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500 mile range Tesla - why not?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by daniel Ox9EFD, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. daniel Ox9EFD

    daniel Ox9EFD Member

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    On the one hand I get that this is somewhat of a distraction right now. And it goes against prior statements of Elon.
    But then if there is a market for it, and I think there is... why not?
    It should probably wait until Tesla is no longer production limited. But other than that I see no serious reason not to have such a product.
     
  2. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    #2 sandpiper, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
    I think Elon has a bit of the California mindset when he talks about the 300 mile range. For the most part 300 works. But in a lot of the world, for a lot of the year you need a lot more than 300 to give you 300.

    I would be absolutely thrilled with 300 mile REAL WORLD range in February, with a comfortable cabin and windshield defrost. So in a cold climate that demands a 500 mile battery. With the current battery I would get maybe 120 or 130 miles on a cold January day, running the heat as I would normally on an ICE car.

    There IS a market for an S with a bigger battery. Absolutely. If you told me that I could pay 25K to trade my 85kWh battery up to 120kWh today I would be first in line. And that would completely eliminate my range anxiety. No amount of software telling me definitively that the closest supercharger is out of reach unless I drive 70km/hr and freeze my and my family's backsides off is going to solve that problem.
     
  3. SW2Fiddler

    SW2Fiddler Bannd Member

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    #3 SW2Fiddler, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
    Maybe for the truck (excess would be for towing, for cargo, or to power tools and air compressors, not additional miles). But Elon said yesterday, for driving, anything over "400 miles" rated range would be wasted weight to haul around (implicit: "leeching the mileage you've gained"). Because Superchargers.

    Rocket Scientists think about these things. All. The. Time. Mo' Fuel means Mo' Mass.
     
  4. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    Yes, but the Tesla is not going straight up. Adding weight will add a bit to rolling resistance but nothing else. Air resistance is the big factor that drives energy consumption and a bigger battery wouldn't change that one iota. The added energy consumption from a bigger battery would be minimal in normal driving conditions.

    PLUS, if the current 85kWh pack weighs 1000lbs or so then we're looking at adding 450lbs to the car (less than 10% of the current vehicle mass) to bring it up to 120kWh. Again, I'm not seeing a major downside. It would cost more. That's probably the biggie.
     
  5. SR22pilot

    SR22pilot Member

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    To double the range with present technology would mean making the battery pack twice as thick which would mean raising the interior floor. If they could get a battery with 2X the energy density at the same price per KWH then they could do but at a very high price. It would probably be better to lower the interior floor for more comfort and perhaps even narrow the car while keeping range and battery expense the same as it is now. The Model S is over 2" wider than the S Class Mercedes at 86.2 (77.3) vs. 83.9 (74.8) width (mirrors folded).
     
  6. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Several things to think about:

    As you say, it'd cost more - the notional 120 kWh pack would probably add about ten grand to Tesla's cost - so probably fifteen thousand in MSRP.

    Right now, we believe Tesla is battery limited - that is, they are selling as many cars as they can get batteries out into packs for. If that is the case, every pair of 120 kWh cars they sell costs them an 85 kWh sale - which means they'd have to raise the profit margin to compensate, and reduce the production guidance as well.

    There isn't really a way for them to expand the current footprint of the battery pack for the additional cells. They could possibly put a second pack in the Frunk space, but that means a bunch of duplicated pieces - contactors and writing and BMS at a minimum, and may change the crash safety of the car, which uses that whole area as a crush zone. (The handling would of course be affected, too.)

    Even with more space, integrating more battery isn't necessarily simple. The power electronics and motors are all designed around a 400V system - 96 cells in series (which seems to have become the defacto EV standard most folks are using.) The simplest form of addition, stringing more modules into the pack, would result in about 600V, which would likely be hard on the electronics, and I believe is beyond the rated output of the Superchargers.

    So you'd have to put the additional capacity in parallel, which means changing the module design and all the plates and automated assembly for that - and most likely means fewer modules in the same space.

    Finally, there are the Superchargers. There are a lot of places they currently don't reach, but Tesla expects to change that in the next couple of years, in which case that extra battery capacity will be largely wasted unless you like to drive for six or seven hours without a single stop.

    Walter
     
  7. daniel Ox9EFD

    daniel Ox9EFD Member

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    I agree its quite a hack. But as far as demand, when I lived in Canada I'd go camping. It's a reasonable scenario to drive 3+ hours in elevated terrain and cold weather, park the car, sleep for the night and then 3+ hours back.

    This plus having one less thing to think about on a daily basis.
     
  8. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    My point is more about Elon's comment that there's no market for a car with over 300 mile range. I mostly agree. Except that he's not presently selling a car with 300 mile range. In cold climates of the northern US and Canada, he's selling a car with 130 mile winter range - assuming that you want to travel a reasonable speed and not freeze your butt off. I have no doubt that there are technical issues and supply constraints and a whole bunch of reasons why they're not increasing the range.

    But... there is absolutely a market. Even now in late March, my P85D has a highway range of maybe 170 to 180 miles in a comfortable cabin, and travelling 5 MPH over the limit. Sure I can nurse it out to more, but freezing the family and being the slowest car on the road is not what we're after here.
     
  9. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    Even though the Tesla Model S is a no compromise vehicle for many people -- particularly in the biggest markets for the car, given the price -- the Tesla cannot begin to fill every transportation gap. Even a 500 mile battery wouldn't accommodate everybody's needs. The same can be said for every ICE vehicle. Indeed, I can't think of one ICE option that fulfills everybody needs. If you want to drive 600 miles on one tank and get 50 MPG, you're going to make some compromises on hauling capabilities, luxury, price, etc. Likewise, if you want to haul 2 tons -- don't count on getting more than 15 MPG. And yes, gas stations are everywhere, but refueling is far from the only consideration.

    Regardless, I hope that Tesla (and possibly future partners) make Supercharger-level (or faster) recharging ubiquitous in the long run, but obviously we are a long way from that point. Moreover, the need for as many charging stations as there are gas stations is questionable anyway given the ease of charging at home for most buyers (recognizing that charging at home is not easy in some cities and countries).
     
  10. SR22pilot

    SR22pilot Member

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    I thought the number he gave was 400 and it was 400 miles of real range including winter. Whether it is 300 or 1,000, there is a number where range ceases to be a huge deal. You see this in ICE cars. As SC's get more numerous, there will be an upper limit to what range is important to 90% of buyers. It won't make sense to consume more space and drive up cost for greater range.

    - - - Updated - - -

    If you had all interstate highways covered along with charging at most hotels I think you would be pretty well covered and no where near the number of SC's as of gas stations. On interstate routes where there are 4 gas stations at an exit you would only need one batch of SC's. Around town you would have home charging and hotel charging. That would cover most uses. As we shift to all cars being electric then staying with friends would just involve using their charger.
     
  11. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    He's used different numbers different times. In any case he's not producing a 400km winter car right now. On both of the two long winter trips that I did this year, I couldn't make it to a SC located about 290 km from my house despite driving 10km below the limit, being the slowest car on the road and using the bare minimum of defrost required to allow me to see out of the windshield. In both cases I stop at around the 160km point for an hour to add some juice at a 70 amp charger.

    To me a 400 km winter car means that you can travel 400k in the winter in reasonable comfort at reasonable highway speeds. You simply won't do that with a 85kWh battery. You'd need at least 120.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Right. But, I'm assuming that the northern US (and southern Canada by extension) is also intended to be a significant market. Distances are long and winters are cold. Right now the car is very limited for a significant part of the year in those areas.
     
  12. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

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    Looking at bigger battery packs for increased range is one possible solution with inherent drawbacks. Another path to increased range is battery chemistry. Somewhere, somehow there has to be a proven chemistry that will provide a 50% increase in range without compromising the number of cells required and weight. The Battery Discussion topic of this forum is strewn with links and discussions about new "discoveries" that just do not seem to pan many out years later. I am hoping one of these eventually does and can be incorporated into existing and future packs.

    Another large drain on the battery is using the heater. As sandpiper points out, it can greatly impact range. My one-way commute to work is 32 miles. When the heat is on at a low fan setting and cabin temperature set to 66 degrees, I can expect a 9 or 10 mile loss in range on a 32-mile trip. One time, I experienced a 40-mile loss in range on a 90-mile trip! A more efficient system would be welcome. Currently, it is too cold here in NY to think about AC; but I find that using it does not consume as much battery as the heater.
     
  13. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Too much cost/weight/space penalty for a 500 mile battery any time soon. It's smarter to have a real world range comparable with an average ICE car (+/- 300 miles) and a more developed supercharger network.
     
  14. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    #14 sandpiper, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
    There's no way to make a more efficient heater. All heaters are 100% efficient, excepting for heat pump/geothermal type systems which are more than 100% efficient, but impossible in a moving vehicle.

    I agree that there are good reasons why we're only getting an 85 right now. And I hope that chemistry will make it possible provide more in the future. Again, I was dealing with Elon's comments that "They could build a 500 mile S, but there is no market - and that 250 to 300 is the sweet spot". In NY, like up here in Ontario, in the dead of winter, there was nothing I could have done to make the car go more than about 250km/150 miles on a charge. That's a long long way from Elon's sweet spot.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sure... and in California you might be driving a 85kwH 300 mile car. In the Northern US and Canada this winter we were driving 85kWH/170 mile cars. My range is nowhere comparable to an ICE car. If it were, that would be great.
     
  15. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    I've seen a news article where Elon was quoted as saying that a greater range Model S is eventually coming. With battery advancements, they might be able to offer a 400 mile range for the Model S without any additional weight by 2017.

    Before that, let's have a successful Model X launch, full Supercharger network built and Model 3 launch. If they can do all of these things and come out with a 400 mile range Model S in parallel, more power to them!
     
  16. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I believe Elon made a comment that even if they could build it now, they wouldn't as they are aiming to follow a 7 year cycle before doing major upgrades to their car (this will address buyer remorse somewhat). So if they release a longer range Model S, it'll be because they are doing a next generation Model S, not a current generation. Of course all bets are off when talking about the Model X.
     
  17. larmor

    larmor Member

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    Range is more of an emotional appeal. Range for long trips can use SCs as people can plan their route. People can plan and the car can too. And daily use with charging at night will assure users that range is not an issue. HOwever to get lookers to be buyers and users, there is still the idea that their is more range on hand, whether they need it or not.

    Recall all the news press regarding a 400 mille range roadster upgrade, for what several thousand owners who might drive a two seater 400 miles? I doubt that anyone is driving a roadster that far (imho). If i had a roadster, likely i would have a MS or some other larger more comfortable car, and would want to drive to SF from OC, since it may be equal time to drive vs plane-- arrive early to airport, flight, car rental etc. The elimination of SC use, ie saving 1 hour, with a longer range, would make the case for driving.

    Addition of autopilot on the highway would make this a no brainer vs. short 1 hour flights.
     
  18. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Top 10 small cars with the longest total driving range

    Long before electric vehicles were part of the mainstream conversation, car lovers and skinflints alike would boast about the total range of their vehicles. There's something about getting farther down the road on one tank of gas that inflames the competitive spirit, almost as much as horsepower output or top speed.

    Of course, the vehicles with the very best range on today's market are almost all big trucks and SUVs, all with the ability to carry massive reserves of fuel. A standard
    Chevy Suburban can do a theoretical 682 miles on the highway, for instance, while a diesel-fed Jeep Grand Cherokee manages 688 miles.


    1. 2015 BMW 328d: 45 mpg, 15 gal, 675 miles

    3. 2015 Volvo S60 T5: 37 mpg, 17.8 gal, 659 miles (Top non diesel)

    http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/19/top-10-small-cars-longest-total-driving-range/
     
  19. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    I'm not sure how much Tesla is focused specifically on the northern US and Canada, but obviously Norway is working out well. I suspect the issue here, as you pointed out, is that distances are greater are in the US and Canada then Norway and this limits the car in winter time. Thus, we get back to the problem of the Model S not being to fill every niche yet. Obviously more superchargers would ease the headaches. Otherwise, you'll have to start hibernating for the winter:wink:
     
  20. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    That is the difference of course. I freely admit that I'm on the outer edge of the market for this car. But... we just went through a brutal winter of pretty regular -20s. And the loss in range was astounding. On one very cold day I left the house with 80% charge. After a day of 130 km of drive, with admittedly a lot of short trips and with the heater operating , I returned home with 24 km of rated range remaining. 400 km my eyeball!

    Temperatures are floating in and around the zero mark here and even with that I normally get home showing an average consumption of 275 wh/km.

    Bump the batteries to 120 and it's a totally different game for this vehicle.
     

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