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Poll: Do you have, or plan to get, an electric car?

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Do you have an electric car or plan to get one?

  • Yes

  • No

  • I plan to

  • Over my dead body


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NGD

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For people with short commutes or that go out infrequently, old gas in plug-in hybrids can be an issue. My wife has been on the same tank of gas for 1200 miles/month and a half. Some people report the same tank of fuel for 6-8 months before they decide to run it out.
 

RePete

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For people with short commutes or that go out infrequently, old gas in plug-in hybrids can be an issue. My wife has been on the same tank of gas for 1200 miles/month and a half. Some people report the same tank of fuel for 6-8 months before they decide to run it out.
The Volt will reach some limit, and then make you use the gas, I believe.
 

NGD

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The Volt will reach some limit, and then make you use the gas, I believe.
I was replying to @matt_m comment about how little his mother drives. At least with some prius plug in owners its been an issue where they have been on the same tank for nearly a year then found poor engine performance from bad gas.

So your saying if you don’t use the engine for X number of miles in a Volt it will kick on the motor regardless of battery charge?
 

RePete

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I was replying to @matt_m comment about how little his mother drives. At least with some prius plug in owners its been an issue where they have been on the same tank for nearly a year then found poor engine performance from bad gas.

So your saying if you don’t use the engine for X number of miles in a Volt it will kick on the motor regardless of battery charge?
Yes
 

NGD

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Volts are well thought out. I wonder what the cut off age is. I would guess its around a year.
 

bleme

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Volts are well thought out. I wonder what the cut off age is. I would guess its around a year.
I'd think it has to be much less than that. My lawn mower gas isn't good after just 4 months...
 

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I've seen it too, I think in the owners manual.

1st gen Volts (pre-2015ish), I think they recommend only premium gas. I've been putting in only premium gas, but I've had a year to make observations and I think I'll be using regular in winter because my battery range declines and the places I drive are far enough away that I do burn a little gas on most trips to the grocery store in winter, so I should go through gas fast enough that I don't have to be concerned about old gas.
 

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There's some family about 90 minutes from her that she visits regularly enough she'd have to buy gas every couple months at least. But its a moot point because she's picking up a standard Escape early next week.

I've had really good luck with Star Tron as a gas stabilizer in small equipment. In a generator we kept it full and ready to go and just drained it once a year. Still started on the 1st or second pull when we sold it after several years. I assume it would be fine in a car too, but probably best to read the label.
 

Kent88

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I think this says it all...
I've said it before, I can roll coal better than any truck out there.

My car is flexible in what powers it. Sure, a lot of that power is from fossil fuels, but it can also be powered (and is partially powered) by cleaner, renewable energy.
 

NGD

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If another summer in California has taught me anything, reliance on current “green” energy is not all its cracked up to be. Its good to have alternative fuel sources.

There is still good money to be made in green energy.
 

Kharnynb

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once electrics get cheaper, the range goes to around 500 km, so I can go to helsinki without having to stop for an hour in the middle and they get better in arctic climates, I might get one...
 

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I don't know what EVs are like in Scandinavia.

Over here we're seeing a lot of PHEVs with proper range extenders. GM had one, Fiat/Chrysler are making some. Toyota as well. Probably Ford, too. I'm sure I'm missing some.

Our PHEV was, save for a couple of long trips, basically an EV this summer.

This winter I'm sure I'll have to use the range extender for a few miles now and then. Spouse will switch to taking the Jeep to work when snow comes along.
 

GreenEnvy22

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If you look at the science of hydrogen generation, it is less then half as efficient as just using the electricity directly in a battery electric vehicle. IMO hydrogen is a red herring promoted by oil companies to slow the adoption of BEV.
Actually it's closer to 4x as much energy to create hydrogen, compress it, transfer it, then combine it back with oxygen, than if you had just used that electricity directly (battery). Hydrogen will have some niche markets, but BEV is where the world is going. All the arguments about 'power still being generated from coal' are just silly noise. Yes, in some areas there is still a lot of coal, and in lots of areas it's fossil fuels like natural gas, but the point is those can all be phased out over time, and the electric car doesn't need to be replaced/modified. It doesn't care where it's power comes from. It's also vastly easier to clean up emissions on a few thousand power plants than millions of vehicles. Batteries in electrics will last hundreds of thousands of Km's in cars before their range drops too much to be useful (if taken care of, like not always supercharging). And then they are almost 100% recyclable, or can be used in stationary storage where it doesn't matter if you need to make a bigger/heavier pack.

I'll be going electric as soon as I can afford one. I'd prefer Tesla but I'd look at others too like Hyundai/Kia.
I drive 60km each way for work, so even with a 400km tesla, in winter, I could still drive to work and back 2-3 times without charging.
For the few times a year we drive more than 400km in a day, we're already at the point you can drive for 4+ hours, stop for 30 minutes to pee/eat/charge, and then drive another 3+ hours. Or we'd just take the minivan, as longer trips are usually for camping in our house.
 

Kharnynb

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@Kent88 there's about the same market as in most of europe, just a much lower percentage due to longer distances and the cold making batteries less useable.
Hybrids are quite popular with new car owners, but a lot of people just can't afford relatively new cars. I've seen maybe 1-2 tesla's up here in savonlinna, and one of those was owned by tourists...
 

bwarbiany

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Question for the EV folks here...

Can battery production economically scale to produce enough storage for the entire auto market to transition to BEV?

Background:

My own industry is data storage. The last decade have seen a sea change in data storage as SSDs have come down in price, and due to the many performance/durability/form factor advantages over the traditional HDD, have displaced it in many applications. I think the last I've heard is that notebooks are somewhere 90% SSD market share and only 10% HDD.

This has caused many prognosticators to extrapolate out and based on the cost reductions of the last decade in SSD, to predict that HDD should start writing its own obituary, and sooner rather than later. People saying HDD is dead and the market for HDD will completely disappear in a matter of a few years. But it's wrong for a very simple reason; NAND flash simply cannot economically scale to meet the cumulative global storage demand.

The truth is that global storage demand is huge, and growing. NAND is an extremely capital-intensive business, prone (like DRAM) to boom/bust cycles as suppliers bring on new fabs or technology / process nodes and flood the market with product, which pushes pricing down to the point where suppliers pare back slightly on CapEx spending to keep in balance, which allows prices to recover and fund more CapEx. And the curves by which this economically occurs don't show any roadmap where enough flash can be produced to meet global storage demand.

The NAND industry could just throw down a couple hundred billion dollars, build a bunch of fabs, and do it. But they'd be forced to sell their product at SO far below cost that they'd all go bankrupt as soon as the floodgates opened. Which is why they don't do it. Or more accurately, they don't have hundreds of billions of dollars to do it and if they tried to borrow it, whoever looked at that business plan would immediately short their stock!

This is something almost nobody talks about. They just look at the price curves and say "HDD is dead, man! Who wants spinning rust anyway!"

Digression over:

I can claim to have some actual expertise in the data storage industry. I confess to having no expertise in the energy storage industry. But I see major parallels here, so I want to ask people who know this better than I do.
  1. Fundamentally, every other part of the automotive business scales just fine. Automakers generally are able to produce and sell product, earn profit, and although it's not the most sexy industry, it functions. Globally 70-80M autos are sold each year.
  2. Globally about 2M BEVs were sold in 2019, putting it as 2-3% of the market. To replace the entire auto market, that means it has to scale by a factor of 20-30, but potentially as much as 40x. (Note: for this analysis I take at face value that BEV will be more reliable than ICEV, and thus simply assume that the service life of a BEV is longer than ICEV to give the benefit of the doubt and say BEV doesn't have to sell the same numbers every year as ICEV to satisfy the market. I do NOT include societal changes from ride-sharing and/or autonomous in that analysis).
  3. Even at <25% of the BEV market overall, Tesla is an outlier because they produce high-value and high-range cars, i.e. they need a lot of batteries. But at many points over the last few years, they have complained of being battery-constrained in production. They're <0.5% of the global car market, and they're battery-constrained?
  4. 5 years ago, the BEV market's demand for Lithium Ion batteries was only a tiny portion of the global L-Ion battery production. By 2020 it's over 50% of the L-Ion market demand. By 2030 it's expected that global L-Ion battery demand will increase tenfold, and EV will be almost 90% of all of that, showing that it is basically the ENTIRE driver of that growth. (World Battery Production | Energy Central)
  5. Even then, a tenfold increase in battery production won't satisfy a 20-30x (or 40x) increase in BEV demand, at least by 2030.
  6. Mining is where lithium (and the additional metals needed for battery production) comes from. Mining, like NAND flash, is an incredibly capital-intensive industry and producers don't want to pull something out of the ground if it means that they are going to sell it for less than it costs to extract. In addition, the question comes up of how big the world's lithium (and of the other component metals) reserves are, and how hard / expensive it is to get to them?
Now, obviously there are a bunch of things that could affect this. Tesla of course aims for the top-end luxury vehicles with the most range (and largest battery packs). Many BEVs, particularly those in developing economies, might be much smaller commuter vehicles with limited range. But on the other end, we're talking about BEV trucks and semis, which will require HUGE packs. As mentioned, I deliberately avoided mention of autonomous ride-sharing as a new paradigm in transport. Maybe that's a game-changer. Heck, after 2020 maybe WFH becomes much more the default and total vehicle miles traveled goes drops significantly so people worry less about range anxiety and all BEVs become low-mileage vehicles and people rent for long distances.

But I see so many parallels to the SSD/HDD industry and the way it changed, and almost nobody is talking loudly about this in that industry. So I'm wondering why nobody talks about this?

So... From those of you in the know, am I missing something, or is this the dirty little secret that the BEV industry doesn't want people to know because it dampens the story?
 

TechFanMD

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You might say 'no way' now, but if you're under 45 don't be so sure. The technology improvements through time, cost reductions over time, reliability improvements (especially compared to dinosaur fuel cars).....you very well may be buying an electric because it is the best performing car for everything you need at a great price point sometime between now and when you buy your last car.

I always see the arguments against it, and they aren't for everyone, and may never be.....but they will fill the needs of 95% of cars/SUVs and pickups within 10-15 years. At least that's my bet.

Edit - I see the OP was banned....guess he'll never know how we feel.
 

Kent88

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Question for the EV folks here...

Can battery production economically scale to produce enough storage for the entire auto market to transition to BEV?

Background:

My own industry is data storage. The last decade have seen a sea change in data storage as SSDs have come down in price, and due to the many performance/durability/form factor advantages over the traditional HDD, have displaced it in many applications. I think the last I've heard is that notebooks are somewhere 90% SSD market share and only 10% HDD.

This has caused many prognosticators to extrapolate out and based on the cost reductions of the last decade in SSD, to predict that HDD should start writing its own obituary, and sooner rather than later. People saying HDD is dead and the market for HDD will completely disappear in a matter of a few years. But it's wrong for a very simple reason; NAND flash simply cannot economically scale to meet the cumulative global storage demand.

The truth is that global storage demand is huge, and growing. NAND is an extremely capital-intensive business, prone (like DRAM) to boom/bust cycles as suppliers bring on new fabs or technology / process nodes and flood the market with product, which pushes pricing down to the point where suppliers pare back slightly on CapEx spending to keep in balance, which allows prices to recover and fund more CapEx. And the curves by which this economically occurs don't show any roadmap where enough flash can be produced to meet global storage demand.

The NAND industry could just throw down a couple hundred billion dollars, build a bunch of fabs, and do it. But they'd be forced to sell their product at SO far below cost that they'd all go bankrupt as soon as the floodgates opened. Which is why they don't do it. Or more accurately, they don't have hundreds of billions of dollars to do it and if they tried to borrow it, whoever looked at that business plan would immediately short their stock!

This is something almost nobody talks about. They just look at the price curves and say "HDD is dead, man! Who wants spinning rust anyway!"

Digression over:

I can claim to have some actual expertise in the data storage industry. I confess to having no expertise in the energy storage industry. But I see major parallels here, so I want to ask people who know this better than I do.
  1. Fundamentally, every other part of the automotive business scales just fine. Automakers generally are able to produce and sell product, earn profit, and although it's not the most sexy industry, it functions. Globally 70-80M autos are sold each year.
  2. Globally about 2M BEVs were sold in 2019, putting it as 2-3% of the market. To replace the entire auto market, that means it has to scale by a factor of 20-30, but potentially as much as 40x. (Note: for this analysis I take at face value that BEV will be more reliable than ICEV, and thus simply assume that the service life of a BEV is longer than ICEV to give the benefit of the doubt and say BEV doesn't have to sell the same numbers every year as ICEV to satisfy the market. I do NOT include societal changes from ride-sharing and/or autonomous in that analysis).
  3. Even at <25% of the BEV market overall, Tesla is an outlier because they produce high-value and high-range cars, i.e. they need a lot of batteries. But at many points over the last few years, they have complained of being battery-constrained in production. They're <0.5% of the global car market, and they're battery-constrained?
  4. 5 years ago, the BEV market's demand for Lithium Ion batteries was only a tiny portion of the global L-Ion battery production. By 2020 it's over 50% of the L-Ion market demand. By 2030 it's expected that global L-Ion battery demand will increase tenfold, and EV will be almost 90% of all of that, showing that it is basically the ENTIRE driver of that growth. (World Battery Production | Energy Central)
  5. Even then, a tenfold increase in battery production won't satisfy a 20-30x (or 40x) increase in BEV demand, at least by 2030.
  6. Mining is where lithium (and the additional metals needed for battery production) comes from. Mining, like NAND flash, is an incredibly capital-intensive industry and producers don't want to pull something out of the ground if it means that they are going to sell it for less than it costs to extract. In addition, the question comes up of how big the world's lithium (and of the other component metals) reserves are, and how hard / expensive it is to get to them?
Now, obviously there are a bunch of things that could affect this. Tesla of course aims for the top-end luxury vehicles with the most range (and largest battery packs). Many BEVs, particularly those in developing economies, might be much smaller commuter vehicles with limited range. But on the other end, we're talking about BEV trucks and semis, which will require HUGE packs. As mentioned, I deliberately avoided mention of autonomous ride-sharing as a new paradigm in transport. Maybe that's a game-changer. Heck, after 2020 maybe WFH becomes much more the default and total vehicle miles traveled goes drops significantly so people worry less about range anxiety and all BEVs become low-mileage vehicles and people rent for long distances.

But I see so many parallels to the SSD/HDD industry and the way it changed, and almost nobody is talking loudly about this in that industry. So I'm wondering why nobody talks about this?

So... From those of you in the know, am I missing something, or is this the dirty little secret that the BEV industry doesn't want people to know because it dampens the story?
I'm no expert, but I'd have to guess that BEV batteries will probably be able to be scaled up to meet market demand.

I don't think anybody can give you a definite answer on that right now, though. Batteries for EVs are improving rapidly, and manufacturers are experimenting with new materials.

We don't know what materials we'll settle on, we don't know what amounts will be required, we don't know how quickly they'll be able to recycle those materials from exhausted batteries. We don't know how mining for those materials will change due to the demand BEVs put on them.

Mining seems to be keeping up with auto manufacturers pretty well right now.
 

bwarbiany

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I'm no expert, but I'd have to guess that BEV batteries will probably be able to be scaled up to meet market demand.

I don't think anybody can give you a definite answer on that right now, though. Batteries for EVs are improving rapidly, and manufacturers are experimenting with new materials.

We don't know what materials we'll settle on, we don't know what amounts will be required, we don't know how quickly they'll be able to recycle those materials from exhausted batteries. We don't know how mining for those materials will change due to the demand BEVs put on them.

Mining seems to be keeping up with auto manufacturers pretty well right now.
Batteries have been improving "rapidly" for a century... If by that you mean a 5-8% annual increase in energy density, which is pretty remarkable:


That predicts that energy density will double every 10 years. But we're looking at a tenfold increase in battery demand over the next decade, and would need 2-4 times that to satisfy the entire automotive market.

I don't think we can rely on battery chemistry to get us through.

And yes, mining has gotten us through... If by that you mean that it's allowed us either replace cars at with luxury price tags with BEV equivalents... Or to create extremely range-limited BEVs at lower price points that aren't exactly "replacements" for many consumers that rely on their car traveling significant mileage each day.

But that chart I linked (below) says we need 10x the GWh in 2030 that we have in 2020. If energy density doubles every decade, that means we need 5x the mining output in the next decade to meet it.

Can they?

1601500765686.png
 

bwarbiany

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Just a note... I'm not asking this to be difficult or challenge the BEV future. I'm legitimately interested in this and whether it can be economically done.

And the corollary is if this CAN be economically done, should I be thinking about allocating investment dollars to some of the enabling technologies that must explode for this scaling to happen, be it mining, processing, etc. I'm sure somewhere in the chain something is overlooked and a smart investor can get in without having to ride the TSLA rollercoaster!
 

bwarbiany

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A little bit of this was answered by Tesla's Battery Day last week.
I find Tesla's statements to be rosy beyond credulity.

I'm actually pro-BEV, and said upthread it's decently likely my next car purchase (in 6-7 years) will be BEV. I really like the technology. But when you're talking about replacing the entire automotive industry, it's not trivial that you can scale to do it.
 

GreenEnvy22

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Question for the EV folks here...

Can battery production economically scale to produce enough storage for the entire auto market to transition to BEV?

Background:

My own industry is data storage. The last decade have seen a sea change in data storage as SSDs have come down in price, and due to the many performance/durability/form factor advantages over the traditional HDD, have displaced it in many applications. I think the last I've heard is that notebooks are somewhere 90% SSD market share and only 10% HDD.

This has caused many prognosticators to extrapolate out and based on the cost reductions of the last decade in SSD, to predict that HDD should start writing its own obituary, and sooner rather than later. People saying HDD is dead and the market for HDD will completely disappear in a matter of a few years. But it's wrong for a very simple reason; NAND flash simply cannot economically scale to meet the cumulative global storage demand.

The truth is that global storage demand is huge, and growing. NAND is an extremely capital-intensive business, prone (like DRAM) to boom/bust cycles as suppliers bring on new fabs or technology / process nodes and flood the market with product, which pushes pricing down to the point where suppliers pare back slightly on CapEx spending to keep in balance, which allows prices to recover and fund more CapEx. And the curves by which this economically occurs don't show any roadmap where enough flash can be produced to meet global storage demand.

The NAND industry could just throw down a couple hundred billion dollars, build a bunch of fabs, and do it. But they'd be forced to sell their product at SO far below cost that they'd all go bankrupt as soon as the floodgates opened. Which is why they don't do it. Or more accurately, they don't have hundreds of billions of dollars to do it and if they tried to borrow it, whoever looked at that business plan would immediately short their stock!

This is something almost nobody talks about. They just look at the price curves and say "HDD is dead, man! Who wants spinning rust anyway!"

Digression over:

I can claim to have some actual expertise in the data storage industry. I confess to having no expertise in the energy storage industry. But I see major parallels here, so I want to ask people who know this better than I do.
  1. Fundamentally, every other part of the automotive business scales just fine. Automakers generally are able to produce and sell product, earn profit, and although it's not the most sexy industry, it functions. Globally 70-80M autos are sold each year.
  2. Globally about 2M BEVs were sold in 2019, putting it as 2-3% of the market. To replace the entire auto market, that means it has to scale by a factor of 20-30, but potentially as much as 40x. (Note: for this analysis I take at face value that BEV will be more reliable than ICEV, and thus simply assume that the service life of a BEV is longer than ICEV to give the benefit of the doubt and say BEV doesn't have to sell the same numbers every year as ICEV to satisfy the market. I do NOT include societal changes from ride-sharing and/or autonomous in that analysis).
  3. Even at <25% of the BEV market overall, Tesla is an outlier because they produce high-value and high-range cars, i.e. they need a lot of batteries. But at many points over the last few years, they have complained of being battery-constrained in production. They're <0.5% of the global car market, and they're battery-constrained?
  4. 5 years ago, the BEV market's demand for Lithium Ion batteries was only a tiny portion of the global L-Ion battery production. By 2020 it's over 50% of the L-Ion market demand. By 2030 it's expected that global L-Ion battery demand will increase tenfold, and EV will be almost 90% of all of that, showing that it is basically the ENTIRE driver of that growth. (World Battery Production | Energy Central)
  5. Even then, a tenfold increase in battery production won't satisfy a 20-30x (or 40x) increase in BEV demand, at least by 2030.
  6. Mining is where lithium (and the additional metals needed for battery production) comes from. Mining, like NAND flash, is an incredibly capital-intensive industry and producers don't want to pull something out of the ground if it means that they are going to sell it for less than it costs to extract. In addition, the question comes up of how big the world's lithium (and of the other component metals) reserves are, and how hard / expensive it is to get to them?
Now, obviously there are a bunch of things that could affect this. Tesla of course aims for the top-end luxury vehicles with the most range (and largest battery packs). Many BEVs, particularly those in developing economies, might be much smaller commuter vehicles with limited range. But on the other end, we're talking about BEV trucks and semis, which will require HUGE packs. As mentioned, I deliberately avoided mention of autonomous ride-sharing as a new paradigm in transport. Maybe that's a game-changer. Heck, after 2020 maybe WFH becomes much more the default and total vehicle miles traveled goes drops significantly so people worry less about range anxiety and all BEVs become low-mileage vehicles and people rent for long distances.

But I see so many parallels to the SSD/HDD industry and the way it changed, and almost nobody is talking loudly about this in that industry. So I'm wondering why nobody talks about this?

So... From those of you in the know, am I missing something, or is this the dirty little secret that the BEV industry doesn't want people to know because it dampens the story?
Yes there will be growing pains. Lithium is one material that will need to be scaled up, but lithium is actually quite plentiful on earth, it's just not been that economical to mine it before. One of the announcements Tesla made last week was that they bought some property in Nevada that is a lithium deposit and they are going to work on extracting it themselves.
Cobalt is another one, and it's problematic because it's often mined by children in the congo, in very unsafe conditions. Telsa is actively trying to eliminate the need for it. They seem to have already done this in one of their formulas.
Nickel is another, and Tesla has put out a call to miners to increase capacity.

Telsa is also diversifying their battery chemistries. So Lithium-iron for cheaper cars, NMC and NCA in others.
They are also working on solid state batteries.
In another few years, the early model cars will start being scrapped in greater numbers, and those old battery packs will also become a supply for materials. I believe Musk has said he expects that eventually most lithium/nickel will come from recycling instead of being mined.

The other thing here is the long time scales. We're not going to see gasoline cars gone in 10 or even 20 years. You'll still be able to buy them for a long time, even if you're penalized in fees for it (or those penalties are built into the price). There will be certain industries where fossil fuel powered vehicles will be needed for a long time, and some people will just want them. Some countries are starting to make laws about no new ICE engine vehicle sales after 2035 or 2050 or similar. Who knows if those dates hold, but even then we still have 15 years to scale up production.

Another thing people worry about is the electric grids ability to handle the increased load. That is a valid concern, but given the slow but steady rise in electric sales its very manageable. Electrics can actually help the grid quite a bit too. It would be possible to have the charging being two way, so you can plug your car in after work, and tell the car it needs to be fully charged by 7am, but in the meantime, if the power company needs more power it can draw from your car. you'll get compensated for this on your bill. You multiply this by tens of thousands or million of cars, and it's a big buffer for the grid.

Also electrics tend to charge in the evening and overnight, when draw is much less. In Australia there is a pilot project going with a setup like this, but with Tesla powerwall units instead of cars. The concept is the same though.

Tesla is building more and more gigafactories (or terra factories) to keep up with demand. In addition to the one they made in China last year, they are building one in Germany right now, and starting on one in Texas shortly. other companies like CATL are stepping up production too. Right now there is a constraint on batteries. Telsa is feeling is somewhat, but they are in much better shape than other manufacturers. Hyundai would be selling way more Kona's if they could get more batteries, probably true for lots of other electrics too.

Tesla doesn't want to be a high-end luxury only company. They had to start there because it's the only way to make a new car company have a chance of being profitable early on, the capital costs are just too high. You can't build a production line to handle hundreds of thousands of cars right away, you start making one off's or a couple thousand a year, and very high cost, then expand as you can afford. Tesla want to become a mass market producer. The Model3 is a good step there, but the promised $25k car will be much closer to that goal.

I'm an IT infrastructure guy so I'm acutely aware of the ups and downs with DRAM pricing(ugh!). So far that hasn't happened with batteries. The price has been a pretty steady decline for the last decade.
 

Bilsch

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Musk is usually overly optimistic on time-frame, but delivers eventually. If he says 3 years, I'd count on it in 5.
I think things are getting better, their latest Model the Y, started shipping ahead of schedule and the China factory was built and in production in record time. But hey Musk is like anybody else without a crystal ball, you take your best guess and then hope it works out. Even Tesla's most ardent critics at times will admit they have done some amazing things. The battery day presentation was quite interesting especially for engineering types and worth a watch for those who wonder where the current state of battery tech is how he plans to solve the supply problems.
 

Craiginthecorn

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I've driven a battery-only BMW i3 since 2015. It's a fun, reliable and practical car for 90% of my driving. Its short range makes it impractical for longer trips and even medium-range trips in the winter, when range plummets by nearly half. But the TCO is very low, if you buy used. I bought my current 2015 i3 in 2017 with 5k miles on the odometer for $21k, and it's a well-equipped one. I drive it about 10k miles per year and spend about $20/mo on electricity for charging. I have spent money only for tires. I could sell it now for about half what I paid. Insurance isn't higher than a gas car, unlike Tesla, which is ungodly expensive to insure her in Illinois.
 

bwarbiany

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Yes there will be growing pains. Lithium is one material that will need to be scaled up, but lithium is actually quite plentiful on earth, it's just not been that economical to mine it before. One of the announcements Tesla made last week was that they bought some property in Nevada that is a lithium deposit and they are going to work on extracting it themselves.
Cobalt is another one, and it's problematic because it's often mined by children in the congo, in very unsafe conditions. Telsa is actively trying to eliminate the need for it. They seem to have already done this in one of their formulas.
Nickel is another, and Tesla has put out a call to miners to increase capacity.

Telsa is also diversifying their battery chemistries. So Lithium-iron for cheaper cars, NMC and NCA in others.
They are also working on solid state batteries.
In another few years, the early model cars will start being scrapped in greater numbers, and those old battery packs will also become a supply for materials. I believe Musk has said he expects that eventually most lithium/nickel will come from recycling instead of being mined.

The other thing here is the long time scales. We're not going to see gasoline cars gone in 10 or even 20 years. You'll still be able to buy them for a long time, even if you're penalized in fees for it (or those penalties are built into the price). There will be certain industries where fossil fuel powered vehicles will be needed for a long time, and some people will just want them. Some countries are starting to make laws about no new ICE engine vehicle sales after 2035 or 2050 or similar. Who knows if those dates hold, but even then we still have 15 years to scale up production.
I still worry about how other producers are going to find batteries. To me it's a red flag that Tesla is trying to vertically integrate areas of their business, even down to the mining. The red flag is that what they're asking for from the market, nobody is willing to give them so they think they must do it themselves. I do think being vertically integrated in battery production might be important in the BEV space down the road, but if it they think they can't buy enough raw materials from mining and processing companies at an economical price, that's worrisome. Mining's a rough business and well outside their core competency.

Those diversified chemistries don't help as much. NMC and NCA are also lithium batteries. It may help with some of the other metals used, but not much with the lithium content. NMC and NCA also both use cobalt, so their use doesn't get away from the ethical issues there.

Solid-state doesn't appear at this time to be anywhere near economical for high-Ah batteries. Maybe that improves, but dangling that carrot doesn't interest me until it can be shown economical in non-niche applications.

I do agree with the long time scales, but I live here in California where our Governor just decreed there would be no new ICEV sales in 2035. Granted, nobody expects that will actually HAPPEN, it was a glorified press release, not binding legislation. But I don't see it being remotely possible by 2035.

If firms develop adequate recycling capability that makes a huge difference. But I again worry about economics. Most of what we throw into our recycling bins in the US ends up in landfills because it's cheaper to make something new than it is to recycle. Unless the recycling process is LESS expensive than mining, it doesn't make sense to recycle. And if recycling is expensive but there is an economic limit to mining such that we are recycling, we don't achieve the sort of cost parity needed in the mainstream markets to unseat ICEV. (Granted, if gas starts rising and it's costing $20/gal, perhaps the economics change regarding parity--the market for PHEV would explode in that case due to less battery content needed but much lower operating costs for the average individual.)

I worry we're in the fallacy of "oh, we'll just figure it out by then, it's what we always do" and there are some high hurdles that we're simply not ever going to be economically able to clear.
 

Kent88

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I do agree with the long time scales, but I live here in California where our Governor just decreed there would be no new ICEV sales in 2035. ... it was a glorified press release, not binding legislation.
I want to be clear on this: By highlighting this I am not making a political statement. Any politician of any party who creates a goal that can't be achieved until they retire, they're likely just doing it for show.

but this isn't the thread to discuss that any further.
 

AzOr

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I've driven a battery-only BMW i3 since 2015. It's a fun, reliable and practical car for 90% of my driving. Its short range makes it impractical for longer trips and even medium-range trips in the winter, when range plummets by nearly half. But the TCO is very low, if you buy used. I bought my current 2015 i3 in 2017 with 5k miles on the odometer for $21k, and it's a well-equipped one. I drive it about 10k miles per year and spend about $20/mo on electricity for charging. I have spent money only for tires. I could sell it now for about half what I paid. Insurance isn't higher than a gas car, unlike Tesla, which is ungodly expensive to insure her in Illinois.
Thank you for your info. I wasn’t aware of Tesla’s high insurance rates. My wife has been drooling over the model 3 and is due for an upgrade. She currently has a ‘14 Camry. Yes I know that dang thing will run for another 20 years but she’s getting the itch.
She hates the looks of the new ev Hyundai’s. I’m not sure what she thinks of the i3.
 

AzOr

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I’m a little surprised about the high rates considering all of the newer safety features on evs, such as lane control, adaptive cruise control etc.
I guess I can see the rates being a bit higher. I have read that replacement body parts for Tesla are ridiculously expensive. But I assumed the safety features would negate the extra cost of replacement parts.
 

doug293cz

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My insurance rates for my Volt are ridiculous. I should look into who might have a better rate for me.
Does your insurance company break down the separate coverage costs enough so that you can tell if they are soaking you more for comprehensive, or liability?

Brew on :mug:
 

Bilsch

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It depends a great deal on who your insurer is and if they have accumulated enough actuarial data on Tesla to give accurate numbers. For the first 6 mo of ownership I stayed with my regular carrier who was really high then ended up changing to Progressive and now my rates are the same as what I used to pay for my Volvo.
 

Bilsch

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I still worry about how other producers are going to find batteries. To me it's a red flag that Tesla is trying to vertically integrate areas of their business, even down to the mining. The red flag is that what they're asking for from the market, nobody is willing to give them so they think they must do it themselves. I do think being vertically integrated in battery production might be important in the BEV space down the road, but if it they think they can't buy enough raw materials from mining and processing companies at an economical price, that's worrisome. Mining's a rough business and well outside their core competency.
But is this not exactly what Henry Ford did and for the same reasons? Ford had a railroad, sawmill, iron ore mines, steamship company to move the ore, a glass company, several rubber plantations, their own steel mill etc. Seemed to work out pretty well for them.

By the way.. here is an interesting chart that has many similarities to what is happening with battery electric vehicles.

 
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