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On the Economics of Electric Cars

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by SageBrush, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

    May 7, 2015
    #1 SageBrush, Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    My first, second, and third thoughts after watching the M3 reveal were: How in the world did Tesla hit a $35k price ?

    I'm still amazed, but a couple days of rumination have helped. In particular, I realized that ICE cars have been on the diminishing returns part of the curve for a long time now, and spend billions a year to 1, reduce emissions; and 2, improve fuel economy by 5-10 percent each generation. E-cars save all that R&D. And more, by this quick list of things they do not have to deal with, or at least much less so:

    1. Suspension. ICE cars start out with a heavy engine in front and then have to design a carriage around it to distribute the weight and try to improve driving dynamics
    2. NVH. Every ICE car is a rattle and vibration trap by definition due to the reciprocating engine
    3. Emissions: EGR, particulate traps, cat converters, and more in the future.
    4. Safety. How much does it cost to engineer and manufacture a safe liquid fuel conveyance, and an engine sitting a few feet in front of the driver and passengers ?
    5. Efficiency. Toyota spent 15 years improving the Prius ICE from ~ 37% to 40%, and no other manufacturer is anywhere near Toyota. E-car manufacturers can pretty much say "throw up another PV panel and call it a day."
    I know I am way over-simplifying, but E-cars seem to reduce to a question of battery costs (that are improving rapidly,) while ICE cars are fighting just to keep abreast of regulations. This became most apparent after the VW cheat was exposed, but petrol cars face the same contextual issues, just delayed somewhat.

    I expect E-cars to move from exotic and expensive to the only car a penny pincher can afford in way less time than few would have guessed. Thank you, Tesla, for the illumination.

    And I stand corrected: while I have loved electric propulsion for a long time as an idea, I have long thought that E-cars now was premature given the dirty grid. I'm happy to say that Tesla has mostly proven me wrong. Why wrong ? Because EV+PV/wind compared to a fossil fuel alternative is already competitive today, and will soon enough be a no-brainer for even the most fool-hardy in the larger political spectrum.
  2. eloder

    eloder Active Member

    Mar 12, 2015
    Ohio, USA
    Personally, the Model 3 strikes me as something very easy for robots to build--especially compared to conventional cars. That dash/interior looks like it needs no human intervention to be installed due to its simplicity. The near-continuous panes of glass again seem pretty simple to adhere to a chassis compared to a metal roof as long as the glass is easy to manufacture--and it sounds like the "drawing from S and X experience" means they've gotten pretty awesome at complicated, continuous glass pieces.

    Combine industry-leading battery costs with simplicity in design, and you have that Model 3 for $35k.
  3. BBryson

    BBryson Member

    Mar 4, 2015
    Ocoee, FL
    Another cost driver for production: Number of Parts to be assembled.

    It seems like if the Model 3 is designed for eaze of mass production, it should take much less effort and time to assemble because of the fewer parts.

    The simplicity of the drivetrain is what really makes a EV attractive to me.

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