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(Slate)   Californians love overpriced, unreliable cars   (slate.com) divider line 118
    More: Obvious, Californians, Model S, Dodge Challenger, plug-in electric car, leading indicators, light trucks, Chevy Tahoe  
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10359 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Aug 2013 at 2:26 PM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-24 11:25:21 PM

fluffy2097: The price of electricity, is correlated to it's use. If everyone, or even 10% of people switches to electric, we end up a massive surplus of refined, high octane gasoline for my car, and I will roar past you getting 19MPG with the AC on laughing, while you are stuck in traffic hoping to get home and maybe get half an hours charge in before the cost of electricity doubles.


If every car in the US was replaced by a Model S and as a result electricity costs doubled, interestingly enough the average US household would still save slightly over what they're paying now. (I'm ignoring long trips here beyond the one-charge range of a Tesla, which is plenty for virtually all day-to-day driving0 and pretty much only falls on its face for trips.)

Electricity cost first. In 2011, the average US household paid $110/month for 940 KWh of electricity1 at 12.09 cents/KWh2; call that the "base use". According to Tesla3, charging Model S takes 84.9 KWh to get 300 miles of range, which at 12 cents/KWh is $10.19. Let's say that's grossly underestimating, and it will actually take $20 to get 300 miles. In 2009, the average household traveled 1,650 miles/month4, which is 5.5 of those charges, or another $110/month. But that's at today's costs, so if you double it that means $220/month extra. So the added electric bill, between doubling the base electric use and adding on the charging cost, would be $330.

However, the average US household spent $368 on gas in April 20115, and $346 across all of 20116. That means that the average household would save ~$15 in that scenario.

0 Source: This analysis (note the source though) puts 99% of trips in the US below 70 miles. Even if that's one-way, from what I can tell, 150 miles is easily handled by the Model S without a charge even in awful conditions.
1 Source: US Energy Information Administration
2 Source: US Energy Information Administration [2012 data, technically]
3 Source: Tesla Motors
4 Source: Federal Highway Administration [PDF]. See Table 1 on page 13: 2,245,111 million miles traveled / 113,101,000 households / 12 months.
5 Source: CNN
6 Source: The Associated Press, via CNBC. $4,155/12 = $346.25
 
2013-08-24 11:56:09 PM

evaned: fluffy2097: The price of electricity, is correlated to it's use. If everyone, or even 10% of people switches to electric, we end up a massive surplus of refined, high octane gasoline for my car, and I will roar past you getting 19MPG with the AC on laughing, while you are stuck in traffic hoping to get home and maybe get half an hours charge in before the cost of electricity doubles.

If every car in the US was replaced by a Model S and as a result electricity costs doubled, interestingly enough the average US household would still save slightly over what they're paying now. (I'm ignoring long trips here beyond the one-charge range of a Tesla, which is plenty for virtually all day-to-day driving0 and pretty much only falls on its face for trips.)

Electricity cost first. In 2011, the average US household paid $110/month for 940 KWh of electricity1 at 12.09 cents/KWh2; call that the "base use". According to Tesla3, charging Model S takes 84.9 KWh to get 300 miles of range, which at 12 cents/KWh is $10.19. Let's say that's grossly underestimating, and it will actually take $20 to get 300 miles. In 2009, the average household traveled 1,650 miles/month4, which is 5.5 of those charges, or another $110/month. But that's at today's costs, so if you double it that means $220/month extra. So the added electric bill, between doubling the base electric use and adding on the charging cost, would be $330.

However, the average US household spent $368 on gas in April 20115, and $346 across all of 20116. That means that the average household would save ~$15 in that scenario.

0 Source: This analysis (note the source though) puts 99% of trips in the US below 70 miles. Even if that's one-way, from what I can tell, 150 miles is easily handled by the Model S without a charge even in awful conditions.
1 Source: US Energy Information Administration
2 Source: US Energy Information Administration [2012 data, technically]
3 Source: Tesla Motors
4 Source: Federal Highway Administration [PD ...


One tiny question,,,
Where are you going to get the electricity?
Power grid in this country is pretty well tapped already, especially where it matters.
Had a nice brownout lately?
Maybe a rolling outage?
 
2013-08-25 12:01:20 AM

mark12A: ghare: Why is it that "conservatives" hate conservation? Why does someone riding a bike or driving an electric car fill them with such rage and hatred?

It's the smug look from liberals they can't stand.

Pretty much. In general conservatives have self esteem issues, and they freak the fark out if they think that someone thinks they are better than the

HORSESHIAT!

Most of these "conservation" thingys fall into the following categories:

- cutting off consumer choice/freedom by eliminating products that work (toilets) and forcing you to buy things that don't work as well (low flow toilets)


LOLWUT? We replaced a '70s-era 3.5 gallon toilet that would clog if you looked at it funny, with a 1.4-gallon (yes, 1.4, not 1.6) that has never, ever clogged. No bizarro pressure tanks, just a very good gravity-flow design. A hint for the name: we're not in Kansas anymore.

- the creepy Liberal obsession with forcing people out of cars (freedom to travel where you when you want) and into mass transit (where the government can monitor and control your movements) Want to go downtown to protest the latest government abuse? Oops! The trains just shut down...

LOLWUT? Sure, a Tesla is still a rich man's luxury ride, but it hardly qualifies as "forcing people out of their cars." If you must drive a Canyonero, then you can damn well pay for the privilege at the gas pump. Meanwhile, those of us who drive sensibly-sized gas burners will go 2-3 times farther for our gas dollar. Makes sense to me. Now, if I had the cash for a Model S, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. I'll give them a lot of credit for doing things right: they're clearly in it for the long haul, and they're working all-out to improve the technology. The Roadster was a toy; the Model S is much more practical - and it will only become more so as the charging network is built out.

Let's not forget, Tesla paid back their loan far ahead of time.

Good mass transit is nice to have - but it is an adjunct to personal transportation, not a replacement. When I worked in downtown Chicago, taking the train was a hell of a lot cheaper - and a hell of a lot less stressful - than driving. Hell, it was cheaper than PARKING downtown. I could read a book or newspaper, or look out the window and wave at the schmucks stuck in traffic on the Dan Ryan. Now, my commute is about three miles, and that's even better. It's like getting two more hours in a day!

Windmills will never make economic sense until oil/gas gets REALLY scarce, which won't happen for a few hundred years.

LOLWUT? Wind power in Illinois has enabled us to retire the three dirtiest coal-burning plants in the state. That's not a bad thing. Here's a clue: there isn't a single magic bullet solution to our energy needs. I'd like to see more work done on thorium reactors, for instance. Solar has made some big strides, and there are natural gas peaker plants that can be fired up on a moment's notice when demand warrants it. Electric rates in Illinois, even at their worst, are about mid-pack for the country, and my own town's municipal government worked out an electrical supply deal that gives residents power for a little over 4 cents per kWh (which is a SMOKIN' deal). No wonky "smart meters" or any crap like that, either. On that score alone, an electric car would be a nice deal. As it is, a Nissan Leaf would handle 100% of my daily routine driving, but it's the long-trip non-routine driving that still kills the deal for me. Let's hope Tesla can get the ball rolling so we can have long-range electrics for the rest of us.

Most of these conservation edicts are interventions into a free market economy, and you would think the demise of the USSR would have taught people that government run central economies simply do not work.

Absolute laissez-faire capitalism doesn't work all that well either. A middle ground works better then either extreme.
 
2013-08-25 12:13:57 AM
Overpriced? While they may not be in my price range, they outperform every electric and hybrid car out there stubby.

Unreliable? I haven't heard this at all. You know what I DID hear? The Tesla S just got the highest safety rating EVER given out. While safety and reliability are two different aspects of the car, you can't be that safe without being well engineered, and good engineering is how you get reliability.

Yeah subby, we get it. Obama likes Tesla, therefore, this American company='bad'. Why do you hate America, subby?
 
2013-08-25 12:14:24 AM
Haven't read the entire thread.

1) CA is crazy expensive.  In Michigan, where a nice family house just off the downtown with good schools is $150K, buying a $100K car makes zero sense.  In CA, where a starter home is just shy of a million, eh.  And since salaries have to support buying those million dollar homes, it's a lot easier to just find $100K.

2) Because of the whole smog thing (What goes up just sits there forever and ever and ever), CA is really pushing the electric car thing because then they can move all those emissions out of the Central Valley and reduce the amount of smog.

3) Tesla's get to cheat and go into HOV.  Hour off my morning commute (Well, not my (I'm spending WAY too much money being Caltrain stop to Caltrain stop), but people who decided that living in Fairfield and working in Cupertino was a bright idea for some reason) for the win.
 
2013-08-25 12:15:42 AM

snocone: One tiny question,,,
Where are you going to get the electricity?
Power grid in this country is pretty well tapped already, especially where it matters.
Had a nice brownout lately?
Maybe a rolling outage?


The overwhelming majority of EV charging occurs at night, when we have a huge surplus in generating capacity.  Programmable EVSEs and Time of Use Metering, both of which will accompany any significant increase in EV penetration, will amplify this effect.

/Ask me a hard one.
 
2013-08-25 12:17:44 AM

Tom_Slick: jake_lex: Tom_Slick: If I could afford a $80-100,000 for a car I would buy one, but I can't so I won't.  Electric cars are becoming mainstream, I see more and more Nissan Leafs on the road every day.  That is good. The Tesla will create some great new technologies I'm sure but it will never be mainstream.  It has a chance to become as popular as the Mercedes S class or BMW 7 series, but I see that as the maximum volume for their business model.

Well, people buying Teslas for $80K-$100K help advance the technology to the point where we'll have electric cars in the $20K price range.  It's like any other technology: the early adapters pay for its advancement.

Subby's cheap shot on Tesla seems especially tone-deaf, since the consensus I've seen on the Tesla Roadster is that it's the first all-electric car that performs as well as most gas-powered cars.  It's the first electric car that stands on its merit and you might want just because it's an awesome car, not because you want to make a statement and drive an electric car.

I get that the Tesla will advance the technology, but the gist of the article was that the Tesla was becoming mainstream, when I think of mainstream cars I think of the Accord, Camry, Fusion etc. not an $80,000 luxury car.


Well, the gist of subby's headline wasn't that the car was becoming mainstream, which is what the OP was talking about.
 
2013-08-25 12:28:21 AM

snocone: One tiny question,,,Where are you going to get the electricity?Power grid in this country is pretty well tapped already, especially where it matters.Had a nice brownout lately?Maybe a rolling outage?


I don't claim that the current grid would be able to handle everyone instantly getting a Model S. In fact I doubt it could -- as I said above, that would cause a 20-40% increase in total electricity use, which is not insignificant. I can  imaginethat most places in the country might be able to handle it based upon differences in electricity use during day and night and the fact that most cars would be charged at night, but nor would I be surprised if it wasn't true.

But IMO, that's a red herring anyway, because every car in the US  isn't going to be instantly changed to a Model S. Even if they suddenly became affordable to the average family, which is still quite a long ways off, there would be a staggering in period. Even if  that happened, I suspect that 2+-car households (over half) would not replace both of them even if it made financial sense when looked at it the way I did above, because EVs are still not up to handling vacations and other longer trips. (IMO that's true even in the corridors that have superchargers, and that's currently... almost nowhere.)
 
2013-08-25 01:21:58 AM

evaned: because EVs are still not up to handling vacations and other longer trips. (IMO that's true even in the corridors that have superchargers, and that's currently... almost nowhere.)


I don't know...obviously different people have different styles for long trips, but for me I'm too old to fill the car full of food, strap on a catheter and drive 14 hours straight.  So for me even a Tesla Model S would work fine for me as an only car, with superchargers.

I live in Portland, and here are the places I could go.  That's assuming a 260 mile range (that's the EPA rating, which is pretty reasonable.  You aren't going to get the 300 mile Tesla advertises if you are driving on the freeway).  So with zero time charging, I could go the following places:

Seattle
Actually could get up to Bellingham on I5 (pushing it though)
Grants pass, or anything between on I5 south
Anywhere on the Oregon Coast to just beyond Coos Bay
Yakima
Tri Cities
Bend
Pendleton
Crater Lake (pushing it)

Add a single 30 minute supercharging session (while I eat) and my range goes up to 380 miles. I can now go to:
Vancouver (actually would have lots of range left but wouldn't really know where to go next)
Spokane
Boise
Redding.
Essentially anywhere in Oregon or Washington (except for the extreme SE corner of Oregon and extreme NE corner of Washington.  Not much there).

By the end of the year, all the superchargers I need for all of those trips will be up and running.  And if I stopped twice for 30 minutes to eat and charge, I could pretty much drive all day.  Honestly, at those distances I'm thinking flying sounds good.

Of course not everyone is willing to approach long trips in that manner, but for me I'd be happy to have that as a sole car.

/Now to dissapearify my student loans and I'll sign for one tomorrow :)
 
2013-08-25 02:01:30 AM

regornam: dirkfunk: ShawnDoc: Subby, TFA is about Tesla cars, not Volkswagens.

Well, you sure seem to be on top of what is actually going on in the automotive world. Expensive and unreliable is certainly the reality for Volkswagen right now

/end sarcasm

Chill, man, he's kidding. Or are you just a defensive widdle subby?


Sorry, definitely not subby. Just had some cocktails earlier, and probably came off as a jackass. Honestly though, VW has cleaned up their reliability shiat. They aren't Honda, but they are definitely in the upper half of real reliability (what you can expect over 5-10 years of ownership), and claiming they are expensive is ludicrous. They are very well priced these days.

Also, fark subby. I love what Tesla is doing. They are probably building the best cars on the road right now.
 
2013-08-25 02:40:42 AM

Tom_Slick: I get that the Tesla will advance the technology, but the gist of the article was that the Tesla was becoming mainstream, when I think of mainstream cars I think of the Accord, Camry, Fusion etc. not an $80,000 luxury car.


Look into Telsa's long-term plans. They have two more models already in the pipe (Model X next year, Model E in 2016), and each of the 4 Telsa model will be cheaper than the last. The Model E will be priced to compete with the Accord, Camry, Fusion, etc.
 
2013-08-25 03:03:05 AM

Hollie Maea: I don't know...obviously different people have different styles for long trips, but for me I'm too old to fill the car full of food, strap on a catheter and drive 14 hours straight.  So for me even a Tesla Model S would work fine for me as an only car, with superchargers.


Well fark me. I just typed out a long reply to you (obviously this is a YMMV issue, but I wanted to make my point that I think for a lot of people it  wouldn'twork, and you don't need to go anywhere near to "eat in the car, pee in catheter" levels to get there), but my headphones fell on my keyboard and now it's gone. So I'll just point out a couple of highlights.

I'm considering a trip that I do at least once a year, from Madison, WI to central PA. The route through Indiana and Ohio is 70mph speed limit, and I'm usually going a bit higher than that. Furthermore, I usually make that trip in the winter. Tesla's range calculator doesn't even show you what your range will be above 65 mph, but from the effect of changing the speed at lower speeds, it's pretty reasonable to assume that I'd only be able to get about 220 miles for that leg of the trip. But that's not the end of the story: this is a trip I make in winter. If I set the outside temperature to 32 degrees (the lowest it goes and yet downright balmy for Wisconsin in January and February), turn on heat, and estimate the range at 70-75 mph, it's probably below 200 miles.

Now look at the map of supercharger locations, and set the slider all the way to the right, to show projected locations as of the end of 2015. Now look at I-80/90 east of Chicago. There's a supercharger station around Portage, IN, and the next one is... around Toledo. That's about 200 miles away. Do you really want to make a 200 mile drive on a car that only gives you 200 miles range? And that's assuming you spend an extra 35 minutes charging in Portage to get to 100% instead of 80%, like Tesla says is "optimal".

There's another supercharging station around the I-69/94 interchange near Battle Creek, MI, but that's 20 miles off route, so not only do you get to spend 40 minutes charging but you get to drive an extra 35 minutes off route for the privilege of doing so.

And then there's the time cost. My estimate is that in pessimistic-but-not-worst-case scenarios (e.g. it ignores the extra 35 minutes of charging in Portage to even make it to Toledo or the extra 35 minutes of driving to get to Battle Creek), the Tesla would take around than 10% longer than a gas car to make that trip. Which would add more than an hour to it, and make a drive that is already long for one day even longer.

Or you could use Tesla's battery swap thing, where they change out your batteries for you. But that is expensive. I don't think it's officially set yet, but that will probably cost $60-80. That's twice as much as a tank of gas for my car at $3.50/gal, and based on a more typical estimate of Tesla's range at 240 miles, only goes about 2/3s as far. So it's basically 3 times more expensive than gas.

And this assumes you even want to take a route that is covered by superchargers. For instance, I almost took a job in San Francisco. And if Tesla's marketing is to believed, by the end of the year I could make it there from here via a route covered by superchargers that is only 2 or 3 hours longer than what I could do without paying attention to that, and at the end of 2015, I-80 (the best route) will be properly covered as well. Except... I wouldn't have take I-80 had I taken the job. I actually had an awesome route planned out that visited a bunch of neat places along the way. It was on the interstate for a total of about 3 hours over the course of a >2000 mile trip. How much of that route would have been covered by superchargers? Probably not much, even going off of the 2015 map.

Obviously YMMV, and I'm a bit biased because I don't commute in my car and so I suspect an abnormally large percentage of my driving is on long trips, but there's almost no way I would get an electric car as my only vehicle, even if every supercharging station Tesla has planned was in place today.
 
2013-08-25 03:05:01 AM

evaned: So I'll just point out a couple of highlights.


I guess that was most of what I wrote in the first place. Oh well. :-)
 
2013-08-25 06:37:17 AM

lilbjorn: Funnt how there's been a spate of negative headlines on Fark lately about electric and hybrid cars.  It's almost as if the oil industry was paying people to submit them.  But, of course, that would never happen.


Welcome to Fark.
 
2013-08-25 09:39:21 AM

evaned: supercharging


Supercharging is highly discouraged by Tesla motors itself, and they admit that it is bad for battery lifespan.
 
2013-08-25 10:04:37 AM

Kahabut: mjohnson71: All I know is that when in SoCal in business, my rental Taurus or Charger sticks out like a sore thumb. Does anyone buy American any more or is it state law requiring residents to drive foreign make cars?

/Yes, I know where most Accords, Camrys etc are built.

It's an income thing.  California has high cost of living, so higher wages as well (kinda) and so what most of the country considers "expensive" is far more common.  I can't speak to soCal, but in norcal the "average" car is an import brand like BMW, Merc, Lexus, Rover, Porsche.  Things that would be taken as status symbols in many parts of the country are considered base models in NorCal.

When I lived in the bay area a few years back, one of my neighbors had a BMW art car.  A totally unique paint job done by some famous artist.  My other neighbor had a rolls, and the one across the street had a collection of exotics.  Including an F40 and an original Shelby Cobra.

None of these people were "rich", except by Fark standards.  They weren't hurting, but if you called them 1%ers they would laugh in your face and dismiss you as an idiot.

I think the Tesla S is a bad ass car, and in 5-10 years, if they hold up half as well as they are advertised to do, I'll be getting whatever the new model is then.  My biggest problem with the current crop of electrics isn't price, it's the reliability factor.  I have two friends with Volts, and they are both in the shop more often than they are on the road, which I think is disturbing.  My custom built engine in my 20 year old car doesn't have anywhere near the reliability problem that those brand new Volts have, and that's a BAD sign.  The prius too, great car for 5 years, but you better sell it before the maintenance comes due.

I'm probably just weird though, I like my durable goods to be durable.


bullllllllllllshiat

median income of california is like $60k, median income of NJ is about $70k.  Here in NJ the cost of living is very high and there are plenty of beamers, mercedes, etc... but it is hardly the norm and typically reserved for people who would be called rich, or at least considered wealthier than the norm.
 
2013-08-25 10:57:39 AM

Hollie Maea: snocone: One tiny question,,,
Where are you going to get the electricity?
Power grid in this country is pretty well tapped already, especially where it matters.
Had a nice brownout lately?
Maybe a rolling outage?

The overwhelming majority of EV charging occurs at night, when we have a huge surplus in generating capacity.  Programmable EVSEs and Time of Use Metering, both of which will accompany any significant increase in EV penetration, will amplify this effect.

/Ask me a hard one.


Your paradigm sucks. Once in common use instead of a toy, that time shift will disappear. Guess that is why all the gas stations are closed after dark, no demand.
 
2013-08-25 11:39:39 AM

snocone: Your paradigm sucks. Once in common use instead of a toy, that time shift will disappear. Guess that is why all the gas stations are closed after dark, no demand.


Oh come on.  You are either a very accomplished troll, or incredibly stupid (whynotboth.jpg).  Gas cars are designed to be refilled when you are on the run.  Electric cars are designed to be recharged when you are parked for a long period of time.  So why is there no demand for gas at night?  Because most people are at home, with their cars IN THE DRIVEWAY.  If it's an EV, it's plugged in.  People don't charge their cars at night because they are trying to be easy on the grid, or even because they are trying to save money (most people don't YET have time of use metering, but that's coming soon regardless of whether EVs become a hit).  They charge at night because that's the most logical and convenient thing to do.

Consider if everyone had a gas pump at home that automatically dispensed gasoline in the middle of the night.  Even if they could only start off each morning with 100 miles worth of gas, how often do you think they would stop at a gas station.

Honestly, one of best things about owning an EV is not having to stop at the damn gas station when you are on your way somewhere.
 
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