A 160 mile range isn't a problem in the European market, and if Elon's 99%/1% statistic is true it really shouldn't be for the US either.
No, it shouldn't. The number of times I've driven my current car over 100 miles in a single day over the past 5 years is 0. The number of times we've driven my SO's practical car over 200 miles in a day is 8. A 300 mile range + rent-able extender trailers is the solution I'd like to see. And thus, yes, I agree with Elon that hybrids are the wrong answer once pure EVs get that basic range capability - why carry all that weight and maintenance need complexity the other 99% of the time?
Heck the number of times in the past 20 years I've driven over 500 miles in a day is zero. Hit that range target and the need for extender trailers goes away.
I, on the other hand, love long road trips. I just finished a 4000 mile one 2 weeks ago, and I frequently drive from the Bay Area to L.A.
And that being said, I 100% agree with SByer. I rented a car for the 4000 mile trip, even though I currently drive a car completely capable of handling that milage - I didn't want to put that much milage on my daily driver.
Plus the dirty secret is the Tesla (and the Lotus upon which it was semi-based... and most sports cars) are not really terribly comfortable for long road trips. You could engineer a way to do it, but you probably would rather rent a comfort-mobile for the occasional long trip. It might be a bigger deal with the Model S. But for the Roadster, it is pretty much a non-issue.
I recall in the mid 90's taking business flights from NY to Florida. My laptop batteries were usually drained before arrival. That did not stop the sale of laptops. On a recent trip to LA, the batteries on this new laptop had some juice left after a 5 hour flight.
The NYT article implies that we should just wait until batteries have decent range. Critics however will always up the ante on range. 160-mile range is not great. As a potential Model S owner I would prefer 300, however that is far less important.
New York Times calls it for the Volt over the Tesla Model S - AutoblogGreen
Over at the old gray lady, Joe Nocera has cast a jaundiced eye upon the phenomenon that is Tesla Motors and comes away with the conclusion that the Chevy Volt will come away as the winner. In fact Nocera seems very skeptical that pure battery electric cars will be a viable mainstream prospect anytime soon.
I'm surprised that they reach this conclusion before 1) the Model S is properly announced and 2) they are basing their view on the fact that Tesla is a start up - let's see what happens with the Mercedes deal.
However, they may have a point if we limit our thinking to what is possible with Li Ion batteries, but if the companies making progress with other chemistries (thanks TEG) can solve charge/discharge issues and productionise their wares (and that link suggests they are getting closer) then the balance would probably tip the other way.
Which leads to another issue: with all this investment in Li ion manufacturing capability, the big battery producers are in danger of becoming the new big oil. They will need to make returns on these plants and the little guys pioneering the radical new batteries could get shut out, for at least a "cycle", while that happens. What is needed is a benevolent investor to help them out.
I don't believe we will ever see ultra-fast charging (unless 11kV or more is allowed on the charger, which requires big re-engineering of the local power grid) and battery swap still raises a lot of questions in my book, so to me the answer has to be a range that can last for a day's driving to cover all scenarios.
Last edited by dpeilow; 2008-07-21 at 08:57 AM.
Man, that's a scary thought. I always thought there would be competition among the various manufactures but if they create their own "OPEC" where the collude to set and raise prices as a group, it could get really ugly.
On the good side, once Lith -X is ubiquitious, There will probably be a lot of small garage businesses making their own versions of batteries that either are not-quite-as-good-but-cheaper or ones that take advantage of expiring patents.
Because there are tons of crazy people in this world...
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