Have Batteries, Will Not Travel

One of the more irascible bloggers I follow makes a trenchant point about the economics of battery-powered cars, Teslas specifically.

Musk has a problem that many are aware of, but almost no one is writing about. 

Supposedly, Tesla once claimed its batteries are good for at least 350,000 miles…..

…..but, they’re now only warranted for 100,000 to 150,000 miles (depending on the car model) or eight years, whichever comes first. 

(With most Tesla drivers being work-from-home sorts, and with no chance to drive a Tesla cross-country due to lack of charging stations, and, this not being a “drive your kids to practice” type of car… eight years is likely to come MUCH sooner for most.) 

And, even during those eight years….. 

Tesla only guarantees charge retention of 70 percent of “new” (!!!!!!!!) 

Yes, this is all in writing. 

What does it tell you? 

It tells you that AFTER eight years…..

…..Tesla expects your battery performance to fall off a cliff, if it hasn’t already….. 

…..at which point, the car (at least, if a lower cost model) will be nearly worthless….. 

…..as you could almost (not quite, but close enough) buy a cheaper car, for the cost of replacing those batteries alone.

But, it’s actually MUCH worse than that.

A few years ago, Tesla’s were still rare on the roads.

Now, you can’t drive 5 minutes, daytime, on a major road in any large city or suburb, without seeing at least one, perhaps many.

So…..

Once EVERYONE’S battery starts to run down, i.e. hundreds of thousands, a million each year…..

…..what will THAT do to the replacement battery price? 

(Keep in mind, Tesla would still have to make batteries for new cars, they wouldn’t stop everything just to sell replacement batteries only.)

LOL, right?

At that point, just go ahead and buy a new car, your Tesla is SCRAP METAL.

But… before you can sell it for scrap… I assume it will be on you, to pay to separate out and dispose of the half-ton of toxic batteries.

So, in fact, you’ll have to PAY to dispose of the car.

It will have NEGATIVE value.

All of the above is in service to the writer’s larger claim that Elon Musk is a con artist who bought Twitter to escape the inevitable failure of Tesla. I dunno about that, but I DO believe that the economics of electric cars has always been dismal.

24 thoughts on “Have Batteries, Will Not Travel

    1. Gas-powered cars have improved over time, to the point that they represent a superior technology over battery-powered cars. We are fortunate that economic processes selected the superior technology over the course of the last 100 years, thus avoiding an extraordinary waste of resources and lost opportunities over that period.

      Like

    2. Unless we can find a way to manufacture some fuel equivalent to liquid petroleum, a switch to electric cars in inevitable, but trying to force that transition in 8 to 12 years is counterproductive.

      All that will do is to create such hardship that people will resist making that progress at all.

      The first time people can’t heat their homes on a cold night because the grid went down trying to charge too many electric cars even California will abandon EVs

      The change, absent some breakthrough, is going to take 30 to 50 years.

      Like

    1. That’s really just a lot of wishful thinking based on summertime assumptions.

      In the summer, electric demand peaks in the afternoon, so people charging their cars at night won’t overload the grid.

      But it’s winter, and people are being pressured, and in some places required, to transition to electric heat. Heat pumps only work down to 40 degrees or so, under that, the system reverts to energy intensive resistance heating in all electric heating.

      So, we have two new loads on the grid at night, EVs and electric heat. And don’t forget that wind and solar power are very unreliable in winter, as Europe is learning right now.

      Like so many command economy policies, there are no price signals to guide consumers. Instead we have two constituencies, the EV and electric heat advocates, making policy as though they were the only factor to consider.

      So, unless you can figure a way to charge cars at night in the summer and during the afternoon in winter, the grid is not up to it.

      Like

      1. “So, unless you can figure a way to charge cars at night in the summer and during the afternoon in winter, the grid is not up to it.”

        I think that is the point of the emerging technology described.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Emerging technology?

          What emerging technology is going to let you plug your car into your home charger when you’re not at home?

          FWIW, I think the long term answer is ‘charge as you go’ technology om major roadways.

          But that is decades away.

          Like

          1. “What emerging technology is going to let you plug your car into your home charger when you’re not at home?”

            Huh? We are discussing the effect on the grid of cars being charged, not driven. The technology discussed in the article will allow the aggregate of batteries connected to the grid to usefully absorb excess power (on a sunny day, for example) or to supplement power when it is needed. As the article points out, the grid currently supports the most demanding moments of the day and the season. At all other times there is excess capacity which now goes to waste but can be used by EVs.

            The article disagrees with your claim that EVs will bring down the grid, but maybe – as on so many subjects – you know more so much more than the authors.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The grid can only supply a limited amount of electricity at any one time,

            Most subdivisions, for example, don’t have the capacity for more than 20% of the residents to charge electric cars even under normal conditions. Add the high demand for night-time heating and night time car charging and it doesn’t matter how much electricity is available, it can’t be delivered without literally melting the wiring.

            Like

          3. The Forbes article deal with total demand over the year.

            What I am talking about is the instantaneous demand on cold nights at the subdivision level. It is very hard to rewire a subcivision after the fact.

            Like

          4. “What I am talking about is the instantaneous demand on cold nights at the subdivision level. It is very hard to rewire a subcivision after the fact”

            NOW you are talking about the substation level. You started out talking about the total grid.

            Well, to the extent that substation overloads becomes a problem in the real world, it will be dealt with by the technology described in the original article. The smart power points supplying vehicles will not draw power when it is not possible to do so safely.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. “Most subdivisions, for example, don’t have the capacity for more than 20% of the residents to charge electric cars even under normal conditions. Add the high demand for night-time heating and night time car charging and it doesn’t matter how much electricity is available, it can’t be delivered without literally melting the wiring.”

            Source? Or are you just making up crap again?

            Like

          6. I read a lot of things I don’t take notes.

            This was in an article Mr Roberts linked here months ago. I don’t have time to look it up but you can.

            Like

          7. I know the sun came up this morning. Is a cite required? This isn’t a term paper. Believe me or not, I don’t really care. Do your own research.

            Like

          8. “Believe me or not, I don’t really care. Do your own research.”

            Since the 20% figure you are basing your analysis on is total nonsense it is no wonder that you will not defend it, because you cannot. You really seem to think that any “fact” you pull from anywhere is good enough if it supports what you really, really want to believe.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. …”‘charge as you go’ technology om major roadways.

            But that is decades away.”

            Sorry , Don, but it is happening now, not decades form now. On a recent trip up US 13 (and beyond) to New York State, I came across chargers in several locations, INCLUDING the Maryland Welcome Center on the Northbound side of 13.

            Like

          10. “. . . charge as you go’ technology . . .”

            To be “fair and balanced” I think Dr. Tabor was referring to power strips in major highways that would charge the batteries by induction as you move along. That actually is decades away.

            Like

          11. So is the completion of the HRBT expansion. Or I should say it has taken decades to get to this point.

            But your point is taken. However, the melting transmission lines theory is just another load of crapola.

            Like

          12. Not what I’m talking about, I’m referring to an electrified roadway that charges your battery as you drive like the charging pad for your phone. Your battery would only have to carry you on minor roads.

            Like

          13. Paul explained it and I see what you are getting at wrt “charge as you go”

            HOWEVER, in the meantime, there are a growing number of charging stations being installed throughout the country making 20 minute charging readily available to the distance traveler.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s