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back to article Model S 'leccycar selling better than expected, says Tesla

Tesla Motors has sold a few more electric cars than anticipated, prompting the Elon Musk-run biz to cautiously expect a profit in the first quarter of 2013. Today the manufacturer told shareholders and US financial watchdog the Securities and and Exchange Commission that it has sold 4,750 Model S cars - 250 more than the 4,500 …

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Coat

Re: Devastating

I do believe Windows 8 has sold more than 4750 copies since launch though

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Re: Devastating

Windows 8 isn't retailing for tens of thousands of currency units.

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Joke

Re: "...tens of thousands of currency units."

I bet you it is in Laos, Burma, or Iran!

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Re: "...tens of thousands of currency units."

plus microsoft appear to be making a profit every year too.

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Facepalm

You're 'avin' a larf, right?

Even devastatingly negative publicity is good publicity ..... Jasper Hamill

That does not compute as common sense, Jasper, unless one be paid and in need to publicise a devastatingly negative product, but only then because one be easily bought to say whatever someone else requires one to believe, which is a weird way for anyone to try and make a living ........ spinning negative publicity tales.

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Boffin

Leccy? No!!

Nothing personal against Tesla Motors themselves, but personally I'd like to see the electric car concept flounder - even fail - to a sufficient degree for people to realise that that electric vehicles aren't the super green bundles of tree-huggery that they're made out to be.

While electric vehicles can claim to be zero emissions at point of use, they still require the electricity which fuels them to come from meaning that there is more-than-likely emission and use of non-renewable fuel at some stage in the chain.

Then people might start to look at other, cleaner platforms, such as fuel cell technology, which doesn't seem to be getting the focus it deserves

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Go

Re: Leccy? No!!

At least it's easier to clean up the pollution from a handful of fixed locations instead of millions of moving locations and easier/quicker to upgrade and take advantage of new generating tech. Both of those are advantages that go a long way toward offsetting any efficiency questions.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

And where does the fuel for the fuel cells come from? And what fuel is it?

If it's hydrogen, the energy to generate this also comes from the same non-renewable generators as for EVs but less efficiently, so the overall well-to-wheel efficiency is far worse and the effective CO2 emissions are worse than a petrol car.

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Boffin

Re: Leccy? No!!

Hydrogen fuel cells, perchance? The current preferred (i.e. cheapest) method of generating hydrogen industrially is to reform it from natural gas and spew out the leftover carbon in some other form e.g. CO2. If you've got the readies (and if you can afford a fuel cell car you probably have) you could get a huge solar panel and generate your own hydrogen photocatalytically (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoelectrochemical_cell) but you're pretty screwed if you live in a flat.

The problem with H2 is storage; it's far easier to store petrochemicals 'cos the only dangers are fire and the vapours they like to emit when not in a sealed container. Storing hydrogen gives you the added fun of the expense of constructing things from proton-impermeable materials, hydrogen embrittlement (if you're too mean to use proton impermeable materials), very high flame speed and there being no need to encourage it to form a vapour 'cos it's already a gas. Don't even think about cryogenic storage, that's space program money. The only advantages for hydrogen are it's rapid dispersal into the atmosphere in the event of a leak and that it's safer to breath than oxygen so the only health hazard is of it displacing all the air in a confined space.

Personally I'd like a cyanobacterium that eats CO2 and pisses alkanes (except n-hexanes, they ruin your nervous system) or butanol, or both. Supplying the other nutrients they need is a pain in the arse, though.

Maybe a range extended plug in hybrid with a battery big enough for commuting (which you can charge up from the mains) and a fuel cell or generator that can run off the products of the aforementioned cyanobacteria. Failing cyanobacteria, hopefully one of the synthetic butanol or hydrocarbon systems that are being developed will step into the breach.

Waffle waffle waffle.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

"clean up the pollution from a handful of fixed locations"

except of course we dont do that much now, and with clean tech (nope i dont know either) and carbon trading (markets will fix everything) I don't see us doin too much of that in the future

"easier/quicker to upgrade and take advantage of new generating tech."

cos closing down all coal and building either a shitload of nukes or a SHITLOAD of windmills is a piece of piss from political, financial and planning points of view.

If we are seriously talking about having significant numbers of noddy cars on the road, then all existing green tech starts looking sillier and sillier by the minute. that leaves nukes - and it takes 15 years to get an amp out of a nuke. So unless there was a shedload of hush-hush planning applications made in about 1998, we are kinda shit outta luck there too.

and really?! the efficiency questions - they are still there, still valid, and still killing the noddy car as a concept.

"we are still pissing energy up the wall, but it's _green_ energy." so thats all ok then is it?

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Boffin

Re: Leccy? No!!

"...more-than-likely emission and use of non-renewable fuel at some stage in the chain."

Not true. Even in the USA, electricity is more and more likely to come from renewables.

Germany now produces more than half of it electricity from solar alone and the USA is approaching 35% combined renewables.

ALL industrialized countries are showing steady year after growth of renewables..

Tesla's charging stations are powered solely, wait for, wait for it, solar panels on the stations's roof.

Do try and keep up.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

What about the damage caused to the environment by the mining, refining and disposal involved with the battery packs? Just because the damage is done in another country does not make it 'green'.

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Alert

Re: Leccy? No!!

There are two opposed misconceptions out there:

That electric cars are the solution, end of.

That electric cars are a waste of time, end of.

They are likely to become an important part of a solution to a very big problem: how to keep our civilisation running when we've used most of the oil. Electric cars don't need oil, they don't even require fossil fuels to be burned. Also in future they can be part of an electricity-storage infrastructure (if they are connected whenever they are not being driven, which would require omnipresent car-charging facilities like we currently have omnipresent mains electricity).

Their current (early phase) development is being driven by rich guys having fun, which is exactly the same model as the original automobile. That's a better approach to just about everything new than soviet- or EC-style central planning!

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Re: Leccy? No!!

Fuel cell cars are, in fact, electric cars.

Electric motors. Check

Regenerative braking for decent range. Check

Battery to support regenerative braking. Check

etc.

Fuels cells are best thought of as an interesting kind of battery

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Leccy? No!!

"Germany now produces more than half of it electricity from solar alone"

"The electricity sector in Germany in the year 2009: fossil fuel power produced 61%, nuclear power produced 23% and renewable energy 18% (including wind + solar + hydro, geothermal power is negligible in Germany)"

"According to the Öko-Institut the renewable electricity share could be increased from 6% in 2000 to 35% in 2020"

"(In Germany)Some market analysts expect the solar electricity share could reach 25 percent by 2050.[35] Price of PV systems has decreased more than 50% in 5 years since 2006.[36]"

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@ecofeco Umm, no! Re: Leccy? No!!

You can twist the numbers however you like to make them sound nice, but the real picture is this.

There isn't a single country in the world in which renewable electricity generation exceeds the demand for electricity. Every kWh of renewable is consumed the moment it comes out of the solar panel, wind turbine or hydro generator.

The additional electricity that is needed above that is created by fossil fuels.

If we use electric cars, we need more electricity. To general that electricity, we need more fossil fuels.

Even Tesla's super duper power stations are, I believe, connected to the grid. When a car ISN'T plugged in, they are reducing demand for fossil fuelled electricity and making the grid greener. The moment you plug a Model S in, that electricity is no longer going into the grid and the demand for it has to be met from elsewhere - e.g. coal and gas.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

"Germany now produces more than half of it electricity from solar alone "

Nonsense !

"Solar already rivals existing hydro in Germany and solar PV's contribution is increasing dramatically. In 2011 it supplied 3% of total generation in Germany and is expected to reach 4% or more of total generation in 2012."

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/10/german-coal-fired-generation-of-electricity-falls-while-renewable-generation-rises

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Re: @ecofeco Umm, no! Leccy? No!!

I beg to differ. Did you check any statistics before stating "There isn't a single country in the world in which renewable electricity generation exceeds the demand for electricity." ? In Norway (latest figures are for 2011, they are still working on the 2012 numbers and they are not yet public) Total production of Hydro, Thermal and Wind power was 127,632 GWh. Total consumption for the country in that period 114,275GWh. Now correct me if I am wrong but that means norway had produced more power from renewable sources that they actually used . . in 2011 and 2012 a good deal of power was exported to Sweden while they carried out major maintainance on a nuclear station, including the cleanup after someone allegedly left a vacuum cleaner in the "hot zone" on startup for a test. Some stats ? http://www.ssb.no/en/elektrisitetaar/

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Facepalm

Re: Leccy? No!!

"What about the damage caused to the environment by the mining, refining and disposal involved with the battery packs?"

Right. I forgot that burnt hydrocarbons and vaporized poison are so much better.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

Reuters

By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN | Sat May 26, 2012 2:02pm EDT

(Reuters) - German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour - equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity - through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation's midday electricity needs.

Is Reuters lying?

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Re: Leccy? No!!

1 problem : Hidrogen is a bad energy medium, and it is not an energy source.

Still worse: right now, it is cheaper to use an ICE to burn the hidrogen than using a fuel cell....

As for batteries.. well, if things go right we are going to get (maybe) in 3-4 years batteries that will be 2-3 x the capacity and half cost.. if that is true, then it will be almost right to use electric cars.. mostly "plugin"hybrids.. time will tell.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

The early phase development of electric cars was before the internal combustion engine was invented and they were cometing with steam, which had a similar range to electric, but took a lot longer to warm up.

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Re: @ecofeco Umm, no! Leccy? No!!

Well Iceland is a possible candidate, it is about 100% geothermal at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ecofeco Umm, no! Leccy? No!!

But Norway's not exactly what you would call flat, now is it? It's like a crumpled version of a normal country....

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Joke

Re: Leccy? No!!

"Personally I'd like a cyanobacterium that eats CO2 and pisses alkanes"

When I was in college I knew a guy who did that.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

"Is Reuters lying?"

Someone is ! Just because Germany may have produced 50% of it's requirement on one light load day on a sunny day in May does not mean that 50% of German electricity is produced by solar.

Reuters was reporting not understanding. Germany produces most of it's electricity from coal & gas. The most generous estimates of all renewables is ~20%

Compiled by Prof. Bruno Burger, Fraunhofer ISE

August 30, 2012

PV plants produced 19.5 TWh electricity in 2011. This is an increase of 65% compared to 2010. The share of solar energy of the gross power generation was 3.2%. In 2011 PV produced more energy than hydro power for the first time. Wind turbines produced 46.5 TWh in 2011 and increased their production by 23% compared to 2010. The share of wind energy of the gross power generation was 7.6%. Wind energy is the strongest renewable energy source in Germany.

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units

22 gigawatts of electricity per hour

This is one of the things that makes me stop reading something in mid-sentence. If the author cannot get this right then nothing else is to be trusted.

BTW why are errors with units almost always in the time factor?

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Re: units

"BTW why are errors with units almost always in the time factor?"

Fifty people per meter-hour would love an answer for that.

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@ecofeco

No, but it did seem like you forgot that electric cars use batteries that cause a huge impact on the environment and are take a significant amount of their power from fossil fuels.

Battery powered electric cars at the moment only give people a false sense of wellbeing about their bunny hugging credentials. They just moved the damage from the tailpipe \ exhaust to the power stations \ strip mines and processing plants. Peoepl think, yay I got a prius I'm an eco warrior, no you aren't. You little slotcar results in huge ass mines which devastate the land and nearby rivers, the ore is then transported to be processed creating more pollution, this is then manufactured into actual battery packs which last maybe 5-7 years before they need to be recycled or disposed of, creating more pollution, AND then the entire time you have most likely been burning fossil fuels to power the damn thing in the first place. It's not that petrol and diesel are better, it's just electric is no better either, it's just marketed as better for the hard of thinking.

I am all for a solution that is better for the environment but right now, whats on the market isn't it. What we really need is a solution that is politically acceptable, practical, financially viable and sustainable. Something along the lines of using our deserts to setup farms for bacteria or simple plants to make an oil based fuel. That we already have the technology for, we have the distribution network for, it is an energy dense fuel so range isn't an issue and keeps a decent amount of the supply domestic. Economically, not sure but it seems to actually address the problem where electric cars do not.

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Pint

Re: Leccy? No!!

"Tesla's charging stations are powered solely, wait for, wait for it, solar panels on the stations's roof."

You fell for that?

Hint: 1kw per sq meter, times ~25%, times ~33%, times how many square meters?, times how many cars per month, equals nonsense.

Even Musk "clarified" that they'd need to buy-in some renewable energy credits associated with other sources to power up the cars with renewable energy.

This in addition to "grid storage".

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Re: Leccy? No!!

"Electric cars don't need oil, they don't even require fossil fuels to be burned."

Except for the industrial society (still powered mostly by fossil fuels) required to manufacture them. This sentence is a mere shadow of the vast point it makes.

Once upon a time I met a Survivalist style camper. He thought that was completely self-sufficient and independent of society. His tent even had solar panels; nice ones; very high tech; I think that they were imported from Japan...

Same thing.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

Except that they're more easily refuelled quickly (with "fuel"), and could easily provide 1000 km range if desired.

Other than these two key selling features, it's exactly the same as stuffing a car full of mobile phone batteries.

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Re: @ecofeco Umm, no! Leccy? No!!

"There isn't a single country in the world..."

Iceland.

Your point as worded is pedantically correct in that AC electricity is impractical to store. But Iceland's hydro power is just as controllable hour by hour as any coal powered plant. Your intended point is simply wrong.

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Pint

Re: Leccy? No!!

"...burnt hydrocarbons and vaporized poison..."

You fail to understand the impact of modern pollution controls. Modern cars (in locations that mandate it) emit next to zero pollution. They've gotten down to welding the fuel system closed to catch the last few molecules.

People need to comprehend these facts, it ain't 1965 no more!!!

Except in jurisdictions where the decision makers also fail to understand.

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Re: units

Yeah, like, it should be 22 gigawatts of electricity *per fortnight*. Right?

(I share your pet peeve. Drives me up the wall. Watts per unit time. Sigh...)

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Re: Leccy? No!!

Might as well put the solar panels on the car - but you won't get a Tesla S

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@Stu_The_Jock Re: @ecofeco Umm, no! Leccy? No!!

Well, you said "correct me if I am wrong" and if you look a little closer, you'll see those numbers exclude consumption by the power stations themselves. For example, hydro often involves pumping a load of water uphill first for it to fall down again. Thermal requires a lot of pumping down and back up etc.

From the site you linked, is this table:

http://www.ssb.no/en/energi-og-industri/statistikker/elektrisitetaar/aar/2013-03-20?fane=tabell&sort=nummer&tabell=104211

If clearly shows the net consumption, including this losses, is positive. e.g. it uses more than it generates. This was also 2011 - they've imported a lot of electric cars since then, so consumption will have gone up.

It's close but it should also be noted that Norway is a rare exception. In more usual countries, there is a vast divide between renewable generation and consumption. Norway are doing well, although not enough to justify an electric car, and they can also help Sweden. Going to be a long time until other states get anywhere near though.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

But unfortunately, one with considerably lower efficiency than conventional batteries, once all the energy losses are taken into account.

Since the best way to reduce emissions overall is better energy efficiency, fuel cells (or even worse, hydrogen powered IC engines) get a big thumbs-down.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

Sounds great in theory, but in practice the power grid eats all the energy that renewables can generate right now, and the balance is made up by fossil fuels. Increasing power grid demand from lots of electric cars today would mean that the increased power required will be generated by fossil fuels, not renewables.

Of course this won't be true in that happy but distant future when renewables (or nuclear fission or fusion) generate all our power, but it is the case today and will be for the foreseeable future.

Tesla's charging stations can only be powered by solar panels on the roof because there are so few Tesla cars using them, multiply the numbers by 100x or 1000x and it's back to juice from those nasty dirty fossil fuels.

It's still true that electric cars have better overall well-to-wheel efficiency than petrol or diesel so the overall CO2 impact is positive, but don't think that all that power comes from nice green sources because it doesn't.

Then there's the battery problem...

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Re: Leccy? No!!

A large number of electric cars is probably the only energy storage method with enough capacity to fill the gaps when the wind stops blowing to make renewables really work without fossil fuel backup, but there needs to be an awful lot of them plugged in a lot of the time to do this...

Bear in mind that renewables will have a hard enough job replacing fossil fuels to generate existing electricity demand (read "Without the Hot Air"), the added demand from millions of electric cars will make this problem worse.

Apart from the charging problem (which could be helped by swappable battery cassettes) the biggest issue with electric cars is the battery -- cost, weight, range, C02 load to manufacture. It would need a really major breakthrough in affordable battery chemistry (no exotic materials) to fix this, and there isn't one on the horizon yet, a huge improvement in energy density is needed not a small one.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

50 percent of the nation's midday electricity ON THOSE TWO DAYS AT MIDDAY.

Turning that into just 'providing 50 percent of the nation's electricity' without qualification is a feat of sophistry, or incompetence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Leccy? No!!

I'd like to see evidence of those figures,

Considering Germany are building a load of coal power stations, I don't see why they would do that if your claim is valid.

A load of countries might be building renewable's (IF like the UK we have green wash politicians trying to bankrupt us, by sticking the cash in their pockets, telling us that saving 0.05% of the worlds carbon output is going to save us) but it does not mean they are actually useful or practical.

I smell bad maths and stats and it stinks to high heaven!.

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Re: Leccy? No!!

"Germany now produces more than half of it electricity from solar alone"

I presume this utter garbage comes from a record set at noon on 25/05/2012 where half of the grid demand was provided by solar sources. So Germany did produce more than half the electricity it uses for a few minutes around noon one Saturday (less demand from industry) last year.

During 2012 solar provided a little over 5% of the total supply.

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Boffin

"Then people might start to look at other, cleaner platforms, such as fuel cell technology, which doesn't seem to be getting the focus it deserves"

OK. What fuel would you put into a fuel cell, and more importantly where would it come from?

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Re:

Golden smiles & unicorn farts! Those will work right?

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Tesla: the ultimate in man Maths

Looking at the Wikipedia entry Tesla has raised over $400m. That doesn't include another $465m of US government grant (although I think some of that got rescinded) and $10m from the State of Texas to build their new gull-wing MPV there. I seem to remember some Toyota investment too.

So It's pushing a billion dollars in investment to sell 10,000 cars.

Simon.

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Boffin

Re: Tesla: the ultimate in man Maths

Tesla's latest news is they are going to show a none GAAP profit this year.

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Re: Tesla: the ultimate in man Maths

Which is exactly the kind of investment required to design some cars and setup a car factory. Which can produce 10 of thousands of cars. *Per year*....

In fact that is pretty cheap by motor industry standards.

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