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Power Transportation

Tesla Used A Third of All Electric-Car Batteries Last Year 236

cartechboy writes "We've heard about Tesla building this new gigafactory to produce battery packs for its electric cars. Heck, the company's current bottleneck is its ability to get battery packs for its electric cars. In fact, last year Tesla used a bit more than one-third of the auto industry's electric-car batteries, and that was with only selling 22,477 cars last year. Tesla is expanding its model lineup as quickly as possible with the introduction of the Model X crossover next year and a compact sports sedan in 2017. With the rapid expansion of its vehicle line, Tesla is going to need a crazy amount of battery packs, and quickly. Thus, the Silicon Valley upstart is building the gigafactory to engineer and produce battery packs in much larger quantities. If Tesla can remove the battery production bottle neck it's currently facing, the only question left will be market acceptance of a mainstream electric car."
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Tesla Used A Third of All Electric-Car Batteries Last Year

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  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @01:58PM (#46347937) Journal

    the only question left will be market acceptance of a mainstream electric car

    No, I do not think that is even an unanswered question at this point. The biggest question I have is, will there be a STANDARD connector for quick charging batteries so that after driving 200 miles, can we re-charge the batteries in a few minutes no matter what brand of car we're driving?

    Right now, the ONLY thing that is preventing me from getting a Tesla is that I have to travel longer than 500 miles a few times a year, and renting a car for a week, three times a year is too expensive an option.

    However, I do see the possibility of all this changing how we travel. Especially if the Autonomous automobile becomes a reality. This would allow people to travel by train / airplane and "rent" a vehicle only for getting to / from transportation hubs and local travel.

  • Consumer acceptance? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @02:06PM (#46348019)

    Let's see about the benefits.

    No cooling water
    No oil
    No flammable liquid fuel
    No brake fluid
    No grease
    No "fan" belts
    No noise of consequence
    No engine and drive train with 2000 parts
    No internal combustion engine repairs/adjustments
    Very low brake pad usage (unless you are 18 years old)

  • by foxalopex ( 522681 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @02:17PM (#46348181)

    It's an interesting article for perspective but somewhat inaccurate. The article fails to point out that not all Lithium batteries are the same. The Volt for example uses such a different battery chemistry that it tends not to catch on fire even when punctured. The one simulated in lab fire occurred from the battery coolant catching on fire after it had a chance to dry out. (Took about a week.) The trade off is that the Volt's battery has lower power density which means that it holds less power for a battery its size. The Tesla S uses laptop batteries which have great battery density but have the obvious trade-off of catching on fire when punctured. An Iphone uses a Lithium Polymer battery which has some of the highest energy densities of all Lithium batteries. The downside is they explode when punctured. In a small device like a phone or tablet this isn't a big deal but in a Car which this would give it some amazing range, if it crashed it would literally be a bomb on wheels.

  • The problem is that battery technology is hardly something brand new, and there has been a nearly 50 year need (arguably perhaps even well over a century) of having reduced weight and size of batteries. Some of the very first automobiles (see the Baker Electrics [] vehicle as an example) were electric even before Henry Ford started to build the Tin Lizzie. If Moore's Law applies after a fashion to battery technologies, instead of the typical assumed 2-3 year doubling/halving time that you are used to with computers, instead it is more like 25-50 years for battery technology.

    There have indeed been improvements with batteries with new chemistry coming up with better ways to store a charge. None the less, progress is very slow in coming and I only expect to see perhaps another double of the capacity within the rest of my lifetime. The Lithium-ion cells that used to be in laptop computers and cell phones made it possible to build something like the Tesla Roadster (and subsequently the Model S), which is why those vehicles now have much better performance envelopes than the Baker Motor vehicles I mentioned above. A century of progress does make a difference, but it is still slow in coming.

    Economies of scale will also help with the production of the Tesla vehicles, but until somebody makes the leap and builds the automobiles in the first place such economies of scale simply won't happen. Starting a brand new automobile company anywhere, much less in America, is so difficult that it really should be seen as a miracle and nearly proof there is a God all by itself. The current regulatory climate in America and Europe is bad enough that it is a miracle automobile companies even exist at all. For this reason, there is a definite lack of new entrants into the market (not that some people try, but almost all fail miserably). Tesla Motors is an exception and not a typical experience of a brand new automobile manufacturing company.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."