"The cars were diverted to Europe", because?
Do we get a different kind of battery that they'd ordered in sufficient numbers or, primitive "old-worlders" that we are, are we expected to propel them in the style of the Flintstones?
Shares in Tesla Motors dropped over 14 per cent yesterday after CEO and founder Elon Musk revealed that the firm doesn't have enough batteries for its Model S. Billionaire inventor Musk told analysts in a conference call that US buyers had been left hanging after their cars were diverted to Europe because there weren't enough …
While I fully agree that big corporations or big business environments can and usually will do everything to secure their income I really don't think that is the case here.
The thing is that battery powered cars have, by definition, one major flaw. Which is the battery. Anyone who has a little sense of physics knows that a battery is not merely a power storage device but also a huge energy wasting process.
During every stage of producing the required power, storing it and then re-using it you have to deal with huge losses of energy.
Now, instead of spouting off with boring formulas and such let's do a different approach: what is the number one complaint from people who are using laptops? I don't know about your environment but over here most of the people I know who prefer using laptops do so by plugging them into an outlet. Because "the batteries are hardly working". Usually the process of the batteries becoming way below average is something which is already happening within one or two years of usage.
Now; I know the next argument: of course the Tesla firm uses something a bit better than mere laptop batteries, of course they do. But that doesn't mean that their batteries don't suffer from the same flaws which batteries in general have.
Batteries are not a "what comes in also comes out" kind of process, you get less energy back than which you put in. Ergo you're wasting energy by using them. Sometimes huge amounts (laptop batteries) and sometimes lesser amounts (which I assume to be the case here). But you're still losing energy.
Electric cars are a worthy effort, but in the end I think their main purpose is only to make money while (ab?)using the environmental problems to do so.
A very articulate summary, but I think you over estimate Tesla's battery technology.
From Wonkapedia "The [Model S] lithium-ion battery consists of more than 7,000 battery cells for the 85 kW·h pack." so that's not immensely different from a shed load of llaptop batteries soldered together.
According to posts on the tesela morom forum: , the battery is covered by a warranty with this clause: "The Battery, like all lithium-ion batteries, will experience gradual energy or power loss with time and
use. Loss of Battery energy or power over time or due to or resulting from Battery usage, is NOT
covered under this Battery Limited Warranty"
Not startlingly different from a laptop then.
I suspect that part of the EU vs USA supply decisions are that they can get away with more favourable warranty deals in EU than they can in California.
Now; I know the next argument: of course the Tesla firm uses something a bit better than mere laptop batteries, of course they do.
I think you'd be surprised. IIRC* Tesla makes their battery packs from Panasonic 18650 cells. Open up most laptop batteries and you will find... 18650 cells.
Now maybe they use a different spec, but they will be very similar. What is different is the control electronics, which I suspect will be very complex to take the best possible care of those expensive battery packs.
*I remember reading this somewhere, but cannot vouch for it's accuracy.
Problem with Tesla Li batteries isn't so much performance, I think they've got that covered (otherwise they wouldn't offer the guarantee that they do). The problem is volume - each car needs a LOT of batteries. If you're producing cars in the thousands it's OK, but when you start to ramp up into tens of thousands and targeting hundreds of thousands, that's a fcukload of Lithium. And you're competing for it with battery requirements for laptops, tablets, smartphones, more and more and larger and larger every day.
There possibly isn't physically enough readily-available (ie mineable at a decent price) Li in the world to replace more than 50% of the global vehicle fleet* at really expensive prices. At realistic prices (even if Tesla is at the high end of the price range), the supply is necessarily constrained.
*That's an educated guess based on this: http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/eason2/ . I know el Reg has a resident metals expert who maybe can comment.
"There possibly isn't physically enough readily-available (ie mineable at a decent price) Li in the world"
I STR reading somewhere the Li is only sourced from one place in Brazil(??) and there's not really all that much of it in terms of switch from petrol to electric cars.
Where's the El Reg metal traders desk when you need it?
You do realize that most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, don't you? The rubber in the tires is still generally petroleum based and the bearings still require lubrication. No, the groups with the largest worry about electric cars are the various state agencies that live on roadway fuel taxes and are having their business model go up in flames as cars become more fuel efficient and more electrics take to the streets. Some states are considering a per mile tax with electronic loggers installed in vehicles but that comes with the usual privacy and tracking concerns. Of course then there will be those who say their small cars damage the roadway less than large cars so it should be weight based and there will be others who complain because the weight isn't representative as they mostly drive alone with no cargo, the motorcyclist will want a discount because they only have half the number of wheels, etc.
There were 287,000 vehicle fires in the US in 2010.
Now the question is, is there a common fault with the S-Type that makes it susceptible to fires, or are these being caused by external factors (such as the one that hit a massive chunk of metal at speed)?
All three have been due to accidents.
One encountered a large piece of metal that apparently if it was a regular car would have penetrated the passenger cabin and killed the driver.
One drove across a roundabout, through a wall and collided with a tree. http://jalopnik.com/another-tesla-model-s-caught-fire-after-a-crash-in-mexi-1453376349
The latest incident is being investigated but by all accounts was involved in a non-standard incident.
So at least two have been due to extreme external influences.
Maybe it's an opportunity!
Elon could build a Lithium Battery plant in the US, at the very least it might terrify EverReady etc into action.
Unless of course, the manufacture of Lithium batteries is a very environmentally unfriendly process, then you would have to wonder about the whole idea.
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