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Published on December 23rd, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan

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Secret Tesla Master Plan Coming To Life

December 23rd, 2015 by  


Originally published on EV Obsession.

If you’ve obsessively been following Tesla for long, there’s a decent chance you’ve already run across this 9-year-old article. But a few things this week reminded me that the majority of the population, and probably even the majority of EV drivers and enthusiasts, have never heard of Tesla’s “Secret Master Plan.” I think it’s a very important thing to know about and understand, so I’m revisiting it here in order to give people relatively new to the EV world a more complete picture of Tesla and what it is focused on achieving. (Full disclosure: I’m an investor in Tesla, for reasons that I think will become obvious by the end of this article.)

tesla-model-x-tesla-roadster

Thanks to Bonnie Norman for sharing this picture yesterday of her new Tesla Model X and her “more experienced” Tesla Roadster, and for allowing us to share the picture here on CleanTechnica. © 2015 Bonnie Norman

Starting a car company is not particularly easy. Chrysler was started in 1925. See if you can name an American car company that has been started since then, has prospered, and is still alive today (and never mind that Chrysler is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles … with the Italian brand at the front of that name). Think of that, and think of how much chance an electric car company had of surviving.

Elon himself expected Tesla wouldn’t survive, but he seemed to know very well that if it was going to survive, there was a particular path to success.

Disruptive technology typically just takes over the market if it’s much better and/or cheaper than the incumbent leader in that field. But it almost never starts out cheaper than the incumbent technology. Lacking economies of scale, and with the transformative tech typically based on some relatively new components that are expensive to produce, the newer technology is often way above the price point that an average American (let alone an average resident of the world) can afford.

disruptive technology transitions

Sales of disruptive technologies start very slow, largely because of their high cost, but once costs get down enough for the masses to afford them, sales explode.

Initial computers were crazy expensive (and much worse than the ones today). Initial cell phones were crazy expensive (and much worse than the ones today). Initial smartphones were crazy expensive. Initial high-quality digital cameras were crazy expensive. Initial flat-screen TVs were crazy expensive. Initial camcorders were crazy expensive. Cars themselves were initially far outside the price range of the average American. But all of these technologies have become relatively commonplace, and they’ve all followed the same general path to widespread market adoption.

Fall of crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar cell costs from 1977 ( Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

Drop in the price of solar, essentially the inverse of solar power growth. (Source: BNEF)

That path is actually pretty simple: Very expensive models of these technologies were sold to very rich people. This allowed the companies producing them to make a good profit that they could use to pump more money into R&D and scale up production, which allowed them to bring costs down and sell to more people. As production scaled up, economies of scale and the experience curve kicked in — bringing costs down almost via a law of nature. Eventually, the manufacturers were able to produce the technologies at a low enough cost that these breakthrough technologies were affordable to the masses, while the manufacturers still (or finally) made a profit.

Now, see if you can think of a disruptive technology that took over the market starting on the low-cost end. …

Really, see if you can name one such technology.

Back in 2006 (yep, nearly a decade ago), Elon Musk (when he was just Chairman of Tesla Motors “on the side”) wrote a blog post on the Tesla blog titled “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me).”

In that article, Elon made it clear that his goal was to help stimulate and hasten an EV revolution in order to help bring society into sustainable operation. Here’s one key paragraph for those of you who currently think Tesla is just interested in building high-priced vehicles: “As you know, the initial product of Tesla Motors is a high performance electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. However, some readers may not be aware of the fact that our long term plan is to build a wide range of models, including affordably priced family cars. This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”

And here’s where he more succinctly explains Tesla’s plan for how to succeed as a company and help speed up the transition to electric cars: “Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.”

To put this in other words, rich people are often willing to pay a lot more for a new, innovative, high-quality product, while people with less money simply have much less flexibility in how much they spend on any given product. Starting at the top of the market allows a company to recoup the initial high costs of producing a new technology while also adding in a healthy markup for more R&D, production expansion, and operational expansion. R&D and production expansion bring down costs, allowing the company to sell to somewhat less rich (but still rich) people. Operational expansion supports production expansion and makes the products accessible to more people. The cycle is repeated and repeated and repeated until the technology is affordable to the majority of the population (assuming it is truly a disruptive technology and is destined for that fate).

Some people aware of this plan still want to argue that Tesla isn’t actually moving fast in the direction of affordable, long-range electric cars for the masses. But look at a few things:

→ Look at the fact that Tesla has gone from producing ~800 cars per year in 2010 to ~50,000 cars per year in 2015.

→ Look at how quickly Tesla has built out Supercharger networks in the US and Europe, so that Tesla drivers can go on long-distance trips with approximately the same convenience as gasmobile drivers (but without spending a dime on fuel). Such a capability/convenience will be essential to the mass-market adoption of electric cars. No other auto manufacturer has done anything comparable. Even the mainstream manufacturers who are most eagerly producing electric cars and building out a fast-charging network aren’t doing anything comparable, despite having a lot more money to invest in such matters. Their networks are much smaller, much less logically integrated (for long-distance travel), much less reliable, run by startups, and charge a car about half as fast as Tesla’s Superchargers charge a car.

A Tesla owner can quite easily drive around the US. An owner of any other fully electric car has to spend much more time to make a long-distance trip, and can’t make it between many major cities on popular routes without having to stop for hours at a time to charge on a slow, Level 2 charger or a ridiculously slow conventional 120-volt outlet. Tesla didn’t build this Supercharger network just to make high-end Tesla buyers happy. It built this Supercharger network (and is still building it at a rapid pace) so that when it comes out with an electric car for the masses, the masses aren’t turned off by an inability to make long trips in the car.

tesla-supercharger-usa-2016

→ The key impediment to low-cost, long-range electric cars is batteries. Batteries are expensive. They have to come down in price considerably in order for a financially viable long-range electric car to reach the average price of a new car in the United States (~$31,000). As noted above, the way to bring down the price is to increase production. But demand for your products needs to grow (incrementally, at first) in order to increase production in a financially sustainable way. Tesla has driven (no pun initially intended) demand for its own electric cars as well as for other manufacturers’ electric cars by producing a very attractive sports car with impressive specs and performance (the Tesla Roadster), the quickest sedan in history by a large margin (the Tesla Model S), and now the quickest production SUV in history (the Model X). In the latter two cases, the S and X aren’t just quick for their class, but they’re quicker than almost every production car in history. The handful of cars quicker than a Model S mostly cost over $1 million and/or were produced in very low numbers. Additionally, they don’t seat a family of 5 to 7 people.

Aside from the quickness, these vehicles have other neat cutting-edge features, like the most advanced autonomous driving suite on the market, over-the-air software updates, falcon-wing doors, the most effective air filter in a car … by a large margin (on the Model X), and the biggest windshield in the world (on the Model X). The point is, Tesla is stimulating massive demand for high-priced vehicles so that it can scale up battery production enough to significantly bring down costs. No other automaker is producing such exciting and desired electric vehicles.

Tesla Model X Black Eye

Photo by Kyle Field

Tesla Model X red 2

Photo by Kyle Field

Model-Ss-charging-Florida

Photo by Zachary Shahan

→ Tesla isn’t just generating as much demand as possible for electric car batteries (via highly desired electric vehicles) — it’s also building (with Panasonic) a battery “gigafactory” in Nevada that will eventually produce as many batteries in a year as the entire world produced in 2013. It is taking this initiative in the manufacturing space in order to ensure that batteries are being produced at a massive scale in a few years, which is what’s needed to bring down costs. Tesla is also doing what it can at the chemistry level to further cut battery costs. As far as we know, no other car manufacturer is engaged in any way (whether as a manufacturer or as the partner of a manufacturer) in increasing and improving battery production to such a large degree.


So, yes, Tesla is still producing very high-priced sedans and SUVs, but it is doing so in order to increase battery production, in order to bring down battery prices, in order to bring down electric car prices, in order to electrify transport.

Elon and Tesla are doing this out of a desire to help protect society from itself and to get back on a sustainable path — to “save the world,” if you want to use a common phrase.

It may seem like Tesla is just producing and selling fancy toys for the rich for a bit of fun, but the plan has long been much, much bigger than that. It was shared with the world in 2006, but I’m sure it was on Elon’s mind, and on the minds of many Tesla founders and employees, much further back than that.

Thanks to Bonnie Norman for partially stimulating this story with the picture of her Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model X at the top. Thanks to a CleanTechnica writer from ages back for reminding me this week that even many cleantech enthusiasts don’t know about Tesla’s master plan. And thanks to Elon and Tesla for trying to save the world.





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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



  • Could this be the source for the diagram of the sales of disruptive technologies? Interesting article, as well… 😉

    http://theconversation.com/the-long-road-for-electric-vehicles-13347

    • Bob_Wallace

      No, not the source. We’ve been using that graph well before the article you linked. In fact, if you look at the report you’ll find where it originated.

  • eveee

    That reference article is pretty poor. It doesn’t do much to get the facts correct. Coal is not replacing nuclear. The article does manage to find out that GHG emission have been dropping, but manages to ignore the fact that the long term trend is lower. It also parrots the old electricity is more expensive canard without really noting that its primarily taxes, and if anything, renewables have lowered electricity costs.

    As far as characterizing “It is a complete mess that is threatening their entire energy market”, as you say, you need to research. That won’t do. I can’t see any real justification for it. There are impacts, but they are not catastrophic, and some are beneficial. For one, Energiewende has lower wholesale electricity prices. Germany has some of the lowest wholesale costs in EU. The retail costs vary by national tax practices.

    And a quote from “the Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic”, someone with dubious technical power credentials is not much better.

    I will stay with, renewables integrate up to 30% with very little grid impact. I have read IEEE reports about the cross border problem that point out that they existed because of bad transmission situations that cause loops. Those have nothing to do with renewables and have to do with the way the grid system has not always been well designed. Thats a fairly obvious result of the sometimes lack of cooperation between EU countries. That is not unique to Germany/Poland/Czech borders. France and Spain also have sparred.
    I note that I have never heard anyone claim that Denmark destabilized Sweden and Germany or Iowa destabilized Kansas.
    The whole stability claim is nonsense. Wind and solar in EU in particular, actually can stabilize the grid. Grid stability issues don’t exist in a vacuum. The load variations, grid conditions, other generation, weather, and whether the grid has been expanded properly to meet demand can have much more effect than wind and solar.

  • Dragon

    Wow, 364 comments! A new record?

    That 2016 supercharger map is cool. We’ve been wondering when they’d build a path to Winnipeg (wife’s home town) and it looks like it will come this year! My parents also recently took a trip to Big Bend national park and we noticed there wasn’t a supercharger for hundreds of miles around it… but it looks like they’ll be adding one 150 miles from the center of the park. Of course that’s not close enough to get there and back but Rio Grande Village RV Campground is supposed to have RV plugs. Oddly, plugshare.com shows absolutely no kind of power anywhere in the park. Even a 120V outlet would do if in walking distance to a camp site.

    • ha, not sure, but feel like we’ve gotten into the 400s or 500s before. not sure if there’s a way to check.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Real Clear Energy is a site from Real Clear Politics, a “right-leaning site. Question anything you read there.

    German and European grids are transitioning away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Expect growing pains.

    Now, the article –

    “But what the article does not mention is that Germany has been filling the hole created by the nuclear shutdown mainly with coal.”

    Germany increased coal use about 3% immediately after the Fukushima meltdown. What the writer doesn’t tell you (in July, 2015) is that by 2014 coal use was down lower than in the years preceding Fukushima.

    “So one aspect of the effort has been the construction of eight new coal plants.”

    That decision was made long before Germany launched large scale wind and solar installation. The idea was to replace inefficient coal plants with efficient ones.

    That’s strike two for William Tucker.

    ” The subsidy now comes to $23 billion Euros annually. In order to cover this huge cost, the government has tacked a “renewables tax” onto consumers’ electrical bills. As a result, more than half of what Germans pay for electricity is to cover the renewables tax, giving them the highest electrical bills in Europe.

    Thirty-six percent of the retail price of electricity goes to renewable subsidies. The guy’s a friggin’ liar.

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    THE TESLA EQUATION
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There is an all encompassing lattice-type string particle field (not the string theory type) in space (and everywhere).
    The field is made from individual yet connected particles and conforms to whatever shape it is surrounding. So light traveling through a curved field (like the Earth or Sun) will of course curve.

    Is gravity curving the field? No! The field itself is what creates gravity (gravity is field tension).
    Does this invalidate any of Einsteins equations? Of course not, it is just another way to look at it. Einstein has field equations and this is the field.

    The particles are connected — that creates a field. The field has tension on it so vibrations can easily travel through it on the strings .
    That’s what light is…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    WHY THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS “C”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There is a high tension string particle field in space (not the string theory type). Everything is connected by the particle field and it moves along with largest mass in proximity (something like what gravitational fields would be doing).
    A good 2-D model would be something like a spiders web (individual string lengths are approximately one Ångström).
    Now imagine an infinite 3-D spiders web. If a vibration was set off in it, it would travel forever and the speed the vibrations travel (through the net) is the speed of light (that’s actually what light is, a vibration traveling through a string particle field)
    The speed vibrations travel through the particle field is the speed of light “c”

    The particle field strings have a certain amount of tension, length and mass. That makes ‘c’ the speed it is. If the tension, length or mass changed so would ‘c’

    Here is a regular string tension formula…

    Tension = velocity squared x mass / Length.

    If we plug c in and rearrange we get…
    TL = mc^2

    Both sides of the equation are in joules or energy… equivalent to “E”.
    It means the Tension of the strings in space times their length is equal to their energy.

    This is why the speed of light is involved in Einsteins mass energy equivalence equation…

    E = mc^2

    …and actually why light travels at the speed of light…
    I always wondered why… now I know.
    It had to be something mechanical… tension and string lengths!

    So, you can arrive at Einsteins famous formula from completely different directions.
    You can think energy is contained in mass and released.

    E = mc^2

    Or you can think there is a particle field of strings and mass is inert, the energy is only potential… released (actually pulled) by tension on the strings.

    TL = mc^2

    They are equivalent. Which is correct? You do not know.

    Tesla was correct…
    “There is no energy in matter other than that received from the environment.” – Nikola Tesla

    Mnemonic memory device…
    E for Einstein: E = mc^2
    TL for Tesla: TL = mc^2

  • Roger Pham

    Bert, it’s very simple. The rear axle drive remains the same. The front axle drive will have an engine + transmission instead of the e-motor. Engine contributes 115 hp to the front axle, while the rear e-motor 185-200 hp for a total of 300-315 hp. That’s it, my friend. Look up the Volvo XC90 T8 “Twin Engine”. Why making it harder than it needs to be?

    The Voltec drive train is overly complicated for a PHEV, and still does not have the benefit of 4-Wheel Drive (4WD). LAME!
    The BMW i3 is designed for ZEV credits, thus it is a BEV instead of a PHEV. The Rex is an afterthought to boost sales, and is very lame, again is jury-rigged to satisfy CARB’s restriction, hence can only travel 73 miles on gasoline! LAME!

    >>>>>>>”I’m doubting the speed at which they can write coding for a completely different style vehicle.”
    What is your affiliation to Tesla, Bert, to explain your significant reservation about Tesla’s ability?

    All the chassis modifications to accept the front engine would be minor in comparison to designing another model like model 3 from scratch. The entire body sheet metal, windows, doors, hinges, latches, seats, instruments, design, electronics remain unchanged, and will benefit from improvements in the last 3-4 years.

    • Bert

      Are you trying to make a plug in hybrid or a range extended electric vehicle? This is an important distinction.

      The reason that the model 3 will be ready so soon is that they have been designing it for quite some time already. They didn’t just start last Tuesday or anything. I can’t see your redesign being done before the model 3 is ready to go.

      I do not believe you understand the magnitude of the changes you are asking for. Do you have any experience in designing a vehicle? There’s a lot more that goes into it than you seem to think.

      • Roger Pham

        Bert, what’s you point about the distinction between PHEV and RExEV?

        No matter how much sooner Model 3 can be released in comparison to the Model S and X PHEV versions, there are major qualitative differences between those:

        1) The Models S&X PHEV versions are bigger than Model 3 BEV, and bigger vehicles always fetch higher profit margin.

        2) Americans have chosen exclusively large full-size cars back in the days when gasoline was cheap, and small 4-cylinder cars were no where to be found until after major oil embargo that allowed small Japanese cars entry into the USA. With electricity costing the equivalent of $1 /gallon gasoline, we are moving back to the good old days of American love affair with the full-size automobile.

        3) Long-distance travel route planning is much easier when you can fill-up in 3 minutes at over 115,000 gas stations nation-wide, rather at ~246 SuperCharger stations in the entire USA.

        4) The PHEV version are “Twin-Engine” category and 4-Wheel Drive class that will command stronger sale points and higher sale prices than the “single-motor” Model 3. Power plant redundancy is very important in long trips that can make a difference between get robbed or killed when stranded out of nowhere, vs. being able to get to a safe place to get help.
        4-WD is very important when driving in snow, ice, or wet roads.

        5) Models S have already withstand the test of time, with teething problems being ironed out in the last 3-4 years of actual service. Model 3 record is entirely unproven.

        6) The PHEV versions consume 1/3 the battery capacity of Model 3, thereby allowing Tesla to grow its PowerWall business much bigger without having to invest more money into a second GigaFactory, costing $5 billions each.

        If you have any affiliation with Tesla, please kindly urge Tesla to consider developing the PHEV version of Models S and X, for all the above reasons…and more, no matter how far along Model 3 is in development.

        • Bert

          There are many differences between the two, but there are really more pressing issues that you haven’t addressed right now. Your vehicle would take several years to develop. It really can’t beat the model 3 to production at this point, and they model 3 is what the investors have been investing in. For the time being, it makes much more sense to pursue the model 3 than your vehicle. Your hybrid will have to wait until after the model 3 makes it to production. Maybe they will make it eventually, but it doesn’t make sense to pursue that now.

          • Roger Pham

            Thank you, Bert.

          • Bert

            You’re welcome. What for, I’m not sure. But you’re welcome

        • fairfireman21

          Wasn’t it you that said: why change a good thing, in one of the Prius articles?
          Now you are saying to change a good thing.

          • Roger Pham

            The Model S and X BEV’s are perfect as they are today, why change them? They are on top of all automobiles ever made, in virtually all aspects, and even future automobiles to be made. Their price tags give them well-deserved status symbol, but at the same time, restrict sale volume and will restrict Tesla growth potential.

            However, by adding PHEV versions of them, Tesla can get more mileage out of the money and labor invested in them, while halving their sale prices which can result in TEN folds increase in sale volume and brings Tesla into quick profitability.

            If you are fearing that the PHEV versions will rob future sales from the BEV version, then Tesla can do a number of things to make the BEV version distinctive in appearance to the PHEV version:
            1) Paint the PHEV versions in TWO Tones to symbolize two different propulsion methods, for example, dark blue on bottom and light blue on top.
            2) Have a large badge “Pure Electric” on the BEV version, and “Hybrid EV” on the PHEV version.
            3) Wait until the market will be saturated with the BEV versions before releasing the PHEV versions.

          • fairfireman21

            So then why not put a bigger battery and a 3 cylinder motor in the Prius?
            Why not put a better body on the Mirai making it not so ugly?
            You would not want that because again you said why change a good thing, now you are saying change a Tesla to something you have even said are bad, PHEV’s.
            take that to Tesla and see how long till musk throws you out.

          • Roger Pham

            >>>>>>”…take that to Tesla and see how long till musk throws you out.”

            Well, I hope that you and Bert are gonna do that for me. 🙂

            >>>>>>”So then why not put a bigger battery and a 3 cylinder motor in the Prius?

            Good point, and I’ve thought of that some time ago. The next Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) can have the same architecture as the future Tesla PHEV. It will have a 115-hp Yamaha engine + 6-speed transmission up front. It will have a 12 kWh battery pack running inside a center hump from the front to the back of the vehicle, and a 112 hp e-motor powering the rear axle. Total hp will be 227 hp…wow! Almost double existing 2016 Prius power!!! “I feel good…Wow”
            And 4-WD to take all that power to all 4 wheels.
            Twin-Engine status, prestige and security for the long roads.
            Expect 0-60 in under 6 seconds!
            Each full charge will provide 35 miles in all-electric mode.

            You see, the 850-cc Yamaha engine weighs half the weight of the Prius’ 1,800-cc engine, so the weight saving will go toward the weight of the larger battery pack. Total curb weight would be around 3,200 lbs or so…powered by 227 hp!

          • fairfireman21

            Why would you hope me and Bert would do it, I don’t want one, I would just get a Volt.
            You think you know it all just talk to your bosses at Toyota and maybe they will grant your wish.
            I really really doubt Tesla will put a gas motor in any of their cars.
            Anyways to do that you must redesign the car from the ground up. Just build your own, you seam to know it all so it should be easy for you.

          • Roger Pham

            Well, fairfireman21, the Volt is best for families with small children, due to the restricted head room of the back seat.
            Since you’re mature with grown children, the Ford Fusion Energi (PHEV) with more roomy backseat would better serve your need. However, both the Volt and the Fusion Energi have very limited trunk space of only 10 cu ft., in comparison to 27 cu ft of both the Model S and Prius 2016.

            When the Tesla Model S PHEV will come out, look for a gain in backseat head room of 3 inches more from the BEV version, because the floor pan of the back can be 3 inches lower in the absence of the battery pack there. There will be a gain of passenger volume from 95 cu ft to over 100 cu ft, due to lowering of floor pans in all 4 seats from removing battery there, and a gain in trunk space with rear seat folded down from 68 cu ft to 75 cu ft. Weight will be reduced from 4,700 lbs of the 85-D model down to 3,500 lbs of the PHEV model, due to 1,000 lbs reduction in battery weight, AND 200 lbs reduction in tire, wheel, and suspension weights to support less body weight.

            A Tesla PHEV will beat ALL existing PHEV’s in the market within its price range, by a large margin, with the most trunk space, passenger volume, and power of over 300 hp (0-60mph in 5.2 seconds), in comparison to 150 hp of the Volt2, 190 hp of Fusion Energie and Sonata PHEV with 0-60 around 8 seconds or so. Indeed, a NO-COMPROMISE EV that will be a must-have.

            So, you may buy a Ford Energi for now, but start saving up money for the coming out of the Tesla PHEV version. It will be the best car buying decision in your life.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “When the Tesla Model S PHEV will come out”

            Roger, this site has a rule against repeatedly posting false information. Tesla has no plans to produce a PHEV. At least nothing made public.

            You are making this stuff up. Stop it or get booted.

          • Roger Pham

            Sorry, Bob. It won’t happen again.

          • Roger Pham

            Well, fairfireman21, the Volt is best for families with small children, due to the restricted head room of the back seat.
            Since you’re mature with grown children, the Ford Fusion Energi (PHEV) with more roomy backseat would better serve your need. However, both the Volt and the Fusion Energi have very limited trunk space of only 10 cu ft., in comparison to 27 cu ft of both the Model S and Prius 2016.

            A hypothetical PHEV based on the Model S can gain in backseat head room of 3 inches more, gain of passenger volume from 95 cu ft to over 100 cu ft. Weight may possibly be reduced from 4,700 lbs of the 85-D model
            down to 3,500 lbs due to 1,000 lbs reduction in
            battery weight, AND 200 lbs reduction in tire, wheel, and suspension weights to support less body weight.

            As above, it can thus potentially beat ALL
            existing PHEV’s in the market within its price range, by a large margin, with the most trunk space, passenger volume, and power of over 300 hp (0-60mph in 5.2 seconds), in comparison to 150 hp of the Volt 2, 190 hp
            of Fusion Energie and Sonata PHEV with 0-60 around 8 seconds or so.
            Indeed, a NO-COMPROMISE EV that most people would want.

            So, you may buy a Ford Energi for now, but start saving up money and start convincing manufacturers to build PHEV’s based on the hypothetical PHEV above. But then again, if the oil tycoons are having so much investments in the auto industry and so much controlling power, then we may have to wait longer until they can sell off most of their oil reserves.

            Meanwhile, one can only hope and dream! 🙂

        • fairfireman21

          As of February 2015 there are 2150 superchargers in 396 stations.
          http://www(dot)greencarreports(dot)com/news/1097109_tesla-supercharger-network-growth-surges-over-last-14-months

          What does electricity costing as much as $1.00 gas mean.
          1. We’re is $1.00 gas?
          2. Even in 1967 the electricity was

          • Bob_Wallace

            And at about the same time there were 1,600 Tesla Destination Chargers installed at hotels and other places where Tesla drivers might park for a while.

            The TDCs are capable of charging over 500 miles in eight hours.

            Tesla is providing them for free and paying for the installation.

  • Jens Stubbe

    Hi Zachary

    Fortunately you are wrong in assuming that no other car manufacturer has their own battery plant. NEVS that owns Saab has just announced an order for 150.000 cars to a car leasing company and as you can see here they do indeed own a battery factory. http://www.saabcars.com/en/news/news-column/2012/nevs-owner-opens-battery-plant-in-china/

    http://evobsession.com/national-electric-vehicle-sweden-formerly-saab-dongfeng-team-up/

    Dongfeng that owns NEVS and SAAB produced 3,4 million vehicles in 2015 and Saab was in advanced state with their development of their first electric car before Dongfeng bought them. Saab was before it closed down operations considered a little outdated small quality brand.

    Hopefully they can do something about the terrible pollution in China.

    Volvo (only the division for cars) is also Chinese owned now and is the next fast growing high end brand in the world after Tesla and they have advanced plans for EV’s as well. http://www.am-online.com/news/manufacturer/2015/10/15/volvo-reveals-plug-in-hybrid-and-ev-plans

    • Epicurus

      Saab is contributing the auto bodies basically?

      Saab had some interesting designs. I thought the company had gone out of business. Glad to hear it survived.

      • Jens Stubbe

        And right you are or rather were since that they have been resurrected by their new Chinese owner. My Father was a Saab fan so I spent my childhood in Saab cars. They were kind of quirky but did introduce turbo in normal cars, advanced area dynamics, modern seat belts, modern neck protection but the main company Scandia eventually decided to focus on their much bigger market areas Trucks and Fighters planes. http://www.automotive-fleet.com/news/story/2013/12/nevs-resurrects-sweden-s-saab-automobile.aspx

  • Roger Pham

    Great article and kudos to Tesla (and Space X) for achieving the “impossibles,” building a BEV with so much more performance and handling than any ICEV, yet with so much more internal space, technological wizardry than any luxury ICEV has offered before.

    Yet, it is very important for Tesla to become profitable as soon as possible. To capitalize on the momentum of the Model S and Model X and to bring those great qualities of those two models to the middle class, the use of a range extender to reduce the battery pack size to 20 kWh, thereby halving the cost, would be an important next step. A $3,000 range-extending engine contracted from Yamaha or Bombardier Rotax can replace 70 kWh’s worth of battery costing $30,000. Then, e-motor hp and inverter size can be drastically reduced, further shaving off another $10,000-15,000 more.

    Performance won’t be as great, nor would handling be, nor would be as refined, but for 1/2 the cost of Model S 90 kWh, it sure won’t be competing with the BEV versions top of the line. And that’s what Tesla would want: having BEV’s as top of the line and the best automobile ever, while Range-extended PHEV as second best for the aspiring middle class with lower disposable income, and to grow Tesla sales TEN folds from today’s number, without even needing the costly and risky GigaFactory.

    The same ingenuity and creativity that Tesla has poured into making BEV the most desirable vehicles, far above any ICEV, can also be transformed into making the BEST PHEV ever! A must-have vehicle for everyone!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Going to a range extender would be a stupid move.

      • neroden

        Tesla considered a range extender early on. Here’s why they didn’t do it:
        (1) It damages the “pure electric,zero emissions” brand.
        (2) It triggers a huge list of complicated and expensive regulatory requirements. By being pure electric, Tesla can just skip emissions testing entirely. This saves them a *bundle*.
        (3) It triggers physical requirements. They’d have to do car testing outdoors. They’d need ventilation for the fumes. They’d need to handle flammable gasoline or diesel. Etc.
        (4) It’s outside their area of expertise. They’d have to learn how to build a generator, or buy one.

        These are very good reasons not to use a range extender. If you want one, put a diesel generator which generates a clean sine-wave electricity in your trunk, and rig up a cable. 🙂

      • eveee

        I can think of how humorous and silly a trailered gas generator would look attached to a Model S. The first time I saw the Nissan Leaf ad showing the gas powered alarm clock, razor, and toaster, it hit home how stupid and outmoded ICE transportation is. But if you want, noisy, vibrating, smelly, and unreliable it’s great, LOL, IMO. My bet is that as soon as people can get their hands on an EV that does the job affordable, there’s no turning back.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I would guess that there’s a role for PHEVs in the US for the next decade or to whenever we have rapid charging no more than 100 miles from everywhere.

          In countries with underdeveloped grids they may be needed longer.

          But long range, can’t see a role for the ICE in personal transportation.

          • eveee

            Yes. Thats probable. The role for PHEV might be in remote areas where multiple energy sources provide more flexibility and reliability because of lack of charging infrastructure. But IMO, long term, PHEVs will go the way of FF.

    • Elon has stated Tesla would never do a PHEV. Various reasons for that.

    • fairfireman21

      Here we go more from the cost cutting Tesla engineer, oh that’s right he works for Toyota.
      You are against Volts, but here you go saying Tesla should make another car just like a Volt?

      • Roger Pham

        Here is a SAT analogy test question for you:
        GM : Spark EV is analogous to Tesla : Model S
        What is GM : Volt is analogous to Tesla : ?

        • fairfireman21

          What does any of that have to do with installing range extenders in a Tesla?
          There you go changing the subject. Typical.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ​Come on, Roger. That’s just a stupid comment.​

    • Bert

      No Roger, we’ve been over why tesla building a volt would be a bad idea. Tesla will try to gain profitability with their fully electric model 3, and not any range extended vehicles. They will not stab their investors in the back like that. It would probably be the end if tesla as a company, and no, I’m not exaggerating. Tesla is currently surviving on the interest that investors have in the company and their plans for the future. Tesla cannot afford to get on the bad side of the investors yet.

      • Roger Pham

        >>>>>>”we’ve been over why tesla building a volt would be a bad idea.”

        Before the Volt, GM built the EV1 and the Spark EV, so those are comparable to the Volt except for being PHEV vs BEV. How are sales of the EV1 and the Spark EV in comparison to the Volt? The Volt easily outsold the EV1 and the Spark EV by 10:1 ratio. The sales of BMW Rex outsold the BEV version by as much as 3:1.

        I kept having to repeat to you many times that the Volt is in no way equal to a Tesla Model S in PHEV version. The Volt seats 4 while the Model S can seat up to 7. The Model S has more passenger room, and much more cargo room than the Volt. One should compare the Tesla Model S PHEV to a Lexus 350 ES, or comparable BMW’s or Mercedes-Benz in the same price range.

        Tesla investors do not yet have the chance to see what magic can Tesla creative and ingenious design and engineering team perform on the PHEV versions for Model S and X. If they have the chance to see that these more profitable EV versions would bring about rapid profitability, name recognition and popularity to Tesla, hence rapid growth, then why would the investors be less than enthusiastic?

        With 20 kWh battery pack and over 50 miles of all-electric range, these PHEV versions can drive using electric miles for 90% of the time for 1/2 the cost, and using much less batteries (4.5 x less) and much less e-motors and power inverters (1/2 to 1/3 as much), allowing 3 to 4.5 x more people the joy of EV’s and the freedom from petroleum.
        If Tesla’s secret plan is to bring EV’s to the mass of the people, then building PHEV would be it!

        • Bert

          Tesla is the best in full electric vehicles and they are working in making them cheaper. GM is probably really the best in terms of range extended electric vehicles. What kind of business sense would it make to give up the market that they are number one in and try to take over a different market? I don’t think they can compete with GM on cost so they would have to try to do a luxury volt where they could justify the additional cost. Someone already tried this. How well has the Cadillac ELR been working out for GM?

          Tesla has been telling people for years that it plans to build only full electric vehicles, at least until it can breach the mass market with the model 3. There are many who have invested because they want to see the model 3 happen. They didn’t invest in tesla because they wanted to see tesla build their version of the Cadillac ELR.

          Tesla will start selling cars for the middle class as soon as their model 3 is ready, and not a minute sooner.

          • Roger Pham

            Bert, still stuck on trying to compare Tesla vs GM? Here’s another SAT analogy question for you:
            GM : Spark EV is to Tesla : Model S
            GM : Bolt BEV is to Tesla : Model X
            See the difference between those? The consumers have overwhelmingly chosen to buy Model S and X over all GM’s BEV offerings, even though GM’s BEV’s cost 1/3 to 1/4 as much.
            So, GM :Volt is to Tesla : what? Care to answer that question?

          • Bert

            I don’t see the connection. The Bolt will have twice the range of the spark. The model x will have basically less range than the model s. The spark is a compliance vehicle and none of the others are. Both the model s and model x share a drive train. The spark and bolt don’t. Your comparison is pretty bad as far as I can tell. You’ll need to do some more explaining if you want to change my mind.

            Tasks doesn’t have a volt competitor, just like GM won’t have a tesla competitor until late 2016. Tesla can’t afford to try to split their focus into two different markets yet. Your tesla PHEV also wouldn’t have a big enough battery to use the Superchargers.

          • fairfireman21

            His comparisons always are.
            Like comparing the cost of a fuel cell to the cost of a big screen TV 20 years ago.

          • Bert

            There is somewhat of a point to be made there. The cost of building the fuel cell will come down still since it’s a new technology. However, the same can’t really be said for the fuel. Hydrogen has already been mass produced for fertilizer purposes, so I doubt the price will fall much further and it can never be as cheap as electricity.

          • fairfireman21

            Yes the price will come down but by comparing the TV which became cheaper by mass produced and cheaper microprocessors is different than etching little metal plates with micro grooves.

        • gundersonrogers

          Not “it,” Roger, PARTIALLY it.

          • Roger Pham

            Agree. PHEV versions of Model S and X may be transitional steps to exploit all the development costs and refinements already done on Model S and X for quick profitability and mass-market recognition before launching the ultimate Model 3 BEV that requires more investments due to being a clean-sheet design.
            Model S and X will retain the 180-hp rear motor, while having a 80-hp engine up front with a mechanical CVT contracted from the likes of Yamaha with almost zero capital investment from Tesla. How simple can it get?

          • Bert

            You underestimate the effort and time requirements of designing a drive train. Even redesigning the platform from the 2011 volt to the 2016 volt took five years. The task is non trivial. I highly doubt tesla would physically be able to design and produce any PHEV sooner than when the model 3 is set to come out. This isn’t just some enthusiast’s conversion project where you can ignore a lot of the engineering that needs to go into a production vehicle.

          • Roger Pham

            Again, Bert, you just can’t resist comparing Tesla to GM, can you? Mr. Musk just did another “impossible” thing again by landing his booster rocket vertically for re-use…something all previous “rocket” scientists never considered before, hence reducing space launch to a fraction…Anyone at GM trying to do the “impossible” like landing gigantic booster rocket back to the launching pad?

            There is absolutely no need for the complexity of the Volt’s power train. A Tesla Model S PHEV can use the rear power train with the same 200-hp motor/differential of the 85-D model. The front axle can use the 900-cc Yamaha 3-cylinder 115-hp engine comes complete with a 6-speed transmission, in the Yamaha FZ-09 sportbike. The bike weighs 400 lbs costs $8,000, so the engine + transmission probably cost 1/2 and weighs about 200 lbs. It is already street-legal, so already comply with emission regulations.
            Souce: motorcycles.axlegeeks(dot)com/l/1532/2014-Yamaha-FZ-09
            This is massed produced already and parts are easy to find. Yamaha does not produce cars, so would not hesitate to sell engines + transmission. Kawasaki does not sell cars, and also produces excellent motorcycle engine + transmission that are ready for use as range extender.

            So, in the MS 85-D, you rip out 200-hp front-axle motor + inverter costing ~$10,000, as well as 65-kWh of battery costing ~$30,000, and replace with a 115-hp Yamaha FZ-09 engine + transmission costing $4,000. Total hp = 300 hp to compete with other ICEV’s in the same price range.
            How much development work and investment does this take?

          • Bert

            Simply plopping a generator into an electric drive train for an electric car isn’t as easy as it would seem. You underestimate the difficulty and effort required to make a production worthy vehicle if you think that they could get this done and produced before the model 3 is set to come out in two years. Developing a new drive train takes an average of about five years.

            You want tesla to break into the range extended electric vehicle territory. That’s GM’s territory at the moment. They’re the big dog to compete with, although, BMW is working it’s way in there a little bit. If you’re talking about any company making a range extended electric vehicle, you’re going to have to compare it to the volt if you want to see if there’s any chance of it working out. Actually, since your would have the range as the new volt, but would be more expensive, you should probably compare it to the Cadillac ELR.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What Roger won’t/can’t understand is that batteries are on route to being cheap enough to make long range EVs cheaper to purchase than PHEVs (and ICEVs).

            PHEVs have a short term use while we wait for battery prices to drop close to $100/kWh (probability by 2020) and while we wait for a rapid charger to be installed within a reasonable reach of every US driver.

            But once EVs become cheaper to purchase and people have no problem accessing rapid chargers there will be no reason to spend more for a PhEV.

            Roger’s next move will be to start talking about using hydrogen fuel cells in PHEVs. Hydrogen is his big agenda item.

          • Bert

            Next move? You must have missed his plug in hybrid hydrogen electric phase. We’ve been there, done that.

            I just don’t see why he thinks tesla should give up the market that it’s been doing so well in pursuing and try to move into a new market with big competition. Tesla isn’t ready to diversify its offerings yet. They have to get their battery and vehicle production capacity up much higher before they’ll be capable of focusing on two different markets at the same time.

            Range extended electrics are great as a gateway drug for those who are hesitant to make the jump straight to full electrics. They will have an important role to play eventually, but the full electric market is currently big enough for tesla to not have to worry about range extenders yet. Maybe eventually tesla will make a car like that, but it certainly won’t be before the model 3 arrives.

            That chart is interesting because our current scenario of $145/kWh and $1.95/gallon lies off the graph in quadrant 3.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Roger’s a broken record. He’s been advocating for hydrogen for years. He posts his stuff, people smack him upside the head with facts, he quiets down for a while. And the he restarts.

            He seems to not understand that simply because something might work it won’t be adopted if there are equally usable and cheaper alternatives. —

            Graph-

            The horizontal axis is battery pack price, not cell price. Sorry, I usually include that. Using the rough rule of thumb assembling cells into packs should add about 30%. That would make GM/LG Chem’s $145/kWh cells into ~$190/kWh packs. Panasonic/Tesla is expected to come in a bit lower at ~$170/kWh.

            EVs are closing on ICEVs. Hybrids and PHEVs are likely already out of the competition. It’s just a matter of time for prices to settle down at 2016/2017 battery costs.

          • Bert

            Ah, I understand now. out of curiosity, where did that graph come from? I’ve seen it flooring around a few times.

            Hydrogen is great in certain niche markets, but I just can’t see it breaking into the mainstream consumer market because it can never come close to being cost competitive and most everyone thinks, at least a little bit, about fuel costs before they buy a vehicle. I think that will be the real barrier to hydrogen.

          • Bob_Wallace

            McKinsey and Company.

            http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/energy_resources_materials/battery_technology_charges_ahead

            Hydrogen is simply too lossy a storage technology.

          • Bert

            I agree. If it was the only alternative to gas, we’d make do. But, it’s not.
            Thanks for the link.

          • neroden

            Ah. That’s a 2012 study. They weren’t figuring on the effects of tightened emissions regulations, which change the economics away from pure mechnical-transmission gasmobiles towards electric-transmission hybrids.

          • Roger Pham

            >>>>>>Bert stated: “I just don’t see why he thinks tesla should give up the market that it’s been doing so well…

            Tesla should not give up the BEV market at all, since Tesla BEV’s are the best in their price range in term of acceleration, maneuvering due to the super-low center of gravity, internal space, beauty, and electronic wizardry…and are taking away sales from luxury ICEV’s in the same price range.

            The PHEV versions are simply to take advantage of all the already-spent development costs of the BEV versions to expand Tesla sales number as much as TEN folds, by reducing prices of lower-performance and lower-refinement models by half, thereby bringing in profitability as soon as possible instead of waiting til 2020.

          • Bert

            Tasks doesn’t have the production capabilities to spread itself out far yet. It needs to expand just to handle the expected model 3 demand. At this point, it would be make your vehicle or the model 3, and the other would have to wait until later. Investors will be pissed if they put the model 3 off until later by making a hybrid. They are already planning to expand their sales tenfold with the model 3.

          • fairfireman21

            If Tesla would do that it would require a redesign.
            You just can not drop all that stuff in without a redesign.
            More wiring, exhaust, fuel tank, and all control modules to make run.

          • eveee

            You must live in a different world. In my world, added complexity increases cost. There is no cost benefit for a PHEV over an EV. The volt has a 20kwhr pack, the leaf, a 24 kwhr pack. IMO, Once powertrain price hits parity between ICE and EVs, it’s over. The contest over operating cost is a done deal. A Nissan Leaf has a lower operating cost over the first five years than any ICE or hybrid you can buy. EV owners have realized this secret and are taking full advantage. EVs will achieve rough range parity and lower operating costs well before the reach selling cost parity.

          • Epicurus

            At $100/kW, what will be the retail price of a modest EV, like the Leaf?

            If an EV with a decent range could retail for the high teens to low twenties, I don’t see how they couldn’t start flying off the lots. The economy will be too compelling.

          • Bob_Wallace

            At $100/kWh a EV version of the Honda Accord should cost no more, possibly less to manufacture than the ICE version of the Accord. Here’s what I’ve rounded up on the web…

            “In a major 2013 analysis, “Global EV Outlook: Understanding the Electric Vehicle Landscape to 2020,” the International Energy Agency estimated that electric vehicles would achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles when battery costs hit $300 per kWh of storage capacity.”

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/13/3646004/electric-car-batteries-price/

            http://www.iea.org/publications/globalevoutlook_2013.pdf

            Let me point out here that generally “batteries” means battery packs, not battery cells. Battery cells like the AAs one might use in a flashlight are assembled into packs which not only hold the batteries in place but also provide the connections and cooling needed.

            There’s a problem sometimes understanding what someone means when they simply say “batteries”. Are they talking about cells or packs?

            The Battery University states that turning cells into packs adds 20% to 30% to the cell cost.

            —-

            “The single most important factor in achieving a compelling and affordable mass-market BEV [battery electric vehicle] is its relative cost,” Nykvist and Nilsson wrote. “It is commonly understood that the cost of battery packs needs to fall to below US$150 per kWh in order for BEVs to become cost-competitive on par with internal combustion vehicles.”

            http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/07/electric-vehicle-batteries-are-getting-cheaper-much-faster-than-we-expected/

            “The tipping point for the mass market to move from internal combustion engines to EVs is between $US250 and$US300/kWh. Once it gets to $US100/kWh, it is all over. I think we will get to $US250/kWh by 2020. By 2030, when batteries are at $100/kWh, gasoline vehicles will be obsolete. Not on their way out, obsolete,” said Mr. Seba to RENew Economy, while noting that he thinks that “mass migration” to EVs will start between 2018 to 2020.

            http://insideevs.com/at-100kwh-it-is-all-over-for-the-internal-combustion-engine-energy-expert/

            This coming year Panasonic/Tesla should hit a cell price of $130/kWh and LG Chem/GM $145/kWh. A 30% assembly cost means packs under $200/kwh. $100/kWh would mean packs at $130/kWh or lower.

            High scale automation like P/T is building into the Gigafactory should make cell assembly closer to 20% than 30%.

          • Epicurus

            Thanks.

            Seba evidently overestimated the time it would take to get pack prices down ($US250/kWh by 2020 when they will be under $200/kWh next year). Things are moving along quite well.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Pretty much everyone missed how fast battery prices would drop. Tesla blindsided them. And (apparently) forced LG Chem to get into large scale, less expensive production as well.

            Almost everyone missed the rapid fall in solar panel costs as well.

          • neroden

            I am quite sure Tesla can get their pack assembly costs down way below 20% of the cost. That’s roughly $3500 per pack! With mass production by robots, I just can’t see it costing that much. The pack materials are cheap except for the copper wiring, the main contactor, and the electronics.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I read around the web is 20% to 30% to assemble cells into packs. I assume Tesla will be around 20% (even lower) but use 30% as I like to bias things in favor of what I think won’t win out. If my opinion works with less favorable numbers then I have more confidence in it and I leave myself open to less attacks from those holding the opposite opinion.

          • neroden

            That’s an interesting graph. I’m suspicious of it, but if I read it correctly:
            — electric vehicles will take over in California, Nevada, and Hawaii *right now*
            — parts of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and New York will follow
            — we won’t see serious market penetration elsewhere in the US until the Saudi attempt to push down oil prices stops, which is estimated to be around 2020.
            — the luxury market will switch to electric faster, and in more states, because the luxury gas cars use premium gas, which is more expensive

            I don’t think the graph is right, though. At this point there is no way to improve fuel economy for a standard ICE, and it’s painfully hard to improve other emissions as well — so I think pretty much all new gasmobiles will be hybrids soon, since this allows the ICE to run at “optimal” speed to meet emissions requirements, rather than running at variable speed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What Roger won’t/can’t understand is that batteries are on route to being cheap enough to make long range EVs cheaper to purchase than PHEVs (and ICEVs).

            PHEVs have a short term use while we wait for battery prices to drop close to $100/kWh (probability by 2020) and while we wait for a rapid charger to be installed within a reasonable reach of every US driver.

            But once EVs become cheaper to purchase and people have no problem accessing rapid chargers there will be no reason to spend more for a PhEV.
            Roger’s next move will be to start talking about using hydrogen fuel cells in PHEVs. Hydrogen is his big agenda item.

          • Roger Pham

            Somewhat Agree with you, Bob. The PHEV concept may just be an interim solution waiting for battery prices to get cheaper, then BEV may completely take over.

            The reality TODAY is that many middle-class people are drooling all over the pictures and video presentations of Tesla Model S and X with their unrivaled beauty, revolutionary ergonomics and interior designs and unparalleled electronics and computer wizardry…yet, they just can’t afford the $90k-130k price tags.
            The $45k-PHEV versions will allow the middle class to experience the joy of EV motoring in a prestigious Tesla and to enjoy all the above without going broke. Words will spread out, and soon, just like the i-Phone or i-Pad phenomenon, every middle class family will have to have one Tesla PHEV.

            Middle class families that are buying the $45k Tesla PHEV’s are not doing that to save money, since the Chevy Impala are waiting at the dealers for $25k-30k or so, depending on trim level. They want to look cool, hip, and a lot of bragging rights, including the ability to save the environment… within their budgets.

            There will be no fear of the PHEV’s siphoning off sales from the BEV models, because the BEV models S and X offers unmatchable acceleration, handling, power plant refinement AND internal space… of any family vehicle in their price range.
            Though, the PHEV models shoud have totally different paint schemes and large badges clearly marking PHEV, so as not to steal the prestige from those who are buying the $100k BEV versions.

          • fairfireman21

            He has already stated how “He” would use a fuel cell as a range extenders.

          • Roger Pham

            Bert, NO generator necessary. It is very simple! Look at the Model S 85D or Model X 90: They have one motor in the front axle and one motor in the rear axle.

            The PHEV versions will have the 850-cc-115-hp Yamaha engine coupled to a 6-speed transmission to replace the front-axle motor. That’s all! You take out the front e-motor and the power inverter and replace with an engine + 6-speed transmission that come straight from the Yamaha FZ-09 motorcycle. The e-motor is capable of 15,000 rpm, and the Yamaha engine is also capable of 15,000 rpm, so the gear ratio can even remain the same!
            The 200-hp rear motor and differential will remain exactly the same.

            NO powertrain development needed for the Model S&X PHEV version. It’s already done by Yamaha in the street-legal FZ-09 bike.

            Mr. Musk out-competed the biggest aerospace rocket contractors having many decades of experience over him, and he will drastically reduce the cost of space launch in time to bring human to colonize Mars. Making the PHEV versions of the hot-selling Model S & X is mere child-play in comparison, especially when the engine and transmission is already developed by world’s renown Master Engine Maker Yamaha, ready for drop-in replacement of the front-axle motor.

          • Bob_Wallace

            This is one of Roger’s tricks. He won’t couch in terms of “could be done”. For him it “will be done”.

            “The PHEV versions will have the 850-cc-115-hp Yamaha”

            He doesn’t label things as his opinions but states them as definite facts.

          • Bert

            You have to design the couplings. You have to create a Cornell program that not only determines when the generator needs to be on our of, but also turns said generator on and off. Your control system needs to control the throttle of the engine. Your engine needs to be connected to a motor that provides power. You have to find room to fit these components in. You need to redesign your chassis around a smaller battery pack and added has components. You need to install an intake and exhaust system. You need to install find space for and install a fuel tank. You need to completely retool large parts of your assembly line. And I’ve only listed a few considerations. You are not asking for a small change here.

          • Roger Pham

            Bert, I hereby repeat for the third time: NO generator.
            The Engine is in the front axle, and e-motor is in the rear axle, that’s is it, to retain the 4WD feature.
            The driver decides whether running on engine boosted by the e-motor in the rear, or running on rear e-motor alone, via a virtual button. When the battery charge drops to a low level, then the engine will automatically kick in to replace the e-motor seamlessly.

            The gas pedal controls the engine power just like in any gasoline vehicles when the engine is started in the charge-sustaining mode. Only when you push the gas pedal past the middle point that the e-motor will kick in to add torque to the car in proportion to the gas pedal travel from mid point to end point.

            In the charge-depleting mode, the reverse will be true of the gas pedal. The gas pedal will control e-motor power solely just like in any BEV, very simple. 20 kWh of battery will provide about 185 hp of e-motor to drive with, in the Eco mode and the Normal mode. However, when in the Power mode is activated, pushing the gas pedal past midpoint will turn on the engine, which will be clutched on to add 115 hp more power to the vehicle to allow a total of 300 hp, in order to drag race with the likes of Mustang GT etc…No special development, nor programming needed there! I don’t see how it can get any simpler than this!

            The Yamaha engine already comes with exhaust and mufflers, and catalytic converter, though larger and more quiet muffler will be custom-made for the Tesla PHEV. The motorbike comes with a gas tank of almost 4 gallons, that is good for 200 miles. The engine and transmission and radiators are so small that there will be plenty of room under the hood for the stock fuel tank.

          • Bert

            The generator of which I speak would be the motor that is attached to your engine. How else do you plan to generate electricity?

            You just described a lot of programming that would need to be done. Every single mode that you described would need its own special program to function.

            You’ve not really addresses any of the chassis redesign and the assembly line retooling that would be necessary.

          • Roger Pham

            The engine comes with its own generator (alternator) for its own needs. When you have 20 kWh of battery on board, plus a 200-hp e-motor-generator in the rear axle for braking regeneration AND for thru-the-road re-charging of the battery to prepare to climb the next mountain, why do you need any extra generator?

            >>>>>>>”You just described a lot of programming that would need to be done.”
            Now, you’re doubting the programming ability of a prominent and most innovative Silicon Valley company? That company is developing cars that can drive itself…many order of magnitude more complex than deciding when to use the motor and when to use the engine,or both.

            No chassis redesign necessary. The 20-kWh battery can be placed a strip on the center of the vehicle, running front to back. All the catalytic converter and even the muffler can be placed under the hood, with only the exhaust pipe running to the rear. Since the bottom of the car is so flat, there can be dual small exhaust pipes running on both sides of the chassis below the doors toward the rear to avoid infringing on the titanium protective plate on the bottom. Only one center strip of bottom titanum plate is necessary right below the battery. The rest can be aluminum.

            Notice that the rear-seat head room of the Model S is relatively poor, and can be improved by placing the rear seat lower by making the floor lower on both sides of the center-strip battery pack. As much as 3 inches of headroom can be gained without the passenger having to flex the knee or hip excessively when the floor pan is lowered 3 inches more.

          • fairfireman21

            You forgot about the fuel tank.

          • eveee

            You are describing a Rube Goldberg. You do realize that charging the battery by driving the front road wheels through an ICE, then using the rear road wheels to drive the motor in regen mode is about the most inefficient and wasteful way there is to charge the battery? Apparently not.

            http://mousetrapcontraptions.com/contraption.gif

          • eveee

            We are missing the most important thing. There is no way that ICE engine is going to couple to the front wheels and supply electricity to the battery without another generator and a means to decouple the motor from the wheels and apply it to the generator. Thats hardware and heavy. And an ICE motor cannot be coupled to wheels without a gearbox like an EV. More weight. What a clunky kluge. But even that overlooks the fact that no techie, gear head, or luxury auto fan is going to go gaga over a loud, buzzy, vibrating motor cycle motor in a luxury vehicle. Honestly, a motorcycle motor in a luxury vehicle. LOL.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn__9hLJKAk

          • eveee

            Why would they build a slower, heavier, more expensive and complex car, a PHEV? To compete with the Cadillac ELR that already failed due to exactly those traits? LOL. PHEVs are not taking the world by storm in the luxury segment. Their use will decrease as batteries improve. A small segment with a short life.

          • Roger Pham

            >>>>>>>”Why would they build a slower, heavier, more expensive and complex car, a PHEV”

            eveee, thanks for the inquiry, but a hypothetical PHEV version of the Model S or X would be 1,200 lbs lighter, costing $30k-40k less, and capable of similar acceleration, 0-60 in 5.2 seconds or so, due to having comparable power to weight ratio.
            It would not be any more complex, since the Model S 85D has two motors, one motor per axle. The hypothetical PHEV version that I’m proposing would have the engine+transmission in the front axle and the motor unchanged in the rear axle.

            Please kindly read over my conversation with Bert for further details. GM has really done a disservice to both BEV and PHEV by producing poor-selling EV’s, then everyone looks at those and say “Nah… look at those EV’s, they ain’t selling well and so, nobody wants EV’s.” Tesla has done so much better with both Model S and Model X, and can be reflected in Tesla’s sale success and accolates.

          • fairfireman21

            How do you know how much it would cost?
            The would have to build the car from the ground up, costing more in R&D costs.

          • eveee

            What is the weight of the Volt, a smaller car than the Model S and the weight of the Model S. If a PHEV version of the Model S were 1,200 pounds less, it would weigh what a Volt weighs, but be a bigger car with much more horsepower. And yet, would it accelerate as fast? No.

            This is all a game of smoke and mirrors with no references, just claims.

            I am afraid your math and estimates are seriously wanting.

            Really, that is all the wrong way to go about it. Just compare power trains characteristics and leave the chassis out of it. To accelerate as quick, it would have to have the same motor(s), wheels, and gearing. Then one would need to be able to provide the same power to the motor. How are you going to do that with a smaller battery plus an ICE? And do it with less cost? Less weight? Don’t think so. What you are missing is that the Model S battery is essential to its performance. Try this. Figure out how you are going to provide 1500A at 400V (without much series voltage drop, say only a few volts) to the motor for about 3 seconds.

            A Volt goes 50 miles on a charge, and has a 20kwhr battery. Hint: its not using all the battery capacity. Its limiting the battery use to provide long life in an HEV because HEVs have much higher number of cycles. In a BEV, higher discharges can be allowed. The Volt pack would have to be a little more than doubled to get 200 mile range. What would the weight of a 50kwhr pack be? An 85kwhr pack weighs 1200lbs.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Model_S

            So the 50kwhr pack would weigh 706 lbs. But since the existing Volt(gen 1)battery weighs 435lbs.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

            If we used Telsa batteries, it might weigh 282lbs. So the increase in weight to add capacity for 200 miles would be less than 444 pounds. That means if the ICE engine, exhaust, motor mounts, starter battery, catalytic converter, radiator, all fluids, and any necessary gear train weighed that much… there would be no additional weight to get to 200 mile range by eliminating the ICE and making it a pure EV. Add to that the fact that the Volt is a series hybrid so it uses a separate generator. You can subtract that weight, too. So all in all, its highly likely that if you eliminated the extra generator and all the ICE weight, you would be able to accommodate a 200 mile BEV with the added batteries necessary at little or no weight penalty. A 1.5 liter engine weighs about 250lbs dry, a little less if its aluminum. Add radiator, mounts, exhaust, cat converter, etc.

            Now add generator. I doubt you save 100 lbs.

            You are lucky if when you are done there is any weight savings at all.

          • Roger Pham

            Eveeee, thanks for your continued interest in automobile engineering. Apparently, however, you’ve not read my considerable conversation with Bert here, so I’ll repeat myself over again.
            My hypothetical PHEV design starts out as the Model S P85D, weighing 4,800 lbs.
            1) The front-axle motor with gear reduction and inverter is removed, replaced with a 3-cylinder 850-cc Yamaha engine+6-speed transmission, providing 115 hp, weighing about the same.
            2) The rear-axle motor remains the same.
            3) Out of 1,300 lbs of battery, 1,000 lbs is removed, leaving 300 lbs of battery the equivalent of 20 kWh.
            4) Then, the suspension, the wheels and the tires can be downsized to reflect the weight reduction, resulting in approximately 200 lbs of weight reduction.
            1,000 + 200 = 1,200 lbs of weight saving.

            Source: motorcycles.axlegeeks(dot)com/l/1532/2014-Yamaha-FZ-09

            Model S P85D Ludicrous can pump out 568 kW from a 85-kWh battery, or 6.7 kW per kWh capacity.
            20 kWh battery pack x 6.7 kW/kWh = 133 kW /0.744 = 180 hp. This, plus 115-hp engine = 294 hp for a 3,600-lb car is a lot of power.

            The Volt 2 has a 18.2-kWh battery pack for 53-mi of range. This hypothetical PHEV with about the same weight and with 20 kWh pack should be capable of at least 50 miles of range, if not even more, 60 miles of range, due to the more efficient Tesla technology.

          • eveee

            I read you conversation with Bert.

            When the 50 mile range PHEV battery is used up, the only motive force left is the motorcycle engine.
            You have lowered the weight of the car and lowered its power much more.
            You need to show a PHEV with the same acceleration and power, not just lower weight.

            What I said was that the ELR PHEV failed in part because it paled in performance next to the P85D. Your solution to make P85D into a PHEV would be worse than an ELR.

          • Roger Pham

            >>>>>>>>”When the 50 mile range PHEV battery is used up, the only motive force left is the motorcycle engine.”

            No. Almost 300 hp will still be available for acceleration to cruising speed, even if the 50-mi range is used up. The battery pack is not to be drained below 3-4 kWh of remaining capacity. Even at lower charge level, the pack is still capable of putting out 170 hp. Acceleration from 0-60 in a 3,600-lb vehicle takes only 0.2 kWh of energy. Braking regeneration will recharge this 0.2 kWh back to the battery pack.
            On a long trip, you run on charge-sustaining mode to keep the 50-60-mi battery range for emergency backup when the engine fails, or when climbing mountains, so that you don’t have to slow down. When descending the mountain, you’ll recover most of this energy via rear-motor regeneration.

            The Cadillac ELR perhaps was never intended to be a hot seller. It has only 10.5 cu ft of luggage space, in comparison to 26 cu ft of the Model S.
            Rear Head Room: 34.70 in, Rear Hip Room: 48.60 in
            Rear LegRoom: 33.60 in Rear Shoulder Room:49.90 in Seating Capacity: 4

            The back seats of the ELR were intended only for small children, while Cadillac shoppers are usually mature people with adult off-springs and adult friends who require a full-size vehicle like the Model S to carry them. Model S can carry up to 7 people.

            The Cadillac ELR weighs 4,065 lbs, yet only has 233 hp.
            My proposed PHEV weighs 3,600 lbs and has almost 300 hp. See the difference?
            My proposed PHEV may potentially have 3-in higher head rooms than the Model S due to removal of the battery under the feet of all 4 seating positions, so full-size very tall adults will seat comfortably in all 5 seats, with 2 more children seats in the third row.

          • eveee

            Um, no. If you are going up a long, steep mountain incline in a PHEV or HEV, you continuously use up the battery. If you try to charge the battery once its used up, you have to charge the battery and crawl up the mountain on ICE power. Either way, you are reduced to ICE motive power only. This phenomena has been noted prominently on the i3 EREV, which has a small ICE motor.

            So no, Roger. You will use the battery up and be unable to use the electric motor for going up the hill. At that point, you have a massive auto powered by a motorcycle engine.

            ““The ★★★ 2014 BMW i3 electric car performs so much better in its battery-powered mode than when the gasoline-powered generator kicks in to extend the car’s range that testing one is almost like reviewing two different cars.”

            “But the extended-range mode that lets you drive beyond the battery’s limit, is severely limited, both in how far the car can travel and in how long it’ll take you to get there.”

            Here’s Phelan explaining his time behind the wheel in the i3 in extended-range mode (it’s far from a positive experience):

            “With the little gasoline engine generating electricity, the extended-range mode felt no different from battery power driving on surface roads. Fuel consumption was much higher than I expected, though. I refueled early in the 70-mile drive home and had to stop for more gasoline in about 40 miles. Extended highway trips would be unthinkable.”

            “Worse, the generator did not provide enough power to maintain highway speeds. Moving with traffic at around 70 m.p.h., cruise control could not hold the speed on slight inclines. The i3 slowed like an overloaded semi in the mountains. I had to pull into the right lane until I reached the top and headed downhill.”

            http://insideevs.com/bmw-i3-rex-review-brilliant-step-gas-pedal/

          • Roger Pham

            Thanks, eveee, for allowing me the chance to discuss how LAME the BMW i3 Rex really is!
            The Rex generator is only 25 kW (34 hp) x 0.9 motor efficiency = 30 hp at the motor shaft. The BMW i3 weighs 2,900 lbs in Rex trim. 2,900 / 30 = 96 lbs/hp.
            The maximum power of the i3Rex for acceleration is limited by its motor of 168 hp. The Rex generator is unable to add any more power to the car, yet adding weight and taking away valuable space.

            My hypothetical PHEV has a 115-hp engine mated to a 6-speed transmission. 3,600 / 115 = 31 lbs/hp. My PHEV has over 3 times the power to weight ratio as the i3 Rex. See the difference?
            My PHEV has 180-hp power from the motor + 115 hp from the engine = 295 hp total. See the difference?

            Maximum grade for long-distance climb is 7 degrees in the USA. A highly-efficient hypothetical MS PHEV takes about 20 hp to cruise at 60 mph on level road. Let’s assume that the engine provides only 20 hp to overcome drags at a climb at 60 mph doing 7-dgr gradient, while the e-motor will provide the power necessary against gravity.

            60 mph x sin70dgr = 7.3 mph = 10.7 ft/sec vertical speed component. Since 1 hp = 550 ft-lb/sec, a vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs (loaded) with a vertical speed of 10.7 ft/sec will requires 4,000 x 10.7 / 550 = 78 hp to maintain that vertical climb. Adding to the 20 hp required to overcome drags at 60 mph, and we have total power requirement of 98 hp to permit a 4,000-lb car to climb a 7-dgr gradient at 60 mph. The 115-hp engine can do it alone, without even requiring support from the e-motor and the battery.

            However, we want to keep the engine cool and reliable for long trips, so, perhaps the engine supplies only 38 hp, while the e-motor and the battery will supply 60 hp for that climb. How high can the 4,000-lb car climb like that before running out of usable battery energy? Very simple, the 20-kWh battery pack has 16-kWh usable, 16kWh / 0.744 = 21.5 hph of energy usable. With 60 hp of steady drain at 90% motor+inv efficiency, 21.5 hph x 0.9 / 60 = 0.32 hr before exhausted. At vertical speed of 10.7 ft/s x 3,600 x 0.32 = 12,425 feet! So, our 4,000-lb PHEV can climb from sea-level to 12,425 feet before the battery will be depleted!
            This is a very high mountain, and can’t get higher than this because Oxygen will be required. It is also important to deplete the battery for this type of climb, because we need empty battery capacity to store regenerative energy on the downhill phase.

          • eveee

            You didn’t answer Berts question about EREV or HEV properly. In EREV mode the battery always depletes first. That means an EREV is not a super car performance candidate unless the ICE engine has 700hp.
            So here is a question. If a 4,000 lb car is at rest, and 100hp is applied horizontally, how long does it take to reach 60 mph?

          • Roger Pham

            In the charge-sustaining mode (engine mode), the battery and the motor can still be counted on to provide brief acceleration boost to cruising speed. A little bit of energy is borrowed from the battery during acceleration, which will be returned back to the battery upon braking energy recuperation. This is the essence of engine-electric hybrid. That’s the beauty of the HEV and the PHEV.

            How long does it take for a 4,000-lb car to get to 60 mph using 100 hp?
            E = 1/2 MV^2. Then use the E divide by power (E/t) to get the time t. 4,000 lb vehicle at 60 mph has a kinetic energy of 652880 J = 181 Wh. 1 kW = 1,000 J/s. 1 hp = 744 J/s. 100 hp = 744 x 100 = 74400 J/s. Total time it takes to accelerate to 60 mph = 652880 J / 74400 J per sec = 8.8 seconds. However, the actual time will be higher due to road friction, air friction and bearing friction. Probably takes over 10 seconds.

            Remember that a BEV with a single-gear e-motor does not deliver maximum-rated hp until nearing maximum speed. At speeds below maximum speed, the hp of the motor will be much, much less. An engine + transmission can rev-up to maximum hp rpm at 1st gear, all the way to top speed. For a given 100-hp rated engine + transmission vs 100-hp e-motor with fixed gear reduction, the engine+transmission car will accelerate faster, especially with CVT (continually-variable transmission) whereby no time will be loss during gear shift.

          • eveee

            But you still didn’t answer the question. Is it an EREV or an HEV? An EREV depletes the battery. You cannot use the battery for acceleration. Otherwise, its an HEV. It can have two modes if you want to design it that way, but it can’t do both at the same time.

          • Roger Pham

            My question for you, eveee, is this:
            Why are those most-experienced automakers making BEV’s and PHEV’s so undesirable that they won’t sell? They could have done much better with them having so many decades of experience, to know what will sell and what won’t?

            Only Tesla is honestly making truly desirable BEV’s…at limited numbers for the upper class. That’s why I kept begging and begging Tesla to expand its exceptional and wildly popular EV design to the middle class…to no avail…apparently against a glass wall!

            Have you ever seen the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
            This time, the title is “Who’s stalling the growth of EV’s?”

          • Bob_Wallace

            Roger, don’t dodge direct questions put to you by trying to change the subject.

          • eveee

            What do you have against the Chevy Bolt? Its a 200 mile range EV for 30k after rebate. The average ICE car costs 31k. Its just been announced. The Tesla Model 3 is 35k, 200 miles. What do you want?

            I will proceed without an answer to my question. If your proposal is a PHEV, as soon as the battery is depleted, it has weak power unless the ICE engine is sized to pull the whole load.
            If its an HEV, it can still deplete the battery on inclines. Based on your statements alone, we know that its max velocity up a 7% incline is 60 mph.
            You can buy a Prius like that. Or many other hybrids. IMO, No sense in doing one of those. There are plenty out there.

            Who is stalling the growth of EVs? Nobody.

          • Roger Pham

            >>>>>>>”Is it an EREV or an HEV? An EREV depletes the battery. You cannot use the battery for acceleration.”
            It is for sure, a PHEV. The battery of a PHEV is drained until there is about 20% charge remaining, in order to ensure long cycle life. Acceleration from 0-60 mph only takes 0.18 kWh of energy, or 0.2 kWh figuring in motor+inverter losses. In a PHEV’s charge-sustaining mode, the engine provides steady level cruise power, while the battery pack just lends acceleration and climbing energy, so that when deccelerating or descending, the energy will be returned back to the battery pack. So, in hilly country, perhaps the battery will be drained less, so that the battery will have more lending reserve.

            eveee, the following is an opinion about the Bolt from Henrik, who posted in a recent article about the Bolt in Greencarcongress:

            Tesla’s strategy is only to make a BEV if it can be made better than a comparable gasser and for the same price. E.g. the Model S is better than Porsche Panamera and they cost the same. Like Model X is better than Porsche Cayenne and they cost the same. The problem with the Bolt is that it compares to Chevrolet Sonic that costs only 15k USD has full range and fuel nearly instantly. This is why the Bolt will also be a failure. It can’t compete with comparable gassers and only have appeal with truly diehard environmentalist.

            When Tesla launch the Model 3 it will cost the same as a BMW’s series 3 and be a better car so it will sell ice-cream on a hot summer day. We will see if I am right but I am sure I am.

            The strategy is all wrong by the old automakers because they keep making plug-ins that sucks compared to their gasser competition. If they can’t change that strategy they will continue to fail and Tesla, Google(?) and Apple(?) will continue to eat their market shares.”

            On the same article, the following opinion from Alan Stewart:

            It’s TOO SMALL! The two leading BEV’s are both larger. The rear cargo area is 70% of the Leaf’s, which is only adequate. I’ve been driving one for almost two years. I wouldn’t buy a smaller car. This doesn’t seem like a formula for success given U.S. tastes. I suspect there are people in management that want this car to fail, but they have to put on a good show. If they’d done their homework the car would be at least the size of a Leaf.

            Posted by: Alan Stewart | January 06, 2016 at 04:04 PM”

          • Bert

            And apparently you forgot that the time it would take to design get the factories ready to produce such a vehicle is non trivial. The model 3 will be ready before your vehicle ever could be. Your vehicle will have to wait until after the model 3 comes out, at the very least.

            Plus, what will make this sell better than the Cadillac ELR?

        • Bob_Wallace

          “If Tesla’s secret plan is to bring EV’s to the mass of the people, then building PHEV would be it!”

          Count on Roger to bring the absurd….

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Well, the volt does outsell the model S worldwide….. something to be realistic about

          • Bob_Wallace

            You also need to be realistic about the range of the EVs selling at ~Volt prices.

            Comparing Volt to Tesla is now a reasonable comparison. Different sized markets.

        • Too many tech enthusiasts would be bummed out. We already have hybrids, thus no vision in “going backwards”.

  • Epicurus

    Contrast the character of Elon Musk, who is devoting his time and money to improving the world, with the character of the board of directors and officers of Exxon who in 1977 as a result of its own research discovered the global threat of continued use of fossil fuels and then went on to not only keep the truth from the public but to mislead the public for decades through funding climate change denier groups. Of course Exxon is just like every other American corporation: they act solely for their own short term greed and self-gratification, just like flesh and blood sociopaths. Is it merely coincidence that Musk is a foreigner? I don’t think so.

    • Kyle Field

      The worst part of Exxon is how they are now coming out with science showing just how bad it can be. I just want to scream at them “It’s your damn fault you greedy bastards!” then fine the crap out of them until gas is $10/gallon worldwide with the taxes going to carbon neutral or carbon negative technologies to reverse all the harm they have done.

      As consumers, we own our fair share of that but for Exxon to have the science and knowingly hide and obfuscate the truth just for profit over several decades is many times more damning and less excusable than what VW did for a measly 9 years.

      • Epicurus

        They have committed a crime against humanity really.

        At least the attorney general of New York sees fit to open an investigation for fraud and securities violations.

      • eveee

        Yeah. I feel like telling that Exxon prez, Tillerson, no dang it. I won’t adapt to that. You adapt to this Rex, Exxon quits fouling the world with its greed and pollution. Too bad if Exxxon loses bucks and you lose your job. You belong in jail.

  • Peter Egan

    Nothing is new in America. I think it was the mini-series “Wheels”. Rock Hudson’s character wanted to build his reputation by designing a world beating sports car so he could get the gig of designing a small mass market car with loads of safety features.

  • eddierothmanisatool

    absolutely nothing new here. complete waste of 5 minutes.

    • Lucidity

      Well, no one forced you to read it. As he stated, not everyone knows the backstory. So yes, this is something new to some people.

  • Sim

    Tesla should start to sell EV charging to non tesla models. This way they can quickly increase the amount of superchargers again. That will place them in a position of subsidizing their own EVs as well as giving the funding to expand Supercharging stations. The extra supercharger stations should remove shortage of chargers in any given area.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Tesla has offered. It’s up to the other manufacturers to buy into Tesla’s economic model. Include the cost of lifetime charging into the price of the car.

      • gundersonrogers

        Any discussions yet on whether we might evolve to a universal plug?

        • Bob_Wallace

          You know, it might never happen. We could end up with Tesla chargers and ‘everyone else’ chargers. Tesla would likely offer an adaptor so that their cars could use the everyone-else as well as their own Superchargers.
          Other car companies may not be willing to move to Tesla’s pre-pay model.
          I don’t see that as a problem as long as Tesla continues to install as many chargers as their customers need. And their Destination Chargers are going to give them another big advantage.

          • neroden

            Since it’s all electricity, one possibility is that we’ll end up with piles and piles of adapters. It’s quite feasible to make a high voltage DC to DC adapter and Tesla’s already made one for Chademo, which is the most difficult.

            I already have a bag of adapters in the back of my Model S.

  • Richard Williams

    Why was my entry deemed un-postable it was in no way offensive and however technically in-feasible my assumptions none were absolutely outside previously contemplated technology?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Since you have no comments in the Pending, Spam or Deleted files I can offer no suggestions.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Given that there are no comments from you in the Pending, Spam or Deleted folders I have no idea.

  • David McCauley

    What is so amazing about Elon is that his goal is to “…help stimulate and hasten an EV revolution”. Notice the goal is not about him or Tesla is about an EV revolution. I would dismiss that were it not for his recent reaction to VW. If his goal was to get richer and build Tesla he would have easily chimed in to punish Volkswagen; he did not! He is pushing for VW to not fix the illegal cars; he is pushing that money go to a company 100x times the size of his to invest in competitive cars…to stimulate the EV revolution! I am rarely amazed.

    • Yes, I think when people catch this bit regarding Elon’s core aims, they quickly like/love him and become fans (or bigger fans) of Tesla.

      Apparently, there are many people who work not to help the world but just to help themselves. That must be rather painful work, imho.

      • Epicurus

        “there are many people who work not to help the world but just to help themselves.”

        Americans are raised and socialized to believe that is the thing to do–that greed is good. It’s at the heart of our economic system and national ethos and is justified by Adam Smith’s description of the invisible hand (which had limits in Smith’s real philosophy). I think of it as the core of America’s true national religion.

        “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” J.M. Keynes

        • eveee

          Great great quote, thanks.

  • Roger Lambert

    Excellent article.

    • Thanks, Roger. I know it can be difficult to get your approval.

  • Carol

    Great info and reminder. I also recall calculators being exorbitantly expensive when they first appeared (several hundred dollars in today’s value) and was shocked yesterday to see one priced at about $1.50. Tesla’s got the right idea–it can seem slow to us because cars are not as simple as calculators or cell phones, but the time it’s taken them to produce three vehicles (two from the ground up) has been very short indeed for a new manufacturer. They’ve given us exciting and compelling vehicles and I have no doubt that they’re on track to accomplish their “secret” plan.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Yes, the first scientific calculators were very expensive. Many of us got our hands on one because the lab could afford to buy one for everyone to share.

      Prices quickly fell and the two major slide rule manufacturers shut down within two years.

      • Carol

        You were fortunate to be in a place that would spring for one. My dad worked as an aeronautics engineer for NASA and though he spent a majority of his day doing calculations via a slide rule they didn’t see the need to buy one for him. He bought that first scientific calculator himself.

  • One-Of-A-Kind

    The master plan has gone off track a little, to say the least.

    “I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster” -Tesla Master Plan

    Yea…. about that $45k Model S.

    • jeffhre

      The Roadster was released at $109K not the then projected 89K. And the 40 kWh Models S was listed for $50,000 on theTesla web site.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        you can get nitty and gritty all you want; the fact is, the above statement is not true, nor has it ever been. Unfulfilled promises.

        Elon has said himself an EV is not acceptable unless it can do 200 miles, and not just in nice weather. How does a 40KWh Model S fit into that paradigm even if it was built?

        • jeffhre

          How? I dunno. Why does everybody always want to shoot the messenger?

        • RIRedinPA

          Until Tesla closes it’s factory doors you really can’t make the assessment that the master plan was not met. No where in that master plan do I recall reading it would be done to a time table that meets the approval of someone in the future who will post to Disqus with the screen name One-Of-A-Kind. : )

          Nor should we have expectations that the price points associated with this plan would be exactly linear, they are goals and targets, sometimes not attainable in the current market for a myriad of factors. The thing to watch are the long term price points and battery efficiency charts, is one trending down while the other trends up? Is so then the company is moving in the proper direction vis-a-vis it’s master plan.

          Considering the adoption level of the Roadster and Model-S, the price reduction, the doubling of employees, the improvement in the Model-S battery range, etc. they are heading in the right direction. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Tesla had a factory practically GIVEN to them by Toyota. You act as if it would somehow be surprising that they can’t hold the doors open to that place. NUMMI produced nearly half a million vehicles / year, but because of complications that California brings onto manufacturing, the plant was never profitable for either auto maker.

            This is why, despite being worth over $1 billion, Tesla managed to get the facility for a mesely $43 million.

          • Kyle Field

            Sounds like they bought something that was worth nothing to the former owners who spent too much money on it. Good deal all around and just a normal part of business…

          • eveee

            Did you misword that statement? Surprising that they can’t hold the doors open? Stating more plainly, did you mean to say, tesla should have easily succeeded, because they got a factory almost free.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Tesla’s THIRD generation vehicle will still be for only the 1%

            This is also contradictory to the ‘master plan’

          • disqus_93AE3RFoBu

            One-of-a-kind, you’re not the first person to be confused between ‘third model’ and ‘third generation’. The Model X is the third model that Tesla has produced. But it is part of the 2nd generation ‘family’ of cars. It is built on the same platform as the S, uses much of the same software.

            Third generation will be mass market with a smaller battery platform (‘smaller’ as in size, not necessarily range). More than one model will be built on that 3rd generation platform, But they will all be 3rd gen vehicles.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You don’t like Tesla. That’s fine. There’s no requirement that everyone likes the same flavor ice cream.

            But you have no right to lie about a company you don’t like.

            Not even the Model S is affordable by only the top 1%. The Model 3 is expected to be priced about the same as the average price of new US cars. $35k vs. $32k. After subsidies the Mod3 will be cheaper than the average new US cars.

          • Ken

            You are being dishonest and have no credibility left with any thinking person.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Thanks Elon. Glad to see you down here boxing for yourself.

            Just to revisit what we’re talking about:

            “in short, the master plan is:

            -Build sports car
            -Use that money to build an affordable car
            -Use that money to build an even more affordable car” -Master Plan (2006)

            So far, all we have seen is:

            -Build Sports Car
            -Use that money and IPO to Build 4 Door Sports Car
            -Raise more money, borrow, and Build CUV Sports Car -Reality (2015)

          • jeffhre

            The familiar with the four door sports car. The Model S is a large performance sedan.

          • Ken

            Wrong again. You are making more false accusations with no facts which further destroys your credibility with any thinking person.

            You do not seem capable of comprehending that the Model S and X are actually the same platform as others have pointed out to you.

            You also don’t seem to be able to comprehend why Tesla is building the gigafactory and that they will unveil an ‘affordable’ car this March – exactly as the master plan stated. Multiple versions of that car will also be made on that platform.

            If you wish to ever have any credibility, you need to find someone who has the time and patience to educate you on these simple facts and explain their meaning. Come back when you finally understand – if ever.

          • jeffhre

            That is partly true. Somewhat surprisingly, there are a great deal of cars in the $25,000 – $30,000 dollar range on the properties in neighborhoods that are occupied by members of the 1%. Though there are clearly many others who are buying cars at that level, since they constitute such a large portion of the overall auto market.

          • gundersonrogers

            You must be correct, One-of-a…, Tesla is actually a failure.
            sheesh

        • eveee

          What paradigm? You sound as if you are trying to prove something, but it’s not formally stated.
          Is the statement you refer to this one,
          “I can say that the second model will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster” -Tesla Master Plan ?
          If so, I don’t see a problem. The word “roughly” qualifies it as a true statement, given the lowest priced version and inflation. Not ideal, but it does not qualify as a false statement unless misread.
          Elon also stated that the goal was to introduce a succession of cars, starting from the high end and working down. It is apparent he was talking about a list of goals. Some have been met. Even though the plan has not been fully implemented, that is, two models, the 3, formerly E, and Y, have not yet been formally introduced, you have concluded that the plan is a failure, stating “unfulfilled promises”. I don’t see the point in discrediting a not yet completed plan that has met its goals in a reasonably planned fashion, with some problems similar to those of car companies in general. I see no sky falling.

        • Ken

          Wrong. He sold the car for the price he predicted.

          Your statements are the ones that are not true – again.

        • neroden

          So, Elon’s a congenital optimist, and his predictions are generally a year late and 10% more expensive. So what? In the bigger scheme of things, that’s *insignificant*.

        • gundersonrogers

          Insufficient rounding.

    • TomK

      The numbers were overly optimistic, yes. Unfortunately you are unable or unwilling to see the bigger context. The Master Plan is right on track.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Is there a term for people who find a single flaw (often unimportant flaw) in an idea, company, project, etc. and based on that flaw try to claim that the entire effort is a failure? Something descriptive, not a generic term like a-hole.

      I can see one of these guys pouring over Einstein’s manuscripts, finding an undotted ‘i’ and based on that declaring the Theory of Relativity void.

      • JamesWimberley

        You wrote pouring not poring. Massive Cupertino fail, I can safely ignore everything you write today…
        The word is nitpicker.

        • Bob_Wallace

          It’s something more than nitpicking. That’s only the first step.

          They then take that small flaw and blow it wildly out of proportion, turning it into a fatal flaw.

          It’s a very frequently used technique, often seen in right-wing comments. It seems like it would have a formal name.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            It is Fatal.

            Look at the summary of the master plan.

            “So, in short, the master plan is:

            Build sports car

            Use that money to build an affordable car

            Use that money to build an even more affordable car”

            Please, where does the Model S and Model X fit into this scheme of car number 2 and 3?

            Tesla doesn’t understand what affordable is. It is run by a man who lavishes off a $200,000 / month lifestyle.

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about you make that the last of your inane comments on this subject?
            You’ve become a gigantic bore.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Just making sure it’s usual nature to get harassed here if you happen to disagree.

          • Since I haven’t seen someone write this already, the S & X were based on the same platform. They were initially supposed to be much more similar, but Tesla got carried away a bit while trying to make it more and more amazing.

            The next (affordable) platform will also have two models — 3 & Y.

            As has been noted a couple of times now, the 40 kWh Model S was $50,000, which nearly hit Elon’s initial goal from several years earlier (and may well have if you took inflation into account and based his statement on 2006 dollars).

            Elon was “homeless” for a bit and showered at the local YMCA, iirc. He may have some fun with his money here and there… but hey, we’re getting off topic. It’s not about Elon’s personal lifestyle. It’s about his desire to help the world. If you don’t believe he has that desire, I can’t really help you much — it’s painfully obvious he does.

          • neroden

            FWIW, a lot of the R&D for Model X was revisions to the Model S design; expect the Model S to be more similar internally to the Model X in about a year as they slowly change over parts.

          • neroden

            Making a mountain out of a molehill?

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s just exaggerating.

            I’m currently using ‘fabricated fatal flaw’. 3-F, for short.

        • Kyle Field

          Levity is sanity down in the trenches of the comments 🙂

      • Kyle Field

        The single chart we need to refer to the most around here is related to logical fallacies. Debate 101. Here’s a decent reference chart…lots of good info out there. This one feels like composition – what is true of one piece must also be true of the whole.

        https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/pdf/LogicalFallaciesInfographic_A3.pdf

        • Bob_Wallace

          Thanks for the chart. Reading it was useful.

          The technique I’m talking about is something like ‘Composition/Division’ but that doesn’t fit closely enough.

          • Kyle Field

            Yeah, it’s a good start at it. Not everything in life fits well into buckets…but we do try 🙂

      • eveee

        We need more modern words, but hair splitter and nit picker come to mind.

        “: a person who argues about differences that are too small to be important”

        Not perfect, but you get the point. Which is the point of all of this. In Internet parlance, a hair splitter or nit picker is a troll that derails the conversation by missing the essential context, meaning, and thrust of the conversation. By finding a non essential contradiction, they mistakenly over generalize, thinking they have discredited the entire assertion, or proved the opposite. A version of this argument became famous with global warming deniers. There is some reference to the fallacy that scientists don’t know everything, so we know nothing. But this argument is special.
        It applies directly to science, where knowledge is refined by constant challenges and misuses its intent to over generalize uncertainty. The opposite of most over generalization arguments, it attempts to deny with the over generalization of ignorance. We don’t know everything, therefore we know nothing.

        This commenter uses something different. Could we call it the one flaw argument? You might have unintentionally coined it. I like to think of it in psychological terms. All the cookie or none. It is an all or none argument. If there is some flaw, no matter how trivial or irrelevant, the premise is discarded.

        • Bob_Wallace

          A non-critical flaw presented as a fatal flaw.

          It’s commonly attempted. It needs a catchy name.

          • eveee

            climate change denier argument. Pick any flaw real or imagined and throw away everything because of it. Its an example of overgeneralization in the negative. Formally, this form of faulty reasoning is called “fallacy fallacy”. Just because a logical argument for a premise is wrong, it does not mean there are not other correct logical arguments for the premise. The climate change denier argument is a form of extremism. One scientist doesn’t believe in GW. The whole theory is wrong. The climate model is not perfect. Therefore the climate model is wrong. We have heard this logical extremism constantly.

          • wish we could make comment threads break out one step further. is weird getting to a comment like this several comments down from a newer one about the subject. i know we used to have the option, but looks all around for a while a couple weeks ago and couldn’t find anything. you don’t know of anything, do you?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know how many nesting levels Discus offers. Apparently the old limit was 100, looks like the limit now might be four.

          • I remember options regarding this, but have been unable to find them now. My guess was Disqus discontinued the freedom and made the decision itself. But let me know if you happen to find anything.

          • neroden

            The name is “Making a mountain out of a molehill”

          • gundersonrogers

            Agreed, such cases deserve something catchy to signal to all the ridiculousness…

            Cognitive Psychology uses the blase term, “Motivated Reasoning.”
            Chris Mooney fashions an entire book around this act of prejudice and denial: The Republican Brain, in an attempt to explain seemingly intelligent people who deny climate science, and more.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_reasoning

        • One-Of-A-Kind

          What you need to realize is this is a fatal flaw.

          From the master plan (topic of this stupid article):

          “So, in short, the master plan is:

          Build sports car

          Use that money to build an affordable car

          Use that money to build an even more affordable car”

          Do yourself a logical favor and think about the 3 vehicles that Tesla has released, and try to align it with this ‘master plan’ and tell me it’s not off track.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’ve pretty much worn that talking point down to a tiny speck.

            Tesla laid out a plan to work their way to an affordable EV. They’re making progress. The fact that they may or may not have made changes in their initial plan according to how you interpret it is unimportant.

            Give it a rest.

          • eveee

            You have not responded to any of my points. One at a time.

            First, refer to the statement you said was wrong. That statement used the words roughly half the cost of the then 90k Roadster. Admittedly, roughly allows some leeway, and the 40kwhr Model S at 50k was the bottom of the range.

            Second, you have declared this plan a failure before it has been completely implemented, with models 3 (E) and Y yet to come to market.
            I will venture to say you have jumped the gun.

            Third, viewing as a series of successive incremental goals, it has succeeded. Many of the other goals are met. Range, performance, longevity, charging stations and so on. You are missing the forest for the trees here, by ignoring the fact that part of the concept here is to motivate the major car companies to enter the market. That has been a success with GM entering the market with a competitor to the model 3 and BMW and others now entering the EV market.

            Even if Tesla went bankrupt tomorrow and all their vehicles were a failure, they have already made their mark.
            But that is vastly underestimating their present and future success.
            You have to be a dyed in the wool pessimist and just plain miss the point that Tesla isn’t really about cars or any particular model. Its about Musk’s vision for a tomorrow without FF. Now that is a very ambitious goal.

          • OnionMan77

            Thank you for at least one lasting contribution.
            You have given the fallacy a name : “fatal flaw”

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about “fabricated fatal flaw”?

            3F.

          • Jenny Sommer

            They made two more expensive models after the sports car. Why not if they sell that good?
            The next two should be the cheaper ones.
            I don’t see a flaw there.

            It would be a flaw if the affordable, mass produced car would never arive.

          • “fatal…, stupid…, and logical favor(s)”. I’m lmao – track.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            The price hasn’t come down; it’s actually gone up. There’s no longer a 40 or 60KWh variant.

            You argue that they don’t sell to the 1% in the same line speech that you say “I hope Elon continues to sell to the “1%” crowd for many years to come (too), so that he can also be the one to afford a team to invent the super ultra capacitor!”

            And super capacitors have their fair share of issues as well…. In energy storage, nothing is perfect.

            If you understood much about energy, you’d realize we know how to make a ton of it; its just what to do with it. We currently don’t continue to create oversupply, because grid management can be a big issue. We only create what we need. Fossil fuels are favored because we can easily turn them up or down. Renewables would be great if we had somewhere to put it. Germany only managed a 20% renewable eenrgy grid penetration before they had to start dumping energy in large loads to unwilling neighbors. This causes financial havocs in the energy market as well, as they too work on supply and demand.

            When you understand this; you’ll see why smarter societies like Germany and Japan have been nailing hard at conquering high-temp fusion, LENR, as well as hydrogen technologies for creating, storing, and re-using hydrogen gas, with water as a feedstock. The technologies paired together create a near limitless supply and carbon free and pollution free fuel that can be portable, traded, stored for long periods of time, etc.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany has never generated more than 73% of its demand from wind and solar. They’ve never met even their own demand so there’s no way they’ve “dumped” wind and solar on other countries.

            Germany sells a considerable amount of electricity to other countries because they purchase it. Germany runs more coal plants than it needs for its own supply because of other-country demand. Germany sells electricity at a high price.

            Actually, it’s France that “dumps” electricity. At times France has more nuclear electricity than it can consume and sells to other countries at a low price because they can’t ramp down their reactors fast/far enough.
            Last time I checked Germany was making a profit of about 6 cents/kWh for the electricity they bought and sold with France.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            I’m not talking about generating over 73%from renewables (nobody has come close to that)! I’m talking about problems that happen when renewables get into the 20’s % range!

            From a well written article on the situation (easily found if you google any part of this)

            “So now let’s look at that question of whether Germany is an exporter or importer of energy. Once again, the answer seems to lie in the vagaries of wind and solar energy. Power generated by a coal, gas, nuclear or hydroelectric plant is called “dispatchable.” This means it can be summoned any time it is needed. Hydroelectric dams can be dispatched instantly. Gas plants can also be fired up in a very short time. Coal usually takes about 45 minutes to get to full capacity and nuclear is so difficult to turn on and off that it’s best operated all the time. Wind and solar, on the other hand, are completely at the mercy of the elements and can disappear in an instant if the wind stops blowing or clouds hide the sun.

            As a result, Germany’s electrical output is much more volatile than an ordinary power grid. Complicating the situation is that most of the wind power is being generated in the north – more now offshore in the Baltic – while the industrial demand for electricity is in the south. The Germans have not yet constructed the transmission cables necessary to balance out supply and demand. In the interim, Germany has been routing power through Poland and the Czech Republic.

            Yet there is always the problem of maintaining grid balance. Supply and demand for electricity must remain within about 3 percent of each other or the grid starts to malfunction. A lack of supply causes brownouts and blackouts. A surge of supply can damage electrical equipment. In order to avoid oversupply, Germany has been “dumping” huge surges of wind power into Poland and the Czech Republic, disrupting their grids. Both countries have started building barriers in order to avoid these intrusions of excess power.

            These power surges are probably what contribute to making Germany an “exporter” of electricity. But the surges are by no means manageable or predictable. Some of this excess power may eventually be routed into the elaborate pumped storage facilities that have been constructed in the fiords of Scandinavia. But for the present, the question will be how much the ups and downs of renewable energy production will spread to other countries. France is moving in the same direction, vowing under Socialist President Francois Hollande to cut its reliance on nuclear from 75 percent to 50 percent.

            There is talk that France and Germany may be able to participate in an elaborate minuet in which France accepts excess German wind power in order to satisfy its self-imposed quotas for renewable energy while Germany accepts some of France’s nuclear energy in order to maintain the stability of its grid.”

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re only looking at half the issue. Not only is there supply but also demand. And demand is highly variable. There’s a certain pattern to it, rising in the morning and dropping in the late evening, higher on weekday than on weekends, higher when it’s the hottest and coldest.

            The grid has to match demand. Something like nuclear and coal are problems. They are very inflexible. Being dispatchable is not enough, supply has to be able to react quickly in order to keep the grid from crashing.

            What are these quick to react sources? From fastest – storage (batteries), hydro, gas turbines.

            What are so slow that we have to work around them? Nuclear and coal.

            What are so variable that we have to work with them? Solar and wind.

            In the old grid we used coal and nuclear as our ‘almost always on’ baseload and used storage (pump-up hydro, gas and hydro) to match supply to demand.

            In the future grid we will likely use wind and solar as our largest supplies because they are cheap and fill in around them with storage (batteries and PuHS), hydro and perhaps some biogas/mass.

            Why will we build our future grids in this new fashion?

            1) Very low carbon footprint.

            2) Low cost. Lower cost electricity than we had with our old thermal plant system.

            Remember, both the old grid and new grid require storage. The new grid may need more but the cost of generation is so low that we can add a bunch in and still come out ahead.

            Now, Germany. Like all grids moving away from fossil fuels (and nuclear) the German grid is in transition. Transitions are not often smooth nor well-planned. Sometimes generation will get ahead of transmission and sometimes transmission may get ahead of generation. As wind and solar penetrate it’s likely new issues will be discovered. But all of this is solvable.

            Right now Germany has far too much coal generation. Germany is a net supplier of electricity for other European countries, including France.

            Over time other countries will install the renewable generation they need or start purchasing it from other countries and Germany can close down more coal plants.

            Later on Germany, and the rest of Europe, may need more storage. Or, maybe, there will be enough dispatchable generation (hydro) in other countries to smooth things out. This probably won’t be known for at least ten more years.

            France is likely to cut back on nuclear. The French government recently admitted that their production cost for electricity from their paid off plants is high. About 8 cents/kWh.

            In May 2012 the wholesale price of electricity in Germany was 3.89 euro cents. By May 2013 the price was down to 3.20c. By May 2014 the price had dropped again to 3.06c. That’s about 3.4 US cents which is less than half the cost of French nuclear electricity.

            BTW, the wholesale cost of electricity in Germany has been dropping since 2012 as they’ve added more and more wind and solar.

          • eveee

            20%? You’re joking. No country that has gotten to that level has had a need for storage or trouble integrating renewables. Iowa is 30%. Denmark is 40%. Germany, Portugal, Uruguay, Iceland, and on it goes.

            Its simply false that renewables are difficult to integrate at 20%. If you were well read, you would know that NREL WWSIS, EWSIS, and studies by PJM all show that up to 30% and higher renewables can be integrated with little change to the existing grid.

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/07/americas-largest-grid-system-reach-30-renewable-energy-2026/

            You have an inflated definition of dispatchable. Coal and nuclear can take hours or days to dispatch. Thats one reason there is so much natural gas reserves- its faster to dispatch.

            You say Germany has been dumping to avoid oversupply. One countries oversupply is anthers deficit. France needs Germanys electricity during some winters to forestall a shortfall.

            http://www.reuters.com/article/europe-power-supply-idUSL5E8DD87020120214

          • They are less than the first ones.
            I added “too” to the 1% statements.
            And you know no more than i about the future of energy storage, except that i know out will get better.
            Fossil fuels require more moving parts – great for pre solid state architecture, lousy for the future and of course, for pollution issues.

          • eveee

            Smarter societies realize that EVs do have batteries and they are storage and they know to use them to connect to the grid and to integrate renewables. They know that fusion, hydrogen, and LENR are far down the road, if they ever appear.
            Anyone that starts talking limitless doesn’t have a clue about the real world.

        • nice side course. loved that.

      • gundersonrogers

        Actually, as basis for this 1905 Special Theory of Relativity Einstein did make an error

        http://www.gsjournal.net/old/science/anderton40.pdf

        –but for some reason the Nuclear Era happened, nevertheless.

    • Ken

      Wrong. Elon did what he said he would do. He made a Model S at about half the selling price of the Roadster (which was actually $109,000). After incentives, it cost about $40,000 – exactly as he said. But everyone wanted the longer range versions so it was discontinued.

      Try doing some research before you post.

    • It hasn’t been as easy as cutting through warm butter with a knife, but it seems essentially on track (and probably much better than the vast majority expected). But as Ken noted, Tesla did offer a 40 kWh Model S for ~$50,000 for awhile. Almost everyone was spending more for the 60 kWh, so they dropped the 40 kWh. I think there might have been other issues at play there, but we don’t have much to go on with it. I also think the 40 kWh would go over much better now, since more people are aware of Tesla and want a Model S (but can’t afford current options), but who knows?

      • neroden

        Well, Tesla’s replacing the 60 with a 70 and the 85 with a 90, so I think there wouldn’t be a 40. A “45” would have a range of 180 miles, so I bet they’d go with a 50 if they reintroduced a shorter-range car.

        Apparently they had intractable problems with the weight balance, though. Model 3 might well be a “50” or a “55”, however.

        • gundersonrogers

          Okay, but were any of these part of the plan?

          • neroden

            Musk did say he expected batteries to get cheaper and higher-capacity quite quickly. So yes, these were part of the elaboration of the plan — every plan gets more details as you develop it.

            The Model S and subsequent cars were specifically designed with modular swappable battery packs to accommodate ongoing, very fast changes in batteries without having to retool the car factory production lines.

            The cost of a “50” or “55” battery now is going to be comparable to the cost of “40” battery in 2013.

        • Right. Don’t think Tesla would do it either. Elon has stated that he thinks 200 miles of real-world range is a minimum.

          Maybe we’ll see a 50 kWh on the Model 3. Think it’ll depend on how easily Tesla can cut costs to get to $35,000.

  • Antony Berretti

    The key to selling stuff in the early part of the 20th C was electricity. Whether as energy provider to manufacturing or stimulant to the creativeness of companies to come up with products the market would buy.
    Right now in the early years of this current century we have had similar set of circumstances. The Li-ion chemistry has transformed the electronics industries and Tesla is one of those results. The next phase is for the chemistries to improve to allow the efficiencies to force down costs to mass production and adoption. This last decade alone we have seen major improvements in power to weight ratio from chemistries and many possible contenders are jockeying for the prime spot to launch to market, so finding one or more alternatives to traditional Li-ion is hot and comes with a big profit for the winners.
    Gigafactories can retool cheaply no matter what chemistry is used, traditional ICE production systems can but at far greater costs, so sustainability favours the battery system over the ICE.

  • JamesWimberley

    Good article, Zach. You leave out the government.
    1. The rich purchaser of early-stage new tech has often been the state: aviation, weaponry, microelectronics. This has not of course been true for cars, whether Model Ts or Teslas.
    2. Rich guys are politically influential. How come the very large tax breaks for EV’s have been sustainable? I guess Musk has more clout in Sacramento than Washington, but he and his customers do have it.

    • Ha, such great and succinct extra points, as usual.

      Regarding #1, I think we need to put in a big push for EV procurement at the federal, state, and municipal level. Improving air quality alone should make the case, but throw in responsibility to address global warming and the jury should make a unanimous decision in support.

      Anyhow, thanks for bringing these 2 important points to my mind, and others’.

  • mikgigs

    The secret plan for Elon is that he is not focused on selling cars, but on overexpensive batteries on wheels combined with mutual solution of producing(solar business) energy, storing(supercharger) and easy implementation of autonomous drive(it IT product + online service) All this wrapped in a name of car business, but there is no car.where is the car?

    • J_JamesM

      Was that supposed to be coherent? I can’t even tell.

      • Bob_Wallace

        It was supposed to be a devastating attack on Tesla.

        It was a dud….

    • Ronald Brakels

      Well, it must be in Queensland, because I’ve seen it there. (Was under the impression there was more than one though.)

      • juxx0r

        Did you know that the internet is in Margaret River, there’s a sign on the main drag that says internet –> that way. True story.

    • mikgigs

      And lets call it an energy business with smooth logistical model. My conclusion is: If you want something to be successful in entrepreneurship: You should just change the focus of your longterm profit strategy that affords selling an innovation product of high quality on compromised price from the beginning.

    • gundersonrogers

      No cranial space for non-monetary goals, mikgigs?

  • Radical Ignorant

    There is one other… “side effect” I think I’d call it. Or maybe hidden nuance of this master plan.
    It’s convicing wide public that EV is real car to say the least. Every friend of every Tesla owner is most probably sold now and “on our side” because how cool those cars are.
    Every super nice expensive EV is more people sold that EVs are real cars. And demand is growing. Even if Tesla could magically start from model 3 it would fail. There was no trust, no recognition, no desire. It would be very hard to find enough buyers. Not the case now I believe. Many people are waiting for EV with more comfortable range than Leaf. And they are waiting because of Tesla.

    • TedKidd

      Good point. Need to get lots of early adopters out there showing the thing is really cool and works, that’s what entices early majority.

      Go for early majority too soon and they won’t come. Cautious group.

      • gundersonrogers

        Hard to imagine Tesla will Ever be able to keep up with demand for Model 3 (and later less expensive models). As Model 3 ramps up production, interest and comfort levels will rise as well.

        • TedKidd

          …And I’m having trouble getting my head around how delivery and service will work if they don’t have service centers at all secondary cities.

          Shouldn’t any city that supports Porsche, Audi, Mercedes and BMW have one?

          We have Maserati and Alfa Romeo! No Tesla service planned???

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why wouldn’t Tesla have sales and service operations in all cities of any size?

            They won’t build out completely in only a couple of years but almost certainly will expand with the market.

          • TedKidd

            Hope so. Not in evidence, at least not anywhere near me.

    • Kyle Field

      This is why plug in america is always saying that ride and drive events are the most effective at turning the tide. Get someone in a Tesla and they will understand. 😀
      Notice how I didn’t say “get someone in a Volt/Leaf/Spark and they’ll understand”…yeah, that was on purpose. They just don’t have the same magnetic personalities…

    • Exactly. And I think this was always part of his plan.

      Interesting when you talk to someone in real life and hear, “electric cars are slow and boring… oh, but not Teslas…” or, when charging a LEAF and talking to someone at a jazz show next to it, “i’m planning to get an EV when Tesla comes out with that affordable one.” how widely Tesla is pulling in people who discount the quality of all other EVs is very hard to quantify, but I think the impact has to be large.

    • Coley

      While wishing Musk and tesla the best of luck, if one of his competitors came out with a truly affordable 200 mile EV then I think the “master plan” may face some difficulties.

      • Bob_Wallace

        True, but since Tesla is going to have a cheaper battery than other manufacturers it wouldn’t be easy for them to come in at a better price.
        And the other folks need a long range driving solution. Tesla’s got their Supercharger system.

      • gundersonrogers

        See Kyle’s response above to Radical Ignorant. Tesla has panache.

        Musing my own move into a Model 3 at the soonest opportunity possible, I’ve wondered about possibly buying a Bolt (pure impatience) until the 3 is available.

        Assumption: The Chevy might get me to work and back on electrons, but surely the Model 3 will be so much finer.

        • Bert

          Tesla’s biggest two advantages are their supercharger network and the fact that management is actually interested in promoting and selling electric vehicles over gas vehicles. I really think that it is that simple and that’s why the model 3 will sell much better than the bolt.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Yup!

          • neroden

            To make the bear case, the Chinese market is going to be tough: Tesla will be facing serious, committed competitors in the Chinese electric car market. At least three of them.

          • Bert

            China will probably remain a challenge, yes. How much of a challenge? I don’t know. They play by a completely different set of rules and I don’t know them all.

      • Radical Ignorant

        While wishing competitors the best of luck I don’t believe their success will change anything. Base assumption of “master plan” is that real competition are ICEs not other EVs… it’s huge market of the future and even if Tesla will grab only 5% of it it will became huge company, it’ll be hundreds or thousands of times bigger than it is today. So having super successful competitor is not a big deal. “The enemy” is the past, or rather present way of doing things rather than competition.

  • TedKidd

    Fantastic job Zach! A miny Wait but Why.

    Really dig the adoption chart.

    • Thanks. Can only imagine how much time he put into that series.

      Admittedly, though, this was supposed to be a short piece. 😛 But I also have 2 more planned that could have all been thrown in together, but figured stand better on their own.

    • Credit to Giles or Bob (forget which one) for finding that adoption chart. Have used it several times, but often forget about it and then think, “damn, i have to remember to use this more.”

      Also realized this week I could use it in a particular way to really improve some of my in-person presentations.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Throughout history, more has been accomplished through INNOVATION (the re-imagining and re-interpretation of old ideas and technology)… than INVENTION.

  • Thats how it is

    So far Tesla has not created anything new. Just packed a heap of laptop batteries into a car body. Even their battery factory is not a new technology it is just an industrial dinosaur hoping to drive prices down not not by some technical invention but by sheer volume which might as well never happen given scarcity of lithium resources. Selling 50k vehicles is not gonna give any environmental effect, they just use green PR to sell cars.

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” well never happen given scarcity of lithium resources”

      Ignorance, that’s how it is…

      • The bitter truth

        Yes it is. Tesla have never done any true invention, that is why their cars cost 75k

        • Kyle Field

          Patents are awarded for inventions. Tesla has patents. The only thing bitter here is you and you are found lacking truth (or effort…it is difficult to say for sure)

        • Bob_Wallace

          Sockpuppeting troll…

      • Kyle Field

        I love it when the trolls just vanish *poof* 😀

        • Knetter

          Theres a lot fewer of them these days coming here, kinda sad if you ask me. I enjoy watching Bob and the crew slap em around. They may be the newest endangered species.

          • lol. that can be fun. 😀 especially when you get the sense the troll makes such comments regularly on other sites and doesn’t get corrected.

            i still remember how relieved i was the first time i got down to the comments of one of our articles, saw a bunch of BS in a comment, and saw several people had already responded to correct it. not having to worry about trolls 24/7 freed up a lot more time for me to move on to tackling other work.

            of course, nowadays, reading every comment is a full-time job or more, and i am extremely thankful i don’t have to worry about comment threads needing my attention.

            but love to jump in whenever i can squeeze it in! (like on Christmas :D)

    • Kyle Field

      Reducing the number of miles raw materials travel to the point where it’s insignificant is an improvement. One might almost call that a supply chain revolution. Parts used to travel the equivalent of 3 times around the world as part of battery production. So there’s that.
      Scale is also relevant. That’s breakthrough.
      LITHIUM IS NOT SCARCE! If you just want to use scare tactics and throw words around, please at least cite a (reputable) source.
      50k is not the goal, it’s a stepping stone. They have also catalyzed other automakers to act…and to be created (faraday future anyone?). They are using superior cars to sell cars. Go drive one and find out for yourself.

      Did you come to read this just to spew all over it or were you actually interested in the content?

      • Steve Grinwis

        Ya….
        With current reserves, there is enough lithium in proven reserves to make a billion Model 3’s. And when there is that much proven reserve, people stop looking for more…

        • You have a source for that? That’s an awesome and stunning stat and would be useful for future discussions.

      • neroden

        Better class of trolls please. 🙂 If they’re going to talk about scarce resources, trolls should be scaremongering about cobalt.

        • Kyle Field

          I’m going to give Gotham the criminal it deserves…or something to that effect 😀

        • jeffhre

          Good point. They won’t take the bait though because you know. Logic.

  • Shiggity

    In 24-36 months, the same exact people bashing EV’s now, will say how great they are and how they knew all along.

    This is also standard with new technology.

    Bandwagon be strong.

    • Carl Raymond S

      I don’t think they will be saying anything about EVs. They will have moved on to the next cash-for-comment arena – perhaps taxi drivers will sponsor them to post comments against driverless cars.

    • TedKidd

      It’s a new world. Comments tend to live on instead of blowing away on the wind. I wonder if we’ll enter a new era of accountability.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Naw. Politicians get their lobbyist money based on how boldly they can turn on a dime.

    • johnBas5

      Same anti-technology people against one technology are against other technologies.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      I remember how much hatred Dianne Feinstein got as mayor of SF when she blasted silicon valley as a place being full of worthless glow in the dark technology. I suppose though she was just bitter because she couldn’t figure out any way to funnel that money into her husband’s construction businesses. She now appears to have figured out ways to make money off their lobbyists so all has ended well…

    • jeffhre

      I wonder if they also said things like, why are folks so intent on bashing tobacco companies and the high paying jobs they provide?

      • neroden

        Oh I remember SO many people saying that in the 1980s before the first public smoking bans came into effect. The response by the 1980s was, thank goodness, mockery. Tobacco jobs are actually horrible with a very high occupational illness rate.

  • Tom G.

    Very well written Zach.

    • I was half asleep by the end*, so appreciate the support. 😀

      *But did make sure to give it a full reread in order to catch typos and smooth over sentences.

  • apsley

    When they demonstrate that they can make money building electric cars, then there will be a lot more interest from traditional car manufacturers. But by then it may be too late.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Second highest gross profit margin in the industry.

      They’ve already proved it.

      • Ben Gelevan

        Proved by government subsidies?

        • Bob_Wallace

          No, Ben.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ben, here are quotes from the Q1 2015 Tesla letter to shareholders. Pay attention to the words “excluding ZEV credits”.

            “Q1 Automotive gross margin excluding ZEV credits was on plan at 26.0% on a non-GAAP basis, and 25.0% on a GAAP basis.”

            “We expect the Model S average transaction price to decline in Q2 as the dollar has strengthened by about 4% against the euro from the time we last adjusted Model S pricing. This will impact our Q2 gross margin by slightly more than 100 basis points. As a result, we expect non-GAAP automotive gross margin, excluding ZEV credits , to be just under 25% for the quarter at current exchange rates. We also expect some average price pressure from a less rich product mix, but our continuing efforts to improve efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs should offset this impact on gross margin.”

            http://ir.teslamotors.com/secfiling.cfm?filingid=1193125-15-174639&cik=

          • neroden

            A lot of people seem to be unable to figure out the difference between gross profit margin (“making money on each car, selling it for more than it costs to manufacture”) and bottom line profit (“we make enough money selling cars to keep the office lights on, pay our rent, pay the secretaries, pay the engineers, design new cars, build new factories, etc.”). Tesla has the first sort of profit already. Tesla does *not* have the second sort of profit yet, because Tesla is not yet selling *enough cars*.

            But all Tesla needs for the second sort of profit is higher volume.

          • Bob_Wallace

            They aren’t having a problem understanding the difference that much. They’re looking for something to use in their desire to attack Tesla.

          • Steve Grinwis

            I don’t think it’s that they’re not selling enough cars. I think it’s because they’ve undergone a multi-billion dollar engineering program to design and put into production several different electric cars, in the last 2 years, including but not limited to the Model x, the 2013 Smart Electric Drive, the 2014 Mercedes B Class Electric. They’ve also designed the Gigafactory, and started building it, and the Powerwall battery units. Most of these have seen limited sales. Only the Model S has sold in significant numbers.

            As the Model 3 and the Model X starts selling, they’ll be able turn a tidy profit. Right now they’re in ‘burn all the money in the name of engineering efforts mode’ more or less.

          • philofthefuture

            You beat me to it. It is net profit that matters.

          • Right. And it should be noted that Tesla’s sales, service, & charging networks have been purposefully spread widely prior to greater production in most places (not Norway). Tesla intends to fill out the places it has put these. It’s all an investment to enable growth.

    • TedKidd

      I think it is already too late for some, they are moving too slowly. Toyota, for example, doesn’t even have an electric car.

      I wouldn’t put THAT stock in my retirement plan.

      • Kyle Field

        Ah…but fuel cell cars are electric cars…just with the wrong (heh) fuel. All they need to do is slap batteries in them and they’re good to go. They are also making some tiny compliance EVs in China.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Not fuel. An inexpensive and inefficient storage technology.

          If FCEVs were to be our transportation future we would have to move to electrolysis and not run them on natural gas.

        • neroden

          Yeah, but Toyota hasn’t bothered to figure out what sort of batteries to use, how to package them, etc…

          We’ve seen with Nissan that this is actually a steep learning curve.

          • Kyle Field

            Nissan has the right price point for the target audience…just the wrong range. If they had sucked it up just a bit more and offered a 200mi Leaf from the get-go (or 3 years in) and actually advertised it like they wanted to sell it…they would be in a different story. Toyota…meh. I would be curious what would happen if they were to partner with Panasonic (for Japanese manufacturing) or LG (US manufacturing) starting today…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Battery price. Batteries were really expensive in 2010.

          • Kyle Field

            Cheaper in 2013…and 2014 and 2015. Cars are built on forecasted price across the life of the car, not just when it is released. Not bashing, just seems like that was the missing piece Nissan’s grand plan for the Leaf.

          • philofthefuture

            They are the best selling EV so I think they got that right. They aimed for a price point, that is what builds volume. They now offer a larger battery option, that should tell them what they need to know going forward.

          • philofthefuture

            You are dissing the inventor of the Prius? Maybe they know something you don’t. The Leaf does offer a slightly bigger battery pack for 2016. I think 135 miles but check the website for exact numbers.

          • Kyle Field

            2016 optional extended range is an extra 6kwh for a total of 107 miles (US/actual).
            Regarding Toyota…I’m dissing whatever Toyota exec(s) decided not to build an EV as the successor to the prius. If that’s also the inventor of the Prius, then sure, yup, correct 🙂 It will be viewed as one of the biggest missed business opportunities of the century. I’m not happy about it but it is what it is… At least we have Tesla to pull the line.

          • philofthefuture

            Not really, their Prius has given them a decade of experience and the technology is readily understood. All of Tesla’s patents are available so that dog don’t hunt. 😀

        • gundersonrogers

          Bob, Nero,
          Both sets of your ideas offer support for a Toyota buyout of Tesla
          –something to get them to the front, while figuring it all out.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why would Tesla want to sell out to a company that does not share its vision?

          • gundersonrogers

            I’m certainly not hoping it or suggesting it would be a good thing, just that in spite of Prius success, Toyota seems mired in FCEV R&D that doesn’t seem to be panning out.

            Too, I would hope visionary stockholders wouldn’t want to sell just for a buck, but if most investors are in it for the money…

            Just a fear.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I seem to recall that Tesla structured its stock so that they are protected from a hostile takeover.

            http://www.quora.com/Does-Elon-Musk-have-any-super-control-rights-over-Tesla-a-la-Larry-and-Sergey-at-Google

          • gundersonrogers

            Comforting. Thx
            I truly enjoy this site with so many knowledgable, informed commenters. Always rewarding.

          • philofthefuture

            They have already shipped the first batch, reported price of $57,500. What was the first Tesla’s price?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Hard to compare the Mirai and Tesla. The Mirai has brought roughly nothing to the game. It doesn’t offer anything you can’t get in a $20k gasmobile but you have to pay far more per mile to drive it.

      • philofthefuture

        Toyota popularize batteries with their Prius but now say FCV’s are the future and are betting the farm on it. I wouldn’t bet against Toyota.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I sure as hell wouldn’t bet on them. They seem to be living in a bubble of their own creation.

        • TedKidd

          Hmmm. Did you feel that way about Kodak?

          • neroden

            Kodak was sure living in their own bubble. I remember it well; they were the leader in digital cameras but then they doubled down on film, and I remember thinking “uh what?!?”

  • eveee

    Wonderfully written, Zach. An inspiration. Carry on.

    • Kyle Field

      Right? 😀 😀

    • Kyle has been pushing me too much to write more. 😉

      Honestly, we got the opportunity to use that beautiful picture of the X & Roadster and I wanted to do so quickly to be the first media site to share it.

      Had another title idea, but thought it would take a long time and decided to save the title and put it off. Then I remembered some comments here by a person who I think is a solar & wind expert and has long been blogging and is a climate hawk that demonstrated that this person had wild misconceptions about Tesla. Hit me that many people might have the same misconceptions and be completely unaware of Tesla’s/Elon’s long-term plan. The image from Bonnie tied that plan together well, and I don’t remember exactly, but that may have been what really inspired the article.

      Thought I’d write it quickly… ended up not being so quick. 😛

      (Categorize this as a meta comment 😛 )

  • Steve Grinwis

    You need to stop thinking of chargers in absolute numbers. Most cars charge at about 2C. This includes Teslas and Nissan’s.

    Absolute charge rate is not particularly interesting from an engineering standpoint. GM could build a 1000 kW charger, but it wouldn’t be particularly useful now would it?

    • Joe Viocoe

      1000 kW you say….??
      I can think of something useful…

      http://i.imgur.com/cJlBUVL.gif

      • Ronald Brakels

        You should update your gif to show the current pope.

        • Kyle Field

          But the current pope is a badass! You may be thinking of the last pope…

          • Ronald Brakels

            That’s true. The Current Pope is a badarse. He totally defeated Resistance Man within his own stronghold in the last issue. And while he burnt out Resistor Man he cracked the one liner, “Ohm sweet ohm.”

            Now that’s badarse.

        • Joe Viocoe

          Off topic:

          The current pope? No, more like Benedict/Ratzinger

    • Not sure if I follow the argument you’re making. Could you restate it?

      • Steve Grinwis

        Telsas charge in about half an hour to 80%. Nissan’s charge in half an hours to 80%.

        This is regardless of battery size. If Nissan came out with a 200 kWh battery, they’d still be able to charge it in about 30 minutes to 80% charge.

        Looking at charge rate as ‘range of miles per hour’ gives you and your readers a misleading idea that Tesla has some sort of technological advantage in charging. They don’t. They have a big battery, and this is one of the things you get when you have a big battery. When other cars have big batteries, they will charge just as quickly.

        • neroden

          Um, no. Charging rate is most fundamentally determined by how many watts the charger can deliver, not by the car. Nissan’s chargers mostly have a lower wattage limit.

          • Steve Grinwis

            If you connect a leaf to a 100 kW charger, it will still charge in 30 minutes. This is because the car actually communicates to the charger its desired charging rate. Even though the charger is capable of delivering more power, the car cannot safely use it. This is because of underlying chemistry limitations with the current generation of batteries.

            And this is why Nissan quick chargers are smaller than Tesla superchargers. The car can’t use the extra power, so why build bigger than can possibly be used?

        • eveee

          Hee hee. You understand C rate. No matter what size battery, its the same. If the charger is big enough, the battery can take the charge rate.
          Sounds like we could have a decent discussion about chargers, too.
          Now if I could get car companies to learn that aerodynamics matter to EV design…. one company does get it. A few are starting to get it.

        • Steve, this post does not give Tesla credit for their absolutely monumental lead in fast charging.

          1. Tesla Supercharging stations put the infrastructure for charging away from the parking spot. This allows easier snow removal, and is far more practical for maintenance.
          2. Tesla Supercharging stalls are trivial to use. Beyond easy. Pull cord, press button, insert cord. ALL other fast charging systems are poor and far harder to use.
          3. Tesla Supercharging sites are placed appropriately for long distance travel. Whereas most other DC fast charging sites are located in auto dealership “alley” or within city areas that require time to get to off the highway.
          4. Tesla sites are 99+% reliable and online. I have never seen one offline in the dozen+ times we have used. Whereas the local CHAdeMO and CCS sites are constantly offline here in Ontario.
          5. Tesla chargers are far faster in terms of kilometers of range added per minute.

          You know all these facts, but trivialize them. Let’s recognise Tesla for their leadership here. They are years ahead of anyone on this front, perhaps 7+ years based on what I’ve seen from every other manufacturer.

          • Steve Grinwis

            I’m only speaking to your point number 5. The rest of those are management issues, not technical ability. Anyone can accomplish any of those other things with a bit of good planning.

            The charge in KM of range per minute is a red herring. Yes, it’s a big number. Yes it’s bigger than any other manufacturer. But it’s only big because of charge rate, which is measured in C, for people who are aware of such things, like eveee mentioned.

            C is simple. How long does it take you to charge your battery? 1C is you can charge it in an hour. 1/2 C is 2 hours. 2C would be half an hour.

            Pretty much all chemistries used in cars today charge at 1C. Full charge in an hour, 80% charge in 30 minutes.

            The reason why Tesla has higher km / min charge rates is merely a function of it’s larger batteries. If someone else put a 150 kWh battery in a vehicle, they’d be able to charge it faster, in kW, or km / min rates than a Tesla.

  • PoMo

    Nice article. While I do think that Elon Musk is on the right track and that his master plan is a great idea, history will show whether Tesla has the resources to survive the next 5 years. In the original master plan Elon writes:

    “Without giving away too much, I can say that the second model will be a
    sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the
    Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable. In
    keeping with a fast growing technology company, all free cash flow is
    plowed back into R&D to drive down the costs and bring the follow on
    products to market as fast as possible. When someone buys the Tesla
    Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of
    the low cost family car.”

    It still has to be proven that he can get the price to a point where it is affordable for the average family. I sure hope Tesla can pull it off…

    • MarTams

      The Tesla Model 3 at $35K isn’t affordable to more than half of the working class. And Tesla will price it at more than $35K to make a profit.

      The original target of GM was a 200 mile EV car that’s $20K and under, and they failed that, and for their first foray in the long range EV, it’s $37.5K for the Bolt.

      • MarTams

        So Tesla hasn’t really disrupted anything yet. None of Tesla’s technology were originally their own.

        The first to deliver a 200 mile EV that’s under $20K would be the disruptive one.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Using your criteria there’s never been an original painting.

          After all, the canvas and paints were already there….

          • RIRedinPA

            The iPhone is also not disruptive, if you consider that a transmitting and receiving device for telephony communications and even cellular and satellite communication has already existed. 😀

          • jeffhre

            True. And there has never been an original musical compozishion. All them notes was there already! No novels either…It’s not like the writers had to do anything hard – like invent words or something.

        • Joe Viocoe

          That would also be disruptive, yes.
          But there are thousands of things in the automotive world that can be disrupted. And Tesla has been doing a lot of disrupting since they started.

        • Kyle Field

          Nobody has put an air filter in that cleaned the air like they have (1).
          Nobody has built or deployed falcon wing doors (2)
          Nobody has built or deployed 200+ mile EVs at scale in the history of humanity (3)
          Nobody has put a 17″ touch screen in a car that replaces manual knobs and switches (4)
          Nobody has built a production sedan that can go 0-60 in 2.6 seconds (motortrend) (5)
          Nobody has built a battery factory that was larger than every other battery factory in the world combined just 2 years prior (6)
          Nobody has ever broken the consumer reports rating scale at 103 out of 100 (7)
          Nobody has ever had a higher customer satisfaction rating @ 97 (8)
          Nobody has ever built a crazy supersplendulous(trademark) windscreen (9)
          Nobody has started a car company with a goal of saving the planet (10)
          Nobody has patented industry best technology only to open source all of it to spur on the market (11)
          Nobody has ever built an electric car charging network that spans the country, allowing cross country trips in almost any configuration desired (12)
          Nobody has ever made my brain hurt like this (ok, that’s not true)
          Twelve out of Thirteen. Not bad Elon…not bad.

          • jeffhre

            Yep, not bad – for a part time job.

          • ha, wonderful list! and you even trademarked my “supersplendulous” term 😀

          • Kyle Field

            Oh no…that was for you. I know it’s yours 😀

          • Yes, yes, that’s what I assumed. Loved it. 😀

          • neroden

            In terms of disruption, #3 is the really important one, though #12 is pretty darn important too.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Sockpuppeting troll….

        • Ken

          Wrong. Tesla has hundreds of patents and no other car company can match their tech or specs.

          Try doing some actual research instead of just making things up.

        • Carol

          Tesla certainly has been disruptive–do you really think General Motors would be rushing a 200-mile all-electric vehicle to market (Chevy Bolt) in 2016 if it weren’t for Tesla?

        • Knetter

          Your insight is truly laughable.

      • Bob_Wallace

        You have never grasped the concept of successive approximations, apparently.

      • Joe Viocoe

        You are trying to redefine the word affordable to suit your needs.
        The average selling price for a new car is $31k. That doesn’t mean that anything higher is unaffordable…. just that the cost of gasoline and maintenance has to be taken into account.

        And Tesla isn’t going to “price it more” to make a profit. There will be “Options” to bring in more money.

      • Ken

        Wrong. The average selling price of a new car is about $30K and the Model 3 will sell for less than that after incentives.

        Try doing some research before you post.

      • jeffhre

        Are you referring to a market that, if buying carts, will look at used cars? The average selling price of a new vehicle is $33,000.

    • Johnny

      It doesn’t matter. At the price range of $70k-$150k, Tesla seems to have enough demand to support 100,000 cars a year. So I’m sure at the price range of $35k-$75k, it would have enough demand to support 500,000 a year. When Tesla can multiple factories producing millions of cars, then I would worry about making it truly affordable for the average family.

    • No doubt. As an investor in Tesla and someone who wants to see transport electrify asap, it is a key bit that still makes me slightly nervous. But only slightly.

    • Nick Thiwerspoon

      The major part of an EV’s cost is the batteries. I read somewhere that they were 75% of total cost, but I don’t know how accurate it is. Now the battery in your laptop cost US$2500 15 years ago; US$250 about 4 years ago and when I priced a battery online for my current laptop I could get one for A$50. This is a compound average rate of decline of 23%. If continued (and I see no reason why it shouldn’t) that will mean battery costs fall by 75% over the next five years. If batteries are 75% of an EV’s cost now, then the cost of an EV will halve over the next 5 years.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I don’t know what Tesla was paying for cells when they introduced the Model S but Navigant Research reported that they were paying Panasonic $180/kWh a year ago October. Adding in the 30% assumed cost of putting the cells into a pack that would be $235/kWh for packs.

        The S70 would have a $16,450 battery cost and the S85 batteries would be just under $20,000. At that point in time the cost of batteries was well under 75%. More in the 20% to 25% range.

        • Nick Thiwerspoon

          Interesting, thanks. Which suggests that Teslas won’t be dropping that much in price, which in turn means getting to 500,000 sales will be difficult.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Huh?

            We’re reaching the point at which batteries and motors will be cheaper than internal combustion engines with their support systems.

            Tesla may not drop the price of their ModS as long as people buy as many as they produce at the price offered. That would be smart business. But the Mod3 is expected to cost less than half as much as the lowest priced ModS. ($35k vs. $75k)

          • Nick Thiwerspoon

            Hmmm. I don’t understand how they will be able to cut their price if it’s not because of the batteries.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve got a feeling we’ve got a communication problem. Let’s see if I can spell things out as I see them…

            The manufacturing cost of the ModS should drop $3,500 (70 kWh) to $4,500 (90 kWh) when the Gigafactory is running. Possibly a bit more as assembling packs may drop in cost as well.

            Will Tesla pass that on or hold the price in order to make more money? I don’t know.

            The Mod3 is expected to have a 50 kWh pack so battery prices would be $2,600 lower than the S70.(at $130/kWh). There must be other cost cutting measures in order to bring the price to $35k. Part of it may be that Tesla will lower their GPM and make up for it with much higher manufacturing volume. Which is what car makers do.

          • neroden

            Tesla says that Model S is generating somewhere between 20% and 25% gross profit margins (which all goes right back into overhead, R&D, and capital buildout, of course).

            I expect that Tesla will keep the model S price where it is until demand sags, then drop the price.

            The sources of the lower price for the Model 3:
            — Battery price savings $2600 or more
            — Steel body instead of aluminum — not sure how much, but probably substantially more than that
            — Smaller car, less materials
            — Economies of scale on parts production
            — and lower gross profit margin per car, undoubtedly.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I expect they’ll keep upgrading the S and leave it in the luxury class. I can’t see sales sagging unless the other luxury car makers come out with something competitive.

            There’s at least one new steel formulation that allows thinner steel while maintaining strength. Tesla may be going that route with the Mod3.

            Lower GPM but much higher volume to keep the profits flowing.

          • neroden

            Well, the luxury car market is kind of small and Teslas are extremely durable. I think sales might sag after 10 years, when everyone in the luxury car market already owns a Tesla and Tesla has a 100% market share. 🙂

          • philofthefuture

            Or the price may be smoke and mirrors. 😀 One can’t ignore that possibility.

          • philofthefuture

            Electric motors, yes, batteries, no. Electric motors are already highly efficient and readily available, Li Ion batteries are still super expensive. The gigafactory is supposed to lower the costs by double digits, but not by half. It will still be the major cost of the car.

          • Bob_Wallace

            A year ago October Navigant reported that Tesla was paying Panasonic $180/kWh. Opening the Gigafactory is expected to drop the cost by 30%, more over time. That gets cell prices to about $130/kWh and pack prices to somewhere around $170/kWh.

            A 85 kWh pack at ~$240/kwh a year ago would cost $20,400. About 25% of the S85’s selling price.

        • philofthefuture

          Published reports pegged the cost of the roadster was half batteries, 50%. I think the model S was the same. That could have trended down by now though.

          • neroden

            It’s been trending down remarkably fast. People assumed that the cost of batteries was 50% of model S, but Tesla said it was only 25% at the time the first model S came out.

  • Tim

    Tesla is building some great electric cars. However the article does not mention that building these cars, the supercharger network and the gigafactory cost a lot of money. Tesla lost $75 million in the third quarter of this year alone. If it continues to burn cash, investors will not want to foot the bill and the company will go bust.

    • Bob_Wallace

      $75 million is not real money when one is talking in the language of billions.

      It will take Tesla a few more years to show profit at the bottom line, simply because they are expanding at a very rapid rate.

      • MarTams

        I can grasp the concept of a thousand trillion dollars, but if you just give me $75, that’s real money to me.

    • Joe Viocoe

      It’s called runway.

      They raised more money than they’ve spent… precisely so they could burn through it. It is expected of any growth company to have a quick burn.
      They won’t burn forever, but they have the time to grow and spend that money wisely. The gigafactory is an investment.

    • jeffhre

      Tim. Congratulations, you appear to have a far better crystal ball that reads Tesla’s financial future better than anyone else. You must contact the company right away with your urgent findings. They must not be aware of this dire situation.

    • Tim

      Ah, hey Tim, Tesla’s market cap is $30Billion. That’s arguing against a lot of cash

      • jeffhre

        Yes, but enterprise value. To argue cash is only marginally tenable. And during downturns a highly capitally intensive business will take a huge market cap value haircut. With an attendant liquidity crisis and the needs for massive amounts of cash to be competitive in a shrinking market, it may face insolvency (GM and Chrysler). Tesla was able to survive 2008, which Elon Musk described as staring into the abyss – while eating glass.

        • neroden

          Tesla hadn’t manufactured any cars before 2008 and didn’t own a factory; this made investors a lot more skeptical.

          Now Tesla has some damn huge tangible book value. Hard for it to become worthless. Stockholders could still get severely diluted, of course.

          • jeffhre

            Hopefully, hard for it to get insolvent too.

    • eveee

      Are you talking Facebook or Tesla? The list of successful companies like this is long. Shorts predicting Tesla demise have been badly burned. Investors buy growth and future expectations. Sure it could fail. So could Other car cos.

    • SOPA_NOPA

      These kind of comments always amuse me, especially the apparent belief that $75 million is a lot of money. It would be a lot of money for me, if it appeared in my bank account overnight, but in terms of the scale of the Silicon Valley economy, tech company revenues, market caps, and venture capital market, this is a rounding error. To think anyone in that economy is worried about $75 million just shows you have no experience with or perspective on the market.

    • neroden

      Investors absolutely will fund the cash burn provided they see profits in the future. And boy do they see profits in the future.

      • philofthefuture

        I wouldn’t be too sure about future profits. It may well be that Tesla is just a demonstration vehicle for the battery market. Musk is a smart cookie but that doesn’t mean Ford, GM, etc. couldn’t crank out an equivalent car for thousands less.
        Right now the market doesn’t interest them because it’s rather limited and they are making a ton on their gas cars. Once there is a market they will switch over.
        Another open question is FCV’s, the EU and Japan are leading the way with that technology and if it can be done cheaper and be as convenient as todays cars, that could take things in a completely different direction. They are working on a home refueling pod for $4-6K, if I could buy one and an FCV I’d jump on it.
        Of course if someone wanted to donate a Tesla to me I wouldn’t turn it down! 😀

        • Bob_Wallace

          Ford and GM can’t unless they get access to cheaper batteries. And a long range EV they built would sell too well if they don’t create a rapid charging system somewhat like Tesla has already put in place.

          The big car manufacturers may get in the EV business and may eventually dominate it. But they are going to be playing catchup for a while. And some manufacturers may get in the game so late that they will become much smaller operations or even go away.

          We probably can make fuel cells cheaper. Probably make them better so maintenance costs are lower. But we have no known route to cheaper hydrogen.

          The cost of fuel kills the hydrogen FCEV. Who will pay a lot more per mile to drive a FCEV rather than just stick with ICEVs? There is zero advantage to moving to a H2 FCEV. Nothing.

        • neroden

          The gasmobile manufacturers are suffering from being *way* behind technologically. They’ll be playing catchup, once they actually start taking electric cars seriously. Nissan took five years to figure out some basic battery thermal management which Tesla got right back in 2008.

          And they’ll mostly doing so *after* they’ve lost their reputations (VW, for example, has seriously trashed its reputation) while Tesla has built an extremely valuable brand.

          Honestly, I wouldn’t have believed this would happen if I hadn’t watched it happen. In the bus market, it *didn’t* happen; all the busmakers started making electric models immediately and they’re all pretty good.

          But there’s a blinkered mentality within the personal automobile manufacturers. Elon Musk figured this out when they crushed the EV1 and the first generation RAV4EV — he figured out that the old-line carmakers were refusing to supply a market which desperately wanted electric cars. Only then did he finance Tesla.

          The Tesla brand alone is very likely to generate profits at this point.

          FCVs do not work and never will; there’s a comprehensive debunking on this website (search for hydrogen FAIL)

  • jeffhre

    “Now, see if you can think of a disruptive technology that took over the market starting on the low-cost end…. Really, see if you can name one such technology.”

    LOL, Christensen uses disk drives as “the” low cost example. And that Tesla sitting at the high end, does not meet his definition of disruptive. Though somewhere I seem to recall him admitting that Henry Ford took the expensive to inexpensive path – and that was disruptive!

    • MarTams

      Here’s one disruptive innovation starting from the low end: invention of the ramen noodles.

      • TedKidd

        MacDonalds…

        • Antony Berretti

          Very low end……….

        • Ivor O’Connor

          I had the misfortune of eating breakfast at a MacDonalds last week. Price tag came out to nearly $15 for the crap. Should have been like $3. How is it they get so much money now days?

          • freethinker

            yeah, if u eat like 5 sandwiches….the price gets up there.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            No, just two portions.

          • Matt

            When I was growing up the song was. Fry, small burger, drink, and change back from your dollar. You’ve come a long way baby.

          • Coley

            Marketing and bread recognition, only explanation for such rubbish remaining popular?

          • neroden

            Also extremely cheap. McDonald’s main market is actually depressing. It’s people who work so many hours per day that they don’t have the time to cook at home — but have too little money to buy real food at a restaurant or takeout place. 🙁

            A higher minimum wage would probably drive McDonalds out of business.

      • Knetter

        How do you figure ramen noodles started on the low end? If you are talking about instant ramen, they only had 50 to 100 years to perfect their recipe.

      • freethinker

        in the beginning, only the super wealthy could afford ramen noodles, while the working class was forced to eat other shit.

    • Tim

      Really?! Disk drives? Their cost in the early days was in physical size and lack of capacity. They were expensive – I remember holding a 10 pound 5.25 inch size drive that was 3 inches thick! And it was 5 MB and a couple hundred dollars – maybe 1989 we were replacing them with something smaller and greater capacity.

      Again: NOT a low cost example. Rather poor attempt really.

      • jeffhre

        I love it when people weigh in with anecdotes and personal experiences. You and Christensen should get together for some laughs.

        • Tim

          You’re an anecdote. Annoying troll

          • jeffhre

            Try harder. That falls far short. A good effort at composing an ad hominem attack may even serve to raise your intellectual status.

          • Tim

            I didn’t because you don’t interest me enough.

          • jeffhre

            Apropos!

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, guys. Time to return to comments with content.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Really? I ended up paying $1,000 for a 2nd hand 10MB SCSI drive and feeling like I had won the lottery.

        • Tim, the original

          How thick was it? Was two all beef patty cheeseburger thick?

          • Ivor O’Connor

            5″x3″, standard size. Not sure how that translates to food sizes.

      • freethinker

        disk storage equivalent to a $100 drive today actually cost millions just 30 years ago. amazing reduction in cost.

        • Bob_Wallace

          A few years back I calculated the cost of large capacity hard drives when I bought my first one.

          I paid a bit over $8,000 (2011 dollars) in 1983 for a 30 MB (yes, mega) hard drive. That’s $266,667 per gig (if I didn’t screw the math.)

          A TB drive at that rate would cost $266,667,000. Newegg is selling a TB drive for $55.

      • Matt

        that was not first disk drives, the first were the size of a washing machine. And cost the same as a small car.

        • neroden

          Yep. At first hard drives were a very expensive accessory for a mainframe.

        • philofthefuture

          I worked on early disc drives while at Bell Labs. The one for booting the system was a single disc 30″ in diameter, it had 32 heads plus one for parity. It was driven by a belt drive motor and the heads were pushed to the surface by an air compressor. If I recall it was 2Mbit. Now that’s OLD! Early 70’s. A few years later the next gen system used the IBM ‘pancake’ drives.

    • Hazel

      Here’s an example: PCs. Mainframes got going early, and became extremely reliable. Then DEC pioneered the VAX “Minicomputer”, and Unix workstations took over that space. Finally, IBM pioneered the Personal Computer, which because of its economies of scale, increased in processing speed fast enough to overtake the minicomputers, and now clusters of PCs have supplanted mainframes and created a new class of supercomputers. I suppose you could say that if the space is defined as “computers”, then we started at the high end with mainframes.

      So let’s look at some others.
      • Uber/Lyft is disruptive, the cost structure is inherently lower than that of taxis, because the cost of the vehicle is zero, so it can come in and beat existing prices at the low end of the market.
      • AirBNB is disruptive, because the cost of building the “hotel” is zero, same thing.
      • For brick-and-mortar industries, in the 1980s the automobile shredder and electric arc furnace were disruptive, they cost a whole heck of a lot less to build and operate than a blast furnace and integrated steel plant. They came in at the low end of construction steel (rebar, I-beams, etc.), and stole a very large market segment from integrated producers.

      Will Tesla end up disrupting this industry? Still too early to tell. Three things could derail it: (1) incumbents could catch up to Tesla’s pace of innovation and cost cutting, including in batteries; (2) Tesla’s high-end focused manufacturing culture could have trouble adapting to building and selling into the low end; (3) Tesla’s quality problems could keep warranty maintenance costs high enough to prevent profitability at the low end.

      Or, it’s possible that engineering costs have fallen enough to enable new entrants such as Tesla to grow and thrive. We shall see.

      • JamesWimberley

        If you want really good steel, your best bet is to salvage the 12″ plates from a sunken WWI dreadnought. None of it was recycled crap, with plastic, paint, dogshit etc thrown in.

        • neroden

          Those WWI dreadnought plates are saved for special applications which require metal which *isn’t radioactive*.

          All steel smelted after WWII is radioactive due to nuclear fallout.

        • Hazel

          Sorry James, your posts are often good, but here you don’t know what you’re talking about. Pulling up giant steel ships from the bottom of the ocean is extremely expensive. And shredder steel is both very cheap and very high quality. Plastic and paint don’t matter, they burn off and leave carbon and not much else.

          The main problem with shredder-EAF steel is copper, which reduces ductility, such that it can’t be used in applications like sheet which need to be cold formable. But that’s not a problem for construction steel, which is why the minimills have taken over this segment.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Isn’t the copper and other non-ferrous material separated out with magnets?

          • Hazel

            Hi Bob, yes, the ferrous alloys are separated out by magnets. But the separation isn’t perfect, and bits of copper wires are entangled and/or cold-welded to steel chunks in the hammer mill. And that bit of copper is enough to make the resulting steel unusable for new body panels, which must be cold-stamped.

        • Hazel

          Hi James, just re-read my post and wanted to apologize for the tone. I’m sure you know a lot more than me on a great many things, and in any case, that tone is not appropriate in a forum like this. I’ll try to be more civil in the future.

      • Bob_Wallace

        If Tesla forces other manufacturers into the EV business sooner and causes a large movement off ICEV then Tesla has been disruptive. Even if Tesla goes bankrupt.

        Many of the companies that moved us from mainframes to laptops no longer exist.

      • eveee

        About that zero car cost. It ain’t so. Read Raw Deal. Capitalism plus ride share equals exploitation.
        http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/22/opinions/hill-jobs-in-new-economy/

        • philofthefuture

          Capitalism is freedom, period. Exploitation is forcing people to choose a monopoly at high cost and low quality vs. an open market, subject to competition. No one is forcing people to drive, no one is forcing people to ride, get over it union shill.

          • eveee

            Union? In ride share? Since you are so open minded I am sure you must have read the book to inform and educate yourself before developing your Joe the Plumber opinion, I mean educated conclusion. But thanks for informing me, now I won’t have to read any books or think at all, since your wisdom has informed me that is a waste of time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Unconstrained capitalism will almost always create monopolies. And monopolies destroy free/open markets.

            The best system is not all of one, it’s the best from each. Some capitalism, some “socialism”, and enough regulation to keep things from spinning out of control.

          • eveee

            Surely capitalism has nothing to do with monopoly. Absolutely, Mr. Potter.

      • I specific said “technology” in order to emphasize new hardware. Perhaps it wasn’t well said or argued, but none of these examples work (imho).

        PCs would be the “Model 3” of long-range EVs.

        Uber/Lyft/AirBNB aren’t new technologies. They are new business models (with software support, of course).

        I don’t know enough about “automobile shredders and electric arc furnace” to know if they fit the bill. maybe. and i was genuinely curious to see if anyone gave good examples.

        Tesla’s 3 remaining concerns: agreed. we’ll see.

        • Hazel

          Fair enough regarding PCs, Uber/Lyft and AirBnB. Electric Arc Furnaces had been around for a while. But the auto shredder revolutionized vehicle recycling because it was immediately the lowest cost technology for producing a high quality scrap steel stream from post consumer waste.

        • neroden

          Note that the 3 remaining concerns about Tesla are stockholder concerns — but Tesla could still disrupt the market even if Tesla itself goes bankrupt. If 10 years from now every other carmaker is producing nothing but electric cars with flat-pack batteries on the base, made up of large numbers of small cells… then Tesla disrupted the market.

      • neroden

        Uber/Lyft — the only thing “disruptive” about them is that they don’t have to pay for “taxi medallions”. They’re evading a government-granted monopoly system. In cities with no government taxi regulation, Uber & Lyft are just taxis.

    • neroden

      Disk drives were monumentally expensive when first introduced. I remember how stunningly expensive they were even in the early 1980s (by which time prices had been going down for over a decade); a *floppy* disk drive cost hundreds of dollars and a floppy disk cost over 50 cents for less than 200K of memory. Hard drives cost thousands of dollars for a few megabytes.

      Christensen doesn’t seem to know his computer history!

      • Bob_Wallace

        $3,600 for 30 megs around 1984. Bought one.

  • Ross

    I love watching a plan come together.

    • As a planner by training, it is definitely gratifying. 😀

    • Dragon

      No no no… The phrase is:

      I love it when a plan comes together.

      – John “Hannibal” Smith

      • Ross

        I was inspired by Hannibal of the A-Team but the circumstances required adjusting it.

  • Nick Thiwerspoon

    Here’s a chart of the model T Ford learning curve (Source : http://rameznaam.com/2015/10/14/how-cheap-can-energy-storage-get/ )

    • Nice. Thanks. 😀

    • neroden

      Note that that’s a log-log graph. A straight line on a log-log graph is an exponential curve on a normal graph.

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