back to article Tesla Model S named '2013 Automobile of the Year'

Elon Musk's much-anticipated, long-delayed, taxpayer-supported, company-critical Tesla Model S sport sedan has been named as the 2013 Automobile of the Year by the Motor City–centric Automobile magazine. "It's the performance that won us over," said the magazine's editor-in-chief Jean Jennings when announcing the award. "The …


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  1. Big-nosed Pengie

    "Silly quick"?

    Your English is silly fscked.

    1. CADmonkey

      the beauty of the English Language...

      is that meanings meaning the meaning they mean mean whetever they need to mean when transmitted & received.

    2. hopelessness

      Re: "Silly quick"?

      Pretty common colloquialism among car enthusiasts.

      1. Hieronymus Howerd

        Re: "Silly quick"?

        >> "Pretty common colloquialism among car enthusiasts."

        All the less reason to reproduce it here.

  2. Esskay

    NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

    Sadly the award is irrelevant to anyone even considering buying a car. This sentence in particular irks me:

    "Editors also raved about the suspension's ability to soak up bumps that tortured other test cars. It was just as impressive on the racetrack -- yes, we took it on the track. "All that speed, along with powerful braking, superflat handling, and sharp steering, gives you the sense that you're invincible"

    This isn't a review, it's an ad.

    And why the fuck is the 2013 carof the year being awarded in november 2012?! I can wait until February when presumably we find out what the worst national disasters of 2014 are going to be so we can prepare for them nice and early.

    1. Steve Todd Silver badge

      Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

      The American motor market releases its new models towards the end of one year and labels them with the next year number. 2013 models are out now in the US. This is an award for cars with that label.

      There are plenty of other US manufactured cars to choose from, is it all improbable that they actually liked this one?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

        Audi S8 1/4m 11.8 0-60 3.5

        BMW M5 F10 1/4m 12.0 0-60 3.7

        Panamera GTS (non-turbo) 1/4m 12.5 0-60 4.1

        Tesla Model S 1/4 12.6 0-60 4.3

        Do I get my motor-geek badge now? :P

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

          Do I get my motor-geek badge now? :P

          No, because the article quoted 0-100mph, not 0-60mph :-p

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

            I know that :) it wasn''t through laziness or bias on my part, trust me, I still think at this rate of development they can probably make the Tela as fast as they like. It is a huge achievement. Not quite an M5-beater but so very close.

            But 1/4 mile times normally end up at over 100mph, which it is slightly slower at, plus they didn't actually say how fast it gets to 100mph, and no-one normally tests 0-100mph so there aren''t figures to check against even if they would tell us.

            I suspect if you didn''t use traction or launch control on the BMW then it would indeed be slower than the Tesla, difficult to get it to not spin its rear tyres, but the Audi is another kettle of fish, permanent 4WD... the Tesla is hilarious (in a good way) because it seems equally fast without traction control as it is with it switched on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

        I''m not totally certain, but I think you might be able to buy 2013 models?

        Anyone care to confirm or deny this for fun? ;)

        for example .... (and they even quote a price and have done for months..) :-

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

      "And why the fuck is the 2013 carof the year being awarded in november 2012?!"

      If the followed the dating used my magazine publishers, this would the 2014 or even 2015 "car of the year". Monthly magazines are usually published at least a full month before the cover date on the front page.

      1. HipposRule

        Re: NEWSFLASH - American mag likes american "company-critical" car

        @John Brown - I was under the impression the date on monthlies was the 'remove from shelf' month

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I'll just wait....

    For Top Gear to give this car a decent test run and share all the juicy details with us. Something tells me that's not going to be pretty. Highly entertaining; not pretty ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll just wait....

      Top Gear tests cars?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll just wait....

        I would say more "thrash them mercilessly", but this time I suspect they might be impressed.

        I still think they might be able to ultra-thrash its range down to sub-80 miles purely by flogging it around a track at max throttle, but that's still way more than previous electric cars. Should do over 200 miles in normal highway cruising conditions.

        But it's possible for *really* big engined gasoline cars to go down to maybe 8 or even 5 mpg on tracks?

        Even a really big tank of fuel wouldn't last much more than 100 miles or 55 laps or so.

        I think it will get a really good track time and probably do it in a lot plusher manner, it's not meant to be a raw harsh sportscar.

        I still want a YearOne TransAm though. Maybe the 8.8L Pontiac V8 650hp version ;)

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I'll just wait....

          "Even a really big tank of fuel wouldn't last much more than 100 miles or 55 laps or so."

          However it doesn't take several hours to refuel.

          That was the thrust of the Top Gear schtick. Clarkson has a point there.

          Shall we go on about how they test hybrids in conditions which explicitly don't favour the things and ignore real world city stop-start cycles, where they utterly shine and most IC cars (even those "frugal" diesels) end up with sub 20mpg results?

          For the most part Top Gear has little to do with the real world and Fifth Gear has fallen into the same trap.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll just wait....

      The only way Top Gear will get one is if a buyer loans them one. Tesla will not be providing them one after their "test" of the Tesla Roadster.

  4. PhilipN Silver badge

    4,463 pounds???

    Jesus H. ....

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: And

      Needs a bucket load of power to move. Plus another to get the power to the socket where you plug it in.

      Not forgetting those required to dig the fossil fuel out of the ground, transport it to the power station.. Oh and the bucket loads needed to build the car...and the factory where it is built, and the power station and so on and so on.

      Happy to engage with someone more knowledgeable than I to decide whether this in any way qualifies as an environmentally-friendly vehicle.

      Back-of-fag packet reckoning says a Detroit gas-guzzler is more environmentally-friendly.

      1. Nuno

        Re: And

        why the rant? They never said it was "environmentally-friendly", just that it was electrically powered...

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Estimating environmental impact never that easy

        Electric cars have regenerative braking. At a wild guess, about 50% of the energy required to make the car accelerate gets back into the battery when it stops. That will approximately equal out a petrol car which is about half the mass but has 0% efficient regenerative braking.

        The national grid is about 80% efficient. I do not have a figure for the amount of fuel required to distribute fuel.

        Greenness of electricity depends on how it is generated. France is 80% nuclear. The UK still does not have a practical plan for low carbon electricity.

        The materials and construction cost should be offset the the costs and benefits of recycling.

        I think you are probably right about a Detroit gas-guzzler being more environmentally friendly in the UK. I think they would be about equal in France, but I do not have the required data to prove it one way or the other.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And

        gas turbine for power generation efficiency "at least 60%"

        car engine efficiency ~18-20%

        I'm not really all that knowledgeable, but just browsing wikipedia seems to suggest another conclusion.

        if everyone had electric cars, couldn't the "fuel" just go to the power plants instead of being distributed to what is probably on the order of a hundred thousand gas stations in a given state in the us. I may be missing something, but wouldn't it be more efficient to have bring the fuel to fewer places? I also imagine that one of the advantages to electric vehicles is the use of alternative energies such as solar, wind, etc. can be factored in rather than 100% petroleum as a fuel source. I think that various alternative energies have a long way to go to viability, but isn't it a step in the right direction?

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: And

          Transmission losses and conversion losses make the final efficiency of electrical cars approximately the same as internal combustion (slightly worse, if I recall), yet there's little room for improvement without significant and possibly unachievable advances in technology. Batteries certainly can be improved, but the transmission losses are only going to go away if we can invent room-temperature superconductors and replace the entire national transmission infrastructure with them, and then invent a way to convert from high to low voltage without any power losses. And of course all electric vehicles have the same insurmountable problem: range and weight. They waste a lot of energy carting dead batteries around.

          You want a truly efficient electric vehicle? Build a trolleybus. Put the electricity directly in from the supply when it's needed rather than converting it three times and losing most of it in the process. Of course that would mean every street in the country would need a dodgems-style electricity supply suspended over it and your car wouldn't be able to operate independent of that supply, but it's a small sacrifice to pay for increased efficiency, no?

          1. Steve Todd Silver badge

            Re: And

            Transmission and conversion? You're kidding right? You understand that the US EPA rating system takes all factors into consideration (something that was pressed for by the conventional motor manufacturers) in order to give an equivalent MPGe number. One US gallon of petrol is said to be equivalent to 33.7 kWh of electricity. On that basis the Model S averages 89MGPe based on standard EPA tests.

            1. Hud Dunlap

              The EPA says....

              They also said my 2003 Honda insight got 56 MPG highway and 56 MPG city. After 85,000 miles I have averaged 43.

              And what would this care cost if I weren't supporting its manufacture with my tax dollars?

              1. Steve Todd Silver badge

                Re: The EPA says....

                Your heavy right foot is beside the point. The EPA ratings are a way of comparing the efficiency of vehicles over an identical set of driving conditions with identical acceleration. If you want to hoon your car about then thats up to you, but if you were to do so in a more fuel efficient vehicle then you'd still get better milage out of it.

                1. Hud Dunlap

                  I don't have a heavy foot.

                  It is the air conditioner, which runs most of the time in Texas. The Air Conditioners don't run on the EPA test. Actually some people with hibrids say you get better milage with a heavy foot because you actually use the battery. Mine stays 100% charge 95% of the time. At 90000 miles I am getting ready to have my second set of batteries put in.

                  The of the original poster was that you could trust the EPA numbers. The reality is you can't.

                  1. Steve Todd Silver badge

                    Re: I don't have a heavy foot.

                    And you seem to have missed the point also. Whatever extra power draw you are using will remain constant whatever vehicle you are using. A car with better EPA milage numbers than yours will get you better numbers in Texas, even if it doesn't get the full rated numbers.

                    Perhaps the EPA needs to look at the efficiency of ancillary equipment like aircon also (better cabin insulation can improve on this), and in my experience you Americans have a habit of turning aircon up to ridiculous levels (to the point that you need to put extra cloths on to go indoors and condensation forms on the inside of car windows) which doesn't help, but the concept is still sound. Provide a standard number that can be used for comparison of the efficiency of cars.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And

            Lots of trolleybuses in Eastern Europe. Some of them are new and shiny. You wouldn''t believe how fast they can accelerate with a crazy driver, particularly the newer variants of bus, frighteningly quick. They do occasionally have their contacts come off the wires, but not so common. The drivers often have a special rope and a tough pair of gloves for this task... and some newer variants have been seen "not" using the wires for power sometimes, I guess there are some fairly obvious explanations for this... but it makes people laugh.

            Occasionally the whole trolleybus can "crash" and need "rebooted" somewhat like a PC.... seems the older ones never do this :P

          3. Van

            Re: And

            I take it you don't count electric motorcycles as vehicles?

            Direct drive motorcycles lose a lot less via the drive train, a chain is also more efficient than a drive shaft.

        2. Eddy Ito

          Re: And

          @AC 07:45

          Small nitpick, that isn't necessarily car engine efficiency as the entire section only mentions automobiles measuring "fuel economy" not engine efficiency and the two are vastly different as a city bus or a train might have a highly efficient engine and still have crappy fuel economy.

          "Most steel engines have a thermodynamic limit of 37%. Even when aided with turbochargers and stock efficiency aids, most engines retain an average efficiency of about 18%-20%."

          If you check this wiki-link it reads;

          "Passenger car diesel engines have energy efficiency of up to 41% but more typically 30%, and petrol engines of up to 37.3%, but more typically 20%"

          Keep in mind that the "more typically" bit includes many auto engines made over a decade ago and the newer ones are likely much closer to the top end of the scale and are often largely or partly made from aluminium and not just steel.

          @Hud Dunlap

          There are numerous behavioral and environmental factors associated with mileage. My 2000 Insight with 137,601 miles as of my last fill up has, according to my spreadsheet, averaged 60.74 mpg over that distance. I will say that here in So. Cal. it only got in the mid 40s so I sent it back to the east coast for my niece to use while she is at university. I don't know if it's the traffic or poor quality fuel but there is a marked difference in fuel economy between LA - Orange county area and the Down East - Boston area. YMMV

          1. Hud Dunlap
            Thumb Up

            Re: And

            @ Eddy Ito. You made my point for me. The EPA numbers aren't valid.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And

            Can I be slightly Aspie and suggest that there are not normally any steel engines, but there are lots with iron cylinder blocks and with aluminium alloy cylinder blocks? (often with slightly different cylinder bore liner materials or coatings) Now I''m thinking what "would" happen if you made them out of steel.. too brittle maybe? Or too hard to machine? Something to do with heat rejection or warping? The iron ones are supposed to warp less than the alu ones...

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: And

              The issue with "steel" or alloy engines is that the combustion chamber temp is limited to the melting pont of the metals involved.

              Basic thermodynamics - the hotter things burn, the more efficient it will be, especially when you're relying on expansion of hot gasses to drive things (more heat equals greater expansion).

              The greatest improvements in IC engine efficency that could be easily achieved revolve around ceramic componentry in the combustion chamber. (walls, piston, valves, etc). Noone has managed to get this into production reciprocating machinery. It's a lot easier in turbines and they're routinely made with ceramics in heat-critical areas - this is one reason why small GTVs should be more efficient.

              Gas turbines in power stations aren't particularly efficient in themselves, however they're part of a multistage process where the hot exhaust drives steam plant (hence the term "cogeneration" in such plants). Some sites are taking things a bit further and adding thermocouples and/or sterling engines to scavenge even more energy from the process. Ultimate efficiency is achieved by making use of the waste heat for greenhouses and other purposes instead of dumping it into the atmosphere. Waste heat can also be (and is) used to drive electrolux-cycle ammonia industrial-scale refrigeration/freezer systems using the improved solarfrost design.

              What that means is that a power plant in the countryside is vastly inefficient compared with surrounding the thing with industry able to use the full output (distribution centres and agriculture are ideal consumers).

              Yes, electricity distribution is relatively inefficient but this can be deal with far more easily by switching to higher voltages and HDVC systems for grid work than by using superconductors which are only suitable for dense urban distribution in the last mile. A good chunk of the present losses are resistive down to skin effect even at 50/60Hz (higher voltage equals lower current = less resistive loss) and a good chunk of what's left is electromagnetic radition which is negated by using HVDC distribution systems.

              Electric cars by themselves aren't much good, but when you start joining up the dots the whole system can be made more efficient overall (this includes local storage able to put energy back into the grid to fill load spikes as everyone turns on their kettles when Strictly ends, rather than having to have massive investment in gas plants only used 4 times a day.)

              Eevn without joining up the dots and with all those losses, electric cars come out on top of IC engines if daily milage is low enough to not require recharging. For long-distance stuff the simple solution is to take a train and hire a car at the far end. Ditto loads which are encountered once a month or less freqently. If you need a van, hire one.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: And

            "I don't know if it's the traffic or poor quality fuel but there is a marked difference in fuel economy between LA - Orange county area and the Down East - Boston area. YMMV"

            How much ethanol/methanol is there in the SoCal fuel? Ethanol contains significantly less energy than gasoline, so blended fuels result in worse MPG figures.

            1. Eddy Ito

              Re: And

              @Alan Brown

              Agreed, it likely is the alcohol content even though the pumps are labeled "up to 10%" on both coasts. My feeling is that the limited refining capacity of California and its relative isolation which typically raises the petrol prices also leads to California fuel to being right at the 10% maximum where it is likely closer to the mandated minimum of 5% in Boston.

              The problem of running a gas turbine in a vehicle is the operating speeds they generally run would require a substantial gear reduction and they don't typically spool up quickly as would be required when pulling on to the freeway and was a common problem with Chrysler's efforts in the 60s. Modern approaches might be viable with new transmission technology or set up as a series hybrid with a small turbine running at constant speed and max efficiency with a battery and electric motor to handle the needs of acceleration.

              @AC 21:30

              I assume when wiki refers to "steel" engines they really mean cast iron as steel would be more expensive to manufacture and offer no real benefits.

      4. dssf

        Re: And, it would be funny

        To see this thing hauling ass on the moon. At .25 Moon Miles of acceleration, the test driver better be in a space suit, or have a magmetic tether... Um Tractor Beam lest the test drive goes on for, umm, pardon the auto pun, Infinity. Of course, it would weigh less on the moon, and need enough weight to provide enough traction to break orbit, hahahaha.

        I wonder how much Moon dust would be kicked up, or how deeply embedded into the Moon it would be on slamming into a "hill" side.

        Wait, wait, there might have to be an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) first hahahaha....

      5. dssf
        Thumb Up

        Re: And

        Upvote for you and "Let us count the ways" giving me humour for the day!

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And

        So you've missed all of the oil slicks that have devastated marine biology and cost billions to clean up?

    2. Steve Todd Silver badge

      Re: 4,463 pounds???

      And the current BMW M5 that they compared it to has an empty weight of 4,288 pounds. Your point is? It's not meant to be a lightweight sports car, it's a touring car/sports saloon built for comfort and touring range.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: 4,463 pounds???

      Mass isn't as big a problem for economy in electric cars as it is in IC ones. Regenerative braking, etc.

      OTOH it can make handling and suspention a real bitch to sort out.

  5. JeffyPooh

    List of Tesla failures missed The Big One

    One of their e-cars has the unfortunate characteristic that if the battery pack is allowed to go flat (e.g. so busy oacking that that forgot to charge it overnight, rush to airport, barely make it, go on two week vacation) then the owner is out $40,000.

    Electric cars need to be fast. To make up for all the time spent "learning Medeval history" while it slowly recharges from a normal outlet; just over the horizon from the nearest quick charge station.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: List of Tesla failures missed The Big One

      at a base price of 57k, I don't think they are really geared toward the average working man. So if a person is purchasing this as their primary car they are most likely a wannabe buying something out of their price range. There are plenty of vehicles that are impracticable for various reasons, but that doesn't make them any less fun to drive.

      1. JeffyPooh

        Re: List of Tesla failures missed The Big One

        My present car was well over $80k (within sight of $100k with taxes) when someone bought it new in 2008; I got it for half that as a very low mileage lightly used car. Plenty of cars in this price range. The boys that feel it's a bit posh are paying for two or three cars compared to my *one*.

        Of course, if I happen to run out a gas it doesn't cost me $40k.

        Electric cars are here now and they're fantastic... Too bad about the utterly evil battery packs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: List of Tesla failures missed The Big One

          Jeffy, WTF is it, I am intrigued. A really nice Alpina or a Maserati or something? Big Merc? I kind of like the idea of their V8-T diesels.... 4.0L and upwards .... supposed to be slightly detuned in the 1st and 2nd gears so they don''t break the autobox ....don't know about the manuals ...

  6. David Kelly 2

    Environmental Accounting

    I claim it matters very little how "green" the technology the only green that counts is dollars. And $80,000 car consumes $80,000 of the world's resources. No excuses, its not just "expensive because its new." Doesn't matter if it only costs $1 to make and $79,999 in Elon Musk's pocket, Musk is going to spend that $79,999 somewhere, somehow.

    Also claim the dollar is the only honest accounting. No one will work for free. The only corruption is government grants, loans, tax credits, graft, and crony capitalism.

    1. solidsoup
      Thumb Up

      Re: Environmental Accounting

      I largely agree, but its a lot more complicated. Some materials, chemicals, practices, etc are cheaper but are more environmentally harmful in their effects. Without oversight, private industry would tend to use things that socialize costs and privatize profits. It is, therefore, governments role to strictly regulate pollutants to prevent such cost socialization or tax it to compensate the public. That said, taxing CO2 as a pollutant is somewhat insane.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Environmental Accounting

      Last time I looked, Tesla were making losses not far off their turnover. So the company are spending about £150,000 for each Model S they sell. None of that goes back to Musk, because they haven't made a profit despite the levels of government subsidies.

      Tesla is a vanity project. Having said that, I doubt that Nissan make much profit on a highly subsidied Leaf, so arguably that's corporate vanity.

      Normally I don't have much respect for people producing flash but expensive cars, because that's easy if you're charging enough, but in this case I'd give more credit to Tesla for trying to make an electric car worth owning and driving, rather than Nissan trying to make it cheap and cheerful.

  7. Geoffrey Swenson

    The fact that the cars drive damn well and early examples are not badly assembled, quite unlike Fisker, means that even if sales don't pick up fast enough to keep Tesla in the black as an independent automaker, at least one large automaker, such as Daimler or Toyota is going to take over Tesla as a subsidiary.

    I've read some of the dirt in the links, and it seems like The Register likes to harp on the bad news about Tesla as much as they can. I'm not in the market for a $50,000+ electric car, but Elon Musk seems to have a good sense about how to do this.

    I've watched a few of his video interviews, and I like his confident, well-informed attitude. I'd bet that he probably would be really hard to work with for someone used to the usual corporate politics. But the fact that he has actually delivered some well engineered hardware means something, even if it is a bit later than planned and the ramp up to full production is not going as fast as one would like.

    At least he isn't building cars that catch fire, or have battery packs fail on two-day old cars.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I am not shitting on the car but....

    4,643-pound sedan?

    Forgive my failing brain and ancient history and the ton, long ton, short ton, the metric ton (not tonne) and I am sure there are some other tons - probably wet or dry tons.... and cubic tons, and shipping tons, and displacement tons and dead weight tons, etc., etc., etc.

    But the last ~4000 lb vehicle I looked at was a V1 Flying Bomb, getting pushed on it's none too fabulously wheeled stand, on a non too fabulously prepared surface - and it took 11 strong men to push it.

    4643 lbs.... that is a fucking heavy car.

    If you can duck down behind the motors and batteries, you can punch a hole through almost any thing and survive it.

    From Multimillionaire to Mobile Home

    Several years ago, Tom Shadyac seemed to have it all: a multimillion-dollar career directing Hollywood blockbusters like Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor, a 17,000-square-foot mansion, fancy cars, the luxury of flying in private jets, invitations to extravagant parties and more. It was a life many people dream about.

    Despite these many luxuries, Tom says something just didn't feel right.

    "I was standing in the house that my culture had taught me was a measure of the good life," Tom recalls in his documentary I Am. "I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling: I was no happier."

    Tom says he had been feeling a sense of emptiness for quite a while when a traumatic bike accident in 2007 left him with excruciating post-concussion syndrome. After several months of what he describes as "torture," Tom began to welcome death.

    "Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose," he says in his film. "If I was, indeed, going to die, I asked myself: What did I want to say before I went? It became very simple and very clear. I wanted to tell people what I had come to know. And what I had come to know was that the world I was living in was a lie."

    Tom says that part of what's wrong with our world—and the lie that he says he was living—is our culture's definition of success.

    Five months after his accident, Tom began filming I Am to get to the bottom of two burning questions: What's wrong with our world, and what can we do about it?

    "[We have] a very extrinsic model of success," he explains. "You have to have a certain job status, a certain amount of wealth. ... I think true success is intrinsic. ... It's love. It's kindness. It's community."

    As Tom journeyed on his quest to find out what would truly make him happy and help unearth what's wrong with our world, he made major changes to his lifestyle. Today, Tom lives in a modest mobile home, bikes to work and flies commercial airlines—and he says he's never been happier.

    Read the whole article on Oprah

    The video. Look for it. Find it.

    I am - the documentary.

  9. Petrossa

    Reasons enough why this goes nowhere:

    16 Fisker Karmas Caught Fire During The Hurricane

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


      An equivalent statement would be "Ferraris catch fire, so don't buy a Lamborghini"


  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

    But totally baffled how anyone can think that electric cars are a good idea...

    Even ignoring the serious problems with range and charging time, a back of the envelope calculation (I shan't bother you with it) reveals that the UK uses approximately the same energy supplied by liquid fuels in cars along - let's not bother with lorries, hmm? - as the entire national electricity grid provides.

    So a conversion to electric cars would require twice the generator power, twice the delivery infrastructure, twice the short-term storage - and you can bet that as petrol/diesel tax revenues disappear that electricity for cars will be taxed the same way and to the same extent.

    An electric car works - as a local noise and anti-pollution measure - if you're making short trips within a city. And if it's a short trip, why aren't you using public transport? Or your feet, or a bicycle?

    A thousand kilometre trip takes three days; with current technology a usable electric range won't get many people to work and back (and I'm not convinced that there's that much more scope for energy storage in other than convenient high-energy-density hydrocarbon fuels) and the only reasons they're bought is that they're massively subsidised by the has-to-appear-green government (i.e. my taxes) and freedom from certain in-city charges in London.

    Lovely car, shame about the concept.

    1. Steve Todd Silver badge

      Re: I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

      Lets start with the fact that oil is a diminishing resource shall we? Its price is only going to go up. Electric vehicles are going to be much cheaper to run, if they aren't already.

      Next generation capacity. Yes, we'll need more of it, but EV charging will happen mostly at night when we've got spare capacity and are trying to encourage people to use power (Economy 7 anyone?). One advantage to having all of this battery capacity if that the grid can pull power back from them at peak load (and the battery owners get paid for this).

      City travel on public transport has its problems. London, for example, is great if you want to go in or out of town, not so good if you want to travel sideways. Services don't always run (stopping at nights) and trying to carry significant amounts of cargo (shopping, tools, equipment etc) doesn't work well. Significant numbers of city dwellers have a car in addition to using public transport because of this.

      Very few people make 1000km trips on a regular basis. What's wrong with hiring something like an Ampera or taking public transport for the rare occasion that you do?

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

        @Steve Todd & Clanger

        I agree. There is scope for some slack in the distribution (if not necessarily the energy supply - aren't we supposed to run out of lights in 2015? It was a politician said that, so we probably shouldn't believe it.) for overnight charging, but that doesn't help with people who commute such a distance that they need to charge at each end. As you say, not many people regularly do 1000km trips, but enough do long journeys to jam the motorways both here and on the continent...

        The argument is made that people should live close to their work, should buy small cars or use public transport, should be priced off the roads, should use electric cars. And the argument ignores the basic fact of "we are where we are". We work where we can find work, and can rarely afford to move to where work is (or need two people in the family working in different locations.) We should buy small cars with 70-80mpg... but we have the cars we have, and we like them, and even if we can afford to change them, we change them for something the same size, or faster, or bigger. Look at the number of 4*4s around, for example. We should use the train or a bus - but a trip that costs thirty quid in fuel in a ten year old car (no depreciation costs) might cost twice or three times that in a train, or take six times as long in a bus, assuming you can get to the station and find one that's going when and where you want it.

        There are major problems with traffic, transport, and infrastructure - but I don't think electric cars solve it except in massaging people's egos: "Aren't I green!"

        1. Steve Todd Silver badge


          The 2015 date was when peak demand was expected to exceed supply. Note the word peak. There is actually quite a lot of surplus power overnight, and this will continue after that date.

          There as assorted things you can do to mitigate the distance that people need to travel in to work, non of which are likely to happen rapidly. As it is most people drive less than 50 miles per day as part of their commute (that's 12,000 miles a year BTW) and that's perfectly practical for electric vehicles as they currently stand. No one is expecting that electric cars will replace petrol overnight, but as the price of petrol increases and the cost of electric vehicles comes down (and it will, new battery technologies are in development and economies of scale will cut in) then they will become progressively more popular.

          As it is cities like London are in breach of EU air quality laws (and that breach means that people are dying of respiratory disease that didn't have to). We NEED low emission vehicles now in order to help resolve the problem, and I couldn't give a fig what reason people use to buy them.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: @Neil

            "economies of scale will cut in"

            The potential benefits of economies of scale are being artificially delayed because of govt subsidies.

            The cost of a having a Solar PV array on the roof has barely moved in the last few years despite the huge economies of scale in recent years let alone the "market driven competition" from the huge array of installers out there prepared to fleece you.

    2. clanger9

      Re: I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

      Not quite. The massive electrical infrastructure we have in the UK is relatively idle at night (when the bulk of charging is expected to take place). As long as you don't need to charge your car instantly at 5pm, the overall effect on the grid if people switch to electric transport isn't that significant (another few gigawatts, tops, on the 60-80GW we already have).

      As others have pointed out, electric cars aren't notably greener out of the box than fossil-fuel powered cars (they're about the same, give or take whichever bias takes your fancy).

      The main argument in their favour is that it's possible to de-carbon the production of electricity to some degree. That isn't currently possible with petrol, diesel or natural gas.

    3. JeffyPooh

      Re: I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

      Fiscker Karma is reportedly 5,300 lbs. Oink oink.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm impressed by the engineering (if not the weight!)

      "if you're making short trips within a city. And if it's a short trip, why aren't you using public transport? Or your feet, or a bicycle?"

      Agree, but human nature is a bit tricky. And it depends how your country has developed so far.

      Let's have an anecdotal example.... in a certain ex-CCCP but now (we live in hope?) developing Euroland country, a well-known young female celebrity was interviewed after spending some time living and working in Germany.

      Her reaction to it:, paraphrasing:- "I can''t believe that in Germany, even pretty well-paid businessmen often are totally happy go to work just with a bicycle. In *ex-CCCP-not-very-wealthy-place* it is seen as absolutely essential to go all the time in a Porsche Cayenne"

  11. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    "Taxpayer funded"

    Most car manufacturers enjoy massive tax breaks, protective tariffs, subsidies and outright cash handouts from governments. This shouldn't be treated any differently.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... the Model S door handles: they sit flush with the car body, then rise with a tap of the fingertip."

    Very neat - but it would be interesting to see the circumvention method when they get frozen in winter.

  13. pete8314

    Bigger Picture

    There's a lot of EV haters, but it's important to remember a few things, if you can get past the weird publishing schedules that US magazines have.

    1. Cars over here are not efficient, typically. Sure, I'm in Texas, so my baseline is not the same as California for example, but if something gets more than 15mpg here, it's a good deal. Having a car that goes like stink, has a rating of 89mpg and range comparable with many cars (i.e. M5) is still an amazing design feat.

    2. Tesla has a loan from the DoE. A loan, by definition, will be paid back. Musk has confirmed this. The amount was trivial compared to the money invested by the US government in GM.

    3. The Model S, in the Performance guise, is in the same price range as an M5, S7, E63 AMG etc etc. Sure, it's not a car for everyone, but it's priced comparably. The GenIII model, which is currently in development, is expected to be a 3-Series class car. This is new technology. It's not cheap. It'll become cheap through mass adoption. give it time.

    4. It's not a 'vanity project'. Musk invested huge amounts of his personal wealth to keep the company going a couple of years ago. Is SpaceX also a vanity project? These are all high-tech, high-glamour projects, but that doesn't make them any less significant.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slate them all you want, it's still the car on the top of my buy list even ahead of the Nissan GT-R.

    When you live in a city where you can't go outside without getting a face full of black smoke every single day and the constant noise of engines running around your head. Electrics seems like a god's gift.

    Not to mention the fact that the cost I save in petrol pays for the car itself within 10 years (that's assuming petrol prices are stagnent - so in reality I might even get my money back in 6-8 years).

    Plus car tax is much cheaper. I also feel great when I support just cause, and I think a company who's been trying to spearhead a major change in an established cartel like industry for the betterment of mankind is a just cause.

    Damn I want one today. That's the only problem I have with Tesla, I don't want to make a reservation I want to go to a shop, drive one away.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I do not care really

    I just want one.

    Mainly for playing Angry Birds on that bloody great screen when stuck in traffic :D

  16. Matt Bradley


    There's a very good reason why other cars have buttons instead of a huge touchscreen.

    Physical controls give tactile feedback, and can be operated by the driver by feel, without the user needing to look at the controls. This is why temperature knobs are better than digital buttons in climate control systems, for example: I can FEEL what temp I have just set, rather than having to look down to a readout.

    Controlling the majority of in car systems using a touchscreen? Dangerous. Give me a switch, knob or toggle button, please.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fossil burner brigade makes me laugh...

    The flames here against this car suggests we have many of the passive aggressive persuasion on this flavour of the intertubes.

    It's resistance to change. Most on here work in the vanguard of tech change. But when Elon suggests there is possibly, maybe, a better way to transport rich people you get "I bought my old v8 really cheaply...".

    To misquote Obama, "we have less horses now too". Can't we start discussing the pros and cons of an electric model just like we do with diesel/petrol/hybrid...?

    Get used to electric cars. You don't have to own one ever, but some of us might chose to.

  18. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Rarest of things - a good looking American car

    It's like Mr Mondeo met Ms Jaguar.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Roll your own?

    There are plenty of Madza RX8s with blown rotary engines to be had for peanuts at the moment. They're a car that is typically cosseted and revered as you'd expect a proud owner of a $40k sports car to, so finding one otherwise mint is no problem. A straight swap of the engine with an equally compact motor and kitting it out with a bulk order of 20k mobile phone batteries should be onto a winner IMHO.

    Oh, and a fondleslab in the place where the radio goes. It's a wonder there's not a kit available yet.

  20. Alex King
    Thumb Up

    Drowning in humbugs

    There's a whole heap of grumpy naysayers here. This is quite clearly the best electric car ever to be sold. In any reasonable sense, this is competitive in its chosen range of premium sports saloons in terms of price, weight, looks, performance and range between stops.

    Tesla are even doing it right - sell this in a big, premium car first; charging the prices that Nissan do for their Leaf is daft because it's hugely uncompetitive in the size bracket it sits in. There's a reason tech innovations tend to come in first in the largest, most premium models, but the most part of the automotive industry seems to have forgotten this.

    No, there's nothing much wrong with the car - the problem is the infrastructure. The model I'd like to see is the "better place" battery-swapping filling station. Maybe slightly more realistic in terms of investment would be points that could charge the car to over 200 miles range in less than 20 minutes.

    A comprehensive network of either of these would be my tipping point for adoption, so long as you could show me that total cost of ownership and usage over 5 years would be no greater than the IC alternative. Do that, and in 4 years time I'll buy a second hand one for about 25% of its original retail price, like I have done with my current V8 Jag, bought at 4 years old.

    I'll not mention the touchscreen, in the full anticipation that it'll go the way of the quartic steering wheel 'ere long.

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