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Thread: Tesla Electric Car

  1. #1
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    Tesla Electric Car

    While searching for an electric car, I stumble across this one.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php

    Looks interesting. 0-60 in 4 seconds, 200 mile range.

  2. #2
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Yes, they are based here in the Bay Area, we had them exhibit at our show last month. It looks pretty familiar and conventional, but I didn't get to drive it. As for the power train, the whole "engine" area is covered by a large molded plate, so nothing to look at....funny how we are so used to "Looking under the hood", someday we may just want to oogle the giigawatt readout....ooooh, cool capacitors dude!

  3. #3
    There has been much talk of it over in the Lotus forums, as it is built by Lotus for Tesla on the Elise platform. It was introduced almost eighteen months ago, yet I know three people who ordered them right away, and still there has been no delivery date confirmed to them.

    I am very keen to get an electric car that I can plug into my solar roof, and have been following the progress of the different manufactures battery development, as that is where the real key lies. I think that the Chevy Volt may end up beating Toyata's plug-in gen2 hybrid Prius to market
    Andrew Macpherson

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  4. #4
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    What about battery environmental impact? Mfg/disposal?
    Can your roof put out enough juice?

  5. #5
    I am not sure about the green footprint on the creation/production and recycling or disposal of these kinds of batteries, I would certainly hope it is good, and I am sure those doing this work must be watching this too. The one that beats me is BMW's continued hyping of hydrogen, the manufature of which takes far more energy than the H2 gives back as a fuel.

    The size of the solar roofing you can get with rebates is calculated by the amount of power you use in a calender year, divided by 12. Thus I could get a 4KW roof, which will do just fine at keeping my car trickle charged. The company who installed my solar roof also make rood panels for electric cars, so when the golf cart grows up, and we can use it for serious transport a solar roof will be a great addition - maybe even more popular that a performance exhaust on a gas car!

    I could easily triple the power output of my system based on roof area, but I wouldn't get any credits for the extra power generated at the current rebate structures. Personally I think this is ridiculous, if we could make a buck generating extra power I think it would be a huge boon for all homeowners, and one I would like to see enacted by our state government.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  6. #6
    Ahh, I can just picture an e-mini with a solar roof.

  7. #7
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
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    Li-ion questions

    First, nowhere does it say 0-60 in 4 seconds and a 200 mile range. Like a petroleum-fueled car, the range will vary inversely with performance used. Tesla's 2 hour recharge is based on 70 amps. The charger provided by them to charge the car out of a household electical outlet would take about 5 times longer to charge as these circuits are typically rated at 15 amps.

    SAFETY

    Regarding safety issuse. The Li-ion batteries used by Tesla are not inherently safe. There have been several cases of laptops bursting into flames from their Li-ion battery pacs. Of course, a sealed veseel filled with 15 gallons of gasoline can hardly be said to be safe. The problem with Li-ion batteries is their efficiency. Chanrging and providing power are chemical reactions. These reaction generate heat as a by-product. Li-ion batteries can go into thermal runaway, where the reaction is accelerated by the heat it generates - the reaction generates heat, which accelerates the reaction, causing it to generate heat at a greater rate, causing the reaction to accelerate, etc.

    Performing a search on Li-ion safety, I ran across this

    http://www.technologyreview.com/read....aspx?id=17250

    Technology.com is a site sponsored by MIT. As with any information available on the web, you have to consider credibility. Excuse my eastern bias, but this is as good as it gets in the sceintific world (I'd probably believe something sponsored by Stanford, almost as much).

    Tesla has done the right thing in engaging Exponent/Failure Analysis. They are a top-rated consulting firm, and parts of their report cited by Technology Review.

    Cited in the article are the facts that Tesla uses several small power packs, a liquid cooling system for the battery pack, three levels of fusing and overtemperature protection.

    TOXICOLOGY/ENVIRONMENTAL

    Lithium ion is a misnomer as the actual species generating the electricity is cobalt, so the effects of this element must be included when considering the toxicological or envrionmental aspects.

    Lithium Toxicology

    The best source for toxicological effects of chemicals is the EPA's RIAS site

    http://rais.ornl.gov/tox/profiles/lith.shtml

    The primary idicator of chemical toxicity is the LD50 - the level in mg/Kg of body weight that 50% of a test population of lab rats die from exposure ("LD50" stands for lethal dose 50).

    The LD50 for lithium is around 400-500 mg/Kg (comparatively, lead has an LD50 around 100 mg/Kg). It is predominant effect is on the central nervous system (not suprising, as most metals are CNS poisons, and lithium is used to treat neurological disorders). It has been shown to cause a congenital cardiac defect in babies born to women on lithium therapy, but is not known to be a carcinogen.

    Cobalt toxicology
    I couldn't find an RIAS for Cobalt, but did find an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)

    http://www.managem-ona.com/produits/..._de_cobalt.pdf

    The LD50 for Cobalt is more than an order of magnitude higher than for lithium. The big problem with colbalt is that, like most transition metals, it is a carcinogen.

    As a chemical engineer with30 years of exprience, this is far from benign in my opinion

    ENVIRONMENTAL

    Li-ion batteries do not last forever. The problem withthem as an automotive propulsion system is that their life is highly dependent on temperature

    Permanent Capacity Loss versus Storage Conditions
    Storage Temperature40% Charge100% Charge
    0 °C (32 °F)2% loss after 1 year6% loss after 1 year
    25 °C (77 °F)4% loss after 1 year20% loss after 1 year
    40 °C (104 °F)15% loss after 1 year35% loss after 1 year
    60 °C (140 °F)25% loss after 1 year40% loss after 3 months
    Source: BatteryUniversity.com[7]










    Given the temperature range in the area of the Tesla's manufacture (25 DegC to 40 DegC), the battery would last a little over 3 years.

  8. #8
    The big problem with colbalt is that, like most transition metals, it is a carcinogen.
    Fred, does this mean it can radiate, like uranium, plutonium etc, and by being in proximity to it you are possibly in harm's way, or do you have to handle and breathe it to have the exposure, as might happen in the result of a bad accident?
    Andrew Macpherson

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  9. #9
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    No it is not radioactive, it is like many other metals

    that once in the environment (such as toxic dumps for batteries), the cobalt is toxic and if ingested by animal life by either water contamination, or by an animal eating/consuming food that has high concentrations of it (like seafood or fresh water fish -- similar to mercury), the next one in the food chain is affected. It is like having contaminated ground water from a deep shaft mine near your well water or living near a power plant and the run off can get into the environment. The contamination in this case comes from what is done with the batteries when your car is done with them? You just can not throw them out and have them picked up by the local trash service and put into your local land fill!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  10. #10
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
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    Z8 Doc hit exacly on the problem.

    Cobalt does have one radioactive isotope. The battery does not use this poperty, so the isotope is present in the battery Co only in its naturally occurring percentage (very low) it is not a factor in the health or environmental effects. When I looked into the toxicology and environmental effects, I tried to eliminate any hazards associated with its radioactive isotope.

    The problem with cobalt is one of entry into the environment. This could be the result of an accident or of improper disposal.

    In a Li-ion cell, cobalt alternates between its +3 and +4 oxidation states (it accepts electrons during charging to go from Co(+4) to Co(+3) and releases them (going back to Co+4) when providing power. The two forms of cobalt used, cobalt dioxide and lithium cobalt dioxide. This is important, as most of the studies conducted on cobalt as a carcinogen have been done on cobalt sulfate. My check of the literature shows this to be CoSO4, which would be cobalt in its +2 oxidation state. Typically with transition elements (metals having multiple oxidation states) the carcinogenicity is dependent on oxidation state (for example, with chromium, it is the +6 state that is the most carcinogenic). The fact that it is the +2 oxidation state and in Li-ion cells Co is present at higher oxidation states is good news, as we live in an environment where oxidation is much more likely to occur than reduction (the transition from a high oxidation state to a lower oxidation state, (e.g., Co+3 going to Co+2) is known as reduction in electrochemistry); thus it is unlikely that Co+3 or Co+4 would be converted to the carcinogenic Co+2 by a naturally-occuring process that could occur if cobalt was unconrtollably released into the envionment.

    In any case, Tesla has already incorporated a recycling program

    http://www.teslamotors.com/learn_more/recycling.php

    As far as the safety and environmental aspects are concerned, I am very impressed by the fact that they have done their homework before bringing their product to market.

  11. #11
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    On the subject of the future of "greenish" performance vehicles, I get more excited about diesel. Not to mention, that it's mature technology that could be (is being) brought to market in the near future.
    thegunguy

  12. #12
    DSC Off biffom's Avatar
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    I agree on the Diesel front - If they drop the v10 into the new Audi it might be quite tempting and green to boot1 My issue with every diesel I've driven to date is the sound - it's dreadful! Anyone know what the audi race diesels sound like?

    Vis-a-vis the Tesla - The London Times has a nice Jay Leno review.

    http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol...uff&ATTR=tesla

    I'm 6'3 and it looks like it might be a bit tight. Andrew, how much room is there in the Lotus?

  13. #13
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    At speed diesels sound little different from gas engines. At idle, high-pressure injection and better mixture control has greatly reduced the traditional diesel chatter.
    thegunguy

  14. #14
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
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    Trust me, they still sound like a washing machine full of walnuts on the spin cycle.

  15. #15
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    I was very impressed with the lack of sound from the new M-B CDi line of diesels, both at idle and at road speed. If I did not know that I was driving a diesel, it would have been difficult to tell from sound or acceleration (it felt like a small 6 cylinder gasoline engine). I approached the test drive ready to hate it, but left optomistic that there is a real future for the new electronically fuel injected designs. Then I got into the Z8 and made some real noise.

  16. #16
    I have never driven a diesel car, but by an odd coincidence I just discovered that my ride for my 'ring trip in Aug is a 330hp 3 Series Alpina diesel, so I'll have some idea about the feel and ability of the last two years Le Mans winning fuel after that.
    Pix & reflections are destined for Roundel, but I'll certainly share an insight here first!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  17. #17
    Sport Button On - DSC Off FWK-Z8's Avatar
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    I've put 140K miles on a New Beetle TDI. With the windows up and the A/C on it's quiet, but put the windows down and there's no doubt what kind of powerplant it has.

    It is a remarkable engine - only 90 HP but 165 ft-lb of torque. I routinely get 45-50 MPG at 75-80 and going over a 1,300 ft pass twice a day.