Open Thread: Electric-fying Car Talk

As Paul Constant phrases it, “Fox News Loathes Failure, Unless That Failure Turns Out to Be a Success”.

Of course there are still naysayers, per WaPo/Bloomberg:

Whether or not Tesla survives or thrives has become an important test of U.S. policy and automotive strategy. The Energy Department gave it a $465 million low-interest loan; President Obama has delivered generous subsidies for electric vehicles.

While the sale of electric cars will fall far short of Obama’s goals, Musk is taking an unconventional approach to establishing his brand. Instead of trying like the Chevy Volt to compete with moderately priced cars, Musk has wooed wealthy buyers with a sleek, four-door sedan that handles like a sports car and can cost more than $80,000. He plans to work his way down toward the mass market with future models.

Doubters have been waiting for Tesla to run out of cash, which it seemed poised to do last year, but it hasn’t. And Musk is moving to take advantage of the high stock price. On Wednesday, Tesla announced that it would raise $830 million in new stock and debt offerings, which it would use to repay ahead of schedule its oft-criticized loan from the Energy Department. Musk said he himself would buy $100 million of the offerings, and the stock climbed still higher.

But some analysts still say the company’s share price is a bubble on a par with foamy tech-era stocks. It is selling for roughly 600 times its estimated 2013 earnings…

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89 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    only 600 times earnings? HA! Amazon sold at infinite times earnings for 2-3 years before it actually turned a profit.

    Saw my first Tesla on the highway yesterday. I will have one once I win the lotto, gorgeous car.

  2. 2
    cvstoner says:

    There needs to be much more investment in support infrastructure (like charging stations) before more people start buying these cars, but every little bit helps.

  3. 3
    Dolly Llama says:

    I live in North Carolina, so I guess I’d have to cross state lines to buy one. The auto dealers’ lobby pushed through a bill that forbids over-Internet new car sales. You’ve got to go through a dealer. The GOPers love the free market until they don’t.

    Check it.

  4. 4
    Roger Moore says:

    @cvstoner:
    I think the main use for cars like the Tesla is to be a commuter and about-town car. The only place you need a charging station is at home. If you want to go somewhere outside the range of your electric car, you rent. It’s actually a pretty good model; most people would be better off getting a car that’s really good for their daily use and renting something different on the rare occasions when they do anything different (e.g. need more seats, more cargo space, longer range, etc.).

  5. 5
    opie jeanne says:

    $80k? Where the heck is he shopping? The ones in the mall in Redmond, WA sell for about $55k, not an unreasonable price at all, although that’s a bit steep for me, being the cheapskate that I am.

  6. 6
    opie jeanne says:

    @cvstoner: Seattle and the surrounding semi-rural area seems to love them. Our favorite neighbors have a Leaf and they love it.

  7. 7
    PsiFighter37 says:

    These guys are career IRS guys. Fuck Dave Camp for stringing up a bunch of civil servants in service of political gain for the GOP.

    He’s a real fucking slimeball.

  8. 8
    Hoodie says:

    Saw a Tesla S last night, beautiful car, very comparable to high end Mercedes, BMW and Audi, but I imagine it’s quicker and quieter. Musk has probably been smart in building the brand by focusing on the performance/luxury market first, where electric drive can provide noticeable advantages in torque and noise level and where he can at least lose less money. He’s licensing Tesla tech to bigger automakers like Toyota to give more weight to changing the infrastructure. It’s a high-risk venture, but could be a huge transformation of the industry. That Fox reel is hilarious, they really are the Ministry of Truth.

  9. 9
    Comrade Jake says:

    Saw my first one on the road recently on a trip out to San Diego. Beautiful cars. Wish I could afford one.

  10. 10
    gnomedad says:

    Conservation is for hippies. Bring back leaded gas!

  11. 11
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    There’s a charging station at the Walgreen’s here in Rockwall, TX. I don’t know if anyone is using it, but if they can install one in Rockwall, they can install one anywhere.

  12. 12
    weaselone says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s essentially what my wife and I do now, although we’re still all gas vehicles. The weakness of electrics with the exception of the Chevy Volt is really the mid-range trips. Who wants to have to rent a car for a round trip of a couple hundred miles?

  13. 13
    eyelessgame says:

    open thread … hey, where’s the link to your Lexicon? I posted a link to your Coda on my facebook, and mentioned something about the community here, including the Lexicon, and now there’s no link on the front page. I know, I know, OMGWTFBBQCHANGE, but I was hoping there was still someplace people could click to see why everyone says “Also, too”. And it’s a hilarious resource…

  14. 14
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    Frankly, even if every green initiative Obama’s thrown funds at fails (and almost all of them haven’t), I’d still say it’s money well spent. There’s too much demand for efficiency and perfection from our government when this issue requires flexibility, creativity, and a tolerance for failures that can teach us something.

  15. 15
    Roger Moore says:

    @weaselone:
    I think one of the things that’s going to have to change is for there to be more businesses like ZipCar. If it were really easy to rent a car for the occasions when you need something different from what you have, people would be a lot more willing to think about getting cars that are good for 95-99% of their driving and renting the other 1-5%.

  16. 16
    cleek says:

    shame they stopped making the Roadster.

    someone in my town has a bright green one that i love getting behind. the thing accelerates like the fucking Millennium Falcon going into a jump. zzzzZZZZOOOOOOoooommmmmm and it’s gone.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    there are a few charging stations in downtown Raleigh. i never see anyone on them.

  17. 17

    @weaselone:

    That’s why I think pluggable hybrids might be a good interim solution. They would essentially be electric cars for a typical daily commute, but would be gas-electric hybrids for longer trips.

  18. 18
    Mark B says:

    Tesla’s main product at the moment is Elon Musk. If he can make money from space flight, profitable electric cars are a no-brainer. The big question is how long will it take for earnings to exceed expenditures? I’m thinking about 10 years, which is an incredibly long time for Wall Street, but with Musk’s imprimatur, they should be able to keep investors aboard long enough to do it.

  19. 19
    Svensker says:

    Had no idea this was a hot-button winger issue until my niece posted something about the Tesla on FB the other day. My brother went apeshit. Then I read that Sarah Palin doesn’t like them and all was explained.

  20. 20
    nwithers says:

    Electric cars make a lot of sense in Hawaii, what are you going to do? drive laps around the island you are on?

  21. 21
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    The stock price is ludicrous – for now. The company and the car is solid. I got to test drive one last month. Holy shit. The car is not small – you think it’s going to handle like a Cadillac – but it’s more like driving a giant Porsche. Clings to the road and accelerates like a large rocket.

    Only $80,000 more in my piggy bank and I’ll grab one.

  22. 22
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I would love to read this but whatever image is attached to this article is being stretched so that it literally covers all of the article text on my iPhone.

    Side-effect of the redesign? EDIT: it looks better when I switch away from the mobile theme.

  23. 23

    @opie jeanne:
    There are vastly different prices depending on which battery/range you buy.

    I don’t see the need for full electrics – until ultra quick charging is possible anyway.

    A Volt-like system barely has any emissions and will work for anyone. If most of us drove systems like the Volt I bet our personal car emissions issue would be negligible. Dealing with planes, semi-trucks and power creation is a bigger problem anyway.

  24. 24
    Poopyman says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Galaxy (i.e. Android) shows the YouTube screen at regular aspect, so it’s probably a feature of how FYWP displays on iPhones, not the redesign per se.

  25. 25

    @Mark B:

    Tesla’s main product at the moment is Elon Musk. If he can make money from space flight, profitable electric cars are a no-brainer.

    Engineering a consumer electric car is harder than putting objects in orbit.

  26. 26
    weaselone says:

    @nwithers:

    No, but there might be issues being stuck in Honolulu traffic for hours with the AC on.

  27. 27
    artem1s says:

    this debate about the viability of alternative fuel autos is really getting ridiculous. millions of customers got introduced to electric through hybrids. the battery replacement apocalypse has not come to pass; and now more and more companies and communities are installing recharging stations as a matter of course when building/rehabbing municipal parking areas.

    honda has been leasing a hydrogen fuel cell model for 3-4 years now and are installing hydrogen refueling stations in customers homes on a limited basis as well. honda doesn’t waste R&D on PR feel good projects. they broke into the hybrid market with the insight 5-6 years before any other car company. so i expect they will have a fuel cell model available for sale to the general public within 5 years and a plan for getting into the recharging market as well.

    there was a time when there wasn’t a gasoline station on every corner. and having a gas car that would go 300 miles without refueling was actually a necessity because not every business was open 24/7/365. even now BPs does as much business selling smokes, snacks and other crap. i’d be curious to know how lucrative the gas station would be if it was only a fueling station. used to be repairs and maintenance was the standard business model (remember when you could get your oil checked by the local gomer?). now you routinely see stations where you can get natural gas and diesel.

    the main complaint with electric is they can’t have power and Tesla has blown that BS to bits and added luxurious desirability on top. the shift is coming. no one knows quite how fast its coming but the internal combustion engine is going to be end up being the choice of either the very poor or the very rich, very very soon. then they will only be toys for the very, very rich and scrap income for the very poor.

  28. 28
    catclub says:

    @Supernumerary Charioteer: “there’s too much demand for efficiency and perfection from our government”

    All that efficiency and perfection was used up producing the F-22 and F-35.

  29. 29
    Violet says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Bizarrely, installing electric car charging stations was supported and pushed by Rick Perry. Figure there has to be some kickback for him in there. Always is.

  30. 30
    Tom_B says:

    @Dolly Llama: yea, the NC legislature is corrupt beyond all imagining, but I doubt the ban on internet new car sales could possibly stand up in court. Surely, it would violate federal interstate commerce laws. And how could they enforce it?

  31. 31
    GxB says:

    @Mark B: That’s the thing. Tesla’s been losing money for the past 10 years – they just posted their first on paper profit ever last week. Funny thing was they announced they were to be profitable last month, but the naysayers just dug in their heels and shorted the stock even more. I had to get in on that action.

    Just waiting for the price to drop to pick up some more – an American company that is good for the environment, seems to be run by an ethical CEO, and pisses off conservatives enough they’re willing to lose money just to bet against it? Moar please.

  32. 32
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Tom_B: As wikipedia notes, almost every state has laws requiring cars to be sold through dealerships.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent)

    : almost every state has laws requiring cars to be sold through dealerships.

    But not guns.

  34. 34
    gnomedad says:

    @Svensker:
    Wingnut sibling? Same here. Le sigh.

  35. 35
    James B Franks says:

    @cleek: After the affordable model comes out they are planning on doing another roadster.

  36. 36
    Cacti says:

    Wasn’t it Tesla where the NYT reviewer deliberately sabotaged his test drive?

    The big manufacturers hate competition from upstarts. Read the story of Preston Tucker if you want to see the lengths they’ll go to kill one they see as threat to their business model.

  37. 37
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    @catclub: Let me amend my statement to “Where there needs to be efficiency, we demand waste, and where we can stand a bit of waste, we demand efficiency”.

  38. 38
    g says:

    I see lots of Teslas here in West Los Angeles – especially on the Pacific Coast Highway commute into town from Malibu.

    I rented a Leaf once for a week and it was sweet! My workplace has chargers, so it was great.

  39. 39
    g says:

    @artem1s:

    the main complaint with electric is they can’t have power and Tesla has blown that BS to bits

    I haven’t driven a Tesla, but what I see they look like they have power. And as to the mid-market EVs, the Leaf I rented for a week sure had power – it drove like a beauty.

  40. 40
    jibeaux says:

    I’m in NC and if I were rich, I’d buy one (out of state) just because I can’t buy one in state. Inverse Cleek’s Law, bitches!

  41. 41
    ericblair says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    As wikipedia notes, almost every state has laws requiring cars to be sold through dealerships.

    That’s my understanding, since the big dealerships can easily buy themselves enough state delegates/reps to force this dinosaur distribution system on everybody. Apparently a lot of the manufacturers hate the system, since you’ve spend umpty-million dollars to carefully market your product and then have to stick it in the hands of a bunch of sleazeball ex-football players who piss off the customers.

    Looks like there’s a real push by Tesla in the Washington/Boston corridor. They’ve put in recharging stations up I-95, and there’s a very cool storefront in the Tyson’s Corner (NoVA) mall where you can sit in the cars, check over the chassis, and buy T-shirts and shit. My favorite was a baby onesie that says “NO EMISSIONS (almost)”.

    I’ve got no problem with short-sellers in general, but it looks like a lot of the people shorting Tesla stock were doing it for wingnut political reasons so boo hoo, they’re probably going to take a beating when they have to cover.

  42. 42
    jibeaux says:

    @Svensker: Also, it’s an eco-friendly sexy-ass beast of a car driven by Clooney. It’s like a perfect storm of conservabait.

  43. 43
    catclub says:

    Slightly OT but still on markets: NPR had a report on how crazy gun owners have become to purchase ammo. AND that gun stores have not resorted to that market solution of raising prices in the face of increased demand, because they think that would be unfair. FAIR? ammunition prices? understanding deep irrationality is how you make money in markets.

  44. 44
    MikeJ says:

    @catclub:

    All that efficiency and perfection was used up producing the F-22 and F-35.

    Efficiency and perfection are opposites. The F-35 was first designed in the late 80s. Every time a new technological breakthrough came along, it got added into the plane. It was supposed to be the best plane in the world, able to beat any other plane in any role (fighter or bomber). When you change the specs everything costs more and takes longer and you still may not wind up with the best. When you don’t change the specs, you know you won’t get the best, but it will be cheaper. But nobody wants to be the politician that bought our troops the second vest equipment in the world.

  45. 45
    Lyrebird says:

    Wish I could buy one, too!

    For the open thread — thanks to everyone who pointed out that Hyperbole and a Half is *back*. Just went to visit a friend who’s had some serious struggles w/depression in the past, and after seeing the person & hearing concern voiced by people who are around her more often than I am, I sent her the link and asked her opinion of it. (I didn’t say “and please don’t let yourself go back there,” but that was what I was thinking.)

    I hope I did on balance a good thing.

  46. 46
    Maude says:

    @The Other Bob:
    # 25.
    Wrong. Getting something into orbit is far more difficult.

  47. 47
    Joey Maloney says:

    @nwithers: Cars don’t make a lot of sense in Hawaii, no matter what drives them. A, all the large-scale electric generation is oil-powered and every drop of it has to be shipped in. B, there’s too many damn cars on the islands already. I go back yearly and every time the traffic is worse. There’s daily gridlock on the not-actually-an-interstate highway that traverses Honolulu. And the Big Island is worse, even though it’s larger with less people, since its infrastructure is less developed.

    There’s just no more room for more roads.

  48. 48
    Roy G. says:

    Well, Consumer Reports gave the Tesla S it’s highest rating evar:

    http://news.consumerreports.or.....g-car.html

    Fwiw, Musk was the one who called out Mark Zuckerberg’s shady lobbying group.

  49. 49
    Who Cares says:

    This is all Faux News horsesh*t. If Elon Musk called up Rupert Murdoch and said he would like to buy $100 million in Tesla advertising on Faux News but that it was dependent on getting a fair review of the Tesla from Faux News their opinion of the car would change overnight. What would be even better would be the Faux News crowed reaction if Ole Rupert went out and bought one; declared it to be the best car he had ever owned and that he was making a significant investment not only in Tesla but in other “green” projects.

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Lyrebird:
    My experience of depression is that the numbness of one’s feelings can be isolating. You often feel like everything is beyond you. If reading Hyperbole and a Half helps break through that sense of isolation and futility, if it helps her feel like it’s not beyond her to manage a way through it, then I’d say that on balance you’ll have done your friend a real favour. Even raising a smile at the amusing bits will help.

  51. 51
    Hoodie says:

    Here’s Tesla S smoking a Dodge Viper, which is a much smaller vehicle. This shows the chassis; clean as a whistle, no exhaust pipes, gas and oil leaks, transmission fluid, etc. The potential for electric drive in vehicles is huge because electric motors give you torque at zero rpm. The problem is and has always been energy storage. Tesla is getting close to making that practical.

  52. 52
    Xantar says:

    @Supernumerary Charioteer:

    What conservatives never seem to get is that no organization or business in the history of humanity has ever had a 100% hit rate. There is always a lot of money wasted on trying things which don’t work out. The difference is if you’re a corporation, your failures don’t get reported in the news to everybody in the world. The government still has to at least make a pretense at being open and transparent about everything it does.

  53. 53
    Cacti says:

    @MikeJ:

    It was supposed to be the best plane in the world, able to beat any other plane in any role (fighter or bomber).

    But trying to be everything to everyone often makes you a jack of many trades and a master of none. In the case of the F-35, it’s a fighter that lacks the F-16’s air to air agility, and a bomber with a shorter range and smaller payload than the F-15E.

  54. 54
    mistermix says:

    @eyelessgame: It’s back: on the left bar, near the top. Oversight on my part. Thanks for pointing it out. Also, too, the catchphrases are back in the header. Everyone can cut back on their Xanax for the day.

  55. 55
    Aaron says:

    My nerdy town (Ann Arbor) has charging stations everywhere, in all of the parking garages, and on the street. And, it seems that has encouraged a lot of people to buy electric cars; I see a large number of Leafs (Leaves?), one of my neighbors even has one. A few Telsa Roadsters, at least one Karma (not on fire yet!) and one Model S. Volts are so common that a sighting doesn’t even bear a remark. I even saw an iMiev the other day (my God that car is hideous in person).

    I for one, am happy to see it, and if this can happen in the heart of the American car culture (all of the tech centers are around here, and the big EPA testing lab is right down the street from where I live) then it can happen anywhere.

  56. 56
    Lyrebird says:

    @Amir Khalid: Thank you for sharing that. For reals. And respect to you, all the way around the world!

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    @mistermix: I saw that this morning! Thanks for bringing back those rotating tag lines. Love them. Need to update them with some current good ones.

  58. 58
    gnomedad says:

    @Maude:

    Wrong. Getting something into orbit is far more difficult.

    Profitably getting something into orbit, for sure.

  59. 59
    alhutch says:

    I’m excited because the Tesla Model S has started to reach a critical mass and outsold all of it’s luxury competition in the first quarter of this year (beating the Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8). Brand awareness and acceptance will help drive the next offering, which will be a more reasonably priced sedan, probably in the $35-40k range. Musk’s a smart guy and I hope he stays committed, because it will eat the wingers up!

  60. 60
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Xantar:
    Exactly.

    Does anyone here drive a Star? How about an Oakland? Graham-Paige? Stutz? Pungs-Fitch? Maybe a Doble or a Ruxton? Packard? Studebaker? Hudson? Willys? Crosley? American Bantam?

    The number of American auto companies that produced cars, sold them, and failed anyway goes on and on. I suspect that one of the reasons conservatives hate on electric cars is that they’ll temporarily disrupt the smooth flow of corporate cash from the petroleum companies into their pockets.

  61. 61
    Li says:

    @MikeJ: “But nobody wants to be the politician that bought our troops the second vest equipment in the world.”

    “We have to go to war with the army we have, not the army we want!” Rumsfeld, in response to sending troops into battle with substandard body armor, riding in sitting duck vehicles.

    You’ve got it 100% backwards. No one wants to be the politician who stops funding for a lucrative big weapons contract. Dead troops don’t have nearly much influence in Washington as Lockheed and Raytheon do. Heck, we don’t even get to see their caskets coming home. It is clear at this point that the pols in Washington don’t care a whit about an endless series of 100 billion dollar ‘big gun’ boondoggles, so long as their friends’ pockets are being lined. Supplying the grunts with the best equipment is simply not a priority.

  62. 62
    nwithers says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    True enough, I’m moving back to Maui in August, and the traffic isn’t out of control there (with the exception of Paia). There’s a new Maui bus setup that’s been put in place a couple of years ago that seems to be working well. Any thoughts on how to solve the transportation problem in the islands?

  63. 63
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: My old LaSalle ran great

  64. 64
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Back then everybody pulled his weight.

  65. 65
    Violet says:

    @nwithers: Free bus transportation for residents. Visitors pay, but just normal rates, not excessive. Buses are electric, smaller, frequent and stops are convenient. Help make it expected for residents to use public transportation

  66. 66
    Violet says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I suspect that one of the reasons conservatives hate on electric cars is that they’ll temporarily disrupt the smooth flow of corporate cash from the petroleum companies into their pockets.

    Thereis no “suspect” about it; it’s absolutely one of the reasons. Oil US consumption has dropped and China and India have increased more rapidly than expected. Oil will be around for a good while.

    When you said:

    American Bantam

    I read it as “American Batman” and couldn’t believe that was a car company. LOL.

  67. 67
    jurassicpork says:

    The NY Times says Obama would love to have a Bulworth moment. So what would such a moment sound like during Obama’s Farewell Address in January 2017?

  68. 68
    Hungry Joe says:

    The limited range (for the time being, at least) of electric cars should be no problem at all for most two-car families: One electric, one conventional. Going on a long trip, or plan to drive a lot today? Just take the conventional car. I’d get a Leaf right now, but my goddam 17-year-old Camry won’t die.

  69. 69
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Violet:

    You’re confusing it with the German Fledermausmann Wagen.

  70. 70
    ericblair says:

    @Violet:

    Thereis no “suspect” about it; it’s absolutely one of the reasons. Oil US consumption has dropped and China and India have increased more rapidly than expected.

    That, and liberals like them. This explains 90+% of wingnut behavior, and fits in here.

  71. 71
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    I’d heard that Teslas are so popular at Apple that driving a Ferrari makes you look a bit sad and dated.

  72. 72
    Violet says:

    @ericblair: Isn’t it cleek’s law: today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @ericblair:

    That, and liberals like them. This explains 90+% of wingnut behavior, and fits in here.

    Hell yes! Widespread use of electric cars might lead to demands for conservation, renewable energy, cats living with dogs, and necrophilia.

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    The stock price is ludicrous – for now.

    But a stock price shouldn’t be based on how the company is doing now; it should be based on expected future performance. P/E ratios are only a valuable metric for companies that are in more-or-less steady state. Ones that are in obvious temporary distress or in industries that are set to grow rapidly should have much higher than normal P/E, and ones that are in industries that are collapsing should have abnormally low P/E. Tesla not in steady state, so valuations based on P/E are meaningless.

  75. 75
    Josh G. says:

    Do you know who Fox’s second largest shareholder is, after Rupert Murdoch?

    Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

    If you want to know why they hate renewable energy and electric cars so much, look no further than that.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Except for those of us who live in apartments or other multi-unit buildings. I can’t run a cord down from my window into the parking garage to power an electric car, and I can’t have a power unit installed.

  77. 77
    Joey Maloney says:

    @nwithers: Any thoughts on how to solve the transportation problem in the islands?

    On the Big Island? Win the Powerball, parley it into a Gates-sized fortune with smart investing, buy up the old railroad right-of-way from Hamakua through Hilo to Kapoho, hire every smart and ambitious lawyer of Japanese ancestry on the island to help write my EIS, bribe all the native rights activists and the NIMBYs in Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision not to object, and rebuild the railroad as an automated electric people-mover with continuous service.

    And after about twenty years of fucking around in court, that’ll take care of half of one island, and I’ll have just enough money left to buy decent looking clothes for a job interview to be a janitor or ticket-taker or something.

    Seriously speaking, the islands need a comprehensive energy/transportation/land use policy of the kind that no US governmental unit is capable of producing any more, if it ever was. There has to be a comprehensive multimodal public transport system so that even people living pretty far out in the bush can get around, and then cars have to be taxed until they’re absolute luxury items and the road system allowed to degrade so that they’re only marginally useful anyway. You don’t have to tell me what’s the chances of that ever happening.

    And while we’re on the subject (of me pointlessly railing at things I’m powerless to change), the new mobile theme SUCKS BALLS on iOS. It has LESS functionality than the old one. Comments aren’t numbered, and somehow it disables the standard link touch-and-hold functionality to open a link in a new window, so if I want to visit a link in a comment thread I have to lose my place; when I back up I’m at the top of the post again. And there’s no alternative because the new desktop design is not usable on a mobile device. Upgrades are supposed to, well, upgrade the experience, not make it worse.

  78. 78
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Mnemosyne: Right you are, of course. Not sure what the answer is — charging stations in the parking garage (assuming there is one)? Looks like the transformational technology will leave some people out in the short-to-medium run.

  79. 79
    Mark B. says:

    About the only thing I don’t like about the Tesla sedan is the too-conventional styling. They even have a grille on the front of the car, although it’s completely solid since you don’t need one since there’s no radiator.

    I’m sure the conventional look is intentional, they are courting buyers of conventional luxury cars, so they build a car that looks like one. But I would like it more if it took a few more chances.

    The roadster was a beautiful car, and the luxury sedan is just kind of bleh looking. I don’t know if there are any modern Alec Issigonis types out there, but if there are, I hope Musk can hire them.

  80. 80
    Lex says:

    Dolly Llama beat me to it: N.C. law now effectively bans buying Teslas. Of course, these are the same geniuses who banned sea-level rise caused by climate change. They’re rapidly turning us into Mississippi with (for now) more teeth, WHICH IS WHY YOU HAVE TO GET OUT IN 2014 AND VOTE AGAINST REPUBLICANS. A bunch of Dems and independents got all butthurt about what wasn’t in the Affordable Care Act or whatever in 2010 and sat out the election, so now we’re stuck with these jackasses at both the federal and state levels, and here at the state level they’re doing tremendous damage.

    Not that I am bitter.

  81. 81
    Chris T. says:

    @Mark B.: I have two issues with the Model S: the (lack of) style, and, I live in Republican Central where there’s no charging infrastructure and the superchargers I would need to take the car some of the places I go, aren’t coming for years yet.

    Only one of these is Tesla’s “fault” though. :-)

  82. 82
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    This seems like more of a question of organization and motivation than technology. It’s certainly possible to run the electrical lines to support chargers at every parking space, and you can even make sure that the charger for each space is connected to the meter for the resident whose assigned space it is. It’s more a matter of convincing landlords to put the money into providing the electrical infrastructure for their tenants and HOAs to let the condo owners install their own.

  83. 83
    Thymezone says:

    Okay, as I said to my FB page today … what good is a green car that can only be afforded by oil executives?

    Epic fail. Green works when anyone can afford it, not when it is a conceit of the rich to pretend like they give a shit about conservation.

  84. 84
    Dolly Llama says:

    @Thymezone: I disagree. You start the technology off in the equivalent of a Toyota Echo, that will be the only thing anyone will associate the technology with moving forward. Yes, if you’re Honda and you have the capital and luxury of working your way into a market, that will work. But for this, I think the strategy’s just right. Start from the top down. Get some rich dudes raving and bragging how they don’t have to fucking BUY gas anymore. Then start working your way down the car-consumer food chain once the tech’s proven.

  85. 85
    PIGL says:

    @Maude: Uh, no, it really isn’t. The German’s could have done it in the 40s. Hell, everyone did it in the 50s and 60s using their 40s technology. I will bet you a years supply of toner cartridge that 9 out 10 engineers would agree with me when I say that putting something into orbit is childsplay compared to designing a commercial electric vehicle.

  86. 86
    PIGL says:

    @Thymezone: I hope you are not embarrassed to display your ignorance, lack of foresight and neglect of very recent history to your facebook friends as well as to this community.

    You are exaggerating the expense to the point of lying. Not all of them cost 80k, and even if they did, many people can afford that. Half of the oil patch is driving around in ego-trucks that cost as much or more.

    What good was a flat sceen TV when they cost $5,000 in 1990 dollars? Guess what, the price came down, because the expensive versions created a market…..this is what always happens, except in the fantasy world painted by WSJ editorialists and paid Oil Company trolls. And I am sure you are neither the fish nor the fowl.

  87. 87
    Thymezone says:

    Yeah, I remember $5k tvs, asshole. You coulda saved yourself a lot of writing. My response to $5k tvs, I didn’t buy one. That’s the same response I have to these high priced precious green cars we are talking about here, and for the same sensible reason. WTF is the matter with you?

    Did the price really come down on those tvs? No, seriously? You are so hip.

  88. 88
    Thymezone says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    “Start from the top down.” That’s a great idea. Let me know when I get to the top where I can afford grossly expensive cars. I can’t wait. Meanwhile, I’m the down. Way down. Wake me up when the goddam cars are cost effective. Is that okay with you guys? Seriously, can I pick my own car, is that all right with all of you?

  89. 89
    Roger Moore says:

    @Thymezone:

    Okay, as I said to my FB page today … what good is a green car that can only be afforded by oil executives?

    They’re a small company that only has the capacity to build a few thousand cars a year, so they’re concentrating on the most profitable segment of the market. If they don’t, they’re going to go bankrupt in short order, and then they won’t be producing any green cars at all. Once they get the company into the black, they can start thinking about expanding enough to start selling to the mass market. It’s too bad that Tesla isn’t producing cars that most people can afford right now, but if you really want an electric car today you can always buy a Nissan Leaf.

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