The maintenance is much simpler. According to Tesla the electric motor is lubricated for 12 years. Service includes everything except replacing the tires. I.e. they replace the wipers and brake pads and whatever else needs fixing or replacing including normal consumables. There's something like only 12 moving parts in the drive train. It's an amazing car to drive.
A few months ago I purchased a Tesla model S. The process was completely unlike purchasing other cars at a dealership. I just went to the web site and selected what I wanted. The showrooms I visited were just that, showrooms. Nobody was trying to push me to buy the car and the people working there patiently answered questions. Most of the people in the showroom were not likely to buy one but they still patiently answered questions and treated everyone with respect. I think this is due in part to the fact that the show rooms are just that, show rooms. They can't sell you a car, the best they could do is point you online to order one.
When I got my car everything was taken care of. All the paperwork was done and a few weeks later the plates arrived in the mail. A part for my car that was not available when I got my car was fed-exed to me. They also threw in some additional charging adapters that they normally charge for.
As for service it is night and day. I managed to break one of the roof rack clips on my model S. This required that the entire roof panel next to the glass roof be replaced. If that were on my Toyota Prius that would easily be a $300 part and $300 for labor. Tesla charged me $100 for the part (which given what it was is more than reasonable) and $175 labor. Elon Musk stated that they hope to not make a profit on service. I also had service install some 3rd party rim protectors (http://www.alloygator.com) where they charged me $25/wheel, which is quite cheap for the type of car it is.
I always cringe whenever I take my Prius in to the Toyota dealership since they're always trying to push unneeded services, or god forbid I run into one of the sales leaches.
The fact that Tesla is outselling the other cars in its class without any real advertisement or dealerships is amazing. Their commitment to the owners goes above and beyond anything I have seen before.
For example, if I take my car in for service the loaner car is a top of the line model S. If I want, I can just keep the loaner car and just pay the difference in price. No dealership would do something like that.
All in all, my experience dealing with Tesla has for the most part been amazing and a welcome change from dealing with dealerships.
The only thing I can think of is that you must not live in the US.
Here's a comparison demonstrating the crappy sound of our cell phones:
Much of the world has already adapted HD Voice but not the US where we are stuck with the crappy standard cell codecs and bitrates.
I wish I had such a phone that sounded ridiculously good. I have never heard cell phone that sounds anywhere close to a good land-line connection. Show me a cell phone where the wait music doesn't sound like a garbled mess. All the compression makes cell phone audio sound like crap that no amount of hardware can fix. My digital land line is always crystal clear and the sound quality is night and day compared to any cell phone, even going over a good bluetooth connection through either of my car's stereos.
I recall hearing this at one point. I don't recall if it was in one of my science magazines or on NPR's Science Friday but it makes a lot of sense, especially now that we know that the brain is not all that great at multitasking like we once thought.
I also would love to see more studies on this.
Additionally it has been shown that the phone is especially bad since it's a lot harder for your brain to process, especially over a cell phone due to the sound degradation due to all of the audio compression. I don't recall exactly where I heard this, likely on NPR Science Friday or one of the science magazines I subscribe to, but it makes sense. The brain has to do a lot more work to comprehend poor-quality speech than face-to-face speech, and the brain doesn't multitask all that well so it causes a much bigger distraction to driving.
I work for a MIPS vendor (Cavium) and I know we push almost all of our extensions upstream and we ship very recent versions to customers. We're currently shipping 4.7 to customers. This includes support for the Cavium OCTEON proprietary assembly instructions as well (encryption, hashing, load/store indexed and atomic instructions). There is a lot of active GCC development where I work and in fact we are looking for more GCC developers for both MIPS and ARM.
Similarly we work hard to push all of our stuff upstream to the mainline Linux kernel.
I need to work on pushing up our U-Boot bootloader support after I migrate to GIT though that's going to be a huge project since we have more code for our SOC than any other vendor out there.
I agree. The thing is that with LEDs there is a lot more freedom in terms of design since you are no longer bound by the restrictions from a standard edison bulb or flourescent tubes.
I have several LED bulbs that dim beautifully. One decorative one I have will dim down to just barely glowing from full brightness (40 or 60 watt). I don't recall who makes it. The Philips ones I have dim nicely down to about 20%.
Basically the loan was for 500 million but Fisker didn't meet the requirements of the loan so it was halted after 173 million. Fisker had promised a 100MPg car with sub 5-second 0-60. What they finally delivered was years late and nowhere near their promises. The Fisker Karma gets a whopping 20MPg on gasoline and a whopping 52MPGe from the EPA for combinen electric and gasoline milage. For electric it is rated at 65KWh/100 miles. My Tesla model S with an 85KWh battery pack is rated by the EPA as 38KWh/100 miles with an EPA rating of 89MPGe.
My father owns a Fisker and it's been in the shop more times than I can count, including having been towed in more than once, all in under a year.
I am quite familiar with the whole Fisker saga since one of my relatives bought a Karma last year. I tried to talk him out of it. When I test drove the car the software was extremely buggy, not even alpha quality IMO. The entire drive the car kept going "bong bong bong" because it was stuck in some self parking mode that the dealership couldn't get it out of. The car was sexy looking IMO, but it had a lot of serious issues going for it too.
The car is big yet the interior is quite cramped with the huge battery occupying the entire center of the car. Acceleration was nice, up to around 30-40MPh. The software on the center touch screen looked cool, when you could see it, but was quite buggy and not easy to use, especially while driving. For such an eco-friendly car it also only got 20MPG on gasoline and got a combined EPA rating of only 50MPG. The car is quite heavy, over 5300LBS.
Fisker's problem is that they outsourced their engineering. The drive train was done by Quantum Technologies and the battery by A123 systems, both heavy investors in Fisker. Fisker promised to sell 15-20K Karmas which A123 bet the farm on.
Then there were the fires, for one of which the cause was never explained. While the battery wasn't the cause the perception was there. Next was the Consumer Reports debacle. The car completely died early in their testing and it was determined that the battery was defective. This resulted in a battery recall which was the final nail in A123's coffin leading to their bankruptcy. A123 was already in big trouble since Fisker sold far fewer cars than they had promised. In fact, even though Fisker hasn't made a single new car since July of last year you can still find plenty of unsold Karmas at most of the dealerships.
My relative loves his Karma, but the car has been in the shop way too many times in the last year, sometimes being towed in and some of the issues have been rather serious. Other issues are just unexplained.
Fisker was all about image and styling using outsourced technology. When some Chinese investors looked into the company they realized that they didn't have all that much in terms of technology, and in fact their technology was rather mediocre in many ways and needed some serious refining. There were issues between the engine and generator, plus they used two synchronous motors in order to get enough power to move the car and to help overcome torque ripple issues (from what I gather from their patents).
For a first car from a new car company the car was overly ambitious and was far more complicated than I think they realized. Because it was so late the car was rushed to market with a lot of serious issues and inadequate testing. The car underperformed in almost every way. The federal government cut off their loan before they could draw it down all the way.
Their next car, the Atlantic, was to be built in a shuttered Delaware factory but that car also suffered from a cramped interior.
Fisker also burned through a lot of cash without a lot to show for it. They never did anything with the factory they purchased other than stick it to Delaware.
A lot of people compare Fisker to Tesla which is an apt comparison. I am even more familiar with Tesla, having bought a model S myself. Unlike Fisker, Tesla developed their own technology for their Roadster. They developed the battery and drive train and perfected it, once they moved away from the problematic 2-speed transmission.
Tesla's battery solution was to use inexpensive off-the-shelf batteries and to perfect their battery management technology. Unlike Fisker, who uses an expensive custom battery pack Tesla's battery packs are stuffed with over 7000 18650 cells. The 18650 lithium cell is about as standard as it gets. Their drive train is much more compact than Fisker as well. They use a single induction motor that provides about as much power as the pair of motors Fisker uses but without requiring expensive rare-earth metals. Tesla's motor has no magnets in it.
While the Fisker Karma and the Tesla mode S are about the same size on the outside, the inside is a whole different story. Tesla's battery sits entirely underneath the floor and their motor and inverter sit just behind the rear axle. The result is that there's a huge amount of space inside the car. Since there's no engine in front, that space is available for additional storage. Tesla also spent years perfecting their batteries such that they're also manufacturing batteries for other car makers.
Tesla also spent a lot of time on the software. While it hasn't always been perfect they have been quick to fix various issues that have cropped up. I personally have not run into any software issues with the car. The only real issue is that they have disables much of the power management while they fix it so it draws more power than it should when not in use.
Tesla also was not as ambitious as Fisker. The Fisker Karma has a number of features which Tesla declined to implement which was probably a good thing. It meant fewer problems while they got their model S out. One final big difference is that Tesla has started to be profitable again as they manufacture about 500 cars per week.
If you're poor, a much higher percentage of income is spent buying things in order to live. A rich person instead invests most of their money which is only taxed on the gains, and even then at a fairly low rate. On top of that, most of us pay tax for Social Security and Medicare but the wealthy only pay that tax on a small percentage of their income due to the caps.
Part of it is also that you're helping pay for all those red states with your federal income taxes. NY gets less back than they pay in federal income taxes so they have to make up the rest.
The Panasonic batteries used in my car will maintain 80% of their original capacity after 2000 full charge/discharge cycles. With my daily 15 mile (each way) commute I use about 11% of the battery capacity. 2000 / 0.11 = 18,181 days of usage, or about 49 years until I'm at 80% capacity. There is also some loss based on time, but I should be able to easily get over 10 years of use out of them. Now if I drove over 200 miles each day the batteries will last significantly less time, but the battery performance is steadily improving each year, both in capacity and longevity and the cost is continuously decreasing. The rapid charging does not have a significant impact on battery life either since they are water cooled.