Skip to comments.Tesla Model S: First drive of the electric sedan that will change the world or die trying
Posted on 06/23/2012 4:39:20 PM PDT by grundle
Of all the new cars unveiled this year, none will be as hotly anticipated as the Model S from Tesla Motors, a luxury sedan doubling as a brash, billion-dollar bet that the era of the electric car has arrived. As the first journalist to test-drive one, I can report the Tesla Model S successfully challenges a century of assumptions about what a great car can be.
Unlike gas engines, electric cars generate their maximum power at start -- and no electric car has ever had as much power as the Model S, whose Performance edition is good for 417 hp. The zero-to-60 mph run ticks by in an impressive 4.4 seconds (5.9 seconds for the 362 hp edition)
the Model S can even do long drives up to 285 miles in the edition launching today
The revelation of what Tesla has accomplished sunk in when I returned to a gas-powered vehicle. Other luxury cars will keep pace with the Tesla, but after driving the Model S, suddenly you notice the lag between accelerator and power, the exhaust noise, all the energy necessary to keep those parts hurtling forward. It makes a fossil fuel-powered car seem to be working so much harder than necessary. Which is the point.
(Excerpt) Read more at autos.yahoo.com ...
That's why they make trucks and jeeps. Something for everyone.
I am confident the S Model was not created for Iowa, or deep rural areas with ever changing extreme weather.
Some might be shocked, but this is a vehicle designed for someone who drives probably 25 or 60 miles a day going to work and back in urban or suburban venues, where steep hills covered with ice and snow are no where to be seen.
Now if one has two vehicles and lives in Wisconsin, during winter ya take the SUV, nice weather ya drive the S Model to work.
Charging up every few days would very likely beat dumping $85 dollars in the tank every few days.
If one desires to drive cross country in extreme weather for a sales meeting or vacation, then I am confident the S Model would likely not be on their short list.
You've lived in California too long. In Philadelphia, icy roads are frequent in winter (after paying for welfare, not much left over for salting the roads), and hills are also common.
Except that electric cars are, for the most part, driven by fossil fuels.
“Youre the one who makes really stupid uninformed comments, then when called on it ya quickly head for the tall grass and disappear.”
Tallgrass? You considering someone not responsing to your high and might self as running away on the Internet? Wow. You’ve always been known a a stupid liberal that only comes here to bash Bush but a narcissist too? Grow up.
“In that context, an electric vehicle makes some sense. “
Sure. Even in mine people are seen on golf carts, but, as you said, they aren’t public streets and they don’t need to go far, caryr much, or even be all that fast.
Please read the post #151 more carefully.
See the 7th line down regarding places like Wisconsin and extreme weather.
This isn’t overly complex.
People who own motorcycles and roofless vehicles such as certain jeeps would likely understand...
And my point is that a large percentage of the people in the US, not just those in Wisconsin, live in places with ice and snow. Unless by "places like Wisconsin" you meant to include the entire northern half of the US (which is why I commented that you lived in California too long). My point about the performance of a heavy car (4,647 lbs curb weight) also applies to rain-slick streets.
While a large percentage of families with cars have more than one, it's generally one per licensed driver or less. In a two-car, two-commuter family it makes things more difficult. But since not too many people can afford a car which costs $100K+ in its extended-range version, I guess you are correct that anybody who can afford it can also afford a conventionally-fueled SUV for bad-weather days.
BTW, the S Model starts at around 50k. There are choices of models and prices, like most all other vehicles.
The range goes down in cold weather, both because batteries deliver less power when cold, and because energy for heating the interior comes from the batteries rather than being a free byproduct of engine operation.
The batteries are a large percentage of the total cost. Tesla is evasive about the cost of replacement batteries. You WILL need replacement batteries eventually.
Bottom line: The Tesla S is a very expensive toy right now.
What I said.
And I really am confident the S Model was not created for Iowa, or deep rural areas with ever changing extreme weather.
Probably the same reason why ya don't see too many Porsche's in Minnesota or rural Ohio...Especially in winter.
Just a wild guess, but I'd say most people purchasing the S Model, will not be located in snow and ice country.
This is not an Oldsmobile nor will it be mass produced like an a typical SUV.
Once again, people who live in snow and ice country would be much better off with a typical SUV.
I would also add that, with the battery packs being much of the cost of the car, as Tesla cars get older and start needing expensive replacement packs, Tesla cars will be a prime target of car thieves, who will deliver them to chop-shops.
You keep thinking that the only places that have cold weather are in the northern MidWest.
Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, DC -- the list of places that get cold in the winter is extensive.
You also have greatly reduced range in places that require A/C in the summer, like most of the South.
The natural habitat of the Tesla S is thus mostly restricted to places like Southern California.
Or anyplace with more moderate or good weather.
Again, it's not for everyone, nor will it be mass produced like your typical SUV.
But for that two car family, in Minnesota who wants a super fast, full sized slot car that don't eat gas for the good weather...Well..
looks like the titan maximum cartoon logo.
Actually, the studies I’ve read indicate that even for fossil fuel power plants, that burn the fuel at the source and transmit to the car, is still more efficient by far than transporting the fuel to each car and then burning it at the source. Also consider that many car owners do not maintain their engines as power plants do, and therefore will lose efficiency over time.
With regard to charging time. With a 300 mile range, charging overnight while you sleep, when there is massive excess grid capacity, and the rates are cheap makes sense. However, if you really need to drive 600 miles one day, Tesla can recharge to 80% in 30 minutes.
The 2009 Mercedes SL550 is the first major overhaul of the fifth-generation SL ... M-B claims a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds, which is quicker than about 95 percent of all ...
That’s my point, you have transmission losses in either case, although people never consider the transmission energy loss in getting oil from the ground, refining it, and transporting it to your tank.
“Tesla can recharge to 80% in 30 minutes.”
And in the scheme of things, how you go about your daily business, this would be acceptable? I don’t intend to degrade my life by this sort of retrograde “improvement.” Electric cars may, in the short term, fill a niche market for some people, but they are just that with present day technology. Also, if, as you suggest, there is a large overcapacity of electric energy at night, this is just another capitulation to our country’s inability to provide for its citizen. It’s like the nonsense that you need to wash your clothes in the middle of the night to “preserve our environment.” Which is nonsense.
Stopping once for a 30 minute top off on a 500 mile trip wouldn’t inconvience most people. True it isn’t as convienient as a 5 minute gas top off, but then again you are talking about $3-5 for 300 miles of electricity vs. $40-60 for 300 miles worth of gasoline. Since after driving 300 miles, I would trade the extra 25 minutes grabbing a cup of coffee for the $50.00 savings any day.
I don’t understand your point about “capitulation to our country’s inability to provide for it’s citizens.” I don’t want the country to provide electricity for me, I would prefer to purchase it myself from a private power company. That said, these power companies must maintain the generator capacity to cover the time of peak demand during business hours. Of course, this means that outside of business hours, there is an excess of capacity and anytime that supply exceeds demand in a free economy, the price of the product in question (in this case electricity) is discounted. Therefore, a smart person would plug his car in at night while he slept to take advantage of the much cheaper electricity rates at night. Of course, if I happen to ocassionally need a quick charge, or a charge during business hours, I would just pony up the extra money to pay for the convienience.
Do you really think that the fuel cost disparity will remain? How does the government plan to pay for road maintenance if they don’t tack on a hefty tax on electricity for use in vehicles. And yes, I would mind waiting out on I-5 in the heat for half an hour to charge up my vehicle. And here we are, on the one hand, we are shutting down reliable coal fired plants, while we are trying to convince a stupid public that electric cars are the immediate answer. Now, if we had gone ahead with nuclear power, the case for electric vehicles is a good deal more plausible. I just read the other day that when you look at a Nissan Leaf (all electric) and a Honda Civic (with an IC engine) that when you factor in the generating efficiency, and the transmission and charging losses, that the true MPG of the Leaf is about the same as the Honda if the generating source is oil-fired. I am a professional Mechanical Engineer, and I believe in technology. That said, electric vehicles as a transportation solution are not much more than a technical curiosity at this juncture despite the fact that as a prime mover, an electric motor is much better than an IC engine. Finally for what it’s worth, I have a neighbor who has both a Chevy Volt and a Prius. He says that the Volt, by far is a much better vehicle. It’s big enough so you feel comfortable and it’s overall efficiency is better than the Prius. I guess how these vehicles get deployed depends on the uses to which people want to put them. Even with the high cost of gasoline today, it is still not the major cost associated with owning a car.
Of course, if the Federal Government puts a massive tax on electricity then the equation would indeed change, but until they do it is much much cheaper per mile to operate an electric vehicle. (Unless you factor in the price premium due to the fact that current batteries with that kind of capacity are very expensive. This is why I don’t own an electric car).
With regard to efficiency of power sources, the ultimate test is the cost of the energy and since only a small, small fraction of the electricity on the grid comes from oil fired power plants, the efficiency advantage of EV’s are likely to remain significant.
How much time do you spend on I-5 in gas stations over the course of a month, Probably close to 30 minutes. However, in an EV with a 300 mile range that charges while you sleep, you will only need to stop at all on trips over 6 hours in duration. If a 30 minute stop every six hours is too inconvienient for the massive cost savings in terms the energy cost of gas vs. electricity, then don’t buy one.
Personally, for all it’s advantages in terms of operating and maintenance costs, the initial cost of the vehicle is too high due to the high cost of batteries. However several promising batteries promise to more than double energy density while cutting costs by more than one half. Even without any breakthrough, battery energy density is improving at 7-10% per year. So, when the technology becomes affordable to the point that any price premium is recovered in 3 years or less, I’ll buy one.
Until then, I’ll just continue to buy the most fuel efficient ICE car that suits my purposes. I would consider a Leaf for an around town/ short commuter car, but only if if the price came down by another 10K.