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John Bingham  

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  • About That BMW i5 And Its Impact On Tesla [View article]
    Hi Goldtean,

    "Wondering why this isn't a BMW article????"

    Very simple. If it was a BMW article it would get a fair number of views and comments.

    Add "Tesla" to the title or "TSLA" as a link somewhere and you can guarantee at least an order of magnitude more clicks!

    And please be sure to read Anton's additional disclosure at the end of the article.....
    May 3, 2015. 09:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • About That BMW i5 And Its Impact On Tesla [View article]
    pot pie and Anton,

    "Irrational sensationalism".

    Sure it is.

    I'm currently in Bangkok, having spent the last four weeks north of Chiangmai.

    Please come here for a while and enjoy the constant smell of diesel and two-stroke engines. I'm sure you'll love it.

    Even where my wife's family live in the northern part of Thailand (Mae Rim) you wake every day to the same smell. After a while you don't notice it so much (habituation), but the effects are still there.

    Do you really think many people here wear face masks just for fun?

    I promise you. Nobody laughs at them.
    May 3, 2015. 09:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • About That BMW i5 And Its Impact On Tesla [View article]

    "I didn't have to worry a single time in the i8 as to where I should plug it in".

    "As far as "pollution stuff" as you call it, I don't give the first hoot."

    You know. That says a whole lot more about you than it does about the i8.

    We already know from one of your earlier posts that you had a Volt, but couldn't be bothered to plug it in as it ran just fine on gas anyway.

    I think the words "misplaced arrogance" come to mind, but if I said what I really thought of your attitude to other people and the world we live in I'd likely be permanently banned from SA.

    So let's just say that I really wouldn't want to be caught driving an i8, or an "i" anything that had a gas engine. Why? Because there are already much better alternatives from Tesla (and, hopefully, others in the future) that allow me to drive everywhere I need to go, including long journeys, without spewing damaging pollutants in everybody's faces or kicking out such a racket that I can be heard from a block away.

    And as for enhancing the engine's sound INSIDE the car. PLEASE! That sound you love so much is NOT power. It's sheer waste.

    Please grow up, Anton. Learn a little about driving 21st Century instead of early 20th Century engineering with multiple patches.

    And, please, learn how much better it is to drive with speed, silence and civility.
    May 3, 2015. 08:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • About That BMW i5 And Its Impact On Tesla [View article]

    "BMW will also be building a pure electric version of the i5"

    Yes, with a planned range of 400 km. In 2019. And a huge 30,000 cars a year!

    Please translate that "more than 400 km" (NEDC) to a real world range of around 200 miles, and then look where Tesla is likely to be in 2019. There is likely to be NOTHING from the Tesla stables with less than 240 miles range by then, and that will be the ENTRY LEVEL cars.

    Tesla should be on course to produce around 300,000 cars a year by 2019.

    BMW i5: compliance car anyone?
    May 3, 2015. 08:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • When It Comes To Tesla, Read Between The Lines [View article]
    Hi CPL,

    "Fuel cells are ALREADY in significant use in many applications. About 200 megawatts of new shipments a year."

    First of all, thanks for the excellent comments on climate change. We (collective humans) cannot afford to continue this uncontrolled experiment in burning fossil fuels. The damage is already at a dangerous level, and now we have reports of ocean acidification disrupting the food chain on top of the changing weather patterns you've noted.

    Fuel cells: I recognise that there is a need for many different types of energy generation and storage, I just don't think that fuel cells are really practical (or ever will be practical) for use in personal transportation.

    As for energy shipped per annum:

    Tesla Motors expect to be delivering some 55,000 cars this year. Even if we go for a 50/50 mix of 70 kWh and 85 kWh cars that's still 4.26 GigaWatt-hours (GWh) of storage in the cars alone. Now that's pretty significant!

    Not bad for one small company!
    May 2, 2015. 11:45 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Proof That Tesla Is Conserving Batteries [View article]
    Hi Vulpine,

    Crazy as it seems those Toyota fork-lifts really do have swappable batteries! look at the pdf I linked and you can see that the packs can be removed quite easily.

    Well - you need heavy lifting gear to do the job, like another fork-lift truck (!) but this is what the brochure says about one of the trucks:

    "Battery change choice: For multiple shift operation, Traigo 48 offers two sideways battery extraction options – fork pockets under the battery allowing fast battery change using a forklift truck, or built-in rollerbed."

    And there's even a couple of photos showing the battery packs where you can see the lifting points for a truck in one photo and the rollerbed in the other.

    High tech trucks but very low tech batteries!

    Still beats me why Tesla use wet Lead-Acid "starter" batteries for the 12V systems in their cars. Panasonic could easily supply them with much better low self-discharge NiMH or Li-ion 12V batteries instead, and the higher cost would be offset (or even reversed) by the longer life expectancy. Less servicing would be needed as well: another cost saving.

    And it would even reduce the weight of the cars slightly. :-)
    May 1, 2015. 11:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Proof That Tesla Is Conserving Batteries [View article]
    Hi Dave and Vulpine,

    Fork-lift trucks:

    "the hydrogen station will provide fuel for around twenty forklift trucks powered by fuel cells produced by HyPulsion (a joint venture 80% owned by Air Liquide's subsidiary Axane and 20% owned by Plug Power). These electric forklift trucks run on hydrogen and thus emit only water, while offering extended run time of 8 hours.

    Air Liquide's refuelling station will supply hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar, with refills completed in 3 minutes".

    Surprisingly, one of the biggest suppliers of BATTERY fork-lift trucks is Toyota!

    But... These fork-lifts, as presumably most other battery fork-lifts, use wet Lead-Acid batteries.

    As the biggest unit Toyota provides has no less than a 100 kWh battery pack (1250 Ah at 80 V) this is a heavy beast.

    Toyota does not say that their batteries are Lead-Acid but a quick look at a battery vendor shows that they are pretty much identical to these units.

    Not surprisingly these fork-lifts have swappable battery packs. I guess they would take quite a long time to recharge. Plus, the cycle life of the batteries may not be so long so replacements will be necessary over time.

    A fuel cell fork-lift would certainly be lighter than this and quicker to fill (charge) as well, but how much better would the same truck be with a modern Li-ion battery pack.

    The company using them would need their own supercharger (battery backed, of course!) but the trucks should have a very long life expectancy and probably never need replacement packs.

    As for HFC cars: The trucks Dave links use 350 bar pressure tanks (about 5,000 lb. / sq. in.) and there's plenty of room inside them.

    The current HFCVs from Toyota and Hyundai need TWO 700 bar tanks (10,000 lb./sq. in.) to give a range of a little over 250 miles (EPA estimate). If range is so important (probably the most cited reason for not liking BEVs) then the range of HFCVs will have to be better than this. There can be small improvements in the efficiency of fuel cells, but realistically the cars will need to get 50% to 100% more range to satisfy the requirements of most drivers who are looking for ICE replacements.

    That will mean either further increasing the internal pressure of the tanks (which will in turn lead to more robust and hence larger tanks anyway) or putting in an extra tank or two.

    The current high pressure tanks take up quite a bit of space in the cars, so where will the passengers and luggage go in this much more crowded car!

    Traction batteries will, however, continue to improve, even if slowly. That means that a BEV will have more range in a similar size and weight of vehicle over time. Not so easy for the HFCV when the boundaries are already being pushed hard in terms of H2 storage.
    Apr 30, 2015. 10:32 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Is Walking On Thin Ice Regarding Customer Trust [View article]

    "When neighbour A and B both have a battery connected ..."

    I can see what you're getting at.

    It's likely that Tesla will incorporate some communication between the units in a system but they can work just as well if they are completely autonomous (now there's a good word for a Tesla system!).

    No matter how many units are connected to a local section of the grid they are much more intelligent than simply connecting batteries together in parallel.

    Let's say that there are several inverters feeding into the grid (such as with net metering in a PV system) and the grid fails.

    Initially the non-backed houses may try to pull power from the battery backed inverters, but this will cause a current surge. Even if the voltage and frequency do not initially change significantly that surge will signal a fault condition to the inverters within half a cycle or so (less than a hundredth of a second).

    As they will certainly be protected against overload any inverter that senses this condition will immediately disconnect. Within a cycle or so all the inverters will have disconnected, and reconnection will not occur again until grid power is safely re-established for a suitable time period.

    There could come a point where the population of PV and battery backed inverters is sufficient to hold up a local area without significantly overloading them and that's when we get to the stage of independent, but connected, micro-grids. The grid connection side of each inverter will need to decide whether power should be drawn from the micro-grid or fed into it depending on the user's energy profile and battery state of charge. And, again, any significant overload will give immediate disconnection.

    Obviously, if the local micro-grid can hold up until the main grid power is re-established, that will need frequency and phase sensitive switchgear for reconnection to the main grid. But that will be needed for the hub where the micro-grid connects to the main grid anyway, and net metering during a blackout of the main grid will still show who was using, and who was producing, the power during the external blackout.

    As for sustaining power in longer blackouts, that may eventually be the province of the local and area hubs that are more likely to be owned by the utilities.

    But with battery backup at the house, local and area levels, and also supporting renewable sources, the main grid power usage profiles can be much more constant that they are today and that is beneficial to everybody.

    This won't happen overnight, of course, but Tesla are starting, in a small way, what could easily become the foundation for our future smart grids.
    Apr 30, 2015. 11:13 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's The One Way Tesla Can Survive [View article]
    Hi molli and Bryce,

    I guess the USA had it easy with gas stations!

    I can remember very well growing up here in the UK during the '50s and early '60s.

    We had a family friend who was a rep for a Sheffield company (Robert Sorby and Sons "Kangaroo" brand tools) working the south of England. He always used Ford cars (company policy?) and I can well remember his Prefect, Popular (known as the "Ford Pop") and Anglia cars of the times.

    He knew all the filling stations on his routes as they were not so frequent then, and sometimes carried a spare can of petrol if he was going to a new area where he may not be sure of the location of a filling station.

    His usual filling station was "Chase Side Motors" in Enfield and his biggest shock was being held at gunpoint there once when someone hijacked his car!

    It must have been around 1960 that he had his first car with "straight-through-drive" that could actually hit just over 60 MPH ("overdrive" came much later to the UK).

    Times have changed a little since then... :-)
    Apr 29, 2015. 09:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Seems To Be Staggering Releases To Take It To The Model X [View article]
    Hi Dave,

    "Our own worldwide cumulative tally for calendar year 2014 came in at just over 320,000 plug-ins sold, so 480,000 [the number projected for 2015] would represent a 50% year-over-year increase.'"

    And so you draw the conclusion that Tesla is nothing special because they have a similar expected growth rate to the global trend in plug-in vehicles.

    One very small difference:

    I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge ALL the other manufacturers of plug-in cars (be that PHEVs or pure battery) have other lines they produce as well, and generally in very much higher quantities.

    Those companies are NOT expanding their TOTAL production by 50% per annum, but just the plug-in cars. That sort of increase on a single product can be met by cash flow derived from other product lines in the company, unless, of course, the plug-in division is totally financially independent.

    Tesla has no "other product lines" to subsidise its growth (not counting the possibility of home energy storage here as that is still a future projection).

    In view of that fact alone the growth of Tesla Motors is unprecedented in the automotive industry. You have to go back to Ford's first production line of a century ago to see anything similar that was sustained over many years, and that was also moving into new territory with the first mass produced automobile.

    Even BYD Auto has a dozen or so other lines to support the Qin and Tang hybrids.

    Now tell me again that Tesla is not growing astonishingly fast in the automotive world.
    Apr 28, 2015. 09:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Seems To Be Staggering Releases To Take It To The Model X [View article]
    Hi Dave,

    "... they would just throw everything into producing more of the current models, and worry about charging networks and new models later."

    As a designer (and a bit obsessive myself in that regard) I can well see where Musk and the Tesla design team are coming from.

    I never built research equipment in production-line quantities, but I would revisit a design whenever a new unit was needed, or even try to find a better way to perform a task when only one unit was needed and already built. That could involve hardware or software as I was involved in both.

    That way I had a continuous line of improvements and updates available for future designs.

    Tesla Motors are following the same principle.

    The first Model S cars were something very new. A new type of car built on a new platform. Lessons learned from the early cars have shown how they may be improved, sometimes with hardware and sometimes with software. Customer feedback, either directly from asking the customers or indirectly by observing which models are the more popular, shows in which direction the product should be taken.

    This is the ultimate version of the company saying "we reserve the right to continuously improve our product throughout its lifetime".

    The Tesla designers actually DO bring improved product to the fore as soon as they can. This is a very swiftly moving company.

    And every improvement brought to the Model S line will be incorporated in future cars, be that the Model X, Model ≡, or whatever else is planned in the next few years. It does not slow them down. In fact it opens the door to better future products.

    Tesla Motors are not standing still.

    In fact their cars are mighty fast. :-)
    Apr 28, 2015. 07:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Seems To Be Staggering Releases To Take It To The Model X [View article]
    Hi Paulo & WhosSide, etc,

    I don't think we'll ever see a performance version of a 60 kWh Model ≡.

    Why? Simply because that car could be built today with the batteries currently being used in the Model S. A 60 or 65 kWh Model ≡ will almost certainly be the ENTRY level version corresponding with the larger class Model S70D today.

    The performance version will certainly use a higher capacity battery pack, maybe 80 or 85 kWh. It only needs a pack with a 20% smaller footprint than the one currently being used in the Model S, and a combination of larger cells (20700) and a slight increase in cell energy density of around 10% will take us there.

    The Model ≡ will have a lower overall drag as it is a smaller car, and it should be slightly lighter as well (this depends on the choice of materials used in the body shell).

    Those factors mean that an entry level Model ≡ with a 60 kWh pack could approach the performance of the Model S70D in a smaller car, and an 80 or 85 kWh Performance version should match, or even better, the performance of the P85D.

    But by the time we have a Model ≡ P85D the top-end Model S is likely to be a P105D with even higher performance again!
    Apr 28, 2015. 06:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Seems To Be Staggering Releases To Take It To The Model X [View article]
    Hi Dave,

    "London taxi PHEV ".

    A move in the right direction, but the low charging rate and 12.2 kwh pack really are too small.

    The onboard 3 kW charger (from the spec sheet, and no mention of fast DC charging) will give around 8 - 10 MPH charging from a domestic socket, and the 12.2 kWh battery pack is unlikely to run the taxi on electric only for more than 30 miles.

    Very nice at the start of the day, but most taxi drivers like to "keep on the move", so after the first 30 miles the car reverts to being just an efficient petrol taxi. Probably sooner than that as the petrol engine will most likely kick in at around 30% SOC, about 20 miles.

    And somehow I don't think any taxi driver would be willing to sit around for three hours just to get the maximum electric range for his next customer!
    Apr 27, 2015. 11:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Seems To Be Staggering Releases To Take It To The Model X [View article]
    Hi Dave,

    In the UK "The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is very much the star of the show".

    Not surprising as it is a very nice car for those who are looking in this category.

    I have to confess that, as a primarily EV proponent, I was responsible for two of the sales of the Mitsubishi in the UK last year.

    Two of my friends needed a car of that size urgently (one needed the car for a new job and the other had an irrecoverably dead ICE on his hands!) so I pointed them in the direction of the Outlander PHEV.

    Having said that, they and their families have both been following my accounts of the Tesla story, and if the Model X had been available last year it would certainly have been on their short lists.
    Apr 27, 2015. 11:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Is Walking On Thin Ice Regarding Customer Trust [View article]
    Hi Dave,

    "As I have said, Musk expects at least a 30% reduction in cost, but we were talking about the volumetric and specific energy of the battery."

    Guess I didn't make it too clear above!

    My speculation was that we'd have only a 10% or so increase in energy density (NOT 25%), which is quite likely by now given that it's almost three years since the model S was launched, and Musk did say that a 10% to 15% improvement was possible even without any breakthroughs in cell chemistry.

    The other 10% or so reduction in the "footprint" of the battery pack (that is, its ground area) was due to the larger 20700 cell. A 10% reduction in footprint is achieved at the expense of a 10% thicker battery pack (the volume stays the same), but that is a small difference in size that could be accommodated in the floor space of the car.

    The cost reduction is mostly due to the reduced number of cells (30% fewer if the energy density does not change) as there should be little cost difference in making 20700 cells instead of 18650 cells. A higher energy density chemistry may be initially slightly more expensive, but over time the costs should be similar to the "old" chemistry used in the last three years and, again, there would be fewer cells needed for a given pack energy leading to a further cost saving. A 30% saving overall is certainly possible.

    Hope that's a bit clearer!
    Apr 27, 2015. 07:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment