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  #1  
Old 10-15-2007, 11:15 PM
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Tesla's revenge

Al Gore's next car.

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Electric Car Maker Aims For the Top With Sports Car
Tesla Readies $98,000 Roadster
And Looks to Expand Downward
October 15, 2007
Tesla Motors is a car company that's both decades ahead of its time, and a year behind schedule. Soon, it will become clear which is more important to Tesla's long-term future, and the future of the disruptive ideas the company represents.

For those who somehow missed the blizzard of publicity that has swirled around this company for the past 18 months or so, Tesla (www.teslamotors.com) is a Silicon Valley start-up, bankrolled by some of the same people who brought you the Internet boom of the late 1990s. The company's stated ambition is to develop over the next several years a full array of electric cars. Tesla's fans -- many of them influential leaders of Silicon Valley's "clean tech" green-technology movement -- see Tesla as an icon of the broader effort to make big money by unshackling the U.S. economy from petroleum.

Tesla's first model will be a $98,000 electric roadster, developed around the architecture of a Lotus Elise, that uses 6,831 lithium-ion batteries similar to those used in laptop computers, a patented electric-motor system, and a highly sophisticated package of controllers and software to deliver an exotically attractive car that zaps from standstill to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds and can travel up to 245 miles on a single charge.

Tesla isn't planning any traditional advertising, but if it did, one slogan could be: "You can't kill an electric car you can't catch."

Tesla and its approach to electrifying the automobile may well redefine the car industry. But first, Tesla needs to actually deliver the car. That was once supposed to have happened by early this year. Now, company co-founder Martin Eberhard says, the first Roadsters should come off the Lotus assembly line in Britain sometime during the first quarter of 2008.

"Our plan is to ramp up very gently," he says. The run of cars produced during the first quarter of 2008 could be only about 50 vehicles, with a goal of building a total of about 600 cars in the 2008 model year. Tesla recently told potential customers that it can no longer guarantee delivery of 2008 models. Newcomers to the waiting list might well get 2009s.

During an interview last week in his modest office in one of the nondescript warehouses Tesla occupies in the San Francisco suburb of San Carlos, Mr. Eberhard says he has gained respect for the challenges that conventional auto makers face.

More at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119220246200657368.html?mod=hpp_us_personal_journal

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  #2  
Old 10-15-2007, 11:25 PM
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2007, 01:51 AM
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Not enough room for St. Gore to carry around his entourage and his ego, he uses Suburbans for that; many of them. His son might like it though...

I think its cool though and need someone to lend me $97,950.
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2007, 09:25 AM
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How long do those 6,831 laptop batteries last? 3 -5 years? Let's assume (very generously) that an individual battery costs $10. Feel like coughing up $70k at the 50,000 mile service?
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  #5  
Old 10-16-2007, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
How long do those 6,831 laptop batteries last? 3 -5 years? Let's assume (very generously) that an individual battery costs $10. Feel like coughing up $70k at the 50,000 mile service?
Whiner. Next thing you're gonna do is worry-wart about disposal of 6,831 laptop batteries that contain hazardous chemicals.

Best bet is to revive the Stanley Steamer and modernize it. Run it on methane and use a long-chain alcohol for the heat transfer medium.

B
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:28 PM
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Duh-deeb-a-deeb-a-deeb That's All Folks!

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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
Whiner. Next thing you're gonna do is worry-wart about disposal of 6,831 laptop batteries that contain hazardous chemicals.

Best bet is to revive the Stanley Steamer and modernize it. Run it on methane and use a long-chain alcohol for the heat transfer medium.

B
Oh, can you imagine, even with a full array of safety enhancements, the occasional neighborhood boiler mishap? I can just see my next-door neighbor looking like some victim of a Warner Bros. cartoon explosion. Half of the idiots in my town can just barely handle the task of starting a gasoline engine.
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2007, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
Oh, can you imagine, even with a full array of safety enhancements, the occasional neighborhood boiler mishap? I can just see my next-door neighbor looking like some victim of a Warner Bros. cartoon explosion. Half of the idiots in my town can just barely handle the task of starting a gasoline engine.
Hmmm.

I think there'd probably be more danger from lugging the fuel around then from a steam pressure vessel explosion.

I wonder whether anybody has done any modern engineering studies of a steam plant/turbine/condenser system for a car. I feel a Google search making my fingers tingle.

B
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:58 PM
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I remember reading something about the Japanese having cars and motorcycles that were run on charcoal during WWII.
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2007, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
How long do those 6,831 laptop batteries last? 3 -5 years? Let's assume (very generously) that an individual battery costs $10. Feel like coughing up $70k at the 50,000 mile service?
I also need to borrow $69.7K in about 5 or 6 years.
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:04 AM
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The trouble is not so much with the boiler technology. Even the tremendous heat loss could probably be dealt with. The problem is making a clutch work. Tranny too. The old steam motor isn't exactly designed for varying RPM operation. Better to have it run an electric generator, but you just created a variant of a diesel electric locomotive.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
I think there'd probably be more danger from lugging the fuel around then from a steam pressure vessel explosion.

I wonder whether anybody has done any modern engineering studies of a steam plant/turbine/condenser system for a car. I feel a Google search making my fingers tingle.
B
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
The trouble is not so much with the boiler technology. Even the tremendous heat loss could probably be dealt with. The problem is making a clutch work. Tranny too. The old steam motor isn't exactly designed for varying RPM operation. Better to have it run an electric generator, but you just created a variant of a diesel electric locomotive.
Well, a reciprocating steam engine, like that used in the Stanley Steamer, should be capable of operating from zero up to whatever RPMs that steam pressure and engine design will allow, and it's also reversable so there's no need for a tranny or clutch.
Now a steam turbine would be most suitable for a generator setup, like the turbo-electric powerplants used in some 1930s ocean liners.
Either way, you'll still need room for the boiler, and a condenser or you'll be adding more water than fuel. And, so far as I know, no steam powerplant comes close to the efficiency of a diesel engine.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:11 PM
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Sounds as if you would need an engine compartment comparable in length to a '30's Cadillac V16.
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2007, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
Sounds as if you would need an engine compartment comparable in length to a '30's Cadillac V16.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2007, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
How long do those 6,831 laptop batteries last? 3 -5 years? Let's assume (very generously) that an individual battery costs $10. Feel like coughing up $70k at the 50,000 mile service?
Does anyone know what they actually cost?
Anyway, I hope electrics keep stepping in the right direction - the fossil fuel engines we have now took a long time to get to where they are now.
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:34 PM
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Guess I should explain better, steam engines don't idle well, huge energy loss. And I didn't mean it couldn't operate at various RPMs, I meant getting it to go up and down constantly like you would need in a car is not how those things work. And being the torque monsters they are, and the way they come on strong and fast, you need a lot of slippage to get things going. A hydraulic clutch (not hydraulic actuated) would work well, you see that on a lot of heavy machinery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark DiSilvestro View Post
Well, a reciprocating steam engine, like that used in the Stanley Steamer, should be capable of operating from zero up to whatever RPMs that steam pressure and engine design will allow, and it's also reversable so there's no need for a tranny or clutch.
Now a steam turbine would be most suitable for a generator setup, like the turbo-electric powerplants used in some 1930s ocean liners.
Either way, you'll still need room for the boiler, and a condenser or you'll be adding more water than fuel. And, so far as I know, no steam powerplant comes close to the efficiency of a diesel engine.

Happy Motoring, Mark

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