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back to article Elon Musk: 'Fudged' NYT article cost Tesla $100m

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk says a recent negative review of his company's Model S electric car by The New York Times may have cost his company as much as $100m. "It probably affected us to the tune of tens of millions if not maybe on the order of $100m, so it's not trivial," Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg TV's …

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Who cares?

If there is a choice between believing an independent reviewer and someone who makes a living punting the very wares under consideration when in comes to whether they are crap or not I know who I am first inclined to believe, especially when the company has a track record of reacting furiously to any reviews that portray it in a less than positive light.

Not only does Musk apparently not know how to make a decent car, he has obviously never heard of the Streisand effect either. This single review must have had 100 times the exposure by now than it would ever have had if he had simply kept his mouth shut. If this review has cost him money I suggest he looks in the mirror to see who is to blame.

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Re: Who cares?

The only other negative review I've ever heard of Musk getting upset about was that Top Gear review that turned out to be completely faked.

Plus I trust the New York Times just about as far as I can throw one of their journalists. Mind you I wouldn't take Musk's word for it either. Get me a truly independent reviewer as opposed to one who has a vested interest in the automobile industry's well being (his job does depend on that industry and Tesla would be quite disruptive to it if it were wildly successful) and I'll be more inclined to give some weight to one side or the other.

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Re: Who cares?

They got pretty narked at El Reg as well a while back. A story about a recall/fix relating to a fire risk. site search should find it.

I'm more inclined to believe the NYT purely because Musks vested interest is far more obvious. I suspect they're probably both telling half-truths but as it'll be a long time before I consider a leccy car its really nothing more than a sideshow

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Re: Who cares?

There is nothing to "believe". The facts speak for themselves.

Both CNN as well as a group of Tesla S owners duplicated Broder's supposed 'failure' trip...and ALL managed the trip without incident. AND, not only did CNN manage the trip without running out of power they did so while going 30 extra miles north to to avoid NYC traffic delays!!

http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/15/autos/tesla-model-s/

The only person here without a decent brain in his skull is YOU. So many of you gasoline car-centric bigots can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline for motivational power that you can't accept even the *idea* of alternatives. I'm a motorcycle rider and I look forward to seeing what great ideas the future will hold for motive transportation systems.

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Re: Who cares?

"Both CNN as well as a group of Tesla S owners duplicated Broder's supposed 'failure' trip...and ALL managed the trip without incident"

In warm conditions - the NYT article was written during cold conditions - the article mentioned that as a downside of batteries for cars - batteries can sometimes deliver less than half their usual capacity in severe cold. Petrol obviously doesn't suffer from that problem.

BTW how did CNN solve the problem of the car depleting over half its battery overnight? Or are you suggesting the NYT somehow drained the battery on purpose just to make the Tesla look bad?

And to Elon Musk - you are sounding shrill and desperate with this move...

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Re: Who cares?

Actually, had you bothered to read either the NYT article or the CNN one, you'd know that "without incident" is a gross distortion of the facts.

Peter Valdes-Dapena (in the CNN article) explicitly states "not without some anxiety" and "the most scary part of the trip". And he goes on to acknowledge that his trip took place in warmer conditions and didn't include the overnight stop or the "battery conditioning" that Tesla told Broder to do.

So in the real world all CNN confirms is that it is possible, under different conditions, to make the trip. It in no way disproves Broder's findings, which boil down to the hardly surprising observation that in very cold weather electric cars use more current and their batteries hold less charge, combination that (gasp) results in reduced range, and that the Tesla charging network is spaced too far apart.

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Re: Who cares?

The only person here without a decent brain in his skull is YOU. So many of you gasoline car-centric bigots can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline for motivational power that you can't accept even the *idea* of alternatives. I'm a motorcycle rider and I look forward to seeing what great ideas the future will hold for motive transportation systems.

I've driven less than 200 miles in the last twelve months. In fact thinking about it apart from a hire car when I away last summer I haven't driven at all. In all probability you burn far more petrol than I have. This isn't some great position of principal but a simple reflection that my life is arranged in such a way that I wouldn't benefit from a private motor vehicle in ordinary circumstances.

The facts don't matter though - you didn't even know that so you assumed motives that I don't have and attacked me on invalid premises as a result. We see the real motives in your post, adopting a holier-than-thou attitude over my presumed transgressions because you ride a bike rather than drive a car. I've got news for you: it's the same fucking thing that goes in the tank as a car so I don't know what your attitude derives from.

No. This isn't the first time Musk has cried foul over shitty reviews. Again, he is unable to actually challenge the NYT account - the telemetry "disproving" the article actually correlates pretty well in substance. This particular electric car is not some future nirvana made real today. The fact that you want it to be does not make it the case.

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can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

"car-centric bigots can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline for motivational power"

No what we can't deal with is the approximate 10:1 difference in energy density between a cheap tin can full of petrol and a very expensive battery. We also can't deal with the lunacy of burning gas (a relatively clean high density easily transported fuel) to inefficiently generate electricity, and sending it across the grid to slowly charge very expensive low capacity batteries instead of burning it in the car.

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Mushroom

Re: Who cares?

One: The Tesla S group owner's drive happened in the cold.

http://www.almanac.com/weather/history/DC/Washington/2013-02-17

The NYT editor, Margaret Sullivan, has already made a statement questioning Broder's accuracy and judgment, but backing his "good faith" in the review.

Two: Almost no one in the northeast portion of America does the drive from Washington DC to Boston, a distance of a 440 miles (708 km), taking two days. TWO DAYS?! WTF!? Really. Every single person who drives and knows this story has talked to me about the same issue: Two days?! What is he? Not a car reviewer, apparently. A wimp is more like it. Two freakin' days to go just 440 miles?!

Three: Almost any one with ANY form of intelligence would have either:

a) charged the car overnight to be fully prepared for the next travel day, or

b) charged the car at the next available opportunity to be fully prepared for the drive

What you are trying to excuse is the same as not refilling the car the next morning after an all night drive, then blaming the car for running ouit of gas! What's the first thing that you do when you (re)start a trip? Fill up. Why did Broder *intentionally* drive past Supercharger stations and NOT fill up? 'It said [he] could go on'. Does that 1/2 tank of fuel stop YOU from topping off before a large trip?

Well??

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@ Snake

Seriously, you think a Tesla is remotely environmentally friendly? Do you have any idea at all about how insanely destructive to the environment cars like that are? Sure if you adopt the broccoli munching, don't look behind the curtain approach and believe they are made of toe lint and run off bunny farts then sure, they're amazing. The reality is the batteries are very destructive to make, need replacing every 5-10 years depending on use, and they still need power. In the US that power comes 45% from coal. Yes if you can charge them with solar (if you are prepared to drop even more money) and if you have a relatively short range requirement (until there is a larger and faster charging network) you can exist with one but cars like the Tesla are not the solution, they detract from a serious solution.

We need a solution that involves relatively clean and sustainable power generation (fusion \ solar \ hydrothermal etc) AND a method of transporting that energy that is also sustainable (far more likely to be chemical rather than electrical). Right now cars like the Tesla fulfill neither of these criteria fully, the latter not even partially. But sure, go on thinking that shit like this is great for the environment, I bet all those folks in South America just love all those strip mines and the polluted groundwater and the Asians just adore all the chemical run off from the processing plants, but it's all good in Cali with your 0.3% reduction in smog and a 2000% increase in smug. People buying these cars are stunting development of a real solution. Money invested in research and a fueling network for these vehicles would be far better being invested in a technology that actually addresses the problems rather than shifting them out of sight.

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Re: Who cares?

The facts are that this is pure driver error. The driver failed to provide enough 'fuel' (power charge) to go the distance necessary.

Period. The driver ran out of gas.

Yet somehow this is the fault of an inanimate object. Somehow this is the fault of an electric car, not to go further than the charge level versus distance provided to it.

The quite indisputable fact is that Broder failed to charge the car fully at the Newark, DE Supercharger station. Broder stopped the charge at 72%. His excuse is 'it said I had enough charge'. But that's the car's fault.

Yet if a person in a gasoline-powered car only puts 3/4 of a tank of gas in, then complains when the car stalls on the highway...it's the driver's fault.

The *fact* is that people are applying a complete double-standard. And I HATE and REFUSE to accept double standards - in ANY part of my life. The driver ran out of 'fuel'. Indisputable. The driver failed to 'fill' the car to 'full - a point that Broder somehow never denies. The driver drove past numerous alternative charging points

http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/routestations.jpg

even as he watched his range gauge decrease, as it must have during the trip (as he never claims that the range gauge stopped working). His own editor has now, quite officially, criticized his test methodology:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/problems-with-precision-and-judgment-but-not-integrity-in-tesla-test/

For the record, I hold a United States Class AXM (tractor-trailer (18 wheel articulated lorry) / hazardous materials [tractor-trailer / articulated lorry] / motorcycle / car) license. I have driven all of the above. Until 4 years ago, I was personally driving 42,000 miles (67,000 km) a year commuting to and from my new job PLUS between 7,000 miles (11,000 km) to 13,000 miles (20,000 km) per year on the motorcycle. I refueled the car, a Jetta 1.8T with a 14.5 gallon (55L) fuel tank, on average 3 times a week.

Yes, that's a HELL of a lot of fuel.

I am about as "motor head" as they come - well, at least for motorcycles. I can usually spot a motorcycle's make and model just by following it on the road and looking at its final drive. I love motorcycles. I drive long distances in cars but believe in that old quote from Autoweek Magazine: "Cars are for wankers".

I am quite tired of the monopoly of "gear heads" telling me how I am supposed to love driving or riding. I'm supposed to, because I simply love driving and riding, worship the "sound of the engine at full throttle" and worship that "deep throaty roar" of an exhaust. To tell you the truth, I *always* ride with earplugs on. I am not riding to hear a mechanism beneath me, I am riding to FEEL A SENSATION OF FREEDOM AND BEING AT ONE WITH THE MOVING ENVIRONMENT.

So many "gear heads" are in LIVID FEAR of losing their precious gasoline internal combustion engines, as if the pleasure of conquering the skills necessary to control the dynamics of a vehicle at speed are coupled exclusively to the motive force used to move said vehicle. I, for one, am more open minded. It is about the EXPERIENCE, not the mechanics. For example, I am looking to go to a *smaller* motorcycle right now (gasp!) - the huge cruiser that I have now I feel impedes my ability to experience the freedom I seek. Weight is an enemy of true freedom of motion, and I'm currently in a mindset to get rid of all the extra that I can. My current bike is great - a real sweetheart that has taken me almost 2/3 the way across a vast continent and back in just 10 days round trip (5,200 miles in 10 days) - but its size always makes itself known.

I've read far too many "reviews" by these automotive "writers" that down-rate the electric vehicle simply because...it doesn't make that "Grrrrr!" noise when they open the throttle. Seriously. Read, for example, Motorcyclist Magazine's first review of the Zero electric bike. Most of the riding experience is judged from the perspective of no motor feel or noise, not whether or not it gave a good motive experience.

But it's the same all over. It really ticks me off that, in the motorcycle world, the only thing that the media seems to care about is horsepower. Bigger = Better. I'm jumping off that ship, I'm not locking into the stagnant thinking that they try to push, and therefore electric holds no fear.

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

Because a car is NOT an efficient way to generate power. Only 20% of the power of gasoline creates motive force - the rest is simply friction waste and heat.

Do the research before you make such a claim. Electric generation is far more efficient in extracting power from fuels such as gasoline due to the fact that the stationary generation systems can use more advanced technologies to retrieve, or to keep, that power towards the benefit of producing electricity. Heat recovery, high efficiency gas turbine, gas recycling - all available when the space constraints of a car hood are removed from the equation.

Battery technology will evolve. To deny that is practically to deny the idea of Moore's Law - the idea that technology will advance given the necessity of development. The Tesla is a very solid proof that electric cars can work in the modern world...because they worked at the turn of the century. Oh, didn't know that many cars at the turn of the century were electric?

http://coachbuilt.com

They were quite successful at the time. But more development money was put into the Otto cycle than electric, and the internal combustion engine won the high volume production wars.

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

ok you get an upvote but the point I was making was that moving the pollution from the exhaust pipe to somewhere out of sight does not make it better.

Petrol \ Gasoline engines run about 25-30% thermal efficency, diesel about 40-50% but you have to factory in energy density of the fuel as well. Gasoline runs at 46MJ/KG whereas a Liion battery runs .072 MJ \ KG, thats 63 times higher density. Yes the batteries will get better, but it still won't affect the damage done during the mining, refining, production, reconditioning and disposal stages.

The reasons for moving away from gasoline pretty much are

1- Environmental sustainability.

2- Gas prices rising.

3- Domestic control (less of a factor now with the shale oil boom).

Batteries get slayed on all 3 (there are probably more). We import them, they're hideously expensive and wreck the environment.

To give you an idea of the alternative I was suggesting, and this is just spitballing, I would suggest the following.

The US has large tracts of desert, setup farms using algae to convert co2, sunlight and water to a biofuel. Running this in something similar to a diesel engine would satisfy all 3 points I mentioned plus it wouldn't require a huge investment in a national distribution infrastructure. It would get the benefit of the energy density of chemical fuels, the environmental benefits of being carbon neutral and be under domestic control. It shouldn't impact food pricing like ethanol in gas, it just makes more sense all round no? This is something we already have the technology to do, it's a far better start point than batteries and would be cheaper allowing for wider adoption.

Just out of curiosity, how heavy would the battery need to be on an 18 wheeler! :) rough math for a 475hp 350kw power plant, assuming 6mpg, 7.15 lbs per gallon diesel, 300 gallon tank, 100% efficiency for the battery, 40% for the diesel. That would put it at something like 974KG of diesel vs 24545KG of battery (although this will obviously improve over time). I would not want to be buying that battery pack!! :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who cares?

Don't knock Top Gear, their reporting is some of the most thorough out there. Their excellent Fiesta review even considered your chances when being chased by baddies in a Corvette round a shopping centre...

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Stop

Re: Who cares?

The Tesla roadster is a fine built car. If you ever get a chance to look under the bottom plate you will be amazed at how simple it is. The technology is sound. We set out to set a distance mark that would require improvements to the technology to beat it. Driving 23 to 25 mph, on a flat Track in the Imperial Valley of California we were able to get 347.2 miles before the car refused to go any further. It cost us $7 to recharge the car to a full charge and we posted the GPS logs @ www.tylervault.com/car.htm. Before you talk down a piece of equipment, get one and test it yourself – we did.

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Re: Who cares?

So you're saying the only way for a review to be reliable is if the reviewer is reporting on things from outside of the field in which they're familiar? Forget reading The Register, then, we should all be getting our tech news from Estee Lauder? Or should the Register just fire their current staff writers and replace them with cosmeticians?

Whoever he is, the NYT reviewer being "beholden" to the auto industry is meaningless - if Musk's car means the end of the car industry as we know it (it won't, I don't think, but that's a whole other story), then the reviewer will continue working in journalism - he'll in fact continue reporting on vehicles with 4 wheels that go from point A to point B , the only diferentiating factor will be that the vehicles he reports on will use an input different that gasoline. I don't see how the end of the gasoline powered vehicles woul affect an auto journalist, so long as the end of gas beasts coincided with the rise of electric powered vehicles.

So, no - i will continue to take my news from writers who regularly report on the industries I need news on, rather than calling for reviews to be written only by people no tie to that industry at all. Though I guess having an Amish farmer report on cars, gas or electric, that would be amusing... I'd read it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

Power stations are about 40% efficient, transmission losses are about 7% and battery charge/discharge is about 85% (some efficiency is sacrificed to get faster charge rates). This gives an overall efficiency of 31% from fuel to car.

Modern cars are about 25% to 30% efficient and if they use Gasoline Direct Injection (like some Fords and Chevrolets) then that rises to 35%.

Once you take into account heating, operating in the cold and leakage the efficiency for electric vehicles drops to less than the standard petrol car.

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FAIL

Re: Who cares?

Not really realistic though, is it? Who'd want to drive nearly 350 miles at 23-25mph? Assuming I was doing a motorway journey at 70mph what would the range be then?

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FAIL

Re: Who cares?

Let's think for a minute, shall we?

I would imagine the New York Times gets a lot of revenue from competing car manufacturers by way of advertising.

Although the reviewer is "independent," in accordance with the strict definition of the word, that is not true. The reviewer is paid for his article by the New York Times. They in turn are paid to produce their paper, partly by advertisers. There may be a degree of separation between editorial content and the commercial arm of the paper, but they will not want to piss off their main advertisers.

Of course, the manufacturer of the Tesla cars will be biased, but so will the reviewer.

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Re: Who cares?

> Driving 23 to 25 mph, on a flat Track

Excuse me, but who the F*** buys a roadster (read sports car) and then drives it on a track at 23 to 25MPH?

The only conceivable reason would be to pose!

But even posing you're not likely to drive it on the track.

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"Anxiety" isn't an incident

And "the most scary part" is "the 200 miles between charging stations in Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn." I think there are places to go in America that are much scarier than that. Las Vegas for instance, where they just had that car chase and shoot-out. But I don't know how the Tesla rates for that activity. A vehicle taser that I read about, which could be a useful defensive accessory, seems to be fictional (i.e. you'd taser the other car using the Tesla powerful battery).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

...and as Scientific American pointed out a few years back, there are many places in the US where, because of the means of power generation, electric vehicles produce more net CO<sub>2</sub> than a hybrid.

For all the defence of Tesla going on here, a Toyota Prius is cheaper, it's reliable, and does 600 miles on a tankful. Other manufacturers are now producing hybrid variants. The Tesla is out of date before it is even really commercialised.

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FAIL

Re: Who cares?

"an independent reviewer "

I'm sorry: You appear to be labouring under the impression that a journalist is independent and unbiased.

Let's imagine that a Guardian journalist was handed the keys to a 8L V12 8mpg muscle car, upholstered with baby seal-skin in a Indonesian sweatshop. Just how fair a review do you think it'd get?

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Re: Who cares?

"The facts are that this is pure driver error. The driver failed to provide enough 'fuel' (power charge) to go the distance necessary. Period. The driver ran out of gas."

That's pretty much the facts of the matter. The driver ignored a proverbial petrol gauge and then said "This car is shit, it ran out of petrol".

Fuck only knows why you've been downvoted. It says a lot about people's perception bias that they will in any way point to the NYT article and use it in some kind of "Electric cars are shit" logic in support of their existing views.

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

Power stations are about 40% efficient, transmission losses are about 7% and battery charge/discharge is about 85% (some efficiency is sacrificed to get faster charge rates). This gives an overall efficiency of 31% from fuel to car.

These numbers are obviously incorrect, as 30 seconds with google would tell you.

You think a modern gas-fired power station is only 10% more efficient than an internal combustion engine? Here's one in Wales that is 60% efficient, and of course - as is typical when someone raises this argument - you're completely ignoring electricity generated from hydro, nuclear, solar or anything other than fossil fuel.

Secondly, if I were losing 15% of the energy at the point of charge I would be very upset and more than a little worried, given that the loss is presumably as heat. Given the size of an EV battery pack that is a metric fuckton of heat. But fortunately for the millions of phone and laptop users that use LiOn batteries, this value is also incorrect - here is a link saying LiOn batteries charge at 95-97% efficiency, and we are not all at immediate risk of severe burns.

I do agree on the 7% in losses - it's close enough, although losses are lower on HVDC lines which I would expect we'll be seeing run to dedicated charging stations. But I'm calling bunk on the rest of your figures until you can back them up.

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

Sorry, I have to correct myself. - I meant 97-99% efficient, not 95-97%. Numbers, they're tricky things to get right aren't they?

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

"We also can't deal with the lunacy of burning gas (a relatively clean high density easily transported fuel) to inefficiently generate electricity, and sending it across the grid to slowly charge very expensive low capacity batteries instead of burning it in the car."

Power stations converting gas or other fossil fuels to electricity do so far more efficiently than IC engines in cars, even the most efficient ones. Gas turbine systems with HRSG can approach nearly 60% efficiency, 2-3 times the efficiency a car could manage burning a similar fuel.

There are of course losses in terms of transmission of electricity, waste heat charging a battery, etc. but electric motors are typically very high efficiency, over 90%. So overall, the total efficiency in terms of fuel to useful energy will be higher.

It's also more feasible to capture particulates and other pollutants from a power station, even CO2 capture, than it is from a car itself.

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FAIL

Re: Who cares?

Does that 1/2 tank of fuel stop YOU from topping off before a large trip?

Yes it does you idiot!

my car does 700 miles to a tank of diesel (on a run) so 1/2 a tank is about 350 miles.

as I drive along passing petrol stations every 10 miles or so, it _never_ occurs to me to fill up when i still have over 300 miles in the tank!

apart from anything else, think of all that extra weight i'd be lugging around, particularly in the reductio absurdiam case where i stopped at every filling station to top up (like some moron in a tesla for eg) id be carriying around 40 kg of fuel, all the time, for no good purpose. you see in a real car the fuel system gets lighter as it empties, just one of the many, many, many advantages of a proper car over a 'leccy noddy car.

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Mushroom

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

MOORES LAW _IS_ BOLLOCKS!

you cretin!

and in your little exposition on the virtues of static generation you ommitted the transmission losses, and the heating effect of charging and discharging the battery (loads of amps all over the place, very high I-squared R losses) nevermind the emissions of the fuel burned at the power station

you are however c orrect that there were indeed electric cars in the olden days, but they died out, on account of them all being crap, and the petrol engine being a far better engineering solution to the problem.

Call it industrial evolution if you will.

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Facepalm

Re: Who cares?

You drove 25mph round a flat (oval? lol) track for 14 hours??? so that'll be exactly what the 'roadster' is designed to do then!

So caning the arse off it round a flat (wiggling all over the place) track like top gear did (while getting about 55 miles out of a charge) is _NOT_ what it's designed to do??

so i suppose calling it a 'roadster' is all marketing hype, what they meant to call it was 'invalid carriage'???

pull the other one.

one more thing... how did your driver manage to survive saying 'Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee' for all that time?

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Re: Who cares? POSE?

who wants to pose as an absolute wanker?

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Facepalm

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

that modern gas CHP you speak of..

a> is not what most of americas juice (42%) is made from - that would be nasty, smelly, old coal

b> that the welsh power station you quote... is in fecking WALES! - there is, as yet, to the best of my knowlege no transatlantic power interconnector, and im pretty sure there are no plans to build one any time soon. (HVDC or otherwise :-))

when you get your nice new tesla be prepared to be very upset and more than a little worried about the metric fuckton of heat you ill encounter on charging/discharging, address all complaints to Mssrs Ohm and Kirchoff.

You can expect all you want from HVDC but building a 10 million pound inverter (this is HVDC lite, the cheaper option yes??) each end of a line connecting your hydro/nuclear/wind/rabbit-farts power station to your roadster charging socket is not going to happen any time soon, in fact any time at all. (it just occured to me, you think you'll be charging the car at DC tranmission voltages!!!! pml. cough, splutter fart!, no you wont! really you wont - -well you wouldnt be able to fit the plug in your garage to start with!)

apart fro that, good point well made!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

> Here's one in Wales that is 60% efficient

That 60% is theoretical for a brand new station operating at continuous output in ideal conditions. Reality is different although it should operate above 50%.

Here is study that shows the thermal efficiency of coal, oil and gas ranges from 33% to 56% http://www.npc.org/study_topic_papers/4-dtg-electricefficiency.pdf (don't forget the Carnot Cycle!). I simply picked an average of 45% for convenience.

Lithium-ion batteries have an efficiency of between 80 and 90%. See this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery for example. They also have a self discharge rate of 5 to 10% per month so if you don't drive it for a week it could lose as much as 2.5% of its charge sitting in your garage. The 80/90% efficiency only happens at optimum temperature and constant discharge rate (ie drive at 23 to 25mph). Accelerate and decelerate and that efficiency decreases.

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Re: Who cares?

A telemetry record seems difficult to dispute.

AQs to whether one should believe the New York Times or somebody with no record of lying - I really don't see that any honest doubt is possible.

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Re: Who cares?

Nobody does. That was not the point. If you want to improve technology you have to have a point to start from. It will do 0 - 60 in about 3.5 seconds too. Not a lot of places you can get away it that either. Our attempt was to get the max at any speed. To beat it you have to improve the technology. Will it do for cross country driving? Not hardly. If it does not suit your driving habits, don't buy it. If you want to stick it to the tax guy, get an electric car. $7 to fill it up as compaired to $40.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

Actually, plain diesels are about 40% thermally efficient. Turbodiesel-electrics power plants are even more efficient than that. Your assumption that all 'cars' are running on petrol, echoes the multitudinous logical errors of your whole line of arguments in this forum. You sir are an idiot. Kindly sit down and quit embarrassing yourself.

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Re: Who cares?

She had h#ll keeping her foot off of the gas, er.. power switch

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who cares?

Your example is an epic fail because a Guardian journalist recently reviewed the W12 Bentley and liked it a lot.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

This is an example of cherry picking. The average for thermal combustion power stations is lower than 60%, A decent Diesel car engine with a mechanised auto gearbox achieves around 40%. Your factor of 2 to 3 requires something like a Discovery with an LPG conversion, not something modern like a Fiat Twinair engine. You need to compare state of the art generation with state of the art vehicle engines, and average generation with average engines.

The sort of electric motors that achieve over 90% efficiency require rather a lot of control gear in a car; mine has liquid cooling for the electronics, which suggests that there is a fair degree of inefficiency right there. And although it is true that particulates are most effectively collected at a static power station, the demonstration of carbon dioxide capture is currently still at the fantasy stage, which is why it has been abandoned as official policy.

And then there is the real elephant in the room - how long lithium batteries will last in a car. As Boeing have just discovered, they are not yet a fully mature technology. Will they last 2 years like a phone battery, or how long? Even 5 years isn't very good compared to the 12 years or so that can be expected from a liquid fuel tank. That is a real added energy cost that has to be factored into an electric vehicle.

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

@JP19

I agree completely. Just a couple of things, though... Electric cars have a much simpler and lighter motor + drivetrain (in fact some with in-wheel motors have no 'drivetrain' at all). So comparing the weight of petrol to betteries, petrol IS 10 times lighter than batteries giving equivalent range (perhaps even more), but petrol + petrol engine + gearbox + drivetrain is of comparable weight to batteries + electric motors. The model S weighs about 2100 kilos*, a Ford Focus weighs about 1800kg*, so it's marginally heavier than a similair-sized petrol-engined car but in the same ballpark. We're also comparing a 20th-generation petrol-engined car with a 2nd-generation electric. Th eelectric cars (and batteries) still have plenty of room for improvement while petrol cars are pushing the theoretical limits of efficiency and power.

Regarding source of electricity, burning gas in a highly efficient combined-cycle power station turbine + transmission / conversion losses on the grid is of comparable efficiency to burning it directly in a car engine with <20% efficiency. What would really make sense is if teh electricity piowering electric cars came from nuclear power.

*converted from internet sources in lb

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

In fact early electric cars were not crap - they were far better than horse drawn transport. In the days when city traffic was limited to about 12-15mph and the function of a car was to get you to and from the railway station, they worked very well. Early petrol vehicles were flammable, unreliable and, until the infrastructure was in place, hard to fuel.

The petrol engine wasn't a better engineering solution - what happened was that people wanted it for all kinds of status reasons and because it was better for rural use than horses, and society got designed around it, right down to city layouts, the road system and even commuting patterns. We are now stuck with it because change would be so expensive. But it is possible that things could have happened differently - like Robert Heinlein's idea of a society whose movement was based on moving pavements because solar power proved so cheap - and that the outcome would have been better.

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Paris Hilton

Power Station Efficiency

Will people stop saying that coal/gas power stations are 40-60% efficient? The closest % efficient they are to is 1% and only if you round up.

They are not! Remember E = MC^2

1KG of fuel should provide 89875517873 MJ of energy not the measly 46MJ that you get from it is you happen to set it on fire.

The only remotely efficient power stations are Nuclear. :)

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

2.1 tonne to 1.8 tonne, thats 300 kilos difference, thats getting on for 3 passengers (okay 1 in the states - cheap shot, cant resist, easy target {well it weights 300kg so of course its an easy target} - I'm here all week, and dont forget to tip your waitress! take my wife.....)

i really would expect to see a significant change in the performance of my car with that sort of additional load in it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

> comparing a 20th-generation petrol-engined car with a 2nd-generation electric.

Not quite. All the elements of an EV have been around for well over 100 years and have been developed over that time. Electric motors have been used extensively throughout the home and in industry. They have benefited from the same advances in manufacturing techniques and materials that the petrol engine have benefited from. I would happily wager that at any point in time, since the invention of the internal combustion engine, the number of electric motors (not vehicles) in use in the world heavily outnumbered the number of petrol engines.

The same is true of batteries. Manufacturers have been competing to create cheaper, smaller, longer lasting batteries since the early 1800's.

There isn't going to be some giant leap forward in technology for an electric vehicle, the best you can hope for is a fractional increase in power density for the battery and for it to lose less of that power density with each charge/discharge cycle.

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@James M

Actually diesel \ petrol stores energy 63 times more densely than liion batteries, rather than 10 times. Raw figures are in my post above, although your point is valid, the difference isn't as wide as it would initally appear but only if you have a pure electric car AND use expensive liion cells. Otherwise it's 2 motors annd heavier nimh cells.

A 15 gallon tank would have approx 105lbs of fuel, the same energy in a liion cell (assuming 40vs100% efficency) would require 2646lbs of battery, which is a little heavier than my engine :-)

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Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

lol

so it wasnt better

but eveyone wanted it

if thats the case how come apple havent copyrighted it yet?

batteries are, let's be honest, at least an order of magnitude away from where they need to be to actually be viable as a fuel source for personal transportation. and that is now, at the start of the 21st century.

so what did they know about battery technology in the 1880's that we have somehow forgotten?

i'd posit _nothing_, electric cars were a stupid idea then and they stil are today. Maybe one day they will work, but not today (or tomorrow)

apparently it was all down the those fashion concious dustbowl farmers 'forcing' us to join the ratrace???

As for town planning - i live in colchester, establshed as the capital of roman britain, head st, hight st, culver st, sheregate, st johns gate, were all established some 3000 years before the birth of daimler & ford et al., so the town layout was probably not driven by the car much

oh dear - heinlein - it's so very easy to create a utopian future when you dont have to do the sums. nuff said.

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Re: Who cares?

@Snake

"The facts are that this is pure driver error. The driver failed to provide enough 'fuel' (power charge) to go the distance necessary.

Period. The driver ran out of gas.

Yet somehow this is the fault of an inanimate object. Somehow this is the fault of an electric car, not to go further than the charge level versus distance provided to it.

The quite indisputable fact is that Broder failed to charge the car fully at the Newark, DE Supercharger station. Broder stopped the charge at 72%. His excuse is 'it said I had enough charge'. But that's the car's fault."

Yes it's the car's fault. Do you want your reviewers to execute everything flawlessly... or realistically?

Put it this way: when a car fails its Euro NCAP crash test, do you complain that driving into a brick wall is "driver error" and therefore the obliteration of the crash-test dummy is not "the car's fault"...?

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Re: @ Snake

"We need a solution that involves relatively clean and sustainable power generation (fusion \ solar \ hydrothermal etc)"

I don't disagree with your stance, but the first is made of unobtanium, the second is known to be only feasible under certain weather conditions and is not a grid-compatible technology anyway (attempts to make it look like one are one of the things that are killing it in some markets) and the last has an annoying tendency to suck large mounts of investment monies only to move to a different place once the hardware has been installed - though a few places do have what has historically been a reliable geothermal power capability and I would argue siting server farms in Iceland where they could be powered easily and cooled ambiently (with filtering) most of the time and the country could do with the investment would be a sound globally thought out "green" solution.

We need to look at all power technologies together, not as a six technologies enter one technology leaves Thunderdome situation, and that includes the nuke power that *does* work today.

We need to stop deploying huge industries that suck power and generate heat and suck more power to get rid of it in politically astute but technologically inappropriate climates that make keeping cool a problem to start with. Broaden the "no moving parts" thinking. Put hot server continents in cold places.

And as you say, we need to expand the idea of "green" to mean "not just green in my vicinity".

Rant over.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: can't deal with the idea of a motor vehicle not using gasoline

I don't normally respond to people who write 'lol', even ironically, but you totally miss my point. People do not always do very sensible things, even en masse. The uncontrolled development in the USA of the car-based economy is now causing big economic problems which Europe and Japan suffer from somewhat less -such as people unable to afford to commute to work because of rising fuel prices.

I don't get your point about Colchester at all - most larger British towns now have quite serious congestion problems due to the increase in car use.

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FAIL

Re: Who cares?

It didn't "turn out to be completely faked". The only dodgy point was that they showed the car being pushed off the track, while Tesla claimed it still had enough oomph, just, to move itself. Tesla were laughed out of the UK libel courts twice when they tried to sue.

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