Tesla boss sees bumpy road ahead for electric cars

January 26, 2016
Tesla founder Elon Musk says electric car makers will have to entice buyers in order to ride out the challenge of plunging oil p
Tesla founder Elon Musk says electric car makers will have to entice buyers in order to ride out the challenge of plunging oil prices

Electric car manufacturers will have to design futuristic vehicles to entice buyers in order to ride out the challenge of plunging oil prices, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk said Tuesday.

The luxury all-electric US , founded in 2003, rose to prominence as soared and made alternative energy vehicles more tempting.

Now the fledgling industry is under pressure, said Musk. Tesla itself saw shares dive earlier this month after it reported deliveries at the bottom end of its forecast for the 2015 fourth quarter.

"It definitely makes the transition to sustainable energy more difficult," Musk, 44, said when asked at a business conference in Hong Kong about the impact of free-falling oil prices.

"No doubt that is going to dampen interest in electric vehicles in general," Musk told the "StartmeupHK" event.

Tesla is looking to recruit 1,600 software engineers to help develop "Autopilot", its IT system and aims to have a fully self-driving by 2018.

The system has capabilities like the "Summon" function so drivers can call the car from the garage to their side at will, like a pet.

The company is taking orders for its new Model X, released this year, which boasts some self-driving facilities and Back To the Future-style "falcon-wing" doors.

Elon Musk demonstrates the falcon wing doors on the Tesla Model X Crossover SUV on September 29, 2015 in Fremont, California
Elon Musk demonstrates the falcon wing doors on the Tesla Model X Crossover SUV on September 29, 2015 in Fremont, California

"What we're aspiring to do is to make the cars so compelling that even with lower gas prices, it's still the car you want to buy," said Musk.

He predicted all cars would be autonomous within the next 15 years—with steering wheels eventually just a distant memory as autopilot takes over.

"If you go long, long term my guess is there isn't (going to be) a steering wheel in most cars, it would be something that you're going to have to special order."

Musk said new Tesla cars would have more affordable price tags—the Model Three sedan planned for 2017 will cost an estimated $35,000, half the cost of other Teslas.

Financiers are watching as the company aims to increase production tenfold to 500,000 cars a year by 2020, supported by Tesla's own battery plant under construction in Nevada which is crucial to cutting car prices.

Such promises have kept investors firmly behind the California company, even though it has continued to lose money while the big carmakers in Detroit rack up profits in the booming US auto market.

Explore further: Tesla chief says self-driving cars just around corner

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dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2016
The biggest problem with electric cars -- a problem that remains -- is that they cannot be simply and quickly refueled. They are fine for around the town driving where the total mileage per day does not exceed their battery capacity, but not for over the road driving where the total mileage exceeds the battery capacity.

scales561
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 26, 2016
The biggest problem is not electric cars or quickly refueling them. That is infrastructure, which Tesla and others are putting in place. You can even make roadways that continuously keep cars charged. Technology is not a road block. I applaud people such as Elon Musk for "driving" a new transportation system that is cleaner, safer and more efficient. The reason why he is worried is because above all, he is lives in a monetary system which is designed for one purpose, profit. Established industry such as oil and gas will fight to the death to stay in control. This means they will continue to lower prices to keep us using their products. The only way a company such as Tesla can overcome this is to continue using their advantage of exponential growth technology and move towards zero marginal cost. Moving towards a service company where no one owns a car. You pay a monthly service fee that is far less than it would be to own and operate a vehicle.
gkam
2.8 / 5 (18) Jan 26, 2016
This is a simplistic article which leaves out many of the advantages of EVs, which I appreciate with ours. No oil. No leaks. No fluid changes, no filters. No filth.

No tuneups. No stink, no noise. No trips to the gas station or repair shop for belts, chains, spark plugs, or emission checks.

Here, we can drive alone in commute lanes made for cars with more people.

But with no smell, no stink, no smoke, NO OIL, I love it. We charge at night.
Nattydread
3.1 / 5 (15) Jan 26, 2016
once you have driven an electric car you'll never want to get in a fossil fuelled car again. They are amazing.
Whydening Gyre
4.3 / 5 (15) Jan 26, 2016
No leaks. No fluid changes, no filters. No filth.
No tuneups. No stink, no noise. No trips to the gas station or repair shop for belts, chains, spark plugs, or emission checks.

Yeah, but.... isn't all that stuff part of the "romance" of owning an automobile...? :-)
HeloMenelo
2.8 / 5 (11) Jan 26, 2016
The biggest problem with electric cars -- a problem that remains -- is that they cannot be simply and quickly refueled. They are fine for around the town driving where the total mileage per day does not exceed their battery capacity, but not for over the road driving where the total mileage exceeds the battery capacity.



dogfart with yet again another brainfart comment, clearly as always you have no idea what the technology is capable of.
HeloMenelo
3 / 5 (12) Jan 26, 2016
10 out of 10 gkam ! dogfart ala his sockpuppet antisciencegoracle believes in stone age principles solely, which is no surprise as its all they can understand... and barely understanding even that... ;)

i gave you a 5 out of 5 whydening for the humor, if we can get rid of those greasy maintenance prone stove stokers , once and for all, the world will be a better place, it makes genius sense !
greenonions
5 / 5 (9) Jan 26, 2016
Dogbert has a point. We own a Leaf - and it is fine for us - but only with the backup of a gas car. The batteries are not powerful enough yet. But all in good time. Interesting thing about oil prices - is that the industry is in a shit mess now. Oil prices have collapsed - and the industry is in a tail spin. They are damned either way. I think low oil prices will slow the adoption of EV's - but you can only hold back the tide for so long. I hope Tesla can ride out the current low prices. The bigger companies like GM will win either way. Tesla is in a more precarious position - being all EV. It is really interesting times to watch the industry - being that we are at such an inflection point.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (15) Jan 26, 2016
It is an important test of will and whether the momentum of building the technology and production assets and the distribution systems and the beginnings of market penetration will put us past the tipping point in the transition to renewables.

I think we have made it, thanks to folk like Musk and to many others over the decades. They got us to the point where these EVs can sell themselves, and their versatility is growing as costs shrink and choices grow.
gkam
2.5 / 5 (16) Jan 26, 2016
Yup, I still have a gas-powered rig in the driveway. For long trips, or when we need a second car, we use it. So far, that amounts to about a hundred miles per month.
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2016
greenonions and gkam,

As I noted, electric cars are fine within their limitations. But most of us cannot afford an 80,000 car for around town use and another 35,000 car backup for extended trips. Until/unless the fueling limitations of the electric cars are fixed, they are simply not a viable option for most people.
Edenlegaia
2.3 / 5 (4) Jan 26, 2016
I'm pretty sure i'll get something like that when it'll cost less than my two livers. Till then.....filthy fuel, here i stay. Yeehaw.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (13) Jan 26, 2016
I contend they are for most folk. How many of us drive more than 100 miles/day? The newer ones will have several-hundred-mile ranges. With discounts, tax credits, and other stuff, my raw costs were 17k, . . 20k, with tax, license, shots, and leash.

Now, we have no oil stains, no inspections, no gas runs, no oil changes, no leaks, no tune-ups. I'm starting to resent breathing the fumes of those who drive dirty cars.
greenonions
5 / 5 (7) Jan 26, 2016
dogbert
But most of us cannot afford an 80,000 car for around town use and another 35,000 car backup for extended trips.
The Leaf will cost us about the same as a Civic if you do a 10 year analysis of the per mile cost. My backup car is a 2006 Civic - that we bought in 2006 for around $18,000. You can get a new Civic today for the same price. We go out of town mabe 2 or 3 times a year. Renting a compact car from Enterprise costs us about $15 a day - unlimited mileage. I agree that we still have a long way to go until electrics are truly equivalent to gassers in terms of range. I love driving the Leaf. As gkam says - no oil changes - nice car to drive. Why do you guys feel such a compulsion to exaggerate - instead of honestly presenting the facts. Yes we are early adopters - and many cannot afford to do that. Prices are going to come down. Soon we will all be driving EV's (I would give it 20 years - but others think less).
gkam
2 / 5 (12) Jan 26, 2016
Greenie, I do think it will be adopted sooner, when others drive our early models. And when the costs/mile are shown, and the lack of maintenance, and no oil, and no smells, they will catch on.

And do not worry about the utilities, as I said before I was on electric vehicle committees for EPRI in the late 1980s, and electric transportation was our idea. It spreads the overall costs of the baseload plants and the infrastructure over more of the day, making better use of assets and dropping costs to customers.
greenonions
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 26, 2016
Well gkam - there is a big caveat to the utility issue. If you hook your EV to the grid - you will be increasing the number of times the battery is cycled. Battery degradation due to cycling is already a big concern with today's cars. So there is a potential cost to letting the grid - charge and discharge your battery as a buffer. I think we have a long way to go with battery technology - before we are able to give free use of our already inadequate batteries to the grid operator. Down the road - yes. Now one possibility I do see. Periodically we get ice storms - that devastate our grid - due to tearing down overhead power lines. If you are without power - pop over to the local 7-11 - charge up the battery on fast charge - and you can run your house for a couple of days on minimal load - but hey - you stay warm - and don't lose your fridge full of food.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (15) Jan 27, 2016
I did not say I would let the utility use my car battery for peak power. I intend to get a house system later, and may let it be used by the utility for appropriate payment, but not the car.

My PV panels can support slow charging, and my dual-fuel generator can do fast charging for the car, so the house battery is all I need to be independent if necessary.
antigoracle
3 / 5 (12) Jan 27, 2016
Apple will be out with their all aluminium, 10 hr battery vehicle soon, and then Musk will know what a bumpy road is. It will cost a bit more than the Tesla but the steering wheel won't be extra and it won't have any of that autonomous crap.
dogbert
2 / 5 (9) Jan 27, 2016
antigoracle,
the steering wheel won't be extra and it won't have any of that autonomous crap.


That is certainly a plus. For some reason, automobile manufacturers in general seem to want to burden us with dangerous and expensive automatic systems and the electric vehicle manufacturers seem exceptionally prone to that nonsense.
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
greenonions
5 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
dogbert
automobile manufacturers in general seem to want to burden us with dangerous and expensive automatic systems
It is called progress - and the systems are making cars safer. It is fine if you are not interested in progress (I guess) - but why do you have to burden the rest of us with your lack of vision and knowledge?
greenonions
5 / 5 (9) Jan 27, 2016
promile
I don't think, that their ownership really saves the oil
Same sentiment to you - as to dogbert above. It is called progress. Yes - Teslas are expensive cars. So are Mercedes - do you whine about that? The Leaf works out to about the same life time cost as a small gas car. Higher up front cost, but lower fuel, and maintenance costs. But these are steps on a journey towards better vehicles. The Telsa Model S has the highest satisfaction ratings of any car. It is an awesome car. People who charge them off solar panels are of course avoiding all the pollution of burning fossil fuels. The grid mix is changing - so every Kwh generated by renewables - is less pollution. It is just a step on a long journey. Why do you guys need to impede progress? - is it Church or something?
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (16) Jan 27, 2016
promile is hilarious, showing us the convolutions some folk will go through to rationalize their political prejudice. If the conservative haters drove EVs, so would this guy.
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Mark Thomas
2.2 / 5 (11) Jan 27, 2016
"I'd prefer to calculate their environmental impact first."

So what is stopping you? My beloved gasoline-powered vehicle produces carbon dioxide 100% of the time when driven. This is NOT necessarily true for electric vehicles. In the U.S., roughly 68% of our electricity is derived from fuels producing carbon dioxide, leaving 32% of our electrical power which does not directly result in additional carbon dioxide (nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, etc.). https://www.eia.g...&t=3
Electric vehicles have the potential to be orders of magnitude cleaner than gasoline-powered vehicles.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (16) Jan 27, 2016
Mark, my jumping cursor resulted in a two instead of the five rating I wanted to give you. I do not believe we are going back to the starting point for promile, who has not read already the responses to his allegations.

Do these folk really think nobody in the field has addressed these factors before committing large sums of money and effort to them?
gkam
1.8 / 5 (15) Jan 27, 2016
"Well, the belief that electric cars is what saves the Nature from global warming disaster is also political prejudice."
---------------------------------------

Well, no. I am a former Senior Engineer for PG&E, with a Master of Science in Environment and Energy. I also have an EV, and the panels to power it go up tomorrow.

The interest is both professional and personal. The facts are indisputable.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (15) Jan 27, 2016
We were wondering if the artificially low prices of oil will kill the green revolution. Here is one response;

http://ecowatch.c...eantech/

The Tipping Point decision is behind us. But can we do it in time?
Mark Thomas
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
Gkam, no worries. I plan to be an EV owner in the next 5 years, preferably a Tesla. I have been in two different Teslas and they are great vehicles.
HeloMenelo
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
I contend they are for most folk. How many of us drive more than 100 miles/day? The newer ones will have several-hundred-mile ranges. With discounts, tax credits, and other stuff, my raw costs were 17k, . . 20k, with tax, license, shots, and leash.

Now, we have no oil stains, no inspections, no gas runs, no oil changes, no leaks, no tune-ups. I'm starting to resent breathing the fumes of those who drive dirty cars.


excellent !
HeloMenelo
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
Apple will be out with their all aluminium, 10 hr battery vehicle soon, and then Musk will know what a bumpy road is. It will cost a bit more than the Tesla but the steering wheel won't be extra and it won't have any of that autonomous crap.


unfortunately monkeys and their sockpuppets can't drive, not even with a steering wheel so autonomous it'll have to be ;)
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
2.6 / 5 (18) Jan 27, 2016
Oil is better used as a feedstock than to burn it for heat.

My automotive power is going to come from the sun. Poco a poco we will get it done.
Gustiewing
2.5 / 5 (12) Jan 27, 2016
EVs are here to stay. As Carlos Ghosn said: "all car makers are going to need zero emission cars whether they are EVs or fuel cell (Hydrogen powered) cars..."

In a way, driving even a modern ICE car feels like jumping on a horse compared to an EV. I love the ride, the quietness, cleanness and technology on my Leaf and can't see myself going back to ICE cars ever. Burning oil to power you on the road seems so 20th century.

What's more, EVs and fuel cell cars, driverless technology and GPS/online connected cars are naturally complementary technologies for a more sustainable future.

The future is electric.
Zzzzzzzz
2.6 / 5 (10) Jan 27, 2016
Well, I only needed to see a few posts from Promile the other day to click the ignore button.... the fastest I've ever banished someone
Zzzzzzzz
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 27, 2016
My next vehicle purchase will be an electric. I don't buy a lot of cars, since I tend to keep them longer than most people. But the case can easily be made to justify a higher price for an electric - especially for one that will be upgradeable as battery technology improves. I could see myself keeping such a car for 20 years. There are ranges available today that approach 300 miles, and for the expensive models as battery tech improves upgrades will be possible. The danger in the 20 year plan is the chance the tech leaves you behind - and with upgrades available the 100k Tesla is probably cheaper than a 25k gas car over the next 20 years - and not to mention a whole lot nicer....
Shootist
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2016
Tesla boss sees bumpy road ahead for electric cars


GOOD!

And I have a Prius V 5
greenonions
5 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2016
Promile
Or blind alley of progress.
Well - we don't know if we don't try do we? Maybe you could check your crystal ball for us all.
the wind turbines only work when there's wind
Really? (sarcasm). Who would have thunk it. Guess you need to contact the engineers in Denmark - where they are getting close to 50% of their electricity from wind - and on a good day it is well over 100%. Understand Promile - the transition from fossil fuels is going to be a long journey. Rome was not built in a day. Would you prefer that we keep burning coal?
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1.9 / 5 (13) Jan 27, 2016
You want hard numbers? 4.5kW of solar panels and an EV with about 100 miles of range, charged at night for the cost of 2.5 cents/mile.

No gas. No oil. No tuneups. No emission checks. No stink, no smoke, no engine noise.

Our EV did to our Camrys what solar is doing to coal - backup, . . second choice.
promile
Jan 27, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
greenonions
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 27, 2016
Promile - wow - really nice unbiased article you found there. Here is an excerpt
so they make fat targets for those who are envy driven and others who simply want to exert control over their fellow man.
Yes - very data rich and unbiased. Actually - if you do a search of articles looking at the environmental impact of EV's - you will find pretty broad agreement that they have a positive impact - but the degree of that positive impact depends heavily on what part of the world you live in. Here is an example - http://www.techno...ed-ones/
BTW - it was clear to me that your article was junk - this statement says it all
The nasty job of gathering up the rare earths needed to build the batteries
Lithium ion batteries contain no rare earths. http://driveclean...ries.php You should become more informed.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (13) Jan 27, 2016
promile, why would anyone live in Toronto and expect solar PV in the Winter? Try wind, . . . with de-icing blades.
promile
Jan 28, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
2 / 5 (12) Jan 28, 2016
I think promile believes what is convenient. Nobody thinks they will drive for free, that's just silly talk from someone who hates the idea of someone else doing better than he.

I am waiting for the PV installers right now. My $17,300 e-Golf gets 100 miles on the $2.50 of electricity. And no oil, no gas, no fill-ups. I power up at home at night. I can set the interior temperature by phone before I get in, check where it is, and check the charge level by phone, plus other information.

It;'s the 21st Century! Where are you?
Mike_Massen
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 28, 2016
Gustiewing offered
In a way, driving even a modern ICE car feels like jumping on a horse compared to an EV. I love the ride, the quietness, cleanness and technology on my Leaf and can't see myself going back to ICE cars ever. Burning oil to power you on the road seems so 20th century
Fully appreciate sensation, if things go well will be importing Tesla X LHdrive end this year or early next. Afaik only 2 Teslas in Perth Western Australia but not model X as yet...

Until then should be feasible to adapt various existing vehicles depending on age to hybrid as not only are controllers cheaper but batteries too & we have sizable Lithium resources in Western Australia, one co I'm 'aware' of' is on Australian Stock Exchange & cheap !
http://www.asx.co...do#!/ajm
Also have a co working on getting clean graphite (electrodes) from gas emission free
http://www.asx.co...do#!/hzr

Electric, getting all charged up ;-)
greenonions
3.7 / 5 (6) Jan 28, 2016
promile
Actually it's based on peer-reviewed Nature article
So in the peer review nature article - did they have a scientific discussion about "those who are envy driven, and others who simply want to exert control over their fellow man" or this stupidity "the EDVs that the political left believes have magical healing powers, also burn fossil fuel." So just because someone says that what they write is based on a peer reviewed article - that does not make what they write valid. Your article was horribly biased - and politicized BS. The fact is that the impact that an EV has environmentally is very varied - depending on the source of charging the EV. Someone who charges in an area with lots of nukes, or hydro, or renewables - is certainly reducing their carbon footprint. Saying otherwise is just nonsense. Your author also did not know that EV batteries do not contain rare earths. Some journalist!

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