41 comments on “Not really, no

  1. The Model 3 looks like a Mazda 3 and costs twice as much. You can buy a Mazda 3 and run it for a decade for the same money.

  2. Trying to,lose the diminutive prior to me vint on to greater things once you have you MBA, Mr Newman?

    That’s something Army officers were not expected to do.

  3. @ Tim Newman
    Sadly the dead are no longer allowed to sue for libel. A gross injustice since they are, obviously, not able to answer back.

  4. OT

    Tim,

    Blockquotes in all caps on Conts is really irritating and makes them difficult to read.

  5. And while I’m OT and talking about Conts. …

    You put milk in omelettes? Bloody heathen.

  6. ‘Tesla might have its problems, but building dream machines isn’t one of them.’

    Uhhh . . . yes it is. They are hundreds of thousands of units behind in production.

    Which opens the window for Mercedes et al to enter the luxury electric market. Musk invented the category, but failed to produce.

    Tesla sold 455,000 reservations for the Model 3 by August, 2017. They have delivered less than 200,000.

    Jim Bakker went to prison for such shenaniguns.

    ‘Musk’s biggest job is as Tesla’s marketer-in-chief.’

    True. Unfortunately, he tried to run manufacturing. He disastrously insisted on going into direct production of the Model 3 without prototyping.

    As Tesla goes under, at least he’ll be singing, “I did it my way.”

  7. Gamecock,

    “Tesla sold 455,000 reservations for the Model 3 by August, 2017. They have delivered less than 200,000.”

    That’s not because they haven’t produced, though. There’s stockpiles of Tesla cars (look up people like ispytesla and elonbachman on Twitter). People with deposits just aren’t buying because the $35K Model 3 never happened.

  8. What about DeLorean?

    Sure, no-one has succeeded in launching a successful car company for a while. Because it’s a stupid thing to do. But quite a few have tried.

  9. Pagani, although the company doesn’t add up. They make a handful of highly expensive supercars a year yet have a beautiful factory and even a restoration facility. Lamborghini and Aston Martin have repeatedly gone bankrupt using that business model.

  10. Diogenes,

    Yes. But It took 30-40 years from Honda starting to make cars to Honda being a significant car maker. And he started by finding some niches, like motorbikes that could be driven one-handed (for delivery drivers) and pickup trucks. He started with 12 people.

    One mistake about Tesla is people assuming this could be like a dot com startup and the problem is that people are far more conservative about cars than say, phones or social networks. Buy a shit phone, worst thing is that you lose £1000 and buy another. Buy a shit car, you lose £20K and maybe die in it. That’s why, despite Toyota making better cars than Ford or GM in the 80s, it took decades to go past them.

  11. I don’t think the laws of physics or practical engineering enter any sort of business model when it comes to glorified milk floats.

    Batteries do have this tedious collateral known as “having to be charged”. But don’t worry the magic money tree will cover this (and the magic physics tree as well it would appear)

    It will be interesting when the irresistible fad meets the immovable object. My money is on the “smart” meter. Particularly when said milk float charging can be properly identified and priced accordingly.

    You can have my real car when you prize it out of my cold, dead hands.

  12. Mark, I do think about being buried in my Shelby GT350.

    BoM4, the stockpile is a recent phenomena. I assume buyers are now doubting the viability of Tesla. But you are right that the actual cars produced were not the cars promised.

  13. @Gamecock

    Shelby GT350 – respect!

    I have a shitty little automatic diesel punto but it’s a REAL car and they shall not have it (or whatever I get next)

    You can hear people drooling about electric cars: how fast they will go, acceleration etc etc.

    I just can’t look at an electric car and get that cartoon of the dalek out of my head. Off to conquer the universe then it comes to a flight of stairsl “oh shit”

  14. I’m repeatedly amazed how few people writing these articles fail to understand the subject they’re writing about. The true development in the dawn of the automobile was putting a gas station in every town. Without one, cars weren’t going anywhere. Far. So the limitation on the development of the automobile was the spread of gas stations. But ICE then vehicles did have an advantage over electric, today. You always had the option to carry some spare cans to extend your range. So the spread could be incremental. Electric vehicles don’t give you that option. And the existing grid simply doesn’t have the generating or carrying capacity to support replacing a hydrocarbon fleet with electric. And it’ll be a long & expensive process making it so.

  15. @Bloke in Spain

    Not just that, these electric cars will be completely autonomous/self driving AND will be able to sell power back to the grid.

    I have been told by people (poor misguided fools) thinking of buying these things how they will be quids in from this, charging them from solar panels on their roof, charging them for free at the place of work and selling power back (which I think some people imagine will cover the monthly payments on the car!)

    And there are those online “experts” who have already got the world planned out around the self driving (electric car) “revolution”. Just get on your phone and a “self driving” car will magically appear within minutes, take you seamlessly where you want to go and likewise take you home.

    Where this magic fleet spends its downtime never seems to be explained. But then only about ten will be required as the magic will ensure that they are so efficiently used.

    I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture.

    The number of people who believed this sort of shit! It almost makes me want to start studying psychology.

    I think it has something to do with conspiracy theories. Demonize “big oil”, “big this”, “big that” enough and perhaps you start to believe that they can make water run uphill.

    If the bogeyman have magical powers, just think of what they are holding back from us?

    Tesla fanboys (and girls) do have the whiff of cult members about them

  16. And the existing grid simply doesn’t have the generating or carrying capacity to support replacing a hydrocarbon fleet with electric. And it’ll be a long & expensive process making it so.

    The electrical power needed for all transport to go electric (including HGV/LGVs, if that were practical from a battery point of view) would be ‘only’ ~50% more than our current grid. So simply build a few more nukes (ha!) and the jobs a good ‘un.

    What really kills the (crack) pipe dreams of ‘carbon neutral by 2050’, is replacing domestic gas heating by electric, which needs at least 3x the capacity of the current grid (ignoring the teeny logistical problem of replacing 30 million gas/oil boilers).

  17. In the first decade of the 20thc there were quite a few steam cars. The problem of refuelling as mentioned by BIS didn’t crop up because every town or village had at least one coal merchant. Could the age of steam make a resurgence? One of the problems back in the day was loss of power through the pistons not fitting the cylinders to closer than about 1cm of tolerance. An efficient boiler and computer-cut moving parts and surely steam could be a winner again?

  18. A few years back new scientist ran an article about research on new approaches to steam and speculating on whether it could apply to vehicles again. I’m sceptical; I don’t know the details but I remember my university thermodynamics; rankine cycles are intrinsically less efficient than otto or diesel.

    At the outset of cars we had steam, IC and electric all competing actually (and horses!). So back to the future…

    I’m less sceptical on EV than many of you here appear to be, especially hybrid technologies. But there are constraints to rapid adoption, sure.

  19. ‘I’m less sceptical on EV’

    Who’s skeptical? It is very doable by Mercedes. NOT Tesla.

    It is a niche application. It is not suitable for the mass replacement of ICE transportation. Sorry, I guess that makes me skeptical.

  20. @Oblong June 17, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Hybrids with regenerative breaking are they way to go imo. Full EV is a dead end.

    Steam is like EV – fuel energy(density) vs weight is the problem; although steam better as it burns it’s fuel which reduces weight.

  21. these electric cars will be completely autonomous/self driving AND will be able to sell power back to the grid.

    They’ll drain your battery overnight by selling the energy to the highest bidder and Corbyn will tax all of it as a ‘windfall’.

  22. @ Chris Miller
    Going carbon neutral requires us to rent area of the Sahara roughly the size of Wales and cover it with PV solar panels.
    Alternatively we shut down all industry and transport and shiver in our hovels.
    In one week of January each year genuine renewables (i.e. not counting burning wood chips) are not enough to keep BT and essential services (sewers etc) going.
    Gas boilers are a second-order problem (not that I want to do without them: I hated chilblains when I was a child).

  23. “Hybrids with regenerative breaking are they way to go imo.”

    Any breaking will be a problem. For they.

    Regenerative braking is annoying.

  24. One of the problems back in the day was loss of power through the pistons not fitting the cylinders to closer than about 1cm of tolerance.

    Seriously? I would have thought that steam locomotives (or the Watt steam engine) would have done better than that – maybe 1mm or even less – and I can’t imagine why a steam automobile (Stanley Steamer, say) would be any worse. At a 1cm tolerance I don’t think you’re “losing power” – you’ve already lost it all.

  25. I’d imagine, if you seriously wanted to build a modern steam car, you’d probably be looking at turbines rather than reciprocating pistons.
    And if your talking about engines driven by combustion, it’s the working fluid that’s important. In ICE the main working fluid is nitrogen. The portion of the air doesn’t combine with the fuel. Damned if i know what the expansion ratios are for ICE’s but the expansion ratio water>steam is much higher. Why water injection can increase power.

  26. @Gamecock June 17, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    breaking/braking – well spotted, silly me

    Only annoying if ECU map not good; seems to work OK in F1 and Le Mans/WEC

    I would add: there should be an switch to turn it Off

    .
    @bloke in spain June 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Yep. An early morning drive/ride [light in summer (4/5am)] on a high pressure cold misty day allows engine to liberate a noticeable power increase.

    Great fun

  27. Diogenes said:
    “In the first decade of the 20thc there were quite a few steam cars. The problem of refuelling as mentioned by BIS didn’t crop up because every town or village had at least one coal merchant.”

    By the early 20th century, most of the steam cars were petrol-powered (or kerosene); same fuel as internal combustion, but burning it to boil a tea-urn to make steam.

    The reasons for steam surviving into the internal combustion era were:
    – people thought swinging a starting-handle on an internal combustion engine was difficult and dangerous; the invention of the electric starter really changed things;
    – back then it was easier to find a mechanic who could cope with steam (WWI changed that, with lots more men learning to handle internal combustion engines);
    – cost (solved by Ford).

  28. Gamecock said:
    “Problem with steam is building a head. Cold starts aren’t possible.”

    Not true. By the 1920s you could start a steam car up from cold in less than a minute. A kerosene burner heating water in thin tubes doesn’t take long.

    (sorry, last summer I met a Stanley steam car owners’ club who were touring down here and spent the afternoon talking to them; a fascinating forgotten bit of history)

  29. Diogenes said:
    “One of the problems back in the day was loss of power through the pistons not fitting the cylinders to closer than about 1cm of tolerance.”

    Pretty sure railway engineers in the days of steam used to work in thousandths of an inch tolerance. OK, it might sometimes be 20 thousandths, but that’s still a 50th of an inch, roughly half a mm, a long way off a cm.

  30. Steam cars in the early 20th century lasted just long enough to leave a legacy in the word “chauffeur”–French for “fireman/stoker” as the bloke used to feed little briquettes into the engine as well as steer.

    A special prize of nothingx2 if anyone can remember both the name of the British boy’s comic (and the title of the actual stories ) that featured two blokes were super professional footballers on the Saturday but spent the week on their business of making compressed coal/charcoal briquettes. I remember the ludicrous premise even after 50+ years but I can’t remember what it was called or which comic.

    Answers not on a postcard please.

  31. I should be a proof reader during the week and a super professional footballer on Saturdays.

    It should read “”two blokes who were super professional footballers etc”.

  32. RichardT
    June 19, 2019 at 2:53 am

    “Problem with steam is building a head. Cold starts aren’t possible.”

    Not true. By the 1920s you could start a steam car up from cold in less than a minute.

    ================

    Not true? Then refute it.

    Note that “less than a minute” is NOT a cold start.

    And “by the 1920s” was too late.

  33. @RichardT June 19, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Thanks for wake up and think

    After WWII many steam trains were converted to oil as UK had a glut, then back to coal when glut ran out

    imo Petrol/Diesel/LPG/Nat.Gas ICE is best. EV is a dead end waste of money.I’d prefer EV money to be spent on Rotary and Turbine bike/car/lorry engines

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