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Published on March 5th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

111

The Tesla Model E Will Have a 48 kWh Battery, And Will Be 20% Smaller

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March 5th, 2014 by
 

Originally published on Gas 2.

tesla-robots-2

Elon Musk gave new details on the upcoming Tesla Model E, which will be 20% smaller than the Model S and have a 48 kWh battery good for 200 miles. But can Elon really make a mass-market, 200-mile electric car that costs just $35,000?

That’s the hard part, though Musk has remained confident that he can deliver an affordable electric car with a 200-mile driving range. These new details suggest that the Tesla Model E will be all the way around 20% smaller than the Model S, backing up my assertion that a recent study claiming the Model E will be close to $50,000 is flawed. The Tesla Model S is a big car all the way around, and lopping off 20% of it results in some sizable savings, primarily in terms of weight.

The 60 kWh Model S weighs in at a formidable 4,464 lbs, while the 85 kWh Model S comes in at an even heftier 4,647 pounds, a difference of about 200 pounds. Figure another 200 or so pounds of weight loss dropping the battery down to just 48 kWh, and you’ve already got a nice chunk of weight savings off of a battery estimated to weigh between 1,300 and 1,500 pounds.

That said, the Model E is likely to still come in at or close to 4,000 pounds, even if it really is 20% smaller than the Model S. That figure probably has more to do with the size, rather than the weight of the Model E, with a smaller cabin, front, and rear-end. It also stands to reason that the Model E could even be a front-driver, which help make it even smaller. Following up one of the best cars ever built, electric or otherwise, won’t be easy though.

As far as the battery pack is concerned, a 48 kWh pack should theoretically be good for at least 150 miles of driving with today’s technology. Give Tesla another few years (and the proposed billion-dollar Gigafactory), and battery prices should go down even as the technology continues to improve, just in time for the Tesla Model E to make its long-awaited debut.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Kerry Phillips

    Front driver?
    Hope not, the torque steer would be terrible.
    But on the other hand, AWD would then be a viable option…

  • Peter Mortensen

    I don’t think 48kWh can give you a realistic 200 miles easily. Nissan Leaf gets EPA 73 miles with 24kWh (146 miles per 48kWh), Tesla Model S 60 gets EPA 208 miles with 60kWh (166 miles per 48kWh) and Tesla Model S 85 gets EPA 265 miles with 85 kWh (150 miles per 48kWh)). 200 miles in Model E on 48kWh means A LOT of improvement on efficiency and with the already low drag coefficient and drivetrain efficiency, it’s hard to see how to reach such number. Any idea?

    • Albertico

      Only a 33% improvement is necessary to accomplish the desired 200 miles with 48kWh. Also keep in mind Elon never actually confirmed it would be 48kWh, just that it would be 20% smaller and everyone went along with saying it will equal 48kWh.

      Weight savings in the car’s construction as well as better battery chemistry and tinkering could accomplish slightly better energy density per battery. Less batteries for the same amount of energy produces less weight and in turn produce more range.

      I’m sure the people at Tesla have learned much from their last couple years with the Model S. Also they now have the expertise of their work on the Model X under their belt which they claimed it has been a challenge to produce. If they can make a pure electric SUV Crossover work, they can make a midsize sedan work.

  • Andrea Kunstly

    The facts backing up the charges on the Tesla Flyers are posted all over the internet, Here is a link to one detailed breakdown of the evidence: http://wp.me/p4e1uX-2gz check it out

  • veggieguy

    I don’t believe they will hit an actual driving range of 200 miles with a $35k window sticker. It will probably be a 150 mile range (with an option for a bigger battery for more $$) and the $35k will be after all available incentives/rebates.

    If Elon really does deliver on a Model E Tesla with 200 real mile range and a true $35k price, I’ll be a quick buyer.

  • fritzH

    As I understood he wants to reduce the Costs ( more probably the production cost than selling price) to somthing like 35k$. In my view this means it will cost the American Customer aprox 39k (after subsidies if available) and prob. 35-39k€ for the europen customer ( incl. Tax and before subsidies) due to marketlimits. fH

    • taliz

      In Sweden the dollar is around 6,5 SEK, but cars always cost about 10 times as much in SEK as compared to the dollar price(some if it because of taxes).
      So I’m guessing it’ll cost around 350-400k SEK(about 55-60k USD, 40-45k EUR) here.
      I’ll probably order one anyhow. :)

  • ooskaloosa

    The gigafactory won’t be anywhere near ready to start producing batteries for the Model E if they plan to start shipping in 2016…

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  • EV docmaker

    It needs to be a 58kWh entry level car NOT 48kWh !! or simply go with 60kWh !!!

    • Randy

      The Leaf gets ~4 miles per kWh on the EPA test *before* charging loss. If Tesla can match that, and allows a true 100% charge, then they can hit the 200 mile range at 55 mph, which Tesla likes to make their range claims at. So EPA range would be around 180-190 area.

      • Albertico

        The 85kWh Tesla Model S gets 3.11 miles per kWh, the 60kWh version gets 3.46 miles per kWh by EPA numbers. The weight savings of having 25kWh less of battery weight improves miles per kWh by 0.35.

        A drop of another 12kWh of battery weight could increase the miles per kWh by another 0.16, giving the imaginary 48kWh Tesla Model E a total of 3.62 miles per kWh by today’s standards.

        This number translates to a total of 173 miles of EPA rated range for the Model E as of today’s battery chemistry and Tesla vehicle construction. For the car to be able to reach 200 miles of EPA range it would need to acquire 4.17 miles per kWh.

        There are still 3 more years until 2017 when the “Model E” is due to be released. In 3 years battery chemistry in bound to improve as well as weight savings in vehicle construction.

        I see it being totally possible for such range numbers to be acquired; even more so if carbon fiber construction is used on the future vehicles like BMW has done with the i3.

        I believe a more pressing concern is whether all of this can be accomplished at a starting price of $35,000.

    • http://www.myelectricfly.com/ Robert (Electricman) Weekley

      Not Quite sure – but I remember comments suggesting even the model E would have Battery Capacity Choices – hence 48 kWh might be lowest end choice, with 54, and 60 kWh options! Just a WAG at this point!

  • Original Poster

    It’s hard to separate the accomplishments of this company from its valuation but it has to be done. For every real accomplishment, there is so much hype. Remember: the Model S was originally supposed to cost $50,000. Is it a great car? Yes. Is it $50K? No. The giga announcement and these new details on the Model E seem more like an admission that Li-Ion battery prices are nowhere near where they need to be (that is, less than $200/KwH) than a real opportunity. There is a great article at the truthorfinance site (just google ‘truthorfinance tesla)’ that rips apart the current assumptions on Tesla. Worth a read to get both sides.

    • WeaponZero

      Tesla Model S was 50k, the 40kwh version. But they discontinued it due to lack of demand. And just sent the people who ordered a 40kwh Model S a software locked 60kwh.

      At issue was the 40kwh used a different battery(Roadster like battery). And they did not get enough volume orders of the 40kwh to make it worth it.

      The gigafactory is not only there to bring down costs, but also to sustain the capacity. Tesla does not want their future to be in control of other companies hence the vertical integration. (Probably a lesson learned from paypal days when paypal became too ebay dependent)

      • Randy

        Roadster battery also used 18650 cells.. What were the real differences between the 40kWh battery and 60kWh battery? I never saw any evidence that Tesla software locked any battery…

        Rockefeller was very successful with his vertical monopoly… And Tesla is following in its footsteps… If it becomes a GM, I dont think tesla can keep the monopoly.

        • WeaponZero

          18650 is just the form factor. Roadster used LCO batteries from Sanyo.(Sanyo was bought by panasonic but still makes the sanyo batteries). Model S uses NCA batteries.

          The 40 kwh Model S cars that were sold were software locked 60 kwh cars. You can pay 10k at any time to unlock it.

          • Randy

            So they are different chemistry cells? Why would Tesla use the LCO chemistry for the 40kWh version when the cells arent as energy dense? If they were roadster cells, they also dont have the modifications Tesla made to the 18650 cells it uses. I think Tesla claimed a 30 or 35% cell cost reduction from the Roadster to the Model S, so why would they use Roadster cells? I was able to find a source for the software locked 60kWh battery packs, but not a source that showed Tesla planned to use a different chemistry for the 40kWh version.

            I would NOT be happy if I found out my car was software limited….

          • WeaponZero

            Because the cells are cheaper. While the Tesla Model S battery is cheaper than when the roadster battery came out, roadster battery dropped in price as well. LCO is the standard battery chemistry used in laptops and is the cheapest chemistry. That is why the 40kwh was not capable of supercharging either and had worse performance.

            “I would NOT be happy if I found out my car was software limited….”

            Really? You would have taken a 40kwh with worse performance, worse battery, and never capable of ever being supercharged over a software locked 60kwh? No matter how you look at it, every owner who bought a 40kwh was left happy without ticking off the ones who paid extra for the real 60kwh.

          • Randy

            The performance of the 40kWh Model S wasn’t much different than one would expect from the smaller battery pack compared to the 60kWh Model S, which has less power than the 85kWh Model S. The LCO chemistry has a much lower specific power rating, the 40kWh car did not have significantly less performance than one would expect for the size difference in the batteries. I not sure that LCO could provide similar performance with that pack, based on what I saw. The performance boost was caused by the fact that the car can use the full power from the 60kWh battery pack, but not the full amount of energy it could provide.

            But the fact that 60kWh cars were made and software limited implies there was something different…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Copying this over from a Tesla forum. No idea if it is accurate.

          “To answer the other half of the question 60kWh, and now 40kWh too, weighs about the same as 85kWh. It uses the same battery pack as 85kWh only that some cells are replaced with dummy cells. Tesla save cost this way since they won’t need to have two different suspension designs and go through separate safety certification process.”

          Apparently there were spec sheets at one time that listed the curb weight of all three as the same. From other forum discussions.

          • Randy

            I read that the weights ARE different. Different enough to make the 60kWh Model S significantly more efficient than the 85kWh Model S.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Did the 40 weigh less than the 60?

          • Randy

            Not sure about the original planned weights, but Tesla never made the original 40kWh car…

    • Randy

      Tesla is already paying ~200 dollars per kWh, so a battery for the Gen 3 would only cost ~8000 or less. That leaves a LOT of room for the rest of the car

    • http://www.myelectricfly.com/ Robert (Electricman) Weekley

      OP – There was a demand of 5% of Sales for the $50K Car (Price after Fed. Tax Break), so they dropped it (160 mile range and No Supercharger Option likely were the opening issues for less interest)! I know – it is the Supercharger Network and availability on their car that really changes how the car’s value stacks up! (At Least – I would not buy one without that option installed at least!)

      Also – Li-S (Lithium Sulfur) is a coming Chemistry, as well as potential Lithium Vanadium Phosphate Cells, which would still be called – Li-Ion – just as today, in common practice, and could also be made in the 18650 Cell format they like: Both produced improved Power and Energy Densities, and the Vanadium one seems to really extend the cycle life!

  • haralampi nedelin

    FWD cars are more compact because there is no drive shaft front-to-back, and the engine doesn’t need to be mounted longitudinally, which makes the front shorter. Athough there are AWD cars with transversely mounted engines. And a V6 is pretty compact anyway. But an electric motor is so small and compact that it can be mounted either front or back and not affect the overall dimensions in the same way that traditional engines do.

    • taliz

      AWD is much simpler in an electric car than an ICE, because you can
      just put two motors straight on the axlesI(or even directly on the
      wheels), with no drive shafts or diffs in between. Instead of complex
      diffs etc you just handle the same function via electronics to the two
      motors.
      This also means you get more room in the cabin since no drive shafts are needed, and the weight will also be less.

      And
      it can be used for much more interesting things as well. For example
      you could have a bigger and a smaller motor in each ends, width
      differentent gear ratios.
      So for example during heavy accelleration
      you use both, but during crusing you use only the smaller engine. Which
      means it could improve the range as well.

      So unlike in an ICE, you can both have the cake, and eat it. You get improved traction AND improved range.

  • grendal

    To be clear, the author of the article is interpreting what Elon said. He did not say the pack would be 48kWh, but did say that the pack would be about 20% smaller than the Model S pack. The smallest pack for the S is 60kWh so 20% less is 48kWh.

    • Randy

      But slightly higher energy density with 20% less volume could EASILY place that at 50kWh…

      • http://www.myelectricfly.com/ Robert (Electricman) Weekley

        Plus – the Model E is planned to have the same access to the Super Charger Network, giving it cross-country capability also. Big Plus there!

    • sumguy

      At a higher energy density, a smallerpack does not result in a lower volume of stored power, so the asertion is pedestrian…

  • Jouni Valkonen

    My guess is that Model E will be AWD. It really does not make much sense to make non AWD electric vehicles.

    • Jack Daniels

      Cost is the main reason. Cost and steering geometry would be my guess. With gas cars, the RWD ones with AWD optional, the AWD adds 200 lbs to the front axle, and usually some compromise has to be made in the front suspension / steering setup as a result. The RWD model can have a softer front suspension and equal or better performance than the AWD counterpart.. So in other words, a better riding car too because of less weight being up front, that still handles better (Lighter). But anyway, with electric cars, I see no point in a FWD car, but I wouldn’t say AWD is needed. It is not needed for 99% of the country. I got through this Philly winter with 0 issues with my Front-Drive Malibu with all season tires. I had to drive through the brunt of every storm we had to get to work, up and down hills, unplowed streets, etc. Even todays RWD gas cars with modern tire tech, stability and traction control being mandatory on all cars, perform very well in the snow. They have closer to 50/50 weight distribution these days and the whole argument of FWD vs RWD in the snow is a moot point. The Electric cars can get perfect weight distribution much more easily and no need for a drive shaft, so the interior space disadvantage RWD gas cars have is no longer an issue. Why have the front wheels do the steering AND the propelling at ALL anymore? So I say that FWD electric is pointless. AWD is nice but definitely not needed. If you have extra money and live on top of an ice mountain (you probably don’t), then sure, but it really isn’t the be all end all that the marketing departments of car companies make it out to be. I’d vote for RWD with AWD being optional.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        My guess is that AWD costs about $1000 more than RWD and more than 90 % of people will opt for AWD, because extra kilodollar is more or less negligible for 40 kilodollar car.

        Also AWD helps with Tesla’s profit margins.

      • taliz

        AWD is much simpler in an electric car than an ICE, because you can just put two motors straight on the axles, with no drive shafts or diffs in between. Less complex and less room needed.

        And it can be used for much more interesting things as well. For example you could have a bigger and a smaller motor in each ends, width differentent gear ratios.
        So for example during heavy accelleration you use both, but during crusing you use only the smaller engine. Which means it could improve the range as well.

        So unlike in an ICE, you can both have the cake, and eat it. You get improved traction AND improved range.

  • John

    Even the current tech can make a 48KWh car at $35,040.

    2013 nissan leaf’s price is $28,800. It has 24kwh battery. If the
    battery price is $260/kwh, A 48kwh leaf costs $35,040 (24*260+28800=35040). If the
    battery’s cost can be reduced by 35%, it can save $4368 on battery itself.
    The range of Nissan leaf is 75 mile EPA, the Honda Fit EV is 82 mile EPA. Fit EV, bettery: 20 KWh battery, Curb weight: 3252 pound.
    If Tesla’s cost control can reach Nissan’s level, and fuel efficiency can catch Honda Fit EV, it can produce a 48KWh Car with 200 mile range EPA at $35,040. (Assume that battery price is $260 per KWh).
    If the the battery’s cost is lower than $200 per KWh as some people said, or can be reduced by 35%, Tesla can make money on it.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      Range of the LEAF (charged to 100%) is 84 miles. So a 200 mile EPA range for the Model E with a 48 kWh battery looks to be even more likely. Knowing Tesla’s focus on aerodynamics (the LEAF is rather poor on this point).

      • Randy

        The leaf isnt “poor” on aerodynamics, for one, and Tesla likes to measure range at 55mph under optimal conditions. Tesla allows a slightly “fuller” cycle in their batteries too, so a Tesla 200 mile range is very possible… It will probably get a ~190 mile EPA range

    • Mint

      Nissan has decades of experience in reducing cost of all the other parts of a Leaf (and negotiating contracts with suppliers) along with its assembly. It’ll take a while before Tesla can catch up.

      Remember that Tesla is aiming for an upscale image, so it’ll need a nicer interior than a Leaf. They’re gunning for the entry level luxury segment (BMW 328i, Mercedes C300, Infiniti Q50, etc), so I don’t think it’ll be cheaper than $39k after tax credits, despite what he says in this video.

      • A Real Libertarian

        “Nissan has decades of experience in reducing cost of all the other
        parts of a Leaf (and negotiating contracts with suppliers) along with
        its assembly. It’ll take a while before Tesla can catch up.”

        Tesla has more experience, or are you forgetting these are electric cars?

        • Mint

          There’s a reason I said OTHER parts. The drivetrain (battery pack, motor, controller) are what Tesla is destroying the competition at, and I have no doubt they’ll continue to do so for the next generation.

          Manufacturing and/or assembling the rest of the car – body, chassis, brakes, HVAC, windows, seats, dash, etc – at sub-$20k price points (something Nissan does for an array of models) is not a trivial task. It’s downright amazing how cheap a car is when you go through all the parts.

          It’s almost a certainty that Nissan makes more of those parts in house than Tesla does, and even when they don’t, they’ll have sweeter supply chain contracts due to volume and experience.

          • ChrisSheild

            Mint, you have a good point, but Tesla is Tesla. They have a very different approach to design than Nissan, and IMO are more likely to make technological breakthroughs than the big auto-manufacturers. For example, their approach to factory layouts is already quite different than most car companies. These guys have a shot to build a company from the ground up in 201x which puts them at the advantage of using ONLY new/better technologies instead of reworking new tech from their R&D as it becomes needed. It’s a lot like writing a new program in a new language instead of adding to old code. I wouldn’t be surprised if they CAN reduce the costs of the things you mentioned very quickly just due to sheer engineering nimbleness.

            Also, some of the things you mentioned like HVAC and brakes are somewhat different for electric cars. Heat can come off the battery, brakes may be regenerative etc..

          • Mint

            I’m certainly not counting Tesla out. But at this point I have to assume Tesla will be at a disadvantage for those parts simply due to volume and the cost-sharing across models that the big automakers benefit from.

            Nissan-Renault is no innovation slouch, either. They made a combo heat-pump/AC for their EVs, so heating is much more efficient than the resistive heating that Tesla is using.

          • ChrisSheild

            Good points, should be an interesting next decade for the auto-industry.

          • Randy

            Heat doesnt come from the battery in electric cars. Heat comes from resistance heaters or heat pumps in electric cars. The battery doesnt get hot enough to warm the car… And the high temps arent good for batteries…

          • ChrisSheild

            Yeah I worded that poorly; I should have said the energy to create heat comes from the battery. I meant it’s not coming from excess heat from the engine. This is a fundamental difference in the HVAC system for EVs because you have to generate the heat from a high quality energy source like a battery.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Perhaps where we’re heading…

            “But a heating and cooling system under development almost eliminates the drain on the battery. The researchers are working with Ford on a system that they hope to test in Ford’s Focus EV within the next two years. The work is being funded with a $2.7 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy.

            The researchers describe their new device as a thermal battery. It uses materials that can store large amounts of coolant in a small volume. As the coolant moves through the system, it can be used for either heating or cooling.

            In the system, water is pumped into a low-pressure container, evaporating and absorbing heat in the process. The water vapor is then exposed to an adsorbant—a material with microscopic pores that have an affinity for water molecules. This material pulls the vapor out of the container, keeping the pressure low so more water can be pumped in and evaporated. This evaporative cooling process can be used to cool off the passenger compartment.

            As the material adsorbs water molecules, heat is released; it can be run through a radiator and dissipated into the atmosphere when the system is used for cooling, or it can be used to warm up the passenger compartment. The system requires very little electricity—just enough to run a small pump and fans to blow cool or warm air.”

            http://www.technologyreview.com/news/513466/novel-heating-system-could-improve-electric-cars-range/

          • taliz

            In the electric Volvo C30, they used the batteries for the drive, but ethanol for heating. Quite efficient and still good for the environment.
            You get pretty much instant heat, and your range isn’t affected at all.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Right. And using electricity to heat the (occupied) seats and the steering wheel is a good way to provide comfort while saving electricity.

          • QKodiak

            Sounds like a reworked swamp cooler to me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Don’t see any water loss in the system.

          • QKodiak

            “reworked”

          • jeffhre

            Reworked with no water use, less energy use and potential financial viability is bad?

          • QKodiak

            I never insinuated that it’s bad unless “swamp cooler” has bad connotations. I was just making a comparison. It sounds pretty cool. I wonder how subzero temperatures would affect it.

          • jeffhre

            Does reworked sound somewhat like: little change to the status quo expected, no innovation involved and little or nothing to be gained?

        • Randy

          Nissan makes the best selling electric car in HISTORY…

          • A Real Libertarian

            But Tesla is close behind.

            And Tesla has a decade of experience with EVs.

            And Tesla only makes EVs.

            And Tesla has massive batteries in the car and the accompanying contracts.

            And Tesla has an overarching plan.

          • Randy

            That doesnt mean Tesla has more experience with EVs… They have different approaches.

          • QKodiak

            Actually, whether the company has experience or not is a non-sequitor because a company is made up of people. All Tesla has to do and has done is hire the best in the industry, and BOOM! they just became the most experienced at whatever it is.
            In fact, they have a waiting list of geniuses waiting to join Tesla every time there is an opening. Tesla doesn’t have to beg and offer incentives to attract these guys like the others do. They come willingly.

          • Randy

            I dont think it is as simple as you make it sound

            Tesla Motors admitted as much on its recent plant tour. Executives confirmed that the company recruits literally all over the world for engineers with the right mix of experience, including from England’s ample supply of Formula 1 race-car engineers.

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1047984_why-silicon-valley-wont-be-detroit-for-green-carmakers

          • jeffhre

            …and Tesla has a vampire load issue, and Nissan has thousands of sales people who want nothing to do with EV’s – welcome to a mid 2010′s alt energy pissing contest -

      • jeffhre

        Except the Leaf uses parts that were never before cost reduced, like electronics vs hyraulics driven by belts,and low power infotainment systems. Tesla has hundreds (if not thousands now or very soon) of auto industry experienced personnel.

        • Randy

          The “infotainment system” doesnt draw much power and isnt special. I use 20kW of power while driving. Not doing anything the car draws 200W. A more efficient radio wont do anything for an electric car…

          • jeffhre

            I agree. The point is not to do “something special” for an EV. The point is OEM’s have not done this before at all, making the process from design to contracts to validation to procurement a more expensive series of inputs leading to production.

            Plopping in a radio from a Versa is less expensive than starting the specification and validation process from zero – if no one has used an electric power steering assembly, which will replace a belt driven one, there will be a related cost, even if as you believe, the new one “isn’t special.”

          • Randy

            The Leaf’s interior has only two things in common with the Versa, as far as I have been able to tell. The wiper controls. The headlights controls… On the outside, it shares the mirrors, but i think most Nissans do. Oh! I just thought of a third time! The overhead light is the same. These specific parts are common between most Nissan models. The Leaf is in no way a Versa…

            The Leaf is a new vehicle and im sure the 2nd gen will be cheaper, even though the Leaf is already very competitive BEFORE tax credits.

            I was commenting on the radio system, not the power steering.

          • jeffhre

            Again, my point exactly.And on my Volt, a low power radio from Bose was sourced. Who would have ever dreamed of putting a “low power” radio in my ’69 Chevelle?

          • Randy

            The whole low power radio thing is just silly. It will, at MOST, lower your range by a faction of a mile. In the leaf, maybe a mile. I want a nice, high quality, loud sound system….

          • jeffhre

            Silly? I’m mashing down the pedal on a ’69 Chevy small block, I CANT HEAR YOUUOOO!!!!

          • Randy

            I said the the “low power radio” was silly. Radios don’t use very much power. It would be very hard to use a mile worth of power in the Leaf using the radio. Maybe leaving the car on to use it as a radio, but otherwise, it makes no sense.

          • jeffhre

            More watts for propulsion and less for accessories can’t be all bad from an engineering and manufacturing perspective. Though as batteries get larger and charging gets faster, the issue will go away.

            Battery evolution will eventually encourage sport versions and electron guzzlers and everyone will soon forget that EV’s once used low power devices.

          • Randy

            My car uses more electricity in a mile than a radio would use in over an hours. There isn’t anything wrong with an efficient radio, but i want my sound system to sound nice…

            Even performance EVs are more efficient than a Prius. The Tesla Roadster hits 60 in 3 seconds or less and it is more efficient than a Prius…

          • jeffhre

            Yes.

          • jeffhre

            My Volt is also quite efficient. Yet and still, I am thoroughly convinced that there is no nexus whatsoever, linking that to what I had written earlier??

          • sumguy

            Go to a Tesla showroom and look at the chassis theyhave on display. Look at the steering rack. It has “Land Rover” written right on it.

          • jeffhre

            Doh!!! I think you need another Duff’s!

      • Randy

        I think the Gen 3 will be a mid-grade car, just like the Nissan Leaf. It doesnt need to be a luxury car. The leaf provides good quality and specs… A comparable Accord to a Leaf SV is only 1,000 dollars cheaper BEFORE any tax incentives.

        Tesla can easily sell the car for under 40k. The battery pack will be 8,000 or less, leaving a LOT of room for the rest of the car.

        • jeffhre

          Tesla has said in the past, that it will compete with the 3 series from BMW. That may have been before the 1 series was popularized though.

          • Randy

            I don’t think Tesla is going to make the car smaller than a midsized car.

        • QKodiak

          Of course it has to be a luxury/sport car. Tesla is a premium automaker with a great brand image. They don’t want to tarnish it with something that’s not epic.

          • Randy

            They will give it good performance, but not luxury. Not on the base model.

          • QKodiak

            It depends on your definition of luxury.
            Does the base BMW 320i offer luxury? Does the base Mercedes C250 offer luxury? Does the base Lexus IS offer luxury? The answer is yes. The Gen III (not so sure about “Model E” anymore) will be comparable to these entry-level luxury cars. It will be more “luxurious” than a Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima, but less than an Audi A6 or Lexus GS.

            An S-class or Jaguar XJ to me is extreme luxury. A Bentley or Rolls Royce to me is Uber luxury. Pretty much anything with a premium car logo on it that costs $40K+ to me is luxury. Most Buicks, Cadillacs, Acuras, Infinitis, and Lincolns also count as luxury cars.

      • QKodiak

        Oh it’ll probably start at $35K just like the rest of them, but with options, and the bigger battery, it could top $60,000 just like the rest of them, and the Performance version would be more (M3 and C63 AMG top $80K).

      • QKodiak

        All Tesla has to do is break even at the $35,000 price mark, because no one will buy the base model. Some of those “options” are rather important such as Supercharging ($2,000). In case you guys forgot, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Cadillac, Porsche – ALL car companies play the expensive options game, especially luxury ones.

        For instance, a Mercedes C250 starts at a reasonable $35,800. However, option it up, and it starts to hurt. A fully optioned C250 clears $60,000. BMW is the same way, and I expect Tesla to be no different with the Model E. Both the M3 and the C63 AMG top out at more than $80,000. The same will probably hold true for the Model E Performance. Tesla won’t have any problems making money once they cover initial development costs for the battery factory and the car itself. Even if they break even at a $35,000 MSRP, at an average selling price of $45,000 (a reasonable assumption), they’ll have a 28.6% profit margin.

    • Randy

      Nissan isnt paying 260 per kWh, they are paying less than that…

  • dynamo.joe

    So, why is making this car front wheel drive going to make it smaller?

    • JeffD

      I was wondering that myself. I wouldn’t think it would make any difference in weight or size if you put the motor between the back wheels or between the front wheels. There is no transmission to worry about. Maybe the author can clarify.

    • Stephen Pace

      Yes, the author is incorrect in this. Making a front wheel drive Model E would not make it any smaller. The electric motor is already small, and you can mount it either place. I’ve seen the Model X alpha in person and the disadvantage of having the motor up-front is you lose some frunk space. You don’t miss the space as much in the back.

    • QKodiak

      It won’t. The author was thinking from an ICE standpoint. The Model E will most likely be RWD with AWD and Performance options.

  • J_JamesM

    The model S is huge anyway. Some say its weight is the one black mark on its otherwise superb handling. It stands to reason that the E should perform even better in that regard, then, although it remains to be seen how big a motor they plan on installing. One hopes it will tend to being large and under-exerted to reach 200 miles, rather than being tiny and efficient but overworked.

    • David Schwartz

      There is no “black mark” on the Model S handling. It is superb, nimble and it is a fast as a rocket. It achieves it’s handily by putting its heavy battery spanning the bottom of the car, hence low center of gravity, a brilliant engineering concept. I expect the Model E to handle as well, but not better than the model S.

      • QKodiak

        The smaller, lighter car always handles better than a larger, heavier car. That’s just physics. The Model E Performance will be more nimble and handle even better than the incredible Model S P85+.

    • jeffhre

      The power of an EV motor is not dictated so much by size as in an internal combustion engine. An EV motor of 150 HP may be very similar an EV motor rated at 250 HP. In fact the two motors could even be identical except for the cooling system and power electronics. EV efficiency between differing configurations need not be related to motor size, for most passenger vehicle applications.

  • Hans

    Typo in title. Hint: compare with first line of article

  • Will E

    A small petrol car price is about 10.000 Euros or less.
    What is the problem of an EV to produce it for 10,000 Euros.
    An Electric induction motor cost next to nothing. The cost of the car is the same
    What is the cost of 48 Kwh battery pack?
    ad this together and there is your price off all EV car.
    The technique is simple and durable.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think the problem of EV cost is totally the small scale of manufacturing. If one looks at all the work it takes to make the hundreds of separate parts of an ICE and all the materials that go into them it’s hard to see why the prices of batteries would be higher.

    • virtualvillian

      An EV may cost more up front, but running costs are super low – for less than the price of a gallon of gas I can drive my leaf 100 miles. No oil changes, no transmission, no muffler, much less brake repair because of regenerative energy capture. The only maintenance it needs is wiper fluid refill and tire rotation.

    • John

      Small scale of manufacturing and cost of the battery pack. For most car companies you are talking about $400USD per Kwh for a specially desingned li-ion car battery or close to $20K. Tesla is much cheaper due to the volume of batteries and the use of cheaper commodity laptop batteries but it still clocks in at just under $200 per Kwh or under 10K (estimates, Tesla doesn’t release hard numbers). Some have suggested they might hit a little over $100 per Kwh for the next battery but that is still over $5,000 for the battery pack versus closer to $2K for a small gasoline engine.

      • Randy

        Nissan is paying WAY under 400 per kWh, around half that…

      • Kerry Phillips

        The expensive multi-gear transmission is replaced with a relatively simple and cheaper gear reduction unit. The electric motor should be a little cheaper then a gas unit, but an expensive controller/inverter is still needed.

    • EV docmaker

      The cost of running a petrol car is vastly greater !

    • Randy

      The 48kWh battery costs Tesla about 8000 USD (5700 euro). The Gen 3wont compete with a cheap crappy car, it will be a mid-grade car. In the US, BEFORE tax breaks, EVs are very competitive in costs. A comparable accord to a Leaf SV is 31k vs 32k. Both cars have similar interior volume, quality, specs.

      • QKodiak

        By the time the Tesla Model E hits the roads (2018?), Nissan will be offering a 150-mile battery in the Leaf at an unknown price, in addition to the current battery option which is expected to keep dropping in price.

        The Tesla Model E is supposed to start at $35,000, but like the fully loaded BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-class, it will probably exceed $60,000 when fully loaded, and the Performance version would be more (M3 and C63 AMG top out at $80K+).

        It won’t be competing with the Nissan Leaf except in the small EV market. The rest of the market will compare it to ICE equivalents. The HUGE advantage that Tesla has over other EV makers is the Supercharger network that enables Tesla’s vehicles to travel long distances in a timely, convenient manner. No other EVs can do it.

        The Model E will have far better quality, safety, range, performance, handling, cargo space, technology, and it will look beautiful too. That’s kind of hard to beat at the expected $35K-ish price point.

        • Randy

          It wont compete with the Leaf? I am not so sure. The Leaf will likely be much cheaper. You think the Gen 3 will have better quality, safety, range, performance, handling, cargo space, and technology? You have to remember, Tesla is on a budget. Nissan may go more toward the economical side, while Tesla goes toward performance. But many people aren’t willing to pay thousands more for a car that goes faster. Elon Musk will probably announce the car at 39.9k and that is bare bones. No SuperCharge (+2k), no navigation (tech package? +1 or 2k) smallest battery (very close to Leaf range). We will see… But if someone wants a nice EV without spending a lot of money, and they aren’t worried about performance, I think Tesla will have a hard time winning that one…

          • QKodiak

            Fifty miles is a big difference. It may be compared with the Leaf, but I don’t think that Nissan can simultaneously increase the size of the battery pack and make the car cheaper. I expect their 150-mile Leaf to cost $30,000.

            Having the option to Supercharge is the difference between a citycar (Leaf) and a travel-whereever-you-feel-like car (Tesla). That alone is worth the added cost. Then there’s the appearance. The Leaf like the Prius isn’t going to get radically better, whereas the Model E will most likely be gorgeous like the Model S. Besides being faster, it’ll handle better, have better pedal feel, have more technology, have more cargo space (frunk), be safer, have more prestige (Tesla brand), etc. It’ll totally be worth the added cost.

            In the small EV sector, maybe every EV competes, even if radically different. However, the Tesla Model E will compete with the likes of the BMW 3-series, not the Hyundai Elantra or Honda Civic that the Nissan Leaf does battle with.

          • Randy

            Doubling the battery pack ca easily give a 150 mile range.

            The Leaf is NOT a city car. The VAST majority of miles are within 100 miles of home. So whats wrong with the Leaf? I do not live in a city. The nearest “large” city is an hour away.

          • QKodiak

            What’s wrong with the Leaf is that it doesn’t have a 100-mile range in real life. In many cases, people find that they can comfortably travel only 50-60 miles without range anxiety due to terrain, temperature, high speeds, and degredation. These cases are from real owners who love the car, but are being realistic and honest about their usage and experiences with the car. If I couldn’t charge up at work, a Leaf would be a no go for me since it’s a 56 mile round trip just to work. I would not be able to head home, grab a quick bite to eat, then head off for another 25-mile round trip jaunt to Barbershop practice. Fortunately, I can charge up at work when I get an EV. Hopefully, that’ll be sooner rather than later.

            The same with the Tesla Model S is true. Normally, you’ll be using a standard charge which is 80%, providing way more range than you’ll ever need in day-to-day driving making range on a standard charge fairly irrelevant (167 and 212 miles). When you’re going to travel for more than 150 or 200 miles for the 60kWh and 85kWh models respectively, owners do a range charge, allowing the battery to charge to 100% SOC. Some Model S owners have issues Supercharger hopping due to high speeds, using the heater or AC, less than smooth roads, hills, curves, wind, precipitation

          • Randy

            IWhat’s wrong with the Leaf is that it doesn’t have a 100-mile range in real life. In many cases, people find that they can comfortably travel only 50-60 miles without range anxiety due to terrain, temperature, high speeds, and degredation.

            During optimal conditions, I usually get about 95 miles of range. Usually around 55mph. I regularly drive our of that “50-60 mile range” you claim.

            If I couldn’t charge up at work, a Leaf would be a no go for me since it’s a 56 mile round trip just to work.

            Definitely not true. Even in the winter, my range was well over that.

            Another thing about the Leaf, with only 70 miles of highway range with a new battery, your real range is only 35 miles out, and 35 miles back.

            I had to drive my car 75 miles just to get home from the dealership. Still have over 15% battery left, and that was mostly highway. The Leaf has around 80 miles of range on the highway.

            The Leaf can also charge to 80 or 100%.

            56 + 25 = 81 < 84

            If you are really concerned about range, or it is winter or whatever, then charge for 30 or 60 minutes while you are at home.

            And again, the average family has 2.4 cars. Average person drives less than 40 miles per day. The Leaf can go over twice as far. So it is NOT a city car.

          • QKodiak

            Your experience is clearly superior to that of many I have spoken to in person or while blogging. What seems normal to you believe it or not is NOT normal for many Leaf owners out there, esp. in the Southwest where degradation is a big issue. BTW: What is your definition of city car?

          • Randy

            Degradation is a problem in hot climates.

            And how one drives impacts range.

            The 2013 Leaf has more range, a heat pump, and numerous other upgrades over the 2011/2012 model

            A city car would be a car that couldn’t really be used outside of the city. A car that can’t go 55 or 65.

          • QKodiak

            For me, the Nissan Leaf is a city car because where I live, the cities are quite far apart and separated by high speed interstates which reduce the range farther. I couldn’t visit the next city over if I wanted to, and waiting 3-4 hours to charge up at a L2 station if I want to try to travel is a dealbreaker.

            The heat increases degradation and AC usage, and in the cold, many things conspire against EVs to make them drastically less efficient.

            It’s interesting that you put a low speed limit on there. To me, a city car is something that can’t travel well. For me, my ’88 work van is a “citycar” because I’d be scared to take it on an extended trip at high speeds due to its age and issues. I can get up to 80 mph eventually.

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