Meanwhile, Straubel said, Tesla has continued to refine and improve its technology for use in its own vehicles and has begun development of a vehicle that it envisions will cost substantially less than the more than $100,000 price tag on its original Roadster EV.
Later this year, Tesla expects to bring to market its Model S, which features multiple configurations, including a base model priced at less than $50,000. The various configurations of the Model S, which was designed and built from the ground up, include different battery packs that offer different driving ranges, Straubel said.
"Some people don't need a 300 mile range," said Straubel. "If you commute to work 50 miles, you don't need that much range."
Model S also includes Tesla's first attempt to address what Straubel called the "road trip question." While people generally don't drive 300 miles per day, he said, there has always been the question of how an EV can offer a greater range for those occasional long trips.
Model S includes a direct current fast-charge capability that can re-charge the vehicle to about half of its maxim range in 30 minutes, Straubel said. Thus, drivers could conceivably drive very long distances, stopping every 150 miles or so for 30 minutes to re-charge, he said.
Straubel said Tesla has already taken more than 10,000 reservations for Model S vehicles and is already sold out for 2012.
Next year, Tesla plans to introduce its first electric SUV, the Model X, Straubel said.
Straubel said Tesla has begun development of what it's currently referring to as its third-generation vehicle. The company envisions that this vehicle could be priced in the $30,000 range, Straubel said.
Tesla, which is often knocked for the price tag on its original Roadster, continues to refine its technology and drive down the cost of the batteries, Straubel said. He also said the company estimates that customers can save as much as $2,000 per year in fuel and maintenance costs compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles. He acknowledged that the savings per year presents an interesting business model challenge considering that EVs have a higher up front sticker price.
"People aren't used to paying for fuel costs up front, when they buy the car," Straubel said.
You guys have got EVs all wrong.
The Volt and Tesla are "statement" vehicles - like an H3 or corvette. Not what the future of EVs will eventually be.
The real EV market is for a sub $10000 car, with rubber floor mats and two seats. A dock for your cell phone, speedometer, and charge gauge, that's it. No heater, just heated seats. Ultra basic, ultra reliable, no maintanence except for the battery. Underpowered. New battery every 3 years.
Your second car, you drive to work. Or your kids drive it to school. Or your kids drive it at college.
Will the current car companies make this? No way. They want to sell $40k cars. A car like this will come from a company that has no market share at all - like Volkswagen did with the bug. Compare the bug to the cars of the 50s. It is ridiculous how cramped and underpowered it was, but people loved them as a second car. Cause they were cheap and reliable (in their own way).
So picture a car that you get a Costco or Walmart - that is about as complex as a washing machine.
As long as you insist on carrying around your own oxidizer, you'll always lose on energy density. I favor a standard format aluminum-air primary battery or a fuel cell, which in either case uses "free" reagent for half of the reaction.
A prismatic Al-air battery set could take seconds to swap (not hours to charge), you could carry a spare to ease "charge jitters", nobody has to handle high voltage high current charging at the consumer end. The battery station is also a zero-consumer-effort head end for recycling the material in a closed loop. Standard tractor-
trailer delivery just like gasoline.
A tank-fed fuel cell would have a relatively high comfort factor, pumping is pumping more or less, and ought to be on an energy density par with (or better than) fuel alcohol / E85, which our government sees fit to subsidize so it must be great and suitably performing stuff. Methanol could be totally infrastructure compatible at the
consumer outlet end. Fuel cells compatible with longer chain hydrocarbons, I haven't heard much about but a feedstock-agnostic reformer that yielded free hydrogen and carbon powder, would fix your greenhouse problem right up.
General availability: I want to buy an EV - they are just not available across the US yet (the Volt is a Hybrid, not an EV).
Where do you get the "E"? I agree that clean and safe generation is an issue. Lowering our consumption of energy would also be advantageous. I just installed a solar voltaic array on my house for the eventual support of an EV. So while I await actual availability of vehicles, I will just be lowering the amount of electricity I get from our local significantly-hydro-generated power grid.
Great, I've got a new EV that doesn't use fossil fuels. Wait a minute, where am I getting the E for my new EV? OOHHH! from fossil fuels! Without clean E, EV's are a waste of time and a mirage to the ever existing fossil fuel problem.
Are we all that stupid that we can't see the whole picture instead of just one tiny piece of it?
Cars are not the problem. Clean and safe energy generation is the problem. Without clean and safe energy generation we are all fooling ourselves that EV's are going to save the world.
EV is not exactly taking off, despite mass-market offerings and large subsidies:
The article's author is a clear supporter of EV, but the numbers defy the optimism. It is a niche market, and likely will remain that way without some fundamental change in technology.
As to the suggestions of using large banks of improved lead-acid batteries in EV, that seems like an entirely predictable environmental catastrophe, especially in second and third world countries.
$20,000 sounds better than $30,000, but it sounds like around $30,000 is hope for the low price for the third-generation models. And yes, I am sure for the low-end model the range won't be 300 miles per charge. Even the pricing on the Model S covers quite a broad range, starting at $50,000 but going all the way up to about $90,000, I believe. And the biggest factor in the price differention is battery packs and range.
Is the capacity loss year really that high? I've never heard 25% per year. Looking around on the web, the numbers I see are lower than that. Still, your point about capacity loss being an issue, even if it's not 25%, is relevant I think.
We are no where near a tipping point! Lithium batteries lose 25% of their capacity per year. That's 300, 225, 150, 75, 0 miles range after 4 years and the car is not worth putting a new battery in. As lovely a dream as EVs are, they are far, far from a practical option. They are a Marie Antoinette solution. If people have no bread to eat, let them eat cake!
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