Originally Posted by stealth.pilot
Have you driven a Tesla?
I'm a big fan of the internal combustion engine. My last three cars have been V8 high performance cars. I've owned 3 M Cars. And yet I believe that an electric powertrain is far superior. I would kill for an M5 built with Tesla chassis and powertrain technology - it's that good.
On your point about 300 mile+ trips. A 911 is capable of doing those technically but I wouldn't ever dream of taking one on a trip of that length becasue it just isn't comfortable enough for long drives. Does that mean nobody should pick a 911 over an M5? No because for many it is fit for purpose. The Tesla electric car is fit for such a wide range of purposes it is suitable to be a primary car in my opinion. I used to have an M3 and never drove it more than 90 miles from my home because it wasn't a great road trip car. Was still my primary car at the time, and I didn't ditch it for range issues.
No, I haven't yet driven a Tesla. From what I've read about them, they seem to offer excellent performance, which is why I think as an engineering design study put to practice, and well manufactured at that, it's an excellent car. My issue is not with the car itself but rather the business case for it. If it wasn't for the current ICE technology, we'd all probably be driving them, but the internal combustion engine back in the late 1800's was the better technical solution and won out over electricity. The current state of the electric car market (and keep in mind Fisker was an extended range electric car like the Chevy Volt is) is basically the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla S (yeah, there's a conversion of some small Chinese-market sedan too). The leaf is $35K and offers 90 miles of range. The Tesla S is about $70K and offers 230 miles of range, neither car comes close to offering what the ICE-powered automobile does for anywhere near the price.
I've been down this road with an electric vehicle as an early adopter; well actually my Father was, but I was the one who used the vehicle the most. So back in the early 1970's, General Electric developed and manufactured an electric garden tractor called the GE Electrak (google it). In 1973 my Dad bought the E15 model, which was equivalent to a 15-horsepower gas model. GE basically took and existing garden tractor transaxle from a tractor maker at the time - I can't remember the company now, and mated GE's then-golfcart drive technology (motor, motor controller, and charger) to it in a robust garden tractor frame. I still have the machine today, although it is defunct (it really just died about 5 years ago).
It had the mower deck in the front rather than underneath, which was a way better design for mowing and blade maintenance. The Electrak offered several electric attachments such as an electric chainsaw, small electric welder, and a small hand-held tiller, and electric weed-eater that ran off the 36 Volt-DC "PTO". With the torque offered with by the electric motor, the machine could also use ground-engaging devices like a snow plow and multi-gang soil tiller. The E15 model could cut 2.5 to 3. acres of grass on a charge and I never remember once when I ran out of juice cutting the lawn, and we had almost 2 acres of yard. And if it did, you could just re-charge it in a few hours to finish up. In my opinion it was a far superior product to gas-powered garden tractors of the same era, and even ones of today; but alas the business case didn't pan out. It cost about 50% more than comparable gas-powered garden tractors at the time, and it had a perceived range issue (just like the Tesla). It was on the market for 3 years.
For me if the Tesla S could cost $15,000 less in total lifecycle cost and I could be convinced the battery would last 200,000 miles, I'd get one in a heartbeat; but like I said before I have a few other vehicles in my fleet to use as a unlimited-range vehicle. If I could only afford to have one car, the Tesla would not be it.
If you look into the details on Tesla's website, the car needs a $600 check every 12,000 miles (which you can pre-pay as a package deal for a small discount) and the battery is only warranted for 125,000 miles (the 85KwH size) and as a customer you can pre-pay upfront (monthly finance) for a future $10,000 battery replacement. Also, to use the company's free super-charging stations, you have to have the 85KhW battery sized model or the 60KwH size model with the supercharger equipment (which is an optional extra cost item). All these things make me suspect of the viability of the company. Wouldn't you just hate to buy a $70,000 electric Tesla, finance the battery replacement, only to have the company go bankrupt in 4 years? The reason my GE Electrak doesn't still cut the grass? Maintenance support; I can't economically repair it anymore.