Tesla's Battery Deal More Significant Than Just The Batteries

from the vroom dept

Electric car startup Tesla Motors has signed a deal to sell $43 million worth of lithium-ion battery packs to a Norwegian electric car company. This is a big deal for the company, as it's evidence of a growing market for the company's technology. The technology, however, is only part of the story. What's interesting is that a new generation of auto companies have business models that look more like computer makers than Detroit automakers. Instead of simply thinking about the car as the finished product, new companies in the automotive space (with Tesla being the most prominent) are able to focus on specific technology problems while nimbly swapping in and out parts made by other companies. It'll be some time before the change is complete, but it's clear that the technology itself is only part of the revolution.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:25am

    Would you...

    ...buy a car where Sony made the batteries?

    (First!)

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Theoden, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:26am

    Re: Would you...

    Only if I needed the insurance money from the fire!

     

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  3.  
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    bob, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:27am

    (loser)

     

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  4.  
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    dorpus, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:29am

    How is this any different?

    The auto industry has long had parts suppliers that focus on a specific part of auto production. How is this any different from the past? Are we sure that the computer industry did not imitate the auto industry's supply chain model in the first place?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:30am

    Re: Would you...

    For the same reason I want a Fiero: because it's cool.

     

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  6.  
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    Casper, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:33am

    Whatever...

    I don't care if my next car is powered by batteries or hamsters, just as long as it's as fast or faster then a gas car, performs as well or better, and I'm not getting screwed on parts and labor.

     

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  7.  
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    Dirtboy, May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:36am

    I forsee it more like laptops

    The assembly line and replaceable parts is what helped to make the production of automocars so efficient. In the past 100 years, though, they have been increasingly moving towards more proprietary parts. The parts are replaceable, as long as you purchase from the car's manufacturer. They like it this way, as a 6X markup on an alternator should tell you.

    I doubt they will totally drop this market for more standard interchangeable parts. Think of it more as a laptop instead of a desktop. You can't build your own from scratch, but maybe you will be able to upgrade the batteries from another source.

     

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  8.  
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    GoblinJuice, May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    Uber cool Computer Car + Bonzi Buddy = Much Hilarity! :D

    Btw: Tesla was cool. Let's hope the company can live up to the name.

     

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  9.  
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    CowHerd Anon, May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Would you...

    Well, until they got hot, anyway...

     

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  10.  
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    CowHerd Anon, May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:39pm

    Re: I forsee it more like laptops

    Umm....

    automocars?

    Homer? is that you?

     

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  11.  
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    SubjectChanger, May 22nd, 2007 @ 12:51pm

    Can I ask a question?

    Slightly tangential, but can I ask a question?

    How high does the gas price have to get before you would move close enough to work to cycle or walk instead of driving?

    $8 a gallon? (Yes I know this is normal price in UK)
    $12 a gallon?
    $20?
    How much is too much?

     

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  12.  
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    dennly, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:02pm

    hybrid autos - batteries

    they're the Achillies heel, they wear out before the car does, and then cost more than the car is worth (at 5 to 8 years old, say) ... are we we being taken to the cleaners on this bit of so called smart technology?

    And then there is the auto that runs on compressed air , where are they? That could be THE answer.

     

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  13.  
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    anonymous coward, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:17pm

    Imagine sitting on the freeway talking to a DellAuto customer support technician in Bangalore telling you to insert your DellAuto Restore CD (which is at home) because your car's drive crashed and you need a clean install.

    After two hours of reinstall hell, your car still doesn't work, and then you find that the problem is actually something that the DellAuto tech never mentioned and that could be fixed in five minutes...

     

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  14.  
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    Almost there, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Can I ask a question?

    $0

    I got my new job a month after signing a lease. I don't want to pay the penalty fees to break contract, but as soon as the lease is up I'm moving right next to work.

     

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  15.  
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    Jose, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Whatever...

    Sounds like you should get a Tesla then.

     

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  16.  
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    Johan Christian Høgåsen-Hallesby, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:42pm

    Brainstorming with Google

    Supposedly the 'new business model' is a product of the brainstorming Think! had with Google. a while back.

     

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  17.  
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    MD, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Can I ask a question?

    You must live in a large city...

    Some of us live in rural areas where we have to commute...

    I'd rather live rural and commute, than be stuffed in a "ratbox" big city

     

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  18.  
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    You never know, May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    Any car that runs on a renewable resource gets my vote. Be it methanol, ethanol, hydrogen or electricity, All can be produced in country, and exported. The big pulse it will provide jobs for our people, stimulate our economy, and not use up resources we no longer have an abundance of. If I have to pay $3 or more a unit for energy I would prefer it stay here and not spent over seas.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Bob, May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Can I ask a question?

    So, you would rather be stuffed in a little rat-box car stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours each way .... I live IN Atlanta and watch many, MANY commuters stuck in jams both ways 5 days a week. Of course houseing costs in the city are much higher than in the 'burbs and to get to truly rural living you might end up driving 3.5 to 4 hours each way. So, what is the cost worth? 8 hours of work plus 8 hours of drive time = very little time to have a life of your own. Of course, you might live where there isn't much traffic and your commute is less than an hour each way ....

     

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  20.  
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    Almost there, May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Can I ask a question?

    Not quite a large city. I live in a suburban area. About a year and a half ago I moved after having lived in a rural area for 20 years, so I know that experience. The area I live in now is far from "ratbox" though.

     

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  21.  
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    Datahound, May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Can I ask a question?

    I was thinking 5$ would cause me to stop driving and start biking the 10 miles to work.

    I really hope that if gas prices went that high that our municipalities would invest in bike paths so I didn't have to worry about getting run over. I would do it today if they existed.

     

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  22.  
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    Jonathan26, May 22nd, 2007 @ 3:10pm

    Hi-priced gas

    ... and if you bike to work, you can drop your fitness club membership too. You will arrive with your metabolism up and not needing a shot of Starbucks, another savings.
    Not all of us can, but there are a lot of benefits for those who do. What would you do with an extra kilobuck a year?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2007 @ 3:14pm

    Haven't you heard about Microsoft's new OS for the auto industry? Your car will unexpectedly crash every few days, but hey, it's the wave of the future!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Almost there, May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:03pm

    Re:

    This is a shameful truth about the MS OS for automobiles. Unfortunately, the only way to run a Mac OS vehicle will be with Mac-compatible fuels, and these will be sold almost exclusively at the Apple store.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Thought Cancer, May 22nd, 2007 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Can I ask a question?

    Well, I can tell you this much: it's not just gas prices that are preventing people from moving closer to where they live. The people I talk to cite job security as a big reason why they're not about to rearrange their lives around their workplace. I feel the same way, given how I live in a Right To Work state, where employers have exactly zero obligation and responsibility to the worker.

    How about I move 30 miles closer to my employer and I am let go, downsized, fired, or otherwise dismissed? How about the non-compete that I am required to sign in my industry prevents me from working for a competitor in the region for three years? How now, brown cow?

    In this era of free-agent employment, one has to look out for themselves, since no one else will. With the decline of unions and the rise of anti-worker legislation and regulations, it's a fools errand for a worker to build their domestic life around proximity to their employer.

    It's not just the gas prices, it's the whole employment system that's fubar'ed.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Shaine Mata, May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:00pm

    Missing the point

    I don't think it was intended to imply that cars would run like computers. I think the point is that cars could be built from components.

    You could, for example, get a Toyota engine, GMC chassis, and a custom body. If automakers built cars with standardized components, they could sell pre-built autos or sell you the parts to make your own in combination with parts from other automakers.

    Thus, this story points out a step in that direction.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Ivan Ilic, Feb 3rd, 2008 @ 4:49pm

    Tesla Car

    The ORIGINAL Tesla Car"ARROW"was real THING!500miles distance no need to charg battery!!It can Go 95.MPH..!That was in 1933!Today The New Car on Bottery Just suck!Onlu 200milas is a distance!need 4-5 hours to charge battery!Who much is a charging????We need the original Tesla Car!No imitasion!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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