Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Tesla founders on electric cars, lithium, hydrogen, energy & climate change (video)



Tesla Roadster
Credit: Tesla/The Morning Bulletin

Martin Eberhard & Marc Tarpenning, were the founders of the Tesla electric car company. Elon Musk came along later as an investor, flush with Paypal money.

In October 2016, the Tesla founders, spoke at Stanford University on a range of topics, including electric cars, lithium, hydrogen, energy, car-to-grid & climate change.

● Solving problems from first principles (01:42)

“Somewhere along the way, I started thinking that maybe this global warming thing was not a hoax & that maybe that the wars we were having in the Middle East were at least somehow involved in oil & decided that we needed to do something different. I did not start off as an electric car enthusiast, my interest was just simply using less energy. So I spent some time doing a real careful well to wheel energy analysis for every kind of technology I could find & built a spreadsheet that calculated the actual energy footprint & carbon footprint of every pathway I could find … & it was to both of our surprise, that the electric car pathway was not just better than the other choices that were out there, that included hydrogen & every form of petroleum & natural gas & so on, it wasn’t just better, it was dramatically better. So much better that it was stunning to us that no one else was doing it.” – Martin Eberhard


Elon Musk has spoken about the importance of approaching problems from first principles.1 In the quote above, Martin Eberhard, seems to be describing doing just that. Which begs the question: Did Elon Musk learn the importance of approaching problems from first principles from the Tesla founders?


● Tesla – naming the company (03:44)

● Why was the first product a small sports car? (30:00)

● How did they decide that Lotus would be the best source of a rolling chassis? (06:00)


● Lithium – sources, use in batteries, & recycling (16:25)

● Hydrogen fuel cells (22:00)

“Hydrogen is not a fuel … to make elemental hydrogen, to make H2, you have to put energy in. … the efficiency of that, if I’m using the very best technology available today, is in the order of 20-22% efficient. Compare that to a lithium battery which runs in the order of 95% efficient. It’s just not worth it. The hydrogen fuel cell car will require ... 3 to 4 times as much of whatever your source fuel is …”2,3,4


● Vehicle-to-grid (40:50)

“There’s this whole concept of vehicle to grid storage. The idea is the vehicle could draw off the grid & put energy back on the grid. … There’s two troubles with that: one is that every cycle through your battery has some cost – it’s not zero. ... Second thing is that when you’re putting energy on to the grid, (as for example, does the inverter on your solar panel), it puts some pretty heavy-duty regulatory burden on the design ... of the car – it adds some non-trivial cost to the cost of the car.”


“But, there’s another thing to think about: & that is that you can get about 90% of that value, not by allowing the vehicle to put energy onto the grid, but rather, just allowing the grid to have precise control over the charging of the vehicle. So that it can say stop & start or stop & start at this level in real time, OK? And what happens then if you have a large number of vehicles that are plugged in just statistically speaking is that all these electric cars can be used as grid regulation, & they can allow the power company to have a much much smaller amount of what’s called spinning reserve. That’s to say, generating capability that’s not being used. ... So that for example, when a big cloud passes over the giant solar panel array in the Mojave Desert, the grid then tells a whole lot of cars to, ‘Hey stop now,’ & they get off the grid, & when the wind starts honking on Altamont Pass, they can tell a bunch of cars to, ‘Hey start charging now.’ And you get about something like 90% of the value of the vehicle to grid idea, without actually taking energy out of the vehicles.”


● Electric cars will become cheaper than internal combustion engine cars (46:12)

“I’ve been looking closely at the cost of batteries recently, & it’s my belief that the cost of making an electric car will match the cost of making an equivalent gasoline powered car, probably in 2020 or 2022 – it’s coming up pretty fast.”


● Battery swapping (52:19)

“The reason that you would want to do that is because the batteries don’t have enough range, & the reason they don’t have enough range, is basically because they’re too expensive. … And so what you’re doing in a world of battery swapping is you’re taking the most expensive part of the car & you’re making it more expensive because I’ve got to have to have 20-30% more batteries around than I have cars, so I can swap them in.”


● Adapting to climate change (1:09:50)

“Quote from ... some science fiction writer: ‘The future is here now, it’s just not evenly distributed.’ … that is in many ways true, like we know how to do this. We know how to have a really advanced society that is carbon neutral. It’s just hard & it’s only in a few places … it is possible. So, I figure ... we’re gonna have to adapt to the climate change – that train has left – the CO2 is there.”




EV Annex – “Tesla founders Mark Eberhard & Marc Tarpenning talk electric vehicles”
https://evannex.com/blogs/news/tesla-founders-martin-eberhard-and-marc-tarpenning-talk-evs
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1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Tesla cell size comes from the first principles of physics & economics”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/09/tesla-battery-size-comes-from-first.html


2 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Can fuel cells compete with batteries?”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2016/01/can-fuel-cells-compete-with-batteries.html


3 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Battery electric vehicles outperform hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – even Toyota has noticed”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/01/battery-electric-vehicles-outperform.html


4 HichHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Honda Clarity – all the shortcomings fundamental to fuel cell cars”, https://hhg2tech.blogspot.com/2017/04/honda-clarity-all-of-shortcomings.html / Tesla Roadster Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning founders Tesla electric car company Elon Musk investor Paypal money October 2016 Tesla founders spoke Stanford University electric cars lithium hydrogen energy car-to-grid climate change solving problems from first principles global warming not a hoax wars in the Middle East involved in oil electric car enthusiast using less energy well to wheel energy analysis technology spreadsheet calculated energy footprint carbon footprint electric car pathway better than the other choices hydrogen petroleum natural gas dramatically better stunning to us that no one else was doing it Martin Eberhard Elon Musk importance of approaching problems from first principles Elon Musk learn importance of approaching problems from first principles Tesla founders Tesla naming the company first product a small sports car Lotus best source of a rolling chassis lithium sources batteries recycling hydrogen fuel cells hydrogen is not a fuel elemental hydrogen molecular hydrogen H2 you have to put energy in efficiency very best technology available today in the order of 20-22% efficient lithium battery 95% efficient hydrogen fuel cell car will require 3 to 4 times as much of whatever your source fuel is vehicle-to-grid vehicle to grid vehicle to grid storage vehicle put energy back on the grid every cycle through your battery has some cost not zero putting energy on to the grid inverter on your solar panel heavy-duty regulatory burden on the design car it adds some non-trivial cost to the cost of the car allowing the vehicle to put energy onto the grid grid to have precise control over the charging of the vehicle electric cars can be used as grid regulation power company much much smaller amount of spinning reserve generating capability that’s not being used big cloud passes over the giant solar panel array in the Mojave Desert Altamont Pass vehicle to grid load shedding sheddable shedable load electric cars will become cheaper than internal combustion engine cars cost of batteries cost of making an electric car will match the cost of making an equivalent gasoline powered car, probably in 2020 or 2022 it’s coming up pretty fast battery swapping batteries don’t have enough range too expensive most expensive part of the car making it more expensive swap them in adapting to climate change science fiction writer we know how to have a really advanced society that is carbon neutral we’re gonna have to adapt to the climate change HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech Tesla cell size comes from the first principles of physics & economics fuel cells batteries Battery electric vehicles outperform hydrogen fuel cell vehicles Honda Clarity all the shortcomings fundamental to fuel cell cars Tesla founders Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning electric vehicles start-ups Stanford University talk Tesla founders Martin Eberhard Marc Tarpenning controversial departure from Tesla partner early days of Tesla electric vehicles two engineer entrepreneurs shared interest fast cars environment starting companies lithium-ion lithium ion batteries what oil does to a local economy where our treasure ends up going pernicious effects of our fossil fuel addiction Middle East reducing fossil fuel usage Tesla was all about moving beyond gasoline this concept predates the involvement of Elon Musk initially came on board as an investor Elon Musk started as the company's biggest investor in the early days of the Roadster using less energy real careful well-to-wheels energy analysis dramatically better founding of Tesla /