Blogs I Follow
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This post is a catchall to collect top stories and information about Tesla and Elon Musk. I will post links to interesting information and to capture links that I don’t have time to write about at the time I spot them.
Giga Factory and rapidly declining price of Lithium Ion Storage:
Giga Factory will be up and running by late 2016 and expect more of them by 2020. See more on this here.
These are blog posts by a guy who saw Elon Musk taking to the California PUC. He provided his notes on key points. In the first of these posts the take-away is that Li-ion materials cost about $65 / kWhr setting a near term limit on costs (materials prices can drop if demand justifies developing processes for synthesizing or obtaining them for less cost).
In the second post he suggests that oil is much better used as a raw material for synthetics and plastics. I also found it interesting that he thought both SpaceX and Tesla were going to fail. I have always thought the positive thinkers take it too far when they suggest that you should divorce yourself from reality. Here he is, the most significant entrepreneur of our time acknowledging that it is all about hard work and drive, not denial of reality, that wins the day.
Peter Rive – Don’t cut the cord. Storage is good, the grid is good, the network effect adds value – stay grid connected.
Direct Sales Model
This is a good article about resistance to Tesla’s direct sales model. Dealers are trying to prevent Tesla from selling direct to the customer. This strikes me as anti-competitive. Here is an article about another car company that wants to use a similar sales model and may be an ally for Tesla.
In 2012 I visited Lake Meade and Hoover Dam and I was immediately struck by the white line around the lake. It looks like it is painted on but it is actually a mineral deposit that shows where the water has been in the past. People now refer to it as the bathtub ring. Things were so bad, I really thought that natural cycles would cause it to resolve itself by now but it has not. The drought relentlessly continues. The lake is now down to roughly 40%, by volume, of its maximum capacity. Since the water level is low, the head for the generators is less. This substantially diminishes the electrical generation from the dam. In 2012 wrote a blog post about it here. Las Vegas is so concerned that they are building a new tunnel to provide access to the water deeper down, their current tunnel intake may soon be above the water line and unable to sip water from the lake.
This New York Times article does a nice job of communicating the magnitude of the problem. For the first time they are reducing flow from Lake Powell. With the water already at record low levels this promises to make water politics out West get pretty interesting. In the NYT article they mention that the 20th century was a relatively wet century as far as the Colorado is concerned. So even without climate change the scenario unfolding is not as surprising as the public has been led to believe. But add climate change to the lower typical flow and we are looking at a challenging scenario for the 21st century.
“If Lake Mead goes below elevation 1,000” — 1,000 feet above sea level — “we lose any capacity to pump water to serve the municipal needs of seven in 10 people in the state of Nevada,”
Factsheet_Smart_Grid_Dynamic_Pricing is a nice overview of time of use metering designed to be consumer friendly.
Nissan has just announced that they will provide replacement batteries for their Leaf cars for $6500 = $5500 after trade-in for your old battery pack. This puts Li-Ion battery packsat about $270 / kWhr.
Cost per kWhr = $6500 / 24 kWhr = $270
This adds credibility to a number of recent studies and prognostications suggesting that Li-Ion battery prices will drop rapidly to $200 / kWhr or less by 2020. The rapid drop in automotive Li-ion battery prices will flatten as they become comparable to consumer electronics Li-ion batteries. However the EV market will continue to ramp volume and drive down the cost of Li-Ion along the consumer battery experience curve, or close to it.
Since the studies mentioned above Tesla has announced their plans for a Giga factory which will double world production from 2013 levels. Recently, Elon Musk was quoted saying “We’re probably going to do two or maybe three states all the way to creating a foundation and completing the plans and getting approvals and everything”. It does not take a clarivoiant to read the tea leaves and deduce that Tesla is positioning themselves to open multiple giga factories by 2020. Not only does this suggest that EV’s will reach the tipping point before 2020, it also has pleasant ramifications for laptop price / performance since the same Li-ion improvements can pass through to that and many other applications.
Leaf, Tesla, Electric Vehicle, lithium ion, cost reduction, HEV, PHEV, EV, Elon Musk, Nissan
I calculated the land needed if the world were going to use 100% solar energy for electricity and for electric cars. The total land required is less than 0.3%. That is roughly the size of Arizona. That sounds huge initially but to put it in perspective, the area of the US covered by roads and parking lots is 61,000 square miles which is about 1/4 of the area required. There is also a lot of rooftop space available. Since wind will also likely be used and there is a lot of wind power available, it is likely that about 1/4 would be powered by solar and that could be primarily on existing built space such as roofs parking lots and possibly roads and bridges.
This calculation is for all electricity for 10 billion people having the same energy intensity as in the US. It also assumes that everyone drives as far as US drivers and uses electric vehicles. This accounts for about 2/3 of and industrialized world’s energy use.
Non electrical loads such as oil refining and chemical processes and heating buildings can benefit significantly by known efficiency measures. This is calculated on an energy basis an assumes that there is a way to store the electricity generated during the day for night time use. It is a sanity check. If there wasn’t enough land then we wouldn’t need to talk about energy storage. But the numbers show that there is plenty of land.
Here - the potentially startling conclusion came in the form of an investment report cited by the LA Times and issued by Morgan Stanley research analyst Adam Jones, who wrote that
“Tesla Motors has transformed from a fledgling start-up to arguably the most important car company in the world.”
A post listing many of the great accomplishments of Tesla
Tesla, Elon Musk, spaceX, EV
This post is a catch all for various links to interesting information on EVs.
Georgia has more EVs than any other state except CA – Summarizes benefits including people shopping longer who own EVs, keeping $ in state and reduced emissions.
All About Tesla
Tesla, Leaf, electric vehicles, EVs, zero emission vehicles