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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the is-it-a-king-george-moment? dept.

Transportation 360

cartechboy (2660665) writes "They say you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. Maybe it should go you shouldn't trash talk the company you partner with. U.S. head of Mercedes-Benz Steve Cannon was just quoted as saying future service of Tesla's vehicles could be 'limited,' and that while it's great, the market could be more attracted to other luxury automakers once their products hit the market. Cannon also suggests that the current infrastructure isn't up to maintaining and fueling electric vehicles, in particularly Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the 'whole network' to put customers minds' at ease. Sounds like fighting words to me. Hey Mercedes, where's your Model S competitor?" There is a reason that Jim Rogers drove around the world in a Mercedes.

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360 comments

Yeah? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782813)

From the summary, it seems like they are valid criticisms at the moment. I hope tesla grows and becomes a big player, but both those points seem like they'll need to be addressed as they progress.

Re:Yeah? (5, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46783437)

The simple fact is, for the moment Tesla is an expensive car but not a luxury car. It gets the smooth ride part right, thanks to the non-reciprocating motor and no gearshifts to manage, and that's great, but compared to a similarly piced Merc or Lexus it's lacking (and at the unsubsidized price, where the S-Class lives, it's embarrassing).

But that being said, Tesla company-wise is like nothing the industry has ever seen. They keep improving cars they've already sold. No one does that. Many of the "luxury features" on a luxury car aren't actually very expensive, they're just a matter of seeking every possible improvement, from better window laminates to keep the car cool in the sun, to a slightly better feel to the sun visor when you swing it thanks to not using the cheapest possible part. I'd bet that Tesla will catch up fast - I've never seen such rapid incremental improvement in a model line in my life.

While some features do add a bunch to the cost of the car, I think Tesla, thanks to it's top-notch ride, could be fine alongside the E-Class / GS / Dozen or so other cars in it's price range in just a few years, of Tesla's rate of improvement continues. Unsurprisingly I guess to us geeks, they take a software-company view of "1000 incremental improvements? no problem, here's how we'll roll em out" that may leave the execs at Mercedes et al wondering what hit them.

Re:Yeah? (5, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#46783555)

Some of them are sort of valid, but not relevant in practice. For example, it's true that Tesla's current service infrastructure can't handle high demands... but that's because the infrastructure is sized for the current customer base. Building a service infrastructure that can handle many more customers than you actually have is a waste of money, and it's completely unnecessary so long as you continue to scale that infrastructure as you grow.

the New Mercedes Pooh-Pooh (5, Funny)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 3 months ago | (#46782823)

what review did Eeyore give it?

Re:the New Mercedes Pooh-Pooh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782855)

a rather depressing one.

Re:the New Mercedes Pooh-Pooh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783045)

better than poo-poo

Re:the New Mercedes Pooh-Pooh (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 3 months ago | (#46783263)

I don't know but Piglet was quoted as saying "This thing is the poo-poo!"

translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782827)

We came years late to the party, but we're still relevant. In fact we're still the king. LONG LIVE THE KING.

Re:translation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783027)

In what universe do you live in that Mercedes is not relevant? Mercedes sold nearly 10 times as many cars in the US alone than Tesla sold their Model S worldwide. Tesla's a bit player.

Newsflash (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782839)

Exec tries to sell more of his own product. More at 11.

Re:Newsflash (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783081)

Tries? They outsell Tesla by nearly a 60:1.

Headline is crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782841)

...seriously...

Myopic viewpoint (5, Insightful)

ckhorne (940312) | about 3 months ago | (#46782861)

As long as you look at the world as it is now and don't account for a fast moving tech world, I suppose his viewpoint is correct.

In the same vein, around 2004 or so, smart phones would have appeared "limited" because the cell and wifi infrastructure didn't exist. Yet, in 10 years, the supply has met the demand (well, arguably), and now smart phones are ubiquitous.

Or it could just be sour grapes.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46782983)

He has a valid point. Tesla only has one product. If they fail, the owners of those wild no longer have service plans or warranties. As much as Mercedes may or may not suck, they are definitely not going out of business any time soon. If you're spending $70k on a car and your options are between the two companies I could definitely see the appeal in sticking with a tried and true brand.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (2)

JWW (79176) | about 3 months ago | (#46783049)

Personally, looking at Tesla, how the company is run and the products they make, I predict that within the next 20 years Tesla will sell more cars per year than Mercedes.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (2, Interesting)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 3 months ago | (#46783215)

Personally, looking at Tesla, how the company is run and the products they make, I predict that within the next 20 years Tesla will sell more cars per year than Mercedes.

Mercedes has cars in multiple price ranges and doesn't have range issues (gas stations everywhere).

Until Telsa can figure out how to get the pricing down and sell cars near the $30,000.00 (or equivalent) price point AND increase the range AND have near ubiquitous fueling stops (supercharge stations) it's highly unlikely....

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46783637)

When big established manufacturers (Think Honda, Toyota, GM and Ford) build electric vehicles, prices are bound to come down. Even more so when patents on battery technologies expire / gas prices get higher. Until then, Hybrids are the best compromise.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (4, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#46783681)

Tesla also plans to have cars in multiple price ranges; it sounds like they plan to have three within the next few years (the Model S, the Model E, and the Model X, and yes I realize the pun they built into the model names, they also trademarked "Model Y"). One of them, the Model E, is going to target that $30k price point (at least after rebates), although the reports are that the range will be in the 200-250 mile range rather than the 300-350 that their current top-end cars get.

In terms of increasing the range, that should improve gradually over time as the cost of battery cells go down. That was the point of the $5 billion dollar GigaFactory that they're building, to reduce the cost of lithium ion cells. The primary goal of that is to reduce the cost enough to hit the Model E's price target, but it also has the benefit of enabling higher ranges in the luxury cars where they can spend more money on the battery, albeit at the expense of weight. I know that they're working on longer-term solutions to improve range. They got some patents recently that relate to combining metal air batteries with lithium ion batteries in a hybrid power solution designed to circumvent some of the limitations of metal air batteries (they have the potential for higher densities, but have poor cycle life), although that stuff is a rather long way off.

In terms of ubiquitous fueling stops, they're working in that direction. They're hitting a steady pace building new stations, and by the end of 2015 should have most use cases covered between home-charging overnight and superchargers for distance drives. Automated battery swaps may help too.

Their success isn't a sure thing, but they're definitely making progress towards solving the problems.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about 3 months ago | (#46783457)

Maybe. But then as with other new players in various industries, the new players often end up being the R&D teams for the longer established businesses. When Tesla finally get close to the sweet spot of making money and having ironed out all the kinks, every other car company with deeper pockets and already established service centres, etc, can jump in and drown Tesla at the bottom of the pool.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46783653)

Tesla could do what Lexus did, and focus on customer service. Besides, they already have a head-start...

Re:Myopic viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783729)

Are you one of the people who've been telling us that M$ is going to go belly up at any moment too? That every little flaw was the nail in the coffin?
 
Benz has nothing to worry about as long as Tesla is offering a car for 80k that is the equivalent in terms of power and luxury as a 30k Ford. That's not going to change anytime soon. I recall how Saturn was a revolutionary in customer service and car ownership for their price range 20 years ago too. Just look how they took off... Opps! Did I say that out loud?
 
Tesla has some great ideas. They made pretty good strides in the right direction. But make no mistake, if any large auto maker gets serious about making electric autos, Tesla will be a footnote in automotive history in 20 years instead.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783773)

Personally, looking at Tesla, how the company is run and the products they make, I predict that within the next 20 years Tesla will sell more cars per year than Mercedes.

I wouldn't bet more than you can afford to lose on your above claim.

Mercedes is a real vehicle company. They make cars, many models of truck, and though you probably
don't know anything about it, Mercedes also makes the power unit which is incredibly dominant
in this year's Formula 1 series. Mercedes has a depth of engineering expertise that Tesla can only dream
of having.

Tesla makes toy cars which are fashion statements for people who can afford to waste money
on that sort of thing. Tesla is a con job. It is a bunch of laptop batteries stuck in a Lotus chassis
and it is a TOY, not a car which can actually be used to go anywhere in the world. A Tesla is a cool
toy, but at the end of the day a toy is all it is. And idealists who know nothing about the real world of
engineering embrace toys. People who actually know something about vehicles know better.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46783179)

If you're spending $70k on a car and your options are between the two companies I could definitely see the appeal in sticking with a tried and true brand.

The thing is, as more and more people buy the $70,000 car, Tesla can start mass producing cheaper models as well. When my truck completely wears out in about 5-7 more years or so, I would certainly consider buying a Tesla if they have a model costing around $35k. As they are able to reach potential customers at the lower price points their brand will grow. Tesla isn't DeLorean, is much more practical than SmartCar, and has much better asthetics than any other electric car out there today. I think the company has legs.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783765)

5-7 years? You're living in a dreamland if you think that Telsa will be able to offer something like a Model S for less than half the price in 5-7 years. They haven't budged a dime in three model years despite their successes. What makes you think they're going to cut prices like that?
 
As much as Slahdotters want to hail them as revolutionaries the fact is that they're a business and as long as the Model S sells for 80k they're going to keep on asking 80k for it.
 
Of course, there are electronic autos in your price range today but if you're such a fanboy that you can't suffer to drive anything but a Tesla I'm afraid you're going to be buying another ICE in 5-7 years. My guess is that Tesla won't be around long enough to make it to the mass market at the kind of price point that you're willing to pay for.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (2, Funny)

mojo-raisin (223411) | about 3 months ago | (#46783809)

It will happen in 4 years. Bury your head in the oil, petrol-boy, if you want to ignore the Tesla EV onslaught.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (4, Insightful)

deroby (568773) | about 3 months ago | (#46783325)

I once thought the same thing about SAAB....
(except for the 'they suck' part off course)

Re:Myopic viewpoint (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#46783583)

Musk has personally guaranteed the resale value of the Model S against any comparable luxury sedan. The "personally" part meaning that if Tesla goes out of business, he will still honour that guarantee. I presume that means if you sell it and are unable to get the guaranteed value, he'll make up the difference. As a result, if Tesla were to go bankrupt, you could avoid the liability by immediately selling your Tesla car and relying on the guarantee to avoid losing money on the deal. Of course, if ALL of his companies go under, you could still be in a fix, but this isn't 2008, and he's not strapped for cash.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#46783071)

Or it could just be sour grapes.

Of course it is. Mercedes missed the boat, despite trying to be cutting edge (e.g. with the F1 engines). Tesla came out of nowhere and made the best car in Mercedes' traditional market, the luxury sedan class. They are so far ahead Mercedes are years away from even producing something comparable to the Model S.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783557)

Tesla's progress as a startup in the automotive industry has been remarkable. No one will deny that.

But let's not kid ourselves. Practical electric cars are still in their infancy. When the time is right, the big car companies have the capability to decimate Tesla's market share. Like it or not, the old, big car companies know how to make cars efficiently (and profitably, usually), and they won't have much trouble at all switching to electric drivetrains when they deem the demand for electric cars is sufficient.

This doesn't mean I don't think Tesla will be successful, but I do think more people will start to question their sky-high market capitalization when they have serious competition.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783843)

Tesla came out of nowhere and made the best car in Mercedes' traditional market, the luxury sedan class. They are so far ahead Mercedes are years away from even producing something comparable to the Model S.

Clearly you have escaped an asylum.

Come along with the orderlies, we have some Thorazine
which will calm you down nicely, and then we will take you to a comfortable
room with padded walls where you can stay until your hallucinations subside.

Re:Myopic viewpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783665)

1: A 2004 Smartphone was $1,000; financed or not, it's no $30,000 Tesla Car.

2: Your smartphone fails, you're inconvenienced. Your car fails, your life is interrupted and you're either stranded, dead or cannot get to work.

3: Also, Erecting a Tower, Installing an Antenna, and running some cable to it is a FAR less complex a job then Re-Engineering the electric infrastructure around an alternative source of energy which we do not have.

4: Most importantly of all, Smartphones never had government subsidies on them.

History will show once those subsidies stop, that Tesla was a novel concept but the technology used was too primitive.

Ghandi said... (5, Insightful)

Roxoff (539071) | about 3 months ago | (#46782863)

"First They ignore you, Then they laugh at you, Then they fight you, Then you win."

I think this looks a bit like Mercedes laughing at Tesla...

Re:Ghandi said... (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#46782911)

"First They ignore you, Then they laugh at you, Then they fight you, Then you win."

I think this looks a bit like Mercedes laughing at Tesla...

These days the big players know about Ghandi's saying, and attempt to do an end run around it:

First they ignore you in public, fight you in private, and spend millions on lobbyists to prevent you from getting off the ground.
Then they start suing for patent infringement/Trade infringement/whatever and possibly attempt to buy you out and bury your technology.
If you survive, then you win. For the past 60 years, nobody's really got this far in the US, other than Japanese and Korean automakers, who played by the rules and became just like the US automakers.

Re:Ghandi said... (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 months ago | (#46783103)

And their next step is to start aggressively push cars such as their future B-Class EVs. It's not as if Mercedes is standing still and doing nothing.

Re:Ghandi said... (4, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 3 months ago | (#46783489)

Exactly. This is basically Mercedes FUD.

"Well, yeah, I suppose the Teslas are nice cars and all but what if they break down? What if Tesla goes out of business? Who will you find to fix your $80,000 car then? If you're in the market for an electric car, you should probably wait until next year when we'll have our electric cars out and you can take it to your trusted Mercedes mechanic rather than having to deal with some fly-by-night company..."

By the way, I took a look at the B-class Mercedes. It may just be me, but I'm not a big fan of the Tesla Model S' styling. That said, the Mercedes B class is just plain ugly.

I'm laughing at Mercedes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783587)

Let's see. instant acceleration. very few moving parts to break down, i guess the battery will wear out in a hundred thousand miles, but a robot can swap in a new battery. a very quiet engine at highway speeds. no expensive gasoline. refueling anywhere there is electricity. under $100 thousand. Mercedes' cars are known for breaking down... i think mercedes is screwed.

Wait a second... (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 3 months ago | (#46782873)

Didn't they invest in Tesla a while back, including a joint venture for the electric B-class?

Re:Wait a second... (5, Informative)

confused one (671304) | about 3 months ago | (#46782925)

yes, yes they did. Mercedes released a Euro B-class car using a drive train jointly developed by and supplied by Tesla. In addition, Mercedes is reported to be buying batteries for other projects from Tesla. Me thinks the Mercedes salesman is trying to protect his sales numbers and trying too hard to not look behind the curtain.

Re:Wait a second... (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 months ago | (#46783133)

To look behind what curtain? The one that saw their worldwide sales in 2013 increase by 10.7% and a 14% growth rate in the US? Yeah, I'm sure hems quaking in his boots.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#46783107)

They supply steering wheels for the Model S.

So they have some insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783781)

So you're saying they have some insight ...

what does jim rogers have to do with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782901)

That was a weird link to Jim Rogers website and the reminder about what web sites looked like around the millennium. Why add that?

Re:what does jim rogers have to do with this? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 months ago | (#46783147)

He did a round-the-world trip in a Mercedes.

Re:what does jim rogers have to do with this? (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 3 months ago | (#46783619)

TFS (or rather the editor's two cents) didn't state the reason for picking a Mercedes. I think GP is asking why that comment was added there -- I don't really get it myself. Why would he ride around the world in a Mercedes first of all, and second of all, why is it relevant to an article that is talking about electric cars? As far as I can tell, they drove a 3 liter gas guzzler.

Inaccurate llabel for the round-the-world car (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 months ago | (#46782909)

Calling that vehicle a Mercedes is like relating a Ford Trimotor to a Model T. Sure they have some parts in common but it is not even remotely close to something you can pick up at a local dealership.

Re:Inaccurate llabel for the round-the-world car (0)

turp182 (1020263) | about 3 months ago | (#46783419)

If Mercedes made it then it is a Mercedes. In fact, classic car one-offs (demo models, proof of concept, etc.) are highly sought after and can sell for millions of dollars (Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, AZ is a good one, I've been to that one, it was awesome - didn't do any shopping, and it was only a couple of miles from where I lived).

It certainly isn't a production model, and who would want that ugly trailer, 'tis an abomination.

Manufacturer is derogatory of competitor. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#46782919)

This is news?

That's okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46782927)

Who wants a Mercedes anyways? That's old tech. Make mine a Tesla!

(well, someday, when I have the money...)

Leverage the dealer network? (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46782939)

Have any of them actually dealt with a stealership in the last 50 years? (Only reason I get near them, is dealer only parts.)

Seriously; telling me to not buy a Tesla because I'll miss out on the dealership is like telling me not to...drawing a blank...no analogies are bad enough. Anybody?...lets skip the prison rape ones.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (4, Funny)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#46783031)

don't give up on smoking, you'll miss out on the cancer.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783039)

The last time I went to a stealership to have my car serviced was around 2005... I had to bring it in for PA state inspection, and they told me I had a headlight out. I didn't think I did, but I said whatever and told them to replace it.

"Genuine" factory headlight part was $57 and 0.8 hours of book labor at $110/hr, total of about $160 with tax to replace a $10 light bulb.

I haven't been back to a stealership for anything since.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 3 months ago | (#46783089)

Yeah, but how often do you purchase a brand new luxury car? Anyone who does that is essentially flushing $10,000+ dollars down the drain the instant they drive their car off the lot. What's a few thousand here or there after that?

This is a guy running Mercedes, so that's his point of reference.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46783293)

Granted nobody who replies to this thread is his target demo. There is a difference between making more and keeping more.

I've heard stories (from the dealership side, i.e. you won't believe the chutzpa on Frank.) about finance guys writing up $45K trade-ins as $450 value and chumps not reading the contracts before signing them. Gotta wounder how they got their money in the first place...

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46783117)

I got one
"lets skip the prison rape ones."
oh, never mind.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783169)

Exactly. Since the Republicans took over nearly 90% of the big three dealers, they have done nothing but steal. There's a reason progressives use the term stealerships to describe these horrific dens of right ring beliefs. If this country was fair, political parties would be divorced from car dealerships. Instead, we even have Republicans lording over GM. Obama tried to help them with a bail-out, but all that happened is they forced Obama to give the company to Republicans. They used our money to steal GM from the shareholders. Now, the Volt has stagnated. That was the best hope we had for being allowed to own a decent vehicle in this country. Now, the Republicans have made sure that it is no better than it was when they stole GM from the shareholders. This is what happens in a country that is ruled completely by the 1%. When it gets warmer, occupy will again grow.

Re:Leverage the dealer network? (4, Funny)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 months ago | (#46783597)

Seriously; telling me to not buy a Tesla because I'll miss out on the dealership is like telling me not to...drawing a blank...no analogies are bad enough. Anybody?

If only there were a car analogy for this situation...

Mercedes FUD (1)

Prien715 (251944) | about 3 months ago | (#46782941)

Can't make a better product? Try FUD (TM) for all your business needs!

Unfortunately, IBM or Microsoft probably have a business method patent on it.

*ducks to avoid flying chair*

Re:Mercedes FUD (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46783707)

Ballmer works at Mercedes?

Tesla needs just a few more things (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46782961)

Tesla has made an electric vehicle that doesn't make anyone with a sense of style want to puke, and that's a very good thing, but there's just a handful of things they need to do, IMO, to really knock the ball out of the park for electric cars:

1) One needs to be able to charge it quickly, perhaps with an upper limit of about 10 minutes or so, sufficiently to go approximately as far as one could expect go on a tank of gas in a typical car of today. I would not expect to be able to charge it this quickly on conventional house current... it probably would require a dedicated type of charging circuit. But this would make recharging a car at such places not significantly more time consuming than filling up a car with gas, and would make owning an electric vehicle vastly more convenient than it currently is.

2) Charging infrastructure needs to be ubquitous, so that if you can drive there in a regular vehicle, you should be able to get there and back in your electric car as well.

3) The pricing structure for an electric car should be comparable to that of an otherwise similarly equipped gas-powered vehicle... and should not carry a premium cost that is almost equivalent to buying an additional automobile. Making them affordable, in addition to the other two points, will mean that there's no reason for people not to drive one.

If or when Tesla, or any electric vehicle manufacturer, can hit all three of the above points, I'd dare say that the writing will finally be on the wall for the age of gasoline, and I think electric cars could outnumber gasoline vehicles on the road within a decade.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (3, Interesting)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#46783085)

from a previous story, how would you handle the quick charging of electric vehicles en masse? In the power grid's current form, this would probably end less than well. It'll be a long while until gasoline is so expensive that updating the power grid to handle electric cars makes sense.

(IMHO) It's more likely that we'll see cars that become increasingly lighter, more fuel efficient, more hybridized (or similar to the volt in drivetrain).

but the pure electric car isn't going to be ready until a) massive updates to the power grid b) swappable batteries c) battery tech that lets cars go 500-1000 miles on a charge.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46783195)

You put big honking (flow) batteries at the charge station. So you only run 0000 gauge wire from the station battery to the car battery.

The charge station battery recharges at 400V 3 phase.

Rotten kids will roll soda cans under cars while charging. Just to see the fireworks. They will try to ban aluminum containers before figuring out rotten kid proof connectors.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (3, Funny)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#46783381)

those are called 'condoms'?

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (1)

guru42101 (851700) | about 3 months ago | (#46783447)

IMO the solution is to change it from charging the battery to swapping out the battery. The problem then is having a standardized battery configuration/connection and we all know how well standards go. The station can then charge for the electricity and expenses, including an amount to cover the occasional battery replacement.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#46783749)

Tesla has plans to add automated battery-swap stations to some of their superchargers. They've already demonstrated the swaps in a controlled environment (they put a battery swap station under a stage, drove a car on stage, swapped the battery, drove it off, drove another on, swapped it, drove it off), although it may have just been taking the battery off and putting the same one back on. All sedans they've sold to date are designed for battery swaps, and they plan to cost it out as an equivalent to what gasoline costs in the local market.

In terms of reducing peak loads on the grid, they do have plans to combine grid storage with solar panels (how convenient, Musk has SolarCity building solar deployments and Tesla building battery factories), with the goal of having the superchargers produce more power than they consume.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (4, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | about 3 months ago | (#46783227)

1. While Tesla may not be able to charge in 10 minutes, they have been aggressively rolling out rapid charging with their superchargers. In their cross country trip they spent 20% of their time charging. In the next month or so they will be rolling out battery swapping between the Bay Area and LA. That takes about 90 seconds. When I drove to Reno from the Bay Area I stopped in Folsom long enough to get a burger. By the time I was done I had plenty of range to reach Reno. The hotel I stayed at had an RV park as well where I was able to plug in.

2. The charging infrastructure is filling out quickly. Regular J1772 chargers are popping up everywhere. Furthermore, the Tesla model S comes with a charging adapter allowing charging at any NEMA 14-50 50A outlet which is quite common at RV parks as well as a 110v plug (which is almost useless since 110v charges so slow).

3. The Tesla model S is priced similarly to other cars in its class. The model E is planned to be priced to cars similarly.

Generally the charging time is not an issue. It takes me 5 seconds to plug in at night and 5 seconds to unplug in the morning. Basically I have a full charge every day (or in my case about 70% since it's easier on the battery).

The existing and planned supercharger stations are shown at http://www.teslamotors.com/sup... [teslamotors.com]

They're first focusing on the major transportation corridors before branching out further. By the end of next year most of the US should be covered unless you're traveling off the beaten path. With the model X going in to production next year I expect them to add more chargers in more out of the way places. Tesla is also releasing an adapter for ChaDeMo and will release an adapter for the combo plug if and when it starts to be deployed (Tesla's signalling is already compatible with the combo plug).

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783249)

you need to go to their website and get just a few bits more informed before spewing garbage. just say'n

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (1)

mybecq (131456) | about 3 months ago | (#46783321)

So, in other words, make an electric car that has all the convenience of a gasoline car at the same price. Genius.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (2)

Livius (318358) | about 3 months ago | (#46783423)

But a Tesla can be still viable in the short term, just not a complete transportation solution. For example, if a few times a year you expect to make a trip where there might not recharging facilities, just rent a car those few times.

Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (2)

rsborg (111459) | about 3 months ago | (#46783883)

Tesla has made an electric vehicle that doesn't make anyone with a sense of style want to puke, and that's a very good thing, but there's just a handful of things they need to do, IMO, to really knock the ball out of the park for electric cars:

[... list of things that emphasize gas car and petroleum distribution benefits over electrics ...]

If or when Tesla, or any electric vehicle manufacturer, can hit all three of the above points, I'd dare say that the writing will finally be on the wall for the age of gasoline, and I think electric cars could outnumber gasoline vehicles on the road within a decade.

Here's a similar list of things that was "common wisdom" for other disruptive technologies:

1) iPads (and tablets in general) will dominate over PCs once they solve the printing and windows compatibility problem (reality: even the latest tablets suck for these tasks, but PCs are in decline while tablets sales are set to overtake overall PC sales).
2) Apple would dominate if they ever provide a mid-tower customizable Mac. (reality: Apple owns the $1000+ market for PCs and laptops, and their PC business is more profitable than the next three PC manufacturers combined)
3) How can a smartphone without a keyboard succeed? Why would anyone buy one? (reality: 99% of smartphones today have on-screen keyboards)

Common wisdom is myopic. Your points in general are all things that we enjoy today, but many folks would gladly give up one or all three of those current benefits for a car that can be bought without going to a dealer, accelerates like a bat out of hell and is smooth and silent and gets OTA software updates and support. Tesla intended to disrupt the market and looks like they're doing so very well.

Mercedes shouldn't talk. (5, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 3 months ago | (#46783041)

"...Tesla's stores and go-to servicing can't handle high demands. Naturally he said Mercedes has the "whole network" to put customers minds' at ease."

Yes, I feel so much more at ease knowing there is an entire network of highly trained and certified rip-off artists across the country ready to turn my $35,000 Mercedes into a $60,000 pain-in-the-ass when it breaks down and needs to visit a "certified" repair shop.

"There is a reason that Jim Rogers drove around the world in a Mercedes."

Uh, yeah, a one-of-a-kind purpose-built Mercedes counts about as much as an army tank in this discussion. If you want to make claims about traversing the globe, impress me with an actual product demonstration, not a bullshit one. I would hope one would be able to traverse the globe in a custom-built vehicle that likely exceeded $500K in total costs, regardless of who built it.

Re:Mercedes shouldn't talk. (2)

fishybell (516991) | about 3 months ago | (#46783203)

BMW R1150GS Adventure [wikipedia.org]

Re:Mercedes shouldn't talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783337)

According to that link, those brand new customized BMWs broke down multiple times. At the least the final gear in the shaft drive didn't blow on ayn of them, as they were prone to do on that drivetrain.

Re:Mercedes shouldn't talk. (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 3 months ago | (#46783229)

What Mercedes did you but for $35K? In the US there are only a couple of models that start that low. I spend about $5K a year on service and tires. Anything other than routine service is under warranty. It's actually pretty reasonable for an $85K car.

Re:Mercedes shouldn't talk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783627)

>Anything other than routine service is under warranty.

At $5K a year for service and tires (I mean, holy $#!+!), I should bloody well hope so.

Jim Rogers is a fucking lightweight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783849)

Here [argentinaalaska.com] 's a whole family (yes, kids and all) that has travelled the world in a mostly stock 1928 Graham Paige [wikipedia.org] .

Jim Rogers wasn't brave enough to do the same thing unless he spent a million bucks on a ridiculous custom built SUV first. What a joke.

Hmmm (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 3 months ago | (#46783061)

Maybe the relationship is over and Mercedes is feeling a little bitter?

Re:Hmmm (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 3 months ago | (#46783547)

Maybe the relationship is over and Mercedes is feeling a little bitter?

What Mercedes needs is a non-committal rebound relationship with a cute exotic Asian carmaker.

They seem to be questioning their identity, so maybe a discrete hook-up with a Tata Daewoo ladyboy?

Sour Grapes (1)

turgid (580780) | about 3 months ago | (#46783091)

Like, about a million years ago or something [wikipedia.org] .

Times change, the world moves on.

Squeeze This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783197)

I don't know about anyone else, but I can absolutely say with certainty that I hate having my balls squeezed at the gas pump every time I go to fill up my gas guzzling piece of crap van by these greedy bastards casually price fixing every gallon. My money would be all in with Tesla, [if I had money], not some other ball busting corporation that can't get its head out of its ass.

Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783221)

He drives around the world just to get his stupid name on the record books. I bet when he gets home, he just leaves the car running because what does he care about waste or the environment. Sounds like a selfish asshole to me...and thank you Slashdot for promoting shit like him.

Re:Waste (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46783301)

He drives around the world just to get his stupid name on the record books.

Nah, look at the kind of books he has written. He probably did this so he can make money on the speaking circuit.

Where is your model S competitor... (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 3 months ago | (#46783261)

Here are several in various price ranges.

http://www5.mercedes-benz.com/... [mercedes-benz.com]

Re:Where is your model S competitor... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46783335)

That B-class electirc drive looks hideous. That's why Tesla is getting a lot of notice right now. Their cars actually have style to them, not just the generic electric/hybrid look.

Re:Where is your model S competitor... (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 3 months ago | (#46783477)

If you want style you buy the S class. The B class is supposed to be an affordable econobox.

Re:Where is your model S competitor... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 3 months ago | (#46783545)

If you want style you buy the S class. The B class is supposed to be an affordable econobox.

That's the point though. People have shown they want affordable to also look good. That is why the road isn't covered with Priuses and SmartCars. I really think Tesla will be the first company to actually combine affordable, hybrid/electric, and asthetically pleasing. This is the modern day equivalent of Ford saying people can have the Model T in any color they want so long as it's black; the car manufacturers are saying you can have any cheap electric car as long as it looks like that.

Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bill. (5, Interesting)

Geoffrey Shmigelsky (3620279) | about 3 months ago | (#46783409)

My transmission on a Mercedes 2011 GLK SUV just died. The repair cost is $12,000, its almost not worth repairing.

Unfortunately its not covered by warranty - cut off at 80,000 km, we have 83,000 km.

Ironically, just this afternoon I spent 30 minutes on the phone with Tesla to discussing ordering my replacement vehicle. Needless to say:

New Mercedes cancelled.
New Tesla imminent.


Will be here in July.

Maybe Mercedes should focus of the reliability of their transmissions vs focusing on competitors. I will never buy another Mercedes - ever.

PS: You would think having purchased 4 vehicles from Mercedes and plans for another, that would mean something. But you would be wrong. Their side of the story - we were late for our Series A service - hence tough luck.

Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 3 months ago | (#46783527)

Thats why all my services are pre-paid and I have an extended warranty. Paying for the service visits in advance saved me about 40%.

Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 3 months ago | (#46783723)

So let me get this straight. Mercedes expects their cars to crap out nearly the moment they drive off the lot and they will happily sell you a subsidy to cover their cost on a warranting the vehicle you purchased? Holy sh*t that's quite a business model, sign me up!.

Re:Switching from Mercedes to Tesla after $12K bil (1)

mojo-raisin (223411) | about 3 months ago | (#46783769)

Ha. That really rocks.

I'm saving up for a cheaper Tesla model (or used Model S) in 2017. If my Audi makes it that long. The automatic transmission sometimes forgets which gear it's in, and can't shift anymore. As Teslas are single gear-direct drive, they don't have that problem.

Congrats!

Allow Me To Translate That! (5, Insightful)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 3 months ago | (#46783425)

What he really should have said is all automakers are frightened to death by Tesla and embarrassed beyond all bounds that they did not create Tesla's products. Obviously there is a conspiracy afoot to stop Tesla in its tracks as every state that Tesla sells in has suits claiming that they should not be allowed to exist. The industry is reacting as if Tesla had invented a car that could run for free on a drop of water. The powers that be see the handwriting on the wall and they are have a fit.

Re:Allow Me To Translate That! (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 3 months ago | (#46783757)

You always know who someone's competitors are by whom they attack and the measure of how threatened they feel by how aggressive and unscrupulous they do so.

Doesn't get it (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#46783435)

Once players such as Mercedes and Porsche enter the luxury electric vehicle market, he questions whether Tesla will be able to maintain its current, growing success.

Tesla isn't aiming to be in the luxury market. They will be gradually reducing the price of new models until they are affordable for non-rich people. If Tesla can deliver a superior product for less than a Merc where do you think consumers will go?

So Mercedes is moving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783507)

So Mercedes is moving from the "then they laugh at you" to the "then they fight you" stage? Or is it from the "first they ignore you" to the "then they laugh at you" stage?

If the latter, that sounds like nervous laughter.

Too Pretty to Replace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783535)

Apparently, that's their impression [oxbowwagon...oaches.com] .

The simple notion that it a "station charger" for a Teslas is impossible - and adaptable from existing tech - is really too ignorant to bear further comment [youtube.com] .

He can talk the talk.... (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 3 months ago | (#46783551)

This would be hard to take seriously even if it wasn't peppered with so many canned marketing buzzwords. Even if another automaker manages to outdo Tesla (highly unlikely at the rate they are going), it will only be because Tesla blazed the trail that terrifies the existing automakers so much that they wouldn't venture it even when GM had a perfectly good all-electric vehicle over two freaking decades ago. I hope Tesla buries all of them, and Mercedes would be a good start.

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783553)

Pretty sure a little negative spin isn't going to hurt electric cars much.

He should be nervous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46783625)

Mercedes should be nervous. After all, Tesla is probably the only automobile company who's CEO has his own private ICBM factory.

(Okay, technically the Space-X Falcon series are launchers, not ICBMs. Tomayto, tomahto.)

Missing context.... (4, Interesting)

ianm.phil (1140173) | about 3 months ago | (#46783667)

New Mercedes electric minivan has a Tesla touch
Apr 17 2014, 08:04 ET

        Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) has started production of an electric B-class minivan.
        Tesla Motors (TSLA) is providing the 28kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor for the line.
        The model will go on sale this summer in the U.S.

http://seekingalpha.com/news/1... [seekingalpha.com]

Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (3, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#46783701)

These guys were having pissing contest about 0 to 60 mph times. Fighting for fractions of seconds. Both companies were making engines bigger and bigger in an effort to shave a few milliseconds. They have gone far beyond the point of marginal returns. Their hot rods were merely some skin strapped on to these enormous engines.

Not a single one of them thought of adding an electric motor to go from 0 to 2 mph.Going from 2 mph to 60 using IC engines would be a cinch. They could reduce the weight of the engine, they did not have to engneer them to have enough torque at the low end to get the car off to start. The optimization curves will be totally different, and they could have gotten whole seconds shaved off. Like Tesla showed them when it debuted.

They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s. They know how well electric motors work as traction motors. We are not talking about battery cars, electric cars or even hybrids. Simple lead-acid battery with enough juice to pull the car from rest to 2mph may be five times. Total battery capacity less than half a mile of range. This they could have done back in the 1960s. They could have had the bragging rights on the quarter mile time and 0 to 60 time pissing contests. But no. They did not think of strapping a small motor to remove the low end torque requirement in their ic engines.

They were very straight jacketed think with in the box conformists. May be these mechanical engineers hated the electrical engineers and did not want them anywhere near their crown jewel the power train of the automobile.

I bought my first Mercedes... (1)

MadMartigan2001 (766552) | about 3 months ago | (#46783857)

about 7 years ago; SLK 350. It was plagued with lots of electrical problems and a few mechanical issues. It was fun to drive, but I will never buy another Mercedes again. Simply not worth the money. I would definitely consider buying a Tesla if I was in the market for a car like that.
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