• Sep 23rd 2007 at 6:18PM
  • 10
Buried in the New York Times electric vehicle article that Lascelles wrote about the other day was a little tidbit about Tesla. After originally promising a range of 250 miles per charge when they first announced the Roadster, Tesla had to back off last spring to 200 miles. Engineering changes resulting from the extensive testing caused an increase in weight and a slight drop in battery capacity.

The Times article says the Roadster's range has been revised back upward to 245 miles. They also say Job 1 has been pushed back four months. A quick check with Tesla Marketing VP Darryl Siry yielded a polite no comment, but Darryl did say an official announcement will be coming in the next few days following a program update to customers on Monday. We'll skip the speculation for now and just wait for the official word from new CEO Michael Marks.

[Source: New York Times, Tesla, thanks to Joseph for the tip]


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  • 10 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      EV range is always difficult to nail down because it depends on driving conditions and battery performance. I would be interested to know what the range is at what speed? I imagine a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds is not going to let you do much long distance driving, just like driving over 100 miles per hour. If you are doing both of these things, how can the car realistically go over 200 miles per charge?

      I work for ZAP and our electric cars are a completely different animal than the Tesla, but I know that if you take good care of your XEBRA you can drive 50-60 miles, but if you drive like a speed demon, your range goes under 20 miles. Then again, this is an electric car that goes 40 MPH and sells for a little over $10,000, not $100,000.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you read the NYT article carefully, they are clearly referring back once again to the delay that resulted from switching transmission suppliers. In other words. . . It's not a new delay, it's the same delay that Tesla told us about back in DECEMBER 2006.

      The article also states that the Roadster is slated to begin production "late this year". That would not be possible if there were a new four-month delay. A four month delay would push production into January at the earliest.

      It seems like every few months somebody at Tesla accidentally mentions that transmission change within earshot of a reporter, and the only word that sinks in is "delay", and the next morning there are media reports saying the Roadster is "delayed yet again!" It makes me cry for the state of journalism in this country.

      As for the new range of 245 miles. . . I'll believe it when I hear it from Tesla. NYT has a proven ability to garble facts with the worst of them. Still, if it does turn out to be true, it wouldn't surprise me greatly. I've suspected (and hoped) for a while that the final, official number will be closer to 250 than to 200.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Tesla developed their own battery pack control system for managing it. As far as we know they have not licenced anything from AC Propulsion. Eberhard wanted them to build the TZero and when they would not, it prompted the creation of Tesla.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ls2/ls7 you responded very well :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      My understanding is that Tesla licensed some technology patents from AC in the early days of Roadster development, but then developed their own solutions and ended up using very little (if any) of those AC patents.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Tesla Roadster's range is based on the EPA driving cycle. I'm not sure if it's the highway cycle or the combined city-and-highway, though. The EPA driving cycle attempts to simulate typical driving habits and estimate the car's real-world efficiency. Tesla are required to conduct their milage tests according to the EPA standards and publish the results before they can start selling cars, that's my understanding. (And I assume this is not required for NEVs, so it's not something ZAP has run into yet?)

      As you've experienced, the actual results depend a great deal on your speed, acceleration, weather, terrain, traffic, your car's cargo load, and so forth. That's where the catch-phrase, "your mileage may vary" came from.

      So you're right. . . If you hammer it, you won't get 200 miles. You might get a lot less, you might not even get 150. But you could probably hit 200 if you keep speed reasonable, use cruise control on the highways, and aren't going up and down a lot of hills. Those are the biggest factors, I imagine.

      I'd say if you are just out for a short spin, you can floor it. Why not? But if you are taking a longer trip and need the full range, then you'd better drive more conservatively. Some people will probably make a sport of seeing how far they can run it. (re: hypermilers)

      Anyhow, the EPA cycle provides a useful benchmark for comparing the efficiency of different cars, or the range of different electric vehicles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And I thought, Tesla's stuff was just the existing AC Propulsion motor, inverter, charger and battery pack design, slightly modified for mass production?

      (Which has been available in small scale commercially since 1994)
      http://www.acpropulsion.com/technology/gen2.htm

      Tesla is an ACP licensee.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Golf carts and fork trucks run off lead-acid batteries. They don't have to reach high speeds. They run indoors or only in good weather. They don't have A/C or heaters. They don't have regenerative braking. They drive very low miles and generally have much shorter warranties than road cars. Less warranty means you don't have to spend as much effort making the vehicle last.

      It takes a lot more to make a car than just 4 wheels and a way to drive them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      When Tesla reduced it, they said it was falling "slightly short" of the range. It was likely close to 250 miles all this time, and they just retreated to 200 miles to be able to "under promise and over deliver".

      As to the delay, I wouldn't be at all surprised. This is not an easy task and Tesla has shown all signs of underestimating it in the past, so to find they (again) underestimated the timeframe wouldn't be strange.

      To be honest, even once they ship it, it'll still be unfinished, pretty much by definition. They have to develop a lot of new technology on the fly here, and there just isn't a lot of time (or money) to polish it.

      Know how the first year of a new model car always has more problems than the later ones? Now extend that to the first year of a first car from a company.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "They have to develop a lot of new technology on the fly here, and there just isn't a lot of time (or money) to polish it."

      What new technology?

      There are plenty of electric golf carts, fork lifts and cars running around. The motors, transmissions, etc. all exist. And the batteries are straight from rechargeable electronics.

      There is no new technology. Just existing technology repackaged.

      GM, Toyota, Honda, etc. could have produced this car. But its not worth their time and money and reputation.

      A few years from now, when the battery packs start dying, Tesla's engineers will be forgiven. GM wouldn't get any slack under the same circumstances.
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