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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tesla's Macintosh - THE MODEL S

Just got back from a factory tour of the makers of the 2013 Automobile of the year - MODEL S
Ellon Musk was in the building too ...
 Some 13,000 customers had put down $5000 as a reservation, and we had put it down in April 2009 - and today was the big day. We were actually #787 on the wait list. Reminded me of the times when my dad had made his own reservations back in those days... the cycle of life continues. I saw it first on David Letterman and impressed sufficiently to plunk down 5 grand. The Model S was featured on Late Show with David Letterman in April 2009. Because the car uses no gasoline and does not produce any tailpipe emissions, it was allowed on the Late Show set and was the first fully functioning car on stage, and that probably got some of the 13,000 customers interested enough.,

 With Elon Musk @ TiECON 2009

We had been anticipating the 'arrival' since November last year, but as they say " the fruit of wait is always sweet"!

 Instead of picking up from Menlo Park, we decided to go hang out at the Factory.
Fabulous factory tour, and none of the gimmicks associated with the sale of a car.
No one trying to sell you undercoating, or sleaze balling you for something that you don't need.
These guys made the process a breeze - even though we were passed from team to team - as we progressed towards the final-pick up today.
PEN FED credit union is very popular with TESLA customers @ 1.49APR

So we have it now...
I am still confused about the flush door handles, the lack of an ignition button ;-(
Went to pick up Shivaum, and one of his friends called the Model S WICKED
All-glass panoramic roof, turn-by-turn navigation and a backup camera, along with WI-FI and two USB ports for plugging-in devices. And how about the 17 inch touchscreen dashboard?
Cost to drive 25 miles? A buck
You do the math now 
Brake lights come on when Tesla is losing speed
Seema was wondering why my brake lights came on so often when I was driving on 880.
Regenerative braking details here
  "It's the performance that won us over," admits editor-in-chief Jean Jennings AUTOMOBILE magazine. "The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses." The Signature's AC induction motor puts out 416 hp (weighs 4500 lbs) and that it blasts to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

The Lithium Ion battery consists of more than 7,000 battery cells (the same cell you see in a laptop) for the 85KW-h pack. The battery uses Panasonic cells with NI-CO AL Cathode. The 60KW-h battery pack is guaranteed for 8 years or 125 miles. The battery is located under the car onto the floor, the last thing assembled, which makes taking out a lot easier, but also provides the MODEL S with a very low center of gravity. THere is a $10K battery replacement option for the 60KWh battery, replaceable anytime after the 8th year or 12K miles

Like most electric cars, the torque is generated instantly. Tesla's torque amounts to a 443 lb-ft and all on the rear axle (it is a rear wheel/ rear engine car).
Someone arranged an informal drag race to 100 mph with a 560-hp BMW M5. The Model S won.

RANDY CARLSON makes a very interesting point about HIGH PERFORMING electric cars

"Low performance electric cars, especially those with limited range (small batteries) fail to exploit inherent advantages of electric drive. Electric drive batteries, power inverters and motors all work more efficiently at part load than they do when delivering maximum output. This is the opposite of an ICE. A relatively underpowered ICE car - where the engine is working hard most of the time - is inherently more efficient than a high performance ICE car where the engine is inefficiently loafing most of the time. In the case of low performance cars, the ICE versions get to operate near their best efficiency while the electric versions end up operating at their least efficient point. For high performance cars, the reverse is true. It follows that the electric car designer has the advantage when designing a high performance car, but when designing a low performance car, not so much. Tesla's Model S is acclaimed as a quicker, quieter, smoother riding, better handling BMW.
Randy points out the Different Approaches

Different Approaches
StrategyGM, Ford, othersTeslaTesla Advantage
CarEconomyPerformanceGreater electric vs. ICE advantage.
MarketTCO driven.Performance, status driven.Tolerates premium.
BatteryCustomCommodityCost, availability, performance, reliability.

TESLA's approach is to build the best vehicle possible using electric power, aiming to compete with the best ICE cars, using commodity batteries in comparison to the approach to build the least expensive electric vehicle possible, aiming to compete with lower-end ICE cars on cost, with newly developed specialty batteries. Very smart!
Battery technology developed specifically for electric car applications is not the key to lower cost. The existing battery industry is already being driven to higher capacity, longer cycle life, shorter recharge times and wider operating temperatures - all the things an electric car battery needs to be - by makers of laptop computers, cell-phones and other electronic devices. Development of a 'new' battery, even if the chemistry is the same and only the form-factor differs, presents an economic and manufacturing learning curve challenge. Commodity batteries manufactured by the billions, from experienced suppliers driven by intense competition offer lower cost, greater reliability, better performance and assured availability compared to any custom developed battery. Until the electric car market begins using large volumes of batteries, the custom electric car battery is a dog that just isn't going to hunt."

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