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Reaching for the Pie in the Sky...

Reaching for the Pie in the Sky...

I'll be posting some things I've written about Tesla Motors here for the perusal of fans and condemnation by naysayers. Enjoy!

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NOTICE: Red Sage's posts on the internet are prone to being wildly inaccurate, filled with supposition and innuendo, that presume pie in the sky impossible magic science hopeful idunno circumstances that may or may not actually occur in real life and stuff. They are also closed captioned for the humour impaired. As such, it would probably be a good idea if they were thoroughly ignored by anyone with a highly litigious nature. That is to say, I cannot actually predict the future, and that though I may occasionally get something right, it is purely accidentally coincidental, and I only warrant that when I get something wrong, it will be entirely and without fail 100% firmly incorrect.

Red Sage ca us | 09. april 2014

RANGE AMNESIA...

I have seen a lot of reviews and test drives of the Tesla Model S on YouTube. I find it interesting that with all the talk about 'range anxiety' by naysayers, they seem to forget a few things.

As little as 25, 30, or 40 years ago, any street legal vehicle capable of a four second run to 60 mph (~100 kph) and/or a 12 second quarter mile typically got no more than 3-5 mpg in the city. They got 8-12 mpg on the highway -- if you were lucky. That's why they typically would have no less than a 25 gallon fuel tank. None of them were likely to have a leather and wood interior, air conditioning, a stereo sound system, anti-lock brakes, or room for five plus luggage. They'd likely be barren inside except for an instrument cluster, a rollcage, and a jumpsteat for a navigator.

With spirited driving, the deeper you put your foot into the accelerator, the less range you had to work with. So on the low end, a range of 75 miles between fill-ups might be expected. Best case would be 300 miles with that 25 gallon fuel supply. Assuming an expanded capacity 40 gallon fuel tank, you might manage 480 miles on a good day.

It's been a while. People forget that massive, high displacement, V8, V10, and V12 engines were not always paired with 5, 6, 7, and 8 speed transmissions. They forget just how often they used to stop for fuel in performance cars. They forget that there was a time when engine management computers, multiple/variable cams, electronically controlled intake/exhaust valves, and more technological features were not commonplace. They forget that for a very long time it was unheard of to expect even 25 mpg out of those vehicles.

In barely ten years since Tesla Motors began, they have matched and surpassed pretty much everything that had been accomplished with gasoline powered road cars during the first 100 of the past 120 years. Give them some time. If you haven't been impressed yet, you will be.

holidayday | 09. april 2014

Are these postings on this blog, your own blog, or only YouTube?

Red Sage ca us | 09. april 2014

I post pretty much anywhere people might listen... or read.

I decided to start my own thread of messages, because sometimes my posts are ridiculously long and sort of hijack other folks' posts...

Red Sage ca us | 11. april 2014

Hauling Where the Heart Is...

One thing I would like to see Tesla Motors do is to further the clean, renewable energy initiative of the company. Before long, naysayers will begin to note, as Tesla's sales increase, that they still use fossil fuel vehicles to ship and deliver their cars in the United States of America. I propose heading off that criticism by doing the unthinkable.

Tesla should create a line of long-haul semi-trucks that are fully electric. A Tesla Road Truck. They would be used solely by their own company. They would not be offered for sale to anyone else. They would be driven by Tesla employees, who were experienced long-haul drivers.

It would have to be comfortable, aerodynamic, and efficient. I imagine something along the lines of the better looking trucks on the road:

Some might say it would be better to work with one of those manufacturers to jointly develop the Tesla Road Truck. I don't think so. It's better to be completely independent. This is about proving that it can be done, proving that it is feasible, proving they can do it alone. Proving the technology can be not only competitive, but superior.

The trucks would need their own separate charging infrastructure to accommodate their size and power needs. That could be arranged two ways. Tesla could forge an alliance with a company such as the TA Travel Centers of America to place truck specific charging stations at their truck stops. If that were not possible, Tesla could build out their own, private lots across the nation to act as Tesla Waypoints for charging their trucks in transit across the nation.

What I like about setting up at the truck stops is that they are ubiquitous, across the country. Tesla could just lease space on site to install their own Superchargers. TA would get the added advantage of having solar panels installed at their locations in sunny Southern states, such as Arizona, Texas and others, to offset their own reliance on the electrical grid.

Beyond that, truckers love to talk about their rigs, as a matter of tradition. Tesla owners do that just as much as anyone else. So Tesla's drivers would become ambassadors of the technology as well, direct to their peers. And Tesla Motors could use their input to gauge interest, occasionally having test drive events for the trucks as well, hosted by the TA Truck Stops. Even if Tesla decided not to ever sell the trucks or go into full production of them, it might be just enough to convince truckers to beg for the technology from their traditional truck manufacturers.

If they had to build Tesla Waypoints, that would not be so bad. Logistics could be handled rather easily by internal systems. They could be sure that security for the cargo was aptly monitored. There could be sleeping quarters on site, along with provisions for food, drink, and entertainment during a driver's down time. In fact, it might be a good idea to set up these Waypoints at strategic locations, even if they did have a good deal with TA.

It might not be necessary for 100% of Tesla's deliveries and transports to be made with these trucks. If perhaps 30 to 50 of their trucks were on the road, that might be enough to get the word out. If Tesla intends to release a pickup truck around 2020 or so, it would be a good idea to have these road trucks in public view around 2017. That would be just in time for the ramp up of production for the Model E, so it would get that much more publicity. And that publicity would increase anticipation for the pickup truck, call it the Model P.

To that end, the trucks would need to have superior range. I'd manage that by co-opting the traditional design aspects of semi-trucks:

  • The large ones typically have three axles. So you'd might as well have three motors, working in unison.
  • There are usually fuel tanks on either side of the cabin, running nearly the full distance between front and rear wheels. Those could house stacked battery packs, formed to fit that space.
  • Underneath the cabin and what is typically the engine bay on trucks, you'd have the usual 'skateboard' arrangement of battery packs, from front to rear.
  • In addition to all that, you'd make use of the space behind the truck cab, by storing battery packs vertically, behind the sleeper area.
  • Yes, the engine bay would instead be a ridiculously large frunk.
  • Naturally, the car carriers they would tow would be properly aerodynamic, enclosed, and covered with Tesla logos.

With those many places to store batteries, I think it would not be hard at all to achieve a cruising range, under load, of around 1200 miles on a full charge. That said, knowing that most trucking services govern their vehicles by limiting them to 55-65 MPH max, I took that into consideration as well. Assuming 12 hours on the road, at 65 MPH, that comes to 780 miles. So if someone were to hit the road at a 90% charge, which allows 1080 miles range, they could drive 780 miles and still have a 20% charge remaining -- a 300 mile range buffer. They would park at a TA Center, or Tesla Waypoint, to charge while they rest. If it were a rush shipment, a different Tesla driver would attach their rig to the load and continue, relay style.

Yes, I know... This would cost a lot of money. But it is mostly for the sake of marketing. It would still cost less than running multiple spots on Super Bowl broadcasts over the next six years. And the trucks would likely be on the road 20-25 years. That makes the expense more than worth it.

vgarbutt | 11. april 2014

A trucker in Vancouver Canada wants his rig electrified. He sees the trailer as being electrified, not necessarily the cab. He knows, hes a trucker so i bow to his idea.

holidayday | 11. april 2014

We Tesla fans are sure an impatient bunch.

We want the Model X YESTERDAY.
We want the Model E NOW!
We want a new Tesla Roadster TOMORROW!
We want a new Tesla pickup NEXT WEEK!
We want Tesla Boats!
We want Tesla Big Rigs!
We want Tesla to balance the electric grid!
We want Tesla to power the world!

Patience, grasshopper, patience. . .

These things take time, and Tesla is being aggressive, but careful at the same time.

vgarbutt | 11. april 2014

I think Hydrogen will be the fuel that takes care of the industrial sized machines, ships, locomotives, cranes, maybe big rigs, buses, etc. It scales up quite nicely i understand. I say EVs for passenger cars and hydrogen/electric for the tractors etc.

Red Sage ca us | 11. april 2014

holidayday implored, "We Tesla fans are sure an impatient bunch. ... Patience, grasshopper, patience. . . These things take time, and Tesla is being aggressive, but careful at the same time."

Indeed. I'm just literally spit-balling here. It will be nice to come back some time later to see just how off-base my predictions, hopes and dreams were. ;-)

Rocky_H | 11. april 2014

*facepalm* You are not literally spit-balling. You are figuratively spit-balling by typing your ideas onto the internet.

Red Sage ca us | 11. april 2014

Literarially spit-balling then...? Dude, I was tired after typing all that. It's not like I have a degree in American Standard Idiomatic English or anything. Certainly beats a literarial facepalm, yes? ;-)

Brian H | 12. april 2014

literial is not a word, anyhow. Literally speaking.

vgarbutt;
Arrant nonsense, like all hydrogen dreams. Production + distribution + storage + cost + risk = stupid idea.

Timo | 13. april 2014

atiqurrahman113 posts are spam bot replies. Flag them.

Captain_Zap | 13. april 2014

Can I get mine à la mode? Is that extra? I like my pie warmed up too, if you don't mind. I would prefer soft serve... I don't care for rock hard ice cream. If that is all you have, then I'll pass on the ice cream. Perhaps I'll get lemon meringue instead.

Can you make it snappy? I'm in a bit of a rush. My trip charge is nearly complete.

Red Sage ca us | 14. april 2014

Yes, à la mode is fine... And if you're from Chicago, I'll even include the slice of melted Cheddar cheese. ;-)

Red Sage ca us | 18. april 2014

221 kWh or Bust...

My 1990 Honda Accord EX Coupe had a 17.5 gallon fuel capacity. It had a 28 MPG highway rating from the EPA. In practice, I got slightly over 33 MPG on the highway, using premium fuel, when I set my cruise control to 85 MPH. So, I didn't even have to start looking for a gas station until I had gone 450 miles. I would often stop to fill up between 500 and 530 miles. I rarely had to put in as much as 16 gallons. Basically, I knew I could easily use 90% of my fuel capacity anytime I wanted, without penalty.

Elon Musk has repeatedly stated his goals for Tesla Motors. He wants electric cars to be the best on the road. He wants them to be desirable vehicles, with no compromises in styling. He wants them to be useful for driving no matter the need or environment. He wants them to be fun to drive, stirring the emotions of those who own them. He wants them to be fully capable, with no unsavory limitations on range. Something tells me that Elon would like his cars to at least match the highway driving performance of the car I bought nearly 25 years ago.

I believe they can.

Tesla Model S owners often say that they really don't want to drive their cars like economy cars. They feel it is abhorrent to operate such a wonderful vehicle in that manner. It is often said that it is best to, "Drive it like you stole it!" I can't say I blame them. But as was the case with gasoline powered performance cars of lore, the deeper you put your foot in it, the more often you will have to fill up.

The dreaded 'range anxiety' so often associated with operating electric vehicles seems to set in once drivers drop below the 20% remaining charge mark on their batteries. On the other hand, owners are rather suspicious of charging their vehicles beyond 90% of a full charge with regularity, in order to preserve long term viability. This effectively means that the 'worry free' usable range of an electric car is only 70% of its absolute maximum range, because no one wants to be towed after embarrassingly 'running out of gas', so to speak.

In order to match the "Fuel? We don' need no steenkin' fuel!!!" attitude of driving my old Accord, that means 70% of the battery capacity must take an electric car driver 450 miles without issue, even at speed. That's a tall order. How to accomplish it? Huge batteries, by today's standards, would do the trick.

From the perspective of competitors in automotive manufacturing, the Tesla Model S already comes with huge batteries. 60 kWh and 85 kWh capacities are so far beyond everyone else as to be ridiculous. Even the few electric vehicles that might be rated at 100 miles per full charge, rarely get over 80 miles instead. Certain hybrid electric vehicles are so gimped they can barely manage 20 miles on electric power. So with one car rated at over 200 miles, and the other at over 250 miles per charge, Tesla is in a great position.

It's just not good enough though.

One gallon of gasoline is said to retain the rough equivalent of about 34 kWh of power. So the 60 & 85 kWh batteries from Tesla equate to 1.76 and 2.5 gallons of that fuel respectively. Though that works out to over 100 MPG equivalent, both of Tesla's car battery levels are rated a bit lower, around 90 MPGe instead, by the EPA. 34 kWh is about 37% of the 60 kWh battery, and 40% of the 85 kWh capacity. Yes, these cars make very efficient use of that power, but their range is still limited by the capacity.

One solution is to use incremental improvements in battery design, power management, and ionic solution to increase the amount of power that can be stored. The battery packs on the cars use thousands of cells in an array, whose combined storage equals the stated amount. If they can get improvements of only 8% per year, the total capacity of each battery pack will likely double by 2020. With a slight redesign of the cells, giving them a square cross section instead of circular, perhaps as much as 30% more solution could be included with the new form factor, while still fitting inside the same battery pack structure.

So the same quantity of batteries that yielded 85 kWh could potentially hold ~111 kWh with a redesign. With an improved ionic solution within them, the battery packs would get 221 kWh by 2020. The battery packs would be 30% heavier, but would hold 2.6 times the power reserve as the original 85 kWh version.

Used in today's Tesla Model S, that new 221 kWh battery pack would greatly increase maximum range, to about 650 miles. 70% of that yields a distance of 455 miles. Right on target. If it were used in a vehicle such as the upcoming Tesla Model E, the range would be even greater due to it having a nearly 1,000 lighter curb weight.

Keep in mind, these are all conservative estimates. If Tesla is somehow able to triple, or quadruple, the energy density of their battery packs they could lower the weight of the cars as well. The 85 kWh battery pack could potentially be 75% smaller. A 340 kWh battery pack could be the same size, shape, & weight as today's largest one. And should prices also fall along with weight, it will be easy to achieve their goals in the marketplace.

Brian H | 18. april 2014

There's an intersection point of maximum charge, volume, weight, and charging connection hardware that TM has achieved so far. I think you're going outside the box on some of that.

Red Sage ca us | 19. april 2014

Probably so. But won't it be cool when Tesla Motors is able to create a battery pack for even their least expensive, truly affordable cars... that holds the equivalent energy of 17.5 - 25 gallons of gasoline fuel? I really hope they can do it.

That works out to be 595 kWh to 850 kWh. Effectively ten times what Tesla currently offers. That would require a semi-truck to haul around today, I know. I'm just imagining the possibilities in lieu of improbability. In comparison to these lofty dreams, what I wrote above is very conservative. ;-)

"You may say... I'm a dreamer... But I'm not the only one." - John Lennon, 'Imagine'

Red Sage ca us | 09. kan 2014

The Electric Car Dreams of Red Sage...

I realized some years ago, that I don't actually possess patience at all. I have the ability to endure waiting, but I don't think that is the same thing. I can certainly tell when I have waited too long. I know people who are incredibly impatient, to the point of being unreasonable. I try my best not to be like them if it can be helped.

That said, I have been waiting for a proper electric car my entire life. To see that someone has finally made the complete effort to prove the possibilities of what I felt in my heart decades ago astounds me. Some might say that I'm obsessed, but they only just noticed. I've had this obsession since childhood, it was just pushed onto the back burner of my desires. So now, with the light shown upon the automotive industry by Tesla Motors, the fire of my desire for electric cars is stoked fully and the furnace will not burn low ever again.

I didn't realize until adulthood how much my perspectives on the auto industry were influenced by a cartoon I watched as a young child. 'Speed Racer' (Mach Go, Go, Go!) made me want to drive fast, study design, read schematics, conceptualize the future, and learn engineering, among other things. The idea of combining technology with improvements in racing cars struck me as perfectly natural. My level of expectation to see such improvements was piqued early on, long before I knew the realities of this world.

I had no idea that the biggest automotive manufacturers didn't share my perspective at all. To them, good enough was good enough. As long as the cars sold, they were perfectly OK with making minor cosmetic changes year after year and selling the same old hardware over and over again. They had become shills for the oil industry while building their own fortunes on sales of replacement parts for components that were designed for failure from the outset. That isn't excellence. That's robbery.

I had no idea of the various political and financial elements that existed internationally that placed such a high importance on the trade of petroleum products. I didn't realize that the specific gravity and positive inertia of the marketplace was such that too many people were making far too much money to move on to something, anything, else to power vehicles. I didn't know how protected those interests in petroleum were on all fronts, preventing the emergence of any technology or fuel source that proved 'better' in any way.

Even though Ethanol was used to power the fastest racing cars in the world, it was still called 'gas' and marketed at race tracks as if it were a petroleum based fuel. You couldn't get actual road-worthy vehicles with anything even remotely approaching such performance. And the fuel at race tracks was incredibly expensive, apparently now for the specific purpose of making sure no one would use it as a viable 'alternative fuel' for street cars.

When I was a kid, I just liked racing. I didn't care what kind. So I never developed the sort of snobbery I've encountered among some friends who are car enthusiasts, but only of certain types of cars, and only in certain racing series. I didn't know the difference. I just liked racing.

So I didn't recognize that 'Speed Racer' was based upon the idea of a 'run-what-ya-brung' analog of a prototype Formula One series until I was grown up. I look around today and... nothing of the sort exists. Not really. To some extent, the prototypes at Les Mans were that once... To some extent Formula One was that once as well... To a much lesser extent even IndyCar and NASCAR had that going for them... Each, right up to the point where someone unexpectedly created a car that though 'within the rules' was so far advanced beyond competitors that everyone else was racing for fourth place. So each racing series gradually legislated any form of performance excellence and technical innovation out of contention. I was appalled when I learned that some winning vehicles were handicapped by adding unnecessary weight, being forced into unwarranted black flag stops to allow other cars to catch up, or being sent unceremoniously to the back of the pack when they should have had the pole position.

That's why I am so passionate about what is happening with Tesla Motors today. They have an opportunity to advance the electric car without any of the compromises, excuses, or restrictions that have been imposed on everyone else who attempted to innovate. There is nothing at all 'illegal' about the Tesla Model S. Yet attempts are made seemingly every day to limit their success, to head off their innovation, to prevent their growth, all in favor of those who are 'also rans' in the race to bring electric cars to market. That sort of protectionist attitude kills the future in favor of the past. I cannot abide by it.

I have every belief that Tesla will not rest on their laurels. They won't sit back and say, "That's it! It's perfect!" No. Elon Musk has already said that he pays closer attention to his critics than those that praise him. He believes he can learn more from those who aren't happiest, if they have actionable issues that must be addressed, rather than just blowing smoke. So anything that isn't quite right, will be fixed. Anything that can be improved, will be. Any concerns about range, handling, comfort, charging, etc. will all be addressed. It will just take time. So yes, I'll just have to wait. That's OK.

300k | 09. kan 2014

Hydrogen is not a safe fuel, ever heard of hydrogen embrittlement ? This phenomenon makes the gas storage device a bomb, why do you think they test high pressure gas cylinders every 7 years, and these cylinder have very thick walls ( heavy weight )

DTsea | 10. kan 2014

hydrogen embrittlement is an issue with stainless steel but not all metals.

vgarbutt | 10. kan 2014

Brian H ......... Hmmmm. I do read all over the place lately that the large car companies want to use hydrogen fuel cell produced electricity for the car of the future, and 2014 is the year will supposedly see them. They think they can do a regular car, So im assuming they have a plan and since fuel cells scale up well they can be used for the locomotives and graders and other heavy machines. I agree with tesla that hydrogen powered EV passenger cars is not gonna happen.

Brian H | 11. kan 2014

vgar;
To KISS, hydrogen will not power anything. It requires more energy to isolate than can be recovered. It is a storage medium. It is difficult and expensive to store and distribute, requiring high compression and/or cryogenics. It leaks out of all containment. It is violently explosive, and burns readily, very hot.

The large car companies do NOT have a (rational) plan. Hydrogen is suitable, at best, for some kinds of space launches.

Red Sage ca us | 11. kan 2014

From a Conversation Elsewhere...

What follows is an excerpt from a conversation regarding the Tesla Generation III.

QKodiak wrote, "You totally misunderstand me. They need to be comparable to the vehicles in the price range because that's where customers are happy, and Tesla makes the most profit. The fact that they are EVs automatically makes them superior. You want them to produce a $60-80K M3 equivalent for $35,000 and that's not going to happen ever."

"Don't be so jaded and look at reality. For the money, there are better performing cars out there with more available features than the Model S. The 60 and 85kWh Model S which do 0-60 mph from 5.1-5.9 sec. are not as fast or handle as well as some of the cars in the same price bracket. The same can be said of the 3.9-4.6 sec. Performance version. For instance the Audi S8 can scream from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 sec. as can the latest Mercedes E63 AMG S. As stated before though, because the Model S is an EV, the driver experience is superior."

You are tying performance to dollars. I'm not. Neither will Tesla Motors.

The only way they will remove performance as a primary function of their vehicles is if they deign to go extreme low end, to release ridiculously limited 'city vehicles' and commuter cars for use in tight, congested areas such as China, India, and some European metropolitan areas.

Once again, that is NOT the $35,000 market they intend to target, if ever.

Jay Leno once said, "The last days of old technology are better than the first days of new technology."

That is, in order for anything new to take over a market, it really can't be 'just as good' as the old stuff, it must be BETTER. Otherwise, no one will bother.

The goal for Tesla Generation III is mass market adoption. Nothing less. To attain that goal at a $35,000 price point, Tesla must offer a vehicle that is in some way compelling enough to draw interest, capture the heart, and bring in the money with orders placed on the barrelhead. They cannot do that with an 'also ran' vehicle, with marginal performance, barely more than a Ford Focus Electric and less than a BMW 320i -- at $35,000.

Look back 25 years. Why was the introduction of a $36,000 Lexus LS400 so outstanding? Why was the same true of an Infiniti Q45? Simple. Both of them were luxuriously appointed, drove well, and blew the doors off cars that cost $15,000 more.

The Tesla GIII must do the same, by having their $35,000 offering topple the $50,000 version of the BMW 335i.

just an allusion | 12. kan 2014

@Red Sage

The more pertinent point in all of this is to question just whom it is that is making these assessments/assertions regarding the particulars of Tesla's upcoming mass market model in order to attain an idea of just how relevant their opinion is to the actual development of the vehicle.

Granted, speculation is all well and good, though I've found that it all too often tends to inflate the readers' expectations well beyond the actual fitments/design/performance/etc., of the end result, leaving potential customers' expectations deflated and wanting for more from a manufacturer that never intended to give anything more than the minimalist finish product they've provided.

Not saying that this is the case with Tesla and the upcoming model, only presenting this as a cautionary tale of the potential negative effects of over speculation.

Red Sage ca us | 12. kan 2014

Lowered Expectations...

JAA: Did you read my disclaimer notice above? ;-) Yeah, I get it. Some people may latch on to what I write here and be overzealous in their hopes and stuff. Y'know -- like me.

Others are simply naysayers, and no matter how much evidence you accrue to support your position, they will say, "Itta neba 'abin!" Heck, even if I were to project the GIII to match the resounding transcendence that is the eyeball bursting, track shredding brilliance of the BMW 320i [this, for reference, is a joke], naysayers would claim it would lose to a 1990 Hyundai Excel.

Measuring Up to Competition...

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that Tesla Motors targeted the AUDI A8, BMW 7-Series, and Mercedes S Class when determining the performance capabilities of the Tesla Model S. As a reminder:
Vehicle Horsepower / Torque
AUDI A8 420 HP / 444 LB-FT
BMW 750Li 445 HP / 480 LB-FT
Mercedes S550 415 HP / 516 LB-FT
Tesla Model S P85+ 416 HP / 443 LB-FT
I've mentioned before that Tesla Motors didn't have to go this route. They didn't have to make their first, bare bones, from the ground up vehicle, a serious contender to other cars at this price point. They could have chosen another route, one that would have allowed more range, more practicality, more usability. They could have detuned it to have merely decent performance 0-60 in 8 seconds, a 15 second 1/4 mile, an 85 mph top speed, a 400 mile range. All that would have garnered them multiple accolades. They had a choice to make, and they chose Performance.

That was a bold decision. It was also the right decision. By making a strong initial impression, the Tesla Model S was able to stand out from the crowd from the outset.

Since it has worked so well, I see no reason to second guess that course of action. Neither does Tesla. That is why their introduction of the Tesla Model X highlighted three parameters that must be met for that crossover vehicle:

  1. Functionality
  2. Style
  3. Performance

Thus, I am suggesting that when it comes to Generation III, Tesla will follow the path of Performance, first and foremost, as they have before. I also believe they will examine the best that their competitors have to offer, and do their best to match and surpass them in terms of Performance. Functionality and Style will not be overlooked at all in the bargain.

Elon Musk has already thrown the gauntlet, announced the new cars would target the BMW 3-Series vehicles directly. The very mention of those cars brings forth memories of their storied legacy of being the best handling, most sport oriented, highly sought after vehicles in the price range. They also happen to be the historically best selling Series in the BMW product range.

But new competitors have also targeted BMW 3-Series of late, and done so successfully. So those efforts must be weighed and measured as well. I trust that Tesla will apply their due diligence in that regard.
Vehicle Horsepower / Torque
BMW 335i 300 HP / 300 LB-FT
Cadillac ATS 321 HP / 274 LB-FT
Mercedes C350 302 HP / 373 LB-FT
Tesla GIII 300 HP / 317 LB FT
Considering the target market, I really don't think Tesla can do any less with their base model than this, and hope to command attention.

I could be wrong. Really. I could. But I really don't think so, and I really don't think this is 'too much' to ask of Tesla.

Red Sage ca us | 30. kan 2014

The EV Kool-Aid Brigade...

I'm pretty sure we all know the hard route before Tesla Motors. There are plenty of people to remind us of that fact, especially on television, in print media, on the radio, and of course, here on the internet. It isn't that we are unaware of the challenges. It is instead that we are rather inspired by Tesla's willingness to take them on without reservation, with a well reasoned strategy that does have some inkling of possibility for success, no matter how improbable.

We know that what Tesla has done so far is 'not enough', even though their efforts have surpassed everyone else with their electric vehicles. The great thing is that Tesla feels the same, and fully expects to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished that much further, and beyond. Their vision of what an electric car can be, and will be, has become clearer as time as progressed for all but the most doubtful.

We are motivated by the knowledge that Tesla is not resting on their laurels. Everything they do is done 'the hard way' for the sake of getting things done right, the first time. That is because they know full well that failure has extremely high stakes for everyone involved. They have no wish to disappoint investors or consumers, and are their own harshest critics.

They don't much care how other auto makers view their way of doing business. Tesla does not care to follow their lead, because they can see where it terminates. Tesla want to excel, to exceed all previously conceived notions of limitations in automobile technology.

We are captivated by the knowledge that better things are to come. For all attempts by naysayers, who profess to be from The Show-Me State, to deny what has already been demonstrated as cold hard fact, we simply know better. We know, as do Tesla, that all of their concerns and complaints have been addressed -- not dismissed. That is because Tesla examined all the avenues ahead before they began the journey. They prepared themselves, planned a strategy, and designed a path by which to navigate the mire and muck long before setting out across the moors.

Some see this approach as too clinical. They see it in every aspect of Tesla's products. They claim it leaves them sterile, uninspired, without passion. Right up until the moment they start to drive... and grin.

Brian H | 31. kan 2014

RS;
Re the R8, even on a dollar scale: the base MSRP is $115K, >20% higher than a base P85+.

jkn | 31. kan 2014

Red Sage,

For an EV kWh's are expensive. kW's come almost free with kWh's.

Put 3 Leaf batteries into one car. You have current for 3 times more powerful motor. Result is close to MS. Price will be high because of batteries, not because motor.

Non performance EV makes sense only, if you can afford only a small battery.

My guess is that battery capacity will double from current. More is possible only with metal air. Impurities in air could spoil metal air battery.

Brian H | 31. kan 2014

You wascal! You just swashed his dweams to wibbons!

just an allusion | 01. juni 2014

@Red Sage

Honestly, I feel that it may well be 'too much to ask for from Tesla' to expect such comparable performance numbers, or even ergonomic fitments, that one finds in the Roadster or Model S to, likewise, come standard in the upcoming fourth (1. Roadster, 2. Model S, 3. Model X) iteration of the Tesla automotive lineup given that it is intended to be the economical and AFFORDABLE version for the mass market.

Afterall, one doesn't expect such luxurious appointments or road capability to be found in other automaker's lower end offerings, so why does one wish to hold Tesla to such high expectations from theirs?

Sheesh people, it's never enough is it?

The Tesla lineup is already a technological marvel, albeit one on par with the ISS, that has provided us all with a true, real world replacement for the conventional, long antiquated, air polluting ICE, and yet it's still not enough....

I'm sure that Tesla is destined to produce a high(er) end performance version, some day, but I don't see a car intended for the 99% (as I've seen someone reference before) of Humanity to be it.

Please be realistic.

Red Sage ca us | 01. juni 2014

I am being realistic. All my reasons are above. It's OK if you disagree.

The first three Tesla Motors releases are to be Expensive Performance Economy cars.

  1. They cost a lot to buy.
  2. They are fun to drive.
  3. They don't burn any gas.

I believe the next iteration of Tesla vehicles, as Generation III, will be Attainable Performance Economy cars.

  • They will not break the bank to buy.
  • They will be fun to drive.
  • They won't burn any gas.

I expect it will take until Tesla's Generation IV to achieve a truly Affordable Performance Economy car series.

  • They will not cost much to buy.
  • They will be fun to drive.
  • They won't burn any gas.

Performance and Electric Drive will be the two common factors with any and all Tesla vehicles going forward. This will not be a marque that sells 'only to the rich' at any point after the introduction of the GIII.

Please remember that this company is different from the others. What Tesla will be able to offer at the $35,000 mark is not the same as the gimped products that those selling through Dealerships have on hand. Don't forget that middleman adds needless cost to the bottom line, and will not be present in the Tesla distribution channel. Tesla's product line will stretch from Affordable, to Attainable, through Premium, and into Hyper Luxury to stand alone as the sole full line marque in the automotive industry to have a product for every market segment.

just an allusion | 02. juni 2014

Yes, I FULLY understand that Tesla is not your quintessential automaker and do expect them to, eventually, offer a full lineup of EV's for the entire consumer spectrum.

I'm just trying to encourage you to keep the conversation grounded in reality so that you don't overindulge in those flights of fantasy that have proven to be such a detriment/so debilitating to others in hindsight.

Red Sage ca us | 03. juni 2014

Well, this thread was begun as an indulgence. It's purpose is to indulge in wild fantasy and supposition while giving entirely unfounded grounds upon which to make a bunch of wild ass guesses. That's why I have the disclaimer in the original post. My intent is to shoot for the stars, and settle for the Moon, if I must. That's a lot better than shooting for the gutter, and landing squarely in the sewer... Y'know, like General Motors. So let's just have fun with this, shall we? The more serious posts can go in the Model S and Model X forum instead.

Red Sage ca us | 08. juni 2014

THIS SPACE FOR SALE...?

There was a movie, I can't remember it's name, but I always mistake it for either 'Brainstorm' (1983) or 'Scanners' (1981), and later 'They Live' (1988) reminded me of it too... Anyway, the premise of the movie was that television producers had come up with a new way of presenting advertising that simply could not be ignored. The television could actually lead people to focus on specific things, even during a show, and not realized they were effectively being brainwashed to buy a certain product.

Ever since I saw the movie, whatever it was, I have been very wary of advertising in general. I notice that advertising is present, but purposely focus away from it. I try to see the man behind the curtain instead. I look at the reasons why the advertising is there, and imagine what it would be like if it were not. It gets harder all the time.

You go to a place like the Nokia Center and ESPN Zone in Downtown Los Angeles that sprung up adjacent to the Staples Center and everything, everywhere is up in lights at least ten times the size that is actually necessary to convey meaning. Heck, the very fact those places have those names is because someone was convinced advertising was needed, even within the names of public venues. It becomes more and more apparent that advertisers were much inspired by what is shown in movies like 'Blade Runner' (1982) to make fully animated, building high advertisements the norm -- so they have.

People in the US sometimes laugh at how 'branded' team uniforms have become in international soccer. But they don't seem to realize it is every bit as bad in NFL, MLB, and NBA. It used to be you didn't even notice the Champion or MacGregor or Rawlings or Riddle logos on clothing, shoes, equipment... It became very apparent when they seemed to all be replaced exclusively by Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Wilson... And this spread to other sports as well, like tennis and golf. At least auto racing never denied they were all about the ads.

Camera placement for sporting events seems to always be done specifically so that you can see the advertising in the arena. I now actively call the NBA the 'National Free Throw League', because these breaks in the action now happen more often than ever before and every single camera angle is orchestrated so that you see... the name of a beer company on the stanchion, the name of an airline on the floor, a link to a webpage on top of the backboard, a rolling marquis at the scoring table... The free throws take longer and longer every single year, allowing commentators to tell viewers about an exciting new show that will be debuting after this doubleheader concludes while graphics fill the lower third of the screen with information on yet another new show premier in glorious animated obnoxiousness...

It's pretty bad in MLB too. The camera angle showing a pitch has grown wider and wider off center since FOX Sports entered the fray. That's because the rolling marquis that is to the left of the pitcher has grown wider, and taller, and brighter with each season and the camera angle changes so that you can see the whole thing between the pitcher and the catcher. Yeah, I'm old. I remember when the camera would be directly over a right-handed pitcher's right shoulder and peer directly at home plate. But the advertising is more important than the game, because that is what pays the bills. Right?

I'm really rather sick of advertising. I like Coke because I like to drink Coca-Cola. If they never advertise to me again, I'll still like Coke. I've probably seen thousands of ads for Budweiser and Miller High Life. I still don't buy or drink their products. I have for a very long time felt that advertising was an absolute waste of money.

I say all this to point out why I am so very much intrigued by the fact Tesla Motors does not advertise. I believe that is the correct and proper strategy. I believe they should stay that way from now on. I disagree with those who say they cannot reach the number of customers they will need to become a major mass market player without resorting to advertising. And I really don't think they need to either co-brand or cross-advertise with anyone. Ever.

Brian H | 08. juni 2014

I've noticed Honda (official car of the Blue Jays) now gets their name digitally overlaid on the sidelines into right field. Looks hokey, so far, but the technique will spread, I bet.

Red Sage ca us | 12. juni 2014

Running the Numbers through a Crossover...

Currently in the United States of America:

  • The Porsche Panamera sells roughly 400-500 units per month.
    ⇒ The Porsche Cayenne typically sells 1200-1800 per month.
  • The BMW 7-Series sells 600-700 units per month.
    ⇒ The BMW X5 sells between 2800 and 4400 per month.
  • The AUDI A8 currently sells 350-480 units per month.
    ⇒ The AUDI Q7 moves 1200-1600 cars through dealerships per month.

Tesla Motors is plenty happy with the demand for the Tesla Model S. That is certainly true. But they also know that in this market segment, the Crossovers all routinely outsell their Sedan counterparts by a bare minimum of 3:1.

So if they tell you they aren't selling the Tesla Model X yet because it's not ready, that is exactly the reason why it isn't available. Because it is very likely that until the Generation III vehicles arrive, the Model X will be the best selling car in the Tesla lineup, hands down. Count on it, because Tesla surely will.

Red Sage ca us | 12. juni 2014

Good Children Don't Eat Their Parents...

~*or*~

The Pivotal Case for Generation III Performance...

The other day Elon Musk said, "We... We actually have to make a car that's not 'a little bit better' than the competitors. Because if it's only 'a little bit better', then... Then why would customers bother buying it? It has to be a lot better, uh, than... Than any of the existing cars."

I think that even enthusiasts don't really understand the depth of that statement. The purpose of Tesla Motors has always been to bring a mass market electric car to fruition. That has always been the goal. Always. Tesla has no need to protect the sales of their higher end products. None.

Let me tell you why...

Elon has said that the Generation III vehicle platform would target the BMW 3-Series. That is because whether they deserve it or not, BMWs cars are considered the best of the best at the price point.

The BMW 3-Series sold 119,521 units in the United States of America during 2013. By comparison, the BMW 5-Series moved 56,863 units, and the BMW 7-Series a grand total of 10,932 units. Notice that the combined totals of the two higher end vehicles, which can sell for multiple thousands more... still trail the sales of the BMW 3-Series, their entry level model.

Another thing to keep in mind is that BMW shares drivetrains and motors across those product lines. Over the years the same set of motors have appeared in each class:
BMW Engines & Cars
LITER 3-Series 5-Series 7-Series
1.8 318i 518i -
2.0 320i 520i -
2.5 325i 525i -
2.8 328i 528i 728i
3.5 335i 535i 735i
Because it is smaller, lighter, more nimble, the BMW 3-Series, when paired with the same engine, has always been quicker at 0-60 MPH and through the 1/4 mile, than its upscale siblings. Always.
Price Vehicle 0-60 MPH Sec
43,400 335i Sedan 5.1
45,400 335i xDrive Sedan 4.8
46,850 335i xDrive Gran Turismo 5.1
55,100 535i Sedan 5.5
57,400 535i xDrive Sedan 5.4
60,200 535i Gran Turismo 6.0
62,500 535i xDrive Gran Turismo 6.0
74,000 740i Sedan 5.6
78,000 740Li Sedan 5.6
81,000 740Li xDrive Sedan 5.4
The one performance point where the other cars typically exceed the 3-Series is top speed. That is pegged at 155 MPH, while the entry level cars are mostly (not all) locked at 130 MPH maximum. Those larger cars also have bigger fuel tanks, and greater range. What BMW 7-Series owner cares that he can be smoked by a a BMW 3-Series driver? Exactly none of them.

People who buy the cars know this. Customers don't choose to buy the 5-Series or 7-Series because they don't want performance. They buy them because they have growing families, or a higher status in life. The larger cars fill their needs better by being more comfortable over longer hauls.

There is no cannibalization of sales. People simply buy the car they need. Production on the higher end cars is lower, because that is all that is required. The majority of BMWs Customers choose the 3-Series, by default, and by design.

You can tell it is by design, because the same pattern is true with Lexus. Sales of the lower end car greatly exceeds the others in the lineup:
PRICE VEHICLE 2013 US SALES 0-60 MPH Sec
36,620 Lexus ES 72,581 7.1
36,100 Lexus IS 35,017 7.7
47,700 Lexus GS 19,742 5.7
72,140 Lexus LS 10,727 5.4
Even if you remove the Lexus ES, which is effectively a rebadged Toyota Camry/Avalon, the principle holds true. The Lexus IS sells more than the higher end GS or LS models. There is no cannibalization of sales. People buy what they want, need, or can afford.

Those who argue that performance should be limited in the lower end cars should note the difference in 2013 US sales between Lexus and BMW.

  • The Lexus ES, their best selling model, was outsold by 46,940 units when matched against the comparatively priced BMW 3-Series.
  • The combined sales of Lexus IS and ES still lagged behind the BMW 3-Series by 11,923 units.
  • The BMW 5-Series outsold the Lexus GS by 37,391 cars.
  • The margin is lower, but the BMW 7-Series (even when greatly accosted by Tesla Model S) still outsold the Lexus LS by 205 cars in 2013.

This illustrates, I hope, one primary point I've been making all along: When it comes to sales, PERFORMANCE MATTERS.

Elon knows, as I do, that in mass market sales it is not good enough to only be 'good enough' to match a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Ford Fusion. Notice how well the Mitsubishi Lancer and Galant sold over the years? Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima didn't start making major moves on the sales charts until they were obviously more than just another 'also ran' in the segment.

The same will be true of the Tesla Generation III. It must be built with performance in mind. That is absolutely imperative to gaining sales. Tesla will build more of them than any other vehicle in their lineup from the very beginning.

Production will be around 100,000 the very first calendar year. That will ramp up to 200,000 within 18 months of launch. Expect the Model S to top out around 50,000 cars per year. The Model X will sell at a higher rate, at least 75,000 per year. Their combined sales will be dwarfed by GIII by 2018.

The goal is to show that electric cars can be beautiful, fun to drive, and efficient, while also being affordable to the mass market, safe, and reliable.

A Minor Caveat...

Trying to be edgy, sporty, and different doesn't always work. The Mazda 6 is a far better car than the Mazda 626 ever was... They advertise it all the time. It was even designed by Franz von Holzhausen, just like the Tesla Model S. It seems as though no one buys it. Oh, but it did outsell the Lexus IS by 8,621 units last year, so that's something. Oh, wait...

Red Sage ca us | 08. juli 2014

Perception of Performance vs Range...

Kleist wrote, "My guess is Gen3,will come with 50 and 75 kWh battery with 210 and 265 EPA. Model S will be upgraded to 100 and 125 kWh - you need to keep the pecking order."

Grinnin' Ron wrote, "As I see things, the main difference for the 'pecking order' is "performance" -- acceleration, cornering, etc., not range. Gen3 doesn't need to go from 0 - 60 in under 5 seconds. Most of its buyers aren't looking for a car for drag racing. They're looking for a very good, reliable car that can do what they routinely do with cars."

I sort of disagree with you both... I've written before that the BMW 3-Series cars, when using the same motors as the BMW 5-Series or 7-Series, have better performance numbers. The BMW 3-Series also outsell the more expensive cars under the marque by a very wide margin. There is no need for a pecking order based upon price/performance ratio. The difference between the cars is range and perceived comfort and luxury level. People buy the car they need, to fit their lifestyle. It is the higher priced cars from BMW that have larger fuel tanks, and greater range -- to make up for their gas guzzling -- not the 3-Series.

The Tesla Generation III vehicles will have better range and performance as compared to Tesla Model S and Model X. The same battery capacities will be available for every car that Tesla Motors sells. The smaller, lighter, more nimble GIII cars will be quicker, faster, and more fun to drive, while going further on a charge. There is no reason whatsoever to step down performance to increase range. There will always be a market for the larger, more expensive Model S and Model X, and it will not be harmed by a successful GIII in any way.

Grinnin' Ron said, "I think increasing the range is the single most important thing to making Gen3 a huge success."

Yes. It will be very important. Tesla could likely engineer a version of a 60 kWh GIII that had a range over 400 miles, and an 85 kWh version that approached 600 miles. Result? It would drive like a Toyota Camry, and people would just buy a Camry instead. You will get extreme range, far beyond a Camry Hybrid or Prius of any stripe, without any loss in performance, when battery packs of 170 kWh or more become readily available due to Gigafactory production of higher capacity batteries in coming years. Those may be available for purchase with the car, as well as temporary rentals via battery swap when on the road.

"To sell hundreds of thousands per year Tesla can't require drivers to 'plan' their road trips to include inconvenient delays at inconvenient times and places."

This is why potential owners must be properly educated as to what there is about using an electric vehicle that is more convenient than using a petrol powered car.

  • Waking up to a full tank every day.
  • Knowing that on the road you can plug in and walk away to eat, drink, use the restroom, whatever -- without babysitting the car, finding a parking space away from the pump -- then doing those things afterward.
  • Learning that you don't have to 'fill up' between Superchargers, just 'top off' to make it to the next one, and later with larger battery pack capacities, the one after that.
  • Having the freedom of never paying for fuel on the road ever again.

The traditional auto industry has already had decades to gleefully inform the public of the inconveniences that may take place with EVs, while never noting any issues whatsoever with ICE vehicles. Either a Customer can accept them, or they can't. They can always buy something else and enjoy paying for gas or diesel instead.

The following is from Measuring Up to Competition...', which I wrote in May:

Elon Musk has already thrown the gauntlet, announced the new cars would target the BMW 3-Series vehicles directly. The very mention of those cars brings forth memories of their storied legacy of being the best handling, most sport oriented, highly sought after vehicles in the price range. They also happen to be the historically best selling Series in the BMW product range.

But new competitors have also targeted BMW 3-Series of late, and done so successfully. So those efforts must be weighed and measured as well. I trust that Tesla will apply their due diligence in that regard.
Vehicle Horsepower / Torque
BMW 335i 300 HP / 300 LB-FT
Cadillac ATS 321 HP / 274 LB-FT
Mercedes C350 302 HP / 373 LB-FT
Tesla GIII 300 HP / 317 LB FT
Considering the target market, I really don't think Tesla can do any less with their base model than this, and hope to command attention.

I could be wrong. Really. I could. But I really don't think so, and I really don't think this is 'too much' to ask of Tesla.

This is from The Pivotal Case for Generation III Performance...', which I wrote on June 12:

When it comes to sales, PERFORMANCE MATTERS.

Elon knows, as I do, that in mass market sales it is not good enough to only be 'good enough' to match a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, or Ford Fusion. Notice how well the Mitsubishi Lancer and Galant sold over the years? Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima didn't start making major moves on the sales charts until they were obviously more than just another 'also ran' in the segment.

The same will be true of the Tesla Generation III. It must be built with performance in mind. That is absolutely imperative to gaining sales. Tesla will build more of them than any other vehicle in their lineup from the very beginning.

Grinnin'.VA | 08. juli 2014

@Red Sage | JULY 8, 2014 wrote:

Perception of Performance vs Range ...

There is no need for a pecking order based upon price/performance ratio. The difference between the cars is range and perceived comfort and luxury level.

The Tesla Generation III vehicles will have better range and performance as compared to Tesla Model S and Model X. The same battery capacities will be available for every car that Tesla Motors sells.
This is speculation unless you have inside information.

The smaller, lighter, more nimble GIII cars will be quicker, faster, and more fun to drive, while going further on a charge. There is no reason whatsoever to step down performance to increase range.

Yes. It {range} will be very important. Tesla could likely engineer a version of a 60 kWh GIII that had a range over 400 miles, and an 85 kWh version that approached 600 miles. Result? It would drive like a Toyota Camry, and people would just buy a Camry instead.

We simply disagree. I think a Gen3 Tesla with a 600-mile range would demolish 'range anxiety'. People who are focused on drag racing might very well prefer the Camry. However, there are lots of other folks who never race their cars. People who would be very positively impressed by Gen3's superior 'fuel' economy and 'refueling' convenience -- as long as the range and density of SuperCharger sites are sufficiently robust to eliminate 'range anxiety'.

This is why potential owners must be properly educated as to what there is about using an electric vehicle that is more convenient than using a petrol powered car.

Please consider me as an example. I want to drive my new MS85 from my home in Fairfax, VA to Denver without spending many hours more 'on the road' than this trip would take in my Prius. (I do have a Prius.) Based on the information on the Tesla web site, that doesn't appear to be possible until the end of 2015, maybe!

{re; your list of Tesla advantages compared with ICE}
Waking up to a full tank every day.
Indeed, but helps very little with my trip to Denver.
Knowing that on the road you can plug in and walk away to eat, drink, use the restroom, whatever ...
It looks to me like I'll be forced to stop for about 30 minutes per 100 miles. If I stop every 100 miles, I want some of those stops to be 5-10 minutes.
... later with larger battery pack capacities, ...
I'm not counting on ever having any battery in my MS85 besides the one they put in it at the factory. If Tesla offers a good upgrade at a good price when my battery warranty expires, I'd be interested. But then again, maybe I'd just buy a new, improved Tesla.

The following is from Measuring Up to Competition...', which I wrote in May: ...

The fact that you wrote something does NOT mean that it's wise or insightful.

Considering the target market, I really don't think Tesla can ...

I thought Elon's announced goal was to replace ICE cars with BEVs, not to focus on beating BMW. Tesla is indeed beating BMW now. I celebrate that. But that's just battle #2. The war is about beating ALL ICE cars, not just 'performance' cars.

Thanks for your ideas.

Ron :)

Red Sage ca us | 08. juli 2014

Principle Priorities...

Grinnin' Ron: It's so weird... Since everyone calls me 'Ron' in the real world, I feel like I'm arguing with myself. ;-)

I linked to my previous writing, so that people could get my full reasoning at their own leisure, and without my directly re-hashing every single point. A lot of your concerns have already been addressed by myself and others. Here, and elsewhere.

Actually, we agree on everything, except priorities. Nothing you say is incorrect. I just believe that the path to success for Tesla Motors begins with performance. Let me tell you why...

Elon Musk has said that the only way to bring about the change to electric cars from ICE was to demonstrate the superiority of electric cars. You must give people a compelling reason to switch, because a strictly logical one will be ignored. The best way to do that today, and in the near term, is with performance.

The only way that it would work by touting electric range alone would be if the cost of gasoline went over ten bucks a gallon in the next two years. Even Camry drivers don't want to be saddled with a wimpy car, no matter how awesome the overall range may be. Try to go that route and Toyota and others will just wedge a 24 kWh battery into their plugin hybrids and claim a 1200 mile range.

The sole actual advantages that ICE vehicles possess right now are: 1) purchase price; 2) speed of refueling; and 3) range, when compared to electric vehicles.

The purchase price will be handled with the arrival of GIII.

The speed of refueling is handled by either battery swap, or Superchargers.

Range is already covered for over 90% of most people's regular, daily, driving needs. It is that last 10%, 5%, 1%, or 0.1% that needs be addressed, in order to eliminate either 'range anxiety' or even 'range awareness' with electric vehicles. That will happen by 2020, by having larger battery pack capacities on hand.

Toyota sold 2,236,042 vehicles in the United States of America during 2013, while BMW sold 309,280 here, in a year when over 15,000,000 vehicles were purchased on these shores.

Tesla Motors has no hope of replacing those annual sales levels by themselves within the next six years, no matter which market they go after. But by targeting BMW 3-Series vehicles that are just a bit more expensive than the Toyota Camry, and in line with pricing for the Lexus ES, Tesla can make a noticeable impact.

If they instead attempt to go directly after the Camry, they are likely to see GIII languish in relative anonymity for nearly two decades, as the Hyundai Sonata did, and other cars still do. Tesla does not have time to wait that long. It is better to have a vehicle that Camry buyers take notice of immediately, and consider moving up to, instead of seeing it as a sideways move in the ranks.

If Tesla Motors was interested in making an Affordable Commuter Economy car, sans Performance, they could do so easily. They could cobble together a neat, little, lightweight 2+2 hatchback, give it a 40 kWh battery, limit its top speed to 70 mph, detune it to a 9-second 0-60 and leisurely 18-second 1/4 mile time... all to insure it could reach 200 miles of range even with the dumbest New York Times writer behind the wheel, stick a $24,995 price tag on it, and call it a day. That would suffice, if their intended market target was a 1990 Hyundai Excel.

Tesla Motors cannot succeed by making concessions. They must not compromise their position. They will not abandon their commitment to performance. Here's why:

The other auto makers simply cannot compete on performance. The only way they can improve performance with an ICE is by burning more fuel. That in turn increases the cost of ownership, while decreasing the range they can achieve, and exposing them to potential fines from the EPA for missing CAFE targets.

Elon Musk intended to first show that electric cars were viable, desirable, functional, and could become affordable, reliable, and dependable as well. He reasoned that through this process, by providing an example, the auto industry would move, on their own, toward electrifying their vehicles once all this was proven. Nope.

Elon is indeed the smartest guy in the room, but he wasn't telling them anything they didn't already know. The auto industry has known for the past 30 or 35 years at least that they should move away from petroleum. They know what their cars do to the environment. They know that oil won't last forever. Unfortunately, like a person with diabetes who eats sweetcakes all day, a guy with liver failure who keeps drinking alcohol, or someone with lung cancer who keeps smoking tobacco, they simply refuse to stop making ICE vehicles because it is what they know best. They would rather die than change.

Elon realizes that now. That's why he opened up access to Tesla's portfolio of patents last month. It is just as hopeless to convince the auto industry to change today as it was to get the livery stable business to change 120 years ago when the horseless carriage first appeared. They are too invested, financially, professionally, and emotionally, in the old technology to properly move forward with the new. So it is necessary to foster a completely new electric vehicle industry from scratch.

I've said it before, I'll say it again... Tesla Motors didn't have to go this route. They didn't have to make their first, bare bones, from the ground up vehicle, a serious contender to other cars at this price point. They could have chosen another route, one that would have allowed more range, more practicality, more usability. They could have detuned it to have merely decent performance of 0-60 in under 8 seconds, a 15 second 1/4 mile, an 85 mph top speed, a 400 mile range. All that would have garnered them multiple accolades. They had a choice to make with the Tesla Model S, and they chose Performance.

That was a bold decision. It was also the right decision. By making a strong initial impression, the Tesla Model S was able to stand out from the crowd from the outset.

They will make the same choice with GIII.

Red Sage ca us | 08. juli 2014

Yet Another WAG Chart...

As usual, I could be totally wrong, but I like the way these look, so why not?
4-YEAR GROWTH
(~40% Increase
in Efficiency)
kWh Year
53 2008
85 2012
140 2016
230 2020

PROJECTED CAPACITIES
FOR FUTURE BATTERIES
7% 8% 8% 8%
53 53
57 57
61 62 60
65 67 65
69 72 70
74 78 76
80 84 82 85
85 91 88 92
91 98 95 99
97 106 103 107
111 116
120 125
135
146
157
170

ESTIMATED RANGE
VEHICLE EPA DLYS* DLHT**
GIII 60 250 175 375
GIII 85 318 223 477
GIII 135 505 354 758
GIII 140 524 367 786
GIII 170 636 445 954
GIII 230 860 602 1290

* DLYS = Drive It Like You Stole It
** DLHT = Drive It Like a Hippie Tree-Hugger

Grinnin'.VA | 09. juli 2014

@Red Sage | JULY 8, 2014 wrote:

Principle Priorities...
Actually, we agree on everything, except priorities. Nothing you say is incorrect. I just believe that the path to success for Tesla Motors begins with performance.
Agreed, except that, with the MS, Tesla already did the performance phase of its 'path to success'.
This thread isn't "how should Tesla begin, but about what Tesla needs to do for the next steps.

The only way that it would work by touting electric range alone would be if the cost of gasoline went over ten bucks a gallon in the next two years.
Tesla has already won the routine local driving contest: More convenient. Better 'fuel' economy. Great performance. Fun to drive. In spades. I'm talking about the main weakness that needs to be eliminated: inferior range compared with conventional ICE cars. It's about being able to make a long trip as quickly and conveniently as with a conventional ICE car.

I'm buying an MS. I want to drive it out west and show it to my relatives who live there. To proudly give them 'test drives'. They are telling me that that isn't practical, and they aren't just imagining things: Tesla suffers a glaring weakness -- range. I think that's what needs to be addressed to make the Gen3 successful as the next step toward a world with BEVs substantially replacing ICE cars.

Thank you, Elon and Tesla. You've given us cause to celebrate the beginning of the end of ICE cars. To see a better future with dramatically reduced air pollution and a little less global warming. I sure hope to live to see this dream become a reality.

Ron :)

P.S. And thanks, Ron (AKA Red Sage) for your active participation.

pvandeloo.ipod | 09. juli 2014

"I'm buying an MS. I want to drive it out west and show it to my relatives who live there. To proudly give them 'test drives'. They are telling me that that isn't practical, and they aren't just imagining things: Tesla suffers a glaring weakness -- range. I think that's what needs to be addressed to make the Gen3 successful as the next step toward a world with BEVs substantially replacing ICE cars."

Couldnt agree more. Red Sage is desperatley trying to ignore this simple fact. I would add that recharging times are also a glaring weakness that needs to be addressed!

pvandeloo.ipod | 09. juli 2014

Tesla needs to increase the range by a factor of 3 and reduce the charging time to 10 min (full charge).

pvandeloo.ipod | 09. juli 2014

"Knowing that on the road you can plug in and walk away to eat, drink, use the restroom, whatever ...
It looks to me like I'll be forced to stop for about 30 minutes per 100 miles. If I stop every 100 miles, I want some of those stops to be 5-10 minutes."

Not so Red Sage. He loves having a "quick bite to eat" (MUSK) every 100 miles for 30 min. Isnt it lovely owning an Model S for long distance driving.

Grinnin'.VA | 09. juli 2014

I wrote:
It looks to me like I'll be forced to stop for about 30 minutes per 100 miles. If I stop every 100 miles, I want some of those stops to be 5-10 minutes.

pvandeloo.ipod | JULY 9, 2014 wrote:
Not so Red Sage. He loves having a "quick bite to eat" (MUSK) every 100 miles for 30 min.

Good guess, but not correct. I prefer to take breaks at about 150-mile intervals. I alternate between meal breaks and quick restroom/stretch breaks. That gets me to where I'm going as quickly, comfortably and safely as I can.

Ron :)

georgehawley.fl.us | 09. juli 2014

What an educational thread. Too much to digest at one sitting like my Mom's pot roast:-)

Electric trailer trucks--great idea. I learned a lot about such trucks just now. The Kenworth 680 engine has about 500 hp max. Electric motor seems feasible if you can get 3-4 times the torque of the Model S motor. Truck currently gets about 6 mpg. The tractor carries 200-300 gallons of fuel for a range of 1200 to 1800 miles.

Maybe it would be best to install 400 kWh or so worth of battery packs in compartments that go under the floor of the trailer. If you could squeeze out a a mile per kWh, you could go maybe 400 miles on a full charge. Why bother with supercharging at Truck stops. Do that off line. Just change out the battery packs in maybe 10 minutes and hit the road. If that approach leaves the tractor too light, then put a couple of battery packs in it as well and get maybe 600 miles range.

Red Sage ca us | 09. juli 2014

Cripes! I guess the [IGNORE] button doesn't work in reverse...

georgehawley: I've been meaning to do some drawings that would illustrate how I'd include battery packs on a long haul truck, showing them:

  • On the sides where fuel tanks are currently located.
  • Underneath, for a flat bottom.
  • In the 'frunk' area.
  • Vertically in the rear cabin wall.

I don't know why I wouldn't have considered battery swap before, but yes, that's a great idea! Since majority of the battery packs would be at a low point on the chassis anyway, it makes them easy to remove and replace. That lower center of gravity would also increase traction for hauling during inclimate weather conditions.

Electric power should work great for long haul trucks, because torque is more important than the horsepower. As long as it could be sufficiently aerodynamic, an electric big rig could cover a lot of ground at 55 MPH.

One thing to keep in mind though is that while 1 gallon of gasoline is approximately 34 kWh of energy, 1 gallon of diesel contains slightly more, about 40.7 kWh each. If the rig could be constructed so that two removable modules of 400 kWh each were installed on either side of the rig, that would very likely be more than sufficient.

An electric long haul truck would be a great platform to test accidence avoidance and autopilot technologies as well. There are lots of possibilities. This will be nice to watch!

georgehawley.fl.us | 09. juli 2014

Tesla partner and investor, Daimler, appears to have made some progress in the autopilot area for trucks:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/04/business/daimler-demonstrates-a-self-d...

bigd | 09. juli 2014

"Cripes! I guess the [IGNORE] button doesn't work in reverse..." That was classic LOL

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