Did one of the two Tesla Roadsters tested by BBC TV's Top Gear really die on the track and need to be pushed into the studio garage by hand? That's the question that has been exercising minds since Jeremy Clarkson tossed his orb on the Californian 'leccy sports car on Sunday night. The Top Gear segment gave the distinct …
All that money...
..and it's still way slower than a Caterham R500. I know what I'd rather have..
Top Gear "Fuel Cell is the Answer"
I wondered to myself, if a car has got a less than 250mile range of hydrogen to supply the fuel cell... would you be about 250 miles away from the nearest hydrogen filling station when you ran out of fuel?
I have my doubts that it will be easily possible to build a hydrogen re-filling infrastructure anytime soon (say by 2020 or 2030?!). Then there's that whole Zeppelin tendency that hydrogen has and remember, the only way to get range out of hydrogen is to put it under some serious pressure.... which of course, exacerbates it's tendency to run away a bit.
Seems to me that it is highly logical to pursue the middle path, which is a combination of motors that can operate in a highly efficient and optimised manner. Combustion engine for crusing over long distances. Electric motor for the stop and start of urban chicanery. Call it a hybrid solution. Oh wait a minute....
The French gov't have spiked a report in Sept.08 which pretty much came to this same conclusion in a much more studied way than Top Gear would ever do.
Flame symbol, 'cos that's when hydrogen is happiest.
"Seriously, as quick as it is, they're asking £90,000 for something that is potentially explosive "
Because Hydrogen and petrol are perfectly safe in comparison?
As for being 'obsolete'; well, not really. Any of us could buy an electric car today, plug it in and use it ahppily for the next 10 years. Do you actually think you'll be easily able to obtain H2 at the pumps for five years? H2 is a future technology that isn't viable at present. Electric vehicles are still pretty much demonstrators, but at least they're ten years ahead of the game.
For 90k it might be out of our price range, but maybe that's not where it's aimed. LA rages about the Prius as the cool car to own if you want to try to feel less guilty about being a planet-wrecking capitalist pig. The Tesla does the same thing but doesn't look like a brick, and drives fast in a straight line for 1/4 of a mile (the only performance indicator other than HP that matters to US petrol heads). And the cost differential between a Prius and a Tesla is laughable to anyone in Hollywood anyhow. And those people ahving these cars is a GOOD thing: They're rolemodels, regardless of if we like it or not. By encouraging them to drive electric, we're encouraging a lot of others to do so, too.
Erm... final point: A lot of tech heads on here have frothed about how dangerous it is for a burned out fuse to cause brake failure. For all we know, it might have failed safe. How about we don't jump the gun? Anyhow, it's just as unsafe as the problems that a simple fuse or electrical failure in your ICE can cause. There's a lot more breakable componants in a conventional braking system, too.
Last of The Summer Wine
@AC - you hit the nail right on the head. Bathtubs, yes. Top Gear is just Antiques Roadshow or Last of The Summer for a certain type of middle aged man. I find it totally incomprehensible.
William Woollard - we need you now.
Some things not surprising
That the range was so short under track conditions
Nor that the motor overheated
Doesnt mean the thing is no good for the real world
However for all the expectations of electric car bashing they did show that the lap time was about the same as a 911GT3 and that on tyres chosen 'for rolling resistance, not grip'
One little point was that JC complained about noise! This is basically an elise, so what's the main difference? of course the missing engine noise, that makes the wind noise more noticeable.
Mind you that price really is crazy
How much for that fuel cell car I wonder
Hydrogen Cars? Come off it!
Find me a good way to get hold of hydrogen cheaply and easily, store it and transport it and maybe ... maybe I'll accept the fuel cell car
Until that time, why dont we work on batteries, make them charge faster, that being the only real failing of the battery car.
As for top gear ... clarkson was pretty encouraging on the tesla, he was no more negative than any car hes put in ... he ALWAYS finds some fault, in a porsche, a ferrari, whatever.
Not Buying. At any price. Seasickness
Did you see the body roll on that thing? Terrible! Never mind £90k, I wouldn't buy it for £900!
Electricity is not made by "burning coal"; the great advantage of electric cars is that the electricity is made by "doing something" at a central station. That MAY be burning coal, or it may be catching the wind or letting water fall over a turbine or putting something out in the sun. The ability to switch your generation method to the best available at the moment is very important.
Re: Why were there two cars?
There's always two cars.
>Re: 55 Miles.
>You actually believe that test was scientific?
I wasn't making any great "science" point, simply observing that they got the same range from other cars on the track.
Besides, all experimentation is "scientific", you mean it's a flawed test.
I also saw the Top Gear program with the tesla and the honda Clarity. Its a shame that they have finally made an electric car that seems to work well and already its obsolete. I've been following the news on the Honda Clarity for a few months now and the way honda are selling the product with the Home Fill Up station you can also say good bye to the petrol station for good. I cant wait until the Honda comes into the UK and I can have a test drive.
What's wrong with two...?
"Top gear have every right to take the piss, and at the end of the day - they did have a point. The fact they NEEDED two in the first place says something."
"The "fuse failure" is a problem, as this should not happen. And why WERE there two cars? "
I can't see why people are worried about a company providing two cars. It's expensive to set up a filming day. All you need is for one car to have an accident, even a minor mishap like a puncture, and your filming schedule goes to pot. What would have happened if they had brought just one Tesla, unloaded it, and someone had run a fork-lift truck into it?
It's a perfectly reasonable precaution to take.
Mind you, hydrogen kicks ass...
@Nick "Moronic Show"
Seriously get a grip. If I want factual information I'll go test it for myself.
The majority of people watching TG are more than likely there for some entertainment not an impartial review of a car. Furthermore a tiny proportion of watchers will ever be able to afford half the cars they test.
As for 5th gear being better...why do you need to throw a car around a circuit to see how well it goes to the shops..and wasn't it 5th gear that had a caravan+car jumping record.
I'll be test driving cars that suit my fat arse not Richard Hammonds frame.
Paris, because even she knows TG is about entertainment.
Re: After all of the problems the BBC has had...
"I cant help thinking that Tesla may be the ones telling porkies here, as I don't think the BBC would dare."
Oh come on! Next week we'll be hearing about another Blue Peter pet - not the actual one, but one brought in surreptitiously under "unusual circumstances" - snorting white powder off a backstage mirror under a pseudonym supposedly chosen by viewers in a phone-in but actually chosen by the production company during a party involving champagne, escorts and farm animals. But since the government pulls all the strings at the Beeb, sad faces will be made and everyone will be off the hook within days.
Ok, it didnt get below 20% but...
...at some point it would. And have to be pushed back.
Any car would run out too.
But the point they are proving is that any other car could have a top up of juice from a can and be off and running again.
These things had to be taken back, not under their own power, and be charged for a long time before they go again.
"It all did seem a bit suspicious, petrolhead Clarkson seemed almost annoyed that there was little to complain about the car when it suddenly was beset by "problems"."
If you think this is suspicous then I suspect you have paid very little attention to Clarkson's output in the past. He has a few standard formats to his car reviews. Two in particular come to mind. One is to start by heaping praise on the car and then bring in the negatives afterwards, ending with an overall thumbs down. The other is to start by damning the car and then suddenly switch to praise, ending on a high.
Clarkson is almost unique among motoring writers in spotting that the choice of car we buy is not made on the same rational basis as, say, the choice of a washing machine. As such he will often damn a car only to say at the end of the review that he loved it. The thing is that most people these days do see a car as white goods and don't actually derive any enjoyment from driving it at all. Quite appart from the comedy/entertainment aspect of TG Clarkson understands that a driver's car is not necessailly the best handling or fastest car on the showroom floor, but the the most enjoyable and satisfying to drive. Which is why to a driver (rather than a motorist) an Alfa is usually a "better" car than the equivalent BMW. Even if the BMW is faster, better handling, better built and better specced. A "motorist" would choose the BMW every time, but then "motorists" are incredibly tedious people.
Getting back to the Tesla, conveying certain things with the written word would be easy. Conveying, or at least, empasising that the car broke downthrough a visiual medium is best achieved by showing the car being pushed. It may not be what happened in reality, but then, in reality, you don't have a mechanic on hand. So the program may not have conveyed what actually happened, but then Tesla supplied two cars and support staff and as such were party to a deception. It was not a "real world" test. After all, as has been mentioned, a Tesla owner wouldn't have a support techician following them around the country. I'm willing to bet that, had the test gone well Tesla would not have told everybody they had technicians on site looking after the car. They were forced to do so by the fact that they didn't like the review.
If they were so confident of the car's ability why supply two cars and a mechanic? The very fact that they did so suggests to me that they were expecting the cars to go wrong in some way. It's just surprising that they are kicking up a fuss about the fact that TG reported it when it did.
to be honest
i was pleasantly surprised by the positivness of Clarkson's review, and i didn't feel there was any undertone of "i hate this because it's electric".
the ge-wizz got the "i hate this because its crap" and rightly so. nothing to do with the power plant. the ge-wizz got slated because a mobility scooter has more go in it.
Fast - yes, even with half ton of battery.
Handling - let down by half ton of battery.
Range - let down by half ton of battery.
Noisy - lots of road /wind noise.
Range - battery not enough.
Fun - yes. just needs to loose the half ton of battery and go hydrogen fuel cell.
i like the idea of regerative braking, but it sounded like their implementation was an all or nothing approach. not the progressive braking in "normal" cars.
they admitted to having problems as the two speed gearbox and locked it down to one. so from tesla's point of view it was definatly a proof of concept, and not really the finished showroom product. thats what i can guess as to why they had two there in the first place in case one went pop? its not like you can pop down your local tesla garage and take one for a test drive. these things were probably negotiated over, shipped across, fettled and honed. then one then still goes and blows its fuses.
As for the Honda. well, if they were only petrol heads, then this wouldn't have even got a mention. as it was, James flew over there, found out about it, drove it, and i personally, wouldn't have heard about it otherwise.
"GO" icon for Top Gear.
Can I have
A Tesla with the fuel cell arrangement.
Assuming that the Hydrogen tank (read very very explosive) and fuel cell weigh less than the batteries then the Elecy Elise would be even more stonking.
As others have said, 55miles on a track ain't bad going. When I go on track days I go to the petrol station before starting, at lunch time and before driving home in the evening and I'm not going as hard as the TG boys do.
Lots of SuperCars break, look back at the reports of JCs Ford or the Aston that took weeks to go round the track. Never stopped anyone buying them.
I thought the boys liked it.
At least it's an attempt to make Electric Cars interesting. Far better than the normal hybrid monster trucks you see driving around. Lets put an electric motor and batteries as well as a big engine into an already over weight lardy arsed Chelsea tractor so we can claim to be green.
Hybrids are a solution to a different problem. As a solution to local air pollution (90s environmentalism) they are a great solution by letting you trickle through traffic jams without running an internal combustion engine and emitting local pollutants.
Not sure whether the Tesla is going to be environmentally friendly, what is the carbon foot print of the battery systems like?
Re: crap about electric/hydrogen-fueled cars using fossil-fuel-generated electricity:
The point isn't that electricity is generated in a polluting way, it's that once you've moved your cars to a fuel that either is electricity, or needs it to generate said fuel, then you can make your electricity generation more efficient.
You decouple fossil fuel from vehicle, and you can eventually swap it out completely.
The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth?
Tesla are accusing TG of not telling the truth, but are Tesla giving us the whole picture. They say that the cars never got below 20% battery capacity, but they don't mention the mileage. What if they were at 20% capacity at 44 miles? Suddenly Top Gear's portayal of the car conking out at 55 miles becomes, while not actually a video record of a real event, a representation of what would have happened 11 miles later.
Are Tesla going to give us the whole story? If not then I will assume that the above is what really happened.
I'm also willing to bet that Tesla recommended they don't run the batteries flat, on the grounds that this could cause damage. Fair enough, it can. However it would also have saved Tesla from the airing of any embarassing footage of the car conking out with a flat battery. The fact that TG simulated this is neither here nor there. They did it with Clarkson's beloved Ford GT so the leccy fans can hardly scream "bias".
Jezza had a Lightning, but the local council complained and he had to get rid of it. Admittedly he never used it, but it did look spectacular in his front yard, as long as you disregard the ruts that the tyres made in the lawn.
I wonder if his Lightning was "leccy", it was made by English Electric :-)
Top Gear / Jeremy Carkson
Top Gear is very a funny program, at least as far as I am concerned.
However anyone who believes anything that JC says is an idiot. In fact if there is anyone out there that believes JC then I have some magic beans for sale, only £2 million each.
Four things about electric cars
The lack of basic knowledge about electric vs. hydrogen in the comments above is astonishing.
1. You don't have to wait for battery cars to recharge, you hot swap the batteries at the filling station.
2. Recharging at home / the office is an EXTRA BONUS that saves you lots of things, including the hassle of going to the petrol station during the daily grind of commute.
3. Hydrogen cars are ludicrously expensive to refuel compared to electric. How the same people who moan about petrol prices can even countenance hydrogen astonishes me.
4. Not one, not two but THREE countries (Israel, Australia and Denmark) and TWO United States (California and Hawaii) are changing to electric cars. Nowhere is changing to hydrogen cars.
Sure, I want to see this argument electric vs. hydrogen, it's an important one. But please, actually talk about the advantages/disadvantages properly rather than ignoring major, basic features of the two technologies.
Rob beard said...
>Seriously, as quick as it is, they're asking £90,000 for something that is potentially explosive (assuming they are using lithium batteries - TG just said it was laptop batteries in there)
er.. so petrol and hydrogen aren't explosive then?
Mine's the one with the volatile chemical symbol on the back
Hydrogen is great, assuming you could get the electricity-hydrogen conversion efficiency up, and we had safe means of transporting it en masse.
It's not like electricty is already piped all over the world and new battery technology allows for faster recharging and you can reclaim energy dynamatially whilst driving, is it? Oh wait..
Hydrogen is a waste of time without a green way of making electricity, even then it's still a PITA to make and move. Batteries can be made robust easily. Any super-safe hydrogen transportation (new carbon nanotube hydrogen-sequestration things look cool) is going to be heavy, wheras batteries will be getting lighter and/or more capacious.
Diversity is good, having to build new worldwide infrastructure for hydrogen is fucking stupid.
Storage + infrastructure + generation for hydrogen.
Storage + improvement on existing infrastructure + already-required-generation for electric.
If they make tiny, high efficiency coverters I'll gladly retract my criticism. High being equal or greater than transporting electrictiy and storing it in LiIon or modern equivalents.
Why so anti?
1) Tesla is in production, but with a single speed box. Two different gearbox manufacturers produced 2-speed boxes that couldn't actually handle the peak torque reliably, so it went into production locked in one gear (boxes to be replaced free when new version is out).
2) Honda FCX clarity = sort of prototype. Only available in N. California on a lease basis. You can't buy one.
3) Brake failure = brake regeneration failure. Not good, but not as some suggest here.
4) Top Gear made no mention of cost of Honda - because you can't buy one! You can only lease one for 3 years - rumour has it that it has cost Honda around $0.5 million per car, and the leasing means you will never know how durable the fuel cells are. Tesla is selling cars to attempt to make a profit.
5) US official economy figures show that the well-to-wheel fuel efficiency of the Honda FCX Clarity is worse than a Diesel VW Jetta. If you use electrolysis (as suggested) to create hydrogen, then it is worse than a Porsche 911. Car of the future? Hmmm.
If you think lithium batteries are dangerous, just look at what can be achieved with a bottle of petrol - let alone a whole tank. Hydrogen can be even more exciting as most people are not familiar with the required handling precautions.
(The best way to power electric vehicles is with overhead wires ;-)
Hydrogen Fuel Cells and The Environment
Hoepfully everybody knows the environmental issues with battery powered cars (i.e. the method of power generation and the environmental impact of the manufacture and disposal of the batteries), but what about the impact of hydrogren fuel cells.
The hydrogen has to be produced somehow and the popular way is processing water using electricity as a power source, which is generated how? Isn't water a precious resource that we are not supposed to waste? Then there is the exhaust. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas. OK so it doesn't hang around in the atmosphere for as long as CO2, but how does it leave the atmosphere? So if all the cars in the world ran on hydrogen how would all that exhaust affect the climate. It would get warmer and wetter. Oh good. That will save the planet won't it?
There is however a simple solution to the exhaust and wasted water problems. Rather than vent the water vapour to the atmosphere, condense it and store it in a tank to be reused. OK so the the car would get heavier the more fuel you used, but it would be a lot better for the environment. If, however, you were to seperate water into it's constituent parts and carry both of them onboard the weight of the car would not change appreciably during a journey. However it would require a bigger car, needing space for tanks for hydrogen, oxygen and water.
STFU Tesla boys, you are missing the point
I watched this episode and really got the overall impression that the Top Gear boys were impressed with the Tesla - it's a relatively new production technology so it's bound to have a few bugs to iron out and improve upon - I'm sure the early petrol engined cars weren't perfect straight away either. The Tesla lap time was up there with a Porsche 911, which I thought was impressive as well. Did the car *need* to be pushed, dunno, and to be honest, don't really care - Top Gear is about cars, and having a bit of a laugh, so thats what you expect - and that's what you get. Tesla should STFU and be happy with the relatively rosy review they got.
Hyrdogen - you have to be kidding?
If anyone is deluded enough to think hydrogen cars will be a reality any time soon Im amazed.
Ask yourself... where does hydrogen come from? Secondly how efficient (in terms of energy lost) is the production of hydrogen?
Then go look up "Better Place" - thats the future and its starting to role out now in Israel, Denmark, California and Australia.
Cheap leccy cars with mobile phone style usage contracts with 1000s of battery exchange and/or charge points.
FWIW Telly people are terrible at mucking stuff up. I saw Robot Wars being filmed and they had their favourites (eg Razor) and their "Fodder". If you weren't one of the "old boys" you got your robot shredded. TG is probably just the same.
Truth is somewhere in the middle.
I've just read the missive from the Tesla corporate communications Manager and there is a slight inconsistency that the article above doesn't mention. The quote about the fuse is:
"The “brake failure” Clarkson mentions was solely a blown fuse; a service technician replaced the Roadster’s pump and it was back up and running immediately."
Note the fuse was blown and the technician replaced a pump. Either the Corporate Communications Manager mistyped (which she shouldn't since it's her job), she is taking a bit of TG artistic license here, or the Tesla is seriously flaky and a blown fuse destroys one of the pumps. For Tesla Roadster Owners' sake I hope she is just bad at her job.
Pushing the car by hand..
at no point did a car fail in such a way that it needed to be pushed..
So a break failure, doesnt stop you driving it, true, but to be fair I would push a car by hand i fit had no breaks! Tesla Need to get over it!
better LiPo Batteries, and a hydrogen fuel cell for recharge would be ideal.
I do not like the idea of just electric or just fuel cell, a bit of both would suit me best.
Speaking of fuel cells...
Why aren't we looking into direct methanol fuel cells for our automotive needs?
I know that methanol isn't good for you, but then again, petrol isn't exactly part of a healthy breakfast.
It wouldn't be that difficult to alter the infrastructure from petrol/diesel to methanol and we wouldn't have the issues with compressed hydrogen.
But didnt TopGear win an American TV Industry Award for the "Best "Unscripted Comedy Program"....., not for the "Most Authoritative and Factual Motor Industry" program?
Had Teslas PR people never seen an episode of TopGear? Or are there some people out their still believe the old BBC "speaking nation unto nation"?
A quote I've used before...
Hydrogen is a bad answer to the wrong question.
In addition to all the other problems not mentioned in TG but listed by posters here, the main source of hydrogen today is - (fossil) natural gas, and it's production generates just as much if not more CO2 than driving a petrol car.
Also, fuel cell cars are never going to be cheaper than electric ones, as long as they use large quantities of platinumn in the fuel cell. Platinumn is more expensive and a lot rarer than gold, and there is not enough of the stuff on the planet to replace a fraction of the cars we currently have.
Hydrogen Vs. Battery
Battery and Hydrogen are both "electric". Except in the case of Hydrogen, you have to turn electricity into a pressurized gas and then turn it back again. It makes it about 4 times less efficient. For the same amount of money - you can go 4 times the distance with batteries.
The big downside with batteries is charging time. You can fill up a tank with petrol or hydrogen in a few minutes. To fill up a battery takes a few hours.
There's no perfect solution. But don't worry. It's Peak Oil in 2020. After that, we'll all be raising sheep and shooting things with arrows.
Did people watch the same show?
I saw Clarkson eating humble pie. After many years of shouting how electric cars will never be as good as petrol and laughing at earlier attempts that struggled to get up hills, he seemed very impressed. Especially with the comment about it snowing in hell. As other people have pointed the mileage was comparable to other supercars but I don't know where the 16 hours charge time came from. I was watching batteries not included and they had John Cleese test it with one of the owners of the company and the owner said it was a 4 hour charge time. But James May piece on the Honda was right. To go to a system other than being to refuel quickly while anywhere was spot on and for that reason, the fuel cell has already made battery technology obsolete. I am sure it wouldn't take tesla to long to adapt their cars to fuel cell technology and once you lose the 1/2 ton weight from the batteries, just think how much the performance would improve.
Straying off topic due to the whole is the Tesla a white elephant & the Insight the Jesus car debate, I wonder how much energy is required to create & distribute liquid hydrogen (even pretending for a second that it is made on the same scale as petrol & every fuel station has hydrogen pumps) compared to creating & distributing petrol.
Just because burning it only creates water doesnt mean that it is more energy-efficient and objectively better for the environment than petrol.
I must say the refuelling of the Insight was the slickest hydrogen fuelling I've seen - no bulky cryogenic piping covered in ice or giving off clouds of gas, but I am still unconvinced that it is THE FUTURE.
If I had the money and the brains to engage in heavyweight R&D I'd investigate a petrol fuel cell. It would strip the hydrogen off the octane & burn it in the same way as the Insight's cell does. The carbon-rich tar residue left behind would be sucked out by the pump at the same time as the tank is filled with petrol. The tar would be collected & used as a plastics industry feedstock or power station fuel (which would give off CO2, but at least you'd have powered the car without having done so).
I'd also look at batteries where flat electrolyte could be sucked out and replaced by charged electrolyte at the fuel station. The flat electrolyte would be trickle charged by solar & cheap-rate electricity, then pumped into the next customer's care when charged. Over-capacity at the filling stration could be fed into the national grid, and indeed the national network of filling stations could function as emergency battery-backup to the whole grid.
One of the more successful rulers in the Middle East, Sheikh Rashid was responsible for the transformation of Dubai into a modern port city and commercial hub. His famous line,
"My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel."
reflects his concern that Dubai's oil will run out in a decade or two.
Why two cars?
Why are so many people surprised that there were two cars? There have been numerous Top Gear episodes where two of the same petrol powered car were used, which you might notice if you pay a bit of attention !
Tesla Flawed but...
...I still can't quite believe that Top Gear fell for the old hydrogen-fuel-cell routine. James May should hang his head in shame. How much does the Honda FCX Clarity cost, James? Sorry, sir, I'm afraid this model is not currently for sale to the general public... and if it were it would cost 3 fucking million dollars. The Tesla is a real-world step forward. We understand that batteries need recharging, we could get used to that; we understand that batteries have a lower energy density than petrol or Diesel fuel, we can engineer our way around those constraints; but don't tell us that battery powered cars won't work, because we've seen them with our own eyes and we're not quite as stupid as you're banking on us being.
Power lead across the road
And another thing... it's all well and good having a leccy motor.
But charging it overnight assumes that you have been able to obtain a mortgage to purchase a nice house in the Cotswolds with a large garage with an industrial power socket.
Some nights I can't get parked anywhere near my door, never mind running a power lead around the street for someone to trip over & sue / vandalise & destroy / plug into their battery powered car.
The issue with hydrogen is the electrolysis required to get the stuff in the first place. Which comes from electricity. Which is generated by big dirty coal fired generators. And the demand needs to increase before your local station will stock it. I live in a smallish city, but within a 5 mile radius only 1 station supplies LPG.
As for the Hindenburg rear impact argument, how much worse can a tank full of hydrogen be to a tank full of flammable liquid?
Why Tesla will have the last laugh
Carniphage sums up the problem with hydrogen really well. It has to go through two more conversion processes and that soaks up 4 times more electricity as just charging a battery.
Battery cars will beat hydrogen in one of two ways:
1) Rapid recharging - either by swapping out the battery or through high-power chargers. Both are going to happen in the near future and rapid rechargers can be installed anywhere there is three-phase power. Own a shop or restaurant and want a nice little side line? Then charge people a fiver to top up their car while they eat your food or browse your products. It's completely independent of the oil companies - which has to be a good thing. As someone said above, Google for GT Lightning.
2) Battery capacity - when batteries reach the level when they will go further in a day than you can sensibly drive, then the whole argument about speed of charging goes out the window - just do it overnight.
The Asus eePC already has batteries that are a generation beyond the Tesla's. They store 2.9Ah vs 2.2Ah. Panasonic are about to start selling batteries that are even better again - 3.6Ah. So we've gone from 2.2 to 3.6 Ah in the space of a couple of years and that directly translates into two-thirds more range. The genius of the Tesla design is that they can use of-the-shelf laptop batteries that will keep getting better as the IT industry improves them. Expect the 2010 Tesla to include better batteries.
Still think hydrogen in every filling station will happen first? I don't, and I will put my money where my mouth is when Tesla release their four door.
Why the black helicopters? Because this is the idea that George Bush and his mates don't want you to know, people, and they use their state-run broadcasters to dangle the hydrogen carrot again and again.
Top Gear Not For Serious Reviews of Anything. Especially cars.
Its best to take Top Gear reviews with a pinch of salt.
For example on their website they give the 470bhp Nissan GTR 10/20 for performance!
SUVs on their site rate higher than this.
Its more of a blokey entertainment show than a show about cars.
@All the battery supporters
Hydrogen may be the only option due to its abundance, we just need to develop it better. If you really think batteries are the way to go, I suggest you look at the research that has been done estimating how much lithium would be required to replace most of the petrol cars currently running. Then look at how much estimated lithium the world has in known deposits. The sums don't add up by a big margin. Lithium is quite rare and we have no way of synthesizing it, so just like oil when its gone - its gone.
Why Tesla will win
Carniphage sums up the problem with hydrogen really well. It has to go through two more conversion processes. This uses 4 times the electricity.
Battery cars will beat hydrogen in one of two ways:
1) Rapid recharging - either by swapping out the battery or through high-power chargers. Both are going to happen in the near future and rapid rechargers can be installed anywhere there is three-phase power. Own a shop or restaurant and want a nice little side line? Then charge people a fiver to top up their car while they eat your food or browse your products. It's completely independent of the oil companies - which has to be a good thing.
2) Battery capacity - when batteries reach the level when they will go further in a day than you can sensibly drive, then the whole argument about speed of charging goes out the window - do it overnight.
The Asus eePC already has batteries that are a generation beyond the Tesla's. They store 2.9Ah vs 2.2Ah. Panasonic are about to start selling batteries that are even better again - 3.6Ah. So we've gone from 2.2 to 3.6 Ah in the space of a couple of years and that directly translates into two-thirds more range. The genius of the Tesla design is that they can use of-the-shelf laptop batteries that will keep getting better as the IT industry improves them.
Still think hydrogen in every filling station will happen first? I don't, and I will put my money where my mouth is when Tesla release their 4 door.
Why the black helicopters? Because this is the idea that They don't want you to know, people.
The americans were right when they decided the London congestion 'charge' was for all intents and purposes a tax (and therefore decided their diplomats didn't need to pay it), and they were right when they decided that Top Gear was an entertainment show and therefore their existing visas weren't valid.
I like Top Gear but when you see them playing skittles with caravans or jumping over some cars in an Allegro or even the strange decisions they make for the cool wall, you have to wonder how truthful their reviews are.
They clearly dislikecertain cars and manufacturers and I'm often left wondering if the summary of their review is based on how much they like people from those companies.
Martin, we simply do not have the infrastructure to fast charge a whole load of battery powered electric cars. To charge a battery powered car as fast as you currently fill a fuel tank would require a massive current.
The increased load on the grid would be potentially enormous. How many cars accross the country are currently being filled at any given time? Multiply that by the current draw of a single car being charged in five minutes. Then consider how much we would need to spend upgrading power distribution to cope with it. There is little doubt that every filling, sorry charging, station would need it's own substation, possibly quite a substantial one. Then of course they would need the feed off the grid for that substation.
All of that doesn't even address the issue of the cable needed to plug the car in. You probably wouldn't be able to lift it. Then of course there is the cabling from the charging point to the batteries. It would probably have to be much thicker than it is now to carry the extra current. Then the batteries might need to be chunkier too. So you would be adding weight, which would of course reduce the range and increase wear and tear on the running gear.
The whole argument around any alternative fuel source for vehicles is massively complex, being a morass of relative pros and cons. Chucking around simplistic glib statements helps nobody.
Politicians like things to be simplistic, hence their wholesale adoption of virtually any alternative, be it the apparently now out of favour bio fuels, battery cars or their current darling the hydrogen fuel cells. All of them introduce as many problems as they solve, most of which centre around the supporting infrastructure. Any fool could have forseen the problems caused by biofuels, but the politicians and money men missed them. You'd expect the tefal heads to miss them, because they are very focused and can't see the big picture.
One thing that is important is that a conclusion is reached on the way forward. It would be incredibly wasteful to start on a number of different infrastructures only for one to be finally proved the "best", thus rendering the others obsolete. Betamax may well have been technically better than VHS, but how much Betamax gear was replaced by VHS? The waste of money and resources are something the world economy and envirnment could well do without.
Another issue is that of taxation. Supporters of every alternative may trumpet it's cheapness as a major plus point, but we must bear in mind the loss of tax revenue should petrol and diesel be supplanted. What will governments do to make up the shortfall? They will of course tax the alternatives. Politicians may like portray high fuel taxes as "green" taxes, but they are simply taxes.
It was a fuse that blew, but the mechanic replaced the pump? Or maybe he just cleaned the pump andcharged them for a new one.
I bet he did that reverse whistling thing first and said "Which cowboy fitted this?" or "You just can't get the parts for these Teslas."
@hot swap batteries?!
Yes, that's going to work. Until more than three people have battery-powered cars and every "filling station" has to stock 3,000,000 charged and uncharged batteries somewhere.
David, I clearly pay more attention than you. The reason two cars are often seen is because things aren't necessarilly filmed on the same day. The filmed test, The Stig's lap and the studio shots may be many weeks appart. The same car may well not be available for two seperate shoots.
There have been many cases where the car has had to be repaired between sessions. Did you see the recent Zonda test? They didn't turn up with two cars for that, even though supercars are notoriously unreliable. Two cars or one car and a mechanic could be considered prudent, two cars AND a mechanic smacks of a lack of confidence in your own product.
However they big issue is not so much that they did turn up so equipped, but that they did so and then accused the BBC of fiddling with reality. "Mr Kettle? I've got Mr Pot on line two for you."
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