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DeLorean considering all-electric reboot (newdelorean.com)
445 points by evo_9 45 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 333 comments

> National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has completed a regulation permitting low volume motor vehicle manufacturers to begin selling replica cars that resemble vehicles produced at least 25 years ago. Congress enacted a DeLorean Motor Company-backed bill backed by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) DeLorean Motor Company, and others into law in 2015, which streamlined requirements for small automakers, but implementation was delayed while awaiting the NHTSA regulations. Companies like DeLorean will now be able to apply for authorization to produce and sell vehicles under this program.

I assume this means they waive certain modern safety regulations in order to allow companies to make new cars (in low volume) that resemble old cars?

> That said, with EV’s becoming more mainstream, we’ve been considering switching to an all-electric as the future. It certainly makes for an easier path through emissions maze which still looms large over any internal combustion engine.

That makes sense. If ever there was a car that looks like it should be an EV, it's the Delorean. They could even do a stickshift EV if they wanted to, though most car companies seem to not think it's worth the complexity/maintenance, and I get the impression that electric motors are hard on transmissions.

> They could even do a stickshift EV if they wanted to, though most car companies seem to not think it's worth the complexity/maintenance, and I get the impression that electric motors are hard on transmissions.

Electric motors have a wider power band, so there’s less need for gear shifting. They could get more efficiency with multiple gears, but it’s be a smaller benefit than in an ICE vehicle.

One of the big early problems was that the amount of instant torque that an electric vehicle puts out just shreds a gearbox. You could limit the initial torque in software, but that’d kill the joy of the EV. I’m sure someone has managed to work this by now.

On the other hand, different axles don’t have to use the same gearing ratio. That’s how dual motor Teslas work - the front wheels are geared for higher speeds, and more power is shifted towards those as you go faster. No gear-shifting required.

>> You could limit the initial torque in software, but that’d kill the joy of the EV.

All electric cars are torque-limited. They simply have to be. A static electric motor, of the type needed for higher speeds, given full voltage would not only snap bits of the drivetrain but rip apart its own mounts. So they are all limited to various degrees.

The limiting factor on low-speed power for EVs isn't the motor. It's the strength of the drivetrain and ability of the battery system to provide the necessary current/voltage without cooking something.

>All electric cars are torque-limited. They simply have to be. A static electric motor, of the type needed for higher speeds, given full voltage would not only snap bits of the drivetrain but rip apart its own mounts. So they are all limited to various degrees.

Electric motors are far, far, more forgiving to drive-train components than sporty vehicles with manuals and medium duty trucks of equivalent power levels because there is no clutch to dump. Sure it's not quite as forgiving as an automatic transmission but it's close.

No. Electric motors are potential torque beasts. That is why they, ALL of them in cars, are mated to motor controllers. The controller may be integrated into the motor assembly so as to give the impression that the motor is tame, but the reality is that every electric motor has the potential for damaging/dangerous levels of torque.


"A motor controller is a device or group of devices that can coordinate in a predetermined manner the performance of an electric motor. [...] regulating or limiting the torque, and protecting against overloads..."

Motor controllers are necessary with AC motors to supply the 3-phase AC that the motors need in sync with the motor's rotation. (DC motor controllers are simpler, but I don't think DC motors are used in any modern commercially-produced EV.) This generally requires some amount of software.

The motor generally has current and voltage and RPM and temperature limits, and the motor controller keeps everything within those limits. But the motor controller isn't there just for that reason, it's there because the motor couldn't function without it.

DC motors are different; those you could just literally replace your gas pedal with an on/off button and wire it straight from the battery to the motor. Not that that's a good idea.

Well wouldn't the controller also be used to distribute the inverted power to the poles of the stator in sync with the rotation of the hub? I am pretty sure the controller could be there whether or not it was specifically modulating the torque to be lower.

What? Electric cars have far better low-speed torque than ICEs. How do you think Teslas can do 0-60 so fast?

I don't think you understand the GP comment.

All electric cars are torque-limited certainly != electric cars do not have good low-speed torque.

It is precisely because electric motors are capable of such high torque that they have to be torque limited.

Is this still true with the use of SynRM motors (as deployed by Tesla)?

All electric motors boil down to magnets pulling and pushing on each other to make movement. Whether the torque protection is via software, circuitry, or mechanical wizardry doesn't really matter. They all need it somewhere to prevent static magnetic forces from pulling everything else apart.

I'm not sure of the power curve for an electric vehicle, but if you add gearing, you introduce losses due to gearbox and you increase complexity.

It's likely that it is not worth it in most applications. Only cars that used gearboxes in EV space (two speed) are usually intended to be able to hit 200mph so they need extremely wide rpm range from their electric motors. I know Rimac used one and Taycan (not surprising since Rimac is partly owned by Porsche).

In Rimac case, they used the gearbox to improve 0-60 times but IIRC they are losing the gearbox for their new car.

Hybrids often use gearboxes. My wife's Prius was essentially an extremely heavy 70 HP equivalent EV.

0 to 10 it was a very fastest car although the acceleration curve flattened out fast and it was between hard and impossible to have enough traction to max it out.

I don't hear much about prius transmissions being destroyed.

Something interesting to think about, I wonder with demographic trends etc if 0 to 10 is a more useful measure of daily driver performance and experience than 0 to 60. My wife's car does 0 to 10 at every stop sign, and technically my car is faster at 0 to 60 but I only did that twice a day at most for the commute, for sportiness reasons I might prefer the worlds fastest 0 to 10 car over a theoretically faster 0 to 60 car.

Hybrid is a completely different type of vehicle. Since they utilize an internal combustion engine, they suffer from the same power band issues that purely ICE cars have. This means that a hybrid does have a normal gearbox.

I'm no expert on Priuses but my quick Google showed that Prius has the electric motors "after" the gearbox. This means that electric motor can assist turning of the wheel and that it can regenerate energy but it is not using the gearbox.

One solution to this would be how diesel electric locomotives work. Internal combustion engine generates electricity that is then stored in the batteries and used to power the vehicle. These type of "hybrids" are not popular although I believe there is at least one available where it is used as a range extender.

>something interesting to think about, I wonder with demographic trends etc if 0 to 10 is a more useful measure of daily driver performance and experience than 0 to 60. My wife's car does 0 to 10 at every stop sign, and technically my car is faster at 0 to 60 but I only did that twice a day at most for the commute, for sportiness reasons I might prefer the worlds fastest 0 to 10 car over a theoretically faster 0 to 60 car.

Depends on how long the average on-ramp where you live is.

30-75 measured in distance instead of time would be a good measure where I live.

Being able to gracefully merge no matter how bad of a situation the idiot in front of me leaves behind would be far more beneficial for day to day use than off the line speed.

Prius has CVT, not a "gearbox".

Rimac already removed it form their vehicle unless I am very misinformed. The Tesla Roadster also doesn't have it. Basically almost non of the EV coming out have it.

I assume Prosche just had the expertise for and it made it easier for them to hit the top level speeds.

> On the other hand, different axles don’t have to use the same gearing ratio. That’s how dual motor Teslas work - the front wheels are geared for higher speeds, and more power is shifted towards those as you go faster. No gear-shifting required.

Yep. Alternatively, the Porsche Taycan has an 2-speed transmission gearbox (cf. https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a28903274/porsche-taycan-t...). I don't think gearboxes are going to become mainstream in EVs, with the exception of performance vehicles like this one.

I don't expect stickshift EVs to be common either, but still I think it's surprising that no one has made a non-luxury-car EV that isn't direct drive.

Manual transmissions seem like a pretty mature technology at this point. For any car company that already makes a manual transmission car it would be easy to do. They might change the design a little (maybe 3 speeds instead of 5, and use sturdier gears and different ratios). Clearly you don't need a transmission in an EV, and leaving it out is simpler and less maintenance, but still... if it can be done and it makes for a (in some ways) better or more fun car, then it's a shame no one is doing it yet.

I'm currently working on converting a Mazda RX-8 to electric, keeping the transmission and clutch. It'll be interesting to see what it's like to drive. IIRC, the motor (Netgain Hyper-9 144 volt dual-ended version) has a max RPM of 8000, which is close to the 9000 rpm redline of the rotary it replaces. The motor is a lot less powerful than what you'd find in a typical Tesla (which I attribute mostly to it being designed to run at a lower voltage), but having a gearshift should make up for at least some of the difference.

I have a friend who dropped a turbocharged engine out of an old 80s BMW into an RX-8. He ended up having to cut a hole in the firewall and completely redesigning the rack and pinion because the old rack would have gone through the middle of the larger BMW engine. He kept the original gearbox and was always worried the low revving high torque BMW engine was going to murder it. :P

Thankfully I don't have that problem. The Netgain motor is pretty big as motors go and it'll be close to the power steering unit, but still I think I've got enough room there.

Most of the work so far has been making battery boxes. I've got one under each rear seat where the gas tank used to be, one in the front down low where the radiator used to be, a smaller one above it, and another that goes over the motor (which raises the CG more than I'd like, but the other batteries that basically as low as they can be probably offset it). Weight balance should be about the same.

I'll have to do some welding on the back seats, because they're too low for the batteries to fit. Sacrificing about four inches of foam will make for an uncomfortable seat, but it should at least look normal.

How do you plan to do heating? Even if it doesn't get cold where you live, but you'll still need heat (and maybe A/C) to avoid fogging the windshield when it's humid. An electric heater, powered by the same batteries?

I haven't figured that out yet. Probably an electric heater of some sort.

In Europe, manual transmissions are generally preferred because they're cheaper, not because they're more fun to drive.

Manual transmissions are preferred because on a continent where 1L engines drag around 4000lb cars (because displacement taxes) being able to shift when you want (as opposed to just having to live with whatever gear the OEM engineers who have emissions to consider think you should be in) translates into a much improved driving experience.

They're marginally cheaper but the real key is that they let the consumer side step engineering decisions that were made against the consumers interests.

I thought the cars did that for you by detecting emissions tests and switching to 'emissions mode' just for the test?

Also European cars tended to have smaller engines, which weren't a great combination with the relative inefficiencies of torque converter style automatic transmissions.

However, newer dual clutch style transmissions work pretty well with small engines - I have a car with a 1l engine and DCT and it is a delight to drive.

Yeah, I'd have thought a DC motor plus a two-speed transmission would be a no-brainer for the budget end of the market (at least until high power AC drives come down a bit) but maybe not.

What batteries are you using for the RX-8?

DC motors are great if you want the most power with the least price, but for a daily driver AC has a few advantages. AC motors are usually zero maintenance because they don't have brushes to wear out, and it's a lot easier to support regen (which I've heard actually makes a big difference to driving experience; people expect the car to slow down when they take their foot off the gas, and it's disconcerting for it to just keep rolling forward like a freewheeling bicycle).

AC motors and motor controllers are generally more expensive than, say, a Warp9 and a Zilla, but the price difference is gradually dropping. Probably the price difference between AC and DC for a major manufacturer is even smaller than what's available retail to hobbyists doing conversions. And I think more and more conversions are being done with repurposed Tesla and Leaf drive units.

A small, cheap AC motor attached to a 2 or 3 speed transmission would be a lot of fun to drive, I think. No need for a reverse gear even. Maybe not even a clutch or flywheel, if you can match the motor speed with the transmission electronically.

My batteries are about 450 pounds of lithium iron phosphate cells. That's generally what's recommended for conversions. Used Tesla packs have much better energy density, but they're more dangerous and need liquid cooling and are awkwardly shaped. I couldn't think of a good place to put them in the RX-8 where they'd be safe.

> I don't think gearboxes are going to become mainstream in EVs, with the exception of performance vehicles like this one.

I don't think transmissions will be the norm in performance vehicles either, since Tesla Roadster gen 2 will not have it, and Rimac seems to have moved away from it for Concept Two as well.

Teslas solution is to optimize the front and rear motors for different speeds.

There is also an experimental motor that can change "gears" by changing how it drives the windings in the motors. I don't remember the name right now.

Point is there are a few solutions that are simpler and lighter than adding a two-speed gearbox, with relatively little compromise.

Do the Tesla’s still have differentials then? It would be cool to eliminate those two but then you’d need a motor for each wheel I guess.

Differentials still have a place. They allow wheels to be perfectly balanced when negotiating corners. That can be done with independent electric motors, but never perfectly. Lot of little factors have to be considered in the software. For instance, as a car corners weight shifts, this causes the diameters of pneumatic tires to change slightly. A mechanical differential handles this tiny effect seamlessly. Independent motors on each wheel would have to sense, calculate and react to this via software. That is just one effect. There are also uneven road surfaces to deal with. Any slight error would result in one wheel dragging or trying to accelerate, resulting in instability or at least chewing through tire rubber.

Differentials are cheap and reliable, most going for the lifetime of a car without any issue or even real servicing. They are likely the cheaper option than running multiple motors.

Good point. What about simply powering only the outer wheel? It could look at the steering position to decide when to do that?

So long as you are happy giving up 1/2 of your traction, that would only solve corners if the steering wheel is moving. Say your right wheel hits a bump. Even with zero steering input that right wheel is traveling slightly further than the left wheel. (Up and over the bump is longer than the strait line driven by the left wheel.) There also also times when the steering wheel moves but the car remains strait (crosswinds). The further one looks down this rabbit hole, the more appealing a simple mechanical differential becomes.

Rivian has an independent 4-motor setup. It's a compelling case of extra parts allowing for simplicity.

It also allows for the ever-entertaining tank turn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzwM8KE2L3I

They do for all the models currently on the road.

In the future the Roadster and the Cybertruck both have 3 motors. The rear wheels both have one each, so presumably they can avoid the differential there.

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point some manufacturer made a car with optional "stick shift" - with a stick that's just some switches and the effect on driving behavior/torque/... entirely done in software. (Right now electric is hot and new, so nobody is doing much to make an electric car pretend to be something it's not, but that could switch around when electric is the standard)

There is a car exactly like this....in China. It's used for driver training, and I suspect it will start being popular elsewhere. In all of EU if you pass your licence on an automatic(which nearly all electric cars are) you can't drive a manual, you have to pass your licence in a manual car. And that's why that car was created, to allow people to pass their test in a manual vehicle and have a licence that allows driving them, even though the vehicle is electric.


"The various inputs of clutch and shifter work with software in the car that cause it to behave like a manual, ICE car, with shift points, simulated engine sounds, and it can even “stall” if you let off the clutch too quickly."

Part of me wants to create a fake gearbox and clutch kit for an automatic car that does absolutely nothing, but looks convincing to driving examiners. You can just change "gears" when you feel like it without any actual effect and the clutch is just a dumb pedal.

At least here in Poland you can only take the exam in the car provided by the testing centre, you can't have the exam in your own car(with some exceptions like when you need to have a car adjusted to your disabilities)

I believe that's the case all over Europe. That the US apparently or supposedly allows taking a car driver's license exam in your private car is.. extremely surprising.

US drivers’ licensing is much less rigorous than Europe’s as I understand it. In Arkansas, where I live, I got a “learner’s permit” at 14 having passed a short written test. I got my full license at 16 after passing the road test, which consisted of driving for perhaps ten minutes with a cop in the passenger’s seat. I had to drive around the parking lot, navigate and park between traffic cones, then drive the testing route. The testing route started in an industrial part of town with very little traffic and consisted of driving about a mile to a residential neighborhood, circling the block, and coming back to the testing center. I remember being surprised that I didn’t have to demonstrate parallel parking or even driving on a highway.

I think I “studied” for the written test by skimming the handout brochure at school during lunch, and had no issues. The driving test was a joke; I’m very confident my 7-year-old could pass it today based only on her having driven utility vehicles (e.g., a Kubota RTV) around our family’s property and having watched us drive from the back seat.

Apparently Arkansas revised the licensing system in 2009, and now there is an “Intermediate” license for people under 18. That license is restricted from driving from 11pm to 4am (with exceptions), prohibited from using a cell phone while driving (with exceptions), and all passengers must be wearing a seat belt. If you’re married, in the military, have graduated high school (or equivalent) or have been legally emancipated you can get your full license at the age of 16 years and six months.

This discussion had me curious about how the very different licensing regimes might impact outcomes, so I looked up some statistics on motor vehicle fatalities.

    US (2018):
    * 12.4 per 100k residents
    * 14.2 per 100k vehicles

    Europe (2016)
    * 9.3 per 100k residents
    * 19 per 100k vehicles

    Poland (2019)
    * 7.7 per 100k residents
    * 13.5 per 100k vehicles
Honestly, I don’t think there’s a substantial impact. The US has 838 vehicles per 1k residents compared to Poland’s 719. I strongly suspect that US drivers drive substantially more miles per year on average, which would more than account for the per capita numbers.



WRT fatalities its not apples to apples comparison as USA highways are incredibly expensive with concrete barriers between oncoming traffic and in Ireland the highways between cities are literally two lanes no barriers much like USA farm roads yet with interstate highway levels of traffic.

Meanwhile the cars involved in the accidents are often unimaginably small and lightweight in EU. Rolling a typical Irish car off the road must have an outcome much like rolling a golf cart would, certainly fatal to the occupants, whereas rolling a typical USA SUV into the ditch will ruin the trim and probably the glass but the occupants should be unharmed if they're wearing seatbelts.

1) You're comparing 6 million people country with 300 million people country.

2) I've looked M4 and M7 in Ireland on Google Maps and they have two lanes each side with separation.

3) There is plenty highways in Europe with concrete barriers and few lanes each way.

> 1) ...300 million people

The urban density matters more than the country's population

I don't think you realize how Americans drive on undivided highways and rural roads nor how strong the cabins of all highway capable vehicles for sale in the US and Europe are.

In my state they roll a lot of safety inspection type stuff into the test.

There are no standards for "how to engage the hazard blinkers" across manufacturers so the testing process verifies that at least one time in their driving experience all drivers turned the hazard blinkers on in their private car, and maybe they helped their kids or grandkids figure it out later in life.

I've driven several manual transmission cars and its always so awkward for the first couple minutes as there is no standard "feel". EU test inspectors must provide enormous amounts of leeway during testing. Every time I've driven a new manual car the very first time I let the clutch out is always at least somewhat unexpected. So the USA testers get to use smoothness as a proxy for experience. If you let the clutch out like a guy who's never done it before, you are probably lying about the many hours of required yet otherwise unverifiable pre-testing driving experience.

So in summary it enforces safety education and proves some level of experience.

> I've driven several manual transmission cars and its always so awkward for the first couple minutes as there is no standard "feel". EU test inspectors must provide enormous amounts of leeway during testing. Every time I've driven a new manual car the very first time I let the clutch out is always at least somewhat unexpected.

That's true, but in my experience (France), the car being driven during the exam is one of your driving school's cars, which you are probably familiar with, since a number of driving lessons are mandated before the exam.

Plus, all these cars feature dual controls as a safety measure, not only for pedals, but for blinkers, honk, etc. If the inspector touches their break pedal, you automatically fail the exam.

>EU test inspectors must provide enormous amounts of leeway during testing.

In my experience, no. The difference is that pass rates are at 20-30%.

Exactly. In Poland I did my training in diesel toyta yaris, but the testing centre only had petrol ones. Meaning I obviously stalled the car as soon as I started moving and got the first strike for stalling the car. I had to be super duper careful since I wasn't familiar with the clutch and general feel of a petrol car vs a diesel.

It's not in UK(I realize it's not part of the EU any more, but even when it was it was the same). You take the exam in your own car or a car provided by the training school. The exam centres don't have cars.

>your own car or a car provided by the training school. The exam centres don't have cars.

Same in Switzerland.

>That the US apparently or supposedly allows taking a car driver's license exam in your private car is.. extremely surprising.

At last here in Indiana, you have to provide your own car to take the driving test in.

Not the case in Belgium. The test center has no cars, you take the exam in your own car or the car of the driving school.

What would be the issue? It's the same car you practiced in.

Why is that surprising. Presumably it's representative of the kind of car you'll be driving.

The training school car (which is the one I took my exam in) has a double set of pedals and additional mirrors so that the examiner can take over in case you do a horrible mistake. Which does happen quite a lot - some 20-30% of students fail the driving exam, and sometimes for nearly causing an accident (the examiner intervenes).

I took my test in the UK (which was part of the EU at the time) and I used my own car.

I do not think this is the case anymore. I have seen driving schools ads promising you can take the test on their cars(still not your own, but at least the one you got used to during training).

In Poland? Huh, that's news to me(but admittedly, it's been a while sinve I've taken my test :D )

> and the clutch is just a dumb pedal

Thus completely negating training on a manual?

Learning how to effectively use the clutch pedal to me was like, 90% of learning to drive.

Accelerating to a highway would be a dead giveaway to an examiner. Those who learn to use the clutch well enough in the mandatory 20 hours to do it as smooth as automatic gear are few and far between. And obviously they are the ones who wouldn't need to fake it anyway.

Yeah, it'd be like when a TV character "plays" a guitar with dubbed music without moving their left hand.

This is a complete aside, but I was extremely impressed by the NPCs in the Cyberpunk 2077 video game, where every tune they play has correct movements on the guitar for each chord.

I would think the examiner can also tell because the car does change acceleration, and the engine noise changes.

That said, as an American who prefers a manual, I'm not sure why Europe cares so much. It is a skill to learn, but it isn't that hard to learn: I've taught a few people. They have some rough starts (and avoid hills for a while), but the need to shift isn't something that affects how they drive once they get off my street.

> nobody is doing much to make an electric car pretend to be something it's not

This is actually one of the aspects of the Leaf that most impressed/surprised me - Nissan put a lot of thought in to making it behave like an ICE car with an automatic/CV transmission.

For example, when the car is in D mode, sitting on flat ground, if you take your foot off the brake, it'll roll forward at low power. Similarly, taking your foot off the accelerator while rolling faster will apply just a little bit of regeneration.

The Prius has that too. It doesn't need to, but as you say, they wanted it to feel like a regular car.

It makes more sense to me to be honest. If I want to roll just a little bit to get a better position in a parking box, I don't want my foot to leave the break or be super careful about accelerating. I want to just barely move / not-be-stopped, and this implementation works just fine.

Yeah, my father-in-law drives an automated manual car which doesn't do this automatically. It's actually a strange car to drive because of that, it also changes at a snails pace so you have to drive pretty leasurely.

Our car which is the Ford Power shift dual clutch system which changes pretty much seamlessly and does creep on its own.

Don't all electric cars do this? I know all Teslas have this option (you can disable it in settings if you wish).

I've always wanted to replace the gearstick in an AWD electric car with a torque split lever that controls both acceleration and braking distribution and basically gives you thrust vectoring. Pull it back under acceleration and you can spin the rear wheels, or under braking and you can do a handbrake turn. Push it left or right in a turn to control drift angle. When stationary, go full left or right to skid steer on the spot. The stunts you could do with such a setup would be insane.

Electric motors have maximum torque from 0 RPM, which removes most of the need for a transmission. Think of it as a transmission being a patch for a limitation in a combustion engine. If you were switching from electric to ICE, you’d need to invent this patch.

And yet... for whatever torque the motor supplies at 0 RPM, you could have 4 times as much torque with a 4:1 1st gear.

As I see it, a manual stick EV would be pretty good in combination with a modestly-powerful drive system like what's in the Nissan Leaf, as opposed to something like a high-end Tesla (where you have enough power that shifting gears doesn't matter as much).

> And yet... for whatever torque the motor supplies at 0 RPM, you could have 4 times as much torque with a 4:1 1st gear.

There's no point. The tyres can't provide that much traction. My Leaf wheelspins if I put my foot down at 0 RPM (until the traction control kicks in to moderate the torque). I assume it has no gearbox.

That's actually something I've wondered about. It seems like what you're saying may be true, but on the other hand you have cars like the White Zombie. (I know it's builder, John Wayland; he's giving me advice in my own more modest conversion.) The car started out as about a 1500 pound 70's Datsun, and with a dual-motor setup and some expensive batteries it can supposedly do 0-60 in about 1.7 seconds or so. If the Leaf is already at the point where adding more power doesn't help because you'd just spin the tires, how do cars like the White Zombie get around that?

The Leaf is front wheel drive I believe whereas the White Zombie is rear wheel drive. That probably accounts for some of it. Maybe the WZ also has a limited slip differential and some kind of high-traction tires? I don't know; drag racing is pretty far outside my area of expertise.

(Another random anecdote about the White Zombie: according to John, he always wanted to have a transmission, but they kept breaking whenever he tried to use one, so eventually he just settled on direct drive.)

Part of the issue is that the LEAF has tires that are terrible for anything approaching spirited driving. They are low rolling resistance round blocks of approximately cast iron and slip at the slightest provocation as a result.

(And yes, the LEAF is FWD-only.)

There's no need. We're very much EV-only since 2014, am yet to drive one that is underpowered in any practical driving circumstances.

Pretty much all the early DC and golf cart battery based EV vehicle conversions used manual transmissions for exactly this reason.

Having maximum torque from 0RPM removes the need for a clutch, not a transmission. You still need to keep the motor within its effective RPM range, which is certainly easier for electric motors than ICE engines but is still a consideration. Many single-speed electric cars have much lower top speeds than their power output would otherwise allow.

sure. not sure how that's relevant to my comment explicitly talking about a car that doesn't have an actual transmission?

Yeah, me neither to be honest. I think I clicked on the wrong reply link.

Subaru CVTs already have essentially this feature. The transmission doesn't have gears (duh, it's continuously variable) but it still has the ability to manually shift to predefined ratios.

And it's horrible. I was a dedicated manual driver, but 3 years in an Outback with CVT and flappy paddles - it's miserable as an analogy of shifting. You can trigger several "down shifts", but there's some elastic feel in the system that doesn't convert to slowing the car via engine revs or give the feeling of immediate power. I gave up on the paddles early on.

Their CVTs also use these simulated gears during normal automatic driving, presumably just to make it feel more like a traditional automatic (which it mostly does, to my untrained senses). Apparently this is important to the car-buying market, although I don’t understand why.

Car reviewers love to complain about how a CVT lets the engine rev up to high RPMs and just stay there the whole time you're accelerating. Which is of course the entire point, but some people apparently prefer that their car spend lots of time at suboptimal RPMs, probably so that they don't have to break the habit of flooring it unnecessarily.

It's completely subjective but it just sounds wrong. Like being in a car with a slipping clutch. Apparently enough people feel the same the it's easier to fake real gears than change the market.

According to physics an ICE is most fuel efficient at 90% throttle and low RPM. At high RPM, or lower throttle positions you lose efficiency. So if you want maximum fuel efficiency you need to put the throttle to the floor, but stay at low RPMs. Thus the CVT is not doing the right thing for fuel efficiency. (though I'm not sure if the difference is worth measuring)

Obviously the exact numbers varies a bit from engine to engine.

When you put the pedal to the floor, you're not trying for efficiency, you're trying for power.

Dropping to lower RPM for efficiency is what happens when you're done accelerating and ease up on the pedal. That's not what people complain about with CVTs. The complaints are about behavior and sound during acceleration, not after acceleration when you are merely cruising on low power output.

That might be you, but not me. I'm always trying for effiency. My cars never have the acceleration to make power interesting. I'm weird, but whatever.

Many EVs already work this way. Mine has 6 "speeds" controlled by paddle shifters that create "engine braking" by changing the regenerative braking level. It is 100% a software/UI thing because if I press the brake pedal moderately it does the exact same thing, but continuously instead of in discrete steps.

For anything that isn't a car you're gonna want gears for the same reason electric drills have gears. Think of it like low range.

"muh instant 0rpm torque" is absolutely nothing compared to the inertia of a hired driver who doesn't care (or is just a novice) dumping the clutch. Building a transmission to handle electric motor loads isn't a particularly remarkable engineering challenge. (Though you can make any engineering exercise challenging if you add sufficient weight and budgetary constraints)

Imagine a medium or heavier truck that's expected to both get a load moving at low speed and to cruise at 80. Putting anything near peak power through an electric motor at low speeds lets the magic smoke out in short order. Sure you can gear it down but then you have insane rpm at high speed and the wonderful engineering problem of getting that insanely overbuilt motor to not fling itself apart at those speed. A simple two speed transmission is a far more elegant solution. Especially since a transmission for an electric motor can be far simpler than one for an ICE. Letting the magic smoke out was a big problem in early EV conversions because power was low and consequently the vehicles available for conversion didn't have lots of good options for deep gearing.

<i>For anything that isn't a car you're gonna want gears for the same reason electric drills have gears. Think of it like low range.</i>

Not with modern motor controls. For the last 20 years or so, most new locomotives have used 3-phase AC servo drive motors. It's striking to see one exerting enormous torque to get a train started, yet the Diesel engine generating the power is barely above idle. Also, no wheel spin. All the wheels can be synchronized electrically. This almost doubles the useful traction.

Early Teslas had a two-speed transmission. It was a flop. The shock loads on gear shifting were too large and the transmissions wore out rapidly. Tesla had to replace all of them. The big advance was liquid-cooled motors. Finally a way to get rid of the excess heat fast enough that you could use full power at zero speed if desired.

Locomotives have a very different relationship with weight than road going vehicles do.

Of course an economy car will have a single speed transmission but vehicles that need to put out peak power at both low speeds and high speed (e.g. the Taycan, and an F250) are going to benefit greatly from a way to optimize for multiple speed ranges.

I doubt it. There's no reason to bother doing the research to add another mechanical component which can wear and fail early, when you can just put a more powerful electric motor in.

That's the thing: the incentive structure has changed. The better use of time and research dollars is going to be just upgrading that motor till it's adequate. There's a logical cap on the maximum road speed you need to accomodate, so the problem is eventually "solved" in practical terms.

We have already put the effort into making transmissions though. Not a lot off research dollars needs to go into the problem at this point.

It might or might not be worth it, but transmissions that last as long as the car with no maintenance are common (oil changes are recommended, but few people do).

Avoiding overheat conditions is something the vehicle engineering needs to deal with. Teslas solve this problem with liquid cooling and the motor controllers use temperature sensors in the motor core to determine if the currents are too great for the cooling. So really, no issue. I expect the Tesla Semi will handle heavy loads at low speeds just fine. As for clutch dumping, I'll take electronic stability and traction control over the smell of burning clutch any day. Plus, the traction delivery is better in an EV; much less rotating mass means more rapid response and a better grip on the road.

And depending on how much performance "dealing with overheat" conditions necessitates leaving on the table a multi transmission might be their solution. Porsche is doing just that.

I've done both. Clutch dumps require that you rev the engine up to high RPMs first. Instant torque is, well, instant.

I suggest you try it before you make fun of it.

Oh I know that a clutch dump is a far less elegant way to get moving than having torque available at 0rpm but the former is far, far harder on things.

The point I'm trying to make is that the people acting like electric motors are particularly hard on drive-line components are just wrong.

> instant torque that an electric vehicle puts out just shreds a gearbox

Doesn't the Porsche Taycan have 2 gears? and it actually beats Tesla Model S in 0-60 times

Plaid S is due this year to take back the crown. Curious if it adds a gear or just bigger motors.

Model model S (okay, any dual motor version) have different gearing on the front and rear wheels, so that more power can be sent to the front as speeds increase.

Roadster is due out this year with a 1.9s 0-60 (and an 8.9s quarter mile).

Can anyone here lend me a quarter million please?

It would be cool to have a stick-shift in the car that was fake, and would just make the car play different sounds as you "shifted" and allow you to control your playlist and volume levels with it...

Somebody put that in an early electric performance car. You actually had to shift, and got audio effects, but it was just software emulating gears. It was laughed at in the automotive press.

People don't like fake.

Sure we do, we just don’t like bad fakes.

(Bad is subjective, but the point remains)

Program it like a video game stick shift, let the software do the shifting

Don't diesel-electric locomotives use transformers for gear shifting? I assume if it's even needed for electric cars, they'd use something like that.

> instant torque that an electric vehicle puts out just shreds a gearbox.

On other hand, you can put way more beefier gears, as you need less of them.

I think top gear did this when they staged a drag race between the original Tesla and its Donor car.

The amount of torque and electric vehicle can put out is huge.

Porche Taycan has two speed transmission and Bosch has a turnkey 2 speed for EV applications. But seeing the numbers the Taycan puts down show it isn't a humongous difference like in an ICE. Probably not worth the cost/complexity as we see the Lucid Air can do qtr mile times in less than 10 seconds and soon upcoming Plaid Model S will have a possible quarter mile time of under 9 seconds and 200mph top speed.

The roadster is supposed to clock at 8.9s quarter mile and 250+ MPH at a minimum. We'll see if they actually deliver.

As for top speed - I think the main issue with earlier gen tesla model S issues was that the speed was capped in software at 155MPH, even for the "P" models. There wasn't really any reason other than liability/testing that they couldn't go faster (700+ horsepower and ridiculous drag coefficients would imply that the real peak would be higher).

At some point you'd hit the maximum safe RPM limit of the motor. Tesla tends to use motors that can run at very high RPMs, but eventually centrifugal force would damage or destroy it. Also the bearings might wear out. I don't know if the software limit is set to match the RPM limit of the motor, but it makes sense that they would.

Also, AC motors tend to lose power and efficiency if they're pushed beyond their optimal range.

If Teslas are already at the RPM limit, they could get a higher top speed by changing the gear ratios, but then you'd have less power at low speed. Since hardly anyone actually drives at 155MPH, it's sensible to optimize for the way the cars will actually be used almost all of the time.

is there some type of clutch that allows the rear wheels to free-spin at higher speeds?

On Tesla cars both motors are physically connected to the gearbox/axles with no clutch. They are doing careful tuning of the motor inverter controls to minimize energy use from motors that aren't under active load. Tesla refers to this as "Torque Sleep"

I imagine the process is basically tuning for the inverter output that minimizes power consumed as well as drag on the axle when the motor is not supplying active torque, or at least supplying less active torque than the other axle.

Offtopic but you seem to know a lot. I’ve been wondering do Tesla’s just have one regenerative braking force when you let off the gas?

Doesn’t this leave a lot on the table?

Wouldn’t you get more energy by having say gentle braking regen and harder braking regen?

You have analog control over the regen braking with the accelerator pedal. Push down to accelerate, lift up a little to maintain current speed, lift up a little more to start slowing down, lift off all the way for maximum regen.

It takes a week or two to unlearn the habit of "popping" your foot off the accelerator anytime you want to coast without necessarily slowing down, but after that it basically feels like your right foot is directly connected to the speedometer in both directions.

I own two very different motorcycles, a Ducati Monster900 (a 900cc twin four stroke) and a Cagiva Mito (a 125cc single cylinder 2 stroke).

The Mito, you can let go of the throttle, have it snap back to zero, and you barely slow down at all no matter what gear it's in. There's practically no engine braking at all. If you want to slow down you have to grab the brakes.

The Monster, in lower gears, will skid the back wheel if you chop the throttle from 75+% of peak rpm. You can pretty much get that bike down to walking pace in a fairly short distance without touching the brakes at all. (Thats a game I sometimes play on it, see if I can get home from work without touching the brakes, just slowing down using the throttle and gears.)

If you judge distances well you can still pop your foot. The deceleration curve is optimized to be smooth (minimize jerk?).

After a week you can judge pretty well. I use my brake pedal maybe once a week nowdays unless i'm driving alone and wanna feel some Gs.

Is it hard to switch back and forth between a normal car after that?

Hard? No. Irritating? Not surprisingly. I've had ICE loaners when my car is in for repair, and missing "one pedal driving" happens a lot, but it doesn't stop me from operating the ICE vehicle.

Perhaps weirdly the thing I think it makes the hardest is possibly videogames, which exaggerate controls in their own ways. I've gotten very frustrated with braking in most difficulty settings in the Forza series after driving an EV with "one pedal driving" capability for years now.

Brakes are easy compared to keys. I keep getting out of ICE cars and just leave them running. Whoa, you need to tell a car you got out? Why?

Haldex type of 4 wheel drive do this, but in that case the rear wheels are disconnected at most times, they are engaged only when the car feels the need (hard acceleration, etc).

It's not a big deal. In EV cars it is more complicated as they usually have an engine per wheel so you'd need a clutch at each wheel.

Don't know about the Teslas but the Porsche Taycan does exactly that but for energy saving.

Doesn’t the taycan have some kind of gears?

I think so.

> begin selling replica cars that resemble vehicles produced at least 25 years ago

for people who might be interested in owning a weird or unique vehicle with quite a lot less cost than a $50,000+ electric vehicle...

The 25 year comment reminded me that you can legally import just about anything to the US, including japanese domestic market right hand drives vehicles, as long as its date of manufacture was at least 25 years ago. There's lots of amazingly weird japanese vehicles you can buy for less than $8000 via reputable brokers.

you will want to learn to read the inspection report forms for each vehicle, and the grading system used in japanese used car sales and auctions.

Shipment to a west coast port should be under $1800 USD.

The US federal import paperwork for a 25 year old vehicle is not very onerous or difficult, if you google a bit about it you can find examples of what it looks like.

Where's one find a reputable broker? I've wanted an isuzu npr elf for a long time. You can get them, but the prices seem vastly higher than they go for overseas.

Your shipment cost makes direct import seem down right sensible.

I'll take one Datsun 510 please in avocado green and an EV with right-hand drive.

> I get the impression that electric motors are hard on transmissions.

Rather, electric motors don't need transmissions. Transmissions are a workaround for the failings of the internal combustion engine.

My electric drill begs to differ. Well so long as I don't want to let the magic smoke out it does.

Your commuter car can get away with a simple single gear reduction drive system. Electric work vehicles are going to need at least a couple gears for the same reason modern truck transmissions have stupid low 1st gears and 4x4s have low range.

That's not true. All EVs have transmissions. But most use a single speed transmission. It's still a transmission if there's only a single gear ratio. It's called a fixed-ratio transmission.

they don't need a clutch because they can't stall. but, like ICEs, they cannot make peak power at 0 RPM. unless the vehicle is already traction limited (quite possible), it could accelerate faster with a shorter first gear. my guess is in reality it's usually cheaper to just overbuild the motors than to add lower gears to hit your desired 0-60 time, but this isn't a law of nature.

Another reason is that any type of gearbox or clutch increases losses. EV cars are all about minimizing losses of energy as their power source is not energy dense as petrol.

I'm sure you're right about increasing motor power being cheaper than adding gears, but just thought I'd add that my understanding is that you might then also need to increase battery capacity because the rate at which Li-ion batteries can discharge is another limiting factor. As an example, I think there is a Honda 2 motor hybrid system which can accelerate faster (generate more power on the motor driving the wheels) if using power generated from the petrol engine as well as battery power.

I wonder what torque looks like at 0 rpm. I thought that was peak?

But If it’s bad maybe a torque converter would be useful?

Electric motors "torque ripple" at low RPMs (well, at all RPMs, but it is most noticeable at lower RPMs), which can cause motor "cogging". Cogging is either a complete stall, or really jerky behavior that feels pretty close to what an ICE is like at very low RPMs. *

There are different motor designs out there that alter power delivery for situations where very low-RPM torque is required. As with most design decisions, there are trade-offs involved.

And yeah, I'm sure a torque converter would be helpful in that situation. But I think that generally, passenger cars don't need to go very fast, so most EVs can get away with short enough gearing that cogging isn't an issue, at the expense of top seed.

* hold some low-power electric motor in your hands, turn it on then gradually clap the output with your fingers. You'll eventually feel the power output go to nothing and the motor will wind. That's cogging.

Also, the whole "peak torque at 0 RPMs" thing is really a side effect of the fact that electric motors produce consistent power across the rev band (except at really low, and really high RPMs). And the formula for power is power = torque * RPM. Since power is essentially fixed with an electric motor, you rearrange that equation to be torque = power / RPM, and peak torque is at the limit as RPM goes to 0.

In real world applications, torque output is limited by physics and current delivery, so peak torque is truncated at low RPMs.

Cogging is only really a problem if you either have a particular motor design or not very sophisticated control. EVs are not generally going to suffer from it.

Peak torque is at zero, but peak power is not.

What about those new gear boxes that are gradual instead of stepped?

You mean continuously variable transmissions? Those could work in an EV I suppose. I don't know much about CVTs but I think the general complaints against them are that they tend to have a narrower highest-to-lowest gear ratio range than a traditional geared transmission, and it's hard to build them to handle large amounts of power.

They do if you want a car that performs optimally at a wide enough speed range, like a supercar. But that is an edge case, and eventually even that might not require one.

* at any speed you would want to drive on a public road.

100%. They hit the nail on the head when they said an electric Morgan or Cobra might be a bridge too far, but for the DeLorean, it's a good approach.

The DeLorean was never about the relatively anemic, not particularly inspiring-sounding motor, whereas the combustion engine in the former two vehicles is a big part of the appeal.

> Cobra

The magic of the Cobra is the snorting, belching, bucking, roar of a V8 that's barely under control. As an EV, no thanks.

I feel like this can change over time and across generations. When I was a kid (80s/90s) I liked the sound of muscle cars, but gradually realized that what I really wanted was something secretly fast and generally quiet. I like cars that appear refined but carry a hidden punch.

Now, brand-wise, yeah, a muscle car as an EV is just weird.

I would really love the first-gen Saturn to be remade as an EV. It looks like it's from an alternate future already, it just needs a more powerful and refined mode of propulsion to get it there. The Audi R8 is also a great candidate for post-ICE muscle, as its appearance in I, Robot showed.

Wow, I feel validated! Audi apparently agrees with me: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25873095

There was an electric Morgan . . . sort of:


Older EV conversions often kept the stick shift, but you had to know what you were doing while driving (foot off the accelerator in neutral!)

A few years ago I read _Life with an Electric Car_ by Noel Perrin, which is a fascinating look into the re-emergence of EVs and the limitations of early 90s battery technology. His car was a ~1990 Ford Escort which had been converted to battery power by a company in California, and his goal was to pick it up at the factory and drive it home to Vermont.

I'm still not completely ready for an all-electric future, but the book did make me appreciate how far energy storage has progressed in the last 30 years.

Electric motors don't need a transmission. Adding a stick shift is just adding complexity for no benefit. It's more stuff to maintain and more parts to break and is going to make the car slower due to parasitic losses and inefficiencies.

If you're shooting for 200kph+ speeds there might be a time where a simple high/low transmission may be helpful, but that's supercar territory.

Interestingly, Formula E cars have a 5 speed gearbox, but mostly because the rules says they have to.

> Electric motors don't need a transmission. Adding a stick shift is just adding complexity for no benefit.

That isn't true. Having low gears gives you more torque with less current at slow speeds. Most EVs take the philosophy of "it's easier to just use a more powerful motor than deal with a transmission". But that doesn't mean that a transmission wouldn't be helpful (especially if you want good performance out of a more modest motor, or with fewer batteries that can't produce as much current).

This is a strange way to look at it. The assumption seems to be we want to keep the motor cheap but then connect it to a transmission and that is supposed to be cheaper then simply using a slightly better motor?

Pretty sure its isn't and that's why 99% of EV don't use them.

Honest question, isn't a gearless EV very very sufficient for the average use case ? I liked the idea of near no mechanical intermediate. I also read that Porsche kept a 2 gear for higher max speed. I understand the mechanical advantage in some cases but it seems quite fringe now.

>Interestingly, Formula E cars have a 5 speed gearbox, but mostly because the rules says they have to.

This is no longer required. A few teams stuck with the five speed, but most have dropped to three or four speeds.

The Formula E cars still need gearboxes because there isn't a single gear ratio that can provide optimal acceleration between 0 and 175mph with an 18,000 RPM redline. The massive powerband of the motors means that they don't benefit from as many gears as piston engines do, but there is still a benefit to having more than one gear.

The next generation cars will go dual-motor, presumably each with different final drive ratios: a shorter gear on the front motor for low-speed power, and a taller rear end gear for top speed, but this is speculation on my part.

> This is no longer required. A few teams stuck with the five speed, but most have dropped to three or four speeds.

Even in the 2nd season there were teams with 2 gears and since the gen 2 car most are on one now:


> they waive certain modern safety regulations

That's not how replica cars work. It's not like anyone in Nascar actually races a stock Toyota Camry -- those are just silhouettes and that's how replicas turn out as well. Visually similar, but completely gutted as soon as you open it up.

And yet...that is what the NHTSA are doing here, and that's what Congress explicitly directed them to do. They decided to "exempt from section 30112(a) of this [safety regulation] not more than 500 replica motor vehicles per year that are manufactured or imported by a low volume manufacturer" [0] so long as the manufacturer registers correctly for the program, affixes the correct stickers, etc.

Some classic "silhouettes" will just be incompatible with modern safety regulations: perhaps there's no room for a side airbag, or the shape of the grille is more lethal to pedestrians than modern cars are allowed.

[0] https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2675...

I don't get why they need to exactly reassemble old cars..

A car is ether safe or not. I'm somewhat ok with looser safety requirements as long as customers have to sign a waiver ( and I guess remove the backseats,stop people from putting car seats in the back )

Please bring back the 1970 'Cuda !!!

My uncle used to have a 1971 Satellite with the 440. I always loved that car.

> used to


This was a project proposal of ours in my MBA class. Build classic cars, like the Thunderbird, but put in an electric motor, and sell it to (formerly hippie) Boomers

I knew the patent on industrial designs expires after 25 years, but didn't know the NHTSA needed to approve such things

TBH I’m surprised Musk hasn’t bought them out yet and “released” a limited edition Model 3 with a DeLorian body kit for like $500,000... if Cyan can release a Volvo P1800 for 500K and you usually need to provide the 50 year old P1800 for them to convert and tune there clearly is a market for these things.

Tesla and DeLorean have common roots. The DeLorean was largely engineered by Lotus based on technology from the Lotus Esprit. The original Tesla Roadster was based on the Lotus Elise.

The DeLorean and the Cybertruck both have the stainless steel body, too.

Lotus Esprit is an absolute classic. They've made some great cars.

If Tesla just made a sedan version of the Cybertruck, it would look just like a DeLorean.

My impression was Cybertruck is heavily influenced by the DeLorean design. It would be great to be able to get a DMC-1200 by Tesla.

From what I've seen, there are technical reasons for the design of the Cybertruck. Tesla wanted to use stiff stainless steel for their "tough" vehicle. The use of stainless steel for the SpaceX BFR (aka Starship) may have also been a factor.

Problem is that the usual techniques for making nice curved shapes don't work on such a material, so they used folded metal sheet instead, resulting in that "low poly" look.

Considering that the DeLorean is also made of stainless steel and also has a rather angular shape, you are bound to make the comparison. The necessarily noticed it at Tesla and I am not sure what they intend to do with that. The DeLorean is iconic and (back to the) futuristic, it also had the reputation of a terrible car and was a commercial failure.

I recall the reasons given as you describe. So my impression is not due to statements from Tesla.

That said, the resemblance is unmistakable. The designers could not have been unaware of the dmc-1200.

As for the reputation of the delorean’s quality and commercial failure, I don’t think this would give Elon pause in the slightest. That guy does whatever he wants.

The model X doors just scream "delorean" more than any other Tesla feature, in my mind.

The year Tesla started manufacturing Model 3s got Elon back to the ground from dreaming about special cars, like the new Roadster: to get to a huge company and deliver on sustainability, they have to focus on cheap cars in huge volume, and can't afford many fun projects (except things like Tesla Tequila, that they can mostly outsource :) )

Are you sure about that? Why would Tesla want to compete with Toyota and VW to produce the bottom tier of cars? When at that point they are competing with the best of the best at making the most affordable cars at the largest volumes?

They could also maintain their brand image and sell their mid range luxury models achieving less volume at a higher profitability margin.

I think your definition of “best of the best” needs updating.

Show me where Toyota has casting machines anywhere near the scale of what Tesla is using in Model Y, or board design, or AI chips, or even things like buying experience.

Fundamentally “best” can be reduced to margins because everything else shakes out in a competitive market. Tesla has the best margins, and they will bring that margin advantage down to the $25k price point and Toyota won’t stop them.

The other big number you can look at is depreciation and operating costs. Tesla has the lowest depreciation and operating costs per mile at its price point, making it substantially cheaper to own a $45k Tesla than a $45k ICE.

A $25k Tesla with the same fundamentals could be had for perhaps $200/month with $0 down and would essentially obliterate any passenger car competition in any consumer environment where it’s possible to charge it.

I would not expect Tesla to have any compunction of selling a $25k vehicle under the Tesla brand. I don’t think their S/3/X/Y cachet would be hurt by a smaller sibling.

>Show me where Toyota has casting machines anywhere near the scale of what Tesla is using in Model Y, or board design, or AI chips, or even things like buying experience.

Toyota has 10s of millions of happy customers, and has car after car after car on top 10 lists, every year. From everything I've read, the Tesla service experience is horrible.

>Tesla has the lowest depreciation

Source for this? Or do you believe they are appreciating, too?

>Tesla has the best margins

You know this stuff is dead simple to look up, right? Toyota has profit and operating margins higher than Tesla. So, no, they aren't "the best".

I didn't say Toyota didn't have happy customers. Tesla's Model 3 received the top customer satisfaction score in each of the four age ranges in Consumer Reports survey of 420,000 drivers. [1]

A Tesla Model 3 after 3/5 years has a residual value of 77.47%/58.96%/45.35%(est), versus for example a BMW 3 Series after 3/5/7 years with a residual of 61.56%/41.71%/34.15%. [2, 3]

And the apt comparison for margins is gross margins not operating margins. Operating Margins will be higher for a stagnant company conversing cash versus a rapidly growing company. Gross margins show you how much they are earning per unit sale, regardless of how much of their profit they are re-investing in future growth.

Tesla automotive gross margins in Q3 were 27.7% versus Toyota gross margins of 18.1%. [4, 5]

[1] - https://www.thestreet.com/tesla/news/tesla-tops-consumer-rep...

[2, 3] - https://caredge.com/tesla/model-3/depreciation https://caredge.com/bmw/3-series/depreciation

[4, 5] - https://tesla-cdn.thron.com/static/4E7BR9_TSLA_Q3_2020_Updat... https://finbox.com/NYSE:TM/explorer/gp_margin

Teslas casting machines are just bought from Idra, are they not? If Toyota thought their self-developed casting processes (they do that for nearly a century and had 2500 ton machines since the 1970s) are not competitive, they could simply order the same machine from Idra.

Why? Because they want to help wih climate change. And that means voluke production of affordable cars. Not everything is about profit.

Tesla's mission has always been to bring EVs to as many people and major markets as possible.

"Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments"


“It was always our goal to try to make an affordable electric car,” said Musk, referring back to his 2006 Tesla Motors Master Plan.


Rumor is, they are already working on the $25K sedan that's one tier below the Model 3.


TIL that Tesla Tequila is an actual thing, and it's somehow even more ridiculous than Tres Comas.

Tesla Tequila is a spoof off of Tres Comas (was priced at $250, limit two, as an alleged nod to their imminent inclusion in the S&P500), and honestly it’s pretty good tequila for a marketing spoof.

Can you use the Tesla Tequila as fuel in the Tesla flamethrower?

And waste good Tequila!? Sir or madam, the tequila is fuel for me.

What makes the Deloreans so appealing?

From what I’m told, it wasn’t very well made and on top of that it was underpowered.

So I get the iconic aspect from movie lore. And I get the founder was very... idiosyncratic —and an underdog and ultimately spiraled into making very unfortunate choices.

But other than that, what’s the appeal?

I love how they look, everything about them from the doors to the instrument panel to the steel body.

I honestly don’t like back to the future much, not more than any other movie, and it’s popularity from that has dissuaded me from buying one (not to mention the soaring prices due to the film.) Nor do I particularly care about the founder or his choices.

For some, the design simply has a great appeal. An EV refresh would be a dream and I would absolutely buy a somewhat overpriced Tesla produced Delorean.

Modern car styling is about as exciting as a mud pie. Go to any parking lot and try to find a sedan built after 2000 that doesn’t look like the same boring bar of soap with wheels. Sure they may have different grilles or headlight clusters, but these days I can’t tell most models apart until I get clise enough to see the badge.

I’d buy an electric delorian just for the unique style. I love the cybertruck’s look too, and although I wouldn’t buy one because I have no use for a pickup truck right now, I’d like to see more of them on the road and fewer white, gray, and black soap bars.

You’re absolutely correct, I hate how new cars look between the crumble zones, plasticky everything, and wind tunnel optimizations smoothing every stylistic choice out.

They do drive well, crash well, and have sweet fuel economy though. So for ICE it’s probably best. I’m happy to see EVs having design flexibility again.

They look like spaceships and when you buy one you feel like a king (i.e. you're stealing from the British taxpayer).

I don’t know, if I had the money to buy one as a show off car I don’t think I personally would, I would probably go for a classic Porsche thats more my taste.

But there is clearly a market for them and if people are willing to pay north of $500,000 for this https://www.cyanracing.com/volvo-p1800-cyan which in all honesty I like much more than the DeLorian there is clearly quite a bit of money to be made here.

I don’t think a DeLorian body kit for a Model 3 would be a particularly complicated engineering venture, and unlike the new Roadster you don’t have to design essentially an electric super car to make it appealing.

The Model 3 performance and range is quite attractive charge $450,000 extra for the nostalgia factor and if you make it a limited edition say 1000 units I can guarantee that they’ll be gone in a minute, heck at that price they might be able to even sell more than that.

> But other than that, what’s the appeal?

Because the doors go like this:


It’s a Giorgetto Giugiaro aesthetics design with Lotus engineering, basically an automotive G4 Cube or NeXT. Except those were superseded by successors from its original manufacturer whereas DeLorean went bankrupt.

The iconic lore is enough!

And a reboot EV means chance it is well made and overpowered.

For a big car maker volume and the efficiencies you get from that is a big deal right?

That would seem at odds with a one off limited edition.

One of the advantages of using bent stainless rather than pressed & painted steel is that it can be done efficiently and cheaply in low volumes. A modern paint shop costs about a half billion; the forms & presses for pressing steel are also quite expensive.

750,000 preorders means that these low-volume production advantages are mostly moot, but perhaps Tesla will still take advantage of this to create some low volume variants.

Which is the only way you're going to see variants -- the unibody design of the Cybertruck means that coach-builders can't use a cutaway base.

Interesting, I wonder if we will see mass 'limited edition' options out there.

I do wonder how accessible they'll be as even today with mass production getting the color, price, options you want has always been a bit of a hassle / compromise outside of ... cars I don't want ;)

I didn't realize that Volvo had such a rich history. That P1800 is gorgeous!

Why not? Stanford did that years ago. Stanford has an autonomous electric DeLorean capable of precision drifting.[1]

[1] https://news.stanford.edu/2019/12/20/autonomous-delorean-dri...

Thanks for sharing! The project is certainly fun and the visuals complement that well

No one is going to point out that for today, January 21, the Wikipedia main page [0] says the following?

"1981 – The DeLorean Motor Company completed the first production car of the DMC DeLorean (example pictured)."

40 years to the day, what a coincidence.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

As a fun replica car in a limited run it makes sense. You wouldn't want a DMC-12 (even as an EV, where the lack of acceleration and power could be addressed) for a daily driver. The ergonomics of the design are terrible. It's a cool-looking car, but supremely uncomfortable to drive or ride in.

I suppose that if you like attention it could be a "win". Driving one gets you a lot of attention, even 30+ years after "Back to the Future" came out. The appeal of those movies made that car immortal.

I don't know. I have one and while its performance is awful its certainly the most comfortable car I've ever owned.

My father has one (restored) that I've driven a fair amount. I really like the car, but I just can't see it as a daily driver. (For a taste comparison, my '99 Nissan Maxima was probably my most comfortable car, both for passenger comfort, and for the driving experience.)

The DMC-12 is a hotbox in the summer and the stock AC just can't keep up. That's my biggest memory. Rolling the window down would be fine, except that the portion that can roll down is tiny. You get no airflow to speak of. If the doors were redesigned so a larger portion of the window rolls down it would help tremendously.

It may just be my body shape, but I can't get comfortable in the seats. I wouldn't want to ride in it for a long time. re: driving - It's probably also the lack of performance, too. If I'm in that more reclined "sporty" driving position I expect some response when I mash the accelerator. As an EV the performance could be radically enhanced. That would definitely be neat.

I felt that visibility was bad. The high window sills, gigantic A pillars, and sloped windowshield always made me feel like I had to second-guess what was going on around the car. The hood is deceptively long, too.

It would be a neat conversation piece to have one, for sure. As an EV it could be made wickedly performant. I think it would still feel like riding in a low-slung box that you are just peeking out over the top of, though.

> It would be a neat conversation piece to have one, for sure. As an EV it could be made wickedly performant. I think it would still feel like riding in a low-slung box that you are just peeking out over the top of, though.

Hell yeah! That was one of the issues with the original DeLorean: the body screamed "super fast," but the engine couldn't really keep up with the expectation.

"The DMC-12 is a hotbox in the summer"

Some of that could be the R134A conversion. You would typically want things like a larger condenser to get equivalent cooling to the R12 it came with, but that's not always feasible.

> The DMC-12 is a hotbox in the summer and the stock AC just can't keep up.

Did you turn on the flux capacitor?

Nice comment, you really added to the conversation!

Even if they do something totally new and original, I think the DeLorian name would be enough to bring in sales.

Sure, it's never going to be BMW, but I don't think it wants to be.

Basically whatever they produce will end up being a collectors item of some sort.

I couldn't care less about the insides, unless I'm doing a Back to the Future DeLorean replica. I care about the iconic exterior. As long as the shell is the same as the original, I'd pay the markup to buy one.

From 2011: "So far, said [James] Espey, the company has retrofitted one car with an electric motor. If all goes well, he said, the company would start selling built-to-order electric DeLoreans around 2013."[0] Original article also mentions "...an EV DeLorean – as we displayed at the 2012 New York International Auto Show...".

[0] https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/back-future-delorean-plans...

In 2011 it was pretty difficult to build a BEV. In 2021 you just call up Magna and use their stock platform, like the Fisker Ocean is doing.

Maybe they are full of shit and always have been. But I could see a good team with limited resources realizing how in over their heads they are 10 years ago, only to circle back today and be able to pull it off.

In Back to the Future, Marty asks: "Wait a minute Doc, are you telling me that this sucker is nuclear?!" after hearing that it needs plutonium.

Doc answers brilliantly: "Hey hey! keep rolling there! no no no no no this sucker is electrical! But I needed a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need!"

Geez that's how nuclear power advocates should describe their "electrical generating stations"

Anyway, fun to hear that an electric version may come about. If it charges from a nuclear-heavy area it will indeed be as doc said.

For sale: Slightly used DeLorean. Only driven from time to time.

The premise of Back to the Future III was that the vehicle still had electrical power from the Mr. Fusion, but couldn't get up to 88 MPH due to problems with the gasoline engine.

So this solution has been staring us in the face. Really they should've just dropped in a motor as part of the hover conversion.

Now that's unrealistic. Had the Mr Fusion been an actual appliance from 2015 it would have stopped working without internet connection.

The problem being no fuel was left due to a leak in the tank. So Doc wrote another letter to his futre self and said "include a spare can of gas in the boot", end of film.

"Mr Fusion" could product 1.21GW.

For about a tenth of a second. It then needed a recharge, so about 33kWh, half that of a Model 3

Tesla should have bought this brand and maybe used it for their high-end models (plaid, roadster) similar to Toyota with Lexus.

It makes sense. Cybertruck seems to be inspired by DeLorean a lot: a steel body and a design with sharp lines.

This sounds like an ideal partnership with a company like Canoo (https://www.canoo.com/), which is focused on creating the "skateboard" of EVs. If people don't truly care about the authenticity of their DeLorean, seems like building on someone else's platform is the obvious path.

Kind of fits the fictional upgrades doc Brown did in Back to the Future. If you have a flux capacitor, having a petrol engine makes no sense whatsoever.

And to paraphrase him, if you are going to drive, you might as well do it in style. That kind of is the point of a DeLorean. Its engine never was the selling point; rather the opposite.

Yeah it is funny that Doc went with the Hover conversion in 2015 but must have cheaped out on the EV conversion (which would have been easily doable in our 2015), given parts of the plot in Part III.

I'm eagerly waiting for mazda to announce the electric miata with knobs, levers, and no autonomous bullshit.

Mazda has extensive experience as a company with fairly unusual motors. I'd expect they might start a performance electric line under their RX badge series, or perhaps start aa new set of badges.

There’s a huge opportunity for the manufacturer that could streamline an hypothetical chassis with integrated electronics and batteries.

We could be looking for a future resembling what we have today in some formula categories that are basically a power unit paired with a dallara or lolla chassis.

Lots of EV manufacturers are investigating the "skateboard" model where you drop a chassis on a unified battery platform.

VW has invested monumental amounts in this but I imagine will keep it all locked down to the VAG family. Perhaps they're open to licensing opportunities. Canoo ($GOEV) on the other hand is in the news for their skateboard platform being adopted by Hyundai/Kia and potentially being the base of the new Apple car.

In theory DMC could build upon a Canoo skateboard, or license another EV startups skateboard.

What are the biggest cost centers and differentiators for EVs? I have heard that a big reason why traditional automobile manufacturers are behind is because they don't have the software foundation that Tesla does. I imagine the "skateboard" integrates software, electronics, batteries and motors in a single platform, but will that be enough to counter Tesla's competitive advantage, while being able to differentiate the product enough from other folks using the same platform?

I wonder if an Android like fragmentation of the market makes sense here - a company like Google developing and maintaining the software, another customizing it to fit inside custom hardware.

I see the skateboard as a stopgap measure for companies playing catch-up. Not everyone wants to dethrone Tesla, and even fewer are resourced to do so. VW has spent billions upon billions, in part as a mea culpa for dieselgate. How many others are willing (or even able) to invest in these massive battery factories, retrain ICE teams vs. making the pragmatic choice to slap your chassis on a licensed skateboard?

I guess there are further software parallels in the build vs buy debate.

Software isn't particularly important (at least the kind that Tesla's most visibly writing). The key is getting to low cost motor control electronics and batteries (along with accompanying electronics and safety systems). The battery especially is the current barrier to an affordable EV with the range of a typical IC car.

Look at Tesla structural battery for this. Basically they will be using a honeycomb structure and stick the batteries directly into it, weld the connection on top and then put thin cover over and under it.

The front and back part of the car, Tesla creates them in a single peace casting, is directly connected to the battery.

The finished product:


With batteries:


Here is the first leaked picture of what it will look like inside:


Speaking of, Is it ok to own a stainless steel vehicle near the ocean? Should I advise my friend to avoid the cybertruck? (Or Delorean)

Stainless steel will rust when exposed to salt water / sea spray and sunlight. Some grades of stainless steel are resistant but I doubt they made DeLoreans with marine grade alloys.

That said, I can't recall ever seeing a spot of rust on a DeLorean body panel, even after 40 years. Certainly some were parked near the ocean in England or California. You probably don't need full up marine grade alloys for something that only has to deal with salt spray. It's not like you park the thing underwater every day.

I would expect the frame and engine/transmission to be more of a concern. I'd be doubly suspect of the electrical components, since it's a 20th century British car.

A quick google image search doesn't bring up any rusted DeLoreans either.

Stainless steel can be clear coated to prevent rust. It looks good, too. I saw it pulled off on an episode of Car Masters: Rust to Riches on Netflix.

Out of pure curiosity, I just checked, and it was actually Rust Valley Restorers, S1 E7, a '41 Ford Super Deluxe. Very cool car.

Why would that be an issue?


That's why they call it "stainless" -- it doesn't rust.

It doesn’t rust as much. It very definitely does rust.

Can confirm - my stainless steel dishwasher has rust spots on it, albeit, tiny, they are there. WRT to the delorean, your mileage may vary :-D

It doesn't rust as much as the steel that typical cars are made of.

The skin of the DMC-12 was stainless; the Colin Chapman-designed frame was regular old tubular steel. which can and does rust.

That's what they mean by "less".

But Less isn't the same as Not At All.

Some useful backstory on the government regulation to allow low-volume cars like this on the road:


And some history on DeLorean overall:


…and it’s a pretty wild history.

Maybe I'm missing something or I'm too stupid to understand the article but I don't see why anyone should be allowed to sell a new car with old safety standards for road use? I'm not from the US so maybe it is yet "Another US Thing I Don't Understand" (sorry). Where I'm at (in Scandinavia) not only would this not be allowed on the roads but even if I buy an old car and want to upgrade it (modern brakes?) it wouldn't be allowed without a car inspection and it would no longer have a cheaper vintage car insurance, registration fees, etc. etc. It would be very costly if at all possible. AFAIK this is equally so in all of the EU.

Seems to me this is a giant loophole. Like as if Coca Cola re-released an old recipe with real coke in it and everyone just went "Sure! It's authentic!"

Could someone enlighten me?

>Seems to me this is a giant loophole.

the key for those loopholes is low volume and similar limits. It allows to start making cars, like Tesla had with original Roadster which otherwise wouldn't be let on the public roads. I think it is a great approach in US to have those limited loopholes in various domains which allow to start making things - such loopholes are absent in for example Russia (my old country) and through the Europe and that affects the entrepreneurship and innovation.

>that affects the entrepreneurship and innovation.

It very likely does but it also saves a lot of peoples lives each day. I mean, not only niche cars, but not having good basic safety in general on the roads. Road fatalities per one billion vehicle km is at 7.3 in the US according to Wikipedia. The worst Scandinavian country is Denmark with 3.9. I guess it comes down to if you want Freedom To Do Stupid Things (like no helmets on a motorcycle).

That said, I don't think you can compare a Tesla Roadster to a 1981 car in safety. I agree there should be some allowance for niche cars but 40 year old safety being sold as new?

>Freedom To Do Stupid Things

something like this. Though those stupid things aren't niche cars or any other innovations. It is plain old stupidity - US has 10K/year DUI related deaths, Denmark - 75/year, 2x less per capita. Also bigger cars popular in US like trucks - while fully public road certified, they are conceptually and engineering wise are relatively behind the curve - resulting in more deadly accidents.

That is a bit surprising to me as Denmark in Scandinavia has a reputation for drinking a lot. I looked up the numbers on Wikipedia and "Pure alcohol consumption among persons (age 15+) in litres per capita per year" is 11.4 in Denmark and 9.2 in the US (same as Sweden). Of course DUI is something else entirely..


In US you're officially drunk for driving purposes only upon reaching 0.08% BAC (i.e. "couple beers" is ok) while in many other countries you are drunk for driving purposes upon any alcohol drinking.

I guess in most countries, you can renovate an old antique car from the 1920s and that's ok for people to drive around in. It's only a small step from that to saying that someone can upgrade an old car with a new engine and sell them.

From a government perspective, as long as these cars are niche, they probably don't mind so much. I can go and buy a 1955 Morris Minor fairly easily and it won't have seatbelts, but the assumption is that I would be aware the car doesnt meet modern safety standards.

Not a giant loophole. A small loophole, for a low volume car. In fact, it's not really a loophole at all, it's the intent of the regulation.

Currently they're just planning to build cars from the spare parts inventory they bought. Technically they won't be new.

In the US we find your road safety laws insane as well. It costs 3x as much to DIY fix your own can there as it does here due to needing "approved parts" and an inspection of every repair. Things that are easy, safe and affordable DIY fixes in the US are impossible there.

Your laws are not EU-wide, by the way. Most of the EU doesn't require the approved parts to pass inspection, and only requires the inspection at regular intervals, not after every repair.

I don't know where you read this but it isn't true.

>only requires the inspection at regular intervals, not after every repair.

This is how it is in Scandinavian countries too by EU law (well, in EU member states, I don't know about Norway). It is inspection every 4 years or if it is a vintage car (30+ yro) every 8. You also don't need "approved parts" (what does that even mean?) and I can freely buy parts from the US and Germany and use if I want to and have done so (I have a US-only model motorcycle).

The manufacture have to get all their car types certified by the state, like how NCAP crash-test one of each model, and if it is certified in one EU country it is in all. But if you change the car significantly (like upgrade an old 80's Trans-Am with modern parts) you have to get it certified all over again for that one car as it is now a unique untested car. Possible but extremely expensive. Sure it doesn't give you the freedom to drive some of the homemade monstrosities some drive in the US but it also doesn't block niche cars or vintage cars.

>You also don't need "approved parts" (what does that even mean?)

Germany is really crazy about TUV approving everything down to plastic grill. MCM covered it during their visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yO1S-zICX4

John DeLorean background - I don't much care for Alec Baldwin, and I can't speak to the historical accuracy of the film, but the 2019 "Framing John DeLorean"[1] was a fun watch.

[1] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6256978/

John Z's autobiography "On a Clear Day, You Can See General Motors" is an enormously fun read, both for what it says about GM in the 50s-70s, and what it doesn't say. My recollection is that most people writing an autobiography might use it as a way to acknowledge things they did wrong, or people they may have upset...not John Z.

I remember watching that film and getting Elizabeth Holmes vibes from John DeLorean. He made many promises on what he was going to deliver but failed terribly on execution.

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