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Tesla unveils AWD Model S with dual motors, new driver assist features

By Shawn Knight
Oct 9, 2014
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  1. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk captivated automotive and technology enthusiasts alike last week in a way that only few can. The billionaire entrepreneur took to Twitter with a promise to "unveil the D and something else" at a media event...

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    Mr Musk must be insane, but in a sane world those are called: normal, sport, racing.

    Here in Ireland this car remains to be a science fiction. With prices starting at 80,000+ euro ($100K+) any mentioning of "economy" is pure hypocrisy. Owning the new Mercedes C-class or BMW 3-series is just so much cheaper. Best of all, a 2012 BMW 520D can be had for just 30K, now that's true economy in a good way.
     
  3. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 306   +63

    Question:

    Wouldn't the battery last longer if the car is only using one motor and how exactly does adding more one motor increase efficiency?
     
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,565   +2,373

    That's the problem with Tesla. They have a nice product, but the pricepoint puts it in direct competition with too many established, lower cost brands. This is especially true when they throw out specs on the performance version of the S.
     
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    Technology improvements, each motor should have to work half as hard and no efficiency loss by a drive train taking power from the front of the car to the rear wheels.
     
    Darth Shiv and VitalyT like this.
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,754   +1,107

    True, they're expensive right now, but they're still selling every car they make, and they're selling them before they make them. Consumer reports gave their car the highest marks it's ever given a car, so they're clearly not a gimmick company who's selling cars because they're electric.

    The competition might slow them down eventually, but I think that time is years away. Tesla is so confident in it's position against competition that they're even giving away patents for free so other manufacturers can use their technology in their own electric cars. They figure it'll help drive the acceptance of electric cars and make charging stations more universal.

    One of the biggest reasons people buy new cars is technology and it's an area where car companies are WAY behind in. (Have you used a touch screen in a car recently?) Tesla is a technology company that makes cars as opposed to a car company that throws some tech in their car to make it cooler. They are focusing on and excelling at the exact reason people buy cars today. The traditional car manufacturer is falling behind in driving technology, and they may be passed up.

    We may be witnessing another great industry leap-frog, like when Blackberry lost the smartphone market because they didn't believe in the touch screen.

    Or maybe they'll go the way of the Delorean, or maybe they'll be a niche market that never takes off... we'll have to wait and see.
     
    TadMSTR likes this.
  7. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    The costs of the Tesla are made up over the course of it's lifetime. Gas = ~$4/gallon = ~40 miles. Electricity = ~0.10cents/kw * 85 kwH for full charge = $0.85 to go ~300 miles.

    Lets take a 7 yr life-span and drive 12000 miles per year. Thats 300 gallons of gas or $1200 per year. For a Tesla that's 40 charges or about $340/year.

    So, over 7 years = $8400 or $2380. A savings of $6,020. And I think most of these numbers are favorable to the gas-powered car (I.e., high MPG and low-car life-time). Up this to 10, 15, or 20 years... or lower the MPG by 10 and recalculate and the difference is even bigger.

    A S-Class starts at $119K. An E-Class at $52K. Fully loaded an E-Class might be about $70K. A tesla starts at $80K and goes up to about $100K loaded and has features and performance of an S-Class.

    I'll take a Tesla.

    Mod note - Merged math correction with this post and fixed the numbers to how they were in the corrected post.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2014
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    The new 2015 Mercedes S500 Hybrid will beat Tesla to its efficiency. With 435 horses and 75mpg it will be the one to have.
     
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,684   +790

    While the car is certainly aimed at the higher price point, as noted, they aren't piling up on the back lot. The real issue will be, how much will the average car buyer be willing to sacrifice in order to have a model in their price range? Lets not forget that there is new style battery on the horizon that, if as promised, could double the range of the vehicle without affecting anything else. THAT alone would make it a very serious contender with anything driven by a fossil fuel, in fact it could pose a serious economic risk for all fossil fuel based automobiles. Change is inevitable, it's all just a matter of what and when .....
     
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,519   +2,060

    While Musk is in charge of Tesla it will always be a force, the man is a genius, there's no doubt he's milking the buyers for all they're worth but his added charisma and flamboyance along with the desirable product he offers will see them returning for more punishment. When he finally hands over the helm it could go into decline.
     
  11. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    They won't go the way of the Delorean (our government will make sure of that), but they will always be a niche market. I don't see there ever being a huge market for electric cars and there will probably never be a market for electric trucks, which are still the #1 (F-150) and #2 (Silverado) selling vehicles in America. And they'll never take off in Europe or any other country because they are instantly priced in the range of more popular gas vehicles, as the first poster alluded to.

    Tesla solely exists because of American government subsidies. When the company is very profitable without needing the government teet, I'll eat crow.
     
  12. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    This is great math, save for a little tidbit you left out: the Tesla battery itself. Here is something from the Tesla forums on just that issue.
     
    VitalyT likes this.
  13. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    $12K to replace the battery after 7 years of usage puts it behind most economy cars by a mile. It basically kills the advantage of buying it in the first place. Just a very expensive toy.
     
    cmbjive likes this.
  14. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    Thank you for the link. There is a great discussion in the comments.

    Overall though, even if you do need to replace the battery every 8 years you will still be under the cost of a comparable fossil fuel car, even by the math in that post. He is also assuming you replace the battery when/right before the warranty is up, which is probably unrealistic (though 12-15 years is not).

    Also, as noted in the comments of that post - you don't by a $100K car to save pennies on fuel, you buy it for the other benefits (instant torque, features, less wear and tear on parts, etc).
     
  15. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,754   +1,107

    True, the math doesn't work out in Tesla's favor. The poor math is also why the Volt never took off. If you run the numbers, you'll find that hybrid's are also more expensive than a comparable high efficiency pure gas car unless you drive a LOT in the city.

    But I think we're getting near the end of gasoline engine improvements to efficiency. The only new unique engine I can think of that recently improved efficiency is Subaru's Boxer engine, and it only added like 3 MPG. Most other companies have fancy transmissions to help efficiency.

    Electric on the other hand probably has a lot of improvement ahead of it. New battery tech, new recharging technology, options for solar, etc. We've been improving gas engines for almost 100 years, while electric is much newer (albeit, more difficult). I expect the advances in electric will be faster and more significant.
     
  16. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    Understood, but the overall cost of replacing the battery is about the same cost of a compact car. It is not unrealistic to assume that the battery will be replaced every eight years and possibly sooner because batteries degrade and diminish over time in their ability to hold a charge. This has to be figured into the cost of purchasing the car. It may work out in the end that the battery purchase will be cheaper than having to fuel the car, but having to pay the small cost in intervals will always beat out having to figure out how to pay a large cost in one swoop.
     
  17. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,104   +346

    I c your point.

    But no one offers a car like what tesla is offering are they suppose to price it cheap than cars on inferior platforms (Gas) ??

    They have to get the ROI on all the work put into the cars. Also the cars you are comparing too are mass produced and cheaper with how many units sold. Tesla probably sells 10k cards for every 1 Million BMW's sold.

    I believe they said they will be releasing something eventually to hit the 40k price range.
     
  18. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,754   +1,107

    Actually, I'm pretty sure they already are profitable. When you read about their profits, news stories always say 'According to GAAP, Tesla has never turned a profit.' and that's true. but they have to throw that GAAP part in there because without it, they are profitable.
    Tesla offers a money-back guarantee on their cars, and GAAP rules require that if you have offered a money-back guarantee, then you have to record it as a liability on your books. That means that Tesla has to record that they plan on buying back like every car they've ever sold (or sold in the last 3 years, I don't remember the time frame). They're not losing money, they just have to write this huge liability on their books because GAAP dictates it.
    From what I've read, their margins are actually pretty good. Granted, their giant govt subsidies are probably baked into those numbers, but it's not like they're selling cars at a loss or anything.
     
  19. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,565   +2,373

    Everyone knows the Model S is efficient. The problem is, in the Model S price range and segment, economy has less of an impact on consumer decision-making than does luxury. Most of the buyers/leasees in the market for a $80,000+ luxury sedan aren't going choose Tesla because Mercedes offers a better overall product in the S-Class where luxury is concerned. This isn't to suggest that the Model S is a fad product (it's not). Rather, it has yet to assert itself as the next greatest luxury sedan, as many Tesla fans would have everyone believe.

    Having seen and thoroughly inspected the various trims of late model S-Class and Model S sedans around my area (both are very popular in Metro Altanta), if you hand me $100,000 to spend on a land yacht, I'm buying the Merc. without a moment's hesitation.

    The bigger issue facing Tesla (and the other manufacturers, for that matter) isn't their current books. Most of the consumers involved in auto purchases (Tesla's customers included) are purchasing the vehicles through extended lease or financing deals. With current consumer credit patterns, student loan burdens, stagnant or declining wages due to automation and increases to the labor pool, and high unemployment (U6 not U3), a significant subprime market has been developing across the auto industry. People are purchasing vehicles, but they increasingly can't afford what they're signing on for. Regardless of how Tesla et. al. are looking financially right now, they are staring down the barrel of a gun ten years down the road.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,565   +2,373

    He's clearly indenting to launch a Lamborghini parody brand. You'll see. Just before they launch the 4WD Model S, Musk will play gotcha! on everybody and release some wacky-looking sports coupe dubbed the Edison, Model Z.
     
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,045   +276

    In a way, I hate to say this, but the reliability of BMW or other vehicles is, at least according to Consumer Reports, less than others. BMW is one of the automakers with the highest instances of problems. I have no idea what the reliability of Tesla is, but if your car is in the shop often, then that also factors into cost of ownership.

    The thing is that BMW, and other similar brands, have a mystique factor in ownership so that people perceive them as being "the cars" to own. IMHO, that mystique is not all that well-deserved. Personally, I would not want to have to bring my car to the shop every month, or even if it is not that often especially if the repair cost is high.
     
  22. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    Those videos on youtube of Tesla catching fire, I would'n want to get out, given how much a financial loss it causes :) might as well burn along :)
     
  23. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    Tesla has a lower incidence of fire than any other car http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/mission-tesla

    Also, they replaced the cars at no cost. The warranty covered it.
     
  24. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

    If they're not turning a profit according to GAAP they're not turning profit. We should ask Elon Musk how he would feel about his business if the subsidies were taken away. His business has hit a green spot (pardon the pun) between government favoritism and consumer favoritism so I don't fault him for exploiting it to the fullest. It's just that his business is heavily leveraged in the way of government assistance and can seriously hamper his business in the long run.
     
  25. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,754   +1,107

    All those economic problems affect the middle class... not luxury car owners. I don't agree with the loans defaulting, but anyway, that's the bank's problem not Tesla. I doubt (although I don't know) that Tesla runs it's own financing. And even then, the bank can just repossess the car. Cars are on 5 year loans so they can't depreciate faster than the principal is paid down.

    I'd say their biggest risk is not being able to get costs down to get into the mainstream market, and beating out the big dogs' fuel cell and electric cars in the future.
     

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