Conceptually sounds produce?
July 14, 2013
Apart from drive train technology, here is why I am wondering about the product strategy of the Model S (it looks like it is conceptually flawed):
1. It is laid out like a Grand Tourer (GT) but lacks convenience on long trips by means of limited range/the need for recharging.
1a. Even if there is a charging network, you still have to stop and do the charging (or swap a battery and pay about the same as a full tank of gas w/ about half the range or less of tank of gas).
2. It is most useful on shorter/daily trips, but seems kind of big/too large for zipping around town, or to find a good parking spot
3. It is sporty, but not a sports car, it is a sedan, possibly well made, but still a sedan
4. I think it might be used best to replace a minivan for hauling groceries, and kids back and forth from school to soccer practice, etc. That might be a preferred application.
5. It could also work well as toy for the rich/novelty for people who like that.
6. When considering battery replacement cost, I am not sure how much that is, but say $10k after 100k miles, that adds to depreciation at a rate of 10 cents per mile. Together w/ the electricity bill adding another few cents per mile, the cost advantage seems diminished.
7. You think about charging every time you remove the plug, just like your iPhone. Say, it takes 10 seconds to plug it in at night, and another 10 seconds to unplug in the morning, that amounts to 3 minutes a week: so at least that should be taken into account when comparing to a fill up at the gas station. Plus the mental effort/distraction that it causes: don't forget to plug it in, don't forget to take the plug out... and if you do make a mistake about that, it could derail your schedule, possibly. How confining is that?
I mean, at that price point, I don't want to think about these things. I want to think about whether to turn on the seat heater or the back massage, but not about whether I can make it there in discomfort, or not make a distance in style, or how to optimize a recharge: products should make your life easier/better, and not hog your time. That is also a cost, and a big one.
The other things I do not appreciate about this specific car, but not specific to electric drive trains, are (1) the electrical power steering does not give me good feedback (you feel disconnected), (2) the dash board in front of you could be a bit larger, the screen in the center could be a bit smaller, (3) the window sill is too far away in order to rest your left arm comfortably and steer.
Another aspect that has to do w/ electrical drive but is probably only because we are not used to it: the torque curve remains flat. So while you might expect an increase in torque as the car picks up, like in a conventional vehicle, it doesn't, or may-be drops a bit. I mean, overall the torque is enormous at all speeds, but I kept wondering what I am missing. As I said, it is most likely something to get used to, but an observation.