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Long-Term Fundamentals of Tesla Motors (TSLA)

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by Robert.Boston, Feb 24, 2013.

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  1. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    It depends on how much charging they have. Some service centers have superchargers, and the service centers do have several AC chargers, but a service center without charging available to the public probably doesn't have a major electrical installation.
     
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  2. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    My house has 50 kW service. I don't see how a couple of 144 kW Superchargers are going to make much difference in a business electric service. Certainly destination chargers won't. They have them at many businesses like hotels and restaurants.

    Or are you talking about a full bank of Superchargers? They don't have that at the service centers I've seen. They put them somewhere else.
     
  3. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    I haven't seen it, but I thought some service centers also had supercharger installations.
     
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  4. woof

    woof Fluffy Member

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    Dedham MA has a Tesla showroom and 6 super charger stalls.
     
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  5. mspohr

    mspohr Well-Known Member

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    Rocklin, California service center has 13 Super Chargers (and solar canopies)
     
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  6. neroden

    neroden Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan

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    Where I live, 96 kW (400 A 240 V) peak is the limit before they start requiring you to get three-phase service. It's a step change in electrical service levels.

    Now do you get it? One 50 kW charger wouldn't affect much, but two 144 kW chargers means a whole new three-phase service.

    Obviously if Tesla uses Powerpacks to buffer the battery power draw at the Supercharger, and the charger wasn't being used 24-7, they wouldn't actually need this service level from the grid. But batteries are expensive and I think they're getting the grid upgrades in most places.
     
  7. tander

    tander Active Member

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    So there's cars, semi trucks and pickups, solar shingles, energy storage, self driving cars, and the tunneling thing. In 5-10 years, what will be the "new" things they get into? Off grid real estate communities, solar powered carbon/polution removal/h20 harvesting, aviation and maritime stuff, mars rovers?
     
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  8. Ben D

    Ben D Member

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    I have searched this thread for the term "Maxwell". I did not come up with any posts, so here's one that speaks to the long term fundamentals of Tesla. The acquisition of Maxwell Technologies by Tesla has been a masterstroke, a coup they have undertaken right from under the noses of "big auto". I attach a paper on the Maxwell technology that says to me:
    1. These dry batteries will be easier (read cheaper and faster) to make. I read from various sources the cost estimates are c. 15-20% saving.
    2. The nanotechnology batteries have few/no "inert fillers" in the electrolyte matrix, meaning lighter weight, more charge/discharge efficiency and longer life.
    3. This also means higher energy density from reported 248w/kg (present tesla battery tech) to minimum 300 w/kg (20% improvement) already, and potential for up to 500w/kg (100% improvement).
    4. The technology seems ready to apply, meaning Tesla will soon theoretically be able to save c. 200 lb in a 75 kw/h battery (from 1050 lb to 850 lb for a model 3 long range) at 300 w/kg, and then in the future up to 470 lb saving at 500w/kg (from 1050 lb to 580 lb). Alternatively, assuming Tesla is happy with the weight of their cars, by keeping battery size what it is today, Maxwell technology would allow a Tesla Model 3 long range to go from 325 miles to a charge to around 390 miles to a charge, and a Tesla Model S from 370 miles to 440 miles per charge from the same sized battery at 300w/kg, and 650 miles (Tesla Model 3 long range) and 740 miles (Tesla Model S) at 500 w/kg (surely by then they would be reducing the battery size/weight to save costs).

    These together suggest the Maxwell acquisition is the final incremental step required to unlock EVs to become even more practical and profitable - the last step required to make them the worlds most cost effective method of transport - period. And Tesla now has that key and a 3 year minimum lead in the artificial intelligence race. No one in the media has appeared to have picked up on this yet - it is surely a news conspiracy against Tesla and Musk.

    As an aside, when you look up the papers in the references in the attached file, it becomes evident that researchers at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, German Aerospace Center (Germany) and Universities in Missouri /Worcester and Kentucky independently discovered and verified the advantages of the Maxwell manufacturing technique, but it looks like Maxwell tech (which they developed for ultracapacitors) was also claimed for making batteries during their patenting process, so it looks like Maxwell claimed their patent rights, gathered up all of the technology in the field from Germany and elsewhere, and sold it to Tesla. Sounds like the Americans stole the key technology out from under the noses of the Nazis again......!
     

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  9. Unpilot

    Unpilot I would rather spend my remaining time Helping

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    Not sure if this is the right place for this...but.
    Today I went to a residential solar open house. The man hosting had geo-thermal and 9.5kw of solar on his roof.
    The lady doing the presentation said they have started to receive supply's of power-wall's from Tesla.

    She said they have been on the waiting list for a long time.
     
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  10. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    The modern Germans, except for some fringers, are about the most vehemently anti-Nazi people on Earth. But other than that nit, I agree with you.

    I think the refresh Model S/X coming later this year will probably incorporate the Maxwell tech. The Model S refresh thread has someone who claims to be getting information from an insider in Tesla's engineering department. The guy has a fairly good track record with predictions. The latest rumor is the refresh battery pack will be about 350 pounds lighter than the current pack, which is in line with the Maxwell tech's contribution. The claim is also for more than 400 miles range for the flagship S and just shy of 400 for the X.

    I think they plan to put a bit fewer cells in the new pack combined with a small, auxiliary supercapacitor bank. A small supercapacitor bank can make regen braking more efficient. Especially when cold, and when starting and stopping a lot. The regen can capture more energy at a faster rate than batteries can. It might be able to make supercharging just a tad faster by delaying taper a little bit. The Performance models can use it as a booster during launches too.

    That would account for the range only going to around 400 from the current 370.

    Solid state or dry electrode batteries have been what the car industry has been waiting for. I think that was one reason the car industry has been dragging its feet about going all in on li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries are complicated and expensive to make. They require many steps to manufacture and small errors can ruin a cell, or even a whole batch. Tesla pushed the curve as far as it would go to make li-ion batteries as cheap as possible, but they are still pretty pricey.

    In response to a Q&A with Elon and JB Straubel several years ago about all the announcements of battery breakthroughs, Elon said that Tesla was at or near the cutting edge all the time and were constantly investigating any new battery breakthrough. He was confident they would be on to a new breakthrough before anyone. With the Maxwell buyout, it looks like he was right. Maxwell had stumbled upon some key technologies, but didn't have the means to mass produce them.

    As for what comes next. If we are going to drastically reduce fossil fuel use to a minor component of the energy picture, there is much further to go. Current worldwide production of passenger cars and light trucks is around 100 million. And there are over 1 billion cars in the world. Right now worldwide EV production is about 2 million a year and that is battery supply constrained. Battery production needs to increase 50X over current levels to be able to fully electrify the auto industry. That's 50 GigaFactories or equivalent.

    The US military is the single largest user of fossil fuels in the world. The carriers and subs are nuclear, but the rest of the Navy runs on bunker sea fuel oil or diesel. The Abrams tank gets 8 gallons to the mile for fuel. An F-15 can burn more fuel in an hour than it would take to drive across the US in a typical ICE car.

    A lot of support vehicles, like ones bound to a base, can be electrified. But for most of the military, there are currently no alternatives. Ships consume massive amounts of fossil fuels to cross oceans. This can be supplemented some with computer controlled sails but it would mean the ships travel a lot slower. There are some possibilities for new fuels, but they are all in the experimental stages at best.

    Aircraft are an even more difficult nut to crack. Right now the best battery tech is 1/30 as energy dense as jet fuel. And jet fuel has the advantage that as you use it up the plane gets lighter which means your energy consumption at the end of a long flight is lower than at the start. Also I can't think of any way to make an electric jet engine. An electric prop engine is easy, but prop planes are limited to around 500 mph and the fastest turboprop passenger plane has a cruising speed of about 330 knotts, whereas jet liners cruise over 600 mph all the time. Propellers lose thrust as the plane goes faster, so you get into diminishing returns with a prop plane.

    There are short range experimental electric planes, but long haul electric planes are a long ways off.

    There are plenty of technologies to do, but Tesla will reach a point where the innovating is going to slow down. It's inevitable. Tesla wowed the world because Elon was able to see some low hanging fruit nobody else did. He did the same thing with SpaceX. With SpaceX he realized that the rocket technology in use was all 1960s tech and nobody had innovated since Apollo anywhere in the world.

    Tesla has already plucked most of the low hanging fruit and everything left is much more difficult to get. There are tech advances coming, but they might not be Tesla or they might come slower. Tesla also needs to mass produce what they've got. Scaling up has a lot of challenges too. Once the Model 3 and Y are in stable production, there are other cars and light trucks to put on the market. Tesla could just stay focused in the markets they have targeted and continue to innovate there and they will continue to have an impact.
     
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  11. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    You missed the commercial trucking (class 3-8 trucks in the US - not sure the classification / nomenclature in Europe and elsewhere in the world). That's about 300k trucks / year (class 8 only) with an installed base of ~16M to be electrified. I think the rest of class 3-7 is another 600k trucks / year, and I don't know how big the installed base is. Those 16M trucks are driven an average of 100k miles / year, so electrification of commercial trucks is particularly important (and particularly damaging to the diesel market, and by extension the larger fossil fuel market).

    And then there will be what I call heavy machinery - there's probably a better term in use in the industry. All of that specialized equipment for doing work - backhoes, bulldozers, road grinders, forklifts, etc.. Generically, I think of it as big heavy frames with a diesel engine and a permanent or changeable tool attached, that does work. This is all commercial, and therefore the changeover will be driven by the operating economics (if you can save $30k/year on fuel costs, the way the class 8 semis look like they'll do, then buyers have a lot of room in the budget if the machinery costs more than the diesel alternatives).

    The heavy machinery market will bring with it a seemingly old problem to be solved again - job site refueling. Today, it looks like you call the on-site refueling folks and they stop by with a tanker truck and fuel up the heavy machinery directly. Recharging heavy machinery is going to be a challenge, and it won't be a single solution to handle it all. It'll be slivers of market at a time - the forklifts and scoops running around a yard - those can get a charger installed at the yard, and recharge at night (as long as they have enough charge to run all day). But machinery that stays put at night and is not working next to the power grid - maybe we'll FINALLY have the demand that will drive a battery swap tech :)

    AND THEN there's the agriculture sector - all of it that isn't commercial trucking. Tractors and other on-farm equipment (as opposed to the trucks that haul raw materials to the farms, and haul away produce and scrap). I figure the trucks are handled in the electrification of the commercial trucking industry, but the rest of ag is another big consumer of fossil fuels.


    Electrify the ground bound stuff, and there may not be a big enough fossil fuel industry left to make fossil fuels for plans, ships, and big ag equipment to make those uses as economical as they are today. I could see those last few industries turning into some kind of hero project to get the electrified for the simple reason that we can't live without them (anymore), but if their fuel source shrinks enough, then it loses its economies of scale and the last few industries fuel cost will go through the roof.
     
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  12. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I'm afraid none of that is worth replacing battery capacity with capacitors.
     
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  13. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    All true. If the shipping and airline industry collapsed because the fossil fuel industry couldn't supply fuel anymore, the entire world economy would be in serious trouble. Even if governments need to nationalize it, there will be a fossil fuel industry for forms of transportation that can't be easily electrified.

    The comparisons between Kodak and the car industry aren't quite as good as some people think. Kodak was more aware of the changes coming than most people think. They just found it impossible to adapt to a new industry with a vastly smaller supply chain. But Kodak still exists. They supply film and supplies to the remaining film industry, even though it's much smaller than it once was.

    There is a mountain top mine in Europe that replaced their ore haulers with electric trucks. Because the trucks drive up the mountain empty and come down loaded, they actually have to drain off the battery every night into the local grid.

    Possibly, but I don't see Tesla going from 370 to 400 with the predicted improvements in energy density in the batteries without removing some cells from the pack. If supercapacitors are much cheaper per volume than batteries, they may remove some cells and put in supercapacitors to make the overall pack cheaper and be able to do a long term experiment with supercapacitors. If down the road supercapacitor density improves dramatically, Tesla would already be experts in using them for cars.
     
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  14. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    The two big problems are that capacitors are volumetrically inefficient and would require a separate high power DC-DC converter to use them in parallel with the battery pack.

    Directly paralleling caps with the cells in packs does not work due to: mismatch in voltage (3.0 max for Maxwell cap, 4.2 max for cells), the cap's equivalent resistence, and the energy to voltage curve. To survive connection with the module, two caps would need to be placed in series (with a balacing circuit), doubling their ESR. For the largest if the small caps 50F part, that makes ESR 20 mOhm, way more than the cells, so the caps would not contribute during high current events (volume 10.4 cm^3 * 2 and total energy of 62×2=124mWh).

    For the smallest of the large caps (ESR 0.8), the volume of one is 147cm^3. That is x6 the volume of a 2170 cell. So you give up 12 cells (12x17=204Wh) for your two caps (2x0.66 = 1.32Wh). And that assumes you can pull the full capacity of the cap, which you can't without a converter.
     
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  15. neroden

    neroden Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan

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    It's not going to be a problem. The "lifting costs" for crude oil at the good, old fields are under $20/bbl -- $2/bbl in Saudi Arabia according to reports. It'll be possible to keep a few refineries online to make jet fuel and diesel for ships, without difficulty. The demand-based price for crude is still going to be over $20/bbl -- at $20/bbl it starts becoming financially viable to operate gasoline cars, in fact. The big problem will be disposing of the waste product from the refineries, now that gasoline is mostly unwanted -- I expect it to be cracked into light gases like methane, ethylene, propane, butane -- and now that bunker fuel is prohibited for marine use -- I expect it to be heated and cracked to diesel and jet.

    The "drilling new wells" business is going to die and it's going to destroy the oil companies financially. However, if they just admitted this, they could be in very good shape financially. Their financial woes are entirely because they *won't* admit this and insist on throwing money down holes in the ground under the name of "exploration" and "development". Kill those divisions, fire the geologists and landmen, and stick to pumping what you already drilled, and you'd have a perfectly viable company. This is what I expect to happen after the bankruptcies happen and the companies are reorganized in bankruptcy court.
     
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  16. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    None if this makes any sense.
     
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  17. Doggydogworld

    Doggydogworld Member

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    Solid state and DBE are completely different things. Solid state refers to a solid electrolyte instead of liquid. DBE is an electrode production method that avoids solvents.

    Supercaps cost more per liter than batteries. They also cost more per kg, much more per Wh, etc.
     
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  18. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry Model S - U.S. P - #1649

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    But they need a much smaller amount of energy capacity if only used for regen and acceleration.
     
  19. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    You've looked into the tech more than I have. I was just speculating on how they might be used in cars. They may never be used in cars.

    I agree completely. My older sister is a petroleum Geologist and I spent most of my high school and college years around the biz. I also have a friend who is a retired Geophysicist from the oil biz (his next car is going to be a Tesla). I was just answering what would happen if the oil business became so unstable that they folded before we found alternatives to fossil fuels for air and sea transport.

    The oil business will change as transport changes, but it isn't going away for a long time to come. If there was a glut of oil, drilling would stop, and the oil companies would produce what's already tapped at a big profit. Finding more oil and producing new wells and fields is the biggest expense for the oil business. It's staggeringly expensive to find oil these days. My sister has become very wealthy because of it.

    I doubt that fossil fuels will go away entirely at least this century. I think it will continue as a niche business at minimum for the foreseeable future. Even when everything new uses some other energy source, there will still be classic cars, aircraft, and even ships that will be kept operational either as hobbies or for historical education purposes. We may also find that for some transportation needs fossil fuels remain the better choice, but these will be niche markets.

    Horses are still used for transport in some situations where motorized vehicles aren't possible or feasible and Kodak still makes film for some uses that haven't been digitized. Just because an old tech is obsolete for most uses doesn't necessarily mean its obsolete for all uses.

    140 octane avgas is still made in very small quantities for WW II aircraft that need it. Continental tire gears up every few years to make a batch of tires for people who still fly 4 engine WW II bombers. The dozen B-17s and two B-24s flying use the same main tires so they all pool together and buy a batch of tires when Continental makes them. There are all sorts of niche markets to keep classic vehicles running.

    A large percentage of western hemisphere oil is heavy oil now that requires cracking to be made into anything other than asphalt or roof tar. The cracking can be tuned to favor any smaller molecule required and can be set to favor diesel/kerosene/jet fuel (they are all very similar) instead of gasoline.
     
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  20. EVNow

    EVNow Well-Known Member

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    I expect burning of fossil fuels will be banned. Spewing toxins into air we all breath is not a right.
     
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