Moment of Truth for Tesla Model S: When Waiting List Is Finished

By · December 26, 2012

The Tesla Model S is one of the crowning achievements for electric cars in 2012. It’s a stellar vehicle that is helping change perceptions of battery-powered vehicles. Still, the long-term fate of the Model S has not been determined. In 2013, I’ll have my eye on what happens in the summer, when Tesla is expected to have delivered vehicles to its backlog of reservation holders. Then, we’ll see how deep the market is for the luxury EV sedan.

EV waiting lists are tricky. In the middle of 2012, Nissan reportedly had 26,000 reservation holders for the LEAF—presumably some of which had already received their cars, and others who had already decided not to buy (and relinquish the reservation). It’s partly a guessing game, because automakers don’t divulge all these numbers. (If any readers have accurate reservation numbers for Nissan or Tesla, please share.)

Based on my interactions with Nissan and its dealers, there were already signs in the first months of 2012, that the early-adopter hand-raisers—a volume of which supposedly meant sustained high sales in 2012—had received cars. At that point, the EV enthusiasts who wanted a LEAF had one. Then, it was much less forgiving mainstream buyers who started shopping for the electric compact. The waiting list was over, and sales went flat.

End of the Waiting Game

I learned last week from Tesla that a Model S buyer who made a reservation in November or so is likely to take delivery in summer 2013. The company maintains the goal of delivering 20,000 vehicles in 2013. So, by summer 2013, it sounds like the waiting list of reservation holders will be gone, and you can buy a Model S—from reservation to delivery—in a matter of several weeks. That’s not quite like walking on to a dealership lot, and driving off the same day—as is the case with most vehicles on the market. But it’s a lot closer.

The trends indicate that Tesla is successfully ramping up production. That’s great news. But it’s one thing to ramp up sales when there’s a backlog of orders, and another matter to sustain production and sales at the pace of 20,000 units month after month, year after year. For the sake of the overall EV market, my fingers are crossed. Some of the wild card issues are how the availability of the relatively cheaper 60- and 40-kilowatt-hour packs will open the Model S to new buyers. And also how many Tesla fans will opt for the Model X all-electric SUV, potentially cannibalizing some Model S sales.

In June 2012, Tesla said it had 10,000 reservations—and at least a couple thousand of those have been delivered. The Model S’s recent car-of-the-year awards probably meant a bump in interest. When the awards stop coming, and the buzz subsides, and the backlog is burned off, that will be one of the moments of truth for Tesla and the EV future.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

I think anyone who wants an S have reserved one - given the coming price increase. May be Tesla will drag out the delivery till fall of 2013. After that it will be a hard slog.

Given the range, probably easier than Leaf - but given the price, more difficult than Leaf. If those are a wash - S will have the same demand as Leaf by the end of 2013.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

IMO, the Leaf is a bad comparison because, 1. It's ugly. It's rollerskate look and size only appeal to a small demographic of the most true granola treehuggers. 2. It's expensive for what you're getting. 3. Owners are forced to compromise on multiple fronts. 4. Did I mention it's ugly? Like Pontiac Aztec I-never-want-to-touch-it ugly? The S is a head-turner. It's lusted after like Apple products (which cause people to lose rationality and spend more than they ever thought reasonable, like me).
However, there are only so many wealthy individuals that will be willing to adopt the S. International orders may prop it up but I also have doubts of sustained 20,000/yr output. The X, based on the same platform, will possibly float the rest. Commonality of parts should help with margins.

· · 1 year ago

The waiting list is still growing at nearly 80 reservations per day. If Tesla will produce 20k cars per year they'll have a tough time catching up.

· Alex (not verified) · 1 year ago

National Geographic Super Car Tesla Model s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV-OXFNKVIM

· Alex (not verified) · 1 year ago

National Geographic Super Car Tesla Model s
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV-OXFNKVIM

· · 1 year ago

@Anonymous (not verified) "IMO, the Leaf is a bad comparison because"

Because you say so ? I've not seen any data that says Leaf sales are low because of looks. Your assertion is just like people who were sure Romeny was going to win.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Hey Brad, you should check out teslamotorsclub.com and find the thread "Model S reservation tally".

The reservation pace far exceeds the production goals, so no queue by summer 2013 is never going to happen. The number of people waiting in line is growing every day. If noone made a reservaton from now until fall 2013 the queue might be gone, but of course that`s not going to happen. Currently approximately 15.000 people are waiting in line. This adds up to 9 monts of non stop production.

Europe reservations pace has barely started the acceleration. Prices has just been announced, and when cars hit the streets in Europe Tesla will most likely see the same increase of reservation pace as US has seen since september 2012. So if noting disasterous happens, the queue will actually be longer in september 2013 than it is today. Hopefully Tesla will increase production of the Model S up to at least 30,000 a year.

· · 1 year ago

My point was not compare the relative pros and cons of LEAF vs. Model S. It was to say that waiting lists can look big, but evaporate quicker than expected. I believe that's true for all kinds of vehicles. It's one thing for people to raise their hand, and put down some money. It's easy to put down $100 for most people, which can inflate a waiting list. It's harder to put down $5k for the Model S--but the higher deposit perhaps gives people more of an incentive to get their money back if they're not sure. Regardless, a sale is not a sale until the ink is dry, and the EV is charging up in your garage.

Perhaps Model S will continue to gain momentum, and sales will be sustained for all of 2013, and for years to come. But nobody knows. Only time will tell.

· Steinar (not verified) · 1 year ago

Hey Brad, you should check out teslamotorsclub.com and find the thread "Model S reservation tally".

The reservation pace far exceeds the production goals, so no queue by summer 2013 is never going to happen. The number of people waiting in line is growing every day. If noone made a reservaton from now until fall 2013 the queue might be gone, but of course that`s not going to happen. Currently approximately 15.000 people are waiting in line. This adds up to 9 monts of non stop production.

Europe reservations pace has barely started the acceleration. Prices has just been announced, and when cars hit the streets in Europe Tesla will most likely see the same increase of reservation pace as US has seen since september 2012. So if noting disasterous happens, the queue will actually be longer in september 2013 than it is today. Hopefully Tesla will increase production of the Model S up to at least 30,000 a year.

· Jim_NJ (not verified) · 1 year ago

The Fisker Karma had a $5000 deposit, with over 3000 depositers heading into 2012. If you recall, Fisker announced price increase for those who didn't have deposits yet (sounds like Tesla's recent situation). From what I have found, Fisker only delivered less than 1500 Karma's this year.

While I think the Model S is superior to the Karma, the number of reservations in December of a previous year has tended to actually only materialize into 50% of the following year's sales (e.g. Leaf with $99 deposit, Karma with $5000 deposit, and Volt with a free 'want list'). History has shown you to be correct in Brad's assertion that " waiting lists can look big, but evaporate quicker than expected."

When I bought my Volt in March 2011, people were paying $5000 over sticker, and there were claims that the factory couldn't keep up with demand. (Thankfully I had a relationship with the dealer, and got mine at sticker.)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

@EVNow, I see you read my treehugger comment and got all in a wad over it, triggering flashbacks of a Romney attack on EVs. Why so defensive? Oh, you own one don't you? Appearance was but ONE thing(although mentioned twice). Did you stop reading? Talk to people outside your Leaf fan club. Isn't narrow minded a term owned by the left? The Leaf appeals to a tiny minority, and that appeal is generally over size, not style. Most of all, it's range guarantees it's a city dweller. A city dweller that still requires trip planning around the nearest EV port. Only the most early of adopters will be willing to pay this kind of money to do this. The compromises due to small size and limited range are many. Maybe it's fun for your circle, but not the rest of us. Regardless, I started off with IMO.
@Brad, in summary, I agree with what you're saying. My point was the Leaf is limited in nearly every facet which is likely why sales dried up so quickly. Volt sales are stronger because of less compromise, IMO. <-----I said IMO there. Tesla, while expensive, has a very broad appeal and virtually no compromise. It allows people to jump ship from an ICE to EV without changing habits. We're creatures of habit.
For the record, before anyone labels me as a pro-Romney, anti-EV hack, I'll be getting my Model S soon. EV is the way to go. The Leaf was a misguided attempt at it, IMO.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

I read somewhere that BMW sells roughly 11,000 7 Series sedans a year. The BMW, Audi and Mercedes are the 85KW Model S' price point competitors. I would think the lesser priced models will have to eat into 5 Series and the like sales for Model S to sustain 20K per year. The nice part about all of this is that we have a front row seat to watch. I for one will be rooting for Tesla as I like where the idea takes us as a country. Musk has produced one solution to the world's energy needs. We need a thousand more Musks doing the same so that America can be part of the solution and not just the leading consumer of energy.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Have owned my Model S for72 hours. Amazing car.

Its not just the 5/7 series and E/S Class that Tesla will take sales away from. I've talked to more owners who came from Priuses, Accords and Camrys or even Porsches, but were enthralled with the green aspect, the tech or the performance.

Tesla will have no problem selling 20k cars a year, and will most likely have to add another shift to keep up with international demand (where fuel is often 8 to 9 dollars per gallon). Heck, Norway will probably account for 5000 sales a year, as the tax benefits make the car cost the same as a compact car.

· dhrivnak (not verified) · 1 year ago

I finally had a chance to see the Model S in person today and I agree it is a most impressive car. It outshines the BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac and other sport sedans in so many ways. Before you consider knocking the car you owe it to yourself to see it.

· Asoka (not verified) · 1 year ago

Brad - I commend the user community generated thread tracking Model S reservations at:
http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/5747-Model-S-Reservation-T...

Post #2120 is a recent recap - the short version is that current reservation pace is closer to 35k Model S / year (Model X reservations are tracked in a different thread). That pace has been picking up as Model S finds its way into the wild and people are seeing it. And yes, that pace has also picked up (80ish to 110ish/day) recently as year end approaches, and people are getting their reservations in before the price increase.

So definitely interested in seeing what happens with the reservation pace: a) in the new year and b) once stores begin opening and cars start being delivered in Europe.

The whole massive thread will give you a feel for the pace and timing of reservations over time.

As others have commented, between the conversion to actual orders, and the pace of reservations, the bigger problem for Tesla appears to be whether they can get the rate of manufacturing up high enough to keep the list from getting too long. Or at least, that's how I see it.

· ThomasF (not verified) · 1 year ago

Comparing anything about the Model S to the Leaf just seems to be a reach. Interest in the Leaf faded because in real life the car is extremely limited and it takes real believers to pay a huge premium for a crippled car.

There is nothing crippling about buying a Model S. Its very price competitive with its peers, has a coolness factor that they can't match and will save tens of thousands of dollars in operational costs over the life of the vehicle. Even folks with money appreciate being able to save that kinda dough.

And as pointed out already, the wait list for the Model S is growing right now, even though the factory appears to have reached their ~20k/year production goals (and are rumored to be exceeding them). The pace of reservations has been growing steadily, and for at least the last two months it has been far in excess of the 20k/year requirement.

My recollection of the Leaf wait list is that it pretty much evaporated as soon as the car came out and people had a chance to test drive it and see it in person. In contrast, interest in the Model S has continued to accelerate.

· · 1 year ago

Damn, sure is a lot of Leaf bashing going on. Why? It's a great car. Its not ugly or limiting for our family at all. Not a big premium to pay, either. It costs about the same as the average new car, yet costs very little to operate. Look it up.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

I think when the waiting list is done, the waiting list for the Model X will be ready. Also, when that is done, then the $35k Tesla will be opening its waiting list...

It is like iPhone, iPhone2, iPhone 3G, 3Gs, 4G, 4Gs and then 5G...

As long as Tesla continue to innovate, then it will be just fine...

· Grendal (not verified) · 1 year ago

As someone who put $50. down for a Leaf reservation, I can say that they were advertising 100 miles on a charge yet it was quickly understood that the practical range was 70-75 miles instead. It's still a great car for what it is, but the Leaf isn't too useful for my needs and I dropped my reservation long ago.

· iPhoney (not verified) · 1 year ago

Folks are being too quick to praise the Model S and diss the LEAF. Sure the "S" drives well, but there are still uncertainties. Will there be any big issues, like premature battery degradation? We won't know for several months more. It's going to be an interesting watch. I'm hoping Tesla is successful.

· · 1 year ago

Hummmm I may regret it but I was very much on the boarderline as to whether to reserve a Model S. I finally decided against it, and I'll keep my Roadster for quite a while longer.

Incidentally, with the bad storm we just had I managed to get my Roadster stuck in the street in front of my house and it took about 1 1/2 hours to get it back in the garage. The Tesla at least tries to work during problems (although that "illegal gear change" protect you from yourself nonsense does prevent beneficial Rocking. If you're not from the Northeast or Canada you probably can only imagine what I'm talking about.

I mention that to compare it with the Volt, which I also got stuck 3 times today. I have a 2011, and since I have seen NO MENTION of it ever, I can say this categorically. THE CAR IS HORRIBLE IN SNOW. Just found that out. I drove it in moderate snow last season because I was driving the Tesla Roadster . But the volt is almost unuseable (2011), and since no one has mentioned it I have no reason to believe the 2012-13 are any better. The problem is they didn't do simulation testing during snowy weather. Once the wheels start slipping you lose all power, down to about a couple of horsepower, and rocking forward and back is impossible. The only thing you can do is "Rock Forward", and that with only like 5 horsepower. Unbelievably bad, and shame on GM for not making sure their drive module computer handled this situation. But its just one of many things where the car assumes its smarter than its owner. To date, this has been the most important flaw that heretofor I was unaware of. I used to eagerly recommend the Volt. Now, for this climate, my recommendation is going to have to be much more reserved. Too Bad, a problem that could have been non-existant except for engineering arrogance and carelessness.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland,

Do you have snow tires on your Volt? Just curious.

· Warren Driscoll (not verified) · 1 year ago

Defiantly an interesting documentary. I've been waiting almost a year for my car & I am resevation # 10400ish. I was told that mine will be here in April because I ordered the red color. The price increase is not that much $2500 for a car that is changing the driving experience as we know it. Once phase 3 comes in, Tesla will be unstoppable. From what I've seen it wont be long & there will be another model to choose from

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have a reservation for an S. I looked at the Leaf, but there were some key issues that kept me from buying one. First, nobody at Nissan would tell me how the battery warranty worked, or what the battery service would cost (this was almost a year ago). Second, there wasn't much room in the car. Third, the interior looked cheap and the styling was poor. Finally, it was expensive for what it is, a small economy car.

The Model S is a luxury car that's faster than my G37 and has a lot of room for passengers and cargo. It also will save me a few hundred bucks a month in gas, let's me drive in the carpool lane and not pay license tax in AZ. Telsa also announced their service plans, warranties and battery replacement costs. That was what made me finally pull the trigger. Not to mention they have experience with Roadster battery packs to base their lifespan assumptions on.

I believe they are doing about 75 reservations per day with around 15k backlog. These are people with skin in the game. I would be very surprised if they lose 50% from cancellations.

One more thing on the Leaf, there's no active battery temp control. In Arizona it's a very bad thing to have your batteries subjected to 115 degree heat without an active cooling system.

· · 1 year ago

@SmithJim1961

That has little to do with it Jim, In moderate snow its fine, in heavy snow it shuts down. Only car I've ever had that does that. Believe it or not my Tesla Roadster can handle more snow than the Volt. Its a stupid thing that may be excused if the car was designed by 3 guys in a garage in their spare time. Inexcuseable at GM. With some of the horror stories I've heard, there are too many employees like that Blonde "Head Engineer" explaining the contracted out 'synergy drive'. But you'd at least expect they'd have 3 key people who knew something. I was seriously considering the caddy elr, and the Tesla S. But now I've decided against both. Maybe 2 electrics is enough.

In keeping on topic, the Tesla S would be ok I'm sure, but there were a couple of things that made me decide against it. First of all, I've had my fill of touch screens what with the poorly designed and untroubleshooted thing in the VOLT. (screen lock ups at critical times, computer delays in real time, plus the issue of being much too hard to change anything quickly, and giving very sparse info, plus not being able to do anything the car doesn't feel like doing. If I had an I phone I would no doubt like the Model S more, but I don't. Unnecessary inflexibilty toward options or lack of them,plus having to pay for 'ranger' service within warranty (not the case with the Roadster) finally threw the balance over to deciding against it.

I will keep my 2 electrics for now. Would like to see if someone puts a decently sized battery in an EV, and hopefully a BIG EV. This chinese dude who occassionally blogs here except when you need specific info, says his company's batteries are half price. So I think I'll wait until they start selling his 500,000 km , 150 kwh unit in some future car.

· evcar.pl (not verified) · 1 year ago

Is there anybody who could answer me how heater in Model S is working and how it's affects range? Can not find any info about that. For winter around -20 deg C for two weeks, then like -10 to 0 deg C for other winter months.... I drive iOn (iMIEV brother) and heater does affect range by 30-40% :(

· Bill Middlecamp (not verified) · 1 year ago

I think the Tesla waiting list is probably a lot more reliable than the Leaf list was. Depositing a fully refundable $99 for a spot on the Leaf list was easy, and for the curious without enough wealth for a Tesla, there was really no other game in town. A friend and I did this while we waited and watched the information trickle out. I became satisfied with the car's price and abilities and bought. He did not buy (yet--he's evaluating the 2013's features).

It's true that the Leaf is most effective as a city car, but it's cost competitive with a mid-size car in that application. That's a very important milestone. The Tesla is a great car for those who can afford it, but it's not cost competitive with most cars. As for appeal, beauty is a function of desire. Because I desire the capabilities of the Leaf, I think it's a beautiful car! This may be the same psychological mechanism for why people can drink diet soda ;-)

Finally, I love how the Leaf handles in the snow. I put Blizzaks on mine, but my friends who own Leafs tell me the stock tires handle well too. The Leaf has more road clearance than the Volt, and I'll bet that is a factor. Electric drive and traction control seem to go hand in glove.

· Jim_NJ (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland: The 2012 and later Volts have a 'disable traction control' button. Alas, 2011 owners (like myself) have to contend with poor snow capabilities in our Volts. I purchased a set of snow cables (which claim they'll work in low-clearance, alloy-wheel applications), but haven't had to use them yet.

@evcar.pl: The Model S uses both a heat pump and a resistive element immersed in the same fluid. This is kind of like the Volt, except the Volt doesn't use a heat pump, but can use engine heat to heat up the same fluid loop. For the Model S, Musk has claimed that the reduction in range when using heat will be about 20%, but I haven't heard of any real-world experiences yet. My Volt sees a 30% drop in range in the winter, but barely any reduction in range when using A/C. My advise to anyone buying an electric car: Get a black car with a black interior. On sunny days, even if it's just 40 degrees outside, I don't have to use any heat because the black car with black interior warms up very quickly. And like I said, in the summer, the AC doesn't affect range hardly at all.

· Jim_NJ (not verified) · 1 year ago

It's funny how history repeats itself. Go to 'mynissanleaf.com' or 'gm-volt.com' and look at their message boards in December 2010, shortly after the Leaf and Volt were introduced. You'll see the same type of "We're going to exceed the sales forecasts!" posts as you see on Tesla's message boards.

Here's the recent history for Plug-in car sales to reservations just before sale really began:

December 2010: Chevy Volt 'want list' = 23,698
Actual Sales in 2011: 7,671
Sales-to-'want list' ratio: 32%

December 2010: Nissan Leaf $99 reservations = 26,000
Actual Sales in 2011: 9,674
Sales-to-reservation ratio: 37%

December 2011: Fisker Karma $5000 reservations = 3,000
Actual Sales in 2012: Less than 1500
Sales-to-reservation ratio: ~50%

What we can learn is that actual sales fall far short of reservations at the beginning of the year, and the more actual money put down, the higher the the actual sales (proving point that people say about $99 for a Leaf being easier than $5000 for a Model S or Karma). I think Tesla will have a better "sales-to-reservation ratio" than any of the above cars (because it's a better car), but even if Tesla hit's 100% they will not sell 20,000 Model S's in 2013. "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."

Also, I find it a bit disengenious of Tesla to still be touting ranges of 300 miles and 230 miles for their top and mid-level range. This is when charged in "range mode" (not recommended for daily use), driving at 55 mph, and with minimal use of climate controls. Yes, there are MANY Nissan Leaf owners who have driven over 100 miles on a charge, but Nissan doesn't boldly advertise the Leaf as having a 100 mile range, nor does Chevy advertise a 50 mile range for the Volt.

The real range for Model S's in mid-winter, when charged as Tesla advises, is more realistically 190 miles and 150 miles for the high and mid level Model S's (I'm going with a more realistic 30% range reduction as opposed to Elon's claim of 20% - I just don't think even Elon Musk can break the laws of thermodynamics). It's still a great achievement, but far shart of 300 miles and 230 miles that are prominently displayed on Tesla's web site.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Middlecamp

My chime-in on the Leaf is my Test Drive made it quite appealing. Can't comment on snow performance (Volt is Horrible in Heavy Snow, it just shuts down to 5 horsepower). I
ALMOST bought a Leaf. My NOSE told me there would be an issue about the battery, since there didn't seem to be reassuring language as to range. I read one blog where in very cold weather (where the car was not able to be preheated) the car would only go about 20 miles on a full charge and the last 5 miles was at 5mph.

In retrospect, due to this range / battery issue ( I live in the second coldest spot of the lower 48) it was a wise decision. Put another way, If there was a decent battery in the Leaf, (say, this chinese dude's 150 kwh model) it would have been an instant sale, even at$30,000 more to pay for the big battery. But then according to this chinese dude, the battery would be good for 300,000 miles, and the car's range in good weather would be 450 miles. Bad winter weather would be an acceptable 200 miles.

· · 1 year ago

@Anonymous (not verified) : "Maybe it's fun for your circle, but not the rest of us."

The basic question I asked was - do you have data to backup your claim ? You don't. Yet, you continue to insist yo speak for the "rest of us".

Let me assure you, I've talked to a lot of non-owners of Leaf about Leaf - infact a lot more of them than owners of Leaf.

People don't buy Leaf because it is a change in the paradigm - it is too much of a leap of faith for most of them. A good QC network would solve most of the problems. So would a longer range - but that won't come for the same price. As we see in Model S.

@ · Jim_NJ (not verified) : "It's funny how history repeats itself."

Exactly. History just keeps repeating itself. People who are in the ivory tower think everyone owns an elephant.

· · 1 year ago

@Jim_NJ

You must use eco mode with your heater. I live in a much colder area than you. The Coldest days you MUST use COMFORT setting otherwise you wont see out of the windshield ( I almost had an accident trying to avoid using it ). On the coldest days, with the resistive battery heater also running, I get an 85% range reduction... You read that right. The normally 45 mile range in Spring and Fall with conservative driving drops to about 6 miles on the coldest days. Mostly this is due to traffic slowing to a crawl so you have many minutes of heater use. FORTUNATELY you have engine backup in this car, and an economic mode of operation is to switch to MOUNTAIN mode to get the Engine on as soon as possible (mostly to make the heater WORK for the first time, and to save your expensive electric battery juice).

Economics of the VOLT: 1/3 the cost of gas most of the time (In areas like mine with pricey electricity - 13 cents / kwh)

During very cold weather, its actually cheaper to let the engine run a bit... In my area its actually cheaper to use waste engine heat to heat the battery and interior. Yes its 3 times as expensinve as electric to push the car, but the heaters dump all the battery juice anyway. And before someone suggests a Heat Pump, in this weather the Heat Pump COP (coefficient of performance = EER/3.413 ) drops to under 1. 1 is where you put the same heat value of electricity in to get the same amount of heat out. Besides the fact that it would be no doubt undersized for the job.

· · 1 year ago

Bill,

" Put another way, If there was a decent battery in the Leaf, (say, this chinese dude's 150 kwh model) it would have been an instant sale, even at$30,000 more to pay for the big battery. But then according to this chinese dude, the battery would be good for 300,000 miles, and the car's range in good weather would be 450 miles."

Why would you give any credibility to unproven outrageous claims from some "chinese dude"?

· · 1 year ago

@JRP3

So he claims, he was upset that PlugInCars didn't cover a big event on a new era battery release in Shanghai? I think there were 2 reasons.
1). Not enough money to go to china and back, I assume this blog is a semi-shoe string operation.
2). No one probably advised Brad Berman beforehand.

Is the guy for real? I can't make that decision, but I usually hold people to what they say. I keep asking for the URL for the website describing all this great stuff, but I have yet to get it, We'll see.

But one thing is true. If there were a 1/2 price 150 kwh battery option for the Nissan leaf - over 6 times the standard 24 kwh one, (Please throw in an extra huge 7200 watt charger as well) , I'd have been sure to buy one.

· · 1 year ago

Apparently no other news outlet in the world covered the event either. 150kWh pack is just insane anyway and not needed. 7200 watt charger isn't that big by the way, my conversion has one, and Tesla comes with a larger one, 10kW I think, with options for twin chargers. Not to mention access to the 90kW supercharger network.

· · 1 year ago

@Jrp3

Some of my comments are just slightly tongue in cheek.. 7.2kw charger in most ev's would make sense because its the most popular size EVSE purchased by people and would therefore fully utilize the products they've purchased. 150 kwh is not insane, I'm quite well grounded and I do need one and if battery prices decreased you will see many sales of them... To correct your other statements 9.6 kw is standard on the S, 19.2 kw is a $1500 option, and then a $1200 EVSE is also needed for a total of $2700 plus tax. Ratings are based if you are lucky enough to have 240 volts under load at the car. A J1772 80 amp adapter is included in the base price of the car, as well as an electricrange wall plug and a nema 5-15, which use the included Universal Mobile Connector (UMC).
Replacements are $500 plus tax.
You are welcome to your opinion, but its just that, one person's opinion. But I'm not quite so narrowminded. What works for you does not work for me.

· · 1 year ago

Fair enough, just don't hold your breath for any such pack any time soon.

· Modern Marvel Fan (not verified) · 1 year ago

"On the coldest days, with the resistive battery heater also running, I get an 85% range reduction... You read that right. The normally 45 mile range in Spring and Fall with conservative driving drops to about 6 miles on the coldest days"

Well, I guess the 2013 model with EV hold will really help. Or just don't charge up and leave the house with "empty" battery.

ICE or Hybrids in those extreme cold weather will sufficient significant loss in MPG as well, but not nearly as much as 85%. More like a 20% loss...

My 39 EV miles range drop to about 28 miles with defrog on (A/C and heat) and heat on comfort. But I live in California. When I do need to go in snowy conditions such as skiing in Lake Tahoe, I drive my AWD gas guzzler SUV... (14 mpg on the way there [uphill] and 23 mpg on the way back [downhill])

· · 1 year ago

@Modern Marvel Fan

Actually with my 2011 I've already implemented your Idea. I don't have a 'hold' but I do have a 'mountain mode' which fills up 40% of the battery...By juggling things, I can keep the hot water just warm enough that I don't have to use the resistance heater (I have ZERO control over the battery resistance heater but I think the system automatically uses hot water if its available to heat it so the resistance heater will shut off), and then push the car on batteries until the water cools off, then its BACK to mountain mode to
1). charge the battery back up
2). heat the water back up and avoid the two electric heaters.
3). push the car for a while.

Hey, If I'm expending gas I'm darn well sure going to get my money's worth out of it. Actually, I think you'd find this mode of operation very efficient... It sure is cheaper than watching 13 cents / kwh juice disappear.

· shamz (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Bill

I drive the 2013 Ampera regularly in snow and ice here in Norway where most every road has some sort of incline and haven't experienced the "uselessness" of the Ampera at all. I have probably a 10% grade up and down the main hill to my apartment (the Norwegians have some pretty insane residential roads given the combination of snow and rain one gets in an average winter) and I get up and down with few difficulties every day. She's a little heavier so one needs to take it easy driving downhill (there are four sipped bumps along the way) and in our many roundabouts because the heavier tail weight can cause the rear end to slide a bit, but not a problem if one has winter driving skills. I didn't buy a dune buggy, so I don't expect it he Ampera to behave like one. We also have a lot greater focus on high quality winter tires (basically no one uses all-season tires here or elsewhere in Western Europe for any car) made for the road conditions common in Scandinavia in winter.
My suggestion is to test the car with the best winter tires you can find with the recommended tire dimensions.

· Herald (not verified) · 1 year ago

@shamz

Actually I drive a Prius with Vredestein four seasons’ tires and they are excellent in the winter. I guess they would be a good fit for the Ampera as well. Those tires are a bit more expensive but they spare the hurdle of changing them each season and, for once, they really fit their name.

· · 1 year ago

Perhaps some of the Leaf's sales problems were due to price changes. During the run-up we were expecting maybe $30k before incentives - when they finally showed up in Colorado in early 2012 the as-equipped-by-dealer prices were topping $37k - and they were asking for $1-$2k premiums over list.

I don't know how representative we are, but we gave up on the Leaf due to price and only looked again 2 months ago when our oldest car entered its death throes. I was pleasantly surprised to see prices much lower - and when I contacted the internet departments of Colorado Nissan dealers was blown away by the lease offers I was given (I'll just say that we are paying a lot less than the nationally advertised $249 lease, with better terms). Now we're considering two Leafs given all the local driving our family does, including teenagers. Also - with the lease we don't worry about long-term battery issues - if the industry data look good when the leases expire we'll consider buying, if not we'll re-lease.

I know that car manufacturers feel they have to have high MSRPs so they have room for massive price incentives. But in the case of EVs maybe that's the wrong approach. Maybe they should start with the lowest prices for a while now to get the cars on the road where word-of-mouth advertising can kick in.

Oh - and for the person who asked about Leaf performance in the snow - I am extremely pleased to report that is it surprisingly terrific. We live at 7400 ft elevation and snow is a routine event from September to May. We figured that on snow days we'd use one of the other cars - all with snow tires and some with AWD. However, the Leaf traction control and ABS do very nicely with the stock all season tires. There is an option to defeat traction control, which I hope to never have to use but know from experience is a HUGE benefit when you are stuck in now. And while we drive in Eco mode 99.9% of the time the D mode is perfect for uphill on slipperly roads that have not yet been sanded.

For those who talk about the Leaf's appearance - yeah I can see that this might be a turn-off for some people. It's basically a Versa outside with some cosmetic changes for the lights. You're not going to impress anyone with this car. As we have no special stickers that say it's an EV no one notices it at all - in two months not one person has looked at it twice, much less commented. However, I'm not sure how many people in the Leaf target market care about appearance - we sure don't. We love the new tech, the general cleanliness of the whole vehicle (HATE gas and diesel fumes and tasks like oil changes), and of course the huge savings in fuel costs.

· · 1 year ago

I think the looks do hurt the LEAF, even for the target market, which includes me. Tesla Model S owners report people swarming around their cars and asking questions, the car is it's own advertisement and is driving further sales. A LEAF that goes unnoticed does not. Obviously they are different vehicles with different markets, though with some overlap, but it doesn't cost more to design and build a better looking vehicle. The S also ended up with a better aerodynamic design, which helps increase the range, something the LEAF certainly could use. These early cars need to inspire passion.

· · 1 year ago

"Tesla Model S owners report people swarming around their cars and asking questions, the car is it's own advertisement and is driving further sales."

I see S'es regularly. None seems to notice them (to my surprise). Nice cars - but looks like any other luxury car.

BTW, even though Leaf has odd looking headlights, rest of the bosy is a fairly typical compact hatch. Very few people noticed it even when I first started driving it (and there were just a handful of them in WA).

· · 1 year ago

Well they look like an Aston Martin Rapide, which is not any other luxury car. Certainly the S is a very nice looking car where the LEAF is "bleh" to many. As I say, S owners report a different experience than you. They talk of "Tesla time", where you need to leave extra time to make a trip because they get bombarded with so many questions.

· Jolinar (not verified) · 1 year ago

I think that reservation queue is not going to be shorter... currently reservation rate is about 80 cars a day (which is 30.000 per year; even if every 6th reservation holder would cancel reservation it is more than Tesla can satisfy) and that is still considering that too many people in Europe and Asia never heard about it. Some of my friends who are "EV positive" never heard about Model S until I told them. And there are a lot of people (at least in my country) who never heard about EVs at all. Tesla can appeal a lot of wealthy people with their distribution strategy in malls and big shopping centers.

· Jolinar (not verified) · 1 year ago

I think that reservation queue is not going to be shorter... currently reservation rate is about 80 cars a day (which is 30.000 per year; even if every 6th reservation holder would cancel reservation it is more than Tesla can satisfy) and that is still considering that too many people in Europe and Asia never heard about it. Some of my friends who are "EV positive" never heard about Model S until I told them. And there are a lot of people (at least in my country) who never heard about EVs at all. Tesla can appeal a lot of wealthy people with their distribution strategy in malls and big shopping centers.

· · 1 year ago

Here is the tesla forum thread covering this article.

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/12163-Plug-In-Cars-article...

Ofcourse, there people don't think S will ever have problems selling 20k a year. Just like we all did back in the day about Leaf.

· · 1 year ago

This discussion prompted me to make a blog post about it:
http://ephase.blogspot.com/2012/12/growing-demand-for-tesla.html

Quite simply the Model S is a different animal than the LEAF. Tesla got it right, Nissan, maybe not so much.

· · 1 year ago

@Shamz

Just curious as to pricing on the Ampera (I assume this is an Opel).

IS it in the US$40000 range?

Is the standard charge cord setup for either 6 or 10 amperes? IF so do you change the charge rate from the touch screen?

Is there a 14 or 15 amp single phase wall mount J1772 option?
Thanks for any information you can provide.

· Kristjan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Hi Bill,

Ampera MRSP including VAT is between 46000-51200 EUR in Europe before incentives. Chevy sells also Volt in Europe, prices 43-46 000 EUR. With the car comes 10A charger, it looks exactly the same as Mitsubishi i and Leaf have with the car. Wall mount can be bought for 1000 EUR including ionstallation and it's 16A single phase. Leaf is priced EUR 35000-40000 depending on country, Mitusbishi i is 25-30 000 EUR. Incentives in Europe vary very much, many countries have nothing, some really high, in Estonia state supprots the purchase up to 50% of the price, maximum 18000 EUR.

· Howard (not verified) · 1 year ago

The NISSAN LEAF is a total piece of crap. The technology in it does not come close to the 1997 RAV4-EV. It is inferior to 1990's technology.

· · 1 year ago

@Kristjan

Here's a picture of the optional, $490 unit that many Volt owners purchase (200-240 volts, 15 amps )

http://www.pluginamerica.org/accessories/gm-voltec-evse

Here's a picture of the 120 volt Voltec charge cord that comes standard with the volt (there have been 4 different models, the latest instigated by Yours Truly), the picture shows the second model, but they've all been recalled. The main box is the same on the last 3 versions, the only difference is trivial changes with the cord ends.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/24/chevrolet-volt-replacing-120-volt-pow...

Do any of these units look like the ones you get?

· Kristjan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Hi Bill,

Ampera Voltec charger which comes with the car(from Germany) looks the same, just it's 240 Volts. Home wallmounts are different, I do not know what Opel offers officially as here Ampera is not available yet. I have 16A wall mount which is of Spanish origin, sold and installed by power service company. There is very many different ones available, guess on this one they make the best profit, looks really cheap, probably also is as it's already once replaced under warranty. Proper installation pays off, here the photo of one electric car in neighbouring city where the charger was installed not too professionally.. http://www.virumaateataja.ee/1055830/ohutus-soltub-juhendite-jargimisest/

· · 1 year ago

@Kristjan

Hi, Couldn't even see it, must have burned up with the I-miev's Tires.

· · 1 year ago

One way to see if the car has staying power would be to search for used Model S's that aren't people buying them on speculation since they have a waiting list. They are quite hard to find given that they have delivered so many thousand cars. The prices are quite high also. IMO, their sales would increase if people could get them in 6 weeks, say. The display stores can't legally sell them on the spot in most states, of course. If a used Model S market developed that would allow for leasing too without having Tesla backing them since there isn't a used market price without cars being sold. There will be some sold - there are always estates and so on. But the low resales so far are very encouraging for the car.

Tesla's insight seems to be that they could make a better high-end car enabled by being electric. Further, the costs of their IC engine competitors will be going up steeply, especially in the EU with oncoming rules affecting fuel consumption and emissions. The Model S should become more and more competitive in that respect. They can be effectively coach builders on their own platform that appears to have been designed with that in mind (looking at the platform in their Santana Row showroom). The drivetrain/rear suspension is even on a subframe, effectively a module.

Lower end electrics aren't really economic right now at least in the US, and their range is to low. However, the dollar is dropping, oil is a commodity, and so the US gasoline price has nowhere to go but up just from that. Possibly markedly up in a few years. Battery tech and cost really drives it. At Tesla's price point, they can just buy a big battery. That looks like the rest of the car may have a cost advantage over their EU high-end IC engined peers in the market even given their imported content (??). So battery improvements benefit them disproportionately.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
    EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
  2. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  3. Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  4. Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
  5. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  6. Comprehensive Electric Vehicle Charging Guide for Businesses
    How do you ensure that electric car owners will be happy with every visit to your charging spot?
  7. How to Use the PlugShare EV Charging Station Tool
    Locate EV charging stations and optimize their use with a powerful mobile app.
  8. Guide to Quick Charging of Electric Cars
    Add 50 to 60 miles of range in about 20 minutes. Here's how.
  9. Calculating the Real Price of EV Public Charging
    Compare the cost of charging on the road to what you pay at home.
  10. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.