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Cost to fill

So I have been trying to calculate the cost to "fill" an empty "tank". Here is my math. It seems low, help me find the error... Or spread the good word!

Power per mile: 300Wh (per FAQ)
Miles per "tank": 300 miles
Power per "tank": 90 kWh = 300 * 300 / 1000
Cost per kWh: $0.09 (in NC, varies by location)

Cost to "fill-er-up": $8.10

@my5bAaby

Congratulations on being in the position to purchase an $80,000+ Model S and for being able to put the 5K up front at least a year before you get it.

Frankly, I don’t understand your requirement to be able to stay in a garage with the doors and windows closed and the motor running. I don’t have that requirement.

I do have the requirement to be able to occasionally take long trips. Years ago I would drive from the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC to Brooklyn NY to visit my ailing parents. The trip was about 230 miles up, an overnight stay, and the same 230 miles return trip. I couldn’t do that today, even with the 300 Mile Model S, because they lived in an apartment house and I had to park in the street with no chance of recharging. I make frequent trips to Pittsburgh and recently, I made two separate same day round trips between Baltimore MD and Pittsburgh PA to, first, deliver and, then, return two incredibly cute and feisty chihuahuas for boarding with friends. Each leg of the trip was 250 miles and took a little over 4 hours (avg. 60mph), with a two hour stop to catch up with friends, and an immediate return trip. Note that even if a Tesla Roadster (and, therefore, I assume the Model S) could cover the 250 mile distance, they would take 10 hours, completely unacceptable. Also, for about ten years, I was involved in the ownership of a 200 acre camp in West Virginia that we used and rented out to groups, mainly for dance weekends. The Camp was exactly 100 miles from my driveway and I wouldn’t make the trip in a Tesla because there is no way that I would purchase a second Tesla 16kW charger just for that purpose. These are real life situations and requirements and not just made up to challenge Tesla’s capabilities.

My5bAby, you mention that I have a choice of a Tesla or an ICE car. Actually, there could also the choice of a properly designed hybrid, and I don’t mean a Chevy Volt. Yes, I know: BOOOO! I think there is an opportunity to take the base model Model S and convert it to wonder car with no increase in weight (size) and an actual reduction in cost compared to the 300 mile version. How?

Instead of spending $20,000 on a 500 lbs battery, use the allocated 500 lbs for a well designed (175 HP) ICE and suitable (100kW) DC electrical generator. This should be possible because if the 250 kW induction motor only weighs 170 lbs, a 100kW or 125 kW generator should weigh even less and the 175 HP ICE could come in at (hopefully) 400, or so, lbs. This ICE/Generator combination could easily come in at under $10,000, thus saving $10K from the price of the 300 mile Model S.

Where to put it? Recently in showing the Model S, 7 or 8 people came out of the car as if it were a circus clown car. Surely, the innovative engineers at Tesla can find a place for the motor/generator. I realize that this goes completely against the grain of the pure all electric vehicle philosophy of Tesla, but I think it is a good solution for a difficult problem. I realize that many will say that the ICE has hundreds of moving parts and is prone to failure. BULL, and highly over sensationalized. I’ve driven 7 cars over 45 years with 5 well over 100,000 miles, including two well over 200,000 miles. Only my 300ZX, at 160,000 miles, had a catastrophic engine failure (that was fun.) The others just required standard maintenance. Note that in the my Tesla Hybrid concept the ICE would only be used occasionally and may only rack up 5,000 or 10,000 miles when the car has gone 100,000 miles; you might not even have to change its oil (just joking :-)). Some may argue that if I mostly use the battery on short trips, why shlep around an ICE? Good question. On the other hand, if you mostly go short trips, why shlep around an extra 500 lbs of battery?

Here are some of the advantages.
(1) The hybrid Tesla is about the same size as the original and, perhaps, $10K cheaper.
(2) It is immediately available for driving to anywhere and with no range anxiety.
(3) In addition to recharging while you sleep (preferred), you can also recharge while you’re in the car and driving. Note that the home recharging unit is limited to 240 volts and 70 amps (16kW) because of power utility. The generator in the vehicle is, at most, only a few feet from the battery, has no such power utility restrictions, and can be optimized for recharging. For example, use a DC generator, set it above the drive system voltage (375 volts ?) and use tons of amps. You could recharge it on the run at a much higher rate (at least double) than that in the house. In fact, there is a business opportunity here for die-hard Tesla fans that I won’t go into here.

OK, enough for now.

Volker.Berlin:

Thanks for the links. Good to see that I may not be completely crazy or that others have, and have had, similar thoughts. A lot of my thoughts and ideas are only hundreds of years old.

One of the links indicates that Musk has "rolled the dice" and no ICEs, no way, in any Tesla products. That's not a very enlightened attitude and even disturbing if I owned TSLA stock.

No Zelaza. He as a visionary, and personally believe in his vision. Of course, it may take time to pay off in terms of stock.
For that, I'm willing to wait.

@Zelaza: Although you present a few reasoned arguments, you've established a set of requirements that mitigate against the purchase of an EV and then argue to those requirements, thereby establishing contrived weaknesses in the Tesla S paradigm. I suppose that's the job of a "Devil's Advocate," but at the end of the day, your arguments ring hollow.

If, in fact, you're one of the relatively small minority of purchasers who (1) need to travel long distances on a regular basis, (2) don't have the time or the inclination to wait for a charge at some other location, (3) are extremely price sensitive, and (4) believe that fast charge infrastructure will not expand over the next decade, you really should opt for an alternative that is different than the Model S.

I think you recognize that Tesla has committed to EVs, not plug-in hybrids, for a variety of reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum. Your suggestion for converting the Model S into a cross between a Volt and a Karma is a non-starter. There are manufacturers who have and will adopt the plug-in hybrid approach and others who go pure EV. The marketplace will determine who the winners are.

@David70:

I'm highly tempted to respond to your post, but there is no purpose to it and I don't need to be banned from this forum.

There. See, I can't help myself.

@ Soflauthor:

Thanks for feeling that I have some reasonable arguments for my position. However, I don't think that I am arguing against myself; far from it. Although many of the ideas I present are reasonably original, most have already been thought of; that's actually a good thing. If you haven't done so already, I recommend that you find out about the Marine Corp hybrid, RST-V vehicle for a rugged military hybrid. And look up VIA motors for hybrid industrial trucks. Apparently they don't think that hybrid is a bad idea.

While we should always try to advance and improve technology, disregarding and dismissing old ideas is not a good approach. As I recall, about 25 or 30 years ago a Russian pilot defected with the latest Soviet fighter. (I think it was a MiG Foxbat.) American scientists and engineers with the latest, greatest, and most sophisticated technology were eager to get their hands on that MiG's electronics. They were shocked! Instead of sophisticated transistor circuitry in the plane's radar, the Russians used tiny miniature tubes and devices. The Americans realized that the Russian "old and rugged" solution was far more resistant to radiation and other bad effects. Old, tried, and true may not be fashionable but it is not defective or hopeless.

Zelaza, it is really hard to understand why people want to equip the Tesla Model S with a range extender. There are hybrid cars out there: Prius, Volt, Karma, Nina... there will be more. The Model S is for those whose needs and requirements are met best by a plain BEV. Isn't it a nice thing that everybody gets to choose?

At the same time, yes, everybody has to make compromises. You can only choose what's on the offer, that's the deal. Want a Karma without a battery b/c you think that would help cargo space? Not gonna happen. Same with an ICE in the Model S. Easy as cake. If your choice of car is not available, build a company, find investors, live the American dream... Ok, I got carried away, I apologize. ;-)

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
― Henry Ford

It's pointless to argue with the troll. He's either simply seeking attention or has some ulterior motive (maybe he's shorting TSLA stock).

Zelaza,

The point is, the Tesla has its own niche. It makes no sense to compete with something like the Prius. That is already the best established hybrid (IMO).

I'll go into Soflauthor's point more precisely.

Most people actually commute less than 80 miles each way per day, and take longer trips *so* rarely that it would be most efficient for them to buy an electric car with fairly short range, and rent a car for long trips. If they have an alternative to renting a car for a long trip -- for instance, an airplane or train route -- the attractiveness of the electric car becomes even greater. (I never need to take my car to Chicago.... I take the train.)

For mostly-driving-around-town purposes, the price benefit of the electric car is *massive*. Adding an ICE to that car is a large, and wasteful, expense, which costs more than renting a car a couple of times a year. Compare the base model S for repeated commutes, plus a couple of rentals per year, with a comparable gas car, and the economics plainly prefer the model S.

The key factors in TCO computation are, again, that battery-electrics cost a *lot* less to fuel (when you charge at home or at work), but cost a *lot* more upfront. Therefore if you make a whole lot of short trips, the battery-electric is far superior.

If you make many trips beyond the range of the car, time costs start eating up the benefit, so if you make relatively few trips but they're very long, then you don't want a battery-electric. The thing is that there are actually few people in this situation, and most of them don't need to own a car. If you want a "touring car", the Tesla is absolutely unsuited to be a "touring car" unless/until a level 3 network is built out -- and while level 2 chargers will probably mostly be free, level 3 chargers probably won't be (because people won't hang around as long).

Now, the added price for the 230 and 300 mile batteries probably does not really pay for itself unless you have a 100 mile-each-way or 150-mile-each-way commute. But *likewise*, the added price of adding an ICE to a battery-electric doesn't really pay for itself unless you have a commute beyond the range of your battery! The ICE is much more trouble-prone than a large battery (and really quite expensive), so Tesla's making a good choice -- the low-maintenance choice.

Yet people have range anxiety, so they'll buy cars with longer range than they really need. An ICE in a plugin hybrid is just as much of a sop to range anxiety as a giant battery in a Tesla is, and just as irrational -- I remember reading that one Chevy Volt owner had only filled up the tank twice since he bought the car (he just wasn't taking long trips). For that, the ICE is a waste.

In fact, there is only a small group of people who take long trips *sufficiently* often that they need to *own* a car which can take long trips, but *not sufficiently* often that it's worth paying for the extra battery range; even among those people, few are so time-sensitive and price-sensitive that they won't compromise on an extra "charging stop" or an extra rental.

There's a somewhat larger group who take *very* long trips *very* often and are *very* time-sensitive (long-distance truckers? travelling salesmen?), and they certainly should not get battery-electrics.

Total Cost of Ownership computations are complicated, and again I encourage everyone to do their own, as it depends heavily on your personal driving needs. I think, actually, in the long run the TCO of the Model S 300 mile version will be better for me than a comparable gas car *even though* I don't really drive it enough to get the full benefit -- but I think so because I think it will hold resale value better, which is quite a speculative assessment to make. :-)

A few more points here;
1) Pre-purchase; I'm sure I saw a program at one point where you could pay $12K up-front for a replacement battery at scheduled end of service (7 yrs, 10,000 mi.?)
2) Technology; the advances in LiIon electrodes etc. will be coming out of the labs into the real world by then, and 3-10X the range is not impossible. Charging that much at once is a concern, but do-able.
2a) Cost per battery/kwh is also expected to be much lower for some of the new techs.
3) One of the big buyers at the show was an Icelandic rental company (100 Signatures?). A network of such outlets would change lots of calculations.
4) Car-share clubs/associations. Interesting possibilities there.

I note that no one has mentioned the "battery swap" method of increasing range. Requires a quick stop at a Tesla-equipped shop, of course.

@ Brian H:

From the features section of Tesla's web site:

"The battery is a rigid, high-performance structure in its own right. But when married to the state-of-the-art body structure, Model S achieves even higher torsional rigidity and a lower center of gravity. The battery itself is designed for safety. Liquid-cooled, the battery maintains consistent temperatures
to prevent cells from overheating. In the event of a crash, the battery structure protects cells from impact and automatically disconnects the power supply. The battery not only protects its contents, but its position augments the overall strength of the passenger cabin."

Are you sure you want to "quick swap" this out ?

Also, are you willing to "battery swap" your $40,000 battery with another (unknown) one at the shop?

Claimed to be built-in, provided-for, part of the program. But no specifics about implementation of sites for doing it.

Dear Zelaza,

While anyone is free to comment on this blog, "Tesla ENTHUSIAST forum" for someone who is making 4 hour round trips daily, you certainly appear to have a lot of time to make verbose comments.
Regarding the garage comment, an ICE POISONS THE AIR AT A MINIMUM AND IS CHANGING THE ENVIRONMENT AT A MAXIMUM.

Once again I invite you to go to the Prius, Volt or ICE enthusiast forum of your choice. Why are you wasting your time here? What is you real purpose?

For everyone else, longevity of a Lithium battery can be optimized by keeping the charge between 50 & 80 percent full. Dropping below or charging above puts stress on the battery which affects it's longevity. My commute is 100 miles round trip 5 days a week. Therefore while the 160 mile battery would suffice, the 300 mile battery would allow me to stay within the optimal range of the battery and therefore optimize the batteries longevity. This works for my personal situation. I suggest you consider this when considering WHICH battery capacity to purchase.

Signature 482 (Signature reservations require a $40k deposit not $5k)

My fellow Tesla enthusiasts;

One does not purchase an Full sized RV if they only travel to visit downtown Manhatten NY.
One does not purchase a Mazda Miata if they plan to spend their retirement years sleeping in it, in a National park.
Many people in New York do not even own cars, not because of a lack of gas stations or charging stations or even parking, the benefits of the transit system are plentiful and housing is expensive, so for many, finances dictate the choice.

Lastly there are pioneers, adventurers and futurists. Some Europeans came to, explored and settled in the Americas. Some certainly could have been more comfortable staying at home. I for one am glad they came.

I am not rich, by any stretch of the imagination. I even used most of my savings for the deposit. For me, this is about the future. I was in the market for a new house but given the environment and my temperament I would rather spend my money on the future survival of our species.

Choose according to your own financial, emotional, and situational condition/preference.

As I said in another post, I stood in line for the original iPad, against all the naysayers. I made a good decision then and I believe, for me, I'm making a good decision now. Not because the iPad is popular but because it allows me to more efficiently and better take care of my patients. And because the iPad's increasing popularity and utility is making this country competitive again.

Signature 482

Hear hear Signature 482! I have Sig 510 for many of the same reasons as you. No, I don't "need" a 300 mile pack, but I'm 51 and I'm planning on driving this car a long time. Even if the capacity is reduced by half, it should still meet my needs at that stage of my life.

Not having to deal with the hassles of a gasoline engine... It'll be like a dream!

Zelaza, I have deselected hybrids from my next car list. They have limited electric range, and all the moving parts of ice. Its the worst of both worlds.

My ice hit 199,000 on the way home from work today. Today, that fuel alone would cost $45,000... and I paid 45k for the car....

I'm getting an S because I can't afford ice....

"@solfauthor: I don't think you're right -- FP&L has residential rate RST-1, which defines on-peak and off-peak charges. There's a big gap in the on/off peak rates: 11.49 c/kWh savings off-peak. Refer here: http://www.fpl.com/rates/pdf/Residential.pdf ."

Hi Robert,

Perhaps solfauthor was thinking of Electric Vehicle rates. I believe some utilities have special Electric Vehicle rates, FP&L doesn't.

Can you explain where you got the 11.49 c/kWh value? I only came up with 6.21 c/kWh.

It should be cautioned that Time-of-Use rates won't automatically guarantee that the monthly charges will be less than the standard residential rates. Standard rates differentiate between high and low usage to encourage conservation. So low usage users have lower rates than high (>1000 kWh) usage users. It is not uncommon for EV owners to have photovoltaic arrays and other conservation measures to reduce net usage. In such cases it might actually be more economical to go with the standard rates.

Larry

"In Florida, I figure it will cost us about $12 to fill up the 300 mile battery from empty. Right now, it costs me about $56 to travel 300 miles in my Lexus RX350 (their smallest SUV). Maybe $5 less if it's all highway driving. The Lexus requires premium gas which runs about $3.75 today."

Hi David,

It is interesting to note that whereas it may cost us about $12 to charge the 300 mile battery, the actual range varies greatly with speed. So if the Model S performs similiar to the Roadster, then intown driving is much more economical than high speed highway driving, the opposite of ICE vehicles. For example, at 80 mph the range will be only 190 miles, but at 40 mph the range increases to 390 miles. So at 80 mph we are getting about 16mi/$ versus 33mi/$ at 40 mph, or about twice the economy.

Larry

[...] while level 2 chargers will probably mostly be free, level 3 chargers probably won't be [...] (ncn)

Moreover, level 2 chargers are not even intended to be used for long-trip traveling. At least not those of U.K.-based Polar Network:

"[...] if you’re planning on using the level 2 charging stations to give your car a full recharge, you might be considered to be abusing the system.

And while owners of cars like the 2012 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi I say it is rapid chargers that they really need, Level 2 chargers are what charging companies are focusing on. "
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1067518_electric-car-charging-networ...

Not sure which conclusions to draw, though.

Away from home, on the road, rapid charging is the real requirement. Maybe the Level 2 installations are intended to make you hang around and spend $$ out of sheer boredom?

@jbunn:

You write, "My ice hit 199,000 on the way home from work today. Today, that fuel alone would cost $45,000... and I paid 45k for the car...."

I agree, the cost of driving is pretty staggering. Suppose, instead, that you started with the 300 mile Model S and paid $20,000 for the extra battery. At 100,000 miles you would probably have to replace that battery at a cost of, say, $40,000. Sometime very soon, when you hit 200,000 miles, you'll have to replace the battery again at a cost of another $40,000. In addition, the cost of electrical energy for 200,000 miles is, probably, about another $6000. An estimated total of $106,000 !

There is no free lunch ... err ... ride.

Very much exaggerated prices, Zelaza.

You can reserve a new battery for the Roadster for $12k.

Model S is much more streamlined and 18650 cells drop in price but gain in capacity and lifetime
so I would say $20k (at most) to replace the 300 mi battery in 7-10 years from now; the new one will have 400-600 mi range and last for 300k miles. In the meantime solar panels will be dirt cheap and so will be electricity (even now Solar City will install solar panel on your home for "free" - they will be paid only by the electricity they produce).

What is the price of max comfort, silence and safety during 10 years ? For me is priceless. Please go and short TSLA and quit throwing bull**** in this forum, nobody gets fooled here.

@Larry: My bad; you're right about the gap. I hadn't noticed that there were subtotals in the columns. 6.21 c/kWh is the correct differential.

I suggest that anyone served by a utility without special EV rates start writing letters to both the utility and to the state utilities commission.

@Nicu, Thanks for saying it so clearly.

I have had many discussions about PEVs with “naysayers”. Once all the “Facts” are presented, almost all naysayers fall into one of three categories:
1. They have a financial interest in the failure of Plug-In electric vehicles, and lately they are particularly fearful of the Model S, due to price, performance, options, and features, and the near-term horizon for its arrival.
2. They travel long distances (>250 mi per day) on a routine basis, and they legitimize their lifestyle by genuinely believing that most of America also lives this way, ignoring Facts which are contrary to this belief.
3. They cannot afford to ever spend $60,000 on a car, and they are envious that some Americans will reap “cost per mile” benefits, as well as Government incentives while driving a luxury vehicle. Sure, there are less expensive options (ie. Leaf, and 2013 RAV4 EV), but these are mainly “city cars” (commuting vehicles), which may not be a real option for households with access to only one vehicle. Legitimately, these folks may not even have access to charging where they live (apartment building, etc.).

So many people are focused on “Me, Me, Me”, that (for them), it’s impossible to support something that might ultimately be good for the entire USA (and the world), if it doesn’t benefit them directly - today. After 100 years of no choice, having an alternative to the ICE is good – period.

FACT - Just looking at average gasoline prices in the USA over the last 8 years:
Oct. 2011 - $3.43 / gal (16 gal refill = $54.88)
Oct. 2006 - $2.19 / gal (16 gal refill = $35.04)
Oct. 2003 - $1.50 / gal (16 gal refill = $24.00)

Where do you think we will be 8 years from now in Oct. 2019?
$6.00 / gal (16 gal refill = $96.00)
$7.00 / gal (16 gal refill = $112.00)
or more?

YES, the Model S must be successful in order for alternatives to $100 weekly gasoline refueling to exist.
So, even if PEVs or the Model S didn’t fit my lifestyle, my best chance to avoid paying $100 or more to refuel my ICE eight years from now is competition to the ICE in the automotive industry.

@David M.: well said. Further, if enough people shift to EVs to put a real dent in the demand for gasoline, it will lower the future price of gas. This benefits even those who continue to drive ICE vehicles.

The key point: EVs aren't right for every person and every transportation need. But they are a cost-effective solution for enough of the population to create a real market opportunity for EVs. And within the EV market, why shouldn't people who would otherwise choose to drive a BMW 5 or Audi 6 have a comparable choice?

Zelaza,

One thing you are missing here is that there is a tipping point. We aren't at it yet, but when we do hit it you will start seeing gas stations closing all over the place because their client base will be drying up. I don't know where that tipping point is (10% of the light vehicle fleet on electric? 30%? don't know) but if electric vehicles take off like I hope they will it will be the gasoline cars that have limited range and utility. If electric vehicles are available from enough manufacturers the process will happen very quickly once it happens (probably faster than the disappearance of steam engines when the railways went diesel).

Until then I am quite content with my Signature deposit and I don't want a range extender in this car.


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