Jay Leno’s Garage: Tesla Model S

September 29, 2013

Jay asks some good questions of Tesla’s lead designer.

31 Responses to “Jay Leno’s Garage: Tesla Model S”

  1. NevenA Says:

    Very cool, but complete overkill! I would want a car like this, but without all the gadgets.


    • At around $100k, the Model S is intended to be a luxury car. Tesla is apparently working on a lower end model to be released in a couple of years.

    • Phillip Shaw Says:

      I think you may be expressing the natural human reaction of being more comfortable with the familiar than with the novel. We’ve heard similar comments for decades –
      Who needs push buttons when a rotary dial works fine?
      Why would anyone want a computer in their home?
      Who needs a microwave oven?
      Who needs a cell phone?
      Who needs a smartphone?
      and so forth.

      Having had an electric vehicle for several years, a 1999 Ford Ranger EV, I’m confident that once people get used to all the gadgets they will wonder how they ever got along without them.

      The Tesla Model S really is an amazing piece of engineering. It’s too early to tell whether it’s a disruptive technology but it is already causing a lot of people and companies to rethink their assessment of electric vehicles. I urge everyone to contact Tesla Motors and arrange a test drive. Nothing beats actually trying it for yourself.

      • NevenA Says:

        I think you may be expressing the natural human reaction of being more comfortable with the familiar than with the novel.

        That could be it. Or maybe I’m just expressing my concern for the environment and climate, and think that it is incompatible with a ‘culture of the novel’.

        Who needs push buttons when a rotary dial works fine?

        Do push buttons take up more energy and resources than a rotary dial?

        Why would anyone want a computer in their home?

        Because it makes it easier to inform one self. It also enables a lot more efficiency, like working from home. I can Skype with my parents so we don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to see each other. The list of examples goes on.

        Who needs a microwave oven?

        No one. The microwave oven is a completely useless invention, except for people who are too lazy too cook proper and preferably locally grown food.

        Who needs a cell phone?

        Many, many people don’t need one. Have you ever investigated what it takes to make a cell phone? Where the resources come from? How the people live over there? Think about that before you trade your ‘old’ cell phone for a ‘novel’ one, like a:

        smartphone?

        No one, cell phones are good enough. What do you need a ‘smart’ phone for except for losing yourself completely to a horrible addiction that makes you anti-social and fake? How does that help you live a more sustainable life?

        Having had an electric vehicle for several years, a 1999 Ford Ranger EV, I’m confident that once people get used to all the gadgets they will wonder how they ever got along without them.

        I could stick a needle in my arm and shoot heroin up my veins, and wonder how I ever got along without it. 😐

        No one needs computer monitor sized screens in a car, or a button that makes sure your ass is warm enough. I appreciate that Tesla is doing good work to get EVs recognized, but I hope we’re going to get some affordable EVs without all of that useless crap. A real car for a sustainable future. Less is more, and small is beautiful.

        • MorinMoss Says:

          “Small is beautiful” is a tough sell in North America. Attitudes are changing but we’re looking at decades and the elderly will probably play the biggest role in that shift in perspective.

          Texas and California are very influential, Rhode Island is not.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          “maybe I’m just expressing my concern for the environment and climate, and think that it is incompatible with a ‘culture of the novel’.”

          I think you are confusing the ethics of fossil fuel use with what will be a new ethics – of renewable energy. Once we are 100% green, it doesn’t matter how much energy a particular device uses, because energy use does not pollute.

          The microwave is a useless invention for lazy people who can’t cook and don’t buy locally-grown food? You ain’t being objective here at all.

          With green energy, recycling, and some population control mankind should be free to enjoy all the innovation, luxuries, and indulgences it wants and at no detriment to the environment. Our future can be both in harmony with nature as well as at the cutting edge of technological innovation.

          Less is not more, and living “small” does not have to mean living simply.

  2. Bruce Miller Says:

    ‘On the fly’ inductive charging is already in use in Spain, China. better batteries are in the tubes, and the American dream is being modified by economic reality in America as we speak. Soon enough, Asian styled electric bullet trains will proliferate in America, obviating the need to travel long distances by car. Great American body sizes are dropping fast with better diets, and the Tesla has emigrated to China already, where it is met with much enthusiasm and a positive “nod” from the politburo of seven.

  3. redskylite Says:

    This is the first electric car I’ve seen that I could get enthusiastic about ( basic cost is around US $62,400 which is comparable to the BMW 550I range, service and running costs would be cheaper, but a high bill after 10 years to replace the batteries: This is a little outside of my range but I see Tesla are hoping to build a more modest car in the near future – look forward to that and salute their innovation:

    MIT technology review:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/516961/how-tesla-is-driving-electric-car-innovation/

    BBC’s top gear reviews

    http://www.topgear.com/uk/tags/Tesla-Model-S

  4. ahaveland Says:

    Want! Want! Want!

  5. MorinMoss Says:

    Here’s 2 more interesting EV episodes from Jay’s Garage

    The Proterra Ecoliner – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JpMTWdPZ6c

    and Complete Coach Works bus conversion –

  6. Nick Carter Says:

    Nothing says TORQUE like an electric motor. Used to sell small sedan style electric cars and loved letting the customer take them on the open road. Only drawback at the time was the conventional battery. The range was limited to 41 miles.

  7. Shane Burgel Says:

    Shouldn’t he say “Take my foot off the electricity”? LOL


  8. Even plug-in hybrid is great.  You can easily slash your fuel consumption to 1/3 of what a Prius uses, and you get the same eerie quiet and smooth operation in your every-day driving.


  9. Tesla is a response to a system that demands it. The only successful EV that could be made is one that once and for all skewers the notion that somehow EVs are inferior to ICE, and that you can’t have your whims pampered and indulged. That’s because that is exactly what consumers demand and we are in a system that rewards those that fit into that scheme. So what if it is a secret bridge to renewability and sustainability. The problem is that it fits into a background of unsustainable consumption. If you give them EVs, they will buy EV SUVs, luxury EVS, and EV pickup trucks that they don’t need. None of the solutions work with excess consumption.

    Want! Want! Want! indeed. What about need? Balance?

    • NevenA Says:

      Thank you for an intelligent comment.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      “. The problem is that it fits into a background of unsustainable consumption. If you give them EVs, they will buy EV SUVs, luxury EVS, and EV pickup trucks that they don’t need. None of the solutions work with excess consumption. ”

      These don’t work? Seriously?

      I really don’t care what people drive so long as we don’t put carbon in the atmosphere. Electric cars should not be fast, comfortable, and sexy? Why?

      Medicine has to taste bad to be good?

      Fast, sexy EV cars do NOT imply unsustainable consumption. But even if they did, I’ll take them. We have much more time to learn to live sustainably than time to reduce our CO2 levels.

      First we fix the CO2, then we fix sustainability, OK?!?

      Jesus Christ I am getting sick and tired of people saying negative things about EV cars simply because they are not a bag of chips and a bl*wjob too!

      • NevenA Says:

        We’re saying negative things about EV cars full of useless gadgets that cost a lot of resources and energy.

        The problem is our current economic system that demands everlasting growth, not what cars we drive. If you don’t change that, you will never be sustainable, no matter how smart you (think you) are.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          And again you are complaining about using energy: “useless gadgets that cost a lot of resources and energy.” A car that runs on sunlight and you are whining about gadgets that use too much resources for your taste!

          “The problem is our current economic system that demands everlasting growth, ”

          No, the problem is too much CO2 in the atmosphere. Is there something in the water supply that has reduced attention spans on environmental blogs? Jesus Fucking Christ!

          • NevenA Says:

            I used to think like you 7-8 years ago. Unfortunately CO2 isn’t the only problem. It goes much further than that.


          • Well, NevenA, if you want all your problems to go away there are a number of ways to do that quite permanently.

            CO2 is a problem that needs to be solved very urgently.  Most of the others can wait a bit.

          • NevenA Says:

            CO2 is grosso modo caused by the same thing as the other problems. If you’re interested, I’ve written about it here.


          • CO2 comes largely from burning coal, oil and natural gas (with land-use change coming in there too).  There are non-carbon energy sources which can substitute for many if not most of those end-uses (electricity being the easiest to substitute, aviation fuel the hardest).

          • NevenA Says:

            The best non-carbon energy source is energy that isn’t used, which is why I oppose useless gadgets which the Tesla S seems to be full of. Still a great car, BTW, and paving the way for more EVs, but I’m still waiting for a truly sustainable car. Of course, that’s on the presumption that such a thing exists. At least within the time frame that CO2 needs to be cut to avoid the more serious risks of AGW.


          • The best non-carbon energy source is one which sequesters carbon while replacing a carbon-emitter.

            The second-best non-carbon energy source only replaces a carbon emitter.

            Mere economizing is, at its best, third on the list of preferences.

          • NevenA Says:

            Oh really? So it’s better to build a wind mill or solar panel than not need one? 😀

            Sorry, maybe I misinterpreted your comment.


          • Oh really? So it’s better to build a wind mill or solar panel than not need one?

            Windmills and solar panels need carbon-burning plants to meet 70-80% of their nameplate output, so they are not much better than the carbon-burners themselves.

            Nuclear plants don’t require any carbon-burning backup for “low periods” (fuel is changed in low-demand seasons).  The only thing better than a nuclear plant would be one which grabs carbon from the air in its operation, and that’s not even on the drawing board.


  10. Jevon’s paradox. The more you make things efficient, the more they get used, and in the end there is no reduction. Straight from the endless cycle of demand built on consumerism, compound interest, etc.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox
    Its not a mystery. Its a direct consequence of compound interest economics.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Even if it applies, Jevon’s Paradox is not instantaneous and when the improvement in efficiency is dramatic, you will have significant reductions in the short term.

      Also, it’s not just about usage but also about impact.
      Consider the improvement in air quality you swapped ONLY the most polluting vechicles for the most efficient and left the rest alone.

      Consumption is a problem but it’s far from the only one.


    • The mistake you’re making is that the Tesla isn’t an efficiency play, it’s a liquid-fuel elimination play.  It doesn’t increase the economically-viable price or demand for petroleum fuels because it doesn’t use any.


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