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...here you go - better-quality pictures are available at the source...



 

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Tesla Model S marks phase two of ambitious electric plans

Tesla took the cover off its curvaceous Model S sedan today, the second phase of the Silicon Valley automaker's lofty plan to sell electric cars for the masses.

If the $109,000 carbon fiber Roadster signified the new company's cocksure stardom against Porsche and the Italians - after all, celebrities and rich enthusiasts are on minimum one-year waiting lists - consider the Model S a detente with Tesla's exotic rivals.

The production version of the electric sedan, absent a $350 million loan from the Department of Energy and a manufacturing plant, will be tamer in performance but no less striking in its respective segment when it arrives in late 2011. Hours after embargoed studio photos of the concept car, above, were posted to a Flickr account, Tesla revealed the specifications at the official California launch: a 300-mile range, 45-minute charging, and zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds.

At $57,400, the Model S is priced in the range of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, and other premium sedans. But Tesla buyers can now claim a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, which President Obama announced last week in addition to $2.4 billion in federal grants for electric car and battery manufacturers.

Tesla's grand plan to produce an electric car under $30,000 is no secret, but little more than a dream that's at least four years away, if that early. With the promised 100-mile-per-gallon Chevrolet Volt next year and Ford's 2012 roll out of plug-in hybrids, Tesla will have to compete with a slew of moderately priced EVs (and the 2013 Toyota Prius, which surely will have no less than a big fat "80" on its EPA window sticker).

According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is on its way to becoming profitable by mid-year after gathering $40 million in additional financing in December. That bodes well for the young automaker, but as old-timers General Motors and Chrysler can attest, a lot can go wrong in a short span of time. Hopefully nothing does until after April, when the Globe takes the Roadster for an exclusive, exhaustive three-day test in California. Check Boston Overdrive in the coming weeks for more details.
 

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Very plain looking, but not in a bad way. It's attractive enough that I'd buy one, and I think that was the key for this model. They had to make it look good, but also have mainstream styling and not turn away potential buyers. Well done, Tesla! Now, good luck building the darn thing!
 

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it's not as "silly" looking as the Fiskar Karma and i really like the understated yet elegant design of this car. forget the fact that it's electric, i like the shape, i like the practicality of a 5-door hatch (as a former owner of a Sterling 827SLi) and the techno gadgets on the inside. sign me up!!
 

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it's not as "silly" looking as the Fiskar Karma and i really like the understated yet elegant design of this car. forget the fact that it's electric, i like the shape, i like the practicality of a 5-door hatch and the techno gadgets on the inside.
...the fisker karma inspires lust, but this?..

...it kind of inspires me to put tomorrow's lunch into neat little resealable plastic containers...
 

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interesting analysis from greencarreports.com:

Green-car fans eagerly followed today's launch of the Tesla Model S four-door electric sedan. Jalopnik kicked off coverage with photos of the handsome concept, taken from Digg cofounder Kevin Rose's Flickr account, and we just posted a quick rundown of the Tesla Model S specs.

Their story posed the question: Is the Model S real, or is it vaporware? We think we have an answer.

Two points to ponder: First, it costs billions of dollars to design, prototype, test, and certify a brand-new car entirely from scratch. Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman points out "it can cost an established automaker well over a billion to develop a new platform, if they already HAVE a plant, infrastructure, test facilities, skilled engineers, etc."

Second, Tesla CEO Elon Musk nonetheless swears the company is going to do just that. In 30 months, no less. He told Jalopnik and others the platform is Tesla's own design, and they plan on manufacturing it themselves. The first cars, he says, will roll off the line in two and a half years, with annual production of 20,000 units a year after that.

The real question becomes: Where will Tesla get the funds to build the Model S both quickly and well? Trying to squeak through on a mere $100 million or so poses a huge risk, since the Model S won't be competing with low-end cars. It's up against some of the world's nicest, most desirable sports sedans.

To go head to head with, say, the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the Model S has to be really good. In other words, it has to include such random niceties as storage space and be completely lacking in squeaks, creaks, and rattles. The Tesla Roadster we recently tested didn't do too well on either count.

(And remember that Roadster wasn't developed from scratch; it's based on the basic platform and many components of the Lotus Elise. It took Tesla five years to reach steady Roadster production, in an existing plant that was already being run by Lotus.)

Even if Tesla can get 5,000 buyers--say, half of their first year's worth of customers--to front them $50,000 each, that gets them only $250 million. Then there are the Feds. To quote coverage of the launch event: Tesla Motors' best-case financial scenario will involve ... Federal funding to help defray startup and facility costs.

Actually, in November, Tesla applied for $400 million in funds from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, broken into $250 million for the manufacturing plant plus $150 million for an advanced battery and powertrain facility. In both cases, those funds must be used to refurbish facilities that are at least 20 years old.

So possibly Tesla could fund the Model S if they get (a) all of the Federal funds they've asked for, plus (b) a significant two-year loan in the form of advance deposits for the purchase price, as they did for the Roadster, and then (c) more capital from Musk and the company's venture backers.

But even if Federal funding does not pan out, Musk emphasizes that the Model S "WILL come to market."

Well, we'll see.
 

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I don't know. I looks really nice to me.
 

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Model S numbers don't add up - not even close

Here's some simple math. The Tesla Roadster has a 200'ish mile range with a battery pack of 56 kWhr and a weight of ~2,700 lbs. The Model S is a much larger car, with more drag due to frontal area. Let's make an initial guess that it weighs 3,500 lbs, charitably. Whr/mile can be expected to rise by a factor of at least 30%, probably more. Therefore, to get half again as much range as the Roadster, a battery pack of at least twice the size is required (1.3 x 1.5). Oops! That's an additional ~1,000 lbs of batteries (assuming lithium-ion) So that means that the weight estimate is too low - try again with 4,000 lbs curb weight. Whoops! That results in even higher Whr/mile, so even bigger batteries are needed. This design spiral means that the claimed numbers are - how can I say it nicely - suspect! :no:

Furthermore, let's say that it has a 100 kWhr pack, and you're trying to charge it in 45 minutes from a 220 volt circuit. 100,000/0.75/220 = 606!
That is, you need a 600 amp power source! Where do you find that? And a charging cable the size of a ship's hawser. Yikes! You'd need ~300 amps to fully charge even a Tesla Roadster in 45 minutes.

And, the nail in the coffin: cost. A 100 kWhr pack costs at least $40,000, maybe even $50,000. You can't get it much cheaper because the battery cost is driven by the consumer electronics market, not the automotive market. Doesn't leave much for the rest of the car, does it? :huh:

So something has to give.

On the bright side, a 100 kWhr pack could supply a 400 HP motor, or two 200 HP motors, which might be able to get the car to 60 mph in 5.5 sec.

All of the above assumes that the Model S is a pure electric, not a hybrid. That is, I couldn't shoot down the Fisker Karma if Henrik made the same claims, since his car's a hybrid.


Tesla Model S marks phase two of ambitious electric plans

Hours after embargoed studio photos of the concept car, above, were posted to a Flickr account, Tesla revealed the specifications at the official California launch: a 300-mile range, 45-minute charging, and zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds.

At $57,400, the Model S is priced in the range of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, and other premium sedans.
 

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I guess its a cool electric Jaguar XF with dual sunroofs, how interesting......
 

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I think you people forget Tesla is a Silicon Valley startup. The critical thing in startups is your exit strategy. Even before the economic meltdown, an automotive company would have had little chance of a successful IPO. That tells me their exit strategy is acquisition by a larger company. Sure, it's tough in this day and age, but what else can they do? They have to make a last-ditch effort to make it look like they're on the right track and worth acquiring. Continue full steam ahead, focus on the next year or two and get acquired before the Model S is in production. Their buyer will look at it and see it needs a lot of work, but they'll be confident they can refine it with minimal schedule delays. What Tesla has done is produced a vaporware electric-only sedan that's closer to production than the other automakers' vaporware. It's conceivable one of the German companies might acquire the company? Anyway, as for the car itself, yeah, the battery numbers don't add up, but keep in mind the Roadster's battery was developed some years ago, and they have more years to refine that technology for the sedan. Improvements are all but a certainty.
 

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some pix from yesterday's unveil. looks kinda like a maserati quatroporte meets mazda 6 meets jaguar XF meets vauxhall insignia hatch.
 

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Here's some simple math. -snip out math using today's figures for a car that is 2.5 years out-
While what you've stated might be accurate today, what about in 2.5 years?

Here is an interesting article on battery technology which was published in Nature this month.

Technology Review: Ultra-High-Power Lithium-Ion Batteries

The research has already been licensed by A123 (the battery company that GM is buying the Volt's batteries from).

Synopsis: Batteries can charge super-fast now, with standard electrical tech.

Point? If batteries can charge in 5-10 minutes in the next year or so, and battery storage capacity improves (which it obviously will), 2.5 yrs from now will be a completely different set of figures.
 

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Vaporware batteries, etc.

Good point except for a few things:

1) There's a chasm between press claims on batteries that may achieve a certain performance in a lab and ones that can demonstrate that performance in an assembled pack on the road. I'm in the EV business, and we talk to the battery manufacturers daily. Vaporware is everywhere.

2) Re fast charging: you can't change the laws of physics. Think of a very high capacity battery pack as a swimming pool. Which do you think you'll need to fill it fast; a soda straw or a firehose? That was my point: even if you solve the issues of stress on the battery from fast charging, you would require a power source that doesn't exist and would be incredibly expensive to provide as infrastructure. It's hard to even find a 220v 80 amp circuit. No new technology can change this fundamental fact.

3) 2.5 years is nothing. If they don't have it now, they won't have it then. Production lead times.

4) Beware Technology Review; they don't filter.

Extravagant claims are put out for one reason: to seek investment, attract non-refundable deposits, and prepare for IPO or acquisition before the house of cards crashes down. It's a race between the rate at which you can attract new gullibles and the rate that your credibility diminishes. Pump and dump.

Here are a couple of tips for how to recognize this game in action in an unveiling or press release:

1) Look for the weasel words "up to" in performance claims. As in, "the car can accelerate to x mph in up to y seconds", or the range is "up to" z miles. When the investor lawsuits come in, no one can prove falsehood because of the "up to".

2) Look for performance claims bundled together to give the appearance that they are all describing the same configuration or condition. For example, a range of x miles, a cost of y dollars, 0-60 in z seconds. But a range at what speed or driving cycle? Which battery pack? Mix and match, it's a shell game.

In the Model S case, I think it's just barely possible that the battery pack out of the Roadster could provide 160 miles of range at some not-too-high constant speed. I'd put the 300 mile range claim firmly in fantasy-land. The question then remains, how does Tesla get the cost down by a factor of two from the Roadster (which is after all based on the Elise, a very basic car) with a battery pack of at least the same size? Doesn't add up. Not even close. :rolleyes:

My view of the Model S reality: a $100,000+ car with a usable range of 100-120 miles, charge rates same as the Roadster, and 0-60 in maybe 8-9 seconds. Which is fine, as long as customers expect what they're getting. Check back in a few years and see if I'm right. :shrug:

Not good news for:
The U.S. taxpayer, if government loans are provided;
Customers who have kicked-in $40,000 non-refundable deposits :crazyeyes


While what you've stated might be accurate today, what about in 2.5 years?

Here is an interesting article on battery technology which was published in Nature this month.

Technology Review: Ultra-High-Power Lithium-Ion Batteries

The research has already been licensed by A123 (the battery company that GM is buying the Volt's batteries from).

Synopsis: Batteries can charge super-fast now, with standard electrical tech.

Point? If batteries can charge in 5-10 minutes in the next year or so, and battery storage capacity improves (which it obviously will), 2.5 yrs from now will be a completely different set of figures.
 

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Good point except for a few things:

1) There's a chasm between press claims on batteries that may achieve a certain performance in a lab and ones that can demonstrate that performance in an assembled pack on the road. I'm in the EV business, and we talk to the battery manufacturers daily. Vaporware is everywhere.
True enough. I would expect Nature and an MIT publication to be slightly higher quality than your typical 'press release' however.

2) Re fast charging: you can't change the laws of physics. Think of a very high capacity battery pack as a swimming pool. Which do you think you'll need to fill it fast; a soda straw or a firehose? That was my point: even if you solve the issues of stress on the battery from fast charging, you would require a power source that doesn't exist and would be incredibly expensive to provide as infrastructure. It's hard to even find a 220v 80 amp circuit. No new technology can change this fundamental fact.
I am not a chemical or electrical engineer, but isn't a capacitor just a quick charge/discharge 'battery' w/no chemicals? I've seen 1 Farad capacitors, and I am pretty sure that is a great deal of electrical energy storage. Capacitors also charge and can discharge nearly instantly. I understand your pool analogy, but isn't the whole point of the article that the 'pool' is more like niagra falls, with an incredible discharge speed (hence the laser-guns mentioned constantly). And conversely, an incredible charging speed? Sure you might need a capacitor-based charging device, but it wouldn't be impossible to engineer, nor all that expensive.

3) 2.5 years is nothing. If they don't have it now, they won't have it then. Production lead times.
The GM-Volt concept was unveiled in Jan of '07 I believe. It is scheduled to be on-market in 2010. 3 yrs from 'idea' to 'reality'. 3 yrs ago they didn't even have the contracts in place with A123, and the battery technology didn't exist for testing... you might know more about it than I do, since i am not in the EV industry, but 3 years seems like more than enough time for any technology to advance. This isn't NASA we're talking about, but private enterprise. I think of battery research/technology like I do CPUs and Transistor counts. To me, 3yrs is a very long time.

4) Beware Technology Review; they don't filter.
I don't really know why they'd need to filter Nature, is Nature fraught with fraudulent claims? Or is that true of the Technology Review? Do you have any examples of this happening several times per year to back up your 'non-filtering' and 'yellow-journalistic' claims?
 

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Battery vaporware

I am not a chemical or electrical engineer, but isn't a capacitor just a quick charge/discharge 'battery' w/no chemicals? I've seen 1 Farad capacitors, and I am pretty sure that is a great deal of electrical energy storage. Capacitors also charge and can discharge nearly instantly. I understand your pool analogy, but isn't the whole point of the article that the 'pool' is more like niagra falls, with an incredible discharge speed (hence the laser-guns mentioned constantly). And conversely, an incredible charging speed? Sure you might need a capacitor-based charging device, but it wouldn't be impossible to engineer, nor all that expensive.
Yes, but it doesn't matter how the energy moves around inside the car, what matters is how the energy gets into the car (for charging). To determine the current (flow rate) required to fill a battery pack (swimming pool) all you need to know is the size of the pack and the time you want to charge it up in. It doesn't matter what eddies or whirlpools develop in the pool as you're filling it.

Most perpetual motion scams depend on the inability of people to put a mental box around the system in question. Energy, mass, and momentum must be conserved.

The GM-Volt concept was unveiled in Jan of '07 I believe. It is scheduled to be on-market in 2010. 3 yrs from 'idea' to 'reality'. 3 yrs ago they didn't even have the contracts in place with A123, and the battery technology didn't exist for testing... you might know more about it than I do, since i am not in the EV industry, but 3 years seems like more than enough time for any technology to advance. This isn't NASA we're talking about, but private enterprise. I think of battery research/technology like I do CPUs and Transistor counts. To me, 3yrs is a very long time.
No, it's not like solid state electronics at all. For a while, Li-ion energy and power densities increased a lot year by year, until the fires started happening. Then R&D was diverted into solving the fire problem (a major constraint on cell design) , and energy densities have been leveling off. To get major increases in energy or power densities in the future, a new chemistry will be needed. There are some candidates, but they are still in the lab. And they won't be around in three years.

I don't really know why they'd need to filter Nature, is Nature fraught with fraudulent claims? Or is that true of the Technology Review? Do you have any examples of this happening several times per year to back up your 'non-filtering' and 'yellow-journalistic' claims?
No, you misunderstand, and I never said yellow anything. I meant that neither Technology Review nor Nature is in the business of validating the technologies they write about. From an editor's perspective, the main objective is to avoid embarrassment - meaning to avoid perpetual motion machines, cold fusion, etc. - but they don't have the time to perform a technical assessment of each technology they discuss. That's what the National Academy of Sciences is for. I've been in the business of reviewing technologies, and I have nothing against either Technology Review or Nature. But they are what they are.
 

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EV's are a gimick... fine for urban run abouts - but not suitable as an only car for the average american.

tesla - while "cool" is a speck... here is the real deal. series hybrid!
 

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...the fisker is sooo much more an inspired form - i can see how elon musk got jealous enough to file a lawsuit...
 

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some pix from yesterday's unveil. looks kinda like a maserati quatroporte meets mazda 6 meets jaguar XF meets vauxhall insignia hatch.
With more than a smattering of Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
 
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