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post #61 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:32 AM
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According to this article I just found, EVs are about 21% efficient well-to-wheel vs 19% for an IC engine running CNG, which is practically a wash in my book - especially if you account for the environmental impact and additional cost of the EV battery pack. Oh, and, according to the article, the well-to-tank efficiency is about half that of the CNG IC vehicle, so I don't think the ten times more efficient stat is correct.

Mechanical Engineering Power -- June 2003, feature, "Gauging Efficiency, Well to Wheel"

Actually, a pretty good article. Unfortunately, it doesn't touch on gasoline engines and I'm pretty sure that gas is more energy-dense than CNG.
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post #62 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:57 AM
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I would definitely not say I'm anti-green, I'm simply anti-green-for-the-wrong-reasons. I would love it if we could flip a switch and the world could suddenly run on renewable, clean energy (with no negative side effects).

Unfortunately, that's not the case and people tend to focus exclusively on the downstream (a car that produces zero emissions, or a solar panel that produces renewable power) and ignore the upstream (pollution/waste in the process of building the panel/car, the energy consumed to create it versus the lifetime energy saved/produced by the product itself, etc).
.
it seems that cars that are focused on green tech: Ford escape hybrid for example uses a lot more recycled materials then traditional cars. As far as batteries and solar panels making more waste then internal combustion cars, its hard to compare but as total mass waste generated, I doubt it. If you weigh the total mass of the petroleum saved by using say, a hybrid compared to the waste produced by the batteries its no contest. As far as I know, Lithium Ion or NiMH batteries aren't as toxic as the old school batteries. Silicon based solar panels manufacturing do use some nasty chemicals, but the silicon chip industry do a pretty good job at recycling/neutralizing the waste. Polymer based solar panels and wind generation makes that argument even more complicated. As far as batteries, is it worse then the chemicals used to refine petroleum? what about all the motor oils used throughout the life of the vehicle? catalytic converters and oil filters? I'm not sure...

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IMO, where this idea falls flat is that energy is lost in each step of the chain; the more steps, the more is lost. Internal combustion is more efficient in this respect, which is why it's so difficult to displace gasoline when it comes to meeting transportation energy needs (gasoline very portable and energy-dense to boot, which gives it the edge in practicality and convenience). With electric, you have to deal with the inefficiency at the plant (heat losses, frictional losses, etc), power loss during transmission, loss at the transformer at your house, loss when charging the battery, loss when discharging the battery, frictional losses (IC has that as well); all of those add up when talking about 'well-to-wheel' efficiency.

This might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about: The Secret Lives of Energy - The Energy Problem - Conservation of Energy
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Ten times more efficient seems highly unlikely. The electric vehicle is more efficient tank-to-wheel than internal combustion, but even that's not ten times more efficient.
not 10 times, but 2x...
Internal combustion engines in cars are very inefficent because they have to work though a big RPM range. Power Plants that burn hydrocarbons runs at the RPM of Peak efficiency: Electric motors are also more efficient though out a big range of RPMs. Also, the power plant & transmission line argument goes away when people convert to point of us Solar/wind power generation.


Processing EVs & Power Plants: 39% (Electricity Generation) | ICE & Fuel Refining92% (Fuel Refining)
Transmission Lines: EVs & Power Plants 95% | ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Charging EVs & Power Plants 88%| ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Vehicle Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 88% | ICE & Fuel Refining 15%
Overall Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 28% | ICE & Fuel Refining 14%

this is only comparing EVs to ICEs, because the calculation for a hybrid/plug-in hybrid is much more complicated.

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post #63 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 12:06 PM
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Doubling from 1 to 2, and 2 to 4, and 4 to 8 is pretty easy. 8 more doublings, not so much. Take a piece of paper, any piece of paper, and double it 8 times.

By the time we get to 100% solar power, the Earth will be dark from the shadows of the solar panels we will be living under. j/k
have you ever heard of "moore's law"? I'm not saying solar power efficiency development will increase the same rate as transistor density, but I wouldn't assume the rate of efficiency increase will decline exponentially.

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post #64 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 12:15 PM
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According to this article I just found, EVs are about 21% efficient well-to-wheel vs 19% for an IC engine running CNG, which is practically a wash in my book - especially if you account for the environmental impact and additional cost of the EV battery pack. Oh, and, according to the article, the well-to-tank efficiency is about half that of the CNG IC vehicle, so I don't think the ten times more efficient stat is correct.

Mechanical Engineering Power -- June 2003, feature, "Gauging Efficiency, Well to Wheel"

Actually, a pretty good article. Unfortunately, it doesn't touch on gasoline engines and I'm pretty sure that gas is more energy-dense than CNG.
CNG burns much cleaner and more efficient then gasoline. There also aren't not that many CNG cars on the road, so I'm not sure why they used that as an example... keep in mind that interest in developing hybrid,battery,solar and other green technologies have only started the last 5-10 years, so to dismiss it before it even started or to compare it to a well established technology is a little premature

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post #65 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 12:29 PM
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not 10 times, but 2x...
Internal combustion engines in cars are very inefficent because they have to work though a big RPM range. Power Plants that burn hydrocarbons runs at the RPM of Peak efficiency: Electric motors are also more efficient though out a big range of RPMs. Also, the power plant & transmission line argument goes away when people convert to point of us Solar/wind power generation.


Processing EVs & Power Plants: 39% (Electricity Generation) | ICE & Fuel Refining92% (Fuel Refining)
Transmission Lines: EVs & Power Plants 95% | ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Charging EVs & Power Plants 88%| ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Vehicle Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 88% | ICE & Fuel Refining 15%
Overall Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 28% | ICE & Fuel Refining 14%

this is only comparing EVs to ICEs, because the calculation for a hybrid/plug-in hybrid is much more complicated.
Care to show where you got your figures? They don't jive with those from the mechanical engineering publication or other sources I've seen. For that matter, it would be nice to see where they got their figures - for instance, US DoE shows power plants as 33% efficient and transmission as 90.5% efficient (GridWorks: Overview of the Electric Grid). Showing the assumptions they used and their work would be nice as well.

With respect to converting to home solar and wind, those will need to be much more efficient and less costly for those to even be considered - I'd have to cover my entire roof in solar panels just to meet my day-to-day needs (not including an EV) and at a considerable cost. Also, last I checked, the sun's only out about half the day assuming no clouds (the half-day you'd be at work, which means you'll have to have a means of storage) and the wind doesn't blow 24/7. As it is, people who have put wind turbines on their properties have pissed off their neighbors with the noise turbines make and there are possible health concerns (http://www.viewsofscotland.org/libra...sehealth-1.pdf) - that last thing may be a bit of a stretch IMO, but it's not without at least some merit and I don't know about you but my nearest neighbor is much closer to being within 2m then they are the mandatory 2km recommended by that study.
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post #66 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 01:17 PM
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have you ever heard of "moore's law"? I'm not saying solar power efficiency development will increase the same rate as transistor density, but I wouldn't assume the rate of efficiency increase will decline exponentially.
I am quite familiar with Moore's law. So far solar power technology has not come anywhere near the progression of the transistor. And, I don't expect that it ever will. I also don't expect that its technological progression will taper off. The doubling point was regarding the roll-out of solar power. When you start from near zero and start rolling it out, it happens where it is cheap and easy. The rate of adoption is high. When it gets to the more difficult to roll out areas (i.e. costly and/or impractical), it does not happen as fast and the adoption rate will slow down.

When the technology gets to the point where panels small enough to fit on a car will power it without needing a recharge, then you've got something that will completely change private transportation. In the meantime, I think plug-in hybrids will be the practical alternative to pure IC propulsion. Pure electrics will make some inroads as commuter vehicles, but IMHO, that will be it for the foreseeable future.

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post #67 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 05:22 PM
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I am quite familiar with Moore's law. So far solar power technology has not come anywhere near the progression of the transistor. And, I don't expect that it ever will. I also don't expect that its technological progression will taper off. The doubling point was regarding the roll-out of solar power. When you start from near zero and start rolling it out, it happens where it is cheap and easy. The rate of adoption is high. When it gets to the more difficult to roll out areas (i.e. costly and/or impractical), it does not happen as fast and the adoption rate will slow down.

When the technology gets to the point where panels small enough to fit on a car will power it without needing a recharge, then you've got something that will completely change private transportation. In the meantime, I think plug-in hybrids will be the practical alternative to pure IC propulsion. Pure electrics will make some inroads as commuter vehicles, but IMHO, that will be it for the foreseeable future.
lets step back a minute, are you talking about adoption growth or efficiency growth? I see solar as a small part of the solution. so I don't think 100% adoption is realistic, maybe 25-50% is a good goal. As far as efficiency, I know an old guy in the Sunset district of SF that was one of the early adopters of photovoltaic power. He pays like $30 a year for electricity with his 10yr old array, in an area of SF known for fog and overcast weather. Its not even that big of an array. Do I think its realistic to have solar cells that powers cars without batteries? Absolutely not, but inexpensive solar panels that charges plug-in hybrids are a realistic goal.

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post #68 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 05:35 PM
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Care to show where you got your figures? They don't jive with those from the mechanical engineering publication or other sources I've seen. For that matter, it would be nice to see where they got their figures - for instance, US DoE shows power plants as 33% efficient and transmission as 90.5% efficient (GridWorks: Overview of the Electric Grid). Showing the assumptions they used and their work would be nice as well.
Electro Automotive: FAQ on Electric Car Efficiency & Pollution
also in the GridWorks link you posted, the 33% efficiency refers to large plants. later on in the next paragraph it mentions distributed energy facilities having the efficiency of 65-90% (as of 2001). you are also assuming all of the power generated by power plants use fossil fuels, there was a chart posted earlier that shows a large percentage of CA electricity is generated with renewable resources.

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With respect to converting to home solar and wind, those will need to be much more efficient and less costly for those to even be considered - I'd have to cover my entire roof in solar panels just to meet my day-to-day needs (not including an EV) and at a considerable cost. Also, last I checked, the sun's only out about half the day assuming no clouds (the half-day you'd be at work, which means you'll have to have a means of storage) and the wind doesn't blow 24/7. As it is, people who have put wind turbines on their properties have pissed off their neighbors with the noise turbines make and there are possible health concerns (http://www.viewsofscotland.org/libra...sehealth-1.pdf) - that last thing may be a bit of a stretch IMO, but it's not without at least some merit and I don't know about you but my nearest neighbor is much closer to being within 2m then they are the mandatory 2km recommended by that study.
old school wind turbines make a lot of noise, and is actually dangerous in the colder areas because they throw ice as they spin. Then new generation of helical windmills don't have the noise issue, it maxes out at a moderate RPM, doesn't care which direction the wind blows, and looks pretty cool.
Helix Wind
YouTube - Helix Wind Turbine

as far as efficiency, both solar and wind power is ready now. As I mentioned earlier, if a guy in foggy SF can make his old panel work, then it should work in a majority of the places. All it takes is to get the cost down and incentive for adoption.

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post #69 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 06:15 PM
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The mainframe doesn't seem like a perfect analogy because it disregards the significantly greater energy consumption of PCs vs. terminals. PCs are rather inefficient beasts.
The analogy is the functional output of the system - we demand power in computing, which PCs now deliver; the equivalent metric in power generation is efficiency - which distributed power systems are only now able to achieve.

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I don't understand why there is even any debate about which energy to use.
Solar energy is completely FREE, Completely clean, inexhaustible, easily collected, easily stored, requires no raw materials.
...
Easily collected - well not so much yet...
Easily stored - no. In fact storage of electricity is one of the biggest challenges the wind/wave/solar generation systems face. Storage at any reasonable useful scale is extremely expensive.

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I am so over the TESLA. It's a great project that has it's place in terms of trail blazing new technology but... Seems like an early adopter sport car thing. Reminds me of Lazer discs, Really large and very expensive microwaves of the early 80's. Wait a few years and get something that is lots cheaper, works as good or even better.
And this is why we have cheap CD/DVD players and cheap microwaves today - someone was willing to adopt the initial high cost/modest performance versions thus providing some cashflow and enabling the development of lower cost mass produced versions

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...
Processing EVs & Power Plants: 39% (Electricity Generation) | ICE & Fuel Refining92% (Fuel Refining)
Transmission Lines: EVs & Power Plants 95% | ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Charging EVs & Power Plants 88%| ICE & Fuel Refining-N/A
Vehicle Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 88% | ICE & Fuel Refining 15%
Overall Efficiency: EVs & Power Plants 28% | ICE & Fuel Refining 14%
The 14% for ICE vehicles seems too low to me - modern ICE vehicles are more like 25% efficient with an overall efficiency of ~20%

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CNG burns much cleaner and more efficient then gasoline. There also aren't not that many CNG cars on the road, so I'm not sure why they used that as an example... keep in mind that interest in developing hybrid,battery,solar and other green technologies have only started the last 5-10 years, so to dismiss it before it even started or to compare it to a well established technology is a little premature
They seemed to use CNG as a base for that study but left out petrol

In terms of development of green technologies despite them not being in actual production yet modelling can be done to show what they are theoretically capable of by taking best case developments of future technology. One of these studies demonstrated that the most theoretically efficient hydrogen fuel cell hybrid will not reach the same well to wheels efficiency a current generation Prius!
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post #70 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 06:29 PM
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The 14% for ICE vehicles seems too low to me - modern ICE vehicles are more like 25% efficient with an overall efficiency of ~20%
I have no idea, maybe modern engines are more efficient but there are plenty of 80s and 90s cars still around.
even if you use your numbers, electric is more efficient. the original argument someone brought up was if you combine power generation, transmission and conversion, ICE was more efficient. I just wanted to show its simply not true, and modern ICE is terribly inefficient.

This is not even factoring in the advantage of significant % use of renewable power generation vs burning pure fossil fuel, and the advantage of regenerative braking in electric/hybrid cars.

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post #71 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 06:37 PM
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lets step back a minute, are you talking about adoption growth or efficiency growth? I see solar as a small part of the solution. so I don't think 100% adoption is realistic, maybe 25-50% is a good goal. As far as efficiency, I know an old guy in the Sunset district of SF that was one of the early adopters of photovoltaic power. He pays like $30 a year for electricity with his 10yr old array, in an area of SF known for fog and overcast weather. Its not even that big of an array. Do I think its realistic to have solar cells that powers cars without batteries? Absolutely not, but inexpensive solar panels that charges plug-in hybrids are a realistic goal.
I think the confusion here is that you stepped into an interchange between Mikeyd and I, so your original response to my post was out of context:

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The amount of Solar energy being generated/collected is doubling every 2 years and is just 8 doublings away from fully meeting current needs (i.e. potentially 16 years)
Your first point above, is the point I was expressing to Mikeyd. I don't see the solar generation of power doubling every 2 years until we reach 100% of the electrical needs of the country.

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post #72 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 06:42 PM
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I think the confusion here is that you stepped into an interchange between Mikeyd and I, so your original response to my post was out of context:
.
As far as I can tell, we are in a public forum (and way off topic to the original post) and anyone can express their opinion. I read your post, you didn't make it clear, its not like I jumped into the middle of a private conversation.

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post #73 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 07:02 PM
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As far as I can tell, we are in a public forum (and way off topic to the original post) and anyone can express their opinion. I read your post, you didn't make it clear, its not like I jumped into the middle of a private conversation.
Sorry, I didn't mean it was private, just pointing out that I was responding to the Mikeyd's post, which I quoted, regarding his doubling 8 times to 100% comment. You responded with the Moore's law statement which didn't relate to the original post or my response. I didn't disagree with your post, which quoted mine, just clarifying that it didn't relate to either of the previous posts.


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post #75 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 08:56 PM
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Funny facts :Cost of a Roadster is 135-170K.....(This is after adding all the bells and whistles...) Ummmm...Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?????? for an overweight Elise that handles like a Karman Ghia???? Ummm...no thanks......

Also, the infamous "S" is not a real car at the moment, (Is a cut and paste job that looks great in photoshop....) IF they DO make it...look at a WORKING prototype around...oh...2012/2013.....MAYBE

(I caught a roadster on the 101S not long ago.....very UNIMPRESSED with what 135-170K does against a stock Exige S......) Not to mention how the wobbly goblin handles in hard turns.....can u say like snot on Teflon????

Between recalls, political infighting, the fact that most of the internal talent is either "Software or Hardware" self proclaimed "experts" who have NO automotive experience.....as well as a disproportionate amount of females who really have no idea what selling a HIGH end car, or running a manufacturing company is...(Agent X being the ONLY exception....)

I will give Tesla a snowballs chance in hell....and that's ONLY because Mercedes Benz gave them a cash infusion which will get them through the next quarter or so before they collapse and go the way of the Yugo......(MBZ is in there just to harvest some R&D treasures, and bootstrap their own hybrid/electric tech...)

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post #76 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 09:04 PM
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Musk doesn't have what it takes to run a car company. hell, he doesn't have what it takes to run ANY company. He doesn't know how to build cars.
IMHO, Tesla has a very small window of opportunity to stay relevant and they have a perfect track record of NOT meeting ANY one of their engineering goals (dates, performance, range, cost target, etc).

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post #77 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 04:41 AM
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Not to mention how the wobbly goblin handles in hard turns.....can u say like **** on Teflon????
...i'd rather not...besides which, it's not that bad - wallowing pig is a perfectly apt description...

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Between recalls, political infighting, the fact that most of the internal talent is either "Software or Hardware" self proclaimed "experts" who have NO automotive experience.....as well as a disproportionate amount of females who really have no idea what selling a HIGH end car, or running a manufacturing company is...
...now that latter bit is hardly fair; their incompetence is equal-opportunity and has little to do with gender...

...i'd really like to see tesla swept up by competent management, because they've established some credible momentum behind a laudable concept sadly forsaken by the large industrial players a decade ago - whether it's a buyout, a takeover, or a stockholder rebellion, i don't care, i'd just like to see its seed burgeon...

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post #78 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 08:41 AM
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...i'd rather not...besides which, it's not that bad - wallowing pig is a perfectly apt description...
OK, I will give you wallowing pig.....but at the price....I dont expect wallowing pig, I expect TRON turns....

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...now that latter bit is hardly fair; their incompetence is equal-opportunity and has little to do with gender...
Mind you I have NOTHING against women in the workplace at ALL....I KNOW some sharp CEO's, CFO's and COO's that are women....But, what I cant deal with is a Director or above that has NO experience in Automotive, Manufacturing or consumer goods (Male or Female)....but worked with so and so at a previous company (Software...) who tells me, "Oh, I don't own a car, I take the train...."
"Motorsports? You mean like NASCAR???? Oh, my husband watches them for the crashes, I don't care for that kind of thing...."


Imagine IF the "C" level at Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Audi, Porsche or Lotus for that matter hired these types of people to produce the cars we love.....

I don't work on my own motors, do my own dental work, or taxes for that matter..not my skill set....I hire an EXPERT in the field to do it....(They should too...not like there are a few THOUSAND out of work Automotive types out their....GM, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Toyota...etc....

Tesla has a life expectancy of.......2 quarters at best....because of mismanagement, and EGO....sucks, but..is FACT....

Maybe MBZ will snatch them up for 100M and make them a performance orientated SMART car...at least then they may get over their MANY quality issues....

(Oh, did I fail to mention they only have 3 service shops world wide...? And the purchase contract states that ANY service issues must be shipped to one of these 3 shops at YOUR dime ($1000 O/W) in order to be handled, or your warranty void?)

I liked the car, the concept, but.....the management reminded me of a certain software company in the late 90's that no longer exists today.....

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post #79 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 09:01 AM
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I really didn't see the point of the Tesla roadster until I watched this - It's beautiful!YouTube - Unwrapping the Tesla and taking it for the first drive

It looks like an Enzo - and it cost 7 times less!
I hope Tesla survives and Elon you are the MAN - you have started an absolutely unique car company and performed a fabulous service to human advancement!
(The video also reminds me of the day I got my Elise).
Really sorry for the Thread drift...

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post #80 of 108 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 09:09 AM
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It's great to have the discussion back on topic. Tesla and drama are like, er, peas and carrots.

I agree re: Musk and his software background - this is the same thing as Edward Whitacre as CEO of GM. Management needs to know their product. Salesmen need to know their product. Maybe the chef at the cafeteria doesn't need to know the company's product, but there's no such thing as an effective manager that can be plugged n' played into any business like a USB dongle. Incidentally Whitacre is nearly 70 years old and has never used a computer. He probably calls his sofa a davenport. Perfect choice to breathe fresh air and take the company in a new direction.

Tesla's attitude is mirrored by lots of companies that burned bright and died fast. Their business model would be workable if they actually had the funding, but they don't seem to. Meanwhile other companies with much greater resources are striving to do the same thing. Each of them has a hundredfold more engineers than Tesla does, and they already have vehicle platforms of their own. Tesla was allowed to be in the position they're in because these companies dropped the ball on EV's. Watch what happens when they catch up over the next ten years.
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