This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
At the same time, Tesla's attention to quality and perfection and what-have-you will end up in them being heavily scrutinised. It's not that different from Apple in that respect; random mp3 player breaks, no problem. iPod breaks and the torches and pitchforks come into view.
According to statements from the company, the media coverage after the fires last year caused a sharp decline in the rate of Model S reservations. It has since recovered, but after these events Tesla started viewing poor public perception as an existential threat. The reasoning is that new and unfamiliar technology (battery propulsion) is scrutinized very, very closely and held to a much higher standard than the status quo. This is evident from the ridiculous headlines every time a Model S is involved in a fire. (Garage fires, house fires from unrelated accidents and the two floorpan fires + the high-speed crash referenced in the article). Poor public perception equals lower sales to an already skeptical public, and perhaps the second demise of the electric car.
A different strategy than the one Tesla is pursuing, would be to not change anything and just repeat the (correct) message that their electric cars are statistically much less likely to catch fire than a gasoline automobile. But this leaves them wide-open to PR attacks from skeptics and the established auto industry the next time an inevitable fire occurs. It's already been firmly established that there is a big PR machinery which will jump on any opportunity to call Tesla's technology into question - and there will be plenty of competition from the incumbent manufacturers. They're playing it safe.
This is how media bias works. They take something trivial like a car fire and make it the most important news item of the day. People start to think it's happening everywhere. There are billions of "newsworthy" things happening all the time. The selection of stories and insinuation layered on top of them by the news media can easily drive agendas and influence the public.
Edit: I see, someone else has quoted Schneier exactly on that already: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7487144
I personally would love to see normalized fire figures for other manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, etc.
Considering that a "random mp3 player" costs $6 on Amazon and that an Apple iPod costs over $200, I'd say people are totally justified to get upset. They spent the extra money expecting a product whose quality matched its price.
I'd say this is true of cars as well. When your used Ford Escort breaks down, you're hardly going to be surprised. When your exceedingly expensive Tesla breaks down and/or catches fire, you're going to be a tad upset.
That said, I'd say people lose all rights to be upset when they are the cause of the malfunction. You can't be too upset at a broken iPod after you drop it down a flight of stairs, and you can't be too upset at your Tesla catching fire after you ran it into a tree at 110 MPH. (I'm not saying the Tesla driver was upset mind you- I think all the Tesla hate is just coming from frightened car manufactures and the media.)
Actually the doctor who owned one of the Tesla cars that caught fire said the car saved his life. He was happy to have been in a Tesla and was going to buy another one (before Musk actually gave him a replacement).
Yes, the payment is higher, but I'd have no fuel expenses (currently ~$350/month), so technically its only $450 more a month (3 hours of my time).
I'm not worried about going with the smaller pack; it only takes 90 seconds to swap it with a new, higher capacity pack down the road.
What do we consider affordable? I haven't had the time to do this, but you could take US Census data (average/median income per zip code), derive a formula for percentrage of income someone can spend on transportation, and thereby determine what affordable is.
A Model S is definitely a luxury item at this time; on the other hand, if it was self-driving, and could roll into bays to recharge all in software, with access being on-demand (Uber, with no drivers), they wouldn't be expensive. It would be the same as a company buying airplanes and selling seats on said expensive aircraft.
Maybe we're looking at Tesla wrong. They're not selling luxury cars; they're bootstrapping a mobility company by selling to the wealthy.
I would agree with this statement 100%.
Model S vs the new Corvette Stingray
If you need more power than that, you might as well bolt a turbine engine on your car.
"1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car"
That sounds significant to me. It might be worth it but there are other ways to spend that time and money.
The high valuation of this company is equally irrational. It's a massive speculative play, so there's a load of volatility.
A plane? How about a plane with 200+ innocent, unsuspecting people on board goes missing, and all are now presumed dead? It's woefully ignorant to think the story is about the plane.
Anyway it's a bit of a Streisand effect. They are focusing on something and making it stand out even more.
When in the minds of the general public it very well would be forgotten. Or not even known about. Not everyone pays attention to what the tech press says, what hackers think, or what Road and Track cares about.
Lastly they are attaching a negative to a positive emotion buying experience. People buy cars on emotion. And the whole idea of discussing safety and accidents in this detail on something that is an emotional purchase doesn't work in my opinion. It's raining on the mind game parade.
Do you mean ridiculous as in you believe that he is exaggerating, or ridiculous as in it is amazing that the car held up so well? I doubt that he would simply make up verifiable facts concerning a specific, well publicized accident to make his company look better. That said, it is quite clear from these facts that this driver is lucky to be breathing today regardless of what kind of car he was driving. If the guy had died, Elon would be talking about how such an extreme accident wouldn't be survivable in any car.
This being an edge case, it doesn't really sway me either way, but it is undeniable that Tesla automobiles are very safe relative to others. He is justifiably incensed at the negative media attention surrounding a very small number of incidents.
Remember the unintended acceleration crock?
Popular belief has there being an acceleration problem with Toyota cars. Slightly less popular is the correction that in fact it was all just senile old people and floor mats, nothing to do with the computers. Far less common is the correction that there were in fact technical problems with the cars.
Similarly popular belief has the McDonald's coffee lawsuit being absurd, because "everyone knows that coffee is hot and how much damage can it cause anyway?". Slightly less popular is the correction that the burns were in fact horrific and the coffee was stunningly hot, far hotter than industry standard. Far less common is the further correction that in fact McDonald's coffee was being served at an industry standard temperature, where "industry standard" is defined as how other companies also serve their coffee (Starbucks coffee is generally just as hot, and many companies serve hotter coffee than McDonald's was serving.) In fact, since the lawsuit, McDonald's hasn't reduced the temperature that they serve their coffee at. The only change that McDonald's has made since the lawsuit is adding warning labels, the coffee you buy there today can be just as hot as the coffee that burned Stella Liebeck... don't spill it on yourself!
In February 2011 the findings of a 10-month-long study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), aimed to identify the main cause of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus models. The study was requested by the US Congress and "enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity". The most common problem was drivers hitting the gas when they thought they were hitting the brake, which the NHTSA called "pedal misapplication.” Of the 58 cases reported, 18 were dismissed out of hand. Of the remaining 40, 39 of them were found to have no cause; the remainder being an instance of “pedal entrapment.”
What the NHTSA believed that they found in 2011 is overshadowed by more recent developments, mainly that Toyota was not being forthcoming with the NHTSA. In 2014, Holder said "Today, we can say for certain that Toyota intentionally concealed information and misled the public about the safety issues behind these recalls," Additionally: "The cover-up is still there on the electronics issue," says Sean Kane, an auto safety expert for Safety Research and Strategies. "This (government penalty) sends an important message, but it's a mixed message." Furthermore it has become clear that Toyota's code was a clusterfuck and that the alleged failure modes were very possible.
My point is that in both the Mcdonalds case and the Toyota case, the issue is not nearly as clear cut as the two most popular points of view present.
Holder is wrong. This shouldn't be surprising.
There is really not much more I can say in response to such a substance-less comment, other than telling you that you should research the more recent developments in this situation before misrepresenting it again in the future.
It didn't stop in 2011 because there are careers to be made in slamming corporations for even bogus claims.
Corporations are more than willing to settle when the government is willing to take them to court. Guilt and innocence are irrelevant.
It's rather comical that many of the same folks who complain about the criminal justice system hammering individuals into pleading guilty when they are innocent fail to see the parallels with civil suits / government pressure and corporations.
By they I mean the Media.
I guess I should add some substance.
NASA's Toyota Study Released by Dept. of Transportation
WASHINGTON -- The results of a ten-month study by 30 NASA engineers of possible electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles was released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
"NASA found no evidence that a malfunction in electronics caused large unintended accelerations," said Michael Kirsch, principal engineer and team lead of the study from the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The studies cost over $3 million, including the cost of purchasing the vehicles that have allegedly unintentionally accelerated. Upon completion of the studies, the NHTSA will determine whether a formal investigation into Toyota is necessary.
ABC made a totally fake video demonstrating the alleged phenomena.
"Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington today before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation. LaHood first told the subcommittee that owners of Toyotas should stop driving them, then clarified his statement and told owners to get their cars fixed promptly."
Later LaHood told reporters it was "obviously a misstatement"
Toyota have been abused, IMHO, their "blame no-one else" culture is being rinsed by the US Govt.
It sounds like a proper mess. How curious that much is revealed that the NASA people didn't speak of. Maybe because it was ostensibly an investigation at the behest of NIHIST to demonstrate that they hadn't let Toyota off the hook.
It is also somewhat disturbing that these are not Toyota parts but parts sourced from NEC.
I'm still not convinced that Toyota deliberately hid their knowledge of system failure. A software update would have been much simpler than the millions of physical modifications they chose to make, including fetching customers cars on transporters because they owners were too scared to drive them.
"Just released car has amazing safety features that prevent any damage to the vehicle. Amazing advance of technology was made available by near instantaneous braking. Even going 100 mph a car can come to a complete stop instantaneously. After that wipers are deployed automatically to wipe off remains of a driver from windshield."
Any significant change of momentum will harm humans no matter how tough the car is. Newer cars are actually less rigid to provide a cushion to human drivers in case of such collision.
Edit: I meant less rigid in right places. If you observe crash test you could see how neatly car folded around drivers cage. Thanks drglitch for pointing that out.
I think that might be a Clarksonism...
The closest real world example is probably Nascar. Granted, there track design make head on collisions rather difficult but as cars regularly hit 190MPH you do occasionally get near head on collisions at around 120MPH which are often survivable. Best example I could find was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QVlj7...
PS: The much more common 60MPH drivers side impact is also survivable which I still find shocking.
I don't know about you, but I drive near cars & lamp posts much more often than I drive on an Autobahn full of brick walls.
Tesla buyers tend to be sports car buyers who want to drive fast. Whether this means we should expect accidents with more force or that Tesla should anticipate this and design accordingly is debatable.
reddit's /r/Justrolledintotheshop and /r/TalesFromRetail/ makes me wonder how people manage to use any product without killing themselves.
(this has apparently resulted in a number of deaths, as the power steering stops working)
But consider the possibility that the law had a loophole (or the law is simply inadequate in light of common expectations from the population) which brought the maximum litigation from crashes to a very low number. Although this simplistic view would suggest a very low cost, that would be unrealistic -- the actual cost should include heavy brand damage from consumer distrust in the products and even brand damage from raw ideological/moral basis. This is way promoting values inside companies makes sense -- you can't neglect humans have personal values and sometimes make non-economic choices to stay aligned with those -- so you have to adjust your "psychopath" economics towards consumer irrationality. In the end I suspect the optimal choice is much closer to Tesla's reaction than GM's.
I suppose technically it could value human life at a million zillion and three, but it's irrelevant because that value appears nowhere in the equation.
> Second, even if you assign an explicit finite value to human life, a lot of people will call that psychopathic.
I said "nonzero," not "finite." I suppose I should have said "positive." Nitpicking aside, the point is that being utterly indifferent to the life or death of innocents, except where it may directly threaten your net worth, is pretty psychopathic.
At the airplane industry it's the government that does this calculation, with a publicly known value of C. Also, airplanes don't have the kind of problem that cause an accident by itself, every issue can be corrected on several levels, and normally when the proper fix isn't instantly applied some other action is done to attenuate the problem.
On any advanced country, around here it calculates nothing, even yelling "Are you insane? Do you know how many hospitals we could build with that kind of money?" won't make they think about numbers.
Note that I'm not saying this particular case is justified. I'm just saying that it's a continuum, and I'm not sure how we should expect car manufacturers to draw the line on the continuum.
And you're being disingenuous by comparing a single Tesla incident to the entirety of the automobile industry's history.
Here's an article about road debris in a normal car (not even your Beetle, where it would have easily killed you): "a sizeable chunk of angle iron that actually tore through the bottom of the vehicle, found lodged in a portion of the backseat." (https://www.westerndirect.ca/learning-centre/insurance-news-...)
The reason the car "needs" to be protected from such damage is the media attention, not because it's unusually unsafe.
Media reports leave people thinking, "Electric vehicle? No thanks, too dangerous." Tesla's response leaves people thinking, "Well I have no plans to go 110 MPH through a round-about so I'll probably be OK." The latter is more accurate.
Edit: Sorry, "ever" heard.
Agree. I'd love to see what happens to the vehicle and driver if the object (say an alternator) hits the tire instead of the under-body.
Or skips up and hits the windshield.
I love this... I actually love that it probably pissed off Musk to no end the amount of attention the fires got and out of spite he went totally over the top and added ballistic plating to the bottom of the car as a super-constructive "fuck you" to everyone that bitched about it.
I am picturing this same thing happening at Chrysler or GM and I think 9 out of 10 CEOs would just let the whole non-issue blow over and go back to business - and the 1 CEO that would try and push for a ridiculous over-engineering solution like this would probably get shot down by the board.
That's why I like this, it's going way above and beyond because he can and because he believes in the vision he is selling so firmly that there is no wiggle room: "My cars are the best and goddamnit, I'm going to make them the best."
<standard disclaimers about personal viewpoints and preferences>
Just want to focus on the pursuit of perfection that I find so energizing - to put another way, if you had someone this passionate running each of the major airlines, I wonder what air travel would be like instead of the race-to-the-bottom experience it is now.
But on that note, I would say it's good PR in light of what's going on with GM. The current story in the media isn't so much the issues with GM's vehicles, but the company's negligence in not owning up to the problems.
So, Tesla is simply getting out in front and contrasting themselves with that story. There is virtually no risk that it will be seen as an admission, and every chance that it will play as a glaring positive differentiation.
BTW, the timing nods to this play. Rumors of fire issues and actual fires have haunted Musk for years now. He usually comes out defensive. But, suddenly, with GM's woes, he is taking these over the top measures. So, not sure that he was so much a visionary in this, as much as a fast learner.
That is not just PR. That is damned amazing engineering. That's the kind of description you get out of an episode of Knight Rider, not something in real life.
That's clearly evidence that these cars are designed and built to an amazing level.
Well, yeah, it's exactly that: a description, and a fantastic one at that. It makes no guarantees or even assertions about the efficacy of the changes. Instead, it plays up this explosive scenario, then concludes that they hope the changes will help prevent fires.
And, there's a reason it's not written in technical, engineering jargon with test results, etc. Instead, it reads like a Hollywood screenplay. Judging from your comparison to Knight Rider, it appears to be working.
>That is damned amazing engineering
So, I mean what engineering are you hailing as amazing here, with regard to the new announcement that was gushed over higher up in the thread? The part you quoted just briefly references bolting some plates on the undercarriage amidst a lot of hyperbolic crash talk from the pre-plates days.
Sure, there can be great engineering alongside good PR. The auto itself without the newly announced iron man suit is an impressive piece of engineering.
I'm simply saying that I wouldn't gush over the new announcement. The guy walking away without injuries was pre-crash plates and we have no evidence that the plates will actually help or to what extent. Just sensational, cool-sounding descriptions. There are a lot of things for which Musk deserves credit as a visionary, but this bit of PR could have just as easily been the brainchild of a relatively astute PR staffer talking to an engineer over lunch.
Really? Choosing a high-strength material, turning it into a sheet and bolting it to the bottom of a car is "damned amazing engineering"?
The survivability of the passenger is amazing engineering. That happened pre-announcement.
There are no sudden movements in industry. That shield is probably being developed since the fires happened.
Good explanation of Steve Jobs as well IMO
But I believe Jobs was "benevolent" to the product itself.
Jobs made billions. Your sentence is subsequently nonsense.
It's not always clear, but I think it's an important thing to consider. The size of a CEO's bank account alone is insufficient information for a meaningful answer.
Are you joking? Is this your serious view of reality? That dictators are fine as long as they make the country as a whole richer?
All I'm saying is that different dictators achieve different things. Some 'dictators' enrich their countries, and some 'dictators' impoverish it. Similarly, some 'democracies' enrich their countries, and some 'democracies' impoverish them.
That's all I'm saying.
Apple grew from zero to great; Jobs lead it. This is all the correlation I feel entitled to dare, did reading the biography grant you more? (Again spiteful. Sorry. So this is how aggressive comments are written...)
Capitalism without democracy is what we want!!! /s
I think "positive example" is too vague a term. What do you mean by positive example?
I think something to moderate Musk's thin skin wouldn't be a bad thing but I certainly agree that the absolute power to do what ever he wants coupled to his technical depth has and will continue to see him changing the transport industry.
I mean, I can understand GP computing devices, but this is a bit concerning. Not just for security reasons, but because it dramatically decreases the control you have over the vehicle.
Maybe I'm beating up a dead horse here, but I'd much rather take my car into the shop and have it updated than have a packet sent out over LTE.
They just added a feature in the 5.9 update that is pretty important to me (hill assist) and I've n
Comparing a niche (expensive) car manufacturer to major airlines isn't really an apt comparison. First, airliners are mass transit. Second, the airliners used to be very much nicer than they are now, it was market pressures that drove them to where they are (combined with the deregulation that was also due to people wanting to pay less).
A better comparison would be to compare Tesla to some of the General Aviation aircraft that are available. The [DA-40](http://www.diamondaircraft.com/aircraft/da40_xls/index.php) would be a reasonable starting point and could likely be afforded by the types of people who can afford a Tesla.
Of course, because around here we're taught that executives from the Valley are smart, and everyone else are clueless "MBAs".
First, realize that it's a lot easier for Tesla to undertake changes like this, not because they are oh-so-awesome, but because they are operating on a scale a magnitude (or two) smaller than bigger auto companies.
Second, the larger companies do react to such problems, a specific case being the "exploding gas tanks" in the Crown Victoria's. If memory serves me correctly, in the early aughts it was discovered that Ford Crown Vic (and the same-model Mercury Grand Marquis') were exploding due to rear impact collisions. The problem was severely overblown in the media, and the reality was that the significant uptick in real-impact explosions of these models was due to the fact that these were cars used by police around the globe, and hence had a higher probability of being parked on the side of the road and, hence, a higher probability of being impacted from behind at high speed and sometimes exploding due to the gas tank being ruptured.
So, like Tesla, Ford tried to explain, "Look, if you take any car and park it on the side of the road and it gets slammed into, from behind, at high speed, it has a chance of exploding. These cars are parked on the road more often than other cars as emergency service vehicles".
But, nobody wanted to hear that (which I agree with), so Ford set about solving the problem through engineering. They ended up developing some sort of impact resistant gas tank bladder. Case closed.
So, TL;DR: try not to compare the issues that Tesla faces to those of much (much) larger companies. Tesla is not magical.
I know this is not specific to Tesla, but it's still really cool. :)
(Tin foil hat mode) Imagine the implications of some malicious third party gaining access to that process.
The actual roll out of the firmware is of course staged - in Tesla's case, they likely roll it out to all of their employees teslas for a period of time, and then to a candidate group, and eventually everyone.
The team that actually pushes the firmware, is completely separate from the team that builds, and signs - they have a fairly detailed set of procedures that ensures a quality push, which is their entire focus.
The likely difference, is that the process I described, usually took 4-6 months after the code was completed, whereas Elon Musk/Tesla can probably spin it around in 4-6 weeks.
If so then you're right, they've made a terribly unsafe decision.
But if you have to stop the vehicle, put it in park or off, before it actually updates the software, then a bricked car isn't exactly dangerous, just a massive inconvenience and a source of incredible frustration.
You might object that a dead battery can cause that. But I take constant preventative measures, can tell when a battery is starting to go, and I can fix a dead battery.
(Yeah, radios deliver ads, but I don't have to listen to the radio. Can you imagine if your car ran banner ads around the spedometer?)
Finally a business plan where modern advertising makes any sense: Torture based freeware. "Send us money and we'll stop. Here are the products you'll hate today..."
They could even remove products from their list after payment from manufacturers.
This is a much wider and rather tricky issue (how do I know that my Bitcoin exchange is performing cold storage correctly and consistently?)
You could answer: more regulations and oversight. Doesn't solve the issue.
All you have to do is browse http://www.reddit.com/r/justrolledintotheshop and you'll see so many people are not capable of having general maintenance done. Like this: http://imgur.com/a/VEeR9 the guy wanted to only have the flat tire repaired even though a strut went through his hood! Or this that is supposed to be a brake rotor : http://i.imgur.com/xhz90Bq.jpg
Swissair 111 crashed because the operator installed a new entertainment system which overheated.
A lot of serious systems made by serious people still end up with stupid problems.
And it might be safer and cheaper to have the option of fixing problems when you find them, because if you don't have that option, you're forced to weigh the costs of a recall against the risks of the issue for every little thing.
I doubt Toyota will ever retro-fix the obvious software flaws. Tesla however sounds like they get it. Although many of us won't be buying an $80K vehicle any time soon, I expect that these kinds of innovations will trickle down to the mass market as people start to become dimly aware of the benefits.
Hey, people might even start to ask why all cars can't be made as survivable as a Tesla S.
If you purchase Nav though, you get GPS turn-by-turn guidance in an additional heads up display on the dashboard. That option is supposed to eventually cost money to update, I think after 5 or 7 years? And it probably won't be cheap. That said, it is really nice that it doesn't get 5 to 7 years stale before you have to pay for an update. I like the model.
I've purchased licenses for multiple software packages and at the scales that these car distributors work at, it's ridiculous to think that their actual gps data costs aren't nominal (ie, pennies) per vehicle.
"Default ground clearance" means the distance between the ground and underside of the car, yeah? How are they able to control that with software?
Tesla just started pushing out OTA updates to firmware 5.9 this week. One of the big improvements in it is bringing back the option to select a low height mode. When the problems mentioned in the article happened, they pushed out a rapid update that disabled the automatic low suspension setting entirely. Frankly, this upset a few of the vocal owners on the teslamotorsclub.com forums because they understood the risk and felt it was slight enough they preferred it versus the reduced handling and performance at a higher ride height.
The re-introduced low height is enhanced to allow the driver to set the speed at which it will change height. This is satisfying most if not all of those owners.
Driving a car that gets better as you own it instead of worse is a game changing model in my opinion.
The software must tell the dampers to ride a bit stiffer stopping the car body being pushed lower at high speeds.
EDIT: Looks like Tesla does indeed use air suspension: http://www.teslamotors.com/de_AT/forum/forums/air-suspension...
This is different than simply adjusting the characteristics of the electronic suspension - this actually raises and lowers the car non-trivial amounts. I think a D3 A8 can raise up 4-5 inches from highway level to bumpy dirt road level...
I am genuinely curious what the raise/lower range for the tesla is - anyone know offhand ?
Seriously. Its a nice little niche.
But, it says "By Elon Musk" in a large font slap bang in the middle of the screen just under the title of the piece when you open the page. I really think this might be down to your powers of observation rather than any oversight on their part.
If I read something 'by Elon Musk' on Medium I normally:
- Assume it's not Elon Musk, but rather someone who hates Elon Musk
- Start reading it in an Elon-Musk-Bond-Villain persona
You were stating what you normally do when you read something saying that it is by Elon Musk on Medium.
To claim that you have a normal behaviour for a given situation would usually presuppose that it is a situation you have previously encountered, more than once.
nailer filled in the template to illustrate the response to the template, not to assert that they had encountered this specific variant before.
The use of 'normally' implies having been in the exact situation, but it's possible to have a default response to a situation without having been in it. In context it is very easy to figure out nailer's meaning. It is ridiculous of you to fall back to 'completely and utterly mental'.
1 point by utefan001 175 days ago | link
I am sure it is easier said than done, but it seems like the batteries simply need to be better protected. Something like a carbon fiber or titanium under shield.
Titanium has unbelievable tensile strength for its weight, but there's no good reason to make an "underbody shield" out of titanium except for publicity. It would make way more sense to use steel (and maybe you could make a case for something ultra light weight, like carbon fiber, but probably not).
Ballistic grade aluminum armor plate... If there is one thing Tesla does well it is publicity. I know there are high strength steels but it seems like they want something that is strong and light. If it sounds like something impenetrable to the average customer that's even better for Tesla.
That's from the same marketing phrase-book as 'aircraft-grade aluminium'.
Lightweight armour ( e.g. personal protection ) uses ceramic plates.
Heavy armour ( e.g. tanks ) still uses steel alloys with composite and plastic layers. There were a few AFVs with aluminium armour, such as the M113 and Sheridan, but ballistic protection was restricted to small-arms and light shrapnel. A Sheridan could be ripped apart by a 12.7mm DhSK.
Apparently the people at Tesla calculated that the cost of adding these plates was worth the benefit of improved consumer protection and good publicity.
Weight is not an issue for this part because it actually helps further lower the cars center of gravity.
I wish my car had a titanium underbody, that would simply be badass.
While it requires more initial force, that extra energy due to added mass is stored in kinetic energy, and contrary to popular belief, it does not affect efficiency. There was actually a myth busters episode about this.
Electric cars would store this added energy in their regenerative breaking, so it shouldn't affect energy consumption.
Also, the added weight of steel over titanium would be negligible, maybe 100 lbs tops.
This site (http://www.jurassictest.ch/GR/) lets you plot a course for several EV models and set up some parameters such as weight. Adding a passenger to a Tesla knocks 9 Km off the range, according to them.
You have one car that's 1,000 lbs and one that's 10,000 lbs. When you start each car, it will take a lot more energy to bring the 10k lb car up to the same speed as the 1k lb car, but after that, the effects of drag will weigh more heavily on the lighter car (F=ma, so the rate of deacceleration is a lot higher for a smaller mass), causing constant fluctuations in the motor shutting on and off.
With the the 10k car, the transitions would take much longer. The time in between accelerations would be longer, and the motor would be on for longer spurts. You gain a great deal of efficiency for simply leaving a mechanical system running vs constantly modulating a mechanical system (i.e. shutting it on and off).
This would work in favor of the heavy car being more efficient.
Of course, the heavier your car is the worse your 0-60 split would be, so for a performance car that's a negative.
Also, the heavier car would experience greater bearing resistance + friction. This is really difficult to quantify, and my gut is that it's outweighed by the momentum advantage.
But overall, for a car that ways 2k lbs, a 5% increase in mass is pretty negligible, especially for casual highway and local driving.
All other things being equal, a heaver car will experience the exact same aerodynamic drag as a lighter car. Only the cross-sectional area and shape of the body come into play when determining how much opposing force air resistance provides. By the same token, the motor must supply a constant amount of torque to the wheels to counteract that force. If the force remains unchanged, so too does the torque required to counteract it. You're right about the rate being different, but as far as I know the motor doesn't cycle on and off like an air conditioner compressor does. It maintains a steady output.
What we're left with is an additional component of drag due to rolling resistance. A heaver car will deform the rubber tires more than a lighter one, and put more normal force into the bearings, causing that rolling resistance to be higher. I'm not sure what fraction of the total drag is due to rolling resistance vs. wind resistance--like you, I bet it's comparatively small, but still significant enough to show up in reduced range.
> Also, the heavier car would experience greater bearing resistance + friction. This is really difficult to quantify, and my gut is that it's outweighed by the momentum advantage.
I may be wrong here, but I don't see having an increased momentum as being an advantage. It takes more energy to build up that increased momentum, and you don't get it all back from regenerative braking
A heavier car may be more efficient, if you calculate efficiency as [Energy used] / [Total mass], but the better way to calculate the real-word efficiency is [Energy used] / [Mass of stupid driver who doesn't deserve this car as much as I do, when do I get to have one?]
Think of it like this: it's really easy to push a car that weighs one pound. Much harder to push a car that weighs 1000 pounds.
The momentum advantage was explained in the first point.
According to this article: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/magic-tesla-roadster-regener...
The Roadster's regen braking is at most 64% efficient. I'm guessing in real driving scenarios, it will be much less.
Most people charge every night so you always have an 80% full battery whenever you want to go somewhere. If you left it unplugged on a very cold night, you could lose maybe as much as 20 or 30 miles off the rated range due to the car using electricity to run the battery heating system to prevent any damage to the battery.
There are a lot of variables, the most important of which are how far you plan to drive, whether you pre-warm the car while it is on AC power, and how you drive it.
The standard 80% charge for the 85kWh battery is about 230 miles. That range translates to an average consumption of 290 Watt hours per mile. If you jumped into the car on a cold morning and just started driving, you would probably be consuming upwards of 400 to maybe even 500 Wh per mile for the first 15 to 20 miles as both the battery and cabin were heated. After that, things would taper down and you could easily hit 300 Wh per mile for the rest of your trip. A bunch of starting and stopping such as running errands would make that worse because it would take longer to heat due to the cool-downs when parked.
If you had it plugged in overnight and in the morning, you used the smartphone app to turn on the cabin heater though, it would use your AC power to not only heat the cabin but also start warming up the battery. Then, when you actually started driving, you would already be at that 300 Wh or so average.
We have never had any issues with not having enough charge to go somewhere, even on the occasions where we forgot to plug it in overnight. Our typical daily errand trips can be between 15 and 40 miles.
I've driven it 3 times now and plan to do so again. $25/hour makes for a really fun weekend outing.
Not to mention all the cool stuff that comes out during the Vintage Grand Prix.
Totally agree about the usual-ness. I see four or five Model Ses a day now.
Did this remind anyone else of when the smartest kid in the room was forced to apologize for something and you got the classic non apology apology?
Keep building great cars Elon and changing the world. Understand that we understand that there will be (I almost said bumps in the road) and that no one expected you to be perfect in every way from the very beginning. Trust someone close to you to help write these things.
"When you're doing something as new as we are with Tesla you're going to draw an outsized amount of scrutiny. Even though these fires were both in extreme circumstances, and that fires are sadly a regular occurrence for all vehicle makers, as a brand new concept it's not good enough for us to say 'We're as safe as any other comparable high end vehicle' We have to go a step further. And so today I'm announcing......" I mean I'm just throwing something together quickly but I'm trying to put some substance here vs sounding randomly snarky.
Normal people don't spend their time thinking about how much more they would like it if an executive's statements conformed to the PR industry's self-serving standards.
The industry is full of non-personal appeals. One that's personal and stays personal even if it's a bit defensive, is just more authentic and appealing.
Besides who reads these? I doubt a large percentage of potential buyers do - mostly likely already fans of Tesla, who probably agree with Musk anyway.
Why else would you lump all smart people together, and claim they have some psychological issues that you (not so smart maybe, but much more mature), can help with?
Car safety should never, ever be joked about. People's lives are at stake.
“Too many people confuse being serious with being solemn.”
Now I suggest to you that a group of us could be sitting around after dinner,
discussing matters that were extremely serious like the education of our chil-
dren, or our marriages, or the meaning of life (and I’m not talking about the
film), and we could be laughing, and that would not make what we were discuss-
ing one bit less serious.
Solemnity, on the other hand, I honestly don’t know what it’s for. I mean,
what is the point of it? The two most beautiful memorial services that I’ve
ever attended both had a lot of humor and it freed us all and made the ser-
vices inspiring and cathartic. But solemnity, it serves pomposity and the self-
important always know, at some level of their consciousness, that their egotism
is going to be punctured by humor. That’s why they see it as a threat.
“Graham Chapman, co-author of the "Parrot Sketch", is no more. He has ceased
to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the
twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great
Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking
how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of
such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age
of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was
capable, and before he'd had enough fun. Well, I feel that I should say: non-
sense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries. And the
reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if
I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Any-
thing for him but mindless good taste.
(He paused, then claimed that Chapman had whispered in his ear while he was
writing the speech):
All right, Cleese. You say you're very proud of being the very first person
ever to say 'shit' on British television. If this service is really for me,
just for starters, I want you to become the first person ever at a British
memorial service to say 'fuck'.”
'After flying into a cloud of paint and superglue the windscreen wipers failed to work resulting in a dangerous collision'.
(As if that happens every day and as if any other car would do better.)
If the naysayers keep up their petulant trolling then this car will be good for a road trip in Afghanistan some time soon.
His intent is to PR+burnish the added safety feature. Instead of selling it as an objective demonstration of the leadership tact that Tesla takes in ensuring driver security, he gets passive-aggressive.
Instead of laying out a tremendous history of safety as a foundation for a vision of the future of driving, he lords it as an accomplished achievement... which means the first time someone gets stuck inside the car and is burned alive, all these statements will bite him in the ass. It doesn't matter if that happened 100 times in gas cars the same year. Those manufacturers weren't overselling it.
In aggressively projecting strength, it expresses weakness.
there is a risk of a bad accident that could be bad pr. that risk exists with or without the arrogance. elon musk has a high tolerance for calculated risk. that's why he's a billionaire and you and i are 2nd guessing him on hacker news.
And perhaps he will be the survivor that is referred to when stories about survivorship bias are passed around. Or maybe he will crash and burn with that calculated risk.
"that's why he's a billionaire and you and i are 2nd guessing him on hacker news."
There are billionaires (or close to it) on hacker news btw.
Of course if one of those "billionaires" went out and said something like that that wouldn't go over to well would it?
Would you like a commenter on HN to say something like "well that's why you are driving a used Yugo and I am driving a brand new Lamborghini that I paid cash for?" as justification for why they know something or are somehow better than you are?
All the first death will do is have media go nuts, then Musk will make another blog post calling them idiots for making a big deal of 1 death in the history of Tesla, compared to the thousands of every other car manufacturer.
Here is full statistical analysis of why it was a real problem.
My pity meter regarding the resulting vehicle fire doesn't seem to be moving.
Personally I think the ground clearance is still a bit on the low side.
It looks like it lost a bolt or something in the first impact image... oops.
Elon Musk is Batman, and i claim my five pounds.
I don't doubt that the Tesla Model S is a very safe car as tests have shown. With that said, how many deaths and serious injuries would have been expected considering the same number of miles driven with normal cars? Are Teslas actually substantially safer than other cars or are there just few enough out there that no serious injuries have happened?
Here is my crude estimation. If we consider that there are 3.2 * 10^-4 people killed in traffic per car per year and that there are 20000 Tesla Model S on the road, then we get that there should have been about 6 deaths.
Now most of the Teslas have not been on the road for a whole year probably so I'm not sure how valid this estimation is.
This seems to be some indication that zero deaths is very low for this number of cars but to be sure I think one would need to make a more detailed estimate. Doing some statistical analysis would also be good.
On the other hand, since the Tesla S is a quite high performance car, you could expect it to get into more accidents than the average car.
Similar to other luxury auto companies they facilitate innovation. While luxury car companies strive to create beautiful, seamless and future-forward vehicles at a high cost, they can afford (similar to startups) to bring in new ideas to not only rule out competition but give them a market advantage.
For example - recently McLaren came up with a way to introduce sound waves, instead of windshield wipers, wipers are a pain! (Not to say that the device generating the waves wouldn't be) Can you imagine toyota, chrysler, or ford doing something of the sort? Of Course not - it takes probably 20 hours for them to build one of theirs, where it might take Rolls Royce 6-7 months. However there are different profit margins and reputable name sake.
I like to think Elon has engineered his company nicely in between :), he surely got pissed off by the media and had fun adding that ballistic plate to the bottom
Let's just think about how awesome that is for a moment.
This is one of those moments when we need to just stop, take a breath, and realize how truly epic and breakthrough this is.
Especially as someone that lives in a developing country...where the vast majority of the cars on the road are at least 10-years old....this is just mind-blowingly-awesome!
This is the most crazy thing about the press release and I feel like it went largely unnoticed. Not that it is a bad thing at all but it really illustrates that we're totally living in a different world than what I grew up with. Cars are now largely defined by software.
The exception would be Volvo.
GM left bad ignition switches in the cobalt for something like 8 years. People died when the switched locked up.
All that said, there is still the risk of the object striking some critical component in the engine of an ICE which is typically in the front. And the strike could easily damage something like a fuel line which could possibly start a fire.
Do you have anything to base this on?
Do you really believe the safety expectations of the Model S are much higher than those placed on companies building millions upon millions of vehicles for everyday people, families, police, ambulances, delivery and public transportation vehicles and race cars?
See Toyota and the $1.2 billion dollar settlement for the acceleration issue.
Both are fairly recent developments.
"However, to improve things further, we provided an over-
the-air software update a few months ago to increase the
default ground clearance of the Model S at highway speeds,
substantially reducing the odds of a severe underbody
I'm hoping that my current vehicle lasts just long enough (both in terms of mechanically, and my patience with it getting older) for Tesla to come out with something in my price range.
Probably because NHTSA told them to cut it out.
"The odds of fire in a Model S, at roughly 1 in 8,000 vehicles, are five times lower than those of an average gasoline car..."
What matters is the miles driven by cars, not the number of cars on the roads. It seems likely that other cars are driven longer distances, and Tesla cars are probably used by many owners as a second car.
The population of extant cars contains vehicles that are decades old. It's ought to be unsurprising that they have a higher rate of vehicle fires than the Teslas do. How to the Teslas compare with (say) BMW 5-series cars less than three years old?
When you are fortunate enough to own and drive one of these, most people cannot be content ever going back to an ICE.
Anyway, two of the three Tesla fires were on freeways, not local roads. The third was under somewhat mysterious circumstances (Mexico).
# elongation and tensile strength.
## The ballistic standard for armour (RHA) is a 1/4 steel plate. Ballistic Alu is roughly 1/2 inch or double the thickness used here, in most applications.
"MIL-DTL-46027 is supplied as a 5083-H131 product. Ballistic reports are supplied for thicknesses over 0.499" per specification. Our stock range is 0.250" thru 3". Typical stock size is 72" wide x 144" long."
Similar qualification for
MIL-DTL-46063 REV H OR LATEST
Section 4, figure 4 (p.7)
The M2-series Bradley IFV uses aluminum armor. You'd think they would have learned from the Vietnam War era M113 APC that aluminum would burn readily.
They need us to help spread the truth, as much as we need significant improvements in the automotive/transportation industry.
Damn things fall off all the time. Go look under yours, I bet you're missing a few. And you haven't crushed any alternators in the process.
I was actually pretty disappointed to see that--because I hate those things. I guess it was too much to believe that Tesla wouldn't have any of those damned plastic clips. I guess once I get my (rather unlikely) Model S I'll still have a reason to go to AutoZone.
Normal Tesla Model S curb weight is 2108 kg according to Wikipedia. Extra 90 kg is 4.2% mass increase => 4.2% more kinetic energy at the same speed => more energy consumption to accelerate. It also means, that the same force applied to the heavier Model S will accelerate it slower (a = F/m).
I'm still skeptical about the actual energy usage. If the % more kinetic energy applies equally to battery energy usage.
That is just so cool.
but although there's "ballistic" grade alumimium, titanium that's usually found in "military" applications, and the steel "spear" braced in asphalt test, will it survive assault rifle fire? or anti-tank weapons? how about a tactical nuclear strike? i mean, is it really safe?
> "Model S catches fire due to direct impact from nuclear missile".
Media goes apeshit and Musk responds by equipping Model S with anti-missile defense system.
So, if I was to spent loads on parts to make a relatively useless widget that fills a particular niche in my daily life, it would be expensive, but I wouldn't view it as valuable. It's only as valuable as it is expensive if there are lots of people who want it, which is not the case for custom work.
Battery swap was always a gimmick -- you had to return to the same swap station later to get your same battery back or pay a huge fee. Come on.
It looks like they decided fires are worse PR than this gimmick is good PR.
I recall one Tesla caused death, and I'm sure there have been more. Not that I really think Tesla is any more dangerous than any other car in this regard though.
Not sure if the car was actually at fault there...
"He told officers that the car had a strong, new-car smell that prompted him to use a baking soda car freshener in it. Jain told authorities that the smell caused him to fall asleep and there were no mechanical problems with the car..."
But you're probably correct that the car was not at fault, the driver was probably just grasping for straws.
The Model S weighs roughly the same as a midsize SUV. I wonder if the difference in weight distribution makes it more or less dangerous for the other car in an accident.
The Model S is a frightening concept in a major collision. It has crumple zones and all those wonderful safety features like air bags and such that make it considerably safer on the inside, but on the outside, it is significantly heavier than many other cars on the road, it has a very low center of gravity and a very evenly distributed mass which means no matter what angle of impact, the other car is likely to end up a crumpled heap. :/
If you look at some of the photos on the forums or the web, you can't help but wince and hope that the people in the other car survived, let alone walked away.
Moving a tonne or two of steel around is a real waste, particularly when it rusts. At least with this wondercar the bottom is flat and aerodynamically sound, unlike all of those legacy vehicles out there.
As for the other materials we've been using them sparingly in vehicles. The new Ford F150 is using much more aluminum, enough to bring the weight down by about 900 pounds. Yet people are still criticizing aluminum as a material choice. It's not hard to see that aluminum, carbon fiber and other light weight materials are the future of vehicles. Yet some people are still afraid because they associate heavy steal with strength. That aluminum hood is the only part on my old truck that is not rusting through. Lighters, stronger, no rust. Where is the negative?
The main drawback of aluminum body panels is that it's difficult (i.e. expensive) to make them. I would imaging fatigue (from vibrations, for example) is also a larger problem in this application with aluminum than it is with steel.
Citation on difficulties of fabrication (introduction paragraphs):
Additional considerations when designing dies for aluminum forming:
A list of some cars using aluminum body panels: