The Tesla Model 3 is almost my car

Almost. I would love to have an all-electric car, and the new Tesla Model 3 has been announced. It looks good, but it’s not quite there yet.


  • My all-electric car will not cost $35,000. That’s a big price drop from previous efforts, but I’ve never spent more than $15,000 on a new car, and that’s with the expectation that I’ll be driving it for a decade or so. Apparently, college professors aren’t the market.

  • A range of 215 miles is almost there, but the bottom line for this rural person is that I’m about 150 miles away from the Minneapolis-St Paul airport, so just for that fairly typical drive, I need a round-trip range of 300 miles.

  • They keep touting its incredibly fast acceleration. I’m used to a tin-can propelled by a putt-putt engine. I don’t really care how long it gets from 0 to 60, except that it should be able to get to 60 eventually.

  • The Tesla name has no appeal to me. I want a car I can get reasonably serviced locally; I drive a Honda, which was a compromise, because we still have to drive it all the way to St Cloud for service. I doubt there are any Tesla dealerships near me, and I know there aren’t any Tesla charging stations in my part of Minnesota.

It sure is purty, though. Maybe I’ll be able to afford a Tesla Model 9 someday, or something used.


  1. says

    There’s a Tesla shop in Minneapolis, yes. And while 0-60 isn’t all that important, the ability to accelerate when you really need it should not be dismissed altogether, either.

    And while it’s still SUV money for a sedan, it’s providing the major manufacturers a wake-up call as to the fact that yes, there is significant demand for these products. They’ll follow suit, and the prices will drop (and the infrastructure will become increasingly prevalent–think charging ports at the airport).

  2. brett says

    That’s a killer if you have to drive long distances like that regularly. I don’t know about this car, but the Tesla S supposedly takes about 20 minutes just to get it to 50%, and 75 minutes for a full 100% charge. If they want to improve that, they’ll have to get the battery costs down and put more of them in the car.

    I’d probably be fine with it as is – my work is close enough to home that I probably don’t drive 215 miles in a single work-week. Too expensive for me, though.

    I doubt there are any Tesla dealerships near me, and I know there aren’t any Tesla charging stations in my part of Minnesota.

    I think electric cars are usually more reliable than regular combustion ones, so that might help. Tesla doesn’t do dealerships IIRC.

  3. says

    I realize that there are some ideal standards regarding air flow and efficiency, but it still annoys me that all cars made these days look the same. I miss the characteristic shape of the beetle my parents had when I was a kid. I miss the boxy look of the gangster cars in old movies. I miss cars where you could tell the damn difference.

  4. mamba says

    Brett: with those times, sounds like the charging station should offer a theater and a restaurant option. You’re obviously going to have some time to kill, so start the charge, watch the movie, and when it’s done, so is the car! Same with a restaurant. Charge it over the lunch stop and you’re good to go before your stomach is.

    People are just in such a hurry nowadays. Maybe the long charge times (a temporary measure at best as that will get better) is a good thing in general, forcing people to take a break from their commute and relax for a while?

  5. komarov says

    Sorry to chime in as a non-car person, but the front of that car looks a bit odd. Why is there a perfectly flat surface there? It doesn’t look very aerodynamic but it does look suspiciously like you’re meant to put a decal on there. Like shark teeth, for instance…

  6. kevinalexander says

    That flat thingy on the front is a dam. It’s meant to deflect road muck away from the windshield.

  7. kc9oq says

    Charging time will continue to be the biggest challenge for e-vehicles. I don’t think they’ll gain full acceptance for other than local driving until charging can be done in about the same length of time as a gasoline fill-up (10 min or so).

    The Tesla S has a 90KWH battery. Which means, if you can deliver a kilowatt to it, it’ll take 90 hours to charge. Charging in 10 minutes would require delivering between 400 and 500 KW (roughly half a megawatt). The voltages and currents involved would challenge the design of a charging station, and the battery would need to absorb that much power without exploding.

    I have read that some Tesla S owners are finding their electric drive trains burning out after about 70,000 miles.

    And, I wonder how such a vehicle would fare in a Minnesota winter. With no engine waste heat to warm the cabin, you’d need to use battery power and batteries lose efficiency in cold weather.

  8. corwyn says

    @OP: There is a supercharger near the airport. Cheaper to take a taxi to the airport from the supercharger than to get the long range version of the Tesla.
    You aren’t paying a lot for that acceleration; it is a consequence of using large electric motors instead of ICE engines.
    $35,000 is before tax credit.

    @2: Tesla has ‘stores’ and ‘service centers’. There is one in Minneapolis.

    @5: Aerodynamics is non-intuitive, but I like your shark-teeth idea.

  9. Sunday Afternoon says

    Re: charging times – this was the whole point of the proposed battery pack swap that Tesla talked about a couple of years ago:

    I think it will come back if electric cars gain a significant market share.

    My ideal car: performance of the Tesla 3, convenient re-charges that battery swaps provide, a useable load volume similar to the Subaru Outback and safe autonomous mode so I can let the car do the driving at the beginning & end of a long day at my weekend job.

  10. Aaron says

    I live in Seattle and out here its electric country. I dont own a Tesla, but I do have a Leaf and I love it. It only gets 90 miles to the charge, but that works out fine for our around Seattle commutes. Its even enough for a Bothell to SeaTac, SeaTac to Bothell round trip. Out here there are also numerous charging stations available all over.

    With the tax credits available, the 35k car drops to 27K if that helps! I am really excited about getting a Model 3 in 3-4 years.

  11. ffakr says

    Tesla has very little in print about the Model3 right now.. it isn’t expected to ship till late 2017 after all and it sounds like the production specs might change [improve] before the final version ships.
    If you watch Musk’s announcement though, he’s clear that the posted specs are only the minimum they are guaranteeing for the base model production vehicles. He also pointed out that there will be various option levels available, like there are on the Model S and X.

    Musk confirmed there will be versions with higher performance [acceleration]. I think it’s likely there will also be an option for a higher-capacity battery for extended range like they offer in the Model S.

    As for charging, the Teslas support a variety of charging methods and time to charge depends on the voltage involved. Like other teslas, and most if not all other Electric cars in the US, you’ll be able to charge the Model3 overnight from a standard 115v US Outlet. The preferred option is to have a 220V charging station installed in your garage, which would bring the charge down to a few/several hours. If you can find public charging stations, they generally run 220V.

    The Base Model 3 also includes the hardware to support Tesla’s higher voltage SuperCharger charging stations (440V? 480V) I believe SuperCharger support was an option on previous models.
    Tesla lists 613 SuperCharger stations right now but Musk says they’re going to try and double that in the next year. On the larger Model S, 30 minutes on a supercharger will give you 170 miles of battery capacity. Problem is, they’re still going to focus on major urban centers for their station rollout.
    The amazing thing is.. they’re apparently free to use if you can find one.

    I don’t see electric cars ever being a good fit for everyone, but this is a huge step forward for someone like me. I live about 35 miles from work (each way) and I just couldn’t rely on the current crop of non-Tesla EVs to get me there and back again in cold weather, or if I wanted to go anywhere after work, or in the case of some particularly bad travel conditions. It helps that we have two cars, but I could totally handle the vast majority of my travel with a Model3.

    Also worth noting.. base price is $35K before rebates. Not sure if the federal EV rebate program is still running but you State might also offer tax rebates for purchasing EV or LEV vehicles. At one time, you could potentially get up to something like $12k in credits and/or tax deductions with the purchase of an EV.
    Important to note, some States that offer these incentives limit them to first-come first-served with a cap on $ available. Tesla claims about 112,000 pre-orders on the Model 3 in the first 24 hours. The Model 3 volume could blow up the State EV programs.

  12. Sunday Afternoon says

    The Model 3 volume could blow up the State EV programs.

    or in other words “achieve the program aims of getting more electric cars on the road”.

  13. fakeusername says

    Battery charge times is why I hope that the difficulties with aluminum-air cells (or something equivalent) get resolved. My ideal design for an electric car would have two factory-sealed Al-air cells and a few lithium cells for regenerative braking. The car would run from one Al-air cell until it was dead, at which time it would switch to the second and alert the driver. Al-air cells, are non-rechargable, but easily recyclable. The driver would go to a “fuel” station, winch out the dead cell, and winch in a brand new one fresh from the factory.

    In such a design, we need only replace existing fuel stations with pumps and underground tanks replenished from tanker trucks with fuel stations with winches and storage rooms replenished from flat-bed trucks. Replacing a cell takes roughly the same amount of time as refilling a tank. Refineries in Texas get replaced with smelters in places with cheap electricity. And users don’t need to worry about exchanging that brand-new battery pack that they just spent big money on with some beat up POC that some slob turned in — every cell is straight from the factory.

  14. multitool says

    Introducing electric cars to the market top-down instead of bottom-up was always Tesla’s master plan.

    They realized that e-cars’ existing strengths and weaknesses (great torque and acceleration but poor range) made them a better fit for the sports car market than as family work horses, so they went for that headfirst.

    Stage 2 of the plan is that once the feedback loop of profit->investment->innovation becomes unstoppable, keep driving down prices and improving the weak points until we have a true replacement for internal combustion.

    They DO have college professors in mind, they’re just tricking our aristocracy into footing the R&D bill!

  15. Rich Woods says

    I don’t really care how long it gets from 0 to 60, except that it should be able to get to 60 eventually.

    Well, another electrically-powered option is the ion engine.

  16. mudskipper says

    Well, the next time you’re in the market for a car, consider a used Chevy Volt. With an electric range of 53 miles, you’d end up doing most of your driving on electric only. However, when you need to go long distance, the gasoline engine is there to give you the range you need — over 400 miles combined electric and gasoline.

    I have almost 2500 miles on my new Volt and have yet to visit a gas station. In fact, I still have half of the original dealer-supplied tank left.

  17. Left Handed Atheist says

    We live in a small town on the Oregon coast and have only one vehicle (retired, so that’s all we really need), but we do want to support the development of electric cars, so the compromise we recently made was to buy a Chevy Volt (to replace our Prius). For most of our local driving, we can manage on electric only, as it has a 50 mile range for electric, then a range extender generator which runs on gasoline. The nearest sizable town is a 60 mile round trip, so we do end up using a very small amount of gasoline for that trek. We just drove it down to California to visit family and obviously used gasoline for most of that trip – it has over 400 mile range and drives and handles great. Looking forward to all electric cars with more range, but we’re definitely not quite there yet.

    As a side note, one of the places we stayed at on our trip had a dozen Tesla charging stations, and we saw several cars charging. Also a Tesla battery swap location. But nothing for our Volt :(

  18. says

    Elon Musk says the price will drop to $27,500 after tax credits, but that’s still not $15,000.

    And here’s more about the price tag:

    […] $35,000 base model probably won’t have the fun options people want. Based upon how Tesla has priced its Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, crowd-pleasing features like all-wheel drive, a larger battery for more range, and that really cool “autopilot” feature will add thousands to the sticker price. The base price of a Model S is 70 grand. Tesla won’t reveal the average sale price, but Morgan Stanley pegged it at $105,000 in 2014.

    But even if you’re happy with the base model, there’s a bigger problem. The sub-$30,000 price point is based on a $7,500 federal tax credit (some states offer additional incentives, but nothing nearly so generous). That discount is designed to foster adoption by subsidizing the cost of what remains a fairly expensive technology without dinging automakers. Everyone from General Motors to Nissan relies upon tax credits to help move cars by keeping the cost of cars like the Model 3, the Chevrolet Bolt, and the Nissan Leaf below $30,000, a number consumers find palatable. […]

    WIRED link.

  19. says

    I don’t find $30,000 palatable at all. I don’t find a number half that size appealing — we choke up and tighten our belts when circumstances require us to sink that much cash into a stupid car.

  20. nwatheist says

    Tesla Model S owner here.

    While I understand that electric vehicles certainly have limitations, most non-EV people seem to miss one key point: you plug in at night and every morning it is fully charged. So while for people who drive >150 miles per day, yes they won’t work. For everyone else, which is a huge fraction of the population, they are perfectly good for vast majority of the time. The ‘time-to-charge’ is irrelevant because you aren’t sitting around waiting for it. It certainly seems that people still view it from a gas station kind of perspective, that charging is something you have to go refill when it hits empty. Nope. Plug in when get home each day and viola, never worry about having to make separate stop. Again, for most people most of the time.

    Note that Tesla SuperChargers are not ever intended to be in cities or at ‘destinations’. They are intended for the in-between places, between major cities on the highway where charging time is important. Stop every 150 miles or so for 30-40 minutes, lunch or snack and toilet kind of thing, then you are good to go for another 150+ miles/2+ hours. Repeat as many times as you want. They deliver up to 150kW of power.

    The comment about Teslas having problems at 70k miles is strange. For one, they are only 3 years old, so very very few have yet to hit that kind of mileage. Second, the drivetrain is a whole lot simpler than any internal combustion engine system. One fixed gear, room temperate operation, far fewer moving parts. Once you get used to them, any gas car takes on the appearance of a rube-goldberg contraption with pistons, transmissions, mufflers, etc, even though they’ve been refined for a century. I’d be far more worried about reliability of a hybrid, with the added complication of both systems merged. Battery degradation in Teslas has been a non-issue. Electric motors can last millions of miles.

    Anyways once you get used to them there’s no going back…

  21. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @ PZ #19,

    This dovetails nicely with my hopes for autonomous vehicles (just came back from commenting on Mano’s article on the topic).

    Once autonomous cars hit the roads en masse, I suspect a lot of people will cease bothering to own one for themselves. Why pay even $15,000 for something that sits unused most of the time. Another advantage to this approach is that you could order the vehicle size that suits your current needs. Simple commute = sub-compact, trip home from Ikea = van size.

    Note: I am still concerned with the societal upheaval of replacing drivers in commercial applications. I personally believe that governments* need to be involved in retraining displaced workers, rather than just allowing corporations to increase their profit margins at the expense of the people they’d get to fire. It would also affect people in related industries like auto insurance.

    *Paid for by a tax which would apply to anyone using an automated system instead of a human in commercial applications. Even with a significant tax, a robotic truck would still be way cheaper (with less downtime) than paying a person to drive.

  22. Lofty says

    Being an inveterate fiddler I just hope that conversion kits for older vehicles become an affordable thing. I’d really love an all electric conversion on a full size 70’s car, even if it’s just to potter around town. My current 90’s Mercedes station wagon is a corker too. It could do with an electric power plant, but not at current prices.

  23. andyo says

    I’ve been looking to replace my almost-dead ’96 Civic which is giving me more trouble than it’s worth fixing probably this year. Definitely not this car though, I’m also an around-15,000 car. You guys have any opinions on leasing vs. buying? I don’t drive a lot, in fact usually I’m filling my tank once a month or so, and my car is a 1.6L with like an 11 gallon tank. I never liked credit cards, and I use a prepaid phone plan, so my credit is practically non-existent. It’s amazing how everything in the US encourages one to build debt.

  24. F.O. says

    All electric cars need much less maintenance than internal combustion engines, just because they have less moving parts, they are much simpler.

    This said, USD 35000 is not there yet (especially considering that I commute by bicycle and am very happy to not own a car…), but the price reduction is impressive.

  25. VP says

    @4 Mamba – The recharge times are NOT long. In practice, your recharge time is 0s, because your car recharges while it is sitting parked in your garage, or at work, which is what cars do for 90% of the time. The supercharger times are for when you need a boost, such as the occasional times you are going on a long drive (it’s obviously not viable yet for people who are traveling 100 miles 1 way for work every day).

    What’s amazing is that we have gotten so conditioned to the gas model, we accept a recharging model for ICE which we wouldn’t for any other device. Can you imagine if Apple started selling you an iPhone that required you to make a trip to the mall everytime you needed to recharge it (admittedly you’d be recharging it every 3 days instead of every day, but I bet no one would take that offer anyways). Electric cars bring refueling cars to the saner model that we’re used for pretty much every device.

  26. wzrd1 says

    I’m around five minutes from work, about ten minutes from the supermarket, twenty minutes to the doctor and thirty to forty minutes to specialists.
    $15k would be the sweet spot, $35k is mad money that could be much better spent elsewhere.
    That said, financing a new car also requires full coverage insurance, adding to the cost, plus regular maintenance.
    I’ll stick with my 1995 Ford runabout, runs about a block and I push it or my 2001 Runzoni, runs only downhill.

  27. qwints says

    Yeah, a pure EV is unlikely to be a good option for rural drivers in the next few year (though there are charging stations at more locations than you’d think, including MSP.

  28. ck, the Irate Lump says

    It’s a fine commuter vehicle, but I have to wonder how much of that 215 mile range the average vehicle would have once the batteries are 5 to 7 years old.

  29. wzrd1 says

    ck, if it’s a self-driving car, can you get a DWI with it when it’s self-driving?

  30. wsierichs says

    While the new price is still above my price range, it’s an intriguing proposition. I was able to afford my first Prius on a low-level newspaper editor’s salary because a modest inheritance gave me a $10,000 down payment and reasonable notes on about a $15,000 loan. The trade-in value on my first Prius did the same on my second one. Most of my trips are around town, with occasional drives from Baton Rouge, La., to New Orleans or the Biloxi, Miss., area, which is about 150 miles. So a Tesla should handle most of my driving and I could simply rent a car for the rare longer trip. As I’m now living on Social Security and a small pension, with some decent retirement savings for an emergency, new cars are a ways away. By the time I’m ready to trade in my current car, Teslas might be down to a range I can afford, using some savings.
    Of course, Tesla envy might prove irresistible before I can really afford it. If I lose control, well then, Hulk smash! (my savings). :)

  31. ck, the Irate Lump says

    wzrd1 wrote:

    ck, if it’s a self-driving car, can you get a DWI with it when it’s self-driving?

    Probably. I’m sure it’s going to take years before the law is updated to allow fully autonomous operation of cars.

  32. wzrd1 says

    @wsierichs, perhaps when you’re ready to trade up, I’ll be in the market for that Prius. While either could fill my tasks, the Prius would give me the additional flexibility to travel beyond the 215 mile or so range.
    And we’re in the same state, just a bit north, as we’re in Bossier City.
    It’ll be down the road a bit, as I’ve restarted my career after a four year hiatus, secondary to caring for my father in his waning years, so I restarted my career in a substantially junior position from what I had departed from, but management is aware of my skill set.

    @ck, awaiting that time, as I don’t do parties with ethanol served out of a paranoia of causing a horror on our highways. Clean up the results of drunken driving a few times, you’d be equally afraid of doing that.
    The worst was a car with five kids, t-boned by a t-bird at high speed, the t-bird having Jack Daniels as a copilot. Two were alive when I arrived on the scene, one was alive by the time the car was stabilized and lifted off of the weak and compressed kid. The rest, dead on the scene.
    All teens the age of my kids at the time.

  33. Nemo says

    I’m currently driving a Mitsubishi i-MiEV that I bought used for $10K. That’s about the low end of EV prices these days. (Unfortunately it only does about 62 miles on a charge.) Lots of EVs from this latest revival were coming off lease last year, at bargain prices, and probably still are. You can effectively get the benefit of the tax credit(s), already taken by the first owner, in the reduced used price.

    I might be looking at a used Model 3 or Bolt in a few years.

    I’ve seen some projections that EVs could be cheaper than gasoline cars by 2020, even without subsidies. I don’t know how credible that is. But theoretically, they are simpler machines.

  34. wzrd1 says

    Close to mine, williamgeorge. ’95 Taurus.
    Ancient cars are easier, adjust points and magneto adjustments, call it a day. Pig on fuel, but reliable as a desert rain.
    Turbines are the way to go. Can run on Thunderbird in a pinch, much better fuel the rest of the time. Or fuel cells.
    Well, anything more efficient than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Or, in the case of far too many cars I owned in the past, Shitty Shitty Clang Clang.

  35. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @andyo #23

    Leasing vs buying:
    My understanding is that leasing is only really worth it if you have a business or like to trade in for a new car every couple of years.

    It’s good for businesses because then it’s a monthly expense instead of an asset that you have to amortize.

  36. wzrd1 says

    Golgafrinchan Captain, one other cost removed: maintenance as the fleet ages.
    As a lease, the maintenance is partially offloaded to the vehicle owner, largely the costliest things, oil change pricing for a fleet, a mixed venture or offloaded again.

  37. magistramarla says

    We bought our first Prius in 2009 when we were about to move from Texas to California. It was a gently used 2008 model, which cost us about $24,000, and we quickly fell in love with it. My husband rode his bicycle to and from classes there, and I had the car for errands, etc. We got very used to < $35 per month gas bills. After driving our little gem back to Texas, we bought a new Prius for my husband. It was his very first brand new car ever, with only 15 miles on it. He was so thrilled to finally get to have a car in his color choice – navy blue! It cost us about $27,000. We kept the 2008 for me to drive locally for going to the gym, grocery shopping, etc. We truly love our two Prius' (Prii?). I don't think that we will ever drive a non-hybrid car again, unless it is an all-electric car.
    While living on the Monterey Peninsula, I found myself parked next to a Tesla occasionally. I would peak into the cars, and IMO, they were truly the most beautiful cars that I have ever seen in my life, inside and out. As someone else mentioned, we also noticed that charging stations for electric cars were ubiquitous up and down the California coast. We noticed that there were often choice parking spots for electric cars in public parking garages, complete with charging stations, right next to the spots reserved for hybrid cars like ours.
    I'm looking forward to future all-electric cars!

  38. says

    I’d also be okay with owning a muscle car from the late 60s/ early 70s. But I’ll save that for when Immortan Joe and his War Boys come after me.

  39. wzrd1 says

    Yet, in SW PA, below Philly and including Philly, south to NSA land in Maryland and currently in NW Louisiana, not a single DC charger for such vehicles were about. At all.
    Marketing and lobbying seems have to fixated upon the west, with ignoring the rest of the land after initial resistance.
    Rather like betamax tape machines.
    Not that I’m entirely certain that’s how this will end up, it’s all up in the air the next time gasoline prices go astronomic.

    Anyone know if Tesla’s charger configuration is patented? Patent costs can add resistance to investors, worrying about competing more popular or worse, open source standard.

  40. mbrysonb says

    I think Tesla has opened up their patents (maybe to encourage adopting some of their specs as general standards). Charging is most efficient between 20 and 80%, so the long-trip strategy turns on using ~60% of range before taking a break (40 min or so at a super-charger, if I recall correctly; longer, of course, if you have to stop at an RV park to access 220V– we had an LA surgeon drop by in his S to give a talk during a trial road trip– he was using solar on his garage roof to charge the thing at home). The 3 would be a reach for us, at least for now. But maintenance should be much cheaper (one local dealer said he’d be out of business if electrics become the standard, given the maintenance schedule for electric motors, less brake wear due to regenerative braking, etc…)

  41. wzrd1 says

    mbrysonb, breaking results in massive energy losses.
    “Lost energy”absorbed or learned to interact with.

    That said, doing the above is refractory to funding.
    That all said, ignore my input, we have a major problem.
    Facts are what matters, in this environment, facts remain of primary import.

  42. HolyPinkUnicorn says


    I doubt there are any Tesla dealerships near me, and I know there aren’t any Tesla charging stations in my part of Minnesota.


    Tesla doesn’t do dealerships IIRC.

    No, they don’t. And the closest service center/showroom would be in Minneapolis, which still doesn’t directly sell the cars, as this is done through their website instead.

    I’m not terribly excited about Tesla, or even electric cars generally, but I truly despise having to deal with salesmen, particularly on something as complex and as big of investment as a vehicle, and Tesla’s unique no-dealership policy is commendable. Just the thought of having to haggle with a stranger over how I should spend thousands of dollars of my money is stressful to me.

    There really should be more online options for buying cars, as dealerships can disadvantage women more than men. Or at least there should be more CarMax or Saturn style policy of no haggling when it comes to sales.

  43. ck, the Irate Lump says

    wzrd1 wrote:

    Anyone know if Tesla’s charger configuration is patented?

    Yes, but Elon Musk did say that it was going to allow competitors to freely use their technology, but I don’t think any of them have decided to do so, which has left Tesla’s charger as effectively a proprietary technology. SAE and IEC have defined standards for a connector for charging electric vehicles. The problem is that there are presently at least four different types of plugs defined as standards plus Tesla’s connector and no clear winner yet.

  44. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @wzrd1 #37

    Turbines are the way to go.

    I don’t think this would be very good for a car, as turbines can get super inefficient when idling or at low speeds.

    That being said, they do sound really cool.

  45. archangelospumoni says

    #5 Komarov
    Check out the numbers for “aerodynamic drag coefficient” for various cars, aeroplanes, birds, whatever. A regular ol’ cube is something like 1.0, while a dolphin is something like .03 as is a Boeing 747. Cars are usually between about .23 and .35 nowadays.
    Check out some of the various shapes and the (counterintuitive) influence they have on stuff like aeroplanes and cars. My ol’ ’57 Chevy wasn’t too good.
    Mighty interesting stuff and besides, it’s more interesting than reading about whatever stupid thing Drumpfh or Cruz or Caribou Barbie said today!

  46. rorschach says

    Don’t you save the money you pay more for the car via fuel savings? I thought that was the whole idea. Even if you only drive say 20000km a year, that should already save you around 1500 bucks. That’s your 15000.- back over 10 years.

    I’m not an early adopter with anything, so I’m waiting for the inevitable day that most car brands have an electric option, and that the refueling and service infrastructure is in place.

  47. magistramarla says

    Damned old Texas lawmakers won’t allow Tesla’s to be sold in this state, so I’m quite certain that charging stations in public parking garages simply won’t be happening here for a long, long time.
    There are too many huge Suburbans and even Hummers to be found on the roads here. Texas has to support big oil, of course!

  48. andyo says

    Re: aerodynamics and efficiency.

    My friend bought a Tesla relatively recently, and something interesting he noticed: the car is less efficient at high speeds, and more efficient at city speeds, because since it has no gears, and full torque is always available, the thing that affects it primarily is just drag.

    Still too rich for me, I don’t even want to think how much it would cost to fix a cracked windshield on that thing (the glass goes over the roof all the way to the back). I’m eyeing Mazda3’s and Civics right now.

  49. ajbjasus says

    Does any one know of any recent studies that calculate the total C02 burden of manufacturing, running, generating the electricity and disposing\recycling of one of these, as opposed to a lightweight efficient conventional car? I recall seeing something sometime ago which wasn’t favourable for the electric cars, but the technology has moved on since then.

  50. Lofty says

    ajbjasus, every process that makes green energy products can eventually be powered entirely by renewable energy. It’s just a matter of time before the manufacture and use of electric vehicles is entirely carbon neutral. The Gigafactory will be mostly powered by solar and wind. By the time that there are large numbers of failed battery packs to recycle someone will have worked out how to do it without fossil fuel input. So I suspect any study on the CO2 burden will be out of date by the time it is finished.

  51. Reginald Selkirk says

    … I’m about 150 miles away from the Minneapolis-St Paul airport, so just for that fairly typical drive, I need a round-trip range of 300 miles.

    Running accessories like the heater are going to put an extra drain on the battery. You need a significantly larger range.

  52. Onamission5 says

    While 35K and upwards is well outside of my family’s price range, and current models don’t fit our household size or needs anyway, I am still curious about the cost of electric charging vs. gas. It could be that by the time the kids vamoose off to their respective adult lives we’ll be in the position to replace our Toyotas with something smaller and more efficient, and hey, maybe by then our area won’t be almost entirely dependent upon coal for electricity?

    (CN: death)
    @wzrd1 #34: A favor, please? If you’re going to talk about dead and dying kids, can you post a CN first so those of us who’d be sent sideways by unexpected upsetting content can have a bit of forewarning? It’s one thing in a thread dedicated to talking about that subject, but this one is a fluffy thread about electric cars, and that was not a good surprise to go with my lunch. Thanks.

  53. anbheal says

    I dunno. All it takes is a bit of public volition. It was easily 8 years ago, possibly 10, when a friend and I pulled out of ridiculous Paris rush hour traffic en route to my sister’s place, to grab a drink and call her, because we were confused at how to exactly get to her pad. Outside the little Rive Gauche café, as we sat and sipped and waited for her to come and collect us, we saw 15, 18, 20 Vespa drivers, over the course of 20 minutes, pull over to various spots around the charming plaza and plug their scooters into public outlets.

    In Amsterdam, 1.2 million people bike to work every day, and they have the right of way, over both cars AND pedestrians. I mean, it’s flat, so, like Cambridge and Boston, it’s an easy place to bike.

    But still, my sense is that we’re not waiting for battery technology, chargeable distances, or 0-60 acceleration stats. We’re waiting for Libertarians to suffocate in their gated communities once their 7th anti-Michelle Obama pork-quadruple-decker pushes their 5th chin up into their esophagus. A simple sense of community, and the will to make it so, and voting accordingly, is what we need to make electric vehicles happen yesterday. Elon Musk is irrelevant to the task at hand,

  54. flange says

    ajbjasus & Lofty
    I agree. The total C02 burden of manufacturing, running, generating the electricity and disposing\recycling of electric cars makes them non-cost-effective. I think it will take others (than I) to support this technology for quite a while before it becomes more practical than a Prius. At least for those in coal-fired electricity production areas.

  55. mbrysonb says

    It’s true about coal-fired electricity– Scientific American did an all-in comparison including electricity sources a while ago– hybrids are better when the electricity is based on coal (maybe even natural gas, now that we’re tracking methane better). But the death of coal is underway (3 of the big companies have declared bankruptcy, and Peabody is warning they may need to do the same), and renewables (even in Texas) are expanding rapidly. I’m optimistic about getting to near-carbon free econonomies by 2050– look up Mark Jacobson at Stanford for some serious analysis. Sadly, I don’t think that will be soon enough to avoid serious problems.

  56. numerobis says

    It costs my uncle $1.20 to charge his MiEV from empty. His commute is 100km. For me to visit him costs me about $9 of gasoline with today’s low gas prices, closer to $12 before. The round-trip would be saving $15 *per day*. A newer car than mine (1999 — seems many of us keep cars a long time here) still wouldn’t be halving the savings. Plus there’s maintenance: I’m due for a new timing belt, I had the head gasket redone recently, the tailpipe rusted off and needed replaced, etc etc.

    Because my uncle was at the limit of his range, he drove with windows open when it was cold (e.g. -25C) outside: he couldn’t have the heater on because of range, and so the windshield would fog up if he didn’t open the windows. He also did long trips — hundreds of km in a day, despite his 100km range. He’s an inveterate early-adopter type, using technology before it’s really practical, and loving every minute of the impracticalities.

    A model S or a model 3 would cost roughly the same to fill up, but on the plus side, you could actually do these trips fairly comfortably. You want to stop every couple hundred miles anyway just for fatigue and potty break reasons, so as long as there’s a plug where you stop, you’re in good shape.

  57. wzrd1 says

    What is a heater? My car has a blocked heater core and the previous car was the same.
    That said, we only got to -10C in PA on our coldest days and here in Louisiana, that’d be the coldest day in winter.

  58. numerobis says

    Methane is a powerful GHG in the short term, but it converts to CO2 in a matter of years. So I’m not hugely worried about the leakage problem, as long as we can *stop* leaking by converting the gas infrastructure to electricity from renewables.

    The numbers I’ve seen for total lifetime carbon use make electric cars on a modern pure coal electric grid about on par with gasoline cars; if it’s an old coal plant you lose. But (a) you still get the other pollution benefits because static coal plants scrub harder than car-mounted catalytic converters, (b) the coal plant is probably about to shut down and be replaced by gas, wind and solar — in fact, the marginal watts your electric car needs are probably not coal even today, even in China (c) if you charge the car at night, in most places that evens out grid usage and helps even a pure-coal grid be more efficient.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here in Chiwaukee, the overnight electrical (base supply) is mostly nuclear, so the carbon footprint is low. For normal use, an electric would do fine, as most trips are under 30 miles round trip, with overnight charging not a problem. If the price is right, it would make sense to use totally electric cars.

  60. mbrysonb says

    @numerobis– take a look at the difference over 100 years– it’s much, much worse per molecule (21 times worse ‘Global Warming Potential’ over 100 years than CO2).

  61. direlobo says

    With the tax credits available, the 35k car drops to 27K if that helps! I am really excited about getting a Model 3 in 3-4 years

    Sadly, I just read yesterday that there is a 200,000 car cap on the tax credit. To date, Tesla has sold about 50,000 cars, and plans to sell another 70,000 this year. In 3-4 years it seems likely that the tax refund for buying a Tesla will have expired, unless it is renewed by Congress.

  62. kaleberg says

    The first Tesla came out in 2010 and cost about $110K. This Tesla is supposed to come out in 2019 and cost about $35K. In 2028, one should be able to buy a Tesla for about $11K. I’m guessing it will cross the magic price of $15K around 2025, less than 10 years from now. Maybe you can’t afford a Tesla right now, but in less than a decade it will be a reasonable option, though there will probably be a lot of other similarly priced electric cars out there for you to choose from. You might even be able to afford a used Tesla sooner than that.

    A lot of technologies work like this. The price of the early models is high, but as the production capacity grows the prices come down. Look at what happened when the Chinese government started buying solar panels. Various bottlenecks in materials and manufacturing stop being bottlenecks. Apple with its early emphasis on portables has been pushing battery makers with some success. Tesla is pushing them even harder. Power storage is a critical component for any power grid based on renewable sources. When Tesla and the other manufacturers start cranking out millions of electric vehicles annually, we’ll really start seeing innovation and likely even more renewable power.

    I’m not a car person, but I’d consider a hybrid. I too often find myself a hundred miles from the nearest gas station and probably farther from the nearest charging station. If nothing else, I can call AAA on my Inmarsat phone and they’ll bring me a can of gasoline. For most people though, range is a lot less of an issue. A friend of mine – she’s a veterinarian, so she can afford it – just ordered one of those new Teslas, and I think the nearest charging station is in Seattle.

    (The daughter of the guy who does my dry cleaning has an electric car. It was amusing to see an extension cord running out to her car from somewhere in his shop.)

  63. fluffybunny says

    I have had a Chevy Volt for about 6 months now, and I love it (I never thought I would buy a Chevy). I would recommend it for anyone who drives less than 45 miles per day (if you want to stay all electric). I generally get about 45 miles on electric over the winter and as the temperature outside is increasing I have been getting over 60 miles to the charge (I assume this is because I am not running the heater and the battery has better run time at 50 degrees F – note my car lives outside since I do not have a garage)

    I see people asking about cost of electricity vs gas and here is the breakdown:
    I get about 3.6 miles per kW hour
    44 miles per gallon of gas

    Unfortunately out here in Connecticut my electric rate is 23 cents per kw/Hr plus about $25 a month for the pleasure of being hooked up to the grid. This is a big incentive for me to put up solar panels…