Sunday, August 4, 2013

Electric cars : Tesla Motors

Move over Porsche, Audi and Jaguar. In the world’s most cutting-edge car market, Tesla Motors has the fastest-growing luxury sedan. And it has no exhaust pipe.

Global sales of pure electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars topped 110,000 in 2012, according to the International Energy Agency, more than double 2011’s sales but less than 0.2 per cent of overall sales. The US has about 75,000 EVs on its roads, far below the 1m target by 2015 set by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Battery efficiency is improving at about 5 to 8 per cent a year, he says, bringing the technology to the mass market in three to five years. Some mass-market manufacturers have defied the electric naysayers. Nissan’s chief executive Carlos Ghosn in 2007 pledged that the Japanese company would produce the first mass-market electric vehicle. Four years later its Leaf became the world’s biggest-selling electric car.

But with sales of about 26,000 last year, it is still far from a household name: Porsche sold the same number of Carerra 911 sports cars in the same period.

Renault, Europe’s biggest electric car company by sales with 51 per cent of the continent’s zero-emission market, expects its EV sales to double this year to 36,000. “Timing is running on our side. This story will only go in this direction,” says Mr Tavares, his hand shooting upwards. “You are educating your kids, and I am educating my kids and my grandkids in a way that they understand they only have one planet.”
. . .
Established carmakers are hampered by their big investment in the internal combustion engine, making it hard to make the leap to a new technology that, in its early stages, appears less promising.
The Zoe, Renault’s compact EV, starts at €21,000 in France. But next to it in the showroom is a petrol-powered Clio, which costs €8,000 less. Insides big car companies, comparisons like this have made it hard to justify ramping up their investment programmes in electric.

Tesla faces no such qualms. “It’s a reality of business that disruptive changes always come from new entrants ... It’s kind of the iPhone moment,” says Mr Jurvetson. “If you’re in the auto industry it’s the most disruptive change you’ve seen in a long time.”

If the Model S turns out to be the forerunner of an electric-powered vehicle with mass appeal, however, the established carmakers will soon be forced to react far more aggressively than they have up to now.

“I believe the Model S will be considered more important than the Model T,” says Mr Jurvetson, displaying the bravado that typifies Tesla. “[It is] a catalyst that will eventually transform all transportation. The true mass market will happen much faster than anyone thinks.”

  • The Model S costs about $70,000 and the sporty roadster retails at $100,000, before government incentives.
  • In Q2 2013, Tesla sold 5,150 Model S vehicles in North America, up from 4,900 in Q1.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car started offering the Model S in June 2013 as part of its Exotic Car Collection. Its Dream Car offerings already included the Tesla Roadster and other luxury cars such as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Lamborghini Gallardo and Porsche Boxster.
** click for chart  (new window)**

Tesla CEO Elon Musk 

March 2015 news:
  • Mercedes is launching its first plug-in hybrid-electric midsize sedan, the C350e, in U.S. dealerships in September 2015, according to reports. Chatter on the street suggests that the German auto-making powerhouse plans to deeply undercut Tesla stickers, with a price around $42,000 before $5,250 worth of federal and state incentives. The 85 kWh Tesla starts at twice that level. And the brash young automaker will not have a competitive product until at least 2017. Mercedes can undercut the pricing because it has a lot more experience at mass production and sourcing; will make the car in low-cost Alabama instead of high-cost California; and it can subsidize the vehicle with its other vehicles, just to gain market share. The market for electrics is growing dramatically; this is just the start.
2016 Mercedes-Benz C350e

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