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.
Indeed, we will have crossed a major threshold when EVs can generate their required electricity on board.
What we need is Dr. Emmett Brown's futuristic DeLorean that was powered by a "Mr. Fusion" reactor that ran on banana peels and other organic matter :)
It's not such a futuristic concept, though. You can separate out the H2 from a hydrocarbon fuel, like gasoline or E85 or whatever, on board. And then you feed that H2 to a fuel cell on board, and the electricity to electric motors.
You can do an online search and see that people are working on just this sort of scheme.
Since fuel cells have a hatd time with generating high current bursts of energy, a hybrid-sized battery is probably needed too.
Everyone is talking about EVs and HEVs, but Stop-Start vehicles provide a good interim means to save fuel and reduce emissions. We at CAP-XX agree that Stop-Start vehicles – with potentially more than 100 starts per day – could quickly kill a standard lead-acid battery in less than 18 months. Supercapacitors can support vehicle batteries by supplying the peak current (300A plus) for each engine start, enabling longer battery life. Check our site for tests we ran on batteries supported by supercapacitors vs batteries alone: Slides 3 – 9: http://www.cap-xx.com/resources/docs/CAP-XX%20-%20Supercapacitors%20for%20Automotive%20Applications%20%28website%29.pdf
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