back to article Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

The Tesla S is astonishing. I’d driven one around the London Docklands at a launch, but a week with one has me converted to merits of auto electricity. I have to admit I was sceptical. Electric car owners as a tribe can be quite hard work. They are always convinced that their cars are wonderful, even the ones with G-Wizzes. …

  1. itzman
    Thumb Down

    If only..

    ..the laws of physics and chemistry allowed a cheap small, light, high capacity battery to be constructed...

    ..there wouldn't be a single IC car left on the roads.

    Sadly the Tesla here is as good as it gets and the battery is stupendously expensive, heavy and of dubious life.

    And there is no better technology on the horizon at all.

    I spent several weeks once, analysing electric cars. Its plus all the way until you get to that battery.

    I then spent time analysing all possible forms of known battery.

    Not one was good enough really. Maybe in time lithium air might be good enough, but there are huge practical issues.

    And none would be cheap enough.

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: If only..

      " If only the laws of physics and chemistry allowed a cheap small, light, high capacity battery to be constructed..."

      Or is it patent issue?

      1. Alex Walsh

        Re: If only..

        I remember the head of future tech at a large energy company once telling me that Dairy Milk has a higher energy density than any battery technology either available or predicted to come to market.

        It's now the biggest thing holding back tech developments IMHO :/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If only..

          Dairy Milk is still not as good as petrol though (for powering your car).

          Cadbury Dairy Milk: 2210kJ per 100g, or 22.1 MJ per kilogram

          https://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/dairy-milk-2360?p=2360

          (click on "show nutritional information")

          Petrol: 42.4 MJ per kilogram

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline#Energy_content

        2. FlatSpot

          Re: If only..

          @Dairy Milk - Probably not since they changed the recipe to make it cheap and nasty

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: If only..

        Wonko The Sane "Or is it patent issue?"

        If those pesky patents could be solved, we'd have those secret 200 MPG carburetors!!

    2. Graham 24
      Boffin

      Re: If only..

      Two hundred years ago the world's best scientists would probably have agreed that putting 300 people in a metal tube and transporting them across the Atlantic in 6 hours was impossible...

      One hundred years ago the idea that you could pick up something the size of a cigarette packet and talk to someone in Australia would have sounded impossible...

      Today someone says that storing a high level of electric charge in something small enough and light enough to fit in a car is impossible...

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: If only..

        You're right, Graham. It may be that even as I type, some genius has thought of a better way to store energy*. Only it won't involve electrochemistry, because we understand these properties quite well and are already pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible and it's a similar story with capacitors. And if someone makes that discovery today, it'll be a decade or two before it can be fitted into something like a Tesla. So, unfortunately, this is as good as it gets, for quite a while.

        * Or maybe the Lockheed skunk works really will get their mini fusion reactor to work.

        1. Richard Boyce

          Re: If only..

          We need to eliminate the storage of a large amount of energy in the vehicle. Perhaps one day, roads will have built-in superconductors to supply energy to vehicles via induction. Then you'd need only enough energy to get to a major road.

          However, the advent of the aforesaid superconductors would probably change everything else beyond recognition, and the era of driving yourself in your own vehicle might draw to a close.

        2. Lusty Silver badge

          Re: If only..

          We could store the energy as some kind of chemical in liquid form. Let's say for the sake of argument we use hydrocarbons. This would appear to kill two birds with one stone - we just need a way to suck the carbon out of the atmosphere and knit it into the right molecule. With this technology we could then use nice clean energy to create the fuel wherever it's available and then burn it in tiny engines in the boot, tuned for electricity generation rather than propulsion. We could engineer the perfect internal combustion engine since we're making the fuel manually so we choose the size of molecule and piston to match perfectly for best efficiency. We wouldn't need such vast battery banks either which can't be bad, although I know they are very recyclable but it could reduce weight. The motor doesn't even necessarily need to run while the car is driving with a small bank of batteries, it could run while you're at work to top them up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: If only..

            "We could store the energy as some kind of chemical in liquid form. Let's say for the sake of argument we use hydrocarbons"

            You mean, like gasoline?

            1. Joe 35

              Re: If only..

              I think (OK, I KNOW) you missed the irony/humour there.

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: If only..

                RTGs, I mean what can go wrong? They are a little bulky though and a "child sized" one will only generate about 100W but you wont have to worry about refuelling for 80 years.

                Or how about the nuclear stirling engine. A few hundred degrees and some Pu pellets in close proximity might make it a little unsafe for some people though :-) ....

      2. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: If only..

        The more energy you store and the smaller and lighter the thing you store it in, the more dangerous it is when things go wrong and all that energy makes a break for freedom.

        There's an obvious long-term answer to the storage problem, but what happens when the isolation breaks down and all that anti-matter goes off at once?.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: If only..

          "...the more dangerous it is when things go wrong and all that energy makes a break for freedom"

          Sure, releasing that energy on purpose by someone trying to use your "fuel tank" as an explosive is not something you can solve - lots of energy in a small container can always be used nefariously. On the other hand, if we're just talking about safety without malicious intent, there can be a world of difference - both nitroglycerine and C4 are explosives, but one of them goes off at the drop of a hat, while the other isn't even ignited by a bullet. And I certainly don't think we need to worry about antimatter any time soon - now, if they ever invent hobby level 3D-printers that can churn out antimatter... yeah, then we might have a problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If only..

            Interesting. How does the energy density of C4 compare with petrol? Could we make a car powered by C4?

          2. Ian 7

            Re: If only..

            My Sinclair C5 had pedals for when the battery died... ahem.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Looking at the bright side

          > The more energy you store and the smaller and lighter the thing you store it in, the more dangerous it is when things go wrong

          Yes, but all the more spectacular! :-)

        3. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: If only..

          "The more energy you store and the smaller and lighter the thing you store it in, the more dangerous it is when things go wrong"

          Correct... but keep in mind that currently the lightest and most compact energy store we have available is petrol, and we're pretty OK with handling it and driving around with a full tank of the stuff. And the Tesla is currently MUCH safer than any petrol/diesel car in case of accidents

        4. giin

          Re: If only..

          It's all fun and games until the antimatter goes off.

        5. Jedit
          Headmaster

          "what happens when the isolation breaks down and all that anti-matter goes off at once?"

          I guess we'll never know.

          No, seriously, we'll never know - we'll have been converted to pure energy and hence will not be cognisant of very much.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only..

        Electric cars have been around since the late 1880's. The same problem exists today and then, energy density. So far we have not been able to get enough energy is a small enough space to effectively compete with burning something to create heat that is changed into a rotating shaft.

        We need a more efficient means of creating electrical power.

        Batteries are a storage scheme to offset the inconvenience of a huge electrical power generation plant. We need to omit batteries from the equation.

    3. Sampler

      Re: If only..

      Sounds like they've got the leccy engines done right, so hydrogen fuel cells to power them instead of large batteries and you're good to go, you top up similar to petrol (ok, takes a little longer to fill the tank and you need to make sure you've got a positive lock on the nozzle, but hey, it's quicker than plugging in a battery).

      1. Malmesbury

        Re: If only..

        " so hydrogen fuel cells to power them instead of large batteries and you're good to go, you top up similar to petrol (ok, takes a little longer to fill the tank and you need to make sure you've got a positive lock on the nozzle, but hey, it's quicker than plugging in a battery)."

        By the time you do a purge (O2 + Liquid H2 = Boom), chill the lines down (room temperature to absolute zero plus a smidge), load the H2, reseal the tank, the chap in the Tesla will have unplugged from the supercharger and left.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: If only..

          "By the time you do a purge (O2 + Liquid H2 = Boom), chill the lines down (room temperature to absolute zero plus a smidge), load the H2, reseal the tank, the chap in the Tesla will have unplugged from the supercharger and left."

          Or you could use something like one of the Chevrolet Equinox or the Honda FCX Clarity and fill up in a few minutes. From already existing filling stations.

        2. Greg J Preece

          Re: If only..

          By the time you do a purge (O2 + Liquid H2 = Boom), chill the lines down (room temperature to absolute zero plus a smidge), load the H2, reseal the tank, the chap in the Tesla will have unplugged from the supercharger and left.

          So what about that one Honda made years ago, that's been demonstrated and doesn't seem to take more than a few minutes to fill?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: If only..

        hydrogen fuel cells are nice, but raw hydrogen is not.

        Seriously.

        It's nasty reactive stuff which shags just about everything it's left in long-term contact with ("hydrogen embrittlement"), with the problems being exacerbated if you do things like pressurise it(*).

        And of course there's the issue of how to produce it as it doesn't exist in nature. You can strip carbon atoms off of hydrocarbons (CO2 output) or electrolyse water - which is pretty inefficient and only really viable if you have lots of cheap hydro or nuclear sources.

        There are a number of more viable solutions for longer trips if you have a leccy vehicle. Nissan provide an alternate car for 14 days/year free of charge if you have a Leaf. Many EV enthusiasts have rigged up "pusher trailers" or generator trailers for such work. After all - even in a Tesla - at legal speeds you're only pulling a couple of kW as a long-term average.

        (*) It's hard to pressurise. Hydrogen molecules don't like each other much and always have to be bound to something else to increase packing desnity. There are twice as many hydrogen atoms in a litre of diesel than there are in a litre of liquid hydrogen and you don't have to go through all the pesky compression/cooling/heating stages to get there. Metal hydrides are promising as a storage system but they've been "promising as a storage solution" long before I started looking into hydrogen powered vehicles nearly 40 years ago.

        "Range Anxiety" is mostly a term used to scare people away from EVs. Once you start opening up to the many alternatives to "use this car for every single job you can think of", the pressure goes away.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: If only..

          1) Nissan - can we borrow a GT-R?

          2) Power - I have a few suggestions

          a) A slot in the road with conductors each side, giant Minic

          b) Metal mesh on road, and above road, like bumper cars.

          c) Lorry replacement, special metal roads, power from a wire above them and a special electric

          lorry tractor unit which pulls lots of trailers, well guess what that is!

      3. BitDr

        Re: If only..

        I don't understand the down votes on this one. A fuel cell in conjunction with super capacitors or batteries (preferably the former) is a good solution. H2 storage is problematic but the biggest problem is the stigma created by the Hindenburg disaster. If the Titanic had that kind of power over ships there would be no cruise-ship vacations. That meme is much more difficult to overcome than anything else.

        On another note, electric motors are not engines. The lump under the bonnet is not a motor it is an engine. What's the difference? A motor converts one form of energy directly into another (electrical to mechanical), an engine has one extra step. It employs a chemical process to liberate energy from a fuel and then converts that energy into another form. Or think of it this way, an engine powers a motor, a motor can not power an engine.

        Batteries and fuel cells are engines, a super capacitor is a storage vessel, like a high-pressure gas-cylinder or a tightly wound spring.

    4. Mike Arnautov

      Re: If only..

      I remember reading some time in the 80s a thoughtful and regretful explanation why mobile phones were an impossible dream. To get the kind of power you would needwould require a small hand-cart full of batteries, making nonsense of the whole idea. The laws of physics said "no" and that was that -- enjoy reading about such devices in sci-fi stories, but it ain't gonna happen.

      1. Chris Miller

        @Mike

        Since the first cellular 'handheld' (though it did weigh >1kg, so you needed strong hands) phone was demonstrated in 1973, and commercial systems were operating in Japan by 1979, I think your memory may be faulty.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: If only..

        "To get the kind of power you would needwould require a small hand-cart full of batteries"

        It still would. The solution was to reduce the kinds of power needed through electronic miniaturisation and optimisation.

        Unfortunately with EVs you're into moving lumps of "stuff" around at XYZ speed and overcoming air friction plus rolling resistance, etc.

        Reducing the cage mass has been tried, but having seen the 30mph crash tests of a Gwhiz I wouldn't sit in one any more than I'd sit in an old-style Mini or Rover Metro. Aerodynamic design can help a little, but below 35mph (which is where most cars spend most of their lifetime) it makes bugger-all difference if the CD is 1.0 or 0.18.

        Electric motors are already very efficient and increasing those further from 85% to 100% would only add 10-15% range (apart from being impossible anyway)

        None of that matters though. As long as you have enough stored energy to cover 90% of vehicle needs, the other 10% can be covered via other methods. You wouldn't drive to Greece without making lots of preparations, but noone thinks twice about jumping on a plaine and hiring a car at the other end and a trip from London to Manchester can easily be handled the same way, etc.

        Of more importance than any of that is the creaking infrastructure underpinning things. Having charge points everywhere is of no use if they're broken. Nor is it any use if the power distribution network is broken - and in places like London it's running on the ragged edge of oblivion - not in terms of power being shipped into the metropolis, but in terms of the existing cabling being able to cope. Almost all of those "under road explosions" which occured during 2013/2014 weren't gas - they were distribution cables blowing apart under the strain.

        For a good example of what happens when the demand is higher than infrastructure can cope with and shareholder demands prevent adequate investment in maintenance/upgrades, take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Auckland_power_crisis.

        What's not mentioned there is that whilst it proved to be pretty easy to charter An124/6s to bring in large container-sized generators, there simply weren't enough of them available worldwide to meet needs. Now scale that up to a population 10-50 times larger than that affected and things go seriosuly cockeyed. Add in the other disruptions that Peter Gutmann described at https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/misc/mercury.txt (eg, sprinkler systems triggered by power outages trashing entire office buildings, plus the fact that most of Auckland lives in low rise buildings) and you start to have the makings of a serious crisis.

        EVs are a good thing. Mass adoption of EVs without adequate preparation may not be.

      3. cambsukguy

        Re: If only..

        Not to mention the impossibility of sending High Definition TV over the air - "There would only be enough bandwidth for one HD channel".

        And, who knows if they ever can get above 56kbps on a twisted pair copper wire, I hope they do.

        Still, there is some truth to this, not least, the appalling 'improvements' to battery tech we have had in the last, say, 20yrs, not going too well at the minute.

        I was of the opinion that they would pour the battery into every crevice, making the object (say a mobile phone) out of battery and a thin skin. This would simply mean that there was twice as much battery space used and twice as much charge stored.

        Do that with a car using all those crevices and just maybe.

        Mind you, every other car I see these days is very tall, this Tesla isn't. If it was, the storage would be twice as much (and the Hulk probably couldn't tip it over).

        It would weigh more than an Abrams M1 tank and cost about the same presumably but, if they get that chemistry improved weight wise, some hope exists.

        Remember, Petrol/Diesel fuel is extraordinary stuff but a fuel tank is only about 60 litres (on my car), The Tesla reviewed here has nearly 2000 litres of space as well as the battery it already contains (not including where the driver and passenger sit).

        So, a lighter, cheaper battery with the same charge density *does* make a leccy car viable, especially the larger family sized SUV-pretender types - which, conveniently is a perfect demographic for buying them.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: If only..

          Except that it does not exist, and certainly will not exist in the next decade.

          The massive improvements in computation and radio (cellphone, TV etc) have come from efficacy improvements - doing more useful work with the same amount of energy.

          In a vehicle the useful work is purely energy conversion - absolute maximum of 100% efficiency.

          Electric motors and motor controllers already exceed 90% efficiency, and thus cannot ever get more than 10% better.

          Even assuming we can somehow get that back into the battery, it is still not enough by the fundamental laws of motion - air resistance, rolling, simple increase in vertical height!

        2. NumptyScrub

          Re: If only..

          Not to mention the impossibility of sending High Definition TV over the air - "There would only be enough bandwidth for one HD channel".

          And, who knows if they ever can get above 56kbps on a twisted pair copper wire, I hope they do.

          The 56k limit is because you have to fit an analogue signal into a 64kbit digital channel. If you need to fit an analogue carrier inside a 64kbit digital transmission channel, 56k is about as good as you are going to manage, even with today's technology. We already had far superior "data transfer over twisted pair" options before V.90 hit.

          If you want to compare the 2, here's the timeframe for Ethernet versus the timeframe for modem development. 10Base-T (10Mbit, 1990) is contemporary with the ITU V.32 standard (14.4kbit) in 1991, and V.90, (56kbit, 1998) is contemporary with the first Gigabit / 1000Base-T ethernet standards.

          ADSL services were first patented in 1988, or at the point dialup modems were about to go from 9.6kbit to 14.4kbit. The kit was apparently horrendously expensive up until the late 90s though, which is potentially why consumer takeup (and market presence) was extremely low up to the turn of the century. Still, by the time V.90 hit, DSL services had been around for a decade, and you could get a 512kbit or 2Mbit service for a "reasonable" price (aka less than 3 figures per month).

      4. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: If only..

        "I remember reading some time in the 80s a thoughtful and regretful explanation why mobile phones were an impossible dream"

        That was very early 80s then, because DynaTac appeared in 1983 and I was owning and using one in 1984.

      5. StudeJeff

        Re: If only..

        But remember they were basically talking about radio telephones, and we still can't make that sort of phone as small as a cell phone, the technology is totally different.

        Much like the video phone demonstrated at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair. We now have such phones (sort of), but the technology is dramatically different from anything they could have imagined in 1964.

        For electric cars to become real competitors to gas cars (or petrol as you Brits prefer) we really do need something better than batteries, either something like a bacitator, a fuel cell, or my favorite (and least likely) a "Mr. Fusion" that can be fed with banana peels and stale beer!

    5. Def Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: If only..

      All you actually need to do is stick a couple of metal brushes on the bottom of the car, and turn all pedestrian free roads into giant Scalextric tracks.

      1. Tim Jenkins

        giant Scalextric tracks

        "...stick a couple of metal brushes on the bottom of the car..."

        Bit of a pain having to stop every few miles to clear off the cat fur and stray pubes, though...

        1. Def Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: giant Scalextric tracks

          Bit of a pain having to stop every few miles to clear off the cat fur and stray pubes, though...

          If you regularly drive through an area with enough stray pubes to bring down a Tesla, I think you probably have more important things to worry about.

      2. joewilliamsebs

        Re: If only..

        Nah. You'd have to keep pulling over to the hard shoulder to smooth them out again, and don't get me started on the cat fluff.

      3. Benchops

        Re: If only..

        > All you actually need to do is stick a couple of metal brushes on the bottom of the car, and turn all pedestrian free roads into giant Scalextric tracks.

        This actually ties in with my idea of burying all high voltage cables under roads to

        a) remove unsightly power lines

        b) underheat roads so they don't get ice

        c) make DAMN sure no-one digs up a road unnecessarily!

    6. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: If only..

      Firstly, even the technological marvel that is the current Tesla battery is still a long way from the limits imposed by physics and chemistry. Secondly, the laws of physics and chemistry can only have a say in the "small, light, high capacity" part of your 4 requirements.

      The "cheap" part is only marginally constrained by physics and chemistry. It is mostly constrained by technology Return on Investment requirements (new tech is expensive and gets progressively cheaper) and volume (units produced in higher quantity are cheaper).

      It's not out of the question that within 10-15 years' time these batteries are produced in millions rather than thousands, and then you could buy a VW (or Ford, Hyundai etc) that is the same size and has the same range as the current Tesla S for the same price as you would pay now for a Passat or equivalent. It would probably not be as fast or sporty as Tesla S, but it wouldn't need to.

    7. Tom_

      Re: If only..

      Store the batteries in hyperspace and they can be as big as you like. It's not rocket science.

    8. Nigel 11

      Re: If only..

      It's not a battery problem so much as an infrastructure problem.

      A 200 mile range becomes OTT and 100 miles is all one would really need, if electrical charging facilities become ubiquitous. (Ie, guaranteed at every parking bay in every supermarket, mall, workplace, city street, home or visitor attraction).

      At the moment, things are like they probably were in the early days of IC motors, when finding somewhere that sold gasoline could not have been taken for granted. (And at 20? 10? 5? mpg, I don't imagine that the range of a mark one car was much to write home about either).

      Chicken, meet egg.

      1. Greg J Preece

        Re: If only..

        A 200 mile range becomes OTT and 100 miles is all one would really need

        ....In Europe.

        Yeah, if I were still living in England then that range would be perfectly acceptable. It'd be a very rare occasion indeed that I'd do more than 200 miles in one trip. In some parts of North America, the scale is very different. Long road trips are actually quite common - numerous friends of mine have driven to California and back in the past year, from Canada! To me that's an astonishing thing, to so casually drive the entire west coast of the US, but to them this is just what you do when you live on that scale and petrol is cheap.

        1. Greg J Preece

          Re: If only..

          I forgot to add that if we can't make better batteries, then the infrastructure becomes the biggest issue here. Hearing that a decent charge can be gotten in 15 minutes at the right charger is great - regular stops aren't massively uncommon - but arriving to find those chargers broken, or inadequate, or just not being able to find them at all, kneecaps the whole shebang.

        2. Kunari

          Re: If only..

          An all EV trip across the US? Possible but not really practical, Tesla is building charging stations along the major freeways to make it work. A more realistic approach is, like the Chevy Volt, to have a small ICE (or other generator tech) to extend the range. Not a perfect solution, but a practical one with today's technology. Emissions would still be much lower than an traditional ICE car for the same trip.

          About a year ago IIRC, I read an article about a fuel-cell that used Propane (or other LP gas) fuel, that had lower emissions than traditional gas engines. Also another article about a group that was developing a small CO2 scrubber to lower greenhouse gas emissions too. Wonder if both could be combined into a greener hybrid platform.

    9. Benchops

      Re: If only....

      > the laws of physics and chemistry allowed a cheap small, light, high capacity battery to be constructed...

      Ye cannae change the laws o' physics, captain!

    10. yeeking

      Re: If only..

      'Chemists one step closer to new generation of electric car battery

      ... Their discovery of a material that maintains a rechargable sulphur cathode helps to overcome a primary hurdle to building a lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery. Such a battery can theoretically power an electric car three times further than current lithium-ion batteries for the same weight - at much lower cost...'

      http://phys.org/news/2015-01-chemists-closer-electric-car-battery.html

    11. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: If only..

      It's not only the battery's power to size ratio, but also the time & current needed to charge the battery. Consider that after a 200 mile journey the car will have used (and thus need to recharge) around 40kWh of electricity. That's going to take nearly 3 hours (assuming an extremely efficient battery) if you use *all* of the 60A supply capacity of a typical UK house. Which may sound OK for someone who does not drive more than 200 miles in a day and can thus recharge their car every night. Until you start thinking about what would happen if such vehicles became even a quarter as popular as petrol cars. You would then have a huge number of people charging their cars on a "slow" 8 hour overnight charge that will be taking >20 Amps (4.8 kW) all night in a given neighbourhood - and substations are not designed to take such an extra load. If electric cars became popular the entire electricity infrastructure of the country would need to be significantly upgraded.

    12. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      'Range Anxiety' defined...

      'Range Anxiety' defined: "At my local Waitrose I was able to charge in a space... ...but only after my girlfriend very nicely asked the man who’d just put his petrol car in the space to move."

      Your *local* grocery store, and you have to beg for a charge.

      Cough up the Kool-Aide.

    13. PeterGordon

      Re: If only..

      You are completely wrong about the Tesla battery.

      It is fully guaranteed for 8 years and unlimited miles but the Tesla Roadsters prove the batteries are on track to last about 10 years.

      After the 8 year guarantee, the cost of replacing a Tesla battery is actually significantly less than than the cost of fuel and maintenance of a petrol car over the same period.

      Try doing some research next time.

    14. john moriarty

      Re: If only..

      Having been an owner and 140km commuter 1/week, I think it works. The batteries are looking good by all accounts - less deterioration than predicted under Irish climate conditions, as compared to USA where heat has downed a smallish number of batteries.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Treat it like a mobile phone?

    As long as there is no memory effect, if you're using it for local or near local drives I guess you could just treat it like a mobile and put it on charge when you sleep.

    On a different topic, it's a good thing this car is so expensive. People forget that the sale of energy is a massive source of income for the government, so every time you manage to save the price will go up because any government needs a constant supply of money because to throw away. That's a problem affecting any drive towards using fewer resources :(.

    Anyway, thumbs up for Tesla. It's fun to do something that cannot be done :)

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Treat it like a mobile phone?

      "memory effect" - you mean forgetting to charge it?

  3. JohnMurray

    That depends how much government cash enables the ¨doing something¨.

    In the case of the tesla, that is a lot!

  4. J J Carter Silver badge

    Could you install a huge Qi charging plate on the garage floor and use inductive charging overnight?

    1. WonkoTheSane

      I understand Boris is trying that for the new hybrid buses.

      Not for a full charge, just a quick top-up whilst at the bus stop.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Which is great when the bus stops at the bus stop, and not a few meters behind it, because there is already another bus there.

    2. David 14

      Efficiency!

      Sure, you could use some sort of induction... but the efficiency of induction is always less than physical wiring... so there is little benefit, and a large cost. Plus, the installation and maintenance costs of such large induction systems would be many, many times the cost of just running a high-amperage circuit to your garage and connecting a charging cable.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Efficiency!

        a high amp circuit in one garage on a residential street is probably ok. 2 might be ok too but 20 not so. If it is in a city street that already has beefed up wiring and predictable loads then from a grid point of view this will be better managed.

  5. David 45

    Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

    Interesting rave review but I still have niggling reservations about the range - AND the price! As has been said (and inferred) elsewhere, there needs to be a battery break-through that is nothing short of miraculous.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

      Indeed. I want something with that sort of range - but I don't need that acceleration, I don't need the in-car toys, I don't need size and weight... but most of all I don't need a hundred grand price tag.

      Gimme something with a thirty grand price tag and I might be vaguely interested. And don't talk about lower fuel costs - they're insignificant: I currently commute in excess of thirty thousand miles a year at a fuel cost of about four thousand pounds a year; I'd have to run a hundred grand car a long time to save the fuel costs.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

        It's not just the fuel costs though, it's running maintenance. How much does a cambelt change cost you every two or three years? £500? Remove that.

        Changing of oil? Mebbe £50. take that off. Clutch changes? £200-£400? Remove that too.

        I agree that a £30,000, 3-series sized Tesla would be a winner if it used the same (or similar capacity) battery packs but with less KW in the motors - something that can do 0-60 in 7 seconds, top out at 130 and get 300 miles on a relaxed cruise would be fine for 80% of drivers (even on the continent, autobahns etc), even those who want a bit of pep in their rides.

        Which they're working on - have a google for Tesla Model 3.

        Bear in mind the range of 260 miles is the press car, which gets ragged; in the real world, as far as I'm aware, well north of 300 miles is the norm, and you can top it up with a 13A plug in when you're on site/at the office.

        We might not have robot butlers and jet packs, but a realistically usable electric car that would suit at least half the population doesn't seem that far away. Who'd have guessed that ten years ago?

        Steven R

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

          Costs are so variable, which is one reason I ignored them: on my 20-year old Fiat Coupe, it's currently getting an engine rebuild (175k miles) and sundry bits of rust fixing, and it's had other things done over its lifetime, but probably under a grand a year all up. But if you have to have things done by a main dealer, all bets are off.

          The Bravo has cost six oil/filter changes, one cambelt, and one clutch apart from tyres in three years and a hundred thousand miles... it's fuel that's the big difference.

          The Model 3 looks a lot more useful - and obviously they're funding the development with the big money cars. But my word it's frustrating, after seeing all the crap 'electric' cars that can't do twenty miles without a charge or an IC engine, not to be able to get one *now*. It's very likely to be my next car, though.

          Mind you, I'll still need to hire an IC car for holidays - London to Skye or Berlin (600 miles) are both non-stop possible in the diesel Bravo.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

            "Mind you, I'll still need to hire an IC car for holidays - London to Skye or Berlin (600 miles) are both non-stop possible in the diesel Bravo."

            You should probably be taking a break in that journey anyway - 10 hours non stop isn't good for concentration...

        2. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

          "Tesla would be a winner if it used the same (or similar capacity) battery packs but with less KW in the motors"

          Except a weaker motor would save you exactly zero energy - you're giving up an advantage for no gain. Energy is mass times speed, and a weaker motor does not reduce your car's weight substantially so the same car zipping along at the same final speed took every bit as much energy to get up to speed as another one that got going that fast in half the time. Once you're at speed, the energy needed to fight aerodynamic drag is exactly the same. Your wimpier motors might ever-so-slightly reduce the cost, but not by that much either.

          That's the main problem and the reason people keep quoting "the laws of physics" - the energy you need to propel a car is fixed, not something you can "invent away", and the amount of energy one can store in a chemical battery also has known limits. There simply isn't any room for a car on rubber wheels rolling along a road powered by chemical reactions in bowl full of electrodes to get all that significantly better. You need either a completely different energy source or something that is not recognizable as a "car" as we know it to change that...

        3. mikeyw0

          Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

          In the spirit of balance and honesty, as a Model S owner, I should just say that any claims of 300 mile range are total nonsense, and I have no idea why TM would tell him that a "press car" would get less range - one of the great strengths of the car is that the battery degradation is extremely slow so the press car would be going every bit as far as a new one.

          In the real world in the UK a Model S will go 225 miles on a full charge. 250 is pretty easy if you are careful, and monastic drivers can get even morem, but 300 is not realistic. Personally I drive it without any consideration to energy efficiency and get 200 ;-)

          There is an obvious tradeoff then compared to a German Diesel Exec car which can go 500 or more, and which more importantly can re-fill in 10 minutes.

          But the reality after 6 months and 10k miles in a Model S is that it is genuinely *more convenient to fill with fuel than a conventional car*.

          In a normal car you have to go and buy petrol say once a week, which is a 15 minute detour from your journey, and which inevitably sometimes has to happen at an inconvenient moment when you are in a hurry.

          But in a Model S every morning you get in and it has charged up overnight. You never have to go unexpectedly to get fuel, and because the range is so high, if you cover say 50 miles a day typically then you literally could not care less about "range anxiety" or even driving efficiency or anything else. And then on those occasional days when you want to drive 300 miles you of course need to have a plan, and a charging strategy, and a Plan B in case the charger is out of service. That is less convenient than buying petrol, of course, but it's not much of a hardship, especially when you remember that charging at a Tesla Supercharger only takes 30 minutes or so and is FREE.

          Saving 15 minutes a week by not buying petrol and instead having to stop for 30 minutes once every 8 weeks to charge on the road is a pretty easy tradeoff for me. And why are you trying to go 300 miles without stopping for a rest break anyway?

          But don't kid yourself you could ever drive 300 miles non-stop in one :-)

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

            Thanks for some real-world info, Mikey.

            Currently the diesel hack is hors de combat and I'm using a kit car which usually only comes out to play in summer. It suffers from range anxiety (small tank, big engine) at around two hundred and fifty miles; two days' commute... it would certainly be nice to plug it into the mains when I get home of an evening.

          2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

            But the reality after 6 months and 10k miles in a Model S is that it is genuinely *more convenient to fill with fuel than a conventional car*.

            As long as you have somewhere to park, I would definitely agree that this would be the case.

            Considering the majority of car usage at the moment could probably be covered by a 30 mile daily range, I think a lot of the range issues are in people's heads. Yes, I occasionally want to do a 200-300 mile journey. But mostly, I want to get to work and back, maybe nip to the shops, or pop out into the country side for a day. These use cases are covered by most electric cars.

            A longer journey could be planned for (my brother's next door neighbour goes to Cambridge from Leeds fairly regularly in a Nissan Leaf, and just stops at service stations along the way, getting a free charge while he goes inside for a coffee), but when all is said and done you could probably hire a car for the journey, or get a plane/train and hire a car at the other end.

            The main issue for me is price. I'd love an electric car, but they are all significantly out of my price range. However, this is more down to my own buying habits: I tend to buy second hand in the £1-2k bracket, so spending £20-25k (even on finance) is not going to happen. For the sort of person who buys a car on finance anyway, something like a Leaf would be ideal, as long as they had a driveway so they could fit a charging point.

          3. flingback

            Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

            I'm with you completely Mikey. I have had P85+ for three weeks now and drive it like it was meant to be driven, like an striking cobra :) I wanted something special, and this is the best car I have ever driven by far. For those who would like to be genuinely surprised and smile like you've not done in a long time, take a test drive. You will not be disappointed.

            However, 300 miles range is total tosh, and I think you'd have to be driving Miss Daisy to get even 250. When I leave the house in the morning I typically have 220 miles range stated, and after an 80 mile combination drive round the M25 and then back via the South Circular I am down to around 100. That is driving in the real-world, with traffic jams, the odd blast for fun, heating on (it is winter!) and lights for the return journey. A quick dinner at Bluewater whilst supercharging takes it back to 100% in under an hour, and I'm back at 220 for the following day - or, I charge it at home at 20MPH and it's topped up overnight. Bottom line, it is far from inconvenient.

            Am off to Cambridge and back on Thursday... now that will be an interesting journey for true motorway range assessment... you might see an edit on Friday :)

          4. earl grey Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

            "charging at a Tesla Supercharger only takes 30 minutes or so and is FREE."

            As in "free for now..."? and it's not really free; someone has to pay for it.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

              I'd love a car like this but I would definitely need a small engine in there - such as the BMW isomething. My driving pattern is fine for electric 75% of the time. The other 25% is big runs and I live in the lakes. I cannot charge at work so a 100 mile daily drive is still fine with an electric (assuming I can fully charge the rest in 7 hours overnight). We also don't have a garage just a small drive so im not sure what temperature does to these things.

              If it had a small range extending engine then I'd be sold, otherwise "not yet" for me.

              How much DO battery packs and servicing cost for a tesla? I imagine to keep your battery warranty you need to have it serviced at a tesla dealership? With a normal car most people tend to move to cheaper garages after initial warranty (3? 5?) years which might compare a 5 or 8 year comparison.

      2. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Not bad but still no cigar, methinks!

        "I want something with that sort of range - but I don't need that acceleration, I don't need the in-car toys, I don't need size and weight... but most of all I don't need a hundred grand price tag."

        You and me brother :)

        The thing is, with any new tech it's more expensive and the rich guys get their toys first. Tesla can only move to making a cheaper car (which is already in the works) when they have a revenue stream from the early adopters who bought the more expensive model.

        Now, take the Tesla S, reduce it's performance by half (which would still mean it beats the crap out of any current family saloon) and trim some of the fat, then you could get the same range with a smaller (and cheaper and lighter) battery pack. Then instead of manufacturing battery packs in thousands, ramp up that volume to tens or hundreds of thousands. That smaller battery pack being produced in much larger volumes and without the requirement of such a high profit margin as a premium car might cost £15k instead of £50k, and you could get a car based on it for £25-30k.

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    Excellent review of a pack-leading development

    I'm still amazed that a small'ish organisation like Tesla is making all the running while the "big boys" are playing catch up.

    Kinda restores my faith in progress.

  7. Geoff Campbell

    Hmmmm.

    I wonder what the overall lifespan of the vehicle is? Nice thing about electric cars is the lack of moving parts, so in theory their practical life should be measured in millions rather than hundreds of thousands of miles.

    Which means that one of these could, potentially, go for four times as long as a £25,000 family hatchback like the Mondeo or the Prius.

    Which might make it feasible even at a hundred grand, if financed right.

    Hmmmm <wanders off, cogitating mildly>

    GJC

    1. Starace

      Re: Hmmmm.

      The only real difference to other cars is the lack of the engine, gearbox and a few sundries like fuel pump(s).

      These don't tend to be the life-limiting components on most cars. And most cars are scrapped due to minor faults that aren't economic to repair, or due to accident damage.

      Suspension, wheel bearings, steering, chassis and electronics modules will fail at much the same rate as on other cars and will likely be the bit that pushes to an economic EOL.

      So I don't see Tesla being special on this front, maybe even worse if they don't sort out the third party support they currently dodge as this will keep through-life maintenance costs high.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm.

        Priuses with 150+k miles on the clock are still in high demand as taxis

        Ours did 120k miles on the original brake pads and to date (at around 160k miles) has had a spring break (right at the very end - which didn't really affect its performance, but was enough for an MOT fail a couple of years ago) and a factory paintwork problem and other than that nothing other than regular servicing.... The HT battery is still fine, and driven carefully it will still do the high 60s to the (imperial) gallon in the summer - which isn't bad for a 10 year old car.

        So, yes, looked after an electric-motor-equipped car (even if its a hybrid) can be more reliable than purely petrol one

        (footnote: said Prius is still in the family - with our son!)

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Thumb Up

          Re: Prius

          Yes, I know, I have one - 4 years and 100,000 miles on the clock, and still drives like new, uses no oil between (cheap) services, and has been excellent value for money.

          I replaced it recently with an Auris hybrid, which has been equally good, and my wife has taken over the Prius. She says any suggestion of trading it in or otherwise removing it from her will be a divorcing offence.

          GJC

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm.

        "Suspension, wheel bearings, steering, chassis and electronics modules will fail at much the same rate as on other cars"

        Suspension, bearings and tyres will go at a faster rate given the extra mass involved.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm.

      "Which might make it feasible even at a hundred grand, if financed right."

      Have you got any idea how many dozens of second-hand cars can be bought for the same hundred grand...?

      1. Van

        Re: Hmmmm.

        "Have you got any idea how many dozens of second-hand cars can be bought for the same hundred grand...?"

        Surely a new luxury car is aimed at people who want and can afford to buy new luxury cars?

        I have no idea how many dozens of second-hand cars can be bought for the new Porsche spider hybrid, but I'm sure it will sell.

      2. Geoff Campbell
        FAIL

        Re: Second-hand cars

        Yes, I do. Do you have any idea how much hassle is involved in running second-hand cars when one does 30-40,000 miles per year?

        GJC

        1. Dan Paul

          Re: Second-hand cars @ Geoff Campbell

          I only buy second hand fleet cars with 24-30,000 miles on them and pay way less than half of "new".

          I have been doing this for over 20 years and regularly drove 30,000 miles plus a year on them, mostly Ford Taurus and now Fusions. We have way more miles between cities here in the states than you do overseas. A representative one day trip here, could be 500 miles.

          I have had almost no expense besides normal wear and tear, fuel, tires and brake pads.

          No hassle at all.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm.

      "Which means that one of these could, potentially, go for four times as long as a £25,000 family hatchback like the Mondeo or the Prius."

      The entire volume automotive industry is geared around the product having a 8-10year economic lifespan. Changing that will cause big problems with their financial models.

      You're absolutely right that they _could_ go 4 times as long, but so could existing vehicles if they weren't finely engineered to ensure that they regularly require new parts. (The auto industry doesn't make money from vehicles, it makes money from spares and from financing sales)

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Hmmmm.

        Spend some time in the Rust Belt in the US and you will not see that kind of life from most vehicles and very few electrics. The sodium chloride and calcium chloride they use on the roads in winter will dissolve most cars to a pile of rust pretty quickly (even with undercoating).

  8. Starace

    A few downsides

    Having read the glowing reviews I had a serious look at an 'S', the problem isn't with the electric drive or the performance but with some of the other practical issues that affect car ownership:

    - No service information available, except to Tesla. So you're stuck with them and whatever product support they choose to provide, which will be zero if they decide to void the warranty for some reason or you've otherwise upset them.

    - No spares availability, except through Tesla. As in zero. And Tesla will only sell you spares if they choose to. See above.

    - Limited crash repairability; the accident performance seems good but looking at cars which suffered relatively minor damage eg. slow offset frontal there was damage that couldn't be fixed - torn firewalls, bent A-pillar mounts - rather than being restricted to a crash repair section involving a few welds, rivets and some adhesive as seen on other aluminium chassis. Basically a lack of design for repairablility. And any repair can only ever be by Tesla. Not so good when spending £XXXXXX on a car, especially in light of lack of spares and info to 3rd parties; prang it and it could very easily be a writeoff. And the underlying salvage value will be non-existant except for parts (as one or two have found out the hard way).

    - Tesla seem to have a similar attitude to Apple when it comes to people tinkering with their toys, they *really* don't like it. Prod around your car and if they see pictures they'll likely be in contact, have an active prod at things like the intruments to see how the flat panel could be extended and the monitoring system will phone home, they'll be in contact and threaten you with the purchase contract terms and voiding the warranty (which would leave the car unsaleable). And quite a large part of the community around the car is like the Apple one too, blindly protective of the company against other customers or enhusiasts - don't expect sympathy.

    - As part of the above they actively work to stop anyone prodding at the car; case in point, people were looking at information via the (non-standard) diagnostics port. Cue over-the-air update to encrypt all the bus traffic and also to actively disable the port until it is temporarily reenabled by an over-the-air activation from Tesla when hooked to the official diagnostic system. This struck me as a bit unfriendly and revealing of certain attitudes.

    - An 'interesting' (but very California/startup) attitude to how to implement certain systems. Like using a standard Linux, some X11 and standard ethernet for vehicle systems. Yes, it'll mostly work but there are reasons for certified OS's and vehicle bus standards. Gave me the same feeling as reading about a Linux version for drone avionics; yes you can do it but you learn why it's not the right place to start from.

    The battery is really nice though, the fusible safety links are clever and they came up with a workable solution to density with all those 18550s. The charge control isn't quite as clever as is sometimes implied and it's a horribly expensive lump of a battery, but the engineering the subcontractors did is very tidy looking. The design for swapping the battery pack is good too with the clean-break cooling and the blade power connectors, the auto swapping might actually be practical subject to logistics.

    I'm not so convinced the big LCD is so good, I prefer a slightly smaller display and a few more buttons as it's easier to work with when actually driving. But that's just me.

    Styling wise it looks great, and stands out every time you see one even in black.

    Anyway I thought the above worth mentioning as it's easy to get lost in the shiny shiny and forget what can happen when actually owning the thing as spares, repair and so on become more important.

    1. Dapprman

      Re: A few downsides

      It's funny watching owners trying to work out what to do when theirs break down as well - I work near one of their show rooms (West Drayton) and have seen a few with bonnets up and owners/drivers looking in some what perplexed.

      For me, aside from what I also consider to be a far too distracting dash board, I think Tesla have missed the mark on this one. While it is a good, stylish looking car, in a slightly bland sense, it's meant to be a luxury cruiser. Getting to 300 mph is just 2.1 seconds counts for nothing, it's all about accelerating/decelerating smoothly and being able to drive in comfort. There's no need for the extreme hyper-car like acceleration - would be interesting to know just how much the range could be extended if this were to be curtailed.

      1. Francis Vaughan

        Re: A few downsides

        "There's no need for the extreme hyper-car like acceleration - would be interesting to know just how much the range could be extended if this were to be curtailed."

        As a good first approximation - zero.

        The extreme acceleration is a feature of electric motors - they deliver maximum torque when stalled. The battery can deliver the same power no matter how fast or slow the car is travelling. Basically all the notions you have about power, acceleration, and efficiency based upon internal combustion engines don't apply.

        Fitting smaller electric motors would get you a minor weight saving and nothing more. The four wheel drive Tesla adds a motor, and actually gets slightly better efficiency, not worse, and its acceleration is even more insane.

        1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

          Re: A few downsides

          >As a good first approximation - zero.

          Not sure about this, when you design for lower performance there's a cascade of things that get smaller, lighter and cheaper and then because the whole is smaller and lighter you can go smaller and lighter again.

          Think tyres, brakes, suspension, drive-shafts all that stuff doesn't need to be as big if the power is lower.

          On the other hand you don't want to spend 100k to drive the electrified equivalent of a 2CV.

      2. mikeyw0

        Re: A few downsides

        LOL - the only thing under the bonnet of a Model S is a second boot space. I assume they were just getting out their luggage. The entire drivetrain (motor, single speed gearbox, drive inverter, etc) sits beteen the rear wheels underneath the floor of the car.

        Go test drive one. You will never experience a smoother drivetrain. I'll never go back to driving an internal combustion car again.

        And as someone previously said, making it less powerful doesn't improve the range at all. You might naturally assume that this is the case because internal combustion engines have this shortcoming, but the electric drivetrain really does not.

        Ultimately the reason they're making powerful luxury cars is so that they can sell into a segment where there is a large profit margin available, so that in turn they can fund the development of their "everyday" car.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: A few downsides

          "And as someone previously said, making it less powerful doesn't improve the range at all. You might naturally assume that this is the case because internal combustion engines have this shortcoming, but the electric drivetrain really does not."

          So driving it gently and carefully and not using a lead foot will not improve the range I get from a charge then?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A few downsides

        > I work near one of their show rooms (West Drayton) and have seen a few with bonnets up and owners/drivers looking in some what perplexed.

        If you were looking for the engine under the bonnet of a Tesla I think you would be perplexed too.

        1. Martin
          Happy

          Re: A few downsides

          If you were looking for the engine under the bonnet of a Tesla I think you would be perplexed too.

          Reminds me of the VERY old joke about two little old ladies out for a drive in their VW Beetle. The car breaks down, and they get out and lift up the bonnet.

          "Well!" says one old lady. "No wonder it doesn't work. Someone has stolen the engine!"

          "Never mind" says the other old dear. "There's a spare one in the boot."

          Though, of course, in the Tesla, there isn't a spare in the boot either.

    2. mikeyw0

      Re: A few downsides

      There's no denying that repair costs on the Model S are currently very high (though not really any higher than equivalent cars like the Audi RS7).

      The same effect was seen with the Prius - when it was new, and different, and low volume, it was very expensive to repair, but as volumes have increased and the world has become familiar with hybrids, the maintenance costs have come back into line with those for petrol/diesel equivalents.

      Tesla don't do bodywork repairs; they have a network of approved bodyshops and will only sell parts that form part of the safety structure of the carto those bodyshops. Porsche do the exact same thing. If your car is damaged but none of the damaged parts are structural (i.e. you just have a dented door panel, or a broken headlight, etc) you can take it anywhere you like to be repaired.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A few downsides

      Couple of comments:

      1. BMW is actively looking at Ethernet too, so is GM. So Tesla is not alone. Ethernet has gone a long way and modern twisted pair chipsets have better error rates and higher MTBF that Cambus (especially when running at "mere" 100Mbit).

      2. This car is squarely aimed at the Panamera market. And frankly, it will cream it - the performance is better, the handling is better and I bet that the new AWS model's 4x4 will be better. That is not difficult as the Panamera is a POS. Its "phenomenal" AWD is so bad that it has to drive at 20mph in 3 inches of snow. I nearly got pulled over during the last big snowfall in the UK 3 years ago because some cretin in a Panamera was driving at under 20mph (and bottom waving like a samba dancer) on the M25 at 3am. I was tired, just had my flight cancelled after 3 attempts to take off and I could not be arsed to follow the cretin so I overtook him the way you overtake a "toy 4x4" in a proper 4x4 with winter M+S* tyres - at 40mph+ going on the 4+ inches of uncleared snow in the outer lanes. The moron got so insulted by the fact that someone overtook his precious Panamera in a piece of agricultural equipment (that is what I drive) that he called the cops. So I ended up with a Highway Agency landy blocking my way with a "do not pass" light up in the back window for the next 20 miles.

      Going back to this being put square vs the Panamera. The people who buy a Panamera do not go on 1.5k mile trips (as I sometimes do). They take it to the company parking lot and back to show off. This will compete for that use and if you earn enough to drive a Panamera you probably can tell you secretary to ensure that the Plebs with the i3s are removed from your personal parking space. This brings us to the other points - this type of person probably does not care about repairability, tinkering, tweaking or any of the other issues you raise. Either for financial or lifestyle reasons.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: A few downsides

        . BMW is actively looking at Ethernet too, so is GM. So Tesla is not alone. Ethernet has gone a long way and modern twisted pair chipsets have better error rates and higher MTBF that Cambus (especially when running at "mere" 100Mbit).

        Deterministic ethernet will probably replace Canbus in the next few years mainly because cars are far more "intelligent" than years ago when all you wanted your network to do is to turn your headlights on and off. Now, apart from the intelligent sensors festooning the car, we also want GPS, SatNAv, internet, DVD and a sound system. Not only that but if you add a TV screen to each seat, that is a lot of data being thrown around.

        Now you could have separate networks for these things, but in terms of simplicity and weight it makes sense to have it on one network. Ethernet has the bandwidth and is already utilised for a lot of this stuff. Of course you have the issue of data separation and ensuring the ABS is not delayed by little Johnny watching Frozen for the 50th time, which is why we need the later deterministic ethernet standards to be more widely implemented that allows QOS and determinism of multiple VPN's across the same cable.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A few downsides

      > Tesla seem to have a similar attitude to Apple when it comes to people tinkering with their toys, they *really* don't like it.

      Honestly, if I were a start-up with a reputation at stake, I don't think I would like it either.

      We all know the story:

      --- My $blah is not working!!!

      --- Did you do anything to it?

      --- No, of course not, I haven't touched it, I swear.

      --- Hmm... according to the logs $this and $that

      --- It wasn't me!!!

      Next day on Twatter:

      $blah is a #pieceofshit. Don't buy it!!! It doesn't work!!!

      — Bloggs (@CompulsiveTinkerer) January 5, 2015

    5. flingback

      Re: A few downsides

      Your points are all valid - but what would you really expect for something that is genuinely innovative and quite possibly likely to cause either irreparable damage to the car, or the batteries? This isn't a simple design. I do have a few gripes as a P85+ owner but they are all pretty trivial...

      1) Why oh why put a HSPA only modem in the unit, then limit it to O2's dreadful network which has next to no UMTS coverage outside major cities (even the M25 has swathes of GPRS only coverage). If they wanted to stick with O2 then at least put a 4G modem in as O2/vodafone's combined roll-out means that 4G O2 is significantly better than 3G.

      2) Due to (1) above, I noticed a when driving a few days ago that the 17" monitor doing the mapping, internet radio, etc. became extremely sluggish often taking 5 seconds or so to react to a touch. Because this interface is also used for suspension control, heated seats, sunroof etc. it made changing some settings almost impossible - but in reality these are not things you'd be doing on the move generally in the first place.

      3) I believe that that main "critical" functions of the car are controlled by a classic style "engine" management system because a) during (2) above the car performed impeccably, b) the main screen in-front of the steering wheel did not have any lag, and c) there *is* a CANBUS interface on-board.

      Sometimes, the only way to make progress is to throw the classic design away and start again - that seems to be what Tesla have done. I for one, as an electronics engineer and software designer am impressed. It's not perfect, but it's close - and I would prefer (at least for now) a closed ecosystem that's reliable, than a tweakable one that's not!

  9. jake Silver badge

    That's nice.

    A friend of mine, total green-a-holic, bought an ElectricLotusTesla. He was completely disappointed in it, says he could only get about 85 miles of "spirited" street driving out of it before recharging. In his own words "What good's a sports car that can't drive Hwy 1 from Bodega Bay to Mendocino without a stop for a recharge?"

    That's just under 100 miles ... He made the trip once, just out of curiosity, with an over-night recharge at a friend's house in Manchester both ways. That's four days/three nights on the road (including an overnight in Mendocino) for a 200 mile round-trip.

    After ~4,500 miles of swearing about the range, he sold the Tesla for more than he paid for it, and bought a proper Lotus Elise with similar miles on the clock, and enough loot left in his pocket for fuel for several years ;-)

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: That's nice.

      My old Japanese rally homologation model: I used to average 140 miles per tank (45 litres / <18mpg), and on a "spirited" drive could get the low fuel light on before 100.

      My current Japanese sport-tourer motorcycle: I average 140 miles per tank (18 litres / ~35mpg) and on a "spirited" ride can again piss through it in less than 100 miles.

      So your friend's Tesla is getting similar range to a saloon based sports car, and similar range to a sport-tourer motorcycle, when driven in real world conditions by someone who enjoys a "spirited" drive. The P85+ apparently manages more than 150 miles even in "spirited" mode, so it apparently has significantly better range than a petrol sports car or a sport-tourer motorcycle.

      Some people want more than 400 miles out of a tank, and some people want less than 5 seconds to 60mph, and never the twain shall meet :)

  10. Fink-Nottle
    Coat

    > "Electric car owners as a tribe can be quite hard work."

    Also, as a tribe, they're not nomadic ... hur, hur, hur.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It didn't change my mind

    There was no reported attribute of this car that changed my mind and made me want to deal with the hassles, inconvenience or expense of owning an impractical electric vehicle for any use other than city driving.

    Most people own one vehicle and it needs to be capable of doing all required tasks like traveling more than 200 miles and hoping that you can find a recharging station before the car stops dead on the road. Go road test any EV in cold weather especially in snow and see what the range is. That 200 miles range just dropped to 50 - on a good day.

    Fuel cells are the likely solution for those who for some reason feel a need to replace perfectly suited petrol/Diesel power. Thankfully it will take a century or more before the tree huggers are able to pass legislation outlawing proper petrol/Diesel power and I won't be around to deal with that stupidity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It didn't change my mind

      > There was no reported attribute of this car that changed my mind

      1. Have you actually driven one?

      2. Would you be able to afford one, if you wanted to?

      Thanks.

      1. BornToWin

        Re: It didn't change my mind

        What part of "NO" don't you understand? He explained that there was nothing about the Tesla vehicle that changed his mind about the limited use of these cars. It doesn't matter if he can afford one or not, what matters is if people who drive petrol powered vehicles feel a need to own one of these vehicles which has a limited range that is unacceptable to most consumers. If there is no compelling reason to own an EV then most people aren't willing to subject themselves to the many issues associated with them. That's precisely why they have never been commercially viable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It didn't change my mind

          > It doesn't matter if he can afford one or not

          I would argue that if he is not able to buy one in the first place, whether he changes his mind about wanting to buy one or not is rather moot.

          1. BornToWin

            Re: It didn't change my mind

            You don't seem to understand the point was about the car's function, not cost. He didn't say anything about not being able to afford one and it doesn't matter if he can or can't afford one. The point is that if the Tesla S or any EV for that matter is only practical for city driving then it doesn't meet the needs of most people in society. With no realistic supporting infrastructure the car's recharging needs dictate the owner instead of the owner being able to freely travel where ever and when ever they choose as they can with a petrol vehicle.

            Until someone invents a battery that weighs 5 kilos, cost ten Euro, delivers 200 kWh and lasts ten years with 80% DOD, it's all just wishful thinking. We don't even need to get into the cost to recharge, the cost for a special home charging system, the cost of electricity, the cost of replacement batteries and the typical lifespan of the batteries, etc. Those are just "piling on" a frivolous endeavor to deceive the naïve with EVs.

            1. Steve Todd
              Stop

              Re: It didn't change my mind

              Take a look at the following review from Norway. A US spec Model S (no cold weather mods) driving 270KM in the snow, fully loaded, while climbing 800M on the way and not driven gently, managed it without a recharge. I'm not saying that there is no effect on range, but it has been rather over stated.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ5PqPeOPT0

            2. James Micallef Silver badge

              Re: It didn't change my mind

              @BornToWin - Of course anyone is free to look at a car and say "This is not for me", however on the specific points:

              " if the Tesla S or any EV for that matter is only practical for city driving then it doesn't meet the needs of most people" Tesla S has the reported limit of 200-250 mile range, that DOES cover the need of most people* as long as they can charge at home.

              "With no realistic supporting infrastructure..." currently correct, but as EVs increase in popularity, charging stations will become as ubiquitous as filling stations

              "Until someone invents a battery that weighs 5 kilos, cost ten Euro, delivers 200 kWh and lasts ten years with 80% DOD" Setting the bar unrealistically high, much?

              Tesla S battery is 85kWh for 200-250 mile range is already quite enough for most people. Tesla roadster batteries retain 85% capacity after 100k miles, and those were 1st-generation, I'm sure the 'S' batteries can do better. Regarding weight, you're replacing a whole engine block + transmission + various gubbins with much smaller/lighter electric motors, so the battery can weigh 500kg without substantial change in vehicle weight (also, battery in car floor gives better stability so you can probably afford an even higher weight). Typical Li battery density is 0.645 MJ/kg (**) = 179Wh/kg , so for a 500kg battery = 89.5kWh, which surprise, surprise is right about what the 'S' battery can do.

              Currently this battery is 'good enough' for most people in terms of capacity, size, weight and longevity. The only limiting factor on the battery front is cost, and that is tumbling as production is increased and tech matures.

              *The needs of most people are 40-50 miles a day. Most people drive 200+miles only occasionally, some people don't ever do that. If you or the OP drive more than that, you are not in the 'most people' demographic, you can still admire a neat piece of tech even if it doesn't meet your needs

              ** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

              1. James Micallef Silver badge

                Re: It didn't change my mind

                One more thing I found re costs: http://insideevs.com/tesla-battery-in-the-model-s-costs-less-than-a-quarter-of-the-car-in-most-cases/

                According to this, Tesla S battery cost is ALREADY coming in at an estimated $238/kWh. Tesla are in the process of building a large-scale battery factory that they estimate will bring price down by about 30% within 3 years, that's $167/kWh. An 85kWh battery at that price would cost a smidge over $14k.

                So a $30k-or-less Tesla with 250+ mile range could be available before 2020 :)

    2. Steve Todd
      FAIL

      Re: It didn't change my mind

      Given that the Tesla S is the best selling car in Norway I think you'll find that your estimates on the effects of cold weather on the batery pack/range are a little out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It didn't change my mind

        Free electricity, tax incentives or other bribes are probably the reason if the Tesla S or any EV is the best selling car anywhere. Cold weather zaps the batteries power output and snow increases the frictional losses, period. No one has changed the laws of physics yet. There are some pretty gullible people in the world. P. T. Barnum knew a thing or two about those types. If you look at a pic of Elon Musk you can see the semblance no doubt. He always looks like he is lying. Is he?

  12. David 14

    Aluminum "Battery" would be great to see...

    I love the "different" idea used by the concept of the Aluminum-air battery that converts the metal to an oxide, and you simply "swap" the aluminum at a "swapping station". The oxide can be converted back to aluminum in a forge.... something that would be key to making as efficient as possible to keep the energy equation good enough for use.

    Ultimately, this is a large infrastructure challenge... needing swapping stations is easy, but managing the transportation of spent plates and the ability to have a decent distributed "forge" infrastructure to minimize the cost of exchange.

    Aluminum is plentiful and relatively cheap... and is reused in the process. Also, the only other "fuel" used is water, which is also "re-used" in the equation.

    And, as is the case today, envision it (at first) as a secondary source to standard battery tech... can make the current range challenges much easier to deal with. If 95% of your driving is in the standard battery range, then you only pay the premium costs of the Aluminum-Air on that extra 5%.

  13. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Five adults AND two children?

    Are there more seats than shown, or do you just throw the children into the boot?

    1. James 100

      Re: Five adults AND two children?

      "or do you just throw the children into the boot?"

      Yes, there are two rear-facing seats which can go in the boot area as a factory-fit option, on top of the regular 5 seats. There's something a bit disconcerting about putting kids in the boot, but the photo I saw looked OK for smaller kids.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Gerry 3
    FAIL

    More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

    The Tesla misses out so many things taken granted even in an unpretentious hatchback, so it ends up like Ryanair, the so-called extras bumping up the 'come on' headline price astronomically. Not even a spare wheel, despite all that space ! No rear wiper, either.

    It's also arrogantly and stupidly American; they think you should be eternally grateful that the UK model has the steering wheel on the right. Yes, it has a massive Home Cinema screen as a stupid distraction, but there's no digital radio, not even Long Wave. A proper DAB+/FM/MW/LW radio comes as standard even on a Ford Focus but with a Tesla you get only FM/MW with just a handful of stations and no Test Match Special or Radio 4 when you drive off the ferry. Yes, you can have DAB, for a mere £2000, yes TWO GRAND !

    And then after splurging out a fortune for a DAB radio, it's still missing LW and doesn't even work properly because the Californians haven't realised that DAB needs an external aerial...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

      > It's also arrogantly and stupidly American

      [....]

      > And then after splurging out a fortune for a DAB radio

      You realise that DAB is almost unheard of anywhere outside the UK, yes?

      > No rear wiper, either.

      Do you have any examples of cars in the £50K+ range sporting a rear wiper?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

        "You realise that DAB is almost unheard of anywhere outside the UK, yes?"

        You should have googled that before you wrote it. Some countries are already using DAB+ and the UK are still only talking about it. At least 20 countries are using this German developed broadcast tech.

        But the USA have adopted Satellite radio instead of DAB because it better suits the geography. They probably don't bother with LW because there is no interest in Cricket.

        Cars in the £50K+ range with a rear wiper? Well you already mentioned one when you wrote "range". It's not a function of the cost of the car, it's a requirement of the shape, having a flat back rather than a boot sticking out results in aerodynamics spraying water on the back window.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

          > Some countries are already using DAB+ and the UK are still only talking about it. At least 20 countries are using this German developed broadcast tech.

          Dixit Wikipedia?

          Please note that the *only* country in Europe where DAB is remotely popular is the UK. Hence why DAB radios are an option, as opposed to standard equipment, on cars outside the UK--I suspect the high price has something to do with lack of demand.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

            "Please note that the *only* country in Europe where DAB is remotely popular is the UK"

            Apart from the other countries where it is popular. Particularly Scandinavia - in Norway there is an intended switch off of analogue FM in 2017. It's also quite popular in Germany where it was invented, being pushed by BMW. And the other other countries that are transitioning too.

            *Not Wikipedia. WorldDab.org.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: More tricks than Ryanair, and a rubbish radio...

              > It's also quite popular in Germany

              Hmm... OK for Norway up to a point, but not in Germany (where I work).

              In the longer term I would however expect a move to digital radio in order to free up (and then sell) more of the spectrum, in the same way as was done with digital TV. Do note however, that digital TV failed to raise any significant enthusiasm amongst consumers (and small broadcasters), who were more or less forced to switch.

              It's also true that analogue radio reception is quite appalling in central and eastern England (not that you would want to listen to it anyway, unless you're into non-stop advertisements), so I suppose that might have a bearing on the relative popularity of DAB in (parts of) the UK. I have no idea whether coverage is actually any better compared to analogue, mind.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    It will never catch on

    Oh wait...

    Where are the haters now? Ah, still blathering here I see.

  17. David Kelly 2

    I Like Mine

    Have been "test driving" for 11,000 miles with no end in sight.

    Tesla needs an interior designer with mechanics of human knowledge. The measly two cup holders are where my elbow needs to be. While the window switches on the door are Mercedes issue unlike Mercedes Tesla didn't place them where a human wrist readily flexes to reach.

    Then with about $10k of solar panels one never has to purchase fuel ever again. Its a lot of capital, but its possible. Not everything free citizens do has to make economic sense. After all I'm using a luxurious 15" laptop to type this little message rather than a 13" which would be "good enough".

    1. Uffish

      Re: I Like Mine

      Do you recharge it overnight?

  18. Van

    "Electric car owners as a tribe can be quite hard work"

    I'm not surprised. Critics tell them way too often what toys they should have spent their money on instead. Nobody rambles on at high end Audi and BMW owners who would have course saved money with a Ford Mondeo and got from A to B just as quick.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      you miss one important differentiating feature

      With a Mondeo, you need to find a marked car spot at B. With the others you can just use the dual purpose indicator stalk and stop your vehicle somewhere you find convenient.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you miss one important differentiating feature

        > With the others you can just use the dual purpose indicator stalk and stop your vehicle somewhere you find convenient.

        I drive one of the "others", but I found your comment deeply amusing. :-) Some people do have an habit of doing that. Why, I will never know.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > I'm not surprised. Critics tell them way too often what toys they should have spent their money on instead.

    Yup, spot on.

  20. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Question

    When I use the word 'fast' it would mean the Ferrari's 180+ mph top speed would make it 'faster' than the Tesla but I would also say the Tesla is 'quicker' than the Ferrari based on the 0-60 time. I'm just curious, is that an English (UK vs US) thing or am I just being an arse bringing it up?

  21. Neoc

    "...a Lazlar LyriKon custom job..."

    Extra points for this and other HHGttG references in that review. ^_^

  22. muttley
    Go

    Ownership

    Friends of my father actually own a Model S. My old man - a lifelong Petrolhead who has owned some tasty metal - 2 and 4 wheels - in his time, having ridden in the S thinks it's "F******g stupendous". Stupid fast, amazing handling. The charging thing will happen.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless

    I have no interest in electric vehicles as they do not provide anything that I desire.

    1. flingback

      Re: Pointless

      Seeing as you've posted anonymously, your pointless comment is somewhat pointless would you not agree? Oh, the irony!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pointless

        Or perhaps you are clueless as many folks post annonymously? LOL

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. king of cardboard

    Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA)

    The people who will buy this are business customers who currently lease S class / Audi A8 / BMW 7 series. With a 100% first year write down when you buy it, the corporation tax relief makes the car more like a £40k+ car with very low running costs.

  26. Lallabalalla

    5 adults AND 2 children?

    Really? Where - in that huge boot?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: 5 adults AND 2 children?

      "5 adults AND 2 children?

      Really? Where - in that huge boot?"

      Correct! Rear facing child seats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 5 adults AND 2 children?

        > Correct! Rear facing child seats.

        Why not put the five adults in the front and leave the boot just for the kids?

        Ok, ok, I'm leaving...

      2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: 5 adults AND 2 children?

        > Correct! Rear facing child seats.

        At 0-60 in 3.5 milliseconds (or whatever it is!) those seats had better be fitted with a 5-point harness. :-)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electric vehicles have been around for at least 150 years, so it's hardly surprising the performance is sorted.

    But until cheap/high-capacity batteries are available they will only be a novelty (g-whiz) or a rich person's play thing.

  28. Simon Rockman

    The only interesting financing is as a company car.

    If you are paying 45% tax you'll get taxed that amount in a company car as Benefit In Kind. But as a 100% electric its zero rated for BIK so your £100k Tesla costs you the same as a £55k ICE car. You've also spent £100k so you make less profit in the company which means saving £18k on corporation tax. That's £37k it costs you and the government will give you £5k for buying an electric car. So in this case it costs you £32k. All before savings on fuel, parking and congestion charge.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > You've also spent £100k so you make less profit in the company which means saving £18k on corporation tax.

      Nice try, but I don't think this bit of the argument washes when your employer does company cars through someone like Leasedrive.

  29. TheRealRoland

    Ergonomics - you touched on it briefly

    So, while not having driven it, just sat in it at the dealership - i already noticed the big touch screen would be distracting. Buttons for ICE, Heating / Cooling, etc. - all virtual, no tactile / haptic feedback.

    How did you think trying to adjust heating / cooling made you for a distracted driver?

    Having driven side by side to it - amazing that when it comes up from behind at highway speeds, all you hear is the road / tire noise, no engine :-)

  30. PapaD

    The biggest problem I can think of with the touch screen is that you can't control things without having to look at it - there is no tactile feedback like you'd get with any normal button/knob/dial - the only way to know whether pressing an option on a touch screen worked is to look (unless you are past the options screens and just increasing the volume on your music - then you can hear the difference)

    But generally, a bad idea - unless all the controls are also duplicated in easily accessible physical parts near the steering wheel.

  31. deconstructionist

    electricty is so clean right

    You are all mad , it is like the hand dryers in toilets with their 2300 watt blower " saving the environment one hand towel at a time"

    Really how much FF did you burn to get that energy, the long and the short of it is we cant store electricity on a large scale, it is the bad we actually pay wind farms not to produce electricity 35% of the time.

    Electric cars are just stupid yeah save the oil but burn the coal and gas the infrastructure required for mass electric cars is not economical nor is it environmental sound

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: electricty is so clean right

      1) Most countries use a mix of nuclear, conventional and renewables. The cleaner the mix the cleaner the electric car is.

      2) Improving the mix makes any existing electric car better. Petrol/Diesel engines never improve other than by replacing the vehicle.

      3) EVs are a great way of soaking up surplus power from renewables when they are on stream, you store the energy in the battery, and many EVs make for large scale.

      4) The pollution happens at the power station, which can be out in the countryside, rather than in the middle of a city, where it is bad for the health of those living/working there. Its also easier to clean up emissions in a large scale fixed plant than in the exhausts of thousands of mobile IC units.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: electricty is so clean right

        You forgot about the toxic battery production and recycling and the impracticality of EVs even with fast charging systems or battery swaps.

        1. PeterGordon

          Re: electricty is so clean right

          Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and recyclable.

          The Tesla's range covers over 99% of all driving needs on a single charge saving you hours a year driving and waiting in ancient petrol stations so it is actually vastly more practical than a petrol car.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @PeterGordon (was:Re: electricty is so clean right

            You write "Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic"

            I'd love to see you eat one one[1], PeterGordon. Should be good for a giggle. Might even be enough for me to waste my time on YouTube for the first time in years.

            (Is there a Peter Gordon who works for Tesla? Would explain this new three-time poster's evangelism. Hint to PeterGordon: Faith doesn't work with the technically inclined.)

            [1] Yes, the whole battery, not just a single cell. Although the latter would probably be enough for humor purposes ;-)

            1. PeterGordon

              Re: @PeterGordon (was:electricty is so clean right

              You are proving yourself quite dim.

              I post facts based on provable science not faith and you have completely failed to prove anything I have posted as incorrect.

              You need to get someone to teach you the difference between faith and facts.

              People do actually eat lithium in pill form so you've just proven yourself ignorant.

              The fact is, ingesting too much of anything can be toxic. People actually die each year from drinking too much water so your argument is quite incompetent.

              The fact remains that Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and recyclable exactly as I said.

              1. NumptyScrub

                Re: @PeterGordon (was:electricty is so clean right

                The fact is, ingesting too much of anything can be toxic. People actually die each year from drinking too much water so your argument is quite incompetent.

                The fact remains that Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and recyclable exactly as I said.

                I'm fine with EVs and think the Tesla is a great idea, but seriously look at those 2 statements. If too much of anything can be toxic, then the Tesla batteries are, logically, potentially toxic. Thus, they cannot be claimed to be 100% non-toxic.

                If you are going to point out flaws in other people's debating technique, it is prudent to ensure yours is not similarly flawed ^^;

                1. PeterGordon

                  Re: @PeterGordon (was:electricty is so clean right

                  Sorry but you thinking is completely wrong.

                  Substances are actually officially classified as toxic or non-toxic.

                  Tesla batteries are officially classified as non-toxic because they contain no materials that are classified as toxic. Therefore my statement is 100% true and contains zero flaws.

                  The person arguing with me was quite dim so I had to point out the fact about water.

                  Even though virtually anything we ingest in too great a quantity can be toxic, that does not mean it will be officially classified as toxic for the environment, nor should it be.

                  His argument that the batteries were toxic because they could not be eaten was completely misleading and incompetent.

                  Hope that clears things up for you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: electricty is so clean right

          > the impracticality of EVs

          A number of people who own and drive Teslas have posted here, and they seem to disagree. Now, who should one believe?

  32. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    wow. Amazing the number of folks that just don't get it.

    I don't yet own one, but I will. Borrowed an S 85 for 5 days from a friend who *does* own one. Its currently at the 4 year mark.

    1) two days of -10C weather - no substantial charge life change I could see. And according to the owner at -38C he noted about 4% drop in reported range.

    2) Owner has the full torque charger at home, tops him off in 40 minutes or less no matter what he does to it - I used the 110V 20A solution, and the top off for my run (which is effectively 3 times his standard run) took around 6 hours. I sleep just slightly less than that per night.

    3) Snow. This damn thing is a tank in the snow. You *do* need to be a *lot* lighter on the take off than you might be in a IC engine, I only saw roughly 4cm of snow, not much, but the handling is solid as a rock if you *drive* for the snow (as opposed to most folks in high end crap around here who seem to think that because they paid more for their crap that it should make up for their stupidity)

    Internally - I have long legs and a short torso, and I found that the seat arrangements aren't *quite* what I'd like to have - but I could get the extra 2 or 3 cms of lift if I really needed it. The armrests -- I don't typically use arm rests, but I agree - my elbow is likely to land on my coffee regularly. The screen is a distraction and there are settings there that would be annoying but, in general I found that once they'd been set I wasn't wont to play with them often.

    The door pocket? not a big issue in my case -- in my VW TDI its a garbage bucket more than anything else.

  33. David Black

    Removable batteries?

    Doesn't it seem somewhat obvious to just make the battery removable? You'd pull in to whatever equivalent of a filling station would be... stop over a unit that unclips your current battery, clips on a new one, charges you for the capacity you now have and you drive away... could take less time than a current fill up.

    Sure batteries would need to be standardised but we accept that for our fuel today and all that infrastructure. Stations could then charge the batteries when power demand was lower and have the option of solar during the day charging. No nonsense with millions of charging points everywhere you'd want to park a car.

    Current limits would be on cost as at present the battery and its tech development probably make up about a third the price of the car... If there were ways of drawing this closer to the actual material costs (and we actually focused research on driving cost of battery down, not capacity up) then a pack could be circa low hundreds (you could just go lead and acid to be real cheap!) so storing and charging lots wouldn't be an insane cost for the filling station. If you could swap the battery in 10 secs, you wouldn't care so much about range, enough not to be constantly interrupting, but not so much to make the battery cost too high. 150-200 miles would work, particularly with doing your own overnight drip feeds where possible.

    1. BornToWin

      Re: Removable batteries?

      This has already been tried and failed because these cars are not designed for rapid battery changes amongst other things in addition to no standard battery profiles per se for different vehicle brands/models, which can also compromise the vehicle design if they need to use a standardized battery shape, size, output, etc.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's not forget...

    ...the Tesla fires from damaged batteries be they in an auto accident or normal road debris penetrating the floor and damaging the batteries. As if this isn't enough there is also the documented issue of Tesla's recharging system drawing excessive electrical current potentially leading to overheating of home electrical circuits and fires. First responders are also having to retool their emergency equipment and retrain their personnel to basically not touch a crashed EV as they can be killed or injured from the high voltage. That means extracting drivers or occupants may not be immediately possible. Fire departments can't use water if there is a fire because of the batteries and electrical issues. Wreck yards can't have the crashed vehicles sitting any place near combustible buildings, cars, etc. as the batteries once damaged can overheat at any time starting fires - which has already happened. Ask NHTSA. These are just a few other considerations with Tesla products and EVs in general that an educated consumer would want to know about before spending their money.

    1. PeterGordon

      Re: Let's not forget...

      You have completely failed to do any research.

      The Tesla is vastly safer than than any car on the planet. There have been zero serious injuries and zero deaths to anyone wearing their seatbelt with over 1 billion kilometers already driven.

      Before the extra shielding, Teslas were 6 times less likely to have a fire than a petrol car. Since the extra shielding there have been zero fires so the Tesla would now seem to be infinitely less likely to have a fire than a petrol car. (In the US, there are 17 petrol car fires every hour)

      You need to start doing some actual research before posting if you hope to have any credibility.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's not forget...

        PeterGordon

        You should look up the definition of DENIAL because you are in it. Everything posted above is documented and available for review online for those who want to fact check. Claiming that a car is "safe" is your opinion, not some fact. Ask NHTSA how safe the Tesla batteries were that caught fire months after the impact crash testing was done.

        When EVs and Tesla models in particular have the stated technical issues that make them a serious liability for first responders, they are clearly not as safe as you claim or as safe as petrol or diesel powered vehicles which do not have the Li-ion battery and other high voltage electrical issues to deal with.

        You must have no shame... So there are 17 car fires every hour according to YOU in the U.S. with over ~253 MILLION cars in service and you try to use that to imply that the Tesla cars that have actually caught on fire and burned to the ground - are safer. You can fool some of the people some of the time but reality has a nice way of proving that you are wrong. I'd suggest anyone considering an electric vehicle perform due diligence regarding safety and design issues and take notice of documented fires and other issues in EVs. Your life could very well depend on it.

        1. PeterGordon

          Re: Let's not forget...

          You are now lying and it is very easy to prove.

          Fact: I have stated facts - not opinion.

          Fact: The Tesla actually received the highest safety rating in the entire history of the NHTSA. Fact not opinion. Get it now?

          Fact: The real world safety record of the Tesla is better than any petrol car on the planet.

          Fact: No one wearing their seatbelt has ever been killed or even seriously injured in a Tesla even after over 1 billion kilometers driven.

          Fact: The Tesla proved to be, currently, about 10 times less likely to have a fire than a gas car. There were only 3 fires in about 60,000 cars which is less than one in 20,000. Petrol cars have fires in about 1 in 2000 cars.

          Fact: No one was ever even hurt in a Tesla fire while over 400 are killed every year by petrol car fires in the US and thousands of others are seriously injured.

          Fact: Since extra shielding has been added there has not been a single fire in a Tesla - well over a year with no fires - while petrol cars still burn regularly.

          Fact: No Tesla batteries have ever caught fire 'months after impact'. That was a Chevy Volt and it was a prototype Chevy Volt at that. You research skills are extremely poor.

          Fact: First responders have never been put in danger or hurt when responding to a Tesla accident but they have often been hurt or killed by petrol car explosions.

          Fact: I have proven you are lying and that it is actually petrol cars that are much more dangerous than any Tesla.

          You should learn about the dangers of driving around with a tank full of explosive liquid. Your life could depend on it.

          Meanwhile you should apologize for your lies.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let's not forget...

            > You should learn about the dangers of driving around with a tank full of explosive liquid

            Tank full is OK-ish, it's the nearly empty, fume-filled tank that you want to worry about. :-(

            (Different AC, btw)

      2. jake Silver badge

        @PeterGordon (Was: Re: Let's not forget...)

        "The Tesla is vastly safer than than any car on the planet."

        You seem to forget the most dangerous part of any over-the-road vehicle.

        That would be the nut behind the wheel.

        You have also not taken into account overall person-miles per vehicle. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. You are quoting statistics, which are completely useless in this particular scenario, given the numerically insignificant overall road miles driven by Tesla owners in the great scheme of things.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...)

          > You have also not taken into account overall person-miles per vehicle. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

          For once, jake has got a point. The sample of Tesla vehicles is much smaller than for conventional ones and therefore will have bigger uncertainty (which has not been provided). A practical example of this would be the way the safety record of Concorde (in terms of fatalities per pax per mile) totally plummeted after a single accident.

          That said, saying that it's safe ± a large error margin is not at all the same as saying that it's unsafe, and in any case I am still planning to go for a Tesla once certain features that I want are in place. :-)

          1. PeterGordon

            Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...)

            Over a billion kilometers in over 2 years is more than enough data to prove the Tesla is vastly safer.

            66,000 petrol car deaths in the US alone vs zero for the the Tesla, worldwide in a 2 year time frame simply cannot be argued with. The Tesla is vastly safer than a petrol car.

            What features are you waiting for?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...)

              > Over a billion kilometers in over 2 years is more than enough data to prove the Tesla is vastly safer.

              By any chance, do you know what ANOVA is? What would happen if you were to apply it to a sample of Tesla incidents per passenger mile and a sample of every other saloon with a combustion engine¹?

              I think your problem may be that you are confusing "safe" with "safer". You can make a statement about the former as it is an intrinsic proposition, but not about the latter in the form that you seem to be trying to.

              > What features are you waiting for?

              4WD (coming), adaptive cruise control (coming), adaptive high beam, blind spot warning, infrared camera with pedestrian detection (could live without), forward looking camera (definitely can live without), plus certain ergonomic improvements such as a control wheel (safer than pure touchscreen IMO). Essentially, most of the stuff my current ride has, minus the engine noise. :-)

              ¹ Yes, I am aware of a number of other problems with this experiment from a stochastic point of view. :-)

              1. PeterGordon

                Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...)

                Fact: I know what ANOVA is and there is no car as safe as a Tesla. There is no analysis model on earth that needs any more data to rate the Tesla the safest car.

                I have to work with insurance companies on risk analysis for aerospace designs periodically and they would laugh at your implication that a billion kilometers with no fatalities or even serious injuries (while wearing a seat belt) is not enough data.

                Also are you aware that the Tesla already has all wheel drive (2 motors), adaptive cruise control, adaptive high beam, forward camera and you can control most everything in the car from wheels and buttons on the steering wheel.

                Try doing some research next time.

        2. PeterGordon

          Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...)

          You don't seem to have a very high level of reading comprehension.

          I said Teslas have traveled over a billion kilometers with no deaths or even a serious injury. A billion kilometers is not considered insignificant by anyone. To call that number insignificant proves you incredibly dishonest or incredibly incompetent. Pick one.

          A billion kilometers over 2 years is more than enough data to compare Teslas with petrol cars and the Tesla is clearly vastly safer. There have been over 66,000 petrol auto deaths just in the US since Teslas went on sale. That's one in about 4000 petrol cars while Tesla has had zero in over 60,000 cars - worldwide.

          Lots of Teslas have crashed due to nuts behind the wheel and no one inside, wearing their seatbelt has ever even been injured. There is simply no contest with a petrol car in terms of safety.

          Try and catch up.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @PeterGordon (was:Re: @PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...))

            At first thought you were a Tesla shill.

            Now, after reading the eight posts in the one thread that you have chosen to participate in here on ElReg, it is bloody obvious you are a teenager who has, for whatever reason, bought into marketing hype and has fixated on the Tesla meme.

            Instead of advising people to "catch up", you might want to get a proper education.

            Still waiting for the video of you eating a Tesla battery (or single cell, even), seeing as Lithium is non-toxic & all.

            1. PeterGordon

              Re: @PeterGordon (was:@PeterGordon (Was: Let's not forget...))

              LOL! You are extremely dim, aren't you?

              Fact: I post facts - not hype.

              Fact: You have completely failed to show any of the facts I posted as untrue.

              But I'm sure "You have completely failed' is a phrase you hear many, many times a day. LOL!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's not forget...

      > Fire departments can't use water if there is a fire because of the batteries and electrical issues

      For the record, if the rims are already burning on a vehicle, standard practise at my local station was to let them burn (we did not have foam, and by the time the right engine arrived, the thing would have burned down anyway).

  35. Javapapa

    Real world experience with a Leaf

    Automotive journalists get to drive lots of cars, but don't get to live with them for long.

    Into my fifth month driving a base model Nissan Leaf in Houston. Currently using the "trickle charger" at home, plan to install a 220 volt 30 amp circuit soon for a L2 6.6 kW/hr charger. My daily commute is less than 40 miles on a combination of level urban streets and Interstates with overpasses. I arrive home with 50% or more of remaining charge; plug-in overnight, ready to go next morning.

    Wife's Tiguan is our intercity vehicle. Tesla installs charging stations between cities, very few Level 3 CHAdeMO equivalents for Leaf or Volt drivers. Nissan dealer is three blocks from office building, with three other L3 chargers within a 3 mile radius, one near restaurants.

    Love the torque, love the silence, love the wide variety of fuels used to power the grid. Leasing to mitigate risk of premature battery decline or range obsolescence. Unknown maintenance costs for the electronics, expect the motor itself to be long lived.

    The best design compromise single car drivers is probably a plug in hybrid with small engine optimized for charging the battery when needed, simplifying the drivetrain. Chevy Volt is a good example, BMW i3 is another. Not impressed with complexity of the Prius.

    For the naysayers, consider the serendipity of cross over technical advancement. Laptops created a mass market for lithium ion batteries, which made the Tesla roadster possible.

    I have probably purchased my last ICE powered vehicle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Real world experience with a Leaf

      Many hybrids offer a viable improvement in mpg but it's not free. A hybrid basically improves the amount of energy available for consumer use. If the cost and complexity does not produce a suitable gain without hassles, it's not very practical. While most hybrids and some EVs from major auto makers can be serviced at the larger local dealerships some EVs can only be serviced by the factory and or an authorized service center hundreds of miles away. That is not practical for many people. With the charging, range, service and cost challenges of EVs, it's going to be a long, long time if ever before they become more than just a novelty.

    2. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Real world experience with a Leaf

      Another Leaf Owner... In the UK here.

      I don't understand the range explanation given - looking like you would never do over 40 miles - we regularly do. We can drive ours from Yeovil to Bath and back on a charge (about 75 miles round trip) and not worry if the charging points are not free at the Bath park and ride. We regularly take it to Weymouth (60 miles round trip). The daily commute that it is used for is a round trip of over 40 miles and there is no worry about that.

      We had a free charging point installed and there are loads to use all over the place. We swapped the tax/insurance/fuel/servicing costs of a ICE car for the charging/funding/insurance of a brand new leaf. And we also got all the gubbins and whatnots of a top of the range car.

      Agreed - in no way could it be used as a 300 miles in a day motorway cruiser. But that's never been the aim - perhaps technology will manage that one day.

      We have ours on a 3 year lease option so that we can upgrade to the next version or even the cheaper tesla when it's out.

  36. JustNiz

    its VERY worrying that no-one seems to even care that this car is always connected to the factory and reports back everything you do, including everywhere you go, and how you drive, including how fast you do it, even how hard you corner and brake.

    Nor can you dare to work on your own car:

    https://transportevolved.com/2014/04/08/owners-hack-tesla-model-s-electronic-car-tesla-politely-asks-stop

    Yeah no thanks Tesla, Any car I pay for is MY car NOT yours, and I don't appreciate you using it to spy on me either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ spy in the car

      If I were caught up in a serious accident the telemetry would exonerate my driving from blame :)

      Also, how many owners of new 100K cars in 2015 worry about "working on" them (not serious modding of course)?

    2. PeterGordon

      I hate to break it to you but most cars today record all your driving info and that information is used in the case of accident.

      You have the option of turning off data reporting to Tesla if you wish.

      The Tesla motor only has one moving part and does not really require servicing. There are basically no user serviceable parts in the car.

      You are thinking of cars in much older terms. The Tesla is nothing like the them

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Engine may not require it but the batteries require replacement, 10 year life is a realistic figure.

        Pretty sure it has shock absorbers, brake pads and discs, tyres, CV joints, wishbones and suspension bushes, steering fluid and so on.

        Pretty sure it needs servicing, just not as much.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > I hate to break it to you but most cars today record all your driving info and that information is used in the case of accident.

        Do you have a reference for that, please?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > its VERY worrying that no-one seems to even care that this car is always connected to the factory and reports back everything you do

      I believe the full reporting occurs on journo loans, as they have been known to be economical with the truth in the past.

      For the rest, and in spite of being very protective of my privacy, I think I would be more willing to share data with Tesla for R&D purposes than with, e.g., Google, as is the case with many of the cars manufactured over the last 1-2 years.

      I do agree in principle with your concern, though.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's the thing, it's the electric car which is a realistic option for people who need to visit a customer site. But then it costs stupid money and the depreciation will be astronomical unless technology improvements can be retro-fitted.

    I'll wait another 10 years I think.

  38. christobel

    Silly people

    "have to admit I was sceptical. Electric car owners as a tribe can be quite hard work. They are always convinced that their cars are wonderful" Those silly electric car owners, after owning and using their cars every day and reporting very high customer satisfaction they will not be convinced of the opposite by journalists.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly people

      Not to mention having ignorant people call them <insert derogatory description of choice here> for daring to choose an electric instead of whatever else. Are electric vehicles capable of satisfying all the requirements of world+dog right now? Nope. Are there those for whom they can? Yep. If it doesn't meet your requirements no-one's forcing you to buy one, but if it does then it's another possible CHOICE for consideration...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019