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Published on March 13th, 2016 | by Chris Boylan

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6 Reasons The Tesla Model 3 Will Be A Huge Success

March 13th, 2016 by  

Up until now, Tesla Motors has only released expensive luxury cars (which happen to be 100% electric). Taking a ride in a Tesla usually leads to the desire to take home a Tesla. But with the Model S sedan starting at $70,000 and the Model X CUV/SUV starting at $80,000, the market for these cars is fairly limited.

At the end of this month, Tesla Motors will unveil the much-hyped Model 3 sedan. And although we haven’t gotten a look at it yet (its design is a closely guarded secret), we know enough to suggest that it will be a smashing success. Here’s why.

Low Price Tag: $35,000 Before Incentives

In 2015, the average new car price was $33,560. The Model 3 has a target price of $35,000, but the net price will actually be lower for most buyers. Electric vehicles currently qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. So, if you pay at least that much in federal income tax, your tax bill will be $7,500 lower the year after you buy a Model 3 (or your refund will be $7,500 higher). So, the Tesla’s net cost will be $27,500 or lower for most buyers. This puts it well below the current average price American car buyers are paying for a new car. If your state offers any of its own EV incentives, your net price will be even lower. Of course, a highly optioned Model 3 will cost significantly more, but with the incentives in place, the net price paid should put it in the right ballpark for large-scale adoption.

Tesla is an Aspirational Brand

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The Tesla family will grow by one soon (pictured are the Roadster, Model X and Model S). Photo by Bonnie Norman (@bonnienorman)

With Tesla’s current Model S and Model X offering exceptional performance and handling, futuristic design, high price tags, and an extremely high customer satisfaction rating, the company has established itself very quickly as one of the top aspirational brands in the automotive world. Even Certified Pre-Owned Tesla Model S sedans rarely sell for less than $60,000, which is still out of reach for most consumers. And the Model X CUV/SUV has had thousands of customers on the waiting list — some for as long as four years — as the company ramps up production. Just getting a test drive of a Model X requires a $5,000 deposit and an advance appointment at their travelling “Meet Model X” roadshow. The allure of the Tesla brand alone will be enough to bring many buyers into Tesla stores — or to the Tesla web site — to check out the Model 3.

→ Recommended: ~55% Of EV Enthusiasts Likely To Buy/Lease Tesla Model 3

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Tesla’s Model X CUV/SUV is drawing crowds at private test drive events for reservation holders. Image by Chris Boylan

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Tesla Model X with the front passenger door and a falcon-wing door open. Image by Chris Boylan

Although the final look of the Model 3 is still a mystery, we don’t expect the design team behind the Model S and Model X to let us down. Just as the affordable BMW 3 Series retains many of the design cues of its more expensive brethren, we expect the Tesla Model 3 to pick up on the styling of Teslas that have come before it, setting itself apart from the similarly priced Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf.

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Our author prepares for a Ludicrous Speed launch at the Tesla “Meet Model X” event in Syosset, NY, in February 2016.

Real-World Range of 200 Miles

There’s something immensely appealing about a car that has a “full tank” every morning, just by plugging it in overnight. And with a 200-mile range per charge, the Model 3 will be among the longest-range EVs on the market. According to a comprehensive study of American driving habits, 93% of the time, Americans drive fewer than 100 miles per day, and 95% of all respondents who used their cars to drive to work commute fewer than 40 miles each way. You can find out more here. And if you look at annual driving habits, the average car in the US is driven about 11,244 miles per year — fewer than 220 miles per week. At that rate, you’d only have to plug in your Model 3 once or twice a week to avoid running out of juice. Forget range anxiety. And say goodbye to smelly gas stations. You’re not going to be needing those any more.

→ Recommended: Electric Car Range Requirements, & Range–Price Tradeoff Preferences

Long-Distance Travel Enabled Through Superchargers

One factor that EV naysayers like to bring up is that most EVs are not suitable for long-distance trips. Tesla has virtually eliminated that objection through a worldwide network of Superchargers. With Tesla’s Model S and Model X, you can replenish about 60% of your range in about 30 minutes. So if you stop every 150 to 200 miles for half an hour you can drive up or down the East or West coast, or even drive the entire way across the country. Sure, it takes longer than the 10-15 minutes it takes to stop at a gas station, but it’s not that far off. And while owners of the Model S and Model X can charge at Tesla Superchargers for free, for the life of the car, we expect that there may be a premium to do the same with the Model 3. We hope to know more later this month.

→ Recommended: Importance of Tesla Superchargers, Battery Upgrades, Electric Car Benefits… (My EV Summit Presentation)

Environmentally Correct

If you’re an environmentalist, it’s nice to think about the complete lack of emissions and exhaust fumes on an EV like the Model 3: a Tesla has no tail pipe! And while generating the electricity that powers the car does have some environmental impact, it’s much smaller than a conventional gas-powered caror diesel-powered car. Even in states that use a high percentage of coal to generate electricity, studies have shown that an electric car has fewer net emissions than even the most efficient gas or hybrid car. And in states that use more renewable power sources and natural gas, the environmental impact of driving an EV is far superior to ICE cars. EVs also have much lower lifetime environmental impact compared to gas-powered cars, including the manufacturing process. You can read the latest report on this matter from the Union of Concerned Scientists here: Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave (2015).

If you install solar panels to charge your EV, your vehicle has even less environmental impact and will probably cost you much less to operate over its lifetime than a gas-powered car.

Lower Maintenance Costs and Delayed Obsolescence

EVs have much lower maintenance costs than gas-powered cars. Not only are there no oil changes (there’s no oil!) but the drivetrain of an EV is much simpler than an ICE car and this translates to fewer trips to the service center and lower lifetime maintenance costs. An EV has a battery pack and an electric motor, plus the necessary linkage between steering wheel, motor, and wheels. That’s pretty much it as far as propulsion and basic steering control goes. Of course, there’s also ventilation and cabin cooling/heating systems, automated control systems, and the various motors (and software) to operate windows, seats, and doors. But there is no carburetor, no starter, no exhaust system or catalytic converter, no transmission, no radiator, no pistons, no cylinders, no spark plugs, and none of the hundreds of other little components that go into an internal combustion engine. You’ll need to add washer fluid and buy new tires every once in a while, and eventually replace the brake pads. But even the brakes in a Tesla last a long time because they’re rarely used. Tesla cars (as well as many other hybrids and EVs) use a technique called “regenerative braking” to capture energy produced by slowing the car, and converting that to electricity in order to recharge the battery. If you ever had a bike with a headlight that was powered by a spinning dynamo attached to your bicycle wheel, regenerative braking is a lot like that, slowing the forward momentum to generate electricity. The actual brake pads on a Tesla are only engaged when you need to slow down very quickly.

And as far as software updates, those come over the air automatically to a Tesla. Using this method, Tesla has been able to roll out major updates to its Autopilot navigation system, including automated parallel parking and the “Summon” feature which allows your car to park itself in your garage (or come out to greet you) without anyone in the driver’s seat. For most other cars, adding major features like these would require buying a whole new car, or at least a visit to the local service center. The Model 3 will keep getting better over time as more features get delivered to it while it sleeps comfortably in your driveway or garage.

And for those who say you’ll need to replace the battery pack after 5 or even 10 years, this is really unlikely. A long-term study of Tesla Model S owners in the Netherlands shows that the average Tesla battery pack degrades to about 94% of its range after 50,000 miles and loses another 1% every 30,000 miles. So, based on the average of 11,244 miles driven per year, you should still have around 90% of your range (180 miles or so, on the Model 3) after 15 years of driving it. And in 15 years, replacement battery packs will certainly cost less and have even greater range, so a replacement might actually make sense if you want greater range in the future.

Stay Tuned

Tesla has previously announced that the Model 3 will start shipping to customers in late 2017, with production to ramp up in 2018. The company has begun sending out invitations to the Model 3 unveiling, which will be held in the Los Angeles area the evening of March 31. Pre-orders for the Model 3 will be accepted that day in Tesla stores and the next day (April 1) via Tesla’s website. Unlike the Model S and Model X, which initially required a $5,000 minimum deposit, a Model 3 reservation requires only a $1,000 deposit. And the reservation can be cancelled with a full refund if you change your mind. So get that wallet out and stay tuned for more information later this month.

Follow the author on Twitter at @MrBoylan or connect with him on Google+.


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About the Author

is an EV and alternative fuel enthusiast who has been writing about technology since 2003.



  • omar

    ”By fuel station” should a celebrated moment for the world

  • omar

    No radiator! There is no cooling system for the battery ? if its there how its made? is it only a fan ?

    • The battery pack is liquid-cooled and fan-cooled. It is also kept warm in cool weather via a patented heat exchange system that uses waste heat from the motor and electronics to keep the battery warm. But unlike an ICE radiator, the battery cooling (and warming) system is sealed and does not require regular maintenance. Neither the battery nor the electric motor reach temperatures anywhere close to an operating ICE.

      • omar

        Still do not understand how liquid coolant without radiator.

        • You have a point. Although Tesla refers to them as “heat exchangers” the liquid-cooled portions of the thermal management system could be called radiators. But they’re different from the huge standalone traditional radiators you find on ICE cars which require regular maintenance due to the high heat of an ICE. And that was my point. I can ask Zach to add the word “traditional” in front of the word “radiator” to make it more accurate. Thanks for the feedback.

  • kc7128

    The level of enthusiasm here is amazing, it almost sounds like Apple fan pages. Apple, I can understand, lots of kids having an iphone for the first time but this is about a car that has not been released yet, nobody sees it. They might even show you only the pictures of the design.

    • Philip W

      You can understand enthusiasm for an overpriced toy (not hating on Apple, but that’s essentially what it is), but you can’t understand enthusiasm for a car, that’s probably gonna change the world from a company that dragged other manufacturers into the EV game scratching and screaming?
      You have a weird sense of enthusiasm 🙂

      By the way Tesla pretty much confirmed that there will be a drivable prototype.
      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-16/tesla-will-unveil-a-drivable-model-3-here-s-what-it-looks-like

    • Thousands of “fan boys” (and girls) have been lining up in Tesla stores all over the world today to make $1,000 deposits just to get a place in line for this car. Denver reportedly had over 700 people inside and outside the store this morning waiting to place their orders. In Fremont there were over 500 on line. Texas and Utah had similar lines. In Manhattan, there were only around 150 there before the store opened. I only had to wait two hours to place my order. 🙂 The order system will be available online tonight on the Tesla web site, probably around 8:30 PM PST when the reveal event is supposed to start. I expect the web site to crash. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were over 100,000 orders for the car within the first 48 hours. This is something I’ve never seen before, for a car.

      • Philip W

        you were right. 115k orders in first 24h. And that was before online reservations started!

  • jstack6

    The Super Charger Network is a big key. Fastest in the World and FREE.
    The great looks of all Tesla vehicles is another.
    Remote software updates.
    Auto Pilot already out and working in the S and X.
    Trunk and Frunk.
    Panoramic roof.
    Oh , and safest car ever made.

    • Those are all nice advantages for Tesla, but we don’t know for sure they’ll all be available on the Model 3. I imagine supercharger access will be there, but for a fee. I’d love to see a panoramic windshield like the X or a panoramic roof like the S. Software updates and frunk are a given; great safety, auto pilot and looks are likely based on track record.

    • Jenny Sommer

      Why can’t you charge a Tesla worldwide? If you move to Europe or vice versa you can’t take the car with you and charge there.

  • ROBwithaB

    Thanks for the link.
    Looks like they might still surprise everyone and do the 3 in aluminium?

  • danwat1234

    The Chevy Bolt will be a competitor in a couple of aspects I’m sure. Maybe not as fast but it’ll be out a year or so before.

    • The Bolt does look pretty impressive, with its entire infotainment system, motor and battery pack provided by LG. If it does come out later this year at its projected price point of $37,500 (ish) and with 200 or more miles of range, I expect it to sell well. Can’t say I’m a big fan of the exterior aesthetic design, though. I’m hoping the Model 3 looks better than that. And GM hasn’t talked about any high-speed charging network, but hopefully there will be more options for DC Fast Charging when it comes to market.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Aside from a lack of a rapid charging network isn’t there also a problem in that the Bolt has no ability to take a DC charge? (Perhaps I misremember that.)

        I really don’t understand GM’s lack of attention to the need for rapid charging. By doing so they are really limiting their market.

        • I haven’t read that. If true, it would kinda rule the Bolt out for practical long distance travel. A Level 2 charger would probably take a few hours to replenish full range. A DC fast charger should take under an hour. Do you have a source for that?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Looked it up. I was half right. The Bolt does not come with DC charging but DC can be added as an add on at an unannounced cost.

            90 miles in 30 minutes with DC according to GM. (170 miles in 30 minutes for the Tesla S).
            http://electrek.co/2016/01/11/gm-bolt-ev-battery-pack-fast-charging-full-specs/
            ​That’s not good enough for long distance travel.​ 500 miles would take 3+ charges. Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours assuming a start with a full charge.

          • eveee

            You could say that having DCFC as an option reveals GMs thinking.
            How could they tout long range and then offer DCFC as an option instead of standard?
            Thats a mixed message.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Plus it’s not that great a fast charge. 90 miles in 30 minutes. About half as much as Tesla.

            I’m willing to guess that GM is willing to sell 200 mile range EVs if they can make a normal profit off each car sold while Tesla is going to be willing to make little to no profit off the Mod3 in order to drive the process.

            At least at first. I suspect battery pack prices dropping below $100/kWh would make the Mod3 nicely profitable by the early 2020s.

          • Musk is a visionary for sure, but also a business man. Tesla is not a philanthropic enterprise. In order to be able to sustain the business and really pave the way for the EV revolution, the Model 3 has to be profitable. Not necessarily as high margin as the S and the X, but profitable. You can’t sell at a loss and “make up for it on volume” unless you want your company to go under. And that serves no one. This is the main reason I think supercharger access will be an option ($2000 or $2500). If it’s a $2500 option, then that puts the Model 3 (with supercharging) at the exact same price as a Chevy Bolt (without DCFC).

          • Bob_Wallace

            14 days to wait.

            I think the cost of the Supercharger system is less than $2k.

          • neroden

            I’m having trouble finding manufacturers’ gross margins for cars. It looks like they’re typically in the 10%-20% range, but lower margins on lower-end cars. I expect that the base-model Model 3 will be at the low end of the gross margins in order to hit that $35K price, possibly even as low as 5%, just enough to fill the warranty reserve.

            Options generally have *huge* profit margins, and I’m sure Model 3 will be no exception.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You can find them here –

            https://ycharts.com/companies/TSLA/gross_profit_margin

            This one is Tesla. You can get to GM, Ford and Fiat/Chrysler via the links on the left or to other car companies by doing a site search. You might hit a limit on the number of pages you can open. Clear your cookies or use “private browsing”.

  • peter904

    The truly scarey part of the Tesla Model 3 is when they can deliver a steady stream of base or lightly optioned cars. If we are lucky the Model 3 will launch in late 2017 to mid 2018. By then, I suspect the number of reservations will be in the six figures and when (if) auto reviews give it the thumbs up, reservations will skyrocket.

    Tesla may have to amend their favorite word “soon.” Afterall, Tesla is a relatively new company with a little over 3 years of manufacturing, production cars experience (I don’t count the Roadster as production). What I most love about Tesla is their vision and commitment. They do know how to design and build compelling cars that we want.

    • Bob_Wallace

      So 500,000 units per year by 2020 and then 1,000,000 per year by 2025. How many millions per year by 2030?

      Volume should be limited only by demand. Multiple factories can be built in parallel. Capital will not be a problem.

      • neroden

        Actually, even if they are making big profits, they may still have to raise capital to expand that fast. Probably not a big share dilution, but man, it costs a lot of capital to build more factories.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Tesla should have no problems raising as much capital as they need. Between issuing more shares and borrowing I would think capital would be the least of their problems.

          • neroden

            Yeah, I’m just thinking like a shareholder here (issuing shares dilutes my interest) 🙂

      • peter904

        Bob W. I am not confident any BEV maker could achieve the 2020 and 2025 annual units you (Musk) mentioned, especially Tesla… and I am a Tesla supporter. IMO, the 500K-1,000,000 goals are unrealistic. I would personally be most satisfied with half those numbers. Too rapid a pace of growth could be very damaging, especially for a startup with less only 3 years manufaturing a productionautomobile.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Tesla says 500,000 by 2020. I suspect they’ve penciled out the number of assembly lines, etc. they need to add to their plant in order to hit that mark. I won’t be heartbroken if they miss that target by a year or two. But let’s assume 500k by about 2021.

          That’s moving from 50,000 to 500,000 in roughly five/six years. Moving from 500k to 1,000k in another five/six years seems very reasonable to me. It would take building more factory buildings. The planet has thousands and thousands of construction companies that can build large, empty factory buildings. The robots and stamping machines would not have to be designed, just replicated. The programming is done.

          I don’t know how fast Tesla will grow. But I suspect it will grow incredibly rapidly if other car companies don’t get serious about EV manufacturing.

          If Tesla is able to produce a 200+ mile EV selling for ~$25k in 2025 then it’s all over for ICEVs, they become niche players. If Tesla does not have competition there will be no problem obtaining capital and the factories and equipment needed will be built.
          —-

          I suspect we’ll see some major manufacturers into the EV game by 2020. If Tesla shows a desirable $35k EV in two weeks I don’t think they’ll be able to hold back any longer. Tesla will be positioned to rip away their profitable model sales.

          • neroden

            Moving from 500K to 1000K is going to be very expensive and require a lot of capital, but it has one great advantage — it’s *straightforward*. Tesla can basically copy its first factory in a second location.

            Tesla’s real growth-rate problem is *service centers*.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If Tesla is successful at 500k I doubt obtaining capital needed to go to 100k will be a problem. There are lots of places that will help them build new plants a la Nevada.

            Service centers. In the small town closest to me there are two car dealerships sitting empty. Service bays await a new user. The showroom is in place. There’s a lot for selling used Teslas. From what I can tell this country has a lot of available commercial space.

            Basically the service centers don’t need expensive construction. And they don’t need to be located in the most expensive parts of town. They don’t need to be on a main street, people are going to seek them out. It’s not a walk-in business.

  • george s

    Amazing at how crszy you alll sound, Tesla will fail as soon as people start having to replace the batteries, how long do they last 7-10 years at best. The cost even with the Gigafactory is going to be more than GM is paying at the 145kwh thats roughly 12k just for the cells, so realisticly 20k installed, now tell me whats the value of a 7 year old car needing 20k in work.. If and its a big if tesla even finishes the gigafactory and they will need about 4 billion more $$ they dont have to do so, how are they realisticly going to compete in the real market?? I see alot of real expensive cars needing 20k in work soon and that is reality.. This has always been the reality with electric cars for almost 100 years the batterys wear out and are not cheep..

    Btw even elton said they cant produce the model 3 untill the Gigafactory is done and they dont have the money to finish it..

    So invest in eltons dream. I will enjoy watching you all loose money.

    • eveee

      You have not even factored in the fact that battery costs are dropping every year. So what will the replacement cost in 10 years? Ever think of that? How about this. Telsa batteries are wearing out slowly. And who says owners will ditch a car with 15% or 20% capacity reduction? IMO, they wlll be sold and used as used cars. And in 10 years, with volume, the installation competition will be great. Your estimate that battery installation will cost thousands is way off the market. Given that Model S is designed for battery swap, its hardly likely that installation is that expensive. The swap time, and installation time is not long enough to justify such extreme costs.

      But if you are certain, please short Tesla stock. I will enjoy seeing it drive the price up as you cover your shorts. Its been done before and the suckers lost their shirts and their wallets.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        It’s economically locked to heavy weight, limited source comodities. The price is likely to go UP. Do you know how supply / demand works?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Holy shit, Batman. Are you totally oblivious to what is happening to the cost of batteries? Just a few years back EV batteries were in the $1,000/kWh range and now they are under $200/kWh. GM will be paying LG Chem $145/kWh for their Bolt batteries and Tesla’s batteries are expected to be about $15 cheaper.

          Do you not understand economy of scale? How as demand rises supply tends to become more efficient and costs drop?

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            You should research the issue more. Tesla is signing deals with junior mining companies, because they cant get the ‘Big 3’ lithium producers to glut out more supply.

            one of these companies isn’t even producing yet.

            And where do you document a $145/ kWh price? I just want some 3rd party justification before I believe you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            GM/LG $145

            http://cleantechnica.com/2015/10/05/chevy-bolt-battery-cells-145kwh-new-chevy-volt-with-autonomous-driving/

            Tesla/Panasonic $180 a year and a half ago

            http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/battery-storage-costs-plunge-below100kwh-19365

            Are you saying that Tesla will not have an adequate supply of lithium? Would you please document that since we’re playing “I don’t trust you”.

          • eveee

            Most of the lithium reserves in South America are untapped and untouched. Some in the US are only being developed now, due to demand. Believe it or not, the reason is that lithium is too cheap. Lithium batteries use very little lithium. A lithium battery can have its lithium costs double or more with little effect on the battery price. But an increase in lithium carbonate price would stimulate the production of much hgher amounts of lithium that sit untapped because, Chile, the largest producer, just skims it off the surface of large dry lakebeds at high concentration.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            I just don’t understand why the 10KWh battery through Solar City costs $7,140. When my wife was bothered me with this sales scheme, i literally thought she was joking. I had to take a step back and laugh before I said NO.

            If the price / KWh is so cheap, why can I not get a 10kwh battery for $1,500? What gives?

          • Bob_Wallace

            First, $145/kWh and less is not today but 2017. When the Gigafactory is running. Second, I would suspect that like any new technology it’s priced really high simply because there are a few early adopters who will pay a high price and companies like to make money.

            Realistically, it takes volume sales to bring down prices. There are lots of fixed costs with any company that have to be spread over product sold. As sales grow the fixed cost per unit drops. And companies become more efficient. It becomes possible to have a machine made that does what was being done by hand sort of stuff.

            Finally, there’s not yet enough competition. Tesla could cut the selling price of their $80,000 ModS to $70,000 and still make as high a profit margin as other companies but since no one else is selling a long range EV and demand is high at the current price they don’t need to cut their price.

          • neroden

            Seriously, lithium is cheap and abundant. I think most investors are really really shallow — whenever someone starts talking about lithium supply and pricing I realize they haven’t done their research.

            The serious investors are looking at cobalt (the most limited-supply mineral being used in the batteries), nickel (the most expensive), graphite (synthetic graphite is oil-based and expensive and natural graphite of the right sort is quite limited), manganese, and aluminum. Lithium is the absolutely least of the mineral supply problems.

            All of them are actually pretty easy to supply except cobalt, but lithium is the cheapest of the lot. Cobalt’s the only worrisome one.

        • eveee

          Lithium heavy weight? Are you aware that the price of lithium batteries is affected very little by the price of lithium? How much lithium is in a battery pack? There is about 9 pounds of it in a Leaf. The battery weighs hundreds of pounds.
          http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/availability_of_lithium

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Did I say lithium!? the battery itself (in a tesla) is excess of 1,300 lbs. It is VERY MUCH weighted by the limitations of commodities. nickel, iron, graphite, just some of the heavy weight materials that go into it. This thing is not made of just solid steel, there are lots of heavy weight commodoties, all having to be piled into one, and then very precisely pieced together. It all wreaks of expense, expense, expense. The end of slavery is near. Cheap labor is harder to come by. Something that takes so much effort to get all of this weight out of the ground, processed, shipped, processed some more, assembled, shipped again, installed, and then shipped some more. All the meanwhile, we are talking about thousands of pounds. So it takes other large machinery to do all of this. Again, all of which demands more money, time, energy, man power, etc.

            Quit denying reality by saying we are only worried about “9 pounds of material”

          • Bob_Wallace

            The materials cost for lithium batteries is about $70/kWh at today’s market prices. It’s possible that the price of materials will drop as use grows. Efficiency of scale stuff.

            85 kWh battery pack – $5,950 for materials (cells, a bit more for ‘packaging’).

            The Nissan Leaf 28 kWh battery contains 4 kg, 8.8 pounds of processed lithium. Extrapolating up the 85 kWh Tesla battery probably contains 12.1 kg, 26.7 pounds of lithium.

            People get all hung up on “lithium”. But there’s just not that much lithium in an EV and lithium is just not very expensive.

          • eveee

            Who is denying reality. You just pronounced graphite a high weight material. I just pointed out that lithium isn’t. Meanwhile, battery pack weight doesn’t sit still. As batteries improve, specific energy improves. Tesla is about 250 W-hr/kg cells. Thats going up not down. So battery weight is dropping.
            Last time I looked, iron was pretty ubiquitous.
            While your rhetoric reeks, it doesn’t illuminate with any references or anything else. And I might just wreak havoc and your spelling and logic.

            Its just rhetoric, not science. Please show us some numbers.
            And stop telling me what to do and make a request like a man with manners.

            Weak, week, wreak, reek, rant.

    • vensonata

      The used pack has value, you will be compensated. It is great for residential stationary with 70-80% remaining. The new pack will be $12,000 installed for the Tesla 90 and the new Tesla 100 you will see on March 31. So no George, your Tesla Apocalypse is unlikely to happen.

      • Jenny Sommer

        I read that used packs get very volatile. Don’t know if there is a stationary storage aftermarket for those.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Are you thinking about the damaged Volt pack that caught fire a few years back?

          I’ve heard nothing else about used batteries becoming volatile. How about all those old laptops and cellphones we have stuck in our closets. Are they causing fires?

          • Jenny Sommer

            Those old devices aren’t cycled constantly and when they are stored indefinitely they are completely flat anyways. They will eventually start to leak unless they are LiPo which are used in most smartphones these days.
            They are a fire hazard anyways if shorter. I suffered some fire accidents with damaged and shorted LiPo packs.
            I once washed one in the washing machine…this one survived though and still charges and balances good.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If fires are a problem then we’ll have to come up with a good storage solution. I would imagine that the main need would be to sure that the batteries were totally discharged. I don’t know of a chemical reaction that would start a fire.

            The Volt fire was due to not discharging the battery before leaving it in the storage yard. A leaking cooling system produced a short.

            Musk has said that he views totally used up batteries as a good source for processed lithium. And I assume other materials. It may be a few years, a decade or so, before there are enough used up EV batteries to justify reprocessing plants.

          • neroden

            I wonder how hard it is to extract the cobalt from the used batteries. The lithium should be easy to extract and purify. The graphite is almost certainly ruined.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Our friend george s slipped on the FUD he was shoveling and slid right out the exit….

      • vensonata .

        I wondered whether George had found the egress.

  • Bob_Wallace

    You’re linking to a ten year old article. 2006.

    • madeofparts

      I could understand that being relevant if the calendar life of Lii-ion batteries had changed significantly in the mean time. I thought it prudent to quote Tesla rather than numerous other articles about these batteries. In any case I would be happy to learn that Tesla have improved the batteries they use in this respect so that calendar life is less significant than recharge cycle.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        They have changed significantly since but everything is still clouded in uncertainty.

      • neroden

        There is no solid evidence that li-ion batteries *have* a calender life limitation. None of them have reached this purported limitation yet. It may not exist at all.

        We already know that li-ion batteries die if (a) they are taken outside their preferred temperature range too often, (b) they are taken outside their preferred charge range too often, and (c) after too many cycles.

        We have no evidence of calendar-life failures when the batteries are thermally managed and kept at medium charge levels. There may be some such calendar-life failure mode, but based on the Roadster, it’s *over 8 years*. If it turns out to be more than 12 years, then it outlasts pretty much every component of a typical ICE car. It could be 20, 30, 40, 50 years or more.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Good point. The Roadster is the early warning system.

          That assumes that batteries haven’t improved since 2008, which is unlikely.

          • neroden

            Of course, they could have introduced new calendar-life failure modes in the improved batteries (by accident, unknowingly). But at this point I’m pretty confident all the batteries will last long enough that no car buyer will worry about it!

        • eveee

          Yes. You are speaking from EV field use data. However, it is clear that there is a calendar life limitation. What isnt clear, is just how long it is. We are in a grey territory here.
          http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/19/tesla-dahn-lab-sign-exclusive-5-year-research-agreement/

          • neroden

            Is there a calendar life limitation? To find out, you’d have to store the batteries at an optimal state of charge in a climate-controlled room for year.

            In order to keep them at an optiimal state of charge, you’d have to keep recharging them intermittently. This would use up cycle life.

            If, by doing this, you used up the cycle life limitation before you hit a “calendar life limitation”, I think you could accurately say that there was no calendar life limitation.

          • eveee

            Why couldn’t cells be kept at max charge with a trickle charger? I mean it would still have to be connected to a BMS to monitor the max voltage. If max voltage gets too high, lithium goes poof. dead battery or fire.
            Its precisely because oxidation is so critical to lithium electrolyte that calendar life is a problem. In extremis, it results in fire or sudden oxidative release. Explosion.
            So it that way, there would be no cycling as we know it. Cycling means meaningful reduction of state of charge to lower levels. That would not happen this way.

          • eveee

            Jeff Dahn has perfected a method of determining calendar life without having to wait decades to find out.
            http://cleantechnica.com/2015/03/27/battery-storage-test-shows-lithium-ion-cells-last-5x-longer/

      • eveee

        Thats exactly it. Calendar life has not remained the same. There is little public information about specific manufacturers calendar life limitations.
        http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/19/tesla-dahn-lab-sign-exclusive-5-year-research-agreement/

  • ROBwithaB

    You cannot extrapolate battery life from a short sample.
    There are two kinds of battery life: One is cycle life. One is calendar life.
    The first is already difficult to predict; but the second is almost impossible. Except by actually running the experiment in real life to its natural conclusion.
    And the degradation is generally not linear. Well it can be something like linear for a few years, and then it tends to just fall of a cliff…
    Yes, there are ways to try to model long-term degradation based on accelerated charge/discharge cycles. But many of these are notoriously inaccurate.
    The truth is that nobody REALLY knows how long the batteries are going to last.

    No doubt there are some high mileage CPO units that are literally being stripped to get at the old cells to look at them under high-powered microscopes to assess the growth of dendrites etc. I’m sure that Tesla understands a lot more about battery degradation now than they did a decade ago. Or even three years ago.
    But to cite the Dutch study as justification for expecting 90% capacity after 15 years is misguided, IMHO.
    I suspect that Tesla has run their numbers and realised that, by the time the first batteries start dying, it will be cheap enough to replace them with new, improved battteries that the cars will still be worth more than the resale guarantees. It is a calculated risk, methinks, and one that will probably pay off.
    But it’s still a risk…

    • I thought I had replied to this but it looks like that reply was eaten by the internet. For now, the Netherlands long-term owner survey of the Model S (and by long term, I mean 2-4 years, as that’s how long the S had been around, at that time) is the best data pool we have to go by. And it’s as good a point to extrapolate upon as any. I have not seen any definitive research that suggests catastrophic (or even less catastrophic) failure of Lithium Ion batteries simply due to age, only over charge/discharge cycles, particularly when combined with poor thermal management (e.g., the early Leaf batteries’ “accelerated decrepitude” 🙂 ). But if you have any specific references on that, please send me a link. Tesla’s use of small cells, integrated thermal management and charging process seem to be prolonging the useful life of Lithium Ion batteries well beyond what many expected. One of the best analyses I’ve seen on Lithium Ion battery failure (and how to prevent it) is from Jeff Dahn from Dalhousie University. If you haven’t seen it already, check out his video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxP0Cu00sZs – And guess who signed a long term battery research grant with him (starting in June)? Tesla Motors. 🙂 So I imagine Tesla’s next generation of battery packs (those used in the Model 3) should be even better.

      • eveee

        Great comment, Chris. Right on the money.

    • peter904

      Rob. My understanding Tesla has plans for recycling their batteries and battery packs, especially to use in the PowerWall and industrial
      storage units.

    • eveee

      Yes. Mostly correct. However, Jeff Dahn does have a way of predicting calendar life based on charge. Coulombic efficiency. Its not necessary to test calendar life with real world usage. Thats time consuming, ineffective, and sometimes even misleading and incorrect. Thats one way GM may have got burned on Envia.
      http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/19/tesla-dahn-lab-sign-exclusive-5-year-research-agreement/

    • Joe Viocoe

      The degradation for cycle life has already shown as a diminishing over time, so quite the opposite of falling off a cliff. Nissan Leafs degrade the fastest, and have been shown to lose the most during the first year, then losing a bit less each subsequent year.

  • marty1234

    I hear teslas considering online ordering only on March 31st…Hope this isn’t true, would be missing hundreds of photo ops and bonding opportunities …Trump and Sanders supporters would probably be the most interesting….Then again maybe 2 lines would be
    best..transgenders may need a third, maybe a series of lines would be best….

    • The e-mails that have gone out recently from Tesla to current Tesla owners state that reservations for the Model 3 will begin in stores on March 31 at 10:00 AM Pacific Standard Time. Online orders will start being accepted when the event begins, which is expected to be at 8:30 PM Pacific Standard Time (when Elon is scheduled to take the stage). Also, Tesla employees and current Tesla owners are being given priority in the Model 3 order queue.

  • madeofparts

    As I understand it, Lithium Ion batteries age with time more than with usage. After a few years use they will need replacing regardless of how many miles are driven. This is still less of a maintenance burden than an internal combustion car though,

    • joshua

      I don’t think that’s correct (but invite you to submit any proof)

      Especially considering battery lifetimes are given exclusively in terms of cycles, not years.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      I think they can be built that way but normally are not.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I believe the aging problem has largely been solved. Tesla has stated that they expect most of their cars to reach 200,000 miles on the original batteries. At 13,000 miles per year that would be 15 years.

    • eveee

      I wouldnt say more with time than with usage. It depends. There is a lifetime not based solely on usage. The electrolyte slowly oxidizes over time even if the battery is not used.
      http://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/19/tesla-dahn-lab-sign-exclusive-5-year-research-agreement/

      • neroden

        The speed of oxidation seems to depend heavily on temperature and state of charge, which means it’s impossible to translate it to a “calendar life”…

        • eveee

          Some truth to that. But lets modify impossible, to “only a handful of experts like Jeff Dahn seem to have a handle on the matter”. But we don’t really know perfectly because these are closely guarded secrets for obvious reasons.

  • J.H.

    At that price, there is know way Tesla will offer free CHARGING. And I be leave its just a matter of time before Tesla discontinues free charging all together,

    • Bob_Wallace

      That, IMHO, would be dumb.

      Tesla charging is not “free”. The cost is built into the sales price of the car. As long as Tesla prices the charging system appropriately there’s no reason to move to a pay per use model.

      When I’ve played with numbers my assumption is that Tesla needs roughly one charging bay per 100 EVs sold. Apparently $2,000 of the purchase price of a Tesla goes to the charging system. Bays apparently cost under $20,000. That means that only 10% of the $200,000 collected pays for the charge bay. $180,000 is left to cover the cost of electricity and maintenance. Invest most of that money in solar/wind farms and Bob’s your uncle.

      I can see a possible need to limit the number of annual charges for the Mod3. People using them as taxis/delivery vehicles might throw the math out of alignment. With the Mod3 I can see SC use limited to enough times per year to cover ‘normal’ long distance driving. Then offer annual plans for people who need to do all their charging at SC while driving average distances (13,000 miles would require 80-100 charges per year. And then a ‘super user’ annual option for those who want to charge daily/multiple times per day.

      13,000 miles at 0.3 kWh per mile would mean 3,900 kWh per year. At an average of 4.5 solar hours per day it would take about 2.5 kW of panels to produce that electricity. At today’s installed prices for utility solar that works out to $3,500. $3,500 pays for 20 to 40 years of electricity. Someone who needs to do all their charging at SCs might need to pay about $150 per year to cover the cost of extra solar farms. Wind is even cheaper.

  • Brooks Bridges

    A great in-depth discussion of GM’s long development of Volt and Bolt in Feb issue of Wired. Not much on Bolt itself – more on the process of changing and educating GM workers to produce an electric car – leading to Bolt. It’s interesting.

    Wonderful that there will soon be two EV’s with 200 mile range I could afford – with an “Ouch” from my pocketbook.

  • Carl Raymond S

    A couple more factors that I think will ensure the model 3’s success:

    First, many of those who purchased the Model S adore the car, they love their kids, and they desperately want to see sustainable transport arrive in time to prevent runaway climate change. How many birds can they kill with one stone by buying each child a Model 3 as a 21st birthday gift? I know, it’s too rich for my blood too, but I still sense that it will happen. I imagine there will be Grandparents with a green bent who would rather bequeath their grandkids a Model 3 than leave behind a cash estate large enough to destroy their work ethic.

    Second, I expect the Model 3 to ‘go viral’. Pretty much everybody on this site knows the specs of existing Tesla’s. We know they are amazing vehicles, yet the masses don’t. When I tentatively talk Tesla to a new acquaintance, it feels like I’m speaking in swahili – the majority still equate EV with golf cart. It’s just a numbers game. Model 3 will take the proportion of EV aware consumers above 10% and, that’s a critical mass – the topic becomes normalised. Suddenly everybody will ‘know’ that reciprocating engines with exhaust pipes are old tech; being seen with one will be like being the 50s family without a washing machine.

    • Carl Raymond S

      Since making the above post, I note that Tesla have written to owners advising that they will be given priority in the model 3 wait list. Much easier to sell to the initiated.

      • neroden

        Employees apparently get top priority in the waitlist, above Tesla owners.

        I would expect every single employee who can afford a Model 3 and doesn’t already have a Model S or Model X to get on that waitlist immediately. The employees are, without exception, very enthusiastic about the company.

        So that’s approximately 12,000 reservations off the top! Assuming Tesla pays them enough to afford the Model 3, but I’d assume they’ve taken that lesson from Henry Ford…

  • globi

    The Tesla S was initially announced to cost $50 k:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/03/26/tesla-model-s-50-000-ev-sedan-seats-seven-300-mile-range-0-6/

    So, I would not bank on those $35 k too much.
    However, if it costs $50 k there will still be a considerable market (which is currently occupied by Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and what not).

    • Bob_Wallace

      That was for a lower range model that almost no one was interested in purchasing.

      • globi

        Ok, well that might happen in this case too.

        Does Tesla even have the production capacity to serve the $35k market? For instance, BMW alone sells about 500’000 cars of the 3-series model per year.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Tesla has stated at least 200 mile range, $35k, and the capacity to build 500,000 EVs by 2020. I would assume the breakdown would be roughly 100,000 ModS and ModX and the rest Mod3, possibly some ModY.

          They’re building the battery plant for 500,000 EVs. One would assume they have a gameplan for building the cars.

          It might be that the first Mod3s will be upscale versions which sell for more with the $35k basic model coming later. No indication on that one way or another.

          • neroden

            Given the marketing problems Tesla has had due to the Signature Series on the Models S and X, I expect that the basic model 3 will be *available for configuration and purchase* upfront.

            I still expect them to deliver the upscale versions first. They’ve been doing that continuously; order a “P” variant of a Model S and you’ll find your wait time for delivery is less than if you order a regular model.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If I was calling the shots I’d offer a percentage of the first month’s/year’s production at the $35k price. I’d just want to stick it to GM with their $37,500 price and no charging solution.

        • eveee

          Its my understanding that the Toyota NUMMI plant that Tesla got was capable of 500,000 cars annually. The S and X might take more manufacturing space. I dont expect the Model 3 will. For example, aluminum metal stamping for the S takes three die to bend it slowly to avoid tearing. Steel is not so delicate so only takes a single die, single pass. That alone will save space and increase production rates quite a bit at that stage.

  • Tam Hunt

    These are all true features and benefits but in terms of projecting real world sales we obviously can’t know yet how big a hit the Model 3 will be. Unfortunately EV sales actually took a dip in 2015 over 2014 but I’m crossing my fingers that the Model 3, Chevy Bolt and other similar long-range affordable EVs will turn this trend around in a very big way.

    • peter904

      Tam. In 2014 the top 3 EV selling cars were: Leaf, Volt, Model S. Do you suppose the reason EV sales dipped is because Nissan and GM announced the 2016models would have a significant increase in range and in the case of GM an all new and improved Volt. I think buyers delayed committing.

      I think the Bolt will do very well at the expense of Leaf, eGolf, eSoul, and I think the Model 3 will start cutting into BMW 3 Series (it will kill the fugly i3) and Audi A4 sales. I do not see Bolt and Model 3 as competitors as the 3 will be more expensive when options are added.

      • Tam Hunt

        I think the data better supports the conclusion that much lower gas prices were the main culprit behind dipping sales. New models came out in 2016 as you suggest but sales didn’t spike after the new models came out. Let’s hope they do when the Model S comes out in 2017.

        • peter904

          Tam. Low gas prices didn’t help EVs.

          • eveee

            Lower gas prices do not seem to have affected Model S sales. One could say luxury owners dont care about gas prices. It would be equally interesting to not the sales of luxury cars when gas prices are higher. One thing that did happen is that large SUVs took a hit when gas was higher. But not luxury SUVs. 🙂

  • One-Of-A-Kind

    “Sure, it takes longer than the 10-15 minutes it takes to stop at a gas station”

    Seriously…. Stop skewing reality. My tanks fills in 3 minutes from near empty (in an SUV). If i don’t need to pee or buy anything, I’m NEVER there for even FIVE minutes. I barely have time to wash my front window, which is only a 2 minute process.

    Quit lying. This article is full of BEVangelism.

    • MS

      Since you don’t typically have to go to get charged up at a station in your ev, you could count the minutes it takes you to turn off to a gas station, find an open pump, pump, then possibly go in to pay. I don’t think this idealization of EV charging is dishonest.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        I don’t think idealizing EV charging is dishonest, I think using phony numbers to compare it to is dishonest.

        “Go in to pay”

        I have gone in to pay at a counter in………… actually don’t remember how long its been.

        You’re as bad as the author, touting nonsense. Acting as if there is not a credit card terminal on nearly every single pump practically in existence now.

        • camosoul

          It takes zero minutes. Because I don’t stand there watching the pump, or go to a gas station in the first place. I’m asleep. How much gas have you punped while sleeping at the gas station?

          Using false metrics, or ignoring reality altogether? Which argument is more ridiculous?

        • eveee

          It takes no time for you to make a trip to get gas. There is no traffic or lights on your way to get gas. You never wait in lines to pump or pay. The guy in front of you is not buying lottery tickets and slimjims. The pump never refuses to start, prompting you to go back to the window or wave at the attendant to restart.You live in a state that allows you to pump your own gas. Your favorite gas station is available for fueling because its still open and there is no refueling tanker blocking your entrance. Once filled, there are no people fueling ahead of you blocking your exit. Upon leaving the bay, there are no cars in iine waiting to merge into traffic. It takes you no time return from your trip to the gas station. There is no traffic or lights on your return from getting gas.

          • eveee

            There is no such thing as destination pumping like destination charging. The average homeowner doesn’t have a gas pump in their garage.

    • apsley

      Well it should be pointed out that if you own your own home, charging and EV takes 30 seconds: 15 to plug it in when you get home, and 15 to unplug it when you leave in the morning. You don’t ever have to go to a “station” for local trips, which are the majority of trips.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        Yes, but I also dont have to search for special parking where I go, I don’t have to heavily plan out my trips, I don’t have to ‘hypermile’, and I’ve never had to drive 20 mph under the speed limit with my flashers to make sure I can make it to my next charger.

        You act as if saving 2 and 1/2 minutes of my life is some kind of god send. When you actually consider all of the other downfalls, you realize it’s actually a curse.

        • apsley

          It sounds to me like you’ve got a very big chip on your shoulder. With all due respect, your arguments don’t make a whole lot of sense.

          • Joe Viocoe

            He’s got a chip called Hydrogen Fuel Cell love. His arguments are full of hypocrisy, because when you hear him go on and on about Fuel Cell car greatness… he’s nothing but an optimist about having to refuel.

          • Truth hurts

            What is wrong with hydrogen? Most of the population live in condos. Look at those in China, Russia and other developing contries. Those are 20+ store buildings and 5-6 of them for a block. Theree are several thousand of people on a tiny territory. How are they supposed to charge a battery? Get real.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Yet hydrogen is just pouring out of taps?

            And no, most people DON’T live in condos.

          • Truth hurts

            Yes they do and they could spent several minutes at a hydrogen station as they do at a gas station. If it is electric charging station it would mean 30 minutes for a vehicle and nobody would allow to turn a city into a forest of charging stations. Now just see streets views of some china or russian cities and find how many people live in detached or semidetached houses before you demonstrate your ignorance.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You might want to hold back on claiming others ignorant. What I’ve seeing from your posts is that you’ve turned up here with your pockets pretty empty of knowledge.

            Thirty minutes at a rapid charger, if that’s how some people do their charging. That’s a meal, some grocery shopping, some time spent checking messages and surfing the web.

            A “forest” of charging stations? Think about a single charging stand for every four cars in a parking lot. Nose to nose parking with four cables. Imagine them at grocery stores and restaurants. Shopping centers, gyms, any place where people might find something constructive to do with their time while their car charges.

            Expect a lot of workplace charge outlets. The utilities are likely going to want access to a lot of EV chargers so that they can smooth out the flow during the day.

          • Truth hurts

            We are talking about millions of cars for some cities. What gyms and shopping centers are gonna handle it? It is ridiculous.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Where do those millions of cars park? Do you know some reason why a charge point could not be installed most of those parking places?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let me give you some more pictures….

          • Truth hurts

            They park wherever they could. It is too bad to have those yards overrun with stations. I am not saying that some type of vehicle should dominate. Clearly there are some places where BEV can be preferable and otheres where it is hydrogen.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You can say that hydrogen will play a role. But without a well reasoned argument your opinion doesn’t carry weight.

            Hydrogen has only one fairly insignificant advantage. It can fill up quicker on long trips. For almost every driver that advantage would be negated by the hours spent refilling during the rest of the year.

            EV drivers just take a few seconds to plug in and unplug. They leave home every morning with charged batteries.

            Hydrogen totally loses when it comes to cost per mile.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Um Canada has millions of plugs to run block heaters. No need for a full size station at every spot.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you have any detailed info on block heater outlet availability? I didn’t turn up anything with a search that talked about numbers, cost of using.

          • eveee

            First there has to be ubiquitous hydrogen charging stations. And the fuel has to be cheaper than gas. And the FCEVs have to have lower costs. And they have to compete with the alternatives. The source of hydrogen should create less GHG than gas or diesel.
            None of those are fully completed. And there are many other issues daunting FCEVs. Not the least of which is that they have already been beaten to market by a host of competitors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            This.

            Buyers need a reason to pick one technology over another. H2 FCEVs are more expensive than same model ICEVs. They cost more per mile to drive. Fuel is very difficult to find outside of a couple neighborhoods. Most H2 comes from reformed natural gas so there is no “green” reason to switch from gasoline.

            In order for FCEVs to become purchase price competitive with ICEVs they would have to be manufactured in much larger numbers. The cost of hydrogen is unsolvable – physics. Hydrogen fuel stations are not going to be build in large numbers unless there are customers to support them. Hydrogen is not going to be made from water as long as NG is cheaper.

            EVs are rapidly reaching purchase price parity with ICEVs, it’s all about battery price. EVs are already much cheaper to operate than ICEVs. The electric grid is in place and over 50% of all drivers already have a place to plug in. The grid is getting greener every day.

            H2 FCEVs are almost certainly a dead branch on the automotive evolutionary tree. They made it further than compressed air cars, but couldn’t make the cut.

          • eveee

            Yes. FCEVs are a now a dead non starter. Party over. Bolt is here. Model 3 announcement ticking of the clock away. The FC debate and chatter will die down considerably in the next few weeks and many car companies will cancel their efforts as they realize they are squandering resources.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Who was talking about China or Russia?

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            maybe not condo’s, but ‘multi-dwelling housing’ as a whole is where over 50% of the worlds population lives. More progressive countries like Japan, Germany, Denmark all have higher concentrations of multi-dwelling housing than the US.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Apartment complexes are now installing charge points. A couple of California utilities are spending millions of dollars to help install outlets at apartments and in workplace parking lots.

            These are new market opportunities for utilities. Electrification of transportation will more than make up for market loss to end-user solar and efficiency.

          • neroden

            Yeah, and those countries also have a lot more people who *do not have cars*.

            Hint: people who have cars generally have parking spaces. Whether they live in condos or not. Whereever there is a parking space, you can have an electric charging point. Because unlike gasoline, electricity is nontoxic and doesn’t tend to spill or burst into flame when you’re not using.

          • eveee

            I can just imagine millions of hydrogen stations at every parking spot. What could go wrong?

          • Bob_Wallace

            What’s wrong with hydrogen?

            Cost.

            Just for starters, we’d have to install 2x to 3x as many solar panels and wind turbines in order to use H2 FCEVs as EVs.

            Then add in the cost of the infrastructure – hydrolysis plants, compressors, storage tanks. We’d need to replace our gas stations with hydrogen stations and the storage tanks would be immense. Those costs would be reflected in the cost of the hydrogen.

            We can add outlets so EVs can charge. We’re already doing that. Outlets are being added in workplace, shopping and apartment parking lots. Outlets are being added curbside for those who park on the street.

            And, if nothing else, people could visit a rapid charging station for about a half hour six times a month in order to drive an EV 13,000 miles a year.

            Realistically we going to have self-driving cars soon. Those people who live in very crowded cities can simply get out at their door and their car can drive itself to a multi-story parking garage where it can charge itself.

          • Truth hurts

            There are innovations that can help with storing and producing hydrogen like this one, for example https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151007144845.htm All these plants can be outside of towns where hydrogen is trickling whenever there is cheap power or sun available and then transport it to the stations. I am sure there are people who agree to pay the same amount of money as they do for gas just to have a quick refilling.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The third word in the title of the article you linked is “may”.

            When one says “may” they are really saying “may and may not”.

            Catalyst cost is only one part of the price problem for hydrogen. I gave you a description of the cost problems in another comment.

            It takes significant energy to break the hydrogen-oxygen bond in H20. It takes a lot of energy to compress hydrogen enough to make it useable in vehicles (tank size matters).

            Transporting hydrogen is much less efficient than transporting petroleum. Look at the chart below.

            Compressed hydrogen holds about 10% as much energy per volume as gasoline and even less compared to diesel. That means it would take 10x as many trucks to deliver the hydrogen and the storage tanks would need to be 10x larger.

          • Truth hurts

            ICE engeen is only 35-40% efficient there is no telling how much work and energy they put into it to get it from oil in the first place then there is transportation of oil and final product and other things. Still EVs have hard time replacing it. Do people always think about it when they get in their cars? Most of them dont. It is a price of a vehicle, price of fuel and how far this fuel can get you. That is all.

          • Bob_Wallace

            EVs should reach purchase price parity with same-model ICEVs within the next few years. Possibly before 2020. It comes down to cost of batteries.

            Take a look at the chart below. The prices on the horizon are for battery packs. Both GM and Tesla should have battery pack prices below $200/kWh next year.

            EVs are already cheaper than ICEVs to operate. Fuel costs for a 50 mpg hybrid would have to be under $2/gallon for hybrids to be as cheap per mile. Then add in higher maintenance costs (oil changes, more frequent brake rebuilds, general ICE maintenance).

            Distance is not an issue. Most people would not complain about taking a short break every three hours of so on a long trip. Especially when they were saving considerable amounts of money by avoiding fuel costs

            .

          • Truth hurts

            I am not argueing agains BEV it is good their price is falling. I think the same is true for hydrogen, there is gonna be cheaper methodes of producing hydrogen and manifacturing cars and there are many places and cases where people would be buying a hydrogen car but wont buy BEV for certain reasons. I dont understand why those technologies can not complement each other rather than compete

          • Bob_Wallace

            If someone finds a way around the laws of physics then you might be right.
            I’m not holding my breath.

            (Do you not understand energy to break the H2O bond and energy to compress? Or the low energy per volume problems of hydrogen? These are not things one ‘invents’ their way around.)

          • Truth hurts

            It does not matter what efficiency is as long as people are ready to pay for it as they do now for ice which is terribly inefficient.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Offer people a choice between two otherwise identical cars, one an EV and one an ICEV. But price the EV a few thousand dollars less and inform people that it will cost them between one and two thousand dollars a year to drive the EV.

            What decision do you think most people will make?

            We haven’t even brought in the more comfortable, quieter ride and faster acceleration. The ability to avoid oil changes.

          • Truth hurts

            What decision do you think most people will make?

            That is right. I think it is right to leave it up to them to make this kind of decision. That is why people sometimes buy a more expensive car that suits them better

          • Joe Viocoe

            Yeah, leave it up to them, and see which one sells. And it looks like nobody is buying…. Even when given much more subsidy and ZEV credits than a BEV.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Toyota has pushed ‘pause’ with their FCEV. It’s not clear whether that’s due to low interest in the car or to the lack of places to fill up, or a combination of the two.

            I’ve got an alert set for the Mirai and have seen only one report by an owner/driver. He reported the vehicle great to drive but the report didn’t seem to ring true as he claimed to now have a year of driving experience. IIRC no one was been able to purchase a Marai a year ago. If he’s been driving one that long then he’s a Toyota insider. Or he’s posting FUD.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Efficiency does matter. 60mpge is not impressive. Nor is $57,000 for a vehicle uglier than a prius, and the same performance.
            Nor is the $14 / kg price for hydrogen.

          • Truth hurts

            As far as Japan is concerned they are ready to roll out the whole infrastructure but there is a delay in some regulations since it is quite a new technology so it is a bureaucratic delay, not technical.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Nobody said it would be technical. It’s a large infrastructure project prone to delays and massive cost overruns.

          • …and then there’s the $30,000 in rebates/subsidies for a $70,000 car. I’m sure that’s not going to influence things at all…

          • ROBwithaB

            The cost of the refuelling infrastructure is what sinks HEVs every time.
            Way more expensive than petroleum, orders of magnitude more than electricity.
            No way around it. If you disagree, feel free to lend me the money to install a hydrogen pump on a great filling station site.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            Our gasoline infrastructure couldn’t exist without a hydrogen infrastructure, stop touting nonsense. Most gasoline is just hydrogenated crude, very little of it is natural occuring through distillation. By using straight hydrogen, you skip this archaic step, and save lots of energy.

            Well to wheels for ICE is only around 18%. Well to Wheels for H2 used in a fuel cell is about 43%

          • ROBwithaB

            I said nothing about efficiency.
            I was speaking about infrastructure.

            How do we physically transport that hydrogen to my street corner filling station? What is the cost per kWh for the transport? And the $ cost? Where is my closest hydrogen supplier? I’m in Nelspruit, South Africa. There’s a Shell tank farm about a kilometer from where I am. Maybe they could supply hydrogen… (Hmmm, I’ll shoot them an email quickly…. bear with me… Okay, so I’m still waiting for a reply. I’ll have to get back to you…) How big is the delivery truck, and how many “tanks of gas” does it deliver in one drop? How long does it need to block up my forecourt in order to transfer its load?
            How much would it cost to upgrade my current filling station so that it includes a single hydrogen dispenser? How much does one of those pressurised underground storage tanks cost? And the high pressure lines from the tank to the dispenser? How do I vent any leaks? Who do I call if I detect a leak? Are there any special fire-control measures I need to take? Do I need additional certification from the local municipality for all this stuff? Do I need to apply for an amendment to my EIA record of decision? Where can I find a local subcontractor to do the installation?

            I’m asking because you seem to know a lot about this stuff.
            Seriously. I’m interested. There must be tens of thousands of filling station owners who would love to make some extra money, especially as many realise that the demise of the petroleum age is imminent.
            I’d really like to do an apples-to-apples comparison: How much would it cost me to install an EV fast charger? How much would it cost me to install a hydrogen “fast dispenser”? And how much would I need to charge the customer for a “tank” of energy in each case, in order to make a profit?
            We’d all love to “save lots of energy”, as you put it. Sounds awesome! Please install a free trial hydrogen pump at my filling station as a matter of urgency. And then send me a couple of free loads of hydrogen. And maybe a few trial customers while you’re about it…
            If it works, I’ll be happy to investigate the numbers and I might even order a brand new hydrogen filling station, the first in South Africa!

          • ROBwithaB

            How many different Disqus accounts do you have, anyway?

          • ROBwithaB

            Welcome to the harsh Darwinian truth of Capitalism.
            Everything competes, constantly. The technology with the lowest costs will eventually win the race.

          • Truth hurts

            Subsidizing EVs is so much for capitalism.

          • ROBwithaB

            It is my understanding that FCEVs enjoy similar (or larger) subsidies in most markets. And BEV subsidies are already being reduced or removed in many markets. Because they are becoming unnecessary.

            But allow me to remind you that I have been talking all along about the refuelling infrastructure, rather than the vehicles themselves.
            It is the cost and complexity of the infrastructure that is likely to be the Achilles heel of the FCEV “movement”.

          • FCVs have heavier subsidies than EVs, particularly in California. Right now, EV gets $7500 federal tax credit, FCV gets $8,000 federal fax credit. In California, EV gets $2500, FCV gets $5,000. In Japan, FCVs get up to $30,000 per car credit ($20K from Japanese government, $10,000 more in certain prefectures). So much for capitalism?

          • eveee

            FCEVs have already missed the window of opportunity. Once EVs take hold, its lights out for them. They wont be able to enter the cost curve and the infrastructure development cost and time will be prohibitive. That fueling time advantage will also disappear leaving FCEVs with no advantages at all.

          • neroden

            It is frustrating to me that oil prices will probably stay low enough to make ICE vehicles competitive.

            I think there’s a floor on the oil price of $40/bbl based on production costs, and this floor should stick for at least 5 years (with occasional excursions below not lasting very long). But that predicts a gas price of only $1.83. (Of course this is based on an average gas tax of 50 cents — so $2 in NY and California, but only $1.65 in Wyoming.)

            At $77/barrel, gas is $2.76 (well, $2.58 in Wyoming, but makes no difference) and electric vehicles win outright based on current Tesla battery pricing. So that’s the *ceiling* on oil prices; whenever they go above that price, demand destruction kicks in.

            (This leaves out the variance in gas prices based on distribution costs. If you figure that in, Hawaii and Alaska are cases where BEVs have strong advantages now, and California and Illinois also have an added advantage, while Montana and Wyoming have ultra-cheap gasoline.)

          • Bob_Wallace

            The oil producing companies seem to be making progress toward a “new OPEC”.
            When we burn through the current glut we could easily see oil move back to $60.

          • One-Of-A-Kind

            “What’s wrong with hydrogen?

            Cost.”

            How does this not apply to a battery?

            Last documented price of a Tesla battery was $44,564 (green car reports)

            Most people pay much less than that for a brand new car.

          • Bob_Wallace

            In October 2014 Tesla was paying $180/kWh for their Panasonic cells. For a 70 kWh battery pack that would be $12,600 for the cells. Rule of thumb is 20% to 30% more to assemble cells into pack. So $15,120 to $16,380.

            When the Gigafactory opens the cell price is expected to drop to to $130/kWh. $9,100 for 70 kWh cells. $10,920 to $11,830 for a pack.

            The Model 3 is expected to have a 50 kWh battery pack. $7,800 to $8,450 for the pack.

            Over a few years the price of cells is expected to drop to $100/kWh. A 50 kWh pack would run $6,000 to $6,500.

            $100/kWh is based on 2014 cost of materials ($60/kWh). As the battery industry scales up it is likely the cost of materials will fall further taking the cost of a 50 kWh battery pack under $5,000.
            —-

            Your $44,564 is from a three year old battery upgrade at retail price. Someone bought an 85 kWh pack for $637/kWh.

          • neroden

            Hmm. There’s no intrinsic reason why assembling the cells into a pack should cost that much. I’m betting that Tesla plans to cut huge amounts off the “rest of pack” and pack assembly cost. Tesla’s design means that, eyeballing it, I can see a good way to get the assembly cost to about $500.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I suspect you are right. Simply by putting cell manufacturing and pack assembling in the same building should create huge savings. All the packing/shipping costs disappear. The cells will probably come off out of the cell plant directly into packs. But for now I’m sticking with the 20% to 30% number just so I can defend my numbers. I try to err on the conservative time.

            Going straight from raw materials to finished packs is going to greatly shorten the total manufacturing time and lower costs. Money will be tied up for much shorter times.

          • neroden

            Tesla has hired one of the masterminds of the Lego packaging system.

            http://electrek.co/2016/03/09/will-human-hands-ever-touch-tesla-gigafactory-battery-cells/

            Think about automating the process of getting each battery cell into the right slot facing the right direction, and then clamping the cover electronics on… I think they hired the right guy to automate it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            When you watch videos of assembly lines of bottles of pop/whatever going right from capping and labeling into the shipping cartons I think we get a good idea of some of the efficiencies of ‘under one roof’ manufacturing. Getting the right number of whatevers into the available compartment and turned in the right direction is old school tech.

            Next step, a robot does all the fuse installation for a pack at one time. Gang soldering. Slide it to the machine that puts the lid on and it’s ready to test and install.

          • As demand increases, the charging technology and infrastructure will catch up. For most NYC apartment dwellers, an EV is probably not the ideal choice of vehicle right now. But then, most NYC apartment dwellers don’t own a car (don’t need to own a car). In all of NYC, there are 1.9 million cars registered for 8.5 million residents, and this includes the multi-car households in the more suburban areas of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. If you look at just Manhattan, there are 226,000 cars registered for 1.6 million residents. For those living in higher end condos and apartments with garages, how long will it take before EV charging is offered as an option? It would set the complex apart from the competition. Also, public EV charging stations and workplace-based charging station are becoming more ubiquitous, particularly where demand is high.

          • eveee

            Make some sense. Is hydrogen any more available than electricity to those in apartments?

          • ROBwithaB

            “Those are 20+ store buildings and 5-6 of them for a block. Theree are several thousand of people on a tiny territory. How are they supposed to charge a battery?”
            You mean like in Hong Kong? Wow, that sounds like a huge problem. I wonder how many cars Tesla would be able to sell in Hong Kong …..

        • James

          Hmm, I don’t search for special parking where I go, I don’t plan out my trips, I don’t ‘hypermile’, and I have never driven 20 mph under the speed limit with my flashers. Do you drive a Leaf as well?

        • th3putt

          Actually you make some good points to consider and think about. I like hearing a different point of view on topics but honestly if you did not present them with such bias and venom they might be taken a little more seriously. Now the ideas that most people would probably use their own home to charge eliminates your fear that you have to search for special parking spaces. I tend to agree with the author that my commute is about 35 miles round trip. Read: no waiting for chargers and special parking spots. Plus like most people we have at least two cars in our family so if we find the need to travel without considering a mapped out plan then we would take our other car. I suspect many others are in the same situation. Keep up the different point of view as I feel I am able to dissect your personal opinions from some of your facts. -Cheers

        • Part-of-a-Whole

          No, but saving the lives of your children’s children IS a god send. Can’t say that about your gas guzzling SUV pig. Or are you too religious for math and science

        • peter904

          1 of a kind. “special parking, hypermile, low speeds…” I thought we were talking about Teslas with 175-225+ miles of range.

          Leafs / Model S have been on the road for 5/3 years. If the first US gas stations was built in 1905 (second in 1907) how many do figure spanned the US in 1910? The 120K+ gasoline infrastructure has taken 110 years. I agree that taking even a Tesla on certain long distance travels is more challenging than an ICE or hybrid. Although Tesla’s new software makes it quite easy to locate charging locations.

        • eveee

          There is no need to seek special parking.
          You dont seem to have an idea of how an EV owner uses an EV. Most of the time and the majority of users charge at home every night. Charging away from home is relatively rare. With 200 mile range, one would rarely seek charging away from home in local or even somewhat extended driving. 200 miles is so far beyond the average daily use that few owners would find charging away from home necessary or useful.

          Its not 2.5 minutes.

          You are exaggerating range anxiety. Keep up. EVs now have 200 mile range.

      • eveee

        Yes. If its induction charging, the time is potentially zero. You park, get out. Thats it.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Measure the time it takes from slowing down to enter the station until you are back on route and back up to speed. Make sure you add in any time used deviating from your route to where the station is.

      I buy my gas at Costco. That means driving about four blocks from the main street and often waiting for other cars to fill.

      • voracity

        Actually, this is quite interesting. I can usually wait until a petrol station is directly on whatever my route is, however I do nonetheless get “refill anxiety” as the dial on my gauge starts to approach empty. An EV would eliminate that anxiety because (outside of a road trip) it’s just always good.

        • eveee

          I shop for gas. You can always pull into an Exxon and pay high prices. Convenience has its costs.

      • peter904

        bob w. Many other cars to fill up.

    • JB

      For commuting in a EV, its nice not to have to go out of your way to gas up your car. And iEVs cost 10 to 20% to fuel compared to the average car.

      For road trips, I use my 16 year old hybrid. Best of both worlds.

      If I had a Tesla, it would be nice to charge it free at a supercharger. After driving for 4 hours, I need to pee and get a coffee anyway.

    • I drive long distance with kids. “10-15 minutes” is about average for our gas station stops. Congratulations on not having a bladder. How is that working out for you? Or do you have a permanent Foley catheter?

    • Ivor O’Connor

      Good points. It’s fun to watch people object to it. Please post more! 🙂

    • peter904

      1of a kind. I agree that the Tesla uses a type of radiator to cool the battery pack and the electronics on a Tesla are quite complex. Truth be told, the electronics on all cars is more complex, along with computerized systems, and will get more complicated no matter if it is BEV, ICE, hybrid, or FCEV. The next generation ICE will soon use much larger and more powerful batteries. I suspect Tesla handles the ‘waste heat’ similarly how an ICE does.

      I am sure if you could modify your gas tank and opening, bring in a NASCAR pit crew, you could significantly reduce the 3 minutes to fill up your ICE. So what? Most Tesla owners occasionally use the superchargers and like smart phone owners, plug in and charge overnight and unplug in the morning – 30 seconds!
      ICE and gasoline will be around for quite some time. I like my BEV and I still visit the gas station to fill up my old sports car, wife’s Subaru, and buy an occasional lotto ticket. All cars will get more complicated – even Teslas.

      • neroden

        I’ve had some very… exciting moments when fog caused electrical cross-wiring in a car I used to drive. The wiper switch caused the windows to move, the light switch moved the wipers, I couldn’t find anything which would turn the lights on…

        The computer systems in all cars are very complex already.

    • ROBwithaB

      I upvoted your comment purely because of your use of the word “BEVangelism”.
      Catchy, that.

    • Yes, the Tesla battery pack has a lot of internal components. And if it fails, it takes less than 10 minutes to swap it out for a new one with a few bolts and electrical connectors. And on the X and S, that battery pack is covered by an 8-year unlimited mile warranty so there’s no cost to the customer. Did I mention the lower maintenance costs? As for cooling and heat transfer, Tesla has a patent on using waste heat generated by the electronics and drive unit to warm the battery when it’s cool in order to keep it at ideal operating temperature (thereby maximizing battery performance and range). The pack also has an integrated cooling system (yes the battery pack has its own sealed liquid cooled radiator) which keeps the pack from getting too warm during the charging operation. It’s this thermal management, charging system and pack design that allow the Tesla Model S battery pack to perform so well over extended use.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        a few bolts!?

        Why is it the gentleman from Green Car Reports had to pay for 6 hours of labor?

        (Hint) : the battery swap is a scam.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Here’s a video of multiple Tesla battery swaps. Multiple swaps in the time it takes to fill up a gasmobile tank.

          https://youtu.be/H5V0vL3nnHY

          Tesla built one battery swap station but few car owners are interested in using it. It’s unlikely they will build more.

          Your GCR report is from someone who was upsizing his battery pack, was it not? It wasn’t a simple pack for pack swap. Additionally it’s unlikely the shop was set up with battery swapping equipment.

          You have shown up very knowledge deficient. It would be nice if you would dial back the ‘outrage’ and act like a good student. We’ll be glad to bring you up to date but we tend to get intolerant of a-holes.

        • I didn’t say how many *billable hours* it would take. I said it could be done in 10 minutes. 🙂 But to answer your question, the gentleman from Green Car Reports (David Nolan) replaced a 60 kWH battery pack with an 85 kWH pack. It was not a like for like replacement. Not sure about connectors and wiring differences between the two different packs, but there would have been some software updates required at the service center level in order to enable the higher capacity battery, enable the higher power transfer rate from battery to motor (higher horsepower, quicker acceleration) and adjust the menus and control systems to enable the improved range figures (though these are probably carried over in the code when you adjust the battery settings in the service menus).

          The five (not six… facts matter) hours of labor he was charged for the service included the battery upgrade itself, any necessary software modifications and an upgrade to his headlights. I have no idea of the billable breakdown of those tasks.

          Ever replace a 15 gallon gas tank on an ICE car with a 20-gallon tank while simultaneously boosting the motor’s horsepower by 20%? How many hours would that take? Hint: it can’t be done.

          • neroden

            The headlight replacement is extremely labor-intensive, it turns out!

      • neroden

        The battery pack is a 6 minute swap.
        The *drivetrain* is apparently a swap of a couple of hours. I was impressed.

    • Carl Raymond S

      the last carburetor based vehicles were in the late 80’s / early 90’s…

      Thanks for reminding me – I lost count of the times I had to pay for cleaning and replacement of fuel injectors. I actually found myself wishing back the days of the simple carburettor (Aust. spelling has two t’s).

    • neroden

      Fuses last for literally decades. Very very simple. Actually, have you seen the fuses in the Tesla battery pack? They’re literally *pieces of wire* which melt at the right temperature. Can’t get simpler.

      There is a fairly complex heating/cooling system, but it’s no more complex than the air conditioner in a typical car. So again, Tesla is simpler than an ICE car with an air conditioner.

      The cabin heating/cooling and the battery pack heating/cooling is all one system, a heat pump system. There is no “radiator” in the sense of a gas car. The car always runs the heat pump. There are some fins for sending heat from the heat pump system outside the car if necessary.

  • apsley

    “Tesla cars use the friction caused by slowing the car to recharge the batteries.”
    Does this mean that they are using the thermoelectric effect, or is there a generator?

    • Bert

      No that is wrong in the article, it is not using friction to generate electricity. Tesla is using the motor as a generator to slow the car and gain electricity in stead of using friction brakes for normal braking.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Exactly, but I wonder if apsley was being sarcastic.

      • One-Of-A-Kind

        The author is a cheerleader, and that usually always means they will tout incorrect facts. The “Christian Science Monitor” is going to be less biased, and less RELIGIOUS than what we are seeing here.

        • nitpicker357

          The Christian Science Monitor is pretty good. I doubt the author deliberately distorted the truth. “Friction” is a bit misleading to describe how regenerative braking, using the motor as a generator, works, but it doesn’t affect his points.

          That said, um, “RELIGIOUS” isn’t a particularly accurate word choice. Not that it affects the point you are trying to make.

    • There is a generator. Poor word choice on my part. Trying to explain it in a way that the average reader would “get it” but apparently Clean Technica readers are anything but average. 🙂 I suggested an edit to Zach to apply.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Your original choice in words was just fine. People are trying to show their intelligence by jumping all over the equivalent of punctuation. You got the idea across fine.

  • apsley

    I wonder if the Y will have even higher sales than the 3.

    • Ross

      If the Y is to the 3 is as the X is to the S then probably not.

      I’d like to know if the 3 is the car they will ramp up beyond 500k annual production to 5 million or if there will be the Tesla Model N.

      • peter904

        Ross. IMO, there is a far larger market for ‘large CUVs’ like the Cayenne and Model X, than large sedans like the Panamera and Model S.

        • ROBwithaB

          Indeed.
          Now they just need to offer one without all the expensive and fiddly bells and whistles.

      • ROBwithaB

        I’m still hoping that they introduce a “nromal” SUV version of the X soon, at a more affordable price. It would still be a very profitable car to build, because it would be much cheaper to build.
        Such a vehicle would sell in the hundreds of thousands, I suspect. And would make Tesla into a roaring cash-generating machine.

        • IMHO, A Model X without Falcon Wing Doors, is not a Model X at all. It will never happen. I just hope they *also* include FWDs (and only FWDs) on the Model Y. Those things are cool!

          • ROBwithaB

            I agree with you – they are super cool. And many people would be strongly inclined to buy the vehicle almost for that reason alone. In fact, there are probably people who would be prepared to pay extra for the privilege of showing off those super cool doors. Which is awesome for a company that is hoping to make a profit, which would enable them to invest in “accelerating the transition to sustainable transport.”

            However, the pool of people with $100k to drop on a novelty is limited. For whatever reason, many people would prefer a Tesla SUV with more conventional openings. Let’s not call it the “Model X’. In fact, call it whatever you want. Model B or C or D. I really don’t care. (There’s 22 unused letters of the English alphabet to choose from, once we’ve exhausted the S-E-X-Y, after all. More than enough options. Maybe even try something Greek. The Model Kappa?)
            The point is that the market for a long distance electric SUV is huge, and they will be able to sell as many of them as they can make, at huge margins, for years to come. They can leverage about 90-95%% of the R&D and tooling costs that have already been sunk into the X platform, to create an entirely “new” vehicle that is likely to have a greater market than the S and the X combined. The risks associated with this strategy are very low, and the potential rewards are very high.

            On the other hand, demanding a falcon-or-nothign approach is already turning away many potential buyers. And it threatens the long-term viability of the company due to the high risk of “hidden future costs”.
            There are some very thorny problems inherent in the design of the falcon wing doors. I (and many others) have listed them at some length and I don’t wish to hijack this thread by repeating them all here.

            I have no problem with accepting that some people REALLY like the falcon doors, and I hope for their sake that the risks can be mitigated.
            What I cannot understand is why people who would prefer “normal” doors should be forced to accept something they don’t want. Why the hostility towards people who have different preferences?
            What does it cost you if someone were to get a Tesla “Model Kappa” with normal doors? How does it affect you? Why would you care? I don’t mean to sound rude; I’m genuinely curious…
            I really don’t understand the quasi-religious zealotry of the pro-Falcon faction, especially now that Elon has basically admitted that they were a mistake.

          • Whoah! Hold your horses there, pardner! I’m not getting hostile and certainly not requiring anyone to go along with the idea that falcon wing doors are awesome and are better ergonomically than sliding doors or traditional doors (which, of course, they are. 🙂 ). I’ve stood in the driving rain under the shelter of a falcon wing door, climbed easily into the third row seat while staying dry and thought, “why didn’t anyone else come up with this?” And BTW, no I don’t own one. I cancelled my order due to it not fitting in my driveway (we have a really narrow driveway).

            I’m saying that Elon had a vision and brought that vision to reality, and that vision, for the Model X, included falcon wing doors. They are integral to the design of the X. Trying to slap on regular doors to the X now would mean going back to the drawing board with a redesign, which Tesla cannot do at this point as it would mean taking their eye off the ball: delivering an affordable long range EV.

            The Model S showed that electric cars could be sexy, and go on extended road trips, and perform and handle better than ICE cars. The Model X showed that minivans (SUVs/CUVs) could be cool (and electric) and sexy, with better performance and handling than their ICE counterparts. And while I think the lack of folding middle row seats was a mistake (form trumping functionality), I think the FWD was a stroke of genius. Any other manufacturer would have bailed out and gone for something more traditional – and easier to build. And different from what was promised.

            Yes, Elon made a promise – every production car we build will be as good or better than the prototype. He promised the world falcon wing doors in 2012. And over the next three and a half years, he reiterated that promise time and again. And around 30,000 people put a deposit down on the Model X based on that promise (or for some, perhaps, in spite of it), and Tesla delivered on that vision.

            I don’t recall Musk ever saying the Falcon Wing Doors were a mistake. He has said that the Model X has been incredibly difficult to build. And that in hindsight maybe they put “too much” into the car. But he never said that the FWDs were a mistake. They offer ergonomic advantages and increase the cool factor (which increases excitement and media coverage), which furthers the mission by adding to the mystique of the brand and builds demand. And since FWDs were promised, Tesla could not abandon them.

            And since FWDs were required, traditional doors could not be offered. How much longer would it have taken to design two versions of the Model X – one with and one without falcon wing doors? Certainly not twice as long, but it would have taken significantly longer than it did to put out a single model. The frame design would be different, weight distribution and load different, a whole different set of parts (door panels, hinges, interior parts, etc.) for the other version, a whole different set of programming for the welding bots, independent alpha and beta testing of two different models, independent safety testing of two different models.

            As large as the company has gotten, Tesla is still basically a souped up start-up, and they wouldn’t have had the manpower to build both versions at the same time, without slipping even more in their delivery. At some point (maybe with the Model Y?) Tesla may offer an SUV with traditional doors. But I don’t think it’s reasonable (or realistic) to expect them to work on an alternate version of the X that has them now (or soon), when all of their available resources should be committed to finishing the Model 3.

            At some point, let’s hope that Tesla has the luxury of offering something for everyone. But they’re not going to get there without thinking differently and doing things differently from the competition. And nothing says “different” like falcon wing doors. You’re welcome to disagree, of course. But that’s my two cents.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I’ve stood in the driving rain under the shelter of a falcon wing door, climbed easily into the third row seat while staying dry ”

            I suspect the falcon wing doors are going to be a huge hit with people who need to load small children into car seats. And people with older relatives who find it difficult to get in and out of normal car doors.

          • Cool… someone actually reads my comments. Thanks, Bob. And yes, I agree. 🙂

          • Bob_Wallace

            I read your comments because I often find something valuable in them.

            Actually I read all (almost all) the comments on this site. And, unfortunately, many have no useful content. ;o)

            When I play the “if Elon let me make the decisions” game I see me ordering up a study on the feasibility of fitting the Mod3 with a pair of falcon wing doors. Easy access to both front and rear seats. Rain protection. That would be a pretty radical design and Elon has made some sort of a statement about the Mod3 being different from other cars.

            Would be a big hit, or lack of hits, with people riding bikes. No doors opening up and wiping you out. No doors stuck on high curbs. No doors blocked by telephone poles or parking meters. No fighting doors if parked on a slant or if the wind is howling.

            Other than potentially higher costs I can’t find a downside for falcon wing doors.

          • The hints we’ve gotten so far lead me to believe that the Model 3 will be a little less “risky” than the X, which to me implies no falcon wing doors. Also, although they’ve probably solved most of the falcon wing door design challenges, they do still take up a fair amount of the overhead structure of the X, limiting the available headroom. This is particularly true in the middle seat in the second row, above which the primary support structure for the FWDs is located.

            To put FWDs into a smaller car and still keep headroom intact is going to take some redesign work. And it will most likely add expense as they’d probably have to make the FWDs out of aluminum to keep them light (which is more expensive than steel). I think Tesla needs to be just a little less ambitious right now with the Model 3 design. I don’t mean they should slap a Tesla badge on something that looks like a Ford Focus or a Toyota Corolla, but leave the FWDs to the SUV that is based on the same platform (Model Y). That way the extra height required won’t be a problem.

          • neroden

            I see no evidence that the stupid pop-out door handles prevented anyone from buying a Model S, but I know of dozens of people who wanted to buy the car because of them.

            The Wing Doors are the same. I’ve never encountered anyone who said “Yeah, I’d buy the car, but I won’t because of those Wing Doors” — but the doors have certainly sold a lot of cars.

            From a marketing point of view, they’re a complete success.

          • ROBwithaB

            I’m not sure where you encounter the people who make up your sample, but I can assure you the sentiment is common even amongst those who are supportive of the Tesla mission.
            There’s ample evidence on the Tesla Motors Club pages, including numerous reservation holders who went so far as to cancel until the issues are definitively resolved.
            I don’t remember the exact name of the thread, but it had the word “meh” in the title…
            One can consider that there might well be a large silent majority, who prefer not to risk ridicule and and hatred from the “wingmen” online, who keep their opinions to themselves and exercise their opinions by simply buying something else.

          • ROBwithaB

            You’ve just encountered one. Moi.
            There’s quite a few more on the TMC forums. Self-described fans of the company, many of whom already own the Model S.
            Quite a few up in Norway. Many of whom have decided to cancel their orders on the X, after further reflection. These are people who put down cash deposits, and waited for years. Who are ardent environmentalists. Who are completely sold on the brand, the all-wheel snowy road-holding capabilities, the advantages of electric mobility etc etc.
            Fans, not FUDders.
            Seems like there are a fair number of people, especially in egalitarian, socially progressive places like Scandinavia, who don’t like to draw too much attention to themselves. Even if they can afford a very expensive car. Or rather, especially if they can afford such a car….

            Anyway, here’s a video with over 100k views. Lots of comments. Opinion seems to be divided about 50/50 on the doors.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYLJxzDoGmc
            As can be seen whenever they stop to park, there is absolutely no doubt that the wingdoors are a crowd puller.
            But they would still be just as effective at creating a statement if there were other options available too.
            Let those who want the doors, seats and windscreen have them. And then lets expand the addressable market by providing some other options too.
            It’s not INSTEAD of. It’s in addition to.
            None of the advantages of the falcon doors would be diminished if regular doors were also available as an option.

          • ROBwithaB

            So here’s an entire thread on TMC: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/very-difficult-decision-canceling-my-sig-x-reservation.54868/

            Initially it was started about the second row seats, but the wing doors certainly got their fair share of criticism.
            Here’s a typical comment, from EVger: “The MX was billed as a utility vehicle, but utility has been
            compromised. I am concerned about technological solutions in search of
            problems. The falcon wing doors and the automatic door opening are
            cool, but of no interest to me”

            {People are concerned about long-term reliability, amongst other things.

      • neroden

        I think there probably will be another model or two. The Model P (Pickup Truck) will be a big deal.

        I doubt they’re thinking past the Model 3 and 500K/year, though.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’d bet you Tesla has mapped out the next 20 years or more.

          Obviously that map would change over time but I think Tesla has thought out the route to becoming one of the very largest car manufacturers. And they’ll likely go there if the other manufacturers sit on their butts too long.

          I remember when Toyotas were kind of joke cars and looked down on outside of Japan. They moved from there to being a huge manufacturer in not much more than 20 years.

          • neroden

            I’m actually quite sure they haven’t mapped it out. There’s been far too much seat-of-the-pants improvising done already (the Service Center and Supercharger expansions are deeply unplanned) for them to have mapped it out.

            I’m sure they have some extremely vague plans, but extremely vague.

          • Bob_Wallace

            They’re already working on additional manufacturing facilities and battery factories. Probably a battery factory in South Africa and a car plant in China.

            These are not seat of the pants people. They’re deep thinkers. Sure, sometimes problems arise and they have to rethink. But look at how well they thought out their basic business model. No dealerships, free upgrades, safety and performance in addition to being EVs,….

          • neroden

            Those are extremely vague seat-of-the-pants plans. Yeah, they’re planning a car factory in Europe and one in China, which is a big “duh”, and they’re planning additional battery factories on various continents, but I think they haven’t actually picked continents yets.

            Look, I own a Tesla; I believe you don’t. I was worried about the potential disappearance of the company and service for my car, and I’ve followed the company in extreme detail as a result. They’ve made some really dumb business model mistakes which I’ve watched them go through in detail; the number of times they’ve changed their warranty and service policies demonstrates a complete lack of forethought. They’re actually pirating a major portion of their software, *which is available for free*, because their legal department are idiots and hasn’t complied with the licenses.

            They ARE seat-of-the-pants folks — they’re just very good engineers. The two often go together, actually. I still think they’ll succeed wildly, but trust me, they are doing a lot less advance planning than you think they are.

    • peter904

      apsley. Hate to sound like a BMW fanboy but the best answer your question is to compare the sales of 3 Series BMW sedans with the X3 CUVs.

  • ROBERT GOUDREAU

    Sorry ,the model 3 will not be 35K, more 55 to 60K

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sure, Robert.

      Tesla says $35k but you know better….

      • peter904

        BW. Tesla says the base MSRP will be $35K and that is where it starts. Do you want nav, sunroof, leather, supercharging, autonomous drive, smart-active suspension, special paint …? Plus there are destination fees.

        The BMW 3 Series, a car and whose buyers Tesla is targeting, has an MSRP range from $32-80K! Yes BMW’s have a $32K base price but that is where the bidding starts.

        • Ding ding ding! We have a winner. 🙂 I expect the average sell price of the Model 3 (particularly in the first year) to be closer to $50K. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The base Model S 70 kWh version at $70K is an excellent car, with all the essentials, including supercharger-aware navigation. But a full loaded P90D is even better. For twice the price. They’re both a Model S, but the top of the line model is appreciably better than the base model. The same will be true for the Model 3. Auto Pilot, Supercharging, extended range, upgraded audio… I’m expecting all of these things to raise the price on the Model 3, but it doesn’t mean that the base model is somehow “crippled.”

        • nitpicker357

          MSRP, meaning Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, is an odd “thing” (initialism?) to use with respect to Teslas. Tesla doesn’t “suggest” a price, they sell at a price.

          • peter904

            nitpicker357. True, in Tesla’s case it is the “Retail Price” for BMW and others it is the MSRP.You are correct, I was just using as a relative term to compare Tesla and BMW prices, my apologies for generalizing.

          • Joe Viocoe

            It’s not even retail price as must people think of it. It’s a factory price, and it’s the same price as wholesale.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s not really wholesale. The selling price has to cover the cost of showrooms. Wholesale assumes the final sales costs will be added to the wholesale price.

          • Joe Viocoe

            The showrooms are corporate owned, the sales staff do not have commissions. That is the benefit of a direct sales model.
            The selling price is completely separate from the cost of the showroom.

            THAT is why a Tesla costs the same whether your at a showroom in San Francisco (where rents, salary and everything costs more)… or Atlanta (much cheaper everything).

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, but there are costs. And costs for the service centers.

            For other car manufacturers this is not the case. The sales/service costs are covered by the dealers once the cars are wholesaled to them.

            (This is nitpicking….)

          • Joe Viocoe

            Certainly nitpicking. But I suppose we fell for nitpicker357’s plan.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yep, but playing with details can be fun. Not necessarily a worthwhile expenditure of time, but fun. I’ll take that over video games.

            MSRP is a funny number. It’s just a recommendation and probably intentionally set too high so that dealers can “slash” it. Goes back to the ruling that prohibits producers from controlling the price their products are sold for by a second party.

          • Joe Viocoe

            Yeah…. the MSRP has profits baked in for the dealer. Their whole plan is to convince people it is the same as “at cost”, or “invoice pricing”… which is still higher than what the cost would be straight from the manufacturer.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think there’s anything more dishonest than the car dealership system.

            At least the loan sharks are really clear as to what the vig is and what they’ll do to you if you don’t pay. And most drug dealers are cash and carry.

          • neroden

            The vast majority of Tesla’s service costs are warranty repairs and are funded out of the warranty reserves.

          • ROBwithaB

            I believe the word you’re looking for is “acronym”.

    • JB

      The Model 3 starts at $35,000 in the US

    • David K

      Only if you get all of the fancy stuff.

      • peter904

        David K. “Only if you get all of the fancy stuff.” Are you expecting a $35K MSRP Tesla Model 3 to be fully loaded? I expect a $35K Model 3 to have more content than a Bolt, Leaf, eGolf, etc. but the fancy stuff (navigation, leather, sunroof, etc.) comes with an added price.

        • I think they may do what they did with the Model S 70 kWH model and include navigation in the base model. Before the 70 came out, I believe the nav required the optional tech package. Even if the actual super charger access itself is an add-on fee, having supercharger-aware navigation is pretty important for long distance trips. Or maybe they’ll roll navigation and supercharging-access into one “long distance driving” package?

          • peter904

            Chris. I agree nav is important on a Tesla but they will charge extra for it. Look at the base BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. That is the target, not the Bolt or any other BEV. Nav is too expensive to give away.

            It will be very important for Tesla to be able to profitably build/ market a $35K Model 3. The profits from all those options will be icing on the cake.BMW’s funky i3 is going to be in a world of hurt when the Model 3 arrives – look at the i3’s MSRP $42-55K !!!!! For a 80+ mile range and 150 with the ER ICE. Can you image how a 320/328 BMW or Audi A4 with ICE is going to compete with a Model 3? Just look at the sales numbers for Model S and the Porsche Panamera.

            Lastly, BMW, Chevy, Nissan, VW, Kia can play the old auto game of leasing with subvented rates- Tesla can’t. In the sales race, leases count the same as sales. The corporate bean counters can bury and hide the losses.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You can buy a freestanding GPS on Amazon for $33.

            The cost of adding navigation to a Mod3 should be about 49 cents. It’s nothing but some lines of code. The touchscreen and connectivity is already included in the car. Might take a bit more RAM.

          • But the same could be said for Auto Pilot. The sensors and control systems are there on the Model S and X but they charge $2500 (or $3000 after the fact) to enable the software. If something has value, you can charge for it. The actual materials cost for Auto Pilot is probably pretty low, but the development cost is not. So charge only those who want to use it. The only reason I think they might include nav on the base Model 3 is that they are doing that now on the Model S. But the Model S is twice the price, so who knows?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nav is pretty much standard on new cars today, isn’t it? At least on cars selling for more than $25k.

            And the Teslas will need nav to find Supercharger stations.

            I just don’t see it making any sense for Tesla to sell limited function EVs at this point in time. They need a basic $35k EV that just blows people away.

          • Kraylin

            Navigation is not standard in any car that I looked at recently but of course I didn’t look at anywhere near all of them. I bought/leased a 50,000 Mercedes and it was very much an option, not standard.

            As mentioned above Tesla’s Model 3 will likely already include an large screen interface and so the cost for them to add Navigation would be negligible. That doesn’t mean they can’t/shouldn’t charge a grand or two for it.

            The comment that stand alone GPS’s can be bought for cheap… well can’t argue there but no way in am I going to plaster some piece of junk to my windshield in any new car…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think the point was that eliminating navigation would allow Tesla to get the Mod3 price down to $35k. My point is that navigation in a car that already has a screen and connectivity would cost next to nothing. Perhaps a bit more RAM to do the computing.

            As for ‘plastering some piece of junk’ – I’m very happy owning a GPS that I take out of the console and stick next to the rear view mirror when I’m in strange territory and don’t want to drive around with a map spread over the steering wheel. ;o)

            Tesla sold ~50,000 EVs in 2015? Average price $80,000? Average GPM ~25%. One billion profit.

            By 2020 they should be selling ~400,000 Mod3/Y EVs per year. Average price $40,000? Perhaps an average 10% GPM. 1.6 billion. Plus a couple billion from selling 100,000 ModS/X.

            I’m thinking Tesla will make the Mod3 as nice as possible for $35k and accept a much smaller GPM. Perhaps less than 10%. Tesla’s goal is to revolutionize personal transportation, not create a massive number of new billionaires.

            I can see them setting a very high standard for EVs and forcing other car companies to follow them. If the others don’t gear up quickly I can see Tesla producing millions of cars per year by 2025. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen a company purposed for disruption rather than profit before.

          • “I think the point was that eliminating navigation would allow Tesla to get the Mod3 price down to $35k.” We may be beating a dead horse at this point, but the *cost* of the Model 3 will be what it is regardless of whether they charge or don’t charge for NAV. Just as the *cost* of the Model 3 will likely be the same whether or not people choose Autopilot. Assuming that the Model 3 does have an Autopilot option (which I believe it will), it’s likely that all Model 3s off the line will have the cameras and sensors built-in and you’ll have to pay something to enable the software. The same goes for the nav.

            By charging for nav, or rolling it into a “tech package” they will be able to raise the average selling price, and be more profitable. As others have said, built-in NAV is still optional on many (most?) cars. Buyers are already prepared to pay a little extra to get it, so why not charge for it? Yes, they include it now in the base model S, but that’s a $70K+ car, not a $35K car.

            We may not have the answer to this question until the actual design studio for the Model 3 goes live for deposit holders (on November 1, 2017, according to my finely honed prognostication skills), but I would not be disappointed if they charge for it. Peace out!

          • Actually, I’m hoping there’s an option for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for better integration with a phone. Or some way of downloading apps that will run natively on the touch screen. Can you imagine supercharger-aware WAZE running on that big screen? 🙂

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m not sure why people add navigation in that list. Leather seats, sunroofs, upgraded stereo systems, sure. But one can buy a GPS with annually upgraded maps for just a bit over $50. The Mod3 will already have computers and a display screen. It will have connectivity. Tesla will already be maintaining the navigational system for the S and X, there would be no additional cost for sending the info to the 3 except for some minor bandwidth use.

        • BillW

          Some level of GPS navigation is standard on every EV. This allows it to be integrated with the car’s range computation, so the GPS can tell you whether you have the range to make it to your destination, and direct you to a charging station if you don’t. That’s less of an issue with 200-mile range, of course, but it’s still an issue.

          On the BMW i3, there are two “levels” of navigation system available, a base one and an “upgraded” one with more features. Tesla might follow this example for the Model 3.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The nice thing is that we are only a couple of weeks from knowing a lot more details.

        If Tesla is going to start taking reservations in about 16 days from now they will have to tell people what the first produced Mod3s will cost, what features they will have.

        I’m less interested in whether any of the first releases will be the basic $35k version buy how Tesla is going to handle the Supercharger issue. I think all Teslas need some access to the SC system. Perhaps the lowest cost version will have only limited access, enough to do ‘normal’ long distance driving. If someone wants to use a Mod3 as a taxi/delivery vehicle they might have to pay for more access.

        • neroden

          A lot of owners — the ones who don’t take road trips — never need Supercharger access. I’ve only used Superchargers four times in three years, and one was just for the novelty value.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if it is an extra-cost option. It’s one way to keep the base price down.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I just watched a video on Tesla battery swapping. Right up front Musk said that Supercharging would always be free. I don’t think Tesla will be willing to give up free SC use for their Mod3s. At most they might limit the number of annual uses and sell higher use options.

            Let’s assume a high user (not taxi/delivery service) would drive 500 miles 2 days a month. 500 miles out and back. That’s 170 x 4 x 12 miles worth of SC use. 8,160 miles and at 0.3 kWh per mile an annual total of 2,448 kWh. To provide that you’d need about 1.5 kW of solar panels. About $2,000. Average that in with people like you who rarely use the system and it might take $1k per car to install enough panels to provide all the electricity. And those panels are going to outlast the cars so over time the amount needed for new panels will drop. (Profits will grow.)

          • neroden

            They used to charge extra for Supercharger access with Model S. There are still Model S’s out there which aren’t “Supercharger Authorized”. I don’t see why he wouldn’t do that again.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Originally they made SC access an option for the lowest cost models. Tesla quit doing that and included SC access with all sales.

            I think Tesla would be foolish to abandon SC access. It’s likely to be a huge market advantage.

          • Nissan Leaf sells pretty well without a free high speed charging infrastructure, and Model 3 will have roughly twice the range. Home/work charging is adequate for 95%+ of US driving needs, particularly on a car with 200 miles range per charge. AFAIK, most EV owners own more than one car in their household and use their EV for daily driving while they can use an ICE for trips (Tesla owners being the exception as they can use their cars for both). I think Tesla needs need to trim a lot out of the Model 3 in order to hit the $35K price point, one of those things being Supercharger access. Yes, it’s a competitive advantage for Tesla, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t charge for it. It’s something that not all owners need so why should it be rolled into the cost of every car? Also, can you imagine the Supercharger lines if Tesla starts include SC access on every Model 3? I say charge for it and use the money to build out more Superchargers. And allow owners to add the option later if they find they need it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think one can make much of a case around the Leaf selling pretty well while lacking a free high speed charging infrastructure. There is no competitor with similar range/cost and free rapid charging. How well do you think the Leaf would have sold if there was another company selling a 100 mile range EV for the same price but offering ‘free’ rapid charging?

            I think there will be a huge psychological boost created by free rapid charging. Many people might rarely use it but I suspect most people overestimate the amount of long trips they will take with their new car.

            I’ve played with the math. I doubt that the Supercharger system, including purchasing electricity, costs Tesla $2,000 per car. And I suspect that once they have built out the SC system and SolarCity comes online with its cheaper panels Tesla will start investing in solar farms.

            Can I imagine the lines? No. What I can imagine is one SC bay for every 100 Teslas sold. Lots of SC bays in restaurant parking lots along the major travel routes. I can imagine SC sites popping up like mushrooms after a warm spring rain.

            What you want to do, IMO, is get all Tesla owners to buy into the system. Then those who rarely use the system will help offset electricity prices for those who use it a lot.

            Tesla has been super smart with their approach. Rather than waiting for a second party to build a charging system or raising the capital needed to build the system they’ve set it up so that their car buyers pay for the system up front.

            Anyway, we should know one way or the other in less than two weeks. Jolly fun….

    • I guess we’ll see on March 31. Tesla said the Model X would be a “small premium above the Model S” and it turned out to be $5K more ($75K for Model S 70D, $80K for Model X 70D), so that was about right. But cutting the cost in half is a very aggressive goal, even for a car that is smaller and lighter, with a much smaller battery pack. But if you read Vance’s bio of Musk, you’ll see that at both SpaceX and Tesla, they’ve managed to hit even more aggressive cost savings goals. So I think he (they) can do it.

    • eveee

      Will you retract that statement after Tesla introduces the Model 3 and accepts reservations for less than 55k on March 31?

  • eveee

    Nice article, Chris. Well said. I often wondered if EVs were the first truly recyclable cars. A battery change and their off and running for another lifetime.

    • One-Of-A-Kind

      Don’t kid yourself. You’re still in for a whole bus of new parts if you want your “another lifetime”.

      Bushings
      Ball Joints
      Sway Bar Links
      Shocks & Struts
      Brake Calipers
      Flexible Brake Lines
      Rotors
      Wheel Bearings
      Drive Axles
      Outer Tie Rods
      Differential (yes, an EV has one of these)
      AC Compressor
      Power Steering Motor (many cars today already have electric power steering)
      Window motors
      HVAC blend door Actuators
      Headlamps
      Heater
      Blower Motor
      A/C Seals
      Door seals
      Steering Wheel Clock Spring

      this is just to name a few… of the wearable parts on ANY car.

      • Joe Viocoe

        And as an automobile mechanic, it must pain you to think that the future will have only these few service items to make a living.

      • eveee

        Lets not go to extremes. Shocks, struts, calipers, rotors, headlamps are all normal replacement items. They are normal wear items. They could be recyclable. Those go the same for both EV and ICE. Many automotive items are returned with a core and one can purchase rebuilt items. Thats a good idea.

        On the semi permanent items, drive motor? Thats unrealistic. Motors are just about the longest lasting item you can have. Thats a major reason EVs are the ideal recyclable vehicle. You just about cannot wear out well a designed motor. There is rotating machinery developed at the turn of the twentieth century that is still operable. The only wear item is bearings.

        The rest have varying replacement and wear familiar to those with older vehicles, most longer than a single lifetime. LED headlamps should last a great deal longer than incandescent.

        Certainly things like tires, brake pads, struts, and windshield wipers are wear items. Sometimes their cores can be recycled.

        In relative terms, not absolute ones, an EV is far more recyclable than an ICE. That literally amounts to thousands of gallons of non renewable fossil fuel vs the potential for none. That is a vast difference, the scale of which dwarfs any consideration of windshield wipers or other replaceable items.

        The DeLorean introduced the stainless steel exterior that obviates the need for paint. Once the vehicle core has potential for recyclability, the rest has potential. The ICE really lacks the potential for true recyclability. It really isnt a recyclable car at all.

      • neroden

        Most of these things don’t need to be replaced for 100,000 miles or even much more. The others (rubber bits mostly) don’t need to be replaced for 10 years.

        If you’re a low-usage driver, replacing the rubber bits after 10 years will cost you so little that you’ll do it rather than buying a new car.

        If you’re a high-usage driver, replacing the wear components on a car whose frame and body will still be good for years more — this probably makes sense too.

        If you’re a middle usage driver and they all wear out at once, maybe not….

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    “Tesla cars (as well as many other hybrids and EVs) use the friction caused by slowing the car to recharge the batteries”.
    No they don’t. You are obviously thinking of regenerative braking but friction has nothing to do with that process. For those unfamiliar with how this works: The moving car has kinetic energy (just how much is given by the formula energy=(mv^2)/2 where m is the 2100kg mass of the car and v is the velocity of that mass). The motor(s) used to accelerate the car to velocity v can be employed as an alternator and will turn that kinetic energy back into electrical energy, putting charge back into the traction battery while reducing kinetic energy of the vehicle i.e. the car slows. No need for the friction brakes to be employed until the last second or so unless you need to slow down in a hurry then the regenerative braking as set up in a Model S is too mild so the conventional car brakes can be used.

    • nordlyst

      The force in both cases coming from the electric field surrounding the rotor, not friction (which is itself a specific subclass of electromagnetic force).

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Not sure what you mean when you say friction is a sub class of electromagnetic force. Friction is not an electromagnetic force but it does arise from the action of electromagnetic forces at the atomic level.

        • ROBwithaB

          There are those who would argue that EVERYTHING is based on electromagnetic forces. Quantum physics, and all that…

        • “without friction, there would be no love.” -me

    • Mike

      I’m sure the author was just taking liberties with the term ‘friction’ — which might be easier for the reader to understand/visualize. Probably a bit easier than explaining AC induction motor field positioning and induction slip ratios.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Sorry but I fail to see how making a statement that is not only patently false but also misleading in any way makes a concept easier to understand.

        • camosoul

          Because most people these days are an extra special kind of stupid, and you have to oversimplify to the point of falsehood, or just give them something false that they can understand, or you can’t reach them. Its ugly, but true. I don’t want to lie, but some people are too detached from reality. I have to do it with my own customers. Trying to explain/educate only offends them.

          • Philip W

            Sorry but that’s the worst possible explanation. Telling stupid people wrong stuff is just terrible. They’ll read it and spread it everywhere thinking they’re specialists in that field (look at climate deniers, that comment on so many articles).

            He should’ve written: “use their electric motor as a generator to slow it down and recharge the batteries”

        • Mike

          Consider the following sentence:

          “Jen and I had a big fight last night, now I feel like there is friction between us”

          Is this statement patently false? Is this statement misleading? Is this statement scientifically correct?

          Is there REALLY ‘friction’ between Jen and I? Of course not… It is a colloquial phrase. Taking a term that normally applies to two physical surfaces interacting, and applying it instead to two magnetic fields interacting should not cause you this much heart burn. This is essentially a non-scientific internet blog — I would never be tempted to argue that articles written here should be held up to a scientific standard, and neither should you.

          • Philip W

            “I would never be tempted to argue that articles written here should be held up to a scientific standard”

            I would. Or wouldn’t you complain when cleantechnica wrote that the earth is flat?

          • Mike

            I see we have hit an equivocation fallacy here on “Scientific Standard” — I should have seen that coming.

          • Philip W

            No idea what you mean. But since you didn’t answer my question I have to assume you would be ok with that.

          • Mike

            The fact that you have lost the plot gives me some indication on why we hit the equivocation fallacy to begin with.

          • Philip W

            I have ‘lost the plot’ because I’m not a native speaker in english and have never heard that phrase. So poor of you to judge me on that.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            You hold us all up to a higher standard than we do of ourselves. On the other hand we don’t judge you. Speaking for myself. 🙂

          • Philip W

            He basically implied I’m an idiot because I don’t know one phrase which I see as a personal attack and you liked that comment.

            May Mike find happiness in his superior english skills. I’m done.

          • Mike

            Phillip I feel you started this conversation at, or very near, the end of your patience. I never implied you were an idiot. I was implying that you misinterpreted my line of thinking on the topic, and therefore we had a disconnect.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            People do that because they get frustrated and it is a quick way of answering. It takes a better person to take a step back and reply coherently addressing the real issues.

            I probably put a plus on more conversations than anybody else on CleanTechnica. Sometimes just to show I read it and don’t disagree too much. It is a good place to exchange opinions.

            You seem to take the English language as a pure math. Most American’s have enough problem just writing something coherent they don’t get things exactly right. They rely on the reader to get the overview and fill in the gaps. However on the internet there are lots of asses who will jump on every gap as if it were important. I know I leave lots of gaps in what I write. Sometimes I reread and rewrite and rewrite. Often though I just leave it be and if somebody wants to jump on the little stuff that’s fine. Perhaps it is a sign of respect. (Not likely but who has the time to fight with these people.)

            I enjoyed our conversation about München yesterday. Not enough Baravian’s here and we need more! So come on back and add knowledge and/or learn with the rest of us.

          • Philip W

            Yeah I try to be as good as possible in english, but writing and talking can be a real trouble sometimes when you’re missing vocabulary and have to look up words first.

            I just got a bit pissed when I explicitly stated that I don’t know a phrase and instead of an explanation I got something that felt like an insult. But it’s okay, I don’t like to stay pissed for long that’s just a waste of energy 🙂

            I’ll definitely come back, don’t worry.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Good. If you don’t know a phrase I’ll gladly try to help.

          • Mike

            I can’t see how any reasonable person would conclude that I had any knowledge of your background, and proceeded to judge you on the basis of that knowledge. I am a native English speaker, and nothing in the way you execute the language gives me the impression you aren’t a native English speaker. (I’m not calling you a liar, I am expressing my sincere lack of knowledge on your background, and thereby demonstrating I couldn’t possibly have been judging you on it)

          • ROBwithaB

            The “Technica” part of the site name might imply that we can reasonably expect a certain amount of scientific rigour.
            I’m one of those that finds the articles a little lightweight in the science department. Surely, in the educated world, we can take a certain amount of scientific literacy for granted?
            On the whole, this article was very well written anresearched. The use of confusing terminology is a small blight, that would be easy to correct. Admit the mistake, and move on. Which is exactly what the author did.
            No need to get into a full-on flame war in the comments.

          • Mike

            I agree, there is no need to get into a full-on flame war in the comments, which is why no one here did that.

    • Rob Zwald

      Oh, I generally knew all that… I just let it go because I realized the author was just going for simplicity and fewer words. I got the gist.

    • Point taken. I will suggest a change to the wording to my editor. 🙂

      • neroden

        I would say “when going downhill or slowing down, the motor turns into an electric generator”. Which is accurate.

    • EVpatrick

      He’s not talking about friction brakes. I believe he’s referring to the friction between the road and the tires.
      That is exactly where the force is coming from to turn the motor to generate the electricity to charge the battery.
      The force due to friction equals the mass x acceleration (in this case deceleration).
      Without friction regenerative braking does not occur. Friction also comes in handy if you ever want to accelerate or turn.
      The statement is correct.

  • Bob Scaglione

    Well written Chris, as usual.

  • owlafaye

    The manufacturers of LEAF and similar low range electric vehicles don’t seem to see the handwriting on the wall. Sales will take a huge nosedive soon and we will relegate them to automotive history.

    I suspect that before Tesla’s model 3 is offered for sale, (Which will take 1-1/2 years) its range will have been enhanced by 50 to 80 miles. The Model 3 is poised to lead a stampede into the electric vehicle market of the world.

    It appears that every thing Elon Musk does has a built in, ever bearing focus on quality.

    • Frank

      If the quality happens, these are going to become fabulous used cars once Tesla eventually catches up with new car demand.

      • neroden

        Used Model Ses are selling in the $60K+ range. I figure Model 3 will cause that price to drop but it’ll probably stop dropping when it hits $35K, the cost of a new Model 3. (There will be some serious weirdness due to the phaseout of the tax credit, so it might dip and then go back up.)

        I wouldn’t dare to guess what a used Model 3 will sell for. But used Model S is already competing with new ICE cars in the same price range. Used Model 3 will probably start eating large portions of the $20K-$30K new car market.

    • Nissan’s Leaf keeps getting better range. The latest estimates I’ve seen are for the Leaf to have around 150 miles range in the 2018 model year. But who’s to say Nissan won’t have a step up luxury model with greater range (and they’ll call it the “Needle” because it’s evergreen, you know pine needles). 🙂 Also, Tesla’s goal of 200 miles “real world” range for the Model 3 would mean an EPA rang of somewhere north of 225 miles. This is a really aggressive goal for that price point. Yes, the Model 3 should be at least 20% smaller and lighter than the Model S, and that 200-mile range is significantly lower than the smallest battery pack option in the Model S, both of which factors contribute to a smaller (and cheaper) battery pack. And the gigafactory will be at least partially operational by then, leading to further reductions in battery cost. But let’s keep in mind that the cheapest Model S is $70K, so reaching the $35K price point for a Tesla is going to be a phenomenal feat.

  • neroden

    Worth noting that the $7500 federal tax credit will almost certainly phase out during the first year of Model 3 production. So for people who buy the car after the first year, it really will cost $35,000.

    • Steve Grinwis

      Ontario has a new $14k rebate though…

    • That is possible but depends on a number of factors. The current Federal tax credit for EVs begins to be phased out the second quarter *after* the specific manufacturer sells its 200,000th car in the US. To date, Tesla has sold fewer than 70,000 cars in the US (including Model S, Model X and Roadster). An optimistic estimate of US combined sales of Model S and Model X would be 35,000 additional units by the end of 2016 (March to December) and perhaps 50,000 additional units in 2017 of Model S and X. I’m assuming only a handful of Model 3s will be delivered in 2017. So that would mean that there would be around 50,000 slots left for Tesla cars at the beginning of 2018. Combined demand and production of Model X, Model S and Model 3 is really difficult to predict, but even if they ramp up their total combined production and sales rate in the US to 20,000 total cars per quarter in Q1 and Q2 of 2018 (which is no mean feat), it would still be the third quarter of 2018 before Tesla hit 200K sales in US. And this means all Teslas sold in Q4 2018 would still be eligible for 100% of that $7500 credit. The next two quarters *AFTER* that, the credit is reduced to $3750 (50%) and the next two quarters after *that* the credit is reduced to $1875 (25%), and that takes us out to the end of 2019. So I think it’s likely the Federal tax credit will apply for all Teslas (at least in part) until the end of 2019. And there are additional incentives in many states that bring the costs down even further. But that said, I’m putting my deposit down on a Model 3 on March 31. I don’t want to wait until 2019 for mine!

      • Otis11

        Thanks for the details!

      • ROBwithaB

        Your analysis is sound.
        However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some extension of the federal rebate, albeit in a slightly different form. (e.g. aimed toward more affordable cars, and middle class taxpayers)

      • neroden

        Thanks for the correction — I was probably too optimistic about the ramp-up. They could hit 200K US sales as early as Q1 of 2018, if the ramp-up goes well.

        But I miscalculated. That would mean there’s still a reduced credit through Q2 of 2019, so thanks for the correction.

        Of course, if Tesla’s close to hitting the phaseout, Tesla could deliberately do geographical batching to send more cars abroad and not hit the phaseout until the next quarter, so they could probably push it out another quarter.

    • Digitalfix

      They may extend those incentives…

      • John Moore

        Do you mean the gubment?

      • ROBwithaB

        Indeed. Although, to succeed politically, one suspects that they might be tailored towards “hardworking American families”. To avoid the accusations that they’re subsiding toys for the 1%. So, one would expect a price cap, or sliding incentives. And probably an income cap.
        Just in time for the Model 3…

    • Rob Zwald

      And that is why Tesla always says $35K BEFORE incentives. I expect the Model 3 will be more than competitive with ICE vehicles at the same price point.

    • ROBwithaB

      Perhaps it will START to phase out during the first year.
      Perhaps Tesla will push S and X deliveries to other parts of the world once they start nearing the US delivery ceiling.
      And perhaps the federal rebate will be extended. (My guess is that it will align more closely with the recent amendments to the Californian scheme, favouring lower cost EVs and lower income families.)

  • JamesWimberley

    On the specs, it certainly looks good. But a note of caution on quality. Tesla build a very good upmarket car. But keeping the same standards on a mass-market car built to a much lower price target is a different challenge. I’m sure they realize this and will make every effort. But success is not guaranteed.

    • David K

      The “Gigafactory” will help with that, and it’ll be built before 2020

      • Rob Zwald

        It better be ready for the Model 3, that’s the intent. Late 2017 hopefully.

        • neroden

          The Gigafactory is apparently ahead of schedule, unlike everything else Tesla is doing. I’d actually be more worried about setting up the main car production line at the Tesla Factory.

          • ROBwithaB

            I wonder if they’re planning to do a completely new assembly line for the 3. With the exception of the paint shop maybe.
            Kinda makes sense to keep them separate, if it’s going to be steel vs aluminium. Then delays on one product won’t constrain production of the others.

          • eveee

            Yes. It needs new die and the stamping is different. Three passes for aluminum and one for steel.

          • neroden

            We already know the paint shop is an exception: the new paint shop specifically has been set up to paint Model 3 as well as Model S and Model X.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I don’t think there’s any expectation for building 500,000 EVs a year starting in 2017. The number will probably start a lot lower and ramp up to 500k over the next few years.

    • Carl Raymond S

      I get a sense that we are at a unique point in history – a point where cost no longer bears a tight relationship to quality. Take a lego brick for example. In order for the lego brick to snap, yet be pulled apart by a child, requires micrometer level manufacturing tolerance. Yet I would be surprised if an automated lego brick factory could not be built to run with half a dozen employees, all in monitoring roles. This is not to say that there are not many employees – only that they increasingly work in ideas, design, marketing etc. I would love to see a plot of factory man hours per brick over the past 40 years. It can only slope down.

      Cost is about scale, not quality. Quality is about employee ingenuity, dedication, engineering, innovation, IT prowess, material science – all the things that Tesla has in spades.

      • ROBwithaB

        Considering that the first Lego bricks were made of wood, the initial part of your plot would look like the Burj Khalifa.

        • Carl Raymond S

          Two new items for my knowledge base (wood bricks and Burj Khalifa). Cheers Rob.

      • neroden

        Funny you should mention Lego.

        Tesla has actually hired one of Lego’s executives in charge of manufacturing processes to design the manufacturing processes at the Gigafactory!

        http://electrek.co/2016/03/09/will-human-hands-ever-touch-tesla-gigafactory-battery-cells/

        • Carl Raymond S

          Thanks neroden. The video shows a few humans still involved in weighing and packaging, but you get the feeling they will one day be redeployed and the factory will run dark, unless there’s a problem to fix. Can a car/battery assembly line run dark? It would be a brave punter who said ‘never’.

          • neroden

            The humans are doing quality-control, to tell whether one of the machines has unexpectedly malfunctioned (in which case, stop production line, find the problem, go fix it). The “weighing” is a way of checking that all the parts are in fact in the package.

            We’re never going to get rid of the human quality-control function.

      • kc7128

        Tesla is a young company, Tesla owners forum gives a good idea about their cars’ general quality. Tesla still has a long way to go to improve their product quality especially in the fit and finish department. Strangely the ones who spend 100K on model S/X seem to tolerate defects more than Camry buyers.

        • Carl Raymond S

          Well, every Camry has huge defects. It makes excessive noise, vibrates constantly and emits fumes. It also has this part called a ‘tank’, which demands you take it to a specialised service centre every fortnight for a treatment known as ‘refilling’.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      Naw. Tesla will do a damn good job. Price though is going to be a let down. Whatever comes out will be priced to maximize profits. So if they can sell their cars for an average of 10K less than the Model S then that’s what the price will be.

      • Carl Raymond S

        The base price is $35K. Too much faith is lost if otherwise. The price of options will be set to maximise growth – in line with the stated goal of accelerating sustainable transport. There’s a great ‘Wait but Why’ article which lets you get right inside Musk’s head. There’s no way in hell that man would put profit before planet.
        True enough, Tesla has to make enough margin to reinvest in order to accelerate sustainable transport – it’s win win.

        http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/05/elon-musk-the-worlds-raddest-man.html

        • Ivor O’Connor

          Base price for something… He’ll keep the real price to something that keeps a backlog of a few months. That price will be much higher.

      • SkyHunter

        I suspect the average price will be ~$45K. Fully loaded ~$55K.

        • Ivor O’Connor

          I don’t think they pick prices like you or I might. Instead they look at their inventory and demand then price things based on complicated formula. They might have something at the ~$35K range but that will be a price leader item nobody has much interest in or buys.

          • neroden

            I’m going to partly agree and partly disagree. I do think the average price will be $45-55K. I think the fully loaded model may be as high as $80K (because that’s what BMW does — base price of $32K, fully loaded $80K, as Chris Boylan points out below). The Audi A4 / BMW market will buy heavily loaded models.

            But I think there will be quite a lot of sales of the $35K base model, or at least the base model with 1 or 2 options. That market will come from people who can’t afford more than that — who are stretching even to afford that much — who desperately want to get their hands on a Tesla.

            There are gonna be a lot of them. Lots of Model S buyers paid way more than they would ever have paid for another car, and many of them… uh, many of US, I should say… got relatively stripped down models. (I got the 85 battery because I needed it; dual chargers to charge at decent speed in Canada, before Superchargers existed; adjustable suspension to maintain clearance on our gravel and dirt roads; leather seats because I’m allergic to the cloth; and the tech package. No “P”. No sunroof. No fancy audio system.)

            Tesla is a status brand now and I think people who have the choice between a loaded lower-end ICE car — say, a Prius Four Touring — and a $35K Tesla model 3 are actually quite likely to buy the stripped-down model 3.

        • Michael Stone

          55K is About the same as a loaded Jeep SUV or a Chrysler 300 with all of the toys or a Ford 4 door pickup truck with all of the toys.

    • peter904

      Yeah. You gotta watch those ‘bots,’ hungover from partying on the weekend.

      • Mark

        The Bolts problem, is two-fold. No SuperCharger network, so they are really just a lot better than the existing city cars like the Leaf and the I3, but not up to the Tesla. And they are tied to the dealership sales model which relies on profit from ongoing maintenance that doesn’t exist with EV’s. Will be interesting to see how GM handles promotion and dealer resistance.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Dealer resistance is likely to be a real problem for the Bolt. Look for sales to be really concentrated in areas where environmental awareness is the highest. A few dealers might willing sell the cars if there’s enough local demand. Sales in red state country? I’m guessing really low.

          • neroden

            I don’t know. I actually think the Bolt will do quite well despite dealer resistance. The dealer resistance will be a serious drag on sales, to be sure, but the car looks like a pretty attractive package.

            I think there will be particular dealers who decide to push the Bolt. Sales will be concentrated at those dealers — who could be located entirely randomly across the country, since it’s a matter of which dealers have the right “attitude”.

          • ROBwithaB

            I fully expect to see some dealers starting to specialise in electric cars.

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