Friday, June 28, 2013

Tesla Direct Sales Petition

Show your support for Tesla, and against the outdated protectionism that dealers and the politicians they pay are trying to impose.   Sign the petition that would stop individual states from preventing Tesla selling you a vehicle directly, eliminating the dishonest leech that is known as a dealer.

*Update:  7/2/13  100K sigs reached before deadline.  Not sure what will come of it or how much influence these petitions have but it's nice to see that people responded.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why Tesla's Battery Swap Makes Sense

I've never been a big fan of the battery swapping model, and it was one of my many criticisms of the Better Place business plan.  The basic concept of a quick swap was sound but the execution always seemed to have a number of details that could not easily be addressed.  Additionally the actual need for swapping capability seemed limited.  Once again Tesla has thought a few steps ahead, dealt with those potential issues, and created a system that may prove to be useful.  First of all, unlike BP, Tesla had an existing successful business model that was not at all dependent on battery swapping, but they built the capability into the Model S, and X, from the beginning.  This actually makes some sense from a manufacturing standpoint, on the assembly line you need to be able to quickly install a pack with machinery for high volume production, so you might as well make it able to go both ways.  This makes any potential service much easier, and it also makes any future pack upgrades easier as well.  What Tesla has introduced is a giant battery pack vending machine, allowing current and future Model S and X owners a quick and easy way to future proof their vehicles by installing the latest and greatest battery pack when available, or at least swapping in a larger pack for the occasional longer trip.  For now they will simply supplement the supercharger network in heavy use areas and allow travelers to swap out their depleted pack for a full one.  Or not.  Elon has said they will install them to meet demand, and the choice will be free supercharging for 20 minutes or so, or paying $60-$80 for a 90 second swap.  It's an interesting experiment to see what people will actually choose.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Final Nail

It's all over for Better Place.

Electric car company Better Place is planning to file for bankruptcy within the next several days,

... the company underestimated the time and expense of everything...

Nothing else need be said.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Nail In The Better Place Coffin

The little support that Better Place has continues to decline:

Ghosn says he isn't confident that consumers will embrace the concept and will likely prefer the simplicity of a single rechargeable battery in their vehicles, Energi Watch says. So far, the feature hasn't been much of a selling point for Renault, which has sold about 2,000 Fluence ZEs. Compare that to over 50,000 Nissan Leaf sales since the model's debut in late 2011.

Hopefully this poorly conceived idea will eventually be put to rest and we can move on.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Operator Error, NY Times vs Tesla

In a recent NY Times article  a reporter borrowed a Tesla Model S and ran it out of charge, forcing him to be towed.  One might jump to the mistaken conclusion that this is proof that EV's and specifically the Tesla Model S simply can't work.  Indeed, that may be the case, for some people, including that reporter.  For example, if you are the type of person who would take a long trip without filling the gas tank in their ICE, and then subsequently did not add fuel when the opportunity presented itself.  That in effect is exactly what this reporter did.  He failed to fully charge the car to start with, he failed to add enough charge when he was plugged in at other times, and he failed to plug the car in when he was stopped overnight.  The car was perfectly capable of making this trip if it had simply been used as designed.  From what others have said he was about 14 miles away from a charge point when he ran out of power, which never should have happened.

To be fair to the reporter Tesla did not instruct him properly on the operation of the vehicle and in truth some Tesla employees seem to have given him some bad advice on how to extend the range.  This blog points out a number of steps that could have been taken which would have resulted in a successful trip.

The bottom line is you need to know the operating parameters of any tool you are using, especially automobiles, and especially if it's one which is different than anything you have used before.  Even so, on average 10,000 people run out of gas in the US each day, but that's not worth reporting.