back to article Tesla Motors: Elon Musk's divorce won't sink us

Fresh troubles have beset famous battery-car maker Tesla Motors, as the acrimonious divorce of its CEO and principal backer Elon Musk may imperil its finances and imminent IPO. Furthermore, there are signs that the lustre of the company's flagship Roadster sportscar may be dimming. Tesla_roadster_sport The latest Roadster …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    So... this Model S...

    Half the price of the roadster - yet the development costs will be exponentially higher, since the Roadster's just an electric Elise, yet the Model S is a ground-up design.

    How's that going to work, eh?

    Does anybody really think that - IF the S's concept is realistic - Audi/BMW/Merc/etc won't just go "Oh, OK, then" and knock a plug-in-electric version of their already existing biggish 4-dr/4-st cars out? What then, Tesla?

    Good money after bad.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair to them...

    ...any sports car that's been driven properly* will be pretty f**ked by 100k miles anyway. Hell I know people that have killed engines by 20k

    *that means driven like a sports car, not like a fashion accessory.

  3. DiscoStu

    How are you going to do 100,000 miles in an electric car?

    Average mileage for a petrol/diesel car is, what, 10K a year? The fact that an electric car can only be used for relatively short journeys should mean it'll take a lot longer than 10 years to hit 100,000 miles, and at that age cars start getting scrapped anyway.

    Second point, can anyone tell me which "ordinary" Astras can make 125mph seem noticeably slow?

    1. DPWDC


      I had an Astra - not a cat is hells chance it would have reached 125 - unless of course it was dropped from a great height, and it was an SXi!

      The VRX (not so ordinary) Astras top speed is 152, which isn't a great deal in the scheme of things - especially as the Tesla is built around a Lotus, you'll be able to fling it round a corner and leave the VXR Astra standing - the ONLY situation where the "Ordinary" astra could make the Tesla seem slow(er) is on a long straight road (but where is the fun in that!).

      1. John 62


        The one with the sporty trim like the SRi, but a smaller engine :)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I suppose if you're rich you throw out cars sooner

      for the rest of us, the ones paying the half billion tax for this boondoggle, we keep our cars longer.

      My 87 Dodge Turbo is at 110K and rolling. My 92 Olds minivan at over 120K. Both are "shitty American" cars that weren't supposedly able to even last half that long. Both together cost a hell of a lot less, even when new, to the e-penor that is the Tesla. hell, my motorcycle is on track to beat the apologistas' estimate of the Tesla's failure in less time.

      So when shown yet another toxic reason why Tesla is not the savior that marketers want you to think, everyone starts the "oil company shill" route. And that's still gnoring the whole winter issue of decreased capacity and the sheer impracticality of an e-lotus as an actual mode of transportation for those who don't own garage-queen trophies like this and many Harleys.

      Who says "green" isn't just a newer, more irrational religion? the proof is here.

      Cuz even I know buying a new car every two or three years to stroke the green wang not only costs more but uses a hell of a lot more refined materials and energy in manufacturing than even the worst gross polluter can generate in a decade-and since we in CA gotta keep 'em passing CARB standards, we're doing a lot more "saving Gaia" and doing a whole lot less pretending.

    3. adrianrf

      yeah; yer man Lewis is trying much too hard to pee on electric cars

      mechanically, the drivetrain of an electric vehicle is probably going to be in significantly better nick than yer bog-standard oil-guzzler at 100K miles; fewer bits whizzing around and vibrating and banging together; fewer bearings to wear out; less heat generated by bearing friction, etc. etc.

      so you may well prefer to just refresh the batteries and press on.

      I'm guessing we'll find that 250K mi becomes the new 100K mi ceiling: the point when you get that inner voice saying, "I think I'd better sell it before something expensive breaks".

      not to mention, none of us knows what new battery tech will be available in another decade.

      or, how much cheaper that tech may be, given that manufacturing volumes are clearly going to rocket up as essentially everyone switches to EVs, which should drop the marginal costs of batteries.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    75 miles is still

    75 miles is still more than enough for the vast majority of car-based round trips, but there'll be readers that don't care about that, the same readers that are desperately looking for a reason to pretend that Deep Horizon is irrelevant because it's an isolated incident, the same readers that are trying to kid themselves that the US presence in Afghanistan is nothing to do with protecting the US's supplies of fossil fuels.

    Flame, signifying the coming cremation of the infernal combustion engine.

    1. Bumpy Cat

      Concur mostly

      I mostly agree with what you said, but Afghanistan is not about fossil fuels. It has none of it's own oil, minimal natural gas, and sucks as a transit route to central Asia (the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline is already in use, and a much better route).

      1. jabuzz

        There is oil in Afghanistan

        Wrong there are believed to be significant oil and gas deposits in Afghanistan. The current political climate makes extracting these reserves impossible, but that does not mean they are not there.

      2. adrianrf
        Big Brother

        nothing useful in Afghanistan? you reckon?


        I'm sure the $100M Special Forces base that I just read today that our wonderful Murk'n gubmint is planning to build there must have *absolutely* nothing to do with oil anywhere close.


    2. Alex King
      Thumb Down

      Concur, except about the car

      The fact that the "vast majority" of round trips by car are less than 75 miles is totally irrelevant if you're looking for an alternative vehicle to replace your existing petrol/diesel, as even if 90% of your trips are less than 75 miles you'll still need to have that old car for the 10% of times you need to go to somewhere that's more than 37.5 miles away.

      For comparison, my MX-5, though it has a marginally lower top speed (that' I've never used), is fast closing in on its 150,000th mile and, despite having been absolutely thrashed its entire life, has (apart from servicing) needed no more than some coil packs, an exhaust, a radiator hose and a lick of paint., coming to maybe £1500 in parts, on top of an initial new cost of about £13,000.

      The author's point is valid - until we can make electric cars that are competitive in terms of price, performance and convenience with existing vehicles they will never become mass market.

      Don't get me wrong - I really hope that the Model S happens as, based on the design specs, it gets a damn site closer than anything else I'm aware of to doing the above. However, we need to get away from this daft idea of charging the batteries in situ - we need a battery swapping infastructure if we're going to make this idea work anytime soon.

    3. James O'Shea Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Actually... no.

      Perhaps in England 75 miles is more than enough for the 'vast majority' of car-based round trips, but not around here it isn't. I, for example, must, as part of my job, go from West Palm Beach to Pompano Beach on a weekly basis. That's well past 40 miles, one way. I also make semi-regular trips down to Miami (75 miles, one way) and north to Melbourne (180 miles, one way). And rare is the day that I don't put 60 miles on the clock for business purposes alone inside of Palm Beach County. There have been days when I don't go out of Palm Beach County and still rack up 150 miles in a day. Any vehicle which can't go at least 400 miles on one tankful/charge/whatever would cause considerable problems for me. (My company car can and does make 420+ miles on a full tank; it's a Toyota which is advertised as getting 36 MPG highway and actually does get about 33-34, which isn't bad. There's no way I'd use Detroit iron for this kind of thing, they don't get anywhere near the milage that Toyota or Honda do.)

      Talk to me about electric cars when they can match that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      letters and/or digits

      If I try to go from my Silicon Valley home to a bar in San Francisco and back again in 75 miles, I will only get as far as the Palo Alto/Mountain View border. This is not a place where I want to meet and greet cops in the middle of the night.

      1. Adam Nealis

        And your local is how far away?

        So to have one drink you drive more than a 75 miles round trip?

    5. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Not to mention not much power use when stationary, which is a lot of the time for many people.

      Of course the problem is lights, radio and air con all add to the power drain.

      Electric motors are amazingly powerful, they can snap a driveshaft if the power isn't phased in gradually.

  5. John 73

    It's an SEC filing, remember

    Don't forget, companies have to be as pessimistic as possible in SEC filings. They are legally obliged to say anything bad that might happen to damage their business, so that potential investors are aware of them. So lots of the concerns in the article are not the problem they might initially appear. Others, of course, are!

    Also, the loss of capacity in the battery is hardly surprising. Indeed, losing only 40% of capacity in around 6 years (assuming fairly average mileage in the roadster) isn't that shabby. Compare that with laptop batteries!

  6. Andy 18

    Ah, I see - Lewis Page

    I was reading this article thinking "wow - this guy really has some issues with electric cars - did his mother do something unfortunate with the milkman?" - then I realised it was by Lewis "my middle name is Texaco" Page and it all made sense.

    Just for information, I drive a Vauxhall Astra with just over 100,000 miles on the clock. Most of the components are on their last legs. The suspension is going. I've already replaced most of the engine and air-con. It spends most of the time with its engine management warning light on, burns nearly as much oil as it does petrol and the likelihood of a winsome young lady asking for a ride in it is practically zero. I would much rather be the owner of a Tesla which might need its battery pack replacing.

    Given that I get feed in tariff on all the electricity I use to charge it up (yes, I get paid for filling the tank/battery) and my company can buy me one tax free, I'm just waiting for my solar roof to be installed and the price to come down a bit before I get mine.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Andy 18 - Vauxhall Mileage

      Just for reference I off-loaded one Vauxhall Cavalier at 180,00 miles with no major components replaced (although wear and tear was becoming noticeable) and a Vauxhall Omega at 175,000 due to leaks in the head gasket. I've never had a car wear out before 100,000.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yes but.... often did those lumps go round a track for a hour, usally to the point either the brakes get close to catching fire, the tyres shredding, at pretty much on the line all the time.

        Nah thought not...

    2. Robert Sneddon

      It's always been about the batteries

      Tesla and most other electric car designers use Li-chemistry batteries because of their energy density in terms of weight and volume. Sadly such batteries age poorly -- a six-year-old battery pack would be down to 40% of original capacity even if the car had only done 10,000 miles in those six years rather than the 100,000 miles quoted in the SEC filing.

      The Tesla Roadster is a good-weather weekend toy, not a serious commuter vehicle. It has been sold to collectors and wealthy car enthusiasts in the main and as Tesla admit in their filing they have pretty much saturated that market. The S-series is/was an attempt to move down into (admittedly high-end) mass-market production and sales but it still has the ageing battery-pack problem to overcome. Given that the battery is a very expensive component to replace or recondition then that adds to the TCOO over the car's expected lifespan.

      There are other battery technologies out there which are promising for electric vehicles but none are ready for prime-time and most of them are heavier and bulkier per stored megajoule than Li-chemistry cells.

      1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

        Other battery chemistries?

        What, like NiMH?

        Cheaper, longer-lasting, slightly worse power/weight ratio, safer.

        Oh, but you can't use those - you're not *allowed* to.......

  7. kempsy

    Performance bootnote

    Noting that it is based on a Lotus Elise chassis I've just had a quick look at the spec for the 2011 Lotus Elise. This new model has a top speed of 124mph, a 0-60 of 6.4 seconds all from a 1.6l 6 speed petrol engine at a cost of £26,550. Is it really worth the extra £40,000 or so grand for the Tesla's 'green' credentials? - Lotus article if anyone is interested

    1. StampedChipmunk

      I like electrics

      I've had the pleasure of having a good poke around a Tesla at the past two Goodwood Festivals of Speed and here's my tupp'ny worth.

      The car's a Lotus Elise, very light, very strong and plenty of room for a battery pack. It's also comparable in weight to a small hatchback, about 400kg more than an Elise, but still pretty light.

      It has one moving part so it will be significantly more robust than any IC car (I own a 112k mile Audi TDI who's engine is still as good as new. I also own an Elise S1 as a weekend/fun car and it doesn't do many miles - it's 14 years old and done 62k miles). Add in a bonded aluminium chassis and plastic body and I expect Teslas to last at least 20 years or so.

      It's way faster than an Elise 0-60 as an Electric motor gives 100% available torque immediately, there's no gearbox so the thing drives like a moped (I know, I asked Kev McCloud who was driving it at the time). Going up the hill in the Supercar display it was right up there with Porsche 911s, Veyrons and Weissmans.

      Top speed Vs Battery discharge is always going to be a problem for an all Electric sports car. My Elise S1 has only about 100hp and a top speed of 120, but the fun is had at 60 on a twisty road - I can imagine that the Tesla is a hoot in similar conditions.

      Batteries do eventually die over time and discharge cycles - we all know this. I suspect that some form of Battery Replacement scheme will be offered by Tesla - it will be a profit maker for the company. It's about the only replacement part - Audi have thousands to make profits on it makes sense

      Personally I'm excited about Electric cars, but the battery technology is not there yet. However Fuel Cell cars, such as the FCX Clarity, are exciting. Available now we should be using some form of small IC engine that just provides electricity to the motor, not driving the wheels. This would mean the thing can use the existing infrastructure, but just sip petrol. Hell, use a small Gas turbine running LPG. The Chevy Volt is a good example of this approach which is much more effective (and efficent) than the Honda Prius approach, which is lazy IMO.

      The Tesla is blazing new ground, and we should celebrate that. Hopefully the demand for larger batterieswill drive further development of the tech, or accelerate the productisation of the fuel cell technology.

      Now if someone can explain what the hell Audi's regenerative braking on a diesel A4 is about, I'd be much obliged...

  8. HeyMickey

    Never mind Tesla what about Elon Musk's other startup?

    Why no story on the register about Falcon 9 today? SpaceX are planning to launch this afternoon between 1500-1900UTC, and there's a live webcast: <- For news <- Webcast

  9. CrysXP


    It's hard to read this article and not get the impression that the author has some kind of hidden hatred for electrics. I know electrics aren't totally practical for everyone at the moment, but realistically its probably the most promising 'green' tech there is.

    Battery technology will only continue to improve, being driven by mobile devices as well as BEV's. I happen to really admire Tesla. They took what tech was available at the time and used it to create what MANY auto journalists consider an excellent, even inspiring car. As a matter of fact, out of all the articles and video clips I've read and watched so far, only Mr. Clarkson's review has been negative, which made me realize that he is more of an entertaining clown than a dispenser of factual information.

    And the fact that Top Gear actually FAKED the whole 'car running out of juice' thing just makes there opinions even more useless. Thanks Top Gear, now i know what happens when a vehicle is no longer able to propel itself.

    1. M Gale


      "As a matter of fact, out of all the articles and video clips I've read and watched so far, only Mr. Clarkson's review has been negative, which made me realize that he is more of an entertaining clown than a dispenser of factual information."

      The guys commission the largest and most powerful noncommercial rocket in Europe in order to send a Reliant Robin skyward, and you only realise they are clowns now?

      Top Gear is entertainment. Factual correctness probably trails far behind making supercars go sideways, demolishing caravans and strapping Toyotas to causeways. Plus Clarkson is rather well known for being a prat...

  10. Eddy Ito


    "... the planned four-seater, $50k Model S, intended for mass-market customers."

    And which mass market would that be? For $50k, you can buy two mass-market cars or one mass-market car and enough petrol to run it a decade.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The luxury mass market

      @Eddy Ito

      If you look around there are plenty of vehicles that cost up to $50k and they sell plenty. No need to exaggerate, just because it isn't "mass market" enough for you.

      I wish there were more options under $30k that did not look like toys, or low end models except for the batteries. The more these cars show up though, the more likely it is that development will accelerate and we will get what we want.

  11. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Re comment 1

    "Audi/BMW/Merc/etc" don't know how to make electric cars. Tesla does. Instead of competing with a Tesla design, it would be cheaper to buy the whole company.

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    Caveat Emptor

    "if we are to ever achieve profitability it will be dependent upon the successful development and successful commercial introduction and acceptance of automobiles such as the Model S, which may not occur"..... I think that is known as a Safe Harbor Statement and Stay out of Jail Free card, so beloved of speculators tempting investors.

    Here is a longer version ....


    Except For Historical Information Contained Herein, The Matters Set Forth In This Presentation Are Forward-Looking Statements. Statements That Are Predictive In Nature, That Depend Upon Or Refer To Events Or Conditions Or That Include Words Such As Expects, Anticipates, Intends, Plans, Believes, Estimates And Similar Expressions Are Forward-Looking Statements. The Forward-Looking Statements Set Forth Above Involve A Number Of Risks And Uncertainties That Could Cause Actual Results To Differ Materially From Any Such Statement, Including The Risks And Uncertainties Discussed In The Company’s Safe Harbor Compliance Statement For Forward-Looking Statements Included At the End Of This Presentation and In The Company’s Recent Filings, Including Forms 10-K And 10-Q, With The Securities And Exchange Commission. The Forward-Looking Statements Speak Only As Of The Date Made, And The Company Undertakes No Obligation To Update These Forward-Looking Statements.

    1. Ian Stephenson
      Thumb Up


      Its a "not our fault when it all goes titsup" disclaimer

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Surely you're not jealous?

      Just because it uses similar silly Capitalisation As You Do Although Not Quite The Same.

      And Yet Every Ltd Company In the USA Has To Follow These "Safe Harbor Warning" Rules, Even If They've Never Heard of GrahAManFromArse?

    3. M Gale

      Caveat Lector

      Just needs a few more references to SMART things and AIming devices or something like that.

      Buyer Beware, indeed.

  13. M Gale

    Need infrastructure.

    Until you can walk into a "petrol" station, have your old flat battery swapped out and a new full one inserted like a Soda Stream bottle. Until you can get hydrogen as an option for your fuel cell at nearly every pump in the country, electric cars are going nowhere fast.

    Once you've got infrastructure, I'm sure people will rush to buy something that's more powerful, more responsive and quieter than what they've got.

    1. adrianrf

      codswallop; lots of people have the "infrastructure" already

      a significant majority of people in the US do a daily commute that's substantially shorter than the range of most of the recent EVs that are appearing on the market.

      you drive your 'leccy barrow to work. you park it.

      you put in your BOfH stint for the day. when the Boss's last twitches have subsided, you pop your cattleprod back into its handy holster, and pop back to the car park.

      you commute home; when you arrive, you note there's easily enough charge left run a quick trip to WalMart for another case of Doritos, and and a swift pint or two down your local.

      however, you decide to earn some much-needed Brownie points with SWMBO, so you park the heap inside your nice attached garage, and plug its cord into the wall socket.

      finally, you go inside to irritate your spouse, hassle the kids, and doze off in front of the telly.

      rinse and repeat.

      the price of off-peak electricity is negligible by comparison with current gasoline prices. and with US offshore drilling frozen for a good long while to come, it's pretty easy to guess which way the trend will be heading from here on.

      now, what with:

      * the ever-declining cost of solar panels;

      * the pretty hefty federal and State tax credits that offset the money-down lump you'll have to wave a fond goodbye to;

      * the better-than-net-billing tariff which you can now count on in many States;

      -- and your actual cost per mile driven is going leave you feeling pretty chipper.

      1. M Gale


        "a significant majority of people in the US do a daily commute that's substantially shorter than the range of most of the recent EVs that are appearing on the market."

        Really? Have you stopped to think about charge time?

        I would like to see you charge a Li* battery at anything more than C without the battery exploding after a few cycles. I play with high-discharge Lithium Polymer batteries as a hobby and trust me, even a less-than-fist-size battery is something you treat with respect and Do Not Fuck With. Even treating them with kid gloves, you're looking at 50 to 100 cycles before capacity has been severely reduced. That basically means, for a car-sized battery that's supposed to last 1000 cycles or more, you're looking at several hours of charging time. Minimum. There just isn't the guaranteed instant capacity that a petrol or diesel (or LPG) car has. Sure, you can hope there's enough power left after your daily commute (and really, to be called a commute it has to somewhat approach long distance), but what if there isn't? Do you really want to be stuck somewhere with a car that's going to take (at best) all night to charge, assuming someone can get an extension cord long enough or a generator powerful enough?

        Now if fuelling stations were able to offer a swap-and-recycle scheme (like Soda Stream manage with their CO2 bottles), then you've got a viable pure-electric infrastructure. As for hydrogen fuel cells... can you imagine anybody with a family wanting to run their own hydrogen extraction plant in the back garden? All that lovely, compressed, incredibly explosive gas just waiting to blow a big hole out of the neighbourhood?

        Yeah, I didn't think so either.

        So you need infrastructure. Infrastructure which we don't have.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Afghanistan Coward here again

    For those who still don't see the connection between Afghanistan and fuel, please go read the draft of the US Silk Road Strategy II Bill. It's there in black and white, Afghanistan (at that time) was a vital part of the route from the USA to relatively reliable (ie non-Arab?) bulk oil and gas. And the belief that Afghanistan has oil and gas of its own is now widespread.

    Meanwhile, the 75 mile thing. Yes, a one car household might be a bit restricted if their sole car couldn't do 75 miles. How likely is it that this car (or any near-term EV) is going to be a household's sole car. So, where's the range problem?

    It's all largely irrelevant anyway, this Tesla thing is so niche it's beyond belief.

    Meanwhile, where's the reporting on what happened to LDV's Electric Maxus? A tried tested and proven commercial vehicle, in lithium-ion powered electric form still ideal for lots of fleet and single-van uses, nearly ready to hit the streets, except there was no cash flow available.

    Lord "Two Resignations" Mandelson of Ill Repute was in charge of the relevant department at the time and refused the short term funding. Must be one of the few times he's said no to an Eastern oligarch.

    1 tonne payload

    100 miles range

    Lithium Ion battery

    4 hour recharge

    60kWs motor

  16. JC 2

    A little market research next time?

    To me it seems quite obvious a car like these would never sell in sufficient quantity @ price to break even. It even seems doubtful they could sustain enough sales to pay half the interest alone on their loans.

    ... just another case of just because you can build it, that doesn't make it worth building.

  17. Christian Gerzner

    Ekectric cars

    Batteries, of whatever ilk, are highly toxic. They also require a great deal of energy levels to manufacture so:

    1) Disposing of them [a car (ATM) has plenty] is a problem indeed

    2) The energy required to create electric cars is mostly disproportionate to what they are capable of, as is the price.

    Some of the European manufacturers, Audi, BMW, Mercedes amongst them, are doing great things with current technology, principally diesel. Porsche (part of VW nowadays) has just shown a "supercar", and what a one, at Geneva which has better fuel characteristics than that "benchmark", the Toyota Prius which to my mind is nothing short of a marketing exercise.

  18. James Woods

    if all else

    it brings it back out into the public that taxpayers that can barely afford to put food on the table are backing companies like this with their money.

    we can never begin to see a 'free market' while we have tax dollars seized without a vote of the people to go to these corporations. we also can't have social programs but that's a seperate issue.

    perhaps Tesla needs more tax money.

  19. David McMahon


    How much does a new battery pack cost? According to Top Gear's Clarkson there around 6,000 Laptop style (Li-ion) batts in a Tesla, so I think they should just have a forklift style battery pack, you change it at a garage (with a forklift), A bit like the buying gas for industry in the UK.

    1. M Gale


      ..only perhaps not a lead/acid fork lift battery. Those things clock in at an appreciable amount of the total weight of the fork lift. Still, having a module that can be swapped out would be perfect.

      Yes, some people will never travel more than a few miles a day. If I had more cash available I'd be looking at an electric bicycle myself. However, as soon as you start going more than a few miles (like, more than 10 or 20) you're in the range of needing your battery to be in top condition with a full charge or you're potentially not going to make it home. Fine if you can go to the nearest Esso or Texaco with a jerry can and a fistful of notes. Not so fine otherwise.

  20. Robert Grant Silver badge

    To answer all your concerns:

    1) Electric is developing tech. It'll get better, and compared to how long it took to refine the petrol engine, it's doing very well so far.

    2) For real world use, you can combine electric engine with a petrol generator for longer journeys, a la the Chevy Volt. Gives you range when you need it and efficiency when you don't.

    3) If you lead a wacky lifestyle that means you travel hundreds of miles a day, that just means the car's not for you. It doesn't mean it's not for anyone. Even thinking that that is a useful argument is astonishing.

    4) If you drive 30 miles a day all year except for one or two holidays, consider hiring a fossil fuel car when you need it. You don't need the capacity to drive hundreds of miles all the time. Or have one fossil fuel car and one electric. The general public has had access to cars for barely any time historically, and already we can't imagine any way of life other than what we've copied from others?

  21. Magnus_Pym

    Alternative, not replacement

    The average length of a commute is only relevant if you want everybody to have one. A lot of people seem to be arguing that because an electric vehicle can't do everything that any ic vehicle can it is therefore useless. The relatively long refuel time and short run time is only relevant if you need 99% up time and have no alternative transport. A Tesla fire truck might not be a good idea for instance. However, a large number of people have a relativity small commute and have an alternative vehicle should one be required. They could have small electric vehicle which they use to drive to work, probably in town, and occasionally nip to the shops etc. Any other trips can be made using their other car or truck or whatever. That may be a worthwhile lifestyle choice for those people that fit the demographic and it would indisputably bring some advantages.

    Stating that the whole market for electric vehicles is worthless because as an individual you personally do not fit into this group and can therefore demonstrate that it would not suit you is clearly ridiculous. You might as well say there is no market for heavy goods vehicles because you never have to carry 40 tonnes and a Scania is far more expensive to run that your Mini.

  22. David Hicklin Bronze badge

    Why electrics will eventually fail

    The problem with electric cars is what happens when the battery runs flat. Today when your fuel tank gets low you go to a petrol station, stuff in the nozzle and in a very short time you are refulled and ready to rock.

    The Public want's whatever replaces fossil fuels to do the same.

    The only answer (currently) is hydrogen, drive up to a fill point, connect the pipe and fill up. Hydrogen can be stored, so you would use your renewable power sources (turbines, solar, tidal etc) to create the hydrogen.

    Sorted. No heavy expensive batteries to worry about

  23. Adam Nealis

    Battery Life.

    I understood that the the first battery replacement was included in the price.

    But I have to say they could have chosen a better type of battery. Lithium polymer is OK, but suffers from charge memory.

    Much better would be LiFePO4, such as supplied by A123 Systems, which allow fast recharge times, and 1000s of cycles with only a few percent capacity loss due to charge memory effects.

  24. Adam Nealis

    Speed Limit

    Someone will work out how to jailbreak the Tesla Roadster.

  25. multipharious


    125 mph. (ca. 200kmph)

    Pathetic. I will stick to my infernal combustion motor until they work this type of thing out, and yes I do drive much faster than this on a regular basis (Autobahn.) Looks like we are in the trough of disillusionment folks.

    1. CrysXP


      The Tesla roadster has ONE gear. ONE. Add more gears and the top speed could be increased.

      I'd like to see you do 200mph in an ICE car with one gear. Not gonna happen.

      1. multipharious

        Trough of Disillusionment

        Super. Great excuse: it only has one gear so that is why it is slow. Shall I buy one now?

        I get the technology. When electric, hybrid, diesel, squirrel driven, or hydrogen cars get to the point that they deliver what my car does now then I will look at them. I don't really care about what is under the hood, but I have certain expectations for mature implementations. The electric torque band is mighty interesting to me, and you can be sure that I will adopt when the price performance spot in my mind is hit, but it ain't there yet. Do a Wiki search on the Hype Cycle. Applies to most new things.

        The Tesla is not designed for the German market or my requirements as a customer. I have something that is two tenths of a second off the stated 0-60 (0-100kmph here) time already, but I certainly do not use that power in the city anyway.

  26. HFoster


    What gets me is that Musk's wife wants 10% of his Tesla earnings out of the divorce. That pricks my social awareness and raises my ire - in a world where same-sex marriage is barely recognised, if at all, and derided as cheapening the sanctity of marriage, it is still somehow A-OK for these multi-million-dollar divorces to go ahead.

  27. BriefAl
    Jobs Halo

    Perfection or pursuit thereof?

    It is clear the author of the article is just plain against the development of electric cars, so dismiss his comments. And about 25% of the comments above seem to come from like-minded people who just love their gas guzzlers. Another 10% think it doesn't meet their driving style (I have seen the a-hole who drives more than 125 mph on the autobahn all too often in my rear-view mirror approaching with flashing headlights that says get out of my way I'm coming though you little piece of sh*t and one day I'm going to hit my brakes just as he comes up behind me - just to ruin his whole f-ing life!) so the car is useless. These narcissists care not about our planet, only for themselves.

    Tesla has said from the beginning that they recognize that all new technology starts out too expensive and with inherent problems that must be solved. But that this only happens when someone or some company is willing to try to commercialize the technology and that over time the price comes down as the problems are solved. So yes, some funding is coming from us, the taxpayers, in recognition of the fact that in the long run we must switch away from fossil fuels (someone has vision, unlike our narcissists above) and that Tesla is moving the technology forward. I'd love to have one, but just because I can't afford one right now or it doesn't suit my current transportation requirements doesn't mean I don't applaud.

    Some of you folks really should raise your eyes above your navel and look around.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "such speeds are always illegal "

    I think you need to insert some qualification there. They are almost always illegal on public roads - there are a few places still around the world which have no speed limits. Such speeds are neither illegal or irrelevant on a race track and guess what, a significant number of sports car drivers enjoy the occasional track day.

    But relevance is subjective. Most (and by that I mean 99%) of performance car buyers would not buy a car which could not keep up with an Astra estate, even if the situation would probably never arise the sort of driver who buys a flash car doesn't want to know that their neighbour's diesel estate can go faster.

    And the Tesla fails miserably on the track on three counts, firstly on its woeful top speed. Secondly on it's ridiculous range. And thirdly on its tyres. Firstly what use is supercar acceleration if you get reeled in by the following pack before the end of the straight. Secondly having driven to my favourite track I could probably only manage about ten laps of the circuit. Even on a full charge it wouldn't manage much over twenty.

    Thirdly supercar acceleration may be great, but you'd have to rely on it if your car was fitted with tyres that required you to tip toe round the bends. It needs those tyres to achieve the feeble range it struggles to. Fit the wider, stickier tyres you need to make it usable (and indeed fun) on a track and it's range gets even shorter. A track day is just that - a day at the track. In a Tesla unless you have a support truck loaded with batteries you wouldn't get much over a track hour. Even if a sports car owner doesn't actually do any track days they probably like the idea that they could do one if they wanted. What's the point of buying a sports car that, to all intents and purposes, can't?

    Its many limitations: range, speed and cornering grip relegate it to the status of an image car. What used to be known as a hairdressers car. But the thing about a good hairdressers car is that it's cheap. Sure it looks like a real sports car, but it can't do everything that a much, much cheaper sports car can and so it isn't a real sports car. Perhaps in a country with an unhealthy obsession with standing start 1/4 mile times it makes sense. On a continent with the Stelvio pass and the Nurburgring it doesn't.

    As for developing a four seater, don't make me laugh. They didn't develop a two seater. They took an existing two seater and developed a conversion kit. Sure they could take an existing four seater platform and convert that, but then so could anybody else. The Roadster was developed in a very different economic climate to the one we live in today, as such I think the company need to be thinking very differently. Perhaps about building something that costs a lot less than $100K.

    I've often wondered if the business plan was to get bought out. The trouble is they haven't actually got anything unique and patented that anybody would need to build a successful EV. So why would anybody need to buy them? The car industry is not doing well, who would buy such an enormous debt unless it came with a massive order book (it doesn't) or some patented technology that the buyer needed to go forward in a particular market (it doesn't).

  29. Magnus_Pym

    Run out of battery? Not a problem

    There is a lot of negativity here about how much less suitable electric power is than the internal combustion engine. hey seem to forget that the current systems and infrastructure have been growing organically and naturally over the the last century or so.

    Most of the problems of running an electric car are soluble. If you run out of power, for instance, the roadside assistance could bring out a battery pack trailer that you tow home and they take away again. You wouldn't need to wait 8 hours while it charges up. All these problems are soluble given enough of a market.

    It's all very well criticising the Tesla but it has certainly moved the argument forward. Can you imagine ten years ago anyone would be saying that a commercially available electric car would not be quite as good as a super car for some track day fun?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    "one gear" (CrysXP)

    CrysXP, have you heard of something called a "train"? Like a car, but can carry more in load terms, and the better ones can outrun any sensible car.

    Do readers know how many gears the fastest electric trains have?

    Is it less than two ?

    What does that tell us about CrysXP's idea?

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