The Luxury Tesla Model S impresses with Performance and Range

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 24th, 2012

Week in Review              

The Tesla Model S is some car.  And it’s electric.  With the performance of a gasoline-powered sports car.  Although without quite the same range (see Elon Musk: Tesla Model S Is About ‘Breaking A Spell’ by Hannah Elliott posted 6/22/2012 on Forbes).

The Model S is impressive. It fits seven people and will go 0-60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds at a cost of $49,900 after $7,500 in federal rebates (that’s with a 40 kWh battery and160-mile range). An $84,900 85 kWh Performance variant gives a 300-mile-range; a $97,900 Signature Performance version adds such niceties as Nappa leather interior, exterior carbon fiber and special wheels. Top speed on that puppy is 130 miles per hour, with a 4.4-second 60mph sprint time. Each variant comes with an eight-year, unlimited miles guarantee…

Well, that 4.4 sprint time will beat a 5-Series on the track. The sub-$100,000 MSRP will beat the Aston on price. The 300-mile drive range beats Chevy Volt’s 40-mile max. If production ramps up as much as Musk has promised—20,000 produced annually–this could be the start of something big. Stay tuned.

A 300 mile range is greater than the Chevy Volt’s 40 mile range.  But the Volt has something the Tesla Model S doesn’t.  A gasoline engine.  After that initial 40 miles the Chevy Volt hybrid can switch over to the gasoline engine.  And continue driving on the gasoline engine.  For a very long time.  And when it runs low on gas it can quickly refill the tank.  And drive again for a very long time.  Unlike the all-electric Tesla.

The Tesla is no doubt a gorgeous car but it’s not for traveling the country in.  At least, not without a lot of planning.  And a lot of rest times scheduled for recharging.  Limiting a stress-free day-drive to about 125 miles one way.  Depending on the speed limit that might be about an hour and a half of driving.  This should get you back without a recharge.  If you want to take a chance of being without transportation for awhile to recharge you could go closer to that 300 mile range.  If you’re willing to pay an additional 70% for the extended range, of course.  If not you’ll have to settle for that 160 mile range.  Or a round trip to someplace about 60 miles away.

The all-electric car is really only for short commutes.  A short drive to work.  Plug the car in.  A short drive to lunch and back.  Plug in the car.  And the drive home.  Where you will, of course, plug in the car.  If that’s you this car is for you.  If you want to pack the family into the car and travel cross-country you may be better off in a hybrid.  Use the gasoline engine to get where you’re going to.  Then putter around when you get there on the battery.  With a full tank of gas.  Just in case.

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Electric Car Sales and Range are Still Anemic but their Prices are Not

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Electric cars are the technology of tomorrow.  The savior of the planet.  Especially the all-electric ones.  For they don’t pollute when they drive.  Of course, they pollute more when they charge thanks to those fossil fuel-fired electrical power plants.  But they’re here.  And we’re saved.  Thanks to the new electric cars sweeping the nation.  Here’s a look at 7 of those cars (see 7 electric cars for the future by Anne VanderMey posted 4/2/2012 on CNN Money).

Expensive cars.  And some pretty sad stats.  Number sold.  For all two cars.  And those range numbers.  The Nissan Leaf delivers a whopping 73 miles on a single charge.  Which is about an hour’s drive on a freeway.  Maybe.  Without headlights, heat or air conditioning no doubt.  Or a loud sound system.  Not very useful.  Or enjoyable.  Unless you like freezing or sweating (depending on the time of year) while driving blind in the dark with nothing to listen to but the sound of your battery draining.  And the kicker is you just can’t pull off the freeway and top off your battery.  Depending on the voltage of the charging system you could be stopped from 20 minutes to an hour.  Even overnight.  No wonder no one is buying these cars.

Now contrast that with the Chevy Impala.  A full-size four-door sedan with a V-6 engine that burns gasoline at a rate of about 30 miles per gallon.  With the 17 gallon tank that gives a range of about 510 miles on a full tank.  Or about 7 hours of driving on the freeway.  And And when you run low on gas all you have to do is pull off the road and top off the tank at a conveniently located gas station.  Which shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes if you pay at the pump.  And then you have another 510 miles to go.  With, I might add, headlights, heat, air conditioning and a kick-ass sound system.

Which kind of makes the choice between all-electric and gasoline-power easy.  Which is why they sell about 18,000 Impalas.  Each month.  And you can get a pretty nice one for under $30,000 that can seat six.  And a huge trunk.  A car just made for cruising down the highway with the family.  Going where the road takes you.  And bringing home a lot of souvenirs.  Something you just can’t do in your all-electric car.

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