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Tesla Model S
Beta models will be used for testing and for marketing

The Tesla Model S is the next EV that will hit the streets from Tesla. Tesla made its name with the $100,000 Tesla roadster that had an electric driving range of about 200 miles. The problem was that the Roadster cost so much and only held two people making it impractical for the masses.

Tesla has now started the beta production of its new car, the Model S. Like the Roadster, the Model S is an all-electric car with no gasoline motor. The Model S is also a larger vehicle that will hold four adults inside and it is much cheaper than the Tesla Roadster. The Model S is still, however, far from what most would consider affordable  (base price $57,000). 

“We have started assembling the Beta vehicles,” Tesla Motors’ Model S Program Director Jerome Guillen said. ”While most Betas are intended for testing to prepare for production, a few are earmarked for visits to North American Tesla stores later this year.”

The first of the beta vehicles will be used for testing and for press drives.

The S is expected to have a driving range of about 300 miles. The car is about $20,000 more expensive than the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is rated for 100 miles on a charge, but the real world driving range varies greatly from 80 miles to as low as 60 miles in some areas. The real world driving range of the Model S will likely be lower than the estimates of Tesla.

VentureBeat reports that Tesla is also working on an all-electric SUV called the Model X. It will run on the same powertrain as the Model S. There is no indication at this point when the model X will be seen.

“Alpha” versions of the Model S started rolling off the production line back in January.

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Instant-charge technology
By chmilz on 7/29/2011 2:49:58 PM , Rating: 4
Without it, and the ability to "fill'er up" at a "pump", I won't be going all-electric anytime soon. I would consider all-electric as a secondary vehicle for around town, but not at the price of the S or compromising wimpy looks of the Leaf.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By CharonPDX on 7/29/2011 6:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
With a 480V charger, 15 minutes to 80% charge, on the 300-mile-range model. That's 240 miles of range on a 15-minute 'fillup'. That's only slightly longer than an average gas fillup. (Obviously, it will take a lot more infrastructure before we get to these being common, though.)

And it's being built to support "battery swap stations", where you could drive up to an oil-change-like bay and have a machine swap the battery out in under 10 minutes. It would swap you a new already-charged battery while it takes your discharged battery and recharges it for the next person.

But, yeah, for an around-town commuter? Even 150 miles of range, with a 4 hour charge time at home (on 240V) is perfect as most people's everyday vehicle. Just need to drop the price. (Even the Leaf is still too expensive for most people to consider.)

RE: Instant-charge technology
By Spuke on 7/29/2011 6:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's only slightly longer than an average gas fillup.
Maybe on your car. It only takes me that long if I have to wait in line. I'm in and out in 5 mins tops.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By RedemptionAD on 7/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: Instant-charge technology
By Spuke on 7/29/2011 6:37:31 PM , Rating: 4
It would swap you a new already-charged battery while it takes your discharged battery and recharges it for the next person.
Why would I want to swap my brand new, working battery with one of questionable care and age?

RE: Instant-charge technology
By lagomorpha on 7/30/2011 3:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
The way such a system would have to work would be for you to not actually purchase a battery, only get credit for one at any time with the purchase of a vehicle. The filling station would evaluate battery quality and replace them, padding the cost of fillups to counter the price of replacements. Multiple filling stations could hire a third party to handle the replacements to prevent one station from getting more old batteries dumped than other stations.

It's not a good solution and would probably make electric just as expensive per mile as gasoline even ignoring car price but there it is.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By Spuke on 7/30/2011 6:12:54 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks for the reply but that doesn't really answer my question (BTW thanks to the dipsh!t for the rate down....that's just shows you don't understand how batteries work). My, yours or Toyota's battery is irrelevant. I have a new, working battery at full capacity in my car that has say 500 cycles on it, why would I "trade" that for a battery that has 5000 cycles on it with unknown usage at that?

All it would take is some enterprising battery swap company to figure out how much people use their batteries typically and next thing you know people are driving around with 10,000 cycle batteries in brand new cars that the business got used on the cheap. Oh, even more government regulation you say? Inspections! That'll do it! Ignorant inspectors show up do a load test on the battery and proclaim it good! No? How about a display on the battery that shows how many cycles have been done? Price increase! Displays hacked! No thanks.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By lagomorpha on 7/31/2011 9:41:31 AM , Rating: 1
More like filling stations guarantee you a battery with at least XX% capacity remaining and you don't go to filling stations that don't have a certain guarantee (they'd be the equivalent to Casey's gas stations - cheaper but who knows what you're getting). Go to reputable filling stations and you'll be fine. Not all cycles are equivalent - running the battery down lower for longer periods of time will cause more wear than multiple small cycles.

Any battery with lower than a certain capacity remaining would be sent back to be recycled, this way you are guaranteed a battery with reasonable capacity. Are you going to get a brand new battery? Not usually, but neither will you be stuck with an old battery if your car is a few years old.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By lagomorpha on 8/1/2011 8:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
Rated down for that? Really? Is someone here a fan of Casey's or something? (ok I'll admit their pizza is better than Domino's or Pizza Hut's but their gas is not up to standard)

RE: Instant-charge technology
By Solandri on 7/30/2011 2:52:35 AM , Rating: 3
With a 480V charger, 15 minutes to 80% charge, on the 300-mile-range model. That's 240 miles of range on a 15-minute 'fillup'.

I'm pretty sure that's for the smaller 42 kW-hr pack with a 160 mi range (128 mi at 80% charge). The official Tesla site says 450 V @ 125 A in 45 min for a full charge (75% charging efficiency).

I think the 15 minute charge is idle speculation by people on forums. To top off 80% of the 42 kW-hr battery in 15 min at 75% charging efficiency would require (80%)*(42 kW-hr)*(480 Volts)/[(75%)*(15 min)] = 400 Amps, which is within the realm of practicality. Charging a battery more quickly always results in a lower charging efficiency (more of the energy is wasted as heat), so really you're probably looking at something closer to 600 Amps (50% efficiency). That would probably require a cable about as big around as your bicep or leg.

If we ran the numbers for the 70 kW-hr battery pack (300 mi range), you're at 1000+ Amps and even lower charging efficiency.

That's only slightly longer than an average gas fillup. (Obviously, it will take a lot more infrastructure before we get to these being common, though.)

I'll say. 80% of a 42 kW-hr pack in 15 minutes is 134 kW. In contrast, the main power line into a home only carries about 24 kW. If you imagine a "gas station" type setup with space for 24 cars (equivalent to an 8 pump x 2 sides gas station operating at 50% capacity x 3 since charging takes 3x as long), you're looking at 6.4 MW of power capacity needed. That's the same power draw as over 600 typical homes all heading into a single corner "gas station".

RE: Instant-charge technology
By Spuke on 7/30/2011 6:17:17 PM , Rating: 2
That's the same power draw as over 600 typical homes all heading into a single corner "gas station".
Anything to get off oil, right? LOL! Hey, why can't we just power the "gas stations" with solar and wind? A wind generator and a couple of panels on the roof is all we need.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By Isidore on 7/31/2011 1:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
The issue that everyone seems to ignore about electric cars is the enormously high depreciation you will have because the batteries have a limited life. If you buy something like a Leaf or a Tesla S, what will it be worth after 3 years? With the battery being worth roughly a third of the total vehicle cost, and that's the cost before the fat government subsidy, any sane buyer would have to factor in the cost of a replacement battery after a further 2 years or so. Do the maths, it's not pretty.

RE: Instant-charge technology
By CharonPDX on 8/1/2011 7:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
Aw, crap... Yeah, going to the Tesla site, I see that they say 45 minute quick-charge. I bet I was thinking of the Leaf claiming 15 minutes. (Checks Leaf website; yup, they say 15 minute quick-charge...)

Hrm... :-/

By Ilfirin on 7/29/2011 3:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
Any performance stats around on this?

My co-worker has a Roadster and that thing is just plain fast. Not only is it 0-60 in under 4 seconds it at least feels like it gets 60-120 also in 4 seconds (have no idea the real figure there, this is just from riding with him a couple of times - any time he gunned it, my back would crack with the pressure against the seat. Although my back cracks whenever I stand up straight, but still..)

Of course, you basically have to crawl into the car and it's about as uncomfortable as it gets, but a sedan with similar performance stats and further range at half the price is getting pretty close to compelling.

I might actually consider the generation that follows this one.

RE: Performance
By Flunk on 7/29/2011 3:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
It's not going to be that fast, think standard luxury car speed. Like a Lexus, Acura or BMW (not M type).

RE: Performance
By Iaiken on 7/29/2011 6:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
Because the Tesla battery warranty resets every time you do. :D

RE: Performance
By Iaiken on 7/29/2011 6:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
Weird... I replied to Spuke's post and it put it here.

RE: Performance
By Spuke on 7/30/2011 6:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
That's happened to me a couple of times. I'm thinking these battery swap stations could make a killing personally. What's the average gas tank size (US)? I think I saw 17 gallons somewhere. $3.70 for gas nationally so $63, we'll say $60. I could claim battery tech is new and futuristic or whatever marketing spin I can get away with and charge at least $120 to swap the smallest battery packs, close to $200 for mid-sized packs, and $300 for larger packs. The heavier the pack the more I charge. People would pay it because it's not like they'll be doing this all the time, just when they go to Vegas or grandma's house for Christmas or something. Ohhh, Vegas! Baker would be the perfect place for a swap station too! Make that two, on in Baker and one at the top of the hill outside of Baker. Range would be down in the toilet because of the heat and heavy loads on the battery. Probably would need one in Victorville right at the top of the hill there also. And one more right outside of Vegas itself. I might have to look into this a little more.

RE: Performance
By Jeffk464 on 7/31/2011 12:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
You know people should really be taking high speed rail from LA to Vegas. Don't know why we can never get the damned thing built, almost every other first world country seems to be able to.

RE: Performance
By Ringold on 7/31/2011 1:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
Because it's about 250 miles, and a lot of it through barren, rugged land, covering more land and more rugged land than some of those Western European 'first world countries' you mentioned have total.

And yeah, China has high speed rail, but their trains also tend to run off the rails.

Just everything I've read about it estimates some ridiculous costs.. I'd say if Californians want it then they can pay for it, but there's a LOT that the federal government could do that'd make a bigger difference for the country with those billions. (And I dont aim to start political fights over Iraq, I'm thinking things like James Webb Space Telescope or more critical infrastructure upgrades)

RE: Performance
By Spuke on 7/31/2011 10:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
You know people should really be taking high speed rail from LA to Vegas.
Guess you've never driven that route. The terrain and weather is pretty hard core (part of it is just south of Death Valley). The environmental studies alone would bankrupt any developer. And you'd never recover the costs. Not to mention, do you know how many millions of people travel that road. Have you ever seen stop and go traffic 200 miles from the nearest town/city/anything before?

RE: Performance
By Spuke on 7/31/2011 11:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
I hit send before finishing. You'd need a TON of trains to make ANY appreciable dent in traffic reduction.

RE: Performance
By Chernobyl68 on 8/1/2011 7:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
A double track of high speed rail has the equivalent capacity of a 12 lane freeway.

RE: Performance
By Jeffk464 on 8/1/2011 9:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
Heavy traffic is a reason for high speed trains, not an argument against them. Why would you put any kind of mass transit in a low traffic area?

Thoughts and comments
By jrs77 on 7/30/2011 10:21:07 AM , Rating: 1
Well, I do like th econcept of 100% electric cars tbh. Combined with regenerative enegry like solar and wind these are running basically without exhaust gases.

Electric cars are looked at to be a secondary car, but that is the totally wrong approach imho. Most distances people are driving on a daily basis are less then 50 miles, especially when you look at Japan, western Europe and eastcost US. For all these people living in city areas driving from home to work and back these electric cars are the primary car and the cars with more range needing gasoline fuel are purely used for holiday-trips.

The best symbiosis to get the best of both worlds currently is the Chevy Volt (US) or Opel Ampera (EU). It has enough electric range for commuting and if needed can be used to do long trips aswell. However, the prime goal is to have a car that can be used to commute purely by electric drive and be recharged overnight, even if you don't have anything else then your usual 110/220V at home. With 380/400V it gets only better.

The Tesla is a luxury-class car I would say, targeted at early adopters who don't have to think that much about money. Seeing that the BMW i3 that was shown to the public a few days ago is priced somewhere around the $40k mark this becomes obvious. The tech can be offered cheaper, especially if your target is mass-production.
All electric vehicles for the masses have to hit the $20k mark. Something in the size of a VW Golf is sufficient enough for commuting and making a few trips with a family of three to four persons.

The current problem with all electric vehicles is the people living in the outbacks or the profesionals, that need to travel more then 150 miles a day. But this problem can be solved with cars like the Chevy Volt, so I don't really see any reason to still bet or invest on the gas-engines.

Fossil fuel is running out and there's better things to do with gas or oil then to burn it in our cars. Plastics need the oil we're left with and gas is better be used to drive energy-plants where there's no possibilty for solar or wind.

RE: Thoughts and comments
By Jeffk464 on 7/30/2011 11:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think electric cars can cost maybe 25-50% more up front and still be cost competitive. You need to look at the total cost of ownership. This is basically the 2nd production electric car on the market and its upscale so $57,000 doesn't seem to terrible. As more companies mass produce electric cars and battery or fuel cell tech improves the price should drop significantly.

RE: Thoughts and comments
By Spuke on 7/31/2011 11:14:15 PM , Rating: 3
I think electric cars can cost maybe 25-50% more up front and still be cost competitive. You need to look at the total cost of ownership.
Which one did you buy?

RE: Thoughts and comments
By Jeffk464 on 8/1/2011 9:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
2005 Tacoma prerunner, and there weren't many electrics on the market at the time. I also don't drive enough to really care that much about fuel efficiency, but it did convince me to buy the Tacoma instead of an F150. The difference in fuel mileage was probably 15-25%.

Inaccurate article
By corduroygt on 7/29/2011 3:24:28 PM , Rating: 3
The S is expected to have a driving range of about 300 miles. The car is about $20,000 more expensive than the Nissan Leaf.

The $20K more expensive model S does not have 300 mile range, it has only 160 mile range, which in the real world will be close to the Leaf's range.

To get 300 mile range, you need to spend 80K+

RE: Inaccurate article
By Jeffk464 on 7/30/2011 11:39:20 PM , Rating: 1
Still I don't know to many people that drive more than 160 miles in a typical work day. For most people this should handle the daily commute and errands no problem. I personally don't think anyone will be missing gasoline powered cars once electric cars take over, and for sure they will. You are basically talking the reliability of a ceiling fan here with almost no "regular" maintenance. If I remember right people who leased the GM impact didn't want to give them up, and that was a pretty primitive electric car.

RE: Inaccurate article
By Spuke on 7/31/2011 11:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
Still I don't know to many people that drive more than 160 miles in a typical work day.
Because it's not actually 160 miles, it's 160 depending on usage. Which can be 60 miles to 160 miles or 30 miles or 200 miles. Ask Tesla owners about the variance in their range. Not to mention in states like CA, charging at home will drastically increase your rates regardless of time of day.

By Flunk on 7/29/2011 3:33:42 PM , Rating: 3
Any news are to which platform this car will be built on? I find it hard to believe that Tesla has had the time to develop one on their own and the price of this seems to preclude Lotus (who built the majority of the Roadster).

Maybe, based on previous articles they'll raid their good buddies at Toyota and use the Camry platform.

RE: Platform?
By Jeffk464 on 7/30/2011 11:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
Will be built on, the engineering is pretty much done at this point. By the way Toyota is going to have a tesla powered rav4 if you are looking for a more mainstream company.

By lkjasdf on 7/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: dfdfgfd
By Bubbacub on 8/1/2011 6:22:08 AM , Rating: 3
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RE: dfdfgfd
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Maybe those in charge of this web site could police it and knock these A$$es off here.

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By nvpyyasnzqya on 7/30/11, Rating: 0
By caonimeiaaa on 7/31/11, Rating: 0
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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