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.
Actually, the improvement in lighting efficiency from the use of CFLs, LEDs and perhaps OLEDs will free up enough grid capacity to charge the most optimistic number of EVs on US roads for the next ten years or so.
Lighting accounts for 18% of the US annual electricity usage of 4 trillion kWh, 1% of which equals 40 billion kWh. At a conservative 3 miles per kWh for an EV, this translates to 120 billion miles annually, or 10 million EVs at 12,000 miles per year.
By then solar kicks in.
Flies in the ointment: many people do not like the light from a CFL, and people resist paying more for bulb, or anything, even if it saves them a bundle.
For powering EVs, yes, I concur. That's why I suggested, recently but also on other occasions:
"My bet for EVs is to generate the electricity on board, from fuels that have high energy content and an existing distribution system."
I think that engineering solutions are always transitional. No answer is ever truly THE final one. So in the matter of EVs, I just don't see batteries, as the main energy storage solution, being viable for truly mass usage of EVs in the next few decades. Battery storage will confine EVs to second class citizenship, IMO.
Although I'm not so sure about the demise of the power grid, in favor of everyone going back to, essentially, the way homes were run in colonial times.
Did any of you gentlemen commenting ever consider using many of the non-fossil based energies other than solar (sun- light or heat)to DIRRECTLY power EVs?
We have and I am sure others have. Grid power is only useful as a standard source of energy during the development of EVs. As a world of new energies hits the market drastic changes will take place including the demise of the grid in favor of newer more cost efficient localized use of Green energy products presently well tested and being production designed. Quantum Phys WILL prevail!
"I believe you are failing to consider the vast difference in energy efficiency of electricity to wheel verses gasoline to wheel"
You mean, efficiency of electricity to the wheels after that electricity has already left the battery in the car and is on its way to the motors? Or you mean, BTUs overall, required to generate, transport through the grid, and then store that electricity in the battery, and keep it there until it is actually needed to run the motors, and finally used? In many states, the bulk of electricity comes from coal, don't forget.
Another thing is, if a significant proportion of vehicles are to be EVs, that will mean that not just subcompact cars with super hard and skinny tires will be EVs, as they tend to be now.
I think there are a lot of assumptions made here, to conclude that battery electrics are the next big thing. And not to forget all those people who do not have a garage at home, with that convenient 230 VAC outlet.
My bet for EVs is to generate the electricity on board, from fuels that have high energy content and an existing distribution system.
Solar power and EVs are the ideal combination. Solar is only available some of the time which makes it useless for base load. Yet a lot of vehicles are unused for almost exactly the time that solar power is peaking. So put the two together. Its the ideal way of evening out the peaks and troughs in solar availability.
So cover the building where you work with solar panels so you (and others) can recharge it there without using fossil fuel E. Yes, it's expensive, but a govenment subsidy would help. With battery and solar technology getting better all the time we should be able to get nearer to zero emissions as time goes on.
Electric vehicles would not use 22.7 QD BTU. Gasoline vehicles are about 20% efficient, and electric vehicles 90% efficient. Therefore, electric energy needed is (0.2/0.9)22.7 = 5 QD BTU. Nevertheless, a 1GW power plant is needed for about every 2 million autos. Since there are about 220M auto and light trucks, about 100 additional large (1GW) power plants would be needed to power an all-electric fleet.
I believe you are failing to consider the vast difference in energy efficiency of electricity to wheel verses gasoline to wheel. It would not take nearly 27.5 quadrillion BTUs of electricity to replace that many BTUs of gasoline, as most of the energy in gasoline is wasted as heat.
"Whether more than doubling energy demands from the electric grid consitutes something negligible or not is perhaps up for debate."
To be more accurate, that's more than doubling the energy that the grid has to distribute to homes, not overall.
Aside from personal anecdotal data, would adding the energy use of transportation to the electric grid be a big impact or not?
Then look at two key tables:
Table 2.1 shows that energy used for transportation in the US was 27.5 quadrillion BTUs, in 2010. Whereas energy used for homes was 22.2 quadrillion BTUs. So in fact, that's more energy for transportation. But is that fair? What about transportation that isn't related to privately owned vehicles?
So then you look at table 2.12, and you'll discover that the vast majority of energy used in transportation, in the US, is in fact privately owned vehicles (cars, SUVs, etc.)
Whether more than doubling energy demands from the electric grid consitutes something negligible or not is perhaps up for debate. Ditto for whether all this extra demand can be assumed to come during non-peak hours.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.