Tesla Cars

So, I’d like to get some insight on this:

Tesla seems to build cars that can accelerate really quickly. Great. Presumably it has an inverter controlled AC power supply that can ramp the motor up to quite a high frequency quite quickly?

But my question is: How good would all of this stuff be for the longevity of the battery? I assume that to accelerate from 0-100 in 2 seconds would draw a huge amount of amps (not sure what voltage these cars run on).

Also, they love quoting these long haul range numbers, but does anyone know if that is based on the battery going from 100 SoC to 0 SoC? And if so, surely this is also bad for the battery’s life in the medium term?

I’m not sure about the range, but I think it would be down to 0% SoC, so it’s probably a bad idea to do that very often. As far as the acceleration, I have heard that accelerating that hard heats up the battery and the car will actually reduce it’s acceleration (presumably it’s reducing the max. discharge current) based on the battery temperature. So the result is that if you do a couple of drag races one after the other, the car gets slower each time.

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Yes. It has a 3-phase induction motor, and a VSD that drives it. This also allows it to do regenerative braking.

Yup. Also, that’s apparently what “Ludicrous” mode is about. It allows you to overdo it… once or twice. But the rest of the time, you are limited to a more sane discharge number.

Taking the battery to 0% has the same life-shortening effect that it has with other lithium chemistries. But the Tesla also has a different chemistry battery (because weight and energy density is more important), so the battery itself is a compromise that allows higher discharge currents at the expensive of a lower cycle life. The batteries are rated for less than 3000 cycles, if I recall correctly. Of course, with that means that after that many cycles, the batteries still work, but they have lost 20% of their capacity irreversibly.

In my opinion, that’s the wrong metric to use, especially where we live. The longest range on an electric car is useless in Africa, especially since there is zero charging infrastructure. The large battery required to get that range also pushes up the cost of the vehicle. You could have more of an impact if you built a city car with a much smaller range, at a much lower cost. Something like the Dacia Spring… but price it like a Corolla.

One big drawback of Electric Vehicles is that the battery weighs the same whether fully charged or empty, while the weight of fuel in a conventional ICE based vehicle decreases as you consume it, so your fuel consumption decreases as the fuel level drops.

Yes, this is one of the main reasons (other than cost) why I think the battery should be sized for 95% of all your trips, not the 5% long trips you want to take. ICE is better for that.

So basically, it is still bad for the battery, but they stop you from completely breaking the battery?

It just feels to me like Tesla is pushing a lot of “stats” trying to sell their cars, but none of those “stats” should really matter to someone who is interested in having less of an impact on their environment and available resources.

For one, acceleration should be allowed up to a point where it is practically fast enough, but the battery will last as long as possible (i.e. this will not be the cause for the battery degrading). Range should be capped to optimal depth of charge and discharge.

There things will be so nice to optimise with an EV, because you know all the variables in the car that might demand power from the battery. Not like a house with an unknown number of devices. Instead, they choose to allow the user to operate it like a performance vehicle, or a long haul truck, or charge it in 30 minutes where 4 hours would have been safer.

I guess it is all just marketing.

I think what one needs to remember is they are pioneers. The early adopters are not people like you and me, who put numbers into a spreadsheet when we buy a new vehicle. So they started with a handful of upmarket vehicles (the model S and the model X), and then they have the model 3 which is supposed to be a more affordable “people’s car”. In order to sell a car that appeals to such an upmarket buyer (aka rich person), you need to build something that competes with a BMW 7-series or a Mercedes Benz S-class, and to make up for the parts where it cannot compete with something else, such as acceleration, doors that close when you put your foot on the brake, retracting door handles, etc etc.

What we are waiting for is a cheaper car that will appeal to the middle classes, or to those stubborn people like myself who buys second hand because he cannot justify a half-a-bar spend on a depreciating asset.

I see the Corolla Hatch (which was my example earlier) sells for darn near 400k now. Which technically puts a second-hand Nissan Leaf in the same bracket. Maybe we’re not that far away, at least as far as new cars goes. For myself, the trouble is still that I refuse to spend that kind of money on the SECOND vehicle in the household. I can hardly justify spending that on the long-distance vacation hauler, which naturally must have an internal combustion engine.

Well, it is. Musk has stated that one of the goals of Tesla is to improve acceptance of electric vehicles by showing that they are as good, or better, than ICE vehicles in all respects.

So it does try to be a ‘jack of all trades’, and it is a marketing stunt. But a fairly successful marketing stunt.

The model 3 and model Y are much more consumer orientated, without as many performance features.

Also, it is worth noting that Tesla carries the battery guarantee, so things like ludicrous mode are still restricted to what the battery can safely handle without too much degradation. Life time use of ludicrous mode is software limited and continuously degraded to limit battery wear.

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When using Ludicrous or Plaid the car does bring up a warning message to say that accelerated wear will take place to components.

Now on this topic… the Dacia Spring.

If it makes it to South Africa, it will probably be marketed under the Renault name. This guess is based solely off the Sandero, which is technically also a Dacia, but is sold as a Renault here. The Dacia name does not have much market recognition, and it reminds some of us of the absolutely awful doublecab “bakkie” they made in the late 80s :slight_smile:

It costs about 14.5k GBP in the UK. Subtract the 20% VAT from the UK, and it costs around 12k GBP ex VAT.

Import it into South Africa, and it immediately gets hit with 40% duty, plus 15% VAT on top of that, so now you’re around 19300 GBP. Plus a few k shipping, let’s just say 19.5k. At ZAR 20 to the GBP (which is the norm these days, ignoring the last 3 weeks of strong performance), that puts this car just a hair under 400k. Which makes it compete with a Corolla Hatch as a (slightly less capable) city car.

For that money you get:

Range: About 170km
Top Speed: 125km/h
Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 15 seconds
Recharge time: 5 hours (26kWh battery, so this would be at around 5kW, doable on single phase).

And it has 4 seats that can accommodate 4 adults. Not much space for luggage, but plenty for school bags or the weekly shopping. In other words, this car is designed to be a city car.

The Americans will hate it for that slow acceleration time. In our part of the world, plenty of little 1300cc vehicles do 0-100 in about 14 seconds. And this isn’t going to matter in the city, where 0-60km/h is more important.

What is important for me is energy efficiency, as one would hope to charge it off PV as far as possible. So on a range of 170km with a 26kWh battery (presumably range is to 0 SoC) gives you 6.5km per kWh.

My daily trips shouldn’t be more than 20-30km, gives requires a recharge of around 4kWh. I can spare this most days, if I can limit the charge rate to something manageable by my inverter (not 5kW, I’d prefer 2kW).

That could work well!

Now if the government would actually waive the import duty, that puts this car at 280k (vat INC). Even if you waive just half the duties, it comes in around the mid 300s, which is where I presently consider my “pain threshold” to be. And if you, God forbid, actually subsidise these cars, you would see immediate uptake in the cities.


I doubt the government actually wants people to start using electric vehicles. At the moment they have a massive income from all the fuel levies. Remember that a large portion of what you pay for fuel is tax. If people start using electric vehicles en masse then that massive revenue stream starts drying up and they will need to look elsewhere. So I doubt they would willingly waive import duties and start subsidizing electric vehicles unless they are forced to somehow.

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They are going to have a hard time selling a electric kwid for R400K
That is basically secondhand BMW i3 94Ah money, similar range, but the BMW is a significantly more upmarket car.

If by some miracle they could get it into the sub R300K price range it could be a brilliant seller.

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Here is my very unscientific method of calculating what this car will cost.
The Mini electric is sold both in the UK and here, The entry level model is 26 000 GBP so at the current exchange rate its about R510K, its sold here for R658K

So it’s about a 29% premium (Of course BMW SA could be cutting margins just to get it to sell here)
Using that 29% premium the Dacia Spring could sell for R285 026 + 29% = R376 683

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You get tax credits for local vehicle manufacturing. So if BMW manufacture the X3 and X5 in SA for export, they can then reduce their tax on another model that is imported (such as the mini)

So that makes the Mini calc a lot harder and the 29% invalid for any other import.

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I guess that makes sense, but the 29% figure does seem plausible then for any company that manufactures vehicles in SA, as far as I know Volvo only produce trucks and buses in SA their consumer vehicles are imports (I could be wrong!)

The Volvo XC40 Recharge sells for R1.2M in SA and in the UK its sold for 49950 GBP, so that’s about R982 420 + 29% = R1 267 321

So perhaps its safe to say add 29% to any EV sold locally where the manufacturer also produces cars for export?

I learned recently that Volvo is actually owned by Geely now. So while it is Swedish, it is also Chinese now :slight_smile:

Interesting, its like Jaguar / Land Rover now being owned by Tata Motors, so now its also Indian :slight_smile:

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I watched an interesting video by Andrew St. Pierre White (the guy who dissed the Pajero at one point and made many people very angry… :slight_smile: ), who argued both sides. The subject was actually the new Ineos Grenadier, which is said to be the “spiritual successor” to the Defender (which was seen as a British vehicle even though the Germans, and now the Indians have owned Land Rover forever.

Then they said the Grenadier is going to be built in France. And of course the motoring world reacted, predictably one might say, because a French car is simply not going to cut the “spiritual successor” requirement.

But then he took the opposite view as well. We don’t think of a 3-series BMW as a South African vehicle just because it is built in Pretoria, nor do we think that of a Hilux built in Durban. So we already understand that where a car is built has little to do with its heritage, at least these days.

In that sense, Volvo continues to be Swedish, Dacia still has its HQ in Romania, Toyotas are Japanese, and so is Suzuki (even if the cars are built in India) :slight_smile:

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Are you trying to tell us that Victron is still Dutch? :stuck_out_tongue: