By on July 16, 2013
Tesla Roadster battery pack - Tesla Photo

Tesla Roadster battery pack – Tesla Photo

One drawback to cars that run on batteries is that over time and multiple charge/discharge cycles, batteries will lose capacity. Individual cells start to fail to meet specifications and when enough cells go bad, it’s time for another battery pack. Since capacity is directly related to range and since battery packs are expensive to replace, how quickly batteries deteriorate is an important factor in the overall cost and practicality of EVs.

When Tesla first announced their Roadster EV in 2006, the company said that due the company’s proprietary battery management system and design of their lithium-iom battery packs, would ensure that after five years or 50,000 miles, the Roadster’s battery pack would still have 70 percent of it’s rated capacity when new, 53 kWh, enough electrons for a 244 mile range ( 2006 statement  on battery age by Tesla founder Martin Eberhard here). The Tesla Roadster went on sale in 2008, which means there are now roadsters that have been on the road for as long as five years, and I’m sure many that have reached or exceeded 50,000 miles of use. It’s now possible to test Tesla’s claims regarding battery durability. A standard from the laptop industry is that lithium-ion battery packs are still serviceable above 80% capacity.

The independent EV advocacy group, Plug In America (PIA) decided to do just that and their chief science officer, Tom Saxton has reported the results of an owner-reported survey of Tesla battery packs, based on a sample size of 4% of all 2,500 Roadsters made. Plug In America discovered that the Tesla battery packs are performing much better than advertised. After 100,000 miles, double the advertised 70% capacity life, the battery packs have an average capacity of 80-85%.

PIA also tested for climate differences because PIA’s earlier first ever  survey of EV battery life involving  owners of Nissan Leafs showed measurable declines in battery capacity in hot climates. The Leaf has a much simpler battery heat management system than used by Tesla. A surveys of first generation Toyota RAV4 EV owners, which was on sale from 1997 to 2003, in order to measure performance in batteries at least 10 years old, is also underway, as is a survey of Tesla Model S owners but it’s too early for any real meaningful data to be obtained on that car.

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67 Comments on “Plug In America Tests Older Tesla Roadsters, Finds Battery Durability Better Than Promised...”

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    That’s great news for Tesla, and indeed a shot in the arm for the viability of Electric cars in general.

    Personally, this news brings the prospect of one day owning an EV one step closer in my mind.

    • 0 avatar


      #1 I.C.E vehicles do not have to worry about range – and that’s why people will continue to choose them over electric vehicles even if the EV price ever manages to reach parity with I.C.E (which they won’t).

      #2 I.C.E vehicle owners already understand that batteries wear out. In fact, I replaced my SRT’s battery last week. 60,000 miles on it, $175. A far cry from the price of an EV battery pack.

      #3 Tesla’s battery swap station will not appeal to people who believe in OWWNERSHIP. They don’t want their car taken apart each time they have to go for energy.

      #4 Can you explain to me just how much energy it would take to stock battery packs? How much space would it take to stock them? How would you charge/discharge them safetly?

      Most importantly, how much FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY would be required to keep a battery swap industry going?

      The only people who could possibly think EV’s are “green” are people who know NOTHING about Geology, NOTHING about Physics and NOTHING about the petroleum industry.

      There are over 4 billion people in just Africa and Asia. Those continents lack the technology to mass produce alternative energy unless they literally covered their entire desert with solar panels and windmills – which by the way ain’t cheap. There isn’t enough URANIUM to take the world nuclear, nevermind the safety risks of guarding it and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists – or from leaking into aquifers so I ask: where the hell is all this electricity coming from?

      Electricity does not grow on trees.

      Fossil Fuels do!

      When I mow my lawn I recognize I’m wasting energy. Using gasoline or electricity to “trim” plant matter that has NOTHING TO DO AT ALL but sit their and collect energy from the sun all day. That’s what fossil fuels are.

      I.C.E vehicles produce their own Electricity. EV’s are SLAVES to fossil fuels or the local energy grid which is a slave to fossil fuels since humans are slaves to fossil fuels.

      Why are people kidding themselves about this?

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Forget the battery replacement cost, how much is a replacement auto trans in that SRT?

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Wow, thanks for the detailed reply.

        I do understand and was aware of all of those points that you listed.

        Just to clarify my initial point, the only thing I find good about this news for the EV companies is that a potential consumer’s concerns regarding the durability of the battery life may be eased.

        This of course makes no difference as to where said electricity comes from at all, nor did I make any comment towards that, and of course it still does not address the range issues or charge times. But at the very least, a buyer could be assured that he/she will not have to plunk down thousands of dollars on a replacement battery after only 5 years.

        I’m still an ICE driver and nothing that any EV offers currently will convince me to switch over. This piece of news only gives me reason to believe that Durability of some manufacturer’s battery packs may not be an issue any longer, but many many other issues still remain, as you’ve illustrated.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Also, sure you can argue the point that EVs are slaves to Fossil fuels, and ICE devices are … what, not?

      • 0 avatar

        Your facts are wrong and the wrongness of your assertions has been exhaustively documented. When you have to make your point by making things up, it means you’ve lost the argument and you should stop.

        Please stop.

      • 0 avatar

        You are ignoring the fact that hybrids recapture kinetic energy and deploy it when needed. This is a very very nifty trait alongside the ability to draw minimal current to create a virtually friction free driveline when coasting.

        I actually agree with many of your points but the day is coming soon where all vehicles will be hybrid and I think it is a good thing. I really hope they design future hybrids to be able to operate without a functioning battery pack. Let the owner decide if they want to reinstate the higher FE that comes with a functioning battery pack or to go ICE alone. I know, with HSD for example, the reverse it literally true. Prius’s dont need the ICE to actually operate.

        • 0 avatar

          You are right a Prius doesn’t need an ICE to actually operate as long as your destination is under 1 mile and you don’t plan on going very fast, as little as 25mph for some years. It can not function w/o its battery pack though.

          The original Insight can and now frequently does operate w/o its battery pack since most of them have failed at this point and due to the extremely low volume replacements are hard to come by and extremely expensive. Many non Toyota/Ford Hybrids can also function w/o their battery packs but the question is why since that makes a car that is more expensive than a traditional ICE only car and gets the same or worse MPG.

      • 0 avatar

        Are you really a Tesla stockholder? One wonders, after reading so many anti-Tesla messages from you.

        People’s needs differ. Some people need long range, other people would prefer low energy cost. My longest trips are under 200 miles round trip, so I’d be happy to take an 85kwh Model S.

        As for battery costs, you do remember when a laptop cost $7,000, right? As a technology product, the Model S battery pack has a good shot at dropping substantially in price too.

        Let’s hope so, because Model S really is amazing technology …


      • 0 avatar

        #1 ICE vehicles DO have to worry about range… A cars gas tank does not magically refill it’s self.

      • 0 avatar

        Bigtrucksomethingsomething, it’s good news because many people are already close to buying an electric car. Range is the last remaining reason not to, but the number of families with a commute car that never goes very far is very high. That one can be electric.

        With gas prices the way they are, the cars themselves don’t have to reach price parity for the EV to pay off. We’re not there yet, but moving in that direction. As for ownership, I’d love to do all my refueling at home, in my garage, instead of going to a gas station. Every once in a while I might need a battery swap, but I don’t see the problem with that. The infrastructure required wouldn’t be as complicated as building a station that stores gallons and gallons of flammable liquid on-site.

        Besides, it’s more efficient to take gasoline, burn it in a power plant, and feed EV cars than to give it to gasoline-powered cars.

        I’m going to hold off as long as I can because I don’t commute by car and want a manual transmission for all my weekend driving… but I think EVs are great.

        • 0 avatar

          How is it possibly more efficient to burn gas in a power plant to feed EV’s than use it in gasoline cars? Power lines are not 100% efficient and neither is charging a battery. And i’m sure you would be outraged if every once in a while your gasoline car needed an engine swap (which is cheaper than a hybrid battery swap). (And i’m talking in the typical life of a car. I know engines do fail)

          • 0 avatar

            Power lines are extremely efficient.
            A/C current is like magic. You can thank Nikola Tesla for that one…. which brings us to why the car is named Tesla.

            A/C current can be stepped down and stepped up on the line on its way to its destination.

            A modern electrical power grid is numerous times more efficient at energy transference than your horribly inefficient ICE power plant. You lose over 80% of your energy to waste heat. How do you like that? 80% of the gas you buy and pump into that car is lost to thin air through entropy.

            You could have set fire to half your money and kept the other half and it would have been a better financial decision.

            But don’t believe me. Believe the train industry. They abandoned IC eons ago. All trains made now are electrical or hybrid diesel.
            They don’t directly drive the train axles with the diesel engines because that would be a massive waste of energy. Like what you do with your car.

      • 0 avatar

        Your rambling posts are tiresome. I don’t know why I bother reading them…

        I’m not saying you’re wrong, you’re just all over the friggin’ map. Just make one point and move on.

        • 0 avatar

          Regardless the shares I hold, it drives me nuts hearing all this liberal/greener ideology being perpetuated and giving false impressions.

          The movies for example are SO STUPID that they have kids thinking you can build elevators through the core of the earth. Someone HAS TO PUSH BACK.

          • 0 avatar

            I think you should consider expanding your points in an editorial about your point of view towards EVs and submit to TTAC. I can definitely see it creating some colorful discussion on the finer points of efficiency.

            So, I think EVs are awesome, and trucks are too, and I admire Tesla doing what nobody’s had the guts to do in decades and I kind of wish I’d bought their stock. Anyway, I’d like to offer a rebuttal to your points:

            #1: ICE vehicles do worry about range. I remember being annoyed at the CTS-V I was borrowing because it only had a 250 mile cruising range on a tank of gas and wouldn’t tell you your range once you got down to two gallons. Leaves you at the whim of paying way too much if you have to go to that one gas station selling $4.85 gas.

            #2 I.C.E vehicle owners already understand that batteries wear out:
            If you think about it, an ICE requires a whole slew of complex subsystems just to hold, maintain, and deliver fuel, and turn it into forward motion. Vapor recovery and emissions, pumps, injectors, catalytic converters, ECU, transmissions, etc. IMO, replacing a single battery pack is easier than having to figure out why your car’s in limp mode, or replacing a timing chain. In my opinion, that’s not too bad of a tradeoff!

            #3 Tesla’s battery swap station will not appeal to people who believe in OWWNERSHIP
            I think you get your original battery back at some poin. I imagine Tesla has some kind of incredibly clever and pragmatic way of dealing with this.

            #4 Can you explain to me just how much energy it would take to stock battery packs?

            I can’t, but let’s zoom out and look at the supply chain for a moment. For gasoline, you need to extract, refine and ship. Given that ICEs get about 30% efficiency, just think about how much energy is wasted just moving gasoline from a refinery to a gas station. All of that has an associated cost that varies with fuel prices, as we’ve seen before, during and after the recession, and as developing countries’ energy demands grow. You also should consider how much fossil fuels are being used simply to sustain fossil fuels.
            For EV charging, source is irrelevant (that’s a good or bad thing, but we can discuss that in a separate comment thread). In the worst case, it comes from traditional sources, but at least you have fewer delivery points. In the best case, it comes from renewable or low-carbon sources. Whatever’s cheaper. ICEs can’t do that. However, it just so happens there’s a lot more gas stations than EV quick chargers.

            #4a How much space would it take to stock them?
            Probably a lot less than keeping enormous tanks of Go Juice underground.

            but I can point out that to get gasoline into your car requires a huge a whole etroleum extraction, refineries, pipelines, tankers, and semi trucks, just to get it into your tank.

            #4b How would you charge/discharge them safely?
            Probably the same way people do with laptop batteries. Use it ’till it’s low, charge in a managed fashion with correct equipment.

            * The only people who could possibly think EV’s are “green” are people who know NOTHING about Geology, NOTHING about Physics and NOTHING about the petroleum industry.

            I don’t know much about any of the above–just enough to be dangerous. I do want to state that I don’t think “green” will be what eventually sell EVs; It’ll be the ability to commute on a few dollars of electricty a month instead of hundreds of dollars.

            *There are over 4 billion people in just Africa and Asia…solar panels and windmills…which by the way ain’t cheap.

            For rural communities, I imagine running local renewables works out fantastically. It’s more stable than waiting for electricity to be run out from a central source, or fuel deliveries. The cost of these technologies are also dropping over time. I’m sure one day, it won’t be unusual to see small arrays in the Middle of Nowhere, Africa, charging mobile phones.

            *There isn’t enough URANIUM to take the world nuclear, nevermind the safety risks of guarding it and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists – or from leaking into aquifers so I ask: where the hell is all this electricity coming from?

            Maybe not in current reserves. If we wanted more, we’d go looking, the same way we do with oil. If we got really desperate, we could spin it out of ocean water or dig up half of Utah.

            Uranium by itself isn’t particularly useful unless you’re making Fiestaware. The infrastructure and expertise required to refine uranium into a usable amount will get noticed. See: Iran, North Korea.

            Most of our electricity actually comes from coal–coal ash actually releases more radioactivity into the atmosphere than nuclear power.

          • 0 avatar

            @hgrunt yes with the current proposed Tesla battery swap model the idea is that you pickup your battery which has been fully charged when you pass back by that station, on your extended road trip that you had to take right now, w/o time for a 30-40 min fast charge along the way. The reality is that very few Tesla owners would ever have the need to use the battery swap option, and if they did it would be a very rare occurrence.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well your lawnmower probably kicks out more pollutants in a single session than does a 90’s car in an entire year…

      • 0 avatar

        Do you have any idea how much more efficient power generation is at a plant (i.e. nearly a Carnot engine) vs. an ICE (nowhere near the BSHP island the entire trip). The easy thing is to compare prices of how much it costs to go a few miles: the gas tax averages $0.50(/gallon), the rest of the price is pure cost of oil. You can claim that power companies heavily subsidize consumers, but people will only keep telling you to take off the tin foil.

        ICE engines can only run on fossil fuels (the exceptions smell like a McDonalds). Check your electric bill. Wind power makes a lot of sense right now (although don’t even think of running everything on it), and costs were close to old prices. Some parts of the country (and more of Canada) get hydro power. Nuclear power involves zero fossil fuels as well. Just try putting CFG into your gas burner, you won’t have fun: turning it into electricity is a no-brainer and natural gas is dirt cheap (for now). Coal is still used, and still a problem. Most places in the US use some coal, some more than others. Don’t pretend that since some places still use coal, “all volts just burn coal”.

        Leave off the caps lock button. It is the clear mark of a kook.

      • 0 avatar

        “There are over 4 billion people in just Africa and Asia. Those continents lack the technology to mass produce alternative energy unless they literally covered their entire desert with solar panels and windmills – which by the way ain’t cheap. There isn’t enough URANIUM to take the world nuclear, nevermind the safety risks of guarding it and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists – or from leaking into aquifers so I ask: where the hell is all this electricity coming from?”

        Coal. But to address the other claims:

        Asia lacks the technology to mass produce alternative energy? Which is why cheap Chinese panels killed of Solyndra? Which is why China is building the largest hydroelectric plant in the world? Which is why over 30% of my personal electricity comes from hydroelectric and geothermal sources?

        Uranium, given. But breeder reactors and new types would work, if the anti-nuclear crowd would let them.

        I view most electric cars as toys for the rich. Thankfully, Tesla’s top-down approach seems to be working… somewhat… and stable… somewhat. Which means that they’re closer than most to a consumer-level product with mass appeal. Not going to help us poor Asians, but if we get your rich butts out of your gasoline cars, that leaves more for us.

        Then again…

        I live in a rural city about twenty kilometers outside the capital. I am surrounded by dozens of EV owners. Granted, they’re EV motorcycles, but $500 for something that runs the entire day without gas and gets along just fine in traffic… that’s something to think about.

        • 0 avatar

          “Which is why cheap Chinese panels killed of Solyndra? Which is why China is building the largest hydroelectric plant in the world? Which is why over 30% of my personal electricity comes from hydroelectric and geothermal sources?”

          CHINA =/= ASIA

          The vast majority of Asia is dirt poor.
          The vast majority of China by the way is dirt poor. You are only seeing the very top 10% of them on TV. I used to LIVE THERE. the rest of the country is living on less than $1 US per day in farm houses with no windows – and some in caves – which you see during their flash floods.

          “Th anti Nuclear Crowd” can’t stop a nuclear reactor from producing tremendous amounts of energy if that’s what it can do. HOWEVER, where are you going to transport, dump and secure the waste so I needn’t worry about dirty bombs?

          When I was living in China, I had a Motorcycle that cost $480 US – and I’m sure prices are lower now. The Electric bikes are great, but they are a far cry from an Electric car – which even the cheapest EV in China isn’t affordable to the commoners.

          • 0 avatar

            I used to LIVE in Asia… wait… I still do!

            Obviously, the rural masses are dirt poor, but due to the financial meltdown in Europe and America, money is moving this way. There’s a growing middle class in China, India and the ASEAN region that wants cars and wants them now. China has allowed unbridled and unchecked car buying in the past few years, but pollution concerns may finally force them to take the same tax and environmental measures that its neighbors have been taking for some time.

            Of course, CHINA =/= ASIA. But who do you think we’re buying our solar panels and industrial equipment from? A lot of Chinese junk is still junk, but we’re starting to see products that are of decent quality that is still at a lower price.

            Dirty bombs require waste. While not perfect, Breeder reactors reduce waste greatly, and much of it has a short half-life. Of course, I doubt we’ll see a Breeder Reactor revolution for a while… simply because the political hurdles are much greater for nuclear than anything else.

        • 0 avatar

          Pffft. Maybe one day electrics will displace internals; but everyone knows that molten salt thorium cold fusion reactors with afterburner turboencabulation are really where its at.

      • 0 avatar

        All energy is solar energy. Fossil fuels are just solar energy sources that has been stored up over millions of years.

        You are completely oblivious to some very key pieces of information.
        Specifically the fact that an ICE is the most inefficient power plant known to man. With over 80% of the energy it generates being waste heat that the engine itself must expel.
        Do you like the idea of 80% of your fuel just being in your way? In fact being counter productive to your efforts?
        Do you like pushing a boulder up a hill?

        In response to your points;

        1. Electric cars will be cheaper than ICE cars soon. The drivetrains are like night and day difference in complexity. As another commenter here has pointed out you can build the entire tesla powertrain for less money than the transmission in your car right now.

        2. The batteries used by EV’s are different from the battery in your car. Are you unaware of this? Tesla battery packs last 20-25 years.
        How long do you need a battery pack to last? How long do you plan to own a car?

        3. The battery swap is a opt-in option for paying customers. Your ORIGINAL battery is kept for safe keeping and will be waiting for you when you get back. You are just “renting” the other one.
        Do you even care to know this?

        4. Irrelevant. Eventually all of our energy sources will be from “renewable” sources. Which means solar. Everything currently is solar, everything will be solar.

        “Most importantly, how much FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY would be required to keep a battery swap industry going?”

        NONE. The Tesla supercharging stations are solar powered and actually generate more electricity than they consume and they give the excess back to the grid for a PROFIT.

        Perhaps you should take a few moments to read about the Tesla.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    That’s a good sign for electric cars and current Tesla owners. The resale value of their cars shouldn’t crater if these findings hold true.

    Now Tesla, about that $40k 3 Series competitor Elon Musk keeps talking about. Bring that on.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Me, I want to see the torque vectoring AWD Tesla GT with 80+” combined front and rear legroom, 125kW 500V battery, 2x150kW motors for the front wheels and 2x250kW motors for the rears, and fat enough rubber to crank out sub-3s 0-60s and sub-10s quarter miles.

  • avatar

    Although I’m hesitant to believe an advocacy group for tests they have done whether it be for or against what they advocate…..

    ….However if this proves true then this is great news for….. EV advocates…..

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      More EVs = more fuel for your Hummer. What’s not to like?

      • 0 avatar

        I never said anything against them, I’d drive the hell out of a tesla, although it would have to be a used one as I wouldn’t pay for the cost of a new one.

    • 0 avatar

      They present their results as if they have a pool of 100,000 mile Tesla Roadsters to draw from. The highest mileage used Roadster I’ve seen now has 15,201. Most have less than half of that. They were really popular on the streets here for a few months some years ago, but now they only come out to change hands.

      Looking at their report, they claim they surveyed 126 cars that traveled an average of 25,387 miles. They say this is 5% of cars and 10% of the total miles traveled by Tesla Roadsters. Obviously, this isn’t a sample at all, as they were directed to this 5% by Tesla. What other selection criteria were used? Does Tesla monitor battery health? Were bricks excluded to keep things neat? Anyone that believes this study must get taken all the time whether they know it or not.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s what I figured, I have yet to actually see one on the street, but I would still drive one…. For the price of a golf cart. Which is essentially how I see it, granted a very fast and luxurious golf cart, but still.

        • 0 avatar

          “After 100,000 miles, double the advertised 70% capacity life, the battery packs have an average capacity of 80-85%.”

          The single highest mileage Tesla Roadster has 87,111 miles(from the report’s data table). That’s four times the median miles driven for the highest mileage Tesla Roadsters, which is 21,131 miles. So what do we really know about battery life after 100,000 miles? About as much as people who fall for this study know about anything.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry but no they weren’t directed to this 5% by Tesla, Tom compiled the data from voluntary participants that were recruited from a number of sources. Participants were recruited via postings on the Tesla Roadster owner’s page on Facebook, Plug-in America’s website and newsletter and owners of the aftermarket data collection device that chose not to encrypt the data it generated.

        The only part that Tesla participating in was sharing their data on total number of Roadsters sold and the mileage put on them that has been reported to them.

    • 0 avatar

      That was my first thought. Can you really get unbiased results from any kind of “advocacy group”?

      “News Flash! Survey of pro-choice Americans proves that abortions are safe and a good alternative to unwanted pregnancy.”

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    VERY good news.

    For those going on about “energy cost of batteries”, $ cost is an amazingly good first approximation. Since, for a heavy commuter like me, a Volt (with what really is a $10K-$15K battery pack) would save $2K/yr in gasoline costs (I can charge at both ends), its already total-lifecycle cheaper for a fair number of users, which means its also total-lifecycle less energy.

    However, I don’t believe in pure electric: I believe in electric w range extenders. The Volt is a good first step, but I think the best example is the upcoming i3: You have just ENOUGH juice from the gasoline engine to (barely) sustain cruise speed.

    If you have access to a plug and a longer stop, you plug it in. If you absolutely have to, you fill it up with gas. I suspect most i3s will be bought with the range extender, but 90% of the miles will be driven on pure electric.

    I already know plenty of Volt owners who effectively never gas up, so they have the amazingly-good per-mile cost (and amazingly quiet driving noise) of a pure electric, but aren’t hobbled by range. Change the range from 35 miles to 95 miles and people will almost never buy gasoline, but will have the advantage of a gas pump’s HUGE energy transfer, as a gas-pump (at 4 gallons/minute) is pumping out ~8 megawatts! of power (compared with Tesla’s ‘supercharger’ at .1 MW).

    Yes, Tesla’s much vaunted supercharger provides 1/100th the power of a gas pump.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Volt detractors trumpet disinformation far and wide because they believe it’s a political gambit to make everyone gay socialist democrats. I’ve got news for them: it’s a car. Just a car. It’s chock full of American ingenuity and built here. It was engineered here. It’ll save you enough dead presidents with constant use to justify the premium you pay for it. Etc. Hopefully its battery can be expected to fare as well as the Tesla’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Volt replacement battery cost is ~$3k for the part, doesn’t list a core swap.

      • 0 avatar

        Impressive. The other question is the price of the electric motor, since a volt will still contain the gas engine (I didn’t see it on there). The “control module” was seriously expensive, but it implied that it included the inverter. In any case, ECUs tend to be overpriced and contain a lot of NRE and a lot of profit.

        Compare the thing to a cruze: Fuelly claims that a cruze gets ~33 MPG (I couldn’t limit it to automatic turbos) and that truedelta lists the price difference at a hair under $10k (the smaller turbo has more torque, but still less torque and less horsepower than the volt).

        With gas at $3.50 (a good price around here), you will pay 15k in gas by 150k miles. I wouldn’t say the electric car *quite* makes economic sense, it is more for “tech enthusiasts”. But its close. Its practically at the tipping point (at which overnight charging becomes more expensive because suddenly late night power consumption becomes more common. And this is purely the domain of coal power… (well, zero-air-pollution nuclear is also a good base fuel, but they are already running at full tilt 24/7).

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “It’s chock full of American ingenuity and built here. It was engineered here.”

    As a youngster growing up during the cold war and space race, I distinctly remember the awe and pride of the Saturn V during liftoff, with its bold red letters clearly spelling:
    U N I T E D S T A T E S, for all the world to see.
    It was a clear example of American tenacity, huge manufacturing capabilities and engineering prowess.

    Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century….. The USA has been de-industrialized, and its technical base has eroded. One of its remaining significant industrial activities, the automobile design and manufacturing, is technically lagging behind.
    Then a fresh idea comes, that is not yet perfect, is not fully yet debugged, but it nevertheless has a significant lead over other world competitors…..and yet is mercilessly attacked.

    I cannot understand…please explain to me.

    • 0 avatar

      I find this hard to understand to.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      Do what I plan to do. [email protected]# ‘ em all and go out and buy/lease one!…….LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Thanks schmitt trigger you are a gentleman and also rather scholarly. And handsome. Maybe.

      I’ve similarly been scratching my head over how politicized many innocuous things like the Volt have become. Some hot-headed, saber rattling GOP comrades of mine wouldn’t be caught dead in a hybrid – just saying “electric car” makes them convulse. Not that long ago we would all have stared in awe and disbelief at a silent EV vehicle passing by but now, not so much. I think a shadowy, oil-funded think tank somewhere spearheaded the subtle tarring/feathering of an otherwise legit technology, thus begatting all the knee-jerk hatred of what should be a shining example of American kickassness.

      Your comment on the Saturn V totally resonates with me! As a kid I watched the last Saturn V launch Skylab into orbit. I was there for the second Space Shuttle launch. I’ve met astronauts. I completely support NASA. Not that long ago the USA wore its badge of quality engineering proudly but now our primary technological export isn’t astronauts, it’s armaments. That’s great if you think bombing people is good diplomacy but it’s not something I’m particularly patriotic about.

      Luckily there’s still a lot about America to be proud of: Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, McIntosh stereos, Cormac McCarthy, my ’72 Country Squire, bebop and long uninterrupted stretches of interstate I don’t have to pay tolls to use. Viva America!

      • 0 avatar

        Presumably if you aren’t groveling to Mecca and Riyadh it is because you like cootie-bearing girls. Obvious gay agenda at work.

        The human brain is much better at rationalizing than thinking. If somebody can frame something, anything, in a political light it goes into the rationalization machine and it suddenly believes whatever the party line says. Go team.

        Humans can still learn to think and grow well into adulthood, but politics tends to get stuck in an early age (go find an American with parents in the same party and themselves in a differnt party to see how it works). In other words, politics are determined by a kids brain (or whenever the political leanings solidify) and everything else by an adult brain. The media’s job is to do everything it can to keep you thinking with the kid’s brain so that when the advertising comes along, there isn’t going to be any critical thought, just a straight path past the brain into the emotions.

        Note it doesn’t matter at all which ways the politics go, as long as the advertiser can frame themselves on the viewer’s team. Go team. Buy now. It is so common that trolls use the same tricks. Go team, bite harder.

    • 0 avatar

      EV’s never caught on because:

      #1 gasoline is a helluva a fuel.
      #2 no one has figured out how to make a battery that charges quickly, discharges quickly and is stable enough to not explode.
      #3 Electricity is not as simple to produce as fossil fuels are. Electricity is a byproduct of fossil fuels. The Sun sending energy to Earth and energy being trapped in plants is the BASIS of Earth’s energy economy. The radioactive minerals in Earth could be mined to produce vast amounts of electricity, but we worry about waste storage and terrorism.
      #4 THAT SATURN V ROCKET DID NOT RUN ON ELECTRICITY. It ran on liquid fuel – just like I.C.E cars.

      Why can’t people simply accept this?

      Unless cold fusion or quantum singularity generators become a reality, the EV crowd can forget it. They will remain novelty toys.

      • 0 avatar

        @bigtruckseries They will remain novelty toys.

        Keep in mind this article was written in 1995:

        Forever a technology future classic.

      • 0 avatar


        This is perhaps the best I.C.E argument I’ve ever heard. I would add the A4 to that list (a.k.a. the V2).

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        EV’s are catching on, I see them and their charging stations everywhere I go. Back in the early days of cars you’d have been that guy shouting at them angrily from your horse and we know how that worked out.

        Re. #1, “helluva a fuel”, I’ve never seen someone stammer while typing banality. #2 wtf powers a Tesla roadster? #3 is some of the most ignorant blather I’ve ever read. You think the sun shines on plants and bingo-presto you have gasoline? Nevermind the intervening millions of years to sequester the hydrocarbons as they become crude oil, and nevermind that process is why we have a breathable atmosphere of 21% oxygen but only 0.039% carbon dioxide. Taking that carbon dioxide OUT of the atmosphere made this planet habitable – and I for one do not wish to reverse the process any more than we’ve already done. #4 Christ on crutches.

        It’s not a question of opinions Mr. Big Truck. It’s about being wrong. Summary: EV’s are inanimate objects, not political platforms. They’re not screwing your wife, kicking your dog or making you impotent. They’re simply an answer to a problem that you don’t understand.

      • 0 avatar

        My Leaf ‘novelty toy’ has driven me comfortably for 7000 miles at $0.03/mile, at any legal speed in the country.

  • avatar


    One minor point:

    “The USA has been de-industrialized”

    We have not, industrial production is at near record highs. What has happened is automation. We still make stuff, but we just make it with far, far fewer people.

  • avatar

    Wish I had a Tesla. Starting to see them in NY city on a regular. Saw a Fisker too. Not having to vist a gas station would be a blessing. Only concern with the EV’s is what happens during a sustained blackout. Had experience with that after Sandy.

    • 0 avatar

      Just out of curiousity, did the pumps in NYC have generators keeping them going? I’m pretty sure there isn’t a hand pumped gas station pump that is certified by the commerce deptartment (or state level, now that I think about it) for selling gas in the unlikley event somebody wanted a backup. It would almost have to be pay at the pump, as I’d be even more impressed if enough communications relays were able to send in credit cards (I assumed that the NYC credit operations were auto-transfered somewhere else, but not that those facing the brunt could communicate with “somewhere else”).

      • 0 avatar

        When Hurricane Sandy happened ALL the gas stations that lost power were completely shut down. Gas could have been pumped out of the tanks, but it couldn’t be SOLD.

        I chronicled “Gaspocalypse” on my Youtube in fact. I wondered: why aren’t their solar panels on the station roofs to drive a backup battery for pumps? Go figure.

        I had just driven the Model S 12 days earlier. My house was unaffected and I wished I’d had a Model S cause I could just plug it in rather than have to wait for gas for two gas guzzlers.

        Thing is, for many people, there was no gas and no electricity. Sure I could have had a diesel generator but once again, that would be USING A FOSSIL FUEL TO RECHARGE AN EV.

        • 0 avatar

          Natural gas powered generators run off of your natural gas supply. Since the gas lines are under ground, they usually aren’t affected. Generac makes some nice units.

          If Bloom Energy succeeds in producing a low cost NG Fuel Cell generator for single homes, that would be an even better option. You’d be powering your Tesla off of a natural gas fuel cell – probably the most realistic scenario for using fuel cells to power vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          After Sandy in my part of Queens most of the stations had water contaminated gasoline and couldn’t sell it until it had been tested.

          Re. the Tesla Model S, most of the progressives I know with one (a sampling of two) have extensive solar arrays on their homes so they’re not at the mercy of the grid, no generators needed. EV’s and especially those with small, range extending IC engines are awesome.

  • avatar

    I like how we have people getting all worked up over battery Vs IC engined cars, and acting like the world is going to end if we don’t develop some type of new alternative energy source.

    ….meanwhile the Amish are sitting back wondering what all the fuss is about.

  • avatar

    “ExxonMobil tests older Tesla Roadsters and finds batteries suck”

  • avatar

    On the subject of de-industrialization, this short video about the Tesla factory, while a bit of a puff piece, gives you some idea of how the cars are built.

    I wish we could hear how loud it really is when that aluminum part is stamped out.

  • avatar

    Ok. This is a small sample after 5 years. My car is nearly three times that old and has 110000 miles on it. (I’ve seen many mustangs of this era with A LOT more. Mine sat for a few years). Apart from a stupid ABS sensor it still works as well as it did 14 years ago. Original engine, original transmission. I seriously doubt most EV batteries will still be good at 14 years old. Not to mention a litre of gas will take my car the same distance as a litre 14 years ago would. And electricity will likely not be nearly so cheap if everyone started charging cars on it.

  • avatar

    This must be a magic battery pack that defies the physical reality of a lithium ion cell. Or are they lying…err…trying to con…err…convince investors to hang on to Tesla’s grossly overpriced stock?

    • 0 avatar

      If the pack is large enough that the drain cycle isn’t too deep, as is the case with Tesla’s huge packs, it’s perfectly possible for the batteries to last quite a while.

      Also helping here is active thermal management. Heat is a real killer for these batteries.

  • avatar

    Honda has a great lease deal on their Fit EV so if you are self-limiting to a 35 miles radius, then this is the EV you you! You don’t have to own an expensive battery pack and they install a home charger for free.

  • avatar

    The ICE has been built and refined in large numbers for over 100 years.

    The BEV only has about 10 years of reasonably small production.

    Tesla model S with 250+ miles of range certainly makes a great day car. Most people could live with it.

    There are already battery advances on the horizon that will increase capacity, decrease cost and increase durability.

    With a battery that had a 500 mile range, lower cost and 10,000 cycle life – the ICE will look like expensive old technology.

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