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EVs and Tesla Talking Points for Radio Guest

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2014 S P85 | 2023 F-150L
Jun 27, 2013
Kansas City, MO
I'm going to be a guest on a half hour radio segment on Tuesday, Feb 23, 2016 at 5pm Central. We will be discussing EVs and Tesla. It will be on KOPN 89.5 fm (News | KOPN 89.5 fm).

I'm putting together some general talking points based on what I expect to be discussed. I'm posting here for community review. Let me know if you think anything is missing, or wrong, or if you have any other relevant thoughts.

Here's my list so far:

Tesla / EV Talking Points

1) ICE / Hybrid / EV

* Hybrid has battery, regenerative braking, can use energy from regen to help power car. More efficient than ICE but still ultimately powered by gas.
* Plug-in Hybrid has bigger battery, can be plugged in. Can operate on battery alone in many cases until battery is depleted, then operates much like a hybrid. Powered by electricity and gas.
* EV powered entirely by battery.
* EV Pros/Cons
** Pros
*** No emissions (green, no local smog, no smell, can operate indoors)
*** Promise of low maintenance
*** More interior space
*** Quiet operation
*** Can refuel at home
** Cons
*** Battery cost
*** Range
*** Refuelling time

2) Efficiency in general vs cost. Break even?

* EVs more efficient than gas cars and generally cost less to fuel. How much can be saved depends on electricity rates and gas prices. An EV like the Leaf, if using average electricty cost in the US, would cost around $3.48 to travel 100 miles (based on Edmunds article).

** Discussion of MPGe?
*** Developed to provide comparison against traditional MPG.
**** Gallon of gas has 115K BTUs, the electricity equivalent is estimated at 33.7 kilowatt-hours.

3) On the market now?

* Gas/Hybrid cars of interest

** Prius
** Smart car
** Elio (not on market, but worth a mention)

* Plug-in hybrids

** Chevy: Volt
** Ford: Energi brand -- Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi
** Toyota: Prius Plug-In
** Honda: Accord Plug-In
** Hyundai: Sonata Plug-In
** Porsche: E-Hybrid brand
** Audi: A3 E-Tron

* EVs

** Nissan: Leaf
** Chevy: Spark EV, Bolt (on market soon)
** Ford: Focus EV
** Tesla: Roadster, Model S, Model X, Model 3 (coming soonish)
** BMW: i3
** Volkswagen: e-Golf (limited availability)
** Kia: Soul EV
** Smart: Smart Electric Drive

4) new and near term prototype attributes

* Auto-pilot
* Self-driving cars
* Gigafactory mention?

5) About Tesla...

* The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (8/2/2006)

** Build sports car
** Use that money to build an affordable car
** Use that money to build an even more affordable car
** While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options

* The Green Argument

** Rising CO2 levels a concern. All our eggs are in one basket.
** Experts overwhelmingly say it's a problem.
** Need to move away from fossil fuels someday anyway.

* Don't build green cars; build great cars. Doesn't matter who buys into the green argument; everyone wins.

* Subsidies?

** EV tax credit -- no direct funding to Tesla, benefit goes to buyers, This is not a subsidy, but a tax credit -- the government is not giving out money, they are taking less.
** CARB green car credits -- California regulations requiring manufacturers to build low emission vehicles. Manufacturers can buy and sell credits from each other. Telsa being entirely zero emission has plenty of credits to sell.
** ATV loan (Advanced Technology Vehicles loan) -- Tesla was granted an ATV loan of 465 million, which has already been paid back in full with interest. Nissan and Ford also received loans.
** Gigafactory deal -- this is primarily tax abatements over a 20 year time span that require Tesla to meet commitments investing in manufacturing equipment, property, etc.

* The Long Tailpipe?

** Eliminating emissions entirely will require addressing energy production in addition to energy consumption. Tesla is helping on this front as well.
*** PowerWall and PowerPack (and the Gigafactory)
*** SolarCity connections
** In the meantime, EVs are still cleaner than gas cars according to almost all studies.

* Tackling the EV Cons

** Battery Cost -- Gigafactory
** Range -- Bigger batteries and the Supercharger network
** Refuelling time -- Supercharger network
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Thanks for your education efforts, Skotty.

You might consider adding the following models to your list:

Volvo XC90
Mercedes S550H PHV

Fiat 500e
Mercedes B250e

You also might consider responses to often-discussed well-to-wheel myths used to discount the green value of EVs (by minimizing their efficiency; treating the green costs of locating, extracting, transporting, and refining gasoline as an externality; or ignoring the use of solar or other improved electricity sources to charge EVs).
The main feature I find with electromotive powertrains, is that they are superior to manual, automatic, or CVT ICE cars in real world traffic condtions.

They are a premium driveline. Instant power with no lag, quieter especially at WOT, you wake up each morning with a "full tank", the lowest maintenance requirements, no smog checks, lower CG makes them handle better than similar cars. You can One Foot Drive certain models in traffic.

While EV's are a "green" technology, that's not the best part. Even Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, and others are starting add EV power in their Exotic Supercars. That says worlds about EV power. If it was "green" you wouldn't find it on a Porsche 918 or Ferrari LaFerrari. Those are flagship exotics that fight for every 0.01 second around a racecourse, not MPG.

Model cars and aircraft made the move from ICE to EV a long time ago for performance and ease of use. And now, even cost. Eventually EV cars will be cheaper than ICE at some point, but for now, they are just superior engineering and more fun.

EDIT - And while you cannot make gasoline at home very easily, you can certainly make EV "fuel" at home if you are looking to be as environmentally friendly as possible. This will future proof your cost per mile. Gas can go up, electric rates can climb, but if you're making your own "gas" every day, you are set.
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You might alter your cons when it comes to "refuelling times." Talk about how the car recharges while you sleep, it takes 30 seconds to plug in at night and 30 seconds to unplug in the morning. Also, when it comes to road trips talk about how you can time your food/bathroom breaks while it recharges at Superchargers and your trip won't be too much longer.

Also maybe try and prepare to debunk some anti-EV myths. "Electric cars pollute more because of coal power" counter with the fact it takes electricity to pump oil, 4.1KWh to refine one gallon of gasoline, it takes oil to transport it to the gas station.
Awesome, thanks for doing this!

I would skip mention of the model 3, except as part of the master plan.
It is 2 years off. If you make mention of it and not other cars that are coming out within two years the listeners may take that as favoritism and dismiss other aspects of the discussion.

I wouldn't put refuel time and range in "cons".
For those for whom the range is plenty for their daily driving needs, the range is not an issue.
For those that don't need to refuel during the day, and can recharge at night, the charge time is a "pro".
As you don't need to stand there waiting for the car to take its fill.

The way I like to put it is, "how would you like to wake up every morning with a full 'tank'?".
Incredible convenient.

I would also suggest emphasizing the drive quality and performance a lot more, as very few people actually put environmental considerations at the top of their list when buying a car.

A mention of using local energy, rather than foreign oil may be good.

Does the show take calls?
If so, just be ready for questions on direct sales vs dealerships and subsidies.
To keep it balanced, you might want to at least mention in passing the little issue of environmental pollution wrought by extracting the metals needed to create LiON batteries.
Is it any different than the pollution in mining for metals from other cars?\

Lithium can by recycled as well, making new batteries out of the old.
I think an important point people tend to overlook is that you never have to spend time refueling when you are driving in your local area. We do over 90% of our driving locally. Never having to visit a gas station in our local area is a huge plus for us.
I would mention that bev is currently the one and only vehicle type that you can buy that becomes more environmentally friendly over time as electrical supply becomes cleaner. Also the only one that can easily be driven TOTALLY emissions free if you have a solar system.
Radio segment I thought went reasonably well. Didn't get to cover everything I would have liked, but I think it flowed well enough. I'll post the podcast when it becomes available (could be a couple of weeks, depending on when they do the edits and updates).

Thanks everyone for your feedback and suggestions.