Sep 26

Tesla unveils its planned nationwide Supercharger network

 

By Pete Brissette

With fanfare befitting a Hollywood premiere, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Supercharger to a crowd of hundreds gathered at the company’s design center in Hawthorne, Calif., Monday night.

The solar-powered stations – built in conjunction with SolarCity, another Musk property – will supply 440 volts at just less than 100 kw. This, Tesla says, will allow the 85-kwh Model S to recharge in approximately 30 minutes with enough power to travel as far as another 150 miles.

superchargerlights
With six free-to-use stations in California as of now, Tesla has plans for its network as big and ambitious as its plans for its pending model line. However the stations only work with Model S, Model X when it comes out, and subsequent Teslas. It’s not only a competing standard to CHAdeMO and SAE, even the Tesla Roadster was not spared in being incompatible with it.

 

Tesla says “at 90 kw, a Tesla Supercharger delivers 4.5 times more electricity to your battery than Twin Chargers,” and a full charge for the Model S sedans – the only vehicles that can presently utilize the Jetsonesque charger bays – could take around an hour.

 

30-min-charge 

“The technology at the heart of the Supercharger was developed internally and leverages the economies of scale of existing charging technology already used by the Model S, enabling Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost,” Musk said during the unveiling.

 

tesla-supercharger-fast-charging-system 

Musk gave Hybridcars.com a rough cost estimate of $20-30 million for the charge station network’s rollout. Offering a bit more detail on Musk’s cost projection, Tesla VP George Blankenship said it represents “a little less than 100 installations” as part of the company’s long term plan (see graphic below).

Blankenship also explained that station placement will be dictated by the highest concentration of Model S owners in a given region, rather than randomly placing a Supercharger in a bustling roadside commercial area.

 

Supercharger locations present 

Of the six currently operational charging stations announced at the event, one is located at the company’s Hawthorne design studio, with the remaining stations in Folsom, Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch (more correctly, the Grapevine exit on Interstate 5), and Barstow.

Musk stated he expects more stations by year’s end in Oregon as well as Nevada, with a European rollout by next year. Each Supercharger station will have four to six charging bays fitting one car at a time, as it is with current-day gasoline stations.

 

Superchargers by 2013 

Appealing to alternative energy enthusiasts, as well as present and future Model S owners in the crowd, Musk proudly explained that the stations “will put more power back into the grid than the cars can use.” But perhaps most enticing to Model S customers is the news that the stations are free to use.

“You’ll be able to travel for free, forever, on pure sunlight,” exclaimed Musk. Tesla has not said whether after a point in time it may decide to start charging for Supercharger access, but maybe not, as Musk said “forever” so that means Tesla will be funding charging stations to service all vehicles it sells into perpetuity, right?

Unfortunately, Tesla Roadster owners have less to get excited about, as the stations won’t service the company’s first product, nor any other brand of electric or hybrid vehicle. Nor is it a simple matter of utilizing an adapter plug to fit other EVs to the Superchargers. Instead only Model S and future Tesla product, like the forthcoming Model X crossover, will benefit from Superchargers, effectively making this infrastructure only for present and future Teslas.

 

Model X and S supercharging
Tesla hired a former Apple marketer to set the pace, and seemingly copying another Apple trick of rendering its previous technology obsolete, Tesla has quickly relegated its Roadsters one step closer to outdated by not designing in compatibility with them for its new charging stations.

Also possibly raising eyebrows is Tesla’s 100-plus station long-term plan which could seem extraordinarily ambitious considering that as of the third week in August Tesla had only acknowledged building roughly 100 Model S units.

Tesla has until yesterday maintained it will build 5,000 of the new sedans by Dec. 31, 2012, although yesterday news that it has lowered its 2012 sales target to 2,700 to 3,250 this year, and a follow-on offering of 4.34 million common shares sending TSLA stock trading just over $30 per share into a $3-dollar (10-percent) decline to close at $27.66 per share yesterday. The sudden drop also triggered Nasdaq’s short-sale circuit breakers, which shield stocks from being manipulated by short sellers.

Of the stock offering to be managed by Goldman Sachs, with proceeds designated for “general corporate purposes,” Musk has said he is interested in buying up to $1 million worth of the shares.

But while Tesla sort of conceded what observers could not help but notice about its slow production ramp up, it still said on Monday its Supercharger network will mushroom in years to come from six in California to over 100 nationwide.

 

Model S charging 

Coming back to those excluded Roadsters, as the evening wore on, a small faction of Roadster owners were heard voicing disappointment over the exclusion of the Roadster from the charging network.

One female Roadster owner unabashedly said that as an early adopter of Tesla she “helped build this company” but now feels left behind by the brand with the advent of the Supercharger.

 

Supercharger 2 yr plan 

Tesla explained, however, that it’s simply a matter of hardware; the Roadster isn’t capable of accepting the power dispensed by the Supercharger. We are unsure as of deadline what hardware would be required, or its cost, to potentially retrofit a Roadster. Also unknown is the likelihood of such a possibility, and the notion was not broached by Tesla at last night’s event focusing on present and future models.

 

Supercharger long term  

As for cars the few Teslas that can use the Superchargers, according to a Tesla staffer, the rate of charge from zero to 80 percent is the same, while the charge rate for the remaining 20 percent will vary, with the charger and car’s software systems communicating to decide how quickly to complete the full charge. To determine this, the system will take into account things like the condition of the battery and numerous other data. Expect a complete battery charge, zero to 100 percent, to take approximately one hour for the 85-kwh Model S.

 

Supercharger launch gathering 

Referred to by Musk as “rest stop” locations, the stations’ locations to date are more aptly described as being in commercial, highly trafficked areas like truck stop locations with shops, restaurants and the like, rather than the department of transportation-style restrooms located along state highways. For now the Superchargers are co-located with existing business property; the Tejon Ranch station is located in the same lot as a Yogartland, according to a member of Tesla’s marketing department.

The space-age design of the Hawthorne station is what Tesla would hope each station could look like, but the reality is that the appearance of each station will be restricted by local planning ordinances. The Tejon Ranch station is borderline Spartan and industrial looking, lacking the sleek shapes of the Hawthorne installation.

The two-year plan displayed on the map of the continental U.S. has numerous dots representing hoped for locations in much of the country, while a “long term” plan revealed charge stations throughout the U.S. and various locations in Canada.

 

super charger detail
Tesla’s monolith is essentially an icon intended as identifying signage for each location, rather than being a functional aspect of the Superchargers.

With the dizzying array of information available to the Model S driver on the car’s 17-inch touchscreen display it’s conceivable that the car could route to the nearest Supercharger, or list any stations within range, but as of now that feature doesn’t exist according to Tesla. Nevertheless, a simple software upgrade for the Model S in the not-too-distant future might include a Supercharger location routing feature, and perhaps even allow drivers to reserve charge time in advance of arrival – all of which Tesla said is very likely.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 78


  1. 1
    Jim_NJ

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (6:47 am)

    I’m a huge fan of this! As for being incompatible with the Roadster, I doubt that is much of a problem for two reasons:

    1) The Roadster is not really a long-distance driver (where would you put your luggage? And have you ever ridden in a car with an inch of suspension travel [ok, I exagerate] for any length of time? You’d have have a chiropractor at every rest stop!).

    2) There are less than 3,000 Roadsters in the entire country.

    I hope GM is thinking about something like this too!


  2. 2
    Bagheera

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:15 am)

    In the end it is always good to converge to one standard instead of lots of them. I’m from Europe and following the events in the States concerning electric vehicles with interest. In Europe they want one standard for all EU-countries which makes sense because it takes less investment.
    Maybe Elon Musk gambles his charging technology will be the norm and in the long run he might make millions in selling the rights. We’ll see; as long as EV’s and EREV’s are promoted we are on the right track !


  3. 3
    Chris C

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:29 am)

    You gotta love Elon Musk! No matter what anyone says about the man, he is a visionary and his kind of spirit and can-do attitude is what this country needs. There are so many out there trying to throw him under the bus and poo poo his ideas, but this guy seems to know how to win and I look forward to seeing Tesla succeed.


  4. 4
    haroldC

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:41 am)

    l wonder if you can still charge when nightfalls…..may use some of the energy the charger sent to the grid during daylight….
    just a thought
    HaroldC


  5. 5
    Roy_H

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:52 am)

    Surely it wouldn’t be too difficult to include a lower power Roadster compatible cord as well.

    Although most would consider this to be an audacious Musk stunt, I can see it born out of frustration with the existing alternatives. CHADemo is big and clunky, patched together with existing plug parts, more like a prototype, not custom. The proposed SAE J1772 Level 3 is good electrically but again is awkward and large due to asking for input from each company and country, trying to appease everyone and be backward compatible with earlier designs. Whereas Tesla is taking the approach, like CHADemo, here it is, take it or leave it.

    I doubt very much that Tesla intends to keep this design proprietary, but would encourage other manufactures to copy it royalty free. I believe Musk is pushing this to become the new standard.


  6. 6
    Loboc

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:53 am)

    Tesla should supply a connector for the rest of the electric cars. This exclusivity tactic is pretty arrogant.

    Other than that it’s a good looking station. I like that the electric usage is net to the grid.


  7. 7
    Roy_H

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:58 am)

    haroldC,

    Of course you can charge at night!


  8. 8
    MrEnergyCzar

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:59 am)

    I hope he succeeds. The solar is a clever touch. I’d imagine it is grid tied since the battery bank would be enormous to charge the cars at such a high rate at night…..you have to use a 5 inch long connector to charge with the Volt’s J1772 standard charger.

    MrEnergyCzar


  9. 9
    Nelson

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:13 am)

    Elon Musk is my hero! He has the right vision for the automotive industry. He is continually challenging the status quo of the big automotive giants. I pray every night he succeeds.
    Free solar electricity for your Tesla EV, what a great perk idea.
    I can hear VP’s at the big boys saying: “Why didn’t we think of that?”
    I’m going to die of curiosity waiting to see how the big Auto companies respond.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  10. 10
    Tim Hart

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:19 am)

    Anything that encourages the expansion of EV use and technology is wonderful. Any success Elon Musk achieves will also help to speed up the other car companies in their efforts to keep up and not get left behind and hopefully GM will lead the way.


  11. 11
    benson

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:22 am)

    I read all these grandiose plans Tesla has and I have to wonder how the heck they’re going to pay for all this. They spend like they’re rolling in money, but eventually you have to sell some product and I don’t see them doing much of that. Didn’t we see earlier this year some TV report where they’re teetering on bankruptcy.


  12. 12
    Nelson

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:46 am)

    benson,

    We didn’t know about the six Superchargers being strategically installed in CA.
    We don’t know how much money the Toyota RAV4 deal brings in.
    We don’t know how much money the Mercedes B Class E-Cell deal brings in.
    Gotta love a company that doesn’t show all its playing cards just to appease investors.
    I’m not going to question their visionary tactics.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  13. 13
    Opp Chg

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:49 am)

    This is great, but it might also be nice if each location included at least one dual L2, up to 6.6 kWh, for us peons who can only dream of owning a Tesla. EV charging infrastructure builds should be required to have an inclusive provision for legacy technology, I think. Due to our likely hour+ stop, we’ll only spend more more at “the company store” there. And who knows, one of us low people might win the lottery or have a rich aunt pass away, and remember the kindness that Tesla once bestowed on our utilitarian EV. ;)


  14. 14
    kdawg

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:59 am)

    Nelson: I can hear VP’s at the big boys saying: “Why didn’t we think of that?”

    GM already did this.

    In China:
    http://media.gm.com/media/cn/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/cn/en/2012/Feb/0201_Sunlogics.html

    And all over the US:
    http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Jul/0729_greenzone.html

    GM is the leading user of renewable energy in automotive manufacturing. It has three of the largest automotive rooftop solar power installations in the United States, and the world’s largest rooftop solar installation at its car assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain. Additionally, GM has started construction on a new solar field at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility and completed construction on a solar array on top of its Baltimore Operations facility.


  15. 15
    kdawg

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (9:19 am)

    All those dots on the map are nice, but stopping for 30 minutes every 150 miles still makes it impractical to drive cross-country in a BEV.

    It is a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can get ranges up to ~250 miles with recharge times closer to 5~10 minutes.


  16. 16
    Mark

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (9:28 am)

    I superimposed their map over the Mid-Atlantic, and got this. Interesting, isn’t it?

    http://t.co/ajCFwQWm


  17. 17
    Nelson

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (9:44 am)

    kdawg: GM already did this.

    Of the 24 U.S. GM dealerships that pledged to install solar-powered charging stations back in 7/29/2011; how many are operational today, where are they, and are they available to Volt drivers for a free charge?
    Pushing the onus on dealerships is not the same as what Tesla is doing.
    Had GM taken the initiative to install these in malls, shopping centers or places one might spend a couple of hours then I would agree GM did it first.

    “It is a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can get ranges up to ~250 miles”????

    The Model S with the 85kWh Battery will give you a range of 265 miles.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  18. 18
    Mark Z

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (9:57 am)

    This brilliant design is to achieve one major goal.

    SELL MORE TESLA’S

    The solar panel stations are engineered to put more power back into the grid than the vehicles use, but only where they would be allowed to be built. The result is another goal: it’s good for the environment.

    For the Model S and X owner, the stations represent the freedom to travel across country.

    As far as compatibility, Leon Musk wants to sell more premium cars made in the Fremont factory. There are only a limited number of charge station parking places. For the cross country travel 150 miles between stations, these new stations are designed only for a long distance battery. The $57,000 Model S with the smallest battery (40 kWh) cannot be Supercharged.

    Roadster owners already have a dedicated charging location in Barstow. They have many custom charging locations that are only dedicated for their use. Since the Roadster is no longer in production and many Roadster owners are buying Model S, it does make sense to dedicate the new “30 minute” stations to the vehicles with a Supercharger compatible battery. Perhaps as the company becomes more profitable, they can add another parking spot for Roadster charging at the more entertaining “rest stops” where they can wait 3 to 4 hours to charge up.


  19. 19
    kdawg

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:03 am)

    Nelson: Of the 24 U.S. GM dealerships that pledged to install solar-powered charging stations back in 7/29/2011; how many are operational today,

    I don’t have that data, but may be a good article if Jeff wanted to investigate.

    Nelson: where are they

    GM has ~5000 dealerships in the US, so if they all did it, it would dwarf Tesla’s dots.

    Nelson: are they available to Volt drivers for a free charge?

    As far as I know, yes.

    Nelson: Pushing the onus on dealerships is not the same as what Tesla is doing.

    The plan with Sunlogics is not just dealerships. Here’s an interesting read. Makes you want to go out and get a PV roof. I wish Michigan had rebates though.
    http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/sunlogics-expands-manufacturing-capacity-announces-strategic-plans_100004379/#axzz27aHAIn2O


  20. 20
    Dan Petit

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:04 am)

    Way back in lithium battery ancient times, five years ago, the 26mm format A123 cells proved incredibly powerful with 4 *100-amp* fuses (so that circuits will be protected from any direction) on the connector tabs of each cell, which are just a little longer than a “C” cell battery. So, the amount of power that can be charged into them is incredible also, at 20 amps! The further advancement of this technology was likely just a matter of format. So, there should be no doubt whatsoever that Elon’s business model will work.

    The developer’s pack of cells which I acquired from A123 six years ago are functioning perfectly in the two applications they power.


  21. 21
    Steverino

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:16 am)

    I doubt Tesla wants their stations clogged up with non-Tesla EV’s. They are providing the free charging as a perk for Tesla owners. They do not want a Tesla owner to pull in to recharge only to find the 4-6 bays filled with Leafs, Fusions, Volts, etc.


  22. 22
    taser54

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:31 am)

    Early adopters get to brag for a couple years. Then the “New New” arrives. So sorry.

    Of course, Tesla, with foresight, could have made a modular battery and charger unit and given the option for Roadster owners to purchase a new modular unit and thus be compatible with the new network. Alas, for 3,000 roadsters, that does not make $$$ sense.


  23. 23
    Kent

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:46 am)

    I like what Tesla is doing, but I don’t get why they don’t enable the base Model S to be Supercharged.


  24. 24
    Steve

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:47 am)

    Yawn. Voltec is ready now. How long before there are enough charging stations for me to drive a battery car the way I use my ICE car?


  25. 25
    mitch

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:52 am)

  26. 26
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:58 am)

    glad to see the 2 year map and the long range plan map.

    From an Arizona perspective it looks like they have a charger in Phx and Flagstaff but not in Tucson. This doesn’t work for S owners with the 60 kwh pack as the Tucson to Phx mileage is 230 miles round trip and the range on the 60 kwh S is 187 miles.


  27. 27
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:00 am)

    Kent:
    I like what Tesla is doing, but I don’t get why they don’t enable the base Model S to be Supercharged.

    I think it is the battery chemistry. The 60 and 85 kwh versions have better batteries.


  28. 28
    kdawg

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:08 am)

    George S. Bower: I think it is the battery chemistry. The 60 and 85 kwh versions have better batteries.

    You beat me to it. That has been my theory on Tesla’s batteries, but others have said that the chemistry is the same. Who’s got Elon’s phone #?


  29. 29
    stuart22

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:19 am)

    I love the idea, not sure however about how well batteries will stand up to the rapid rate of charging. I am hesitant to have today’s happiness turn into disappointment over premature loss of battery capacity.

    Nevertheless, I give Musk great respect for tackling head on the range and charging time issues had with pure BEVs.


  30. 30
    Kent

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:23 am)

    George S. Bower: I think it is the battery chemistry. The 60 and 85 kwh versions have better batteries.

    If that’s the case, I think Tesla just lost some sales. Since I already have two Volts, I was ready to take the next step in a couple of years to the base Model S, but I won’t do so now if there’s an “inferior” battery in it. And since I’m not ready (or willing) to shell out the extra cash for the mid-level Model S, I guess I’ll just have to wait for something else. Hopefully the ELR won’t be too expensive.


  31. 31
    volt11

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:39 am)

    If I can afford one in a couple of years, I would definitely like to buy a Tesla. It’s the free supercharger network that could seal that deal.

    Tesla is really leading the way. Yes the Volt is great, a stepping stone to the future, and more affordable, but I feel that Tesla has completely outstripped GM in terms of marketing, leadership, and product.

    Really think about what Tesla is marketing here: FREE trips around the country in your super fast, always quiet beautiful sedan, and with the solar charging stations they’ve completely eliminated the BS arguments about “coal power”. Brilliant.

    As I’ve said many times, if the upcoming ELR doesn’t have the performance and range improvements to make it a legitimate alternative to the Tesla S on balance, it’s going to get panned and be a spectacular flop. IOW, GM had better be taking the competitive threat from Tesla very seriously.


  32. 32
    volt11

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:45 am)

    kdawg:
    All those dots on the map are nice, but stopping for 30 minutes every 150 miles still makes it impractical to drive cross-country in a BEV.

    It is a step in the right direction.Hopefully we can get ranges up to ~250 miles with recharge times closer to 5~10 minutes.

    3 hours of driving for a 30 minute stop is far from the end of the world. For most people, I think 2 30 minute stops to do a 500 mile day of travel is totally adequate. (Also assumes a full charge to start on day 1 and ability to plug-in overnight.) In fact it’s a game changer in the BEV world, IMO.

    Mark:
    I superimposed their map over the Mid-Atlantic, and got this. Interesting, isn’t it?

    http://t.co/ajCFwQWm

    Not only interesting, it’s exactly the dots I need to put the Tesla in the running for my next car.


  33. 33
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (11:57 am)

    Chris C: There are so many out there trying to throw him under the bus and poo poo his ideas,

    #3

    Moi????


  34. 34
    pjkPA

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    Wait a minute … remember how much this car cost…. and they say the Volt is over priced.
    I like the Solar charging.. but this seems like a Apple computer …a little better for twice as much.


  35. 35
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    benson:
    I read all these grandiose plans Tesla has and I have to wonder how the heck they’re going to pay for all this. They spend like they’re rolling in money, but eventually you have to sell some product and I don’t see them doing much of that. Didn’t we see earlier this year some TV report where they’re teetering on bankruptcy.

    #11

    Hey, no problem. They’re going to sell another $1 BILLION dollars worth of stock. Where do I get in line, hahahahahahah!!!


  36. 36
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    Steve:
    Yawn.Voltec is ready now. How long before there are enough charging stations for me to drive a battery car the way I use my ICE car?

    #25

    Not in my lifetime, LOL. JMHO. +1


  37. 37
    volt11

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:20 pm)

    benson:
    I read all these grandiose plans Tesla has and I have to wonder how the heck they’re going to pay for all this. They spend like they’re rolling in money, but eventually you have to sell some product and I don’t see them doing much of that. Didn’t we see earlier this year some TV report where they’re teetering on bankruptcy.

    Not so fast, there.

    Tesla currently holds orders for 13,000 cars. These aren’t just hand-raisers like the Leaf garnered, but people who plunked down at least $5,000 for their place in line. If they can deliver just 5,000 of those cars in 2013 at an average transaction price of $80K, that’s $400 million right there, which is about their current revenue forecast for the coming year.

    The first 100 supercharging stations are said to cost them $30 million, and that will be spread over the next 3 years. Seems far from a pipe dream if their cost estimate is correct, no? In fact, I consider it an extremely savvy move on multiple levels, not the least of which is marketing.

    If reports of the Tesla S as a car were no better than the Fisker’s miserable reviews, then I’d agree with the skepticism that they’re headed for bankruptcy. But the truth has been quite the reverse, it’s quickly building a reputation as a legit super-sedan, and I expect their order backlog to be even greater by the end of 2013 even if they get 5,000 model S’s out the door. One of those backlogged orders could even be mine.


  38. 38
    haroldC

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:46 pm)

    kdawg,

    If you stop for a bite and charge an hour ,it might make the trip viable ,especially if you can charge at a motel. Some of my elder friends here in Canada take five days to get to Florida these days….trip l uesd to make in 26 hours when l split the driving with my better half and only stopped for gas…
    HaroldC


  39. 39
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:47 pm)

    volt11: Not so fast, there.

    Tesla currently holds orders for 13,000 cars. These aren’t just hand-raisers like the Leaf garnered, but people who plunked down at least $5,000 for their place in line. If they can deliver just 5,000 of those cars in 2013 at an average transaction price of $80K, that’s $400 million right there, which is about their current revenue forecast for the coming year.

    The first 100 supercharging stations are said to cost them $30 million, and that will be spread over the next 3 years. Seems far from a pipe dream if their cost estimate is correct, no? In fact, I consider it an extremely savvy move on multiple levels, not the least of which is marketing.

    If reports of the Tesla S as a car were no better than the Fisker’s miserable reviews, then I’d agree with the skepticism that they’re headed for bankruptcy. But the truth has been quite the reverse, it’s quickly building a reputation as a legit super-sedan, and I expect their order backlog to be even greater by the end of 2013 even if they get 5,000 model S’s out the door. One of those backlogged orders could even be mine.

    Totally agree. +1


  40. 40
    StephenB

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:51 pm)

    I think the intention is for the lower range model S cars to be commuter cars. They wouldn’t typically be used for these long trips.

    Also Jeff, the abbreviation for kilowatthour is kWh.

    “440 volts at just less than 100 kwh” — you mean 100 kW (which is power, or time rate of change of energy).


  41. 41
    DonC

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:52 pm)

    One difference between Apple and Tesla is that Apple delivers a product along with the BS. This entire plan is one giant Hype Mountain. Let’s look on the supply side: Solar charging? How efficient do you think those solar panels are? You’re talking about 100 kW. Is there any possible way you’re getting 100 kW from those panels? Over the course of a good day you might get 74 kWh from the panels, which is enough for two charges max, maybe. If you switch to grid power than you’re talking about demand charges which will make the charging stations uneconomic in a very big hurry. Charging the first four cars at once off the grid would cost $10,000!!!!! (Demand charges are roughly $25/kW. Times 400 kW and you get $10,000).

    Now let’s look on the demand side: The maps look fine but the reality will be very different. I live in San Diego where there may be a hundred J1772 public chargers. In 36 EV months I’ve used one exactly once. Why? Because unless you have a charger located where you happen to be it’s a huge pain to find and use them. Essentially it’s not worth the effort. And this is with a fair amount of charges located in one county. These Tesla chargers may be “strategically located” but in fact they’re going to be located where you aren’t 99.999% of the time. And this doesn’t take into account the fact that (a) they might not be working when you get there and (b) even if they are up and working you might have to wait. (Of course a big jam of eager Tesla drivers waiting to charge hardly seems likely since there will be so few cars on the road — see the report yesterday that Tesla will only be able to make a few hundred cars in Q3).

    Maybe when lithium-air batteries show up and we’re seeing energy densities of 1000 wh/kg then this may start making sense. Until then it’s 100% hype.


  42. 42
    Texas

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:56 pm)

    Better Place’s model if far better than Tesla’s – 150 miles in less than 5 minutes and the cars will be cheaper than normal cars. Owning the battery outright makes it too expensive for most people to buy up front and does not allow for multiple uses of the batteries (as they fade they can be used for stationary uses at power plants) or allow the technology of batteries to be upgraded.

    Game on and Better Place already has the station designs and vehicles to get the job done today.

    Don’t forget, Tesla is in trouble financially right now and needs loans just to keep afloat. Will they get the funds to build the first leg of this infrastructure?

    Finally, I don’t think people will wait 30 minutes to go 150 miles, defiantly not the rich people who buy these cars.

    Better Place is already up and running their full network and have full coverage in Israel and will have full coverage in Denmark in less than three months.

    Customers are already riding throughout Israel today, stopping at battery swap stations when needed.

    I wish both companies great success and hope they push each other to even higher heights.

    Shai Agassi vs. Elon Musk

    Is this the new Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs competition? If so, excellent!


  43. 43
    DonC

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (12:58 pm)

    volt11: Tesla currently holds orders for 13,000 cars.

    Well 12,998. The two people I know who had deposits down cancelled and bought Volts. We should remember that Nissan had 20,000 deposit holders and is struggling to move 500 units a month, and those units cost half what the Model S units will. We should also keep in mind that Porsche manages to sell about 5000 Panameras a year. That has the same cache as a Tesla but isn’t range limited.


  44. 44
    DonC

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:03 pm)

    Is it just me or do other people think that 150 miles in thirty minutes isn’t a very impressive when compared to 300 miles in five minutes, which is what you get with any gas car? Seems like this just invites a comparison that isn’t that flattering when you’re rolling out a new technology. It may be impressive to us since we understand the current standard is more like 10 miles and hour, but for the ordinary driver this is not an appealing selling point.


  45. 45
    Kent

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:19 pm)

    DonC:
    Is it just me or do other people think that 150 miles in thirty minutes isn’t a very impressive when compared to 300 miles in five minutes, which is what you get with any gas car? Seems like this just invites a comparison that isn’t that flattering when you’re rolling out a new technology. It may be impressive to us since we understand the current standard is more like 10 miles and hour, but for the ordinary driver this is not an appealing selling point.

    You make some excellent points, but please keep in mind that when people are driving long ranges, they are usually on vacation so they are not so much in a rush. Plus Tesla is building these supercharger stations at places where Tesla owners (aka “rich people”) can do what they really enjoy…go shopping! IMO, I just don’t think these super-charging stations are intended for the “average” commuter.


  46. 46
    Steverino

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:23 pm)

    The big question is, will Tesla raise enough cash to bridge the gap between now and profitability, or will they end up being sold to Toyota, or Mercedes, etc.? They are in a tight financial race with not much if any room for error. I’m not counting them out, I hope they succeed. But even if I had the money, I’d be reluctant to make a $5k bet at this point.


  47. 47
    Noel Park

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:32 pm)

    DonC: The maps look fine but the reality will be very different. I live in San Diego where there may be a hundred J1772 public chargers. In 36 EV months I’ve used one exactly once. Why? Because unless you have a charger located where you happen to be it’s a huge pain to find and use them. Essentially it’s not worth the effort.

    #41

    My experience in LA is exactly the same.

    DonC: Until then it’s 100% hype.

    I can only agree. +1


  48. 48
    Bonaire

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:33 pm)

    Anyone can put up a Grid Tie solar array and not allow anyone other than their own brand of car to charge there. I think the exclusionary “vision” of Tesla to leave-out charging cars other than Tesla models (only Model-S, not Roadsters) at the Superchargers is quite myopic.

    In other news, Bob Lutz:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/future-electric-cars-fmr-gm-vice-chairman-bob-113754935.html


  49. 49
    Noel Park

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:34 pm)

    Texas: Shai Agassi vs. Elon Musk

    Is this the new Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs competition? If so, excellent!

    #42

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh, no, LOL.


  50. 50
    Bonaire

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:36 pm)

    Kent: You make some excellent points, but please keep in mind that when people are driving long ranges, they are usually on vacation so they are not so much in a rush. Plus Tesla is building these supercharger stations at places where Tesla owners (aka “rich people”) can do what they really enjoy…go shopping! IMO, I just don’t think these super-charging stations are intended for the “average” commuter.

    You haven’t met the traveling saleperson, project manager or regional reps yet. Remember pharmaceutical sales jobs which were the “next big thing”? Those were literally tens of thousands of young sales reps driving over 150 miles per day visiting doctors. Driving North and South along I-95 or I-5/101 in California or across the midwest. Those jobs still exist and most are done in larger sedans or even SUVs.


  51. 51
    Streetlight

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:41 pm)

    That station lit up pix (with stalls) reminds me of the Apple Cray building I toured c.1988. In fact a lot of what Tesla’s about reminds me of Apple. Like non-compliant chargers. Here we have this gorgeous edifice in the heart of Central Valley – all of what — maybe 2000 or so cars in all California through mid-2013; just sitting there. How utterly dumb.

    Interestingly, those Tesla Charge Stations are located just about right. I’ve driven the I-5 Bay Area to Orange County route a lot. My gas stops were Apricot Tree and Grapevine. Not all that far from Harris Ranch (Where a jillion cattle smells like there’s only 5000) Now I gots to say – today’s I-5 traffic is next to horrible. Not like the 80′s-90′s.

    Look for a move to expand these stations beyond Tesla with compliant chargers.


  52. 52
    Kent

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    Bonaire: You haven’t met the traveling saleperson, project manager or regional reps yet.Remember pharmaceutical sales jobs which were the “next big thing”?Those were literally tens of thousands of young sales reps driving over 150 miles per day visiting doctors.Driving North and South along I-95 or I-5/101 in California or across the midwest.Those jobs still exist and most are done in larger sedans or even SUVs.

    You’re right and I’m not arguing with you, but (there’s always a “but”) what’s the likelihood of the people with the jobs you refer to using a Tesla (or any other $75K+ car) as their business vehicle. I’m sure there may be a few, but the sales people and pharmaceutical reps (I worked for a pharma company for 5 years and my wife still works at one) that I know mostly use boring “fleet” type vehicles for their work and not their BMWs and Lexus’.


  53. 53
    Dan Petit

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:00 pm)

    DonC,

    In Texas, the distance between the three metro areas of Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio are approximately 190 miles, so, a charging stop for fifteen minutes halfway to these destinations would be essentially equal to getting a cup of coffee for finishing the distance. Likely there will be something like a Starbucks, etc mingled in with the charging stations. Fairly feasible after all.


  54. 54
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:17 pm)

    DonC:
    Until then it’s 100% hype.

    I disagree DonC. All the J1772 chargers scattered around makes no sense. Tesla’s chargers are strategically place so one could actually go the distance if they wanted.


  55. 55
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:23 pm)

    DonC:
    ! (Demand charges are roughly $25/kW. Times 400 kW and you get $10,000).

    I can’t believe that DonC.

    Maybe they are using battery pack to store the juice so they can load level.


  56. 56
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:37 pm)

    Bonaire:
    Anyone can put up a Grid Tie solar array and not allow anyone other than their own brand of car to charge there.I think the exclusionary “vision” of Tesla to leave-out charging cars other than Tesla models (only Model-S, not Roadsters) at the Superchargers is quite myopic.

    In other news, Bob Lutz:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/future-electric-cars-fmr-gm-vice-chairman-bob-113754935.html

    Thx for the link.

    Bob Lutz is the best asset that the electric vehicle industry can have.

    It’s so refreshing to have a conservative spokesperson for the Volt.

    Thx Bob!


  57. 57
    Logical_Thinker

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:40 pm)

    I suspect the (totally awesome) masculine symbol is more than a landmark for Tesla Superchargers: I think it is a large battery pack. Just speculation.


  58. 58
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (2:56 pm)

    Logical_Thinker:
    I suspect the (totally awesome) masculine symbol is more than a landmark for Tesla Superchargers: I think it is a large battery pack. Just speculation.

    Makes sense. They certainly have a cheap source for them!!


  59. 59
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (3:18 pm)

    Logical_Thinker: I suspect the (totally awesome) masculine symbol is more than a landmark for Tesla Superchargers: I think it is a large battery pack. Just speculation.

    #57

    Maybe it vibrates, LOL.


  60. 60
    Jeff Cobb

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (3:50 pm)

    StephenB: Also Jeff, the abbreviation for kilowatthour is kWh.

    With all due respect to all engineers everywhere and who ever else maintains kWh, I am well aware of this. It is actually a debate, not a hard and fast immutable law of writing style.

    The AP Style Book maintains it is “kwh.” Since we mostly hold to AP Style, that is what I went with.

    The meaning is clear in either case. “kWh” and “kwh”

    The AP Style Book, which is a mainstay reference for many professional writers, says:

    kilowatt-hour: The amount of electrical energy consumed when 1,000 watts are used for one hour. The abbreviation kwh is acceptable on second reference.

    ###

    With all due respect for James Watt, the term is now generic.

    Today we write “kilowatt,” and “kilowatt-hour.” We do not write “kiloWatt” and “kiloWatt-hour.”

    Keeping the capital W is a holdover in the abbreviation.

    NOTE: If you wish to reply, before you do, you can also look at the long, considered, and frankly pretty patient response I gave to another poster on this same issue in the face of mild criticism for my chosen profession.

    See comments section:

    http://www.hybridcars.com/vehicle/nissan-leaf.html

    And if you want to go on maintaining engineering society standards and writing kWh, by all means, please do.

    Regards,

    Jeff


  61. 61
    CaptJackSparrow

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (3:57 pm)

    Noel Park: Maybe it vibrates

    You dirty old man!

    /that what I was going to post….

    //put a small bottle of KY next to it :-P


  62. 62
    haroldC

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (4:32 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow,

    What happened to the llamas. ?….l miss them…..
    HaroldC


  63. 63
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (5:22 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: You dirty old man!

    #61

    Whaddaya mean old? I resemble that remark!

    “Not a dirty old man, just a sexy senior citizen”, LOL. +1 anyway, just because it’s you.


  64. 64
    Noel Park

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (5:24 pm)

    haroldC: What happened to the llamas. ?

    #62

    I think they put them all to work in the lithium mines.


  65. 65
    Jackson

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (5:39 pm)

    This clever llama managed to escape the mines:

    72eflg.jpg

    For the newbies: A picture was taken of an early Volt in a showroom … with a llama in the background. It was noticed by the readers here, and the animal quickly became an informal mascot.


  66. 66
    focher

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (6:17 pm)

    Arguing against Tesla and their Supercharger strategy seems strange coming from EV proponents. First, it’s doubtful that Tesla is going to make such a capital investment if they don’t have actual working technology with a cost structure to match. Second, throwing out use cases where this model doesn’t work is nothing more than a red herring. One must at least concede that the planned network layout is at least reasonable based on meeting long distance driving needs. Third, for most people the Tesla models are not competition to the Volt nor should GM be bashed for not playing in that market segment.

    Personally, I enjoy my Volt but would have easily gone with a Model X if it had been available. But it will be when my lease expires, and Tesla will have my deposit early next year.


  67. 67
    haroldC

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (6:21 pm)

    Jackson,

    llamatec-technology……no politics
    HaroldC


  68. 68
    Skotty

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (6:22 pm)

    The charging standards are still young, and I don’t see anything wrong with Tesla using their own design for the time being. The Tesla design is probably cheaper to produce, it is stylish (when compared against the J1772 Combo Frankenplug), and I don’t see anything wrong with the Tesla-built charging network being only for Tesla vehicles. Tesla is catering to it’s customers. Why should Tesla provide charging to everyone when their financials are already under such scrutiny? It’s not a money maker. It’s another incentive to buy a Tesla. And my interest just went up another notch.


  69. 69
    Bonaire

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:00 pm)

    George S. Bower: I can’t believe that DonC.Maybe they are using battery pack to store the juice so they can load level.

    If they are not just basic grid-tied, then they’re wrongly engineered. Using Solar to charge a battery to then charge a battery at high amperage off that battery is a million-dollar single-site installation. The picture shows a 10KW or larger solar array. That cannot drive even one active super-charger at the rates that they are showing. So, the picture doesn’t show a secondary auxilliary array which could boost the output. Charging more than one on super-charge setting will require a pretty big grid-tied component. I would be shaking my head if these guys setup super-charger stations and did not grid-tie. How would they charge at night? (understand use of batteries is extremely expensive and a poor engineering choice).


  70. 70
    haroldC

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:21 pm)

    Roy_H,

    see #69 to understand my earlier question……
    HaroldC


  71. 71
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:23 pm)

    Bonaire: The picture shows a 10KW or larger solar array. That cannot drive even one active super-charger at the rates that they are showing.

    Here’s my SWAG at this…..
    “Cumulatively”, the 6 they might average up to that?

    /…..but whatever, it’s Tesla use only. The US currently has no “Supercharger” and the goons in charge of getting a standard in place don’t even have a clue where to start. I heard they already said CHΛdeMO isn’t going to be used here…..lol


  72. 72
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (7:38 pm)

    Jackson: This clever llama managed to escape the mines:

    For the newbies: A picture was taken of an early Volt in a showroom … with a llama in the background.It was noticed by the readers here, and the animal quickly became an informal mascot.

    I thought Statik was the Mascot??

    and I like the llamas too.


  73. 73
    George S. Bower

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:09 pm)

    Bonaire: If they are not just basic grid-tied, then they’re wrongly engineered.Using Solar to charge a battery to then charge a battery at high amperage off that battery is a million-dollar single-site installation.The picture shows a 10KW or larger solar array.That cannot drive even one active super-charger at the rates that they are showing.So, the picture doesn’t show a secondary auxilliary array which could boost the output.Charging more than one on super-charge setting will require a pretty big grid-tied component.I would be shaking my head if these guys setup super-charger stations and did not grid-tie.How would they charge at night?(understand use of batteries is extremely expensive and a poor engineering choice).

    They could do batteries AND Grid tie.


  74. 74
    George S. Bower

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (8:51 pm)

    focher:
    Arguing against Tesla and their Supercharger strategy seems strange coming from EV proponents. First, it’s doubtful that Tesla is going to make such a capital investment if they don’t have actual working technology with a cost structure to match. Second, throwing out use cases where this model doesn’t work is nothing more than a red herring. One must at least concede that the planned network layout is at least reasonable based on meeting long distance driving needs. Third, for most people the Tesla models are not competition to the Volt nor should GM be bashed for not playing in that market segment.

    + 10 on that!


  75. 75
    N Riley

     

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    Sep 26th, 2012 (10:41 pm)

    I don’t really know what to say or make of this report, except to say the Tesla owners (past, current and future) are paying for it along with the American taxpayer. For Tesla to become successful, really successful, that is, they have to develop a network like this. That or do what they should do and that is to work with the other auto companies, electric companies and local, state and national governments to develop and deploy a charging network that would work for all plug-in vehicles.

    I don’t really like the idea of taxpayer funds helping to develop and deploy a network established to serve one company’s products. Direct taxpayer funds may not be involved, but they have been involved with the company’s development to date. Not saying I disagree with all government sponsored spending for something beneficial to the public, but the scope of this network is too narrow for my taste.

    Of course, if I were to purchase a Tesla vehicle in the future, my opinion would certainly change. But isn’t that human nature?


  76. 76
    Mark Z

     

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    Sep 27th, 2012 (2:30 am)

    It’s been fun reading all the posts tonight in double speed on iPhone 5. The solar panels WILL be tied into the grid, so don’t take serious all posts about battery storage. These charge stations may or may not have solar and must operate 24/7. Don’t forget that they are FREE to use.

    My recent and many drives from North Orange County California to and from Oklahoma City include many stops. Only 4 are for fuel, but add 6 for bathroom and food and that is more than the eight that Tesla would require. I figure about 2 extra hours compared with the current trip. Not bad to save about $400 in fuel.

    The only problem is if its foggy and you miss the off ramp. Guess that’s why the teslasterone shaped Tesla symbol will certainly help the driver under those conditisions.


  77. 77
    StephenB

     

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    Sep 27th, 2012 (11:09 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Jeff

    Jeff, I’m a EE, and if I wrote kw instead of kW in a technical report, my colleagues would look at me funny (or funnier anyway ;) ).

    I see on the GM uses kWh too on their volt spec page: http://gm-volt.com/full-specifications/.


  78. 78
    kdawg

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    Sep 27th, 2012 (2:56 pm)

    StephenB,

    Let’s use Joules!