Yesterday, Elon Musk and JB Straubel blogged details about the Tesla Model S‘s range and efficiency. You can read their original article here, with details about the test conditions. Incidentally, Elon Musk is not only the CEO of Tesla Motors, but also the CEO and Chief Designer of SpaceX, so our future in space may well rest in his hands. It’s worth paying attention to what he’s up to.
This graph provided by Tesla Motors neatly summarizes the performance of the Model S and the improvement over the Roadster on the critical issue of range:
It should be noted that this is for the top-of-the-line 85 kWh Model S while the base model will only come with a 42 kWh battery pack. From a high amperage 20 kW, 240 VAC line, you get 62 miles with every hour of charging, meaning that the 85 kWh model gets fully charged in five hours. That’s a pretty good pace – a mile of range a minute. That means the time it takes you to charge approximately equals the time it would take for you to drive the distance on a highway (assuming you obey the law). I think that’s an excellent threshold marker – a real dividing line between practical electric cars and all the rest. There are more ambitious thresholds, though.
You see, I don’t believe that we need to sacrifice anything by way of range or performance or convenience in the switch from gasoline to electric. It’s just that we’re still in the early adopter phase, and that phase . . . can take some time. Heck, how long did it take before gasoline automobiles managed to get the characteristics we now take for granted? How many weird, impractical designs have there been along the way.
Tesla is the only manufacturer that’s dedicated to doing the engineering right instead of making a hash of the technology and rushing it to market. The downside, of course, is that only a few people can afford it at this point, but I’m still young, and Tesla seems dedicated to eventually getting the price down while still improving the product. Anyway, as I think you can guess, my dream car’s electric, and so far Tesla seems to be the company most likely to build it.