Cost per mile to drive S versus comparable cost per mile with a gasoline equivalent?

Cost per mile to drive S versus comparable cost per mile with a gasoline equivalent?

Let's compare conventional gas cars and electric (S) cars in terms of dollars per mile (US), which is what the bulk of the world will care about.

Gas is about $4 US / gallon where I live. Say my car gets 20 miles / gallon. Ratio these and you get

$4 US / gallon
----------------- = $0.20 / mile = G <-- call it G for cost to drive per mile using gas
20 miles / gallon

What's the number for an S, measured as follows:

$X US / unit of charge
-------------------------- = $X/Y / mile = S <-- call it S for cost to drive per mile using electricity
Y miles / unit of charge

Is S > G or is S < G? In other words, does it cost more per mile to drive an S than my car (focusing on fuel only)? Or, is the reverse true? Is this information somewhere on the Tesla website? Where exactly?


Timo | 9 mai 2011

Electricity is cheap. You could say that "S << G".

It takes about 300Wh to drive one mile (250Wh at 60mph with Roadster). If you pay $0.1 for kW that's then $0.03.

Timo | 9 mai 2011

"...$0.1 for kWh..." not kW. Edit-button, where are you...

bmckinle | 9 mai 2011

$0.08342 / kWh is the net cost where I live, including real-world fuel adjustment charge, regulatory, yadda, yadda,...

$0.083 / kWh
====================================== = $0.025 / mile
1 mile / 0.300 kWh (note unit change)

So, this is an order of magnitude cheaper (x10), at my local electricity rate, to drive the S compared to my current car. Hum... This does not include the hike factor for using more power to charge the car every night, which will likely significantly impact my savings. What will this be in 5 years when 10% or more people own electric cars in my neighborhood? My local infrastructure grid can't handle power reliably now (cars on it are not feasible in the long run--yes, I'm an EE ;o). I like the idea of charging the car while I drive it or park it in the sunlight (all of southern USA)--for free and not largely dependent on grid power. I did not see a sunroof sunlight charging option for the Tesla. Makes practical sense and I believe I've seen this concept implemented in the not-too-distant past on an e-car (where?). Yes, I love the idea of x10 less cost of the Tesla over a comparable gas car. Now how about an SUV the size of a CRV or RAV4? Anything in the works? This is another thread ;o]

Timo | 9 mai 2011

World doesn't need much more electricity generation in switch to EV:s, but local distribution networks might need a rework. Reason why you wont need much more electricity for EV:s is that refining gallon of gasoline takes about 6kWh of electricity. That's 20mile worth of driving in EV, so your current ICE car is actually using same amount of electricity as EV.

Nicu | 9 mai 2011

Timo, I knew this approximative figure of electric energy consumption for refining gas, but I could not find an explicit / easy to read estimate. I just need it for some naysayers, do you happen to have a link ?

Volker.Berlin | 9 mai 2011

I did not see a sunroof sunlight charging option for the Tesla. Makes practical sense and I believe I've seen this concept implemented in the not-too-distant past on an e-car (where?). (bmckinle)

You may be referring to the Fisker Karma. It has some photo voltaic installed on its roof, but the opinion here in the Tesla forum is that its merely for coolness and (pseudo) green image. The amount of electricity generated by a photo voltaic area as small as the roof of a passenger car is so small, that a) it is not really good for anything except maybe running an additional fan while the car is sitting in the sun, and b) if you want to run an additional fan you could as well draw the power from the main battery which would not be affected much. Photo voltaic cells need to be produced, integrated into the car's electricity, and maintained -- at the current state of technology, it does not seem worth the trouble.

Timo | 10 mai 2011

@Nicu, no I just googled for information. One of the links had a direct post from some official department which then was used for math to get that conclusion. If I saved that link it is in my other computer, not this one. I don't think I saved it.

Timo | 10 mai 2011

Found it.

Some other links claim numbers up to 15kWh, but I think those are quite a bit exaggerated.

Volker.Berlin | 10 mai 2011

Yeah, I just found the same link. However, it does not say that 6kWh of electricity are spent to refine crude oil to a gallon of gasoline. It says:

Thus, using an 85% refinery efficiency and the aforementioned conversion factors, it can be estimated that about 21,000 Btu — the equivalent of 6 kWh — of energy are lost per gallon of gasoline refined

which merely means that the refinery process is not 100% efficient and the source crude oil carries more energy than the resulting gasoline. In particular, this does not mean that readily available electricity is consumed, which could as well be consumed by an electric car. It is just a mathematical equivalent -- if you want to use that energy in an electric car, you have to convert it into electricity first, which typically is less than 85% efficient. So either I got it completely backwards or the argument is irrelevant at best. You could also call it misleading.

jfeister | 10 mai 2011

You can get down into the weeds figuring out cost of an EV vs. ICE (as I have). There are numerous factors such as fuel, maintenance, reliability, battery replacement, etc. What I've found is that when everything is accounted for, both types have approximately equivalent total cost of ownership. Typically the EV will cost more initially, then have considerably saving compared to the ICE until the battery needs replacing, which ends up wiping out the saving.

Hopefully, as the ever critical $/Killowatt Hour figure continues to decline, and as gas prices climb, EV's will gain ground over ICE's in this regard.

Timo | 10 mai 2011

I read that as "this much energy is put to the process to generate end products".

Sad fact is that exact numbers how much of that is actually electricity is unknown. I think nobody knows, of if they do that data is well buried and hidden. It is a really complex thing to calculate how much electricity goes to gasoline and diesel leaving everything else out. Look it this way and get that result, look it that way and get this result. Difficult thing to agree upon.

There are other links that use different numbers, some of them refer to natural gas used to refine in addition to electricity, but then you need to consider using that same natural gas to produce electricity instead, in which case you get a bit higher number than 6kWh. Also extracting oil seems to require a lot of energy.

It varies a lot.

This is interesting reading:

From that it look like refining one gallon of CARB gasoline uses around 1kWh pure electricity, if I counted that correctly, however refining entire barrel of oil to end-products uses a lot more, and I don't know how tightly those other products are tied to refining process in whole.

David M. | 10 mai 2011

After doing my math, a 300mi battery is a necessity for me. About 70% of my driving is highway. Here in Florida, the highway speed limit is 70mph (mostly). However, most cars are cruising at 75mph.

I looked at a graph on the Tesla website which shows that at a constant speed of 55mph, the Roadster will have a range of about 245mi. However, at 75mph, the range drops to about 160mi. That 35% hit gives the 230mi battery a useful range of about 150mi on the highway. I was hoping for a useful range of at least 200mi of highway driving.

Remember the saying: "Your actual mileage will vary".

David M. | 10 mai 2011

Here's the page with the graph I was referring to:

Vawlkus | 10 mai 2011

Don't forget that the off peak electricity is effectively "wasted", since demand for power is generally less overnight than it is during the day. If most people only charged at night, the existing grid could easily handle it, since the demand wouldn't exceed the daily usage.

bmckinle | 10 mai 2011

How long will 300 mi battery last at 40 commute miles per day at 70 mph? 1 year? 2 years? Just a rough idea.

I live in San Antonio, so where would I get the battery changed? There's no Tesla dealer, although this city is the second largest in Texas, next to Houston (no, its not Dallas).

qwk | 10 mai 2011

If you treat your battery well, you will have about 70-80% of capacity left after 7 years.

David M. | 10 mai 2011

I agree with qwk.

With the 300mi battery pack, you should still have at least a 210 mile range after 7 or 8 years of use. At that point, you could trade the car for a new model, or have Tesla update it with a new technology 300+ mile battery pack which (by that time)should cost less than $10K including labor.

The big question is: what kind of trade-in value will you have on a car with a 210 mile range after 7 years? The last car I kept for 7 years was a Toyota. CarMax bought it for 30% of the original value.

Tiebreaker | 10 mai 2011

The grid capacity argument can be compared with the gasoline supply network for the early ICE cars. In the late 1800, gasoline was mostly sold in pharmacies! That didn't stop the creation of the ICE automobile industry.

In comparison, we are ahead of that: there is a well-developed electrical grid, far reaching. The demand for electricity for charging EV cars will not skyrocket overnight. Just as the ICE cars did not multiply to millions overnight, EVs will gradually fill the market. The electrical energy transport is a mature technology and business, that constantly adjusts capacity to demand, i.e. air-conditioning units are added in new developments in much higher rates...

Brian H | 10 mai 2011

"hike" factor for charging at night?? That sounds absolutely inane. MORE charges at the off-peak period? Where on Earth do you live? Even Ca isn't that crazy.

Robert.Boston | 27 mai 2011

@Vawlkus: While you're right that the capacity during off-peak periods is "wasted," the electricity isn't -- it's simply not generated. Grid operators continuously match generation to consumption (plus losses), so it's not as though these off-peak kWhs are being dumped somewhere: generating them still requires burning incremental fuel.

As the generation fleet becomes more saturated with renewables, like wind and ocean technologies, we could actually get to a point where we are "dumping" power overnight. That's where storage technologies -- either dedicated storage, or EV batteries -- would be most valuable.

Thumper | 27 mai 2011

I live in the NW and right now the wind generation businesses are complaining that they have more capacity than the distribution can sell because the distribution companies are already getting more hydro generation than they have demand for. Without storage or better lines to sell it to the rest of the country power is being wasted. It never gets turned into electricity but it just blows over the windfarm without generating anything. This is primarily a spring problem I think. Spring wind are high and winter snow melt is copious.

Volker.Berlin | 27 mai 2011

Similar with nuclear plants: You cannot turn them on and off at will. Shutting down a nuclear plant is a matter of days, restarting it may take even longer. And a lot of energy is wasted when the plant is shut down with fuel rods burnt only halfway. Thus, you do not shut down nuclear power, and the electricity must go somewhere.

The crucial difference between nuclear and wind/solar (besides considerations like cost, safety and environment) is the nuclear delivers electricity at a constant, predictable rate whereas wind/solar is to a large degree unpredictable. But they have in common that is does not make any sense to shut them down when demand decreases temporarily.

It is a bit different with charcoal, and it is fundamentally different with gas turbines. The latter can in fact be tuned up and down to match demand within very little time.

Douglas3 | 27 mai 2011

Quite right, Volker. Many types of power generation cannot be easily ramped down, especially nuclear.

Here in Ontario on some days they've actually had to PAY nearby American utilities to take their excess power.

No, that's not a mistake! Power trading is a market system and the price can actually go negative if everyone has too much capacity online at the same time. If the only alternative is grid instability or scramming a nuke, you'll gladly pay for the "service" of someone else taking your power.

The incentive programs for green energy here also can result in people being paid not to produce electricity.

strider | 27 mai 2011

Here's a real-world example. I commute 55 miles round trip per day. My 2006 Corvette would burn 2.5 gallons of premium unleaded to make that journey. At $4.50/gallon that's $11.25/trip. When charging overnight at $0.06/kWh (00:00-07:00 rate) my Roadster costs $0.96 to make the same trip.

Timo | 28 mai 2011

@Douglas, actually coal is even slower to ramp down. It just simply takes time to coal to burn out. Nuclear is easier to ramp down, you can shut down the reactor in matter of seconds but it too takes time just because already released heat cannot simply disappear and water in them needs to go on circulating, otherwise you overheat the reactor and then that "shut down" doesn't apply anymore.

You could adjust the energy generation quite quickly by simple turbine bypass valve, but not generating energy is money-losing process, so that is not done.

Douglas3 | 28 mai 2011


Yes you can shut down nuclear instantly, but you can't restart them quickly.

When the Northeast blackout of 2003 hit, most of the reactors in Ontario scrammed. Three units at the Bruce Nuclear Plant did have a steam bypass system that allowed them to continue running at 60% power and were back powering the local grid in five hours. The rest were down for days, because they had to wait for reaction products to decay before they could be safely restarted. We had rolling blackouts for a week after power was restored, because most of the nuclear plants were still offline.

Brian H | 28 mai 2011

Missing the point. Every renewable generation system MUST be backed up fully (=100%) by conventional, because it can and does go to 0 (zero) at very inconvenient times. It is fundamentally useless for base load -- which is actually the most important.

Further, ramping gas turbines up and down keeps them in their least efficient power modes much of the time, and is very hard on the hardware.

I.e.: renewables generation is currently an exercise in enforced economic and ergonomic stupidity.

It will always remain so, because it is diffuse and its massive hardware and real-estate, transmission, back-up, and storage requirements are ineluctable.

Timo | 28 mai 2011

Not every. Geothermal systems are immune to all changes other renewable systems are. Hydro is also very reliable. Probably more reliable than most non-renewables.

Brian H | 28 mai 2011

Yes, though geothermal is "renewable" only at the rate at which heat "refills" the rock in contact with the underground piping. This rate is easily exceeded by the power draw in most areas; only a few "hot spots" have enough flux to generate respectable power. And the chemicals used in the large plants are less than benign. Not much potential to defray real world energy requirements there.

As for hydro, it's great where available in sufficient quantity, and the containment valleys are expendable. I live in B.C., Canada, which has the vast majority of its power from hydro. Yet even here the greenies are pushing to stop its use and switch to wind etc. In Spain and elsewhere, they like to count it as (the only actual high performance) part of their stats, but in general they exclude it from the classification. Certainly, there is no push anywhere to expand it. In the UK, aside from some trivial gestures in Scotland, sure to mess up substantial areas of the Highlands, it's barely on the radar. And I doubt you'd find many waxing poetic over the Three Gorges project on the Yangtze.

In fact, in many areas there's a push to demolish dams and return rivers to their "natural state". Often these are obsolete and expendible structures, but even in the NW there's been talk of completely undamming the Columbia, etc., which is not trivial.

So, if anything, hydro has a rather negative "cachet" in the Renewables World. As Australia and other venues are discovering, wide swings in rainfall patterns occur which play Hobb with planning for it, too.

So it's rather disingenuous to fall back on geo and hydro to justify renewables. If they were the actual subject of discussion, the debate would be far different world-wide, and many billions of dollars would have been rescued from the Rat Hole.

Timo | 28 mai 2011

In geothermal case it is "only" matter of getting deep enough to get steady energy flow as long as you want anywhere in the world. Obviously that "deep enough" is different in different places, so if you happen to live place with think crust getting deep enough can be rather challenging.

The full potential of geothermal has not been taken seriously until very recently, probably because other methods have been so cheap. Because of that equipments to get deep enough are also quite primitive.

Volker.Berlin | 28 mai 2011

Brian, you're right it's diffuse and you need more total capacity installed than your demand is at any given time. But the additional capacity need not be charcoal or nuclear. What you need is a mix of different renewables in different places across the country, and you need to invest in grid capacity as well. Hydro BTW is not only base load capable, it's also very easy and usually lossless to adjust to actual demand. Norway as well as Switzerland cover most (eh, a significant portion, lots) of their base load with hydro but you cannot do that everywhere, that's for sure.

P.S. If you find typos please keep them. I'm on my mobile.

Brian H | 28 mai 2011

"Deep enough" is just hand-waving. The capital cost per KW capacity goes up exponentially as depth increases. And the thermal conductivity of rock places sharp limits on how much you can get from any installation. The best locales will be taken first, and some of them are very inconvenient (Yosemite, e.g.) Then you get to the harder, deeper ones. And the world can't function on power that expensive.

Look, for a moment, consider the much more likely option of success of the FocusFusion model. Minuscule costs, unlimited capacity expansion, no environmental degradation or location constraints, etc. It makes dreaming about human-built and controlled and exploited geysers look jaw-droppingly unrealistic.

Watch China. For all it's little throw-away demonstration projects and token green experiments, it's committed to industrialization by using coal, oil, and gas. And as China goes, so goes the world in the near to medium term, short of something as dramatic as FF.

The "spread it out" argument is demonstrated by real experience to be false. Wind CAN drop across huge areas simultaneously, etc. And blows most (night) when needed least. FAIL. The UK is going to provide a lovely demonstration of how stupid and delusional reliance on it is.

Worse, the blithely assumed trade-offs etc. assume massive load switching and balancing capabilities: in other words, a pure fantasy transmission grid.

Examine the experience of the poster child Denmark. It actually gets to use very little of its vaunted capacity because it's on 'high' when unwanted, and off or low when demand is highest.

As soon as you look at the detail of any of the claims, they crumble.

Brian H | 28 mai 2011

My typo: "for all it's" s/b "for all its". 9-\

Robert.Boston | 29 mai 2011

Re "100% backed up":

  1. Most places already have sufficient generation capacity to provide this "100% back-up" level, so adding renewables to the grid doesn't mean we also need to build more fossil-fired plant; we'll just use what we have less intensively.
  2. Nearly all parts of the North American grid have "rampable" generation on the margin nearly all the time. Pac NW in the springtime is a notable exception, but this situation is exacerbated by the lack of coordinated dispatch across the western interconnection. The Western Electric Coordinating Council is working on this issue.
  3. Studies of the "Atlantic Wind" transmission project that Google and others are backing demonstrate that, at least in that region, the dispersion of off-shore wind generation along an extended geography substantially mitigates volatility that will inevitably occur at any one site.
  4. The interconnected grids already carry substantial reserves, because s*** happens, regularly. Adding variable-energy resources adds a new source of uncertainty (to sudden power plant outages, transmission outages, load swings, etc.), but because it is largely uncorrelated to the other risks, it does not necessarily require carrying larger amounts of reserves.
  5. We're all signing up to buy what could be a valuable part of the solution: EVs. It is not unrealistic to look forward to a level of grid control in which, when we plug in our EV in the evening, it informs the utility that the EV is ready to be charged and when it needs to be available next. The utility can then charge the vehicle to conform to the grid needs.

FWIW, I head a global energy consulting practice and work with major utilities and generation owners on these issues. "Grid integration" of variable energy is a critical topic, and one that the industry is taking very seriously.

Mark Petersen | 29 mai 2011

well denmark at the moment is exporting all available power to germany, because they have stopped a couple of atomic power plants

normally Norway will bye our excess night power(cheap), and slow there own hydro production
and during the day(expensive), they will increase the hydro production
byeing cheap danish wind power and sell expensive hydropower to us
it is not that hydro is more expensive to produce, they are just able to scale production dependen on the price
but in the end it keep the price more stable, and it is more profitable to sell it cheaply to norway than stop production (map that show live power production in Denmark)

jkirkebo | 31 mai 2011

We also have pumped storage in Norway so we can use excess or cheap power to pump water back into the reservoirs, then using that water for power production later. The efficiency of this arrangement is about 85%. The hydro plants can be ramped from 0% to 100% power output in less than a minute.

Ramon123 | 31 mai 2011

One huge flaw in all these comparisons is that they ignore a very big factor : the costs of the batteries. Batteries can, at this stage, be considered part of fuel costs. Certainly a $40K replacement cost for Tesla's 300 mile pack every 9 or 10 years
puts the cost of driving the electric in this case a lot more expensive than an ICE. Unfortunately, all too many EV advocates
argue as though battery costs, beyond the initial costs, simply do not exist and thus claim wildly optimistic benefits for driving electric. Now, the DBM-Energy batteries claim a 5000 recharge
capability, resulting in a battery pack that could easily outlast 3 or 4 cars. If that turns out to be true, then electric cars
should be manufactured and merchandised both with and without battery packs. Methinks the future world of the automobile may
be far more different than many imagine.

Timo | 31 mai 2011

Lose a zero. 9 to 10 years $4000 would be closer the truth. $40k isn't true even now. Roadster battery change is $12k.

EdG | 1 juin 2011

If you're going to amortize in the battery replacement cost to your "per mile cost" calculation, then you should compare to ICE car numbers including oil changes and everything else they need to keep running.

Volker.Berlin | 1 juin 2011

EdG, Ramon123, look for the following post earlier in this thread:
jfeister | May 10, 2011 - 11:20am

I think most people on this forum agree with jfeister, at least no one objected.

Shogun | 3 juin 2011

EdG is right - you have to compare TCO with TCO. ICE will have issues to deal with like adjusting valves, exhaust system, catalytic, spark plugs, fuel tank, fuel filter, fuel pump, air filter, turbo or super charger issues, etc. that an electric car simply will not have. Who here has had a major tuneup done and they tell you that you should change the water pump because they have to disassemble a lot that's in front of the water pump.

There will still be things like power steering, power brakes (you can't rely 100% on the regen to stop you), A/C, etc, but a LOT less than the typical ICE.

On the other hand, the EC does have this big honking electric motor but they have been around for quite some time and are very reliable. There will be some electronic death here and there and while that should be relatively inexpensive we all know how much we get raked over the coals for automotive parts in general, let alone highly specific, specialized parts.

Then there is maintenance that will be on both types - tires, bearings, tie rods, etc.

Over all, I expect the EC to cost somewhere between 50-75% less in maintenance over the life of the car (say 10 years) - on average. This means that there may be individual variation - that always happens.

Now, about the cost of the battery. Remember, the 160 mile battery is in the base unit - the 300 mile battery is $20k more. That means that the 300 mile battery costs AT LEAST $20k !!! I was actually quite shocked by that. I figured the 230 mile battery would be 2.5-5k more and the 300 mile to be another 2.5-5k, but 10k for EACH jump, well, that seems to be a bit ridiculous. They're probably trying to suck every last penny out of the initial group of early adopter that they can, which is typical in any release of new technology.

As for me, I'll just be happy with the 160 mile battery (for now).

Shogun | 3 juin 2011

To complete my thought here... Unfortunately, we don't know how much the base 160 mile battery replacement will cost and since they won't have to sell any of them for another 7-8 years or so, we may not know how much they cost for some time.

I would hazard a guess, based on the incremental amounts that the base cost of of the battery is somewhere in the 10-20k amount. Let's figure it for both values and see what we come up with.

Over 8 years - 100k miles. At $10k, that's $0.10/mile If the cost is $20k, then that is $0.20/mile. The other question to ask is - what "trade in" value will the old battery have?

Here's my scenario - I drive about 15k miles/yr. I would like to hold the car for at least 10 years. That's 150k miles. I can deal with a shorter range than 160, in fact, I can actually keep using it until it drops down to somewhere in the 80 range.

Electricity here is $0.16 c/kwh - using the 300 wh per mile, I have 0.3 kwh/mi * 150k or 45k kwh or $7200 for electricity.

Do the comparison for gas at $4.00/gal assuming 20 mpg - i.e. $.20/mile and you have $30,000 for gas. That's a net savings of $22,800. There is some time value of money to take into account, but if the cost of the car loan is at 3-5% isn't not that much right now.

Now, if I have a car that gets 30 mpg, that changes to $20,000 for gas and a savings of $12,800. That also assumes that gas does not go over $4/gal in the next 150k miles (i.e. 10 years or so). We all know where that number is going.

The tables definitely look to be tilted in favor of the EC and they're tilting more and more every day. But, who knows what's going to happen to the price of electricity too - in the end, it's a big gamble, but I do know that I'll feel much better about not sending my money to the oil companies (my electricity comes primarily from Nuclear).

Ramon123 | 4 juin 2011

There are actually two viable types of nuclear reactors used by utilities - the conventional light water reactor that's been in continuous use for the past 60 years, and the fast breeder reactors, which exist in several countries but have not yet reached commericialization. Fast reactors have many advantages over light water types - they can extract virtually all of the energy from the nuclear fuel, rendering it relatively impotent in terms of storage. There is enough energy left in our "nuclear waste" (it's not really waste) to provide 100% of the power needs of the US for the next 1000 years. No more uranium will be required until the year 3000. Utility reactors are large and
function as base load generators, with mid and then peak load
generators stepping in when power requirements during the day exceed what the reactor is providing. However, more than a few
have associated pumped storage reservors which allow excess power generated to be used later when needed. There also exist small nuclear generators, one championed by Bill Gates for a remote village, built by Toshiba or Mitsubishi I think. It's output can be varied as required, and thus it functions as a peak load generator. It is fueled at the factory and buried underground - it's about the size of a bathtub. It can produce 20 MWs as I recall at a cost of around 5 cents per kilowatthour. It can operate for about 25 years before needing to be refueled.

Ramon123 | 4 juin 2011

It's quite impossible to even guess when it comes to cost comparisons between ICE and electric cars. There are way too many unknowns here. For example, the cost of the battery must be considered and that's a really tough one, in an age of rapidly
changing battery technology. The 300 mile Tesla Model S battery
looks to cost $40,000. Now figure your cost comparisons using battery costs. You really can't because you don't know what the replacement battery is going to cost, except that it's obviously going to cost less, in real terms. Same thing for fuel costs. You can only make comparison at given time and place. My electricity is a lot cheaper than California and Mass and NY electricity, but more expensive than Indiana power, etc. Gas prices are changing almost daily. There is no fixed relationship between the price of gasoline required to move your car 4 miles down the road and the price of electricity required to do the same thing. Trying to make comparisons on the basis of energy contained in a gallon
of gasoline versus that contained within a kilowatthour has no value with respect to costs.
The reason I'm not out rushing to buy a Model S has nothing to do with the vehicle per se - I think the design is outstanding.
It has to do with the battery. If the German Federal Government laboratory that tested the DBM-Energy battery pack was accurate, that battery will last 30 years, or 5,000 discharge cycles. The battery also has zero problems with safety issues and doesn't need
a system to maintain its temperature. And it can be recharged in a few minutes, apparently. So you see, I simply don't want to fork
over $40,000 for a 300 mile battery pack and find out the batteries are obsolete the next day. I don't have range anxiety, I have battery obsolescense anxiety. Whether I'll spring for the
160 mile version I don't know : even though the "loss" would be less, there would be the question of getting the new batteries into the car. I want more clarity on the all-important battery question before leaping.

Brian H | 5 juin 2011

Not proven and produced yet, but check out the work at . If they meet their schedule for having their mini-fusion reactor on the market in the 5-10 yrs. range, it would be making power at about 1/10 the cost of those small fission jobs. Above ground, no waste, no radioactivity.

How does 0.25 - 0.5¢/kwh sound to you? ;)

Kallisman | 5 juin 2011

I tech industry there's always better technology around the corner. If you base decision of what or when to buy a technology product on what will come in the future, u will never find a good time to buy. It's better to just buy something that covers your needs now. You can always buy new technology later and sell what you have to someone less demanding.

Ramon123 | 5 juin 2011

My experience is that being an early adopter of any new technology is virtually always a bad way to go, assuming that cost is a consideration. Take practically anything - PVs for example. The first ones that came out couldn't really do anything and cost over $4,000. Or solar panels. I have been following this technology for over a year and can state, without hesitation, that installation even as recently as a year ago, would have been a very bad decision, despite Fed subsidies of $1K per kilowatt of capacity.
Not only have microinverters made installation an easy task even for the electrically challenged, and cutting over half the cost of system installation, but have increased energy harvest. The pricing of the panels themselves has experienced a severe drop. Two years ago the prices were more than double what they are today. And the panels are better and will likely outlast you. And net metering is available practically everywhere nowadays as well.
The technology is reaching a plateau in terms of harvesting efficiency and competition is cutthroat, reducing prices as low as possible thru mass production, unless some new scheme for manufacturing comes along. I would recommend buying at this point - my estimates are that one can, by installing the panels yourself, obtain a fixed price for electricity for the next 25 years of 5 cents or less per kilowatthour in virtually every locale in this country, sans the far north.
As for electric cars, they behave more or less the same as what we have today, so the only benefits concern the fuels they use and emissions they (may) reduce. Anyone who claims "I'm doing my part" to reduce either of these things, I simply say: "Hogwash." One person cannot make a difference here. And at these prices for batteries, there cannot be very many early adopters. Even a million adopters would have virtually undetectable effects. In many locales, actual carbon emission reductions are either nonexistent or insignificant. And even where they are significant, the costs of reductions obtained by using an EV are exorbitant compared to alternative means. Electric cars have enormous advantages in every respect over an ICE powered vehicle, but the battery costs are simply too great at this point, at least in terms of cost effectiveness and widespread availability, despite a rather enormous $7500 subsidy from our generous Feds.
Just as it has been thruout its history, the widespread success of the electric car all comes down to its battery, and nowadays, only to battery costs, since I believe that they are advanced enough to compete successfully in terms of functionality (recharge speed, driving range, etc.). But costs involve not just initial but also lifetime costs, although some new designs apparently have
severely reduced those lifetime costs.
I will wait on EV technology just as I did for PVs and solar panels. I made out like a bandit on those and expect to do the same on EVs. Besides, Tesla has sold its output already and
doesn't need any help from me to succeed, which I hope happens
in a big way.

Timo | 5 juin 2011

For new techs this current time is going forward in incredible speed. Nanotechs in medics, quantum computing in solving problems, carbon nanostructures in just about anywhere etc. In next 20-50 years our world will look quite a different place.

For EV batteries I predict 75% price drop in next 10 years for two reasons: 1) volume of production raises several times higher than it is now which reduces production costs. 2) new techs make Wh/L much much higher than it is now.

BTW. if Model S uses 8000 cells in its battery pack, that equals about 1300 laptops. 5000 Model S equals then 6500000 laptops. That's a lot. It doesn't take long before automotive battery production exceeds any other battery production needs.

EdG | 6 juin 2011


(think Tom Smothers :) Oh yeah, yeah?

Well, all of us early adopters who are getting more than the 160 mile version will have SO much battery space that when it comes time to replace them the battery technology will be so advanced that the replacements will cost $5000 and take us for 3000 miles on a charge. (Which, from empty, will take 3 days to recharge.) And we'll be so ubiquitous that power companies across the nation will pay us to act as energy storage depots so that, when we're not driving, they can tap into us at peak demand.

Nicu | 6 juin 2011

All battery packs are the same physical size. They are just more or less filled with cells of different chemistries. The new batteries will probably not be so advanced, probably, optimistically, $10k and 800-1000 mi in 10 years.