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Discussion Starter #1
Both good and bad, what do you see as advantages/disadvantages to other BEV's?

Tesla

Bolt better than Tesla
Lack of physical controls. We have these discussions at my workplace on physical buttons vis-a-vis touch screen with our product. The consensus is that yes, physical isn't obsolete. Customer tests and feedback consistently tell us that muscle memory is easier than touchscreen for basic functions because it requires less mental processing.

The Bolt motor is a better engineering design (IMO) with the disadvantage that it's a more expensive manufacturing design to develop. GM could afford that and Tesla couldn't. But the single for-life oil cooled and lubricated drive train, plus bar wound motor is a better choice in my view, albeit much more difficult to set up the manufacturing of.

Tesla better than Bolt
OTA updates and software, mapping, etc. I really, really hope GM comes through on their promise of OTA updates.

Leaf

Air cooled battery is a poor design. Apparently it has a heat pump though, which isn't the panacea that it sounds like, but still I guess I wouldn't have minded one.
 

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Customer tests and feedback consistently tell us that muscle memory is easier than touchscreen for basic functions because it requires less mental processing.
What's way more important than mental workload, IMHO, is that you don't have to take your eyes off the road to use a physical button or knob. That's exactly why I'd love for the Bolt to have a hard button to turn on the surround camera system for those times when you want to drive head-first into a parking space.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I know I keep harping on this, and I'm not bashing Tesla, but I'm trying to figure out why people think Tesla has such genius engineering - especially considering how easily GM was able to produce a mass market BEV with a relatively easy to achieve 300 miles range. Looking into it I see Tesla engineering opting for less favorable engineering so that the production is easier. Again on the motor between the two ...

The Bolt motor is power bar wound technology which has the following features (GM and others)

  • Higher copper fill (85%-90% compared to 70%)
  • Lower winding resistance > 30%
  • 50% greater heat dissipation
  • Can have simpler combined oil lubrication/cooling system (with a heat exchanger to glycol)
  • Expensive to create a manufacturing line (negative, unless you build cars at GM scale)
Here we see why Tesla had to go with water jacket cooling, which is because they surely needed greater cooling capacity, which would mean their motor is less efficient and inherently decreased reliability. But this has the advantage that it is simpler to manufacture.

Likewise with the battery, GM has no issue with doing custom battery topology, but Tesla opted for a standard cylindrical size. I don't know of any inherent advantages or disadvantages of the two at the moment other than to note that that Tesla chose a cell that is cheap to manufacture. I'm a little suspicious of that from an engineering standpoint because again when you design for manufacturability you usually have to sacrifice in the engineering design. Anecdotal, but I've found that as you scale the Lithium cells down they become more unreliable (prone to shorting out). The 18650 is larger than the AA somewhat which is good (for example when you get to the AAA size they are really prone to shorting), but it doesn't make me feel comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What's way more important than mental workload, IMHO, is that you don't have to take your eyes off the road to use a physical button or knob.
Yes exactly, I didn't go into detail but we make field scientific instrumentation which is the same problem. People have their eyes on what they are testing and not the instrument. With physical the fingers can deftly manipulate the instrument without having to look and think about what to do. A touch screen has advantages (flexibility and cost mainly) but also suffers from visual complexity, requiring eyes (lack of tactile feedback) and poorer response. A combination of the two is best.

And as I said getting rid of the instrument console in the 3 is brain dead stupidity in my view. I don't even like to look at the Infotainment while driving, too distracting. I actually preferentially use the OnStar navigation because it shows up on the instrument panel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
owning both cars and using both on a daily basis I disagree with most of this analysis.
OK so then tell us why, and what parts. Also note that (my posts at least) are aimed at engineering details which don't affect it much from a driver perspective, except for the touchscreen (again I'll note that customer studies are very clear on this - I'm sure there are people who prefer 100% touch screen but that is not what we find in general for most people, who prefer a combination). Being an engineer I can't own something without appraising it's engineering design, and appreciating or criticizing it.

And I'll say again because surely somebody will miss it, not a Tesla, Bolt, Leaf etc. bash, just comparing them, if anybody (not aimed at you David) can't handle a comparison then don't read the thread.
 

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Long distance travel.
Tesla is the only viable option. CCS/CHAdeMO is too spotty to rely on, doesn't cover the entire US, is less than 1/2 the speed and typically has only 1 or 2 ports available at any given location.

Service
Bolt/LEAF/BMW/VW/etc service is readily available in markets they are sold with (usually) multiple dealerships to choose from.
Tesla service centers are sparse in many areas of the country (you could easily be 500 miles form the closest service center in some areas). OTA updates do nothing for physical problems like the recent Model X seat recall.

"Cool" factor & cult like followers
Tesla

Salesperson knowledge
While there are certainly exceptions, legacy manufacturers have a loooong way to go.

Affordability
IF Tesla actually produces a $45K model, they will be in the running. Until then they are in a different price range than others (although the i3 MSRP can creep north of $50K if you load it up)

The importance of certain features (and therefore advantages and disadvantages of any car) will vary from person to person. The range of a Bolt or Tesla may be overkill for many looking for a commuter car. Rear/AWD may be a hot button. Built in NAV, power seats, sunroof or numerous other variables may mean everything or nothing to different buyers.

Pick the one that's right for you and your circumstances.
 

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There is only one sensibly sized, long range EV, for under $40 available at present. I am amazed to say that it is built by Chevrolet. A year ago, I would have bet it would have been Tesla.

Yesterday, I did my longest drive, so far. Did a test run of the first leg of a trip to Tennessee we will be doing later in the year. I left home at 9 am, drove west on I 64 to I 81, and south on I81 to Blacksburg...174 miles. I arrived at noon. Blacksburg is over 8 miles off the interstate, but I was very glad to get as far from it as possible. The charger was in the municipal building parking lot, in a quiet part of town, next to the library. I plugged in, used the clean, neat restroom in the municipal building, walked a block to the farmer's market for fresh chocolate croissant, a fuji apple, and a cup of locally ground coffee, and sat reading a book. An hour was up, before I knew it. I headed back, the way I had come. The entire experience was pleasant, except for driving on I 81. It is a hideous example of the failure of capitalism. Private vehicles mixing it up with every type of commercial vehicle...an abomination. We will get off I 64 at Afton, and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Blacksburg. Probably an hour longer, but very civilized.

Looking at the energy information screen was interesting. It breaks the drive up into five mile bars. I saw one bar showing almost 16 mi/kWh, followed by one under 2 mi/kWh.
 

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I'm waiting for Toshiba's new batteries to appear, due out 2019. I would not consider buying any electric before they appear, since their appearance will, to a large extent, render any EV rather obsolete in its most critical part - the battery.
 

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OK so then tell us why, and what parts. Also note that (my posts at least) are aimed at engineering details which don't affect it much from a driver perspective, except for the touchscreen (again I'll note that customer studies are very clear on this - I'm sure there are people who prefer 100% touch screen but that is not what we find in general for most people, who prefer a combination). Being an engineer I can't own something without appraising it's engineering design, and appreciating or criticizing it.

And I'll say again because surely somebody will miss it, not a Tesla, Bolt, Leaf etc. bash, just comparing them, if anybody (not aimed at you David) can't handle a comparison then don't read the thread.
the touch screen issue in particular is overblown as most of what you want to do while driving can be done via steering wheel controls which are physical buttons and you don't remove your hands from the wheels - with autopilot also the brief loss of attention to deal with the touch screen for things you can't do via the steering wheel is very acceptable - Tesla also has a robust voice control system again removing the need to remove your hands from the wheel or touch anything…I find myself interacting with the touch screen virtually never while driving - and it'a joy to use verses alternatives when you're not driving.

when I do interact with the touch screen while driving it's typically when auto-pilot is engaged and driver attention can be slightly reduced with no loss in safety - but again this happens rarely as voice/steering wheel controls are more than sufficient for all the tasks you typically do while driving.
 

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Service
Bolt/LEAF/BMW/VW/etc service is readily available in markets they are sold with (usually) multiple dealerships to choose from.
Tesla service centers are sparse in many areas of the country (you could easily be 500 miles form the closest service center in some areas). OTA updates do nothing for physical problems like the recent Model X seat recall.
Tesla is superior for EV support - as all of my experiences with non-EV service with the existing manufactures have been dismal - and they are simply not prepared or have experience with EV's - and often times the service experience leads to large delays as they do not have local expertise to resolve EV issues - so availability isn't the criteria - I would suggest motivation to support EV's and ablity to actually support the product has nothing to do with where the support centers are.

Again for Tesla, if you're too far from a service center for a physical repair then they have options such as valet services, or Tesla Ranger to come to you to resolve your service needs. If you are too far from a Tesla service center, they will bring the service center to you...so we're not comparing apples to oranges.
 

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I'm waiting for Toshiba's new batteries to appear, due out 2019. I would not consider buying any electric before they appear, since their appearance will, to a large extent, render any EV rather obsolete in its most critical part - the battery.
again I've asked this before - what vehicle manufactures will have these mythical batteries in their 2019 portfolio?
 

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Advantage Bolt - You can buy one.

Disadvantage Tesla - You can't buy one.
Tesla has a robust and reliable used car market and over 250,000 vehicles deployed world wide - used prices for various Model S configurations approach the cost of a new Bolt - so I"m not sure saying you can't buy a Tesla is an accurate statement.
 

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Tesla is superior for EV support - as all of my experiences with non-EV service with the existing manufactures have been dismal - and they are simply not prepared or have experience with EV's - and often times the service experience leads to large delays as they do not have local expertise to resolve EV issues - so availability isn't the criteria - I would suggest motivation to support EV's and ablity to actually support the product has nothing to do with where the support centers are.

Again for Tesla, if you're too far from a service center for a physical repair then they have options such as valet services, or Tesla Ranger to come to you to resolve your service needs. If you are too far from a Tesla service center, they will bring the service center to you...so we're not comparing apples to oranges.

In addition, the Model X recall mentioned in an earlier post that would not be rectified by OTA updates was:
1. A voluntary recall
2. Owner was given the option of having the ranger come to them or bringing the car to the service center N/C
Does GM have a similar program?
 

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another example is my local Ford dealer attempted to fix my misbehaving Ford Focus EV and spend 4 weeks diagnosing the problem - most of that time the vehicle sat at my local and very convenient Ford service center less than 2 miles from my home - but they were completely uninterested and unprepared to support the vehicle given the fraction that eV's represent of their overall fleet completely overwhelmed with ICE car problems which they quickly and efficiently worked on…

claiming that the existing car manufactures extensive existing dealer-network/service centers are an advantage is a dubious claim IMHO - given that:

1. their EV service related revenues will be at least 60% less than ICE's
2. they have no motivation to "learn" about EV's
3. EV's need less service
4. they have all the business they can handle services 100's of millions of ICE cars with numerous problems

say what you will about Tesla but they are "all in" on BEV's and highly motivated to fix any/all EV problems, since that is the only product they make - they also have the expertise on hand to deal with the issues since again that is all that they do.

BEV's actually disrupt the existing Dealer/Service model - so depending on that as an infrastructure advantage is short sighted.
 

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more precisely the lost revenue and less frequent service needs of EV's will drive many local service sites out of business - since there simply won't be the demand…_IF_ BEV's take over, the lower service cycles inherent in these cars will drive most of these service centers out of business because they simply won't have the volume of repairs to conduct...

no revenue = no staff = closure = consolidation around more central locations = increasing distance to your "local" service center.
 

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more precisely the lost revenue and less frequent service needs of EV's will drive many local service sites out of business - since there simply won't be the demand…_IF_ BEV's take over, the lower service cycles inherent in these cars will drive most of these service centers out of business because they simply won't have the volume of repairs to conduct...

no revenue = no staff = closure = consolidation around more central locations = increasing distance to your "local" service center.
This is what the auto manufactures want. You buy a car and drive it 100K miles, then trade it in for a new one. They've been working hard to eliminate the need for service departments and EV's will fulfill that.
 

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Likewise with the battery, GM has no issue with doing custom battery topology, but Tesla opted for a standard cylindrical size. I don't know of any inherent advantages or disadvantages of the two at the moment other than to note that that Tesla chose a cell that is cheap to manufacture. I'm a little suspicious of that from an engineering standpoint because again when you design for manufacturability you usually have to sacrifice in the engineering design. Anecdotal, but I've found that as you scale the Lithium cells down they become more unreliable (prone to shorting out). The 18650 is larger than the AA somewhat which is good (for example when you get to the AAA size they are really prone to shorting), but it doesn't make me feel comfortable.
Does the Tesla utilize any parallel connections in the battery, or is it a single series of 18650? As you point out, the larger the number of cells, the higher the probability of a single failure causing a failure of the entire battery. Fewer cells are easier to maintain balance and present less chance of failure.

I'm surprised that pouch or prismatic cells aren't the defacto standard for EVs. I would think they would be easier to manufacture, and have a better energy density per volume. There must be some advantage of cylindrical cells that I'm not aware of.

And as I said getting rid of the instrument console in the 3 is brain dead stupidity in my view. I don't even like to look at the Infotainment while driving, too distracting. I actually preferentially use the OnStar navigation because it shows up on the instrument panel.
And yet this problem of lack of tactile feedback and quickness offered by physical controls hasn't slowed iPhone sales one bit. The cumbersome nature of touch screens will speed the advance of voice control.
 
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