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Tesla Roadster Runs For 241 Miles In E-Rally

ScuttleMonkey posted about 5 years ago | from the squeezing-a-battery-until-it-cries dept.

Transportation 294

N!NJA writes with the mention of a recent alternative energies rally where the Tesla Roadster managed to cover 241 miles on a single charge, with another 38 miles of juice still left in the battery. "That would give the Roadster a theoretical maximum touring range of nearly 280 miles — 36 miles more than Tesla itself reckons the car will cover on a charge. If the numbers stand up to official scrutiny, Tesla will hold the world record for the longest distance traveled by a production electric car on a single charge. Of course, it should be pointed out that the Tesla was driven by a company staffer doubtless practiced in eking out every last mile from a charge, and that the speeds averaged on the run were hardly blistering — 90kph (56mph) on the motorways, 60kph (37mph) on trunk roads and 30kph (19) in the mountain roads. Tesla reckon the average speed for the entire journey was 45kph (28mph)."

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294 comments

Great (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#27537079)

Now make it affordable.

Re:Great (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | about 5 years ago | (#27537189)

Time for the miracle of mass production and economies of scale.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27537351)

Time for the miracle of mass production and economies of scale.

Yes, for another brand. Tesla, I believe, will be a luxury sports car brand in the spirit of Ferrari. Meaning, technology developed for and by the luxury brand will then be perfected and moved to a grocery getter brand, maybe, the "Maxwell" or better yet, the "Edison" brand of cars.

Re:Great (4, Informative)

WCguru42 (1268530) | about 5 years ago | (#27537487)

Tesla, I believe, will be a luxury sports car brand in the spirit of Ferrari.

I beg to differ [teslamotors.com]. They're already working on a car that has more than two seats and will sell for 1/2 the price of the roadster. I'd say that's quite a jump in affordability. The Model S is nowhere near economy car prices, but it's a large step closer.

Re:Great (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | about 5 years ago | (#27537411)

A Tesla wouldn't be affordable even if it wasn't electric. It's a Lotus Elise with the engine replaced.

Re:Great (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537491)

A Tesla wouldn't be affordable even if it wasn't electric. It's a Lotus Elise with the engine replaced.

The Elise is expensive because it is a low production sports car, not because it is a Lotus. If everybody wanted one Lotus would mass produce them in China for a fraction of the current price.

Re:Great (3, Informative)

Carnivore (103106) | about 5 years ago | (#27537721)

A Tesla wouldn't be affordable even if it wasn't electric. It's a Lotus Elise with the engine replaced.

In addition to the parent to my post, this isn't true. According to this post [teslamotors.com] the two share few parts, such as the windshield and the softtop.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

cinderblock (1102693) | about 5 years ago | (#27537473)

They are using the high end market to drive the technology until it's cheap enough to work for everyday cars. This is a much better approach than the EV1 that started cheap.

Even better is TWILL [autobloggreen.com]

Very promising! (3, Funny)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#27537103)

Sounds almost like a regular car. I congratulate them.

Does anyone know how likely the batteries are to catch fire or explode? Imagine a gigantic cell phone or laptop battery blowing up. Yikes!

Re:Very promising! (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#27537135)

> Imagine a gigantic cell phone or laptop battery blowing up. Yikes!

Imagine twenty gallons of gasoline blowing up. Yikes!

Re:Very promising! (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#27537147)

I see your point, but gasoline in a tank never blows up spontaneously. Li ion batteries are still a bit dicey, on occasion.

Re:Very promising! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537523)

I see your point, but gasoline in a tank never blows up spontaneously. Li ion batteries are still a bit dicey, on occasion.

Either way you have a lot of potential energy in a small volume. I once had a short circuit inside my bicycle tail light... Not pretty.

Re:Very promising! (1)

Zakabog (603757) | about 5 years ago | (#27537297)

Imagine twenty gallons of gasoline blowing up. Yikes!

There isn't enough oxygen in your gas tank to allow an explosion, batteries aren't as picky.

Defective batteries spontaneously exploding are a lot more common than defective gas tanks exploding. You might bring up the Pinto, but that was a poor design choice, not a defective gas tank (the gas tank functioned exactly as Ford intended it to, they just put it in a bad location.)

Re:Very promising! (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537531)

I don't know about you, but *I've* seen the smoldering wreckage of a burnt-out car sitting on the side of the highway before. I have no clue whether the occupants escaped alive, but car fires absolutely do still kill people [chicagotribune.com].

And as I've mentioned elsewhere on this thread, FYI, the Roadster's cells are individually isolated and the packs are tested with multiple cell failures to make sure that fires are contained. And Tesla is near-unique in using laptop cells rather than the "automotive" li-ions which use different chemistries and don't have the fire risk. Oh, sure, the electrolyte in them is flammable, but that's no different from gas in a gas tank.; the big difference is that you can abuse the automotive variants to heck and back and not cause a fire. They pay for their safety in terms of an energy density hit, mind you.

Re:Very promising! (2, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | about 5 years ago | (#27537155)

Almost like a regular car indeed. My Corolla has a 10-gallon tank, so at typical 28mpg I only get 250 safe miles out of a tank. Of course, I can then instantly fill it back up at any of the very abundant filling stations around the country/world, and it runs just as well with the tank nearly empty as it does with it full (actually better, on account of the missing weight).

Re:Very promising! (3, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about 5 years ago | (#27537271)

Results vary. I have a Golf TDI, regularly go over 600 miles without coming close to empty, with my best fillup 781 miles. And that's with an automatic transmission.

Nevertheless I love what Tesla is doing.

Re:Very promising! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#27537699)

Impressive, though I consider Miles Per Dollar* more important than Miles Per Tank. After all, what is so groundbreaking about a 750 mile range if your car has a 100 gallon tank in the back seat?

*Not that Telsa wins in this category, if one factors in retail price.

Re:Very promising! (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537181)

The cells are independently isolated. They've done a lot of tests forcing catastrophic failure of individual cells to make sure that the failure of one wouldn't cascade to others.

Note that this is really only applicable to Tesla; they're one of the only (if not the only) EV makers who use traditional laptop cells. Pretty much all of their competitors are using "automotive" li-ion chemistry variants that sacrifice energy density for faster charge capability, greater longevity, and fire resistance.

Re:Very promising! (1)

SuperQ (431) | about 5 years ago | (#27537465)

Tesla doesn't use "traditional laptop cells" either. They're the same size and shape, but they picked specific models with different chemistry to normal laptop cells that suit car safety needs more.

Re:Very promising! (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537559)

No, they really are traditional commodity laptop cells [teslamotors.com]. They're LiCoO2+graphite 18650s purchased in bulk from the same companies that sell those cells to laptop pack manufacturers. They did that because they wanted cells that were already in mass production so as to keep costs down.

Re:Very promising! (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | about 5 years ago | (#27537681)

I want to know how long the batteries last before the decrease in max charge becomes noticeable. If the car needs to be rechraged every 40km after a few years, I think I'll stick with/change to Hydrogen

Re:Very promising! (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#27537251)

As long as their they don't get batteries from Sony, I think we'll be fine.

Re:Very promising! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537587)

As long as their they don't get batteries from Sony, I think we'll be fine.

I bet you're still afraid of Ford Explorers and e-coli burgers from Jack In The Box too.

Re:Very promising! (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#27537717)

I think you missed the many times that Sony's batteries were the cause of problems. That wasn't a single isolated case.

Environment? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 5 years ago | (#27537257)

I'd also be concerned about the toxicity of these batteries. Are they 100% recyclable? Will they be safely disposed of, even if Tesla goes out of business? Will they leak?

Re:Environment? (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537327)

They're essentially not, essentially, yes, no. [teslamotors.com] The phosphates and spinels most other auto makers are using, even moreso.

I'm not sure what you think is in li-ion batteries that you're picturing is so toxic. These aren't lead-acid or nickel-cadmium here. Want to know what goes into a lithium phosphate battery? Lithium salts (like you find in mineral water -- in fact, they're actually produced from salt flats where mineral waters evaporated), iron powder, phosphoric acid, sugar (for a carbon binding), porous polyethylene (separator), graphite or amorphous carbon (anode), any one of a variety corrosive but generally nontoxic electrolytes, casing, wiring, and so forth. You'll find worse stuff in a lot of bulk steels than you will in LFP cells.

Cool, it practically pays for itself (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537145)

Well, that is after you have driven it about 400,000 miles.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

TreyGeek (1391679) | about 5 years ago | (#27537165)

At an average of 28mph, I'll stick with a gas guzzler thank you very much.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (4, Informative)

gapagos (1264716) | about 5 years ago | (#27537201)

Suit yourself.
This car is capable of 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and has a maximum speed of 201 km/h.
Maybe, just maybe your gas guzzler can go faster, but I'd like to see it accelerate faster than that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Roadster#Performance [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#27537275)

If I accelerate to 97 km/h in 3.7 seconds, I most likely will hit the car in front of me and/or get a ticket for reckless driving.

If I go at 201 km/h, I'll also get a ticket for speeding.

Even though I'd like my next car to be an electric one, acceleration and top speed aren't the reasons for it.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 5 years ago | (#27537315)

You say that now before you've ever driven one.

Every review I have read states that this is the one of the most enjoyable cars to drive ever made, electric or otherwise.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (4, Informative)

Radhruin (875377) | about 5 years ago | (#27537361)

Acceleration is a damn good reason to go electric. Electric motors produce consistent torque independent of RPM, and the torque is applied instantaneously. The result is instant acceleration regardless of current speed, and is also why the newer Tesla only need one gear. Such acceleration is useful in many day-to-day driving situations.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537589)

Speaking as a bicycle rider this has me somewhat interested. Cars are slow to get off the mark partly because internal combustion engines take a lot of time to come up to speed. I don't have that problem with my bike so I have an advantage when accelerating from zero.

I doubt that this will be a serious issue for me in the long term because not every electric car out there will be a tesla. It is more likely that engines will be small to save on power and drivers will be too distracted by the blinkinlights to notice that they have a green signal.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 5 years ago | (#27537481)

"just maybe"? My ten year old four-cylinder Opel Omega has a higher top speed than that. As for acceleration... well:

The Lotus Exige S, based on a similar platform to the one Tesla is using, does 0-100km/h in about 4.1 seconds, and costs ~40k less. A Porsche 997 Turbo could be as fast as 3.2 seconds, while the GT2 and GT3 have comparable times. The Nissan GT-R and Viper ACR are at about 3.5-3.3. The Caterham R500 is even better at about 2.88 [jalopnik.com].

Ok, so the Caterham is a ridiculous car, but the others don't sacrifice much for the speed, and cost a reasonable amount of money (that is, we're not talking Veyron money here).

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

x1n933k (966581) | about 5 years ago | (#27537309)

On average I somehow doubt you travel much faster during your day, especially if you're one of the millions of city dwellers who are stuck in traffic.

[J]

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537443)

But if you can afford a Tesla, I'm sure you can afford rent to time at a nearby track.

Now if they'll ever make a car that can fit into the budget of people with a more typical middle-class income, that's another story. Unless Tesla figures out how to pull extra production out of nowhere and lower the cost, I think the first affordable electrics in the U.S. will either be Chinese or GM products. (And that's even considering the rate of progress in regards to Chinese car crashworthyness or Detroit's management bungling and bureaucracy.)

As neat as the technology is (and I can appreciate that), the Tesla is still a toy for rich people.

Re:Cool, it practically pays for itself (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537601)

Urban speed limits in my city are typically 60 km/h. I once calculated my average speed for trips around the city. It was the same by car as by bicycle: 30 km/h.

28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0, Troll)

VinylRecords (1292374) | about 5 years ago | (#27537163)

I drove 280 miles today (central NY to upstate) and it took me 3.5 hours, meaning I traveled an average speed of 80mph for the journey. Even at an average of 65mph (the proper speed limit) the journey would take 4.3 hours.

4 hours is a far cry from 10 hours traveling.

While gas (and money) is a commodity that I would save by traveling with an automobile than ran on an alternative fuel source, there is a negative cost, an exchange of time. I save money, but I lose time. If you calculate how much I get paid an hour and convert the lost hours to dollars, it's more cost efficient for me to take a gas powered car over 4 hours than an electric car for 10 hours.

Even then, if I didn't want to drive, I could take a train ticket for the same price as a full tank of gas at current prices, and get home in 4 or 5 hours at most anyways.

Even if the electric (or alternative fuel source) cars are cheaper to run and operate, time must also be factored in as a commodity, and weighed accordingly. But if these cars continue to run at considerably slower speeds than gas fueled cars I don't see many people shifting to them.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (3, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 5 years ago | (#27537229)

Have you been offworld the past year or so? The Tesla is probably a *lot* faster than what you drive now.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27537343)

Sort of. I'll race you 1,000 miles, you use a Tesla (you have to charge, not swap), and I'll use my 12 year old gasoline powered sedan.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537439)

Congrats, you earned the "no fucking clue" prize. The Tesla is a roadster aimed squarely at the urban 'second car' environment. Weekend rides and commuting. Comparing it to your POS sedan is utterly pointless. It's like knocking your sedan because its not amphibious.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537483)

Since we're setting up arbitrary race rules to pit the strengths of one vehicle against the weaknesses of another, the entire race will be back and forth along a slalom. And your car explodes if you drop below 50 MPH

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27537619)

Read the comment that the comment that I replied to is in reply to (har, the great grandparent). They are talking about a situation where a gas car has the advantage (endurance at 'highway' speeds), and the immediate reply is "The Tesla is teh whiz". You are responding to me as if the parent to my post was completely in context, except, it wasn't in context.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537625)

Life was much better in the old days. We didn't have to rely on these new fangled gasoline powered vehicles. Horses were the way to go. If it needed a rest you just stopped off at the side of the road and let it eat for a while.

Seriously, there are a lot more places where you can get electricity, than places where you can get gasoline.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537607)

And now for some flame bait:
From: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article5483422.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

"All of which brings me on to the curious case of the battery-powered Tesla sports car that I reviewed recently on Top Gear. Things didn't go well. The company claimed it could run, even if driven briskly, for 200 miles, but after just a morning the battery power was down to 20% and we realised that it would not have enough juice for all the shots we needed." ...

"Tesla could not complain about what was shown because it was there. And here's the strange thing. It didn't. But someone did. Loudly and to every newspaper in the world. The Daily Telegraph said we'd been caught up in a new fakery row. The Guardian accused us of being "underhanded". The New York Times wondered if we'd been "misleading". The Daily Mail said I could give you breast cancer."

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537283)

You are aware that this is a car that could easily blow away almost all other cars on the road in terms of performance, right? It took this long because it was going *through narrow mountain roads in the Alps* [wikipedia.org]. Are you going to drive 80mph on roads like this [wikipedia.org]?

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537381)

Have you ever driven on the Alps?
Aside from costs & performance, you'll be glad to spend time there just for looking at the inspiring panorama, and pay for the typical restaurants, I promise! :)

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about 5 years ago | (#27537427)

If you calculate how much I get paid an hour and convert the lost hours to dollars, it's more cost efficient for me to take a gas powered car over 4 hours than an electric car for 10 hours.

"It will apparently also come with an on-board charge unit that when hooked up to a 480V supply should enable the battery back to be recharged in around 45 minutes." http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/03/27/tesla_unveils_model_s/ [reghardware.co.uk]

That seems reasonable. :)

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537467)

And the Roadster and Model S are only limited to 45 minutes or so because of the type of cells they use (and they have to baby them to get what they do out of them). NiMHs can handle 30 minute charges, phosphates and spinels 15 minutes or so, and titanates 5-10. Assuming you have sufficient cooling in the packs and wire them appropriately, of course. Around a third to half of the announced mass-production EVs have a sub-30-minute charging option, and some (like Phoenix and LightningCar) have sub-10 minute charging options announced. And then there's Project Better Place, which is a whole different story....

Yeah, the chargers needed for delivering that power that fast are pretty impressive beasts (such as the 250kW Aerovironment PosiCharge or the 250kW Norvick MinitCharge), but that's really no more power than common industrial facilities use, except that they have to handle it nonstop, while the chargers only need to handle it in pulses. And no, it doesn't strain the grid when they use their own battery banks, and no, they're not unreasonably expensive (~$125k or so -- about the same as a gas station on a per-pump basis).

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (3, Insightful)

defaria (741527) | about 5 years ago | (#27537459)

I drove 280 miles today (central NY to upstate) and it took me 3.5 hours, meaning I traveled an average speed of 80mph for the journey. Even at an average of 65mph (the proper speed limit) the journey would take 4.3 hours. 4 hours is a far cry from 10 hours traveling.

What are you talking about? Your average person is not traveling 4.3 hours every day. Indeed even you didn't travel 4.3 hours every day. and I severally doubt you averaged 80mph. Hook up a meter to your car. Stopping for gas and/or eating, pissing or whatever tanks your average. You probably averaged less than 50mph. Trust me.

While gas (and money) is a commodity that I would save by traveling with an automobile than ran on an alternative fuel source, there is a negative cost, an exchange of time. I save money, but I lose time. If you calculate how much I get paid an hour and convert the lost hours to dollars, it's more cost efficient for me to take a gas powered car over 4 hours than an electric car for 10 hours.

The Tesla can easily keep up with your silly assed car. The only time wasters is if you have to recharge, which is generally done at night when you aren't billing any of those precious and expensive billable hours anyway!

Even if the electric (or alternative fuel source) cars are cheaper to run and operate, time must also be factored in as a commodity, and weighed accordingly. But if these cars continue to run at considerably slower speeds than gas fueled cars I don't see many people shifting to them.

Yes, with the key word here being "weighed". Comparing a long haul drive is not a fair comparison at all and it's not what you usually do. Most people drive 30 miles a day on average. You need to weigh for that heavily. Many people drive cars that are way underpowered compared to a Tesla. You sound like an idiot who doesn't know the first thing about what you are talking about!

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#27537733)

What are you talking about? Your average person is not traveling 4.3 hours every day. Indeed even you didn't travel 4.3 hours every day. and I severally doubt you averaged 80mph. Hook up a meter to your car. Stopping for gas and/or eating, pissing or whatever tanks your average. You probably averaged less than 50mph. Trust me.

If it took him 3.5 hours to 280 miles, he pretty much had no choice but to average 80mph. Trust me. Or... erm, do the math: 280/3.5 = 80.

The Tesla can easily keep up with your silly assed car. The only time wasters is if you have to recharge, which is generally done at night when you aren't billing any of those precious and expensive billable hours anyway!

It's going to hold a charge for the same mileage doing 80mph? That seems unlikely - if he maintained that speed, he'd have to stop for an hour to recharge.

You sound like an idiot who doesn't know the first thing about what you are talking about!

Great way to wrap up an argument ;)

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | about 5 years ago | (#27537565)

4 hours is a far cry from 10 hours traveling.

I'll try not to be too rude, but what the fuck are you talking about. The car is not reaching it's maximum speed at 90kph. That's the way it was driven for the event that it was running. The car's top speed is just above 200kph which means it could handily beat your average speed if the effort was put into it. Now, at a faster speed it might not get to that 280 miles that you traveled, but then again, how often are you going 280 miles in a trip. It's not the perfect car but you should at least be able to grasp that its average speed is not indicative of its actual performance.

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about 5 years ago | (#27537605)

Yes, it does feel like cheating. If it's driven at 65mph, the range drops to close to half that figure, which is also what one would expect for a battery of that size and a vehicle of that weight. There is no free lunch/you can't have a highway speed range of 280miles+ without losing half of the weight magically. Or having well over 100% efficient motors somehow.

Nice car. Too bad it'll get eviscerated in the press and market when it actually gets closer to 100-120miles per charge despite its ungodly high official rating. Because nobody's going to drive this thing at 28mph and accelerate like it has an egg for an accelerator pedal. They should have claimed a more realistic range and then if people got higher than the conservative figure, it would be seen as a bonus. But claiming 200+ miles range which no normal driver will get...

Re:28mph over 280 miles is not good... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#27537613)

I drove 280 miles today (central NY to upstate) and it took me 3.5 hours, meaning I traveled an average speed of 80mph for the journey.

Yeah but this was in Europe. Many of their country roads are old horse tracks with a bit of asphalt pasted over the top.

Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold.... (5, Insightful)

gapagos (1264716) | about 5 years ago | (#27537167)

Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold, unable to come up with electric cars faster than a 250 employee company [wikipedia.org] (Tesla Motors)?....

Oh right, it's because they NEVER wanted to get out of the BIG SUV GAS ANNIHILATOR business in the first place and are refusing to evolve.
I sincerely hope GM and it's ugly cars and old uneducated workforce go fuck off and die.

Make Tesla Motors the new big one, and let's get over with it.

Re:Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold... (0)

east coast (590680) | about 5 years ago | (#27537197)

I'm glad that you have 50K for what I can get out of GM's old uneducated workforce for about 18K.

For some of us that's kind of a big selling point.

Re:Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 years ago | (#27537449)

You'd think for GM/Chry/Ford they'd be able to find a chassis that isn't based on a $50,000 auto, and then take it and have it custom made in small runs from carbon fiber composites. They might - just might - have the capacity to leverage some efficiency in purchasing motors and batteries, and incorporating (otherwise expensive) IP from their portfolio to provide a bit better price than $100k.

The Aptera is one of the goofiest looking cars in the world, and yet it's got a waiting list out the door at $30k. You mean to tell me that GM/Chrys can figure out how to sell a $40-50,000 SUV that gets 12MPG in the city to a soccer mom, but they can't take a 4 door sedan that retails for $18k, strip out the entire engine and drivetrain, and put in a competent electric power plant for under $40k?

Sure, that rules out a moderate segment of the public, but up until the economy went to absolute shit, GM only sold a total of 27,000 Hummers in 2008. And that was all three body styles. Surely that's a niche market - and it did quite well until gas prices went sky high. They can't justify putting a useful $40,000-$60,000 car on the road for a few tens of thousands who (a) have the money and (b) want an alternative?

Speaking of hummers...do you know the difference between a tire and 300 blow jobs?

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One is a Goodyear, the other is a GREAT year!

Re:Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold... (2, Informative)

AstroPHX (830253) | about 5 years ago | (#27537209)

Please see: EV1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1 [wikipedia.org] It's not that they're "unable" but rather they're unwilling.

Re:Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold... (1)

gapagos (1264716) | about 5 years ago | (#27537223)

Yeah, thanks I know.
I wrote: Oh right, it's because they NEVER wanted to get out of the BIG SUV GAS ANNIHILATOR business in the first place and are refusing to evolve.

Cheers.

I stand by my clarification (1)

AstroPHX (830253) | about 5 years ago | (#27537417)

Your implication was that they were "unable to come up with electric cars faster than" Tesla. I'm not arguing the reasons behind jettisoning the EV1 project, but rather the fact that it *can be done* by any company willing to put their minds to it. GM proved it while using inferior battery technology than is available today in a comparable time frame. It's a damn shame they gave up on it, and I sure hope Tesla doesn't run out of money due to lack of purchases and/or one-too-many lawsuits.

+1 Insightful (2, Insightful)

itomato (91092) | about 5 years ago | (#27537259)

Amen, brother.

The Big Three undoubtedly saw the potential of Tesla and smaller companies (who buy a chassis, fit it with their gear, and profit), shit themselves, and immediately made it a necessity that Diesel fuel double in price, Saturn (who would be the GM arm to make it happen) forget what they are about and sell rebadged Opels, and thrusting on the public a prolonged (boring?) four-year introduction of the new Camaro.

What. The. Hell, indeed..

Something is seriously fucking fishy, if you ask me.

There are mandated requirements for safety that eliminate the ability for anyone (but them) to feasibly introduce a new American automobile, unless it has three wheels, in which case it's not an Auto at all, but a Motorcycle.

Q: Why did the minimum hood (bonnet) height of a typical sedan go from the super-aerodynamic, low drag Cd noses of the 90's to something akin to 1980's pickup trucks?
A: "Pededstrian safety".

Oh bullshit (0, Flamebait)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 5 years ago | (#27537357)

Until we see cold fusion reactors there is not going to be a realistic electric car. When you look at the amount of energy stored in a gallon of gasoline compared to a ton of batteries you'll see why. Don't you think if there was money to be made in this market someone would have tried when gas was over 4 bucks a gallon? We simply don't have the technology now or any time in the near future. Short of some unknown breakthrough we'll still be driving fossil fuel powered vehicles 20 years from now.

Re:Oh bullshit (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537437)

When you look at the amount of energy stored in a gallon of gasoline compared to a ton of batteries you'll see why.

That's just silly, though. EVs are exactly the opposite paradigm as gasoline cars. In gasoline cars, the fuel is light while the engine is heavy. In electric cars, the motor is light while the batteries are heavy. The Roadster gets its performance with a motor the size of a small watermelon that weighs something like 40 pounds. In short, battery packs aren't competing with the gas tank for weight and space; they're competing with the gasoline car's engine for weight and space. If you crunch the numbers, you'll find that the two powertrains will be approximately the same when batteries hit 350Wh/kg or so. Commercial cells currently top out at about 200Wh/kg, but there are about two dozen different techs in the lab that can 50%-800% increase the energy density of their respective electrode (anode or cathode). The odds of every last one of them failing to make it to commercialization are vanishingly small. Li-ion still has a very long run ahead of it.

Don't you think if there was money to be made in this market someone would have tried when gas was over 4 bucks a gallon?

When do you think it was that several dozen different marques announced EV programs? Nowadays, it's easier to count the companies that *don't* have EVs they're planning to mass produce. For example, among the biggest sellers in the US, there's only one: Honda. And they've already announced plans to make an electric motorcycle, so even they may not count.

Re:Oh bullshit (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#27537497)

You can buy off-the-shelf commercial cells that get well over 350Wh/kg, but they die after a few dozen recharge cycles. They are used in a fair few military applications, where replacing the cells completely after an operation is considered acceptable if it means a soldier / UAV can carry the load easily.

Re:Why isn't GM, with its billions of cars sold... (2, Interesting)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27537391)

You know, he's right. GM went whole hog on the SUV market because that was were the short term profits were. And in the meantime, the Japanese manufacturers, thinking in the long term as usual, kept making the small fuel efficient cars as well as the their versions of the SUVs.

Troll indeed!

Pssht! No big deal (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 years ago | (#27537169)

You can give just about *any* car dramatic improvements in fuel economy if you know how to drive them correctly. See HyperMilingA. [wikipedia.org]

Just to see if it worked, I tried it with an ageing GMC Van (big, full sized, full of people) and measured an increase in fuel economy from about 20 MPG to over 30! Of course, there's something about driving on a freeway at 45 MPH and coasting to a stop from a half mile away that annoys the bajeezus out of other drivers.... I must have been flipped off half a dozen times!

Re:Pssht! No big deal (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537355)

Now, see what sort of mileage you get when you try hypermiling that van through the Alps. This is the Monte Carlo route we're talking about here.

The Roadster's 241 mile range (Powertrain 1.5) is based on their official MPGe rating from the EPA, which means the same drivecycle that all other cars go through. Now, in practice, you're not going to want to run your car down to empty; in fact, when you hop in to drive it, the Roadster won't even show you all of the charge (part of it is kept in an "emergency reserve").

Note that they're only using 160Wh/kg li-ion cells. You can get notably higher nowadays. Which would explain the longer range of the big-pack Model S.

Re:Pssht! No big deal (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | about 5 years ago | (#27537415)

Nice job saving yourself some gas. Too bad you wasted the gas of hundreds of drivers stuck in stop and go traffic behind you because you clogged up the road. Way to go!!

This is meaninglesss... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 5 years ago | (#27537175)

because as with any gas mileage ratings they measure them under ideal conditions which are hardly reflective of reality. I've yet to get any closer than 3mpg away from my car's highway MPG rating of 27MPG. I've used the majority of my tank traveling at 50-60 MPH which is the sweet spot for my car's gearing and also with minimal wind resistance compared to 70 or 80MPH. And with that type of driving I still could not get any closer than 24 MPG. I'm sure some people can get their car to meet the manufacturer's MPG ratings but many probably don't because they don't drive under the same conditions that the car was measured under. So with the Tesla Roadster traveling with an average speed of 28MPH and a maximum speed of less than 70, it is not surprising that a good fuel efficiency was the result. Drive with a more realistic speed and then get back to us so we have better numbers to compare with good ole ICE-based cars.

Re:This is meaninglesss... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537281)

Maybe you were attempting a joke, but this is a pure electric car. There's no fuel to be efficient with. Besides, no car has its "sweet spot" at 28 MPH, and if you read the summary you'd see that they drove at several different speeds over the course of the journey, which just happened to *average* 28MPH. They never actually drove any length of time at that speed.

Re:This is meaninglesss... (2, Interesting)

fnj (64210) | about 5 years ago | (#27537345)

Results vary. My 2000 Golf TDI automatic was rated 34/45mpg (original sticker, old EPA rating), which is 29/40 under the new EPA rating. In the 150,000 mile life of the car to date, I have averaged 44mpg, including town and highway. And I regularly travel at 70mph.

Re:This is meaninglesss... (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27537373)

Check your tires. I occasionally get better than the epa highway rating, in a car with a 3.5 liter V6. It helps that I take trips that use up a tank of gas (making the majority of the mileage highway).

Re:This is meaninglesss... (2, Informative)

Ant P. (974313) | about 5 years ago | (#27537489)

they measure them under ideal conditions which are hardly reflective of reality

You're right, 390km of winding mountain roads is hardly the reality most people will drive in.

Good luck getting anywhere near 24mpg in those conditions.

Nice math (1)

pbalzac (463452) | about 5 years ago | (#27537253)

Tesla reckon the average speed for the entire journey was 45kph (28mph)

Assuming they tracked how long they drove, there's no need to reckon!

The Contrarian Mystique (2, Insightful)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 5 years ago | (#27537293)

This is the first near-production electric car that has ever come close to being something that can potentially achieve mass market penetration (I'm assuming that their other less expensive model will be have similar characteristics). It looks like most of the posts are of the "what a piece of shit," or "o yeah, my fossil-fuel-burning ecological nightmare goes faster/farther." Grow up, folks. They're trying to solve one of the biggest problems facing the world. If you expect them to get it right on the first try instead of over a period of 10 or 20 years, you are insane.

I am aware that I used the word "penetration." It's OK, I'm used to /. I know what's coming.

Re:The Contrarian Mystique (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 5 years ago | (#27537369)

Grow up, folks. They're trying to solve one of the biggest problems facing the world.

Actually they are not, which is why they may succeed.

They are trying to make a kick-ass car. People don't want to drive a large golf cart just to "save the planet", or at least not enough of those people exist to form a market.

With the singular exception of battery life / recharge time electric vehicles are superior in every way to internal combustion engine vehicles. They have better torque characteristics, less moving parts and simpler maintenance. Once battery technology advances enough that the range is acceptable, electric cars will take over from combustion engine cars because they are simply better vehicles.

Re:The Contrarian Mystique (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27537539)

People bitch about it, because we can't afford it. At $100k, the Tesla Roadster is priced out of the reach of 99% of Western buyers want or need. 99.9999% of worldwide buyers.
Getting kick-ass performance in a basically limited run prototype is ...ok, not easy, but a LOT easier than doing it at a price regular humans can afford.
And for a lot of city dwellers...where the hell do I plug it in? An extension cord out the fourth floor apartment window won't cut it. A few years of infrastructure is needed.

This is a 'great' car. Fast, flashy, exotic. But not for the masses. Yet. And the masses are where the real difference comes in.

Re:The Contrarian Mystique (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 5 years ago | (#27537617)

At $100k, the Tesla Roadster is priced out of the reach of 99% of Western buyers want or need. 99.9999% of worldwide buyers.

Which is why they are leveraging their success with the Roadster to build the model S at $50,000.

Then they will release the bluestar at $30,000.

See a pattern here?

simply amazing! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537333)

...and I can't get my Roomba to clean my living room without running out charge!

Why no electricity cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537377)

How come every time there's a review of an electric or a hybrid, they never mention how much the electricity costs per mile?

Re:Why no electricity cost? (2, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537679)

Because it's dirt cheap, perhaps?

The Roadster uses about 200Wh/mi driving (about 250Wh/mi wall to wheels because of their pack cooling needs because of their unusual choice of cells; most wall to wheels numbers for li-ion EVs are much closer to the pack to wheels). US average household electricity rates are about a dime per kilowatt hour. 0.2kWh/mi * $0.10/kWh = $0.02/mi = 50mi/dollar. For an average running gas price of... oh, let's say $2.50/gal, that's the energy-cost-equivalent of 125mpg.

Re:Why no electricity cost? (1)

Rei (128717) | about 5 years ago | (#27537737)

Erm, that should be 0.25Wh/mi * $0.10/kg = $0.025/mi = 40mi/dollar = 100mpg. Accidentally used pack-to-wheels instead of wall-to-wheels.

Infrastructure seems important though (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27537405)

At least Tesla is trying to do something. 3 problems to overcome:

1. Americas love of gas-based vehicles
2. Batteries have to last the way gas-based vehicles do now. 10-20 years at least.
3. Energy infrastructure to support recharging these vehicles. If we can't keep houses lit without rolling brownouts, how do we also charge cars?

Tackle them on a 3,2,1 basis.

Re:Infrastructure seems important though (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#27537599)

1. Americas love of gas-based vehicles

No, they(we) don't. We like the performance gasoline gives.

100mph top speed
0-60 in 12 seconds
300 mile range
here's the kicker....15 minute 'recharge' time, available anywhere.
Under $30,000

Give me those specs, and I don't care if it runs on pureed unicorn horn.

Theoretical? (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 5 years ago | (#27537419)

That would give the Roadster a theoretical maximum touring range of nearly 280 miles

Somehow I don't think the author understands the meaning of the word used. Surely, the range with a long downhill road or strong (as in Katrina) tailwind would be quite a bit more.

Warm weather, OK. Do it in Detroit about now... (0)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#27537445)

because using in an optimal setting or nearly optimal is good for press releases.

Basically a rich mans toy. Without a viable range extender it just is a fancy golf cart. Not to diminish what they did but really, a battery powered lotus. People have been converting cars to pure electric for a long time but none are up to the level of this. It does prove the Lithium batteries can do the job. The big question is lifetime in this type of application. The range extender versions will have better safeguards for keeping the batteries good because unlike just a electric only solution the RE versions will keep the batteries from getting very too low and come with a system to charge them optimally at all times.

So, yeah it was neat to know that that many batteries does go well.

Re:Warm weather, OK. Do it in Detroit about now... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about 5 years ago | (#27537631)

Basically a rich mans toy.

Interesting. That's what computers were when they came out for public consumption too.

And if the steadily increasing estimated price of the "Volt" continues, it will also "Basically be a rich mans toy".

Re:Warm weather, OK. Do it in Detroit about now... (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | about 5 years ago | (#27537683)

What does warm weather have to do with it. Unless my physics knowledge is taking a vacation, cold weather will actually improve performance because there will be less resistance in the line (I'm not even going to try to figure out if this is anything beyond negligible). And I'm pretty sure batteries work better in colder temperatures (I'm less certain on this one).

What's the recharge time? (3, Funny)

The Second Horseman (121958) | about 5 years ago | (#27537615)

My Honda Civic refuels in about a minute and a half, and I can get well over 400 miles on a tank on the highway. Just sayin'.

Re:What's the recharge time? (1, Flamebait)

Mishotaki (957104) | about 5 years ago | (#27537709)

My Honda Civic refuels in about a minute and a half, and I can get well over 400 miles on a tank on the highway. Just sayin'.

then we should compare the times your civic can be stopped on idle

People just like to bitch about good electirc cars...

How abou ttelling us: do you really do your 400 miles in a typical day? do you even do 200 miles? I highly doubt it... Now how about you think that you could never, ever have to go to the gas station to gas your car, all you gotta do is plug it in when you park it at your place...

It is not the range or 0-60 perf, stupid (0, Troll)

prakslash (681585) | about 5 years ago | (#27537651)

Sorry to sound like a cynic but a car that needs to be plugged-in will never be the one for the masses.

Where will people who live in apartments plug in their car? At power-equipped gas stations, you say? And, what, pray, will they do while the car takes hours to get charged up?

Unless the charging time can be brought down to 5-10 minutes, this is the wrong horse to bet on.

Plug-ins are not the wave of the future. Hydrogen is.

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