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  • GM Pokes Tesla With Chevy Bolt Development Progress Report [View article]
    Ah, the recently released video from GM clearly shows a CCS Combo Type 1 socket and a person plugging in a ABB 175 amp CCS EVSE. Now, that means charging at roughly 70 kW max given the pack voltage, but it is L2 DC charging.
    Jun 25, 2015. 03:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Announces Model S Cars Get Driven Less Than What The Average U.S. Driver Drives [View article]
    I see you edited the article to remove the part making hay about the slight difference from average mileage from your calculations. Since if you want to get down to that slight difference, then we really have to examine your calculations in better detail.

    Now, for Tesla, they have to show to potential buyers that people drive the car just like other cars. It's not just a show piece, a weekend car like so many Porsche vehicles. So it's perfectly normal for companies to highlight their products in use. But to you, Tesla is somehow at fault for doing the same thing?
    Jun 25, 2015. 11:39 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Announces Model S Cars Get Driven Less Than What The Average U.S. Driver Drives [View article]
    Sure, but what would they have been doing otherwise?

    For the people you are discussing, the likely vehicles the Model S is replacing isn't a Prius or a Toyota Corolla but a Jaguar F-type or Porsche 911 or one of the German cars with twin turbo V8's. The environmental impact of a Model S is substantially lower than those vehicles. Plus, they still wouldn't drive that 911 in favor of the jet, at least not in substantially enough numbers.

    Therefore, getting the ones that spend the most energy to cut back is still a worthy goal.

    The per capita environmental impact of an American is significantly higher than that of the remainder of the globe. The per capita environmental impact of the top 1% by income of Americans is significantly higher than that of the remainder of Americans. That doesn't mean they shouldn't take steps to cut back.
    Jun 25, 2015. 11:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Announces Model S Cars Get Driven Less Than What The Average U.S. Driver Drives [View article]
    Actually, the 45% adjustment is insufficient to cover the rapid rise of deliveries within a year. That alone swamps the difference in the outcome at the end, so no conclusion can be made with respect to the average distance driven.

    On the other hand, we can conclude that the Model S isn't being left in the garage as a weekend car by the vast majority of drivers. If you go and see what the utilization rates are for other $80k-125k cars, you will see many of those are not driven as daily drivers. The Model S is clearly being driven as a daily driver.
    Jun 25, 2015. 10:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM Pokes Tesla With Chevy Bolt Development Progress Report [View article]
    Even with the upcoming Bolt and Leaf v2, Tesla will have several important advantages:

    1) superior motor with 3 phase induction
    2) superior specific energy density
    3) far lower cost per kWh
    4) far higher GWh of battery production
    5) dedicated specifically designed BEV platform
    6) the only SAE Level 3 DC charging network designed to support long distance travel

    Tesla isn't afraid to compete... after all, they compete head to head against ICE vehicles now. None of the upcoming BEV or PHEV models will cause any dent in Tesla's sales - they will be production constrained regardless. GM will similarly easily move every Bolt they make, but that doesn't mean Tesla won't easily move every Model 3 they make for the foreseeable future.
    Jun 25, 2015. 09:39 AM | 31 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM Pokes Tesla With Chevy Bolt Development Progress Report [View article]
    ZEV type III means 200+ miles of UDDS range, or about 160 miles of EPA 5 cycle range with an urban vehicle like the i3, Leaf, or Bolt.

    Tesla Model 3 has to have about 205 miles of actual EPA range in order to use the Tesla Supercharger network in a real world basis. Even the base model is expected to have Supercharger capability.

    Therefore, the Bolt is likely to have 33-35 kWh of usable battery capacity and the base Model 3 has to have about 45-50 kWh of usable battery capacity. These are going to be different classes of vehicles, even based on just range. That's why GM hasn't stated the actual scenario by which they claim 200 miles of range. At one point, Nissan was claiming 124 miles of range in the first generation Leaf.

    Given the LG battery production capacity through 2017, we are likely to see the Bolt produced in quantities less than the Tesla Model S + X at that time even before discussing the Model 3.
    Jun 25, 2015. 09:27 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Distractions And Opportunities For Tesla Batteries: Cars, Home Storage, Now Commercial Storage [View article]

    Of course it does matter what kinds of battery cells are being made. BYD, thus far, seems to making large amounts of LiFePO4 cells which basically have no future in modern BEVs. They are extremely heavy and the actual tested performance of the BYD e6 is abysmal. You can't trust the BYD published specs as they take the exaggeration level up more than a few notches. They are finding some domestic success, but will have little to no impact globally until they license NMC or choose a different battery strategy.
    Jun 2, 2015. 11:45 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volvo Makes An SUV Out Of The BMW i8 To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    Mr. Wahlman,

    The point is still that this Volvo has no impact on the sales of Tesla vehicles. This Volvo is a terribly anemic electric vehicle. If people want to be thoughtless, why bother with the PHEV version of this SUV? They sell plenty of non-PHEV versions and will sell many non-PHEV versions. The PHEV version is a terrible compromise since the electric portion is so awful.
    May 25, 2015. 09:49 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volvo Makes An SUV Out Of The BMW i8 To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    Mr. Wahlman, you of all people should know the price premium as one moves up the performance ladder.

    0-60 in 4.4 seconds is a significant difference - compare against a BMW X5 for instance:

    X5 sDrive35i - 6.1 sec, $54k
    X5 sDrive50i - 4.7 sec, $70k

    Or a Porsche Cayenne:

    Cayenne - 7.2 sec, $58k
    Cayenne S - 5.1 sec, $75k
    Cayenne GTS - 4.8 sec, $96k

    An upcoming Model X is likely to rival the 0-60 performance of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (3.8 sec 0-60) which goes for $157k. It will likely cost significantly less than the Cayenne Turbo S.

    The Cayenne S E-hybrid suffers from the same problem as the Volvo XC60 T8... it also has an anemic electric powertrain (95 hp, 229 lb-ft). It also costs roughly the same. It actually has a bigger battery pack (10.8 kWh versus 9.2 kWh) and stronger motor. And yet, we don't see droves of Model X prospective purchasers defecting to the Cayenne S E-hybrid. Why would they defect to the Volvo?

    Now, it's a good thing if people that aren't ready to buy a pure BEV to choose a plug-in hybrid so that they do have better efficiency and burn a little less petroleum. But it would be a mistake to assume that affects Tesla's prospects in the near or medium term at all.
    May 25, 2015. 08:07 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volvo Makes An SUV Out Of The BMW i8 To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    Talk about compromise. This Volvo has old generation battery technology. It can only muster 77 Wh/kg from it's battery. That's absolutely horrendous. Only 6.5 kWh is actually usable, or 1/12th the amount of a Tesla 85 kWh battery (78 kWh usable, 156 Wh/kg specific energy at the pack level). The XC90 T8 weighs 550 lbs heavier than the gasoline only version. Combined with terrible aerodynamics, you can drive like a grandma with 0-60 times rivaling a Ford Pinto for maybe 17 miles.

    It's an embarrassing effort viewed from the viewpoint of an electric vehicle. Maybe when they can source the next generation of cells, develop new AC induction motor, they might have something. Still always going to be inferior to a Tesla pure BEV simply due to the compromise of having both drivetrains.
    May 25, 2015. 07:45 PM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volvo Makes An SUV Out Of The BMW i8 To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    Mr. Wahlman,

    With 82 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque for a 5,000 lb vehicle, pure electric mode will be torturous and in some cases, unsafe. So the amount of pure electric driving will not be 20 miles in reality as hardly anyone will operate this vehicle in that mode. It might as well not have a pure electric mode at all. The only way for it to have anywhere near acceptable performance for a luxury SUV of its price will be to also have the downsides of an internal combustion engine - vibration, noise, pollution, gasoline carbon emissions, and odors.

    May 25, 2015. 07:08 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Volvo Makes An SUV Out Of The BMW i8 To Compete With Tesla [View article]
    One thing to note is that the electric motor in the XC90 T8 is only 82 hp. So if you are driving in "Pure Electric" mode and you only have 82 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque to move a vehicle that weighs somewhere around 5,000 lbs is a recipe for one of the most unpleasant driving experiences for an unfortunate new owner of a Volvo XC90. They'll be the laughingstock of their circle of friends. We'll get to see if this new Volvo XC90 can beat a Ford Pinto or Datsun B210 in 0-60 times... somewhere around 18 seconds?

    PHEV's will lose to pure BEVs due to physics. You have to either skimp on the battery drivetrain or skimp on the ICE drivetrain. Or severely cramp the passenger room. Pick your poison. The solution to range anxiety is more high speed chargers > 100 kW and to have a charging station at home and/or work.
    May 25, 2015. 05:03 PM | 18 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Share Price Means That Everyone Else Is The Winner [View article]
    Volte-Face Investments,

    Your focus on traditional IP play is messing with your mind and your projections. Typically in the tech world, a focus on using IP as an offensive weapon means that the company is lacking ideas and vision. Tesla is still conducting research and development to get IP, but has stated that they have volunteered to have a non-aggression pact with respect to their IP. They don't want to be bothered with competing on the legal basis for IP, they'd rather slaughter the competition on the product side with faster innovation and product development lifecycle. To compete on the legal basis is a distraction. That doesn't mean that they won't defend themselves... Tesla and Mr. Musk are famously litigious when it comes to perceived injustice.

    As for the batteries, Panasonic does not make Tesla's batteries. Panasonic makes Tesla's cells to Tesla's spec. Tesla's cells don't work well in a car without designing a proper battery enclosure system to mitigate the inherent dangers of high energy cells. No one else, so far, has bothered to go down this road as they are content to wait for other battery chemistry advancements. So far, for mass production, no one else has bothered to go with Tesla's approach and they hope that the technology and lifecycle issues with NMC v2 will be solved in order to make it to market in 2017/2018 with a cell that has lower specific energy, but possibly make up for that at the pack level. However, Tesla's cells are not going to be the same by that time period either and forgoing liquid thermal management has thus far been problematic as the range in the cold is severely curtailed and the damage in hot conditions has been significant. Therefore, it is likely that the current approach by the various manufacturers will see a result that their cell and pack level specific energy will be significantly worse than Tesla's solution for quite some time to come. This directly translates into inferior products from non-Tesla manufacturers due to lack of access to the best technologies.

    Then we get to the issue of mass manufacturing. Last year, Tesla sold more GWh of cells than any other automaker. See:

    LG Chem's marketshare dropped into the single digits. If you look closer, you will realize that the cells made for BEVs are different from the cells make for hybrids and for plug-in hybrids. Panasonic's Osaka factories are likely to be capable of at least 7 GWh of production in 2016. By 2017, Tesla will likely have at least 14 GWh of cell production on tap between the first phase of the Gigafactory and Panasonic's plants in Japan. If you look at the planned expansion of all the other manufacturers that make advanced cells (eliminate non-competitive chemistries like LiFePO4), you will see that Tesla will have a far higher level of production than anyone else devoted to BEV production.

    Then we get to cost. Tesla's battery has the lowest cost per kWh of any mass produced BEV and their pricing is so low that many so called battery industry experts still get their cost projections wrong. Tesla charges about $280/kWh at retail price for their battery. That means the cell costs are under $200/kWh, with an SAE report saying $160/kWh. That's before the cost reductions going into the Gigafactory. Other competitors typically pay 80-100% higher per kWh. This dynamic is unlikely to change in the near future - everyone's price is dropping, but Tesla's price points are still likely the lowest by far.

    Further, Tesla is the only mass manufacturer to use AC induction asynchronous motors. Everyone else has gone the easier development route with synchronous motors, but even the hybrid versions used by BMW for instance has permanent magnets. That increases the mineral usage, specifically of rare earth minerals for which the Tesla drivetrain uses none. It takes more time to develop the AC induction motor controller and software for automotive use, but it is worth it for high power applications and for scaling to high volume. Your basic industrial AC induction motor is not well suited which is why Tesla had to develop and build their own AC induction motors. For true mass scale, the manufacturers will have to move away from their current synchronous motors. Tesla's motors represent the state of the art for mass produced electric motors.

    Then we get to charging. Tesla is the only manufacturer with a true L3 DC charging network. Achieving a true 100 kW charge rate is a significant landmark, as that is the minimum necessary to support a reasonable long distance travel cadence. The existing CHAdeMO and CCS standards are limited to 200 amps, which means they top out at 80 kW with a 75 kW typical charging rate. So even as the manufacturers churn out products that will eventually handle 100 kW charging, they are starting from scratch to build a real L3 DC charging network. They have not yet even begun while Tesla has been building a real L3 DC charging network for quite some time with the right considerations of charge rate, number of plugs per site, and the geographic location of each site. If you look at the L2 DC charging networks of CHAdeMO and CCS, you will see that they really are not even starting. The sites are typically not set up for inter-city travel, there is typically only a single plug, and at any one time, 15-30% of their charging network is out of service. This can be fixed by the 2018 timeframe, but they haven't actually started yet even given the recent DC charging announcements by both Nissan/BMW and other manufacturers as well as 3rd party charging networks. They have to standardize new charging stations, plugs, get the products approved, and then start building sites. The existing CHAdeMO and CCS DC charging infrastructure will be seen as a huge waste of money, just like the Blink L2 charging network that deployed a slew of useless 16-24 amp EVSE's at mostly the wrong places and have fallen into disrepair while soaking up lots of investor and taxpayer money.

    Tesla's advantages are numerous and the automakers that currently spend billions battling each other with ICE technology will have to start diverting funds to EVs in bigger chunks. That will leave them vulnerable as they have to fight a two front war while they have mostly outsourced everything except for sales, management/accounting and ICE drivetrain development.
    May 22, 2015. 09:51 AM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sorry Tesla, But No Battery Cigar [View article]
    There's no mention of Tesla's actual big play in stationary storage - commercial and utility scale stationary storage using their NCA cells and battery management systems priced at $250/kWh. Tesla expects this demand to be 80-90% of their stationary storage demand, and yet the author does a poor job of discussing only the PowerWall portion.

    Even that portion that does start to look at the PowerWall product does not examine the difference between the 7 kWh version and the 10 kWh version or really the prices for the other products. Instead, we get a bit of hand waving. How about depth of discharge on lead acid battery systems and how that affects lifespan? How about the cost differential with AGM versus wet lead acid and the maintenance issues with wet cells? How about the vented room or enclosure necessary for wet cells?

    Then of course, we get treated to P/E ratio comparison with some major auto companies. Of course, the implication is that the author believes that Tesla business is exactly like other automakers. But the reality is that it is not like other automakers other than the fact that they both make vehicles for consumers. Beyond that, there are a lot of differences.
    May 20, 2015. 01:37 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Turns Out A Tesla Supercharger Costs 2 Or 3 Times What Elon Musk Said [View article]

    In this thread alone, the number of errors and misconceptions you lay out is funny enough, but then your constant pivoting when people point out your errors is completely laughable. You still can't tell the difference between the various DC charging locations, networks, charging levels, and economics.

    It isn't the Tesla level 3 charging network that is in economic jeopardy, it is the existing DC Level 1 and 2 charging networks that won't be able to make back their install costs before they are hopelessly obsolete. Go ahead and find the costs for upgrading a 50 kW CHAdeMO station to > 200A. You'll find that they'll have to pull out all the existing wiring and replace the entire EVSE. A few can upgrade from 125 amps to 200 amps, even that is not Level 3. Given that a combo CHAdeMO/CCS 50 kW EVSE currently costs $35,000 to $50,000 for each plug, figure out the number of charges x fees it would be to make that back. Of course, Nissan and BMW are both still pumping money into the losing proposition that is Level 1 and 2 DC charging. They simply don't have a real Level 3 standard to use, either on the EVSE side or the vehicle side.

    Even with an aggressive growth plan for the number of plugs for Level 2 DC charging, the problem is that they need 3x the number of stations to cover the same length of road. It really isn't designed to support long distance travel.

    Once SAE or the CHAdeMO standards bodies sort out real Level 3 charging, Tesla can adapt to it. Of course, CHAdeMO is likely dead in the U.S. going forward, as the entire existing L2 DC charging infrastructure will be obsolete soon enough with their own 2nd generation BEVs, unless they want to ship those 2nd generation BEVs with crippled DC charging standard support. Remember, the connectors in both SAE Combo 1 and CHAdeMO plugs are limited to 200 amps.

    Simply the economics for DC Level 3 charging is rough for those hoping to make money on usage fees. The vast majority of the electricity used in BEVs is obtained from the home at very low rates. The costs can be borne by an automaker or a government, but private DC charging networks is likely a fail for a very long time. Level 2 AC J1772, on the other hand, is likely to be and will need to be far more successful. The install costs are far lower per plug (10x) and the resulting electricity use compared to the attraction effect makes sense for shopping malls and other businesses. Even AC Level 1 will have uses, especially in long term stay places like airport parking lots or cruise ship parking lots.

    In the end, Nissan and BMW are wasting their money on Level 2 DC build out - they could help build a long term useful Level 2 80 amp AC charging network, but they'd rather waste lots of money in a failing attempt at making their soon-to-be-dead plug relevant. They're not happy about it - Tesla is forcing Level 3 far faster than they wanted it to happen. Without Tesla, Level 2 would be the state of the art for far longer, possibly 5 more years than it otherwise would have been.
    May 14, 2015. 01:42 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment