TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

How will electric cars influence how often people purchase a new automobile?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by anticitizen13.7, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,557
    Location:
    United States
    I was thinking last night that an electric car like the Model S could theoretically last much longer than an ICE vehicle, and that a longer replacement cycle would have dramatic effects on the car industry.

    A vehicle like the Model S has no multi-gear transmission, no head gaskets that can blow, no emissions control that can fail. A well-maintained Honda can reasonably be expect to last 10-15 years, so I would not be surprised if a Model S could last significantly longer. The ability of a car like the Model S to receive interface and feature updates over 3G/4G networks also makes it less prone to obsolescence.

    Do you think that many Model S buyers could be keeping their cars for 20, 30, or even more years? On the flip side, there are luxury buyers who can afford and want to buy or lease the newest thing, so there may always be a segment of cars that see quick turnover. I suspect that the overall volume of automobile sales could fall drastically if people replace their vehicles less often.
     
  2. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    18,235
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    Someone mentioned that people might treat electric cars like the Model S more like airplanes. Regular maintenance and maybe refreshing the interior (leather seats) every decade or so along with exchanging some parts that wear down might keep it going for a long time.
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Nixa, Missouri, United States
    I don't think behaviors will change much. There will always be a better battery, a new tech feature you can't live without, those annoying squeaks and quirks that annoy you, etc. The resale market will be interesting though, how will the used car buyers look at an EV with only 70% of its original battery life? Will they see it as a negative b/c they'll fear the need for an expensive replacement in a few years or as a plus b/c they'll be able to buy a Model S for a huge discount and they don't need the full 300 mile range anyway? We'll have to wait and see.
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,502
    Location:
    Maine
    I suspect the availabilty of replacement parts will be the big problem.
     
  5. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,793
    Location:
    Skaneateles, NY
    What parts? No gas tank, no engine, no fuel lines, no exhaust, no water pump, no oil changes, no radiator, no air filter, no fuel filter, no spark plugs, no fuel injectors, no transmission .... lol

    Brakes, tires, and windshield wipers and fluids is about all we'll need in replacement parts. ;)
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,502
    Location:
    Maine
    Oh, I don't know, suspension, steering rack, differentials, body parts, "ECU", motors, inverter, coolant pumps and the battery. Maybe a mechanic could mention some more.

    And while there shouldn't be much maintenance they are charging people luxury prices for it. Their Gen III prices will need to be way cheaper if they want to expand to regular buyers.
     
  7. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,557
    Location:
    United States
    I hope Tesla maintains some kind of "backwards compatibility" in new parts, so that there will be the option of upgrading battery packs, ECUs, and motors. That might be asking a bit much, but I think that electronics and motors can easily be made to have the same interfaces in hardware and software. There's also the potential for aftermarket.

    My guess is that DIY'ers, modders, and hackers would love to get their hands on a used Tesla, and might not care so much if the battery has modest depletion. The general public though I think would be scared and fearful of a used battery, at least until battery longevity is proven.
     
  8. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,219
    Location:
    Schaumburg, IL
    Tesla have already told several here, including me, that battery sizes will not be upgradable.
     
  9. anticitizen13.7

    anticitizen13.7 Enemy of the Status Quo

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,557
    Location:
    United States
    I imagine that this is Tesla's "official" line, but I find this a bit difficult to believe. If someone buys the 85 kWh version today, drives the vehicle for a few years, and then wants to purchase a replacement battery pack, is Tesla going to give them the same technology in 7-8 years if higher capacity packs are available? I am skeptical that a car that has tremendous flexibility in firmware, and a design that accommodates battery capacities of 40 kWh to 85 kWh, has a design that is inflexible to future battery upgrades.

    Is there something about the powertrain and the hardware that regulates flow of energy from the pack to the motor that would make battery upgrades difficult?
     
  10. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    15,487
    I'm with the crowd that is interpreting "battery sizes will not be upgradeable" with size to mean volume/shape rather than capacity/density.
     
  11. rsquared99

    rsquared99 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Surprise AZ
    The limitation may be in other components than the packs themselves. Why would the wiring harnesses have to be the same across the different versions of the battery packs? It's possible that lighter weight/lower cost wiring components could mean that higher rated packs might not work, right? Maybe it's cheaper to make volume buys of the same components for all sizes of battery packs, but I could see that cost/weight issues might drive them to be different. Just a thought.
     
  12. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Messages:
    4,453
    Location:
    WPB Florida
    I am with the people that think cell capacity will go up so fewer cells will be needed to provide the same capacity. It is my hope that you get the same capacity in six to eight years but with 300 lbs less weight.
     
  13. jandkw

    jandkw Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Messages:
    155
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    "If someone buys the 85 kWh version today, drives the vehicle for a few years, and then wants to purchase a replacement battery pack, is Tesla going to give them the same technology in 7-8 years if higher capacity packs are available?"

    This is exactly my point, no one will replace the same battery 8 years from now. Battery technology is moving so fast that by the end of this decade, we may have 85KW battery that can travel 2-3x longer range. Needless to say the advanced battery technology that I follow can achieve 5-10 times than today's if successful. Battery market is growing and becomes significant in 5-10 years.
     
  14. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Nixa, Missouri, United States
    Maybe true...I hope so. But Toyota is replacing the 9 1/2 year old NiMH batteries in the Prius with essentially the same thing today...with no drop in price. While technology is improving, it appears that the old tech is more cost effective to use than the new tech and I suspect that is likely to hold true with Tesla. Would love to be wrong about this.
     
  15. aja2460

    aja2460 Old Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Location:
    Woodinville, WA
    I don't know if my experience has anything to do with the thought about changing the way people buy cars or not.
    I own 2004 Prius that I bought almost 9 years ago. It has a little more than 130,000 miles on it, and has had no mechanical repair. The original brakes were last checked by the dealer at the 120,000 mile service and were OK (shows another value of regenerative breaking). I replaced the small (almost motorcycle size) battery at that time as a precaution. It's been a truly amazing car. Wear on the engine is greatly reduced because of the fact that it is not running much of the time.
    I am expecting our Teslas to behave in a similar way, only more so. I'm looking forward to see how software updates keep the car contemporary.
    Being that most people buy new cars while their older ones are still running well, its hard to tell...
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,593
    Location:
    Nixa, Missouri, United States
    Yep, very similar to my experience. I've had a few repairs of some electronic components, mostly under TSB/recalls (Inverter coolant pump, combination meter, and the smart key computer (which was messed up by the service dept actually). Still on original brakes at 130k with at least 50% of pads left. I've replaced the 12v twice, once prophylactically after 5 years, once when it died from disuse while I was on sabbatical for 9 months.

    So yea, wear and tear type issues should be negligible, but some things we just won't know for years, perhaps there are components that will wear out in 5 years or after 50-75k miles of driving b/c of less than ideal manufacturing. Perhaps the electronics will wear out due to vibration from driving. We'll see. But I have every hope that this car will wear very well...and very little over the years.
     
  17. solar powered

    solar powered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    No upgrades

    Anti-citizen:
    I was told the same thing as sp4rk. There are no technical constraints. The Tesla specialist that I talked to when way up the food chain and was told by the higher ups that there is no business model for to recoup the costs for a subsequent battery size upgrade. And we are probably a minority that is not worth their time to please (imagine how far we would get asking Toyota or GM to do the same thing). Our only hope appears to be 3rd party hacks after the warranty expires.
     
  18. mattjs33

    mattjs33 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    Antioch, Illinois, U.S.A.
    In response to the original post:

    Did you ever buy a cell phone? Did you ever buy another one to replace it? Why?

    How many iPhone 5's were purchased that replaced a perfectly functioning iPhone 4?

    People will always want the latest and greatest. At the rate technology is advancing, there's no way in hell someone keeps a Model S for 30 years, just because "it still works fine."

    The ironic thing is, as time and tech advances, you may find the price of replacing a Model S battery will actually go up, because they aren't made that way any more. Tesla may find that it can do the same 85kw battery in a much smaller space. They'll put that in their newest car. They'd much rather sell you that newer car than sell you a replacement battery for your old Model S.

    Nobody builds anything, unless they believe they can sell enough of them at a price point to make a profit. If the potential market is small, and fading away, why bother? That's why you can't buy a charging cord for a Motorola V555 phone anymore.
     
  19. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    15,853
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    A neighbour of mine owns a garage. He says that the drive trains are getting so reliable that most of the maintenance work is being done on the tech toys anyway. EVs will just push it more in that direction.
     
  20. Timtim2008

    Timtim2008 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    do electric motors ever go bad? (based on other items? like ac fans, turbines, rc cars?, etc?) whats the failure rate?
     

Share This Page