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Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire car lineup by 2022 (techcrunch.com)
293 points by prostoalex 39 days ago | hide | past | web | 214 comments | favorite

Actually there's nothing new here, many manufacturers are moving to the 48 volt system[1], which you can classify as a mild hybrid system of some sort. Many flagship cars already have it or will come out with it soon (new Audi A8).

In my opinion, calling your whole line up of cars "electrified" is a bit misleading. But I guess that's just how PR/marketing works.

[1] https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/247889-cars-moving-48-vo...

It should be noted that a not-insignificant amount of a vehicle's emissions come from idling. Simply reducing the time a car idles can reduce its emissions by 9%[1].

[1] http://www.urbanemissions.info/wp-content/uploads/docs/SIM-1...

Yes, but I find I disable it in my car every so often, so as to not loose air conditioning. Even on not especially warm days, the more humid air when the AC is off, feels uncomfortable.

This is one of the reasons why a more thoroughly electrified car, which uses a compressor driven by an electric motor rather than by a pulley off a serpentine belt, will be more efficient. Baby steps!

Indeed. In fact, I have not kept up very well with how cars are constructed and I was surprised to learn that there is a pulley in my car. (Volvo V60 2016.) I had assumed it would be a small electric motor powering the compressor.

I'm quite excited about 48v because it means turbos can now be driven with an electric motor until there is sufficient pressure from exhaust gases to spool them, and thus, mark the end of turbo lag as we know it!

The current model Audi SQ7 uses such a turbo-charger.

I think that's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercharger#Twincharging because they're investing engine power (via the alternator) as well as otherwise-wasted power from the exhaust.

Kinda. The difference between this and twincharging is that the supercharger is spooled by a belt driven by the crankshaft rather than an electric motor. This means that the rotational speed of the turbine (and therefore boost pressure) is proportionate to the current engine speed whereas a 48v electric motor can spool the turbo to 30,000RPM and provide full boost pressure at any engine speed.

It's interesting to see that much of the tech described in the article come from Formula 1's latest engine formula. There was a lot of complaints about Road Relevance, clearly it has born fruit.

This is the company that pioneered the automotive gasoline engine.


It's pretty clear (once you drive an EV) that a sea change is coming - they have reached the point where they are a superior driving experience most of the time.

As other evidence, Tesla announced today that they are planning a major expansion of their supercharging network.


I wonder if we'll be talking about Tesla in a hundred years the same way we talk about Mercedes today?

> company that pioneered the automotive gasoline engine.

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottlieb_Daimler

Correct company, wrong guy


Daimler invented the motorcycle, Benz the car.

Daimler and Benz merged to form Daimler-Benz.

Tesla compares probably more to the developer of the modern Tire. I think their main innovation is mass producing batteries. And I also believe that car ownership in Cities is going away with self driving cars. Google will probably go for offering free rides for sponsored destinations and become a major portal to the offline world.

Isn't that Panasonic, who have been making batteries for decades? I love Tesla as much as the rest, though I feel that Panasonic's expertise may be understated in the Tesla partnership. Though I may be very ignorant.

I, too, am under that impression, in general.

In particular, however, there is one notable source that emphasizes Panasonic's role: Tesla's SEC filings. Quoting TSLA's 2015 10-K[1]:

We believe that the Gigafactory will allow us to achieve a significant reduction in the cost of our battery packs once we are in volume production with Model 3. The total capital expenditures associated with the Gigafactory through 2020 are expected to be $4 to $5 billion, of which approximately $2 billion is expected to come from Tesla. Panasonic has agreed to partner with us on the Gigafactory with investments in production equipment that it will use to manufacture and supply us with battery cells. We have a supply agreement with Panasonic that, among other things, allows us to purchase a minimum of 1.8 billion lithium-ion battery cells at preferential prices that we intend to purchase from 2014 through 2017. We have agreed to prepare and provide the land, buildings and utilities, invest in production equipment for battery module and pack production and be responsible for the overall management of the Gigafactory.

[1] https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1318605/000156459016...

If people go from owning a cellphone battery with 4 Wh to a 65.000 Wh car battery and a 20.000 Wh home battery, battery production have to be extremely increased.

Yes, there are massive investments from many companies in expanding the battery production industry.

Gigafactory 1, in Reno, is a $5B capital investment that aims to produce 50GWh of batteries in 2018, and if they get $100/kWh in 2018, far lower than current prices, then yearly revenue is the same as the cost of Gigafactory 1.

So there's tons of room to grow lithium ion manufacturing capacity. That's only one part of the supply chain though... Looking just at lithium, there seems to be somewhat ample supply for the next few years from proven reserves, so I'm sure there are plenty of people scaling up for production from new sites.

Let's put it this way: Would Panasonic have achieved just as much for EVs if it had made the partnership with any other carmaker?

To me it's been obvious that the other carmakers were dragged into the EV race, and they would've rather not see it happen at all. It's quite hilarious seeing around the time the Model S came out and soon after, how the other car makers were still "one-upping" each other with 65-mile range, 70, 75, 80 - by continuing to repackage gas-powered car platforms into EVs. And those were the "full EV" versions, not the hybrid ones or whatnot. Those still had like 20-30 mile ranges in their batteries.

I think it would've taken at least another 15 years until one of them would've decided to just rethink an EV from scratch. Their love was status quo was all too obvious.

There are some who say Apple is Messiah on Earth and they've invented all smartphone features and they deserve to ask $2,000 for an iPhone (see latest iPhone thread for such opinions). I completely disagree with those, even though I was one of the "fanbois" preaching an iPhone in the "Nokia is still king" days.

And then there are others who say Apple invented and innovated nothing. zero. nada. And the smartphone industry would've progressed in exactly the same way without them, too. I say that's also bullcrap. Not only did Apple completely change the mobile phone landscape, but it has pretty much changed it every year afterwards (see the wave of "retina displays", or fingerprint auth, or 2x optical zoom from last year - all being adopted at a rapid pace by everyone soon after Apple did it).

I see opinions about Tesla split the same way. In my mind, Tesla is the first successful car company in 100 years to not just exist and survive but to reshape the car industry. They haven't invented everything either, but I give them a lot of credit for the awareness EVs have now (and will have in the next few years).

I guess my point is you don't have to have extreme opinions about a company in order to give it the credit that it's due.

Tesla is much, much sexier and better at PR than Panasonic.

You mention the superior driving experience. Are you talking about a Mistubishi i-MiEV or a Model S here? Your experience with a Model S isn't just because it's electric, it's also a really expensive car. I somehow doubt that if you drove the Mistubishi, you would say the same thing.

I have a CLA250 loaner while my Model S is in the shop, and the drivetrain is just amazingly atrocious. Now, it's not fair to compare it to a Model S, but a Model 3 has a similar price to the CLA250 but will drive like the Model S. (I have an 85, not one of the crazy performance models. Its published 0-60 is about the same as the Model 3's.)

After driving an EV for a while, this Mercedes feels like the accelerator is hooked up to the engine through the postal service. You push the accelerator and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and finally the car starts to go.

What you experience in the CLA250 is a combination of turbo lag and an electronic throttle optimizing for low fuel consumption. There should be an option where you can engage sport mode to increase the throttle response and also prevent the gearbox from selecting a high gear to keep revs low.

I drive a car with the VW EA888 2.0 (230BHP@4000RPM, 370lb-ft@1600RPM) and it is possible to have near immediate throttle response and pull provided you're familiar with the gear ratios and power curve of the car. However, it's also a manual, so I don't have the disadvantage of being caught out in the wrong gear.

I'll have to give it a try in sport mode this afternoon and see how much better it is. "Near immediate" sounds an awful lot like "near pregnant" though.

You'll find that it will cause the car to hold gears almost up to redline, which isn't great in traffic or when cruising. Whenever I drive an automatic, I ALWAYS use the paddle shifters and put the gearbox into manual mode so I have complete control over gearing.

That's one of the really really great things about electric cars: they are always ready to go, without having to control the gearbox.

Now, there's a tiny percentage of the population that enjoys paddle shifters, and even I do sometimes, but if we had usage tracking on them I would bet that fewer than 10% of drivers use paddle shifters for more than 5 times in the lifetime of the car, and that cars with paddle shifters are in automatic transmission mode 99.9% of miles driven.

So though some people will miss the gearbox, far far far more will rejoice in having a car that is always at maximum performance without messing with things.

I find automatics in 'D' will try to keep themselves in too high of a gear (practically idling around, presumably to save fuel) so a downshift is needed to accelerate

'S' behaves more like a human driving a manual - I assume the MPG and emissions testing is done in 'D'

I've tried the paddle shifters but they work poorly. Half the time it doesn't even register them. I'll be revving high, press the + paddle, and nothing changes.

Edit: so, I went to try sport mode and... turns out I've been driving around in sport mode all weekend already. Tried out "comfort" mode just to compare and couldn't see any difference. I'm sure a better driver could, but both are far away from instant response.

I've also got a Mercedes loan car, after a truck ripped the front off my Model X 90D.

The Mercedes S 350 is so much more sluggish than either my Model X or my Renault Zoe. Put foot down, wait half a second, and make a ridiculous noise in the process. I have to use the brakes way more often because of the lack of regen, too.

I am utterly convinced after 4 years of EV driving that 90% of drivers would switch to EVs for life, if they got to try one for a few weeks.

Driving the Merc feels like using an HTC Vario compared to an iPhone.

That's too bad. I thought maybe this was just a consequence of He CLA being a relatively low-end Mercedes.

I have a Mercedes C300, owned a CLA 45 AMG, and have driven a Tesla Model S for about 50 miles once. I loved my CLA, but I traded it for a C300 and made money off the deal (CLA AMGs are in hot demand).

The CLA 45 had a great engine but suffered from a conservative transmission shifting algorithm. Sport mode was fine but comfort mode was designed for "A to B" driving at low fuel consumption. It also has responsiveness problems from full stop - this wasn't turbo lag per se, as if you don't notice it in launch mode. Once you got going, it was very fast.

The Tesla interior is nearly identical to a Mercedes-Benz interior (they use many of the same parts), with the exception of the large tablet screen on the Tesla. It feels more like the low-end CLA interior than the wood grain C-class which feels more like the S-class. The Model S backseat is cramped compared to the Mercedes, it is more like the BMW 3-Series in terms of leg room. Practically speaking I would go with a Model X.

That said, to me while the throttle response of the Tesla was truly amazing, the regenerative slowdown effect was.. weird. I really didn't like it. Given the price difference between the C-Series and Model S ($55k vs 95k in Canada, and $130k or More for a model X), I think the C-class will continue to win out except for those with significantly more income. Tesla sells a better car, but not 2x better. Mercedes has time to catch up with its own EV.

The price difference certainly makes it a bit unreasonable to compare the CLA and the Model S. But the Model 3 is a different story. The 3 should drive very similarly to the non-performance non-AWD Ss (like mine), and the price is similar to the CLA.

The parts similarity weirded me out a bit. It was strange having the exact same gear shifter and turn signal lever in a completely different car. But both companies seem to have good taste in that respect.

As far as the regen, I personally really like it, and you might too once you got used to it. It's really nice to only use one pedal for most driving. However, if it really is not to your taste, you can turn it down in the settings. The result is much like an automatic car, where you only get very mild braking when you release the accelerator. Of course, you sacrifice some efficiency and brake life when you do this.

> this Mercedes feels like the accelerator is hooked up to the engine through the postal service

I feel a similar difference between an automatic and a manual transmission car.

I was driving a Cupra 290 on the Nurburgring last week and I kept getting caught out by the kick-down feature on the DSG gearbox - even in Cupra (sport) mode.

For example, I'd be exiting Breidscheid and the car would be in 4th instead of 3rd. Then there is then a good half second waiting for the DSG to downshift before power is available. In which time, I've just been overtaken by someone with a manual gearbox...

It's really tough to beat the brain's mental timing once you've got a good feel for exactly when you should engage the accelerator once you've released the clutch.

I've only driven a car with a DSG like that once, and I did find the timing of the shift a little disconcerting compared to that of releasing the clutch in time with the accelerator.

It was fast, and undoubtedly faster than I could double clutch with a manual clutch, but it still felt slow.

Similar price? CLA250 is 2.5 times cheaper than P85. It is also 2.5 seconds slower going 0-60. Not really sure where are you getting your data from...

Where did you get "P85" from? My Model S is an 85, no P, with a published 0-60 of about 5.6 seconds. "Similar price" refers to the Model 3, not any Model S. The Model 3 starts at $35,000, the CLA250 starts at $32,700, that's pretty similar to me.

Would it trouble you to read the comment you're replying to, or at least drop the attitude if you won't?

Sorry, did not realize you have S85, which is still 1.5 seconds faster.

Your claim that Model 3 will run like S have no grounds. All you can honesty do is to compare that Benz to your S85.

The more I get into cars the more I find 0-60 to be a poor metric for performance because it comes down to all wheel drive, traction (good OEM tires are a must) and short gearing. Power is important, but less so than the others. For evidence of this compare the extra long geared GT4 with the Carrera S, both of which have the same 3.8 flat-6 and more or less the same power output.

What most people want to compare (but don't know it) are torque curves and power bands. I.e. how does the engine make its power and where is it in the rev range. We know that EVs provide constant torque, hence max power is available at all times (provided there is sufficient traction). When it comes to ICEs the situation much more complex. NAs tend to make all their power at the top of the rev range and torque peaks at around 3,000/4,000RPM. Turbo engines tend to make their power around 1,000RPM below redline and provide peak torque between 1600/3000RPM (the min can be higher for lower-displacement engines or engines with big turbos). However, off-boost, there is a noticeable absence of power, but this diminishes as displacement increases.

I find it's these figures that need to be compared as the are much more indicative about acceleration in gear, smoothness and where the engine and gearing needs to be to make power.

1.5 seconds faster than what? I compared 0-60 times between the S and the 3. The Model 3's published 0-60 is 5.1 or 5.6 seconds depending on whether you look at the base model or the long-range model.

I'm quite confident that the Model 3 drives like my Model S. Acceleration is clearly similar, zero-lag is pretty much an inherent property of the EV drivetrain, and there's no reason to suspect otherwise.

I agree with his statement and I drive a used Nissan Leaf. Despite Nissan's assertions to the contrary, the Leaf doesn't strike me as being an EV built from the ground up but an ICEV converted.

The car is a lot of fun to drive and after having driven it for many months, driving an ICEV is unpleasant. EVs drive very smoothly without all of the acceleration or deceleration lurch of an ICE drive train. There's no power lag, when I drive an ICE now I have to remember about the power lag and it's frankly annoying.

EVs are quiet and it's a little unnerving at first. After you're use to it you notice how noisy ICEV are and it's unpleasant.

ICEV smell, there's no way around it. I had to buy gas for my lawnmower a week ago and I can still smell it in the Leaf. It also struck me as to how dirty fuel stations are, something I never really noticed before. With an EV you avoid all of that unpleasantness and just plug in at home or your destination. If you do have to stop, the charging stations aren't crusted with grime that I assume comes from fuel or fumes mixing with dirty and sticking to everything.

They are more convenient. Routine maintenance is just coolant, battery, and tire checks a few times a year instead of weekly stops for gas and going for oil changes every couple months, on top of other maintenance checkups.

EVs aren't perfect but after having owned one for a few months I definitely won't go back to an ICEV as my daily driver without a fight.

What car requires an oil change every couple of months?

For every car I ever owned before this year, they recommended an oil change every 3,000 miles (a little more than two months for me) or at most three months. I don't know if they got that much better or the recommendations were loosened to match observed problems.

Most modern cars can/do use fully synthetic oil, which can last ~10k+ miles.

2013 or newer yes, but anything older it's recommended ever 3000 or less.

I drive a Leaf daily. Owned a petrol family sedan for 8 years before that and drive all kind of ICE medium-to-premium class rentals (stick and auto) on trips. You get to pay through the nose before a petrol vehicle begins to compare to an entry level electric in driving experience.

The problem is the Leaf still starts at $31,000. go up a couple trim levels, and we're in the $36,000 range easily. That's not an entry level car. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I can get one hell of a nice gas powered car that will blow the Leaf away in any measure. (edit, except one, obviously).

Those rental cars you drove were probably significantly cheaper than the Leaf as well. Again, I'm just reinforcing that having an electric drivetrain doesn't turn the car into some magical nice car. You're still paying for that premium experience.

Well I had a CLK, a Q5 and some kind of Lexus as rentals; none of them is terribly cheap. Especially here in Norway, where Leaf starts at about $26k and is one of the cheapest cars you can buy.

(CLK was OK, the Audi and Lexus clearly inferior).

Should also take into account that it saves you a huge amount on petrol

> a superior driving experience most of the time.

I think that objectively that is still some time off, however I am not disagreeing that modern EV's are a "good" experience at any stretch.

Once they work out how to lessen the weight behind the batteries, you'll get the driving experience comparable and beyond modern performance cars - but while the EV's have huge torque etc they still feel quite heavy in the corners, and don't deliver the same kind of driving experience for someone who values handling dynamics. I mean, a P100D can slaughter most factory cars off the line, but my mx5 (miata) track car still eats them on a technical circuit.

Regarding Tesla's network, they've added a location (not yet active as of last night's grocery run) at a Meijer near me with probably 10+ charging stations along with some fairly hefty looking power cabinets.

What has Telsa done that is completely novel? Telsa looks just like another car company. You mentioned Daimler pioneering the ICE but where are the Telsa inventions?

I think Telsa's greatest contribution will be moving the electric car and renewable markets. Whether or not the company itself will be successful is yet to be seen. To me they only make products that are affordable by the rich but they've certainly been successful in moving markets.

They made the first fully electric sports car (Roadster).

They made the first fully electric luxury car (Tesla S).

They created the first super-charger network. It's still the largest network of its kind.

They are the first car company to also be a large-scale battery manufacturer.

They are the first car company that pre-sold half a million cars.

They are on track to deliver fully electric mass market (as defined by volume) car. Tesla 3 is expected to reach production/sales of 0.5 - 1 million a year, easily surpassing any single competing, fully electric car.

Yes, Tesla is a car company but they already did plenty to deserve a little more than "just another".

Your statements read like a Tesla marketing pamphlet.

In 1900 28% of the cars produced in the US were electric. Albeit only a little more than 4,000 were produced. In those days all cars were luxury items, a horse was non-luxury. They also held the land speed records vs ICE prior to 1900.

Didn't Telsa partner with Panasonic to build the battery factory? Panasonic has been making batteries for years.

They've only built 200k cars total! Probably more since March.

On track to deliver...let's see if they can meet their target.


>Your statements read like a Telsa marketing pamphlet.

You asked a question and they directly answered it for you.

You probably also have a similar opinion of Apple then because they were not the first company in the world selling an MP3 player?

Apple has proved itself over the past 3 decades with everything from PCs, MP3 players, and now phones.

I could afford the later 2 devices on a sub 20k a year college restaurant jobs salary. At the time I bought both of them.

Telsa is not affordable by the majority of people with their currently available models. While a Nissan Leaf is pretty affordable especially adding in the tax break the government and my state used to offer.

> I could afford the later 2 devices on a sub 20k a year college restaurant jobs salary.

> Tesla is not affordable by the majority of people with their currently available models.

By that standard, the company who invented fidget spinners made a bigger contribution to society than Tesla because more people can afford their products.

I'm not the one claiming Tesla or fidget spinners are revolutionary devices.

Fidget spinners are literally revolutionary...

There is no company behind fidget spinners.

> They made the first fully electric sports car (Roadster).

Does the tZero from AC Propulsion that inspired the Tesla Roadster not get the credit because it was just a kit car?

". No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame."

>>What has Telsa done that is completely novel?

They've pushed battery technology further than any other manufacturer in the last decade. And furthermore, "they've been successful in moving markets" is a novel thing in itself.

>>To me they only make cars that are affordable by the rich but they've certainly been successful in moving markets.

What do you think the first people said about Daimler?

>They've pushed battery technology further than any other manufacturer in the last decade.

Not really. They've done a lot to bring down costs by simply increasing the scale, but at the end of the day Tesla battery packs are just a bunch of standard 18650 cells that have been used for years. Panasonic, LG, and AESC are responsible for most of the advances in the actual chemistry.

And advances get funded in the long term through sales.

Gigafactory is to produce the new 2170 form factor.

The car and engine were just being invented in Daimlers time. Both batteries and cars have over a 100 years of work before Telsa was stated.

They use lithium batteries. You could even buy the same types of cells on amazon that Telsa uses, 18650.

>>You could even buy the same types of cells on amazon that Telsa uses, 18650.

This is a lot like saying you can buy the same food resources that go into world class restaurants. Technically true, yes. But does not diminish the accomplishments of Tesla in the least.

Exactly, just like that uninventive louse they are named after. Wires? Existed before. Magnets? Long history. Rotating fields? Over 75 years old at that point. All he did was come up with a winding pattern. Pfft, big deal.

We didn't point out tires as the revolutionary new Telsa addition to the stack. Wires and magnets are irrelevant. Batteries and cars are the items Telsa claims to revolutionize.

It's spelled Tesla, not Telsa.

As for the impact of Tesla, wait a few more years, then it'll be clearer to see.

Not sure what my iPhone is thinking with Telsa.

If Tesla folds in a few years everyone will just point at Leafs and whatever else is out saying look Tesla was the one who started this.

Tesla fans will say it either way.

> "If Tesla folds in a few years everyone will just point at Leafs and whatever else is out saying look Tesla was the one who started this.

Tesla fans will say it either way."

Why do you think that is?

Show me a couple examples where Tesla has invented something new or become the market leader without outside help. Meaning if you say home battery market I'd argue Panasonic is the leader.

I'll do so after you answer my earlier question, why do you think people are fans of Tesla?

Not really, it would be like Tesla (world class restaurant) partnering with Blue Apron (Panasonic) to develop a world class factory to supply all of Teslas restaurants.

What I've heard from people associated with Tesla over the years is that the battery management and packaging technology is their main technical innovation.

It allowed them to use existing battery chemistry and cells to provide incredibly high power output (Ludicrous mode) while also preserving the lifetime and capacity of the battery, which is no simple feat.

Someone who works at Tesla/Solarcity told me recently that the same approach is behind the Solar Roof: existing PV cell technology but with very novel packaging.

This is, in general, Tesla's real advantage: top class systems engineering. EV's will be a commodity item in the near future, but the underlying systems will not be. I expect Tesla to dominate the software side of things, including battery management, autonomous, etc.

Thanks for replying with details.

Do you have any sources? Genieunely curious to learn about what makes them special.

From a technological perspective, they're simply applying green solutions via battery innovation into the automotive industry. Simple as that. Anyone else can also do it, such as Chevrolet with the Bolt.

What makes them different is how they have captured the public's imagination via creating incredible supercar-like performance purely using electricity.

What they've essentially done is solidified the public perception of Tesla being at the forefront of a revolution.

It's the same thing that makes something like Apple special. On a cost-performance ratio, if you build your PC from scratch, you will likely get better specs and performance for a much cheaper price. But it won't be an Apple device or enact within the apple ecosystem.

Someone will probably build a better 100% electric car (eventually) but nobody will have the same level of cultural cache. There will always be nitpickers who can say that the eventual BMW/Audi/Ferarri electric car is hotter than the Tesla, but it will never be as revolutionary as Tesla.

Tesla, Apple, Google, Facebook. These, and likely a few more companies, have transcended their mediums to make them truly special not only within their respective industries but societally as well.

People who worked at either Tesla or other companies that developed electric vehicle tech (i.e Aeroenvironment for the ill fated GM EV1 [1]).


"What has Telsa done that is completely novel?"

While it's not that sexy, I think that distributing the batteries throughout the very bottom of the vehicle was a novel and very useful innovation.

The Tesla cars have a much, much lower center of gravity than any ICE car could have and that is a figure/measurement that seems to matter enough to people that car magazines discuss CoG when reviewing new cars. It helps a lot with handling and safety.

All wheel drive with multiple motors, while not a Tesla innovation, is also something they are doing that is a pretty big leap forward in that space. It's hard to get excited about Quattro when the Tesla gets AWD from two different motors.

I think you'll find Honda put the battery along the floor pan back in the late 90's


Im not excited by Quattro, I prefer a transfer case and complete control over the system instead of a viscous coupling doing the thinking for me. The ground clearance, maintenance cost, and oil burning issues of the 4 cylinder was a deal breaker on an A4.

Well I did opt for an engine that didn't have an ELSD available in the 2016 model or lockers in any configuration. Should've bought a Wrangler.

They are the Apple of the car industry (vertically integrated, focusing on top of market). Apple, after decades of being "beleaguered", is now the most valuable company in the world by market cap (and has been for the last 5+ years).

Tesla is poised to have it's Apple moment soon, driving the industry forward while taking the cream off the top and profiting handsomely.

Ford was one of the original vertically integrated bahemoths. They revolutionized car manufacturing with the assembly line and many other things.

They are the old Ford of automobile manufacturers one could say.


EV that you can drive >300 miles on a single charge - completely novel.

EV that accelerates from 0-60 in under 2.5 - completely novel.

Novel is something new or not resembling something formally known or used. Just because they have the best spec sheet at the moment doesn't make it novel or revolutionary.

If you look at Wikipedia it says electric cars were faster than gas cars until about 1900.

Are you suggesting you can drive a 1900 electric car for 300+ miles on a charge and go from 0-60 in 2.5s?

This would be great. I have a 2014 Volt and I love-ish it. I live close enough to the office that and can charge in both locations so I've gotten up to 5000MPG. I'd like to buy a more luxury electric car but refuse to drive that weird blue embossed BMW.

nb4 Wut about Tesla? I ain't made of money, son.

You can't afford a Tesla, but can afford a Mercedes Benz and considered a BMW? - huh.

MB B250e lease is around $400/mo. BMW i3 lease is under $300 right now. Tesla lease starts at $1,000.

Knock about $200 a month off the Tesla lease for TCO based on Delta between electricity cost in petroleum fuel cost.

Edit: i'm wrong. See below.

Edit 2: In quite a few places, you can get time of day metering, where you pay lower rates for electricity at night.

In Chicago, I pay $0.01/kwh between midnight and 5am; its essentially free to charge my Model S (it's slightly more at my place in Tampa, ~$0.06/kwh at all hours).

The national average cost for gas is $2.67/gallon, Electricity $0.12/kwh. Based entirely on fuel costs, the Model S 85 costs $0.04/mile and the 20 mpg BMW M4 costs $0.13/mile. In order to save $200/month on fuel with the tesla, you'd have to drive 2200 miles a month. In the area I live, where gas is cheaper than average and electricity is almost twice as expensive, that number is 5000 miles/month.

That gas price should be closer to $3.16 at the moment. If we're talking about the luxury car market, it's far more likely the vehicle is going to be consuming premium gasoline.

Both the B250e and i3 are electric as well. The B250e actually uses a motor from Tesla.

My mistake! Thanks for correcting me.

It's the same as the difference between a Model S and a Model 3. Both Mercedes and BMW offer cars starting at the $35k mark (C class, 3 series). Given how anticipated the Model 3 is, evidently there are quite a lot of people who feel okay with a $35k starting price, but not with a $70k starting price.

Tesla are much more expensive in Europe. In fact, I could have an BMW M4 and a Golf R for the price of a mid-range Model S with some options - I know which two cars I'd rather have...

An M4 is price equivalent to a Golf R in Europe? Wow - quite a different story here in the US.

I think he meant he could buy both of those instead of the Tesla.


facepalm I see now.

You can get a used Model S for about 45K. Still not cheap, but AFAIK the maintenance costs are quite low.

I suffer from "nicest shit syndrome" (read: sucker) which means if you offer me a Mercedes with a few options to upgrade I'll just do it.

When I priced out and test drove an S it was over 100k.

Edit: Just repriced, 107k w/o the speedracer package (just the 100 kWh)

When it comes to maintenance there is not much day light between a Volt and any Tesla Model.

There is not much at all, there is a big different I would assume in service quality though. My Volt has been in Chevy service for over a month with a failed transmission. That is where the "love-ish" comes from.

^ Sample size: 1


Get on the phone with your Volt Ambassador and yell. From what I've read the problem with GM & EVs is the huge gap between the excellent engineering quality of the product and the crappy quality of their dealerships. I'd say get your car out of that dealership and into one that has a better track record with EVs and make sure GM corporate hears about it.

(Also a Volt owner)

Is there such thing as Volt Ambassador?! I have got in touch w GM they are equally slow...

Well at least up here in Canada there are and pretty sure they at least used to have them down there. I got a call from mine a month or so after purchase, just to check on me and see how happy I was.

To be clear, just like the previous Volvo and Lincoln announcements, some version of each line of car will be available with a hybrid or all-electric propulsion system.

Is this announcement a total cop-out like Volvo's was?

Volvo's announcement was that all cars would be electric or hybrid, but their definition of hybrid is very broad. It includes a "mild hybrid" system which can never run on pure battery. It's pretty cool, but more like a fuel efficiency improvement than it's like a Prius.

No, unlike Volvo, Mercedes is still going to have combustion engine only versions.

Which wouldn't come as a surprise on any other community that wasn't as obsessed with Tesla as HN is.

Mercedes (or other German manufacturers) aren't doing this lip service because of Tesla (not everything revolves around them) but because of the situation in Germany. It's a broader topic, but in short the big manufacturers are working together with the government, and making some concessions in exchange for no diesel bans of any kind.

> making some concessions in exchange for no diesel bans of any kind.

It's more complicated than that. Diesel bans (when they come) will be declared by courts, not by politicians or officers in the executive branch. The purpose of said concessions is to calm German customers.

So this headline obviously has broad room for interpretation. It is simply not feasible to dump the ICE in 5 years across the lineup. I would guess that a sizable percentage would be mild hybrid, which is kind of the only way to hit some of the forthcoming emissions/MPG/Km/L targets while maintaining the type of "performance" that ICE have given in recent years. Im not sure how I feel about it, as it really just means that cars are going to get a lot more difficult to fix and possibly end up in the junkyard sooner. If battery tech improves enough to allow for a near "refuel" experience, that is the sea change. I am all for this, but if this never comes, the switch to electric cars will likely either be forced by legislation or end up a 30-50 year process.

It'll be a 30-50 year process. I don't even think that's a question. Look at the phase-out of leaded gasoline, it wasn't fully banned from sale for on-road vehicles in the US until 1996. The phase-out began in 1976.

And that was a lot more clear-cut "this is terrible!" to the average person.


Personally, I expect most countries will never fully ban or need to ban ICE-powered vehicles, just as we don't ban you from driving a Model T or horse & buggy around today.

New sales will be required to meet strict efficiency and safety standards and once electric becomes a cheaper option (perhaps with taxes/subsidies to hurry that), new ICE-powered vehicles will become a specialized niche rather than mainstream. They'll probably retain various niches for a long time, but that'll be a tiny fraction compared with current use.

Already on the road average ICE-powered vehicles will rapidly taper off in demand as they cycle into wearing out and winding up in the junkyard.

A couple big questions follow, if the rise of electric-only cars implies a shift away from today's gasoline-car infrastructure (which seems increasingly imminent):

How soon before fast recharger stations are plentiful (and fast) enough to allow long distance trips via electric-only cars?

If multitudes of rechargers do not arise, does the inevitability of electric-only cars spell the end of using the automobile for interstate travel once the last gas station becomes unsustainable? If people already are using cars less for long trips, this trend away from road trips may be unstoppable in most of the world, and soon thereafter, everywhere.

By 2022 all Mercedes-Benz car lines will have electric or hybrid options available. Now that is not very catchy. The article itself does not do any better, seeming to suggest the demise of ice by 2022 while the actual announcement only promises hybrid versions or electric versions ALSO for all car lines. So.. ICE only cars will be available, hybrid will be available and electric too. I am speculating that as usual gas price is going to determine how many of each they will sell.

>> I am speculating that as usual gas price is going to determine how many of each they will sell.

That seems like a perfectly reasonable plan to me. If everyone went all-electric, the price of gas would fall through the floor making high demand for gas powered cars. Make them all available in various forms and let the market decide what it wants.

Once consumers become aware of the true differences between ICE vehicles and EVs, most auto manufacturers will need to do this, as the simple economics of owning an EV is so superior to an ICE vehicle, all else being equal. It remains to be seen however if the established manufacturers can match Tesla's lead in supply chain and battery production capacity relevant to EV manufacture.

This is mostly about hybrids though (near term), and it's not obvious that a hybrid at $50k or an Ev at $60k is more evonomical than the ICE at $40k (say).

So long as the premiums are very steep it's still a hard sale so tax breaks are absolutely necessary. There is a one time credit of $9k here now for EV's and the yearly tax is almost zero (compared to upwards of $1k/yr for ICE) but I still can't get the math to quite add up. The game changer will be more mass produced modestly priced models. Right now it's often sold as a luxury with added performance. Look at Volvos T8 drivetrain - it's pure luxury. No one will buy it for economy.

Oddly enough, I read that they killed their only electric car only this July: https://electrek.co/2017/07/31/mercedes-kills-electric-b-cla...

Does this mean that they will offer electric versions of each model of their cars, or that they will not sell any gas powered cars at all?

This means that every car will have an (additional) electric motor.

This means that you can have any model with an electric or a hybrid powertrain. If it helps you to grasp it, consider the current situation: you can have most of their cars with a a petrol engine (several variants), or a diesel (several variants) – in the future that list will include either hybrid or EV versions, or both, for all models.

Why are companies not announcing auto-pilot? I think the most attractive feature of Tesla is auto-pilot (more than it being EV).

Mercedes and BMW had autopilot-like features for longer than Tesla. They just don't advertise those features as aggressively as Tesla because they are more conservative. Tesla has the start-up bonus that Mercedes does not have and if there was an accident, Mercedes' reputation would take a bigger hit than Tesla's.

They are[1][2], but now it's old news and it will take some time until they take it to the next level.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8EnYIuvFos [2]: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/11/15952510/audi-a8-level-3-...

Companies can work on more than one project at a time. Especially since this and autopilot are likely worked on by completely different people at the company.

This must be farther along on the pipeline. Clearly Auto-Pilot is not at a stage they're comfortable promising.

You probably would be using Autopilot on the highway but not in cities. Not sure it would be practical enough. It's a great experimental Level 2 feature but I think it may be dangerous if too many drivers take it as a full blown self-driving option.

On electric vehicle you can have on-board charger. There's no need to connect the gasoline (or other fuel) unit to the traditional power train (if it exists at all). The charger can run on only one optimal power setting and that's it. Therefore there's no need or reason to run the engine on wide range of engine speed at all. Either the charger is on, or off. That's it. It's only used if the battery is low and extra power is required. And of course it's possible heat emissions can be used for extra heating power.

This is just in five years. Considering that new models take about that amount of time to be designed (on known combustion platforms), that sounds like high speed to me!

Does that include their cargo line, too?

Over the last few years BMW strategically chose to shift investment away from their current line-up into their electric line (and I think Germany's and Europe's charging infrastructure, which they have a standard for and are backing). They had nothing to show against MB's 2016 generation and haven't had a good year for car sales in comparison. Now that MB has got that '16 release out of the way looks like they're going 100% into competing with and catching up to BMW's electric line up. BMW already has the super-hyped up i8 and the i3 (and depending on your taste they may the most beautiful or the most ugly cars ever designed). MB just discontinued their only electric. BMW should have one more ICE refresh 2018-2020 and then it will be electric/hybrid all the way.

they are probably concerned too about tesla but at the moment bmw, mb and vw's audi are probably the three auto marques who can each crank out a couple million electric cars a year by 2020 if they wanted to. it's that volume that makes them competitive.

If 100% of cars on the road (globally) were electric, how much would that impact global warming?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 20% of all emissions are tailpipe from cars. Maybe 30% for all vehicles including trains etc.

That's a significant percentage. If the oil demand drops, theres probably another 5-10% that could reduce.

So we're looking at probably a 30-35% drop in emissions.

As an owner of an electric (recently bought), I'm fascinated by how amazingly agile my relatively-inexpensive Ford Focus is. If everyone drove an electric for a day, many would likely decide to go electric purely for performance reasons.

But you have to account for the fact that much/most of the electricity used by EVs is generated in ways that produce carbon emissions. And even if we specify that it all comes from "zero-emissions" sources there's still an environmental cost that comes with manufacturing, and mining/processing materials, for cars, batteries, wind turbines and solar panels, nuclear and hydropower, etc.

Which is not to say it isn't an improvement, just that it oversimplifies things only to look at one side of the balance sheet.

> much/most of the electricity used by EVs is generated in ways that produce carbon emissions

This is highly dependent on where you live. At the extreme, North Dakota [1] gets 75% of its electricity from coal burning. But in California, the mix is 35% Natural Gas, 25% Renewable, 10% hydro, 10% nuclear [2], so nearly half of the electricity is carbon-neutral. If huge places like California go electric, they will take other places along with them.

But even in the unlikely scenario of a primarily coal-based grid in the future, the efficiency increase that comes from the centralization of combustion at the coal plant (as opposed to in the vehicle) still results in lower well-to-wheels CO2 emissions [3].

[1] http://www.ndenergyforum.com/expert-facts/

[2] http://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/total_syst...

[3] http://mydocs.epri.com/docs/CorporateDocuments/SectorPages/P...

>According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 20% of all emissions are tailpipe from cars.

The only USC source I could find[1] says that 20% of US emissions are tailpipe emissions, but the question was about global emissions. Globally transport makes up 14% of emissions according to the IPCC.[2]

[1] http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/car-emissions-and-globa...

[2] https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emiss...

And can we hope for snowball effect, if cars were to be all electric, maybe people perspective on ecology, green areas, air pollution would change too. Unleashing more desire and efforts into planting trees and plants. Etc etc

I don't know about globally, but in California the carbon emissions from light vehicles are the largest component of the emissions inventory, and the only component that is growing. If entire fleet was electrified and entire grid converted to renewable, that would knock ~25% off emissions.

Including commercial vehicles? It would be a truly significant change, but at this point, probably too little too late. Still, it would be a shocking change, and it would also potentially greatly reduce city pollution around world, reduce deaths and illness from related effects.


According to the IPCC, transportation accounts for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions,[1] and according to the EPA it's 27% of US emissions.[2] Obviously road-based transport is only one part of transport, which also includes ships, trains, and planes.

[1] https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emiss...

[2] https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/inventory-us-greenhouse-gas...

The interesting question, at least for now, is how it would impact air quality in cities. Electric cars are not as eco-friendly as you might think, their production is very energy intensive and currently at least electricity comes in large parts from fossil fuels.

However, inner city air quality is pretty bad, with particulates and NOx killing thousands every year. Electric cars have the immediate benefit that they move pollution somewhere else.

Power plants are also much more efficient than the thousands of internal combustion engines they'd be replacing. It's still not ideal, but it's better than the current situation, and it's easily improved (to great effect) by replacing coal plants with cleaner sources.

Are they still more efficient if you factor in the whole chain of fuel->wheel rotation? Converting electricity to battery charge, to movement surely shaves off at least 15%.

They are. Remember that you also have to factor in the whole chain of crude oil underground -> wheel rotation if you want a proper comparison. Transporting and refining gasoline isn't free either.

Car engines have pretty bad efficiency. You're looking at something like 25-30% typically, and that's peak efficiency. Car engines usually run well off peak efficiency because they're not at optimal RPM or power output, and then you lose even more when braking. Add on another substantial portion for refining and transport.

A modern power plant can be 60% efficient or more. You lose about 6% in transmission, and then another 5-10% in the rectifier, battery, inverter, and motor.

If you factor in the chain from crude, you also have to factor in the mining and transportation of coal. I don't think that's usually done when calculating the CO2/kWh.

It needs to be if you want to make a meaningful comparison. If you search for the lifecycle emissions of coal you'll find this accounted for. That search will also give you non-zero values for things like nuclear and wind, which is also useful. (Although a bit hard to say for sure, since in a hypothetical world powered exclusively by nuclear or wind, the values would be lower.)

> They are. Remember that you also have to factor in the whole chain of crude oil underground -> wheel rotation if you want a proper comparison. Transporting and refining gasoline isn't free either.

Do you? I mean... we're still going to refine petroleum if we go to electric cars completely, if only for industrial purposes. Even then I think it's going to be a while before anybody proposes electric passenger jets or electric cargo freighters, so there's still going to be refining and oil exploration. I am not really sure it is correct to assign 100% of the cost of that to cars.

Who said anything about assigning 100% of the cost to cars? You break it down into a per-gallon figure, and use that to assign the cost to cars.

It's the same thing with electrics. You don't assign the entire energy lost in the power grid's wiring to EVs. You assign them the percentage loss on the energy they consume.

To obtain a gallon of gasoline costs a certain amount of energy which implies a certain amount of emissions attributable to that gallon. If you're looking at the entire efficiency of a gasoline car in terms of miles per unit of CO2 emitted, you need to account for that. The same goes for a kilowatt-hour of electricity and accounting for the miles-per-CO2 of an EV.

The power generation is far more centralised, meaning economies of scale/size can apply both to efficiency of the generators (they can operate optimally all the time) and to infrastructure around them, e.g. for a hypothetical CO2 capture system, it is almost certainly easier and cheaper to apply huge versions to 100 power stations than to try miniaturise to fit to 100 million individual cars.

You still get some fine particle emissions from the wear of rubber tires and road surface, and the brake pads. But this might be a small fraction compared to what gas engines emit.

Those particles are much bigger than what the ICE produces, which makes them less dangerous.

This is where EVs also have an advantage because they scrub their brake pads much less.

~14% of total emissions are from transportation. If there were somehow 100% adoption of electric cars, including replacement of all existing cars on the road, you'd see a reduction of around that amount.


I've gone though this before... If you break this down into passenger vehicles, the percentage gets much smaller.

It really blows my mind. We could replace every car on the planet with zero emissions, and still would put a tiny dent into the total percentage of pollution. We're winding up all these battery factories, spending millions on personal vehicle tech like it'll save the world, and the real majority of the problem doesn't seem to get any focus.

I just feel like it's sort of a distraction to keep us busy ignoring the real problem. It all feels sort of like a farce to me. But then again, I don't know what kind of new regulations and emissions controls are going into factories, ships, etc. I just feel like there probably isn't any regulation on the real polluters. They'll just keep getting tax breaks, while we'll undoubtedly get taxed for driving an old "polluter" car.

No, you'd likely not see anywhere near the 14% reduction. Electricity has to come from somewhere. In a lot of US states that "somewhere" contains a significant fraction of coal and gas.

This is true, but centralized power generation is a lot more efficient then creating the power individually at the point of consumption like ICE cars do today. I believe that an ICE motor is something like 30% fuel efficient, Electric something like 80-90% and a combined cycle blah blah gas turbine is more like 60-70%. So no, it won't be the full 14% but it won't be a few points either, probably safe to say 5-10% reduction.

That's not safe to say either. I've read that EVs take more energy to manufacture as well.

A very good heuristic is to compare their total $ costs for purchase and use, and then think about what sorts of externalities that doesn't cover. I've found over and over again that $ cost pretty much equals energy and therefore pollution cost, less the externalities. But the externalities are really super important, and of course, engine efficiencies and where in the cycle the energy is liberated from it's chemical bonds is important.

"Transportation" includes ships, planes, trains and trucks. Less than half of that 14% corresponds to passenger cars.

I suspect it'd be negligible. You still require a lot of energy for creating and disposing of the batteries, manufacturing the vehicles, and of course charging them. Most of that power (for the time being) comes from non-renewables[1]. I don't have data to back it up, but I suspect that the lifetime energy required to build a fully electric car is still greater than that of an efficient ICE car.

Furthermore, according to the EPA, 27% of greenhouse gas emissions are for transport[2], however there's no breakdown by things like airplanes vs trains vs cars.

IMO, if people really want to 'change the world', we need to shift away from automobiles, consumerism, plastics, and conspicuous consumption. Live close to work, ride a bicycle, stop buying McMansions.

[1]: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home

[2]: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emis...

Although the carbon emissions caused by the manufacturing of an electric car is greater than those for a gasoline car, the amount of carbon emissions for the total lifecycle of an electric car are on average half those of a gasoline car [1, Figure ES-2]. This is calculated using the average U.S. grid emission data. In a country such as Norway, where 98% of our grid is powered by hydro, the greenhouse gas emissions during the operation of an electric car is 99% less than that of a 2014 gasoline-powered car [1, Table 1].

The great thing about electric vehicles is that it makes it possible to greatly reduce emissions as the grid is transformed towards a larger share of reusable energy.

Another great trend is autonomous driving, which will enable a reduction in the number of cars by having cars as a service at a lower price. Fewer cars will mean that cars can be built better and last longer, as they can be more expensive. As long as these cars are electric and powered by renewable energy, the potential to reduce emissions compared with the current situation should be large.

[1] http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cle...

IIRC the biggest contributor to the transportation's emission are freight ships that cross the oceans. I wonder how they will be solved.. Maybe going all-electric will help people transform their mindset to no-emissions production (since cars live with people, frieghts ships don't), so it could be that this is an important cultural shift.

Oceanic shipping is a big emitter of pollutants that cause acid rain, mostly because its limits on sulfur in fuel are incredibly lax compared to those for cars/trucks. It's not a big CO2 emitter relative to land transportation.


We have that breakdown in California statistics and 91% of transport is private cars. Trains, planes, trucks, and off-road equipment is tiny.

Even so, electric cars are still less efficient, so we'd be worse off. There's at least one[1] study (of the batteries for the Ford Focus) which found that they resulted in 39% more CO2 emissions than the ICE version.

[1]: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.6b00830

That requires you to assume a certain mix of energy used to manufacture the thing.

It reflects the current reality. We're not going to replace everything with nuclear power anytime soon.

True. However, while it is possible to make any kind of car with 100% renewable embodied energy, it is quite impossible to operate an ICE car on renewable.

that study is problematic because while they look at the cradle to gate cost of the electric drivertrain including battery, comparing to the ICE car drivetrain, they don't look at all the cost of Petrol + all the unaccounted for externalities that go into it's extraction and delivery. A good comparison would include the cost of electricity extraction both for the ICE car and the electric and then do the comparison. As it stands, this study tells us that Electric cars are more 'expensive' than ICE cars.

I'm confused by what you've written here.

When you say they "left out the petrol", are you assuming that a better analysis would assume that the petrol is never made in the first place?

I mean, that might be the wish but we don't yet live in a world where the gas will stay in the ground if we don't use it to fuel one automobile at the margin.

Child has it. The way this study is written, we're asked to compare more or less the carbon impact of an empty gas tank and the battery pack. That seems a bit unrealistic to me. yes the drivetrain is different and therefore more costly, but when it comes down to it, looking at the examples in the paper, the comparison is between the battery pack and an empty gas tank. That seems disingenuous to the broader point of carbon emissions for the entire life-cycle of the vehicles, which presumably would include use.

Which approach is "more realistic" depends on whether you are evaluating the decision between an electric car and a gas car at the margin, or not.

If it's you as a consumer buying the next car to be produced, then it is entirely appropriate to compare it that way, because your single purchase will not change the entire life cycle.

I think their point was that it seems unfair to count up all the of the embodied energy of an electric car's batteries, but to only count the potential energy of the ICE car's fuel.

It would probably impact city pollution much more than global warming, which means it will also impact healthcare costs (as in reducing them).

It's a good start. But, pollution can still be caused from brake dust and tire friction with the roads. Fixing the housing problem will yield significant gains, as that would reduce extremely long commutes to much shorter ones where people could walk.

Electric cars barely use conventional brakes. So brake dust would be reduced by at least a factor of 3.

That is completely dependent on the energy mix used to generate the electrical power. In case coal is used the effect on climate probably is worse than what we have now.

While it's dependent on the energy to generate, it adds several new possibilities. It's no surprise why Elon wants solar panels, home scale batteries, and electric cars together.

Plus, even if a few dozen coal plant powered electric cars aren't superior to hundreds of millions of gasoline engines burning gas (a point I would still challenge), it's easier to regulate a few dozen coal plants than it is to replace hundreds of millions of cars.

It's funny, the "coal makes electric cars worse" has become a popular anti-EV line from conservatives, but the reality is that the US is only 30% coal (no longer #1 source overall either)[1], electric cars in the US with our electric mix release far less carbon on average [2], and heck even burning natural gas in a plant is cleaner with less ghg impact than millions of gasoline burning engines [3]

[1] https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

[2] https://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.php

[3] http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/emiss...

You missed my point. Which is: If and only if the energy production for the EVs will be done through renewable sources, this grand plan works. But in Germany (where I live), we are experiencing huge problems with this approach.

The main issue: Power production fluctuates wildly throughout the year. But you need to have the capacity for the worst case (sometime in winter), which means an enormous surplus of energy in the summer. We cannot store this energy. And all these issues threaten the stability of the power grid.

Shutting down the nuclear power plants hurt us badly regarding the CO2 budget. All of the new renewable energy installations (solar and wind, mainly) have only achieved to offset the loss of the nuclear plants.

Other countries will have the same problems. Solutions are not in sight. It will be much, much more expensive that people now realize. Energy prices in Germany have gone up considerably since the early 2000s, precisely because of renewable energy.

Don't get me wrong, to save the planet this is what we must do. But currently, it is unclear how to do this in a short time, without lowering the standard of life for everyone.

0%, as there is no proof of man-caused global warming.

Manufacturing that many electric motors and (presumably) lithium ion batteries would have an enormous impact on the world, though, in terms of mining and refining the rare metals and elements required for these components. But even putting that aside, and assuming that batteries and motors could be produced for the same impact as combustion engines, the impact would still be zero percent for there is no provable scientific evidence that man is causing global warming. None. There are lots of theories, yes, and loads of simulations, stacks of papers written with funding by government grants, lots of charts & graphs (some with well-documented NOAA 'doctored' numbers), plenty of groupthink in the popular press, etc. but science is not a popularity contest. At one point in time it was settled-science that the world was flat. Groupthink does not equal proof. And it should not be actionable. This lack of proof is the state of scientific knowledge at this time.

Are there any electric cars that offer privacy? I don't want driving stats sent to the cloud or even stored locally. I would never buy a car that's remotely controllable either.

Front collision avoidance would be nice, but won't give up privacy for it.

You could ask the same thing about most cars with an internal combustion engine as well. Most of them do store some key data inboard. Some already push quite a lot of data to the cloud.

The biggest reason most car manufacturers are laggards in this respect is because they mostly don't make the onboard systems themselves. As opposed to manufacturers like Tesla, which understand that making the onboard systems is important both from a practical and strategic point of view.

I don't think privacy will be respected unless there are strict regulations in place that are taken as seriously as, for instance, cheating on emissions tests. But in recent years there has been a keenness in government to harvest this data. So I wouldn't hold my breath.

I've got a circa 2000 manual until the privacy option arrives.

This is nice for car owners, but public transit users will continue to get the shaft for another 20 years. The only innovations in transit seem to be of the mode of fuel. It's still too expensive and politically inconvenient to build out new train service, and electrified city buses don't seem to be getting any cheaper. Unless something changes, we're going to end up with a public-subsidized automatic-pilot public transit network of Uber cars.

> we're going to end up with a public-subsidized automatic-pilot public transit network of Uber cars.

Yes please! It seems obvious that this would be the most efficient mode of transit, effectively turning streets into point-to-point conveyor belts.

Moving individual people is insanely inefficient compared to moving large numbers of them. It would completely immobilize roads used for daily commuting, and it would take much much longer, not to mention it would take so many cars as to require massive investment in additional vehicles. I mentioned it as a sort of unlikely worst case scenario; buses will stay in some form or another for the forseeable future. They just won't get any better.

Having a robot car pick me up at my house and drop me off at work is far more efficient than me having to drive to a train station, wait for the train, switch to the subway, wait for that train, then walk to work. It could be picking up an dropping off people on the way, it doesn't have to be a solo vehicle. If you think about congestion as the number of people in transit at any point, this should reduce it.

It would also reduce concentration because you wouldn't have people clustering homes and work around transit stations, it would be more spread out.

Buses are slowly turning electric, which makes them better (for example quieter, faster acceleration).

Automation also seems more economically feasible for more expensive vehicles.

Will this be followed by large-scale lay-offs of mechanical engineers? I would gather a large portion of the workforce (those working on ICE) are ill-suited to electric.

No, why should it? First, apparently they mean they will offer an "electrified version", additionally to the combustion engine models. Second, electrified can mean a hybrid, which still has a combustion engine.

And third: "Will electrify" will most likely mean "will also offer at least one electrified version of each model", and not to get rid of the gasoline variants immediatly.

Nah. Powertrains are a relatively small part of automotive engineering and the skills are still important in an electric car.

Electrification should make motors and batteries commodities so that engineering goes away, but you still need to package them, evaluate components, integrate them with the vehicle, etc.

I think we'll need fewer powertrain engineers but to the extent that more components become standardized, competition might be along the axis of variety of cars. You'll need engineers to design door handles and route brake light cables, and decide what fasteners to use for the air filter.

I wouldn't be surprised if car companies spent more on R&D after electric cars become more common - they won't be so protected by barriers to entry.

If Tesla manages to make 500k Model 3s next year, they'll be a uniquely young major auto maker. The youngest company that makes >500k cars/yr is either Honda or Hyundai. Honda made its first car in 1963, and Hyundai made its first car in 1968. Hyundai is an older company but Honda has been making cars for longer.

There are a few Chinese automakers who started in the 1980s but they're bit players - they primarily make cars that wouldn't pass first world emissions / safety tests.

There is a little more to a car than the engine.

Did anyone tell the Arabs yet? Qatar wants to spend $200B to host a few week long soccer championship in 2022 http://gulfnews.com/business/economy/blockade-vexes-qatar-s-...

also probably playing a role ... toyota hybrid patents starting to expire

Seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, since MB only makes ~2 performance oriented cars at this point, and neither of those are particularly strong competitors against the other other options at those price points.

Overall, no big loss for the car community, and maybe a little more competition against Tesla directly will help.

The move to electric vehicles is great. They certainly are fun, but as a car guy, I'll miss the experience of filling up the tank and feeling the rumble of the engine roaring down the road with the pedal to the floor.

Small experience to give up for the sake of the planet and future generations though. <3

Heh, I don't miss it at all. Especially when I out-accelerate a car likely double or triple my car's cost without any effort.

Smoking ICE cars off the line is one of the most enjoyable things about driving my electric.

No oil changes. No transmission replacement. No smog checks. Likely never replace brake pads (due to regenerative braking). Only real maint left is tires/wipers.

Seriously, if I was an auto mechanic I'd be worried about my business/career if EV (or even hybrids - they get 50% of the reductions) went into full swing.

If you're smart you make sure your shop specializes in collision. This will still be a thing until the vast majority of vehicles are autonomous, no matter the powertrain.

Out of curiosity, which electric vehicle do you drive?

2017 Ford Focus Electric. Listed at $31K, I got it on lease (with federal tax credits adjusting lease price down) for $16.5K (50% financed on lease). I probably could have gotten a better deal, even.

High voltage, instant start systems have been talked about since I was 14, I am over 40. This is bullshit.

Until there is a proven 450 mile range on 5 year old batteries, in the middle of the winter, I would not consider an EV. Oh, and this should be after 5 minutes of charging.

Any old gas powered car will do at least this on a 5 minute fill up.

Well, "hybrid" in this case is a bigger engine starter and battery, that also can propell the vehicle for a while, I assume.

This could be done with old manual cars without fancy security checks so, we have been there, done that.

Meanwhile, India is pushing to electrify all new vehicles by 2030.


Are the hybrids like a Prius or like a plugin hybrid where you have an electric motor where you can drive a certain distance with only the battery?

Its amazing to me that Mercedes-Benz still has some non-electrified cars. How do these non-electrified cars run their headlights or trigger the airbags?


So when can I get an electric Sprinter?

How many countries will have a grid capable of serving an electronic fleet by 2022? 5 years is very optimistic.

Entire fleet is not going to switch to electric in 2022, Mercedes-Benz will start offering electric versions of their models in 2022, some other manufacturers are targeting to switch to EVs around the same time span. So in the beginning of 2020s we'll see gradual process of switching to EVs for all car manufacturers. 5 years is plenty of time for electricity providers to prepare their grids, especially considering that their investments will probably pay off with an interest, since they are gonna increase sales as more cars become electric.

Plus most of the charging probably will be scheduled at the time when electricity usage is less and providers offer better pricing. For example in some areas in US you can get free nights rate, at night there is less strain on the grid and abundance of wind power makes it possible.

It’s “electric”, not “electronic”.

Mercedes is going to update its lineup, not replace every single car in the world overnight. Countries have time to build out their network of charging stations.

Wow, this shows that Mercedez-Benz is terrified of what Tesla's ramp up will do to its market share.

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