Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

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reikiman
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Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Somehow I missed this -- over a month ago, Mar 17, Tesla Motors began regular production of the Tesla Roadster. The article says over 900 reservations exist for the car, and they list a bunch of richer-than-god types who are known for having large car collections.

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

gushar
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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Well, this article in Popular Mechanics is dated later and raises questions concerning production timelines...

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4259796.html?series=19

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

We don't need a Tesla. It's just some rich-mans toy. We need is an updated version of the 1970's Citicar or Commuticar. Is that too much to ask?

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

We don't need a Tesla. It's just some rich-mans toy. We need is an updated version of the 1970's Citicar or Commuticar. Is that too much to ask?

Okay, yes, I agree, totally.. however some interesting another point occurred as I read what you wrote...

Is the Xebra a modern equivalent to the cars you mention?

In ?1976? I rode in what must have been either a citicar or commutacar. A high school friend had one which she explained had been given her by her father to keep her from having a fast car. Whatever. Anyway what I vaguely recall from that ride is similar to the Xebra.

But.. about Tesla.. it's interesting that after dozens of incipient EV car companies who have struggled and fizzled and had a hard time getting to selling cars.. it's interesting that Tesla not only has gotten to the status of selling cars, and passed through DOT crash testing, it's also interesting that Tesla has gained all the publicity and visibility that has come their way.

I agree in terms of "true needs" what is 'needed' is a vehicle that gives maybe 20 miles to a charge. Mr. Mik has made some recent postings with a graphic demonstrating this, and saying the Vectrix as it stands is sufficient for a large percentage of American commutes.

I think the popularity of things like the Hummer is not about "true needs" but something else..

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I think the popularity of things like the Hummer is not about "true needs" but something else..

That something else is what we want.

Here's where the "EV would work just fine with x limited range and x top speed" argument is somewhat flawed:

If I statistically analyze my trips taken over the past I can conclude that an EV would have done the job most of the time. And indeed, I'm going to be riding my motorcycle real soon (working on it now) for daily commutes.

But, I don't want a vehicle that can just do what it absolutely needs to. I want a vehicle that can give me the freedom of mobility. I could hop in an ICE right now and travel any place I like. I can drive on the freeway. I can just drive around if that suites me.

Compare a vehicle to any other tool or device that benefits life. Imagine a PC that only worked for an hour every 8 hours, or a telephone that could do 30 minutes of calling every 8 hours. Or, a lightbulb that could only stay on for a fraction of the time. These devices are simply very practical because they always work to make life easier.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster
I think the popularity of things like the Hummer is not about "true needs" but something else..

That something else is what we want.

Here's where the "EV would work just fine with x limited range and x top speed" argument is somewhat flawed:

And let's not forget the role marketing plays in all of this. We are constantly bombarded with advertising that says speed is good and freedom to go anywhere at anytime is good and as soon as we try and counter that with logic it sounds like we're arguing against freedom (which is a dumb position to take). Instead when marketing we should only be talking about benefits - when the person is ready to buy then check that the range satisfies their requirements.

To speak to your other list of devices - how many of those are inefficient and/or over specified for the task most people use them for? How come we "need" to replace our computers every 3 years? How come we "need" a calling plan that allows us to talk to anyone in the USA for as long as we want and allows us to get our email instantaneously 24/7? Again, there's a small population who do benefit from the latest, fastest and most connected devices. However, most folks are once again buying a status symbol or a dream.

If the best and the brightest marketing minds in the world were applied to a long term and consistent campaign to market EVs then suddenly people would see the Hummer (and any other SUV) for what it is - a way to make car companies richer. Yes, there's likely one or two percent who can make good use of a Hummer's capabilities. The rest are simply buying a status symbol or a dream.

Tesla decided "if you can't beat them, join them" and set out to make a "no compromise" sports car. They are banking on building a brand so that their Whitestar and the car after that will attract people on brand name strength. So, in my mind they're doing the right thing (aside from booting out the founder which was pretty shoddy - but perhaps he was too much of an idealist?).

Plus, if I could afford one I'd love a Tesla! I never said I was immune to those marketing messages - very few folks are...

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PJD
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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

"Freedom" is a very slippery word, which often mean anything a clever marketer wants it to be.

Cars, and the close partner of the car, suburban sprawl, are often sold to us as "freedom". But the "free-est" I ever felt was the years I lived in a city neighborhood, where access to all kinds of shopping, dining, parks, culture, and my downtown job - all a short walk, bus, or scooter ride away. Didn't need to scrape a windshield for six years. Me and my wife still had cars, used for occasional weekend outings. But, if the cars weren't old and paid-off, it would have been cheaper to just go to the enterprise rent-a car a short walk away when we needed a car.

But in suburbia, cars are a costly, time consuming necessity. And last I checked, "time consuming" "costly" and especially "necessity" are not things I associate with the word "freedom". There are alternatives to relying on cars, but there seems to be a rather concerted effort to keep people from even thinking about these alternatives.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

There are alternatives to relying on cars, but there seems to be a rather concerted effort to keep people from even thinking about these alternatives.

Yep - and the effort is called marketing and the motive is profit. But things are shifting very slowly towards a better future. This year we're one step closer to a solution than we were last year. Don't give up hope!

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

At the beginning of WW-one, Europe was embroiled in war, but the USA tried to stay out of it. At the time, the Wright Bros and Curtiss were also wrestling with lawsuits over how much of an airplane could be patented (can you imagine a company today trying to patent the idea of an electric bike, instead of just the particular way they configured one?).

The US government came to the realization that it was probable that the US would be drawn into the conflict, and one of the first oreders of business was to start the production of thousands of planes. The government stepped in and told Wright/Curtiss to stop fighting, and just start making a bunch of planes of every type, there was enough "pie" for everyone to get a slice...

Fast forward to today. Anwars existance and the recent oil find in North Dakota show that the problem with divorcing the US's economy from Middle-Eastern politics is not sufficient oil supplies, but refining capacity. The US hasn't built a refinery in 30 years, and existing units are currently operating at maximum capacity. The hold-up is environmental lobby lawyers using the "Endangered Species Act" as a tool to stop additional refinery building. If required to build a new "state-of-the-art" cleaner refinery, the oil companies will jump through hoops to secure the rights to any new refinery location.

Enter the idealized dream of electric cars. My sister bought an $800 VCR a long time ago when they first came out. It was a top-loader with no remote control or scan function (to scoot past commercials on the tape). Due to mass-production, I bought a full-fuction VCR a year ago for $65. EV's NEED early adopters that are willing to pay a premium for a high-end product.

Corporations are not inherently "evil", they are merely a reflection of what the consumers are willing to pay for. People don't like the visual of "processing" cattle, but they sure like to eat their steaks and hamburgers.

Once EV's become more available and affordable (and gasoline reaches a much higher price) corporations will efficiently mass produce whatever configuration the public is willing to plunk down hard cash on.

EV's should be exempt from registration fees and sales taxes until they reach a 10% saturation of the car population. The government should step in and "in the interest of national security" squelch lawsuits and smooth the way for EV production of any company that can prove the "ability to perform" (scam artists are everywhere). Small EV companies should be given safe havens and many freedoms to encourage growth.

Even if the transmission company is copying some of Teslas designs, Tesla is much closer to actually producing a product. So, stop whining and fire up the production line!

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Corporations are not inherently "evil", they are merely a reflection of what the consumers are willing to pay for.

Actually, after years of reading the works of media analysts from people like Robert McChesny and Noam Chomsky, and being a bit familiar with the ideas of Edward Bernays (father of modern PR industry) and Walter Lippmann (father of modern corporate media); we are LONG overdue for throwing out completely this idea that the products and services a corporation offers us are the result of some kind of democratic consumer clamor.

Since at least the 1920s, a majority of consumer fashions and desires are largely "engineered" (or as Bernays wrote, consent is manufactured) through massive PR schemes for which traditional advertising are just the beginning. The options the consumer has are quite controlled to maintain the dominance of relatively large, collaborating corporations which also use monopolistic, anti-competition practices, and flaunt anti-trust laws - virtually unused nowadays due to the current makeup of our federal courts. All these things prevent any chance of many good alternatives succeeding on the market. And invariably these goods are ones that would help the environment.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Corporations are not inherently "evil",

I agree. They are inherently greedy though. In the US they are also inherently short term focused (thanks to Wall Street).

they are merely a reflection of what the consumers are willing to pay for.

I disagree (and I basically agree with PJD). Look at tobacco as an example of manipulating the market to make a product acceptable.

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andrew
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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

And let's not forget the role marketing plays in all of this. We are constantly bombarded with advertising that says speed is good and freedom to go anywhere at anytime is good and as soon as we try and counter that with logic it sounds like we're arguing against freedom (which is a dumb position to take). Instead when marketing we should only be talking about benefits - when the person is ready to buy then check that the range satisfies their requirements.

Sorry for using the word freedom. I honestly dislike people using this word as the basis for arguments (like our reason for being in Iraq).

Let me try to be more specific. Full BEVs are not as useful as ICE powered vehicles because of their range limitations. Can we agree? Here are some scenarios to demonstrate this:

-You want to go anyplace that is greater than half the BEV's range and get back. Can't do it unless you charge there.

-You get someplace that took more than a third the BEV's range and need to go back to get something. This can't be done, unless you want to walk.

-You need to make an extra stop on a trip, that will go beyond the BEV's range. Can't do it.

-You just get home from work, and want to go to the grocery store which requires more charge than is in the batteries. Can't do it until the batteries charge some.

-You change plans for a trip when driving, and suddenly need to analyze your required range and charge status. This is a PITA.

-You are stuck with the BEV, and can't go someplace because of the range limitations. You don't have your ICE vehicle at work per se because you took the BEV instead.

-You want to use the BEV, but it needs to charge.

-You want to leave work early, but need to wait for the BEV to charge.

-You can't plan ahead for how much you will need to use the vehicle in a day for some reason. Say it's a business vehicle, or you don't have the day fully planned. Or, you are just normal and have to go places quite often for reasons that arise sporadically. Therefore you want the option of being able to use the vehicle at any time for any trip.

I believe that full power BEV range limitations are very important in determining their practicality for personal transportation. The range limitation can not be overlooked even if the occupant may travel within it on the average. Ultimately, the range limitation can severely limit the usefulness of having a vehicle for personal transportation at all.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

Solution, buy a hybrid now or even better an Aptera plug-in hybrid which will be available in a few years. There is nothing more powerful than voting with your check book or credit.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I think the Tesla is on the right track. Convincing thousands of people that BEVs are fast and cool, who might in turn make small changes to be more eco-friendly does alot more that doing a lot of eco stuff yourself but convincing everyone else that "green=living in a 3ed world contry and driving a Zebra". I mean the thing about the Zebra, the G-wiz, and other similar cars is that I'd be faster on a bicycle, safer on a motorcycle, and wouldn't have as much freedom. Not to mention that they're ugly as sin.

The aptera and the Venture one also have a good direction: it's not ugly as sin, it works like a propper car, they look fun enough to drive, safe enough too, and they use the same platform for a plug in hybrid version, which makes it good for everyone who dosn't want a BEV.

Plus, the speed demon crowd also needs cars when we run out of oil. Now all they need to do is make one a manual (hate automatics...ick), and get the motors to make that cool bat-mobile noise earlier on. Then us speed demons will have no trouble going green at all.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

and get the motors to make that cool bat-mobile noise earlier on. Then us speed demons will have no trouble going green at all.

Yep - I have to wholeheartedly agree with all SPED says, and especially this last bit! :)

Going green for vehicles is as much a marketing issue as anything else. Looks, speed and power grabs mind share. Doddering down the road in a pimped out golf cart (aka an NEV) just makes people laugh or condescend.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I have wanted a road ev for years. My daily drive is 50 miles with maybe a charge at work. So it is doable. But then i do a lot of home repair and need a pickup to get large items. My family is 4 people and a dog. Now to do my daily life I still need a pickup with a better range than 50 miles, a car to hall 5 and a "drive to work vehicle". The pickup currently runs more than one roll. Now to go green. I need to add a vehicle because bev, hybred and what ever can't fit the bill so it has to be a stand alone unit, with maintance, INSURANCE, and a place to park it. Until bev can go more than 50 miles at real road speeds, it just isn't going to fly in my family. I was lucky enough to be a privite owner of the factory ford ranger ev (lead sled) for about 6 months. After the first week it came painfully clear that I wasn't going to be able to keep it on the road and there are very few people in this world that can. When the pack went south I had no choice but to sell it to someone that thought they could get it running again. The whole time the ranger was just a play toy. Just like the Tesla (only a whole bunch cheeper). Tesla is on the right path. Get the people with money interested, then start building something the rest of us can use to replace our regular vehicle.
I currently drive my pickup the 50 miles to work and hating the gas bill. I am working extreemly hard to get a car pool going but because of my hours am having a hard time finding riders. I did the math and getting anything more that does good on gas just for the work drive doesn't pan out. The bottom line is car pooling or mass transit (not in Michigan) is the only way I get ahead. Now back to the current bev's... They are toy for me nothing useful. Just toys. Now my toy isn't going to be a hopped up golf cart. No something that looks great and can smoke tires. Now that's a toy.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

The battery choice for the Tesla is insane. WHEN the battery management system has a hiccup, that pack of hundreds of LION batteries will turn into a self eating water mellon. Going to make the issues people have had with the Vectrix look like child's play. probably one of the reasons they still haven't brought it to market. It needs 200AH LiFEPO4 cells.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

The battery choice for the Tesla is insane. WHEN the battery management system has a hiccup, that pack of hundreds of LION batteries will turn into a self eating water mellon. Going to make the issues people have had with the Vectrix look like child's play. probably one of the reasons they still haven't brought it to market. It needs 200AH LiFEPO4 cells.

Any more details on that?
Please explain...
Mr. Mik

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I have wanted a road ev for years. My daily drive is 50 miles with maybe a charge at work. So it is doable. But then i do a lot of home repair and need a pickup to get large items. My family is 4 people and a dog.

Hi Tim! (I still haven't done anything with that lawnmower yet - I will when I get "around to it"!

Have you checked out the Phoenix SUT, it's pretty close to what you need. Aside from the price ($47.5K) would that work for your needs?

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster
The battery choice for the Tesla is insane. WHEN the battery management system has a hiccup, that pack of hundreds of LION batteries will turn into a self eating water mellon. Going to make the issues people have had with the Vectrix look like child's play. probably one of the reasons they still haven't brought it to market. It needs 200AH LiFEPO4 cells.

Any more details on that?
Please explain...
Mr. Mik

Mik - there's lots of info over on the Tesla website in their blog. Including a picture of the safety test crash video. The safety tests for BEV's are arguably stricter than those for ICE vehicles (for example a BEV must survive the impact without spilling any chemicals but I believe an ICE can spill it's fuel)

Andys - I think you're a little harsh on the Tesla folks. They made a decision on battery technology many years ago - and to bring the project to completion they needed to stick with that choice. I'd imagine changing battery technology late in the game would have cost them millions of dollars and delays of six months or more. By sticking with the technology they at least reached the finish line. I also think I read that there's a certain level of fault tolerance built in to the battery management system (i.e. one cell going down does NOT take down the whole pack). As far as safety is concerned - they passed the appropriate stringent tests. These guys are not amateurs I think they've got the angles covered.

I do agree that at present LiFe is a better general choice than their approach. I wonder if it makes economic sense for them to switch over to LiFe for the Whitestar? Or if they're saddled with too much investment in their current beast. As far as I can tell the best batteries on the market seem to me to be the AltairNano batteries - as used in the Phoenix range.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I had my suspicions about the feasibility of that many LION batteries hooked together and running at that kind of load and voltage and with a fast high amp charge as well, and I mentioned it to a very experienced EV designer and engineer, Doug Canfield. He has a vast amount of experience with EV battery technology and testing, and told me he would never go that route. He thinks they are nuts as well.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I think it's a matter of engineering. And, they have tens of millions of dollars to do it. Quite a bit more than most EV companies.

The LiFePo4 have a much lower specific energy, and energy density. This would cut the range in half. Of course, LiFePo4 are better hands down for other reasons, but this might cut the marketability of the Tesla with the reduced energy storage for range, particularly at high-speed driving. Think of the Vectrix.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I had my suspicions about the feasibility of that many LION batteries hooked together and running at that kind of load and voltage and with a fast high amp charge as well, and I mentioned it to a very experienced EV designer and engineer, Doug Canfield. He has a vast amount of experience with EV battery technology and testing, and told me he would never go that route. He thinks they are nuts as well.
...
self eating water melon....

Do you mean to say the pack might overheat and melt?

I have little experience with self eating water melons.....

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I am very excited about the possibility of the return of electric cars to the US market. (Real cars, not 25 MPH golf carts) But I think if the Tesla ends up with very bad reliability as I expect, it will just prove the naysayers right and actually damage the electric car market.

This was a quote from today's article about the Tesla finally becoming available: "Some critics have expressed concerns about the durability and safety of the lithium-ion battery, which weighs about 1,000 pounds, more than a third of the entire weight of the 2,700-pound Roadster"

I hope the Tesla's engineers are way smarter than any of the other battery experts out there, and have figured out a fool proof way to control 1000 pounds of hundreds of wired together LION batteries for what they claim is a 100,000 mile life span.

More info about LION batteries:

"Despite its overall advantages, lithium-ion has its drawbacks. It is fragile and requires a protection circuit to maintain safe operation. Built into each pack, the protection circuit limits the peak voltage of each cell during charge and prevents the cell voltage from dropping too low on discharge. In addition, the cell temperature is monitored to prevent temperature extremes. The maximum charge and discharge current on most packs are is limited to between 1C and 2C. With these precautions in place, the possibility of metallic lithium plating occurring due to overcharge is virtually eliminated.

Aging is a concern with most lithium-ion batteries and many manufacturers remain silent about this issue. Some capacity deterioration is noticeable after one year, whether the battery is in use or not. The battery frequently fails after two or three years."

I though these were interesting points as well, taken from a website on taking care of the exact kind of lab top designed LION batteries used in the Tesla:

Simple Guidelines:

* Charge the Li-ion often, except before a long storage.
* Store at about 40% charge in a cool place
* Avoid repeated deep discharges.
* Keep the Li-ion battery cool.
* Prevent storage in a hot car.
* Never freeze a battery.

The last four points do not seem to go well with the intended use of the battery for powering a very fast car.

What happens if someone in Minnesota buys a Tesla and stores it in an unheated garage in winter? Or if an enthusiast in Phoenix plunks down his $106,000 and leaves it in his driveway in August? Avoid repeated deep discharges? Isn't that exactly what the planned use of it is?

I wonder if they are following in Vectrix's footsteps where the new owners are going to do the quality control testing for them.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

More info about LION batteries:

Simple Guidelines:

* Charge the Li-ion often, except before a long storage.
* Store at about 40% charge in a cool place
* Avoid repeated deep discharges.
* Keep the Li-ion battery cool.
* Prevent storage in a hot car.
* Never freeze a battery.

The last four points do not seem to go well with the intended use of the battery for powering a very fast car.

Thanks, Andys, that clarifies it and makes a lot of sense.

I do not know if they have engineered solutions to these problems, but it's clearly appropriate to ask those questions!

The Twike also recently moved to LION batteries. Lithium-Ion-Manganese.
I am not sure how many different Li-Ion battery types there are.

Mr. Mik

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I am sure they addressed these issues big time, but wonder how well their solutions will hold up in the real world use.

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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

You know I think thier rejection of solar panels was probably a bad move. Not for recharging the car or anything silly like that, but for keeping the battery management system happy while the car is parked and not charging, plus keep the AC going on a hot day, provided the roof is up, sort of like the Aptera. They could use thin film cells and just do 2 racing stripes across it, and it would be pretty awsome.

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Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Monday, November 20, 2006 - 20:13
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Re: Tesla begins regular production of the Roadster

I am not sure how many different Li-Ion battery types there are

There's a bunch. Mostly they are just fiddling with the anode/cathode chemistry. This apparently is enough to suppress the positive feed-back loops that cause thermal runaway. The bulk of the battery is still just lithium ion or lithium polymer.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

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