back to article Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Elon Musk has revealed the Tesla Model 3, the company's attempt at making a more affordable family hatchback. Launched before a live audience of adoring fans, Musk said he feels the time for a mainstream model is now, thanks to rising CO2 levels and growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by petrol-burning cars. Tesla …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by diesel-burning cars"

    TFTFY

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: This:

      " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by burning hydrocarbons"

      TFTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This:

      " growing disquiet about air quality issues caused by burning heretics at the stake"

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: This:

      cornz1 has a point.

      If you live in a highly-polluted city, then don't blame the modern petrol/gasoline burning cars. Their exhaust can easily be cleaner than ambient. Which kinda proves they're not to blame; they're helping, leave 'em running overnight.

      Hardly anyone seems to be aware that the auto industry, with mandates from enlightened governments, has made vast progress since the 1970s. It's really unfair. The media shares the blame. Their reporters talk about 'cars' causing air pollution, and then they show a close up of a heavy diesel exhaust, probably an old DetroitDiesel 2-stroke diesel powered bus. It's very misleading, leading to demands for the wrong policies.

  2. Credas Silver badge

    Bizarre

    The amount of slack Tesla/Musk is being cut is amazing. There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance? And you can actually buy them now, without risking your cash in Kickstarter-style funding of the project. A mass-market model is the big play for Tesla; this one has to be a financial success or the company's toast. And in that context, I didn't see any mention of how deposits are protected if 2017, or 2018, comes and goes with no sign of mass-produced cars.

    1. xj650t

      Re: Bizarre

      The problem with existing all electric cars is range, most can do around 100 miles before flat. 200+ miles might be the game changing range, making longer journeys a realistic possibility.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Bizarre

        xj650t "...around 100... ...200+... ...making longer journeys a realistic possibility."

        I'm not sure I follow...

        Are you claiming that longer range equates to "the possibility" of longer journeys?

        That claim seems astounding. I never realized that 200+ was greater than 100.

        ;-)

    2. corestore

      Re: Bizarre

      Errr you do know you can get a refund of the deposit at any time for any reason?

    3. GettinSadda

      Re: Bizarre

      "There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

      Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Bizarre

        It's a very impressive spec for the price. I'm seriously tempted, but I don't think the tenant-led company that owns my block of flats would go in for the associated charging point installation works and reserved parking spaces.

      2. Credas Silver badge

        Re: Bizarre

        Errr you do know you can get a refund of the deposit at any time for any reason?

        Provided the company's still solvent - which was why I was interested in how the deposit's protected.

        "There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

        Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

        Chevrolet Bolt? And let's bear in mind that we're talking about products that you can try & buy now, not promises of what will hopefully be available a year and half in the future.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          The Bolt is subsidised to the tune of "up to" $7500 - which could mean $0. The non-subsidised price is $37,500 - so more expensive (for now).

          Musk promises over 215 miles, the Bolt ensures 200 miles, which means Musk wins again.

          Except, of course, that Musk has nothing now and, whenever the vehicle does appear, nothing guarantees either the price or the performance.

          Working in Luxembourg, I see a few Teslas now and then. They do look good (mush better then Chevrolets), and I do feel like getting one some day. If this scheme does take off, looks as there will be more choice.

          I can't see how this is not a win for consumers - if it works.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            The Bolt subsidy, it's a tax credit really, is no different from any other electric car. It's been in place since 2010 and applies to Tesla models as well so we'd need to know if the price Musk quotes is with or without the tax credit.

            Essentially it's $7500 on full EVs with reduced amounts for some PHEVs like the Ford Fusion Energi which is only a tick over $4k while the Chevy Volt is the full $7.5k. Not sure what the formula is but I assume it's based on battery only range or worse like some convoluted politician derived formula that involves the overall batting average of the Washington Nationals.

            Of course if you're in California you can also get a "clean vehicle rebate" up to a theoretical $6.5k even though I don't see any on the list that are over $5k.

        2. WonkoTheSane
          Unhappy

          Re: Bizarre

          GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

            They already sell the Opel Ampera in Europe:

            http://www.opel.de/fahrzeuge/modelle/personenwagen/ampera/index.html

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

              The Ampera is the Volt.

              The Bolt is something different.

              1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

                Re: GM have stated they do not intend to bring the Bolt to Europe.

                "The Bolt is something different."

                What ever Usain,

        3. GettinSadda

          Re: Bizarre

          >>"There are other electric cars available, you know, at similar price points, with similar performance?"

          >>

          >>Really?? Care to name a couple? Or just one?

          >

          >Chevrolet Bolt? And let's bear in mind that we're talking about products that you can try & buy

          >now, not promises of what will hopefully be available a year and half in the future.

          Only the Bolt is not available now, may never come to the UK, is more expensive, has a lower range, is much slower, is considerably smaller, charges at about a third of the speed and has nothing like the desirability factor.

    4. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Bizarre

      Tesla's product has much going for it.

      Firstly, it's not beaten by the Electro-car Ugly Stick as so many hybrids and other fully electric cars tend to be - such as the Prius or the BMW i3. What is it with designers? They stick their brains into duurrr as soon as they find it has anything other than petrol or diesel (except Fiat - they'll do it anyway - go look at the Multipla).

      The next big one is range, as others have no doubt posted. This car, let's face it, is aimed at the Rep Machine market. Therefore, 100 mile commuter/shopping trolley range isn't going to cut it. Even 220miles is lean - particularly for a sales rep, but it's certainly in the right direction. It's this last factor that will win over the converts - if it's cheap to run, has the range and looks good, then it's onto a winner.

      Though there's still the whole charging issue too that isn't fully addressed. The availability of public charging points is improving, but is still thin on the ground and takes a long time. Home charging simply won't be possible for many (example - Terraced houses with on street parking). Now, if you could replace the battery with a nuclear reactor... :-)

  3. Timmy B Silver badge

    Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

    We knew this was on the horizon a year ago and the end of 2017 date too. We timed the three year PCP on our Leaf to coincide with it. Tesla has two issues, though: 1. Their only major pro is that they have better range that other EVs. 2. They have a pitiful servicing network. I live in the South West of England and if I were to buy one I'd have to travel to London to get it serviced!! If the next generation Leaf has a 200 mile realistic range then I can see the cheapy Tesla struggling.

    1. petur

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!

        That's actually a very interesting point - does anyone know how much service a Tesla needs?

        There's still brake fluid that needs replacing biannually, and I would imagine the moving parts will still need some lubrication but I'd be quite interested to know how much maintenance the motors and the batteries need.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Happy

          Re: Service Intervals

          I had that discussion when I was looking at a Model S (sadly couldn't afford it, in the end).

          They recommend a service every 12,500 miles, but there's no warranty requirement, and they were quite happy with once a year even at 40,000 miles per year. I guess there's pretty much nothing to service, really.

          GJC

          1. annodomini2 Bronze badge

            Re: Service Intervals

            @Geoff Campbell,

            "and they were quite happy with once a year even at 40,000 miles per year"

            Can you charge one from a normal socket fast enough to do 40K a year?

        2. wiggers

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          There's still brake fluid that needs replacing biannually,

          I think you'll find the recommendation is biennially... 6 months is a bit too frequent!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        From the Tesla web site:

        "Tesla recommends an Annual Service Inspection every year or 12,500 miles to maintain your vehicle to top performance standards."

        My current car only needs a service every two years.

      3. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        "But it doesn't need service as much as a traditional car!"

        It does - it still has wheels and breaks, etc. Just the same as a normal car. We still service our leaf every year.

        1. Magani
          Happy

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          @Timmy B

          "...it still has wheels and breaks..."

          One would hope that the breakages would be covered by warranty, though?

      4. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Servicing

        Servicing is one thing, but it's worth taking a look at the cost of accident repairs for Tesla cars, they've come out quite high in the USA, and could have an effect on insurance premiums..

    2. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      But unlike most of the others, Teslas actually look like cars you'd want to drive and (certainly for the Model-S) have enough room to fit stuff in them - including people.

      But convincing people to pay twice as much for something that doesn't go as far and is more inconvenient to refuel when away from home is still difficult. For £30k you can get an equivalent sized vehicle and at current UK prices (high compared to other countries) still have enough to travel over 100k miles.

      Unless petrol prices rise significantly (unlikely until the oil producers have had a good go at putting shale and other competition out of business) or battery technology improves by orders of magnitude, electric vehicles will unfortunately remain toys for the rich.

      Doesn't mean to say I don't want one :-)

    3. DaLo

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      " I live in the South West of England and if I were to buy one I'd have to travel to London to get it serviced!!"

      Or Bristol, bit closer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        I'm in the South West too and as there's only on-street parking where I live, I'd probably have to drive to Bristol just to get it charged!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          "there's only on-street parking where I live"

          One of the selling points with electric cars is that you can get a street charger installed for "only" £1200 (and a higher per kWh rate than a home charger)

          This (and the fact that observastion shows noone will respect the "electric car" reserved spot) was what put me off getting a Leaf a couple of years ago.

        2. Mattjimf

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          You can use standard on street charging as well as the superchargers, just takes a little bit longer.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        Bristol sell but don't service - That's according to the bloke in Cribbs anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

          Just look on the Tesla page, they are setting up service facilities which will be there well before your 2017 deadline.

          Also you don't need a specialist dealer to service brakes and tyres. The same as you don't need a main dealer to service your normal vehicle.

          1. Andus McCoatover
            Windows

            Also you don't need a specialist dealer to service brakes and tyres.

            Except, after the service and a software update in the future, you go to use it, and...

            ERROR 53.

    4. Dan Wilkie

      Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

      Well performance is better too - I've only driven the leaf and the Ampera. The Ampera was OK, the leaf was just slow. I didn't like it :( I'm sorry, I know how much it irks me when people start wailing on Alfa's as that was what I chose.

      Plus I think this is bigger, more Focus sized?

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re: Size

        Closer to Mondeo sized, I think. The Model S is *huge* by UK standards, and the Model 3 is not that much smaller, as far as I can see. Also, five full-size adults must surely mean Mondeo-scale?

        GJC

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Size

          Closer to Mondeo sized, I think. The Model S is *huge* by UK standards, and the Model 3 is not that much smaller, as far as I can see. Also, five full-size adults must surely mean Mondeo-scale?

          A model S isn't that big. It's narrower than a Mondeo width-wise including mirrors, and only about 10cm longer. Five full size adults go into a Focus or Astra.

          1. Thesheep

            Re: Size

            Actually the S is large. Went in one (a taxi) in Amsterdam. It's a five seater, but with an additional two child seats in the boot. It has a second boot in the front too. As for space in the back, I thought it was very, very comfortable, and I'm 1.92m tall...

      2. Shane Sturrock

        Re: Interesting - Just hope the dates match up.

        The LEAF is not slow by any stretch (take it from an ex-Alfa driver) but if you have the car in Eco mode (or potato mode as we call it because it feels like there's a potato under the throttle pedal stopping you from getting the full power of the car) then it will be sluggish. This mode is intended for wafting around gently in traffic and saves a fair bit of power, but take it out of Eco mode and the throttle response is instant compared with any petrol car I've ever driven and while 0-60 in 9ish seconds doesn't sound that quick, it is the fact that it does it without any gear changes that make the thing feel swift and it can easily surprise the usual go boys away from the lights. Not the fastest EV on the block but certainly not slow. Range is an issue for some but for us it is plenty for our use as we don't do cross country drives very often and the charging network is getting better all the time. I like to stop regularly for a top up of coffee and give the car a fast charge anyway.

        That all said, yes, I put a deposit down for a model 3. I'll probably never buy it because I doubt I'll be able to afford it but I wanted to at least have the option when they do become available.

  4. It wasnt me

    The amount of slack they are all being cut is amazing. Where does the electricity come from for these amazing super green electric vehicles? Because until the answer is definitively NOT "from burning fossil fuels" then they have no right whatsoever to be claiming green credentials. They're cheaper to run at the moment as there's no fuel duty, but if the whole world changed to electric cars tomorrow then 1>. We'd burn more oil to generate the leccy and 2>. the government would find a way of taxing it.

    I just wish someone would start being honest about electric cars.

    Caveat: My whole argument falls down if and when we make a massive planet-wide switch to nuclear power. But we won't cause its got a scary logo and you can't see its fumes. And I wont win any friends around here for suggesting that we should, will I Mr Page?

    1. smartypants

      I think it's a good thing because electric cars can in principle use renewable sources or nuclear, whereas petrol ones rely solely on burning fossil fuels. We can speculate on how long before power generation is not fossil-based (the evidence so far is that we will burn fossil fuels until we can't extract any more) but regardless of when, it's a step in the right direction.

    2. xj650t

      Yes we all agree electric vehicles aren't 100% green because we have to burn fossil fuels to make the electricity, but that same fossil fuel had to be burnt to make the electricity to make the fossil fuel that we fill our petrol tanks with, and then burn to get down the road.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        The problem still remains that the amount of energy used by cars in the UK is approximately that available in the generating and distribution system of the UK. Which doesn't leave a lot of electricity left for little things like industry, lighting, heating, and making sure we can all see the latest edition of Eastenders.

        Unless we double both the power generation and distribution systems, of course, but I can't see that happening overnight. And when the government notices that it is no longer receiving £26B a year from fuel tax, we can expect to see that appearing on the electricity bill, right sharpish.

        Don't get me wrong; I think electric cars are a great idea. I'd have one tomorrow, at the kind of price Tesla are promoting (though my commute would still require me to charge daily!). But I don't think they're a panacea for everything until the infrastructure is in place.

        1. Mike VandeVelde
          Trollface

          Here in the backwoods of Canada in my small town there are about as many charging stations as there are gas stations, and the electricity is something like 90% hydro. Plus a few lots empty for decades that used to be gas stations while they wait for the soil to become habitable again. So, this is happening, and it's a good thing. I feel for the rest of you out there in the barren waste lands.

        2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          @Neil

          You do get that the infrastructure only has to increment as fast as electric car ownership right? Thats very manageable imo.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: @Neil

            Because until the answer is definitively NOT "from burning fossil fuels" then they have no right whatsoever to be claiming green credentials.

            Electric cars don't drive along our crowded high streets pumping toxic NOx gas and soot into the faces of children, as diesel cars do, so that for a start gives them a right of greenness over the old type engines.

            And because electricity generation is not done on wheels, it can use equipment to clean emissions that would be too heavy or dangerous to mount on a car for fossil fuel generation.

            How much electricity gets used in the refinement of crude oil into hydrocarbon fuel? The answer is a huge amount, so why not just put that electricity straight into the vehicle, instead of using it to make petrol/diesel, cut out the noxious middle man.

            Compared to a filthy diesel, an electric car is a sparkling emerald of greenness.

            1. GrumpyOldMan

              Re: @Neil

              My 2.2 Diesel Mondeo isn't filthy. I wash it regularly, thanks very much.

              I love the Model S. Used to see one regularly on the A1 - gorgeous car. The only thing that stops me buying a leky is the infrastructure although I have noticed more charging points popping up. We have one at our local Morrisons.

              Musk is pushing the industry and making very sexy cars in the process. I won't buy a Chevi cos I don't like them. Or the Ampere. But these new Telslas - oh yes! If I had a spare £35k...

          2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: @Neil

            @Gordon - of course I do; there's no need to increment faster than you can use, though we regularly hear about how close we are to overloading the existing system, so I can't help feeling we need something fast, soon.

            But at a replacement rate equivalent to current new car purchases, if every new purchase were electric, you'd have swapped most cars out in ten to fifteen years. Given the timescale of even a *little* nuclear power station, that's an issue that needs addressing *now*.

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Unless we double both the power generation and distribution systems, of course, but I can't see that happening overnight. "

          You missed having to at least double it again when gas/oil heating systems are banned (and they will be) and/or otherwise phased out.

          THIS is the single biggest argument that torpedoes wind and solar proponents as the best case scenario for those is merely replacing the existing power generation capacity, when that capacity needs to be at least quadrupled - and once we finally get into molten salt nuclear plant (preferably thorium cycle) which can load follow - and therefore provide peaking backup for wind/solar PV plant - that solar/PV is rendered redundant by that molten salt nuclear plant which can load follow and operate for lower costs without generating CO2 and without the inherent dangers of running pressurised high temperature, corrosive water in contact with radioactive material.

    3. Mattjimf

      Honest in that you can reliably get electric generated from hydro/wind/solar from companies at the moment - see Ecotricity/Good Energy/OVO/LoCO2.

      Honest in that the whole push for electric cars is coming from the need to reduce the kerb side emissions in towns not in the emissions used to generate the power (incidentally Scotland just shut off the last coal powered station last month, leaving just a gas powered station and two Nuclear stations).

      Honest in that the majority of the rapid chargers on the motorway network are supplied by one of said green energy suppliers (ecotricity).

      Honest in that range is crap, but they are built primarily for use as city cars, for the reasons mentioned above.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The difference is, as others have pointed out, a Petrol car burns 100% petrol for it's lifetime. It only ever uses that without modification (even then only really to LPG). You then have extra fuel used to transport that petrol, a lot of energy to produce that petrol and quite a lot of burning of fuel and energy to extract it.

      If you drive an electric car today in the UK, you are using about 8% coal, 20% nuclear, 45% gas and 10% wind and then a combination of Pumped storage, hydro, biomass, solar and some imported electricity. Over the lifetime of the car this is likely to change more in the non-CO2 direction and you car will get the 'upgrade' instantly and for free.

      Combined with the fact that electricity can be generated away from major built-up areas means that the urban pollution can be reduced as well.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Gridwatch

        in the UK, you are using about 8% coal, 20% nuclear, 45% gas and 10% wind and then a combination of Pumped storage, hydro, biomass, solar and some imported electricity

        Just in case people here haven't met it:

        Gridwatch.

        M.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "then a combination of Pumped storage, "

        A small point but Pumped storage is an energy cost, a very useful one but still a cost. Both in energy use and capital.

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Where does the electricity come from for these amazing super green electric vehicles?"

      Mostly from burning fossilised dead ferns (coal)

      That said, the overall cycle is still more efficient than burning fossilised dead algae (oil) because automotive engines on average are only 1-2% efficient(*) overall due to running at essentially infinite combinations of speed and loading.(**)

      The only reasons oil wins over electric at the moment are range(***), recharge/refill times and tradition.

      That and we tend to buy cars with our emotions, not logic (which is why the tesla 3 has "stupid" specs for acceleration and top speed)

      (*) Best case is 34% (wide open throttle full load). Everything else is downhill from there.

      (**) Almost all the gubbins that goes with car engines to control emissions is due to this too. A single speed, single load engine can be surprisingly simple as it's optimised for that operation and needs minimal pollution controls too. Unsurprisingly, this is the same story for the powerplant in an electricity station.

      (***) While we insist on 200-300 mile range, the reality is that 50 miles is sufficient for 95% of operations as long as it can recharge/refill before the next use. I used to take small motorcycles with 60-90mile tanks on long trips - you just got used to stopping every hour or so.

  5. frank ly Silver badge

    Sedan (definition?)

    That looks like a hatchback with a truncated (trunkated ?) back end. What is meant by 'sedan'?

    (In the UK we use saloon, estate, hatchback, MPV as broad vehicle design classes.)

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Sedan (definition?)

      Sedan = 4-door saloon

      Coupe = 2-door saloon

      Station Wagon = estate car.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Sedan (definition?)

      I think a sedan has two blokes carrying it on long poles.

      1. HausWolf

        Re: Sedan (definition?)

        Only the economy models.. proper sedans have 4 people carrying it.

    3. corestore

      Re: Sedan (definition?)

      Not a hatchback IIRC; this thing has a traditional boot.

      1. GettinSadda

        Re: Sedan (definition?)

        "Not a hatchback IIRC; this thing has a traditional boot."

        Yet you can load a 7 foot surfboard inside... perhaps it is the other meaning of "sedan" which is a 5-door saloon-style hatchback. Like the current Model S.

  6. Porco Rosso

    Tesla a greencar, really ?

    So a diesel engine has en efficiency of 40% , the rest of the energy is transforms to heat

    Electric cars :

    - first we need to produce the electricity .. actual electrical power plants … efficiency of +/- 40%

    - this electricity has to be moved from the power plant to the user … in the transport there is +/- 7% who gets lost so efficiency of 93%

    - the electricity has to be transforms from high tension to low tension , 25% gets lost ( efficiency of 75% )

    - In a battery you receive +/- 72 % back of the energy you put in it ..

    - The electrical motor itself has a better efficiency the a diesel engine but still there is 10% energy who gets lots ( efficiency 90%)

    => 90% of 72% of 93 of 40% = 18%

    conclusion an electrical car consumes two times more than a diesel engine .

    and we don’t count the energy you need to produce and recycle the batteries...

    1. g e

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      That would seem to be missing out the production costs of the fossil fuel and its distribution to filling stations?

      1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

        "That would seem to be missing out the production costs of the fossil fuel and its distribution to filling stations?"

        Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of the electric car (I remember electric milk floats as a lad), but before you start the high-ground moral willy-waving, if you want to bring fossil fuel manufacture into the debate, out of fairness, we should bring in the impact of:

        - Rare-earths used in the necessarily larger electric motors.

        - Cost of manufacture and transport of somewhat heavy batteries. This is not cheap tech here, sadly.

        - Cost of running and maintaining nuclear power stations (including decommissioning, nuclear waste goodness), wind turbines (tend to be in lovely, scenic places that are conversely expensive to maintain), coal and gas power stations (say no more!).

        Electric really isn't as green as you'd like, but it's an improving compromise.

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

          > transport of somewhat heavy batteries

          Diesel weighs somewhere between 850g and 1Kg per litre. They tend to be in the 5L/100km range. The average car is driven 15-20 thousand km/year. Picking the kindest of those numbers, that means you are burning north of 6 ton of diesel fuel per year if you are a typical driver in a typical car.

          That's in the ballpark of 3x the weight of these entire cars (not just the battery pack) every year

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

            "That's in the ballpark of 3x the weight of these entire cars (not just the battery pack) every year"

            Except you carry the weight of the batteries all the time whereas even a full tank is likely to be ~~60kg. Please don't say that the electric car doesn't need the weight of an engine, gearbox etc. A Tesla S 85kWh weighs over 2000 kg.

    2. Phil Bennett

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      You've included all steps of the electrical power generation process but assume your diesel magically appears fully formed in the tank of your car? Curious choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

        You're right that those figures have been missed out but can anyone fill them in?

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

        "You've included all steps of the electrical power generation process but assume your diesel magically appears fully formed in the tank of your car?"

        Also assumes that the diesel engine is running at 40% efficiency (full load operation) 100% of the time and that substation losses are substantially higher than they really are (by a factor of at least 4)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. dcathjlmif

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      Nice to see that Diesel is refined with no energy cost, transported with no energy cost and then is used at its maximum theoretical efficiency in every engine.

      The truth is cars are not good but EV will beat ICE in the longer term.

      1. Porco Rosso

        Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

        You can say that the energy to produce, transport, etc the Diesel is roughly the same as the energy of the different fuels you use to make your steam to move the turbine ... to produce electricity in the power-plant ...

    4. spider from mars
      FAIL

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      These figures seem.. suspicious.

      For example, round-trip efficiency for a Li-Ion battery is usually quoted around 85-90%. Similarly modern transformers have an efficiency north of 95%.

    5. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      Refining petroleum takes somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 KWhr/L by the way. A 60L tank therefore has a 90+ KW/hr electricity penalty just from the refining step.

      And those 60L didn't just pump themselves from the well to the refinery nor do they pump themselves into tankers to your local service station running on air.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      The efficiency of a power plant may or may not depend on efficiency for electricity. If we are talking about solar for instance, greater efficiencies are really welcome but do not make an actual impact if you are producing enough electric. They may only be 14% efficient but the energy source (excluding manufacture) is clean, free, and unlimited (weather permitting), same with many clean energy sources.

      If you were using electricity to create electricity then the first 40% figure would be relevant. If you are comparing ICE to oil fired power plants then it is also relevant but for overall electricity generation it is not comparable.

      Next the comment "- this electricity has to be moved from the power plant to the user … in the transport there is +/- 7% who gets lost so efficiency of 93%

      - the electricity has to be transforms from high tension to low tension , 25% gets lost ( efficiency of 75% )"

      I'm not sure where those figures come from bet it is generally 6%~10% that is lost from power plant to home electric meter. I can't work out what the 25% extra loss is from.

      Then, as others have said there is the requirement to get the diesel to your car. So the conclusion that "... an electrical car consumes two times more than a diesel engine" is absurd and a pointless statement.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Tesla a greencar, really ?

      "So a diesel engine has en efficiency of 40% , the rest of the energy is transforms to heat"

      Best case scenario. Actual real world efficiency is _much_ less than this - usuallly 1-4% overall.

      Unless you run your diesel at full load 100% of the time like a power station does.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Serious question ...

    ... what is the total cost to the planet of the Tesla fleet?

    Gut feeling is that it's rather higher than more conventional transportation.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Serious question ...

      @Jake if your gut feeling is right then it is a short term one. The total cost to the planet over the longer term, with Tesla taking one of the first steps away from hydrocarbon power will probably pan out much better.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Serious question ...

      Gut feeling is that it's rather higher than more conventional transportation

      Ah yes, gut feeling. May I refer you to this Dilbert cartoon?

      That is actually a matter of debate. From a materials point of view you're in the same area, from a rare earth perspective you're hitting a higher number (although I recall from somewhere that such materials recycle well, but I may have that wrong) but you're considerably down on energy distribution costs (no refinery, tanker fleet, tank & pump infrastructure and the fuel and capital costs of the actual transport itself), coupled with a far more optimal conversion of fuel to energy than can be achieved by an engine that runs sub-optimal for most of its operable life, not to mention that some forms of alternative energy cannot even be used by a traditionally powered car. Add to that that you're also using a lot less energy in general (no idling or gear change losses, and the benefit of regenerative braking) and much less to recycle (fewer parts) and it strikes me that electrics that perform the same as conventionally fuelled engines have a lot going for them.

      In my neighbourhood there are at least 2 GPs that I know of that have switched to Teslas to visit patients, and I had a chat with one (as I'm interested in the Tesla and how that works for him). He wouldn't want another car for his work now. It's got well in excess of the range he needs, he's done long distance and that worked well and he charges overnight.

      Yes, one of my next cars may very well be a Tesla.

  8. TM2015

    It's all very well having the chargers, but how many are there at each location?

    The biggest problem with the charging stations is that if there are say 2 plug in points, and both are already in use, you've got potentially up to half an hour to wait before you can even plug in. People at a petrol pump will be there for a few minutes, so if there's a queue it's never too long to wait. But with EV points, it's a LONG wait.

    And as for ones in supermarkets, car parks etc, it's not uncommon in our part of the UK (SW) to find that people have just parked in the dedicated charging space, thus rendering it useless just because it was a bit closer to the supermarket door than any other space. A bit like people abusing parent spaces or disabled spaces, these EV spaces get abused as well.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: It's all very well having the chargers, but how many are there at each location?

      it's not uncommon in our part of the UK (SW) to find that people have just parked in the dedicated charging space, thus rendering it useless just because it was a bit closer to the supermarket door than any other space.

      That's a simple fix. Move the charging point away from the doors.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: It's all very well having the chargers, but how many are there at each location?

      "But with EV points, it's a LONG wait."

      You can assume that as electricity isn't flammable or explosive, you'll see charging points in carparks.

      As for supermarket points - this is because they're only there for publicity purposes. If they meant it, they'd have more of the things.

  9. Richard Wharram

    Hmm

    Late 2017 is a fair way off. If I could have bought one now I might have been a bit tempted. Looks nice and goes quick (according to spec sheet) certainly.

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Alien

    Move over Apple

    The new religion on the block is

    Tesla and its chief God, Elon Musk

  11. Matthew 17

    not a bad looking car, hope it does well

    My only concern is the leasing costs for the batteries and keeping them healthy.

    Also I prefer more tactile controls in the cockpit, that big iPad stuck on the dash for everything.

    Still, would consider one if the numbers make sense when they're available.

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: not a bad looking car

      Really? I think it looks like a Porsche SUV (Caymen?) had an illicit affair with a Mondeo...

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: not a bad looking car

        'Really? I think it looks like a Porsche SUV (Caymen?) had an illicit affair with a Mondeo..'

        What I find odd is that it seems to have a blanked off bit at the front where you'd have the radiator grill in an ICE powered car, which seems an odd design choice.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: not a bad looking car

          Radiator intake adds drag, and if it's not needed (no combustion engine to cool, just need aircon condensor/battery cooling which requires less airflow) then why not remove it?

          Steven R

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: not a bad looking car

            Steven R, I get that I just don't get why on a car designed for an electric drive train from the outset they've got what looks like a blanked off radiator grill when they could have gone for something more rounded.

            1. Steven Raith

              Re: not a bad looking car

              Ah, I get you now! Yes, that is a bit odd, but I'd put a shiny penny on it being related ot minimum edge heights, crash structure/pedestriuan safety and other such things.

              It's fair to say that if it had a low pointy nose like a Ferrari, it'd look quite odd, too, so aesthetics might be part of that. Covering the pictures with my thumb, the front would look a bit slopey and kinda Porsche-ish without the jutting part. It might just be their design ethos?

              I suppose we'll find out at some point once the journos get a proper look at the demonstrator cars (assuming they are, at this stage - it's technically not a production vehicle as yet)

              Steven R

              Edit: Just checked the Model S, and it's mostly plastic at the front too, but it looks like it has a grille as it's black. I'd not spotted that before, so mebbe that'll be colour/trim option - black with a chrome surround to make it look like a 'normal' car?

              1. DocJames
                Pint

                Re: not a bad looking car

                I think the reason for the "radiator" is to clear flying debris by something other than the windscreen. I'd certainly be flinching at motorway speeds with every minor speck of dirt, and flinching whilst in control of a car is a good way of ending up out of control, even assuming that your windscreen is manufactured to sufficient standards...

                But I hadn't considered pedestrian safety. Will ponder.

                Icon as none of us are driving the model 3 yet -->

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Happy

      Re: not a bad looking car, hope it does well

      The batteries aren't leased, and data from the Model S seems to show that the Tesla charging system keeps them in very good health.

      GJC

  12. imanidiot Silver badge

    2 year wait?

    Even if I could afford it or charge it (no nearby parking available) I'd never put 1000 bucks down for something I MIGHT be able to buy 2 YEARS from now! Without being able to testdrive one or have any guarantee that the final product will be the same as the test unit.

  13. kmac499

    Gotta start somewhere

    Lacking in crystal balls I don't know if Tesla is the right route to green cars, but here's a tale.

    I saw a guy at our local recycling dump taking bottles out of the 'bonnet' of a funny looking Jag, I realised it was a Tesla S so I wandered over for a nose and a chat. The owner was a really nice guy who loved his car, definirtely not a hippie.

    He had a daily commute to London 70 miles each way so plenty of life in the 'tank' No congestion charge in London. It was a company car and the capital tax relief was great as was his personal tax charge. It cost a couple of quid a day to fill up, the ride and performance were brilliant and it's purchase price compared well to his alternative choices, which could have been a flash Porsche, a fully loaded XJ Jag or a novel AMG. and no he wasn't on commission.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Gotta start somewhere

      I saw a guy at our local recycling dump taking bottles out of the 'bonnet' of a funny looking Jag, I realised it was a Tesla S

      We have seen a couple of Teslas at the charging point we host at my place of work. We see more Leafs, to be fair, but a good point was made early on in this discussion; leaving aside "range extended" cars, Tesla is the only company that is offering a 200+ mile (quoted) range, and I think it is this that will be the turning point. Once a car is in the £20,000-ish bracket, it starts to become affordable for many people, but when the quoted range is a mere 100 miles (I think the Leaf is 120 miles at the moment?*), "range anxiety" becomes a big issue, as does the fact that you simply can't take such a car on holiday.

      My daily commute is a round trip of about 90 miles, and I know people who travel much further. No, it is not viable by rail nor bus. A "120 mile" car seems to have a real-world range of perhaps as low as half that, on the motorway in the winter with the lights on, the wipers on and the heaters demisting. Yes, it would probably get me to work, but as we only have two charging points I couldn't guarantee being able to charge up before coming home. A "200 mile" car would probably do the trick.

      200 miles would also allow me to travel to visit family 150 miles away in one hop. With a 120-mile car the options are:

      • start very early in the morning and allow a minimum 4-hour stop for recharging
      • travel half way then stay somewhere overnight to recharge (hotel prices)
      • use a hire car (kinda defeats the object)
      • keep a second car(**)

      M.

      (*)Just looked it up, 120 miles with the standard battery, 155 miles with an optional bigger battery. Doesn't change my conclusions significantly though. Oh, and the 4-hour wait is to charge the standard battery using the optional "fast" charger. The standard charger takes twice as long.

      (**)Actually we are a two-car household already, but they are two small cars and when we travel as a family we have to take both cars; we worked out quite early on that it wasn't actually much more expensive to take two small cars than one larger car, and for the 95% of the time when we don't need all those seats in one car, the larger car was a waste. So if I were to buy a 120-mile EV, we would also have to swap out the second, small, hydrocarbon-powered car for a bigger one.

      1. Chris Miller

        @Martin

        You're right, my experience with my own (plug-in) hybrid is that the manufacturer's claimed electric range of 32 miles could only be achieved on completely flat terrain at a constant 55 mph. If I'm very careful, I can (after 3 months' experience) get 25 miles, but in winter with heating, lights and wipers going, 20 miles would be a struggle (and battery performance is worse in cold weather).

        The other problem for Tesla owners must be recharging. My car has a 10kWh battery and takes 5 hours to recharge from empty* using a standard domestic 3-pin socket** (2.3 kW). If you went for the fully loaded Tesla with a 90kWh battery, that's going to take almost two full days to charge at home. You can charge the Tesla (and my car) much more quickly at the high-power outlets now available at most motorway services (when they're working!) and increasingly in super-store car parks (or at your work if they have one), but for many people that may not be an option.

        * Actually, the car's computer won't let the charge drop below 15%, partly to protect the battery (Li-Ions don't like to be totally depleted), partly so there's enough juice to start the petrol engine when necessary.

        ** I could (at non-trivial cost) get a dedicated 16A socket installed at home, but that only reduces the charging time to 3½ hours, which (for me anyway) isn't worth the money.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: @Martin

          I could (at non-trivial cost) get a dedicated 16A socket installed at home

          Speaking as a former self-employed domestic electrician, it shouldn't cost a vast amount of money to install a 16A "commando" style socket. I believe these cars don't need any intelligence in the socket, so a bog standard socket with switch should do. Just about every domestic installation in the UK and probably Europe (not making any assumption about your location) should have capacity for an additional 16A circuit without any problem. In the UK (I really don't know about Europe) most installations should have capacity for an additional 32A circuit.

          You know, this sort or this sort of socket.

          On the subject of the UK, our "3 pin" sockets are rated 13A, not 10A and can therefore supply around 3kW without problem.

          M.

          1. Chris Miller

            Re: @Martin

            Depends what you mean by non-trivial - the commercial systems I've seen are nearly £400 (after a government grant of £500) - that includes the cost of an additional charger unit for the car. Not that I've looked into it particularly closely, because I'm almost always charging in the evening/overnight, so 3½ or 5 hours makes no real difference to me.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: @Martin

              "Depends what you mean by non-trivial"

              Access to a breaker panel with the physical space and electrical capacity, a couple (dozen) feet of proper gauge wire, associated conduit, and an appropriate wall (post) mounted box that can fit a 50A, 240V wall socket (NEMA 14–50). Trivial. And typically about US$150 (depending in distance run, of course). The car doesn't need to "talk" to the charger, contrary to popular belief. The car knows when to stop charging itself.

              Folks buying into this electric car fad have no idea what electricity is ... not how to use it, not where it comes from, not how much pollution producing it causes, not how it works, not how to transport it, not how much pollution making batteries causes, not ... Well, etc.

              Tesla is doing a good job of selling "environmentally friendly" vehicles to people who are completely unqualified to evaluate the reality of their purchase.

              Tesla is the new Microsoft.

  14. MachDiamond Silver badge

    I'll not hold my breath

    "Musk revealed the Model 3 won't go on sale until late 2017" or maybe mid-2018, March of 2019 for certain.

    I think Elon makes up these dates to push his minions to produce and then has to shift the posts when it turns out that the engineer's estimates are closer to the mark.

  15. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The Headless retail model.

    The advantage that other manufacturers have over Tesla is the extensive network of dealers to service and support their products. Even if a manufacturer has to send out a specialized tech to work on an electric car, they will have access to a service bay and dealer repair infrastructure to do the job. What does Tesla do when one of their cars needs service? Do they push it under a tree in your garden?

    Electric cars don't need the maintenance and service that ICE cars do since there is much less to go wrong, but when they do, you don't want to have to tow it 100mi to the mechanic/electrician.

    Competition for the Model 3 will be hot and heavy. The Model S and X are luxury cars for those that already have a summer and winter home. Anybody else should consider purchasing a home before buying one. The payments are less, the insurance is less and the home will last decades longer (providing neither one catches on fire). Other manufacturers have found it too limited of a market to put the effort into developing their own.

    The Chevy Bolt is getting the most media attention, but there are rumors of most other manufacturers having something similar in the works. I found it funny that somebody gave the nod to the 3 over the Bolt for an estimated 15 mile range difference. I find that a little specious given that neither car is shipping yet. With battery prices dropping, both cars may be released with more range than they state now.

    Gas prices will rise again. Many of the small to mid size producers in the US have gone bankrupt or are nearly at that point with current pricing. By 2017 the industry might be cut down about as far as it's going to go and OPEC can start cutting back on production knowing that the price/bbl will climb. The people out buying fuel hungry SUV's and low mileage muscle cars are still going to have years left on their financing when the price for a gallon of liquid fuel increases. For those with the parking, it could be a good idea to hang on to their ICE car for long journeys and buy an electric car that makes the daily commute/school run/shopping. Others might find that renting a car for long family trips is more cost effective. A larger SUV is great when there is a full load of kids and luggage, but it's a waste the other 50 weeks/year.

    Range Anxiety is for those who have thinking disorders. Check out YouTube for videos of many people that have traveled from Cornwall to Glasgow and back in a Leaf. The bigger issue can be "bladder anxiety". Most people have managed the trip just fine. It is a more leisurely excursion with the stops, but it can be done without bloodshed. With the next batch of compact electrics having a 200 mile range, that's around 4 hours of driving. A cuppa and trip to the loo will almost be a requirement, especially if there are others in the car. When not on long trips, you have to remember your ABC's (Alway Be Charging). Grants are available from time to time for employers to fit charging points at their building and some may put a few in on their own hook to look green. You may choose the shops you visit based on if there is a charging point. If there are non-electric cars in the bay, let the shop's manager know. It doesn't help them if they charge points can't be used. Make friends with an electrician so you can get a good price on fitting a heavy duty plug at home. Sometimes it's a project to get power to where you need it to charge the car, but other times it's only a few quid in parts and an hour or two for installation. I think car dealers making payments on a vacation home with what they charge for home wiring. Nissan finds that most Leaf owners just use a standard outlet for charging. It's not as if you have to charge up to full capacity every time even though most non-Tesla cars will if left plugged in overnight.

    Robert Llewellyn has a video of a visit to the UK national grid control center and in the talk with the person there, it was stated that they would love to have more people charging their eCars in the wee hours to fill in the "Bathtub". After about 10pm, the power demand drops a lot but nuclear and coal plants do not lend themselves to being turned on and off. They also have to turn off wind turbines if pumped storage is full. Some electricity providers have a very low price tariff in the wee hours making an electric car even more economic. No, you don't have to go out and turn on the charger, the cars have in-built timers that can be set to start charging at a certain time (or you can push a button that starts charging right away).

    Tax credits, grants, government rebates come and go so advertising a price as "after rebates/credits" for something at least 18 months out is pushing it. The US is going to have an interesting election at the end of 2016 and there is no telling what programs will survive.

  16. DougS Silver badge

    Fine for commuters, but not practical as your only car

    215 miles is barely three hours of driving once I leave town, and supercharger locations are few and far between if you don't live in a super dense area like southern California or NE corridor.

    1. Alumoi

      Re: Fine for commuters, but not practical as your only car

      As the man says, it's a city car, nothing else.

      Say I'd replace our family cars (a Chevy Spark and a Renault Laguna) with electric cars and we're fine as long as we're working. But during the weekends we like to spend some time in the mountains (about 200 km one way) or at the seaside (about 250 km one way). We're SOL either way with a leccy.

      Yes, it could get us there (hopefully) but then we'd be stuck for the time needed to fully recharge. No 'hey, let's go somewhere else, this place is full' or things like that. Nevermind some kind of emergency when you have to go back.

      BTW, how does a leccy manages a caravan?

  17. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Electric Cars are not a new invention...

    If you watch Jay Leno's Garage ('net) you'll see him taking out his 100 year old electric car for a spin. He tells about how electric and steam cars lost market share because gasoline was just better.

    It's all down to batteries. They're getting closer, but need another couple generations of improvements. Double the overall performance of batteries, and it'll be over. Once e-cars are actually better, then everybody will choose them. No need for the 'religious' nonsense.

    Don't ignore the total cost of ownership of the battery pack. When it's worn out, the huge bill to replace it will make 8 years of petrol/gasoline look cheap. Over US$40k for the Model S according to the news item of the poor slob that ruined one.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Electric Cars are not a new invention...

      Batteries have been pushing the limits imposed by electrochemistry for decades, which is why over that period we've seen only a few percent improvement in energy density (the key factor). There's no chance of a doubling in performance - that would require a completely new technology (probably not electrochemical). Even if this were discovered tomorrow, it would take another decade of development (at least) before we'd see cars using it.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Electric Cars are not a new invention...

      The batteries are going to be much less to replace than what gets quoted. There are third party manufacturers making new and refurbished packs for the Toyota Prius. Other e-cars just haven't been out long enough to need an out of warranty replacement. The real world life of the batteries has surprised even the manufacturers. They last much longer than originally thought.

      The vehicle batteries are also not worthless when they no longer provide enough range in a vehicle. They will work great as storage for solar/wind produced energy at a home, farm or business. There are some solar plants in Japan that are converting 20' cargo containers to hold used car batteries as part of a storage system. Forget the Powerwall. Wait until used packs start hitting the market and by then, there will be kits available to turn them into home power units.

      Too bad for the person that ruined the pack in their Tesla. Most of the onboard power systems are there to manage the battery but that doesn't mean that some schmuck can't find a way to damage one anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Electric Cars are not a new invention...

        That person that ruined the batteries also caused Tesla to change their warranty to include all faults apart from malicious damage for the batteries within their warranty period. So doing what was done by him will not cost you 40K to replace as it will be covered under warranty. Warranty covers damage for fires caused by the battery also, even if it was due to driver error, but not if you destroyed the car before hand and then later on it caught fire (you crashed it).

        You get 125K miles warranty for 60KWh battery

        You get unlimited miles / 8 years for the 85KWh battery

        Quote from the warranty:

        "all damage is covered by warranty, including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end. The battery will be replaced at no cost by a factory reconditioned unit with an energy capacity equal to or better than the original pack before the failure occurred."

  18. More Jam

    Launched before a live audience of adoring fans, Musk said...

    Now there's an image I'd like to see. Elon Musk flying through the air, perhaps trailing a little cloud of dangling modifiers...

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