Tesla Roadster runs for 241 miles in Monte Carlo e-rally
On a single charge of the battery, too
'Leccy Tech As an answer to those who say e-cars will never take off because their range is limited, this isn't at all bad. A Tesla Roadster managed to cover 241 miles on a single charge while taking part in the Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives.
Organised by the Automobile Club of Monaco, the annual rally is open to cars powered by just about any 'alternative' fuel source, such as LPG, ethanol or even petrol-powered hybrid drives.
The rally course runs 390km (241 miles) from the town of Valance in France to the Principality of Monaco and covers a mixture of trunk roads, motorways and single-carriageway roads that wind through the mountains.
This year's all-electric entrants included a Ruf-modified Porsche 911 and a handful of Mitsubishi iMiEVs but it was the Tesla that stole the e-car laurels by managing to get cross the finishing line with an indicated 61km (38 miles) of juice left in the battery pack.
That would give the Roadster a theoretical maximum touring range of nearly 280 miles – 36 miles more than Tesla itself reckons the car will cover on a charge.
If the numbers stand up to official scrutiny, Tesla will hold the world record for the longest distance travelled by a production electric car on a single charge.
Of course, it should be pointed out that the Tesla was driven by a company staffer doubtless practised in eking out every last mile from a charge, and that the speeds averaged on the run were hardly blistering – 90kph (56mph) on the motorways, 60kph (37mph) on trunk roads and 30kph (19) in the mountain roads. Tesla reckon the average speed for the entire journey was 45kph (28mph).
After a day spent proving the Tesla's economy and range, the car was handed over to former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen who took it for a thrash around one of the Monte Carlo Rally's special night stages. Nobody is saying what sort of range Frentzen got from the car. ®
"As you suggested though (if I read you correctly), prospective Tesla purchasers may live further out - in their mansions in the hills or on the beach."
Yes that was the question I was wondering about. I suspected the European image of US car journey (epic commuting hours *demanding* huge range) was a myth (which I suspect US auto makers encourage). 33 miles is an hour at built up speed limits. At 13000 miles for an average years driving that's about 7 years before the battery falls to 80%. Not unreasonable. I expected the motor to be pretty reliable. Once you avoid brushes most motors are pretty simple (although their design and control gear can be formidable). It'd guess the main failures would be any bearings or gears present.
"real electric car problem is where to get the materials needed"
Yes and no. With a big enough customer base for a certain battery design the replacement by another type, which honours its form factor and discharge characteristics, becomes viable. It's the lack of market that stops anyone trying. One option would be the NiCl-S cell ZEBRA battery from MES_DEI of Switzerland at around 120Wh/Kg. A version powers the Modec 3.5T delivery van used by Tesco UK. Note while it operates about room temperature (at about 250C, which even some plastics can tolerate) all of its core elements (it uses beta alumina but does not loading with molten Sodium during mfg) are readily, although I'm not sure what the price difference of Ni Vs Li is. It exists, its available and a real company is really using it. I
The comments on this page are just depressing as hell "Well, Electric Cars are hard so we should just give up on them now and keep on using petrol"
The problem these people are trying to solve isn't just going to go away if you don't think about it.
Ah! That hoary old chestnut. It has a few unfortunate show-stopping problems.
1) It requires all vehicle manufacturers to sign up to a standard pack and a standard way of getting it in and out of the car. You can feel the fail right there. Apart from the obvious cooperation problems (whose? licensing? technology?) in an industry where product differentiation is the very stuff of life this one's dead on the floor. You're also killing development (I have a new type of battery that charges in ten seconds and offers 500 mile range, but it doesn't fit the standard pack, so it's now of no use). Finally here, design a "standard" pack to fit both a seven seat, three tonne SUV and a Smart car. Anything less is a multiplier on problem 3, below.
2) Nobody's been able to find a way of doing this that works around the rather scary health 'n safety issues. Letting Joe Public move 50 kilo packs around on a garage forecourt is a no-no in most places (and a recipe for bankruptcy via court judgement in the good ol' US of A - drop on foot, make 20k. I would.). The alternative is drive in bays with qualified staff swapping packs which, apart from the logistics of the bays themselves and 24x7 staffing in all "refuelling" locations, ain't going to be cheap bringing us to...:
3) Cost. Providing plugin points is cheap, cheerful and simple. Providing the infrastruture to swap, handle, keep reserves of and charge packs at umpteen million outlets is going to be hugely bloody expensive whichever way you slice it. Think about the number of packs you need on standby on an August Bank holiday at one (1) service station.......(!!)
4) Whose fault is it? Your pack runs down in your new car and you pull in for a replacement. 20 miles down the road your "new" pack loses charge / expires permanently / bursts into flames unexpectedly. Somebody's looking at a warranty claim, recovery costs, hire car, potential damages etc. etc. Who? Anyone looking at touching this idea with anything short of a bargepole hasn't taken legal advice IMHO.
I could go on, but I fear that I already have.....