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Eci I also think that connected vehicles will be standard pretty soon on all new cars. Tesla already has it (of cause) and use it for providing real time traffic information as Tesla's backend system collect anonymous (hopefully) position and speeding information on all Tesla's driving around allowing other Tesla owners to avoid congested roads. As a Tesla owner I know you know. That is useful and the more Teslas that are out there collecting this information and uploading it to Tesla's datacenter the better and more accurate it becomes. Another connected feature that Tesla has is the route planning system showing in real time which Tesla chargers that are relevant for the planned route and currently working. That is also useful and time saving. However, when the autonomous cars come this interconnection will go to a whole new level. Google is currently using a lidar system on their autonomous test cars that map the environment in 3D collecting 1,000,000 data points per second. They plan to upload this information frequently in real time to Google's datacenter so that it always has an up to date 3D mapping of the environment. This is potentially terabytes of data per car per day. Tesla is rumored to work on similar technology. Tesla needs the high resolution mapping for their autonomous driving and it needs to be updated frequently to adjust for construction work etc. Letting the autonomous cars produce these maps using their sensors and high speed internet connections is a no brainer. About the type of batteries used for back-up systems and electric cars they may not be that different. True that Tesla currently use a low cycle life, high energy density battery for their cars and they will be mostly selling high-cycle life, low energy density batteries for their backup systems. However, there are many synergies in the mass production of these batteries that may be identical by form factor (18650) and in terms of most of the machinery that makes them apart from using different chemicals and separator films. Also when the autonomous technology is ready I bet you will use the low cycle life, high energy density battery for cars that are intended for private ownership (long-range BEVs). However, the high-cycle life, low energy density batteries can be used for short-range self-driving taxies as they do not have a range issues that cannot be solved by switching taxi during the ride. So for public autonomous taxies the batteries will be identical in every aspect as the backup batteries. Durability will be roughly 10,000 cycles times 100 miles range so 1,000,000 miles. For privately owned autonomous cars the equation is more like 330 miles time 3000 cycles so also 1,000,000 miles. Such privately owned cars will be for the wealthy and they can be used to pick up kids and family etc so they will be operated more than the usual 16000 miles per year. They will also drive around empty much of the time because they need to pick up people at different places and at different times. That will make some people angry in a congested place and we may need some legislation to prevent driving empty at peak traffic hours. @yoatmon Agree, I would not advise any young person to do an engineering degree in combustion engine related technology. They will not be in demand 20 years down the road and it could get really hard to find any new jobs in this area 10 years from now.
Interesting discussion. To get some numbers on it about 11 GWh of batteries will be made for plug-in autos globally in 2015. I think the consumer electronics market, laptops smart phones etc is about 20 Gwh in 2015 but this market is not growing strongly anymore (laptops and tables are actually falling and smart phones are no longer growing at over 20% pro anno). So when Tesla is fully operational with their 50Gwh factory in 2020 the market for auto batteries will be much larger than for consumer electronics. I also think the market for battery backup will explode after 2020 because of Tesla's low prices in this area and because low cost solar power will drive the demand for it. I am not optimistic about the auto industry's willingness and ability to make good long-range BEVs. Only Tesla seems to have the will and ability in that regard but they are starting from scratch so it will take decades to become a 10 million cars per year automaker. However, I am optimistic we will see autonomous cars in commercial taxi services sometime between 2020 and 2025 because literally everybody in the industry is investing a lot in making this technology happen. This is not limited to a single startup like Tesla. Everybody is on the self driving wagon so it will happen sooner rather than later. When those autonomous Taxi's are made they will catalyst the spread of BEVs because BEVs have far less operating cost and capital cost than gassers per mile driven when used in an autonomous taxi setting doing 100,000 miles per year.
To reduce the weight of a car means using more expensive materials and fabrication techniques so the benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption more range need to be balanced against those costs. This cost benefit tradeoff will not change much until we get self driving battery electric taxis. Self driving BEV taxis changes everything because they can easily be made to last for 1,000,000 miles without repairs on drive train or battery instead of gassers that can only last for 200,000 miles before mayor repairs on engine and transmission is needed. That means the capital cost per mile driven for an autonomous taxi BEV is only 20% of the capital cost of a gasser per mile driven. That means you can spend 5 times as much money on lightweight materials on a BEV as you can on a gasser and still have the same cost of capital per mile as the gasser. In other words, the economics of using low weight materials is much better for autonomous BEVs than for gassers. So gassers will stay more or less the same with regard to weight whereas autonomous BEVs will get far more low weight materials in order to reduce electricity spending and increase their range. So once again we need to make autonomous cars before we will see any huge leap forward with regard to using low weight materials for cars. The reality is that the auto industry will be business as usual with little technological progress until we start seeing the first self driving cars selling miles on public roads. After that the industry is going to explode driven by a profound technological transformation that will change the auto industry forever.
Tesla has a hundred times more zero pollution cars on the road globally than Toyota has. So Toyota is way behind.
Also for H1, 2015 global auto battery sales was 5Gwh see So 15.9Gwh for 2015 is much too much. It will be more like 11Gwh. Tesla/Panasonic will have 50Gwh by 2020 up from 4Gwh+ this year. With Tesla already being 40% of the global auto battery market and growing at 50% per year and only long-range BEV producer predicting the future battery market is mostly about predicting how fast Tesla can grow.
True. Any drive train can have autonomous drive. However, BEVs can be build to last much longer without repairs. Tesla's stated goal is 1,000,000 miles for their BEVs. Tesla already has 8 years and unlimited mileage warranty. This is a world record that no one offers for gassers and never will. The 1 million miles goal is not achievable with a gasser that would last 200,000 miles. So when an autonomous car is operated like a taxi selling miles it can do 100,000 miles per year for 10 years as a BEV but only 2 years as a gasser. So the capital cost per mile driven is less for the BEV than the gasser and we know that other maintenance and electricity is cheaper for BEVs so you get it. Besides the BEV's cost advantage the other benefit of autonomous driving is that it solves the two remaining problems with BEVs, range and long time to charge. You can go as fast cross country in an autonomous BEV as in a gasser as you simply get a new fully charged BEV every time the one you drive is about to run out of electrons. With range and charging time solved the benefits of BEVs like better handling, less noise and vibration more safe as they do not carry combustible fuels trumps the gassers. So yes I am dead certain that autonomous drive will spell the fast and furious end to gassers on a global scale. Those old auto makers that cannot make the transition to BEVs fast enough once the autonomous drive is done will bankrupt. It is going to be quite spectacular once those fully autonomous cars arrives.
More important to look at what people actually does. Hybrids have stayed below 3% of overall market for ten years and plugins is less than 1%. I do not see much change until autonomous cars are coming by 2020 to 2025. Then it will chance. Tesla may reach 500k by 2020 and 3 million by 2025 but that does not change the global picture either with 90 million cars per year globally and very little development by the old guard.
This sketch is a fairytale just like the sketch for GM's Volt was a fairytale. The real thing will look far more boring and will be far more practical to drive and produce just like GM's real world Volt. Audi has a fairly accurate production model or they could not give us the precise cd value of 0.25. Why do we not see that production model instead of this fairytale sketch? It is so dishonest and typical for old school marketing in the auto industry. Do as Tesla do it and show us the real production prototype and call it a production concept. It is a huge disappointment to me to hear that this Audi BEV is based on the second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB). To do this right you need to have a dedicated platform for BEVs only as the "DNA" of a dedicated BEV is very different from anything else. You got to make compromises to have a platform that can fit whatever. Do like Tesla does and make a platform that is dedicated for BEVs only. One last thing. The 311 miles range could be anything between 200 and 400 miles as it is not mentioned how they measured it. The Tesla Model S 85D is good for 434 miles at 45 mph with the aircon off. See here
Sorry I wrote Tesla is demand constrained but I ment supply constrained of cause.
Note also that the global market for auto batteries was 5GWh in 2014. Tesla is building a 50GWh factory! So by 2020 Tesla could probably own 67% of the global market for auto batteries with a total global auto battery market of say 75GWh.
Tesla is 0.04% of global car 2014 sales (32.000/80.000.000). Tesla is 10% of global plugin 2014 sales (32.000/300.000). Tesla is 39% of global 2014 battery sales (1931Mwh/4934Mwh). Tesla is the only automaker doing long-range BEVs and the only one that is demand constrained. The growth of plugins by Nissan, GM, Mitsubishi has stopped. Tesla keeps growing at 50% or more per year. I see a lot of new gasser plug-ins coming to market but they are not selling very well as they cost far more than ordinary gassers and they still pollute. In my opinion Tesla will increase its market share of the plugin market and the battery market as no other automaker are building volume production for long-range BEVs (the only kind of plugin that is demand restricted). Therefore Tesla will continue to expand its market share until 2020 at least. I think Tesla will own 30% of the global market for plug-in in 2020 selling 500,000 cars spread on 60k Model S, 60k model x and 380k model 3.
@D I know about ITER and I have been an enthusiastic follower of news about fusion energy ever since elementary school where I first learned about it in my physics class. Got top grade in that class as I understood it much better than my teacher at the end. The ITER project is designed to sustain a 500MW fusion reaction for 1000 seconds. That might be achieved in 2027. It will likely destroy the reactor that will subsequently be decommissioned. The idea is to learn from those 1000 seconds and make a better reactor next time. So far only the JET project has the record of sustaining fusion reaction for 1 second at 16MW (achieved in 1997) so ITER will be a huge step forward. The JET project started in 1973 and got a result 24 years later. The ITER project started in 2006 and hopefully will get a result by 2027. It is already 10 years late and over budget (as is normal in fusion research) so I will not expect the 2027 deadline will be kept either. We need minimum 50 more years to develop this technology and possible a 100 before we have a reactor design that can be turned on and off like a light ball and sustain a fusion reaction for many years before any maintenance needs to shut it down for an extended time. I hope I will live long enough to see it happen I really do.
Sorry for playing the devils advocate. However, I am a pessimist for any significant plug-in development until after 2025. Apart from this Audi there is only one other confirmed 200+ miles BEV in development and that is the Bolt by GM. It will not be produced in volume and because it is not luxury and sells for at least 35k USD it will not be in high demand either. Nissan have vaguely said a longer range Leaf is coming but nothing about how long or when. Battery prices are not falling fast enough for long-range BEVs to be popular among ordinary cars. We are at least looking at 2025 and beyond before long-range BEVs can be mass produced at prices that can compete with typical 25k USD gassers. However, the small global market for luxury performance cars is a different matter. Tesla has proven that they are able to make a luxury performance sedan that is better than any similar priced gasser. Tesla business plan for plug-ins is the only one that makes sense. Focus first on luxury performance cars and take that market away from the gassers globally. When that is done between 2020 and 2025 the battery prices will have fallen enough to go after lower cost vehicles. By 2025 everything changes because of the arrival of the first autonomous vehicles that can go anywhere a human can go and then some. That will turn the auto industry upside down because one autonomous car can operate as a taxi doing 100,000 miles per year and thus replacing 7 non-autonomous cars. Operated like that a gasser or a hydrogen car will wear out after 2 years but a BEV can last 10 years and thus be the lowest cost way to implement autonomous transportation for the masses. My conclusion is that nothing important will happen in the auto industry until we get autonomous cars and only after that will BEVs for the masses be the least costly means of transportation. If I should finish by a positive statement it would be that almost none automakers are serious about making long-range BEVs but everyone are serious about making autonomous cars. That means this extremely important field is getting the attention and money it deserves and consequently the technology will be ready sooner rather than later. So at the latest by 2025.
Better late than never. The rumor was Audi would have decided on a make or not make decision until after they got some evidence on how well the Model X would do. Either that rumor was wrong or Audi (read the VW group) do no longer feel comfortable about not being able to have anything that can compete with Tesla. Porsche tried to make a plug-in that could compete but they have failed only selling 3000 Panameras and Cayennes plug-ins for H1, 2015 versus Tesla selling 21500 Model S. Frankly, I doubt Audi will be ready by 2018 with something that can compete with Model X. You normally need 5 to 6 years to develop a new model and unless Audi has already been working on a BEV SUV for a few years by now they will not be ready for 2018. In any case Tesla should be without real competition from anyone until 2018 at the least. That is enough time for Tesla to get to the limit of how many Model S and Model X that they can find demand for globally. It will probably be around 120,000 cars per year combined. But who knows Tesla could sell more if they could lower the 70,000 USD entry price. That is going to happen as battery prices drops once that Giga factory is up and running. But the writings is on the wall is clear. In ten years the market for luxury gassers will be completely gone and replaced by long-range BEVs.
@Alex Good you brought this topic up because it shows another advantage of fusion reaction over fission reaction (the conventional nuclear power plants that burns (splits) uranium or plutonium) and that produces a large amount of extremely radioactive waste. The fusion reaction is kept alive by injecting microscopic frozen pellets of ultra heavy hydrogen atoms into its circular plasma core that subsequently ignites etc. If this injection process is interrupted or stopped the reactor stops. In other words, a fusion reactor can be turned on and off like a light ball. You start the reactor by hitting the first hydrogen pellet injected by multiple high energy laser beams so that it reaches its critical 10 to 100 million degrees Celsius temperature and starts burning by itself converting the hydrogen into helium. You stop it by stop feeding the plasma core with new hydrogen pellets. Each pellet can keep the reactor operating for a few microseconds or seconds (or something in that order). The only explosion I can think of happening in a fusion reactor is if too much hydrogen is added to the core at a given time span so that the plasma core expands and melts the inner walls of the reactor. That might expose the cooling liquids that vaporizes and causes an explosion. In that case the reactor stops or is stopped and it is ruined. It does not explode in a big way. If the plasma hit the inner walls of the reactor it will cool down below is burning temperature which is 10 to 100 million degrees Celsius and then the fusion process stops 100%. There is very little plasma by weight probably less than 1/1000 of a gram. So even though it is incredibly hot in a tiny string inside the reactor core it does not contain enough energy for a massive explosion. The only radioactive material in the fusion reactor will be the material the inner walls are made of as they are exposed to radiation from the burning plasma core all the time and will therefore also become more radioactive over time. That radiation is only a tiny fraction of the radioactive material and its radiation level that an old school fission reactor produces. I am not an expert but I believe it is millions of times less radioactive than a typical fission reactor. The only time when that radioactive material needs to be removed is for decommission of the fusion reactor or perhaps also for maintenance once every say 10 years. Fusion reaction is the holy grail of energy production and if you ask me we should spend many times more on developing it. Make it a global research project with a 25 billion USD annual budget and run it for as many years as it takes to demonstrate a working reactor that makes electricity at 3 cents per kwh. And then make that technology available for any nation to exploit. Until that happens solar and wind power is a practical and affordable replacement for fossil fuel, bio fuels and old school nuclear fission power.
JMartin You do not need to use freshwater to cool a power plant. However, freshwater is widely used instead of air cooling because it is much cheaper and more compact and you save electricity for pumping cooling liquids. You can cool a power plant by air but the cooling unit will need to be a massive structure with cooling rips to do the job for say a 500Mw reactor. Fusion energy also does not produce a lot of highly radioactive waste (like all fission reactors) that is impossible to get rid of or store safely for the tens of thousands of years it needs to be contained and protected (so no terrorist get to it either). Paroway The solar monitoring satellite in mind uses less than 500 W to operate its ion engine at max capacity. The electricity is made by the satellite's solar panels. I was thinking of deep space travel and travel in our own solar system. Say transporting raw materials to earth and other giant space stations where people can live and work. We need fusion energy to colonize our solar system and beyond. And electrical ion rocket engines are going to replace chemical rocket engines as they only need a fraction of the fuel used in the chemical rocket engine. DaveD Don't get too excited. It is still more than 50 years off before fusion energy will have any effect on electricity production on earth. It is not enough to make a working reactor. It needs to compete with making electricity by solar power and wind turbines before it matters. So you need decades of improvements before it makes sense. I think we need magnetic fields at 100 tesla and beyond.
mahonj It is fusion reactor! It is a controlled continuous hydrogen bomb detonation. Its circular magnetically controlled core burns hydrogen at over 100 million degrees Celsius! You do not need a huge reactor to make 500mW for that obviously. When we can make even stronger magnetic fields. Say magnetic fields at 50 tesla instead of 32 the reactor can be made even smaller and still do 500 MW. For spaceships we need really small reactors that could power seriously powerful ion engines for propulsion just like the solar observatory satellite that Space X launched a few month back and that now is sending breathtaking pictures of the earth back apart from monitoring solar activity of cause.
Controlling fusion reaction is the holy grail of all power generation. We need it. We need it to propagate mankind to other planets than planet earth and we need it to power space stations and spaceships far away from our sun. Glad to read that progress is made in this area although I will not stay up late at night waiting for this to become commercialized anytime soon. It is as complicated as it gets and we probably need 50 years rather than 10 years. Hell making a new car design from an existing design takes 6 years so this is not 10 years from commercialization.
This is awesome! Watch Tesla's upcoming super charging robot.
Tesla is growing its quarterly sales by about 50% measured annually so of cause its inventory is also growing at approximately the same rate. Nothing noteworthy there. If you look at the global sales stat what has changed the last year is that last year's performers Nissan, Mitsubishi and GM has stopped growing their PHEV sales. BYD and Tesla keeps growing very well and new to the market is VW group and BMW. For H1 the sales can be found here I expect Tesla and BYD to be bigger than Nissan for the hole year. I also expect VW to grow as they have introduced or are about to sell a lot of new PHEV models. VW group is now by far the automaker with the largest number of different PHEV models. I would say that by now Nissan and Mitsubishi is clearly feeling the competition from VW and BMW. Tesla is in another league. They do not yet have any competition. So far Tesla is still only supply restricted.
Tesla is still: - the only car maker in the world with a zero pollution long-range BEV. - the only car maker in the world with a car that can update all of its software based system (control, entertainment, safety and convenience software system) over the air. Tesla's cars keep getting better after purchase just like smartphones. - the only car maker in the world that as standard offers free fuel for any long-distance driving for the life of the car. - the only car maker in the word that as standard offers 8 years, unlimited miles warranty on their drive train. It amazes me that Tesla keeps being so much ahead in so many areas simultaneously. By now I would have expected some competition from one or two other car makers but that has clearly not happened and now I do not expect competition for Tesla until 2018. I was curious to see if Porsche's introduction of their plug-in Panamera and Cayenne might reduce the demand for Tesla. But that has clearly not happened. In H1, 2015 Porsche only sold 3000 plug-in cars whereas Tesla sold 21500 Model S. Now I expect Porsche to sell about 6000 for 2015 and Tesla to do 50k to 55k as expected by Tesla. Tesla indirectly said they are building capacity to make 800 Mode X per week and has the capacity to make 1000 Model S per week but they are uncertain whether their capacity to build the Model X is available in December or first in January. If the production ramp up to 800 Model X is delayed by 5 weeks Tesla will sell 50k cars for 2015 if it goes according to plan it sell 55k.
What we need is a global ban on coal mining. Leave it in the ground. Much better for us and future generations.
According to GMs own data on the volt usage it is about 63% of the miles that were electric. The 90% is BS. But the new Volt is a good move in the right direction to all BEV drive. The GM Bolt will be more interesting.
@mahonj Wired has a good piece on the cost of self-driving technology. It cost much more for the level of quality sensors that are needed for fully self-driving cars than just for driver assist systems. Google is so far the only fully self-driving car in testing and its GPS system that is accurate by centimeters cost 6000 USD and its lidar that fires 64 lasers collecting 1 million data points per second cost 60000 USD. Boston consulting does not expect fully self driving technology to cost less than 10,000 USD per car until 2025. However, even a high 20,000 USD per car is trivial to total cost of self-driving cars if it is operated as a taxi service clocking 100,000 miles per year for 10 years making 40 cents per mile or 400,000 USD over its 10 years lifespan.
E.c.i. I hear you and I think you are spot on about lying to superiors to keep things going in many cases but not this case. The case of fuel cell cars definitely qualifies. For the past 40 years lots of people in the auto industry have been saying fuel cell cars are just around the corner and regardless of zero real world results many still seem to believe in it. Larry Page calls the shots at Google and he does not care anymore about making money short-term. He has all he can spend in a 1000 lifetimes so he will fund the self-driving project regardless of how long it takes. Since college he has been passionate about transportation systems so he want this to happen. I am certain he couldn't care less if Google's boss of self driving cars Chris Umson told him it would probably take 10 years. Chris thinks his team can do it before 2020 and I do not see why he should be lying about that to anyone considering his boss is Larry Page. There is a highly recommendable TED talk about Larry Page and his philosophy for Google and life and about artificial intelligence. He starts to talk about cars 15 min and 15 sec into the 23 min long interview but I recommend viewing it all. Artificial intelligence is also a big topic in this talk and it is intimately related to self-driving cars in my opinion and also in Google's opinion. Part of Google's self driving software is the system's ability to recognize objects like humans, animals and different types of cars (like an ambulance in action versus an ordinary car) and predict where they go next in order to avoid accident. It is done with programming and learning computer based neural networks about these things. @mahonj It does not matter much if it cost 5000 USD or 20000 USD to add self driving technology to a car. Tesla are aiming for a service like for 1 million miles for their BEVs. Add self-driving technology and operate it as a taxi charging 40 cents for 1 million miles doing 100,000 miles per year in 10 years and that taxi will make 400,000 USD. This is plenty to pay for every cost associated with that driving and still make good profits. Today a Taxi cost 1.4 USD per mile but 1 USD is for the taxi driver and overheads that are not paid in a self-driving vehicle. I want to focus on the big picture and not on whether you can get a SSD drive black box for 200 or 500 USD. You are probably right about the 200 USD. However, if I were a company using self-driving taxies I would want a deluxe monitoring system with six, 360 degrees cameras in 4k and radar etc. and a 30 minutes recording to be sure my case in court would be well documented. There will be hordes of people both private and industry lobbyist that will try to coerce money from you or prevent the future from happening because their clients stand to lose from it. So spending extra on that is money well spend.