

It takes about 400 watt-hours to go a mile at highway speed. Some have managed 250 watt-hours in efficient vehicles. The Tesla Model S is custom designed to be quite efficient, and they only claim 250 watt-hours with the smallest, lightest battery configuration. So you could get a 1-2 miles per day from PV panels mounted on a car.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"So you could get a 1-2 miles per day from PV panels mounted on a car."

I'd not intended to suggest it was any practical means of charging. Quite the reverse - I thought it was SO impracticable that the calculation wasn't needed.

( As someone who's averaged 200 miles/day for the last few weeks in a 3.5 tonnes motorhome I clearly think electric vehicles are a niche market )

0
0
Headmaster

Tesla drops veil

A veil, surely, is something one lifts?

Unless, of course, you mean it just happened to slip out of their fingers

3
0
Alert

What we need...

is better battery technology. L-ion has been pushed as far as it can go - hence the damage from super fast charging. What we need is a government program, similar to the "Manhattan Project" to find the future of energy storage. Governments can recruit the best and brightest to work toward systems that could recharge in seconds, systems that could store lightning and use it to power entire cities, and there's always nuclear fusion, always "just around the corner". Maybe government sponership could kick fusion out of that corner a little faster.

Of course, if you believe I'm wrong, there's always external combustion. Lots of coal left, and there's always water about. Fire up your car's boiler, add water for steam, and off you go. Bit of a emission problem, but that's no problem for a Luddite. Yes, you believe everything that can be invented HAS been invented. Research is a waste of valuable beer money. If man was meant to fly... err...wait.

0
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: What we need...

"Yes, you believe everything that can be invented HAS been invented"

Why not go for perpetual motion while you're being so rational ?

1
0
Gold badge
FAIL

Re: What we need...

" Maybe government sponership could kick fusion out of that corner a little faster."

Who *exactly* do you think has been funding fusion research for the last 6 *decades*?

"Yes, you believe everything that can be invented HAS been invented. Research is a waste of valuable beer money. If man was meant to fly... err...wait."

Your AC downvoter clearly did not understand the direction of your comment.

Your quite right. They human race is a *long* way from declaring "everything that can be invented has been," and only the most arrogant of A-holes would entertain that view.

But you're non understanding of how big science is funded still gets you the big F.

0
1

Re: What we need...

Sure, government has been funding fusion research - but at a pathetically low level compared with the amount we spend on trying to blow each other up....

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums