Thursday, March 31, 2016

Charles Fleming — Tesla to unveil Model 3, its electric car for the masses

Tesla to unveil Model 3, its electric car for the masses

LOS ANGELES — On Thursday night, at an invitation-only, Hollywood-style premiere on his Space X campus outside Los Angeles, Elon Musk and his Tesla team will unveil their latest creation: the Model 3, Musk's long-awaited electric car for the masses. Few details have been revealed so far, but the car is essentially a scaled-down, half-priced version…

16 comments:

Dan Lynch said...

Real Economics has a nice piece on how manufacturing a Tesla incurs significant environmental costs

This beast requires something on the order of 3.5 tons of raw materials and goodness knows how much energy it takes to process. Then, because an electric car requires a radically different material set, very little of these material will come from recycling old cars.

I'm not seeing electric cars as solving many problems. I prefer Mosler's suggestion to lower the speed limit, but instead of 30 mph, I suggest 15 mph, because a bicycle can go 15 mph. That way bicycles could share the road with cars -- no bike lane required -- and why would anyone spend $25,000+ for a Tesla Model 3 if they can get around just as fast in a bicycle? Teslas will not force us to change our lifestyles but a 15 mph speed limit would.

Of course there is zero political support for Mosler's proposal so it will not happen and global warming is a runaway train.

Bob said...

Nissan Leaf has been on the market for at least a year. Tesla is playing catch-up.

Random said...

Promote to post please

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/31/mexico-presidential-election-enrique-pena-nieto-hacking

Tom Hickey said...

Nissan Leaf has been on the market for at least a year. Tesla is playing catch-up.

Yes, and Tesla has the cachet.

Dan Lynch said...

Interesting article, @Random.

Ryan Harris said...

The electric motor is 95%+ efficient. A electric hybrid with combustion motor is less than 50% efficient. A gasoline motor is around 40% efficient. It is a big improvement. Electricity has generation, transmission and storage losses that are not incurred when liquid fuel is directly burned so we aren't really comparing apples to apples though. Also batteries are massive chunks of highly refined energy intensive raw materials, ornately organized molecules that are consumable over a couple thousand charge cycles -- a gasoline tank is much more efficient than a battery at storing fuel, but electricity still holds an advantage on efficiency of the vehicle. The problem is that liquid fuels are closing the efficiency gap to a higher theoretical systemic efficiency than electric can achieve given external constraints. Ultimately electric is a stop gap, because the losses in transmission, expensive batteries and other issues make it less attractive. Bill Gates is pushing for renewable liquid fuels could be very important for decades. Since electric is easily renewable now it could be important for Dem policy on the impending doom of climate change [sic] and they present great investment opportunities with many industrial, electric and chemical giants that are going to benefit from the wave of investment. And why not? Who isn't sick of Exxon, Putin and Saudi Arabia?

Matt Franko said...

15 mph and permanent zirp....

Ryan Harris said...

The Euro will be hard to get at 15 mph tho

Neil Wilson said...

"Also batteries are massive chunks of highly refined energy intensive raw materials, ornately organized molecules that are consumable over a couple thousand charge cycle"

But can be recycled and refurbished. Very much like the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

The problem with all these scare stories is that they concentrate on the initial cost of building the batteries. And the Green lobby doesn't like doing anything new - even if you build all of it using solar power.

Localised solar and wind grids solve the transmission problem.


Neil Wilson said...

"Teslas will not force us to change our lifestyles but a 15 mph speed limit would. "

Excessive response which nobody is going to buy. People like moving around and they like moving around fast and individually.

You don't solve this problem by trying to recreate the stone age. You do it by fixing the problems while keeping the benefits.

Ryan Harris said...

A battery that can run through its charge cycle 2000 or 3000 times is a consumable and should be considered part of the cost of running a vehicle. Of course the materials get recycled! You can't dump one ton batteries and let the toxic cobalt used in Tesla's, for example leach into the water supply or soil after sitting at junk yards. Next Generation Lithium sulfur and lithium air batteries have less toxic chemistry.
Government could make Tesla or Vehicle buyers post cleanup bonds for each vehicle sold to cover the cost of reclaiming the materials in case the Tesla company goes bankrupt and can't do it. It gives the financial incentive and a rebate to people to clean up since the economic value of the materials in the battery don't cover the cost to recycle, it would prevents cheating when the vehicles reach end of life and another far away owner, that probably has lower income and higher incentive to pollute.

Ignacio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Lynch said...

@Neil, those types of "excessive" regulations were implemented during WWII (35 mph speed limit and fuel rationing). The threat we face today is bigger than Hitler.

I fully acknowledge that the radical changes required to reverse warming -- assuming we haven't already passed an irreversible tipping point as seems increasingly likely -- are not politically feasible. Hence we are doomed, and some upper class professional buying a Tesla to ease his conscience will not change that.

People don't "need" to "move around," they "want" to move around. Important distinction.

The initial environmental costs of Teslas, solar, wind, nuclear, etc. matter because they come out of a finite carbon budget. Whether those things would reduce carbon consumption 100 years from now is not relevant because by then the tipping point will have already been passed.

Ryan Harris said...

"People don't "need" to "move around," they "want" to move around. Important distinction. "


Seriously?

It's so weird how some segments of the population think end-times are upon us now, in a biblical sense and if they don't act to save the world, NOW, that hell and damnation, possibly irreversible forever will rain upon us. No cost is too high to bear. And only the enlightened ones can see the problem while the masses of ignorants are walking to their deaths. Almost poetic as with the titantic and piano music while it sinks. So sad.

bbbar said...

Ryan, the efficiency you quote for the electric motor is for conversion from electrical power to mechanic power. Something still needs to generate the electricity, such as a coal-fired, gas-fired, or nuclear power plant (or solar/wind/green energy generation). You've just moved the power source from distributed internal combustion engines to a centralized power generation plant. Having said that, the centralized option still has better overall efficiency than a car's ICE, plus any green power source you add to the grid improves the environmental impact of the car (replacing a coal plant with solar means your electric car now pollutes less).

Ryan Harris said...

Yup, the generation losses and transmission losses are not trivial, and make electric unappealing in the long term. Renewables and the possibility of a range of fuels make electric very flexible and appealing now though to solve what Democrats believe is impending doom from catastrophic climate change which they believe could potentially make earth unihabitable in the very near term, cause mass extinctions, glacier melts and other horrific events. The most extreme among them are worried for their children and grand children's survival. For them, it is a moral imperative to buy a Tesla or Leaf, really. Buy a Tesla, Recycle, save the world. I don't really care if they are rational or crazy, they are ready to pour money into my wallet, well into industrial and resource and utility companies. There are more investment opportunities in this. The problem is we need a Dem elected to make it happen and feed into the paranoia and really get people revved up into a bubbly mania about it.