Tesla Model S...

This is good news for these United States. Motor Trend's Car of the Year is the Tesla Model S, an all-electric four door sedan with more storage space than an SUV, touch-screen cabin controls with upgradeable system software, a range of between 140 and 265 miles (depending on your battery pack), safety stats at the top of the heap, batteries mounted under the floor giving the S a 17.5 inch center of gravity, and 0-60 in 4.0 seconds (if you buy the high-end model). Under Motor Trend's article, one commenter says the speed of the S rates somewhere between driving his Ferrari 430 and his 458.

Motor Trend's selection of the Model S as their COTY was unanimous and it's the first non-combustion engine car that's received the award...

Tesla has installed fire hydrant-fast chargers along certain driving corridors that S drivers will be able to use at no charge for life, but even these quick-chargers take half an hour to add 150 miles to the S's range. So the top of the line S with the largest battery pack (85-kW-hr) using a quick-charging station will be limited to 400 miles per day, which is to say the S will be a suburban/urban thing.

By the way, my neighbor doesn't have a Model S, so I'm not coveting.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.



From an engineering perspective, I have to wonder if this vehicle will beat the Prii of the world since the motor is built for speed--which will require more heat sinking.  One of the nasty secrets of hybrids is that most of them trade towing ability (including Highlander, Camry, Prius, Tahoe, and others) for mileage because if you run the motor too hard (e.g. initial torque to get a load going), you burn it out.

One caveat on the mileage thing; it is calculating, as far as I can tell, using an equivalent amount of electrical energy to get the "mileage" figure.  If you calculate the Carnot efficiency of electrical generation--33-40%--your real world efficiency is about 33-40% of the stated "mpge".

In other words, not 75-112mpg, but rather 25-45mpg.  Still pretty good for a sports car, but it brings to mind Disraeli's adage "Lies, damned lies, and statistics.", and another person's "Figures lie, and liars figure."

The downside of high tech is that what you gain in one area, you lose in another.  Speaking from experience, high tech appliances gain in water and energy efficiency, but lose in repair cost and frequency. Think of your mother's Maytag that needed the first repair at 20 years, compared to the average front load washer than needs to be repaired in its first year, and every year after that.   Some of the shiniest models (Electrolux) that make the most promises about performance (Samsung) have a performance and repair profile that is surprisingly poor.  Pastor, you have experienced the same thing with your oven.  Applying this to a high tech car, will the computer that drives it be more like Windows Vista or an iPhone? The car will probably need to be repaired more often, the repairs will be more expensive, and fewer people will know how to fix it well. I have seen this over and over again.

This is why I almost never, ever purchase the latest new thing whether it's hardware (including cars and such stuff) or software.  I let others find out all the flaws, infelicities, and sheer marketing foofoo and then give them space to complain about it in online reviews.  Saves me a ton of money, frustration, and time.

>>In other words, not 75-112mpg, but rather 25-45mpg.

Actually, mpg-e. And with President Obama reelected, the war on coal will continue and who knows where kWh prices are headed? I'd buy one and make my home right next to the SF/LA to Reno quick-charge station.

Tim, we might say that 75 to 112 mpg-e is about equivalent to 25-45 mpg-coal or mpg-natural gas.  But yes, that's the units.

 This is the intelligent approach to electric cars: market to the strengths of its concept.  Its strengths are that it accelerates fast, is quiet,  and is a neat gadget. Its weaknesses are that its inconvenient, expensive, hard to repair, can't tow, and has a short range--- just like a sports car! So make it a sports car.  Except they put in 4 seats, it seems--- so it competes with the BMW, as a bourgeois, unpretentious sports car.

Eric, how does a Bimmer qualify as an "unpretentious" sports car?  Nothing against 'em, mind you, but isn't the whole point of owning a Bimmer to be a wee bit...pretentious?  :^)

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