Electric Car Advances

  1. A lot of people have been arguing that TSLA's stock/the company in general wont take off because the demand is above the battery technology at this time. I'm a junior in college studying physics but will probably either switch to finance and do stocks because i like it more or i was double major just because but still focus on a profession with the stock market.

    I feel this is wrong because 1) Technology grows exponentially and we are just at the point where we are making a lot of advances with batteries using super capacitors and graphene to make better batteries etc...i believe this is an excellent time for these new EV cars to hit the market because for now the technology is there and in a few years when better batteries are needed the new technology will be there or close to production.

    2) The large demand/hype created by Tesla and SpaceX will ignite and fuel more and faster research in energy storage.

    I don't think TSLA is just here for this decade, i think it is here to stay.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. SteamKing

    SteamKing 9,579
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    Not all technology grows at the same rate and certainly not exponentially all of the time. Otherwise, we would all have flying cars by now. It would be a mistake to say that battery technology, for instance, is growing at the same rate that microelectronics did following the invention of the transistor and the integrated circuit.

    Battery technology is bumping into technological limits in terms of power density and materials of construction, neither of which are unlimited.
     
  4. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
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    I think the "genius" of Musk is in finance not engineering. That's where he started making money, with PayPal. He had the wit to see that nobody was going to make any profit trying to sell cheap electric vehicles for mass transportation, so to chose to sell expensive ones as executive toys instead.

    As for the stock market, any debate about whether Tesla will or won't "take off" is history. The company already has a market capitalization half as big as Ford and GM, and trading on a multiple of more than 1000 times annual earnings. To spell that out: as of October 2013, the stock market was valuing the company at more than $1 million dollars for every car it sold that year (source: Financial times UK interview with Musk published 24 Oct 2013).

    The only rational way for the share price to go is down, big time, but the stock market sometimes doesn't do rational.
     
  5. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 13,896
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    I think it was in the sixties that I heard someone say "Give it another ten years and the battery car will be viable". I went into Central London the other day and I saw just two electric cars, at charging stations. It\s taking an awfully long time.
    I'm sure it will be worth waiting for though. . . . . . . . .
     
  6. There's no guaranty that the substantial technological hurdles along the path for the development of affordable high density batteries will ever be breached. For now this is still a high risk high reward kind of investment.
     
  7. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    In the other direction, one can find mountains of 'never-gonna-happen' assessments about powered manned flight right up until 1903.

    That may be an indication of the number of charging stations, not the number of EVs. Surely most EV owners charge, mostly, at home?

    In any case, what mass produced EV's are available in the UK? I doubt many of the 7000 Model S's produced per quarter are making their way to the UK.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  8. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Clearly some technologies do but others do not. Among the 'not' category would be technologies like Betamax and manned space travel.

    It might be good to analyze *why* you think that is true before using those assertions to support a stock market move.
     
  9. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
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    More than "a few" - and two competing networks, providing them.
    http://www.sourcelondon.net/map.php

    Take your pick between models from Citroen, Mia, BMW, Nissan, Renault, Smart, VW - or even Tesla, if you want :smile:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electric_cars_currently_available

    UK EV registrations up to June 2013: (Nissan Leaf had 43% market share):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_the_United_Kingdom#Sales

    London also has a small fleet of electric taxis (recently launched) and some trials of all-electric buses (more than 350 hybrid diesel-electric buses are already in use),
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  10. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
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    You could argue that EVs have gone the other way.

    In 1900,
    And Tesla could be history repeating itself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_electric_vehicle
     
  11. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Yes, before the invention of t he electric starter, extension of the long distance road network, availability of cheap gasoline, and increased reliability of the originally clunky combustion engine, the EV made a lot of sense. It made sense to sell to the upscale market as women in particular could not use crank engines. After the starter, short range and long charge times killed the EV. Range is now greatly improved, charge time not so much.
     
  12. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 13,896
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    I am not knocking the idea of electric vehicles, per se. Milk has been delivered by electric carts all over the UK for many decades. Electric vehicles are ideal for the purpose, having a fixed and repeated range every day so that the required battery capacity is predictable. There are several other 'ideal' situations for electric power but, realistically, we are a long long way from the situation where you can decide to do a 500 mile journey on one fill up to even to be able to rely on possible rapid charging (or battery replacement) points on the way. That is the basic requirement for at least one of the vehicles, owned by a family.
    I would love a small electric powered car for town use but it would have to be our 'second' car and second cars are not cost effective for many people, especially if there is a premium to pay for something 'alternative'.

    My observation about the low numbers of electric cars seen in London (ditto in Brighton) just shows that they have a long way to go before they can be considered to have 'arrived'. Compare the high throughput at petrol stations. This situation has obtained for many decades. It could change but only when there is a serious step change in the battery situation.

    One encouraging sign for electric propulsion is the growing number of Electric powered wheelchairs and buggies that we see around (a damned menace on the pavement [sidewalk], too). I believe most of these still use Lead Acid batteries. Better batteries would mean much greater cost than the present entry level of around £500.

    Enthusiasts for electric vehicles have always shown a touching amount of optimism. There is no parallel with powered flight or any other technology - unless you explore the situation of home based air travel, which has been the stuff of dreams and SciFi ever since the Wright Brothers. That will never take off (not in any of our lifetimes, at least), despite the latest ideas proposed by Amazon. Accidents waiting to happen.
     
  13. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    I agree that a 500 mile trip is a reasonable requirement, but why must we assume that such is a long way off? One can, in a few locations, do so now on a Model S with a 20 min stop in route to charge. Currently, the S is extraordinarily expensive and there r only a few of the quick charge pts. I don't know that a correction for that situation is far (ie more tan 20 yrs) off. Meanwhile , petroleum grows ever more expensive.
     
  14. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 13,896
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    A 20 minute wait for recharging would be ridiculous for most drivers, unless they happened to want to stop for a rest. Why must we assume that it is going to be 'soon' before we can buy something worth having? This is a 'cup half full / cup half empty' thing, I realise.
    It could well be that, in 20 years' time, there will be something available in the form of an EV. Alternatively, to deal with the price of fuel, people may just have come to terms with the idea of using mass transport and unwed themselves from the self indulgent idea that they need their own little box to travel in, however long their journey is. There are many ways of killing a cat. The truly sensible solution to the transport problem is basically to improve public transport. How often would we really need our 'own' vehicle if there were a cheap alternative? We sold our second car many years ago and it was a really successful move. We live in a city, of course, and circumstances are not the same for everyone. But I do know plenty of neighbours who claim they could not do without one car each. They have never even used a bus, in twenty years of living near us. What a waste of their money.
     
  15. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    Well 5-8 minutes is the minimum to fill an empty 20 gallon tank on that 500 mile run with no queue. I'd guess 20 mins is already typical with a queue on the the busy highway petrol station you reference on the weekends, and that's without the rest.

    I agree with all this earlier possible objections up thread (not enough range yet, too long to charge, etc), but then this about mass-transit? The 20 minute wait is supposedly beyond ridiculous for an EV, but then those with cars are self-indulgent?

    Yes mass transit can be wonderful for some. Mass transit can also be i) ridiculously inconvenient for some, and ii) may use more fuel per passenger than an ICE car. Trains are a little more energy efficient, but in the USA buses use more fuel per passenger than the average car.
     
  16. SteamKing

    SteamKing 9,579
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    Anybody who can sit thru an entire 500 mile trip without wanting at least one break must have one numb backside. If you could re-charge an EV's battery in 20 min., that wouldn't be a terrific inconvenience, IMO, unless you had to do it every 2 or 3 hours of running time.
     
  17. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
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    Presumably the main reason for that is because they carry few passengers.

    Taking 50% seat occupancy as 2 people per car and 20 people per bus, and (optimistically) an average car fuel consumption of say 30 mpg, it's hard to believe you have buses that only do 3 mpg.

    FWIW in the UK some rail operators are now scheduling their services using the same principles as airlines (i.e. the novel idea of actually running trains when people want to use them) and getting average seat occupancy of around 70%.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  18. mheslep

    mheslep 3,531
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    As buses drive stop-and-go every 1/4 mile or so, and then drive to and from the bus barn not with just a few passengers but no passengers, low mpg per passenger for buses does not surprise me.

    DoE Transportation Energy Data Book, Chapter 2, Energy
    table 2.12
    Energy used (BTUs) per passenger per mile
    Rail, transit: 2462
    Cars: 3364
    Personal trucks: 3750
    Buses: 4240
    Demand response (i.e. Taxis): 16,297

    Somewhere in there cars are assumed to have an average passenger load of something like 1.4

    It wasn't always like this (see table 2.13). Per passenger mile since 1970, car energy use has been falling 0.9% per year while bus energy use has increased 1.3%. The pair were roughly equal back in the early 1990s.

    I suspect those numbers still allow that hopping aboard an *existing* bus and increasing the passenger count is more fuel efficient than hopping in the car. But buying the *next* bus, marginally increasing the bus fleet, likely does not improve overall community fuel efficiency in the typical US urban area.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  19. sophiecentaur

    sophiecentaur 13,896
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    You are clearly coming from the direction of not using public transport over-much and your transport profile may not be the same as mine (UK as against US conditions). I looked through the link you provided and I noticed that the Energy per passenger mile of Buses was 37.718 Btu and, for cars, it was 5.214 Btu per vehicle. (Table 2.12 with lots of caveats) That would need an average of ten passengers to break even with 1.4 in a car. UK statistics is 9.2, at present. Link Potentially much more, of course. It will be much more than that in Brighton, in my experience.

    Then there's the comparative capital cost. It used to be said that the Energy cost of building a car is about equal to the total fuel energy it uses in its life. A bus is around ten times the cost of a motor car but can service hundreds of passengers per day. Of course, the bus driver needs to be paid and a bus needs to be serviced more often than a private car.

    What amuses me is that the bus-phobics tend to have very little actual experience of buses. They reject them as a matter of principle. I use both car and bus and I know the real advantages of using the bus in a city that is well served. I can be in the city centre, buy something and be home before a driver can have even found a space in the multi storey car park and walked to the shops. I also don't need to be checking my watch every five minutes in case I happen to park longer than the one, or two hours I originally planned. Two of my four children have existed for many years in suburban London without a car and found the transport system to work very well. They are not 'cranky'. One of them made a point of living within walking distance of work (now theres a thing!) and so did I, for fifteen years (bliss).

    I had a nice ride in London today, in an Electric Bus. Perfect for the job.
     
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