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Is Tesla A Game Changer?

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,193
    edited August 2013
    If the Tesla X SUV and the entry luxury Gen 3 are rated as highly as the S, for their respective categories, and they sell well, consumers will associate the Tesla name with the cars rather than the eccentric, if interesting, Nicola Tesla. Or, maybe the marketing and PR geniuses will engage in a little revisionist history, by hyping Nicola's genius and polishing his rough edges.

    Most people buy the product's attributes, and don't research the genesis of the brand's name.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 932
    Tesla was a great scientist who discovered the alternating current (AC) system that is the basis for all modern electricity. Rather appropriate for an electric car, certainly better than "Leaf".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    Actually he didn't discover AC current but he figured out practical applications for it. Most definitely a genius but not so marketable as say "Enzo Ferrari" or Dr. Porsche.

    I know some may scoff, but when some people buy a Ferrari or Porsche, they feel like they are not only joining a club, but that some of this heritage now belongs to them.

    Not that I'm arguing that you NEED this heritage to succeed. I mean, look at Lexus. No heritage and the name is meaningless, and they stole a good chunk of Mercedes' market in short order, right out of the gate.

    What Lexus presented to buyers was not only a car of equal quality to the competition, and superior reliability, but at a much lower price.

    You can't beat THAT for marketing power.

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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 932
    Regarding Tesla,you are right; I didn't word that correctly. And most car names are pretty meaningless. I dont drive an Accord because I feel peaceful. I just meant that in this case the name actually is appropriate for the car.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,193
    edited August 2013
    Yeah, and some brand names, such as BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke), Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) and GM are just acronyms.

    Some surnames would sound odd as auto brands, but Tesla is easy to pronounce and flows well, to me.

    I'm wondering to what extent the fact that Teslas are designed and built in the U.S., and in Silicon Valley, in particular, appeals to early adopter type buyers?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    edited August 2013
    Definitely the source of manufacture appeals to early adapters. That's a good point.

    California has a reputation, deserved or not, as the place where "new things" happen.

    A Tesla S is a very attractive "toy" if you will, offering a new experience and the prestige of being "first on the block".

    What it isn't, is a common sense way of saving money on gas.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2013
    "What it isn't, is a common sense way of saving money on gas."

    Tesla is the future of the automobile. It represents a paradigm shift from the internal combustion engine. Like all new products the cost of entry is high because of the need for a company to recover its research and development costs before competitors enter the market. (Does the PC, fax machine, HDTV come to mind?)

    Consumers always want the latest and greatest technology and they don't mind paying for that privilege. While some sit on the sidelines waiting for the stock to tank, others on the other hand are making a fortune in share price appreciation.

    The name Tesla Motors is nice way to pay homage to the great genius Nicoli Tesla. Although Thomas Edison treated him badly he still emerged with a more effective and practical method of transmitting electricity over great distances. Not unlike what Musk has done today--to extend the range of the electric car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    edited August 2013
    Did the Tesla company write that? Seems like it.

    Whenever I see the words "paradigm shift" I know the BS machine is being refueled (or plugged in, as the case may be).

    True enough though, some people will make money on Tesla stock and some will lose money on it. Welcome to the stock market.

    and now, for some reality:

    The battery technology to create a "paradigm shift" doesn't even exist yet, nor is it in the hopper. It is probably a good 10-15 years away.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,590
    Indeed, I could probably stretch my way into a Tesla (might have to live on water and ramen noodles, or start a fake business to write it off), but right now, no thanks - I take road trips now and then, and the range doesn't work, not to mention the lack of residential charging infrastructure. When we can have a battery that is good for ~500 miles of highway driving and charges in a half hour, then I'll be pleased.

    That being said, I admire the idea and the style. If I was wealthy enough to have one as an in-town or commuter car, and had a place to charge it, I'd be looking.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    I wouldn't mind one as a second car for local use.

    I think the best way to envision a Tesla S right now is to picture it as a Lexus with an 8 gallon gas tank.

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    500 mile range won't work either until you get the two minute battery swap working. Then you'll have something.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    Would you really buy a gasoline powered car where you had to swap the engine every 500 miles? Really?

    Whose batteries am I getting in return for mine? What if they don't work correctly? Who tows me home? What if there is a long battery-swap line? What if I'm not near to a swap station?

    Can I do this at home? How much do a set of backup batteries cost me?

    You know what would be great? A charging platform that you drive onto!

    Or a third rail type device built into a guard rail on the freeway?

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Well, I have to pull into a service station now and hope someone isn't smoking while I cram an explosive fluid into my car.

    Go check out a big warehouse sometime and look at the forklifts. Chances are they have a parking station for the lifts, and they drive them in when the low charge light goes on, push a couple of buttons and get a fresh battery automagically installed and go back to moving pallets.

    Who cares if you get a battery in the last year of its useful life? You'll be swapping it out in another 500 miles anyway.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    Exactly my point...what are you gaining over a gasoline car by driving a Tesla?

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Same reason I mow my yard with an electric mower. No fumes (where I'm using the equipment), no mess on my hands, and it's quiet and efficient, and there's less maintenance. And I use fewer "gallons" per mile.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    Bah! Not provable claims!

    Okay, it is quiet, I'll give you that one. :)

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,590
    edited August 2013
    If your car emits fumes and you're spilling gas on your hands when refueling, you have more problems than an electric car can solve : P

    It is quiet and efficient (once you install the infrastructure), but the loaded sport model is also touching 7er/S-class/A8/LS territory, not exactly attainable by most.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2013
    No more range anxiety as this video demonstrates. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_XEv2f_Uhw

    NINETY SECONDS to swap a battery, that is truly remarkable. That innovation should silence the critics and transform the BEV from fringe to mainstream transportation. The next critical steps are to bring down the cost of the battery and to expand replacement/charging stations to reach critical mass.

    I just watched a video elsewhere that pegs the cost of a battery swap at $60 - $85. However, it will cost about $500,000 to build and equip a station with the requisite robots. Expensive yes, but that is a price some will be willing to pay for time and convenience.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,193
    edited August 2013
    "Expensive yes, but that is a price some will be willing to pay for time and convenience."

    Even assuming this is true, EVs will still have to compete on utility and price with continuously improving ICE and hybrid vehicles. Each propulsion system has pluses and minuses, as well as supporters and detractors.

    I believe that it's far to early to predict which system will ultimately prevail because the outcome will depend largely on technological, production and application breakthroughs, plus environmental issues. Who can predict breakthroughs?

    Chances are that each of the current systems, plus fuel cells and things we haven't even thought of, will have a niche in the transportation systems of the future.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    People don't like change and the gas station infrastructure is well entrenched. But the fix is trivial - it's just the expense to switch that isn't.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    edited August 2013
    "That innovation should silence the critics "

    It doesn't silence anyone if you think about it. This is all "future-geek". A current (no pun intended) Tesla owner can't find a battery swapping station right now.

    Furthermore he pays for the battery swap, and then pays again when he has to return the battery to the station he got it from. If he chooses to keep the new battery, he pays a differential on the age of the battery he swapped.

    Don't use a chain saw to cut a butter. This battery swapping, to me, is an extremely clunky solution to a real problem.

    Reminds me of what TUCKER did--they did demos on 30 minute engine swaps.

    Supercharging stations make more sense.

    And "supercharging" is not "free" as the video says. You need to install the supercharging option when you buy the car, for I think some $2000 bucks extra.

    What is really going on here is that the swap stations are a profit generator for the company, essentially a hidden service fee on your car.

    Once again, you aren't saving a dime by driving a Tesla.

    I think this is all great and I hope the company succeeds, but this hype about it replacing the gasoline car, or being more "efficient" than one, is simply hyperbole.

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,184
    Musk is going to be shuttling us all around on pneumatic tubes soon enough anyway.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    NOW you're talking!! Tube-travel strikes me as far more rational than busing people to an airport, putting them in a large, fuel-filled cylinder, lighting the fuse and hurtling the cylinder through space.

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    A Tesla has fairly good range right now, considering their intended target audience and purpose. I really don't think that too many purchasers buy a Tesla with the intent to tour with it.

    That said, it does make sense for Tesla's attempt to keep a flow of positive type news about the car and downplay that it's entirely reliant on batteries and/or a recharge, and to not be perceived as a deal-breaker for those who are tempted by the car but may talk themselves out of it because of the complications incurred if they wanted to tour. Tesla is simply wanting to keep stock prices increasing progressively and one way to do that is to attempt to stifle any negative perceptions of its 2nd greatest weakness. No harm in trying to nip things in the bud by throwing the extended-range-by-progressive-infrastructure card out there.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    right you are! There's no percentage in marketing the Tesla for what it really is right now---a 2nd car for occasional use....drive to the tennis club, dress up and go out for a local dinner, and most definitely impress your friends.

    One downside of marketing a very high tech product for its status appeal is that "there is no tech as old as old tech", and so in a few years when the Tesla (should it still exist) is improved further, your old Tesla S model might be a bit of crate on the used car market.

    I think Tesla biggest problem is going to be plug-in hybrids. You can buy a Ford right now with a combined range of 620 miles on one "fill-up" for 1/2 the price of a Tesla, and while it's not a luxury car, it's not some cheap piece of work either. It has lots of oohs and aahs on the dashboard, too.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,192
    edited August 2013
    I think Tesla biggest problem is going to be plug-in hybrids. You can buy a Ford right now with a combined range of 620 miles on one "fill-up"

    I think it is the other way around. The biggest problem with hybrids is Tesla. The whole idea behind electrics is to wean ourselves of synthetic oil, especially imported oil from the Middle East and the Americas.

    There is a finite source of dino oil and with China and India becoming such voracious users of petrol it won't be long before we are brought to our knees with another oil shortage problem. In terms of range, 300 miles is plenty for everyday work commute. And even for the occasional long trip, it is only 200 miles from Boston to New York. Anything farther to Washington D.C. for example would require a free 20-minute charge or a NINETY second battery swap.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    edited August 2013
    Powerplants still need fuels to generate electricity--if not oil, then natural gas, and Russia and Iran are sitting on the largest reserves of that.

    There's no "oil shortage" in America. Fuel oils are our largest export at the moment.

    If the point of Tesla is to conserve fuel, then it is answering a question that nobody is currently asking.

    Now, if you mean lowering emissions and noise in URBAN areas, that is very well addressed by EVs--which suggests to me that the best use of EVs is urban, short-distance use.

    I think the idea of developing EVs for long distance use of no discernible advantage.

    PS: Tesla re-charges are not "free"---you have to equip the car at purchase for "supercharging", so you can add $2000 immediately to your annual fuel costs.

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  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    edited August 2013
    Less reliance on the Middle East and the wars that are the product of Oil...

    Something about never having to visit a gas station again is intriguing. Call me a Geek, but I love ingenuity the futuristic stuff like that. Heck, the Nissan Leaf has caught my attention as just a cheap little back and forth commuter for me over the past year or so, same with my wife. 70 miles on a charge is plenty and my company is contemplating adding a "Juice Bar" to the front parking lot to encourage green motoring. Clears up some of the "range anxiety" for a few of us.

    The Tesla just happens to come in a sexy wrapper...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,588
    Well in that respect we have a lot in common. I'd love an affordable electric car for much of my business---I just don't want to pay $80,000 to look sexy.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,192
    70 miles on a charge is plenty and my company is contemplating adding a "Juice Bar" to the front parking lot to encourage green motoring. Clears up some of the "range anxiety" for a few of us.

    Could Outmoded Phone Booths Become E.V. Charging Stations?
    Well the NY Times has looked into the possibility.
    "New York City is full of dormant, albeit still electrified phone booths. Some say the unused infrastructure could be repurposed for electric vehicle charging."
    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/14/could-outmoded-phone-booths-become-e-- v-charging-stations/?ref=automobiles
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