Tesla speeds to $1m profit
While the rest of the US auto industry is dissolving during the ongoing Meltdown, Tesla Motors - the manufacturer of high-end all-electric speedsters - is making money.
The San Carlos, California company announced on Friday that it had squeezed $1m of profit out of $20m in sales during during July. The company sold a record 109 cars last month and "enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases," according to a statement.
The company has been basking a a series of good-news events recently. In June it wrangled $465m from the US government's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATVM). It plans to use $100m of that low-interest loan to develop a high-performance drive train manufacturing center, and the rest to build a production facility for its upcoming Model S sedan, which the company says will "have a base price of $49,900, roughly half the price of the Roadster." The Model S is scheduled for release in the US in 2010.
Then, in mid-July Tesla announced that it had secured a financing deal with Bank of America. That deal, according to CEO Elon Musk, "will help advance EV adoption by allowing more Americans to experience the joy and convenience of owning a Tesla. And like our current customers," Musk said with more than a modicum of smugness, "our new customers will never need to visit a gas station again."
Tesla also announced Friday that it would open two more European dealerships this summer, in Munich and Monaco. It opened its first European showroom, in London, in late June.
At its UK opening, Tesla also introduced its £100,000 Roadster Sport, which can leap from zero to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. The standard Roadster, the company's flagship model, is a relative slowpoke, with a 3.9-second zero-to-60 performance. ®
Regarding hydrogen from electrolysis, and use of hydrogen as a combustion fuel in general.
No matter how efficient you manage to make electrolysis of water, it is a net loss of energy. In the theoretically best possible case, you will get back perhaps 80-90% (see note 1) of the energy you put into it upon burning the products. In practice, it's rather less than that. That's fine for extracting oxygen from seawater on nuclear submarines, sure, but hardly anybody uses it for industrial hydrogen production (~4% world hydrogen production; see note 2).
Currently, the primary source of hydrogen is the cracking of petroleum. Hence, hydrogen as a fuel is, at best, merely an inefficient use of oil--or, if one is daft enough to electrolyse hydrogen and think it is a good use of electricity, it is an inefficient use of electricity, which was most likely generated by burning some kind of hydrocarbon. This is fine for industrial processes that require hydrogen. It is inappropriate for fuel (though not *as* inappropriate as generating it by electrolysis).
Converting other forms of energy into hydrogen and oxygen for fuel means a loss of energy. Why not skip that step and just use the energy you've got? The only situation in which I can see hydrogen as a combustion fuel being feasible is if somebody discovers a gas field full of the stuff. In that case, it'll go to people who mean to do something useful with it, like generate ammonia through the Haber process.
An aside: I might make a possible exception for nuclear fusion--of course, that works better with deuterium and tritium, unless you're a star. Let's just wait 'til 2030 or so and hope that the descendants of the ITER are juicing up our power grids by then.
And in August?
July was a good month because Lotus shuts down for two weeks in August. This is normal maintenance. So lots of cars get shipped just before the shut down. I believe that this year they shipped more cars (Lotus and Tesla) than ever before.
Ask for the August figures and you might get a "Tesla shipments drop by 75%" type of story,
Month on month figures are too volatile to be useful.
Real World Range
Driving in typical Los Angeles traffic without paying attention to being economical, I get about 200 miles (320 km) per charge. It recharges to 80% (about another 270 km) in about 2 hours at a full 240v, 70a plug (can take much longer at plugs as low as 110 v and 12 amps). Charging back to 95% takes 3 1/2 hours since lithium batteries cannot be charged as quickly after they hit about 80%.
This is in "normal" mode. There is a "range" mode that uses 100% of the battery capacity (normal charges to 95% and discharges to 10%. so add about 15% to that for real world range and an extra hour of charging time.
Tesla doesn't recommend routinely using "range" or "performance" mode (just like "range" mode except it heats the batteries too so more current can be pulled) unless you have to since they both reduce battery life.
The electric motor on the Tesla is not sound proof. It's an AC induction motor (most lifts/elevators use this type of motor). When it is producing torque, it makes a distinctive whine. Listen next time you get in one. All cars (including EV's) make road noise (a combination of wind and tires) so no need to "watch out you pedestrians and cyclists!" You'll hear me, you just won't choke on any petrol (diesel or otherwise) fumes after I pass.
Also TeeCee, electrics do not produce as much "surprising amounts of environmental damage" as petrol cars. This is a common myth propagated by the oil industry. Mining any metal causes environmental damage, just as mining oil does. What's your car chassis made of? How about it's panels? Ever heard of oil spills? Oil cannot be recycled. Batteries can and are. In the US, close to 100% of auto batteries are recycled. Imagine it's close to the same in GB and Europe. Don't you have to turn in your old battery before you can buy a new one?