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Tesla Announces 2008 Production Schedule; Hits Milestones on Crash and Range Testing

25 September 2007

Tesla Motors has set a production goal of 50 electric Roadsters in the first quarter of 2008, followed by an additional 600 cars for the remainder of the year.

Tesla is currently engaged in intensive durability and validation testing of the final prototype cars. As part of this final testing, a Tesla Roadster ran for 245 miles on the combined EPA cycle on a single charge (236 on the EPA highway cycle, 255 on the EPA city cycle).

In an announcement earlier this year, Tesla notified customers that the EPA range of the car was not likely to reach the original goal of 250, and instead would be closer to 200 miles based on progress at that time. Since then, Tesla engineers have worked diligently to improve on this.

Separately, a validation prototype Tesla Roadster successfully passed static and dynamic side-intrusion crash tests, the only tests that were not passed in the earlier prototype phase.

In other performance testing, a validation prototype Tesla Roadster accelerated consistently from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds.

Tesla will stop taking reservations for 2008 Roadsters in the near future and initiate a traditional waiting list. Customers who sign up for the waiting list will pay $5,000 for their place in line for additional 2008 Roadsters if and when an increase in production is announced. Alternatively, customers on the waiting list will be first in line for the 2009 model year Roadster (pricing and specifications for 2009 Roadsters is not yet announced.)

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September 25, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

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Great to see that the EV roadster finally arrives. With the entire series of crass testing done 95% of the job to ready this product for sale is over. Now it is just production.

Once these Teslas are seen driving by real consumers in California and other places I think it will have an enormous impact on the general public perception as well as the perception of automotive professionals of what is possible and not possible with electric cars. That will be very helpful to convince other vehicle manufactures that they should do EVs as well.

The ball for the electrification of vehicles has started to roll.

Weren't these supposed to be coming off the line this year?

True Jack, but hardly any startups are obeying their initial schedules though there are a few exceptions such as A123 who is practicing the opposite, namely, under promising and over delivering.

Good to see that Tesla seems to be learning the underpromising lesson. It's great that the range is back up to the 250 mark.

If they tweaked it to get 245 miles, imagine what the original range would have been!

Good to see their range didn't suffer as much as previously thought. Delays are annoying, but typical for a startup. What's with the 310 Wh/mile, though? That's almost 50% worse than their claims. Vehicle efficiency has not changed that muhc, it has to be poor charger and/or battery efficiency. That's a shocking change.

Doggydogworld

Where do you get 310 Wh per mile from? It must be an error. The new battery is 53 kWh and the range is 245 miles. So that is 216 Wh per mile. Battery power: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog4/?p=59

Henrik,

Click "Where the Rubber Meets the Road" above and scroll down to the section on Range Testing. They show recharge energy of 31 kWh/100 miles for combined cycle. That's at the wall plug, not the battery. As you note, the car only needs a little over 200 Wh/mile from the battery. This means 1/3rd of the wall plug energy is lost in the charging process. Tesla's well-to-wheel white papers claim 90 or 95% charging efficiency instead of the 65-70% implied by this data. That's a huge gap.

Ok I get it. That is an interesting observation. Wonder what went wrong. Lithium batteries should have very high charging efficiency near 100% according to http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-12.htm. So the problem must be the charging transformer. As far as I remember they often lose a lot of energy possibly 30% but it is possible to buy some that loose very little energy. Maybe they have chosen a model that is cheaper and perhaps lighter but that waste more energy in the conversion. Most people will never notice such a change anyway but you do. Plus electricity is still very cheap compared to gasoline so the economics is still ok and the people that can afford a Tesla will not care about the economics of driving anyway.

What happened to the family car they had planned?

Remember that the EPA tests that tesla ran now include running the air conditioner. The california sun beating down through the windows, and on a dark green roof will require alot of air conditioner power to keep temperate. That could explaine alot of the difference between the 216 WH/mile that they got when actually commuting (probably with the top down), and the 310 WH/mile they got while running the EPA designed tests (top up, air on).

Coal burner, that sounds like a better explanation than mine. Could be both.

Coalburner, the problem with your theory is they show 245 mile range on the combined test.Even if they used all 53 kWh in the battery pack that only comes out to 216 Wh/mile. The diff between 310 and 216 is apparently charging efficiency. It's a really horrible result, hopefully caused by a really inefficient non-production charger. If not Tesla needs to completely re-do their well-to-wheels white papers.

Update, Tesla deleted my question but in response to another message said the difference between 216 and 310 Wh/mile was due to charging inefficiency, including the need to run a cooling system to keep the batteries cool during charging!

Somehow I doubt they'll update their well-to-wheels paper or stop making their ridiculous "penny per mile" claims. Tesla is doing good work but there's no shortage of snake oil, either.

Agreed doggedogworld. I read deeper into the tesla page after I posted.
I wonder what their charger efficiency curve looks like?
When charging LIion batteries, you run constant current to about 80% charge, then constant voltage to top it off. How much cooling is needed during the constant current portion of charging compared to that required during the constant voltage portion.
Tesla has stated that there is a user selectable option to charge the battery pack to only 80%. I wonder if the total charge efficiency goes up or down when using that option?
Another question is: What is the ambient temperature when they are charging the battery? If the cooling unit's condenser is trying to dump the batteries heat to a 60 degree environment, it could use less than 1/4 of the cooling power required to dump heat to an 80 degree environment.

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