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 Test Drove a Tesla Today

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:54 pm

We'd visited a Tesla dealership in Denver, but it was on a Sunday and state law forbids tests drives on Sundays there(?!?) so I've been meaning to schedule a drive here in the Seattle area. Finally did it this morning.

The "tester" was set up with fat tires, extra batteries and the "Ludicrous" driving mode (a $10,000 option) so it was fun to leave the dealership -- with a salesman in the passenger seat -- come up a hill to the freeway entrance, and punch it.

Like lighting a rocket. Truly scary. 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. I've driven Porsche Targas and a couple other "high performance" cars, but this thing easily exceeded my expectations.

And did it in dead silence.

The ride, steering, acceleration are all adjustable, from the huge 8" X 12" touch screen in the dash. We kept it in Sport Mode for the most part, just because.

The performance was awesome, but by far the neatest features of the car were all software. On the screen you can get maps, and real time traffic. Using voice commands, you can say, "Get me to 415 Westlake Ave North, and avoid the traffic." The car knows the speed limits on almost all streets (internal maps + a camera reads the signs) and can warn you when you're exceeding them. Or you can set an arbitrary limit (7 over, 15 over) before it warns you. Or turn it off altogether. With absolutely no engine noise or vibration it's hard to gauge your speed without looking at the dash display.

The car knows where all the charging stations are, and will tell you if you need to stop, and where, and for how long if your destination exceeds the 290 mile range.

The car has a "creep" mode. If you take your foot off the brake at an intersection the car slowly rolls forward, just like a gasoline automatic transmission. The feature had to be added (via software upgrade) because it is not the default behavior of an electric car.

The car has regenerative brakes (software adjustable). The factory setting is "on" so when you take your foot off the gas, I mean throttle, the car begins slowing down, throwing the energy into your battery packs. It feels just like down-shifting in a manual transmission. This also was not designed-in originally, but was added later. Apparently, if you know your route and drive accordingly, you can drive without ever touching the brakes. This can extend your range to over 400 miles. Counterintuitively you can get better "gas mileage" in town than on the freeway.

The car has adjustable everything -- seats, steering wheel, mirrors, temperature, driving modes. You can set up driver profiles, so when you log in to drive everything moves to your settings.

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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:02 pm

In stop-and-go congested traffic, you can set the car to inch forward when the car in front of you does. The cameras will keep you centered in your lane if the road curves. You do not need to hold the brake or go back and forth to the throttle as traffic inches forward. You can sit back and read a newspaper.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:25 pm

Everything I've heard about the Tesla makes me think it's a very nice car with outstanding performance. I have very little interest in the electronics, however. Why in the world would someone spend a hundred grand for a high-performance car, and then let it drive itself?

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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:40 pm

One option you can get is adjustable suspension. If you drive rough roads or have a steep driveway, you can raise the car to avoid bottoming out.

The car will note the GPS coordinates of this obstacle and always raise its suspension as it nears this spot.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:50 pm

1968 Citroën SM.



Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:55 pm

The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 will be announced one week from today. Should hit the roads by the end of 2017.

If that becomes popular, charging stations will pop up everywhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:30 pm

It would be nice if they had some concrete specs for the Model 3, but I have no doubt it will be at the top of the scale for its price range.

As to charging stations popping up everywhere, you may want to rethink that assumption. I don't think we will have many, if any at all, where I live. If there's not a big enough demand, it won't happen, so folks who live in non-urban areas will be hard pressed to charge their cars anywhere except at home.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:47 pm

290 miles range with the Model S, and the Model 3 is expected to be about 200 miles.  Unless you're driving across the country that's probably pretty good.

The guy at the dealership said they're aiming to have their "supercharge" stations -- fast charging for free -- every 150 miles. Right now there are no charging stations in Alaska or North Dakota. He said the network should be done by the end of 2016.

Of course that's just Tesla charging stations. The Tesla can use any other electric car charging station with the included adapter.

The reverse is not true. Tesla charging stations work only for Tesla, right now. Seems a bit odd.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:48 am

Tesla is considering making their charging stations workable with other cars. I can see their problem, though. Tesla charging stations are free for Tesla owners, who pay $2,000 for the service in the price of the car.

I will give Tesla an A for effort with their charging stations. There's one here in town with eight ports. Of course, we're about half way between LA and San Francisco so a charging station here is pretty much mandatory for Tesla.

For most people an electric car with a 200-mile range will probably be fine. For some, it would be a pain in the ass. For example, my wife makes many business trips every year that are well over two hundred miles each way. Having to stop and charge the car on the way would add significantly to the travel time (and she is not a patient woman when it comes to wasting her time).

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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:00 am

Just for grins I had the Tesla guy plot a course for me going up to San Juan Island, where of course there are no chargers.

The map showed I needed to stop in Burlington, just before getting on the ferry, and charge for 20 minutes. That's time enough for a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

Of course, if I spent more than a hundred miles on the island I'd be screwed.

I asked him about Hawaii. There are two charging stations in Honolulu. None on any other islands.

This would be a problem if Teslas were everywhere and people drove cross-country with them. But of course they're not, and they don't.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem. Which comes first, the infrastructure to support alternative fuel vehicles or the alternative fuel vehicles themselves?
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:42 am

Tesla needs to make a big effort with their battery replacement stations.
It takes less time to swap the battery pack than it does to fill a gas tank.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:49 am

_Howard wrote:
It takes less time to swap the battery pack than it does to fill a gas tank.
You sure about that?  There are 7000 individual batteries, making up 28% of the curb weight of 4600 lbs.
http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-s-weight/


Last edited by NoCoPilot on Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:50 am

Tesla demonstrated changing the battery pack in ninety seconds.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:53 am

1,323 pounds would require special equipment.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:03 am

Yeah. A large capacity floor jack. Big deal.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:06 am

Here's an interesting statistic.

It costs between $5 and $12 to recharge a Tesla, depending on your rates.
https://www.quora.com/How-much-does-charging-a-Tesla-Model-S-cost

That would be for every 250 miles -- a bit more frequently than filling the gastank on a car. What do most cars get, about 350-400 miles on a tank?
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:11 am

1:41

But it looks a bit beyond the backyard mechanic. SuperCharger stations would be a damn sight cheaper.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:14 am

NoCoPilot wrote:
It costs between $5 and $12 to recharge a Tesla, depending on your rates.

That should be "between $0 and $12." Zero if you use Tesla charging stations.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:21 am

Well yeah sorry I misspoke.

One factor most of the online cost-of-ownership comparisons seem to routinely miss is cost of replacing the batteries. They're only good for 8-12 years and cost $15,000 to replace.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:36 am

I read about a roadster that had its batteries fail because the guy let them run down all the way. Tesla offered to replace them for $40,000. World's most expensive brick?

I hadn't seen that video of the battery swap. Special equipment, indeed. And not all of the battery packs are the same. Might be problematic for a battery changing station.


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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:50 am

The Fisker Karma is slower and more expensive, and expected to resume production this year maybe.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisker_Karma
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:03 pm

Less Performance! Costs More!

I can see the slogan now.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:11 pm

_Howard wrote:
Less Performance! Costs More!
Under President Trump less will be more, war will be peace, and freedom will be tyranny.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:36 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
One factor most of the online cost-of-ownership comparisons seem to routinely miss is cost of replacing the batteries.  They're only good for 8-12 years and cost $15,000 to replace.

I wonder how long the motors last and what they cost to replace.
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PostSubject: Re: Test Drove a Tesla Today   Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:39 pm

If driven sensibly they should last decades.  More than enough time for the End of the World.

Dang! I missed it already.
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