Tesla Motors Staying the Course With Model S

· · 7 years ago

Tesla Motors will continue to use its existing battery technology with the upcoming Model S. According to Kurt Kelty, the company’s director of battery technology, the Model S, which is aimed at a more mainstream consumer than the Roadster, will use the same types of small 18650 cells originally currently used in the Roadster. The company is evaluating other types of batteries like prismatic and pouch format batteries used by its competitors, but for now is happy with the performance delivered by its current suppliers. Kelty said the Japanese cell manufacturers offer the best quality with Korean companies catching up quickly. He said no Chinese cell manufacturers currently meet Tesla’s quality requirements.

Kelty said the price of lithium ion cells has been falling by about 8% per year, and he doesn’t expect that to change in the next few years. He said his battery pack manufacturing costs will drop significantly once they are moved from the current manual process of installing cells one by one, to a more automated process. The shift will be necessary to accommodate the company’s contracts to supply battery packs to the Smart EV and the upcoming electric Toyota RAV4.

New to the Model S will be an alignment of batteries that will enable them to be quickly swapped out. The layout of batteries underneath the rear of the vehicle is not compatible with Better Place’s current design for automated batter swapping, and Tesla has not explored designing its own robotics system for automated battery exchange.

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The Model S will use Tesla’s proprietary fast AC charging equipment, with an adapter to plug into charging stations from companies such as Coulomb Technologies using the new J1772 standard available as a separate purchase. Tesla currently offers a $1500 universal adapter kit to enabling plugging into the many variants of 240V plugs available, or individual adapters for $100 each. The Model S will also have an optional adapter for DC fast charging as well.

The Model S will be sold with 3 battery pack size options: 160, 230, and 300 miles. Even the smallest of these options is more than enough to satisfy nearly all of most drivers’ trips. In most cases families with an EV will also have another car that will be used for the few long haul trips taken per year.

If driving the Model S is anything like driving the Roadster, it will likely be a hit with performance enthusiasts. While it’s a bit uncomfortable for those of us over 6 feet to climb into, driving the Roadster (as I did for 2 hours) is unlike any other car I’ve used. The urge to say “lift off” every time I pressed the accelerator with marginal force was strong. The Roadster holds the ground well and handles well on quick turns. The vehicle was designed with smarts so that you can coast without the regenerative braking slowing you down when you’re above 40 mph, but at slower speeds the braking brings you to a stop much more quickly than the other EVs I’ve tested. Being so low to the ground and the corresponding bumps in the road made driving highways speeds feel even faster than it is. Getting back into my rental mini-SUV left me feeling disappointing, save for no longer looking up to a Prius as if it were a giant vehicle.


· · 7 years ago

I for one am anxious to see Tesla bring the model S to showrooms. It can't happen fast enough. I wonder what the upcharge for the 230 & 300 mile battery packs will be. I figure it has to be around $18,000 and $30,000 respectively. I could probably do fine with the 160, but the 230 would really be perfect. I could even make it to the in laws house 205 miles away in Vermont.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 7 years ago

The Model S is very beautiful but like the Fisker Karma, the price is likely out of reach for the many, which makes them mostly irrelevant since they can never represent a major share of the car park. As anybody I would like one, but as Henry Ford knew, the car that really makes the difference is the one that you can sell in large volumes like the Ford Model T. In that aspect the Prius is stil a giant vehicle. The notion of dollar spend per CO2 emission avoided is taking its meaning here.

· · 7 years ago

The Model S isn't going to threaten the Chevy or Toyota market buf BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac. Lexus, Volvo, Audi, and Acura have a serious threat.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 7 years ago

Of course if they can replace some dino cars, that’s for the better!

· · 7 years ago

And, of course, there's the future in which they plan to move down- market with ever cheaper models. They now have a factory capable of high volume, low cost manufacturing. It is the same one that brought the highly successful Toyota Corolla to the US.
They just need to keep making enough money to expand their line.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

It was obvious from looking at Tesla Motor's recent videos of the Model S that their battery pack would not interchange with Better Place versions - it is , in fact, a structurally significant part of the vehicle. Increasing the battery pack should have little effect on the non-cell cost of the power system, and recently Tesla execs quoted $36K for their roadster, containing 250 mile range and I believe 63 kWhr capacity battery. But that
was for their power system as a whole, I believe. Therefore I won't take seriously Tom's estimate of $30K extra for an extra 140 miles of range over the standard 160. I'm estimaing that the upgrade would require an extra 35 kWhrs of capacity over the roadster and assuming that most of the extra cost is to go for cells, then I'll guess something less than $15K. Some source recently claimed $200 per Tesla KWhr batteries, which seems way too low, but would indicate an up charge on the order of under $10K. Stay tuned. Tesla didn't provide any price quotes, probably because
of the uncertainty of battery prices at the time of production. Of course, a larger battery pack will also last longer a well.

· Bill Said (not verified) · 7 years ago

When VCRs came out we paid $850 for our RCA Selectavision, whne DVDs players came they were over $1500. I paid $4000 for my Packard Bell 336 computer, today it costs less than $200 and considered a dinosaur.

The Roadster was the perfect attention getter, they know something about marketing to non-tekis and tree huggers. I am neither, I paid $76,900 for my Jaguar XK8 in 2003, I will gladly pay $50-$60K for an American made car which can go 300 mikes at 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.

Arent we all missing the bigger point, you do not have to stop at a gas station at all, ever. You can make it to your mother in laws bad Turkey dinner on one chrage and possibly back, while you can get on the highway with accereration rivaling a Porsche Carrara. While paying 1/5 the price.

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