What if it doesn't happen as Elon thinks?

What if it doesn't happen as Elon thinks?

So, Lexus is now supposed to be building hybrid supercar that has 400HP and electric drive in the rear axle. (

So one after the other, established manufacturers seem to be making a beeline for the hybrid bandwagon.

What if, the public is just happy with half an electric car? What if they just don't care for the full electric feature? We know there are a lot of people who don't care about the environmental aspects, judging by the number of posters who jump to say AGW is not real ( some of those DO admit to pollution caused, though ).

So it's performance. Well, these new breed of hybrids offer the starting power and torque of the electric and then fall back to the warm complexity and dirtiness of the gasoline drivetrain that most of the other automakers find comfortable and cozy.

Imagine your nouveau riche neighbor showing his new BMW 400 horse sedan which can go 100 miles on pure electric. "Oh, how far can you go in your Tesla? 300? Me too, but I figured 98% it will be electric, in the city. On those long journeys, dude, I can fill up on gas ANY damn place I want to. I don't care if its gas during those times!" He says with a smug smile.

Is this going to be the future? Is tesla going to be the lone ranger?

GuyDormehl | 01. September 2013

Hybrids to me are the worst possible solution - even more COMPLICATED than an ice-age car..! Even a range-extender is preferable.

One day the relative costs of long term servicing between ice-age; hybrid; RE and pure electric will wash out - and I know which one will win that battle!

jonlivesay | 01. September 2013

Some people embrace the change, others try to work it into their comfort zone. The Tesla is a game changer, the others are just cutting corners. It probably won't work out exactly how Elon thinks it will, doesn't make the car any less amazing. When gas hits $7 a gallon and I charge at a free supercharger and my nouveau riche neighbor pays at the pump, who will be wearing the smug smile? Hybrids are much more complicated, wait to see how he feel about his repairs.

bonaire | 01. September 2013

Eventually, there will be competitive cars. Only a matter of time for the big ones to go off and match for the big, luxury EV market. By 2020 there will be 5-8 similar models to the S and X.

cwmenne | 01. September 2013

Don't you know that BMW has been making a 330hp hybrid 3-series for years now. It's a joke, the mpg isn't that great. Even though I love BMW, I wouldn't even consider it for a second. My MS is way better.

wolfpet | 01. September 2013

This could very well be a near future. The whole EV revolution may end up being an evolution after all. But in the long run the complexity and cost of hybrid cars (and the gas itself) will make them less competitive than pure electric and with the introduction of lighter batteries with longer range they will die out eventually.

shop | 01. September 2013

Electric will win out in the end. There are too many advantages. For a small example: We're having a heat wave here in San Diego, and I've had occasions to leave the AC running while doing some quick errands. Or getting the AC started up before I get to the car. This is a NICE feature, something that just isn't possible in an ICE.

You are also forgetting that in 2 years (about the time that these hybrids come out) we will have superchargers everywhere which will negate gas station advantages.

The car manufacturers are reacting to the Prius. It'll take them five more years before they start to take the all electric Tesla seriously...

AmpedRealtor | 01. September 2013

I wouldn't worry too much.

First of all, the general public is not the target audience for either the Model S or the high performance hybrid super cars. While they may be high profit, high margin items, $100,000+ vehicles are not the mainstream. Second, why should I concern myself with what my nouveau riche neighbor drives, and more importantly, why should that have any impact on me? My Model S does not define who I am. My neighbor could get a 1,000 HP super hybrid car, brag about it and smile all day long - good for him or her. I did not buy Model S to have the biggest and baddest car on the block - I bought it because I wanted to be environmentally responsible while getting comparable range to an ICE vehicle. The performance was a great perk, but not a defining feature for me.

The arc here is getting to sustainable transport. Hybrids are not sustainable. Although performance is nice, we cannot focus on that as a defining factor for EVs or even the Model S. The adoption of EVs to get us to a more sustainable place is not dependent on performance, but widespread adoption and making the vehicle practical for the general car buying audience. A person who buys a Camry is not concerned with 0-60 times, but is absolutely concerned with buying a safe, affordable and dependable vehicle for his or her family.

sharpe222 | 01. September 2013

if Tesla can make a really good "E" model at the price point of 35 K and build out the supercharger network then it doesn't matter what hybrids come out in the meantime.

carlk | 01. September 2013

All hybrids still have a fixed range and need to stop and fill up not to mention the fill up can not be done in the convenience of own garage. No?

nickjhowe | 01. September 2013


Dissecting your original post you seem to be asking "Will there be mainstream adoption of pure electric vehicles, or will the general public prefer hybrids?"

There is also a possible hidden question "And if the latter, what does that mean for Tesla?"

Arguably, given the inherent simplicity and advantages of pure electric vehicles, the only problem hybrids solve is range anxiety at a given price point.

I believe therefore the first question depends on the following: is it possible to overcome the emotions surrounding pure electric range anxiety (either through engineering, marketing or both) at a price point which makes them worthy of consideration by the general public? Clearly Elon believes that can be achieved.

If mainsteam adoption does NOT happen, then for "what does that mean for Tesla", one underlying question is "What is required for Tesla to be a sustainable company?" Theoretically that does NOT require mainstream adoption of electric vehicles. It requires Tesla to be able to capture roughly 0.8% of the global market for passenger vehicles (cars). That production rate (500k cars per year) would put it 25th on the 2012 global car production list.

Neech | 01. September 2013

At this point I can see hybrids being more acceptable for many people, but temporarily. Many people that I talk to about my MS can't seem to fathom a car that does not run on gas. Also, it seems like the big automakers either don't get it yet (pure EV) or are so in cohoots with oil that they will resist making a serious EV car as long as they can. Elon and Tesla have worked hard to push through a great EV and I hope for all of us the rest of the world learns to accept the future CO2-free.

Captain_Zap | 01. September 2013

I saw that Chevrolet was thinking seriously about a Corvette hybrid.

All I could think is, "WHY!?!?". I just don't get it.

TikiMan | 01. September 2013

First off, none of these major auto companies will develop a hybrid that is better looking or faster than their best ICE vehicle, because they are FAR to invested in their ICE technology and development infrastructure.

Second; As much as Tesla has made a huge impact on the auto industry, they are FAR from any fear of having to completely change the way they develop vehicles at this point.

Tesla will more likely build a Model S killer LONG before the mainstream auto makers come even close to developing a compeditor to the current MS.

At this point in time, the mainstream auto industry is standing on the sidelines closely watching Tesla. However, until Tesla builds a $30k-$40k Gen III EV, capable of 200+ miles of charge, with the looks of a competing ICE vehicle, and a quick charging intrastructure from coast to coast, that outsells competing priced ICE vehicles, I don't suspect we will see much of anything that is real Tesla killer.

EcLectric | 01. September 2013


The Model S is an uncompromising pure electric. The Corvette is an uncompromising ICE sports car. I agree with you. The idea of a hybrid Corvette makes me queasy.

If you're going to do that, why not put in a back seat and a trunk? And some people can't afford to tune up that V8, so put in a V6, that's good enough! What do you mean it's a Camry? It says Corvette on it, doesn't it?

michael1800 | 01. September 2013

I think we'll end up fully electric for consumer vehicles. It would have taken goodness knows how long at the previous pace introduced by hybrids. Tesla sped things up. I personally have no concern we'll evolve to hybrids and stop there. Remember, Tesla isn't trying to dominate the auto's trying to accelerate an idea which would have taken decades upon decades otherwise.

Hybrids are nice because they overcome range issues. Unfortunately, the supercharger roll-outs are in the process of making range issues a non-factor, effectively taking one more argument away from hybrids. The natural chain of evolution sways back to full electric.

AmpedRealtor | 01. September 2013

When you disrupt an industry it takes time for the industry to catch up. In 2007 Apple's iPhone was so far ahead of anything at the time in 2007. Only in the last 12-18 months has there been some real pressure put on Apple by competitors that would challenge their dominance in industry profit share. Tesla is basically following a similar roadmap right down to the ecosystem (Apple has iTunes, Tesla has superchargers). It's going to take the industry years to catch up to Model S, and by then Tesla will be on Model S 2.5 and will have launched Model E(veryone).

In the unlikely event that the industry leapfrogs Tesla, that only puts pressure on Tesla to innovate and compete - abilities which Tesla clearly seems to possess. Tesla has already carved out a name for itself judging by the looks I get when I drive my car. This vehicle is legendary, it seems, and Tesla is just getting started. I remember when Steve Jobs, during one of his iPhone or iPad keynots, said "and we're only just getting started". The same could be said for Tesla as well.

jonesxander | 01. September 2013

What's wrong with being nouveau riche? You guys say that with a hint of disdain. I'm not rich, so when I become rich, I'll be one of them. So that would make me less than you? Or dumber than you? I'm not sure where you're going with that. Tesla hits 300/share I'll be right there.

I'll guarantee I'll buy an S though.

S4WRXTTCS | 01. September 2013

I see hybrids as a necessary stepping point in the evolution of the automobile.

Sure I stepped over it, and directly to the Tesla MS. But, did I really? No I still have an ICE car for various reasons. So in my buying decision I still went with a hybrid solution.

The hybrid solution was two cars instead of one.

Sure a hybrid car can seem like an inelegant solution, but it gets the job done for a lot of people. Something like the Volt gives the the short range electric for their commute, and higher range for travel.

In my opinion most of us are hybrids. There are only a few of us that have truly left the safety blanket of the ICE.

nickjhowe | 01. September 2013

@Tikiman - "First off, none of these major auto companies will develop a hybrid that is better looking or faster than their best ICE vehicle, because they are FAR to invested in their ICE technology and development infrastructure."

Maybe Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren aren't in the same league as BMW and Mercedes, but have you checked out the 'LaFerrari', the 918 and the McLaren P1?

From Wikipedia: "LaFerrari is the first mild hybrid from Ferrari, providing the highest power output of any Ferrari"

Change is coming. Pity that everyone else is heading down the hybrid route.

GeirT | 01. September 2013

As a consumer, or customer rather, I fear nothing when it comes to competition. Competition shall be welcomed no matter where it comes from as it will provide us with the better product propositions and indeed choices.

Tesla is great for sure. But is no religion. Someone else provides a better over all deal of course that someone shall be judged by its merits - and purchasing decisions to be made.

But rest assured, Elon has his mind deep into the future and he has sought out every possible scenario. His is actually that smart. Don't doubt it. Tesla will have new upgrades, new models and new concepts to take competition head on. And out of this dynamics new and advanced technologies will emerge and we as users shall be lucky to be offered elements to a improved quality of life.

That is how things work in our parts of the world ... strange enough.

sharpe222 | 01. September 2013

S4WRXTTCS -good point, even some of us that have only one car(Model S) have the ability to rent or borrow an ICE if they need one for a trip where it's too difficult to currently make. So indirectly we still have the security of traveling the usual way. Look at the absurd permitting delays Superchargers are facing because of local issues,it's going to be a while before ICE's are obsolete and hybrids are still worth making.

negarholger | 01. September 2013

In large companies ( I worked in several ) it is easy to add something, but almost impossible to eliminate something. The gas engine guy and the muffler guy will vote against it. The BMW I3 is the best example of the compromise mentality
- 450 lbs 22 kWh battery pack = 100 miles range ( baseline ). That is a specific energy of 107 Wh per kg. Battery experts will tell you that is state of the art. Unfortunately Tesla packs specific engery is 160 Wh per kg. put that into an I3
- 450 lbs 32 kWh = 150 miles range ( 160 Wh per kg )
Range extender is 330 lbs, add that
- 780 lbs 56 kWh = 250 miles range ( 160 Wh per kg, but I3 chassis weighs much less then MS )
BMW engineering focussed on leightweight chassis, not battery system.

Cindy I II III | 01. September 2013

May the best player win.

At this point, MS has the highest safety rating due to the space that is not available for non-pure electric vehicles. It has the lowest drag reduction due to being pure electric. It has low center of gravity due to being pure electric...lower future battery cost with higher capacity is best captured by the pure electric, etc. So at this point, it seems that Tesla has a lot going form them.

redacted | 01. September 2013

Hybrids can be cool. They can be environmentally responsible, at least if you're Toyota and your car is the Prius, top of the mileage heap for ICE cars for over a decade. They can be good for national defense and the trade deficit, because you are sending less dollars overseas in exchange for oil. They don't have reliability and complexity problem per Consumer Reports, and you can get a 50MPG Prius-C for $20K.

Tesla has at least established a niche. It won't go out of business. It may be a game changer, at least I hope it will be.

RedShift | 01. September 2013


I understand all the points being made about hybrids. I am simply talking about those who don't want to think too much, you know? Those who buy into the talk that electrics 'just move tailpipe emissions', or that 'batteries are inherently more polluting to manufacture/recycle' etc.

Right now, I agree that Tesla has a huge competitive advantage. As Tesla starts to eat more sales, competitors will start to seek to muddy the waters, pitching for the hybrid as the best solution. Sure, they are more complicated, require more maintenance too. Until Model E reaches full production and meets its sales goals, EVs are still the UFOs of the automotive world, I'm afraid.

In the long run, with probably a good deal of help from our middle eastern despots, oil prices will rise, which will force more people to adopt EVs. Until then, 'evolution' will probably take place, not 'revolution'?

bonaire | 01. September 2013

@Redacted. Where are we sending our money when we buy a Prius? Directly to Japan.

Hybrids, to me, are not the answer. BEV and EREV are the only real way to go. And make mine in the USA, please.

JAFIC | 01. September 2013

Redshift, you don't have to wait too long. "Considering Military Actions" in Syria is already pushing crude oil prices up.

TikiMan | 01. September 2013


Yes, while there are a few niche exotic developers using hybrid technology to get more power out of their supercars (rather than using turbos or superchargers), I don't think you will find any companies with a comparable priced car to MS that is trying to trump their best luxury models, unless it's just to make the vehicle faster, at a much higher price-point (like what GM's says they might do with the 2014 Stingray).

Most car manufactures just can't afford to lose money developing a luxury vehicle that is both highly-desirable and uses half of its energy derived from an electric motor / battery to get amazing gas milage, and amazing power. Thus the reson why the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, BMW i3, etc all look and perform like cheap botton of the line eco-cars for the poor.

I do agree that eventually, it will happen. However, it is still far off for most typical car manufactures.

michael1800 | 01. September 2013

And Tesla is speeding all of that up. Thanks, T!

GeorgeA | 01. September 2013

Tesla Motors Model S is clearly the gold standard for future electric vehicle transportation. As prices fall to $35,000 in a few years while gas prices increase and the supercharger network is widely available nationwide, the big 3 auto makers will likely update their business model to include innovations in their future vehicles created by Tesla Motors, especially if production numbers can be dramatically increased.

Remember, Elon's stated larger vision is to have a transportation system without utilizing fossil fuels and instead transition to emission free powered electric vehicles world wide.
He has already shared technology and partnered with companies that are also working towards making this future vision become a reality. His leadership and talented team will allow Tesla continued success while at the same time encouraging and providing technological support for additional like minded companies. I am grateful to play a small role in this vision as an early adopter model S owner.

lph | 01. September 2013

A point that is often overlooked and ultimately one of the most important in the long run is that Tesla and other BEV's are the ultimate Flex-Fuel vehicles. This is because it does not matter how the electricity is generated. If you can turn a generator somehow you can get electicity. So if one method dominates it is no problem be it oil, gas or wine the BEV will simply make that fuel more efficient in getting forward motion. Although, for me solar and other renewables is the way.
Hybrid cars on the other hand are still dependant on oil, and are subject to the whims of those suppliers. This leaves the country dependant on those suppliers with all its political ramifications. Also, Hybrids in general are bad at being responsive to the go pedal. I had one of the quickest Hybrids when I purchased it, and it is terrible in this department.

jbunn | 01. September 2013


Nouveau riche as a pejorative is only a quick way of saying they did not get the exposure to culture that kids from hereditary wealth did, but they have enough cash to throw it around as if it can buy class, love, respect, or dignity.

Boorish people are class independent though. They come in all credit ratings. And thuggish people too.

But the term isn't about having money. It's about being rude, privileged, and uncouth.

Brian H | 02. September 2013

It was true that Elon/TM didn't want to dominate the automotive industry. Until it declined to either participate or compete in making good EVs. Now ...

Elon has taken the gloves off. If it is necessary to out-produce the majors, he's prepared to do it. They have been warned.

pebell | 02. September 2013

What surprises me is that in this entire thread, nobody mentioned fuel cells and hydrogen. In my circles, I have noticed that most people do actually realize that hybrids are just a stepping stone along the way to a new "paradigm", but quite a few of them feel that way about battery-powered EVs too. When questioned about their reasons to think so, some indicate they think batteries will never achieve a sufficient "capacity to weight/volume" ratio. Others think they might, but then the time to charge them will also increase to the point where it becomes highly impractical.

Invariably, these people think that hydrogen fuel cells are the "end solution". It offers much of the benefits battery-powered EVs, including simplicity of the drive train, but will still offer that benefit of very quickly loading a tremendous amount of energy into the car by "filling up the tank" like ICE cars can.

I have to admit that before I came down with the Tesla virus, I shared their believes. I know Elon Musk calls them "fool cells", and indicates that even at their theoretical maximum they are outperformed by current Lithium-Ion batteries, but without a more detailed comparison that's not an argument I can use in any discussion, because my "opponent" would need first to award Elon "God Status" like I do for that argument to be compelling :)

And they counter with:

Batteries will always make cars much heavier and bigger than they need to be - look at the Tesla Model S. Sure, the low center of gravity makes handling much better than you would expect _from such a heavy car_ but that's not an "advantage" of battery cars, rather a smart way to overcome some of the drawbacks. If more weight in the bottom of a car was a pure benefit, every car on the road would simply have a huge lead plate there.
A fuel cell drivetrain isn't much more complex than a battery drivetrain - look at how advanced the battery management system in the Tesla needs to be
Sure, hydrogen tanks on board are a safety issue that needs to be carefully managed and designed for. But so are lithium-ion batteries - look at Boeing and again, at how sophisticated the Tesla battery is. It needs to be monitored by a computer non-stop to keep it from catching fire. Maybe some early hydrogen cars will explode. But some early battery-powered EVs will electrocute their driver when they crash and end up in the water too. Eventually, both systems will be as safe as reasonably required
Yes, hydrogen requires new infrastructure to be set up. But so does fast charging of batteries.

So to summarize, after almost a year on these forums, I feel very capable of "verbally destroying" anyone who believes in ICE technology or hybrids, with compelling arguments and undeniable logic. But I find it much more difficult against someone who actually agrees with all those arguments about the superiority of pure EVs vs ICE and hybrids - but believes in fuel cell technology rather than batteries.

Cindy I II III | 02. September 2013

@pebell, did your opponent estimate the cost?

Re safety, really? Wet batteries killing people? If hydrogen potential explosion is no issue, the nuclear should be no issue either for them?

Model S weight comes with longer range. ICE weight reduces fuel efficiency.

Again, may the best win. If fuel cells turn out to be better, lets go there. But until then...

bonaire | 02. September 2013

The physics needed for a worldwide fuel cell program is just about impossible. Hydrogen is a battery, not a fuel. It must be created and stored and then "uncreated" by passing through a fuel cell to generate electricity for propulsion. Usually, the power is stored locally in a battery, not from fuel cell to a motor. So, effectively, the H2 is being used as a battery. Why not just charge a battery in the first place? It makes the vehicle simpler and uses the power to charge a battery, not run a water-cracking plant or extract it some other way from chemical refining.

For those of you calling the "non-Tesla EVs" slow or pedantic (ie. the comments about the Leaf and Volt) - I say "so what?" They do perform better than most ICE cars due to their torque off the line and the only real place they fail to perform as well as a Tesla Model-S is in red-light racing, around a race track or when generally spraying testosterone all over the place. They are fine - they are good for cutting the same oil import problem that the Model-S does. Not everyone is rich. In fact, very few people are rich and can afford a $70-110K car. The $35K Model-E is going to be way too expensive for most drivers. Get on board and support ALL aspects of EV evolution. Otherwise, you end up looking like an exclusionary country club member looking down from a high-lofty place. This is a community of like-minded people - if you want to not support the other EVs (75%+ of the EV sold are not Tesla) then you may torpedo the whole EV society and evolution entirely.

pebell | 02. September 2013

@Cindy: the problem with these discussions is that they are typically based on gut feelings and assumptions. Hard figures or even informed "guesstimates" hardly ever enter into the equation.

This wouldn't be a problem if the end result is always determined by "those who have all the facts". But sadly, that isn't so. What I tried to state with my post is that as long as we can't win the "battery vs hydrogen" discussion based on "gut feeling" arguments, there is still a good chance things will swing in the "wrong" direction even if the science is in "our" favor.

As long as there are car companies that publicly state they believe hydrogen and fuel cells are the future, and that message resonates well with the "gut feeling" of the public at large (even if based on dead wrong assumptions), this could very well mean that the "what if it doesn't happen as Elon thinks?" scenario that the OP proposed could easily happen. It wouldn't be the first time that not scientific facts and superior technology, but political and social-economical considerations determine which technology prevails, and which one bites the dust.

I fully agree with you that if it is really a matter of "may the best win", there is nothing to worry about, one way or the other. But I am not so convinced that those are the rules the game is played by.

Raixie | 02. September 2013


Who said that batteries will always be heavy?

Using electricity to produce hydrogen to produce electricity?
Not sure if it is very efficient...

To recharge at home from sustainables is the best and the cheapest. No infra structures, no cartels and no dependancies.

When batteries reach 500-600 miles ans price drops, all hybrids and other hydrogen stuffs will all become irrelevants.

pebell | 02. September 2013

@bonaire: Although I have a hard time calling H2 "a battery" rather than "a fuel", I see the validity of the point you are making. If you have a solar panel that captures the energy of the sun during the day, but you want to drive at night, you need to capture that energy and store it for a while until you use it. You can store it a battery, or you can store it in H2. So far so good.

But what is the compelling argument why one would be better than the other? You say it makes the vehicle simpler, but someone believing in fuel cells will be quick to point out that Tesla's battery is far from simple as it needs a microcomputer and a heating/cooling system to be running 24/7 to remain stable and not deteriorate, and furthermore it takes up a lot of space and adds an incredible amount of weight to the car. And the speed with which you can push energy into the car is, even with SC, much lower than when you fill up an H2 tank.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that hydrogen is better - but so far, I have a hard time convincing anyone who does that he is wrong :)

The only argument that is left is the "chain efficiency", but that requires so much math that everyone "fades out" halfway the story :)

nickjhowe | 02. September 2013

@Raixie "When batteries reach 500-600 miles ans price drops, all hybrids and other hydrogen stuffs will all become irrelevants"

The world is littered with excellent solutions that were beaten by inferior products. Marketing, human emotions and a lack of critical thinking is a powerful combination.

Raixie | 02. September 2013

To pebell and Cindy
The best does not win that often. The powerful win, as Rockefeller did 100 years ago with his accomplices Ford and the banksters to kill the electric car.
In 1908, the Nickel-Iron batteries provided more than 200 miles to the Detroit-Electric and the Baker Electric.
They charged in less than 5 hours and lasted for 30-50 years!
Given all the other advantages of electrics, they were clearly the best...

If the oil cartel feels that it can survive and prosper by converting his existing distribution network to hydrogen and keep us prisoners (again), they will do so easily by pushing their branches(the automakers) to produce hydrogen cars.
For now they try to kill the electric car (the good ones) with hybrids. .
The goal is always to keep us slaves of fossil fuel. If automakers give us the taste of real fast torquy electrics, we all know that there is no turning back. They don't want to shoot themself in the foot. That's why they only produce hybrids and weak, costy electrics.

pebell | 02. September 2013

@nickjhowe +1

Mark K | 02. September 2013

I wouldn't bet against Elon on the probable outcomes.

The key to the EV future is the Model E. That car will bring economics to bear on the problem.

The trouble with hybrids is they cost more than gas because they're twice as complicated. You can't make a hybrid for $35K that will compete with the Model E benefits and drive experience.

Model E will likely exceed the 200K volume target because the competition will drag their heels.

Model E stealing mainstream sales will be the forcing function that provokes change by legacy automakers.

Some will adapt - painfully, and some will die, because they waited.

I also see no reason why TM can't ultimately offer products to compete in the Honda Fit segment (sub 20K). Long term, the simplicity of EVs will be cheaper to produce, service (and certainly fuel) than gas cars.

This will all take years, but don't underestimate the power of making cars that you want. That's Tesla's main playbook, and it's working pretty darn well.

Raixie | 02. September 2013

Let's just hope that Elon does not die from a "regrettable accident" :-(

RedShift | 02. September 2013

@nick who said "The world is littered with excellent solutions that were beaten by inferior products. Marketing, human emotions and a lack of critical thinking is a powerful combination."

That in effect, sums up my reasons for this thread.

@pebell, who said "
The only argument that is left is the "chain efficiency", but that requires so much math that everyone "fades out" halfway the story :)

If its hard for people to understand, marketing can confuse them. Add in the huge advertising and lobbying arms who start to to turn their big wheels, and we get to Nick's words quoted above.

bonaire | 02. September 2013

@pabell. In terms of cost efficiency, the enegy equivallent of H2 to gas is about at a $6/ gallon cost for compressed H2 and $7/gallon for liquid. It takes a lot of energy to make H2 with hydrolysis and would take vast and cheap solar to peoduce enough for an automotive fleet.

We need very dense batteries which will replace today's batteries. That is where simple EVs will come. Imagine a future of 1kWh stored in 1kg of battery. That is thr eventuality of EVs. Then, make small EVs with a lower Wh/mile rating. You could have a 200 mile Smart EV with low cost.

If we rely on H2 as a future, we end up with H2 infrastructure, millions of h2 cracking units instead of gas stations, lots of tanks to store and transfer this gasseous battery and also issues with chemical purity of the fuel cell workings. They can get clogged up like an ICE.

Like everything, it is fair to say we could have both or a hybrid approach. EREV with H2 emergency extender. H2 driven tow vehicles. Whatever. Te future is electric in many forms.

That is all technical. It also requires that we really rethink this whole population thing as a species. When oil runs out, i doubt we will be ready for it.

Iowa92x | 02. September 2013

Biggest hump eCars need to hurdle is battery cost. An entire Prius cost less to manufacture than a Tesla battery. For some reason, a complex, thousand part ICE engine + small battery costs less to build than one large battery pack. Since battery cost only drops 8% per year, hybrids win out on value and will for several more years. I'm talking about mid ranged $ vehicles here, Prius and hybrid Fords, which the Tesla is not (yet) competing against.

Earlier someone mentioned Chevy might build a hybrid Corvette...they would do that primarily for performance reasons, not fuel economy. Some of the top super cars already have electric assist to wring out a few tenths to 60.

bonaire | 02. September 2013

Another thing is model E is only a small stopgap. Millions of pickup trucks are sold per year in the US and Canada. What about them? Tesla has a bright future supplying what may amount to only 1% of the new vehicles sold.

AmpedRealtor | 02. September 2013

@ Iowa92x - The reason the economics work out that way is largely due to volume. Toyota pumps out almost a million Prius vehicles per quarter. Tesla moves just 2% of that volume in an entire year. The resulting economies of scale almost require that Tesla pay much more for components than Toyota. The same hybrid battery is probably also used in Lexus and other Toyota models like Highlander, so Toyota's volumes are actually much higher than 1 million per quarter.

@ pebell - Hydrogen fuel cells are dead. The California "hydrogen highway" initiative was a complete failure. No vehicle manufacturer produces a hydrogen fuel cell car and no manufacturer currently has a go-to-market plan for their fuel cell vehicle. There is no infrastructure in place and no will on the part of any vehicle manufacturer or third party to build that infrastructure. Forget hydrogen, it's dead in the water. Elon Musk's goal of sustainable transport included evaluation of all options, and electric was deemed to be the most practical and cost effective. Musk could have just as easily designed a fuel cell vehicle if that is where the future was headed, but he did not. Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, GM and the rest are moving towards electrification, not fuel cells.

TikiMan | 02. September 2013

In the end, the cheapest, cleanest, safest, and most efficient energy source will win.

Back in the early 1900's, a waste by-product from crud-oil (which was originally dumpped into rivers or the ground), was not only extreamly cheap, and in high abundance, it could fuel a motor. Thus the first gasoline powered internal cumbustion engines were born.

A hundred+ years later, gasoline's source (crude-oil) is worth its weight in gold, is destroying our planet, has caused untold wars, untold infant deaths, and is depleting from our planet (never to be seen again).

At this point, hydrogen fuel cost more to make than gasoline, thus it is not a cheap replacement for fuel. Fuel-cell technology is far to expensive at this point for any auto maker to consider as a viable replacement to the internal combustion engine.

The cleanest and most abundant source of a replacement fuel at this point is natural gas (CNG), however, it is a highly volatile fuel, requires a larger storage container than gasoline, and currently the motor technology to use it, is still more expensive than a gasoline engine. The other downside is, like oil, it will eventually deplete from the planet. The up-side to CNG is; unlike crude oil, it can be re-created in a similar form (methane) using most carbon-based waste by-products (aka biogas).

Thus at this point, the LI battery is currently the cheapest, cleanest, safest, and most efficient energy source available for a replacement to the gasoline powered engine. Only time will tell if battery technology wins out in the end.