The Car is Dead, Long Live the Car

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...thanks to Tesla (The Guardian)

 

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Two interesting things happened last week. One was Tesla’s delivery of the first batch of its Model 3, the company’s first “affordable” car... The second was a “diesel summit” held in Berlin, a meeting where the bosses of Germany’s leading car manufacturers (VW, BMW, Audi, Ford, Porsche and Daimler) got together with ministers to ponder the industrial implications of the emissions-cheating scandaland the decisions of the British and French governments to outlaw petrol cars and vans from 2040.

 

Although no one in the car industry will say so, diesel technology has been a dead duck since the emissions-cheating scandal erupted, followed by the revelations of how polluted London’s atmosphere has become, with emissions of nitrous fumes from diesels being blamed for much of the problem...

 

And not before time. It still seems incredible that in the 21st century we propel ourselves along using the energy provided by controlled explosions in metal cylinders. But the industrial fallout from switching to electric cars will be colossal...

 

Then there are the innumerable second-order effects. Electric cars are much less complex than conventional cars. They require much less maintenance and the skills required to maintain them are different. They are also likely to last longer. They are much quieter and have zero emissions...

 

The significance of the new Tesla is not that it is made by Elon Musk’s startup, but that it represents an embodiment of what cars will be from now on – vehicles powered not via a series of controlled explosions but by smooth, silent, high-torque, non-polluting motors. The automobile industry, in other words, has just had its “iPhone moment”.

 

 

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I was just reading that the Model 3 costs way more than the $35 K advertised price when any bells and whistles are added  - some pretty standard.

 

I also read that over 65,000 of the orders have been canceled.

 

A friend of mine ordered one. I am reluctant to pass along this info. I assume she knows what she ordered and the final cost. She has been waiting forever.

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10 hours ago, Janx Spirit said:

It still seems incredible that in the 21st century we propel ourselves along using the energy provided by controlled explosions in metal cylinders. But the industrial fallout from switching to electric cars will be colossal...

Translation into plain English:

I am a stupid journalist with zero knowledge of physics, engineering and the history of car industry. But I have to deliver a 6000 letter article. What can I write? Let's begin the sentence with "it seems incredible" and end it with some triviality. The readership will love it.

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8 hours ago, LeonG said:

 

If you look at https://www.tesla.com/de_DE/support/model-3-reservations-faq it says that the first Model 3 produced were pre-configured to save time and the price starts at $49k

 

That would be still half price from the previous models.  Still amazing how they have managed to bring the prices down.  But I can understand people complains, the Model 3 is not really a premium car but it has a premium car price.

 

My real problem with e-cars is that they are not as clean as they say.  The electricity has to come from somewhere and it is mostly not yet clean, and the battery manufacturing is really horrible.   Maybe at the end e-cars are much cleaner than combustion cars, but they are not what they are saying.

 

8 hours ago, yourkeau said:

Translation into plain English:

I am a stupid journalist with zero knowledge of physics, engineering and the history of car industry. But I have to deliver a 6000 letter article. What can I write? Let's begin the sentence with "it seems incredible" and end it with some triviality. The readership will love it.

 

Well, I think it is indeed incredible that we are still using combustion engines as our main transportation means.

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4 hours ago, Krieg said:

Well, I think it is indeed incredible that we are still using combustion engines as our main transportation means.

If it was an article about nuclear power engine car (there were such ideas 50-60 years ago), that sentence would have been appropriate, since it is a new and more complicated technology. But electricity and electric cars exist for the same period as combustion engine cars (~100 years), there is nothing innovative in using electricity to move a car, it's a revival of an old technology (which doesn't mean it's bad, great things are simple). Comparison with iPhone is total bullshit.

 

The only thing which killed an electric car was cheap oil, and the only thing which will revive electric car will be expensive oil.

 

I however regret fuel cells are dying. Much better technology and really innovative. But maybe there also be some revival sometime...

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There are many people who believe that Tesla is a capital destruction machine and without government subsidies, it would be broke.  

 

Tesla does some really interesting things using Big Data technology so that they can increase fuel efficiency with new software releases.  

 

It could be a huge success or bankrupt in 5 years too.    Hopefully the technology can be useful in any case. 

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Why broke? Its big 300'000 euro cars are good and quite popular. There is even one Tesla owner in my small town.

 

But with cheaper version I am at the moment sceptical. Nissan Leaf seems to be the best one on the market at the moment. What can they offer more?

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As far as I have read, sales drop off as soon as tax incentives for buyers are stopped.  

 

There is a lot of capital invested in not only R&D, but also factories and infrastructure.    

 

Tesla sold 76000 cars and made 83000 cars in 2016.   

 

Ford made 6.3 million vehicles in 2016 

 

https://www.statista.com/topics/1886/ford/

 

Tesla has a slightly higher market cap than Ford.   

 

One argument i have seen is that Tesla is providing a proof of concept for EVs and a lot of buzz.   If they go broke, the large auto players will have reaped huge benefits from their work.   

 

 

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25 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

 

Nissan Leaf seems to be the best one on the market at the moment. What can they offer more?

 

As a start, performance, Tesla 3 max speed is 225 km/h and Nissan Leaf's is 150 km/h.  And the acceleration of the Teslas is incredible.   Then there is the range, about 330 km from the Tesla Model 3 vs pathetic 170 from the Nissan Leaf and this would be the more expensive Leaf model, because the model S can do only 135 KM, in the Tesla Model 3 case the more expensive model can do 500 km.   Then the Tesla Model 3 comes with Supercharging.   Then there is the interior, while the Tesla Model 3 can't be compared to its big brother, it is much nicer than the Leaf.  And then the outside looks and design, while this is pretty much taste, almost everyone will tell you the Tesla looks much nicer.

 

So comparing the Leaf with the Model 3 is like comparing a VW Up with a VW Golf GTI.    The irony is you were making snarky comments about the knowledge of the writer of the original article.  

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So what do you do if you don't have off-road parking or even the possibility to park near your own house? I can't run a 100m long extension cable to the next street over just to charge my car.

Also what happens if I only drive every couple of weeks, but when I drive I drive a longer distance (Like 400km [one way, I need to come home too]).

 

The electric car isn't yet a suitable replacement for a petrol or diesel car, and in my opinion a car with 'fixed' batteries won't ever be a replacement.

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Sure, they are not yet a replacement for every car, but they can be the replacement for some of them while allowing them to continue doing some research in order to improve things.    You can't magically develop things from one day to the next and such investments come normally from the private sector so they have to do a business out of it.

 

In Germany is even worst because there is no real charging network, it is still pretty much in diapers.   In USA you can find charging stations that support the new Tesla's charging mechanism called "Supercharging" that can charge your battery in 30 minutes for a 250/280 KM range.   This would be manageable if you can find stations in places you are going to stop anyway, like in supermarkets, hotels, shopping centers, etc.

 

But yes, we are not ready to go full electric, that's why governments are planning to ban the combustion cars in 2030 or 2040 and not next year.   Well, diesels might be banned soon though.

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58 minutes ago, Krieg said:

The irony is you were making snarky comments about the knowledge of the writer of the original article.  

But I don't write articles for money...

 

9 minutes ago, pappnase said:

So what do you do if you don't have off-road parking or even the possibility to park near your own house? I can't run a 100m long extension cable to the next street over just to charge my car.

Also what happens if I only drive every couple of weeks, but when I drive I drive a longer distance (Like 400km [one way, I need to come home too]).

 

The electric car isn't yet a suitable replacement for a petrol or diesel car, and in my opinion a car with 'fixed' batteries won't ever be a replacement.

Current situation in Germany is that each region and town has own charger system not compatible with each other, so to get electricity and travel >200 km you need to buy gazillion of cards...

 

The Tesla system is better, but only for Tesla owners...

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The problem with the Teslas is that they take forever to charge or "fill up".  If you're going to need to fill up every 300 km and are making a journey from Cologne to Sicily then you will spend a lot of time at the charging station.

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39 minutes ago, J0ker said:

The problem with the Teslas is that they take forever to charge or "fill up".  If you're going to need to fill up every 300 km and are making a journey from Cologne to Sicily then you will spend a lot of time at the charging station.

 

It depends on what you need the car for.  If you want a car to show off to drive around town and then you go home and park and charge in your garage, it's fine.

 

My brother has some kind of small electric, maybe Nissan Leaf as a second car to run errands and stuff.  They wouldn't take it on a road trip.

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On 7.8.2017, 21:29:41, J0ker said:

The problem with the Teslas is that they take forever to charge or "fill up".  If you're going to need to fill up every 300 km and are making a journey from Cologne to Sicily then you will spend a lot of time at the charging station.

Well, to be fair nobody drives from Cologne to Sicily these days: it's cheaper and faster to fly to Catania and rent a car (do you know the price of Italian autobahns+Italian fuel cost?).

 

Driving is at the moment limited to journeys below 1000 km, mostly. So, 500 km mileage is quite ok for electric car to get customers, but yes, at the moment the charging time is too high. There was an idea to replace batteries at the charging stations: works just fine with electric bikes rentals where I live: you can cycle 30-40 km and get the battery replaced at the charging station with a new charged one, that way you can cycle the whole day without spending time for charging the battery.

 

For the cars it is at the moment too expensive, but theoretically possible. That needs, however, one industry standard of replaceable car battery blocks, for that you need a big electric car market, but without fast charging such market will not emerge. Here we have a problem...

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I did hear (could be absolute bollocks) that Daimler makes a loss on the Smart and that it is only due to govt subsidies that they continue to make it.

If that is true and in the case of the Smart all the technology was already in place I find it hard to believe that firms are going to be able to make electric cars from scratch and make a profit out of it.

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Just thought I'd throw this over here in case anyone is interested. 

 

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Electric cars typically need larger, denser batteries if they're going to meet the range expectations of people used to gas-powered vehicles, but available space and weight limit the size of that battery. Researchers might have a solution: turn the very body of the car into a battery. They've conducted a study showing that carbon fiber shells could serve as battery electrodes. The trick is to optimize the size and orientation of the fibers so there's a good balance between stiffness and the electrochemical traits needed to store energy.

 

the rest

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