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Mercedes Benz committed to EVs

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Daimler is opening a new, greatly expanded, battery factory in Germany via Deutsche ACCUmotive. This may signal that the battery packs for the next Smart ED will continue to be produced by Deutsche ACCUmotive but, more importantly, it shows a long-term commitment to electric vehicles from Mercedes Benz and, perhaps, less expensive batteries.

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/12/26/daimler-expands-manufacturing-capacities-lithium-ion-batteries/

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This investment is interesting. But what they really need to do is develop a more powerful battery, so more people can use the ED in all weather.

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http://www.mercedes-amg.com/webspecial/sls_e-drive/eng.php

I think they have the ability, but maybe they will start using it in cars that sell for less than half a million bucks.

For the record, Tesla released their p85D just after this, and beats it on performance, range, and less than a third the price. And their winter reduction in -20C and beyond is 20%, bringing it from 500km to 400. I think they set the benchmark, and its a moving target.

Edited by kdubya

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I own two Daimlers, one is my Smart ED, the other an SUV.

I'm not sure I would buy another Mercedes EV, as my heart is with Tesla right now. I want them to succeed, so I am saving to buy a Model 3 (or used S).

The other auto makers can come into the market and compete, but the Supercharger technological advantage (135kW DC charging) over the existing DC chargers from everyone else is something the automakers have not shown any interest in matching.

Surely Mercedes (and others) can build a car to match/beat the Model S (P85D et all), but will they deploy long range charging infrastructure?

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I own two Daimlers, one is my Smart ED, the other an SUV.

I'm not sure I would buy another Mercedes EV, as my heart is with Tesla right now. I want them to succeed, so I am saving to buy a Model 3 (or used S).

The other auto makers can come into the market and compete, but the Supercharger technological advantage (135kW DC charging) over the existing DC chargers from everyone else is something the automakers have not shown any interest in matching.

Surely Mercedes (and others) can build a car to match/beat the Model S (P85D et all), but will they deploy long range charging infrastructure?

I disagree, I don't think Tesla will be caught at this point. Their infrastructure is growing fast, and will hopefully be expanding in Canada by 2016. You can currently cross the US using nothing but FREE superchargers. I think Tesla will create a Ford model T type revolution in the auto industry. They have finally brought PRACTICAL electric vehicles to the masses. And once the Model 3 comes out, it will be affordable for mostly everyone too. The p85D makes my Escalade look like a John Deere, it will be my next vehicle. I do agree with you however that I'm not sure I would own another vehicle from Daimler. I love the smart, but I've never owned a less reliable car...and I've driven some POS $400 cars, LOL

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Yup, I think the old guard are all being caught out. Dr. Z. even said some years ago that he didn't see Mercedes as making long-range EVs, because that is where only turbo diesels excel. While that may be true today, it probably will not tomorrow. I will say right now, I think he is wrong and 50 years from now, the car manufacturing business will be a lot different - in terms of the manufacturers - than it is today.

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I agree, it will be hard to catch Tesla but we will need more than one high-end EV if the electric vehicle market is going to be anything more than a niche. That's why it's nice to see that one of the big manufacturers is willing to put its money on the line by building a massive factory. I have no doubt that MB could build a Tesla competitor if it wanted to. Its new B-class electric has a good motor and decent performance but it needs more batteries to give it an acceptable range. The real problem is convincing MB (as well as BMW) that there's a sound long-term business model for selling such a car.

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I think China will be deciding whether other automakers embrace BEV's. The North American market and Europe are stagnant. As for keeping up with the Supercharger network, I don't think the automakers have too much to worry about. It is only theoretically possible to drive across the US using superchargers exclusively. You have to follow their routes, you're not supposed to supercharge repeatedly, the solar panels on the supercharger stations do not even begin to provide a useful amount of power. Tesla has really only mastered hype and misdirection - something they accuse (quite rightly for the most part) conventional dealership models of doing. Very interesting cars, good pr, but not really in the hunt with the current offerings.

Edited by ianjay

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Hype and misdirection?

That sounds like something a Zune owner might have once said about Apple and the iPod.

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Tesla has really only mastered hype

Test drive one. I did. The hype is deserved. I am a "car guy", and have owned/driven many outstanding cars, the Tesla Model S beats them all.

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I was curious about electric vehicles until i drove a Model S. Then i became a believer… an evangelist, even. The Model S is a game changer. With the Supercharger network (which IS expanding in Canada this coming year!), it's truly a no-compromise option.

I still think the Volt is awesome, and the parallel hybrid drivetrain a great idea, but hybrids are still only going to be a transitional phase until better energy storage technologies come along. Once my lease on the ED is up, i'll definitely be looking at the next-gen Volt, and likely the Tesla Model III.

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Teslas are amazing. Should be pretty damn good given the expense. Don't get me wrong, I like weird cars - I've owned Corvairs and a smart car for heaven's sake. But hype and misdirection are the standard Elon Musk operating principals - remember the staged rapid battery change demonstration? They say a little, imply a lot, and promise to deliver, but at some time in the future.

I drive long distances several times a year on the existing system of highways and refueling options. It will be years before Tesla can replace what already exists. And even then, the overwhelming choice of the north american consumer will not be from this company. A large, four door 4x4 pickup is what people are buying again this year.

Again, I think it will be the large, emerging markets which will determine whether BEV's will conquer all.

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Teslas are amazing. Should be pretty damn good given the expense. Don't get me wrong, I like weird cars - I've owned Corvairs and a smart car for heaven's sake. But hype and misdirection are the standard Elon Musk operating principals - remember the staged rapid battery change demonstration? They say a little, imply a lot, and promise to deliver, but at some time in the future.

I drive long distances several times a year on the existing system of highways and refueling options. It will be years before Tesla can replace what already exists. And even then, the overwhelming choice of the north american consumer will not be from this company. A large, four door 4x4 pickup is what people are buying again this year.

Again, I think it will be the large, emerging markets which will determine whether BEV's will conquer all.

You may be right about China. I've read recently that the government there has indicated that, as of January 1st, 20% of new car registrations in high polution areas, such as Beijing, will have to be electrics. Whether they can enforce this is another question, but pollution so thick you can cut it with a knife is a great incentive. It makes you wonder if the manufacturers would be able to match the demand.

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When I was in a Tesla S I didn't like the shape of the seats or their relative lack of side support....nor did I like the absence of buttons and the massive screen on the console. The rear facing seats are a joke! On the good side, it's good-looking for an American car and quality inside seems pretty good, if not up to Audi or Porsche standards.

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People keep touting the supercharger network, like no one else can build a network of high power rectifiers. The investment Tesla has in its network is pretty small, and can be easily replicated in less time now that an SAE DC charging standard exists. If GM, ford, vw, Mercedes, Audi, and Porsche all put in for a 100 million dollar fund, they'd have a network to make the supercharger network laughable. The real reason no one else has 150 kW chargers, is because no other car on the planet could use one, and once they can, they can be rolled out very quickly.

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When I was in a Tesla S I didn't like the shape of the seats or their relative lack of side support....nor did I like the absence of buttons and the massive screen on the console. The rear facing seats are a joke! On the good side, it's good-looking for an American car and quality inside seems pretty good, if not up to Audi or Porsche standards.

I gotta ask, if you were unimpressed with the Tesla, what lead you to your current car choices?

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This investment is interesting. But what they really need to do is develop a more powerful battery, so more people can use the ED in all weather.

The issue isn't the battery technology, it's the cost. They can cram a lot more battery into the Smart, but the price makes such a platform unpalatable at the moment. We'll see 150 mile range Smarts before we're through, with more or less the same technology.

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The real question is, how much more would you be willing to pay for a 150-mile range? I bought my first EV as an experiment, so I wasn't willing to spend a lot on it. Now, however, I wouldn't mind a higher price if it meant doubling the range.

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Well... Battery prices are in absolute free fall. A kWh of battery cost $1150 in 2009. Now it's definitely under 300 probably closer to $200 for someone like Tesla, or Nissan.

If that is true, the battery in the smart is only worth $4000 to 6000, and may fall to under 3000 before the 453 is done production. I'm totally willing to pay 5000 for double the battery pack... :)

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If Smart offered a $5k upgrade option to double the range, I'd be first in line.

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People keep touting the supercharger network, like no one else can build a network of high power rectifiers. The investment Tesla has in its network is pretty small, and can be easily replicated in less time now that an SAE DC charging standard exists.

I for one am willing to give Tesla complete credit for building out their Supercharger infrastructure. They decided to use a cost included model, where they charge in advance for the ability for their car to rapidly charge, and then use that money to roll out the highest power chargers (by more than 2x over their competition).

At this time. Tesla is double the range, and half the charging time of any other electric car. That's TODAY folks.

The battery pack in the latest Model S produced now can be charged at 150kW, which is greater than the 135kW Superchargers being deployed today.

They are not standing still, meanwhile the other vendors are not introducing anything to come near or match.

My future money is on Tesla, and I am saving it up and will be throwing it at them in a few years time.

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Tesla's do have double the range, but they have industry standard quick charge time. No seriously, every single other fast charge capable car on the planet charges at almost exactly the same rate as the Tesla, time wise.

i-Miev (with ChaDeMO option) -- 30 minutes to 80% charge

BMW i3 (with quick charge option) -- 30 minutes to 80% charge

Smart ED (/w 22 kW charger option in Europe) -- 30 minutes to 80% charge

Tesla Model S (/w supercharger option, if S60 model)-- 30 minutes to 80% charge

Nissan Leaf (with Quick Charge option)-- 30 minutes to 80% charge

Kia Soul EV -- 24 minutes to 80% charge with a 100 kW charger. 33 minutes with a 50 kW charger.

Yes, there is a 100 kW ChaDeMo charger. Kia is rolling out the first few. Interesting that it's larger than the 90 kW ones that Tesla still has around, no?

(http://insideevs.com/kia-installs-first-100-kw-chademo-dc-fast-chargers-europe/)

So, no. Tesla has built chargers that charge their cars at the same speed that everyone else is. Actually, somewhat slower than the Kia Soul EV. And that's a chemistry limit, not a charger limit. Even if you could hook a leaf up to a supercharger, they wouldn't want you to charge it in 20 minutes to 80%. It would put out too much heat, and be too rough on the battery.

When 200 and 300 mile EV's come out, there will be big chargers to match them. Since there aren't any right now, there aren't any chargers for them. Tesla has lots of really cool tech, but the actual superchargers aren't one of them. They're just big rectifiers, and they're sized to be proportional to the big rectifiers everyone else uses given the size of the battery packs they charge.

The cost included model is definitely awesome, for sure, and I hope that catches on.

I am also hoping to throw some money at Tesla for a Model 3. They make awesome cars, and the supercharger network is really great, and it's great that it's free. But in the end, it's the awesome cars that are really compelling, not a DC power supply box.

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Tesla's do have double the range, but they have industry standard quick charge time. No seriously, every single other fast charge capable car on the planet charges at almost exactly the same rate as the Tesla, time wise.

Comparing time to charge is subverting the issue. Tesla charges faster PER DISTANCE OF RANGE ADDED than any other car, by 2x.

I get your points Steve, but let's not pretend that other EV's can add range anywhere near as quick!

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