Category Archives: Tesla

The Fascination With The Disposable Electric Car

Hey Cool Car Fans,

It’s almost impossible to turn on the television or radio these days and not hear about Tesla and their electric vehicles or what I like to refer to as “the disposable car”. I have had so many debates with people about Tesla and my take on the electric car market that I figured I should write an article about why I feel the way that I do about the electric car market. Of course, people who like Tesla and electric vehicles are like people who were in love with Apple years ago. They had so much emotional passion that they refused to have any common sense that you could do the same thing with a Windows based machine that you could do with an Apple. It’s a similar “cult” following when it comes to Tesla.

WHY ARE ELECTRIC VEHICLES “DISPOSABLE”

First of all, it’s not just Tesla that makes electric cars. They are just the media darling and what people are most familiar with when it comes to electric vehicles. Here’s a picture of a 2015 VW E-Golf that is going for sale at auction that I pulled off the dealer auction website. The majority of people probably have no idea this car even exists or that it’s a fraction of the cost of a Tesla. It has a range of about 83 miles, so you can’t get very far on a battery charge with the VW, but other major brands have electric cars, including BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Toyota, FIAT and others.

There are plenty of options when it comes to getting an electric car, but the reason why I call them “disposable” is the same reason that Henry Ford created the Model T and won the automotive industry back in 1908. That’s 110 years ago by the way and you can go to just about any car show or parade in the United States and see a Model T that is still running down the road. It’s been “recycled” and is not disposable because it runs on gasoline and not electricity. Contrast that with the photo of this electric car pictured with Thomas Edison that you can read about at the PBS website, Timeline: History of the Electric Car.

Electric cars are super cool when they are new and shiny and the batteries are working great, but what happens when they get older and the batteries are not charging any longer? I know that people love to get lost in the ether of their imagination on what car companies will do for them down the road, but let me bring some reality to the situation. Car manufacturers are in the business of selling and leasing new cars. They are not in the business of creating batteries for your ten year old electric vehicle as much as you want them to be it’s not going to happen.  If you go to the support page of Tesla click here and see how much a replacement set of batteries are for any of their vehicles. At the time of this post, there wasn’t a link saying, “Battery Replacement” on their site. If you do a search online you will get all kinds of information from $12,000 to $28,000 to $40,000 to replace the batteries down the road.

Which is why if you’re going to get an EV you should lease it for sure because you don’t want to be the proud owner of one of these where the batteries are depleting continually.  It’s also why I call them a “disposable car”. Let’s just look at the Tesla Roadster for example that came out in 2008, so ten years ago now. It’s hard to believe it was that long ago, so Tesla has done extremely well lasting for a decade now as an electric car company.  However, eventually the batteries wear out and just like an iPhone or iPad you have to either update the batteries or sell the car for parts. It’s inevitable. It’s not like a 1908 Model T that you can get parts for and put gas in and head down the road.

WHY ARE PEOPLE FAILING TO REALIZE THE EV BUSINESS MODEL IS THE SAME AS APPLE

The Electric Vehicle business model came right out of Silicon Valley. You know, the guys who tell you that your first iPhone doesn’t work anymore or your iPhone 5c for that matter no longer accepts the latest software update, so you need an iPhone X.

That business model is the exact same as the EV business model. What’s your 10 year old computer worth? How about your 10 year old iPhone? The answer is not much or nothing at all. They are disposable products. In the meantime, you could buy a 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder for a cool $4.5 to $5 million at Gooding and Company or the Mecum or Barrett Jackson auction since they only built 39 of them and it will actually run with a tank of gas and some spark plugs. That’s not going to happen with a Tesla or any other electric vehicle ever. They are destined for the scrap heap because they are disposable cars, just like your disposable mobile phone and computer.

Which is why I’m not a fan of electric vehicles, like so many others in this industry seem to be. I like the fact that you can buy like a sweet 1958 Chevy Impala for example and drive it down the road on a tank of gas without hoping that some company from 60 years ago is still around to offer a battery upgrade to make the car actually work.

I like vehicles that you can recycle and that are not expensive disposable products. The sucker who buys that 2008 Tesla Roadster for the last time before the batteries die is like the same guy at the bottom of a pyramid scheme.  Eventually, he’s going to lose all of his money and have a nice lawn ornament or they will put it at the entrance to a junk yard as a novelty item from years gone by.
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Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant who owns CoolCarGuy.com, a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Mercedes Benz Billion Dollar Electric Vehicle Investment

Hey Cool Car Fans,

It started with Tesla getting millions of people fired up about electric vehicles over the last decade and now Volvo is planning to go all electric in the future with their cars.  Mercedes Benz has announced that they are going to be spending a $1 billion investment into their manufacturing hub in Alabama…

“The investment will go both to an expansion of the German luxury brand’s existing plant near Tuscaloosa and to build a new 1 million-square-foot battery factory.

While electric vehicle sales have been tepid overall, Mercedes has watched as Tesla jumped out has become a formidable player in the super-premium segment with its electric Model S sedan and Model X crossover. Now Tesla is threatening the lower, entry-level part of the luxury market with its lower-priced Model 3 sedan. 

The company is pursuing an “anything Tesla can do, we can do better” strategy,” – USAToday reported.

This is for the production of its all-electric EQ SUV.  Which is going to be the first all-electric SUV from Mercedes Benz and it’s going to be a big deal as more car companies are getting into the electric automobile market.

ARE ELECTRIC VEHICLES REALLY THE FUTURE

The consumer is driving the move toward electric vehicles with the success of Tesla in the marketplace and as people want a choice beyond the combustible engine.  What most people fail to realize is that the electric vehicle is the ultimate in planned obsolescence.  Car companies were accused of this tactic for years back in the 1970’s and 1980’s when vehicles would have parts that would break or wear out and have to be replaced.

A petroleum based engine is designed to run on gasoline or diesel fuel and it can be rebuilt.  When batteries wear out they are finished and have to be replaced and it can be extremely expensive.  Some people argue that this is no different than rebuilding an engine that can also be expensive.

THE COMPUTER AND CELL PHONE LESSONS

The problem is that the batteries that work today probably won’t drive the vehicles of tomorrow.  Car manufacturers are in the business of selling new vehicles and not updating used vehicles to the newest technology.  Nowhere is this more true than in the cell phone and computer market.  Is Apple offering an “upgrade” path for your original iPhone?  What about your 386SX computer from the 1980’s?  They are dead.  If you want to upgrade an old cell phone with the latest technology you have to buy a new cell phone.  It’s not any different with the future of the electric vehicle.  The cost to replace batteries are not going to be less, but they are going to be more.

You can see this with the Toyota Prius, but the difference is that your Prius can also run on gasoline, so it just becomes a heavy Corolla if you don’t replace the batteries.  This is a photo of a 2001 Toyota Prius with about 266,000 miles on it.  The cost for a replacement battery after 16 years is more than you would pay for the entire vehicle.  If you do some research you can pick up a used battery pack for about $1,600.  Proving the reality that EV batteries are not a sustainable long term technology nor will they be supported at a reasonable price.

The challenge for electric vehicles is not the new car market for consumers, but it’s actually the used car market.  Most people are afraid of buying electric vehicles that are five years old and having to replace the batteries in the future.  The lifespan of batteries in electric vehicles today is about ten years, like in a Toyota Prius.  It’s pretty difficult to convince someone to pay top dollar for a used electric vehicle when they are concerned about the battery life and the cost to replace the batteries.  In 2015, Autoblog.com had an article titled “Tesla Roadster battery pack replacement will cost $29,000”.  That’s crazy expensive for another 10 years of battery life in an older vehicle.  You don’t hear too much talk about this though from the media and Wall Street darling do you?

Which brings me back to the fact that Mercedes Benz is  making a billion dollar investment into electric vehicles.  Why wouldn’t they?  The consumer is failing to realize that they are helping to sell the car manufacturers on turning their vehicles into a very expensive appliance, like their cell phones and computers.

In the meantime, for all of those petroleum haters out there, this is a 1970 Nova SS Tribute that I spotted on the Manheim Dealer Auction for around $25,000 plus shipping and dealer profit.  You could get this super cool vehicle that is still worth almost as much as those expensive Tesla batteries after 47 years of driving.  And for only about $10.00 in gasoline drive it down the road without having to update anything.  Best of all, this vehicle should be worth about the same or more in another 47 years where that electric vehicle is destined for the crusher.  Which is why classic petroleum based vehicles are the ultimate in recycling!

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Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant who owns CoolCarGuy.com that is a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO.  He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Why Autonomous Cars Are A Pipe Dream

Hey Cool Car Fans,

Each month there are new articles talking about the benefits of the autonomous car and how Silicon Valley is going to change the automotive industry with cars that drive themselves. They are definitely working on these vehicles and want the world to buy into their fascination of putting everyone into a self-driving taxi cab.   Like this article over at TechCrunch entitled: “Business models will drive the future of autonomous vehicles”.

This is actually a great article on the topic of autonomous vehicles and the challenges facing this new technology.  Including such issues about whether people will buy an autonomous vehicle or just pay for a ride share or who will control the software or if cities will tax them or how they will navigate and not run into a trolley to name a few.

Manufacturers and software giants are all jumping on this bandwagon because they see dollar signs and an amazing future of self-driving vehicles.   Which means it’s going to happen eventually, but does it mean that it’s actually a good idea or that it will be successful?  One article I read was so ridiculous that it said that the car of today would be like the horse of the past.

I for one am not buying into the Wall Street carnival barkers trying to raise the stock prices on these companies investing in this new technology.  It reminds me of when we had video cassette recorders that were going to replace Hollywood.  Remember that amazing technology with the dominating company known as Blockbuster?  You would go and rent a movie and then have to return it or get hit with a huge late fee.  That evolved into BETA that was going to replace VHS and before you knew it we had DVD’s and today we stream Netflix and HBO.  They were all going to replace the movie theater, but the last time I checked Hollywood is still earning billions and people are still going to the movies.  The hype didn’t deliver and most of the previous technology has disappeared because the demand was replaced with something easier and better.

WHY IS THE COOL CAR GUY SKEPTICAL

It’s really simple.  What’s the benefit of “riding” in an autonomous car?  People buy things based on benefits.  Is the benefit that you can get car sick looking at your phone while the vehicle drives you around?  Do your kids like to ride in the backseat of your vehicle today?  Does that car above look like something you want to hop in and have Google drive you around?

An autonomous vehicle simply means that a computer or some programmer in India is driving your vehicle instead of you and you’re just a passenger.  How is this any different than taking a taxi cab today with a real person driving you around, while you get to sit in the front or the back seat?  Seriously.  What’s the additional benefit?  The word autonomous?  Oooh.  It sounds so sexy!  I’m not making this up.  They are all scrambling to create an overpriced and glorified taxi cab.  Michigan is building an $80 million autonomous car testing site according to AutoWeek.  What?  Why?  Do they have an $80 million testing site to train taxi cab drivers?  If someone proposed that the first reaction would be “Are you crazy?”.  Well, that’s what you’re doing morons!

An autonomous car will pick you up and take you where you want to go, like Lyft or Uber, but instead of Lyft or Uber having a driver the vehicle drives itself.  Amazing!  Is it going to get you to your destination faster than an Uber or Lyft driver today?  Will traffic tickets no longer be given since all vehicles go the same speed or are they going to be sent to Google or Uber to pay the fine?  What about if it gets in an accident?  Who’s liable at that point for the system failure?  The automobile manufacturer?  The software company?  The “rider”?  Do you have to carry insurance or will it be like when you rent a vehicle from a rental car company?   Will all of these ancillary industries go away, so you no longer can rent a car?  Is the car gong to smell better?  Is it going to cost you less money?  Again, what are the actual benefits?  Is anyone asking this most basic of selling questions?  “I want an autonomous car, so that I can text and drive?”  That seems like the only benefit at this point to me.

And there are actually people who are betting on this and trying to tell investors and the rest of us that in the future autonomous cars will replace all of our current vehicles. Really?  If that is true, couldn’t you just sell your car tomorrow and just take Lyft or Uber wherever you want to go?  Why wait for the autonomous car revolution when you can get a ride from Lyft tomorrow?  I use those services quite often going back and forth to picking up a vehicle, but they haven’t replaced my vehicle.  In some cities people do not own a vehicle and they only take a taxi cab.  I had friends in Chicago years ago who lived downtown and they didn’t own a car.  They took a taxi or a limo everywhere they wanted to go.  That’s the market for autonomous cars.

WHERE ARE HUMMER, SUZUKI, PONTIAC, OLDSMOBILE, SATURN, ETC.

Finally, here is what Google, Uber, Lyft, Tesla and even Ford and the other car manufacturers are apparently forgetting and missing when it comes to selling vehicles.  Hummer was a successful brand for a while, so were Saturn, Suzuki, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.  Don’t forget that Chevrolet and GM needed to be bailed out for their bad decisions in the past and even filed bankruptcy.  Many of these car companies trade hands like a deck of playing cards because the market is saturated from a manufacturing standpoint and the marketplace is extremely fickle.

The automobile industry is crazy at times.  How many vehicles are hot for a period of time and then they stop selling?  And everyone is scrambling to create a self driving car without actually knowing if the market even wants it.

I have yet to have one person tell me that they cannot wait for an autonomous car.  I have had people tell me they are still waiting for a landspeeder!  And you will notice that Luke Skywalker was actually driving the landspeeder in Star Wars and it wasn’t driving itself.
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Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant who owns CoolCarGuy.com that is a licensed car dealership in Lone Tree, CO.  He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

Cool Car Shot – Tesla Roadster

Hey Cool Car Fans,Tesla Logo

Here’s the “Cool Car Shot” of the year so far, the new 2006 Tesla Roadster that has recently been introduced to the world by Tesla Motors.

Tesla Photo 1This new car company was founded by the guy who started Pay Pal, Elon Musk, and was funded with just $60 million out of Silicon Valley. They only used $25 million to get the first ten models developed. That’s a real change for an American car company.

As Musk explained in several interviews the goal of this car company was to prove that zero emission vehicles that run on electricity can be built, can be cool and will be embraced by consumers. So, how cool is the new Tesla Roadster? It will do 0 to 60 in just 4 seconds and runs totally on an electrical charge like your cell phone. At a $100,000 price tag the Tesla is said to handle like a Porsche or Ferrari with a 250 mile range.

Tesla Photo 2

About The Tesla Roadster

  • Tesla is scheduled to go on sale late 2007 in select cities at $100K each.
  • They have already had 170 pre-ordered and plan to sell about 250 cars for the 2007 model year.
  • The chassis was licensed and built by Lotus Cars, which is similar in style to a Lotus Europa S with full carpeting, HID headlights, and slightly lower door sills than the Elise. Which explains the very cool European look of this vehicle.
  • It has lighter carbon fiber body parts compared to the pure fiber glass used for the cheaper Lotus models.
  • The Tesla weighs about 2500 lbs, with about 1,500 lbs in the rear of the vehicle.
  • Electrical storage comes from a whopping 650 small lithium batteries.
  • Regenerative brakes.
  • The Tesla is equipped with a 70lb 250hp electric motor. Maximum torque at 0 rpm. Rev limit at 13500 rpm.
  • It has a 2-speed transmission that is shifted electronically in a split second.
  • There is an ARM-based engine controller running embedded Linux. Cool.
  • Traction control involves ensuring rear wheels do not spin 2mph more than the front wheels. Working on a stability system which is far more complicated.
  • Conventional radiator with conventional coolant reservoir to cool batteries and motor.
  • 2-prong plug to plug into regular mains. Two charging kits provided. One for quick charging in 3 hours at home. Another to be used on the road.
  • Tesla is claiming a 250-mile range.
  • Final chassis development work currently done at the Lotus test facilities by Lotus engineers.

Be sure and watch the Yahoo Tesla Roadster video released earlier this week.

If you ask me, this is the future of the American car company. Tesla didn’t come out of the world of automobiles, but is more like a dot-com start-up with plenty of intellectual property. This will definitely be a company to watch this year and in the future.

What do you think?

Cool Car Guy Rating:
**** – Extremely Cool

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John BoydAuto Broker – John Boyd “The Cool Car Guy”
John is an automotive consultant with JFR & Associates in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle!
jboyd@coolcarguy.com