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Elon Musk Promises 100,000 Electric Cars Per Year

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Transportation 122

Dave Knott sends this news from the CBC: Tesla stock was up five per cent on Friday morning after CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car company would deliver 100,000 vehicles next year. Its earnings report released Thursday shows Tesla continues to operate at a loss as it spends on engineering and setting up an assembly line for its Model X SUV, which is scheduled to go into production early next year. But investors were cheered by the news that the company would deliver 100,000 vehicles next year, up from 22,000 in 2013 and a projected 35,000 this year. Tesla reported a loss of $61.9 million in its second quarter, compared with a loss of $30.5 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue nearly doubled to $769.3 million, missing Wall Street's forecast of $801.9 million, but expenses were also up as Tesla prepares some ambitious projects, spending $93 million in the quarter on research and development alone. While the Model X is in development, the longer-term plan is for a cheaper, mass-market car, the Model 3, to be launched in 2017. The biggest investment Tesla will make is in its large lithium-ion production plant, to be built at an as-yet-unnamed U.S. location in a $5-billion partnership with Panasonic.

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gigafactory location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584413)

  I thought the Gigafactory was going to be built outside Reno....

Re:gigafactory location (1)

Megane (129182) | about 4 months ago | (#47584551)

Officially they have "broken ground" at Reno, though they have not yet confirmed that they are actually going to put the gigafactory there. I have also been thinking for a few months that it is going to be built there.

http://jalopnik.com/tesla-basi... [jalopnik.com]

Re:gigafactory location (4, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47584641)

Speculation is that the Reno groundbreaking might simply be a ploy to cause some other states to provide a greater incentive for them to relocate -- and that lacking that, Reno is their fallback.

Re:gigafactory location (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#47586063)

Nope. That is one of two POSSIBLE locations.

Invisible Hand of the Market (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584419)

Seeing this kind of capital investment seems to indicate that there may be some barriers to enter the market. The free market may not be so free nor easy to enter as some would have us believe.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584499)

You honestly think the auto industry is a free market?
 
There are tons of morons around here who like to throw around that term but don't seem to have any idea what it means.
 
I fail to think of a single industry with any real pull in the American market place that isn't run through at least a few government regulatory entities.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (4, Insightful)

Wookact (2804191) | about 4 months ago | (#47585247)

I fail to think of a single industry with any real pull in the American market place that isn't run through at least a few government regulatory entities.

Good, I can't think of a single industry that wouldn't fsck things all up if they weren't being watched.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585387)

Fine. As long as you stop calling it "capitalism" or "the free market."

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47586283)

If the commodities exchanges aren't "free markets", the term is meaningless. "Free market" does not mean unregulated - never has except in strawmen - it means the government isn't mucking with pricing, nor giving preference to some buyers or sellers.

"Capitalism" only means that you can aquire the means of production by spending money, instead of by political influence, military adventure, or the like.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586615)

"Free market" does not mean unregulated - never has except in strawmen - it means the government isn't mucking with pricing, nor giving preference to some buyers or sellers.

Not that simple. Every regulation affects pricing, albeit indirectly and so every regulation picks winners. e.g. many regulations try to pick the honest over the dishonest. The way I'd put it is that regulation tries to favour those who compete positively (e.g. bringing themselves up by improving the product, cheapening production etc.) versus those who compete negatively (e.g. bringing the competition down with fraudulent advertising or deliberate incompatibility). Regulations are a very blunt instrument but it does work, sort of.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (1)

BoberFett (127537) | about 4 months ago | (#47587083)

Unfortunately, regulation intended to pick the honest quite commonly does exactly the opposite. Those with the connections to get away with being dishonest can do so while those playing by the rules get screwed.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585683)

That doesn't offset my point at all. It's still not a free market and as long as people like the twat OP keeps running around screaming "free market" anytime an industry is mentioned that he may or may not like I'm going to confront them over it.
 
People who want to discuss business and industry need to understand that the government had just as much a hand in the current goings on as anyone else. Sadly people here want to make it seem like business runs around with a free hand while the government are meek victims, whipped into submission. I'll say it to the end; You can't buy what isn't for sale.
 
For the most part, people look for government solutions when someone around here moans about "the free market." The truth of the matter is that the government is part of the market.

Re: Invisible Hand of the Market (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586073)

Preventing F-ups is not the role of regulation. That is propoganda. Congress delegates regulatory powers to regulators so they can make up rules without political consequences, as well as make rulings without the inconvience of courts with their rules, and most importantly fine deep pockets without recourse as a non- legislated tax

Case in point. The recent liquidity crisis was caused by government fiscal and monetary policy, but because there is no recourse against government with sovereign immunity, they balmed the very banks they liquified , regulated to death, and ordered to issue easy qualify securitized loans. They keep the fines for slush funds not return them to "harmed" parties.

BTW we are the sovereigns, nit them. The Constitution tells me so snd does not empower a single regulator, but warns against them!!

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (0)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 4 months ago | (#47586237)

You honestly think the auto industry is a free market? There are tons of morons around here who like to throw around that term but don't seem to have any idea what it means. I fail to think of a single industry with any real pull in the American market place that isn't run through at least a few government regulatory entities.

Silly AC - The corporation IS the Government. And unless you crawled out from under Atlas' rock. Corporations will not tolerate the free market.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584651)

free market may not be so free nor easy

What "free" market?

We construct a nation of endless laws and millions of government lawyers to regulate huge oligopolies that use these same ever willing lawyers and their laws to insulate themselves from competition, chalk all of this nasty, influence peddling bullshit to "the free market" and disparage it when it fails.

What, exactly, are you thinking of when you say "free?"

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 4 months ago | (#47586581)

free market may not be so free nor easy

What "free" market?

We construct a nation of endless laws and millions of government lawyers to regulate huge oligopolies that...

Okay, hold it right there. Here, this only took a second to find: "According to the American Bar Association there are currently 1,116,967 lawyers practicing in the U.S." - from a recent posting.

So, you baldly assert that more than twice the number lawyers practicing in the U.S. work for the government. How in the world do you expect anyone to take ANYTHING you say seriously?

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (5, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#47585251)

You think building an automobile manufacturing plant, engineering a new line of cars, and building a distribution network should be cheap and easy? Musk seems to be pulling it off, so yea, it's a free market. Albeit a more expensive one to get into than opening a hot dog stand.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#47587273)

That depends on what you mean by a "free" market, which is even more complicated than the "free as in speech or free as in beer" of software. One meaning is as the opposite to a controlled market - one where participants and/or prices are regulated and you don't have a natural supply and demand. Obviously the car industry doesn't have that (but it did in the past, like the development of the Volkswagen in Germany), so in that sense it's free.

A second idea of a free market is a functional, competitive market where there are realistic choices and practically possibilities for new entrants to enter the market. The first definition doesn't exclude monopolies, oligarchies, collusion and cartels, dumping, price discrimination, exclusivity deals, IPR (imaginary property rights) lockout or any other number of anti-competitive behaviors.

A third idea of a free market is being as close as possible to perfect competition, a mostly unreachable ideal where you have cutthroat competition that'll constantly underbid each other until they sell at marginal cost and no profit is made. Lowering barriers to entry might be one way of trying to "lube" the market into functioning smoother, or you could for example require stores to show prices per kilo/liter to improve price transparency.

Re:Invisible Hand of the Market (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588323)

One meaning is as the opposite to a controlled market - one where participants and/or prices are regulated and you don't have a natural supply and demand.

Well, that is what we have. The participants are regulated through deciding who gets a bailout, and what terms they receive it under, even if they don't want the bailout (e.g. Ford.) And the prices are kept artificially high through these means as well.

Headline is wrong. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584449)

He said that by the end of 2015 they would be producing cars at a rate > 100,000 cars/yr (2000 cars/wk). They will enter 2015 producing cars at slightly more than 50,000 cars/yr (1000 cars/wk). The actual number of cars (Model S & Model X) made in 2015 will be between 50,000 and 100,000. Elon went on to say it would be greater than 60,000. Elon speaks very precisely. It is not confusing.

Headline is wrong. (2)

mr_zorg (259994) | about 4 months ago | (#47584473)

Somebody mod this guy up. He's right. It's a critical distinction.

Re:Headline is wrong. (2)

Herschel Cohen (568) | about 4 months ago | (#47584631)

Agreed, the number I heard on CNBC was Tesla saying they would deliver 60K while the production rate would reach 100K* at the end of the year.

* Slightly below 100K, since the number quoted was 1,900 per week, which for the 52 weeks comes to 98.8K. This presumes no down time (weeks) or other unexpected production delays / stoppage due to unexpected causes.

Re:Headline is wrong. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#47587549)

It really is amazing that with only 2 models, that they will be producing roughly 50K instances each year of high-end $80-90k vehicles. And that is with less than 1/5 of the world actually having the ability to buy these.
Compare that to say porsche. Last year, they sold 165K cars. 2 of these are similar to what Tesla has/will have: the Cayennes, which is similar to Model X and their panamera which is similar to Model S.
While the Cayennes has grown each year to just under 20K unit, the Panermera grew each year to 7.7K in 2012, but dropped more than 20% just last year to 5.5K. Very likely, the Model X will destroy the Cayennes and other wanna-be POSs sales quicker than what Model S did.
And I am sure that Tesla is putting a bite on other makers as well.

What it comes to, is that the longer that the other makers avoid doing pure inexpensive electric cars, the faster their sales will drop each year. As it is, Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Audi are looking to bet big on H2 Fuel cells. Worst idea going. By the time that they finally adjust, they will each have lost large amounts of their volume similar to what is SpaceX is doing to ULA, Russia, and Airbus.

Re:Headline is wrong. (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about 4 months ago | (#47584607)

The headline is fine, the summary is wrong. If you want to be precise.

He is stating there will be a rate of 100,000 cars per year. That is what the headline said and what he said. Neither the headline, nor Musk said it would be 100,000 cars for 2015.

The summary, however, did put the line in that says: CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car company would deliver 100,000 vehicles next year.
That is what is incorrect.

Although a production rate of 100,000 cars per year will eventually create an actual 100,000 cars in a year, it will only do so once the rate reaches that level and sustains or exceeds that rate for an entire year. In this case, the last of the 100,000 cars actually produced in a single year at that rate would be finished sometime in 2016.

Can't wait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584495)

Hey just wanted to say a great article, and I cannot wait 'til I can buy a cheap quality electric car I'm thinking one of the new BMW's
www.prime-ticket.com [prime-ticket.com]

Re:Can't wait (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47584617)

Methinks your definition of "cheap" and mine are very different creatures indeed.

Re:Can't wait (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47588163)

I wouldn't mind so much if Musk and Tesla didn't lie about the price. Musk states $500/month in an official video, and their site states £450/month. Read the fine print and that includes an equal saving in fuel, maintenance and tax. So the real price is £900/month.

The price is fine, I can't afford it, just don't lie about it.

Re:Can't wait (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47584675)

Oddly, for the price, it's got almost nothing on the Leaf other than the letters BMW on the side of it.

The Ford Fusion electric only gets about 90% the miles/kWh that the Leaf does (with the same size battery) with considerably greater style*.

Depending on your driving habits, the Fusion Energi and it's 7kWh battery (and 20+ mile range before cutting over to 40+ mpg gas) might make more sense.

*Style subject to opinion. YMMV.

Re:Can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584717)

Oddly, for the price, it's got almost nothing on the Leaf other than the letters BMW on the side of it.

Presumably it's got a crapload of luxury-car features. You don't go BMW if fuel economy is your foremost desire, after all.

Re:Can't wait (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#47585293)

Except, it doesn't.

Canvas seats and plastic trim, plus the same $650 "programming fee" to upgrade to satellite radio as on their other new cars. Every other "feature" is available in the Leaf (e.g. nav with range "bubble" superimposed).

Re:Can't wait (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47586305)

BMW is only marginally a luxury car. You get less luxury at a given price than most other car companies, as their focus is on performance and that means reducing weight.

Re:Can't wait (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#47587463)

Actually, if you look at the I3, it has the interior of a $20K car. Worst yet, with it being electric, it should have spectacular performance, and yet, it drives like any other POS car out there. IOW, just like a ford and any BMW that costs under 100K.

Re:Can't wait (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588315)

Presumably it's got a crapload of luxury-car features. You don't go BMW if fuel economy is your foremost desire, after all.

That's right, you go BMW if your first goal is to have a driver's car, with good overall performance. You go to Mercedes, Maserati, Aston or Jag for luxury. And you go Audi for a car that just works... for a few years anyway

Re:Can't wait (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47586637)

The Leaf has 107 HP, the BMW 170. The Leaf weighs 3300 LB, the BMW 2630 LB. Based on those two numbers alone, they are on two completely different levels of performance, even if they look similar on a checklist of included options.

I think the BMW is ugly but it is revolutionary because its frame and body are carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic.

Re:Can't wait (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47587553)

Now the BMW i8, that car is the works. But then in a car of that price, who cares about fuel costs? Even if you actually care about the environment, for that kind of money you can buy a LOT of carbon offsets (or solar panels) to conserve fossil fuels when heating your mansion or whatever.

Re:Can't wait (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47588589)

I'm surprised that the electric-only range on the i8 is so low given that it costs as much a Model S & Chevy Volt combined.

Re:Can't wait (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47588869)

Yeah, I think it would be too much weight to lug around a gas engine and fuel, plus a 200 mile battery, and still get 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. Given that it gets 300 miles on its 11 gallon gas tank in hybrid mode, I'll bet a tank of gas would last me a couple months if I started with a full battery each morning. Not that I could ever own one anyways.

Re:Can't wait (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47589045)

Can't afford one either.
Well, I'll have to content myself with watching Chris Harris put one through its paces in Malibu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Market will bubble will pop before then (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584553)

Once the bubb...err..correction takes place, then I will look forward to investing.

Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (4, Insightful)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about 4 months ago | (#47585043)

While I agree that Tesla stock is *cough* optimistically valued, they are a growth company that cannot be fairly compared to a mature value company like Ford or GM. I wouldn't be surprised at volatility but I think bubble is way too strong a term.

If they slashed their R&D budget as documented in TFA they could be profitable. I'd argue that their aggressive R&D spend predicts steep revenue growth over the next several years.

Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586985)

Or somebody *cough* is making is making big bucks with Tesla, while they can.

Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 4 months ago | (#47587459)

well, no. It really is overvalued at this point. Even Musk has said so. With this was a mature company, it would be around 50/share at this point. So being some 5x over, is just crazy.
I think that a correction WILL occur, but it will probably never drop to 50. In fact, I am betting that it will hit 150 again (without a split) but no lower.

And it is not just R*D that is costing them. It is building out showrooms and supercharger network. That is huge.

Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587709)

Stock value is ahead in time. It's the real value in the future.

Re:Market will bubble will pop before then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47588909)

Tesla is a growth company? Planning on buying a purely electric vehicle any time soon give cost and all of the many limitations that make them mostly, asymptotically approaching entirely, useless?

We losing money on every sale (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47584599)

But don't worry. We'll make it up in volume.

Re:We losing money on every sale (4, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about 4 months ago | (#47585057)

I get that you think you're being funny, but lest somebody actually think that's going on here:

It doesn't say they lose money per sale. I strongly suspect they make a profit on each sale, though the summary doesn't say (and I haven't read TFA yet). What the summary says is that they're losing money overall, due to things like R&D costs and expanding production. In other words, investment costs are greater than profit.

In case it isn't yet obvious to you, this is the *EXACT* scenario where it's possible to "make it up in volume". Even leaving aside economies of scale, if they sell more cars (at a small profit on each) their overall income will exceed their expenses and they will be, overall, profitable.

Re:We losing money on every sale (3, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about 4 months ago | (#47585711)

Same reasoning exists in the people complaining about the F-35 and F-22 cost-- it's approximately the same price as a new F-16/18 in actual current cost of production; but people lump the cost of the development into the cost of the sale to make it look like it's $350m not $110m / per or whatever the actual number is.

Re:We losing money on every sale (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 months ago | (#47586417)

And you should lump the development cost in there too. Low marginal cost claims are an often effective political gimmick for glossing over the high front end costs of development. But you can only take advantage of those low marginal costs, if you actually make the plane in volume. Both of those jets failed to meet the promised volume numbers.

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587401)

no, that's a stupid argument made by shills trying to argue we should just throw away all the research and investment we've made and just build more outdated F-16's

F-16 is less than $50 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586679)

The incremental cost of the F-35 is higher than the F-16. Period. A new F-16 costs less than $50 million, maybe about $25 million 20 years ago, if you ignore inflation. The F-16 is less capable, and made mostly out of aluminum, so a lower price is to be expected. I am not certain about the F-18's price.

Re:We losing money on every sale (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585909)

Tesla gets huge subsidies per car sold...to the tune of $7500 per car or much much more depending on who you ask Your tax dollars at work so rich people can feel good about themselves. I don't see how an electric car is a "green" car when the electricity generated comes from dirty dirty coal.,

Re:We losing money on every sale (3, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47586239)

Those subsidies apply to all BEVs, not just Tesla, which is a startup. You can get the same discount on a Leaf which is 1/2 - 1/3 the price of a Model S and is made by one of the biggest automakers in the world.
And the "dirty coal" argument is a load of horseshit. Come out from behind your cloak of cowardly anonymity & we'll debate.

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47586325)

And the "dirty coal" argument is a load of horseshit. Come out from behind your cloak of cowardly anonymity & we'll debate.

Not the ACless likely to die in a fire in a Tesla than a gas powered car. Therefore, the Tesla is not really a green car.

*I miss cars that are the actual color green. It's really hard to find luxury cars these days in anything but neutral colors (when times are tough, people choose attention-diverting instead of attention-getting colors for expensive stuff). That's a shame, I love colorful cars. The Model S has a great red available though - good for Tesla!

Re:We losing money on every sale (2)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47586339)

Wow, way to go Slashcode! OK, here's the same post hopefully without the mangling:

And the "dirty coal" argument is a load of horseshit. Come out from behind your cloak of cowardly anonymity & we'll debate.

Not the AC, but here's an argument for you. If you care whether a car is green* in the first place, you're probably a hipster, and thus should die in a fire. Despite sensational news stories, you're probably less likely to die in a fire in a Tesla than a gas powered car. Therefore, the Tesla is not really a green car.

*I miss cars that are the actual color green. It's really hard to find luxury cars these days in anything but neutral colors (when times are tough, people choose attention-diverting instead of attention-getting colors for expensive stuff). That's a shame, I love colorful cars. The Model S has a great red available though - good for Tesla!

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587021)

Not the AC, but here's an argument for you. If you care whether a car is green* in the first place, you're probably a hipster, and thus should die in a fire. Despite sensational news stories, you're probably less likely to die in a fire in a Tesla than a gas powered car. Therefore, the Tesla is not really a green car.

You were doing better the first time, when you could have at least blamed Slashcode for your argument not making sense.

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586983)

Come out from behind your cloak of cowardly anonymity & we'll debate.

This statement is even more full of shit than the one you replied to, and that is truly impressive.

Re:We losing money on every sale (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47588465)

LOL! At least you KNOW which Slashdot commenter actually made the statement. And you could dig through all my comments of the past several years to see whether I've changed opinions or contradicted myself.
Which AC are you? Are you the Original Dumbass or just one of his asslickers?

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587971)

AC here.

"Those subsidies apply to all BEVs, not just Tesla".

So? That is besides the point.

"And the "dirty coal" argument is a load of horseshit"

Another poster below made a detailed study and came up with an approximate 3.8% reduction in emissions if coal is used. That number is based on a lot of assumptions but assuming that is true, is it worth all that extra expense for that tiny difference? Also, making all those lithium batteries cannot be good for the environment.

Re:We losing money on every sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47588377)

Come out from behind your cloak of cowardly anonymity & we'll debate.

So... because you're posting using a registered Slashdot UserID you're somehow not anonymous? Haruchai? Who the fuck is that? Is that your real name? No? Than shut the fuck up, stupid hypocrite.

Re:We losing money on every sale (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585447)

No, they make it up by selling green energy credits to the other auto manufacturers. That apparently nets them about $30k per car, so they would be losing heaps more without the cronyism from the state of California.

Daily fap (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#47584819)

Thank goodness, I was worried I wouldn't get my daily Elon Musk story from Memedot.

Re:Daily fap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585515)

The doings of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors are tech news. That is a fact. It is objectively true. You know this and agree with it, even though you don't want to.

And every time you throw one of these little passive-aggressive tantrums about it, you accomplish nothing but telling the world that you are a loser.

so... (0, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47584983)

So... not to stir up a hornets nest... but everyones aware that electric cars produce more pollution than gas right?

If you live near a nuclear plant, ok, maybe not... but the vast majority of electricity is produced from coal. Gasoline engines are terrible... only 30% efficient or so... but coals only 40% efficient. Add to that 6% losses in AC transmission lines... then the Tesla charger is only 80% efficient in practical applications (The instructions say its 90% but that's under optimum circumstances) These things consume a lot more fossil fuels than Gasoline cars ever would.

Sadly, unless we start building a lot more nuclear power plants, this will be terrible for the environment, especially CO2 levels.

Granted they will solve the problem of the soccer mom that's been driving around that mini van from 1998 and has no idea what a spark plug is much less a tuneup. People like that are almost solely responsible for smog in this country.

Re:so... (4, Informative)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47585137)

but the vast majority of electricity is produced from coal.

You think that 39% is a "vast majority"? The US is rapidly moving from coal to natural gas because the price of natural gas is falling as domestic production increases. All in all, an electric car creates slightly less pollution than a Prius.

http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

Re:so... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47585381)

We started doing that here in Canada, and then companies started turning off the pipes to drive up the price. So yeah, lot of places are now looking at building coal power plants again. Hell there was a 40% increase in the price of NG in many parts of the country this year, because it was unusually cold and in turn burning through all the stocked gas.

Re:so... (2)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47586255)

Canada is a big, varied place. Ontario has been using very little coal for about 5 yrs, if memory serves.
When has Quebec last relied on coal or any fossil fuel for electricity generation?
Together those two are far & away the VAST majority of "Canada" and if it weren't for Alberta and its tar sands, they probably could have hit their Kyoto targets long ago.

Bad Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585627)

An often heard dubious claim...

"All in all, an electric car creates slightly less pollution than a Prius."

Ignoring the fact that electricity can come from any source.

Re:Bad Math (5, Insightful)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47585869)

That's pretty much a worst case scenario. If your electricity happens to be generated from nuclear or hydroelectric, your electric car will be a lot cleaner.

Upgrading our car fleet to electric and upgrading our power generation to renewable sources are multi-decade efforts that have to be done in parallel.

Re:Bad Math (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47586509)

That's pretty much it. I don't have much faith in the future of chemical-battery-powered cars, but regardless it will eventually be something that starts with electricity. Meanwhile, gradually moving off of coal power seems a no-brainer. Rushing to do so would be foolish, causing needless economic disruption, but over decades as existing power stations hit normal replacement cycles? Coal needs to go.

Re:so... (1, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47587195)

but the vast majority of electricity is produced from coal.

You think that 39% is a "vast majority"? The US is rapidly moving from coal to natural gas because the price of natural gas is falling as domestic production increases. All in all, an electric car creates slightly less pollution than a Prius.

http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

Coal 39%
Natural Gas 27%
Nuclear 19%
Hydropower 7%

In comparison with anything else? I do. An 11% spread would be a landslide in an election. I suppose I could have used better phrasing on that line, fine: "Coal is the biggest source of electricity in this country by a wide margin" Is that better?

But lets assume the whole country was on natural gas. That makes a difference how? It's still a fossil fuel, and after transmission and charging losses it's still probably less efficient than Gasoline. You put less CO2 into the atmosphere just burning gasoline than using an electric car. The only way electric cars make sense is if the power plant isn't producing CO2... either because it's nuclear or if they're sequestering it. You could go with hydroelectric but that has it's own environmental problems.

The entire country could switch to electric cars tomorrow and nothing would change in regards to our CO2 problem. In fact, it would likely get worse. If you want to get the newest fanciest car just because it's cool... fine... but realize what you're doing is no different then the assholes with the Hummers. Your cool is at the expense of my climate.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587357)

In comparison with anything else? I do.

Then you're an idiot, because you can't have a "vast majority" if you don't have a majority. What you are referring to is a plurality.

Re:so... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588279)

You think that 39% is a "vast majority"? The US is rapidly moving from coal to natural gas because the price of natural gas is falling as domestic production increases.

Which requires fracking, because we're otherwise at peak production. Natural gas is going to be a tragedy worse than gasoline. Say goodbye to free clean drinking water. It will exist nowhere.

Re:so... (5, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 months ago | (#47585155)

So what you're saying is that the backwards states pollute a lot. Gee, whodathunkit. Sadly, your crude assessment clearly designed to make electric cars look bad is rather... laughable. You include transmission losses for electricity, but not distribution pollution/losses for gas? Nor refining? You assume that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of your electricity comes from coal? You assume that efficiency between electricity and gas is in any way comparable? I could go on, but I doubt you care about that.

Go ahead and enjoy your Hummer.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585367)

-- This.

And let's not forget all the energy and money wasted on 'securing' oil supplies, ie. wars. I consider electric cars to be vital for our national security and economy. They are - at worst (according to some studies) - carbon neutral relative to gasoline cars. That's the worse-case scenario. It'll only get better as economics compel utilities to dump coal for cheaper natural gas. So yeah....you're wrong, Ralph Wiggam. Sorry.

Re:so... (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 4 months ago | (#47585921)

You mean the way they are doing in New England by shutting down coal plants (and nuclear plants) and replacing them with...well nothing. They do not have pipelines with the capacity to carry increased amounts of natural gas and cannot get the permits to build more. They do not have the electric lines to increase the amount of electric they import from outside the region and cannot get the permits to build more. This will be an interesting winter in New England.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585321)

This again... stupid troll.

My solar panels on my roof don't produce much pollution. Maybe you should try some.

Wind turbines, using less energy for other items, and smart grids all help too. It isn't an overnight change, but we have the technology.

And where does your energy to create gasoline or diesel come from. You do know that it takes about as many kilowatt hours of power to refine a gallon of gas as it takes to drive an EV the same distance. And that doesn't include the drilling, the pipelines, and the transporting it to the station.

Re:so... (3, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | about 4 months ago | (#47585379)

My Tesla runs on solar power.

Re:so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586123)

I might be doing the math wrong but...

let's take an arbitrary number 100 - 40% efficiency by coal gives you 40. transmission loss of 6% leaves you with 37.4. conservative efficiency numbers of the charger are 80%, yielding ever so slightly more than 30? so after that whole chain, for every 100 you put in, you get out 30. That sounds about 30% efficiency right?

Re:so... (2)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47586415)

This nonsense again?
1st off, the "30% eff." is pretty much the peak for gas vehicles, not the average or the median. It can get as low at 14%, if not lower for the really terrible ones.
There are some factors you're not considering, or are deliberately ignoring while shilling for nukes.

If most of your vehicles are EVs, then you have much lower emissions in heavily populated areas, you know, where people live.
If you're pushing your emissions back to the plants, you get huge efficiencies of scale for controlling them and you don't have as much smog-forming ground-level ozone where millions chose to work & play. And your vehicle fleet gets cleaner as you clean up the plants without having to wait for a turnover in automobile ownership.
Coal's share of electricity generation is under 40% and falling so you have a good chance of living somewhere where's it's lower.
You'll be shocked, SHOCKED to learn that nuclear & coal are NOT the only 2 options for electricity generation in America, despite their current relative dominance.

And many EV owners also have solar panels so there's another non-coal charging option.

Re:so... (0, Flamebait)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47587283)

Yet, your electric vehicle could have 0 emissions if you let a nuclear plant get built near you.
Which is my point.
Your fear of a tried and tested technology is destroying this planet. And you try to paint me like I'm some redneck that doesn't understand science?
You sit there and defend Coal and Natural Gas... Electric cars are so trendy, you're sounding like a damned republican.

I intentionally used the strait, top efficiency of an combustion engine, which is not the efficiency of the actual car. Put that engine into an electric hybrid? Now your emissions are well bellow that of an electric car. Nearly 80% of the electricity in this country is harmful to the environment. 70% is via the burning of some type of fossil fuels and produces CO2. You think there's any difference between burning that in a plant outside of town and just burning it in your engine compartment? Give me a break. You may want to want to just slap lipstick on that pig and be done with it, but I actually want to fix the problem.

Re:so... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588307)

Your fear of a tried and tested technology is destroying this planet.

So far, absolutely no one on the planet has shown themselves to be responsible with their nuclear waste. France, often held up here as an example of the system working correctly, has been caught by just good ol' Greenpeace dumping waste in Russia. So far, no one with the funding to run a reactor is also sufficiently responsible. There are no signs that humanity is improving as a whole, so there is no reason to believe that nuclear power should ever be a safely viable option.

You may want to want to just slap lipstick on that pig and be done with it, but I actually want to fix the problem.

That is a gross misrepresentation of the situation. There are numerous problems with using mined fuels, not least the environmental impact of the mining itself. If you actually wanted to solve our problems with power generation you would be promoting solar, wind, and tidal power, and developments in power storage. These sources have the potential to provide for more than 100% of our current rate of consumption. Further, our rate of consumption could be slowed dramatically, through various improvements in efficiency.

Re:so... (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 4 months ago | (#47588391)

I'm not defending coal or natgas. I'm pointing out the flaw in your binary statement - ie only coal or nuclear.
There are other established options and no one option will do it for all.
As a counter to your hybrid argument, we could go back to burning oil on a wider scale, which used to be far more common than coal prior to the 70s.
We would still have to refine out the sulphur or treat the exhaust from burning oil but there would still be energy input savings from not having to refine all the way to gasoline (petrol). The gas-electric hybrids would have a tough time competing with those plants and with sufficient BEVs & V2G, you get benefits not obtainable with FF-only vehicles, much greater than what you'd get from hybrids and don't have the cost & complexity of 2 powertrains in a single vehicle.

"You think there's any difference between burning that in a plant outside of town and just burning it in your engine compartment?"
Absolutely. In a plant, you'd install large (& expensive) FGD units that are capable of removing the emissions equivalent to hundreds of thousands of cars, perhaps millions. Doing it per vehicle with catalytic converters is nowhere near as effective or efficient, especially since the car emissions are particularly bad when just being started up but the converter is at low efficiency because of the warm-up period required.

Do you know why the catalytic converter was invented? Or why London banned the use of coal for heating in the city?

You want nukes? Go ahead but a "tried & tested" technology should be able to stand on its own 2 feet & not require the public to underwrite it or its inevitable cost overruns. I've been hearing about the promise of energy too cheap to meter for a long time and it's only been getting more expensive.
Even France had to back off going 100% nuclear although their build-out was impressive.
Wind & solar are presently dependent of FiTs & subsidies but that's quickly changing and grid parity has been reached in some places & will be almost universal within a decade.

What about a coal powered Tesla? (5, Insightful)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 4 months ago | (#47586609)

So... not to stir up a hornets nest... but everyones aware that electric cars produce more pollution than gas right?

Let's look at some facts here. First off, the efficiency of a thermal power plant [wikipedia.org] is somewhere around 33% to 48%, at least according to wikipedia. Let's split the difference and say 41% for a thermal plant. The typical thermal efficiency of a a gasoline engine [wikipedia.org] is about 18% to 20%. Let's split the difference and say 19%. Thus, a thermal power plant is more than twice as efficient as a gasoline engine in terms of changing chemical potential energy to useful output.

But there are some caveats. Firstly, the electricity needs to be transmitted. High voltage power lines are extremely efficient, about 94% according to this article [nema.org] . That means that the chemical energy (lets assume from coal) reaching the charging station is 41% x 94% = 38.5%. And then there is the charging process. According to this article [batteryuniversity.com] , the charge efficiency of a Li-Ion battery is about 97%, which makes sense to me, as batteries usually don't run too hot. The charging devices however probably are responsible for some loss. Let's assume they are 80% efficient. That gives us 38.5% x 80.0% x 97% = 30%. Thus, according to this, 30% of the coal chemical potential energy makes it to the engine.

But what about engine efficiency? Well electric motors run very cool, and have very high efficiencies, typically [engineeringtoolbox.com] around 90%. I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla's motor is better. This means that if a coal power plant powered a Tesla, 30% x 90% = 27% of the energy would reach the wheels of the car, compared with a gasoline powered car, where 19% of the gasoline's potential energy comes out of the engine, never mind the losses in the transmission lines. Thus, a coal powered Tesla is 40% more energy efficient than a gasoline powered car.

However, there is one problem. Generating energy by coal produces more CO2 than generating it by gasoline. According to this article [eia.gov] , coal generates about 215 pounds CO2 per btu of energy, while gasoline generates 157 pounds CO2 per btu. However, even with this, by my calculations, an equivalent gas powered car still emits 3.8% more CO2 than our coal powered Tesla.

Elon Musk made this claim in an interview, that even if a coal power plant generates the electricity, a Tesla still emits less CO2. My referenced back of a napkin calculations above support this assertion.

Re:What about a coal powered Tesla? (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47587299)

Cool, you put more effort into it than I did. At best electrics are a tad better... But what if we moved to Gas generator powered electrics?
But that's silly of course... My point is: With Nuclear, emissions are 0.
So why the hell not? Because a 50yr old plant that got hit by one of the largest earthquakes in history, then one of the largest tidal waves in history had a problem that could never happen to a more modern plant even after such insane disasters? Really?

Save the earth, go nuclear.

Re:What about a coal powered Tesla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47587957)

"However, even with this, by my calculations, an equivalent gas powered car still emits 3.8% more CO2 than our coal powered Tesla."
So about the same or within the margin of error. Is it worth it spending all that extra money for that tiny difference. Also , what about the polluting effects of those lithium batteries? We are just exporting the pollution to China.

Re:What about a coal powered Tesla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47588491)

So about the same or within the margin of error.

For a coal power plant. Coal is only 39% of US electricity production and every other source of electricity produces much less CO2/pollution than coal.

Re:What about a coal powered Tesla? (1)

Geeky Don (968061) | about 4 months ago | (#47588225)

Did you forget about solar? The other side of the Tesla equation is Solar City, and the Tesla Superchargers will have solar panels and large batteries in addition to a connection to your inefficient energy source, the utility grid.

Re:so... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588277)

So... not to stir up a hornets nest...

You are obviously either a troll or an idiot if you fail to take into account the number of efficiency advantages in EVs, e.g. regenerative braking. So yes, you did it just to stir up a hornet's nest, even if you're not smart (and self-aware) enough to know that.

All the cars... (0)

kuzb (724081) | about 4 months ago | (#47585015)

...and none of the affordability. Go Elon go!

Factory? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585219)

I thought we'd all be 3D printing our car at home? Why is Elon Musk of all people building a Luddite factory?

A factory on an asteroid, sure, but on this rock???

Re:Factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585545)

Really? It's come to this? You have to come to an electric car thread to painfully hoist your leg, strain your palsied Kegel muscles, and squeeze these pitiful few droplets of territoriality out of your limp, shriveled ween?

I didn't realize you'd sunk so low, so quickly, after your banishment from Fark, Quantum Apostrophe.

Re:Factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47588405)

Well, I'm still waiting for the promised game-changing 3D revolution. Where is it? You know, the over-the-top printing a car at home promises? The self-replicating magical asteroid mining equipment?

I'm not really banned from Fark, I can still change my profile and sponsor people for TF. I can even post, but they don't show for other people.

It does crack me up when a lone voice of reason pops up in a 3D printing/private space colony story, and all you other mouth-breathing anencephalic uncritical gee-whiz morons all think it's me!

Re:Factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47585551)

Trying to create some "space nutter" strawmen to knock over again, I see.

It frustrates you to no end that those people don't actually exist no matter how hard you keep wishing for them. Inventing them will never satisfy you, but you'll keep doing it because you're neither smart enough to think of anything else nor man enough to abandon your little crusade as the pointless and stupid endeavor it always was.

Re:Factory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47588637)

Strawman? So there isn't this article up on Fark right now?

"New "EmDrive" propulsion device results have been independently verified. Earth to Mars in a matter of weeks instead of months. No word yet on Hyper-drives, Warp-drives, FTL Drives or Infinite Improbability Drives"

The slightest little thing and you nutcases immediately want to live on Mars.

So there's no Space Nutters, eh?

Musk brilliant engineer, marketing dumbass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586449)

Musk is a brilliant engineer and if he really wanted more people to experience this technology. He would have sold it to a auto maker or licensed its technology to several. Not only to reduce price to consumers and in turn offer more affordable cars. But also he would have reached people in lower income brackets who could benefit more from a all electric vehicle. Instead he builds cars that are outstanding but not affordable for the majority. Your barely staying alive by selling carbon credits
and you snub your nose and every means of being accepted by dealer networks and state regulators. When in fact if you did a little more smooth talking and much less paving your own path. You might actually make a few bucks on Tesla and in turn really help people. Instead you sell cars to eccentric tree hugger's who have plenty of money to buy gas but insist on creating a image of being "Green". As my subject line says. Musk is a great engineer but a lousy marketing guru.

Re: Musk brilliant engineer, marketing dumbass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47586595)

And what are your credentials inthus area, since you apparently think you know more about making money than a billionaire?

Re:Musk brilliant engineer, marketing dumbass (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 4 months ago | (#47588075)

The other auto makers already have this technology and are doing practically nothing with it. Elon thought the biggest risk to his company was other companies joining the race and pushing Tesla out of business. The opposite has happened, none of the big auto companies is really interested.

The problem is that, right now, electric cars are incredibly expensive to develop and produce. Lots of new technology is needed to make them efficient enough to have a practical range, and batteries are very expensive. The old auto companies have sure tried to make a few practical, sort of not too expensive small electric cars but few people were buying them because they were too expensive for what they offered. Elon's approach actually made a lot more sense:

1. Develop the basic technology by marketing a toy roadster car for very rich people with undoubtedly an enormous profit margin to pay back the development costs as quickly as possible and pave the way for the next car. Forget about the middle class, they are not going to pay 50% extra just to have an electric car. Rich people will gladly pay this and more for a "toy" to show off to their friends.
2. Using the money and gained credibility from that roadster, make a more practical model which is still very expensive but also desirable for the rich. Again, rich people is where the money is. They also don't care much about teething problems in the early cars because they are much too proud about showing off the technology and the incredible performance of their car.
3. Once you reach enough volume with these cars, start working on an actual, affordable car. With the volume of the earlier models, battery prices have come down and you can even afford building an enormous new battery plant. NOW building affordable electric cars becomes feasible.

In my humble opinion, this was a brilliant way of doing it. As long as electric cars are much more expensive than internal combustion engine cars, the masses simply won't go for them.

50M loss on an almost 1B revenue (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about 4 months ago | (#47586937)

That is basically breaking even especially given the backers and what they're investing in. I'm surprised the losses weren't larger.

Lame... Electric (1)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | about 4 months ago | (#47587477)

Electric is SOooooo 2012!

I was looking at a Tesla or another electric and the Toyota said they'll ship Hydrogen Fuel Cell next year. So, I will drive my car another year.

I have a Prius now and am driving into the ground. Tesla was the next intelligent step... While waiting for fuel cell. But now fuel cell seems to be here, so why would I buy that?

Re:Lame... Electric (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47588269)

I was looking at a Tesla or another electric and the Toyota said they'll ship Hydrogen Fuel Cell next year. So, I will drive my car another year.

Interestingly, Toyota has been claiming that they would deliver a Fuel Cell car within x years (x being highly variable) for about twenty years now. Ditto Honda.

Tesla was the next intelligent step... While waiting for fuel cell. But now fuel cell seems to be here, so why would I buy that?

Because automotive fuel cells are a completely unproven technology, and only people with too much money buy the new tech. They can afford to eat it if it fails.

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