Tesla Death Watch 39: Li-Ion Rules! Or, Well, You Know…
Tesla’s hubris knows no bounds. Not only has the Silicon Valley manufacturer of $109k lithium-ion-powered carbon fiber sports cars applied for a $400m federal grant to sustain its oft-delayed and hugely unprofitable quest to “reinvent the automobile,” but they’ve also publicly declared that Detroit’s bailout-seeking beancounters should keep their NSFWing hands off Uncle Sam’s $25b retooling loans. (I’d cut and paste the exact quote from their website, but ten seconds of their white-on-black text is enough to short-circuit my optic nerves). The New York Times fired back, pointing out that taxpayer funds should not subsidize expensive toys. Tesla owner Jason Calacanis retaliated in a fit of “just you wait” pique. “The fact is that Tesla could–right now–produce a car that is 1/3rd to half the price if they set it to go only 100 miles. In nine years, they will easily be able to produce a $40k car that does this. Is nine years too long to wait for this technology to reach the price point that 80% of the new-car-buying country could afford? I don’t think so.” Meanwhile, Toyota has seen the EV’s Li-ion Promised Land, and declared “I may not get there with you.”
Speaking to AutoCar, ToMoCo UK MD Miguel Fonseca “quashed rumours that the next Prius would adopt lithium-ion battery technology at some stage of its lifespan. While he acknowledged that powerful, efficient lithium-ion batteries were a future direction, Toyota’s engineers do not believe they are efficient or durable enough to enter mass-production yet.”
What’s more (or less), Toyota has officially scotched plans to create a Prius sub-brand, casting doubts on Tesla’s mainstream aspirations. No surprise there. Our guys on the front line report that U.S. Prius sales have stalled. Waiting lists? Gone. Parking lots? Full. Discounts? Yup. On the positive side, the guy who made a mint making the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” drove a Tesla and loves it. Guility. Go figure.
Kevin on Dec 01, 2008
National Peoples' Radio spreading false agitprop?? Inconceivable! Jason Calcanis is prone to say stupid things. In 9-10 years a car that dies after 100 miles will be just as useful as it is today -- which is to say, not much. A niche as the green yuppie family's 4th car, perhaps.
Joeaverage on Dec 02, 2008# David Holzman : December 1st, 2008 at 12:51 pm However, I’m not all that keen on electrics. Over Thanksgiving, I drove 600-plus miles, from Boston to Albany via the backroads (~170 miles), around the Albany area, from Albany to NYC (~160 miles), and then back to Boston (~200 miles). I wouldn't expect someone to take an current tech EV on a trip like that. Not for years to come until the battery can be charged in seconds and last for 350 miles per charge. Ooops! Looks like we are close. There is now a company here in TN called MicronTN that builds a "battery" (capacitor): Lightweight: 11 lbs All-season performance: Full power at -40°F to 150°F Rapid recharge: 30 seconds Longevity: 500,000 duty cycles (15-20+ years) Environmentally friendly: lead free, acid free, long lifespan 1200 to 2000 amps depending on which "battery" is used. Imagine a mix of these with NiMH batteries in an EV? The MicronTN batteries handle voltage spikes while NiMH batteries supply the constant load to keep the vehicle moving. A driver pulls up to a charging station and charges the MicronTN batteries in seconds which then through a regulator begin to charge the NiMH batteries as the EV heads off down the road. Not saying it is ready for prime time now but see how far things could go? When I "discovered" one of these batteries sitting on the counter at our local NAPA my belief that EVs that meet the naysayer's expectations could be just around the corner - maybe five to six years if the tech continues to progress and not get shelved. See Chevron shelving the NiMH battery tech, patents, and "patent encumbrance". In America we need fewer naysayers and more can do folks 'cause the Chinese/Indians/-insert name of small country with motivated peoples- will eat our lunch if we sit back and get too comfortable. Instead of making fun of the geeks who want to think outside of the box let's keep moving forward on the tech regardless of what the price of gasoline is. We need a a nation of rocket scientists and computer geeks regardless of how unpopular the rest of America think they are. It would appear from pessimistic comments I hear about EVs that we should continue driving 25 mpg V-6 gasoline powered cars and ~18 mpg trucks or SUVs b/c nothing else will measure up. With the current economy what it is I think it would be in America's self interest to get to the forefront of EV technology (and solar and wind and other "green tech") and stay there for the next 50 years. Our leadership doesn't often subscribe to long term thinking or making choices that have long term benefits over higher short term cost. I plan to buy a MicronTN battery after Christmas and start experimenting with it. It might just the right energy storage method for wind. Am anxious to build an electric go-cart with it for the kids. I want to install it as my car's primary battery and see how it behaves. I want to see why it would not be well suited for an EV that gets charged every night.
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