Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Electric car industry news

Tesla shows how it's not supposed to by done by firing hundreds of workers as part of their annual review process.  As if it's not stressful enough already, Musk forgets that one ought to minimize nasty surprises in annual reviews, and one has to wonder what Deming would have said about this--given that he famously called annual reviews one of the seven deadly diseases of mis-management, I am guessing that he'd have struggled to keep comment on Musk's move suitable for a family newspaper.

Worth noting as well is that Tesla achieved $7B of revenue with 33000 employees in 2016, whereas GM achieves $166 billion in sales with only 215000 workers.  So Tesla definitely needs some headcount reduction if they don't massively increase sales--and I would further posit that this employee bloat might have something to do with the massive subsidies Tesla receives at the federal, state, and local levels.

Also of note is this (very sympathetic) article about how the batteries on the Nissan Leaf seem to be at about half capacity at about 90,000 miles, or the equivalent of about 1300 full recharges with its 73 mile range.  If we round up to 100k miles life for a battery pack--we will assume the driver is a true masochist who doesn't mind recharging every 30 miles or so--we then find that the ~ 10000 pounds of carbon dioxide produced to make the batteries--and arguably the ~15000 pounds of carbon dioxide for the car itself--are spread not over 150k miles, but over 100k miles.  Not too many people are going to spring for a $6500 repair on a subcompact vehicle with 100k miles, after all. 

Which means before we ever start counting the electricity to charge the vehicle, we're talking about .25 lbs of carbon dioxide per mile emitted--50% higher for the Tesla.  Add the 0.2 (Leaf) to 0.4 kW-H (Tesla) electricity (from coal), and you've got a total emissions per mile on average of about 0.7 to 1.3 lbs of carbon dioxide per mile.  With natural gas for power, you're still looking at 0.5 to 1 lb/mile, really the same range as a standard gasoline powered vehicle....of a much larger size.

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