Tesla is probably an important competitor but at the moment I'm more likely to believe BMW, Audi and MB could pull off a production capacity of a million+ hybrids per year each by 2020 if they put themselves to it.
* I wrote a similar comment in the MB submission.
disclaimer, I have eyes
edit: corrected what I said about the i3, there are full electric versions
And yes, the 2009 Mini-E (based on a modified Mini Cooper) was a limited production trial, as well as the 2011 BMW ActiveE (based on a modified 1-series). Both were predecessors of BMW i3.
I'm very curious who will win the race to the middle, that is mass EV production: either (1) Tesla becoming a mainstream car manufacturer, or (2) the mainstream car manufacturers learning to do EVs.
I'm inclined to favor the Big Auto. I believe they can easily catch up with Tesla's EV technology, whereas Tesla will have a hard time ramping up production to Big Auto scale.
Chinese corps will set up EV only marques and allow them to freely attack ICE competitors where it hurts, even if they don't initially rake in high profits, giving them a feel good halo and they'll get sensible long term support from their government.
At the moment Nissan, Hyundai and Mitsubishi are good mid-level electric options and I can see new Chinese entrants sweeping them aside as they take the whole market.
Geely have bought Volvo and also make the new hybrid London Taxi, and are trying to make a delivery van platform from it.
I know its the not the "race" you're talking about, but the real winners will be the electric power transmission line owners in a market system. Transmission line companies will be the new oil companies...
I tend to agree with you due to manufacturing scales and manufacturing excellence. Tesla still has a long way to catch up.
Which I think is the best move. I really hated the first Hybrids and electrics from the incumbent automakers. They always looked so different. Always felt if they look the same as the current lineup people would buy more, it happened already with hybrid options.
Putting the batteries underneath is a natural solution, giving you a nice low centre of gravity. Virtually all the stuff in the engine bay is unnecessary on an EV. If you have a motor for each wheel, you can distribute weight very evenly.
There are also advantages for cooling, possibly. A long, thin, cuboid gives you more surface area than a squat cuboid.
I'd argue it's a harder engineering challenge to distribute weight in an ICE than an EV.
And that's what it's done. Interesting that in three years, the landscape has changed a lot.
> At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales. (2014)
In the entire group power train and vehicle development is budgeted at around 120 Billion a year, so this is just over half of that budget spread out over probably 5 years. These are not SV startups, they are enormous companies by revenue and investment (which is why they have low profits and aren't sexy to invest in )
Maybe they'll shut/slim down the combustion departments.
3 cab configurations, 3 bed lengths, 5 trims and 2 powertrain options ups that to 90. Apply all 90 variations to the 1/2, 3/4 and 1-ton variants and you've got 270.
Synchronous as well as Asynchronous (no magnet) motors are both very durable. We're talking hundreds of thousands, if not a million hours of operation (according to Tesla that's 60,000,000 miles at 60mph). If we don't throw away the motors with every car purchase (which is a big if in today's world of yearly disposable smartphones). Then even a small efficiency advantage should be immensely useful over the life of the motor. IIRC we're talking about 10% more efficiency for synchronous. If you drive it for 1,000,000h and use about 20kW in average operation, that is 20,000,000kWh. 10% would be 2,000,000kWh. That's significant.
NYC has a peak demand of 14,500MW (see here: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2015/09/28/how-much-energy-does...). So you could power NYC for 8mins at it's peak usage with these lifetime efficiency savings(again it's unrealistic that the motors will actually run that long in cars, but at least the rare earths could be easily recouped when recycled properly).
So the motor is one of the places where an initial investment in rare earths, could be paid off easily over the lifetime of the motor. Assuming that motors aren't disposed of.
The batteries still require massive amounts of rare-earths though, and they don't have the same durability. I see much more of an environmental disaster coming here.
The auto industry heavily recycles. Pretty much every major part costs extra if you don't return the old "core" so it can be re-manufactured. Autos are stripped down before the frame is crushed. Not doing so leaves money on the table. I don't see EVs being much different.
While other industries can/could successfully be pressured to move to sustainable, fair and environmentally conscious production, the Chinese REE production, as a monopoly, just doesn't care.
Not to mention, you also need to burn fossil fuels to charge them, at least primarily.
It's also worthy of noting that even if we remove all automobiles from the planet, it will do exactly nothing for reducing global warming.
All electric cars do is trade one form of pollution for another, and isn't really anything more than a bandaid solution for a gaping chest wound.
Indeed, green is the new brown.
And if you believe their accounting, then they're trading way under their book value.
If they issued bonds to finance $84b in electric car research, they'd be rated thoroughly junk.
However, they spend a lot of money on R&D and this is just part of that budget over several years.
Total research and development costs
2016 : 13.672B, 2015 : 13.612B
Split over a ~12 years that's a little over 1/2 of total R&D spending. However, much of this is capital expenditures on new battery manufacturing not just pure R&D.
Ah no it was the Gigafactory they started ... no, wait again, this was also announced years before building started.
Hmm, you've got me confused.
Rare earth elements are cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb) and yttrium (Y) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare-earth_element)
Lithium batteries generally require elements such as: Lithium, graphite (carbon), Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese, Aluminium, Oxygen.
None of these are rare earth minerals, and production of most of these elements is not concentrated in China. See https://electrek.co/2016/11/01/breakdown-raw-materials-tesla...
The powerful permanent magnets used in some EVs do require rare earth elements (e.g. neodymium), but many EV motors don't require permanent magnets at all.
E.g. Tesla uses an induction motor (no permanent magnet required); whereas the Nissan Leaf does use permanent magnets (assuming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle#Electric_moto... is correct).
Cunningham's Law states "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."
The Congo appears to have as much reserves as the rest of the world combined! If demand goes up prospecting will go up.
And now imagine if the tax collected on mineral oil for gas falls away cause everyone drives electric. And know that there isn't a specific car electricity to tax.
Thinking the government would just eat this loss without thinking of ways to make the people pay would just be naive.
Edit: I asked around. While I pay less than my German peers, nobody I asked pays more than 30 Euro per person per month.
That's a continuous draw of about 120 watts.
What do you do for heating / cool? Do you not have a fridge, or an always-on computer, or a water heater?
May last electricity bill was $750 for three months, a rate of about AU$0.26 / kWh, plus a daily supply charge of about ninety cents. The person who was responsible for a majority of that bill doesn't live here any more, but it wasn't hard to achieve.
I have a fridge that uses about 140kWh/year and I cook with electricity. I turn my electronics off when I'm not at home, so the fridge is the only electricity consumer when I'm at work. I use considerably less than 85kWh per day, the costs I quoted contain a rather large fixed component.
In Germany heating is most often and depending on where you live done with gas, oil or district heating plants (in cities). Electrical heating has pretty much been phased out (you'll find electrical "storage" heaters in very old apartments only).
> What do you do for heating / cool? [...] or a water heater?
ACs are not typical in Germany in private apartments, only in public and office buildings. My apartment is connected to district heating (which also supplies hot water), so this does not contribute to the electricity bill, either.
> Do you not have a fridge, or an always-on computer [...]?
I have a fridge (fairly energy-efficent and modestly-sized). I have an always-on homeserver, but it too is designed for small power draw.
The biggest chunk of these 1000 kWh per year (about half of it) is actually my terrarium, i.e. its heating and lighting, and the secondary fridge where the tortoises stay in the winter. I could have easily lived on 500 kWh per year if it weren't for that. (It should be noted that I don't have a large house, just a 50 sqm = 530 sqft apartment.)
During this time, my electricity bill was about 30 € per month, at 0.26 €/kWh. I currently pay 40€ per month since my desktop PC joined the consumers, at 0.27 €/kWh. I could pay slightly less (one or two cents per kWh), but I pay extra for a renewables-only power mix.
hard for me to imagine how anyone could find a 12x reduction in usage! I need to know your secret :)
nope gas heating. and it's a modest 3 BR home.
according to this Australian Government website about energy usage, for 3 people in my postcode (5075), no pool + mains gas, average daily consumption is 15.8 kWh, which matches almost exactly my last bill (avg was 15.3kWh).
I think some people are underestimating their usage. We're definitely not a wasteful household, we don't run the drier much, appliances are off when not in use, lights off when no one in room etc.
>If not you should probably spend twenty bucks on a kill-a-watt clone and check which of your appliances is consuming several hundred watts all day
yup already did that a couple years ago. Turns out there are no unusually bad appliances in the house.
 - https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/benchmark
I think some people in this thread are severely underestimating their energy usage. I wonder if people are just ballparking their estimates based on some rough data from years ago or if they're actually looking at last month's bill when saying they're using < 100kWh in a month.
Maybe for a single person who is never home that would be reasonable, but I can't imagine families being able to survive on so little.
edit: so this was driving me a little crazy and so I had to do some extra digging. My guess is that people not aware of their true usage. According to this , the average US household uses > 900kWh of energy/month. We're at half that so clearly not going overboard.
 - http://insideenergy.org/2014/05/22/using-energy-how-much-ele...
My family used 330kWh last month (also 2 adults+2 kids), including moderate use of AC; our energy efficiency report said we're using less than 1/2 the average of our neighbors.
Anyway if you want a reduction, just identify all the model numbers of anything plugged in and check specs and approximate usage.
It's insane how large the efficiency spectrum is, and how efficient things have become in recent years.
For example, modern 6ft fridges get so efficient they use about 8 kWh per month. Meanwhile, very old fridges can still use upwards of 40 kWh per month. We've seen a reduction of something like 75% in the past 15 years, that's pretty massive.
The most efficient washing machines now use about 10 kWh a month, while I can easily find washing machines for sale that use 25 kWh per month that were produced as recently as 2012 by LG.
And that's the difference in age. Differences in tech/model are also vast. In Europe we have a pretty decent energy labeling system for consumers for a decent approximation.
For example, here's lightbulbs  where you can see, for a certain amount of light (e.g. 3k lumens) the best bulbs use 50W while the worst use 250W. That's a 5x difference. You can easily drop 80% of your lighting electricity usage if you still have old bulbs.
The big items like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, dryers, fridges, particularly old ones, all typically draw 2 kW or more at various times, so that's probably low-hanging fruit, assuming you have changed your bulbs.
A big TV is another one, not as high-powered but a lot of people keep em on for very long times, sometimes just as music players or on the background, and some TVs are really inefficient. Mine is alright but still draws 220 W. Contrast that with say the 2017 Macbook, which has a 42 Wh battery and lasts 10h. i.e. it draws about 4W. If you use your Macbook for 5h each day before/after work, you'd use about 0.6 kW per month, or about $1.5 typically. But if I have my TV on for 5 hours (I've used it as a music player like this but stopped due to electricity) it'd draw 33 kWh a month for about $80 a year.
If I compare the utility between these devices, it's crazy I spend 55x as much energy on my TV per hour of usage than a modern laptop. It's just that electricity is so damn cheap. The comparison to a phone is even crazier.
Central heating in Europe usually works this way. You have a boiler in the ground/underground level of the building which turns water into steam which is pumped to radiators in the building through vertical pipes.
Most of boilers I have seen in central Europe use gas so it wouldn't be included in electricity bill. There are electric boilers as well but I haven't seen a lot of them out there, it seems like a rarity to me.
We have abundance of cheap gas so it makes sense most people would use gas boilers as you'll save money.
Another big factor is in central Europe doesn't need AC which is a massive electricity hog in places with warmer climate.
I think most of your crazy electricity bill in Australia is because of AC no? Do you have electric or gas boiler?
The only always-on computer was an Odroid, and our bulbs were LED. The fridge was pretty efficient.
* Various electronics (TV, router, speakers etc)
* Floor heating in the bathroom
* AC/heater for warming 2/3 of my house
* electric oven, stove, dish washer, washing machine, coffe machine, toaster etc..
All in all ~72€/month for 650kwH. Living in Europe, a bit colder climate than Germany.
Power prices in Australia is becoming one of the bigger political talking points at the moment. There is a lot of finger pointing going on. The main culprits appear to be:
1. a poorly designed energy market where electricity suppliers can get paid more by turning down their capacity, increasing scarcity to lead to price spikes, at which they can sell their electricity for inflated prices
2. governments allowing exporting of too much of the countries natural gas supplies - the spike in natural gas prices has caused increased costs for natural gas power stations
3. the market not accommodating the intermittent nature of solar / wind properly
4. the desire to decommission coal stations (probably because coal is on the nose, but more likely that gas stations can fire up/down quicker in response to renewable volatility, and coal is too slow in this respect)
24 million people spread across a really big continent might play a role.
My state, South Australia, recently received the dubious honour of having the world's highest energy prices. Here's an article which has a go at explaining some reasons , apparently delivery infrastructure (poles + wires) is a major part of the cost.
That and there seems to be a lot of price gouging going on, not sure of the reasons for this. Maybe not enough competition?
 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/09/09/compare-australi...
 - http://www.smh.com.au/business/sunday-explainer-why-is-elect...
I'd rather ask you, where you spend 900 kWh per month on :p
I suspect airconditioning is a big factor though, I've never had a fan in my home in my life and heating and warm water is done by gas. (although the country is shifting away from gas right now).
Ohh and BG is expensive for electricity. At least %30 more than Canada.
Because it's not the only factor. Many other factors might balance the price: labor cost, taxes, logistics etc. If electricity prices are as in France, maybe you would get even cheaper bread locally? I'm not trying to say that increase of prices would be dramatic, just wanted to point out that what you pay directly is not the end of it.
Scotland's government just made a deal to pay two windfarms £57.50 per megawatt hour (MWh), 40% less than they were paying even the previous year. 
Prices will continue to fall even further by the time your hypothetical bakery switches to electric vehicles.
"UK offshore wind power subsidy set to undercut nuclear"
Edit: see recent HN https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15217697 ; if my moving the decimal point is correct that's £0.06 per kWh.
Overall energy consumption is quite flat: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/... possibly due to all those EU-imposed energy efficiency directives.
The company running the grid had to put out a "myth-buster" PDF to clean up after the misinformation:
What about supply? Where does all the electricity to charge the cars come from? Is there enough surplus generating capacity in the system to support millions of EVs?
Combining renewables (which can be intermittant) with EVs (which can recharge batteries) could actually work quite well.
We only use about 39% of the electricity we generate. I know that seems strange, but it's true.