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Sourcing materials and sustainability of the Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Dan5, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    I know Fisker is doing something similar by offering something similar with their EcoChic package. (The leather thing in the Ecochic is meaningless, you can have a chemically nasty process and use 90% of the leather, or have a chemically benign process and use 50% of the leather)

    I think Tesla has an opportunity to 1-up all the car manufacturers by getting their materials from the most sustainable sources or sources that have the least environmental impact. (Obviously the batteries and their touch screen are single sourced so we would have to leave those out)

    As an example:

    Aluminum used in the frame- Is it virgin aluminum or recycled? and are they sourcing it from the most environmentally friendly source while maintaining specs

    Same thing with the steel, leather, plastic, carpets, trim pieces, etc, etc.

    They have a good start point as being a pure EV company, but I would like them to audit their suppliers for energy/process efficiency and have that as a factor when choosing their suppliers.

    Personally, I would not mind paying an extra few hundred dollars to know that my car from the ground up is made in the most environmentally friendly way possible
     

  2. there is no leather in the Eco Chic...the Eco Chic is made from recycled fabrics
     
  3. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Honestly, I think going that far over the fence, while good on paper and in PR, won't really help if in the end it raises costs. How many buyers on the lot will give a hoot that the aluminum in the frame is recycled? Heck they may even think less of it.
     
  4. The Model S interior already looks like it is straight from the recycle bin with new materials...give these cabin designers recycled materials, and I would be curious to see what they come up with.
     
  5. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    I know they had something where Fisker is using something with low carbon leather, may not be the eco-chic package, think I was reading the eco-sport. My point is you can have some really environmentally friendly then fumble at the 1 yard line. My point with the Fisker eco sport is that you can have organic cows, use most of the leather even parts not perfect, or with the others packages, the fabric, but the dying manufacturer may have larger the industry average emissions. Fisker has not released anything like that.

    I don't believe it would push the cost of the Model S up because technically it should even out the cost.
    If you have have 2 aluminum smelting plants, an old one with lower energy efficiency and a newer one with higher energy efficiency. You will have the capital of the newer plant, but lower operating costs, but the older one has higher operating costs so the price of the aluminum should even out in the end

    I remember Subaru had a commercial about a zero emission plant and I think Telsa can take it one step further

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIeJYCUb1yU

    For Tesla
    "We have a Zero Emission Plant and our suppliers have the least amount of emissions in their industries"
     
  6. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Subaru recycles a lot of their stuff and in general runs a pretty good plant. But they also incinerate the same amount of waste that they produce. It isn't exactly 'green.' It is marketing gold though.
     
  7. de704

    de704 XP268

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    Tesla doesnt have to do anything to 1up Fisker. Fisker makes crap. The volt is better.
     
  8. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    A 5000 lb. Fisker that gets 20 mpg is not eco-friendly
     
  9. agileone

    agileone CDN P#40

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    Re. Aluminium, it should soon (say Model X timeframe) be possible to ensure a stable supply of "no red mud certified" Aluminium, thanks to Orbite Aluminae, a Quebec start-up :

    " The Orbite process of extracting alumina from aluminous clay has been shown to be more environmentally benign than the conventional Bayer process, in use since the 19th century, which extracts alumina from bauxite. Orbite’s unique technology consumes less energy and generates less pollution and no caustic byproducts. This offers a strategic advantage to Québec’s aluminum industry players, who can partner with Orbite to enhance their competitiveness and corporate citizenship through better environmental performance."
    Taken from : http://www.orbitealuminae.com/en/technology/environment/


    At the very least they should source their Aluminium from Quebec, where 12% of the world's aluminium is produced, using hydro electricity, hence with less emissions.


    Disclaimer : I own shares in both Tesla and Orbite.... :)
     
  10. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    The wonderful thing about competitive economies is that, if Orbite can produce aluminum with less energy = lower cost, then of course Tesla will buy their aluminum.
     
  11. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    How much extra are you willing to pay for this?
     
  12. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Here lies the problem of contradiction between sustainability and economics. Governments should set boundary conditions to the "free market" that tilt it towards sustainability: taxes on energy usage, emission, waste; benefits on usage of renewable commodities/resources. Sigh.

    If helpful, I always run a little thought experiment "how to make this process work in a self-contained interstellar multi-generation spaceship with a crew of ~10,000 souls and no access to exterior resources?" as the ultimate measure of sustainability.
     
  13. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    I agree and tend to think the same way.
     
  14. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    double post sorry.
     
  15. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    I would be willing to pay a few hundred up to 1,000 dollars to know that the car is being made in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Just from pen and paper, in theory it adds 1% of the base cost. Another example would be natural leather tanning using brains instead of chemically. Currently cow brains are a scrapped , shouldnt use it as animal feed due to mad cow disease, so it's waste which could be used more frequently to support other industries. Hence minimizing waste and not using harsh chemicals. Plus I feel it makes better leather products
     
  16. EV_QC

    EV_QC Member

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    I would love it. However, if correctly understand Tesla’s vision, it seems like the incentive behind the choice of an electric propulsion is more economical in nature and for a more sustainable future than in order to really reduce our environmental impact. But I think it is good for our purpose. Since there are few people that really have the knowledge on earth environmental functions, people don’t really care about this eco-friendly stuff. So that Tesla focuses more on hi-tech and hot stuff in their car will throw much more people to buy their car than if it was eco-friendly. And the fact that Tesla focus more on a great margin instead of more eco-friendly material is one of the keys that will make them successful. But still, this company will really make a difference in worldwide emission even if it doesn’t use eco-material. I hope they can change for more eco-friendly materials in the future…


    I was also thinking about investing in Orbite! Are you from Quebec?
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    As laudable as such efforts are, you have to be really careful with this sustainable materials thing. It's not always a straightforward calculation to determine what is the most sustainable. There are lots of companies all too willing to advertise their sustainable products, which actually consume more energy and resources than the standard alternative.
     
  18. johns258

    johns258 Model S Signature 998

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    I suspect our cars could actually be made from about half a million Budweiser and Coke cans:wink: doesn't that count towards the sustainability thing?
     
  19. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    Soda or beer cans would be good except the alloy is not right and they typically recycle cans to make lids since the lid alloy is different so they just throw more zinc to make it complete lid material. There's so much that they can advertise from a pr perspective that they don't even realize that they are doing

    Aluminum- probably recycled from some form
    White/cream leather- may be the brain process of leather refinement
    Steel- recycled
    Carpets- maybe recycled plastic
    Glass- probably recycled
    Other plastic- could be recycled plastics
    Seat padding- probably recycled plastic bottles
    Copper- recycled
     
  20. agileone

    agileone CDN P#40

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    Yes, this game changer is not very well known outside Québec yet.
     

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