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The new Model S sedan, which will carry a price tag of $57,400

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk recently announced that the company would launch an all-electric Model S sedan next year. Now, Musk has told Bloomberg Television that next year's production of the new Model S has sold out, and that he expects Tesla to earn a profit in 2013.

Recent reports noted that Tesla has lost money on every Roadster sold, which includes the two-seat Roadster and the Roadster Sport, which had price tags of $109,000 and $128,500 respectively. The news came yesterday that a new Roadster will arrive in 2014, and that a range of vehicles are expected over the next four to five years as well, including the new Model S sedan, which will carry a price tag of $57,400.

"The Model S starts at half price of the Roadster, about $50,000," said Musk, noting that the original Roadster will no longer be in production and was always limited. "The Roadster is high price, low volume. Model S is mid-price, mid-volume. Our third generation, which will be in 3 or 4 years will be low price, high volume. It is the only strategy that could work because we need to build up the economies of scale."

Tesla Model S [Source: Tesla Motors]
 
The loss on each Roadster was just part of the problem for Tesla. The company is also facing scrutiny in regards to its worthiness of receiving government funding. Many have compared Tesla and Fisker Automotive's EV loans to the huge $500 million loan given to solar company Solyndra, which went bankrupt in September.

"I defended it and I have said if you have a portfolio of loans, and they're acknowledged to be high risk, you're going to have some failures in the mix," said Musk regarding Solyndra. "One should not expect to bat 1000. Critics say why can't the government bat 1000. The best venture capitalists on Earth can't bat 1000, why do you expect the government to?"

Musk is looking ahead to a brighter future for Tesla, brushing aside worries regarding competition such as that from BYD. Musk said he didn't think BYD's products were all that "great" or attractive anyway, and that the technology isn't all that strong. According to Musk, BYD needs to concentrate on the issues at hand in China.

Tesla Model S [Source: Tesla Motors]

The upcoming potential for a profit in 2013 and the Model S sellout have Tesla thinking optimistically toward the future where Musk envisions the entire industry going electric.

"I think the entire industry will go fully electric," said Musk. "I think that all modes of transport will go fully electric with the exception, ironically, of rockets. The question is just how soon.”

Source: Bloomberg Television



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RE: Tesla will succeed
By Ryrod on 10/29/2011 12:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with topkill. I think they have a real possibility of succeeding. They won't be the next GM, Toyota, or Honda, but I can definitely see them as a small independent manufacturer like Lotus (until GM bought them out). Sadly, I think Tesla may suffer the same fate as Lotus in the long run, but for right now, the cars look good and get mileage that would allow more people to take the plunge vs. the Nissan Leaf.


RE: Tesla will succeed
By Solandri on 10/29/2011 1:17:09 AM , Rating: 2
The thing they're really pushing is the state of the art in battery energy density. Their top battery for the Tesla S is supposed to be 85 kWh usable capacity and 540 kg, or 157 Wh/kg. Their mid-grade pack is 65 kWh for 540 kg, or 120 Wh/kg. In comparison:

The Volt's 10.4 kWh usable pack is 197 kg, or 53 Wh/kg.
The Leaf's 24 kWh is 300 kg, or 80 Wh/kg.
The plug-in Prius' 1.3 kWh is 42 kg, or 31 Wh/kg.

So either they are way, way, way ahead in battery energy density technology, in which case they will be very successful. Or they're cutting their engineering margins razor thin to achieve these high energy densities, and they're going to be in a world of hurt in 5-10 years when their packs start to die prematurely.


RE: Tesla will succeed
By topkill on 10/29/2011 12:09:17 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks for the info Solandri. I've been looking for that info and have come across it.

I do know they are using the new Panasonic batteries which are actually 265Wh/kg at the cell level. Considering they use have the overhead of the packaging, wiring, cooling, etc. Plus they probably don't use more than a certain % of the depth of discharge to extend battery life.

Most manufacturers have a 10-15% overhead for packaging, etc. With the smaller 18550 cells, they probably have more simply for all the copper wiring it takes to tie them together. Assuming Tesla has an overhead of ~25% for packaging, they would only be using 73% of their capacity to get the 300 mile range in their battery pack.

So it would seem they are not cutting the margins thin but rather just using a better cell chemistry for the application. Now, if only they could get that in a bigger form factor they could probably get an extra 10% range out of the weight pack by simply having less overhead.


RE: Tesla will succeed
By Keeir on 10/30/2011 3:44:28 AM , Rating: 2
Solandri,

I expect better from you. The Volt's pack is 16 kWh. That is the "correct" comparison number and I think you know this as well. You didn't list "usable" numbers for any other car, and calling 10.4 "usable" is misleading as well. The Volt will use a maximum of 10.4 kWh before adding gasoline energy to the mix. It will still deplete the battery further than this. The Volt/Prius are required to match thier AER for much longer than a pure BEV. For the Roadster, Tesla has pretty much admitted that at the end of 10 years, less than 50% of initial range will be available. (BTW, I have seen nothing to suggest that Tesla's largest battery pack is more than 85 kWh total.)

True, the makes the Volt roughly 81 Wh/kg, far below Tesla numbers, but I think you might be able to guess some of the reason.

A Battery Pack regardless of size contains certain components that one can not get rid... These components do not get portionally larger or wieght more as the battery pack expands... so a bigger battery ought to have a better Wh/Kg just simply by being bigger.

The real disappointment is the Leaf's energy density... considering its an Air Cooled System! (Is the Model S Air Cooled or Liquid?) But I have seen how they are intenting to make individual parts easily swappable, which is leading to the lower energy density.

Oh, and Tesla IS running the engineering margin close. But thats to be expected... got to roll the dice somewhere if you hope to produce a better product than the major players.


RE: Tesla will succeed
By Solandri on 10/30/2011 3:06:17 PM , Rating: 1
Those are all usable kWh figures - they match up closely with the EPA figures.
http://fueleconomy.gov
Volt: (36 kWh per 100 miles) * 35 miles = 12.6 kWh (121% spec 10.4 kWh usable)
Leaf: (34 kWh per 100 miles) * 73 miles = 24.8 kWh (103% spec 24 kWh usable)

http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/...
Preliminary Tesla S 65 kWh pack (the middle 230 mile one):
(30 kWh per 100 mile) * 245 miles = 73.5 kWh (113% spec 65 kWh usable)

I shortened all the later entries by removing "battery pack" and "usable". The buffer between "usable" and "full capacity" is what I was referring to as engineering margin. I haven't been able to find the full capacities of the Leaf and Tesla batteries.

(I may have mixed up the regular Prius battery with the plug-in hybrid. Don't have time to research it right now.)


RE: Tesla will succeed
By Keeir on 10/30/2011 10:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
Errr...

Solandri,

You do realize the EPA numbers are based on charge from the wall, not what goes into the battery? And they include a 12 hour trickle charge?

For example, you estimate the Leaf somehow has a 97% charging efficiecy at 220V? I don't think so. Somehow I think that all chargers are between 80-90% efficient. At best, if the Leaf takes 24.8 kWh from the wall... then only 22.8 kWh go into the battery and at worst 19.84. Since the Leaf's entire battery is 24 kWh, and even Nissan is not stupid enough to infringe below 5% and above 95%... then I doubt there is much more than 22 kWh -usable- and much more likely its an even 20.

Since the Leaf and Model S are BEVs, they do not disclose what parts of the battery are usable versus full capacity.

Furthermore, to imply the Volt's battery is only 10.4 kWh is indeed misleading. It has the ability use far more than this, just the car will turn on the generator at this point.

Like I was saying, your mixing and matching numbers... which doesn't make any sense. Use the Full Capacity, or the Usable Capacity, but don't use the artifical cutouts in place to ensure ranged operation like the Volt and Prius both have.


RE: Tesla will succeed
By Jedi2155 on 10/31/2011 5:45:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm betting the charger is closer to 90% efficient as that is typically the efficiency of a switch mode power supply like in our PC's. I highly doubt it is much higher than 95%.


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