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Will any companies be able to match Tesla's performance and range by 2012?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Fr23shjive, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Fr23shjive

    Fr23shjive Member

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    From the search I've done today there arent any that can actually match Tesla in either department. The Volt has a 40 mile range and doesnt have the performance that Tesla has and the Leaf has a range of 100 miles but looks like fancy golf cart.

    Do they hold patents on the fuel cell technology that allow them to get the power and range out of their vehicles?

    I think that Tesla is the future of cars but Im a little worried about their survival. If another, bigger, car maker is able to match their performance AND range they will probably be able to squeeze Tesla out of business. As long as Tesla hold that competitive advantage I think they'll be fine.
     
  2. kgb

    kgb Member

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    From what I've read in this forum, there are other small companies, such as Fisker, trying what Tesla is doing, however they are several years behind. From what I've seen, all the major manufacturers are getting ready to release something to compete, but other than GM and Nissan, there are no firm promises on the release date.

    An example of a technology company that does well is Apple. They came up with an innovative idea that the big companies copied. The way Apple continues to thrive is by continuing to innovate. So long as Tesla is not a one trick pony, it will survive. Their engineers must be working on the 2015 models already, because if they are only working on the 2012 models, the other companies will catch up, just as you fear.
     
  3. Fr23shjive

    Fr23shjive Member

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    I was just looking around and the only one that really has me worried is the Audi e-tron. It's got a range of 154 miles, which is comparable to the Model-S's base battery. Something they should definitely watch if they're going to keep their competitive advantage.
     
  4. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    At this stage of the game, every additional real EV out there (the Fisker doesn't count - the Volt... not really, either, but at least it doesn't have a mechanical connection to the engine) just serves to legitimize the market. This isn't a zero sum game - 5 pure EVs on the market would sell much more than 5x a single model in the market, I think.
     
  5. kgb

    kgb Member

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    Sorry, but from what I hear, E-tron is a concept car with no set market date (it has only begun testing). In addition, it is a hybrid according to my source:
    audi-a1-e-tron-begins-testing The question was whether there was a major car company coming to market with competition for Tesla. Tesla is currently in production with the Roadster. The only other cars in "mass" production (as far as I know) are the Leaf and Volt. I think the Coda might be due soon too. So, we can only compare current cars with current cars, and compare future cars with future cars. There has been no announcement as to when the E-tron is due to be produced, so it can only be compared to the Tesla vehicles that also don't have a release date. The Model S is slated for production late 2011 or early 2012, so it should only be compared to the other cars scheduled for production by that time. If a car manufacturer has not announced their intent to release a vehicle, then it is not safe to assume they will release a vehicle in that time frame.
     
  6. kgb

    kgb Member

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    I agree whole heartedly. At this point, having EV's successfully make it to market and having them welcomed by consumers only broadens the EV consumer base. HOWEVER, it certainly helps if you have one that stands out in order to maintain or increase market share. Such as: Best performance, best reliability, best value, etc... First to market will only get you so far. History is rife with examples of companies that make it first to market, only to be beat out by another with a later "better" product.
     
  7. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That's the biggest problem with some companies. They think it is a zero sum game. For example, GM keeps mentioning range anxiety to encourage potential BEV buyers to look at the Volt and not doing enough to expand the entire market.

    The Leaf doesn't overlap much with the Roadster or Model S since it isn't a luxury car. The Fisker is closer. All possible competition (Audi, BMW, MBenz all have BEVs in development) is in the very early planning stages though. The quickest might be Infiniti's version of the Leaf (although that is also rumored only and not unveiled yet).
     
  8. donauker

    donauker Member

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    Is this statement intended to imply that the Fisker does have a mechanical connection from the engine to the drive train?
     
  9. kgb

    kgb Member

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    I think SByer did not intend that implication. I think he believes the Fisker doesn't count because he believes it will never make it to market.
     
  10. Fr23shjive

    Fr23shjive Member

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    Good point. I agree that the more EVs out there will help to legitimize the EV market.

    My biggest question is; How is it that Telsa able to give so much better performance and range than any of the bigger automakers? Do they hold some sort of technology patent over them?
     
  11. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    #11 stopcrazypp, Sep 21, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
    I don't think it has much to do with patents. If it did, a large automaker can easily license the patent or even buy out Tesla. This is what Daimler and Toyota is doing (they are licensing Tesla's drivetrain/battery pack tech for the Smart EV, E-Cell, and upcoming RAV4 EV).

    Tesla's unmatched range and performance comes from using existing 18650 laptop cells, which are produced in the millions for the computer industry. 18650 cells provide the best energy density out of all the various options and is available for a relatively cheap price per kWh because of mass production. These cells are continuing to improve in order to meet demands from the computer market and have the longest development history as a lithium battery cell.

    For the mainstream manufacturers, they have all chosen joint ventures to develop large format battery cells using newer types of lithium battery chemistries (as opposed the most common lithium-cobalt in a cylindrical cell like the 18650). This means it will take some extra time before they catch up in density and price. The reason why they are not using 18650 is because it requires more thermal management (it is more volatile) and the cycle life isn't the best. Most of Tesla's engineering in the battery pack is to manage it's temperature and charging to prolong life and make it safe.

    The Roadster's motor is also very power dense (about 100lbs and 288 hp), but I think the major manufacturers can make a comparable motor if they tried.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    I think we are swayed by the E-Tron because it's so good looking. We give it more credit in the delivery belief simply because we want it to be so. (I also want Martin to succeed with his new venture).

    The recent Jay Leno video of him falling in love with the 2.5 Roadster has Kirsten saying they have 100 patents on the drivetrain technology. That's up quite a bit from the old 17 number they used to tout but maybe she is including Model S pending patents.
     
  13. eledille

    eledille TMS 85 owner :)

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    #13 eledille, Sep 21, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
    The Roadster incorporates some pretty nifty solutions. I believe they use dc-dc conversion to send far higher currents through the motor at low speeds than the battery can deliver directly (1500 vs 600A?). At low speeds you can't utilize the full battery voltage (back emf increases with rpm), so at low rpms you effectively have "spare" voltage that can be converted to current. That is what let them ditch the troublesome gearbox, torque is proportional to current. I don't know whether this is patented.
     
  14. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Along with their power-train prowess, they employ exotic weight reduction technologies such as bonded aluminum chassis, and carbon fiber body panels.
    Those technologies come at a premium price, so lower priced EVs will have trouble matching their performance.
     
  15. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    No, it's 'cause I honestly didn't remember that they'd ditched the connected idea for a generator - they had flip-flopped on that in the past. (I don't think they'll ever produce anything either, but I'll admit my mistake). The plug-in Prius, though, definitely doesn't count.
     
  16. mt2

    mt2 Member

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    While I agree with all the technical and patent points, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. GM has many, many patents on the Volt as well. The way Tesla got ahead of the game - and hopefully will continue to do so - is by innovation. Most big automakers are stifled by what I like to refer to as "turning the Titanic". GM could have beat Tesla to the punch. But bean counters, lawyers, corporate culture, enormous assembly lines that have to be retooled, and dealerships that have to be retrained are just some of the issues large automakers consider when developing a new line.
     
  17. Iz

    Iz EVs are here to stay

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    #17 Iz, Sep 22, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
    Good point mt2. Tesla however can also get into a quandary of its own making by not keeping up with the latest in battery technology. While there are issues to be addressed when considering alternatives to the Panasonic "safe" 3.1 Ah, there will be other battery types, including ultra-capacitors & chemistry variations, that should be allowed for in the battery pack design.
     
  18. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Timing can play here too. Say Tesla commits to Battery A in the design process to a new car. Two years later the car comes out. Meanwhile another company picks battery B which was released right after Tesla committed to Battery A. That company's identical car comes out is six months later after Tesla's with the newer Battery B and is is more powerful, longer lasting. (or whatever). Nothing anyone can do about that.

    As for GM. Imagine if they were now up to the model number EV7!
     
  19. Fr23shjive

    Fr23shjive Member

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    BTW...when is the Bluestar supposed to go on sale?
     
  20. PopSmith

    PopSmith Saving for a Model 3

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    I don't think Tesla has commented much, and rightfully so, on BlueStar. They probably have some stuff going on behind-the-scenes but, at least publicly, it appears to be just an idea at this point.

    However, I'd guess that optimistically it will be late-2013 or early-2014, depending on when Model S is officially launched.

    Pessimistically, >2015 or possibly never if Model S doesn't generate enough revenue to fund building BlueStar. Tesla could also get bought out by a bigger automaker before then.
     

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