Will Battery Recycling Help Tesla Motors' Massive Shortcoming?

Tesla Motors Model S. Photo: Tesla Motors.  

Is Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  )  Model S environmentally friendly? Well, thanks to its battery chemistry, the considerable environmental and social effects of lithium mining, and the battery's manufacturing carbon debt, the Model S isn't nearly as green as people want to believe.

Of course, advocates of Tesla Motors are quick to point out that recycling the battery can help, and produce a scenario in which lithium, or Li, can be mined once, and then continually recycled in EV batteries. But is that truly possible? Lets look at recycling, and what it could mean for Tesla Motors' batteries.

Bring on the science
There are three essential components to a lithium-ion, or Li-ion, battery: an anode (negative electrode -- often made from carbon), a cathode (positive electrode -- metal oxide such as lithium-cobalt oxide), and an electrolyte (conductor -- such as lithium salt). These components allow for the transfer of lithium ions. 

Tesla Model S base. Source: Oleg Alexandrov via Wikimedia Commons.

According to Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, the battery Tesla uses for the Model S is a Panasonic (NASDAQOTH: PCRFY  ) 18650-form-factor cell that utilizes the chemistry of nickel, cobalt, aluminum, and lithium ions for the battery's cathode material -- represented as LiNiCoAlO2, and often called an NCA battery. Additionally, SAE International reports that Straubel said of the battery: "We've totally custom-engineered that cell working jointly with Panasonic to create. It's an automotive cell, tested to automotive standards. It doesn't go into laptops anywhere." 

Further, while lithium is an essential component in this battery, it's nowhere nearly as expensive as cobalt and nickel, which are also contained in Tesla's cathode. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to recycling.

Recycling 101
In 2011, Tesla announced it was working with Umicore and Kinsbursky Brothers to recycle its batteries. Of course, since then, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has strongly hinted that the company will build a "giga" lithium battery factory, which will include the ability to recycle its batteries. However, until Tesla does, there's no way to evaluate the factory's recycling ability. So lets look at Umicore's existing process -- a world leader in recycling -- and see what the state of battery recycling is now.

Umicore Building. Source: AGC Glass Europe via Wikimedia Commons.

Currently, Umicore uses a process called smelting to extract nickel, cobalt, and other valuable metals from batteries. These metals are further refined, transformed, and can be reused in a battery'sLiMeO2 cathode (Me represents a transitional metal such as nickel, cobalt, or manganese) using newly purchased lithium -- not recycled. In addition, the smelting process burns the electrolyte and carbon anodes, and produces what's called a "slag fraction," which is where all the lithium ends up. This can then be used in construction materials -- like cement. 

Moreover, while it's possible to recycle lithium from slag by using a hydrometallurgical process, the preceding process doesn't do so. This is because lithium is a low-value element and, right now, it's not economical to recycle it. So, while the EPA estimates that 80%-90% of lithium is recoverable from recycling, it's important to note where it goes, exactly. In Umicore's case, into slag -- not a battery.

Unlike Umicore, Kinsbursky Brothers, along with its joint venture partner Toxco, uses a hydrometallurgical recovery process, which is able to recover dissolved electrolyte and lithium salts. This is then further processed to become lithium carbonate. Unfortunately, this process doesn't recycle as much of the battery. In fact, the EPA reports that four streams result from hydrometallurgical recovery: copper cobalt product (a mixture of copper, aluminum, and cobalt), cobalt filter cake (a mixture of cobalt and carbon), Li-ion fluff (a mixture of plastics and some steel), and lithium brine (dissolved electrolyte and lithium salts). The EPA states:

The copper cobalt product and cobalt filter cake, which comprise about 60% of the battery feed, are sold for further processing to metal refiners. The Li-ion fluff (about 30% of battery feed) is either disposed or sold to steel refiners. The fluff may contain as much as 65% steel, depending on the battery feed. Finally, the brine undergoes further processing, where it is recovered as lithium carbonate. 

Moreover, Argonne National Laboratory points out that even once a battery is recycled, the active material may be degraded, and the number of reuses might be limited for some of the material. Thus, it can't necessarily be reused in high-performance batteries, like those that are used in EVs.

Batteries for recycling. Source: Gabriel Acquistapace via Wikimedia Commons.

But, but, CLOSED LOOP!
When someone says, "closed loop recycling," it's important to understand what that means. Basically, it's when a material, or an element -- like cobalt or nickel -- is recycled and reused in another battery. However, it doesn't mean that 100% of a battery is recycled and reused, or that the battery using the recycled material is the same as the original battery.

In addition, while recycling can help reduce the need to extract fresh material, and therefore the environmental impact associated with producing said material, recycling isn't without its own energy requirements. Further, the Center for Transportation Research and Argonne National Laboratory states, "We see that a large percentage of the battery life-cycle energy, which is consumed during battery manufacturing using predominantly electricity, cannot be recovered by recycling."

Other things to consider: The few recycling processes currently in use are processes that can absolutely improve -- and no doubt they will. But, the Center for Transportation Research and Argonne National Laboratory estimates that even if by 2050 lithium becomes highly recycled, it won't eliminate the need for virgin lithium. In fact, the demand in 2050 will still be four times the current demand, even with high lithium recycling rates. Further, they say that reusing batteries -- for things like storing energy from photovoltaic panels -- will delay the return of material for recycling, and that will actually increase peak demand for virgin material. 

What all this boils down to
Recycling is absolutely essential and something we should invest in. Unfortunately, it's not a magic solution for Tesla's battery problem. The fact is, Tesla's battery cathode contains nickel and cobalt, and the EPA states that "batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, have the highest potential for environmental impacts, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health."

Furthermore, in order to obtain lithium in its pure form, it must be mined through hard rock, or salar brines -- the most popular method. Friends of the Earth, Europe states:

The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production. Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably harms the soil and also causes air contamination.

And last, but not least, Climate Central states that when using a current average U.S. grid mix of electricity, in 46 states, Tesla's Model S is the least climate-friendly EV, and it's worse than all but two hybrids when it comes to CO2 emissions over 100,000 miles of driving. Consequently, without a significant change to its current battery chemistry, it's unlikely that Tesla Motors will be the future paragon of green auto technology. As such, this is something potential Tesla investors should consider.

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Read/Post Comments (32) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 5:14 PM, CAGriffinX2 wrote:

    But Tesla does have a new battery pack in the works. It is a hybrid of half lithium-ion, and half metal-air. You will be able to choose which side of the pack you want to run off of, or both sides simultaneously. The lithium-ion side will provide maximum power output, while the metal-air side will provide greater range. If you choose to use both sides together, the electric motor will draw power from the lithium-ion side while the metal-air side transfers charging power over to the lithium-ion side. This is rumored to give the Model S (for example) a 400 mile range on a full charge.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 5:31 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    gibberish built on a foundation of gibberish is, well, GIBBERISH

    Katie has already written articles disputing the Model S's environmental friendliness. A deluge of comments in these articles has refuted her assertions.

    Just a little over a week ago, ELON MUSK AND JB STRAUBEL DIRECTLY ADDRESSED THESE QUESTIONABLE CLAIMS. When asked about reporting such as Katie's the two said Tesla has conducted it's own studies going as far upstream in production as possible.

    the result?

    the Model S has virtually the same production impact as other cars. In fact, in under 10,000 miles it overtakes other vehicles to have a net positive environmental impact. the company is exploring publishing these results in white paper.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 5:42 PM, Johnny04 wrote:

    I don't mind that Tesla's Model S is the least climate-friendly EV, as long as it's more climate friendly than any gasoline-powered vehicle. That's still a huge step forward. I mean you can't expect the safest & best car to also be the most climate friendly, do you? The idea of comparing the battery of one car that can go 250 miles with cars that go 20-75 miles is not fundamentally sound. Of course, it's less climate-friendly.

    Tesla already talks about hybrid battery. I doubt we will still be stuck with li-ion battery in 2050.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 6:19 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Actually SteveTG3, there were plenty of comments, but not a single one that accurately refuted my claims.

    Now, if you find something specific in the above article that you can accurately, and with proof, refute, I'm open to hearing it. But if it's your intention to just throw baseless accusations, frankly, that's a reflection of your bias. Not mine.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:37 PM, teslaman wrote:

    Many of the Tesla owners in California have installed solar panels on their houses and they power their cars 100% with sunlight. Here, the car runs 100% clean. Zero emissions, forever.

    The batteries are plenty recyclable, PERIOD. END OF STORY.

    if this author made a case, its that the large scales needed to economically justify the recycling of Li-ion batteries simply cannot be reached with the small quantities involved with laptop and power tool batteries.

    Production of li-ion cell will increase 5-fold in the next 3 years, and likely will be 20-fold in 10 years. Yes, I made those numbers up.

    But whatever it ends up being, the scale will be there. And Musk is building the recycling plant to take advantage of those economies of scale.

    And for further efficiency he's seamlessly integrating the recycling process into the production process.

    With the obvious (and practically UNASSAILABLE) benefits of a car that can run ENTIRELY on solar power, and which can store the necessary energy in a perfectly recyclable battery, you have to be suspicious of the motivation of someone who tries so hard to knock it down.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:47 PM, 68surfer wrote:

    @TMFKSpence might I suggest that you do more research when writing. There is excellent research done by scientists at UCLA that might better educate you in the matter of whether Teslas are more Eco friendly or not. Do a google search for your own info thanks.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 7:47 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Katie,

    first, Musk and Straubel have now directly stated that stories such as yours are wrong and that in less than one year, the Model S is a net positive for the environment based on a study Tesla has conducted.

    second, there are close to 200 comments on your recent article contending that the Model S is not what it seems to be environmentally. I still say there was a torrent of comments refuting your claims. you now make the claim that none of them accurately refuted your claim. rather than go back and forth on whether they were accurate refutations or not, it would seem to make the most sense that anyone reading this look at the original article and comments themselves and decide what is rational.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/19/tesla-motor...

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:01 PM, weaponz wrote:

    The biggest flaw of the Climate Central data is that they base their results on Hawkins study data. The flaws of the Hawkins study is that they assume that gasoline is already drilled and refined and waiting at regional distribution centers.

    Then they have things like this:

    "The cradle-to-gate battery production impacts estimated by Majeau-Bettez and colleagues (2011) (22 kg CO2-eq/kg) are substantially higher than the estimates by Notter and colleagues (2010) (6 kg CO2-eq/kg) or Samaras and Meisterling (2008) (9.6 kg CO2-eq/kg). These differences, which mostly stem from differing assumptions concerning manufacturing energy requirements and system boundaries, are indicative of the need for better public primary inventory data from the battery industry."

    Translation: We saw many studies using much lower numbers but instead of averaging them out we took the worst one for EVs.

    On top of that, the battery chemistry of the Tesla Model S was not used in the Hawkins study as it was based on the leaf.

    And I am not even going to start with the fact that Hawkin study was done by NTNU funded by statoil and holds annual "Statoil Day"

    Now as far as recycling goes, first of all part of the battery is recycled by Tesla, another part is recycled by their partners. Even if the lithium is used in other places, it is still being recycled and used instead of new lithium. And while there will always be a need to mine new lithium, the need would be depleted. Eventually though, the batteries would be fully recycled.

    At end of the day, drilling 1kg of oil is far more economically damaging that mining 1kg of lithium. Except the lithium is reused. The oil is burned and gone forever.

    And you completely missed what close loop recycling is.

    But you are in luck, in Norway Tesla said they will publish a whitepaper on the actual battery production and car production. So instead of having studies based on circumstantial information and guesstimates. Tesla will publish the real numbers. The only thing they mentioned so far is that it takes less than 10,000 miles to break even compared to a gasoline car.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 10:42 PM, FrankoJames wrote:

    Musk might be able to transform the current TSLA into a completely solar powered machine of goodness or just decide yo maintain the status quo and polute the hell out of the world with batteries.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:01 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    SteveTG3, perhaps I wasn't clear, please provide SCIENTIFIC evidence to back your claim. Not someone's say-so. If and when Musk releases a white paper, I'm sure it will be subjected to verification. Until that time there's no way to verify it. Further, Musk's comments regarding a net positive Model S were in regards to an ICE vehicle, not a hybrid or PHEV, which is what the EPA and CC looked at, "It looks like, on average, “energy payback” of the Model S comes at around 10,000 miles. After that, it’s having a net benefit compared to gasoline-powered cars."

    Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/08/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-cto-...

    If your claim regarding the comments is correct, you shouldn't have a problem finding one that disproves my argument. If you can't, your claim is false.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:05 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Weapionz, per Climate Central: "Several readers thought that for gasoline we considered only the emissions from combustion and not the full lifecycle emissions (including emissions during oil extraction, transportation, and refining). As we wrote in the report, we did consider the full lifecycle emissions for gasoline. To do otherwise would not be an apples-to-apples comparison." http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/you-asked-we-answered-re...

    I encourage you to take the time to understand recycling. It's clear from your statements you have much to learn.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2014, at 11:58 PM, mdk wrote:

    all these craps are for TSLA not for Tesla

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 1:23 AM, dienn wrote:

    Katie, I know you are quite young but let be honest: you use your smart phone, computer, and others which are likely to be thrown out in a 2-3 years. Those are built in the order of hundreds of millions a year. Guess what? they all use lithium ion batteries.

    I applaud you for doing a little bit more research this time. However, how could you honestly say to yourself that EV is worse than hybrid with nothing to back it up? Do you realize that you pollute your neighborhood whenever you step into your ICE car? If not, just think that when you are in a car with window downed and smell the tailpipe from another ICE in front of your car? Please don't write article just for degrading a stock -- write it because you know it is the right thing to do. So far you haven't been right, sorry. BTW, I'm too from Colorado Springs and if you want to know amazing Tesla Model S is let me know!

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 2:10 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    Comparing Tesla to compact hybrids and EV's instead of the MBZ S class it competes against? Wonder what the carbon footprint of it's BMW, Audi, Cadillac competitors is? Could not find that information in the article.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 2:18 AM, AdvanderMeer wrote:

    What is missing here is the fact that while an EV battery is useless in an EV after it loses more that 25% of its capacity, it can still be used for other purposes. I could imagine the cells of a Tesla Model S being used as home battery bank to store solar energy. This would extend the battery life and change the equation completely.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 7:13 AM, RobertFaheyJr wrote:

    Tesla is an octopus with credibility reaching everywhere. If its green cred takes a hit among scientists, that's akin to a boo-boo on one of its tentacles. Doesn't affect my TSLA story.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 10:02 AM, MrBoylan wrote:

    Overall, it's an informative, well-written article. But there is a clear bias against Tesla due to selective inclusion, exclusion and interpretation of the data. But then again, who can say they are completely without bias? I only have a couple of contentions.

    First, measuring Tesla based on the "average electricity grid usage" is not really a fair measurement. States that have the highest number of Tesla owners also tend to use the least amount of coal to produce electricity. And while there are now Tesla cars registered in all 50 states, there are many more registered in states that are well below the national average for coal usage. California is the poster child with close to half of *all* Teslas sold in the US registered in that state (48% as of November 2013, per Edmunds.com).

    In California, only 7.5% of electricity generated comes from coal, with 16% from renewables (solar/wind/hydro) and about 43% from Natural Gas (http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.h.... So, while the nation still may get around 40% of its electricity from coal, this percentage is dropping every year, and current Tesla owners are much more likely to be using greener sources of electricity (including installing their own solar panels, as I and many Tesla owners have done).

    Also, I have a slight problem with this statement: "Further, they say that reusing batteries -- for things like storing energy from photovoltaic panels -- will delay the return of material for recycling, and that will actually increase peak demand for virgin material." If Tesla Lithium Ion batteries are used for grid storage after their usable automotive life (which is exactly what Tesla announced along with partner Solar City last year), then existing car battery packs will be used for purposes that would otherwise be served by *new* Lithium Ion battery packs, so actually this *lessens* demand for new raw materials and it delays the timeline for their eventual recycling.

    I understand you are writing from a contrarian viewpoint and trying to draw attention to the flaws in Tesla's system that are normally glossed over by Tesla fanboys, but calling Tesla's shortcomings "massive" and dwelling only on the negative aspects of its current battery technology is not helping your credibility. And it's trivializing the impact of one of the most disruptive (and ecologically forward-thinking) companies that I can recall in recent memory. Tesla is using the best battery technology available to kickstart the EV revolution. Improvements in battery tech will come with time but even with its current drawbacks, a lithium ion-powered Tesla is much more ecologically sound (not to mention more fun) than virtually all of the ICE cars it is displacing.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:05 PM, caddieo wrote:

    What a lopsided evaluation. If one wants to criticize the CO2/pollution footprint of battery and electricity production, then one has to fairly compare it to the CO2/pollution footprint behind the production of the power sources of internal combustion engines - i.e. the pollution of the entire oil industry. The extraction, transportation and refining of oil for fuel purposes as well as the transportation and distribution of that fuel has considerably more adverse impact than battery and electricity production. Re- the latter, there is considerable variation of the CO2 impact depending on the basis of the production - from the 96% use of coal in West Virginia to the 76% hydroelectric sources in Idaho. There are only 20 states where coal accounts for more than 50% of electricity production. And by the way, the oil industry also uses a lot of electricity. Go figure.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:26 PM, dlwatib wrote:

    Foolish article. Clearly you have not thought through the implications of continuing to base the world's transportation systems on depleting fuels. It really doesn't matter how polluting current battery production is. The fact is that battery production can only get better with further investment, which will only come with expanded current use. Meanwhile, oil usage for fuel is unsustainable. That means you can't keep doing it no matter how much you may want to, because it gets used up and not replenished. What part of "impossible to continue indefinitely" do you not understand?

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 12:27 PM, RobertFaheyJr wrote:

    This just in: China is extending its electric-car subsidies, driving TSLA up over five percent to an all-time high. Apparently folks in China are more concerned about the black cloud over their heads than an academic debate about the provenance and eventual disposition of a Tesla battery.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 6:10 PM, energy2222 wrote:

    I've driven the Tesla and like it a lot. It costs a bit more than I'd care to pay for a car, but, it's beautifully engineered and drives great. All that said, I think Ms. Spence has done the public a great service with this article. The recycling of lithium-ion batteries is a money-losing proposition. It's hard to imagine how Elon Musk hopes to make money with it when everyone else is losing money. Also, has anyone ever seen what happens when a lithium battery blows up? Warning: don't try to put out a lithium battery fire with water. Fire departments have tried that with disastrous results. But, let's talk about the other battery inside the Tesla, the 12 V lead-acid battery without which the car wouldn't even start. Yes, the Tesla has a lead-acid battery and it just so happens that it can be readily handed over to a recycler who will recover the lead and plastic and reformulate it into materials that are used and reused. By the way, lead-acid battery recycling is a highly profitable business, with companies like Johnson Controls, Doe Run, RSR and Gopher Resource doing very well running some of the cleanest, best managed facilities anywhere in the world. Can lithium batteries ever be recycled as profitably as lead-acid batteries? Maybe, but it will take a long time for that to happen.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 8:42 PM, truenorth00 wrote:

    Tesla investors should care about potential battery supply issues and all the attendant supply chain concerns. But why should I care about the Model S being the least carbon efficient EV? Who cross-shops a Model S and a Nissan Leaf? And who cares really when the car is substantially cheaper to operate than its real competition: the full size luxury marques.

    Silly analysis. Nobody buys a Model S because the care about emissions. They are buying it because it offers an amazing ownership experience (as per reports) and low operating costs. Just ask Apple how well a good ownership experience sells. Heck, Lexus sells souped up Camrys as Lexus using brand, customer experience and exclusivity. Imagine what Tesla can do with a car that fundamentally is lower maintenance.

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2014, at 9:56 PM, Jim5437532 wrote:

    Lithium batteries contain other materials that are dangerous like cobalt and nickel. These can be very dangerous to the environment and human health. Recycling isn't a magic answer. Recycling facilities are typically major polluters and often put employees and locals at health risk. Recycling centers have polluted water tables.

    It's much like "environmentally friendly" fluorescent light bulbs poisoning the environment.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 12:03 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @katie

    you wrote:

    "If your claim regarding the comments is correct, you shouldn't have a problem finding one that disproves my argument. If you can't, your claim is false."

    Katie, there are five core reasons I disagree with your contentions about the Model S's environmental impact.

    the one reason that you are questioning me about is the debate between you and over a dozen posters whose comments contested your claims.

    any motley fool reader can read your claims and the claims of those who reached the opposite conclusion of your own in this link,

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/19/tesla-motor...

    while I may not have the background (or the time) to read through all of the refutations of your claims and consolidate and communicate them as effectively as they were originally presented, I did, and do, have the ability to read the back and forth and conclude that the arguments against your claims are more persuasive than the argument you have made.

    again, this is but one of five reasons I do not agree with your claims.

    and, on a personal level, please do not mistake my interest in motley fool readers having accurate information to use for their decisions as an attack or judgement of you as a person.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 1:42 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    SteveTG3,

    I'm not asking you to consolidate the entirety of the claims. I'm asking you to find one. If, as you say, there are dozens of comments that accurately refute my claims, finding one as an example shouldn't be hard or time consuming. Once you've found one, please post it here (copy and paste is fine), and then we can discuss its merits, or lack thereof. If, however, you fail to find a comment that accurately refutes my claims, your argument that dozens of comments accurate refuted my claims, is false.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 2:42 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Katie,

    I will only spend time engaging in a discussion with someone on an issue if I feel that they are genuinely trying to explore an understanding of the topic rather than advance a personal agenda.

    I find your writings to reveal a personal agenda, but I will offer you the opportunity to prove otherwise.

    You have written at least 7 or 8 articles on Tesla in the past year or so. let's say 7. if you were unbiased, and Tesla were an average company (equal chance positive point to be made to negative point to be made), there would be a 1 in 128 chance that all 7 of your articles would present a negative thesis about Tesla.

    Given that Tesla has not been average over the past year, but rather had one of the most stunningly successful years of any enterprise in history, the odds that 7 unbiased stories in a row would present a negative thesis are roughly 1 in 2,000 (this is based on assuming a 2 in 3 chance of a given Tesla article being positive amid this year of extraordinary achievement... perhaps given all the positive Tesla news, a 3 in 4 chance for any article having a positive underlying message, or 1 in 16,000 chance of 7 straight negative sentiment unbiased articles would be a more accurate estimation of the probability of such a track record).

    How many of the past 7 articles you've written here at the Motley Fool can you offer as an example of an article where the underlying point you make about Tesla is positive? Can you offer an example of even one such article and drop the probability toward 1 in 700 that you are approaching Tesla without a negative bias?

    1 in 700 is pretty slim odds, but if you can drop the odds that you are not biased to 1 in 700 I will reconsider your request.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 3:24 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    SteveTG3,

    Am I to understand that you're unable to find a single comment? Interesting. Nice try at deflection, by the way, but let's stick with your original argument before moving to a new one; that the comments disprove my article. If you're going to make an accusation, you'd better be prepared to back it up. So far, you've failed. Now, I've no interest in engaging with you further if you're going to continue with this run-around. Defend your argument, or admit it was false.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 3:28 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @Katie, correction,

    if I am correctly recalling my old math classes, if 1 in 2,000 is the correct odds that 7 consecutive negative message articles are written by an author without bias, your finding 1 in of those last 7 articles that is not negative, would actually drop the odds of your being unbiased to 1 in 100.

    here's a list of 7 positive developments for Tesla over the past year you might want to check and see if one of your past 7 articles focused on:

    -Tesla achieving 20,000 vehicle per year run rate (something widely doubted they would stay in business to achieve)

    -Consumer Reports giving the Model S the highest rating in its history, a 99 only achieved once before by all the other automakers in over 70 years.

    -Tesla turning cash flow positive

    - Tesla indicating that demand for North America for the Model S is running at 20,000 orders per year, what had previously been their goal for global demand

    - Tesla's stock hitting $40, 50, 60... $190

    - Tesla indicating that they see sales volume increasing 25X to 500,000 vehicles per year by the end of the decade

    - Tesla accelerating their deployment of Solar powered free to use SuperCharging stations, and demonstrating live battery swap technology faster than filling a gasoline powered car

    and as a bonus, of course,

    Tesla publicly stating that they see a clear path ("no miracles required") to delivering a $35K car with 200+ miles of range in 2017 against the backdrop of an industry without any other manufacturers offering even the suggestion of such a car in development (with the exception of some vague comments from GM in the middle of last year).

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 3:35 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    SteveTG3,

    Defend your original argument. This conversation is over until you do.

    TMFKSpence

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 3:36 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @Katie,

    realizing the futility of trying to engage in an honest discussion of an issue with someone who has a bias is common sense, not deflection.

    sure, we could have simply asked Bernie Madoff if he had defrauded investors. I am very confident his answer would have been "no." should we have done this and called it a day?

    of course not. when someone is acting out of personal motive (and again I don't judge you if the 1 in 2,000 probability is what it seems to be and this is indeed what you are doing) it is naive to take them at face value and do business, or explore understanding with them.

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 4:54 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Motley Fool, thank you!

    I am really impressed and heartened by your integrity in allowing me the opportunity to express my point of view even when it is contrary to the contentions of one of your contributors!

  • Report this Comment On February 26, 2014, at 3:49 PM, ewarf wrote:

    Arguments FOR or AGAINST recycling Li-Ion batteries are nothing but noise and confusion.

    I've driven the Tesla Model S. It's an amazing car. The electrification of the automobile is well underway and that cat is not going back in the bag.

    The only things of relevance for the average consumer regarding the Plug-In EV are:

    1. How much does the car cost?

    2. What is the range of (any) EV compared to an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) auto for a given driving application (e.g., in-town commuting, long-distance commuting, etc.)?

    3. How easy is it to charge the vehicle (at home, at a public charging station, etc.) versus "filling the tank" at a gas station?

    4. How long does it take to charge to the EV?

    5. What is the lifespan of an EV's battery pack - 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, etc.?

    6. What is my driving experience in changing road conditions compared to an ICE auto?

    There are other things to ask when considering an EV, and you can add to this list if you like. However, esoteric arguments will NEVER sink into the general public's thinking. The general public will only concern themselves with the functionality of the vehicle and its associated costs.

    ...and THAT will determine whether Tesla (or any other EV auto company) survives and thrives. It's just business.

    Personally, I like Plug-In EVs like the Tesla Model S or the Nissan Leag. I like the idea of charging my car at home (or abroad) for pennies on the dollar compared to operating an ICE auto with its (more-involved) maintenance. However, if an EV company cannot supply me with reliable personal transportation at a price point comparable to (or less than) that of an ICE auto, then I'm not investing in the company and I'm not buying their product. It's that simple. I don't get hung up on the "environmental friendliness" of the vehicle, and I'm certain the average consumer won't either.

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