Tesla for the people

Tesla for the people

Hello. First of all I just want to tell the Tesla developers that their technology is unique and fantastic! The engineers and programmers that work for Tesla is the technological future. I am so happy that this sort of technology finally has arrived after dozens of years with gas-driven cars.

And now: To my real question.

I know that Tesla is an 100% electrical car, what is good. But if the future cars should be electrical, how should the world produce enough electrical energy all over the world so that all of the Tesla owners can load up their vehicles.

Most car owners today have an diesel or gasoline driven car. Although there is enough oil in the earth and underneath the sea for every car in this world. But is it the same with electricity? If this world should be able to adapt to another set of fuel, the cost are enormous. Many persons in the oil business will in worst case lose their job. But as well as new employees will start the production of electrical cars, such as the Tesla model S/X.

We all know that the more people that purchases an electrical car, the better. But then we need to put more emphasis on power plants such as Nuclear activity, solar activity, hydro power and renewable power from windmills and such. If the world start betting on such activity the oil companies will collapse and the billions of petroleum driven cars will just rust and create a massive amount of junk and scrap metal.

My point is just that your idea is very very very good, but the consequences are there. Be careful on whether you choose to start mass production of the Tesla, or take the small steps and try adapt the world we live in slowly to a safer, healthier and better era without creating massive mistakes on the way.

(Sorry for some bad and hardly understandable English)

Timo | September 15, 2013

Drilling, transporting, refining etc. oil to gasoline to pumps uses so much energy that that alone makes this nearly +-0 change.

Electricity can be made from gazillion different sources. Solar and geothermal alone could produce more than 100x current usage if we just start to really use those sources. That doesn't count hydro and wind which are also clean.

If sources in the planet are not enough then there is space...

There is no shortage of energy sources for electricity. Think SC stations, they are powered by solar. Just building that network creates distributed network of small solar plants.

Consequences are nearly 100% good ones. Just about every country onto world can be electricity self sustaining removing threat of energy wars and monopoly of source that only few has goes away. World changes to better place, not only because cleaner cars, but because economical changes.

SamO | September 15, 2013

Electricity (can be) clean, renewable and sustainable.

Gas and oil, never.

a 50 mile by 50 mile solar farm would power the entire United States.

Clean up transportation and THEN you can clean the grid.

300,000,000 sources or 30,000?

RanjitC | September 15, 2013

Fossil fuels will run out eventually, renewables are intermittent requiring equal amounts of backup generation capacity. Hydro is probably maxed out in most countries. We need a breakthrough in power storage or will be forced to fall back on nuclear power, hopefully it will be from fusion.

Timo | September 15, 2013

Before fossils run out we will have solar in space. That's not intermittent and is about as clean as it can.

Now to get that warp drive to work..

And Star Trek, here we come.

Live long and prosper

roseland67 | September 15, 2013


Interesting comment, quick estimated math
about 28 million sq ft/sq acre &
about 10 watts/sq ft of surface area,
solar panel output @ 10 hrs/day

Again, quick math indicates about 140,000,000 kwh
of energy, (unless I missed a zero or 2).

Does that run the country? Don't know.
Need a boatload of storage though.

Maybe a 50 acre solar field on both coasts, midwest,
southeast, southwest, give you a little more
daylight time to collect, distribute, store etc.

Be interested if somebody knew all of the #'s
and could build the model required.

Timo | September 15, 2013

50x50 miles is about 6,400,000,000 m^2. If you get something like 8 hours of useful solar / day (10 is not likely) and get that 10W/sqft that's about 720Wh / m^2 / day. 4,608,000,000kWh / day * 365 = 1,681,920,000,000kWh.

claims "3,856 Billion Kilowatthours (kWh) in 2011".

That's 3,856,000,000,000 kWh.

If I read amount of zeros correctly 50x50 mile panel would be about 40% of energy required, and that's assuming every day is sunny day.

So, not enough.

jstack6 | September 15, 2013

You should check the electric GRID in every country around the world. They all dump excess at night. They can't store it or ramp it down and still meet the next days peak so they run full all night with little load. Even hydro can't be shut off or tuned down at night.

Lucky most plugins charge at night Off Peak! The Union of Concerned Scientist did a study that showed we could run over 80% of all vehicles on electricity and not need any additional fuel or power plants or even transmission line and transformers.

It also takes about 10 kWh's of electricity to refine a gallon of OIL into gas or diesel. So if we stopped refining crude we would have more than enough to run our vehicles.

If you read Tesla stats you will see it also takes less energy and time to make an electric vehicle compared to a gas vehicle. That adds up with every vehicle.

Moore's Law of technology also applies to electric vehicles but at a slower rate and not to gas or diesel. They get better, lower cost, more range and longer life each year. Just the Regenerative braking that saves brake wear and dust while adding energy back into an electric is worth it. No other vehicle can do this!

Then we add the amazing ability of the EV to provide GRID improvements like V2G V2B and you have a whole new world, only in an EVworld.


JHM | September 17, 2013

I don't think people will lose jobs in the oil industry anytime soon. The energy transformation will play out quite slowly. Perhaps when EVs come to be about 10 - 15% of new vehicles sold, demand for gas may decline about 1% per year. This is not a huge decline, but it would be enough for the total number of gas stations to start to shrink year over year. More interestingly, demand for gas will become much more elastic. Remember a few years ago when oil was very expensive, oil companies made record high profits. That was because demand for gas was so inelastic that producers could simply pass the cost onto consumers at the usual margin of profitability. Demand did in fact come down in this country and elsewhere, but try to imagine this in a few more years when a significant share of new vehicles are electric. Families with one gas vehicle and one EV will easily shift the greater share of their miles to their EV whenever the price of gas goes up, while other families will trade their gas vehicle for an EV if gas prices stay too high. All this means that oil companies will find it increasingly difficult to pass high prices on consumers. Thus, when the price of oil goes up, gas sales will go down and profit margins will be squeezed. In this way, even motorists who drive gas powered vehicles will benefit economically from the rise of EVs. They will ultimately pay less for gas because their neighbor drives an EV. EVs may well prove better for the economy than even they are for the environment.

Brian H | September 17, 2013

Prospective restraint of prices may begin even before sales are very high, as any spiking would only accelerate it.

Brian H | September 17, 2013

edit: accelerate them (EV sales).

Joshua Burstyn | September 18, 2013

Oil and gas exploration, extraction and refinement won't stop anytime soon. EVs still use plastic parts, require fossil-fuel based lubricants (not nearly as many, but even so...), and drive on synthetic (read: oil-based) rubber tires.

Then there are non-automotive applications for oil/gas such as some medications.

As much as it would be nice, we still need oil for some things. We shouldn't worry about the demise of the fossil fuel industry even if EVs are successful in taking a slice of the marketplace.

Timo | September 18, 2013

That's still far better use for oil than burning it. We use rocks too, so why not oil for something that is at least semi-permanent.

grega | October 11, 2013

I agree that there's no concern that the electricity will run out. I mean, the absolute worst case would be using ICE generators, but we're in a FAR better position than that.

Citibank apparently released a study recently saying that solar power was at a tipping point for cost effective investment, and that traditional utilities still don't see it. If lots of people install a solar roof for $0 and pay it off at regular energy rates for 10 years, it'll fundamentally change the grid (won't it?). Elon's "Solar City" is doing exactly that afaik.

As a brainstorm - first thing would be that electricity will at some point become very cheap during daylight (and more expensive in the evening). Secondly an intelligent grid that tells our charging cars when to back off or take more charge, to create a more stable demand (and charge less for a car that's willing to be flexible). And we may end up wanting to charge the car during daylight, use some of its battery for the home in the evening, and charge again at 3am.

Hard to predict the future though :) The power companies might even drop daylight power charges early to reduce the interest in solar power.

Teslation | October 11, 2013

On the single source solar power, say a 100 mile x 100 mile solar farm don't forget to calculate transmission loss from transmitting the electricity all over the country from one source.

I'm no power engineer, but I believe the transmission loss is significant. Our transmission lines need re-invented. That's why I'm a fan of superconducting electrical cables. It would save a lot of electricity.

I also agree oil & gas exploration takes up a lot of electricity. I read that's why electric rates are high in Texas, which has a lot of old & new oil & gas drilling activities.