Imagine Escaping a Hurricane in a Tesla

Image from Tesla’s website

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

First I want to make it clear that I think Tesla responded to Hurricane Irma with exemplary good faith, sacrificing their future profits to send drivers of cheaper Tesla models a free range upgrade, to help them escape Hurricane Irma. But the urgent Florida hurricane evacuation may have inadvertently highlighted an unexpected and potentially catastrophic risk associated with government policies which seek to switch drivers to electric vehicles.

How did Tesla make some of its cars travel further during Hurricane Irma?

The electric-car giant gave customers a lifeline by remotely boosting their vehicles’ battery capacity. But this act of kindness also highlighted that it had been selling identical cars at different prices

Tesla drivers who fled Hurricane Irma last weekend received an unexpected lesson in modern consumer economics along the way. As they sat on choked highways, some of the electric-car giant’s more keenly priced models suddenly gained an extra 30 or so miles in range thanks to a silent free upgrade.

The move, confirmed by Tesla, followed the request of one Florida driver for a limit on his car’s battery to be lifted. Tesla’s cheaper models, introduced last year, have the same 75KwH battery as its more costly cars, but software limits it to 80% of range. Owners can otherwise buy an upgrade for several thousands of dollars. And because Teslas software updates are online, the company can make the changes with the flick of a virtual switch.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2017/sep/11/tesla-hurricane-irma-battery-capacity

Why do I think owning an electric car is a risk?

The distance between Miami and Valdosta, just over the border in Georgia, is 439 miles.

According to Wikipedia, the maximum range of a Tesla Model S car is just over 300 miles, though many electric cars have a much lower range, 100 – 150 miles being common.

This 300 miles maximum represents the range of a top electric car in perfect driving conditions. I suspect in the stop / start traffic jam conditions of the Florida Hurricane Irma evacuation, the range of even the best electric cars would be substantially reduced.

I don’t know how many car drivers heeded the call to evacuate. But at the height of the Hurricane Irma crisis, according to CNBC twelve million Florida residents were ordered to leave.

A gasoline car typically has 300 – 400 miles range. Unlike an electric car, a gasoline car can be fully refuelled in minutes. Refuelling lots of gasoline cars does not place a massive strain on the electric grid. If fuel stations are too busy, a well prepared gasoline car driver can carry their own refill in the trunk – a few cans of gasoline would almost double that 400 mile range, for the price of a quick 5 minute stop by the side of the road.

Imagine if the government banned gasoline cars, so all privately owned cars were electric. Imagine if every one of those evacuees had an electric car. Imagine the chaos if millions of electric cars pulled up at the same roadside charging stations at the same time, each expecting their half hour “fast” recharge, each driver utterly desperate to bring their families to safety before the hurricane struck.

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226 thoughts on “Imagine Escaping a Hurricane in a Tesla

  1. Whilst many via nebulous links are trying to associate the recent US hurricanes with ‘climate change”, one issue is however absolutely clear. Homo sapiens use of fossil fuels prevented the loss of many, many lives.

    Tracking resulting in accurate forecass, allowing timely preperation and/or evacuation. Can’t put satellites up, or fly storm chasing planes without fossil fuels. Concrete buildings provide shelter, can’t make concrete without fossil fuel energy. Need to run the emergency services all the time, they need safe and secure energy sources. Emergency generators are diesel powered.

    And yes, my evacuation vehicle would be tanked up ready to go all through the ‘windy’ season.

    Without the above we can only guess at what the casuality figure would be, but history gives a clue, just look at the toll before we had the above abilities.

    • Indeed Green Sand. And fossil fuels lifted humanity out of the drudges of labor into the highest standards of living, and the longest life spans ever. The amazing technologies of today – all owe their creation to fossil fuel energy.

    • “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

      This is known as “bad luck.”

      ― Robert A. Heinlein

    • Hell. Just look at the death toll today in the third world. Tens of thousands dead at least vs a few dozen in the first world.

  2. Jerry “Jefferson Davis” Brown, also known as Governor for Life is itching to ban the sale, possession or use of gasoline, kerosene or diesel fuel products in the State of California thereby forcing all good, compliant citizens to take the Low-Speed High Speed Rail between LA an SF, using the 9 hour trip to read an Inconvenient Sequel over and over…

    • PS What is Tesla range in say a trip from Fargo to Twin Falls…air temp 4 degrees, with a 18- 25 MPH headwind? The heater in my truck is a boot melter, how is Teslas?

    • Peasants in a socialist Utopia (dictatorship) have no reason to travel and must file for a permit 3 weeks in advance to leave. Then the government may let you know if you are allowed to walk to another city

      • Nonresident guest workers may not bring their families with them to the cities and no one will hear them scream if they are detained.

  3. remotely boosting their vehicles’ battery capacity.
    **************************************************************
    pretty telling statement on their sales and model difference capabilities.
    as well as as ability to REMOTELY edit a vehicles basic usage parameters.
    I am really starting to detest tesla and its business plans.

      • This is a parallel to the “smart meters” installed in many homes. The meters can shut off electricity for some period of time. And they can monitor usage We are slowly (?) losing control of our existence.

    • Am I understanding this correctly? The Less expensive Tesla models have the same physical battery capability as the more expensive ones, but with full utilization disabled by software? That infers that Tesla is artificially inflating the costs of its higher end vehicles by essentially selling similar vehicles with performance inhibitors to make them less attractive. That seems utterly ludicrous to me as an engineer.

      What is to stop Tesla from “remotely” downgrading the vehicles back to their original restrictive performances?
      What possible benefit to anyone, other than Tesla, is a configuration wherein all the capability exists but is blocked by a marketing controlled software switch?

      • rocketscientist
        Battery life is damaged if the battery is discharged below about 20% of full capacitor or charged repeatedly above about 80 % of capacity. For that reason electric vehicles have software that limits discharge to stay above 20% state of charge. What Tesla appeared to have done is to lower or remove the 20% SOC limitation so that their customers can get a few more miles of range in the storm emergency.

      • apparently the Tesla upgrade for Hurricane Irma is programmed to expire after the crisis is over, so your second question was answered before you asked. Tesla took this as a partial PR stroke of genius to seem magnanimous but they aren’t going to forego $5000 for the 20% upgrade.

      • Sorry Bruce but according to this

        The move, confirmed by Tesla, followed the request of one Florida driver for a limit on his car’s battery to be lifted. Tesla’s cheaper models, introduced last year, have the same 75KwH battery as its more costly cars, but software limits it to 80% of range. Owners can otherwise buy an upgrade for several thousands of dollars. And because Teslas software updates are online, the company can make the changes with the flick of a virtual switch. in the article, only the lesser expensive models required the twerk to increase their range. But they could BUY their upgares for thou$and$

      • This has been a common tactic in the software industry for a generation. Many software packages contain all current modules, with several locked from the user. When the user pays an additional fee they are provided a key to utilize an additional function. It seems more blatant with hardware, but it is up to the seller and buyer how they are willing to negotiate the contract.

        It remains that much of the proposed “green” infrastructure is very fragile and inflexible. Imagine if Florida had been powered by wind turbines and solar cells and all motive power was electric. A hurricane raking the peninsula would cause a series of disasters of biblical proportion.

      • I remember reading about a memory board on some computer decades ago.
        When the customer bought a memory upgrade, a technician would come out to your office and snip a wire on the board, thus enabling the second bank of memory.

      • Oh come on, buy a basic MSOS104 digital oscilloscope from Keysight. It has the identical hardware as their top of the line 5 GHz scope. You can upgrade it by buying a (very expensive) software key. As an engineer you should be aware of this.

      • I understand marketing pretty well. I understand that it is often disingenuous and false. By its very nature, it is the art of deception. It assumes a priori that everyone else is your enemy and must be conquered.

      • This is not exactly news though. I own a Vauxhall Corsa in the UK (GM). The 1.4 turbo petrol engine came from the factory as a 100PS (4K rpm) / 200Nm torque engine. For £2000 more I could have purchased the 150PS version. However a 30 min session on a local rolling road/tuner removed the software restriction and I had (160PS) 157hp (5.5K rpm)/220Nm engine performance for £400, a £1600 saving over buying the factory performance version. The engines are mechanically identical between both factory versions. The only difference is firmware on the ECU. So not just Tesla playing that game.

      • Sciguy54
        It remains that much of the proposed “green” infrastructure is very fragile and inflexible. Imagine if Florida had been powered by wind turbines and solar cells and all motive power was electric. A hurricane raking the peninsula would cause a series of disasters of biblical proportion.

        Don’t forget Sciguy, the green loons are banking on their belief that if we stop emitting CO2 and power totally by WIND, SOLAR, and other renewables, the weather will be totally in our control…there will be NO MORE Hurricanes so no need to evacuate

      • “I remember reading about a memory board on some computer decades ago.
        When the customer bought a memory upgrade, a technician would come out to your office and snip a wire on the board, thus enabling the second bank of memory.”

        Absolutely no way that is true. 20 years ago, computer memory was still incredibly expencive. No way a manufacturer would put dark memory in a product like that. It would be an unnessisary cost.

      • “This is not exactly news though. I own a Vauxhall Corsa in the UK (GM). The 1.4 turbo petrol engine came from the factory as a 100PS (4K rpm) / 200Nm torque engine. For £2000 more I could have purchased the 150PS version. However a 30 min session on a local rolling road/tuner removed the software restriction and I had (160PS) 157hp (5.5K rpm)/220Nm engine performance for £400, a £1600 saving over buying the factory performance version. The engines are mechanically identical between both factory versions. The only difference is firmware on the ECU. So not just Tesla playing that game.”

        They do that so the engines last longer when owned by the person who doesn’t change the oil or air filter and abuses it daily. The higher output it runs at, the shorter the lifespan it will have.

      • Every commercial jet engine in existence has this feature. Some engines are loaded with larger throttling envelopes and some are de-rated. It depends on the market which determines what percentage of engines are sold at de-rated performance and not.

      • Hardware computer devices can have also hidden capabilities. Some years ago, I bought a USB drive. When I tried to partition it, the partitioning software extended its capacity 3 folds.

      • Tesla will be downgrading the vehicles. The upgrade was temporary, and reverts on September 15th I believe.

    • How is it deceptive? At the time of sale they gave you a list of features, and what each feature would cost.
      The features you bought were the features you received.
      The fact that the company saved money by being able to sell the same or very similar hardware to a larger client base meant that all the available features cost less.

      • It’s deceptive in that you have been deceived by the seller not informing you that he is artificially degrading the product he is selling and that for an additional fee he will remove the restriction.
        If the handicap were more obvious such as an anchor and chain attached to the bumper the buyer might be more inclined to ask, “What is this for?” Wherein he might be informed that it is an inhibitor to make the other vehicles more expensive, and that for an additional fee the anchor can be removed. The buyer then asks “Why can’t I just cut off the anchor?” The seller’s response: “That will void your warrantee.”

      • It may not be deceptive to the purchaser … depends on your definitions of honesty & what the seller told the buyer.

        My question is: Did the pricing changes in any way create for an overall increase subsidies/credits to Tesla, and what was the cost to the general public in tax revenue?

        Were the tax credits more palatable to those in government that approved the tax credit structure because the manufacturer/seller had a “wider range” of products to offer?

      • Rocketscientist:

        Yes there is some sleight-of-hand to this process. It is called value-based marketing. Ron Popeil immortalized the concept with his sales ploy “how much would you be willing to pay” for a given functionality. As a market matures, prices migrate to “cost-based” levels. This is why entrepreneurs seek new products so they may enjoy value-based profit levels.

        Musk is very good at imploring the buyer “how much would you be willing to pay” and offering products which appear innovative enough to cause a few buyers to respond “a whole lot!” Will they regret it when later buyers get the same thing, or something better, for less? Only time will tell.

    • This really highlights the true nature of pretty much all the tech companies business model. GOUGE GOUGE GOUGE. Manipulate all aspects of the product to maximise profit in the immediate purchase then ‘hook’ the consumer into the ‘upgrade’ chain. They have the morals of the gambling industry at best, drug dealers more accurately imo. The technology that enables all the bling to add to our lives is also the device that turns us from citizens to consumers to soylent partners.

      • Do you understand anything about profit margin degradation, maturity of product streams and customer agency or do you just like to throw shade on tech businesses?

        Upgrades work because people are willing to buy them. Continued upgrades work because people strangely enough are still willing to buy them. Profit margins slip because new upgrades can cost more and you now have competition. You may also have more staff and a bigger research department, HR department etc because all that comes at cost.

        There is a well known lifecycle that can be disrupted when governments get involved to prop up zombie companies.

        The best technology is the one that turns a profit so it can be maintained and improved. That’s often a hard lesson for idealists.

  4. Our VW diesel has range of up to 750 miles if I drive carefully (and still well over 500 miles even when driven uneconomically at high speed on the Autobahn). My goal is to keep it until I can replace it with an electric car with equivalent range.

    • Espen
      One of the real good things about Germany is the Autobahn,driving my diesel at top speed (235kmh ) we have no speed limit, the “good” cars in Germany can outrun most hurricanes.

      • Any car can outrun a hurricane. Irma was traveling at 12mph at its fastest. Don’t confuse the wind speed with the speed at which the hurricane advances.

      • so long as there isn’t a traffic jam

        Heh. That extra 30 or so miles will REALLY help a LOT.

        LOL.

        Electric cars are (given current (get it? get it?) :) tech — or likely to be known tech):

        For short range

        1. in all but the mildest of climates;

        and

        2. in the best traffic conditions (no rush-hours near major cities);

        UNLESS:

        You are wealthy enough to afford another, ICE, vehicle along with the glorified golf cart (yes, glorified golf cart: yes, even the “high performance” electric cars , and, yes, even the race car electric cars — SO WHAT if they can race or handle well? People race riding lawn mowers that handle well….).

        All well and good, dear wealthy people —

        with your OWN money.

        **********************************

        Also, re: the article’s assertion of about 300-400 miles per tank for ICE cars — I think that is more likely to be around 500 miles per tank.

        **************************************************

        ANOTHER FINE ARTICLE, ERIC WORRALL! Thank you.

    • Your children or grandchildren, if any, will be waiting to make that trade in. Your vehicle will wind up a family heirloom!

      • Our Subaru gets over 30mpg, and could manage close to 600miles on a long highway drive on a good day (i.e. one without a headwind, since it’s about as aerodynamic as a brick wall). The Civic does have a smaller tank, but compensates with better highway mpg.

  5. And if, in 2030, the 50% of drivers who are still driving petrochemically fuelled cars are held up by a cluster of electric cars that have run out of juice during a mandated hurricane evacuation, I wonder how they will react? One hopes they would charitably invite the stranded evacuees into their vehicles for a ride. Maybe emergency services vehicles will have to carry charged power packs to keep the roads clear.

    • There would have to be a standard form factor and ampere rating so that roadside assistance or Quick-Trips (et al) could exchange batteries quickly. Presently, all the makers are proprietary. Good luck changing that. Cars have needed a standardized OS software for years and that is slow to appear, excepting OBD-2.

      • You still have to solve the problem of battery degradation over time.
        How do you compensate someone who swaps out a brand new battery pack for a pack with 3 or 4 years of use?

      • Very true MarkW, I guess we’re still waiting for that magic battery breakthrough where they hold ten times as much and last ten times as long…

      • How much does the battery for an electric car (making the insane assumption that there is one standard) weigh? How the heck to you replace a battery pack on the shoulder of a freeway?

        Conversely, a 5 gallon jerry can of gasoline weighs about 40 lbs, can be poured into a ICE gas tank with a cheap, light funnel, and provide another 100-150 miles of travel.

        Gasoline! Lightweight, compact, easy to handle, only mildly hazardous (wash your hands after handling, doesn’t mix with water), non-explosive unless you try hard, sure it is flammable — wouldn’t be worth much if it wasn’t, ash products are CO2 and H2O when burned properly. It is a miracle material, really hard to improve upon. We will still use it at 10x it’s current price — though less of it (Supply and Demand rules!)

    • The nearest Monster Truck can just push them off to the side.

      Charitable truck drivers can offer to tow them behind their Diesel exhaust ….

      I’d offer to tow and run a drop cord back to them so they can slow charge while being rescued.
      (I typically travel with an inverter… for emergency power).

      • Hmmm, don’t these cars have regenerative braking? Does that mean you could re-charge the battery by towing it backwards? ;)

  6. Eric, I’d guess they had to weigh lost profits against lost customers and bad publicity. This is a no-win situation for them as nature is most effectively pointing out the limitation that keeps state-of-the-art EVs from being economically practical.

    • It will be interesting to see the ratio of EV to ICE vehicles “totaled” in the evacuation areas. Is it a lower or high ratio of EV/ICE that were registered in the area?

  7. My old diesel estate car has a 60 litre tank, at 35 MJ/litre that’s 2148 MJ, or 597 kWh. Assuming a 40% efficiency, that’s roughly 240 kWh. Oh, and I can heat the car with the waste heat. If you had to heat your Tesla, that’ll come out of what’s in the battery.
    No thanks.

    • Heat the car . . . in Florida’s humidity, in September? More likely, everyone, ICE and EV alike, was running their AC at maximum, especially stuck in traffic with a pre-hurricane blazing sun overhead. I’ll bet running the AC continuously at maximum setting cuts down a Tesla’s maximum range by 20% or more.

      • Either way, it’s apparent that the range of today’s EVs doesn’t quite cut the mustard when survival is at stake. Software gifts or not.

    • One factor reducing the efficiency of an IC engine is that the materials comprising it can’t tolerate the full heat of combustion so some of that heat, instead of being converted to mechanical energy, has to be carried away through a cooling system.

      Well, guess what? Electric motors get very hot too. Some electric vehicles actually use liquid cooling systems virtually identical to IC engines. So, you could heat the passenger compartment the same way. But, anybody who claims that an electric vehicle is efficient (compared to an ICE powered vehicle) needs to recognize that some portion of the electrical energy is used in producing waste heat as well.

      Oh, and on some electric vehicles the battery has to be heated to an operating temperature. A liquid circulates around the battery to warm it up. Guess what’s used to heat up that liquid? Yep, electrical energy from that same battery.

      • However, it’s worth noting that modern ICE cars are getting so efficient that they can’t easily heat the interior. Our old V6 Buick could pretty much run a blast furnace in the cabin in the winter, but the Subaru that replaced it has heated seats because the heater won’t even run until the engine is up to a decent operating temperature. As I understand it, the diesel version in Europe has an electric heater because there just isn’t enough usable waste heat to warm the cabin and keep the engine warm.

  8. It would be “bad publicity” to have Tesla’s stranded on the side of the road, with power still in the batteries of cars that were paid for, because the owner did not pay the extortion demanded by Musk. It goes against the free market concept to provide a good, with a certain capability, but deny full use of that capability without additional payment over and above what was required to produce it. There are always exceptions, but if I were an owner of a product like that, I would feel cheated. And once that feeling starts to take hold, it is not easily remedied.

      • The free market concept is competition will drive the inefficiencies out of the market, through the competition for customers. If someone is gouging customers, then a competitor will step in and provide a better deal for those customers. A similar socialist concept is “you get what we think you need, and pay what we think you should pay”.
        If you paid for the battery, you should get the full capabilities of the battery. Once the ownership is transferred to the buyer, the seller should not still be restricting it’s usage except for safety or durability reasons.
        I grew up in a country “conceived in Liberty”. And I understand what that means, both in opportunity and in responsibility.

      • No Russ, you paid for a car with well known and published capabilities. How a manufacturer choses to deliver those capabilities is up to the manufacturer.

  9. In the first place, Tesla’s “charitable offering of an extra 30 miles driving range” can be viewed more realistically (considering how rapacious Tesla Motors has always been) as an attempt to incite these owners to cough up another $9,000 for the extra driving range ,something that they obviously have so far had no desire to do. They originally sold those cars with a 60kWhr battery pack, but, as usual, Tesla only built the most expensively optioned cars first – those with the larger battery pack.
    When they finally got around to building these lower optioned batteries they suddenly decided they would not build that lower priced model, which to me was proof that the lower priced model (advertised for more than a year as $49,000) was nothing more than a bait and switch – Tesla never planned on building that car at all – it was vaporware.
    Now we come to the Model 3, advertised as a “low priced EV” at $35,000. The 500,000 customers waiting in line have ordered cars that average $45,000, and most have the larger battery pack. The smaller batttery pack yields a driving range that is significantly less than the new Chevy Bolt electric. Tesla and others have informed the world that Tesla is paying $150 per kWhr for their batteries. The upgrade option costs the owner $9,000. The cost of the batteries required for the upgrade (installed) is $3750. Over $5,000 pure profit. Tesla is currently ONLY building Model 3 vehicles with the larger battery pack, regardless of the order in which the cars were bought. Whether they will actually build any Model 3s with the smaler battery pack remains to be seen. Unlike the Model S fiasco, you owuld think that Tesla will have to build some of these : if they discontinue the model, then they won’t be able to claim the Model 3 has a (starting) list price of $35,000. And a very important factor is the coming loss of the full $7500 tax credit – only about the first 50,000 Tesla Model 3 buyers will get this credit – afterwards the credit is cut in half every two quarters until it disappears. Meanwhile Tesla’s newfound competitors – at least a dozen electrics due out in the next year and a half and another dozen a year after that will enjoy the $7500 tax credit until each sells 200,000 electrics. That places Tesla in a horrible position, price-wise,and BMW and Mercedes both have their sights set on Tesla, and they will build every single one of their models as an electric, and they have service and repair many times better than Tesla and have a world-wide loyal customer base.

    • Impossible. You can’t cut the credit in half every two quarters until it disappears. It will never disappear. At some point you just have to quit giving a credit. 😀

  10. We have all seen people driving through flooded roads, so at what point would an electric car short out, which I assume could be dangerous, given the energy stored in the battery. I know it will depend on where the electric motors and batteries are situated, so may be different by make/model, but my diesel car would need water into the air intake to stop it. Another interesting situation though. I love the idea of electric cars, but it’s way too early in the technology cycle for them to be mainstream. I’d love to see a car designed with a highly efficient fossil fuel engine that generates the electricity for the electric motors, should be more efficient, but probably more expensive to make.

    • I2 the vehicles you suggest exist. They are called hybrids. Their ICE engines generate electricity. Whether that electrical power is used to accelerate the vehicle or recharge the batteries all depends on the state of the system.
      During the ’90s I worked on developing the ATTB (Advance Technology Transit Bus). Often we were asked what happens when the driver steps on the gas pedal. The answer was always it depends on the current state of the system. All the driver did is command the vehicle to accelerate by stepping on the pedal. The vehicle computer would then asses the existing energy systems and determine what to do: spool up the generator (rev up the engine): draw down the batteries; or some combination of the two.
      There are niches for such vehicles.

    • Only an anecdote, but I have a video of a car stalled in the left turn lane (high side of the road) of a flooded intersection outside my home during the Memorial Day floods of 2016. It was a Tesla.

  11. So…

    Tesla is admitting that a significant number of their cars are crippled when sold, and people are fine with that?

    One of the old computer horror stories was about a really expensive mainframe, where the “upgrade” to a faster CPU entailed removing a jumper that then let the computer run at full speed – and everyone thought that was basically fraud…

      • Bryan A
        An interesting dichotomy between Tesla and VW. Both of the companies used software to help themselves financially but VW’s scheme helped the consumer by giving them a better performing engine while Tesla’s scheme gives the consumer a poorer performing car.

        And VW’s scheme was to avoid government restrictions so I find myself applauding their efforts. It was rather lawless but still, I gotta like it.

      • Every vehicle that has a control module since the 1970’s with electronic ignition and fuel injection can be upgraded in some way to boost performance.

      • @jonchi7 Every vehicle that has a control module since the 1970’s with electronic ignition and fuel injection can be upgraded in some way to boost performance and shorten life and increase maintenance costs.

        There are tradeoffs in most things. Especially in things of engineering.

      • Stephen it would have been nice if you separated what I said up to “…performance.” and then added your opinions to it.

    • That “horror” story was perfectly true. I don’t think it was a mainframe, however, but a somewhat smaller model about the size of a small hot tub. Third parties quickly took advantage of that, providing upgrades for a rather modest price. I actually saw one during conversion.

      Fraud? Absolutely not. The slow version met its specifications, as did the fast version. IBM chose to save development costs by making essentially a single model to cover two markets, slowing one down to avoid giving anything away. Perfectly legal, despite your expectations. They never said they weren’t doing this. No fraud.

      • Dave,
        Your cable provider provisions your modem to operate at a bandwidth price point.
        Ownership of a modem won’t get you a fatter pipe, but does save rental fees.

    • Correct. The extra capacity in the Tesla was merely disabled by a software block. (Mainframe computers were (and still are?) sold with full features installed, but throttled down if the buyer doesn’t pay for them all.)

      • I worked for a company that sold software packages. Which features were available to the customer was controlled by codes that we downloaded into their database.

      • You have a good memory.
        Many, many years ago we upgraded a mainframe at a Wall St. bank, by cutting 2 etchings and placing a jumper to eliminate a JK flip flop which reduced clock speed by 50%.
        Oh, yes, we had to rebadge the front panel to show it was a new model. LOL.

    • Bingo

      …and the AI machine of tax credit mining is working overtime on tax credit schemes in large electric truck cabs, solar roofing, hyperloops, deserted charging stations, and more. It’s WW3 in the tax code and tax base. And the rich can use it to sidestep the alternative minimum tax that limits deductions but not credits.

  12. Let’s face it, EVs are not going to make it in their present form for moving a lot people long distances all at once. Until we get another storage device, ramming enough electrons into Li batteries in mass scale in a short time just isn’t possible. As a niche vehicle or for running around town it works great. Most personal trips are short and the demand is spread out and doesn’t burden the grid. But in a case such as this, no.

    EV hybrids or fuel cell driven EVs will work. Our hybrid technology has grown leaps and bounds with better batteries and electric motors. Today’s fuel cells are pretty good but still have a way to go, and we need an infrastructure to deliver the fuel, whether it is NG or hydrogen or whatever.

    I’m certainly not opposed to EV vehicles as they have a lot of pluses. I am opposed to paying a big chunk of change for a folly. I’ll be buying a new car in the next 1-2 years and am considering going the hybrid route, however at this point the good old ICE is getting almost as good as mileage on the highway, so the only substantial benefit would be in town driving which I really don’t do that much.

    • Don’t forget to consider the battery replacement cost. It WILL have to be replaced. Just as a guess my estimate is $3,000+ for a small hybrid battery. If the car is sold before the warranty on the battery expires the remaining battery life will factor into the resale value.

    • I still cannot figure out why we have not seen the true Hybrid: a small efficient constantly running ICE electrical generator and (smaller than EV) battery powered drive train with regen breaking. A 20 hp motor, sipping on a supply of gas, would get something like 100 mpg.

      I suspect that government regulations and subsidy rules work to give that configuration a disadvantage to others.

      • Exactly right. I pointed out how trains and giant equipment have done just that in other posts. They use massive desiel engine generators and electric motors to power everything. Reducing fuel consumption and giving more power/torque than directly using the engine to power everything. That on a smaller scale for any vehicle makes more sense. Tesla uses 2 electric motors with one at the rear and the at the front axle giving a 4×4 drivetrain. Planetary gears in where a normal pumpkin goes converting the high-speed electric motors to torque and horse power. Just like any common electric drill is made these day’s. There isn’t any wasted weight with transmissions or other drive lines. Steering and all other components are smaller electric motors or electronics. So hybrid technology is more efficient and could be better if this ideology of batteries is ended. You just have to have the right HP and RPM to the right voltage and amperage to make it work for the size and load capacity of the vehicle to performance and still have enough for extra loads like grades it may go up.

  13. Dear Mister Mod,
    somehow my user name got an Espen added to it A fix please ?

    [Log off. Close the web browser please and log back into WordPress, checking very carefully that you re-enter your login_id and password. Then try again with a short reply in the “Test” tab with your proper “George Tetley” user_id. We’ll leave the earlier replies as-is until a good login_id is verified.

    Use only that one user_id (“George Tetley”) for all future replies on all threads. .mod]

  14. Thank you for publishing this topic, I heard a radio discussion where one person was concerned about their car in southern Florida while they were out of state during the hurricane. The other person asked if it was electric, thinking about the complications of a submerged electric car. But then they touched on the limited range and recharging requirements for electric cars and the potential issues during an evacuation. Certainly these issues need to be considered.

    • I’ve designed several GPS products that used Li-ion batteries.
      During testing in the lab we found even a small AA battery size could become an arc welder when shorted.

      If you had a tesla in the garage beneath your condo and the storm surge hit, your place would be totaled.

  15. My comment from nearly a week ago raised to a full post:

    “BobM
    September 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I was watching Florida’s governor announce the mandatory evacuation of the Florida Keys… EPA regulations are being suspended to allow more fuel into the state. That’s fossil fuel, not batteries.

    Pity the Key West Tesla owner that can’t use air conditioning and get much further north than Orlando. Takes two days to get out of the way of the hurricane in that fancy EV, if a charging station can be found. Otherwise, useless as a brick.

    Where’s Roger Sowell explaining how wonderfully all the wind and solar power is performing? Any of those Caribbean islands have their fossil fuel plants blown away?”

    I’m still waiting for Roger Sowell to show up with all the good news on how wind and solar are replacing fossil fuel emissions during this emergency. Musk too. He’s building cars that are useless when the chips are down.

    We had friends evacuate from around Tampa, coming 700 miles north in roughly 14 hours, family of 4 with 3 cats in a cage in the back of their SUV. Headed home this morning with 2 full gas cans purchased here for the trip home. Ask the Florida and Houston evacuees how bad they feel about their “carbon footprint”…

  16. Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    And in any case with power lines likely to be down in a severe hurricane, it is unlikely that any Tesla’s would be getting charged. So we not only need coal and diesel generation to backup home power supplies, we also need a spare gasoline car for emergencies.

  17. This – excellent – point is underscored by reports from Norway last winter. Often (3-4 times each winter) mountain passes in Norway are limited to convoy-driving. Cars are held at a barrier until snowploughs are available to escort them in a convoy, usually because snow is actively falling and they don’t want to have cars stuck and forming a drift. To drive in a convoy, all of the cars have to maintain the same speed (around 50-60km/h) and not stop or slow down as this will create serious problems.

    As electric cars have become more popular in Norway (big tax exemptions and other incentives, such as cheap electricity), the convoy managers have been refusing to include electric vehicles because they cannot keep up the pace and/or have the range to safely complete the convoy section. Petrol and diesel vehicles have to have full tanks to join the convoy (there is usually a gas station at the collection point) and using your heater (and windscreen wipers, heated windows etc) doesn’t affect the range in the way that they do for an e-vehicle. Minimum speeds have to be maintained in order for the snowploughs to effectively clear the roads and keep all vehicles together and these are usually higher than the optimum for maximising the range of an electric car,

    I don’t know whether the convoy management have taken this step because of previous examples of cars running out of juice, or just a precaution, but there is a lot of negative publicity about e-car drivers because they go so slowly in order to maximise their range. One particular gripe is that they significantly slow down the public transport, as they are allowed to drive in bus lanes in Oslo, but drive along at less than 40km/h in order to eke out mileage. I have seen this myself along highway routes where the busses are usually travelling at 70-80 km/h. This has become so bad that I think the roads department is considering banning e-cars from the bus lanes!

    • One problem that the Norwegians face is that battery performance is compromised in cold conditions, and of course, in these conditions there is heavy demand on the battery with heaters, seat warmers, headlights (compulsory even during day), heated front and rear screen demisters, and possibly windscreen wipers, and heated washer tanks. A lot of juice is being consumed that will impact negatively on range.

      I would not wish to be caught in cold conditions in an EV.

    • @Rob, While I do remember being stuck waiting for a convoy to cross Hardangervidda, I do not recall any gas stations nor anyone checking the gauge. (OTOH I drive a Saab, notorious for underestimating distance to empty, so not much point checking my gauge)

      Tesla owners here seem happy with the range a few winters in, but I have no idea how much they drive their cars. For medium range (less than 150km) commutes it probably does not matter much if you get an effective range of 300 km rather than 400 km as promised. For those guys, it is vastly more important to not have to pay any road tax (Norwegian roads are littered with automated toll booths).

      As much as I personally hate EVs and all that they stand for, it has to be said: EVs do not have to replace every single car in the world to be deemed a success. (And I have to admit putting in 16A circuits in my new garage plus asked the electrician to put in a supply cable that can give me an upgrade to three phase supply later on — because I cannot predict the future)

  18. My current compromise vehicle is a Camry Hybrid. Mine was built with the same 17 gallon tank as a non hybrid. Range is 500 miles of stop and go driving according to the computer and more like 600 miles on a full tank if you ignore the little warning light.
    The key to buying a hybrid is to not overpay for the electric components compared to the non hybrid version of the car.

  19. “Imagine Escaping a Hurricane in a Tesla”
    …. even more bizarre: Caribbean island saved from hurricane Irma.
    News report states: It was in the middle of night, the sea suddenly lit up and calmed down while two enormous space crafts hovered over horizon.

    (credit: Ekaf News)
    I can guaranty the photo is absolutely genuine

  20. In a green utopia, the peasant slime will use public transit, or just carry their betters in sedan chairs. No problem./sarc

  21. …Imagine if every one of those evacuees had an electric car. Imagine the chaos if millions of electric cars pulled up at the same roadside charging stations…

    Ah! But you’re forgetting – if everyone had electric cars there would be NO hurricanes. And all of nature would be sweetness and light, and unicorns would come down from the hills, and,. … what’s that? Stop it, nurse, it’s not time for my medication yet…

  22. Interesting, what this means is that those purchasing a 60kw Tesla are in fact receiving a 75kw battery.
    So when you purchase a p60, you actually getting a p75 model. This has “very” interesting dynamics in terms of leasing such cars. When they get the car back, they can “flip” the software, and increase the value of that lease back.

    This concept is not new (or a bad at all).

    There are “many” examples of chip manufactures, laser printers etc. that are “identical” in terms of hardware, but have different pricing based on what “features” are enabled. This can reduce the cost of providing different models to different consumers with different price points (it often called capturing the consumer surplus – those that are willing to pay more can and often will!).

    To be fair, this Tesla example is “somewhat” different since the battery is a VERY expensive part of the car. I don’t think anyone would complain that the cheaper “v6” like model does in fact have the “v8” engine. While it cost the same to manufacture a chip or a laser printer (with different features turned off, or on), an extra 15kw of battery is NOT cheap at all! (I should check, but they have discontinued the 60kw option anyway).

    As noted, building two separate laser printers, can be more costly then selling one (so the noted IBM laser printer that printed at 5 pages per minute was identical to the 10 page per minute – only difference was software settings. And this practice is/was rather common in the CPU industry (same die, but some have hyper-threading or other features turned off or on).

    Also, it really depends on how you spin this. Often when selling a product, it is HOW you present the difference that makes all the difference.

    For example a major pop company (I think Coke-Cola) introduced a pop machine in Europe that would “increase” the price of pop based on the outside temperature. So on hot days you paid more!! Well, this started a near riot and threats of boycott. How dare you charge more on hot days!

    The solution?

    Hi folks, we think that due to slow sales on a cold day, we are going to give you a discount on pop! Same result, but now everyone is happy with the offer! So you now receiving a discount for the purchase on a cold day!

    Also interesting is the numbers quoted here. 30 miles! Let’s do some basic math.

    For each hour of charging you (standard wall plug), you get about 3 miles of range. So for 10 hours of charging you get 30 miles of range. And that standard wall plug is providing about 1200 watts (you don’t pull more – you often trip the breaker). So x 10 hours = 12,000 watts, or about 12kw. (close to 15kw – the exact rating of the p75kw model).

    So just keep in mind that if you’re visiting grandma, and the only plugs are standard wall plugs, then you need about 10 hours of charging to get that 30 extra miles. If you need to go 300 miles, then you have to change for 100 hours – by that time the storm will have passed, and like most people you best have stayed put in once place (about the only exceptions are being in water/flood areas, and right on the coast).

    And what’s with people running out and buying all that bottled water? Have kids not heard of collapsible 5 gallon camping containers? They are cheap as dirt, collapsible (so they don’t take up huge storage space). Just fill them up with tap water when you get a storm warming. Save a few empty water bottles to be refilled from above. I don’t get this “crazy” obsession with buying bottled water. And worse? The VAST majority should have stayed put in place of evacuation.

    Oh well, no one is laughing at all those armed perppers – they are laughing right now – they have food, water, extra fuel and of course guns to protect their property and family – they are feeling rather smug now – guess who’s having the last laugh in this regards? Guess those prepers are no so silly after all!

    Wishing and hoping all are safe in Florida,

    Regards,
    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

    • I wonder how long it will be before a disgruntled Tesla employ really familiar with the Tesla software for battery management decides to make public how to “jailbreak” the on-board computer so that any user can get the maximum design depth-of-discharge out of the battery in the car that HE now owns.

      I’m not saying this would be ethical on the part of the engineer (who would be misusing Tesla’s IP, and furthermore breaking an almost certain non-disclosure agreement he signed with Tesla), but such things do happen. Witness the jailbreaking that occurred with Apple’s iPhones and what was once imagined to be unbreakable Apple iOS software.

    • oops,

      Having electric vehicles requires electricity. Hurricanes tend to disrupt electricity, or so I have noticed.

  23. “Imagine the chaos if millions of electric cars pulled up at the same roadside charging stations at the same time” and the roadside charging station is in the 52% of Florida that lost power at the height of the crisis? Fast charge? Slow charge? Try No Charge.

    And sure, the gas stations ran out of gas too. But as noted, you can pack a couple spare gas cans in the trunk. You can’t pack enough spare electricity to matter. You really are a sitting duck if you have a 200 mile range affordable non-Tesla EV when a hurricane hits.

    • Yes, on 16th September apparently. I think for a small part of $9,000 (difference between the two models) one might find a Russian or North Korean willing to hack the system for a permanent upgrade.

  24. (apologies if this post appears two time – WordPress is acting up)

    Interesting, what this means is that those purchasing a 60kw Tesla are in fact receiving a 75kw battery.
    So when you purchase a p60, you actually getting a p75 model. This has “very” interesting dynamics in terms of leasing such cars. When they get the car back, they can “flip” the software, and increase the value of that lease back.

    This concept is not new (or a bad things).

    There are “many” examples of chip manufactures, laser printers etc. that are “identical” in terms of hardware, but have different pricing based on what “features” are enabled. This can reduce the cost of proving different models to different consumers with different price points (it often called capturing the consumer surplus).

    To be fair, this Tesla example is “somewhat” different since the battery is a VERY expensive part of the car. I don’t think anyone would complain that the cheaper “v6” like model does in fact have the “v8” engine. While it cost the same to manufacture a chip or a laser printer (with different features turned off, or on), an extra 15kw of battery is NOT cheap at all! (I should check, but they have discontinued the 60kw option anyway).

    As noted, building two separate laser printers, can be more costly then selling one (so the noted IBM laser printer that printed at 5 pages per minute was identical to the 10 page per minute – only difference was software settings. And this practice is/was rather common in the CPU industry (same die, but some have hyper-threading or other features turned off or on).

    Also, it really depends on how you spin this. Often when selling a product, it is HOW you present the difference that makes all the difference.

    For example a major pop company (I think Coke-Cola) introduced a pop machine in Europe that would “increase” the price of pop based on the outside temperature. So on hot days you paid more!! Well, this started a near riot and threats of boycott. How dare you charge more on hot days!

    The solution?

    Hi folks, we think that due to slow sales on a cold day, we are going to give you a discount on pop! Same result, but now everyone is happy with the offer! So you now receiving a discount for the purchase on a cold day!

    Also interesting is the numbers quoted here. 30 miles! Let’s do some basic math.

    For each hour of charging you (standard wall plug), you get about 3 miles of range. So for 10 hours of charging you get 30 miles of range. And that standard wall plug is proving about 1200 watts (you don’t pull more – you often trip the breaker). So x 10 hours = 12,000 watts, or about 12kw. (close to 15kw – the exact rating of the p75kw model).

    So just keep in mind that if you’re visiting grandma, and the only plugs are standard wall plugs, then you need about 10 hours of charging to get that 30 extra miles. If you need to go 300 miles, then you have to change for 100 hours – by that time the storm will have passed, and like most people you best have stayed put in once place (about the only exceptions are being in water/flood areas, and right on the coast).

    And what’s with people running out and buying all that bottled water? Have kids not heard of collapsible 5 gallon camping containers? They are cheap as dirt, collapsible (so they don’t take up huge storage space). Just fill them up with tap water when you get a storm warming. Save a few empty water bottles to be refilled from above. I don’t get this “crazy” obsession with buying bottled water. And worse? The VAST majority should have stayed put in place of evacuation.

    Oh well, no one is laughing at all those armed preppers – they are laughing right now – they have food, water, extra fuel and of course guns to protect their property and family – they are feeling rather smug now – guess who’s having the last laugh in this regards??

    Wishing and hoping all are safe in Florida,

    Regards,
    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  25. If your car gets hit by lightening you are basically safe in a Faraday cage and fuel engines don’t give a crap. But what happens to an electric car’s circuitry and batteries? Has anyone done a real world test?

    • Your car and all its electronics are protected by faraday cage created by the metal body of the car. All electric cars are also made out of metal and also have a faraday cage. Nothing will happen to the electronics or battery in it due to the protection provided by the cage.

  26. Is this Tesla’s VW moment? Put it his way, if VW had issued an ecu upgrade to improve mileage, would they be sued by EPA for contravening their rules?

    • Well, the VW issue was improved performance, improved longevity of emissions control systems and improved mileage – however all this came with increased emissions. I would think some VW owners are holding off on this fix. With increased longevity of the emissions and better running of the engine, one might make a case to question the benefits of fixing this issue.

      So in regards to Tesla I think this was a good move. They simply increased mileage for users during a time of need. This increase as noted is/will be rescinded by Tesla. I don’t think this really was some “secret” by Tesla since owners are and have been offered this “upgrade” for a cost – and that’s not really some secret except to “non” Tesla owners.

  27. “I suspect in the stop / start traffic jam conditions of the Florida Hurricane Irma evacuation, the range of even the best electric cars would be substantially reduced.”

    This is where electric/hybrid cars get the best mileage since there’s no idle power consumption, other than listening to the radio or running the AC. This is why allowing hybrids and electric cars in the carpool lane is absurd if the goal is to ‘save the planet’. Sure, you might induce a few people to buy them so they can use the car pool lanes for free, but all this does is add more underpowered cars/drivers on the road causing others to waste even more gas and emit even more trying to get around them, especially if you’re actually paying to use the car pool lane. It used to be minivans were the primary road obstacle, now it seem to be the Prius. It would make more sense to allow SUV’s to use the car pool lanes for free as this would reduce emissions and gas consumption by a significant amount. Of course, the idiots who think allowing hybrids in the car pool lane is a good idea would jump up and down yelling “Why do you want to destroy the planet?”, which just goes to illustrate the abject absurdity of it all.

    If you’ve seen the movie Idiocracy, replace the catch phase “It’s the electrolytes” with “It’s the CO2 emissions” and it will illustrate what the climate ‘science’ debate has devolved into.

    • Tesla vehicles have an active thermal management system for the battery pack, as well as a battery electrical management system (I believe it actively manages the multiple series-parallel interconnections for balancing power draw across all sub-tiers of the electric power circuits so that “stronger” battery segments don’t send power back into “weaker” battery segments). Both of these continuously consume battery power, independent of the vehicle being in motion and being stopped in traffic.

      • Gordon.
        Yes, and the various computers keep running too. The point being that the power consumed by the maintenance electronics is mouse nuts compared to the power consumed by the electric motor(s). As a fraction of total power consumption, it also dwarfs the equivalent power of the gasoline used while idling in traffic.

      • The thermal management system for the battery turns on and off as needed. In stop and go traffic it would be off most of the time. With the car going at 70mph it would be on most of the time to remove heat generated when the battery is discharged.THe battery managment system is a very small electrical circuit that will monitor power flow. This system only needs a few watts to do its job. Most of the time this is only being used when the car is charging.

  28. Without fossil fuels the population wouldn’t be as high today, because none of the advances would have occurred that have saved lives and increased food production. Travels to distant shores with sailing vessels – and steam still used fossil fuels to make them more efficient – would have curbed the population of every country outside of Europe to Asia and Africa. Starvation in those continents and population control would have occurred long ago. Population never really advanced until the industrial age. We can all have visons of how life would be today without fossil fuels. None of these “renewable energy sources” could have occurred without fossil fuels. Populations along coastal area’s would have been much lower, but still higher than inland. But running from stroms on horse back and in carts, wagons and buggy’s or by sailing vessels would have a high death rate as seen in the pre-industrial age. There wouldn’t be the warning system of communications we have now. Few buildings could withstand these storms without the advances of fossil fuels. The demonizing of CO2 is under 60 year’s old and all the advances of fossil fuels advantages are ignored by the ignorance of the population.

  29. As noted in a previous post a few minutes ago: this scenario won’t be practical until we replace chargeable eCars with replaceable pre-charged battery packs. That’s the only way to quickly add sufficient capacity for an eCar to travel hundreds of miles.

    It is not a question of battery technology. It is a permanent problem: you can’t deliver that much power through a cable that a person can safely approach.

  30. WSJ

    Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ Shares Blame in Fatal Crash, U.S. Investigators Say
    U.S. officials said Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot feature contributed to a fatal crash last year, faulting the Silicon Valley company’s semiautonomous technology.

  31. Why did this come immediately to mind as I began reading the above article?

    And then……

    this:

    Kumbaya, hakunamatata, don’t worry, be happy, yada, yada. Phffftt! Electric cars are CRAP (except for very limited purpose use)

  32. sciguy54 is correct. This _is_ the model for selling software, and there is nothing unethical about it, rocketscientist. The key is visibility: You have to tell the customer explicitly that they are getting a limited system in return for a lower price tag. If the customer buys a car that is adequate to go back and forth to work in, and the product performs correctly for that purpose, then he has the product he purchased.

    It is a legitimate business to sell upgrades. How those upgrades are delivered is none of the concern of anyone other than the company, though it does have an effect on the price of the upgrade: If I have to put a tech on a plane to fly 3000 miles to ‘clip a wire’ then upgrading your PC to more memory is going to cost a lot more than if I can do this remotely by logging in.

    I am not particularly a fan of electric vehicles, though the idea of being able to ‘pump my own fuel’ via solar cells is slightly attractive, but I think that it is a total credit to Tesla that they broke their own business model to provide added capabilities in an emergency.

    Jan

    • Jan
      September 12, 2017 at 11:27 am

      sciguy54 is correct. This _is_ the model for selling software, and there is nothing unethical about it, rocketscientist. The key is visibility: You have to tell the customer explicitly that they are getting a limited system in return for a lower price tag. If the customer buys a car that is adequate to go back and forth to work in, and the product performs correctly for that purpose, then he has the product he purchased.

      It is a legitimate business to sell upgrades……..

      Selling software under these terms does not cost the supplier anything significantly extra in production costs. Physically selling a larger battery with restricted ability to use it for less cost, does cost the supplier money. Essentially, this is a declaration that the supplier is overcharging the user of the more expensive system for something he could have for less (perhaps viewed as subsidising the lower priced user).

      It is not much different from buying a dozen eggs at half price on condition you won’t use six of them! In this case ensuring the conditions are adhered to is the problem, but the supplier still has to supply six eggs that will not be used (as it would cost him if he supplied a portion of a battery that would not be used).

      SteveT

  33. I suspect that autonomous technology software could be re-programmed in such a way that the vehicle may travel along a preset route without anyone being inside. If so such a vehicle could be an extremely effective ter0r1st tool, something that the European governments should give a serious consideration.

      • Back in the late 1970’s we had farm tractors that were automated that a person sat in a trailer and controlled it like a video game. GM tried a guide wire system on their proving ground without drivers in the car’s…a software problem had a multiple car pile-up that ended the project. Most of the new car’s now have automatic braking and cruise control systems that use a sonar system that maintain distance from traffic in front of it. Some are looking to making self driving car’s that a route is pre-programed and the GPS is a big issue that cannot yet keep up.

  34. A “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (in an electric car).

    What happens when you attempt a UK road trip in an electric car

    (youtube — filmed by generally pro-EV guys)

    Best part comes around 11:15 — In Which We Are Towed to the Nissan Dealer by an ICE Tow Truck. lolololololololol

    #(:))

    Note: They do not even address the underlying issue: the cost of production / purchase price of this car is too high to break-even without taxpayers, most of whom cannot afford such a car, to SUBSIDIZE it.

    AND those same taxpayers must also fund the “infrastructure” to support this mostly wealthy person’s luxury vehicle.

    These guys call themselves “tech guys,” but, I think that they are not ENGINEERING guys…. There is, clearly, a difference.

    #(:))

    “Electric cars area the wave of the future” (say they) — NOT!

    Banish the ICE vehicles and you won’t end up with EV’s on the road, you will end up with, in pretty short order, bicycles and walking shoes. “It’s the economy, stupid” (vis a vis ICE’s). Think about it.

    • Another Fun Fact from the above video: the quickest charging station (from almost empty to about 80% full) was…………………. (ddddrrrrruuummmm rrrrrooolllll):

      half-an-hour.

      (The longest, around 8 hours to do the same thing.)

      Yay! I sure want one of those to drive back to California someday. Should handle all those hills in I-5 through the Siskeyous just fine (cough) — (according to the data logged in the video, going uphill sucks down the “fuel” like crazy). And I am SURE that U-Haul will have a 17′ truck that will go 600 miles on one charge….. hahahaha

      • I get it now. The EV is the MGB of a new generation. They too will need to learn the hard way that they will push the vehicle more than they ride in it.

      • Yes Janice, my long distance driving survey a few years ago confirmed that 90 percent of the stalled and about-to-be-towed vehicles along the roadway were indeed Fords. There were also a few hapless Chryslers and Dodge too.

      • Got a ten-year-old F250 with a 6.4 diesel dual-turbo that I bought $10K below a comparable GM truck which hauls my 3-horse Merhow w/11.5′ shortwall living quarters and bath just fine. I don’t care if I’m there first, as long as my truck handles my trailer when the going gets rough. We with F-250s do everything our friends do with their duallys when you talk towing.

    • EVs are heavily subsidized in Norway and also avoid road tolls. Most are bought by People With $100K+ salaries, as a supplement to their Q7, M5 or similar cars (for getting to their mountain cabins for holidays). This of course makes others very happy to pay their taxes……

      • Yes, I’m from Northern Ontario, Canada. The winter can start anywhere from October on, and ends sometime in April. The number of gas-powered cars that need towing due to running out of fuel because they get stuck in the snow isn’t small. Can’t see anyone but an idiot (but I digress) trying to drive a Tesla up there.

  35. Is there any independent information on how well Tesla, Chevy Volts, etc. perform when driven into an underpass or across a bridge with water over the rear axle equivalent?

  36. @ Resourceguy
    September 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    You said: “I get it now. The EV is the MGB of a new generation. They too will need to learn the hard way that they will push the vehicle more than they ride in it.”

    How dare you cast aspersions on the MGB! I still drive my 1969 MGB roadster several times a week and haven’t had to call a tow truck for over ten years. In contrast, my wife’s BMW 325i has been towed twice in the past three years.

    • I stand by my experiences with the clunker. It was my sister’s car, but still was one of the bricks in the road to ending up as an all-Toyota family parking lot later in life. There is a reason the market killed the MGB with no revivals since.

      • I buy 15-year old Toyotas with the expectation that they will still be useful when others end up at steel recyling centers or under tarps in dusty garages. That consumer approach also aids in achieving asset goals of seven digit savings. BTW, you won’t find that consumer tip in the auto industry media or retirement savings advising industries.

      • Vuk, my wife and i bought an ’86 240 DL and enjoyed it thoroughly. our only issue was that the air cond compressor blew its seal (at 50 months). The dealer said that they underdesigned the AC for the US midwest summers. When we sold it (100k miles) the buyer asked if we had had the suspension renewed. I told him it was original and he said I must have taken very good care of it, I said thanks.

      • “Nigel S September 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm

        You can run them on chip fat too…”

        Not if you expect 200,000miles on an engine. Won’t happen. It WILL run, no question. Just don’t get caught with “used chip fat” in your tank in the UK. Fines aplenty (Red diesel).

  37. The author never bothered to look at reports from Tesla owners in Florida. Recently a record was set using a Tesla. It went 600 miles on a single charge at an average speed of 25 miles per hour. During the evacuation many drivers never went above 30 due to the stop and go traffic. Gas cars in contrast had shorter range due to the engines idling in stopped traffic. While the gas stations were running out of fuel, the tesla charger network stayed up until Irma arrived. Tesla owners apparently also didn’t have to wait in long lines to recharge the car. The supper chargers can fully recharge the car in less than 1 hour. Gas cars had to wait in long lines to get to the gas pump only to find that the fuel had run out just before they reached the pump.

    • Okay, when you talk about crowds at the pump you might as well admit to the stats on Tesla market share in that state.

    • One question: So what? The cost of production of those Teslas is not paid for by the purchaser. Until that happens, they are simply a DRAIN on the public purse.

      Tesla performance is a bunch of useless trivia as far as real world, HONEST, business finance, goes.

      And, further, you provided for all those assertions exactly: ZERO cites to ANY reputable sources.

      • The pathetic part is when the young and low income types dream of Teslas for their technology when the car and the tax credits are clearly not intended for them. I suppose the Italian boutique car industry also operates that way but without the taxpayer drain issue. And it is a drain if anyone would conduct the audit of tax credits involved. How many families could be covered by health insurance with that amount? I would say millions if only the CBO would study it.

    • Bad data.
      1) Even if full-speed supercharging is available, a 100% charge requires at least 75 minutes according to Tesla. However, that’s at 120KwH rate… and they claim that most locations only deliver at a steady 72 KwH rate… https://www.tesla.com/support/supercharging
      2) After a few dozen “fill ups” on supercharger, Tesla permanently limits a vehicle to 90KwH max rate, to avoid battery damage. https://electrek.co/2017/05/07/tesla-limits-supercharging-speed-number-charges/
      3) Charge rates are not even. The peak rate is only sustained for a few minutes. Typical 100% charges require close to 2 hours (from 10%); getting the last 20% takes a LONG time.
      4) The record-setting run wasn’t practical. They took almost 24 hours to go 560 miles on a short loop, “hypermiling” along the way to optimize. Nobody driving on a regular road could do that. So that experience doesn’t apply to escaping Florida… you have to actually accelerate when in real traffic! https://futurism.com/a-tesla-just-drove-a-record-breaking-900-kilometers-on-a-single-charge/
      5) If there were a significant number of Teslas, they’d have a very difficult challenge: only a few charging stations are available on the route out of FL. Imagine starting at Ft Myers… hope the stations are all functioning well! http://www.teslarati.com/map/

      Something like a Prius would do much better: 500 mile range, great efficiency in traffic, and the convenience of ubiquitous gas fillups.

    • The post assumed a full tank of gas and a full battery charge at the start of the journey. Ceteris paribus, (remember: even with a “super” charger, it will take HALF AN HOUR to put the EV back to ~80% full) the rational, informed, person will pick the gasoline-powered vehicle.

      Silly John.

    • If i was living in an area that was prone to hurricanes, I’d have a couple of Jerry cans standing by. Not so easy to have a fully charged Tesla battery in the garage (not to mention the difficulties of installing it…. ;-)

  38. Yawn on the battery capability vs software thing.

    Airplane manufactures do this all the time. The physical airplane is identical, but the airline “buys” the weight capability and or engine thrust capability they want / need. In many cases, the engine thrust change is “literally” just a software change. And the weight capability change to the airplane is literally only changing the manuals.

    Why?

    Pilots are paid (generally) based on the capability of the airplane they fly – heavier capability takeoff weight airplane = longer range capability = economically more valuable = more pilot pay.per their contract.

    Heavier (capability) landing weight airplane = higher landing fees charged by airports

    Heavier (capability) takeoff weight airplane = higher air traffic control charges.

    If a particular airline only “needs” a lower weight capability due to the nature of their routes, that’s all they buy. Why buy the 3/4 ton pickup when the 1/2 ton will do?

    Now, as I see it, the more critical thing IS the limited range and no practical way for a vehicle user to “self” extend that range. I can throw several blitz cans of gas into the trunk or the roof mounted “coffin box” and stretch the 350 mile single tank range of my Corolla to 2x or 3x that without too much difficulty.

    After Harvy and Irma, if you aren’t keeping 2-4 5 gallon blitz cans of gas around AND you live in an area subject to region wide natural disaster, you’re a fool. Some fuel stabilizer and rotating every 6 months to year and you’re good to go to clear out without needing external support until 700-1000 miles down the road.

    • without needing external support until 700-1000 miles down the road.

      Great point, NN Guy. The poor little EV, if it hauled the equivalent in replacement batteries, probably could go about 15 miles (yes, EV devotees, I’m just guessing at this number — but, the point stands….) on battery 1, about 20 on battery 2, then, maybe, 30 on battery 3, and WHOO — HOO! 45 MILES on battery #4 (assuming all the used up batteries were left by the side of the road).

      With the actual weight — horsepower — battery power and re-charge time (if you want to factor that in), etc., figures, this could make a pretty neat little story problem! How about it, all you WUWT engineers? :)

  39. The problem I see with what Tesla is doing is that the buyers of the more limited range cars must pay to carry around the part of the battery they can’t use. It would be like buying a gasoline fueled car with a 20 gal. tank with only 16 gal. of gas useable. You pay to haul around gas you can’t use.

  40. The obvious solution is for Tesla to offer a 50kW diesel generator mounted on a sleekly proportioned trailer with gull wing doors.

  41. So I bought a new, gas powered car from a start up company with a 20 gallon gas tank. That company got A WHOLE BUNCH of money from the Government to start the company.
    The cars are expensive but I can get a $7,000 tax rebate for buying the car.
    But the software will cut off the engine when it still has 5 gallons in the gas tank. If I pay $9,000 extra, I can use the that 5 gallons my gas tank already holds.
    Company “X” magnanimous gives me (temporary) access to that 5 gallons I already paid for at the pump to escape “Climate Change”.
    Sounds like a “Big Oil”, “Koch Brothers” scheme to me!
    (I think the 20% left on my battery fried my “sarc tag”.)

  42. You are evforgetting something. When we are all driving zero emission Teslas there won’t be any more climate carastrophies like hurricanes. That’s what Al Gore told me and he’s very smart.

  43. I was thinking of this when people were evacuating from Ft. MacMurray Alberta in 2016 as the ‘Beast of a fire’ was encroaching.

    Some were on the highway for (8-10 or more) hours amidst the smoke and flames.

    The RCMP and others were going up and down the line with gasoline to top up or give enough fuel that people could get to safety.

    There are no electrical recharge facilities (mobile or stationary) for any electric vehicle, if you ran ‘dry’, then you would be forced to leave you vehicle on the side of the road.

    How many people who have to get out in a mass evacuation with little warning have a full tank of fuel of any kind let alone a full charge on their battery pack.

  44. I’ll consider an electric car when they are fueled using a solid oxide fuel cell. When I can use normal (5-minute) fueling process (hydrocarbons), generate electricity cleanly through the fuel cell and drive across the country before having to refuel.

  45. Do Electric Vehicles Reduce Emissions?

    “Charge Challenge,” (Winchester Star, September 1, 2017) presented about 70 column-inches on the challenges faced by owners of electric vehicles (EVs). The article quoted an individual as saying the EVs “are innovative,” “protective of the environment” and “cutting down on emissions.” I am having a hard time understanding how an EV that gets all of its energy from “the grid” bears no responsibility for the energy sources supplying the grid.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show 65 percent of the total (utility-scale) electrical energy supplied to the grid comes from combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum and other gases). Nuclear sources provide about 20 percent; hydropower about 6.5 percent; wind about 5.6 percent; and solar about 0.9 percent.

    When an EV sidles up to a charging station, the grid provides the EV a mixed drink of electrical energy from many sources. About 65 percent of that drink comes from combustion of fossil fuels. Every EV replacing a gasoline-powered vehicle reduces the use of petroleum, but increases the use of the fossil fuels feeding the grid.

    Historical note: EVs were manufactured and sold by the hundreds more than a century ago. I first saw an EV about 90 years ago – a “Baker Coupe” built about 1910. Thomas Alva Edison’s first car was a Baker EV.

    David C. Greene

    • David, You are to be congratulated for your fine memory. Men of your age are often victims of CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff**) Myself, I used to worry about Alzheimer’s, but I can’t remember why. I do remember that I will never buy an EV, because fleecing taxpayers is evil.

  46. “A gasoline car typically has 300 – 400 miles range. Unlike an electric car, a gasoline car can be fully refuelled in minutes.” A gasoline car can carry several gas cans in the trunk for extended range. For Tesla, you either carry a hilarious, heavy and large battery or… gas cans and a generator, also hilarious.

  47. I doubt that a Tesla is the only car in a well-to-do Fla. family. Those who can afford buying a Model T can also afford the usual 2-3 cars per family, the T being a showcar only. So there are certainly other means of evac transport available. Leave the well-insured auntie Tesla in an Irma-proof garage behind. Run for your life instead. And mind the gap, please.

  48. As a humble Limey, I think I must be missing something here….

    Tesla stuck in evacuation traffic. A/c on full blast due to being in the ‘Sunshine State’ (been many times – love it…)
    Battery indicator rapidly going south..
    After much panic – find a charging station.
    Er – the hurricane’s knocked the power out…..

    • Hmm…interesting thought.
      Buying EV’s to prevent “Climate Change” might cause more deaths because those trying to escape a “caGW” weather event won’t have the power, fossil-fueled or not, to escape said event.
      (I’m sure somebody has a computer model that shows EVs will increase caGW deaths?)

  49. The thing to do with a Tesla is to have a Ford F150 drive behind you in case you need to ditch the battery powered vehicle for one with fossil fuel.

    It is a proven technology. After all that is what they do with wind turbines that connect to the national electric grid.

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