Kilowatt hour Stories May 4, 2016

Tesla Energy delivered over 2,500 Powerwalls and nearly 100 Powerpacks (25 MWh total) to 4 continents last quarter

While not quite as exciting as its plans to move half a million EVs in 2 years, Tesla today also announced modest sales of its Energy products as part of its shareholder letter today.

Kilowatt hour Stories February 29, 2016

GULF OF MEXICO - APRIL 21: In this handout image provided be the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. An estimated leak of 1,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

GULF OF MEXICO – APRIL 21:  U.S. Coast Guard fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of offshore oil rig

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance report that came out last week (press release at bottom) says that in 25 years, electric vehicles will make up just 35% of new car sales. That means that in a generation from now, 65% of people will still be buying petroleum-based cars. It is hard to imagine a world where this few EVs makes any sense, even given BNEF’s own data.

The report and the numbers it presents are much too conservative for any reasonable circumstance. Take its own lede for instance:

Continuing reductions in battery prices will bring the total cost of ownership of EVs below that for conventional-fuel vehicles by 2025, even with low oil prices.”.

Why would anyone buy a gasoline car when an electric or even a plug-in hybrid costs less than a gas car? Electric cars are cleaner, quieter, faster and  safer than equivalent oil cars. Keep in mind that 2040 is 15 years after the cost of an electric car passes parity with oil in their scenario. Furthermore, by Bloomberg’s own estimates, batteries will reach less than one-third of today’s break-even prices.

At the core of this forecast is the work we have done on EV battery prices. Lithium-ion battery costs have already dropped by 65% since 2010, reaching $350 per kWh last year. We expect EV battery costs to be well below $120 per kWh by 2030, and to fall further after that as new chemistries come in.”

In fact, under certain reasonable circumstances, it costs less to own a Chevy SparkEV than a comparable gas version today. Fleet vehicles too. If you drive a lot and gas isn’t cheap but electricity is, the numbers already make sense.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 13.21.48

The US department of energy has a handy calculator (above, current prices) which shows that in every state in the union, even with insanely cheap gas prices, it is still on average 50% cheaper to run on electricity than on gasoline. That means once battery/electric engine powertrains reach parity with combustion, it is really game over for oil.

So somehow 65% of people in the year 2040 will want to pay a huge premium for a fossil fuel engine car? Even if the world weren’t heating up this makes no sense at all… expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories October 12, 2015

1-BBM-21559This year electronics and auto parts giant Bosch has been heavily investing the auto industry’s transition to electric powertrain. Earlier this summer, Bosch bought the solid-state battery start-up Seeo Inc. and has since been sparsely revealing details about its plan to bring new battery technologies to market by 2020.

During the company’s recent inauguration of its Renningen research campus, head of battery technology R&D Dr. Thorsten Ochs revealed more information about the company’s goals for Seeo’s solid-state battery. The Germany-based part maker is aiming for a 50 kWh pack to weight only 190 kg. expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories October 6, 2015

zsbeamSolarCity announced today a new project with the Temecula Valley Unified School District to install 6 MW of solar energy capacity and 2.6 MWh of energy storage at a total of 19 schools in the district. The solar installations will mainly consist of carports using the company’s ZS Beam system (see picture above). expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories September 18, 2015

Artega unveiled the “Scalo”; an all-electric sports car with 250 miles of range

The Artega Scalo joins the long list of all-electric luxury cars being unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. The German sports car maker now focuses mostly on “electromobility” in partnership with battery maker Voltabox.

The company says it will achieve a range of 250 miles on a small 37 kWh battery pack. The claim is difficult to believe, but the range is most likely calculated based on the New European Driving Cycle, which allows for longer range than most real-life driving cycles.

Tesla increased by 10 miles the estimated EPA-rated range of the Signature Model X to 250 miles

Ahead of the Model X launch set for September 29th, Tesla is still tuning the options available for the configuration of its all-electric SUV.  Yesterday we wrote about how Tesla will offer hitch accessories directly at the purchase of the Model X in order to get around the limitations of the vehicle’s ‘Falcon Wing’ doors. Today we learn, through the same online design studio for early reservation holders, that Tesla increased by 10 miles the estimated EPA-rated range of the Signature Model X to 250 miles.

Kilowatt hour Stories September 17, 2015

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., unveils the company's newest product Powerwall in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, April. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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Tesla Motors confirmed to Electrek that the company is now installing the Powerwall, a new home energy storage system, for “pilot customers”:

“We are currently in production and have started installing Powerwalls with pilot customers. Over the next few weeks we will continue to ramp up volume production,” Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said. expand full story

GvMTFpBIn a new note issued today, Jefferies analyst Dan Dolev increased his price target on Tesla Motors to $365 following a new analysis on the company’s battery business. When Tesla first announced its “Gigafactory“, it forecasted a ~30% reduction in battery cost through economy of scale and improved chemistry, but since then Tesla executives revealed that 30% might have been conservative and Jefferies seems to agree. expand full story

Tesla to offer hitch accessories at Model X purchase to get around ‘Falcon Wing’ door limitations

Ahead of the Model X launch at the end of the month, Tesla is still tuning the options available for the configuration of its all-electric SUV.  A roof-rack, which is popular for skiers and cyclists, isn’t an option for the Model X due to the vehicle’s Falcon Wing’ doors. We now learn through the online design studio, which is accessible to a select few reservation holders, that Tesla will be offering hitch accessories directly at the purchase of the Model X in order to get around the limitations.

Kilowatt hour Stories September 16, 2015

Thunder_Power_Sedan_Exterior

Thunder Power unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show today two new electric vehicles equipped with a massive 125 kWh battery pack.

Thunder Power is a Taiwan-based power-tool maker established in 1987, which recently changed its focus to electric vehicles. Its first entries are a 4-door sedan (picture above), the Thunder Power Sedan, and a sport car, the Thunder Power Race (picture below). expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories July 11, 2015

A great ground look at what’s happening in Hawaii, the state where energy costs the most and where there is plenty of solar energy.  Over 12% of Hawaiians have solar power which is 20x the US national average.  If you count all the rooftops on Oahu together, Solar is a 300MW plant that is more than double the size of the next biggest plant on the island.

The problem is: That power plant dies when the sun goes down and the other plants have to crank way back up. expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories May 23, 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-23 09.51.58

There has been a lot of uninformed banker-speak in the media about Tesla’s battery including by Bloomberg here. The problem is these folks don’t understand the new market that Tesla is opening up.

But I’m also turning to Bloomberg for the first smart analysis and that’s not surprisingly from Solar City’s Lyndon Rive (who happens to be Elon Musk’s Cousin – perhaps you noticed the accent?).

The complaints have been that the battery wall doesn’t make economic sense – that for the average household to go off the grid with these combined with solar (or wind), it would be incredibly expensive.

That’s correct… expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories February 26, 2015

Audi R8 V10

Audi just announced some of its eTron R8 specs and detail nuts like me will note some pretty impressive numbers starting at the huge 92kWh battery that has 7kWh more storage than Tesla’s top end option. Tesla has said on numerous occasions that it *could* build a bigger more dense battery in the same space (perhaps as a later upgrade), but hasn’t because of cost constraints.

Also the e-Tron has a Drag coefficient of .28 — .04 higher than the Model S. It should be noted that the e-Tron is a theoretical sports car and the Model S is a 7 seat family sedan that has been on the road for almost 3 years. But Audi clearly is keeping a lot of the petrol edition’s drag-inducing air intakes for the electric edition.

That takes a toll on range with the Audi sports car tallying just under 280 mile range compared to the Model S 85D range of 285 miles. The e-Tron’s speed is also a bit behind Tesla with a reported 3.9 second 0-62 and top speed of 130. That’s almost a full second behind the P85D and 20 mph slower. Torque is also impressive, but still far behind Tesla.

On the other hand it looks like a sports car inside and out which will certainly appeal to some folks.

But for Tesla, this is a win. Audi’s just announced R8 doesn’t beat Tesla’s 3 year old Model S in any relevant space with speed or range and holds 5 fewer passengers.

Relevant from press release below: expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories October 10, 2014

If you weren’t able to see the livestream last night, Tesla now have a video and summary:

Yesterday, we unveiled the world’s first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S.

Conventional all wheel drive vehicles distribute power to the wheels from a single engine driving a complex mechanical transmission system. By contrast, Dual Motor Model S, which comes with either the 60 kWh or 85 kWh battery, has a motor on each axle, digitally and independently controlling torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled control of traction, with instantaneous response to the motors giving drivers precisely controlled performance in all conditions. With its digital torque controls and low center of gravity, Dual Motor Model S has the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.

Where gasoline-powered all wheel drive cars sacrifice efficiency in return for all weather traction, Tesla’s Dual Motor propulsion system actually increases efficiency while delivering exceptional traction and control in slippery conditions. By precisely splitting the delivery of current from the battery to each motor, the Model S 85D and 60D actually gain an additional 10 miles of highway driving range compared to their rear motor Model S counterparts.

Consistent with our mission, we also wanted to demonstrate that an electric car can soundly beat gasoline cars on efficiency and pure performance. The Model S P85 already outperforms gasoline-powered cars in the same class with its ability to deliver 100 percent of peak torque from a standing start. We combined our new front drive unit and our P85 rear motor with the objective of outperforming one of the greatest supercars of all time, the McLaren F1. With P85D’s 0 to 60 mph performance of 3.2 seconds, we have succeeded.

The P85D combines the performance of the P85 rear motor with an additional 50 percent of torque available from our new front drive unit. The result is the fastest accelerating four-door production car of all time – while remaining one of the most efficient cars on the road. That’s a combination that can only be achieved by an electric car. Not only is the P85D a match for the McLaren F1, but it also doesn’t need a professional driver to achieve optimum performance. Just plant your foot and go.

Customers can order a Dual Motor Model S today. Deliveries of P85D begin in December for North America, to be followed 85D and 60D in February. Deliveries to Europe and Asia will follow in the months afterwards.

 

New Safety Features and Autopilot

The launch of Dual Motor Model S coincides with the introduction of a standard hardware package that will enable autopilot functionality. Every single Model S now rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward looking camera, and a high precision, digitally controlled electric assist braking system.

Building on this hardware with future software releases, we will deliver a range of active safety features, using digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides, or from leaving the road.

Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control.

Our goal with the introduction of this new hardware and software is not to enable driverless cars, which are still years away from becoming a reality. Our system is called Autopilot because it’s similar to systems that pilots use to increase comfort and safety when conditions are clear. Tesla’s Autopilot is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel – but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.

The Autopilot hardware opens up some exciting long term possibilities. Imagine having your car check your calendar in the morning (a feature introduced in Software v6.0), calculate travel time to your first appointment based on real time traffic data, automatically open the garage door with Homelink, carefully back out of a tight garage, and pull up to your door ready for your commute. Of course, it could also warm or cool your car to your preferences and select your favorite morning news stream.

The introduction of this hardware is just the first step for Autopilot in Model S. We will continue to develop new capabilities and deliver them through over-the-air software updates, keeping our customers at the forefront of driving technology.

 

Other Product Updates

Our commitment to continuous improvement extends to other features of Model S, and we have recently made several updates to the car, including:

  • Seat comfort improvements and taller headrests for whiplash protection
  • Improvements for a quieter cabin
  • Wider rear door opening
  • Electrically opening, self-closing charge port door on Dual Motor Model S
  • Increased visor size and larger vanity mirror
  • Parcel shelf and front trunk cargo net now standard
  • Air ionizer and carbon filter for cabin air purity
  • Updated steering column
  • Updates to Alcantara interior trim, such as wrapped roof bow and top pad

Kilowatt hour Stories March 2, 2014

There is a lot of interesting info from a talk that Elon Musk gave at the CPUC last week. Of particular note, Musk gave some spec estimates for the mass market “Model E” vehicle expected to be released in 2017 with batteries coming from the Gigafactory. In the video above he says the car will have a 200 mile range and be 20% smaller than the Model S. Therefore the battery will need to have about 80% of the energy of the current Model S (Musk’s words). To be clear, since Tesla uses the constant sized 18650 cells (and looks to continue to do so) physical size and Watt-hours are fairly constant.

So given that a 60kWh Model S has a range of around 200 miles (EPA 208), that means that the Model E would need to have a battery around 80% the size of the Model S or 48kWh.

That’s still about double what leading ‘mass market’ electric cars have today. The Chevy Spark EV, with a range of 82 miles has a 21.3 kWh battery. The Nissan LEAF which has a 75 mile EPA range rating has a 24 kWh battery. The Chevy Volt has a 16kWh battery while the BMW i3 is 18.8.

Tesla cancelled its $49,000 40kWh battery Model S before it got an EPA estimate but most guesses were that it would get around 150 miles.  Add another 8kWh to the battery and take off 20% of the overall car size and 200 mile range seems doable.

Musk also mentions that besides the 20% drop in price, he expects economies of scale and other innovations to drop the price another 30% on the battery alone helping to get the Model E to around 50% the cost of the Model S at $35,000.

Below is a snippit of Musk talking about the upcoming battery swap: expand full story

Kilowatt hour Stories January 28, 2014

We’re big fans of the looks of the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid (especially the interior) but were saddened to learn that the onboard battery/motor drivetrain was only good for 20 miles via the sub-100HP engine and 9.4-kWh lithium-ion battery.  That’s a lot closer to the Plug-in Prius than anything else Porsche has made.

That’s why it is amusing  to learn that the original car that Ferdinand Porsche built in 1898, which was discovered this week, actually boasts better electric car range than the current Panamera S hybrid. The specs of the Egger-Lohner C.2 electric vehicle show it has 120 amp hour battery good for around 49 miles of range with a top speed of over 20 mph. Not too shabby. That’s also further than a Chevy Volt.

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