Paper: The Tesla Roadster: An Evaluation

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The Tesla Roadster is a state‐of‐the art electric car that is taking the automotive world by storm. In this analysis I evaluate the sustainability of the Tesla Roadster based on the principles of Edwin Datschefski’s Total Beauty framework.

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Paper: The Tesla Roadster: An Evaluation

  1. 1. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The
Tesla
Roadster:
An
Evaluation
 

 
 
by
Steve
Puma
The
Tesla
Roadster
is
a
state‐of‐the
art
electric
car
that
is
taking
the
automotive
world
by
storm.
In
this
analysis
we
evaluate
the
sustainability
of
the
Tesla
Roadster
based
on
the
 
principles
of
Edwin
Datchefski’s
Total
Beauty
framework.
 
 
 
 
 
Sustainable
Products
and
Services
(SUS
6090)
Instructor:
Nathan
Shedroff
Presidio
School
of
Management
 
 Ta
  2. 2. 2
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION

 Table
of
Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................................3
Description
of
the
Tesla
Roadster.................................................................................3
Choice
of
Framework ...................................................................................................4
Sustainability
of
Tesla
Roadster,
Based
on
Datchefskis"Total
Beauty"
Framework ......4
Cyclic ............................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Solar................................................................................................................................................................................. 6
Efficient .......................................................................................................................................................................... 7
Social ............................................................................................................................................................................... 9
Safe................................................................................................................................................................................ 10
How
Can
We
Make
It
Better? .....................................................................................10
Conclusion .................................................................................................................12
Works
Cited ...............................................................................................................13

 
 
 

  3. 3. Introduction
We
 have
 chosen
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 because
 we
 are
 both
 passionate
 about
 speed,
cars
 and
 transportation,
 and
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 presents
 a
 unique
 opportunity
 to
evaluate
a
"green"‐marketed
product
from
a
sustainability
standpoint.

We
feel
that
the
 Tesla
 is
 a
 great
 product
 for
 changing
 the
 public
 perception
 of
 what
 an
 electric
car
is,
from
that
of
a
slow,
short‐range
ungainly
niche
vehicle
to
a
high‐performance,
zero‐emissions
 eye‐catcher.
 
 This
 is
 an
 important
 shift,
 if
 sustainable
 automobiles
(and
other
products)
are
ever
to
become
mainstream,
or
even
desirable.
But,
 even
 with
 its
 low‐emissions
 nature,
 the
 Tesla
 is
 not
 a
 perfectly
 "sustainable"
product.

There
are
still
many
things
that
could
be
changed
to
make
it
that
way,
and
we
felt
that
this
makes
the
Tesla
a
very
interesting
candidate
for
study.
 Description
of
the
Tesla
Roadster
The
 Tesla
 Roadster
 is
 high‐efficiency
 and
 high‐performance
 electric
 sports
 car,
which
 takes
 advantage
 of
 some
 of
 the
 unique
 features
 of
 electric
 propulsion
 in
 an
attempt
 to
 make
 environmentally
 friendly
 automobiles
 "sexy".
 The
 Wall
 Street
Journal
Online
described
the
Tesla
as
"a
$98,000
electric
roadster...that
uses
6,831
lithium‐ion
batteries
similar
to
those
used
in
laptop
computers,
a
patented
electric‐motor
 system,
 and
 a
 highly
 sophisticated
 package
 of
 controllers
 and
 software
 to
deliver
an
exotically
attractive
car
that
zaps
from
standstill
to
60
miles
per
hour
in
under
four
seconds
and
can
travel
up
to
245
miles
on
a
single
charge."(White)

By

redefining
what
an
electric
car
can
be,
the
Tesla
Roadster
is
an
important
tool
in
the
effort
to
make
energy
efficient
transportation
seem
appealing
to
the
average
driver.
The
real
question
to
be
answered,
"is
the
Tesla
Roadster
sustainable?"
The
Tesla
Roadster
is
the
brainchild
of
"Martin
Eberhard
and
his
business
partner
Marc
 Tarpenning
 [who]
 founded
 a
 company
 based
 on
 a
 portable
 eBook
 reader.
Frustrated
at
the
mainstream
auto
industrys
inability
to
create
an
effective
electric
car
 that
 had
 mass
 appeal
 (he
 often
 refers
 to
 early
 electric
 cars
 as
 "punishment
cars"),
 Eberhard
 decided
 to
 create
 one
 himself"
 (Grabianowski).
 
 
 The
 Roadster
 is
the
 first
 in
 what
 the
 company
 hopes
 will
 be
 a
 full
 line
 of
 cars,
 including
 a
 luxury
sedan
 and
 an
 economy
 car.
 
 By
 beginning
 with
 the
 luxury
 market,
 Tesla
 Motors
hopes
 to
 avoid
 the
 image
 problems
 that
 have
 plagued
 previous
 attempts
 at
 mass‐producing
an
electric
car,
such
as
Fords
EV‐1.

It
is
hoped
that
the
lessons
learned
from
the
Roadster
will
trickle
down
to
the
less
expensive
offerings.
The
 Tesla
 Roadsters
 chassis
 is
 loosely
 based
 on
 the
 Lotus
 Elise,
 with
 the
 cars
sharing
 a
 similar
 look.
 
 The
 basic
 design
 of
 the
 car
 is
 very
 simple:
 a
 single
 electric
motor,
coupled
with
a
2‐speed
transmission
and
powered
by
a
lithium‐ion
battery
pack,
 is
 situated
 on
 an
 extruded‐aluminum
 chassis
 and
 covered
 by
 a
 carbon‐fiber
body.
 
 According
 to
 he
 companys
 website,
 "the
 Power
 Electronics
 Module
 (PEM)
contains
 high‐voltage
 electronics
 that
 control
 the
 motor
 and
 allow
 for
 integrated
battery
 charging.
 
 The
 motor
 and
 PEM
 have
 been
 designed
 as
 a
 tightly
 integrated
system
 that
 delivers
 up
 to
 185
 kW
 of
 motor
 output"(Tesla
 Motors).
 Wheels,
 tires,
brakes
 and
 interior
 components
 are
 all
 industry
 standard
 fare.
 All
 systems
 are
designed
to
maximize
power
and
range
and
to
minimize
weight.
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION
 3


  4. 4. 4
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION

While
the
Tesla
Roadster
is
a
huge
step
forward
in
terms
of
electric
car
development
and
 energy
 efficiency,
 there
 are
 many
 things
 about
 its
 design
 that
 would
 not
 be
considered
"sustainable",
such
as
the
energy
it
takes
to
produce
its
batteries
or
the
inability
 to
 recycle
 its
 carbon‐fiber
 body.
 In
 addition,
 it
 merely
 shifts
 the
 power
source
from
fossil
fuels
burned
by
the
vehicle
to
fossil
fuels
burned
by
power
plants.

We
have
found
that
the
Tesla
Roadster
is
a
mixed
bag,
and
actually
has
a
long
way
to
go,
in
terms
of
sustainability.
 Choice
of
Framework
Before
explaining
why
we
chose
the
framework
for
evaluation
that
we
did,
wed
like
to
 explain
 why
 we
 didnt
 chose
 the
 ones
 we
 didnt.
 Of
 course,
 all
 6
 frameworks
presented
 in
 class
 represent
 valid
 ways
 to
 evaluate
 a
 product
 for
 sustainability.
Several
of
them
were
simply
too
unwieldy
to
be
useful
in
the
short
time
frame
which
we
had
to
complete
the
assignment.
Life­Cycle
Analysis
(LCA),Natural
Capitalism
and
 the
 Sustainability
 Helix
 all
 fall
 into
 this
 category,
 with
 Life‐Cycle
 Analysis
being
 the
 most
 cumbersome
 of
 the
 three.
 Both
 Natural
 Capitalism
 and
 the
Sustainability
 Helix
 account
 for
 factors
 that
 seem
 to
 be
 too
 broad
 in
 scope
 for
 our
needs,
including
things
like
economics
and
government.

The
next
three,
Cradle
to
Cradle,
Biomimicry
and
Natural
Step,
all
have
elements
which
seem
appropriate
for
our
use,
and
there
is
some
overlap
in
concepts,
especially
the
concept
of
cycling
"technical
nutrients"
through
a
closed
system
once
they
are
taken
out
of
the
Earths
crust.
 
 These
 three
 frameworks
 suffer
 from
 a
 lack
 of
 quantifyability;
 how
 will
 we
rate
the
relative
effectiveness
of
particular
products
in
these
frameworks?
Datchefskis
 "Total
 Beauty"
 framework
 solves
 these
 problems
 by
 giving
 us
 some
simple
rules
that
we
can
use
to
rate
a
product.
Total
Beauty
is
a
framework
that
was
made
specifically
to
score
individual
products,
and,
thus,
is
the
most
useful
for
the
purposes
of
this
exercise.

In
addition,
Total
Beauty
includes
many
of
the
concepts
that
 we
 find
 desirable,
 and
 which
 appear
 in
 other
 frameworks,
 including
 the
concepts
of
cyclicity
and
social
equity.
 Sustainability
of
Tesla
Roadster,
Based
on
 Datchefskis"Total
Beauty"
Framework
The
Tesla
Roadster
excels
in
some
parts
of
the
Total
Beauty
evaluation,
but
does
not
do
so
well
in
others.
 Cyclic
“The
product
is
made
from
organic
materials,
and
is
recyclable
or
compostable,
or
is
made
from
minerals
that
are
continuously
cycled
in
a
closed
loop.”
RATING:
15.6
Using
 information
 compiled
 from
 an
 interview
 with
 Stephen
 Davies,
 a
 Presidio
student
and
Tesla
Motors
Supply
Chain
Engineer,
plus
various
anecdotal
sources,
we
were
able
to
compile
the
following
chart:

  5. 5. %
of
Total
 Weight
 Component
 Weight
 %
Recycled
 Weight
 Recycled
 Battery
Pack
 992
lbs
 37%
 30%
 297.6
lbs
 Motor/Transmission
 150
lbs
 6%
 100%
 150
lbs
 PEM
 30
lbs
 1%
 20%
 6
lbs
 Chassis
 150
lbs
 6%
 100%
 150
lbs
 Body
 150
lbs
 6%
 50%
 75
lbs
 Wheels
 60
lbs
 2.20%
 100%
 60
lbs
 Tires
 100
lbs
 3.70%
 50%
 50
lbs
 Other
 1024
lbs
 38.10%
 0%
 0
lbs
 Total
 2690
lbs
 100%
 31.20%
 838.6
lbs
 Source:
Interview
with
Stephen
Davies,
Tesla
Motors
Engineer
%
of
recycled
material
used
in
manufacture
=
0%
%
that
is
recycled
at
end
of
life
=
31.2%
If
 we
 plug
 these
 numbers
 into
 the
 equation
 given
 to
 us
 by
 Datchefski,
 
 (the
 %
 of
recycled
 material
 used
 +
 the
 %
 that
 is
 recycled
 at
 end
 of
 life)
 /
 2,
 we
 get
 the
following:
 (0
+
31.2)/2
=
15.6
Therefore,
 we
 would
 rate
 the
 Tesla
 at
 a
 15.6
 out
 of
 100
 on
 this
 scale.
 This
 low
number
 shows
 just
 how
 difficult
 it
 is
 to
 achieve
 sustainability
 in
 this
 area.
 Tesla
would
most
likely
rank
very
well
when
compared
to
other
auto
manufacturers.
But,
in
 overall
 terms,
 they
 still
 have
 a
 long
 way
 to
 go;
 most
 notably
 in
 using
 more
recycled
raw
materials.
The
following
are
brief
descriptions
of
the
reclamation
efforts
that
are
currently
under
way
at
Tesla:
Batteries:
The
battery
pack
makes
up
over
a
third
of
the
total
weight
of
the
Tesla
Roadster,
 and
 the
 company
 makes
 some
 effort
 to
 recycle
 what
 is
 can
 from
 its
 use.
The
 problem
 lies
 in
 its
 construction.
 The
 6000‐plus
 lithium‐ion
 cells
 are
 held
together
in
a
resin
substrate,
which
is
surrounded
by
an
aluminum
box.

At
the
end
of
life,
the
aluminum
container
is
completely
recycled.
The
rest
of
the
battery
pack
is
processed
 by
 freezing
 and
 then
 shredding.
 This
 shredding
 process
 produces
 two
types
of
"fluff"
(shredded
material),
lithium
fluff
and
cobalt
fluff.

Cobalt
is
recovered
from
the
cobalt
fluff
and
the
lithium
fluff
is
land‐filled.
The
only
good
news
about
the
unrecoverable
 material
 is
 that
 lithium
 is
 not
 considered
 toxic,
 although
 this
 is
 still
less
than
ideal.
(Davies)
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION
 5


  6. 6. 6
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION

Motor/Transmission:
The
electric
motor
is
made
from
a
combination
of
aluminum
and
copper.

The
transmission
is
made
from
aluminum.
According
to
the
company,
these
components
are
100%
recyclable.
Chassis
 and
 Wheels:
 The
 chassis
 and
 wheels
 are
 also
 made
 from
 aluminum,
 and
are
therefore
also
100%
recyclable.
Power
 Electronics
 Module
 (PEM):
 This
 electronics
 control
 component
 is
 made
from
aluminum
with
silicon
and
other
electronic
components.
Tesla
estimates
that
means
 that
 this
 part
 is
 only
 20%
 recyclable,
 with
 the
 remainder
 needing
 to
 be
handled
as
electronics
waste.(Davies)
Body:
 To
 save
 weight,
 the
 Tesla
 Roadsters
 body
 is
 made
 from
 a
 carbon‐fiber
composite
material.
Unfortunately,
the
technology
does
not
currently
exist
to
reform
carbon
 fiber,
 so
 that
 the
 only
 thing
 to
 do
 with
 it
 at
 end‐of‐life
 is
 to
 “downcycle”
 it.

The
material
may
be
reused
in
other
applications
after
the
original
part
is
shredded.
The
 reuse
 applications
 are
 ones
 that
 do
 not
 require
 fibers
 as
 long
 as
 those
 in
 the
original
material:
 "Carbon
fiber
reinforced
plastics
have
an
almost
infinite
service
lifetime.
But
when
it
is
 time
to
recycle
them,
they
cannot
simply
be
melted
down
like
metals.
The
best
that
can
 be
done
is
to
mill
or
shred
them
to
reclaim
the
carbon
fiber,
which
shortens
the
fibers
 dramatically.
Just
as
with
recycled
paper,
the
shortened
fibers
ensure
that
the
recycled
 material
 is
 less
 strong
 than
 the
 material
 started
 with.
 But
 there
 are
 many
 industrial
 applications
 that
 dont
 need
 the
 full
 strength
 of
 full­length
 fiber
 reinforcement.
 For
 example,
 chopped
 reclaimed
 carbon
 fiber
 is
 used
 in
 consumer
 electronics,
 such
 as
 laptops,
where
it
provides
excellent
reinforcement
of
the
plastics
used,
even
if
it
lacks
 the
strength­to­weight
ratio
of
an
aerospace
component."
(Wikipedia)
Tires:
 Although
 Tesla
 Motors
 advertises
 that
 it
 has
 a
 recycling
 program
 for
 the
Yokohama
 tires
 it
 employs
 on
 the
 Roadster,
 the
 program
 is
 of
 the
 same
 kind
 as
 is
used
in
the
carbon
fiber
recovery
process.
Tires
are
currently
ground
up
for
use
in
other
processes,
such
as
filler
in
concrete
manufacture.

(Davies)
Other:
The
rest
of
the
vehicle
features
standard
components
found
on
many
other
vehicles,
 such
 as
 plastic
 dashboards,
 leather
 seats,
 and
 various
 other
 metal
 and
electronic
 components.
 As
 far
 as
 we
 know,
 there
 is
 no
 specific
 recycling
 that
 will
occur
for
these
parts.

However,
in
the
automotive
industry
it
is
very
common
to
see
many
 of
 these
 parts
 utilized
 as
 spares
 when
 the
 whole
 of
 the
 vehicle
 is
 no
 longer
serviceable.

Only
time
can
tell
if
this
will
or
will
not
be
the
case.
At
the
very
end,
the
remaining
components
may
be
land‐filled.
 Solar
The
product
uses
solar
energy
or
other
forms
of
renewable
energy
that
are
cyclic
and
safe,
both
during
use
and
manufacture.
RATING:
50
In
 the
 best‐case
 scenario,
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 can
 actually
 be
 used
 in
 a
 zero‐emissions,
zero‐consumption
mode.
This
can
be
achieved
by
charging
the
car
with
renewable
 energy
 sources.
 The
 company
 is
 planning
 on
 implementing
 a
 program

  7. 7. whereby
they
will
sell
customers
solar
panels
for
their
houses,
which
will
charge
the
car.

However,
even
in
the
worst‐case
scenario,
the
roadster
is
still
highly
efficient
compared
 to
 gasoline‐powers
 cars,
 and
 is
 also
 highly
 efficient
 when
 powered
 by
non‐renewable
 sources
 of
 electricity
 generation.
 
 According
 to
 Teslas
 2006
publication,
 "The
 21st
 Century
 Electric
 Car",
 "the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 only
 consumes
about
 110
 watt‐hours
 (0.40
 mega‐joules)
 of
 electricity
 from
 the
 battery
 to
 drive
 a
kilometer,
or
2.53
km/MJ.....Taking
into
account
the
well‐to‐electric‐outlet
efficiency
of
 electricity
 production
 and
 the
 electrical‐outlet‐to‐wheel
 efficiency
 of
 the
 Tesla
Roadster,
the
well‐to‐wheel
energy
efficiency
of
the
Tesla
Roadster
is
2.18
km/MJ
x
52.5%
 =
 1.14
 km/MJ,
 or
 double
 the
 efficiency
 of
 the
 Toyota
 Prius."(Eberhard
 and
Tarpenning)
It
 has
 been
 difficult
 to
 determine
 whether
 or
 not
 renewable
 energy
 is
 used
 in
 the
manufacture
 or
 assembly
 of
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster.
 We
 have
 been
 unable
 to
 find
 any
data
from
the
company
itself
on
whether
or
not
they
use
renewable
energy
during
any
 part
 of
 the
 process.
 Since
 the
 components
 are
 manufactured
 by
 various
companies
outside
the
U.S.,
and
final
assembly
is
completed
in
the
U.K.,
we
can
only
assume
 that
 the
 percentage
 is
 very
 small.
 
 In
 addition,
 transportation
 via
 sea
 and
land
would
add
a
large
amount
of
non‐cyclic
or
safe
energy
usage
to
the
equation.
 Efficient
The
product
in
manufacture
and
use
requires
90%
less
materials,
energy
and
water
than
products
providing
equivalent
utility
did
in
1990.
RATING:
50
When
 considering
 how
 to
 compare
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 in
 terms
 of
 materials
efficiency,
 we
 must
 think
 about
 what
 we
 mean
 by
 "equivalent
 utility".
 In
 this
 case,
the
 utility
 is
 not
 merely
 transportation,
 or
 even
 gas
 mileage;
 otherwise
 we
 could
compare
the
Tesla
to
the
EV‐1
or
other
early
electric
cars,
or
perhaps
other
energy‐efficient
 vehicles,
 such
 as
 the
 1993
 Honda
 Civic
 VX.
 Given
 its
 $98,00
 price
 tag,
 the
Tesla
Roadster
clearly
is
positioned
as
a
high‐performance
sports
car,
and
competes
in
 the
 market
 with
 cars
 such
 as
 the
 Porsche
 911
 and
 the
 Lotus
 Elise
 (unlike
 its
earlier
 cousins).
 Therefore,
 we
 calculated
 that
 a
 comparable
 car
 would
 cost
approximately
$60,000
in
1990
dollars,
and
came
up
with
the
1990
Porsche
911
as
our
basis
for
comparison.As
we
can
see
from
the
chart
below,
the
1990
Porsche
911
is
very
close
in
size
to
the
2008
Tesla:

 2008
Tesla
Roadster
 1990
Porsche
911
Gross
Vehicle
Weight
 2690
Lbs
 3234
lb
Length
 155.4
in
 167.3
in
Width
 73.7
in
 69.0
in
Materials,
Body
 Carbon
Fiber
 Steel
Materials,
Chassis
 Extruded
Aluminum
 Steel
Engine
 AC
 Induction
 electric
 motor
 4‐Cylinder
Gasoline,

 (Aluminum,
Copper)
 light
alloy
block
and
head
Source:
teslamotors.com
and
carfolio.com
 THE
TESLA
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AN
EVALUATION
 7


  8. 8. 8
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION
 
 Even
though
the
motor
of
the
Tesla
is
much
smaller
and
lighter
than
the
engine
of
 the
Porsche
and
the
body
and
frame
are
made
of
lighter
materials,
the
weight
of
the
 battery
 pack
 almost
 completely
 negates
 the
 reduction
 in
 material
 usage
 from
 the
 lighter
 materials
 used
 in
 other
 components.
 
 This
 means
 that
 an
 analysis
 of
 materials
efficiency
is
not
that
simple.

It
would
seem
that
if
you
were
to
remove
the
 weight
of
the
battery
pack
from
the
mix
and
you
remove
the
weight
of
the
analogous
 gas
tank
from
the
Porsche,
the
picture
would
be
much
different:
 Weight
of
the
Tesla
Battery
Pack
System
=
approx.
992
lbs
/
450
kg
 Weight
of
a
15
gallon
gas
tank
(full)
=
approx.
50
lbs
 
 2008
Tesla
Roadster
 1990
Porsche
911
 Modified
Vehicle
Weight
 1698
lbs
 3184
lbs
 Based
 only
 on
 the
 combined
 weight
 of
 the
 chassis,
 body,
 engine
 and
 drive
 train,
 minus
the
weight
of
the
fuel
storage
system,
the
Tesla
represents
a
47%
reduction
in
 materials
over
the
Porsche.
 In
 the
 case
 of
 both
 cars,
 interior
 components,
 such
 as
 seats,
 dashboards
 and
 electronics
 instruments
 and
 wheels
 and
 tires
 are
 essentially
 the
 same,
 so
 we
 will
 exclude
them
from
our
analysis
(assuming
1,000
lbs
of
equivalent
material
in
each
 car),
and
only
consider
the
main
raw
materials.

Thus,
we
get
the
following
charts:
 Simplified
Materials
Usage
for
2008
Tesla
Roadster
 (Excluding
wheels,
tires
and
interior
components,
such
as
seats)

 300
lbs
 
 150
lbs
 
 992
lbs

 
 Aluminum
 Carbon­Fiber
 Lithium
Batteries
Energy
Consumption
 68,161.5
 MJ
 47,554.65
 MJ
 498,632.73
 MJ
Solid
Waste
 2,090.28
 lb
 146.32
 lb
 665.62
 lb
Water
Emissions
 63.61
 lb
 0
 lb
 0.0042
 lb
Greenhouse
Gasses
 3635.28
 lb
 1829.025
 lb
 0.0025
 lb
Hydrocarbon
 2.27205
 lb
 1.46322
 lb
 0.0001
 lb
Sulfur
Oxides
 31.8087
 lb
 14.6322
 lb
 0.0045
 lb
 
 Simplified
Materials
Usage
for
1990
Porsche
911
 (Excluding
wheels,
tires
and
interior
components,
such
as
seats)
 

 1000
lbs

 
 1000
lbs

 
 Steel
 Aluminum
 Energy
Consumption
 25,025.00
 Mj
 227,205.00
 Mj
 Solid
Waste
 2,502.50
 lb
 6,967.62
 lb
 Water
Emissions
 80.08
 lb
 212.06
 lb
 Greenhouse
Gasses
 13,013.00
 lb
 12,117.60
 lb
 Hydrocarbon
 4.00
 lb
 7.57
 lb
 Sulfur
Oxides
 140.14
 lb
 106.03
 Lb
 Source:
Gibson,
Thomas,
“Life
Cycle
Assessment
of
Advanced
Materials
for
Automotive
Applications”.
2000.
SAE
International

  9. 9. Totals
Comparison
 
 2008
Tesla
Roadster
 
 1990
Porsche
911
 
 Tesla
Improvement
Energy
 614,348.88
 252,230
Consumption
 Mj
 Mj
 ­41.06%
Solid
Waste
 2,902.22
 9,470.12
 +30.65%
 lb
 lb
Water
Emissions
 63.61
 292.14
 +21.77%
 lb
 lb
Greenhouse
Gasses
 5,464.30
 25,130.6
 +21.74%
 lb
 lb
Hydrocarbon

 3.73
 11.57
 +32.24%
 lb
 lb
Sulfur
Oxides
 46.44
 246.17
 +18.87
 lb
 lb

The
data
shows
that
the
2008
Tesla
Roadster
has
achieved
an
18%
to
32%
gain
in
efficiency
over
the
1990
Porsche,
except
for
energy
usage.
It
seems
that,
contrary
to
our
intuition,
the
Tesla
required
almost
50%
more
energy
to
produce,
and
most
of
this
energy
is
used
to
manufacture
the
battery
pack.

So,
we
have
a
conundrum;
how
do
we
rate
the
overall
efficiency?
It
is
not
clear.
The
Tesla
 has
 a
 significant
 edge
 in
 almost
 every
 area,
 except
 for
 energy
 usage,
 in
 its
manufacture.

The
Tesla
also
has
significantly
reduced
materials
consumption
in
its
use
phase,
due
to
much
higher
efficiency
and
greatly
reduced
mechanical
complexity
and
maintenance.

The
answer
is
not
clear,
and
our
overall
rating
is
based
more
on
our
 own
 interpretation
 of
 the
 facts,
 and
 on
 our
 opinions,
 not
 on
 purely
 empirical
data.
We
 feel
 that
 the
 Tesla
 can
 only
be
 given
 a
middle
 grade,
due
to
 the
 high
 materials
and
 energy
 costs
 to
 produce
 the
 batteries.
 
 If
 a
 battery
 technology
 were
 to
 come
along
 which
 were
 much
 less
 resource‐intensive,
 the
 Roadster
 might
 be
 able
 to
achieve
a
perfect
score
 Social
The
products
manufacture
and
use
supports
basic
human
rights
and
natural
justice.

RATING:
30
Tesla
Motors
is
manufacturing
a
sustainably‐operated
product.
It
is
not
company’s
policy
 currently
 to
 chose
 only
 sustainably
 manufactured
 and
 distributed
 materials
and
 parts.
 According
 to
 Stephen
 Davis,
 when
 possible,
 company
 is
 working
 with
socially
 responsible
 and
 environmentally
 conscientious
 suppliers.
 A
 good
 example
of
such
a
supplier
would
be
their
tire
supplier,
Yokohama,
that
has
been
recognized
in
Japan
as
one
of
the
ten
most
environmentally
conscious
companies
in
the
country.
All
 of
 Yokohama’s
 factories
 are
 ISO
 14001
 certified,
 and
 those
 in
 Japan
 have
achieved
 zero
 emissions
 one
 year
 ahead
 of
 the
 Kyoto
 Protocol.
 Yokohama
 is
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION
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  10. 10. 10
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION

continuously
 developing
 its
 manufacturing
 and
 technology
 to
 produce
 tires
 that
minimize
environmental
impact.

Over
all,
in
our
opinion,
the
Tesla
Roadster
is
not
scoring
very
high
on
social
performance.
Their
main
goal
is
to
create
a
good‐looking,
fast,
electric
car.
The
price
of
the
product
is
targeted
for
high‐income
clients.

However,
the
company
does
plan
to
address
these
issues
in
the
future,
once
their
concept
is
proven.
For
example,
a
more
modest
$50,000
luxury
sedan
and
a
$30,000
economy
car
are
planned
for
the
near
future.
 Safe
The
product
is
non­toxic
in
use
and
disposal,
and
its
manufacture
does
not
involve
toxic
releases
or
the
disruption
of
ecosystems.
Rating:
30
Based
on
factors
previously
discussed
in
the
Cyclic
and
Efficient
sections,
the
Tesla
has
 a
 long
 way
 to
 go
 in
 terms
 of
 environmental
 safety.
 Greenhouse
 gasses,
 sulfur
oxides,
solid
wastes
(including
toxic
metals)
and
water
emissions
are
still
produced
in
the
use
and
disposal
phases.
The
Tesla
will
continue
to
produce
emissions
to
the
air
 via
 its
 energy
 consumption,
 as
 long
 as
 the
 electricity
 it
 runs
 on
 is
 produced
 by
burning
fossil
fuels,
although
it
does
represent
a
large
jump
in
efficiency
over
other
automotive
 technologies.
 
 The
 Roadster
 also
 will
 continue
 to
 represent
 significant
disposal
 problems
 as
 long
 as
 its
 supporting
 technologies
 remain
 consistent
 with
current
automotive
technologies,
such
as
those
for
tires,
brakes,
interior
plastics
and
upholstery
materials.

As
with
most
of
the
other
ratings,
our
rating
is
based
more
on
intuition
than
on
hard
numbers.
 How
Can
We
Make
It
Better?
Source
 aluminum
 with
 recycled
 content:
 
 Aluminum
 is
 a
 very
 good
 material
 to
use,
from
a
cyclicity
standpoint,
because
it
can
be
almost
entirely
recycled
into
new
raw
 aluminum.
 Using
 aluminum
 with
 recycled
 content
 can
 save
 approximately
20,787
MJ
of
energy
during
the
manufacturing
process.
This
would
represent
a
33%
energy
 savings
 over
 using
 virgin
 aluminum,
 and
 would
 most
 likely
 result
 in
 a
significant
cost
savings
to
the
company.
Attempt
 to
 recover
 lithium
 from
 lithium
 fluff:
 Our
 understanding,
 from
 our
sources
 at
 Tesla
 Motors,
 is
 that
 lithium
 cannot
 currently
 be
 recovered
 from
 the
shredded
 battery
 waste.
 
 Although
 lithium
 is
 non‐toxic,
 we
 still
 want
 to
 recover
 it
and
cycle
it
back
into
the
technospere.

Although
we
are
not
scientists,
we
have
seen
a
 couple
 of
 abstracts
 for
 patented
 processed
 that
 claim
 to
 be
 able
 to
 recover
 the
lithium
from
lithium‐ion
batteries.
We
would
like
to
see
Tesla
Motors
research
this
topic
more
thoroughly.
Alternative
materials
for
body:
Stephen
Davies
directed
us
to
several
technologies
that
could
reduce
the
impact
of
the
Roadster’s
carbon
fiber
body
and
plastic
parts.

  11. 11. • Carrot
fibers:
Scottish
company
Cellucomp,
launched
in
2004,
has
developed
 a
new
bio‐composite
which
uses
carrot
fiber
as
the
main
reinforcement
 material.

The
first
product
that
was
produced
using
these
fibers
was
a
high
 performance
fishing
rod.
Curran,
the
material
made
from
carrot
fibers,
has
a
 lower
density
than
carbon
fiber.
It
can
also
be
molded
which
makes
it
 valuable
for
many
applications.
(Press
Association)
 
 • Chicken
 feather
 fibers:
 Nearly
 four
 billion
 tons
 of
 chicken
 feathers
 are
 produced
 in
 the
 United
 States
 each
 year.
 They
 are
 generally
 incinerated,
 or
 fed
 to
 chickens
 and
 other
 barnyard
 animals.
 At
 the
 end
 of
 last
 century
 the
 technology
was
developed
to
extract
fibers
from
chicken
feathers.
Due
to
its
 high
resistance
to
both
mechanical
and
thermal
stress
and
light‐weight,
these
 fibers
have
many
uses.
(Wagner)
 Some
 examples
 of
 the
 prototype
 product
 formulations
 include:
 strong
 lightweight
 construction
 materials,
 biodegradable
 agricultural
 weed
 control
 films,
 air
 filters,
 insulation
 mats,
 composites
 with
 natural
 and
 synthetic
 polymers.
 Two
 pounds
 of
 feathers
 can
 produce
 about
 one
 pound
 of
 fiber
 material.
 
 • Biopolymers:
 Currently,
 several
 projects
 are
 developing
 biopolymers
 for
 automotive
use.

These
polymers
will
be
biodegradable
and
could
be
used
to
 replace
 the
 plastics
 currently
 used
 in
 the
 body
 and
 interior
 components.
 
 If
 combined
 with
 the
 biological
 fiber
 technologies
 mentioned
 above,
 this
 combination
could
potentially
replace
carbon
fiber.
Different
 battery
 technologies:
 There
 are
 a
 lot
 of
 new
 battery
 technologies
emerging.

One
of
them,
which
was
developed
in
1996,
is
the
nanotechnology‐based
lithium‐ion
battery.
Designers
of
this
new
battery
claim
that
it
has
“unprecedented
power,
 safety,
 and
 life
 as
 compared
 to
 conventional
 Lithium
 technology.”

(Press
Association)(
Nanotechnology
News)
Right
now
batteries
are
targeted
at
applications
that
require
high
power,
high
levels
of
safety,
and
longer
life.

Manufactures
claim
that
unlike
conventional
Lithium‐ion
batteries,
 batteries
 based
 on
 the
 nano‐scale
 electrode
 technology,
 employ
 new
thermally
 stable,
 non‐combustible
 active
 materials,
 enabling
 a
 safer
 cell
 and
allowing
 cost
 reductions
 such
 as
 the
 elimination
 of
 unnecessary
 battery
 pack
components.
 In
 addition,
 those
 batteries
 are
 made
 using
 an
 environmentally
friendly
 chemical
 process.
 All
 of
 these
 qualities
 seem
 to
 be
 perfect
 for
 the
 Tesla
Roadster.
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION
 1
 1

  12. 12. 12
 THE
TESLA
ROADSTER:
AN
EVALUATION

 Conclusion
Evaluating
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 is
 complex
 task,
 due
 to
 the
 complexities
 inherent
 in
life‐cycle
analysis
and
the
complexity
of
an
automobile.

We
found
that
this
electric
car,
 while
 not
 a
 sustainable
 as
 we
 would
 have
 hoped,
 is
 a
 good
 step
 in
 the
 right
direction.


Tesla
 Motors
 is
 attempting
 to
 do
 something
 that
 many
 auto
 experts
 feel
 is
impossible:
launch
a
new
automobile
on
a
shoestring
budget.

Tesla’s
strategy
is
to
star
 with
 the
 luxury
 buyers,
 and
 have
 them
 fund
 the
 development
 of
 necessary
technologies
and
prove
the
concept.

We
feel
that
this
is
a
strategy
that
can
work.
Due
 to
 the
 startup
 nature
 of
 the
 company,
 their
 focus
 is
 to
 make
 sure
 that
 their
product
 is
 viable,
 and
 then
 fix
 the
 sustainability
 issues.
 
 Given
 statements
 by
 the
company
and
by
people
who
we
know
who
work
there,
we
are
confident
that
Tesla
Motors
will
continue
to
improve
the
sustainability
of
its
cars
in
the
future.

We
wish
them
great
success
in
this
endeavor.









  13. 13. 
 Works
Cited
Nanotechnology
 News.
 Revolutionary
 New
 Nanotechnology‐Based
 Lithium‐Ion
Battery.
 03
 November
 2005.
 15
 February
 2008
<http://www.azonano.com/news.asp?newsID=1606>.
Davies,
Stephen.
Interview
with
Stephen
Davies
Steve
Puma.
San
Ramon,
6
February
2008.
Eberhard,
Martin
and
Marc
Tarpenning.
The
21st
Century
Electric
Car.
Whitepaper.
Tesla
Motors.
San
Carlos,
CA:
Tesla
Motors,
2006.
Gibson,
 Thomas
 L.
 Life
 Cycle
 Assessment
 of
 Advanced
 Materials
 for
 Automotive
Applications.
 Conference
 Report.
 General
 Motors.
 Detroit:
 Society
 of
 Automotive
Engineers
International,
2000.
Grabianowski,
 Ed.
 How
 the
 Tesla
 Roadster
 Works.
 10
 February
 2008
<http://auto.howstuffworks.com/tesla‐roadster2.htm>.
Press
 Association.
 The
 future
 is
 orange
 for
 hi‐tech
 material
 made
 from
 carrots.
 9
February
 2007.
 15
 February
 2008
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/feb/09/news.uknews>.
Tesla
 Motors.
 Under
 the
 Skin.
 10
 February
 2008
<http://www.teslamotors.com/design/under_the_skin.php>.
Wagner,
 Matt.
 Featherfiber
 maker
 undaunted
 by
 red
 tape.
 2
 November
 2003.
 15
February
 2008
 <http://springfield.news‐leader.com/specialreports/innovationintheozarks/1102‐Featherfib‐205351.html>.
White,
Joseph
B.
Electric
Car
Maker
Aims
For
the
Top
With
Sports
Car.
15
October
2007.
 6
 February
 2008
<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119220246200657368.html?mod=Eyes+on+the+Road>.
Wikipedia.
 Carbon
 fiber
 reinforced
 plastic.
 30
 January
 2008.
 10
 February
 2008
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphite‐reinforced_plastic>.



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