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Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years

7/20/2012 07:11 PM EDT
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goafrit
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
goafrit   7/20/2012 7:36:05 PM
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I have a lot of confidence in this Musk genius. No need to argue with this legend. If you cannot do it, he will do it himself.

george.leopold
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
george.leopold   7/20/2012 9:57:25 PM
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That's what he done so far in commercial space.

Bert22306
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Bert22306   7/20/2012 8:29:17 PM
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I think the term "fully electric" is the key here. Cars like the Volt come close, but are actually hybrids. However, all it takes is a design like the Volt, however with a totally electric drive train (no weaseling about a mechanical link between engine and drivetrain in highway driving), and you have a "fully electric" car. Alternatively, replace the ICE with a fuel cell, and generate H2 on board with a H2 separator, and that's also "fully electric." What I do not see in the tea leaves is that battery technology is going to cut it, in 12 to 15 years, not as the primary energy storage device anyway. Battery electrics may become a little more prevalent, but their range limitations and "refueling" times are just too severe liabilities for general purpose cars.

ttt3
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ttt3   7/23/2012 5:35:32 PM
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Uh, the Nissan Leaf and others are already "fully electric". Did you read the article?

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/23/2012 7:38:50 PM
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Uhh, and you were under the odd impression that the Tesla and the Leaf account for anything remotely close to 50 percent of cars on the road? Or even that their sales are skyrocketing, making such a predicion likely? Perhaps best stick with Apple evangelising?

ttt3
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ttt3   7/24/2012 6:46:37 PM
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Your comment says "However, all it takes is a design like the Volt, however with a totally electric drive train (no weaseling about a mechanical link between engine and drivetrain in highway driving), and you have a "fully electric" car." This comment sure makes it seem like you were not aware that there already exist "fully electric" cars? Not Apple "evangelising". Just tired of grumpy old men complaining about smartphones.

Bert22306
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Bert22306   7/24/2012 7:58:02 PM
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If you had read further, you would have seen in the very same post: "Battery electrics may become a little **more** prevalent, but their range limitations and 'refueling' times are just too severe liabilities for general purpose cars." I doubt there's an engineeer on the planet who doesn't know that battery powered electric cars have been around for at least 100 years, for heaven's sake. But in spite of the hype and outright lies, their advertized range hardly ever stands real-world tests, except perhaps in the most benevolent conditions. Which is why other forms of energy storage, in cars with electric drivetrains, are where more effort should be spent.

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   7/25/2012 12:38:59 AM
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Even if the battery technology fairy comes wave his wand, where is all the electricity going to come from? We can support a very small % of EVs hanging off the grid, but electrical generation capacity would need to double (more or less) to cope with 50% of vehicles being EVs. Renewables don't cut it. People will not be prepared to wait for the wind to blow or the sun to shine to recharge their vehicles. Getting new planning permission for just one generation plant is extremely difficult; doubling up is even harder. Then too, the grid and reticulation needs to be doubled to get the juice to the houses. At this stage, all these predictions are just nonsense.

_hm
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
_hm   7/21/2012 12:48:51 AM
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So new chapter in auto industry is near horizon. Musk's prediction and effort to achieve this is very remarkable. It will happen so.

prabhakar_deosthali
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prabhakar_deosthali   7/21/2012 10:53:38 AM
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Tesla's prediction looks something out of reach today. But the technology sometimes moves at some unpredictable pace once it is out of its incubation period. The main hurdle in bringing Tesla's prediction to reality is the Battery -cost, range per charge and weight. With some breakthroughs already in sight in this area , Tesla's prediction looks to be promsing enough to put one's bet on.

Patk0317
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Patk0317   7/21/2012 2:34:47 PM
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If he means battery powered, we need to remember that the electricity to charge then battery comes mainly from fossil fuels. So in the long run it doesn't make a greener car - where does the battery go when it wears out? If he is thinkiing a new technology like hydrogen then maybe it could happen if there is a breakthrough in the next couple of years.

PJames
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PJames   7/21/2012 10:35:16 PM
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True enough that today's electricity isn't all that green... but come on... where do you think hydrogen comes from? Fossil fuel to wheels, which is what all of them are (discounting nuclear and renewable in the electric mix), battery electrics are least pollution/CO2 of the three options.

Bert22306
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Bert22306   7/22/2012 10:17:13 PM
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Actually, all depends on where you live. There are articles online that explain this. Battery electrics, in much of the US, do not reduce CO2 emissions, because the electricity is generated from coal. Now some of that is being replaced by natural gas, so it may help some. And then there is the problem of the spent batteries. My take is, switching over to all electric drive trains will help, because it makes the car more efficient. And switching the main power source from ICE to fuel cells, with the H2 extracted on board from a hydrocarbon fuel (rather than storing H2 in tanks), should also reduce C02 emissions by a lot. The process is supposed to be about twice as efficient as the ICE, i.e. around 60 percent vs 30 percent. So, in my view, you don't pretend to solve the (supposed) problem in one fell swoop. But you can manage it a lot better.

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   7/25/2012 12:48:43 AM
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According to wikipedia, fuel cells are only 40-60% efficient. I'm picking that in real-world conditions (ie. dirty fuel, too cold/hot, after 5000 miles of use), the efficiency will be around 40%. I doubt very much that the whole process of delivering power to the wheels is going to be 60% efficient for fuel cells. Burning fuel in an ICE delivers approx 30% to the wheels. In an electric system, the motor is approx 90% efficient and the ECU is approx 90% efficient. That means the fuel cell itself needs to be approx 75% efficient to his 60%. That is quite a demanding target to reach and maintain. Do fuel cells operate efficiently after 10,000 miles and in real world conditions? Then apply the efficiency of the motor control + motor and you're down to 30% or so.

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/25/2012 1:01:18 AM
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The 30 percent figure is for the carnot cycle, and not to the wheels, in truth. With the current state of the art, fuel cells lose efficiency when they are required to produce a lot of power. That's where you see those sub 50 percent numbers. Which is why, to keep efficiency high, you use an auxiliary battery, like hybrids do. For instance, an efficiently designed car (which leaves out SUV pigs) requires only about 12 HP to run at a steady 50 mph. And some more at higher speeds. The high transient demands can be met with the aux battery rather than the fuel cell. Longevity is another issue, but that too is being addressed. Initially, they may need to be easily replaceable. Work is being done on all of these fronts, for fuel cells. Batteries have infinitely worse liabilities, and everyone seems to just assume that's the only way to go. It's not. There's no future there, not for a long time. And, as many have said, the electricity to charge those batteries won't come out of thin air.

Bert22306
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Bert22306   7/25/2012 1:18:03 AM
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By the way, that 30 percent figure is optimistic. If you read the Wikipedia article, you'll note that true average efficiency of the ICE is in the 18 to 20 percent range. ICEs are opposite fuel cells, in the sense that the ICE is most efficient at full throttle. That's when it puts out most power for a given amount of fuel. Fuel cells are the other way around. Which in this case, is actually a plus. Combined with a small aux battery, like a hybrid, you can make this owrk to your advantage.

Patk0317
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Patk0317   7/23/2012 12:35:32 AM
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Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe.

cdhmanning
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cdhmanning   7/25/2012 12:49:43 AM
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Silicon is the second most abundant. Why do we pay so much for ICs?

Sanjib.A
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Sanjib.A   7/22/2012 6:46:29 AM
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I agree with you. Energy crisis will increase if the dependency on the fossil fuel for generating electricity remains predominant. In the next 15 years time, may be, there could be a breakthrough in the solar or other greener technologies for generating electricity, which could make this easier? If the efficiency of the PV cells are increased to 50%?

t.alex
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t.alex   7/22/2012 1:04:54 AM
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He will need to make it like iPhone. People still buy even though hey need to charge every half a day.

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/22/2012 11:47:46 PM
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To me, the most valid way of looking at battery electrics is to ask yourself this: Would I consider buying a car in which the gasoline tank holds only 2 gallons of fuel, and it takes 4 to 10 hours to refill the tank? I'll submit that even the theoretical option of switching out the gas tank, with another tank preloaded with 2 gallons of fuel, does not help matters much. Nor does making that a 4 gallon gas tank! I'll admit that there are some situations where such dire restrictions are acceptable. But it ain't no 50 percent of cars on the road.

t.alex
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t.alex   7/26/2012 6:05:49 PM
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Maybe for short distance within cities at first. Of course with charging infrastructure in place, it's gonna be even better. Say they can charge while parking at reasonable price?

ttt3
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ttt3   7/23/2012 5:34:24 PM
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Do you own an iPhone? I'm guessing not. Average battery life lasts well more than a couple days with average usage. I'm tired of anti-smartphone luddites exaggerating charging intervals in an attempt to make them seem like the "smart" ones.

sprite0022
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
sprite0022   7/23/2012 12:28:59 AM
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If anyone visite china, e-bike has replaced most of motorcycles and some bikes. If it's low speed short range, e-bike rules. same thing, e-car will rule in china if no speed /range requirement which is already happening in some villages...

Patk0317
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Patk0317   7/23/2012 12:37:09 AM
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e-bike can be pedaled like a regular bike when the battery is dead. You cannot pedal a car with a dead battery ...

sprite0022
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sprite0022   7/23/2012 2:06:31 AM
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man, you need to take a real look, many of the chinese e-bikes don't have a pedal.

Patk0317
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Patk0317   7/23/2012 3:34:46 AM
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Then they are not e-bikes, they are scooters

sprite0022
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sprite0022   7/23/2012 5:08:54 AM
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o ok , your bike transforms into a scooter when you take the pedal away.

any1
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any1   7/23/2012 9:35:55 PM
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I think you've got the right idea spritoo22. In 15 to 20 years the largest market for cars will likely be in places like Shanghai, Mumbai, Jakarta, and Sao Paulo. In these large developing cities a very small and inexpensive electric "city car" could be a big seller. The US and European markets may be much smaller than the developing world in terms of number of units sold. So Musk could be right.

sprite0022
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sprite0022   7/24/2012 12:07:41 AM
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http://www.suqier.com/index.asp http://dzzsf.com.h002.ctrl.net.cn/ thanks for your support. acturally the chinese are quite innovative/pioneering in this front.

sprite0022
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sprite0022   7/24/2012 12:29:17 AM
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check out this one, Elon Musk is slow... e-truck already out there... http://dzzsf.com.h002.ctrl.net.cn/main.asp?bigproclassid=8&smallproclassid=0&id=9

ReneCardenas
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ReneCardenas   7/25/2012 7:43:29 PM
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Sprite, But clearly those are the few exceptions success stories. I still do not see the infrastructure catch-up that does countries would need to be able to use such vehicle. I still find myself doubting the ability for developed countries to make the switch, in that time frame. I just wishful thinking, is what I say to those bold statements, and I do not consider myself a pesimist... ;-)

GREAT-Terry
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GREAT-Terry   7/23/2012 1:33:24 AM
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I don't think it is possible to see a lot "fully electric" car in 20 years if there is no breakthrough in battery - no matter it is fuel cell or any other kind of chemical. 20 years is just a blink if we talk about battery technology.

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/23/2012 8:05:32 AM
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I think you are under the impression that "fuel cell" is some kind of battery technology. It is not. A fuel cell converts H2 into electricity, which then powers an all-electric drivetrain. Which means, you can get a truly electric car without having to rely on a battery as your main energy source. The problem with H2 itself as fuel, though, is storage. H2, very small atoms, requires very high pressure to store efficiently, plus it also much prefers to escape from the tank. So instead, you store the H2 as a hydrocarbon fuel, a biofuel perhaps or even gasoline itself, and now you have an electric car without the liability of that battery and not limited to the ~30 percent efficiency of internal combustion engines. If the pot has to be stirred, I say let's stir it in this direction.

rick merritt
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rick merritt   7/23/2012 4:03:20 AM
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Musk's prediction will only come true if there is a breakthrough in battery technology. There's certainly enough money chasing the issue, but that doesn't mean anyone will find a breakthrough. I say Musk is just stirring the pot with wishful thinking and big talk. But I give him the benefit of the doubt that his motive is to rally people toward a better planet. I don't think he is just trying to pump up Tesla.

TarraTarra!
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TarraTarra!   7/23/2012 7:09:57 PM
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That was exactly my take when I read the headline. He doesn't need to convince the whole world - just the investors forking over millions into Tesla. I can only imagine the marketing presentations from Tesla showing the hockey stick curve (in this case it wouldn't have a handle it would ramp straight up) with TAMs in the 100s of billions.

motti2
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motti2   7/24/2012 10:10:19 AM
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Musk is probably privy to near every speculative R&D firm in electrical energy storage - likely regularly. For 15 years to have 1/2 of vehicles electric, means the disclosure / productization of some speculative battery / capacitor advance is fully in production in less than 7 years, likely needs to be in full production in 3-5 years from NOW. Whatever than means regarding a speculative new technology ( that enables a significant cost breakthrough to validate his claim ) is self evident. Given all of the Arpa-e projects, it will be curious to see which advance is causing Musk to get so giddy?

stixoffire
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stixoffire   7/23/2012 7:21:11 AM
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If man was intended to fly he would have been born with wings, it is impossible to record the human voice. People who can - do. The world is full of naysayers, Ask Goddard, Deming, Ford, The Wright brothers, Edison, the list goes on. When Kennedy said Lets go to the moon. We went - not because it was easy or "could be done in his day" but because he believed it could be done! There is a lot that can be achieved - so please naysayers - get out of the way you're holding up progress.

eewiz
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eewiz   7/23/2012 11:57:19 AM
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Yup. I feel Musk is totally aware, current battery technology wont hold up his prediction. He is hoping some new technology will be invented in the coming years to support his prediction.

Wnderer
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Wnderer   7/23/2012 7:38:54 PM
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Read this 1959 Fortune article about the space program. They predicted a man on the moon before Kennedy called for it. Almost everything they predict happened. http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/03/the-early-space-age-fortune-1959/

Neo10
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Neo10   7/23/2012 11:47:45 AM
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Very optimistic prediction from Musk to say the least. Either he is party to a revolutionary breakthrough in battery technology or he has inside knowledge of Govt policies for the next two decades, else he is just prophesying. Going by ground realities, no, it won't happen for better or worse. He is also totally discounting the fact that gasoline vehicles could become more efficient in due course which would keep the electric option still relatively expensive.

old account Frank Eory
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old account Frank Eory   7/23/2012 8:13:16 PM
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Does this mean it's time to invest in nuclear fusion for electric power generation? I want a Tesla sports car that contains one of those Mr. Fusion home reactors like Doc Brown had on his DeLorean. According to the movie, that happened in 2015, so I guess we only need to wait 3 more years!

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/23/2012 8:22:06 PM
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Interesting concept, although even there, you need to store (heavy) hydrogen, as the fuel. So really, not that much different from the fuel cell approach, as far as ease of fuel storage. Although it may not work well if you expect a hydrocarbon fuel to hold the hydrogen atoms. (Is there a lot of dueterium in hydrocarbon fuels? I think the main source of dueterium is sea water?) The bottom line being, to me, there's no reason to get fixated on a battery as your main energy storage medium, to qualify as "fully electric." Even if a smaller auxiliary battery is used for transient high current demands, similar to mild hybrids.

BOMBOVA
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BOMBOVA   7/23/2012 9:10:51 PM
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Is some one here, just going to say NO ? OK i will, it is not going to happen, No matter how you advance the talk of this, it just isn't there, unless Cities are redesigned, and you know the mess major cities are in now. Sugar coated Baloney about Electric Cars, has to end. it will be a micro market in the car industry.

pixies
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pixies   7/23/2012 9:31:05 PM
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I think this is an overstatement or simply a marketing stunt, it made us talking. Yes, Elon is a genius with impressive track record, but a genius makes mistake too.

Bert22306
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Bert22306   7/25/2012 1:05:24 AM
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If you're after venture capital, saying things like that are not really a "mistake." Not if it gets you the money you need.

Charles.Desassure
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Charles.Desassure   7/23/2012 10:44:32 PM
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Half of cars will be electric in 15 years: This is a valid statement that I can accept. That is a long time for research, development and testing. I believe this statement.

rob18767
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rob18767   7/24/2012 12:14:43 PM
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What this guy is gambling on is that oil costs will skyrocket at sometime in the near future. I am not sure that this is the case. When I worked in the electrical vehicle industry, albeit industrial electrical vehicles, we could start to see the beginnings of a when and not if scenario for fuel cell technology. Far easier for a company to hold a hydrogen store on site than swapping lead acid batteries for recharging.

Hyperdude
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Hyperdude   7/24/2012 3:36:10 PM
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From technology point of view there is no need of significant breakthrough to make the acceptance of electric car more viable. Put aside the 50% number for a minute and look at what is available now from Tesla. - Model S, 160 miles range = 50 k - Model S, 230 Miles range = 60k - Model S, 300 Miles range = 69k I am more on the frugal and practical side (The economics has to add up for me) I am willing to buy one of the options above for ~30k. Charge time for these is ~ 1 hour per 60 miles with the quick charge option. That is more than enough day time driving distance for me that can be charged over lunch. In my household we have 2 cars, so I can see one of the cars being electric (local driving) and the other gas (long distance) So Elon has 15 years to increase the price/performance of his car by 50% to win me over. Mass production of the battery pack and the car itself can reduce the cost of the car by that much with no significant technology breakthrough. Only detailed hard engineering bean counting is needed. You are looking for more range and techno breakthrough? - Bring down the cost of carbon composites. Make the full chassis out of light weight materials. - Move to higher voltage range to allow thinner conductors. - Take the reduced weight and add more batteries/range. - Add ultra caps for quick charge/discharge - Add high efficiency solar cells everywhere to improve range and reduce electric cost - Improve motor/weight efficiency with exotic magnets How many of these can you improve on in 15 years? I think the more difficult task was to make a new car company. That being almost there, the rest is following through and worrying about competition. And make no mistake the competition is there, which is good for all electric economy. The example above can be applied to Nissan, Ford, and Toyota. All they need to do is bring the cost down and their market will explode.

old account Frank Eory
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old account Frank Eory   7/24/2012 8:46:14 PM
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The flaw in your logic is that the charging time will be nearly infinite if millions of EVs have replaced gasoline & diesel-powered vehicles and the electric power generation infrastructure isn't there to charge them. How many new power plants can be built in the next 15 years? Where will the money come from -- higher utility rates now to pay for future capacity? What fuel will those plants use? What percentage will burn coal? Natural gas? Oil? What percentage will use nuclear fission? Dozens of these large-scale construction projects will need to start almost immediately if we expect to have the electrical energy in 15 years to charge more than half the vehicles in the U.S. Meanwhile, they can't even get the San Onofre nuclear plant back online. The 1.5 million homes it provided power to are now drawing from other sources in the grid, and the media continues to advise southern Californians to set the thermostat higher and conserve electricity wherever possible to avoid rolling blackouts. But go ahead and keep dreaming that in 15 years, more than half the cars in the nation will be able to simply plug in and charge a multi-kilowatt battery in a couple of hours.

DIDEFIXIT
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DIDEFIXIT   8/1/2012 2:51:00 PM
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The alternative to progress is not stagnation, it is extinction. As a nation We are afraid of change. We don't take risks. This logic would have stopped the use of fire. Fire kills, Burns forests, cities, and plains an ecological disaster. This logic creates a world where our decendants sit in the road picking of flies. There is no future with out risk.

moronda
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moronda   7/24/2012 4:04:49 PM
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What a load of crap. That is just a fantasy. As a matter of fact I see Tesla folding. How can you make money on a factory spitting out one 70K car per day?

Duane Benson
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Duane Benson   7/24/2012 8:20:39 PM
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One of the other issues is simply how much change can the buying public take at a time. The other transportation revolution underway is the drive toward autonomous vehicles. While both revolutions are well understood in this audience, in the general public, electrics get a lot more press. My assessment is that robotics are much further along and are creeping into cars without a whole lot of fanfare. You hear about a fair number of automation components: lane departure prevention, self-parking, intelligent cruise control, but they tend to be looked as as features rather than steps on the way to fully robotic cars. Electrics are likely not more than a decade or two behind. I say that simply because I'm very skeptical of seeing a revolution in energy density and charge time any time soon. As soon as an electric storage device that closely mimics the capabilities of a gas tank for near the same cost, the transition to electrics will start in earnest.

jg_
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jg_   7/25/2012 7:02:42 AM
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"Fully electric" was not defined, but one presumes he actually mean Electric Motor Motive. The inclusion of a generator, is an option, that does not add to motive power, but does allow trade off of battery size, and weight, with range. Meanwhile, we can expect 'stop/start' systems to slowly expand to be in nearly all models of Fuel Motive vehciles.

GPBobby
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GPBobby   7/25/2012 12:05:18 PM
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What has been largely ignored in the EV discussion is the definition of the vehicle itself. Conventional cars have evolved from a replacement for a horse drawn carriage into a multitude of designs to serve performance drivers, families, luxury connoisseurs, commuters and every driver in between. It seems the electric car industry is trying to build a one-size-fits-all vehicle, and trying to market it as an energy saving device which it most certainly is not. The concept, as of now, is simply one of producing the energy elsewhere in the form of electricity to be delivered to the vehicles parking spot. It seems obvious, using the numbers in the various posts, that there is no economical energy advantage to an all electric vehicle (compared to the best diesel car), and after factoring in the ancillary costs such as component production energy, grid improvement, grid losses (which average 25% in the US), component disposal costs, there may be no economical advantage whatsoever. The only real energy savings comes from regeneration of braking energy. Nevertheless, there may be applications for all electric vehicles where their advantages outweigh their inefficiencies. The all electric car would be successful as a small urban commuter vehicle, where the benefit of removing engine combustion products may outweigh the lack of overall efficiency and limited range. I live in the west where we measure distances in hours, not miles. The nearest Wal-Mart is 175 miles away and I routinely drive 5 hours at 60 mph and can do so with no fuel stops. A fuel stop takes less than ten minutes, including washing the windows. All electrics may never get to that point. But, why should be expect that? EVs are only one solution to the transportation problem.

george.leopold
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
george.leopold   7/26/2012 6:21:03 PM
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Here's what Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), chairman of a congressional subcommittee on energy, had to say Thursday (July 26) about U.S. support for advanced vehicles technology: "I am strongly supportive of advanced vehicle technologies if the government role is carefully limited, and the market matures through free enterprise and American innovation, not through the vast spending, mandates, and special tax treatment that we have today." It's worth noting that there were few complaints when the previous administration committed millions of dollars for research on hydrogen powered vehicles.

Bert22306
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Bert22306   7/26/2012 8:07:14 PM
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There is much less appetite for deficit spending now, than there was during most of the previous administration, because of the out-of-control amount of deficit spending taking place since 2009. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_deficit_chart.html I agree with Harris, in the sense that government should play a role funding basic research primarily, but it's really bad at picking winners and losers in the marketplace. Lavishing taxpayers' dollars on selected companies, because their sales brochures parrot the political slogans of the administration, is never good policy. We've seen more than one example of government mantra ultimately proved questionable or even conterproductive, after people did the arithmetic. For example, the emphasis on biofuels.

Enduranceanalog
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re: Tesla's CEO: Half of cars will be electric in 15 years
Enduranceanalog   7/27/2012 12:26:02 AM
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The 50% electric vehicle production vs. gas engines was achieved around the early 1900s. As electric lost popularity to the more efficient gas engines, the industry back then promised that all they needed was improved battery technology...so here we are 100 years later with a negligable % of electric vehicles manufactured. 20 more years won't change that unless there is a mother of all disruptions.....no more economical oil.

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