Tesla S

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Re: Tesla S

Postby lightheir » Thu May 16, 2013 11:32 am

btenny wrote:Now if you guys really did your homework you would all see that a "electric bike" is the fastest way to get to work and the cheapest..... See here.

http://www.evworld.com/urban.cfm?newsid=38

Bill


Actually, a regular bike is the cheapest. Might not be the fastest, but if you're in good shape, it can actually be as fast or even faster than an electric bike if you push it hard.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby btenny » Thu May 16, 2013 1:32 pm

I did not say the cheapest. Yes a regular bike is cheaper but a electric bike is "faster". Please read the article. The guys main point is the time cost of money. In some cases the car is slightly faster than a bike in actual drive time. BUT if you add back in the time that you have to spend to earn the extra money for the faster car transportation the bike is far superior.....

This is also why I rile regularly against long commutes to work and talk regularly about suggesting people move to stay close if they change jobs.

Bill
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Re: Tesla S

Postby ryuns » Thu May 16, 2013 6:27 pm

btenny wrote:I did not say the cheapest. Yes a regular bike is cheaper but a electric bike is "faster". Please read the article. The guys main point is the time cost of money. In some cases the car is slightly faster than a bike in actual drive time. BUT if you add back in the time that you have to spend to earn the extra money for the faster car transportation the bike is far superior.....

This is also why I rile regularly against long commutes to work and talk regularly about suggesting people move to stay close if they change jobs.

Bill


Part of lighttheir's point was that, if you're in to it, a regular bike is as fast as an e-bike. That's not the general rule, but it's definitely true for a lot of people. Most e-bike's top out at around 15 mph and, I believe, are not allowed to go faster than 20 mph in a lot of places.

E-bikes are still a great choice for a lot of people, particularly commuters. It saves a lot of sweat during warm weather, "flattens" a steep hill, and makes longer distances reasonable to the non-hard core among us.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Re: Tesla S

Postby lightheir » Thu May 16, 2013 6:31 pm

ryuns wrote:
btenny wrote:I did not say the cheapest. Yes a regular bike is cheaper but a electric bike is "faster". Please read the article. The guys main point is the time cost of money. In some cases the car is slightly faster than a bike in actual drive time. BUT if you add back in the time that you have to spend to earn the extra money for the faster car transportation the bike is far superior.....

This is also why I rile regularly against long commutes to work and talk regularly about suggesting people move to stay close if they change jobs.

Bill


Part of lighttheir's point was that, if you're in to it, a regular bike is as fast as an e-bike. That's not the general rule, but it's definitely true for a lot of people. Most e-bike's top out at around 15 mph and, I believe, are not allowed to go faster than 20 mph in a lot of places.

E-bikes are still a great choice for a lot of people, particularly commuters. It saves a lot of sweat during warm weather, "flattens" a steep hill, and makes longer distances reasonable to the non-hard core among us.


I outride most e-bike commuters in my area (there are more than a few in Norcal.) I'm aware that some of these ebikes go up to 500watts, at which point they'll outride even pros, but with the combination of throttling at 20mph of speed, dodgier start and stops in traffic due to the bulk/mass, the ebikes aren't exactly burning it up out here. Especially when a regular rider like myself easily averages 20+mph solo routinely on the flats (I'm usually at moving flat speed 21-22mph on my commute over 12 miles, but the avg speed gets dragged down by the stop lights.)
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Default User BR » Fri May 17, 2013 1:50 am

btenny wrote:In some cases the car is slightly faster than a bike in actual drive time.

"Some cases"? "Slightly faster"? You have to work hard to find a case where an electric bike isn't much slower than a car. Yeah, gridlock city traffic. But not any real commuting. Bikes can't even go on the interstates. Let's get real.


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Re: Tesla S

Postby ryuns » Fri May 17, 2013 1:01 pm

lightheir wrote:
ryuns wrote:
btenny wrote:I did not say the cheapest. Yes a regular bike is cheaper but a electric bike is "faster". Please read the article. The guys main point is the time cost of money. In some cases the car is slightly faster than a bike in actual drive time. BUT if you add back in the time that you have to spend to earn the extra money for the faster car transportation the bike is far superior.....

This is also why I rile regularly against long commutes to work and talk regularly about suggesting people move to stay close if they change jobs.

Bill


Part of lighttheir's point was that, if you're in to it, a regular bike is as fast as an e-bike. That's not the general rule, but it's definitely true for a lot of people. Most e-bike's top out at around 15 mph and, I believe, are not allowed to go faster than 20 mph in a lot of places.

E-bikes are still a great choice for a lot of people, particularly commuters. It saves a lot of sweat during warm weather, "flattens" a steep hill, and makes longer distances reasonable to the non-hard core among us.


I outride most e-bike commuters in my area (there are more than a few in Norcal.) I'm aware that some of these ebikes go up to 500watts, at which point they'll outride even pros, but with the combination of throttling at 20mph of speed, dodgier start and stops in traffic due to the bulk/mass, the ebikes aren't exactly burning it up out here. Especially when a regular rider like myself easily averages 20+mph solo routinely on the flats (I'm usually at moving flat speed 21-22mph on my commute over 12 miles, but the avg speed gets dragged down by the stop lights.)


I think we're agreeing then?
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Re: Tesla S

Postby sambb » Fri May 17, 2013 4:27 pm

Off of the bikes but back to the tesla s. Has anyone done a boglehead analysis of the car? On the tesla website forums, they say the car is comparable to a porsche panamera, but with half the ownership cost. Not sure i agree with that.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby hicabob » Fri May 17, 2013 5:46 pm

Nice older gentleman at my gym has one - says it's the best car he has ever owned. We were discussing the predicament that the Tesla shorts have found themselves in and both agree that the stock has probably overshot. Kinda funny, but when at the gym he parks at the organic food supermarket across the street because they provide free charging! It's funny how people are thrifty in some things but not others. He told me he always used to buy used luxury vehicles but at his age (I'm guessing 75??) decided to spoil himself. I'll bug him for a ride in it one of these days.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Tue May 28, 2013 9:20 pm

Interesting that this older post has been resurrected. I may be one of few participants on this site who owns Tesla Model S, have had one since last December. And yes, consider myself a Boglehead despite this seeming extravagance, did trade in my 13 year old mercedes E class when bought it. Consumer Reports may have understated quality and handling of car. Best vehicle that I have ever driven by far in over 40 years of driving. Once you drive a Tesla Model S any ICE (that is our lingo for internal combustion engine) is a disappointment. By my estimate am responsible in part for at least 4 Tesla orders from friends (and brother in law) who have seen or driven my car. Yes, it is expensive, even with the $7,500 tax credit. But puts new meaning into phrase "joy of driving". My wife drives older Lexus LS 460 and we vie for who gets to drive the Tesla, have compromised that whichever of us drives longest distance that day gets the Tesla (since cost to run is near nominal compared to gas for her Lexus). Have put in order for Tesla Model X in 2015. Recommend anyone looking to buy or lease car that cost $60K or over take a test drive in a Tesla before purchase or lease. Best part of car is that every couple weeks get new applications and controls for car through downloads to 17" computer screen on dashboard from company in California. And since Toyota and Daimler Benz are two of largest investors in company I feel comfortable that company and its products will be a survivor, either on its own or under larger umbrella.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby fatlittlepig » Tue May 28, 2013 9:31 pm

Offshore wrote:I usually don't get excited about a car. I've been driving a Prius since 2008. It suits me.

The more I read about the Tesla S, the more I find myself getting excited. What excites me is that it has performance, it uses no gasoline, it's big enough to seat my family and the base model is 49k (still a lot). They want 5k deposit, which is fully refundable (1 year wait).

Does anyone have any information, either good or bad on the vehicle?


great company but the model S is about 20-40k too expensive.

plus elephant in the room is how long will the laptop batteries last and how much will they cost to replace after the warranty period.

FLP
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Re: Tesla S

Postby sambb » Tue May 28, 2013 9:34 pm

I wonder if the car is cost effective - their cost analysis is different than mine. I keep cars for 6-8 years, so the 3 year buy back is not relevant. The resale value is unknown and once it is out of warranty, the cost of repair is unknown. My insurance company says it would total the car for even a minor accident, since the cost of repair is unknown. Is there a "worst case cost analysis available. It seems like those who bought the car this year would have been much better off buying the stock rather than the car, if they believe in tesla.???
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Mister Whale » Tue May 28, 2013 10:15 pm

jdb wrote:Interesting that this older post has been resurrected. I may be one of few participants on this site who owns Tesla Model S, have had one since last December. And yes, consider myself a Boglehead despite this seeming extravagance, did trade in my 13 year old mercedes E class when bought it. Consumer Reports may have understated quality and handling of car. Best vehicle that I have ever driven by far in over 40 years of driving. Once you drive a Tesla Model S any ICE (that is our lingo for internal combustion engine) is a disappointment. By my estimate am responsible in part for at least 4 Tesla orders from friends (and brother in law) who have seen or driven my car. Yes, it is expensive, even with the $7,500 tax credit. But puts new meaning into phrase "joy of driving". My wife drives older Lexus LS 460 and we vie for who gets to drive the Tesla, have compromised that whichever of us drives longest distance that day gets the Tesla (since cost to run is near nominal compared to gas for her Lexus). Have put in order for Tesla Model X in 2015. Recommend anyone looking to buy or lease car that cost $60K or over take a test drive in a Tesla before purchase or lease. Best part of car is that every couple weeks get new applications and controls for car through downloads to 17" computer screen on dashboard from company in California. And since Toyota and Daimler Benz are two of largest investors in company I feel comfortable that company and its products will be a survivor, either on its own or under larger umbrella.


Thanks for sharing. I'm a fan of the car, and of the company. Nice to see a report by an owner instead of the hearsay of the onlookers.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius
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Re: Tesla S

Postby bertie wooster » Tue May 28, 2013 10:57 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
4nursebee wrote:I am a fan of the company and think they can change the face of transportation. Because of this I am an investor.

In another 9.5 years I hope to post my story for the haters back here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=106653


Quite frankly, you are mad.


Wow - that is just an excellent response to have when you disagree with someone. You must be a real hoot to have discussions with.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Tue May 28, 2013 11:47 pm

Mister Whale said "Thanks for sharing. I'm a fan of the car, and of the company. Nice to see a report by an owner instead of the hearsay of the onlookers.[/quote][/quote]

Thanks Mister Whale. There is an awful lot of commentary on this car and the company, not just on this site, and it seems to me as an owner that vast majority is written by people who have never even driven the car, let alone own the vehicle. In fact I suspect that a number have never even seen the car in person. My mantra to everyone is to get a test drive or at least a ride in the car before criticising the vehicle. As an owner I can verify that it is very difficult to go back to an ICE once you have driven this car. I for one will probably never buy another ICE, including hybrids.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Frugal Al » Wed May 29, 2013 5:51 am

I like the Tesla; I just don't like subsidizing a luxo vehicle for people that can afford them without the subsidy. Apparently I'm not the only one. http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmich ... ome-money/
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Offshore » Wed May 29, 2013 6:55 am

jdb wrote:Interesting that this older post has been resurrected. I may be one of few participants on this site who owns Tesla Model S, have had one since last December. And yes, consider myself a Boglehead despite this seeming extravagance, did trade in my 13 year old mercedes E class when bought it. Consumer Reports may have understated quality and handling of car. Best vehicle that I have ever driven by far in over 40 years of driving. Once you drive a Tesla Model S any ICE (that is our lingo for internal combustion engine) is a disappointment. By my estimate am responsible in part for at least 4 Tesla orders from friends (and brother in law) who have seen or driven my car. Yes, it is expensive, even with the $7,500 tax credit. But puts new meaning into phrase "joy of driving". My wife drives older Lexus LS 460 and we vie for who gets to drive the Tesla, have compromised that whichever of us drives longest distance that day gets the Tesla (since cost to run is near nominal compared to gas for her Lexus). Have put in order for Tesla Model X in 2015. Recommend anyone looking to buy or lease car that cost $60K or over take a test drive in a Tesla before purchase or lease. Best part of car is that every couple weeks get new applications and controls for car through downloads to 17" computer screen on dashboard from company in California. And since Toyota and Daimler Benz are two of largest investors in company I feel comfortable that company and its products will be a survivor, either on its own or under larger umbrella.


jdb- This is the first I've heard about leasing a Tesla!
Last I checked this was not an option. I wonder if leasing a regional phenomena?
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Wed May 29, 2013 7:28 am

Hi Offshore. Yes, Tesla Motors came out with leasing plan in past few months. Run throught Wells Fargo and US Bank. I am not familiar with it other than news sreports but sounds interesting.

http://www.freep.com/article/20130503/B ... an-Model-S
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Wed May 29, 2013 7:54 am

Frugal Al wrote:I like the Tesla; I just don't like subsidizing a luxo vehicle for people that can afford them without the subsidy. Apparently I'm not the only one. http://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmich ... ome-money/


Hi Frugal Al. This is not a political site. But in response to your post, the EV tax credit was enacted during Bush administration. I would have bought Tesla Model S regardless of tax credit, and suspect most other buyers would agree with me. Actually the tax credit much more of an incentive for lower price point EV's like Nissan Leaf. The tax credit is tiny compared to huge US subsidies over the years for big oil, commercial farming, timber, et al. In my opinion government should get out of all such economic subsidies but for author of Forbes article, who purportedly works for Cato Institute funded by Koch Brothers with their oil refineries, this sounds like worst type of slanted journalism.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Frugal Al » Wed May 29, 2013 8:37 am

jdb wrote: I would have bought Tesla Model S regardless of tax credit, and suspect most other buyers would agree with me.
I'm glad you agree with me. :D Let's not get political. I don't care who enacted the EV credit.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby sambb » Wed May 29, 2013 8:44 am

Thanks for the link to the Forbes article. Truly eye opening.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby thirdman » Thu May 30, 2013 1:47 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Tesla could easily wind up as the Bricklin of its generation.

It is more than likely that the successful electric car will come from an existing car manufacturer NOT a new entrant.

It's not like the computer industry where a disruptive innovation can be mass produced by a small company. The car industry is 100 years old, and whilst propulsion and other technologies change, that change is incremental, primarily, rather than revolutionary. GM was the world's largest car company in the 1930s and it is still in the top 4-5 (VW, Toyota, GM I think, in that order).

Buying into a new technology, from an unproven startup which is heavily subsidized in its funding, is just very high risk of getting stuck with an orphan of little or no resale value, plus difficulties servicing.

If you want to go the electric route, you'd be better off with something like a Chevy Volt-- GM will be in business in 10 years time (in some form or another), the technology is not completely dependent on electric charging stations which haven't been built yet, etc.


I thought exactly the same thing. I thought Elon Musk' strategy of building an expensive car, instead of a low priced vehicle, did not make sense. I thought using an off the shelf battery did not make sense. I thought Carlos Ghosn' strategy of having the battery in house, and the resources of a huge auto company would produce a superior vehicle, plus it was relatively low priced. Nissan put close to 5 billion USD into development of the Leaf. Tesla developed the electronics on a shoestring budget. How could Tesla compete?

Now, looking back it is clear that Tesla developed a superior platform. The floor is flat. The batteries are a replaceable component in a tray underneath. The rear drive electric motor has a simple old fashioned controller. What is now clear is that the important person is the one at the top guiding the project. Little else seems to matter. Tesla's engineering is superior to Nissan. Tesla's strategy is superior to Nissan. The Tesla S outsold the Mercedes S Class last month. Toyota and Mercedes are using Tesla technology in their electric vehicles.

The disruption of the auto industry aided Tesla. They picked up the plant cheap. Elon Musk was able to hire experienced auto engineers and designers. He was very selective and hired the best.

There must be some lessons here. The one I take away is that it is the person at the top that really matters. The corporate culture and strategy emanate from this one person. Space X is another example.

When I was in engineering school there were always other kids who were smarter and could see a simple solution where i got lost in minutia. I have seen incompetent people put in charge of whole departments. I have seen very smart people put in charge but they were poor people managers.

I dabble in a few stocks, even though I buy mostly index funds. Tesla is one of the few stocks I bought after an acquaintance took me for a ride in his new Tesla S. The only objection I had was that he kept stepping on the accelerator and going "whoopee" while my head snapped back. When he pulled up for me to get in, the door handles were hidden. He had to roll down the window and tell me to touch the door handle, and voila it came out. That seems unnecessary, but it was neat.

Another company that I find the corporate culture probably emanates from the top is Harrah's, which is Caesars Entertainment. I don't own the stock, but we recently stayed at one of their resorts. I spoke with a manager. Everyone was so nice, helpful and had a good attitude. The manager who knew Bill Harrah said the culture was set by Bill Harrah many years ago.

But I digress..
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Re: Tesla S

Postby smiley » Thu May 30, 2013 6:37 pm

thirdman wrote:I dabble in a few stocks, even though I buy mostly index funds. Tesla is one of the few stocks I bought after an acquaintance took me for a ride in his new Tesla S. The only objection I had was that he kept stepping on the accelerator and going "whoopee" while my head snapped back. When he pulled up for me to get in, the door handles were hidden. He had to roll down the window and tell me to touch the door handle, and voila it came out. That seems unnecessary, but it was neat.


i test drove a model s today, and i couldn't help but go "whopee" every time i hit the accelerator and felt that instant torque. i chuckled thinking of this post.

:happy
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Re: Tesla S

Postby ryuns » Thu May 30, 2013 7:36 pm

Fun news today about Tesla's plan to expand their supercharger network. http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/201 ... twork.html I wish the tech was compatible with other EV's but it's still good to see what possible. I find it pretty amazing that Tesla is offering it all for free. That's going to have to change some time. Probably as soon as they get a bill from PG&E for 50 cents/kWh for someone's super double on-peak charging.

In other news, I'm amazing at the attractive lease rates I'm seeing for EV's right now. Honda just announced $269/mo, zero down, unlimited miles, free charging station on their Fit EV. Standard Fit starts (base model with 5 speed) at $169/mo + $2k down, so the EV seems like a pretty smart deal, assuming there isn't a big cost to maintaining an extra car for longer trips, if you need one.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Re: Tesla S

Postby madbrain » Thu May 30, 2013 7:43 pm

ryuns wrote:Fun news today about Tesla's plan to expand their supercharger network. http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/201 ... twork.html I wish the tech was compatible with other EV's but it's still good to see what possible. I find it pretty amazing that Tesla is offering it all for free. That's going to have to change some time. Probably as soon as they get a bill from PG&E for 50 cents/kWh for someone's super double on-peak charging.


I would expect that anyone who can afford this car can also afford the solar system needed to avoid getting into the summer peak rates of 50 cents/kWh of PG&E (current rates for E-6 schedule, effective 5/1/2013).

In other news, I'm amazing at the attractive lease rates I'm seeing for EV's right now. Honda just announced $269/mo, zero down, unlimited miles, free charging station on their Fit EV. Standard Fit starts (base model with 5 speed) at $169/mo + $2k down, so the EV seems like a pretty smart deal, assuming there isn't a big cost to maintaining an extra car for longer trips, if you need one.


Yes, the lease rates for lower-end EVs are very cheap because the federal tax credit goes to the car company/dealer, towards your downpayment. It's like getting a $7500 downpayment on a Leaf.
In California you also get $2500 back from CARB after you buy the car.

I am a 2012 Leaf SL lessee.
I paid $1000 upfront including DMV fees. Got $2500 back from CARB after 5 weeks. And my lease payment is $249 + tax for 39 months. Average cost per month including all taxes : $224/month. There are not many cars you can get for that cheap. Let alone one as nice as a Leaf SL. The main limitation is the range, of course.

When my Leaf lease runs out, I hope I can afford a Tesla S. Maybe it will have dropped by $20 - $30k then. One can dream.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Jack » Thu May 30, 2013 8:13 pm

sambb wrote:Thanks for the link to the Forbes article. Truly eye opening.

Worth noting that the guy is funded by the petroleum industry and a noted global warming skeptic. Let's just say that he has an ax to grind and is well paid for it. Not a word on the billions in subsidies going to his petroleum patrons each year.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby TomatoTomahto » Thu May 30, 2013 8:21 pm

These questions might belong on an automotive web site, but I'll ask them anyway. How does it do in snow ( northeastern kind of weather)? Any chance of 4wd? Is the weight so well distributed (rear engine) that RWD is sufficient?
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Re: Tesla S

Postby justanotherguy » Thu May 30, 2013 10:50 pm

I can't personally attest to the winter handling of the Model S, but Tesla intends for their next vehicle, the Model X, to be available with 4wd. Their going to implement it by using two electric motors: one to drive the front wheels and the other for the rear wheels.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Thu May 30, 2013 11:55 pm

See attached report and video as to winter driving in Canada. I live in South Florida so cannot speak personally as to its handling under winter conditions, but on Tesla Motor Club site there are lots of comments from owners that the car drives and handles very good in winter conditions. One interesting feature is ability to turn on heating (and a/c) remotely with iphone (or android or blackberry) before entering car, so can be warmed (or cooled) to comfort before driving. I personally can attest that under very rainy conditons with slick streets the car handles beautifully, the very low center of gravity allows great traction by tires. And the Model X for 2015 will have 4 wheel drive available.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-d ... ice-2013-3
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Frugal Al » Fri May 31, 2013 4:02 am

Jack wrote:
sambb wrote:Thanks for the link to the Forbes article. Truly eye opening.

Worth noting that the guy is funded by the petroleum industry and a noted global warming skeptic. Let's just say that he has an ax to grind and is well paid for it. Not a word on the billions in subsidies going to his petroleum patrons each year.

Jack, instead of being accusatory of his possible motives, please point out what he wrote that was incorrect.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 31, 2013 5:38 am

thirdman wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Tesla could easily wind up as the Bricklin of its generation.

It is more than likely that the successful electric car will come from an existing car manufacturer NOT a new entrant.

It's not like the computer industry where a disruptive innovation can be mass produced by a small company. The car industry is 100 years old, and whilst propulsion and other technologies change, that change is incremental, primarily, rather than revolutionary. GM was the world's largest car company in the 1930s and it is still in the top 4-5 (VW, Toyota, GM I think, in that order).

Buying into a new technology, from an unproven startup which is heavily subsidized in its funding, is just very high risk of getting stuck with an orphan of little or no resale value, plus difficulties servicing.

If you want to go the electric route, you'd be better off with something like a Chevy Volt-- GM will be in business in 10 years time (in some form or another), the technology is not completely dependent on electric charging stations which haven't been built yet, etc.


I thought exactly the same thing. I thought Elon Musk' strategy of building an expensive car, instead of a low priced vehicle, did not make sense. I thought using an off the shelf battery did not make sense. I thought Carlos Ghosn' strategy of having the battery in house, and the resources of a huge auto company would produce a superior vehicle, plus it was relatively low priced. Nissan put close to 5 billion USD into development of the Leaf. Tesla developed the electronics on a shoestring budget. How could Tesla compete?

Now, looking back it is clear that Tesla developed a superior platform. The floor is flat. The batteries are a replaceable component in a tray underneath. The rear drive electric motor has a simple old fashioned controller. What is now clear is that the important person is the one at the top guiding the project. Little else seems to matter. Tesla's engineering is superior to Nissan. Tesla's strategy is superior to Nissan. The Tesla S outsold the Mercedes S Class last month. Toyota and Mercedes are using Tesla technology in their electric vehicles.

The disruption of the auto industry aided Tesla. They picked up the plant cheap. Elon Musk was able to hire experienced auto engineers and designers. He was very selective and hired the best.

There must be some lessons here. The one I take away is that it is the person at the top that really matters. The corporate culture and strategy emanate from this one person. Space X is another example.

When I was in engineering school there were always other kids who were smarter and could see a simple solution where i got lost in minutia. I have seen incompetent people put in charge of whole departments. I have seen very smart people put in charge but they were poor people managers.

I dabble in a few stocks, even though I buy mostly index funds. Tesla is one of the few stocks I bought after an acquaintance took me for a ride in his new Tesla S. The only objection I had was that he kept stepping on the accelerator and going "whoopee" while my head snapped back. When he pulled up for me to get in, the door handles were hidden. He had to roll down the window and tell me to touch the door handle, and voila it came out. That seems unnecessary, but it was neat.

Another company that I find the corporate culture probably emanates from the top is Harrah's, which is Caesars Entertainment. I don't own the stock, but we recently stayed at one of their resorts. I spoke with a manager. Everyone was so nice, helpful and had a good attitude. The manager who knew Bill Harrah said the culture was set by Bill Harrah many years ago.

But I digress..


You make a good point. If you go further down I do reply to someone that there are things about Tesla I may not have appreciated.

ie that industry incumbents never see the disruptive technology coming, and if/ when they do see it, they can't emulate, because it destroys their core business and customer relationships.

IBM with the PC is almost the exception that proves the rule.

But think DEC and the PC. 'what good is a home computer' was Ken Olsen's comment (taken out of context) that will ring down through history-- and eventually DEC launched the $25k home PC. Or Kodak and digital cameras (which they invented). This is what Clay Christensen has written so many times about.

Could Tesla break the industry deadlock with superior engineering, and imagination? In the way Henry Ford did?

I have argued many times here that the electric car is disruptive, because of the radically simpler powertrain, and it caters to 'car as utility' rather than our current approach to cars (massively overengineered for the day to day use we make of them-- 0 to 60 in 12 seconds, capable of driving 450 miles on a tank of gas, capable of doing 120 mph etc.-- this we use to go to the grocery store and the train station?). And certainly the industry appreciates that.


It's just hard for me to see that given that we already know what a car looks like, where the steering wheel is, what its safety equipment is, etc. that an industry upstart can beat down people who make over 100 million cars a year and sell in every country on the planet. Who have the best engineers and the best technologists.

Whereas with Apple, say, the PC barely existed-- there were probably no more than 1 million in existence when the Mac came out. The MP3 player existed but the vertical ecology of itunes did not. The pad didn't exist. So Apple was claiming new continents (but could have failed) whereas Tesla is trying to steal market share from huge technologically sophisticated competitors who see it coming.

But maybe that's my blindness, that I think the likes of BMW and Nissan and GM can react, when in fact they cannot.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 31, 2013 5:46 am

bertie wooster wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
4nursebee wrote:I am a fan of the company and think they can change the face of transportation. Because of this I am an investor.

In another 9.5 years I hope to post my story for the haters back here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=106653


Quite frankly, you are mad.


Wow - that is just an excellent response to have when you disagree with someone. You must be a real hoot to have discussions with.


Note I did go on to explain my reasoning.

A fair cop. My language was inappropriate (it might help if you put an English accent on it-- the way that term is used in England, in that expression, is slightly different than the US I suspect-- the connotation is in the UK is that the action is unwise and potentially dangerous, however there is that underlying English admiration of the eccentric amateur risk taker 'to climb that mountain alone was mad' but with admiration if it succeeded, and a knowing nod if it led to the subject's death. As in 'to stand alone against Hitler was the act of a mad man, leading a mad nation'- -ie a rash gamble, but Churchill pulled it off).

I should have written 'it's axiomatic to being a boglehead that if we like a product that we can afford, we buy it. But we don't confuse that with owning the stock'.

(you like PG Wodehouse. So you'd probably enjoy the Evelyn Waugh 'Swords of Honour' Trilogy (or the 1 volume condensation). About the reaction to Churchill at the time, as an opportunistic bounder, fringe politician and radio talk show hack who suddenly, unaccountably, was leading the nation to war with a vastly superior power. The description of the retreat in Crete, and the sense of the chaotic amateurishness of the British forces at the time, is classic. We were, in fact, mad. Just gloriously mad, mad in a just and great cause. Wodehouse of course got captured by the Nazis and foolishly agreed to speak on Nazi radio about his captivity, forever branding himself a collaborator and traitor)).

See also the film 'The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_a ... onel_Blimp and contrast that to the blatant (and brilliant) propaganda 'In which we Serve'. The filmic treatment of the British destroyers under air attack during the evacuation would be repeated in the real world on another quixotic, mad and very British quest-- Mrs. Thatcher's recapture of the Falklands in 1980-81. When the Argentine fighter bombers came howling down the water in Port St. Carlos Bay, and HMS Ardent, Antelope, Coventry each went down in turn with 1000 pound bombs in the hull.. you couldn't help but have flashbacks to Dunkirk and Crete.

The 'I liked the product so I bought the stock' is a debate we have here many times. Usually about Apple. People have made a lot of money doing that.

Those of us who are older have also probably lost a lot of money doing that. Peter Lynch makes it sound easy, it's anything but.

So my counsel was one of financial caution. I am all for people buying neat products (as long as they can afford it). But then doubling the bet by putting money on the stock, in contravention of the whole principle of diversification? THAT I counsel against.

Auto manufacturing is just not a 25% operating margin business with low working capital like, say, software. It's a 2.5% margin business (BMW makes about 8% from memory, the highest of any manufacturer). It's vertically incredibly complex supply chain, with huge working capital-- thus giving you constant cash flow issues, especially as you ramp production. A wobble in the production/ sales process can kill you because of that. This is very far different from say PCs in the early days (really until Dell turned the PC into a Toyota). And even there, industry cycles killed companies-- remember the Osborne 1?

Anyways, fair point about language. Thank you.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 31, 2013 6:29 am

Strikes me I might have another conceptual bias against Tesla which can lead to incorrect analysis.

The (possibly false) analogy I come up with is Bricklin, Delorean, ie effort to 'break the mould' of an industry by coming in at the top end. Doomed to failure-- high end niche car, you never get the economies of scale, becomes a well publicized failure.

Since my sense of the electric car is closer to the Nissan Leaf, or the Gwhiz (Indian built electric car seen in London) ie a low end 'utility' second car that does the 3 mile runs to the school, the store, the train station-- there's a Nissan Leaf locally. Avoids the problem of networks of charging stations etc. That's where I see the electric car as 'disruptive' ie car as a utility rather than car as a 'thing'.

My model is how Honda cracked the motorbike industry. Ie not by taking on Triumph and Harley face on (that failed) but, in an accidental bit of kismet, by creating a whole new market in America-- for small cc 'utility' bikes.

But maybe what I am missing is that a car is still an aspirational good, by which we signal externally our values and our ability to afford it. So a high end electric car, with faster acceleration than a conventional car, say, matters in that context. It is a 'nyahh nyahh: I bought an electric car and I can *still* beat you in a drag race').

Cars are aspirational goods, all over the world. We don't buy them out of practicality and cost efficiency. We buy them because of how they look, how they drive, what they say about us. We invent rationales for our ownership (Volvos it was safety, Corvettes it was sex appeal, young men buy BMWs, older men buy Mercedes, etc.). We engage in ex post rationalization -- see the debates about SUVs here.

So maybe the way to crack the industry *is* to come in at the high end, where the higher sticker price and margins give you the cash flow to tackle the inevitable teething problems. Sell it to rich Hollywood people and Silicon-Valley ers. Then move down. Whereas the problem with the Leaf, or the Chevy Volt, is that for the small to midrange car buyer it is too expensive, too limited, to justify a premium sticker price.

Think in other words like a Californian, not a dull mid continental suburban wasp.

I still wouldn't want to own the stock, though. Buy the car, not the stock. That's true of almost any product I like. In fact, I've made the most money out of industries I loathe-- tar sands, tobacco, alcohol etc. I'd probably draw the line at a biofuels producer (if I was buying individual stocks rather than index funds, that is).
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Jfet » Fri May 31, 2013 2:13 pm

I just realized that the Tesla S qualifies for exemption from state sales/use tax in WA state.

Couple the $7500 federal tax credit with the $7500 in WA state sales tax you would not have to pay and that is $15,000

That is a pretty big amount that taxpayers are subsidizing for this vehicle.

It really isn't such a bad deal for rich buyers, especially since they get to use HOV lanes and get 0-60mph under 4 seconds sports sedan performance.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Fri May 31, 2013 3:02 pm

Jfet wrote:I just realized that the Tesla S qualifies for exemption from state sales/use tax in WA state.

Couple the $7500 federal tax credit with the $7500 in WA state sales tax you would not have to pay and that is $15,000

That is a pretty big amount that taxpayers are subsidizing for this vehicle.

It really isn't such a bad deal for rich buyers, especially since they get to use HOV lanes and get 0-60mph under 4 seconds sports sedan performance.


Disappointing that participants on this site ignore the strictures against politcal statements in a discussion of a specific car and car maufacturer, was hoping for more intelligent discussions. It's as if in a discussion of General Motors cars participants kept on referencing the many billions of dollars of subsidies that US taxpayers have given to company, which will far exceed the relatively paltry EV tax credits. This forum was not intended for political discussions, there are other available sites for venting political feelings if you want to waste your time.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby sambb » Fri May 31, 2013 3:23 pm

I dont think it is political to say that for an >$80k car (mid range S with options), that a 7500 subsidy seems like a nice discount for those who can afford an 80k car. I think that part is a fact. However, the rest may be political. The numbers are really though that a person (rich or poor) pays a lot for a fancy car, and gets a 7500 break. So what. That's the law right now.
The gas savings are not huge, since at this price level, the cost of gas is not too important.
The performance is interesting, but who can drive any car this fast.
Isn't this really a prestige issue. Right now, it is cool and prestigious to have one of these. So it is popular. I am wondering how financially responsible the car is. I wonder if anyone has a best case and worst case financial assessment.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby thirdman » Fri May 31, 2013 4:07 pm

sambb wrote:I dont think it is political to say that for an >$80k car (mid range S with options), that a 7500 subsidy seems like a nice discount for those who can afford an 80k car. I think that part is a fact. However, the rest may be political. The numbers are really though that a person (rich or poor) pays a lot for a fancy car, and gets a 7500 break. So what. That's the law right now.
The gas savings are not huge, since at this price level, the cost of gas is not too important.
The performance is interesting, but who can drive any car this fast.
Isn't this really a prestige issue. Right now, it is cool and prestigious to have one of these. So it is popular. I am wondering how financially responsible the car is. I wonder if anyone has a best case and worst case financial assessment.


Musk decided to enter the higher cost end of the car spectrum. I see now that this is a smart move. The battery pack in the car is so costly that it is absorbed in the huge markups on these high cost vehicles. I was in a BMW dealership, and the salesman offered to pay the sales, gas guzzler, and luxury tax on the 7 Series. I was in Del Mar, Calif recently and 100K Porsches, Mercedes etc were a dime a dozen. I was envious. So, if I had 125K to spend on a personal vehicle, what would I buy? Not the Mercedes S Class. It would be between the 911 and the Tesla S. Probably the Tesla. Equal performance, enough range to be usable, and almost no maintenance. Now, what can I get for my Camry?
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Jfet » Fri May 31, 2013 4:15 pm

I wasn't making a political statement. It is what it is and is the current law.

What I meant was it is hard to ignore the advantage a company like Tesla has against a company that makes ICE luxury sports sedans.

$15,000 is a big amount that comes off the bottom line of Tesla.

If you buy a $70,000 Porsche you really have to compare it to a $85,000 price for the Tesla.

The statement I was making is that this is not a bad deal for people who want a performance car and have money to spend.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Fri May 31, 2013 5:17 pm

Jfet wrote:I wasn't making a political statement. It is what it is and is the current law.

What I meant was it is hard to ignore the advantage a company like Tesla has against a company that makes ICE luxury sports sedans.

$15,000 is a big amount that comes off the bottom line of Tesla.

If you buy a $70,000 Porsche you really have to compare it to a $85,000 price for the Tesla.

The statement I was making is that this is not a bad deal for people who want a performance car and have money to spend.

Hi Jfet. I accept your economic anaylsis, nothing personal. Just want to get discussion to economics and car qualities or car defects and away from bemoaning existing federal and state economic incentives which are beyond scope of this site. Thanks.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby inbox788 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:23 pm

nisiprius wrote:Is it real, or is it just another Tucker or another DeLorean?


I've actually seen a couple on the road here in SoCal.

Since 2008 Tesla sold more than 2,400 Roadsters in 31 countries through September 2012.

About 2,650 Model S cars were sold in the U.S. during 2012,[71] and 4,900 units during the first quarter of 2013, allowing the Model S to become the top selling plug-in electric car in North America during the first quarter of 2013, ahead of the Chevrolet Volt with 4,421 units, and the Nissan Leaf with 3,695.[2] Tesla increased its 2013 sales target to 21,000 units in April 2013,[2] and expects global sales of 30,000 units in 2014, with 15,000 units in the United States, 10,000 units in Europe and 5,000 in Asia.[96]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Motors

So, Tucker? No.
Fifty-eight frames and bodies were built at the factory. From these parts, 36 sedans were finished before the factory was closed. After the factory closed but before liquidation of his assets, Tucker retained a core of employees who assembled an additional 14 sedans for a total of 50. A 51st car was partially completed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Tucker_Sedan

DeLorean? to be determined, but probably no.
A large number of the original cars are still on the road after over 30 years; most estimates put it at 6,500 cars surviving out of just over 9,000 built. There is an active enthusiast community around the cars, with strong owners' clubs. A number of businesses were set up after the demise of DMC to provide parts and service, and most of those are still in existence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeLorean_Motor_Company

Will it surpass Edsel next?
Total Edsel sales were approximately 84,000, less than half the company's projected break-even point. The company lost $350 million, or the equivalent of $2,756,449,772 in 2013 dollars[6], on the venture.[7] Only 118,287 Edsels were built, including 7,440 produced in Ontario, Canada. By U.S. auto industry standards, these production figures were dismal, particularly when spread across a run of three model years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel

Will it outlive Saturn's decade?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Corporation
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:09 pm

@inbox788. I would analogize more to Apple Computer in 1987. When got Tesla Model S last December my wife was so impressed with technology that she compared it to our first Apple IIE computer in mid 1980's, and we immediately bought stock in company, like we should have done with AAPL in 1987. It is a wonderful product with great quality build and with disruptive technology. Looking forward to Model X in 2015, just got a friend to put deposit down on that prospective model, first AWD electric vehicle.
Last edited by jdb on Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby RTR2006 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:20 pm

jdb wrote:and we immediately bought stock in company,


I worked in Fremont about 8 blocks from the Tesla factory off the 880 and now work in Sunnyvale, and as soon as I saw all those Teslas tooling around town (and believe me there are a lot of them around here), I too should have bought stock. Oh, yes, and Consumer Reports gives the car like a 99 out of 100 possible, about 9 points higher than any other score ever given.

Yes, incredibly expensive and maybe way over-priced for what you ultimately get, but what you're also getting is a unique driving experience.

FWIW...

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Re: Tesla S

Postby inbox788 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:36 pm

jdb wrote:@inbox788. I would analogize more to Apple Computer in 1987. When got Tesla Model S last December my wife was so impressed with quality and technology that she compared it to our first Apple IIE computer in mid 1980's, and we immediately bought stock in company, like we should have done with APL in 1987. It is a wonderful product with disruptive technology. Looking forward to Model X in 2015, just got a friend to put deposit down on that prospective model, first AWD electric car.


Interesting observation. I haven't had a chance to take a personal look yet, but your sentiment seems to be fairly common. Still, just because they have disruptive technology, it's not a given they'll success in the marketplace, but good luck with your investment.

Taking a historic look, Apple stock split on Jun 16, 1987 [2:1] and Feb 28, 2005 [2:1]. Between those dates, stock wouldn't have been that different from IBM. Since before 2005 to now, the rise can be attributed to the iPod and then the iPhone.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=my&s=AA ... c=ibm&ql=1

Tesla has an EV of over $12B while GM under $40B, so Tesla is nearly 1/3 the value of GM! Tesla hopes to sell 21,000 vehicles this year and 30,000 vehicles next year. GM expects to sell over 15M cars this year. These types of comparisons scare me away, but what do I know?
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:47 pm

@imbox788. Not going to argue stock valuations since current valuation not important to me, in fact would not mind a significant dip so could buy more. Important point is that this young American company has developed world beating product with cutting edge technology and avid customers, and I believe that five years or so from now will be a dominant auto company not only producing best vehicles but also owning national grid of refueling stations, also known as Superchargers.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby inbox788 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:05 pm

jdb wrote:@imbox788. Not going to argue stock valuations since current valuation not important to me, in fact would not mind a significant dip so could buy more. Important point is that this young American company has developed world beating product with cutting edge technology and avid customers, and I believe that five years or so from now will be a dominant auto company not only producing best vehicles but also owning national grid of refueling stations, also known as Superchargers.


Not trying to start any argument. Just saying that a lot has been priced into the stock already. If they're where you expect them to be in 5 years, then the valuation might be reasonable, and if they're alone there, then future expectations will drive their valuation much higher. If they have company from say F or GM, or if you include XOM or GE, then it depends on the profitability. As of now, it's not clear when they'll begin to talk about charging for the power fill ups, and they're just experimenting with battery swaps. Don't get me wrong, I hope they succeed, but for now, the valuation and risk/reward is too rich for me.

BTW, do you see their production doubling every year? Going up 5-10X on a single year? Without huge jumps in production, they won't be breaking 1M vehicles/year for a while.

FWIW, XOM market cap is $400B and GE $235B, so if they get a significant piece of either business, then the comparison to GM might be the wrong one.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:48 pm

Hi @inbox788. We don't need to argue. The current valuation of TSLA is immaterial to me, I am far from a day trader and plan to hold stock long after get Model X in 2015. By the way, if anyone is interested in valuation discussions there are articles ad nauseum being published in Seeking Alpha and Motley Fool and their ilk almost on a daily basis. Hard time believing that these do not have much editorial oversight and basically allow unfettered articles by Wahoos, mixed randomly with seemingly intelligent articles. I am certainly not a tout for the stock but am a believer in the company on a going forward basis and a very satisfied customer, who is currently happily driving Model S and looking forward to Model X in a couple years. Recommend a test drive in Model S for anyone interested in a new albeit somewhat expensive car. You will not regret it.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby Diogenes » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:48 pm

Nice to see the Tesla prospective owners excited about spending that kind of money. Reminds me of the Delorean days.

Using no gasoline does not of course make car "green", where does the electricity come from anyway? Clearly not 'green.'

If you don't care about the psuedo-'green' angle then enjoy the ride. Once they build something with a 500 mile range that can be refilled easily in 5 minutes regardless if you are passing through Montana or Seattle, and the battery does not cost $17,000, and there is no dependence on the government (either for a loan or tax credits) maybe I will be interested. Until then it is merely an amusing new Delorean (which also received a government subsidy).
Truth and clarity are important in all things...
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Re: Tesla S

Postby sambb » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:49 pm

I drove the model S. It is cool. Yeah, the lack of gas is interesting. However, the car is far uglier than comparable BMW and mercedes in my mind. I still dont get why I would get it instead of a prius + a boxster (you can have both!), and it would be cheaper. I think the car is an interesting novelty that certain people will buy. Good for america, but the model S was not even one tenth as fun as a boxster, and the fuel savings arent really a big deal in the price range. The resale is going to be interesting (battery is $$$) unless you trade in 3 years (who does that - would rather lease?!)
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Re: Tesla S

Postby GeneParmesan » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:02 am

Diogenes wrote:Using no gasoline does not of course make car "green", where does the electricity come from anyway? Clearly not 'green.'


It seems to be an incredibly common misconception that because electric cars use energy, they must be just as inefficient as gas cars, but it's not the case! It's easy to check for yourself, just look up the CO2 (or other pollutant) per KWH, miles per KWH, and pollution per gallon of gas, and you can get the electric car equivalent. As they've come out I've run the numbers with the Tesla S, with the Volt, and with the Leaf, and even using the dirtiest energy out there, these electric cars are more CO2 efficient than any gas car on the market right now. I've also seen other studies that factor in the environmental costs of the batteries, and electric cars still win out. And that's not even counting the fact that very few areas of the country are pure coal, and that one has the option of generating your own electricity as clean as you want. People always overestimate the efficiency of internal combustion engines; they're incredibly complex things, tiny, and throw off a ton of energy as heat. Large power plants can be far more efficient than a little put-put machine that's smaller than a laundry machine. Transmissions, brake pads, exhaust, etc... compared to the simple and straightforward electric drivetrains, an ICE looks like a steam engine. As an engineer, the simplicity of electric has a ton of appeal to me.

The comparison with Apple is very apt. Tesla is trying something different, being incredibly bold and flashy, and lots of people are both irrationally exuberant and irrationally pessimistic about them. Around the Bay Area, people are starting to call the Model S the Palo Alto Camry, because they're all over the place, despite having only been in production for a very short time.

Elon Musk is a fairly serious guy, with more than enough capital of his own, not mention ability to attract capital from others. He'll see Tesla through to its end, and at current capitalizations it's going to take a long time for any sort of end. As long as electric cars aren't squashed through regulation, I'm certain that Tesla will become a well-respecetd and long-lasting American corporation. Not that I'd invest at their current valuation (there's enough people far more exuberant than me driving up their stock price), but I have to respect the way he's executed his plan.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:40 am

Diogenes wrote:Nice to see the Tesla prospective owners excited about spending that kind of money. Reminds me of the Delorean days.

Using no gasoline does not of course make car "green", where does the electricity come from anyway? Clearly not 'green.'

If you don't care about the psuedo-'green' angle then enjoy the ride. Once they build something with a 500 mile range that can be refilled easily in 5 minutes regardless if you are passing through Montana or Seattle, and the battery does not cost $17,000, and there is no dependence on the government (either for a loan or tax credits) maybe I will be interested. Until then it is merely an amusing new Delorean (which also received a government subsidy).

Tesla paid off in full govt loan. The govt aid is for General Motors which is still in existence only because of massive govt equity infusion. And Ford has I believe many billions borrowed from govt for EV development. The EV tax credit far more important as purchase incentive to buyers of lower cost EV such as Leaf and anyway is small potatoes compared to massive govt aid to General Motors. But agree that if you need to transverse Montana better off staying with gasoline engine at least next few years. As owner of Model S living in urban area I find that 250 mile driving range is more than sufficient for daily needs and refuel every night in garage.
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Re: Tesla S

Postby jdb » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:02 am

sambb wrote:I drove the model S. It is cool. Yeah, the lack of gas is interesting. However, the car is far uglier than comparable BMW and mercedes in my mind. I still dont get why I would get it instead of a prius + a boxster (you can have both!), and it would be cheaper. I think the car is an interesting novelty that certain people will buy. Good for america, but the model S was not even one tenth as fun as a boxster, and the fuel savings arent really a big deal in the price range. The resale is going to be interesting (battery is $$$) unless you trade in 3 years (who does that - would rather lease?!)

Style and looks are subjective. As someone who has owned and leased many BMW models and traded in Mercedes E class for Tesla not going to get into design discussion. But to compare Model S to Boxster is like comparing Audi A8 (which I recently leased for 3 years) to Boxster. The Model S is four door car easily seating 5 people but it does handle like small sports car. And I did like the gull wing doors on De Lorean, the Tesla Model X will have falcon wing doors which look somewhat comparable but only on rear doors.
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