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Is Tesla A Game Changer?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    "....and given the strong demand for the EV"

    er...i didn't get that memo....when did this happen?

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  • suydamsuydam Posts: 996
    Nissan Leaf is really starting to take off. Looks like it might follow the Prius story, very slow at first and then more and more each year until it becomes a mainstream car. People were saying the same things about the Prius at this stage.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    edited August 2013
    Not a chance in the world IMO of it becoming a success like the Prius IMO. However, it could become a top-selling vehicle in regional markets like San Francisco, where it is the most popular.

    Until EVs sell at $30K and can go 300 miles on a charge, don't hold your breath for any upsurge in EV sales worth noting.

    Why did I pick that number? Because that's what a very nice gas car with a 12 gallon tank costs.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,268
    Until EVs sell at $30K and can go 300 miles on a charge, don't hold your breath for any upsurge in EV sales worth noting.

    BMW, Audi and MB do not sell their vehicles at that price range and yet they are extremely successful in the U.S.

    The Tesla is a premium brand and as such its product demand a premium price. To follow the footsteps of Ford and GM by introducing yet another "average" car is a prescription for economic suicide. That's the beauty of capital, a product for every purse.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    Perhaps that's true but then Tesla will never post high numbers, any more than Porsche or Aston Martin does.

    Anyone who can produce a 300 mile range, $30K EV will become rich beyond measure.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,976
    I dunno, 30K should be able to get one a base model car from any of those brands (negotiated price, not notoriously inflated MSRP), the lower lines doing the most volume. And they don't need a tax break to sell.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    What I was driving at was that a 30K EV with a 300 mile range can compete toe to toe on an equal basis with gasoline or hybrid vehicles, and thus open itself up to mass market.

    A Tesla cannot even compete with a Lexus LS 460 on range. Basically a Tesla S is a Lexus LS 460 with a 10 gallon gas tank.

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  • morey000morey000 Posts: 350
    "A Tesla cannot even compete with a Lexus LS 460 on range. Basically a Tesla S is a Lexus LS 460 with a 10 gallon gas tank."

    Well, if this is just a competition on range, then yeah- I guess you're right, but it would be fair to add that a Tesla
    ... gets filled up every night for you in your garage, and that the company will fill up for you for free if you want to drive it on a longer trip.

    I've heard that the BMW i3 is going to be marketed with the deal that it includes, free every year, 2 weeks worth of 'loaner' of a regular BMW. so you can borrow an X5 and go on a family ski trip. Brilliant!
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    gets filled up every night for you in your garage, and that the company will fill up for you for free if you want to drive it on a longer trip.

    I do wonder if this recharge free-ride can be sustained indefinitely if we assume that the recharge infrastructure grows as they intend for it to do so. Will these costs for electrical energy go down? Unlikely. So consequently, will these free-ride costs then retard the expected lower price of admission as more mass production takes hold? Likely. Will this affect mass production numbers, thereby slowing the extensiveness of recharge stations throughout the nation? Definitely.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,231
    edited September 2013
    A 2011 Nissan Leaf SV (the better of two trim levels), in "clean" condition, with 24,000 miles on it is worth about $18,700 in a private sale, according to Edmunds. Isn't that about half of what it cost new?

    Any guesses on what a new $90,000 Tesla S with 60,000 miles will be worth in, say, 2018? Will it depreciate more or less than a $90,000 Audi, BMW, Lexus or Mercedes?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,231
    edited September 2013
    Per Edmunds, a 2011 Chevy Volt with 24,000 miles, in "clean" condition, would bring about $25,400 in a private sale. That represents better retained value than the Nissan Leaf. It also suggests that gas-electric cars may be more economical to own than EVs, although it may be too early to draw that conclusion. Adding the range issue into consideration, I'd rather own a 2011 Volt than a two year old Leaf.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,976
    I suspect Leaf prices tanked because Nissan slashed the prices on new ones.

    Didn't Tesla guarantee resale through a set period, like 3 or so years? After that it might be tough - and used models won't get the subsidy gift.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    A Tesla cannot even compete with a Lexus LS 460 on range. Basically a Tesla S is a Lexus LS 460 with a 10 gallon gas tank.

    Don't be to quick to make that statement. Considering that the average driver drives less than 40 miles a day on average and the Tesla has that and much more. That means that on any given day a Tesla driver leaves their garage with a full tank that will take them where they are going.

    The time spent plugging in the Tesla every night would likely be less than driving the Lexus to the gas station and filling it up once a week or so.

    Now let's look at the Tesla range and its limitations. In this year I drove three trips where the round trip would have been longer than the Tesla's range. Yet one of those trips currently has a quick charging station I would say 2/3rd's to 3/4th's the way there, so it would not have been to big of a deal charging there both ways.

    Another one of those trips was well within the Teslas range one way and the destination now has charging stations. So it would be no issue driving there, charging the first night I am there so I have power to drive around the several days I was there and one more time the night before I leave so I could get home.

    So in reality just one trip this year I couldn't have taken a Tesla, but then we could have taken the wifes car or even rented one.

    Now contrast that with other EV's there are maybe a doze trips that I could have taken with a Tesla that would not have been possible with any other EV. Friday, as an example, I dropped my wife off at a womans conference in Wisconsin about 85 miles or so away. Teslas can be had with more than enough range to do that round trip, no other EV could do that.

    So I do think that Tesla is a game changer simply because it is taking the EV from something that needs to be charged almost daily to something the average driver can drive for a week between charges. If Tesla can make a more economical car that gets the same ranges as the S model for half the price everyone else will be scrambling to extend their ranges to match Tesla.

    If Tesla survives or not it has changed the game.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    edited September 2013
    If Tesla survives or not it has changed the game.

    I don't agree. The reason is that 'the game' is using two entirely different stakes.

    If they had a $35k car that also had a 280 mile range, then that would be a little closer to being a game-changer.

    Furthermore, I think that you have to extrapolate a little more about the realities of owning an EV, than you have. People are busy...we're busier now than we were a decade ago and a lot busier than half a century ago. We have things to do, places to be...unexpected derailments, unexpected delays..in traffic, picking up the kids at school "Oh, you'll have to pick up Deanna at the clinic cuz she tripped and broke her arm on the front steps of the school...not to worry though, it's only an extra 20 miles out of your way from your usual route home...But...oh ya...there is that construction going on on Route A, that might delay you a little extra. Oh, you're in the EV and only have enough charge to get home directly from here, eh?"

    That sorta thing...before you know it, what you think is a workable level of range ability starts to show its shortcomings in the real world, where real, unplanned things happen. Like a cold front blowing in and the temp dropping to 10 instead of the 32 that was forecast. The 32 you could live with because you knew you had enough charge for that temp. But the heater, defroster, wipers etc etc are all sapping the last 15 miles you thought you had cuz of the real world happening the day before and you never got a chance to plug it in..

    The kicker, is that for all that inconvenience, you just paid two to THREE times more for your car than your neighbour did for his TDI Passat that he only has to fuel once per month..
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    If they had a $35k car that also had a 280 mile range, then that would be a little closer to being a game-changer.

    The game changer is that they do have the 200+ range.

    Furthermore,

    All those things are issues if you are driving the Mitsubishi EV that gets 60 miles on a charge, not on a Tesla with a 260 mile range and you have only driven it 25 miles. That's why I think it's a game changer.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Can't agree. I said all those things with its extra range in mind. Procrastination will happen, and other priority situations will just be exploited by the range that it does have until in no time it will bite you...and probably when the circs are at their worst. Murphy's Law and all..

    But on top of that, (and mostly), because this is not a car an average person can afford to purchase. If someone has practically unlimited funds then there are tons of potential game changers in the world. If next to no one can afford the purchase then it gets the ol' who cares sorta thing, ya know?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    I don't believe the Tesla is anymore a game changer than the magnificent Doble Steam Car, which had the power, build quality and speed to put any gas engine car of the day to shame.

    The 1924 model Doble Series E steam car could run for 1,500 miles (2,400 km) before its 24-gallon water tank needed to be refilled; even in freezing weather, it could be started from cold and move off within 30 seconds, and once fully warmed could be relied upon to reach speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour!

    Why did it fail? Same reason as the Tesla S --it's not a game changer. Too expensive, too complicated to repair, too expensive to operate, lots of messing around.

    These charging stations are a) not free, because you have to buy the supercharger as an option on the car and b) there are less than 20 of them in the whole country.

    If you charge at home, your running costs will equal those of a hybrid.

    Were the Doble Model E the same price as a Buick of the day, and as easy to operate, well then, we might see Dobles on the streets today.

    so the Tesla S has no MSRP advantage, no range advantage, and no operating cost advantage over a Lexus hybrid.

    What it does have is the "cool factor" and a lot of status at the moment. That's it.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,297
    edited September 2013
    I never saw a tweet from Mr. Doble. :-)

    Elon Musk plans Tesla road trip from LA to NYC (CNet)

    "Musk took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to announce that he has finalized a family road trip that will take him from Los Angeles to New York City. According to Musk, he plans to complete the trip in six days and travel 3,200 miles in his Tesla Model S. During the trip, he'll spend just nine hours charging.

    "At 1.5 hours per day, we will only ever need to charge when stopping anyway to eat or sightsee," Musk said on his Twitter account. "Never just for charging, itself."

    Game changing really just boils down to marketing, right? That, and not fighting with your siblings and parents over the family business.

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  • a Model S through the McDrive thru almost every morning. A beautiful white car. Then drive behind it for about 15 miles or so until we hit a large hill. There the driver just opens it up and flies up-I back off at about 65-a ticket is not in my commute planning list. I have a 200 hp V6. There is no way I could even try to keep up with that car. It also passes at highway speed like a vette. My question is-why not equip the car somewhat like a Volt? Can it be so hard to put in a small gas generator that will charge the car up by itself when stopped, then shut off automatically Maybe a diesel one? That would give the driver an option-plug in or just charge using fuel. Honda makes a great small quiet genset for about 2500....there are others lots cheaper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    edited September 2013
    Well that's just more magnificent Tesla "fluff"--they are so good at this. I can presume Mr. Musk will not suffer any embarrassing moments due to a backup team that the President of any country would feel privileged to call upon. Back up van? Back up techs? Of course, he'd be foolish not to.

    Actually I can see this car making the cross-country journey, but to say it will stop "not just for charging" is disingenuous in my opinion. The point is YOU HAVE TO STOP whether you want to or not after, perhaps, 300 miles (we presume Mr. Musk has the highest capacity batteries available).

    Here again, it has to be the equivalent of a gas car. Until the Tesla can a) cost $40K b) go 300 miles, and c) charge up in 10 minutes, it's not going to get any market share except the market share of "first users"---until then (and I hope to see it) once those first users are all satisfied, that's it for market expansion.

    Ferrari is highly successful as a boutique car builder---so much so, that they are purposely CUTTING BACK on production so as to charge more for their cars! They sell "only" about 7300 cars a year and do very well, thank you.

    But they aren't a "game changer"--just a well run manufacturer of stunning and interesting cars.

    This, to me, is where Tesla should presume to go to remain alive.

    The only problem with my scenario is that EVs aren't particularly exciting to drive, at least not like a Ferrari. Ferrari owners call the engine the "music" built into each and every car. Tesla sings very quietly.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,297
    edited September 2013
    I was wondering about that the other day too. Be pretty easy to carry your own little generator, assuming that a gallon of gas would top up a Tesla enough to make it worthwhile. Stop at a Flying J Spago's, run the generator for an hour and get yourself and your car recharged.

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    edited September 2013
    Small (and especially large) gasoline generators are an extremely fuel inefficient way to produce electricity. And I'm not using the word extremely, lightly.. When the power goes off here, even my little 2200 Yammy goes through a gallon in only a few hours powering only one energy efficient fridge, 32" TV, DVD, PC etc..IOWs very very few amps. The fridge pulls only 700 watts maybe twice an hour for mere minutes each time.

    A unit sufficient enough to pump a fast charge into the Tesla would just SUCK fuel...and be a noisy one I think..

    edit - Leaf owners brag that they can buy (and tow, haha) an accessory trailer and gen set that will keep them mobile at apprx 60 to 70% duty cycle if memory serves..
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    Very true. From my messing around with boats, I think that running a generator in a Tesla would give it the overall fuel economy of a Hummer!

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,297
    Just have to go solar I guess. :-)

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    I'm sure they'll start charging for sun power in that case--if you don't pay they'll move a cloud over your house.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,297
    edited September 2013
    We had a big gully-washer at our friend's off-grid house last week in NM and zero power was generated all afternoon. But the batteries were all topped up from the morning sunshine. Maybe one of these days a car sized solar roof will be efficient enough to actually top up your Tesla while you drive it or park it outside for a few hours.

    Then there's Solar Roadways just around the corner.

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  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    Can't agree. I said all those things with its extra range in mind. Procrastination will happen, and other priority situations will just be exploited by the range that it does have until in no time it will bite you...and probably when the circs are at their worst. Murphy's Law and all..

    Then we are just going to have to disagree. I for one just cannot see any situation where I will have an unforeseen circumstance that would require me to drive over 200 miles in a day.

    Under the worse circumstances an EV would at worse get no less than half of it's stated mileage in a charge. Now the worse EV out there for range would mean that I would use about 90% of the power on a round trip commute giving me little, if any, room for any unexpected used of power.

    However if I had the Tesla with the extended range I could drive the entire week of commuting and not use 70% of the available range under the 50% rule stated above. That means even with unforeseen circumstances that would require more power usage, forgetting one day to charge it or the very uncommon power outage, the Tesla wouldn't have any issues getting me where I want to be.

    That is what makes it a game changer.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,283
    edited September 2013
    I'm just not getting this.

    What "game" has changed exactly?

    If anything, it sounds like the argument is that I should pay $2000 for a solar-powered wide screen TV that shuts off after 9 PM because, gee, I don't watch late night TV anyway.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,268
    To the delight of some on this thread, Tesla took a major hit today. The stock dropped to $160.70, Down -6.27 or -3.76%.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    Why did it fail? Same reason as the Tesla S --it's not a game changer. Too expensive, too complicated to repair, too expensive to operate, lots of messing around.

    It failed for the same reasons that all steamed powered cars failed. As ICE's evolved they became far more economically feasible over the steam powered cars.

    As for the Tesla being too complicated to repair, too expensive to operate and lots of messing around that's not true. EV's have the advantage of being simpler with far fewer moving parts so they happen to be easier to repair and operate (when was the last time you saw an electric car getting an oil change?).

    so the Tesla S has no MSRP advantage, no range advantage, and no operating cost advantage over a Lexus hybrid.

    If you want to talk about MSRP then forget the Lexus hybrid go for something like the Chevy Spark. For the price of the cheapest Lexus hybrid you can get a Chevy Spark and enough gas to drive over 165K miles.

    As for range, that is pretty meaningless for most people 90% of the time.

    As for operating costs the Tesla would be less than the Lexus. Looking simply at fuel costs going by EPA estimates and the cost of electricity and gas in my neck of the woods the Tesla would be about 5 cents per mile cheaper to fun on fuel alone. Add to that the fact that an electric drive train is easier and cheaper to maintain than an ICE the Lexus would be more expensive to run.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

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