Is this the end of the electric vehicle?

Tesla is the only EV manufacturer to show a profit and much of that has been attributed to their charging network which is heads and shoulders above the rest.

Maybe not the end, but I look forward to less dribble.

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A normal company would be righting the ship:

  • Part ways with the part time CEO, and definitely don’t give him that $56B he’s agitating for
  • Abandon the robotaxi fever dream
  • Firesale the AI nonsense
  • Halt the cybertruck program; replace with something more conventional if the R&D pencils out in the face of other OEMs’ more mature offerings
  • Resume development of the low-cost model
  • Recall the charging team: the supercharging network is one of the compelling reasons to choose Tesla over other EVs
  • Otherwise combat the trust thermocline the company is being dragged into

But of course, Tesla ain’t normal. The board isn’t independent. Their meme stock status insulates the decision-makers - principally motivated by stock price - from consequences that would firmly shake up mere mortal companies. Eventually sanity will set upon a growing slice of the shareholder base and the stock price will descend to something closer to a rational value for a company with Tesla’s structure.

Probably won’t end EV uptake. Missing in the sound and fury a few months ago over EV demand slipping was the fact it was still up year over year - just not as much as forecast - and demand is down industry wide due to price inflation and an end to a ~decade of really low interest rates.


Hype Cycle


It is too early to tell what the actual effect is.

I doubt the charging network is shutting down.

Will it continue to expand? Will there be any improvements? Might Tesla sell it to raise money?

I pinged the CarPro about this and he is watching it too.

A deeper analysis of the situation at Tesla:

TL;DR seems to be that Musk is a Silicon Valley startup guy, which was all about selling the future and driving valuation on what Could Be™, years down the road, many major revisions later. TSLA becoming a real company with sunk costs, customers to support, regulatory compliance, and the boring logistics of being a manufacturer … and he’s still all about pumping that stock.

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Great response, @ESmith. EVs are the only pathway through the future with any possibility for staying power, at least for now. Perhaps something better will surface in a few decades, but climate change will force us to sink or swim.

The real problems I see are in scalability, the need for an improved power grid, more local production, and a battery that doesn’t require Li, like a Na battery.

I made a lot of money on Tesla stocks some time back, but that idiot can :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: @#$%&! up his :rage:$)@&$#:anger: for all I care.

Between supply constraints, consumer acceptance, performance limitations in some segments, and simple pricing it’s going to be a slow roll. I predict that CA and WA’s ICE phaseout timelines will prove to be quite aspirational, to say nothing of the federal, eh, positioning statements on the matter.

As charging generally happens overnight to recover merely daily driving demands during periods of low demand, this is mostly a localized issue in regions with mild climates and negligible 240V appliances (large swaths of coastal CA where 60A main breakers are common) with similarly-constrained distribution systems. Population growth, and adoption of heat pumps for additional residential climate control + economy-wide process heat will force many of these upgrades anyway.

This is being incentivized vis-à-vis the IRA and other macroeconomic trends.

After 20+ years of papers and press releases touting the latest newer-er better-er Next Big Thing™ in propulsion battery tech vanishing into the aether some time after the hype cycle subsided I’m of the opinion that workable solutions should be deployed. Li-ion has seen marked improvements in metrics that matter - cost, energy/power density, cycle life, ruggedness - along with a complimentary ecosystem of components and off-the-shelf designs so that’s what we should continue with for now.

Another day… more layoffs.

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Toyota did not dive headlong into full EV, but chose to stick to an evolutionary step of hybrid vehicles. For the foreseeable future, they made the right move.

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I’m curious how the hydrogen side is going to run. I read that Exxon was threatening to pull the plug on the major “Blue Hydrogen” in Baytown.

A hydrogen vehicle can be refueled in about the same time as a petroleum one and driving range is comparable with the low end of fossil fuel ones.

The problem is going to be the availability of refueling stations. We also need a shakeout of fuel cell technology vs internal combustion. Drivers have been spoiled by the relative painlessness of feeding a hydrocarbon vehicle.

A real negative of hydrogen is what to do if you run out of fuel. You will not be able to simply grab a fuel can and hike to a nearby station and you cannot carry extra fuel. If there is demand, future road service trucks may offer the ability to transfer enough to get you to a station.

I get that. Distribution & cost is a major barrier. I recently saw a video of a hydrogen Camry owner. He had some issues, such as station availability & the actual cost of the fuel itself. It was like 150 bucks to fill up. I’m wondering if will become viable via cost side of things. If it’s not being more mass produced, it’s harder to get cost down.

Much will depend upon who wins on November 5.

If the government does not back off on zero-emission vehicle mandates, manufacturers may try to entice buyers toward hydrogen because electrics are not selling well. They may subsidize the installation of refueling stations, including at dealerships. They may subsidize the cost of fuel.

At one time, Toyota included a $15K hydrogen card with each Mirai sold. Even that did not generate much in the way of sales in California where the hydrogen market is the brightest.

Hydrogen is effectively a very very complex battery that’s troublesome to work with, as such bringing unavoidable cost premiums. Scale will cut into these costs to a degree, but it will never be as cheap as hydrocarbons nor battery-electric systems. The energy loss relative to battery-electric is also unavoidable: accounting for losses in production (be it electrolysis or reformation of hydrocarbons), shipment, compression/liquification, consumption it takes about 3 units of input to get 1 unit of output relative to battery-electric’s minimal charging losses.

Hydrogen fuel cells are slowly trying to establish niches in areas that make sense - OTR trucking, busses, trains, off-road construction equipment, shipping, aviation where packaging isn’t as severe a constraint as personal automobiles and the routes are predictable enough to setup fueling infrastructure. The cost of hydrogen does not make for savings on the operational side - the pressure here is decarbonization. And the slow progress in some of those fields allows faster-moving, inherently cheaper battery-electric to move in - i.e. electric construction/earthmoving equipment is becoming a reality.

Hydrogen combustion engines in automobiles are unlikely to happen outside of extremely dedicated hobbyist builds. Compressed hydrogen - even at 10k PSI / 700 bar - lacks the energy density relative to hydrocarbons for useful range. If you want to live a very exciting life, liquid (read: cryogenic) hydrogen can get close, but you either must empty that tank within hours or safely manage the hydrogen boiling off over a matter of days.

I’m not saying we should stop pursuing the refining of the hydrogen-powered motor car, but I am saying it has been a long time coming.
How long?
First hydrogen-powered automobile was produced in 1806. First “commercially available” hydrogen-powered automobile was produced in 1860.
Major advancements do get made. For example, the ability to produce hydrogen through reforming made industrial-scale production possible. The hydrogen fuel cell was a pretty major breakthrough, the first one being produced in 1889 and significant advancements/improvements in the ensuing century+.
Iceland has been dreaming of petroleum-free living since…well, forever, as far as I can tell, and with massive geothermal assets at their disposal, still only manage about 60% of total energy consumption in the country to be petrol-free. One of their initiatives, put in place in 1998 was to move all public transit to hydrogen. As of today, this has only happened in Reykjavik, and even then, the reports I find are…unclear, shall we say? on just how hydrogen-powered they are. Now Iceland wants to tap geothermal resources to export “green hydrogen”. Buuuut they’re not actually on it themselves? Hm.

I still recall reading in Tomorrow’s Technician (an article I can’t find online just now) back in the 1990s about the awesome future of HFCVs. But I’m still not really seeing them.

So, yeah, I’m not saying stop looking at hydrogen, but I am saying we’ve heard these promises before.

Then there’s the fact that producing hydrogen is hardly “low carbon”, although we’ve moved to carbon trapping/isolation to try to call it more-so. Right now, we’re making most of our hydrogen from natural gas :roll_eyes:

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I grew up with (what is now TU Electric) strip mining all adjacent lands using a device called a drag line. It was electric back in 198*.

And yeah, Andrew Camarata had a trade show episode last year, maybe the year before, where they were pushing the electric diggers HARD.

South of I-30 in Titus county there used to be a surface coal mine just west of Mt Pleasant. Draglines, what was said to be the last operational bucket wheel excavators in North America and the key feature an enormous crosspit spreader which you could normally see from the highway - especially impressive at night.

And like all of the largest surface mining equipment, operated directly from grid power.

power companys operate on the opposite principle as drug dealers

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There is research into using aluminum to extract hydrogen from water, but there remains substantial problems to be solved:

Storage and transportation are problems with hydrogen fuel, but if the use of aluminum is perfected, hydrogen can be extracted when and where it is needed.

It may be possible to transport hydrogen through pipelines, but hydrogen, being a small molecule, has an annoying way of seeping through the smallest of openings.

As Tim alluded to by his mention of blue hydrogen, extracting from hydrocarbons releases carbon dioxide which can no longer be vented into the air.

Electrolysis requires a vast amount of electricity which may be practical only in those areas with abundant sun or wind resources and possibly seismic activity for geothermal energy. Research is ongoing into hydrogen extraction from water by direct exposure to sunlight or using microbes.