Will Tesla’s New Battery Fix the Climate Crisis?

January 3, 2020

10 Responses to “Will Tesla’s New Battery Fix the Climate Crisis?”

  1. davidjkatz Says:

    These young technology guys: “We obviously can’t rely on governments to get this done, so let’s rely on promises from Elon Musk instead.”

    Look forward to the technology advances, but the days of hoping for a magic bullet are long gone.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    His enthusiastic optimism about Tesla’s battery technology being the clear savior echoed with the long and rich history of people seeking silver bullets for complex problems.

    Until EVs are cheaper than used combustion vehicles, we’re going to have a lot of non-rich people driving tailpipe cars fueled by cheaper and cheaper gasoline.

    • jimbills Says:

      “Until EVs are cheaper than used combustion vehicles, we’re going to have a lot of non-rich people driving tailpipe cars fueled by cheaper and cheaper gasoline.”

      Technically, there will be a lag time of 10 to 20 years after that as well. Give about 5 years years for a lot of those cheaper EVs to hit the used market, then add the time for most people to have the need to buy a new vehicle.

      Added to the EV question are the added costs of installing home charging capabilities, which wouldn’t be a small thing for people living in apartments or with limited income, and the not insignificant question of how the grid will handle massive growth in demand because of EV charging.

  3. ecoquant Says:

    Until EVs are cheaper than used combustion vehicles, we’re going to have a lot of non-rich people driving tailpipe cars fueled by cheaper and cheaper gasoline.

    @rhymeswithgoalie,

    Depends on how you count. Operating costs of EVs are vastly lower than ICEs, and, apart from new technology problems, they seldom break down. EVs are a win whether or not owner wants to do something about climate disruption.

    Projected models show that as EVs are increasingly adopted, the first casualties will be the around-the-corner auto repair shop. Eventually, projecting the effects of increasing fuel efficiencies in vehicles over the years, what happens is that local petrol stations go out of business, not because petrol is expensive but because its cheap, and the cost of operating the establishment can’t be borne on the smaller footprint of sales. Moreover, as fewer people come through the door, knock on sales of food and conveniences go down.

    In the end as EV penetration increases, what happens is that petrol is very cheap, but range anxiety for ICE owners becomes an issue, because you can’t know whether or not that gas station near your summer vacation spot has survived the winter.

    What will also happen is that there will be fewer auto dealerships and they will be smaller, since repairs can’t be counted on to support them.

    Finally, highways and such will need to be supported by annual excise taxes on vehicles, because less petrol will be sold, taxes on it collected, and EVs need to pay their fair share.

    • jimbills Says:

      Most people just care about upfront cost – period. If a car is outside of their price range, they just won’t buy it. They can’t afford it. The later repair costs are of secondary concern. They just need a vehicle to get from point a to b with reasonable reliability.

      I don’t know where you live, but where I do see a ton of vehicles on the road that would cost less than $5-10K on the market. There are the vehicles that are $40K+, especially new and tricked out pickups, but these aren’t a majority.

      Average new car sales are about $34K. Average used car sales are about $20K. There are far more used cars being sold than new cars in a given year:
      https://www.statista.com/statistics/183713/value-of-us-passenger-cas-sales-and-leases-since-1990/

      Therefore, an EV hitting that $20K price, with widely available options less expensive than that (and more expensive) would probably be the ‘sweet spot’ for adoption by the masses.

      As for repair shops and mass adoption of EVs, that might well be correct, but if we’re talking about a future of increasing disparity between the rich and poor, and EVs remain a more luxury item (+$30K or so) than many can afford, then there are still going to be a great number of poorer citizens needing constant repairs on ICE cars.

      • ecoquant Says:

        @jimbills,

        From BNEF

        They also claim elsewhere that EVs will be price competitive with ICEs beginning in 2022.

        Here’s another source:

        Whichever one believes, the future of transport is likely to be disrupted. The above doesn’t really consider the impact of ride-hailing, electrification of fleets, and electrified buses. As operating costs diminish and vehicle lifetimes extend, fleet operators could rent vehicles or offer ride hailing for cheaper per month than it would cost to buy and operate an ICE, even used. Whether or not someone pursues that business model remains to be seen.

      • gmrmt Says:

        Don’t forget the phenomena of the bulk of people who can’t afford EV’s yet but see they’re the superior option both performance wise and in lifetime cost. They’re waiting for the sticker price to drop to an affordable range and will keep buying used cars until it does rather than spring for a more expensive new ICE car.
        The ’20’s are going to be great for mechanics. The ’30’s, not so much.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Operating costs of EVs are vastly lower than ICEs, and, apart from new technology problems, they seldom break down.

      Aye, the only failures I have is a dead utility battery (which runs the console and widgets) and a sidewall tire puncture. My home charging has also bumped me into the higher tier of electricity consumption (marginally greater cost per kWh), but I don’t miss having gas-pump hands.

      • ecoquant Says:

        @rhymeswithgoalie,

        We leased a Chevy Volt before jumping in and buying the Tesla 3. That Volt kept blowing out the standard tires it had: Even a bump against a curb did them in. Finally insisted upon heavier duty tires, but the dealer warned it would cost range.

        The T3 takes getting used to driving: Biggest changes are the use of pure regenerative braking most of the time, the dash indicators centered on the screen, and the safety warnings the vehicle gives. Some are a bit over the top, even if they are just trying to save your neck. Because badness occurs when less than 20 miles range on the battery — which the T3 tries to avoid by taking active measures — when we get to 80 miles remaining range, really need to prioritize looking for a supercharger or charger. We could have opted for the special long range model, but that would have squarely made us ineligible for the Massachusetts rebates available at the time.

        My wife has a bit of a hard time since she wears different glasses for usual distance vision and reading, and the screen is some place in-between. Sounds like a third pair of glasses are in order.

        Also, I think the T3 is best driven on highway with what used to be called “cruise control” on. We have never used the auto steering feature, and haven’t (yet?) paid for the full self-driving capability.

        Apart from snow tires — which took forever to order and obtain — all’s been good.


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