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Tesla To Build a Rapid-Charging Station Between LA and SF 215

Posted by timothy
from the good-place-to-get-mugged dept.
thecarchik writes "Earlier this year at the official launch of the 2012 Model S Sedan, Musk said that Tesla was planning on installing ultra-rapid charging stations along major arterial freeways such as the I-5 between Canada and Mexico, but declined to give specifics. But in an official Tesla earnings call last week, Musk let slip where the first of these ultra-rapid charging stations would be: somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, even by the shortest route, the distance between the two cities is nearly 400 miles, meaning that an equidistant SuperCharger would be no use to owners of Model S sedans with smaller 160 or 230-mile battery packs."
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Tesla To Build a Rapid-Charging Station Between LA and SF

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    • by hondo77 (324058)
      Yes it does. Terrible weather. Earthquakes and wildfires all the time. Ugly women. Stay away. Move away. Take someone with you.
  • by rwade (131726) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @01:58PM (#37988406)

    This is a pretty important quote from TFA missing from the summary:

    And while most of Teslaâ(TM)s current orders are for Model S Sedans complete with 300-mile battery pack option, expect Tesla to install multiple SuperChargers along the I-5 route to cater for drivers of lower-range Model S sedans.

    So while an charging station placed exactly half-way between LA and San Francisco would be of limited utility to some Tesla owners, it would serve most buyers of the Model S sedan...

    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @02:20PM (#37988716)

      Yes, and more importantly, the main story is that they are planning on building them all along I-5, this is just the first one. So people with other Teslas models will have to wait a few more months before they can get from SF to LA. OMG electric cars are a failure !!1!1!

      Every post that slashdot has accepted from thecarchick driving traffic to thegreencarreport has been full of misinformation and FUD. You would think that slashdot might get tired of being played for fools but apparently not.

      I've about had it with this site. I swear that this is the only reason [xkcd.com] I have had to visit slashdot the last several years. I should just admit that it is a harmful habit and leave.

      • yes, they are exclamation mark one exclamation mark :) but that really doesn't go down too well. hybrids on the other hand work very well: they're a compromise - a best-of-both-worlds compromise. which is why i'm designing an ultra-efficient one, having looked at the maths, done the simulations etc. http://lkcl.net/ev [lkcl.net]

      • Yes, and more importantly, the main story is that they are planning on building them all along I-5, this is just the first one. So people with other Teslas models will have to wait a few more months before they can get from SF to LA.

        So how long before I get a charging station on I-5 between Seattle and Portland?

    • by icebike (68054)

      >So while an charging station placed exactly half-way between LA and San Francisco would be of limited utility to some Tesla owners, it would serve most buyers of the Model S sedan...

      Really? Most buyers purchase this car for that particular route? Even prior to the charging station being deployed?

      This car is still a toy for those with more money than brains. Touting a charging station on a single route does nothing to fix that.

      • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @02:51PM (#37989122)

        This car is to compete against the BMW 5 series; also, these cars are paying for the R&D that will fund cheaper cars for people like you. Keep whining that its just a toy though.

      • by rwade (131726)

        Really? Most buyers purchase this car for that particular route? Even prior to the charging station being deployed?

        I don't know why they bought the 300 mile models rather than the models with shorter ranges. But the fact is, they have. From TFA [greencarreports.com]:

        "...most of Tesla's current orders are for Model S Sedans complete with 300-mile battery pack option..."

  • by shumacher (199043) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @01:58PM (#37988408) Homepage

    How would an equidistant supercharger (thus, one that is 200 miles from each of two points, themselves 400 miles apart) fail to help drivers with cars that have a 230 mile range?

    • How would an equidistant supercharger (thus, one that is 200 miles from each of two points, themselves 400 miles apart) fail to help drivers with cars that have a 230 mile range?

      Good question. That quote was directly from TFA.

      That said, there could be a couple of reasons that the drive from LA to San Francisco is not equal in energy use to other drives of a similar length. LA and San Francisco are separated by mountains -- it's not a perfectly flat route.

      Additionally, there energy-consuming traffic on both ends of the route.

      Finally, few drivers of the LA-SF route are likely to be driving downtown LA to downtown San Francisco. I would guess that many owners of the Model S will live

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Traffic is not going to be as bad as in a gas car. Going slower will conserve energy, being stopped wastes no power, etc.

        Still those estimates are usually pretty optimistic so it seems possible that a 200 mile drive would not be possible with only a rated 230 mile range.

        • by Arlet (29997)

          Does the 230 mile range include electricity consumed by the A/C system ? In any case, going slower will increase A/C power consumption for the same distance.

          • " In any case, going slower will increase A/C power consumption for the same distance."

            Care to explain that?

            • by Arlet (29997)

              If you go slower, the trip will take longer, and therefore the A/C needs to be on longer, and thus consume more electricity.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Simple. Pull a trailer stuffed full of marine batteries.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Honestly, that is an option that is ridiculously overlooked. Engineer these electric vehicles so that they can pull a trailer of batteries. All of my driving is either under 20 miles or over 150. My guess is that this is not that unusual. I am not really interested in using the energy required to haul around 300 miles worth of batteries on a day to day basis, and I wouldn't be interested in a car that cannot drive 300 miles in a fill up. I wouldn't think twice about hooking up a trailer for that cross
          • by vlm (69642)

            Install a tiny lightweight gen in a tiny little trailer.

            Lets say it holds 90 KWh and goes 300 miles on a charge at 60 MPH. Simple math shows the average current drain cannot exceed 18 KW. So install a 30 HP snowblower engine in a trailer, plug it in, and as long as you keep the gas tank full, you can drive until you wear the tires out...

            • So what you're saying is that the ideal car would be a diesel-powered electric car?

            • by Arlet (29997)

              Why not a hybrid then ? Put your 30HP engine under the hood, and cut the battery pack in half. Charge it at home for 150 mile range, and run the ICE for longer trips.

            • by roc97007 (608802)

              I think snowblower engines are 2-stroke. (You know, mix the oil with the gas.) This would create quite a bit more pollution than a conventional gas economy car, I think. Might be better to use a standard portable generator.

    • by demonbug (309515)

      How would an equidistant supercharger (thus, one that is 200 miles from each of two points, themselves 400 miles apart) fail to help drivers with cars that have a 230 mile range?

      The idea, I think, is that you wouldn't be able to do the round trip. If the charging station is equidistant, it would still be 400 miles round trip from the station to LA and back to the station. Not sure why you would want to drive round-trip to LA and back in a single day, but that's the only reasoning I can come up with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nelk (923574)

      How would an equidistant supercharger (thus, one that is 200 miles from each of two points, themselves 400 miles apart) fail to help drivers with cars that have a 230 mile range?

      The numbers they are going off of are for a 'Rapid-Charge', which, as defined in TFA, would add around 150 miles of range in 30 minutes. You could of course charge for longer and get the full 230 miles out of the smaller range vehicle and make the 400 mile trip.

  • You have to build the first one somewhere.

    Did he say 'directly in the middle of the I-5 route between LA and SF."?

  • it's so strange to have access to some basic maths, to have done vehicle simulations and also have an environmentally-friendly hat on, it catches me unawares when i see things like this. i have to double-take for a second, because it's so incredibly strange for EVs to have on-board either high-explosive materials (lithium) or highly toxic metals (nickel) in such huge quantities, i really can't understand why people don't understand that batteries are a storage mechanism not a power source, and don't design

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Chevy volt.

      Nickel is not that toxic, compared to say cadmium used in most power drills and compared to gasoline lithium-ion batteries are damn safe.

      • by Arlet (29997)

        Gasoline is also damn safe, despite common portrayal in Hollywood movies of cars blowing up at the slightest provocation.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Sure, but this is a comparison not a strictly speaking type thing. Diesel is safer than gas too, and hollywood loves to show18 wheelers exploding if they even hit a curb.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      it's so strange to have access to some basic maths, to have done vehicle simulations and also have an environmentally-friendly hat on, it catches me unawares when i see things like this. i have to double-take for a second, because it's so incredibly strange for EVs to have on-board either high-explosive materials (lithium) or highly toxic metals (nickel) in such huge quantities, i really can't understand why people don't understand that batteries are a storage mechanism not a power source, and don't design vehicles accordingly.

      Huh?

      Is the Lithium in LiIon batteries as explosive as other common fuels used in cars? (i.e. gasoline, natural gas)

      I wasn't aware that Nickel metal was considered highly toxic since it's widely used to make coins and jewelry (and yes, some people are sensitive to Nickel, but it's still in wide use)

      In the context of a car, how is a battery not a power source? Likewise, how is my gas tank not an energy storage mechanism? My car needs some source of stored energy to run - the battery and/or gas tank provide

      • Toxicity of nickel refers to the toxicity of extracting it. Google nickle mines for a few nifty explanations of how bad nickle mining can be.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Wait, what?

      The reason why people aren't focusing on long range hybrids is because we can already do that, there's little challenge in producing those vehicles and they've been on the market for like a decade. The first vehicles of that type are something like 80 years old at this point.

      As for EVs, the reality is that most people don't drive more than 10 miles each way to work, hauling around an ICE for the occasional trip out of town is incredibly wasteful when you could just rent a car for the day if you

      • by Arlet (29997)

        most people don't drive more than 10 miles each way to work

        That number sounds very low. Do you have a source ?

  • They'd better build one one the Top Gear test track. Hammerhead is half way, isn't it?
    • by fnj (64210)

      Top gear and all the beer guzzling dimwits who watch it can stuff it.

  • Methinks you might want to start by actually turning out some of those promised cars first.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Methinks you might want to start by actually turning out some of those promised cars first.

      Chicken and egg: what's the point of building a 'luxury sedan' that can't travel more than 300 miles because there's nowhere to charge it?

      I'm guessing most of the people willing to pay $60k for a 'luxury sedan' of such limited use would be in SF or LA, so it makes sense as a place to build a charging point.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > Chicken and egg: what's the point of building a 'luxury sedan' that can't travel more than 300 miles because there's nowhere to charge it?

        You can charge it at home. That's enough for a lot of folks, especially with a 300 mile range.

        So, the chicken exists and the eggs are available at your house. If people are going to buy these things, the time to man up is now. If enough buy it, the eggs will be available on the road. If enough don't, it wasn't to be.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          You can charge it at home. That's enough for a lot of folks, especially with a 300 mile range.

          It's a 'luxury sedan'; what's the point of paying $60k for it if you're just going to drive to and from the store because you have to turn around after going 150 miles from where you live or you won't get back? You could buy a Hyundai crappy thing for $10k and blow the other $50k on wine and loose women.

          • I think you answered your own question. Why buy a luxury sedan vs. a cheapo car?

            The range is more than sufficient for most people so it has nothing to do with that.

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            Um, because it's a luxury sedan, and because of the cultural mojo from the "it's an electric car!!!!" bumper sticker? (Just a guess.)

      • by swb (14022)

        How many people who own "luxury sedans" do more than drive to their office, their country club and a handful of restaurants and shops that cater to their luxury lifestyles?

        I'd wager it's a small number -- any trip outside of their city they will likely fly to.

        Maybe it's different in California, or at least Southern California (ie, driving between LA/OC/SD), but I'll bet in most cases people who spend on a $100k luxury car don't decide to take huge road trips.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Maybe more useful would be a "dead battery for fresh" automatic exchange station.
      • by jandrese (485)
        It would be, except that the battery packs are 750lb and quite large. An access port to get at them would have to be fairly big (a quarter panel popping up perhaps), and there would have to be machinery to move the batteries, because a person could not do it themselves. Plus, the battery is considered part of the car for warranty purposes so that would be a problem with this swap scheme. The batteries are also wear items that degrade over time, so making the a commodity like this means someone has to pay
        • by Arlet (29997)

          In addition to the problems you mentioned, a swappable battery pack would also make it hard to improve the technology. New tech may not be compatible with old car electronics and form factors.

          • When I put money down for the Model S, I was told by the salesperson (Chicago store) that the battery would indeed be swappable for a higher-capacity battery in the future.

            • by Arlet (29997)

              I'm guessing they already have the designs for the higher capacity pack, so they can make sure it's compatible. With newer technology, between different manufacturers, that may not be so easy.

        • by necro81 (917438)
          This is the model that Better Place Motors [betterplace.com] is taking. Their cars have swappable battery packs. Yes, the batteries weigh a few hundred pounds, but they get swapped out by robot [youtube.com] at the "gas station." The discharged battery stays behind and gets charged up for the next guy.

          You purchase the car; the battery is paid for by usage. Swapping batteries is a flat fee, plus an incremental fee per kWhr of energy you net. The approach they take is similar to cell phones: you own the phone and purchase minutes.
  • Doesn't sound smart to equip these vehicles with a proprietary connector. Why not have a standardized connector, and sell more vehicles ?

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Doesn't sound smart to equip these vehicles with a proprietary connector. Why not have a standardized connector, and sell more vehicles ?

      Wow, that's just brilliant. They could sell the vehicle and then sell electricity to them at $10 per kWh when the drivers either pay up or have to pay for a tow from the middle of nowhere.

      Maybe Tesla's business plan does make sense after all.

    • What is the standard for a connector at this amperage?

      I'm guessing we're going to be looking at navel wiring before we find one. Maybe the power connectors used between ships and docks?

    • by vlm (69642)

      I've been theoretically thinking about turning an old car into an EV. Lead acid = 10 mile range, but I don't care, thats enough for most trips. So I've been researching connectors for a charger. Realistically most lead acid types put a forklift charger in the back seat, with a heavy duty extension cord coiled up to it, and call it good, but I was thinking of over engineering it, at least until I saw how much a J1772 costs in onsie-twosie qtys. Maybe they're cheaper now?

      First of all there is no such thin

      • by Arlet (29997)

        First of all there is no such thing as a standardized connector for more than fifty or so KW. Sorry.

        Tesla could help design one, together with other electric car manufacturers. If you can use each other's charging stations, it would help solve the chicken/egg problem of electric cars, and benefit everybody involved.

      • You should look into using a junkyard Prius battery pack. You might need to build custom charging equipment though, since only the more recent models are plug-in hybrids.

        • by Politburo (640618)
          As I understand, it's not practical to use a Prius battery outside of a Prius since you have to roll your own battery management and also deal with the voltage (~202 VDC), which generally requires the onboard inverter (and that has its own management software).
  • However, even by the shortest route, the distance between the two cities is nearly 400 miles, meaning that an equidistant SuperCharger would be no use to owners of Model S sedans with smaller 160 or 230-mile battery packs.

    Wake up, it isn't about usefulness. It's about hype.

  • In mountain driving. As one who has made the drive in question dozens of times, I'm immediately thinking about The Grapevine, aka the Tejon Pass [wikipedia.org]

    Can a Tesla even make it from Magic Mountain to Bakersfiled with that kind of mountainous driving? I think you'd need at least 3 charging stations, one on the San Juaquine side of the Grapevine, and one on the Los Angeles side of the Grapevine, then one somewhere in the middle of the San Juaquine valley.

    • by demonbug (309515)

      In mountain driving. As one who has made the drive in question dozens of times, I'm immediately thinking about The Grapevine, aka the Tejon Pass [wikipedia.org]

      Can a Tesla even make it from Magic Mountain to Bakersfiled with that kind of mountainous driving? I think you'd need at least 3 charging stations, one on the San Juaquine side of the Grapevine, and one on the Los Angeles side of the Grapevine, then one somewhere in the middle of the San Juaquine valley.

      The nice thing about mountains is that, for an electric car, pretty much all the energy you use going up you get back on the way down. Assuming it can make it to the top of the pass, shouldn't limit the range too much as it will be a (mostly) free ride on the way down.

  • How long would it take to charge and how many charging stations would there be? If it takes an hour to charge, and all the charging stations are full, you could end up waiting quite a while...

    Not really fun if you've got a bunch of kids in the back.

    Tesla: For people with too much disposable income who want to look like they care about the environment.

    • How long would it take to charge and how many charging stations would there be? If it takes an hour to charge, and all the charging stations are full, you could end up waiting quite a while...

      Not really fun if you've got a bunch of kids in the back.

      Tesla: For people with too much disposable income who want to look like they care about the environment.

      This. Whenever I read about "deploying charging stations", my immediate thought is "Charging an electric car takes time - half an hour minimum to several hours. How many charging places will there be, and how long will the queue be during rush hour when people HAVE to charge because there is no other charging station anywhere near?"

      That's the BIG advantage of gasoline: filling up the car takes a minute or two max.

  • The ultimate addition would be partially subsidized charging lanes along major interstate highways. The major issue right now with pure-electric vehicles is their poor range; if the highways were powered, this would be a greatly reduced problem. I foresee solar-powered induction chargers, even if they are pay per use. I could imagine driving through the midwest between say LA and Dallas, or San Francisco and Vegas, on a pure-electric vehicle without concern for losing power in the middle of the desert. Simp

  • I suppose if you have to ask you can't afford it applies to the car itself. But what will the recharge cost be (how is it metered, cost per hwh maybe?)
    Also if it becomes popular there might be a line at the "pump" er socket.

    • If you buy cars in the <$30k range like most of us working-class joes, then yeah, if you have to ask...

      Running cars on electricity is dirt cheap in the US, even if the stations run a massive markup it shouldn't be expensive at all.

  • I have a better idea for recharging for people who need to drive more than 60 miles with heat, AC, headlights, lights, and so on: how about implementing an electric car which is capable of converting chemicals with a very high energy density into heat energy, which can be harnessed as mechanical energy to turn a generator which could be used to recharge the battery, and perhaps even transmit power directly to the wheels in tandem with the electric motors on demand when more power is required? Ideally, such

    • by jittles (1613415)

      How long would it take to drive to a popular destination like, say, Disney World... from where you live in a hybrid or gasoline/diesel powered car, vs, an electric car (assuming you have recharge stations on the way)?

      Hmmm... I think I could get to Disney land on one charge, though I may have to charge at the hotel to come back. :P

      The only hybrid I have driven would not make sense to the average driver in the south, though. Having to leave the engine running to provide power to the AC 9 months out of the year cuts into your gas mileage! Maybe they've changed the way they power the AC though in the last 4 years.

      • by jittles (1613415)
        Sorry I meant Disney World... grew up on the West Coast so I am used to Disney Land...
  • by Yakasha (42321) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:07PM (#37989404) Homepage
    I plop my wii mote on a plate and it charges.

    Carnival bumper cars just point a paddle at the ceiling.

    BART, and many other electric trains, just stick out a paddle and get their electricity from alongside the track.

    So why are we not doing something similar for cars? Install something under the road, or along the side, to charge the car as you drive?

    I know I'm offering the simplified consumer point of view here on "we have x technology, why can't we just do y?"... I don't know electricity... But I do know I'm tired of trying to find a station for gas, and sure as hell don't want to be caught somewhere in between electric stations with a 6000 pound car I can't physically push to the side.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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