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  • Hydrogen fuel cells vs. electric vehicles: Too early to call  [View news story]
    My understanding about hydrogen fuel cell cars is that the fuel is really expensive to refine. Not relevant that the cost of the cells comes down with volume if the fuel is ridiculously expensive and energy intensive to get hydrogen to the stations.

    Also requires another huge infrastructure to make practical. Now we're gonna have gas stations, hydrogen stations and Supercharger Stations dotting the country? They'll ALL go broke!

    Make a decision and stick to it!
    Dec 11, 2013. 10:24 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevrolet Volt's Failure Foreshadows Tesla's Fate  [View article]

    This article is so lacking in anything resembling car knowledge, I'm pretty blown away.

    OK, first, the Model S is about two car classes up from a Volt. It's bigger, it's way faster, it looks WAY better, it HANDLES way better….That should be plenty, but wait, there's more.

    I really think maybe I could live with a Volt. I nearly bought a Model S. I've driven two of them and loved driving both. The test rides were 1 year apart. One was in California and the other was in Oakbrook, IL over some pretty beat-up streets. The first S was a Performance 85 model. Second was a standard model with 85 battery and the smaller wheels and tires….probably the one I'd want if I hadn't chickened out.

    For me, the S is a little too big. I'd like a smaller version, like a 5-series or A6. For me, that's perfect. Is that enough reason to not buy a car? No, the range thing is a concern and the 6-figure price, all in, is another. I'm not quite the right demographic for this thing. Tesla is getting warmer, however.

    I also didn't buy a Volt, but for completely different reasons. It looks like a GM "everyman" car. It actually reminds me of the cars GM and Toyota used to make in the NUMMI plant…Tesla's current HQ. There's a little style going on, but it seems sort of added on.

    I've driven Audis for the past 12 years. Style is built in to them, like it is with the Model S. Hard to fully explain that. I'm not so much an eco-freak Prius buyer…not that there's anything wrong with that…as a car geek since the age of about 4. I'm 62 and have read car magazines cover to cover since I was in jr. high. Had a motorcycle at age 14 and know something about most of the brands in most of the countries in the world.

    Now, for me and a lot of others, the Models is good because it is an EXCELLENT sedan, very useable, entertaining, stylish and with strong performance. The fact that it is also electric is icing on the cake. When Tesla makes the right excellent car for me, I'll be buying one.

    GM has made a car that's in my wheelhouse. It's the new CTS. It burns fossil fuel, but it does what I want a car to do and what 4 consecutive A6's have done. As I said, Tesla is getting warmer.

    GM is not selling Volts because:

    1. They don't try very hard.

    2. The cars look like something slapped together to satisfy a government mandate. They are more than that but I wonder if GM realizes it. They're Prius fighters, not Audi, Merc, BMW and CTS fighters. They're gonna lose fighting the Prius. Well, maybe not. I'd rather have a Volt than a Prius. Mission accomplished? But I don't want a Volt either. Hmmm….

    3. I will not buy a car where the brakes work the regen. After driving Model S, I've discovered that the right way to handle this is make regen work when the car coasts like Tesla does. Then you can have proper brakes that feel linear and work well…and rarely need to be used. The regen slows the car enough for most driving.

    The thing about Tesla is that the owner drives and designs the cars. He's involved and he has the power to say "Wait a minute, let's back up." And he's done that many times, much to the short-term panic of stockholders and pundits like you. These small delays have resulted in a car and an assembly process that assures a really good driving experience and a quality car that will last many years.

    I see this car outlasting its battery. That'll be interesting when it starts to happen. I hope he handles it well and I think he will. He has been shown to take pretty good care of his customers.

    He's not afraid to charge for his stuff, but it's very good stuff!
    Dec 9, 2013. 05:26 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fisker dies but Karma EV might live  [View news story]
    I have to agree with most posts here so far. The Fisker Karma is a truly beautiful automobile. Unfortunately, it has some fatal flaws.

    1. It weighs 5500 lbs…more than an Escalade.

    2. Even the front seats feel cramped. I can't sit up straight in back.

    3. No truck space. Seriously, my Porsche CaymanS is more practical than this thing.

    4. In gasoline mode, it's not very frugal.

    5. …and this one is more important than it should be at first glance. The touch screen logic is terrible. The screen is small and it's too low on the dash to be used safely by the driver…and it is needed for a lot of routine things. It's pretty maddening and would make me kick myself for buying this car.

    6. I have no idea about the ability of this car to withstand inclement weather conditions and avoid corrosion. Then there is the availability of parts and service for it. Those giant tires are special 22 inch things. I imagine they are summer-only. Is it possible to even buy winters or all season tires for it?

    7. The fires that thing has had are pretty spectacular - probably due to above mentioned gasoline…and you don't need to crash one to lite it up, apparently.

    All that said, it's still gorgeous to look at…. Know that when you see one of these beauties on the road, it is YOU that is getting the most benefit from the car. That benefit would be the viewing of someone else's from afar.

    I like the concept of a hybrid with 50 mile range. I can drive to work and back without using any gas, charge it in the garage for the next day. When I needed to go further, I'd have the engine.

    That's fine in theory, but in execution, in this car, there is a lot of room for improvement. I doubt that any cash-strapped buyer of this company can fix what needs fixing on it and make a commercial go of it. What were they thinking????
    Nov 25, 2013. 12:03 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions  [View article]

    That's what I've been saying! Never mind the stock prices. The CAR is VERY GOOD.

    If people want to argue whether the stock should be at 200 or 100 or 400 or 50, go ahead, but the car is brilliant.
    Nov 22, 2013. 01:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions  [View article]

    Maybe NHTSA could put Musk on trial for war crimes too? Sheesh!
    Nov 22, 2013. 01:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions  [View article]

    +1. Well put.
    Nov 22, 2013. 01:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions  [View article]

    Tesla isn't a $200 stock. I think even Musk said that in an interview. His stated targets for the company are finite and reasonable and don't support that. Tesla fever is all from buyers counting on other buyers to balloon the stock's value.

    That said, I still like the product and the company. NHTSA's investigation isn't going to be about battery chemistry, they're going to take actual cars and crash them. Then they'll make recommendations based on what actually happens, not based on a bunch of theory pulled off the internet.

    I think we'll see that a combination of the car lowering itself at high speeds combined with a battery covering the floor combined with maybe a less than idea amount of armor in the interest of efficiency may draw some sort of recall for minor modification of the underbodies. Maybe.

    Lots of Tesla owners are thrilled with their cars as-is. That's the fact. There is no reason to tear at this company's reputation now. Let the investigation reveal whatever it reveals.
    Nov 22, 2013. 01:16 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding Tesla's Life Threatening Battery Decisions  [View article]

    Any claim that you don't have a vendetta against TSLA is just silly. How many anti-TSLA articles have you written now? 30?

    They used to be about batteries being bad for the environment, now they're not safe enough?

    I buy a Model S and drive over something big and sharp and it pierces the battery and starts a fire. Tesla buys me a new car and I don't get hurt. Heck, I can even get my stuff out of the car after the fire is out. A light on the dash tells me to pull over. How bad is that?

    Not very bad.

    We agree that watching Tesla stock go up and now down is fascinating. I, on the other hand, don't write "authoritative" articles encouraging its eminent demise.

    I don't know how you find the time for it, especially if you have no axe to grind with them.
    Nov 22, 2013. 01:01 PM | 19 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Who's minding the top sales job at Tesla?  [View news story]
    Joe Dimfield:

    He was fired? Do you know this for sure?

    Most of what irks me about Tesla was invented by George. I can understand the desire to pattern marketing after Apple, but there is a certain "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" feel to Tesla that I really hate. I love the Model S, but something feels creepy and I think George was behind most of it. Tesla can find someone better if they don't already have someone better.
    Nov 21, 2013. 02:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Putting The Tesla Engine Fires Into Perspective  [View article]
    Has anyone noticed the headline of this article? No Tesla has ever had an "Engine fire"! Fire was caused by the batteries being pierced by metal objects and the battery material catching fire when in contact with moisture in the air. Lithium does that. It's a chemical fire. Has nothing to do with the "engine". "Motor" is the correct word for an electric "Engine" anyway.

    If you're writing articles for money, at least get the headline right!
    Nov 20, 2013. 09:33 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Quickly Can Tesla Fix Its Problems?  [View article]

    "Rounding error"…I like that!

    Tesla is not going to be GM or Toyota. I don't think that's ever been Elon's stated goal for the company. Yes, they want to go "mainstream". Their goal is to make the electric car a mainstream choice. It's not to make all the cars in the world or even all the electric cars in the world. They want to turn a nice profit and prove to the world that this battery electric car idea can be a desirable choice for 70% or so of drivers. They want to get a healthy share of that or a share in the licensing of that. It is true that Tesla production represents a rounding error in the car business. I think a lot of people were taught that we'd be driving to work in flying cars and living on other planets by now. The reality is that the personal computer has lessened the need for travel and retail shopping. People don't need their cars as much as they used to.

    Battery cars are the best for 200 mile and less trips. That's something like 85% of driving in most places in the world…but in the US especially, most of us go farther some of the time and need their cars to be able to take them. We live in a big country.

    We live in big cities too. Getting from one end of my city to another and combining tasks to save trips is something a lot of people do from time to time. That means a 300 mile day now and then. A Model S with the biggest battery won't do 300 mile days without recharging or some very careful driving. In extreme weather, that number drops below 200 miles. Most days, most people are happy with that. Some days, most people won't be happy unless they happen to have a Supercharger on their route somewhere. The solution, of course, is to have another car and use it for long trips. This is an option I'm lucky enough to have as do most people who are currently considering a Model S. As the price point goes down, there will be more people who will not be happy depending on Model X/Gen3 as their only car.

    That gasoline cars work so well for so many is nothing short of a miracle. That miracle took a long time to happen. I can remember when cars didn't start in the morning, when they got really stuck in the snow. When they didn't have seat belts, when they had bad brakes and bad handling. Avoiding wrecks was a lot more difficult in those days and the wrecks killed a lot more people. Now, if you pay attention, you can stop in time or swerve in time. The tires and the cars are better. The engines generally start when asked and waste far less fuel.

    I think electric cars are here to stay, but they won't be all Teslas and they won't be the majority of cars for a very long time, if ever, without a real infrastructure change which would have to involve the government in a big way. Right now, there are so many alternative power schemes that the government has to try to accommodate (California's "Hydrogen Highway", for instance). They can't do a thorough job with any of them, so gasoline wins. When resources change and there is a pressing need, the method of powering cars will change too. There are now two new SAE standards for fast charging. Neither of them is the Tesla Supercharger and neither is as fast. We have all this stuff for gasoline because it's been the viable alternative for so long. Heck, even diesel is "alternative" by comparison, especially in the US.

    I love the Model S. I really hate when these articles come out making some sort of case that they aren't safe or aren't well designed. They are brilliant. I see this dip in stock price as a buying opportunity for people who believe in the company. Also think the stock has been overpriced at 200. No secret there. Musk himself has said that. I think Model S is a great idea, brilliantly executed and that the stock deserves a higher multiple than GM and Ford stock, but people are thinking Musk can wave a magic wand and suddenly make the decimal points move to the right…every quarter. This is not software that can be designed and then copied for next to no cost, this is real stuff that requires real work to produce…every time, not just the first time. It requires raw materials and components…for each one, not just the first one. It's one thing to have great ideas, another to execute them and yet another to keep the train rolling.

    Not sure what Tesla's next move will be. I think, most certainly, they will keep heading down the path they have laid for themselves. It's a good, viable path and it's my hope that battery tech will evolve a bit more and help them along even more. All this pushing out into the unknown is really good for the country and the economy and for my spirit.

    That guy John whatshisname can go fly a kite with his depressing articles. Does he think he's saving the world from electric cars? Does he think electric cars are going to take over in their current form? They won't and they can't. We'll see a lot more innovation in both electric and ICE technologies….Terrific! Meanwhile, S's begin to prowl around my neighborhood looking really good and I see a few more of them every week. Go Tesla!
    Nov 14, 2013. 07:01 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Quickly Can Tesla Fix Its Problems?  [View article]

    Q: "Who would leave their children in a car where there is a risk of catching on fire?"

    A: Everyone. "Normal" cars are full of GASOLINE. These cars did not spontaneously catch on fire all by themselves. They hit hard objects at speed. Would you expect a gasoline car to maybe catch fire if the gas tank was pierced by a piece of steel in the road? There are thousands of gasoline car fires every year. They are so routine that they don't get press anymore. Every time you see an accident on the road involving gasoline powered cars, a fire engine is there. Every car wreck in every action movie shows the car blowing up. What do you think blows up? Gasoline!
    Nov 14, 2013. 06:07 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Supercharging Station Mayhem  [View article]

    Seriously, if you're buying a car to take long trips in, it should be a diesel. If you make short trips, a well designed electric is best, hands down. For a mix of both, gasoline or hybrid are still the best answers.

    I'm sitting here with a 12 mile commute, 100 mile business trips twice a week and 400 mile business trips once a month plus a pesky 250 mile personal trip once or twice a month…just beyond the range of an S. No supercharger help on any of these trips. I can't do an electric with this schedule. Add the odd air travel necessity where my car sits in remote parking for a week and you're looking at a potentially miserable Tesla owner.

    The 12 mile commute makes a diesel slightly problematic too. They're just better going long. I'm stuck with gas or hybrid. I chose gas again this time. I think hybrids are heavy, slow things that don't handle very well. I just could not live with that (get to know me!). No, I'm not willing to pay $900,000 or so for a Porsche 918 and I don't count a car with a 500+ HP gas engine as a hybrid anyway...It's a gas car with KERS.

    I like my gasoline car. It's the most efficient one I've ever had. I know I'll be driving some sort of alternative in a few years. I'm open to anything that will work for me. Not open to paying 6 figures for an S that's going to leave me twiddling my thumbs in the middle of a workday. People who buy Teslas for long trips across the middle of the country are definitely in the leisure class with time on their hands. I love the S, but it's not time for me to have a Tesla yet.
    Nov 11, 2013. 03:33 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Supercharging Station Mayhem  [View article]

    I don't think Tesla will make batteries. There are plenty of companies out there making them already who will compete for Tesla's future business. Panasonic is making millions of those batteries for laptops etc. What makes you think they sell to Tesla at "loss leader" pricing? Tesla stays with Panasonic because they have a contract. They are not "at the mercy of Panasonic".

    Are you privy to inside information about the terms of Tesla's battery purchasing? Do tell, otherwise, there you go again saying things that you guess may be true.
    Nov 11, 2013. 03:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: It's Not The Company, It's The Valuation  [View article]
    The headline of this article says it all. And I agree too. Teslas are cool and the company is well run. The concept is exciting. I could see Tesla just making high-end electrics and doing quite well. In fact, going too mainstream may ruin its cache.

    But what do I know. I see Tesla as a company that sets reasonable goals and achieves or exceeds them in almost all cases. That's great. It doesn't make this stock worth $200 a share though.

    Author seems right on the money. I don't often agree with these articles but this one nails it. Nothing wrong with Tesla but something wrong with the values it's been trading at.
    Nov 7, 2013. 02:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment