He does seam to be crossing the line, but as you say it is in a way that is possibly true. He keeps calling it the worlds safest car, and as proof uses a impressive crash test results but that is a small part of safety. Then immediatly compares burning a car to the ground fire in a new car to stats that include fires that mostly went out on there own in 15 year old cars (ie 5x fewer but smaller fires than the least safe cars on the road is still the safest car on the plannet? Also he keeps using $.05 / kwhr as a realistic cost for residential customer cost, and then using california costs for fuel as a comparison.
>but I don't for a moment believe he's ever going to produce a car that the so-called 47% can actually afford.
At this point it would be financhial suicide for Tesla to try, you have Chevy and Nissan in that market. To dilute the brand and compete with companies with flexible mass production lines (volt fails to sell, in a month the line will produce the car that is selling). And dealer networks...
None of those compare to the Tesla incidents in severity, mostly something flammable caught fire while being drug, causing little car damage in the end, and all fires going out with little or no help. But I get the point, out of 25 million cars, you will definitely find many worse than the Tesla incident we saw (but most are not worse). The question is really going to be what is the anomaly? If running over a 5 pound hunk of metal has a high probability of burning the Tesla to the ground, then it isn't going to end well for Tesla. If 20k Tesla cars having 2 cars burn in 3 months for running over debris, scales when they have 200k cars on the road and equals 80 cars a year burning... Or will Elan be right, and it is closer to 2 cars per year being at the high end of the spectrum, then they safety will be better than most conventional cars.
Similar with the claims that the firewall is impenetrable, regular cars also have firewalls that are rarely breached by fire. That 2 Tesla cars burned without penetrating the passenger compartment isn't proof it will never happen, only that the odds are better than 50:50.
Basically having a concern based on the track record of Lithium battery fires, after the recall on the Chevy volt Lithium batteries for similar problems, and the well known issues with the use in phones... is very logical
> I think hitting a steel tow hitch at 70MPH is more than a little bump
I think 99% of standard cars out there would drive over the debris that killed the 2 tesla's without any notice (The 100MPH collision with a concrete wall was a awesome outcome for the Tesla, the other 2 fires were not.) The odds of hitting something stationary the size of a tow hitch (and nothing else), and getting a fire in a conventional car would be very unlikely, basically it would have to hit a fuel line that sprayed on the exhaust, then the driver would have to ignore and leave the car running to keep the fire going to have anything similar to the scale of the Tesla accident to happen. Don't get me wrong, likely 99% of accidents the Tesla will handle equal to or better than a normal car, but this isn't one of them. Some of that is likely due to the goal of supercar handling goals at triple digit speeds (IE the suspension lowering the car at speed...) But it is much worse than the majority of cars at running of debris, and likely slightly worse than the majority of super cars at the same.
Good post, one correction: > gas-powered cars; they only can run on oil products by definition.
Most new cars are E85 compatible, which can be made from any substance that rum can be made from. Corn, srawberries, bananas, potatoes. It does take a heat source to distill... diesiel is even easier with peanut oil...
Not conclusive, but Nasa says:We estimate over 600 million cubic meters (1 cubic meter = 1 metric ton) of water in these features
> we need to figure out why people give proportionally less
I think Bill is trying to answer why he didn't give when he was building wealth. If you recall Bill was a very small giver at that time, his answer was that he was going to give to charity, but he said it was better that he invest the money, because he could do better building a larger fortune to do more good, than the small quantity he could do then. At the time most rolled their eyes at this excuse, but then he followed through.
My guess is Bill had reasons such as:
1) Lack of well managed worthy causes that make a difference. Everyone begs for money from him with a good story, but finding which one takes more effort than he wants to take from day to day work.
2) Lack of time to manage giving. Again, he was focused on building something early, without #1 he had to basically retire to do this one right.
So I think Bill is looking at why he didn't give, and trying to address that first. Personally these reasons hold me back. While not that rich, so why would I give to the Susan Kolmans of the world, so that she can live better than me but do good with the leftovers. I would rather give to someone like Gates, but I am more selfish, wanting to see results in person (IE locally) if I am sacrificing on my quality of living for them.
> static electricity spark have been able to ignite the fuel tank simply when using a self-service pump at a gasoline station.
I don't think so, it doesn't light the tank, and it is one of the 1 in a 1000 when it does ignite at all. IE during fueling it is pushing the flammable gas vapor out of the tanks open cap, that is light-able outside the tank but it almost always just goes out, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WohRAM4_NQg
because the fuel vapor is going to push all the oxygen out of the tank, it just isn't a conducive environment for a fire. Only if you get another fuel source bringing the fuel tank to a boil will it explode (IE the only exciting you tube videos that I could find of this involved either fueling a external can, or the nozzle held on.) Heck when I was kid I shot bottle rockets, fire crackers, etc into a junked cars fuel cap with 1/3 tank, a little vapor fire in the nozzle was the result of a bottle rocket exploding inside a fuel tank.
But gas tanks don't seam to need the same protection. When myth busters used a rifle to shot round after round into a cars gas tank, they couldn't get it to light. Only hitting the gas on the ground with a tracer lighting the fumes would it light. Basically a single vehicle accident that punctures a fuel tank will not start a fire, maybe 1 in a 1000. Only when you have gas on the ground, and car batteries sparks, or sparks from metal do you get a crash fire (petro cars having small electric fires or oil fires are more common, but usually limited damage that a single fire extinguisher will put out.) If the tesla is more prone to flame up (not proven) adding fuel from another vehicle will be all the more scary. That the Tesla takes so much effort to put out a fire, and burns for so long is the reason for extra concern IMHO. What happens when one ends up in a multiple car pile up, where they can't soak the batteries while saving those trapped in the pile-up?
Also the problem that it, as a exotic performance car, has very little ground clearance making smaller objects, that wouldn't be touched by 90% of cars on the road, to nearly total the car. But that is likely a concern for all exotic performance cars, not just the Tesla.
Epa has a article on the site, it says you need heat, time, turbulence, air. At 1100 to 1500 f range with sufficient oxygen, for 3 seconds you should get only co2 and water. Or a secondary burn, that re lights the escaping smoke. http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/workshop2011/WoodCombustion-Curkeet.pdf
Correct, and the question is what level of protection is needed for each and what level was provided.
current Lithium-ion batteries are a self contained power producer, no separation of fuel and engine, short it out and all of the energy in that battery is going to be released unless you can break it apart, it is likely to release all of it's power.
Diesel for example has a advantage, because it is very difficult to get it to release it's power at atmospheric conditions. Gasoline is even less prone in the liquid form, so the likely hood of starting a file inside it's fuel tank is fairly slight (hence myth-busters repeatedly shot gasoline tanks without fire, with only shooting tracers at the gasoline on the ground finally lighting the vapor.) But even then the energy released (due to incomplete burn) is a fraction of the energy you are carrying. Also most of the car fires are not even in the fuel tank, more of the fires are electrical, or after the fuel pump. Hence the new gas/diesel cars are very fire safe, with safety's to shutdown the fuel pump... in a accident.
I see no reasons a electric car is inherently less fire safe, but these incidents, despite no injuries, do still raise concerns that maybe Tesla missed something, without decades of incremental safety improvements, maybe the car isn't actually the safest car on the planet like Elon claims.
It is a given, occasionally people will still get hurt, and they will still be compensated for the cause of there grief. I would expect the first autonomous supplier will require insurance be bought by the operators to cover them in the case of a accident. As the rate of accidents goes down because of autonomy, the price of insurance will be cheaper for the Autonomous cars, making the path profitable. Even if it does injure or kill a person occasionally costing the insurers millions, they should be able to recoup some of the hundreds of millions due to overall lower cost of insurance.
Drive by wire throttle (if done correctly) should provide several benefits. First off if your driving a car with Fuel injection + Cruise control + electronic shift control automatic. You already have a software + stepper motor that can apply the throttle. Your car must read a sensor and decide what fuel to inject. Your car needs to know your throttle position to shift. The ability to remove a mechanical cable to the pedal, second cable to the cruise control stepper motor, several springs and mechanical latch to operate from either cable, without adding anything to replace it (ideally you would add a second or third sensor to have a redundant fault tolerant pedal assembly that will warm you to replace it when any redundancy fails. and a limp home mode.) Does make your car better (baring a series of mistakes like Toyota had.)
Also the main advantage is that it can provide a more efficient throttle application, and be able to do smoother shifting, without misfiring the engine wasting gas, or running lean, that is required without direct ECM throttle control.
Now if your getting a simple car with manual transmission, no cruise control... I do think that is the safer way to go. But that is not a common configuration in the USA.
Your correct, the old joke about the old pickups with metal dashes (like the 1970 C20 I own) was, wipe the blood off from the previous owner and sell it to the next.
It is a more a question of which costs more to fix, and which is more valuable the person or the car.
Had your old Buick ran into a old Buick in the exact same conditions, the outcome would easily have been that both cars would have been destroyed, and both drivers in the hospital for weeks. The fact that a new car ran into your old car, and everything was fine but the old car, doesn't convince me that the new car wasn't the savior.