Gobsmacked by this quote

Gobsmacked by this quote

In a rather good piece about Tesla's JB Straubel consultant Gopal Duleep questioned Telsa's expensive battery layout and suggested that whist it made things safer it was too costly. I was astounded that his throw away comment insinuated that he thought a cheaper, more dangerous, layout would be better.

What would you rather have? A rock solid, but pricey, battery from Tesla that didn't catch fire, or a cheaper Model S that would put your life in danger and after a few fires eventually ruin the company?

Tesla’s battery uses thousands of small cells, unlike those in competing plug-in models that are designed using hundreds of larger lithium-ion cells. The company’s approach has been criticized as too expensive and complex.

“It’s a high-cost model and doesn’t easily lend itself to a lower-cost vehicle,” said K. Gopal Duleep, president of HD Systems Inc., a Washington-based consulting firm. “There are things with regard to safety it’s probably good for, but it’s just too high-cost.”

Neech | May 19, 2013

Car manufacturers used to complain that seat belts were too expensive and no one would want them. My thoughts -- Safety First! And a main reason for my choosing Tesla over the others is the research that went into engineering of the car. Maybe this author needs to look back into the Pinto to see what can happen when manufacturers try the cheap route.

Neech | May 19, 2013

Oops, I jumped the gun (it's too early in the morning) and my comment shouldn't be towards the author but to the comment attributed to Duleep in the article.

GeirT | May 19, 2013

TM has to consider battery safety above anything else, representing a disruptive technology, a game changer of enormous consequences tot he auto industry as we know it. Strong forces against this small and beautiful contender, not only the Big 3 but even the oil industry. What if a couple of MS go up in flames on a highway? TM is dead. Period. Safety is the key issue TM never, ever can compromise on.
Remember the Ford Pinto and exploding gas tanks...

Andre-nl | May 19, 2013

It doesn't seem there is a real safety problem with large format Lithium Ion batteries. Afaik, no LEAF or Volt or BYD e6 has gone up in flames (except for that one Volt that was used in a crash test and then left abandoned without properly discharging the battery). The two Fiskers fires that I know of were caused by a faulty cooling fan, not the battery.

Large format batteries can be just as safe as Tesla's battery (or at least safe enough), but you sacrifice energy density. That's why Tesla chose this battery tech. They felt that a 150 mile Model S would not be a compelling car.

Just my 2c.

Objective1 | May 19, 2013

@scoops : We don't know what Tesla's cost of battery manufacture is. There is some information indicating they pay perhaps half the cost of Leaf batteries per KWH of capacity.

Their model is to exploit the huge economies of scale in laptop batteries and the continual improvement there. Then how expensive is it to mount the (small) cells in their pack? Perhaps it's not that expensive.

I did not hear any clear argument in the quote you cited as to why Tesla's model cannot scale up.

FWIW, Tesla co-founder and first CEO Martin Eberhard now works for Volkswagen exploring a Tesla-style battery pack solution (based on laptop batteries). So Volkswagen must think it scales up, too.

Mark K | May 19, 2013

The smartest guy in the room knew that fail safe batteries were essential for success.

With time, every sort of crash or odd circumstance will occur, and the intrinsic safety of TM's battery architecture will prove prescient.

While the consultant keeps making studies, the smart guy will keep making history.

snowmass4 | May 19, 2013

If a company as risk adverse as Boeing can screw this up royally after years of testing, I would not be too critical of Tesla's emphasis on battery safety. Typical consultant idiocy.