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View Diary: Tesla repays government loan, Republicans sniff (197 comments)

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  •  Hopefully, rising tide lifts all boats. We'll know (1+ / 0-)
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    soon enough whether this indeed pans out. The Leafs are certainly out there for people to buy. And as I you know, I've written quite a bit about the perception gap.

    Because of this gap, while you are right that a true 100-120 mile range should be good enough for every 2-car urban/suburban to switch one of its cars to pure EV, I have a feeling that in the next 4-5 years or so it will take around 150 miles range to defeat the psychological barrier.

    Personally I am crossing my fingers for Leaf (or any other 5-seater) to crack 100-miles-with-AC by summer 2014, when we return our current Leaf lease :)

    Regarding Tesla's ability to make a more affordable car,  you're glossing over several points:

    1. The current price of the S is not $90k, but $60-70k

    2. The right purchase model for the EV is lease anyway, not paying the cash price. Any EV packaged into a lease with a reasonable (or subsidy-offset) down payment plus a monthly payment that is largely offset by gas savings, is by definition affordable regardless of the sticker price. This too is a perception issue - for some reason EVs still market themselves via the full price rather than via payments as many gas cars do ("Zero Down!" etc.).

    3. Into the current Tesla costs are factored in a ton of R&D overhead. The proportion of that from the next models will be smaller, so they can charge less. Also, cloning a "copy exactly" 2nd and larger factory will bring down costs even more.

    4. They can probably build a smaller 150-200 mile range "skateboard" base, that will be cheaper to begin with. Not sure whether they'll want to - but they can.

    •  That depends on the range you want. The base (1+ / 0-)
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      85kwh is 80k before tax credits.  The 60kwh is 70k.

      The Leaf is 28.  The E500 and I are roughly the same.  

      It's pretty obviously easier to add 25% more range for 7k  than to come down 35k in price if the goal is a 35 thousand dollar car.

      It's going to be easier for the big guys to add a few hundred pounds of batteries than for Tesla to slash their price by 50%, even if Tesla makes a move to a lower range and trim package.

      To really dominate the overall auto market, of course, we're going to have to see prices get down into the sub 20k range.

      Leases are fools bets.  Manufacturers push them because they're a BAD deal for the consumer, not a good one.  Corporations are not your friends.

      When you buy a vehicle, it doesn't matter how long it takes you to use up its useful life.  There are no yearly mileage limits.  Whatever happens, you've paid a price for a certain amount of travel.

      For a lease to "pay for itself", you'd have to be burning at least that much gas.  

      A gas bill is flexible (it disappears if they get laid off) and a lease isn't.
      When you lease, you're getting screwed if you go much over or under the yearly mileage allowance.  

      "The thing about smart motherfuckers is that they sound like crazy motherfuckers to dumb motherfuckers." Robert Kirkman

      by JesseCW on Fri May 24, 2013 at 11:58:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Strongly disagree about EV leases. (1+ / 0-)
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        The Leaf lease is right now at 0%, and is a partial (lease-back) deal. That is, the company is obliged to take the car back from you after 2 or 3.5 years (depending on the lease). We don't know yet whether they'll try to "fine" lease returns for inflated damages - but given that they're still trying to make the Leaf user-friendly, I don't see that happening.

        Our payment is $99/month, limited to 12k miles/year. If you drive say 10k miles even less, you will offset the payment easily in gas cost, vs. any reference gas car.
        The longer $199/month lease is, I think, limited to 15k miles/year. That's a lot of mileage for a car that cannot really go on road trips. It might not be completely offset, but at the very least you can get pretty close to that.

        It's not a question of corporations being our friends - they are not - but of a win-win situation.

        The company wants to get over the buyer's fear of a new tech. The buyer, OTOH, even if we believe in EVs (and I do as much as one should "believe" tech, that is) - actually, because we believe in EVs, we know the tech will improve almost every model year.

        Which means, among other things, that the resale value of a used Leaf will precipitously fall. The 2011 Leafs are already selling around $15-17k from private sellers. Do the math yourself. If the Leaf indeed adds another 25% to its range soon as you write, then it will be that much harder to get rid of for anything more than peanuts.

        So why dig yourself into a technology and money hole by buying outright? Change a model every 2-3 years, until the tech improvement ramp stabilizes.

        And no, it's not easy to add 25% more range quickly. It took Nissan 2 years to add 15%. It's not just a matter of "adding a few hundred pounds of battery".
        Tesla's technology is proprietary, they cannot just take it and copy (well, they can buy one and reverse-engineer it; probably already doing that :). But still, they have to solve the range-increase problem themselves, on their own model.

        Well, enough armchair-QBing for today. Obviously we are both EV fans, let all good EVs win. Buy, lease, do what suits you. Have a great weekend.

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