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  • Will Solar And Home Batteries Disrupt The Electric Utility Business Model?  [View article]
    Yes electrical devices have improved a lot in 100yrs. But so have many fuel-burning technologies, helped greatly by those new electrical devices.
    The technology winner at any time is that which wins in the marketplace. Battery cars never did and still don't.
    To argue your point, perhaps the gap is narrowing - what with lithium, better power semiconductors and magnetic FEA tools. The problem is that there is still a gap and there is no medal for second place.
    As a small example, the Wankel engine had may advantageous qualities - this convinced NSU and Mazda to invest heavily for years until the market decided pistons were better all along.
    As an even smaller example, MB in the 80s developed a radical one arm windshield wiper that cleaned into the corners of the windscreen and was less distracting. They dropped it.
    The auto industry is vitally aware of what technology is winning, that's why design differences between makers are much smaller than those between decades. They have done their homework and won't touch BEV's except for specific pr reasons.
    Feb 6, 2016. 02:45 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The World Has Yet To See 'Peak Mac'  [View article]
    On the other hand, my anecdotal experience is that engineering and architecture schools remain 99% MS. Computer aided design and engineering software has always been written for first Unix then dos/windows - engineers need systems they can control..
    Traditionally, the graphic arts have been the province of Apple, but that is changing, now animation studios, for example, use huge farms of PCs.

    I think dhonk is referring to a preference of the technophobic mall enthusiast, to whom Apple is skewed.
    Feb 6, 2016. 02:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: The World Has Yet To See 'Peak Mac'  [View article]
    Not just money was injected, so was technology. It succeeded in slowing MS's trend towards becoming a monopoly.
    Feb 6, 2016. 01:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Dirt Cheap Tesla That Isn't  [View article]
    It is claimed by Tesla supporters that their battery outlasts all other Lithium batteries. This is doubtful - look at the size of the dying cellphone external battery business . Mophie is now a recognized brand because the iphone is sealed.
    Even if the extraordinary life is true, the warranty poses a problem - it gives a powerful incentive to abuse one's battery in years 5 6 and 7.
    Feb 1, 2016. 11:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Model 3 Mess: The Aftermath  [View article]
    Montana: "It produces the terrific Chevy Bolt, with 200 miles of pure EV range in an attractive and affordable package"
    I fully agree, and hope that GM delivers on those specs.
    But, GM has been known to hyperbolate: For example, check the detailed specs on the new Volt. It is apparently a plug-in electric car which also happens to have a gasoline "range extender". You have to actually crawl under it to see its a standard ICE car with some electrical devices added.
    The first casualty of the eco-wars is the truth.
    Jan 29, 2016. 06:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Truck talk doesn't lift Tesla Motors  [View news story]
    I agree, and at a reasonable 120Wh/kg the total battery would weigh 80,000 pounds.
    But the freight capacity of a typical tractor trailer is 50,000lb.
    Also at $300/kWh such a battery costs $1.5million.
    Jan 28, 2016. 04:22 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Starbucks hints at K-Cup breakaway  [View news story]
    If I understand it correctly, when the stock was $30, JAB announced it would buy all the shares for $92 4 months hence - unless something went wrong.
    so they would pay effectively $13B for a company whose evident decline had caused its market cap to fall to $4B.
    This announcement alone caused the stock to jump to $90 and stay there for 4 months allowing a slow steady divestment by the disgruntled holders.
    Now, what if something 'goes wrong'?
    Could this be a ruse? Are there any rules against this?
    Jan 28, 2016. 12:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Solar And Home Batteries Disrupt The Electric Utility Business Model?  [View article]
    maybe you can explain why Tesla's Lithium offering is in any way interesting, much less 'disruptive'.
    Solar panels are a well understood 60 year old technology. There are myriad off-grid applications. For stationary storage, the method of choice is deep cycle lead acid batteries. Just check ebay - you can buy batteries that exceed the the powerwall spec for 1/2 the price. And you can enjoy being green because lead acid batteries are all fully recycled. Lithium batteries are future landfill - plus a bit dangerous.
    Jan 27, 2016. 06:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Model 3 Or Chevy Bolt? It Doesn't Really Matter  [View article]
    Mobile phones did not get smaller/better in the past 20yrs because of battery technology.
    LiPo energy density improved only slightly in all that time. The big change was in cell proximity. Science is not magic.
    Jan 14, 2016. 11:44 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Model 3 Mess: The Aftermath  [View article]
    These are the subtleties: If you reduce the size of the gas tank in an ICE car, the car accelerates better. If you reduce the size of the battery in an electric car, the car accelerates worse.
    I will spare you the math, but the upshot is: If the Tesla Model S is considered marginally competitive for range and performance with a 5000 lb ICE car, then a 3000lb EV would be less competitive with a 3000lb gasoline car.
    If price is no object, the larger the EV, the better it competes.
    Jan 12, 2016. 02:57 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nevada Rolls Snake Eyes In The Tesla Gigafactory Casino  [View article]
    Did the EV1 get GM anywhere? Rather than acclaim, GM was vilified when it finally put the thing down - and was cast as a corporate baddy in 'who killed the electric car?'
    No good deed goes unpunished.
    The Chevrolet Malibu, once the everyman car, is getting to be a rare sight - and badly driven.
    GM should focus on high value conventional cars while it still has some money.
    Jan 11, 2016. 03:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Nevada Rolls Snake Eyes In The Tesla Gigafactory Casino  [View article]
    I believe the reason Tesla used the 18650 cells was so it could co-opt the already mass produced high power cell used in power tools and avoid any costly cell development.
    Flat, pouch type cells ('prismatic'), which are ubiquitous in portable devices, are low power types. Its is possible to make high power versions of the flat cells, but they are custom designs thus risky/costly. Most electric model airplanes use custom high power pouches which are cheap and short lived but have the highest power densities.
    Most of the marvels of technology we take for granted, were the result of intense creative effort fueled by a virtuous circle of improvement and greed. Nobody ever knows which way technology is going or which opportunities will open up. There is no Moore's 'law'. What we do know is that the technologies must generally be sold profitably as they evolve.

    Henry Ford could sell his crude cars at a profit because he was competing with horses.

    Electric cars are not yet better net net than ICE and so cannot be sold profitably and thus cannot fund their own improvement.
    Jan 11, 2016. 11:08 AM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevy Bolt Will Hurt Nissan And BMW, Not Tesla  [View article]
    Revealing a future car's body shape long before it is available can only be seen as bubble maintenance.
    One of Tesla's real assets is its styling talent so all the imitators will be looking hard at that clay model when it is shown in March 16.
    It has long been standard practice in the auto industry to do just the opposite: new body styles are kept secret and meticulously camouflaged during road testing.
    Jan 8, 2016. 09:58 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Benefits From CES Inclusion Of EV Industry  [View article]
    lets say you are a poor remote seaside town in Nicaragua - today - and you have some money in the treasury from tourism and remittances and the townsfolk really want refrigerators and street lights.
    Despite your natural endowment of sunshine and steady winds, you buy 2 caterpillar diesel gensets, put them in a hut behind a hill and occasionally a tanker makes the long drive to refuel you.
    Not saying its wrong or right, its just the invisible hand at work.
    Dec 31, 2015. 02:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Benefits From CES Inclusion Of EV Industry  [View article]
    Electrics should be called ECE cars: The combustion happens at a power station. and, for those interested in thermodynamics, conversion up to kinetic energy happens twice.
    And no, there is little hope that solar panels and windmills can economically power these monsters.
    Dec 31, 2015. 10:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment