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Transportation Linux

Tesla CTO Talks Model S, Batteries and In-car Linux 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the driving-free dept.
angry tapir writes "The IDG News Service recently had a chance to speak to JB Straubel, chief technology officer for Tesla, about the Model S all-electric car, its design and technology, and his outlook on electric vehicle technology. He also shed a little light on the car's Linux-based software system."
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Tesla CTO Talks Model S, Batteries and In-car Linux

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  • range (Score:4, Funny)

    by William Robinson (875390) on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:43AM (#41021599)
    300 miles is impressive, and probably because they are using Lithium Ion batteries, it should weight less. With gas prices touching sky, I would certainly be interested in this kind of researh ongoing. Some interesting add-ons to this could be PV cells embedded in the body to charge batteries while driving and add couple of hundred miles on the fly.
    • Re:range (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Woek (161635) on Friday August 17, 2012 @05:51AM (#41021629)

      I think you are overestimating the yield of PV cells...

    • Re:range (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:19AM (#41021751) Homepage

      you are grossly overestimating the output of PV cells. you would need to tow a 40 foot long trailer of the highest output PV cells to increase the range like that.

      and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

      • by Pisus (1444647)

        and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

        Here in Italy we are very very near $9.36 per gallon... sigh now i use an app to find the cheapest price around a 5 km radius...

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Yes, but much of that price goes to your health care. Here, my health insurance premiums far outstrip my gasoline consumption. If I didn't have to buy healh insurance I wouldn't mind paying $10 per gallon.

          • by SomePgmr (2021234)
            Just curious, is Italy taxing gas to pay for healthcare, or did you mean our federal fuel subsidies could otherwise pay for healthcare?
      • Re:range (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ledow (319597) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:45AM (#41022135) Homepage

        Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries and we're still paying £1.30 / 1.30 Euro a LITRE which is 6 $USD for a US gallon. And you know what? People still pay it, because there is still no viable alternative. Drive anywhere in Europe, it's all the same.

        I sat down, did lots of calculations and set my own limit a while back - at £2 per litre, that's $12 for a US gallon, I have to *start* reconsidering the amount of driving I do. Chances are that by the time it hits that, interest rates will have risen to match, salaries will have risen to match, fuel efficiencies will have risen to match, I'll need a new car anyway, and public transport prices will still be as ridiculous as they are now.

        And my reconsideration might just be "Well, nothing I can do about it" or even just "Actually, the relative value is still the same". It's not going to be "Oh, wow, I have to go out and spend tens of thousands on a new car with a new fuel, the money for which I'll have "saved" before it ends up as scrap metal." without some hugely drastic amount of physics being changed so that it's viable.

        Until anything approaching 60 mpg can be gotten out of a *SECONDHAND* car with ranges of 400-500 miles, where I can fuel up ANYWHERE without having to consult lists of stations and maps, where I can repair the car for no more than an ordinary one and where I can trade in that car for some decent percentage of the original price I paid, then every other technology is going to lose out.

        Hell, I did some maths the other day. If you add up the price of every car I've ever owned, every repair I've ever done (not including my own time), and fuel for several years, it *STILL* doesn't come to the price of one of the fancy hybrid cars that they want me to buy. Hell, for some models I wouldn't even get the second-hand price. In the face of such economics, it's no shock that the people who actually travel a lot aren't buying alternative fuel cars.

        For £300, I have a car that's lasted 4 years with me and required about £300 of repairs and parts in all that time. It burns £400 a month in petrol but I get 50mpg (UK gallon!). That's almost impossible to compete against with such technology. A complete engine replacement for my car? About £300 off the scrap heap or a grand or two for something "newer".

        When alternative fuel will honestly cost me more money than I've ever spent on my current car + fuel for a year before I even start driving it, it's hard to pitch those technologies. And replacing one hundred granny's cars who do 10 miles a month is pointless if you could replace just one heavy road user with a decent car.

        Hell, I don't even care about speed, I'd poodle along in the slow lane quite happily, so long as it was motorway-capable (which means at least 60mph by law in my country). But you just CANNOT get close to anything the petrol offers at the moment, and petrol can quite literally double in price and STILL it would be more worthwhile. It would have to literally quadruple or more in price to actually price myself out of using it, and then things like LPG conversion (was quoted £800 for a full conversion last year) would probably get me another doubling of price before I was priced out again.

        Petrol is amazingly cheap for what it gives you compared to EVERYTHING else that's at the cutting edge of research.

        • Petrol is amazingly cheap for what it gives you compared to EVERYTHING else that's at the cutting edge of research.

          You apparently did not do the actual maths.

          Electric: 0.09 euro/kWh, or about 0.025 euro/MJ
          Gasoline: 1.5 euro/liter, or about 0.047 euro/MJ

          In other words, the energy for electric costs half that of gasoline, and that's still excluding the much higher efficiency of the electric car. Per driven kilometer, it is even more extreme.

          If you don't like electric for it's limited range and slow charging times, sure. But despite the expensive batteries, it's getting damn close to the gsaoline cars.

          • You apparently did not do the actual maths.

            Electric: 0.09 euro/kWh, or about 0.025 euro/MJ
            Gasoline: 1.5 euro/liter, or about 0.047 euro/MJ

            In other words, the energy for electric costs half that of gasoline, and that's still excluding the much higher efficiency of the electric car. Per driven kilometer, it is even more extreme.

            If you don't like electric for it's limited range and slow charging times, sure. But despite the expensive batteries, it's getting damn close to the gsaoline cars.

            You apparently didn't read the parent's post properly, where the comparison was the total cost of ownership, not just the fuel cost.

          • by fnj (64210)

            You apparently did not do the actual maths.

            Electric: 0.09 euro/kWh, or about 0.025 euro/MJ
            Gasoline: 1.5 euro/liter, or about 0.047 euro/MJ

            In other words, the energy for electric costs half that of gasoline, and that's still excluding the much higher efficiency of the electric car. Per driven kilometer, it is even more extreme.

            If you don't like electric for it's limited range and slow charging times, sure. But despite the expensive batteries, it's getting damn close to the gsaoline cars.

            Your numbers are suspect. Here are the actual figures [energy.eu] for electric cost:

            Austria 0.18 euro/kWh
            Belgium 0.19
            Denmark 0.26
            France 0.13
            Germany 0.24
            Italy 0.25
            Netherlands 0.24
            Spain 0.18
            Sweden 0.18
            UK 0.13

            I didn't consciously cherry pick those numbers, and Estonia and Bulgaria are the only ones I see under 0.10. I'd say the true figure is at least twice what you claim, wiping out your supposed cost advantage.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Chances are that by the time it hits that ... salaries will have risen to match

          ROFL. I stopped reading here.

        • Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries and we're still paying £1.30 / 1.30 Euro a LITRE which is 6 $USD for a US gallon.

          Yep, and the UK government keeps telling the oil industry to slash prices because they are "harming the economy". The oil industry tells them to go to hell each time, and you know what - I don't blame them since 64% of the petrol price is tax and the government still keeps increasing the tax. It *is* harming the economy, but if the government is serious about doing something about that they should be cutting the tax instead of expecting the oil industry to take the hit all by themselves.

          and public transport prices will still be as ridiculous as they are now.

          Part of the proble

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            My take on this is that not only are electric cars still pretty expensive, but the batteries wear out and will be expensive to replace. If I buy a brand new petrol car, it will still be running in 15 years time and it'll still be running in 150,000 - 200,000 miles, probably without having had significant repair work done on it. Can the same be said for an electric car? I doubt it.

            This is a myth that embarrassingly seems to have started with Top Gear, a show not exactly known for it's fair and balanced take on EVs.

            A typical battery pack will be guaranteed for around 8 years. That doesn't mean it will be dead after 8 years. Tesla say at least 90% capacity left IIRC. Even then you don't have to replace the whole thing, just the relatively small number of failing cells. So in that respect the overall lifetime is expected to be comparable to a petrol engine and require about as much mone

        • Re:range (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MMC Monster (602931) on Friday August 17, 2012 @08:54AM (#41022551)

          Someone has to buy these first models, so that less expensive ones can be made in the future.

          The Tesla models are for those people. And people with that sort of money tend to want the amenities seen in more expensive cars.

          In a decade these things will trickle down in price and become more common.

          • This is Tesla's whole business model. Build expensive cars for people with more money than average. Keep refining the technology, and build a cheaper car. Rinse and Repeat until everyone can afford to buy a Tesla Model C (Cheap).

          • by Bigby (659157)

            Are you saying trickle down economics works? And you are saying that on /.?

            • Re:range (Score:5, Interesting)

              by SydShamino (547793) on Friday August 17, 2012 @10:05AM (#41023181)

              This is the opposite of trickle down economics. Trickle down says that you should give money to rich people first, so that eventually it finds its way to poorer people.

              Tesla's model is to take money from rich people first, to fund research that eventually helps poorer people too. That sounds a lot more like a progressive stance when put that way, right?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                This is the opposite of trickle down economics. Trickle down says that you should give money to rich people first, so that eventually it finds its way to poorer people.

                Tesla's model is to take money from rich people first, to fund research that eventually helps poorer people too.

                You are completely wrong.

                Tesla isnt a government entity taking money against people's will. They are a company selling a premium product to wealthy people. They are reinvesting that money to refine their product and make more money. If they are successful this will have an economic ripple effect that will produce more jobs. The government has been supporting this by taking money from others to provide loans to the company and tax incentives to the wealthy buyers. If that isn't trickle-down economics I

              • by 7-Vodka (195504)

                I'll freely admit that I'm unfamiliar with trickle down economics, but this is slashdot so I feel completely entitled to chime in.

                Trickle down says that you should give money to rich people first, so that eventually it finds its way to poorer people.

                It seems to me you are vastly mis-characterizing trickle down economics. A better way to put it would be:

                Trickle down says that you should let very productive individuals keep the wealth they earn so that they will be motivated and empowered continue to be productive and generate wealth or provide services that benefit others as well.

                There's no giving of money to anyone. I'm n

            • No, he's saying that new technologies are introduced in luxury products and then gradually become mainstream. In cars that was true of power-adjustable seats, power windows, stability control, side curtain airbags, automatic transmissions with more than four gears, automatic transmissions that use electronic clutches instead of a torque converter (like the Audi DSG - first available on their top models, now available on some cars that cost less than $30,000), touch screen systems, DVD players, and so forth
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Until anything approaching 60 mpg can be gotten out of a *SECONDHAND* car with ranges of 400-500 miles, where I can fuel up ANYWHERE without having to consult lists of stations and maps, where I can repair the car for no more than an ordinary one and where I can trade in that car for some decent percentage of the original price I paid, then every other technology is going to lose out.

          And that's why Diesel is doing so well everywhere but the USA, where cars like that are outlawed on one pretext or another.

          • They're not outlawed. The emissions standards are difficult to meet, but they can be meet. The real problem in the US is that taxes on diesel fuels are higher than on gasoline. So the diesel engine vehicle might use 40% less fuel, but since your cost per gallon is 30% higher the savings are negligible.

            Also remember that the United Kingdom uses "imperial gallons" for measurement, which are 20% larger than US gallons. Every so often someone mocks the poor fuel efficiency of economy cars on the US mark
        • Re:range (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Friday August 17, 2012 @09:40AM (#41022919)

          So what? Because you don't want one you think the whole electric car industry should pack up and go home? Every time electric vehicles are discussed around here, somebody always pipes up with this sort of calculation, as if their personal needs should dictate the use of a technology. Yes, if you were not going to buy a new car, then one of these models is not for you. Yes, if you don't drive much then there won't be any fuel savings.

          There are nearly 150,000 new cars sold in the UK every month. You might not want to buy a new car, but a lot of other people do. Those are the people who it is hoped will head down the alternate fuel route.

        • by sunking2 (521698)
          You aren't actually closer. The US gets most of its oil from Mexico and South America.
          • by asavage (548758)
            It doesn't change your point but Canada supplies the most oil to the USA. 2x more than Saudi Arabia and 3x more than Mexico who are 2nd and 3rd in supplying the US with oil.
        • by nazsco (695026)

          So much unit idiocy... Can uk and us stop acting like that soon? That post could have been half the size without calling out an explanation for every unit of measure.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Hell, Europe is "closer" to the oil-producing countries

          If you mean closer to the oil producing countries than the USA is, you're wrong. The US is an oil producing country, but we use all we produce. Most of what we import comes from Canada.

          Until anything approaching 60 mpg can be gotten out of a *SECONDHAND* car...

          I bought my car used, it was five years old. It had a rated mileage figure of 35 mpg, I got 36 out of it once while driving 50 mph because I'd had a flat and was driving on a donut spare. So that'

      • by timeOday (582209)

        and gas prices have not even got off the ground yet. Wait for the $8.00 a gallon and $12.00 a gallon prices. $4.00 a gallon is dirt cheap compared to where it will go.

        I'm very skeptical of that now because of the huge increase in natural gas production in the last few years. Gasoline and natural gas aren't fully interchangeable of course, but there is already a compressed natural gas Honda Civic, for example.

        I have mixed feelings about natural gas. I'm sure it will delay the adoption of wind, solar,

    • by tgd (2822)

      300 miles is because it has a HUGE battery. The Volt has LiIon batteries, too, and only gets 42 miles (give or take).

      The Volt has a 16kw battery pack, of which it uses about 10.4kw to get the 42 miles.

      The high end Model S is a 85kw battery pack for ~300 miles. I've seen nothing that talks about what percentage of that it uses to get the 300 miles, but it sounds like its probably nearly identical to the efficiency the Volt gets. GM determined that its battery life is maximized by both actively maintaining th

      • Re:range (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:51AM (#41022187)

        Get your units in order, man! An amount of energy is given in kWh. Watt is a unit of power (as in unit of energy per unit of time). To get the amount of energy, multiply by the time, hence kWh.

        28kWh is enough to power 1000 houses for a very short time or 1 house for a thousand times longer.

        This stuff matters if you want to discuss matters on a level above "it's got electrolytes" (which it does, btw).

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:11AM (#41021719)

    Are there any regular readers of IDG here? Are their articles normally such total fluff pieces? 'cause that was such a fluff piece I'm still trying to dig out from under all the marshmallows. Seriously, journalism about electric cars is still at the level of "the entertainment console computer is independent of the drive train computer"? Like, I dunno, every OTHER car on the road with a touchscreen in its console? "Ooo. Aaaaaa."

    Yeesh.

  • Eyes on the road (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:21AM (#41021769)
    I wonder what the safety implications are of packing a 17 inch tablet into a vehicle for people to play with when their eyes are supposed to be on the road. Even if Tesla were to disable stuff like the browser, twitter, facebook, videos etc while the car is in motion, what impact does it have on safety if the driver still has to screw around with a large flat glass screen to find the AC control, or to change radio stations, or look down for other reasons? In most vehicles they'd have a physical dial or switch in a fixed position which they could locate without taking their eyes off the road. Here there is no tactile feedback - just glass, no certainty of where buttons are since the screens change or move around. It sounds pretty dangerous really.
    • Depends on their menu design. With a huge tablet and a well designed menu, it's quite possible to get an overview at just a glance, and get a lot done by pressing a button or two.

      Compare this to many modern cars (like Audi and BMW) where they seem to prefer a complex menu, 5" screen, controlled by a wheel. Operating these still require 100% focus on screen. They also still have some normal one-use buttons, but are the teslas absolutely stripped from all buttons?

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        With a huge tablet and a well designed menu, it's quite possible to get an overview at just a glance

        Which is still more dangerous than finding a knob by feel.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Slashdot story from earlier this week: Touch Interfaces In Cars Difficult To Use [slashdot.org]

    • by suutar (1860506)
      I suspect tablet-ish control systems won't get really popular until the surface gets rigged to give tactile feedback. I recall seeing a couple of articles about progress in this area. Once you can again feel when you're in the right spot without looking, having a reconfigurable panel will be pretty cool.
      Of course, if vocal command systems (siri et al) get more common and sophisticated, that may reduce the need for the touch-feedback system. I don't think it'll eliminate it completely, though.
  • I don't want a Windows based one
    I don't want an OS/X based one
    I don't want a BSD based one

    What I want is a system specifically designed to run a CAR. Not some desktop kernel thats been massaged and kicked into shape until it can do an ok job at it. I want a kernel thats been designed FROM THE GROUND UP to run a vehicle. Is that too much to ask these days?

    • by OlivierB (709839) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:59AM (#41021915)
      the article is not that long so you could have at least skimmed through it. The Tesla guy makes a key point in saying that Linux runs the entertainment system and dahsboard (google maps, speedo, etc.). The cars propulsion system (i.e. what runs the motors, battery, brakes, etc..) is completely separate. The linux front-end can crash completely and the car will continue to drive just fine. RTFA
      • by Viol8 (599362)

        I wouldn't call a non working dashboard "just fine" , would you?

        • by arth1 (260657)

          I wouldn't call a non working dashboard "just fine" , would you?

          Certainly "just fine" for driving purposes.
          If you can't safely drive the vehicle without the dashboard, either the car is fundamentally broken, or you are.

          • by Viol8 (599362)

            As long as you don't need to know what speed you're going or how much charge you've got left in the battery then sure.

            • by suutar (1860506)
              if it stays down long enough for those to be an issue, I wouldn't be going further than the next exit anyway.
        • I'm not sure what impact the status of either the in-car entertainment system or a piece of interior trim would have on the performance and handling of a car.
        • When's the last time you needed a dashboard to safely navigate around a hole, not run into another vehicle or object or to do any other basic driving? The only important bit might be your speed and gas levels, and neither of those is a major safety issue if the dash system suddenly crashes.

          Also, I suspect its much less likely to crash than the alternative (a custom OS made by your car company).

    • by nzac (1822298) on Friday August 17, 2012 @07:04AM (#41021939)

      RTFA...

      For the control and motor and things like that, we don't have operating systems. They run in a lower level and are actually running C code, so we have engineers upstairs writing in the C programming language, building the control loops from scratch.

      Linux is for running the UI. The article covers your concern quite well.

      Calling Linux a desktop kernel does not contribute to credibility of your rant.

    • So you wan't to add 10 years of development and bug fixing to make Kernel to do nearly the same thing as the other Kernels out there.

      Most of these kernels are for general purpose. And they all need to do the following.
      1. Memory Management. App 1 and App 2 are both running. lets make sure they don't use the same memory space.
      2. Get App 1 and App 2 to multi-task. and Make sure one doesn't kill the other.
      3. Interface with the hardware. So the programmers don't need to do System level coding for everything.

      L

      • by SiChemist (575005)

        OS X uses a mach kernel with a BSD userland and a custom Apple GUI on top. (I know it's pedantic. I can't help it.)

        • by fnj (64210)

          OS X uses a mach kernel with a BSD userland and a custom Apple GUI on top. (I know it's pedantic. I can't help it.)

          Actually, if you want to be pedantic, that's incorrect. OS X uses the XNU hybrid kernel, combining Mach with pieces of the BSD kernel, plus I/O Kit. Yes, the userland is basically BSD with an Apple GUI.

    • by aclarke (307017)
      It sounds like you want a PlayBook [qnx.com] in your dash.
    • Then you have no idea what an Operating System is, or how hard it is to maintain.

      I don't want a custom-made OS that only has the sixteen engineers GM assigns to it making my car OS. I want my car OS to be as stable as any other Linux device, and that's why so many companies simply use Linux instead. You don't have to write your own drivers or maintain your own file system code or write your own networking socket interfaces. Those have all been done by people who are much better at it than you.

      You *want*

  • C code (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spongman (182339) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:26AM (#41021777)

    apparently the control and motor thingies are running C code which is lower-level than the Linux kernel.

    not a computer guy, then.

    • by Fwipp (1473271)

      It's okay, he's just the "Chief Technology Officer," it's not like you'd expect him to understand the technology being used.

  • My gawd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ballpoint (192660) on Friday August 17, 2012 @06:44AM (#41021853)

    FTFA:
    "something called Linux"
    "if the Linux crashes"

    Sigh. I really don't see why an article that clearly addresses a "different audience" is posted here.

  • I sooo want one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCFusor (1763438) on Friday August 17, 2012 @10:36AM (#41023593) Homepage
    I traded my hotrod (2010 camaro SS) in for a Volt, and haven't looked back. Even if I had the money for a model S tesla, I can't have one yet - that's the real challenge Elon's outfit has - ramping up production before the bigger base loses interest.
    .

    FWIW, here in VA, it takes about 200 sq feet of high efficiency solar to charge the Volt once a day. That's around 45 miles worth of range, which gets more than 80% of my own driving done, even though it's a 27 mile roundtrip to the nearest general store for beer/munchies. I can get to the nearest town, do all my errands, come back, still have a little under half my range left. It works for me. Not as sexy as the Tesla, but it's no slouch either and does get a lot of favourable attention.
    .

    Sure is nice to have that unlimited range due to also having a gasoline engine, tuned just for this use so it can be more efficient than just about any other out there. 40 mpg from a 3800 lb car ain't shabby. I don't use it much, but what it does for you is remove worry if you're going to be pushing the battery only range.
    .

    For once, GM really leapfrogged everyone else. The GM haters are out in force to dis this car, but that kinda tells you who isn't doing much critical thinking and saves you from time wasted thinking they are OK (kinda like hank hill's comment about body piercing - you know right off someone "just ain't right").
    .

    I wish Tesla every success, they've "Bet the farm" and gotten a heck of a lot of stuff right. But now they need to transition from a design-only outfit to a major manufacturer - not trivial in real life. Go Elon!

    • how does your volt do on a cold day? how is the defroster? how long to melt ice buildup on the windshield?

      VW beetles failed to sell in cold weather regions for these reasons. electric cars and air-cooled cars don't have excess heat for the defroster.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by CompMD (522020)

      A friend of mine bought a Volt too and was talking about how amazing it was. When I said I didn't find the numbers that impressive, he asked about my VW Sportwagen TDI. The VW has better performance, better handling, more cargo capacity, better fuel economy (compared to a Volt using its engine/generator), and more range per tank. He got pissed when he found out the VW cost $20,000 less than his Volt.

      For city driving within the electric only range, the Volt wins, hands down. As soon as you drive beyond t

      • by Brannon (221550)

        VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI price = $25,540
        Chevy Volt price = $39,145 (without tax credit), $31,465 (with tax credit)

        So, basically, you are a liar--I can see why your friend got pissed.

        • by CompMD (522020)

          You quoted a *base* Volt. With any options, the price shoots up fast. His is well equipped, the sticker on his was $45,185. This is trivial to find on Chevrolet's website. You are correct on the Sportwagen's price.

          Don't call people liars if you're unwilling to look for truth.

      • by timeOday (582209)

        He got pissed when he found out the VW cost $20,000 less than his Volt.

        Huh? The Volt is $41K - $7500 tax rebate = ~$34K. A VW TDI Sportwagen is $27K [caranddriver.com]. That's a $7K difference, not $20K.

        Are you by chance directly comparing the price of a used car to a new one?

        Now, I agree a diesel engine chugging steadily away is very hard to beat on the freeway. But for people who do mostly city driving, I think the Volt could be very competitive.

        • by CompMD (522020)

          His Volt was $45k, I saw the sticker. Tax credits aren't immediate. The Sportwagen TDI was $25k. VW recently raised the price as a result of demand. Did you see the part where I said if you're in the electric range the Volt wins hands down? The catch is as soon as you leave the electric range, the efficiency plummets badly. Over the range of a full tank for both cars, the efficiency is nearly equal.

          • by DCFusor (1763438)
            Actually you're about right there. The Volt does have a tiny gas tank - only about 300 miles worth (saves weight and by golly I gotta get out and pee sometimes anyway). My Volt gets right at 40 mpg, not shabby for its weight, on gasoline that costs less than the over-taxed diesel fuel you get better mileage with in a TDI.

            Some of this just comes down to taste I suppose. I happen to have a visceral dislike of diesels that sound like they're gargling rocks at idle, and the smell they make. And the jerks t

  • I can just see the horror film scene where the scantily clad heroine escapes the scary character to a Linux-based car only to find out that it takes 30 seconds to start.
    IMHO, if the Linux development community really wants it to gain acceptance as an operating system for appliances, they really have to get boot times (especially when USB support is enabled) down to the sub-two-second range. That and file systems that work instantaneously after a sudden power loss. None of this graceful shutdown crap.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Uh, you do realise that Linux is already one of the most commonly used embedded operating systems and you probably have several 'appliances' in your house running it?

      • by Zinho (17895)

        My TV and Blu-ray player both run Linux, and both take 15 seconds or longer to turn on. This would not be desirable behavior in a car.

        • by DrXym (126579)
          The trick then would be to not completely turn off. Modern vehicles are never completely off to offer stuff like remote central locking. I assume the model S would be no different. Linux could reside in standby or the engine management system could boot it up amongst all its other tasks when it detects someone unlocking the vehicle or starting the engine.
      • Yeah, I do realize this. In fact, I happen to be the developer and manufacturer of a product that uses a Linux-based ARM SBC. It's a Technologic Systems product. They do offer systems that boot to Busybox in less than 2 seconds. But if you add USB to the kernel, that takes a further 4-5 seconds before you can run an app that needs to use USB. And don't even think about running Debian. That takes a lot longer to come up.

        For a DVR appliance, you have two things: 1) a deep user interface i.e. the TV, 2)

  • Question: Why is this article tagged "vaporware"? I'm starting to think Slashdot readers don't know what that means. How can something be vaporware that's been shipping since June?

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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