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Discussion in 'Roadster' started by TEG, Jun 26, 2007.
Not entirely flattering:
Speculative. If the Tesla Li-ion Batteries get 100,000 miles and last 5 years, I'd bet owners wouldn't mind replacing them for the $30,000 cost. Especially if range and price improve. Who the hell expects to purchase a car and not dump any money in it after five years, anyhow?
The majority of ICE powered cars in a 5 year / 100,000 miles framework will not require $ 30,000 of repairs or maintenence. In most instances the car is not worth $ 30,000 after 5 years. Modern cars are quite reliable, with the average owner only spending to replace "consumables" (tires-brakes-oil chages- filters) with no desire to perform any major repairs.
Electric vehicles command a substantial premium from the outset, the innovative electric manufacturer will find ways to alleviate any and all concerns for the batteries. Especially that the batteries could be more money than the value of the car - or devaluate the car to almost zero.
The first customer / owner will "lease"(walk away) an electric vehicle for a term that is within the "warranty parameters", and walk away from the car at the end of the lease. His accountant or financial advisor will suggest to this customer to lease the car, and not deal with the "battery downside".
In most instances the electric vehicle manufacturer will guarantee the "residual value" on the lease, and the manufacturer will need to develop innovative ways of remarketing a "used electric vehicle" with a looming $ 30,000 battery down side / liability.
Marketing / selling / leasing electric vehicles will require innovative / creative solutions.
The Niedermeyer editorial is a recycling of the same EV criticism that has been written about since the early 20th century.
These critiques always have one or more of the same issues:
How many of us plan to do a “120mph blast” on a regular basis?
EV’s are here to stay this time around. There are too many factors working against ICE vehicles. When one weighs the potential benefits of EVs against their drawbacks, then compares that to supply & demand for oil, rising fuel prices and environmental issues there is no contest. The percentages of those who drive < 100 miles/day and have access to daily or almost-daily charging greatly outnumber all other circumstances.
The holy grail appears to be 500 mile range. If that can be achieved editorials knocking EVs will be limited to the remaining issues, which can be addressed concurrently. As we know, price is largely a factor of battery costs.
If it costs $30,000 to purchase another 5 years out of the Roadster--it doesn't sound like such a bad deal to me. Say Tesla offers that as an extended warranty. Think these people that purchased wouldn't jump at it? That's insurance that seems reasonable with the market that we're talking about here. This isn't a Honda Civic, so I would think $30,000 every five years (assuming no major breakthroughs) isn't so bad. The EV industry is in its infancy and it'd be nice to see such insurance. Plus Tesla, if its product is solid, could make a bundle.
Fast recharge can also play a role. I think if you can achieve fast recharge times (minutes, not hours), then you can cut the range requirement in half or better. A car that can go 100 miles and recharge in 10 minutes could be just as useful as a car that can go 200 miles and recharge in several hours. The "holy grail" could be a car that can go 500 miles and then charge overnight, or it could be a car that can go a good 200 miles and recharge in 15-20 minutes, and then go some more. Of course that assumes fast recharge stations would be installed in suitable places in cities and along the main highways.
Given the lack of recharge stations (fast or otherwise) in today's world, cars with the longest possible range have a strong appeal now. Yet, given the constraints of li-ion energy density, there's a strong incentive from an engineering standpoint to cut half (or more) of that battery mass and cost out of the car. Fast-recharge stations would be the way to achieve it.
Ironically, I'm usually on the other side of the argument when this subject comes up. Typically it's somebody saying electric cars can't be successful until they can recharge in 10 minutes, then I have to jump in and say fast charging isn't necessary if you can get the range long enough. It's something you can approach from either direction. It may be something that different companies will approach from both directions.
To DDB: Tesla have estimated the replacement cost for the battery should be somewhere around $12,000 if li-ion prices follow their trends over the next five years. $30,000 is probably more than they cost even at today's prices. It's also possible that they could last longer than five years -- depending on how picky you are about range and performance as they degrade.
Electric cars need to be marketed and sold that batteries are not an issue or a cost, mentioning to a potential electric car customer that is paying an initial premium, additionally he will also support the price of a battery pack in 5 years or less is a "transaction breaker" from the outset.
As for power degradation, mainstream electric cars will not be overpowered, consequently power degradation due to worn out batteries will not be a "customer acceptable feature".
The majority of ICE vehicles sold have a range of 300 to 350 miles.
At the Beverly Hills car show the other day, a TM rep said something about $20,000 being the current price.
If $20,000 now, I would say a $12,000 pack seems reasonable in a few years. Eberhard said a few months ago that the pack's cost was composed of 40-45 percent non-battery componentry, with the rest coming from the cells. The non-cell part of it should drop in price with large-scale buying, while the cell pricing will follow whatever the world-wide battery marketplace asks for them.
And your comment about range vs. recharge time is spot on: they really are fungible. The question is which one we'll reach first -- the 500 mile battery, or the infrastructure to support 10-minute charging of (say) a 35-50kWh pack, or some acceptable combination of the two.
The price premium might be an issue for you folks in the US but in other countries things might be different. As I mentioned in my topic "Best place to sell car is in Norway" in Norway the Roadster will be relatively cheap, not compared to Miatas but definately compared to bottom-tier Porsches. And that's just the purchase price, the fact that power is almost free, you can drive in the buslane, no yearly cartax, and pass freely through all toll booths as well as free central parking with power is just icing on the cake.
Most other European countries have similar laws that favor EVs though usually not that much in the EVs favor.
I hear everyone talking about power degradation when the battery pack is wearing out. Is this true? My laptop has a pretty crappy battery now around 50% of original performance and my laptop is just as fast as when it was new, but it has shorter range, i.e. time until I have to recharge. Wouldn't most EV be similar, the accelaration is the same, but your range suffers as the battery looses power.
The majority of ICE vehicles has essentially unlimited range, anyone telling you different as a way to "even" the score between the ICE and a EV is being silly. But I can't really see the big problem with range at all. As long as the EV can do one normal day's worth of travel it's fine...
Range degradation is definitely the thing you will notice most.
Depending on how their electronics and eMotor actually work, the performance degradation may be minimal until the batteries are really far gone.