A Few New Car Owners Will Join The 48V Future

Leaving aside all the annoying hype surrounding Tesla’s Cybertruck, there’s a little technical detail which might be of more interest to readers than the automotive behemoth itself. It’s one of very few vehicles on the road to eschew 12 volt electrics for not 24 volt, but 48 volt. This has been one of those automotive innovations promised as just around the corner for many years, and it seems finally we’ll see it in practice.

The reason that there’s nothing new in the prospect of moving on from 12 volt electrics has been brewing for decades now. A typical car has plenty of motorized gadgets from seat adjusters to sunroofs, as well as at least one heated windscreen or other surface. These devices take a lot of power, and at the lower voltage require significant current to operate. The 48 volt system will require much less in the way of copper to get the power where it’s needed, so the surprise is that we’ve not yet seen it in run-of-the-mill vehicles from the likes of Ford or Volkswagen.

What we’re guessing is that other manufacturers will be watching from the sidelines as to whether 48 volt electrics cause any problems for the Tesla, and it’s not impossible we could see it becoming the new hotness. There are many choice words we could say relating to the hype around Tesla and its supposed level of innovation, but it could be that this time they’ve really been first with something the whole industry will go for. If so we should rejoice, because it’s likely to push down the prices of 48 volt lithium-ion packs.

Header image: Mliu92, CC BY-SA 3.0.

131 thoughts on “A Few New Car Owners Will Join The 48V Future

  1. This will probably save a lot of cabling (thicknesswise) and thus weight but also price.
    Anywhere where 12v is needed (or 5, or 3.3), it can easily be converted down.

    I was surprised to learn that one type of our electric buses has a 12V on-board system, whereas almost all older buses (even electric) have had 24V, and some even 48.
    But the only thing that battery needs to power is the electronics of the charge controller, contactors for the traction batteries, and the board computer to check for updates – probably processes that need 3-5V anyway, so slapping in one standard 12V car battery might’ve been lighter than two, whereas in ye olde days those batteries needed to crank a frozen diesel engine to life.

    1. I, and a lot of people like me, love the look of the cybertruck. I’m personally not a fan of electric vehicles and I’m not a fan of cars that you can’t repair yourself. But that cybertruck looks so cool to me. I hope that one day I’ll have enough money and time to buy one, remove everything from the wiring harnass, to the engines and camera’s, and rebuild it as a gasoline powered car.

      1. Are you saying that electric cars are not repairable?

        If so, that’s a bold assertion and one that I doubt you’ll find many folks around here that could get behind. I think there’s a strong argument that an EV is generally more repairable than a legacy vehicles.

        1. …and they have far fewer moving parts, and far fewer consumable parts, so there’s much less need to repair them. No timing chains, spark plugs, synchros, clutches, etc. And the brake pads last longer because the motor does so much of that job now.

          The batteries won’t last forever but there are already third parties doing battery swaps.

        2. I think the comment is related to that problems that are similar to those with John Deere. But holding on to still driving around in a legacy gas vehicle which actually is reepairable.
          My 8 year old Audi is really only 50% repairable by me thanks to all the electronics and resetting of things that brick it if you dont have the $3000 audi software or the special audi tool which only fits that part on that model.
          My 30year old weekend cars are 100% repairable and upgradable with parts that unlike the audi are not DESIGNED to fail to make money from servicing.
          I read an article the other day about a tesla model S having done 1.3million miles.
          It only needed 13 motors and 4 battery pack to do so.

          Electric cars should be being designed around recycling as the priority goal – as everything else.
          Modularization is also nice. But as we know from batteries for even hand held devices (see laptops & especially apple) all manufacturers value proprietary lock in for profit and dont really care about the environment save for their ESG ranting wokeness.
          If the UN wants to do something useful it should be to mandate that manufacturers are responsible for the lifecycle of their products financially and environmentally. But turkeys dont vote for xmas.

      2. Matters of taste aside, it’s only the old gas cars that are easy to do major work on. The new ones can make simple things expensive and time consuming, whether because of the number, complexity, price, and accessibility of the parts you have to work on, or because of the need to invest in whatever the latest electronic tools are that the manufacturer forces you to get, just so you can program the thing to do what it is made to do.

        I had to spend $1700 on a gas tank because there’s a built-in valve that can’t be separated from the tank, yet it failed and I couldn’t fill the vehicle. That’s just absurd. Then a few weeks later I had to get a skinny friend to help me replace my thermostat, because even though it’s something everyone knows you have to replace occasionally, they decided to route air conditioning lines and the airbox in the way of accessing the thing. And of course I had to spend an hour looking up coolants for cross-compatibility, because the manufacturer specifies a coolant that’s not made anymore, and then the previous owner may have used a different type, and then some types of coolant that are different colors are actually the same chemically… If a manufacturer wanted, they could make an EV with like 3 critical parts needed to make it move – battery, motor, and a controller in between. Like ebikes.

      3. You’ll come around on EVs (if you allow yourself too do so). They are technically far superior, way more efficient, have way fewer moving parts, etc., etc. Being “not a fan” just sounds like you’ve already made up your mind rather than considering the facts.

    2. 001 To use an age old cliche’ “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
      002 One could equally inquire why “yo mama is so ugly?”
      GO TO 1

      I have on one order, why ? because I think it looks like something
      out of Bladerunner.

      (also it’s bulletproof – can survive “tommy gun” automatic weapons fire)
      (pre-1986 weapon .45 cal full auto).

        1. The utility of each is relative to one’s location, but yeah, neither would be of any use to me. And even if you did live in a place where bulletproof is useful, the Tesla can only stop bullets that hit the body, not the windows where an imaginary assailant would actually aim at you, and even on the body it likely wouldn’t stop anything larger than a 9mm or .45 handgun. You’d be way better off in an inconspicuous Camry that was professionally built to real bulletproof standards.

          However, 6600 lbs of lithium and steel propelled by 500 hp presents a danger to everyone else using the road – any pedestrian or cyclist, and 80% of cars, will be flattened in a collision. 100x as many people will be hurt by it than protected from bullets by it. Seems awfully antisocial to drive something that represents such a real threat to others in exchange for marginal and unnecessary protection for yourself.

          I actually think that it’s cool, and I’m even glad that some have been built, but I don’t want them (or other medium – heavy duty trucks) used to transport people our roads.

          1. Wait till you hear about my 1960 Chrysler land yacht.

            6000 lbs, 400HP, 4 wheel drum brakes, push button shift, 2 doors, trunk bigger than the ‘bed’ of tesla truck, 6 mpg.

            Model was banned from demolition derby as they were indestructible. Why they are now so rare.

    3. its one of the few tesla’s I like, outside the roadster which was a MX5 every other tesla looks like musk himself (big lips in the front, down syndrome head in the back)

      1. Probably it does pretty ok? The vehicle is already heavy so adding a bit of weight on the back should have little impact (and it’s made for it).

        It looks pretty durable and solid as well so I’m not sure if off-roading it is more risky than with another car. Probably will become ugly though, small dents in these steel panels will be very visible…

    4. Since no one else is giving a legit answer:
      The truck is designed using a different type of structure. Most vehicles have a structural internal skeleton surrounded by a light, thin body shell. The cybertruck instead has strong structural shell with a much lighter internal skeleton. There are various possible benefits for this, from weight to manufacturing cost.

      The reason it looks like a paper oragami truck is because it is literally built by folding a sheet of thick rigid metal into the shape of a truck.

        1. They’re right about it not being possible to stamp 301 ss into complicated shapes, but they’re wrong about why the body panels are built out of 301. They aren’t structural and it doesn’t have an “exoskeleton” – the Cybertruck uses a standard unibody design just like a Honda Ridgeline or Ford Maverick. 301 is used because they thought people would want a big truck made out of the same stuff as a SpaceX rocket (and they’re right).

      1. Many cars do that. It’s just trucks that are traditionally built cab over frame rather than unibody design, because then you can change the cab and the bed to whatever you want and need. That’s one of the reasons why the Cybertruck is stupid.

        The real reason why it is angular is the same as why the DeLorean was angular: stainless steel is really hard. Regular steel is about 120 vs. 200 BH for stainless. That means it’s difficult to cut, drill, stamp or punch holes in it. It’s also difficult to weld, because the chromium that makes it corrosion resistant tends to migrate and clump up in the heat affected zone, so it starts to corrode or crack at the seams.

        That means you can’t really do complex curved shapes and box structures spot welded together out of many odd-shaped parts – at least economically. You can technically make all the same shapes, but the machinery to make them costs more and putting them together is very difficult. If you make the shape angular with simple folds, you can do larger pieces in one go and avoid the weld seams and the difficult shaping and machining, which is the way Tesla had to do it to keep the price “down”. It’s still 50% more expensive than originally promised.

    5. Eye of the beholder. Also, when it comes to cars the definition of ugly and pretty keeps on changing. What’s ugly today is unlikely to be so in a few years. There are enduring pretty designs, but obviously the CT is unlikely to make that list.

    6. Thats a good question…1st time I saw it I thought it was a joke! Now I just look the other way and not eat anything for at least a half hour. You couldn’t pay me to drive that monstrosity!

    7. 2 reasons: First it’s made of stainless steel, and second it still has to have some semblance of low air resistance.
      So you get flat panels and that large flat slanted front window.

      Now obviously they could have made the stainless steel rounded, like you see in your kitchen/bathroom every day, but that would be more costly to produce I guess. Even though they still had to up the price of the base model by 10 grand I’m told.

      Still, I hear it can accelerate faster towing a Porche 911 than a Porche 911 can on its own, so that’s neat. Although now people wonder what happens in an accident when a heavy stainless steel behemoth hits something, possibly another car. And people also wonder about crumple zones.

  2. I recall this being proposed sometime in the 1980s. One issue raised then was a legal requirement for double insulation and other measures to prevent shock hazards if the voltage went above 32v.

  3. None of the technical details matter. It is proven that people worldwide do not want EVs simply because they are absolutely unaffordable. Then you get a double whammy with a hefty bill in 7 years to replace the battery bank. No thanks!

      1. His source is the strawman in his head that is absolutely terrified of change. All of their EV talking points are straight out of the ICE playbook to try and keep gasoline vehicles relevant just a *tiny* bit longer.

      2. There’s a cost of living crisis, and most people don’t want to pay more at the best of times.

        Prices will hopefully come down, but right now they’re significantly more expensive.

        The mandated end to ICE vehicles will probably resolve this as ICE becomes rarer and therefore more expensive. But the likelihood seem to me to be that car prices will just go up rather than EVs come down.

        Car manufacturers will of course like this for a while at least, and governments who are trying to reduce the number of cars will probably also like it.

        1. Electric cars are like Rolexes or Macs. (Veblen goods)

          The people that want them, want them because they are crap value for money, ‘proves’ they are ‘so rich they don’t even care’.
          Status symbols do get you laid, but only by whores.

          Right about now, the people that want them, have them. Is the perfect time to ship an even more expensive version, for the true morons.

          People are already planning on keeping their older cars. ICE cars have been terrible for at least 10 years now.
          Try and find a health V8 pickup for under 80K$…Guess what? That expensive one isn’t ‘healthy’. They have all gotten too good at ‘designed life’. 4 bangers in full-size pickups, just say ‘hell no’.

        2. There isn’t a cost of living crisis, there is a “I want things beyond my means why can’t I have them” entitlement crisis.
          Coupled with a “I spent all my money on shiny things and didnt save for the future please bale me out” expectation of blaming those who did rather than one’s self.

    1. Have you had an EV for that long?
      They actually have a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) than ICE vehicles (for comparable vehicles, don’t compare a Tesla to a VW Golf) and the batteries last way longer than everyone thought.

      We’re gonna replace the batteries in some of our electric buses after 6½ years, which is 30% later than the 5 years the manufacturer promised. And this is for electric buses that have gone through on average 4 full charges a day, so about 10.000 full charge cycles. A normal passenger car would take multiple decades, maybe centuries of years to reach that many full charge cycles.

      1. When you say you are replacing the battery after 6.5 years- what is the criteria for replacement? I assume it is not complete failure, but more of a PM thing or an actual measurement of the battery to deliver the KWh?

        I have an expectation that once we have drowned out the FUD with data, they will quiet down. Tesla’s warranty on their battery is something like >= 80% of “new” capacity after 8 years (varying among models)- even if replaced at 7.9 years at 79% of capacity- that is still a HUGE amount of storage. I think the secondary market for used batteries will be major- not just the “throw them in a grinder and extract the raw materials” but recycling the packs as-is. If they replace the pack under warranty- the old pack is theirs.

        A SWAG: Just basing it on the number of Teslas sold in 2022 (350K), a severely derated battery pack (50KWh)- the total capacity would be >17 TWh! (check my math, please!). Discharging each battery at just 0.1C (should be well within the range for a “used” pack) – That would run the ENTIRE CONTINENTAL US for >24 hours, from the peak I found (720GWh on Aug 21, 2021).

        Yes, there are lots of losses and MANY other things to take into account, but I am assured, the availability of battery storage is going to change the economics of our power grid, particularly the most expensive, most polluting, and least efficient part, the peaking plants.

        1. Arithmetic checked. You’re out by a factor of 1000.

          Easy sanity check: If just a single year of one supplier’s car sales contain over a day of electrical energy from the whole US grid, how on earth would they all get charged in a reasonable time?

          1. Yep- made a conversion error- too used to dealing with mAh. There is 17 GWh total in the “degraded” batteries. Still- there is a significant amount of power available to disrupt the economy of peaking plants- particularly because battery storage can respond to demand nearly on a cycle/cycle basis.

        2. The problem with degraded batteries is that they not only have lower range, but also take longer to charge by roughly the same percentage (so a 100kWh battery that was charged with 200kW (full in half an hour) that is now at 80kWh usable range, will take about 33 minutes to fully charge (doesn’t seem like a lot but charging volume is now 145). This factor is not limited by the battery itself, but the BMS of this particular battery producer.

          These buses are from late 2018 and have a pretty small range, about 75 km and are fast-charging, and the dropped range means they can not make a full round trip on the longest routes. Changes in our bus network make that more of our trips will be on the longest route.

          A third reason is that the longer charge times don’t match with a driver break anymore. While these buses originally could fully change in 17 minutes (with 250kW charge power), it now is more like 25 minutes, meaning the driver has 8 minutes of “idle time” next to their break, which is inefficient for us.

          So it’s both degraded range and operational challenges.

        3. The 80% limit in 8 years is misleading, because it suggests the battery would last decades if it loses just 20% in that time.

          But the reality is that when the battery starts showing its age, it’s because the electrolyte is degraded and the electrodes are starting to clog up. It’s a cumulative effect, where the accumulated wear on the battery causes faster wear going forwards. It’s not going to last another 8 years with another 20% drop, it’s going to die in the next 4-5 years.

          This is made worse by the fact that even if the battery chemistry is in principle good and long-lasting, there are hundreds or thousands of individual cells in the battery and you’re essentially betting that every single one of them is equal in quality. You always get one or few duds that fail sooner than later, and because of that you have to replace the entire pack. Knowing Tesla, battery replacement out of warranty and out of insurance is stupidly expensive and way more than the worth of the car at that point.

      2. >They actually have a lower TCO (total cost of ownership) than ICE vehicles (for comparable vehicles, don’t compare a Tesla to a VW Golf)

        Why not?

        You assume everyone can afford a Tesla – most of us have to make do with the Golf, and the majority of people can’t even afford to buy new cars in the first place. 70-80% of the market is used cars, where EVs are sorely absent because of the ridiculously high service cost issue.

        EVs are built disposable, because nobody wants to spend ten grand on a 10 year old car to get it going again. It’s going to get baled instead.

        1. I meant it the other way around. The first mass-produces electric cars were expensive and thus also had upscale trip – being comparable to Mercedes or BMW in trim … well maybe not the quality, but in look & feel.
          However, now electric cars that are lower midrange cars (like the Renault Zoë or Nissan Leaf) are coming out. But it’ll take 10 years before that will become the “affordable 3rd hand car” many of us drive and buy – but if the batteries are good, they will be a lot more expensive. However, electricity and maintenance of the cars will be a lot cheaper. Upfront car costs will be higher, hence people need to save more if they want to buy.
          In the US, taking out a loan for a 2nd hand car is quite common I think, but in Europe this rarely happens.

      3. There are no current battery technologies that even claim 10,000 full charge cycles.

        2,000-3,000 is currently the ‘best in class’.

        You also don’t want to deep cycle most batteries.

        I’m going to take a WAG and say you are likely wrong about how discharged those batteries are.

        Tesla battery packs are going dead at about 120,000 miles with regular supercharging, longer when slow charged.
        The batteries are basically uneconomical to replace. Just buy a new car. By design.

        1. LTO and some LiFePO4 solutions depending on specifics.

          The 0% and 100% voltages are arbitrary with most lithium stuff, meaning that so are their other ratings. I think 4.2V is a bit much, usually, even though it’s common. If you adjust them to a narrower range when you decide the rating of your pack, I guess you can claim 10k at that reduced capacity. But I don’t think it counts as much as the first two, even though LTO is too expensive.

      4. When you’re TCO includes the environmental costs of producing and disposing of them during their entire lifecycle when let’s have an honest conversation.
        But considering that cutting down trees in the USA, shipping them to the UK to burn in previously locally sourced coal fired power stations has been considered to be “green” for the last 20 years, I’m sorry but green washing is driving this “eco revolution” in pretty much every single direction.
        It’s the next big land grab. Sustainability =/= green agenda. It’s just about profit right now.

    2. In many cases these batteries are looking likely to last rather more than 10 years, most of the rental company and corporate fleets are actively publishing data that says the TCO is massively lower with brake wear being negligible – more likely to need replacement for rusting from lack of use, tyre wear being unchanged, and as the fuel is really really cheap when charging at home/work normal chargers – its only the public superfast chargers that cost a bit, and even that isn’t bad per mile of range. Really there are not many valid reasons not to EV, as even the ‘range anxiety’ is rather largely solved with the long range models and charging infrastructure spreading – you will need to stop more often than it does and at least in most of the ‘developed’ nations charging points are relatively common at these rest stops now.

      Yes the EV’s are too expensive for everyone to easily afford one yet, though prices have been coming down. But its not like a new ICE car is cheap either as a rule. The rest of us might manage to pick up an EV eventually or do like the Eastern Europeans are doing and repair a USA crash damaged EV ‘writeoff’ – get a nice more luxury EV that is cheap to run and not actually pay much for it what it is.

        1. The reported tyre wear by the folks running fleets of EV says it makes no difference – the stupidly high torque, performance and mass of the EV means you can shred the tyre if you drive like you stole it, but driven normally that weight isn’t manifesting in worse tyre wear in the real world.

      1. Brake wear?
        Brakes are known for obviously being horrifically expensive right?
        perhaps if you are paying OEM prices but after market no – expect that there are virtually no after market parts for teslas because of their locking – like john deere but with an army of fanboys not haters.

        Brakes however are a good example of whats wrong with manufacturing on a societal level.
        All vehicles need brakes and brake pads.
        But every single company use a different brake size and offset even in their own range.
        Because it’s cheap enough for them to choose to do it and profitable enough for them to gouge you as a consequence.
        Why not standardization – economies of scale, consumer choice, ease of recycling – oh yeah, less profit.

    3. I was looking at a cheap EV. I’m not a fan of them at all, but if I could buy one that looks horrible, completely dented etc, that still drives, I would be able to drive it to/from work for free. But all the ones I can find, have the battery either removed because it didn’t work anymore, or is listed with a broken battery. I refuse to invest more into an EV. I need to keep a normal car to actually go somewhere. Until you can get affordable cars with 2000km+ batteries, it’s just not an option for me. I live in the Netherlands and we have one of the best grids in place for EV’s and even here it’s a huge issue. I’m going to hold off until there are ammonia powered cars.

      1. You drive 2000 km without stopping? Your comment doesn’t even make sense. Is it a range issue or you’re just so cheap you want to drive around in a beater with a bag covering your head? You need to keep “a normal car” for those daily 2000 km trips? My car has 500 km range. 300 km 80%>20%. I don’t even have a high speed charger at home. I charge at 8 amps at my apartment complex and I still don’t even bother to plug in each day and I drive 30000 km a year. Don’t buy an EV… No one cares. I don’t know about in Europe but here in the “free” world all the crybabies still pay for everyone else’s EV with tax rebates as wrong as that is.

        1. Been there and done that more than just a few times. It’s called Seattle to Chicago (2,788km/1,723 miles) in ~42 hrs almost non-stop without violating traffic laws. Two drivers. We stopped only for food, fuel, bathroom breaks, and to swap seats.

          Range, Recharge Time, and Durability are the issues when it comes to EV vs. ICE vs. Hybrid. 30k km is what I drive in 3 months – simply because I live in a “Fly-Over State.” EVs have their place and their uses, but not every vehicle use case can be solved by throwing an EV at it. When an EV can get 508 miles of range on a charge, recharge in 5 minutes, and get the same range/charge at 10k miles as it does at 200k miles…

          1. I’m in the minority of people who seem to make minimal stops and to drive for a fairly long time out of the day, while making good time as it were. Even I don’t try to drive almost nonstop instead of sleeping somewhere, or to do without a few minutes to get out and stretch or rearrange things every now and then. While I agree for your stated use case that a hybrid is better, I find it unreasonable to set the bar for all EV’s at being able to do the things you said. Partly because that’s not how batteries work – you don’t need to charge 100% in 5 minutes, you need to charge X miles in however many minutes. You don’t need it to have the same range at 10k as 200k, you need it to have enough range at 200k however much that is.

            As for commuting, it depends if you can charge at home or wherever. Going to a public charge station seems to be problematic for many people at the moment, but luckily wouldn’t really be necessary anywhere near as often as most people visit the gas station for me. I won’t get an EV until it’s more affordable with a pretty high range, but I did put a high amperage outlet where I park so I would only really need to use a public one on a road trip.

            And in that case, I’d plan to start out fully charged from home or from a hotel, and not stop for a long time until around lunch, when I’d pick up a bit more charge. There’s a lot of time spent getting in and out of towns to go to whichever gas station or fast food places you prefer; it can be easier and more pleasant to stop at a rest stop, if circumstances permit, and then make one longer stop later.

      2. Why 2000+ km? What afordable ice gets that range?

        I drive a zoe ze40 in the Netherlands, do 95km one way to work and can do round trip a day.

        Thats 200 – 250km range. There is no denying that that is tight,but it works fine for me. 95 km is also quite far for work I admit.

        A comparable car, the Clio gets about 650km of range on a tank. Of course that is 3* as much, but also not 2000+ of range.

        Would I have liked double the range, for Holliday’s really, absolulty, but even that would be 500km of range, and that’d be more the fine.

        1. 500 km is pretty comfy, and is about right with an 80 kWh battery. (Oh, that’s what the 40 in ze40…)

          Even on vacation drives, you really want to get out and stretch/pee/eat at least every 3-4 hours or so anyway, so 80 kWh is the sweet spot, IMO.

        2. Normal cars don’t NEED that range. That’s the thing. If electric cars want to be competitive, they do need that range. The biggest problems with those cars is the charging. Even here it’s nearly impossible unless you live in a very organized way. I don’t, so this doesn’t work. I don’t want to be stuck somewhere having to charge my car for an hour. Even a normal fill up is annoying as it takes a minute or so. That’s already too much hassle. I don’t always know where I end up. I might drive to France tomorrow, might have to go to the UK. That car needs to go there. My sister was stuck for over 24 hours, in line for a charging station, on the way to her holiday. The entire EV system doesn’t work for me and we are in the best country for EV’s. Besides that, I don’t feel comfortable driving a car made after 2010. Almost all of those are connected one way or the other. I don’t want that.

          I know the Zoe, it would be a great 5000 euro car when new. But they are asking 25k for it which is insane. If I spend that money I’d rather save a bit more for a Toyota Hilux. If I could get a fully dented Zoe for like, 1500 euro’s, I might consider that. But if it only does 200km, then it’s too much of a risk. That means you can only drive about 100KM before you have to start looking for a charger, especially when in Belgium/France/Germany. So every 45 minutes of driving on the highway means you have to look for a charger. No that doesn’t work. I only drive 80km a day from home to work and back, but 200km will go down and it’s just not worth it. When I look at the new (2023) Opel vans at work, advertised with a 275km range, they (in the winter) won’t last more than 40km. In the summer they barely last 200km. If you actually use them to transport some load, the range goes down very very very fast. That’s why my employer also has a few crafters and transporters next to it, for winter time and actual use. I sometimes borrow one of the vans if I need to transport some heavy stuff for personal use, but it’s always one of the VW ones, not the electric stuff. It’s too much trouble.

          1. >Normal cars don’t NEED that range.

            The car doesn’t. The driver does. I like having 10 gallons of fuel in the tank so I’m not just one commute away from running out. The larger the battery, the longer you can wait for cheap power prices – especially now with spot prices swinging between -50 cents to +50 cents per kWh thanks to lack/excess of wind power and flaky interconnects and other problems.

          2. The reported range of the Zoe is 200 MILES not KM – actually a big difference, with the expectation of 170 miles in cold temperatures, and being clearly designed as a city car not a grand tourer I can’t see why you’d want more.

            Assuming your EV is modern enough and you pull up at the fast chargers you won’t need to wait an hour in nearly all cases the 20 mins it takes you to take a leak and have a cuppa should get you the range to go onward a substantial distance (though as fast charger ratings and EV’s max charge and movement efficiency vary it will be model dependent how far). Plus you are only ‘Stuck’ if you insist on viewing it like that – and if you do in many ways you are just as if not more ‘stuck’ by the petrol car. 99% of EV use don’t seem to lead to actually doing anything but plugging it in to charger at home/work – so for most folks daily lives they will be stuck getting go juice a grand total of never – actually a massive time saving – so maybe once or twice a year on that longer trip you end up having a nice relaxed rest break that takes a little longer than the splash and dash with a takeout coffee you could have done…

            Yes if charging infrastructure really hasn’t come to your little corner of the world yet EV may not be a good idea for you and I can agree they are not cheap enough for everyone to buy one (yet anyway). But if you can afford one its almost certainly a good idea – with the TCO over its lifetime being much lower as the running costs are so low you will end up saving money.

    4. Worldwide? Only USA and other backwards countries (yes, extremely backwards in some areas). But I would also like them to sell methane and hydrogen cars instead of the inferior EVs.

      1. Hydrogen isn’t realistic. There’s no infrastructure to deliver it, and there won’t be until there’s cars. And there won’t be cars until there’s infrastructure. And it all needs special infrastructure because of embrittlement.

        1. That is a problem that just isn’t a problem – the infrastructure for hydrogen is only a little changed from the petrol diesel and LPG that are so common. It won’t be that expensive or cost that much to add yet another fuel to the petrol stations.

          The bigger problem is actually sourcing the hydrogen – if it comes from fossil fuel directly (which is currently how most hydrogen is created) it may well fail to provide any of the benifit expected of it beyond the improvement in air quality.

          1. It’d be a nice reprieve if we discover enough underground deposits of hydrogen, but otherwise the places that turn methane into carbon powder and hydrogen are a fair option. I wouldn’t start with cars, but still.

    5. The price of the Tesla 3 is now just a little bit lower than the average price of all new vehicles sold in the US over the last year.

      There are still plenty of 2012 Model S on the road with the original battery.

      You might want to see a doctor about the way your knee jerks.

  4. 48 volt is not an issue at all, the user systems can be on any voltage they require.
    If/when this beast becomes a production item those 48 volt batteries can be used in my personal solar system, huge bonus!

  5. A huge reason 48V (anything higher than 12V) has not taken off is from the voltage requirements driven by the load dump requirements of alternator driven electrical systems. Disconnect ehe battery while the alternator is under load, you get a huge voltage spike on the output of the alternator. So a part that is rated to connect to a 12V system, has to withstand the voltage as rates by ISO 7637-2 and SAE-J113-11. Automotive rated (12V) parts typically have to be able to withstand a 42V spike IIRC (it can be higher than that, though, and last a pretty long time, so TVS and varistors can help, but are not the only solution). [same thing would happen if you just disconnected the alternator at a power station]

    In semiconductors, there is one major way to add voltage tolerance: increase size of the junction. Increasing a linear gap has a big cost, as area is related to the square of that gap. The physical size of the chip is a major factor in the cost of the chip, not to mention the added size of a transistor increases the capacitance, and slows down the part. You get somewhat less resistive losses with bigger size, so it has been a fight of trade-offs.

    EVs don’t use an alternator to generate the accessory (non-motive power) voltage, so would not need the same sort of protection.

    Thinking more deeply into this- EV electronics, being part of a much more efficient vehicle (unlike ICE, where 70 to 85% of the fuel energy simply creates heat), don’t have to consider the under-hood temperatures,(though have the same low temperature requirements, and in-cabin in AZ is still horrible)- definitely improving the potential overall reliability overall of the vehicle electronics.

    1. Yeah, 12V car systems have had a weird setup where the spikes from alternator are allowed to go into the main 12V rail and then every device has to defend against them separately. With modern electronics, it makes much more sense to suppress the peaks at the alternator regulator.

        1. That is not how an automotive alternator regulator works, at all. The rectifiers in an alternator are definitely not zener diodes. A zener might be used to do some very low current regulation, or as a reference.

          An automotive regulator works by measuring the rectified voltage output of 3 phase generator (the alternator). From there, the regulator modulates the current in the rotor. The battery is required because the circulating current flowing is huge. Supercaps can do it (kinda), but that technology is new, and untested over the duty required. The inductance in the rotor is also very large, so it is difficult to change it quickly.

          A small automotive alternator is still rated in the range of at least 50A, constant current. A non-trivial amount to regulate, so the indirect way we use in an alternator is still dominant.

  6. It’s possibly going to make adding sketchy trailer wiring more difficult, though a lot of manufacturers now just provide a connector on a fusebox at the back of the car for for trailer electrics. They’ll have to provide 12V outputs at places under the hood/bonnet for aftermarket mods.

  7. Quick internet searches say that Teslas (and probably other EVs as well) have/had a separate stand-alone 12V battery for the 12V needs.

    So does this 48V news also mean that the CT uses the main battery for 48V and has no separate 48V battery(ies)?

    Also saw somewhere that the CT battery runs at 800V, double the previous 400V.

    1. Most EVs seem to have separate batteries for electronics. By BIL’s car stopped working because it the (12v) battery was flat – despite having a fully charged EV pack. Unfortunately as it was an EV it couldn’t be jump or bump started.

  8. The cost is driven by the supply chain (which is clearly stated in that article)- it is not inherent in the nature of an EV. Right now, there are not as many parts available, fewer shops, and fewer techs. TCO is a nature of the LIFETIME of the vehicle. Insurance is a cost that varies yearly? Semi-annually? As the supply chain spins up, availability will improve. Shops will gear up, techs will learn.

    Insurance companies, like the automakers, are trying to figure out how to continue to make their massive profits on slim margins.

    EVs are a disruptive technology. Thankfully, they have the ability to disrupt in a way that can improve the world.

  9. 48 would also make sense for ICE cars, it would make it much easier to get rid of the placement constraints of belt driven accessories, replacing things like hydraulic pumps for powersteering, compressors for AC, etc. with electric that can be placed anywhere

    1. A 2018 Tesla model 3 trade-in is 40-50% of the new purchase price. A 2018 domestic sedan trade-in is 20-30% of the new purchase price. (same mileage, both in “excellent” condition, using the top trim level of a Chevrolet Cruze and Tesla Model 3 on kbb.com)

      1. So… the 2nd hand EV is probably still more expensive, and probably needs an expensive battery pack replacement fairly soon. Whereas the ICE will have a few more years before it needs expensive stuff replaced.

        But the reality of the problem in the UK is that people don’t have places to charge them. Most of suburbia parks on the street, and even if you can get a parking space outside your house, you can’t leave charge me cable trailing across the pavement.

        There’s a lot needs to be solved before they become more widespread.

        1. Some places have put chargers into the base of the street lights here, so on street parking does have a charger (I’ve not looked into it deeply but I think it was relatively slow charge). Definitely a problem that will need fixing for many places in the UK (and I expect we are not the only nation with large areas with limited/no personal car parking space) though, as the big benefit of an EV is that it is always ready every morning.

          1. Some people proposed putting chargers into street light poles.
            Those people are on crack.

            I know of no place dumb enough to do it.

            Because an actual EE would point out that even if the streetlights were wired for HPS and were now LED that still only left them about 100W per pole.
            I suppose that here, that actual EE is me.

            Then there is the whole ‘shear off in an accident’ complication that is desired in poles near roads.

          2. This is more about meeting targets and ESG for delivering greenwashing that it is about providing practical solutions to this.
            EV charging cable theft is a problem with is only going to get a lot worse.
            I’m wondering if I can avoid the “EV revolution” because the near future end game is clearly “uber” with autonomous vehicles and transferring between them on longer trips. Essentially personal transportation pods.

    2. When you calculate the resale value of an EV, don’t forget to subtract any tax incentives that the original buyer got from the basis price. In many cases, the resale value of an EV looks artificially low because the buyer actually paid $10,000 less than the official price.

      1. Until 2022, the US federal incentive (max) was $7500, and that only applied to the first 200,000 vehicles produced by that manufacturer (marque). Tesla hit that limit in January 2020. It has since changed.

        Now, there are some places (like Texas) that are actively punishing EV owners by charging an additional tax on EVs- the idea was to offset the gas taxes that are no longer being paid. Honestly- I have no issue with that. However, the offset (in TX) is in reality much greater than the avoided gas tax for the average driver. (Texas tax is $0.20/gallon, federal tax is $0.184). $200 tax is the equivalent tax paid on 521 gallons. A Tesla Model 3 has, at minimum 113 MPGe- so the equivalent of ~60,000 miles. It does weigh more, than an equivalent ICE car, but only about 30% more.

    3. EVs retain there value quite well, especially compared to ICE. Couldn’t tell you exact numbers for what you’re asking but I can tell you that four years ago I got a used Nissan leaf for ~$11K and now it’s worth about $8600.

      I’ve saved more money than that in not buying gasoline alone. Add on top of it that it’s never needed a mechanic and it’s worth every penny.

  10. The overall appearance/design is not for me, but I won’t yuck someone else’s yum.
    But everything else about it just stinks- Tesla build quality (in my experience) is abysmal, Tesla workplace issues, and of course Elmo himself.

    Which is why I find it so damnably _irritating_ that something good, like moving the needle on 48v systems, might come out of this low poly interpretation of a “truck”.

    1. I’m not a fan of EV’s and especially not these connected cars, but it’s a great design, build quality is great these days (i know it wasn’t in the past but that was years ago), from what I understand, people are more than happy to work there and he seems like a great guy.

      Also, never understood why people call it a truck. It’s a car, not a truck. A “pickup truck” is a contradiction, it’s a car. An F150 or a Hilux is just a normal car with a bed attached to it. Just a different model of car, like you got a sportscar, an SUV, a convertable, a sedan, a wagon, etc. Just cars. Peterbilt, Man, etc, make trucks. Completely different from cars.

  11. Comments: there’s a regulation concerning hazardous conditions when exceeding 45 volts, 48 seems a tolerable exception.

    Cali has requirements for vehicles getting ten years battery life or be factory replaced under warranty for smog certification.

    1. For IEC regions, ELV is anything under 50VAC or 120VDC, though 50VDC seems to be the limit a lot of folks have settled on, I think that’s a limit from OSHA.

      The whole telephone network is 48VDC, Power over Ethernet is 48VDC, most good-sized off-grid power systems use 48VDC, etc. There’s a mindboggling amount of existing power electronics optimized for this voltage, and we’re decades overdue for getting it in cars.

      I’m in automotive electronics myself and I seriously hope this takes off. The mess of suppliers in the rest of the industry is often blamed for hobbling the 1990s attempt, but perhaps Tesla can push it through.

      1. The telephone network (POTS) is 48V DC, and as a result many modern VOIP phones still use that same 48V over an RJ11 plug to power themselves.
        But the POTS network will put about 90-110V AC (about 20Hz) on top of the AC which means that >160V potential to ground is possible. As a result, almost all equipment that runs on cabling that was once used for telephony (including most internet equipment) should be able to withstand 160V referenced to ground)

        Fortunately, the 20Hz isn’t as lethal as our European 50Hz and ringing usually lasts short enough to not cause any real damage. But it sure can tingle.
        (Also, the 48V gives quite a zap if you have one end plugged in and try to strip the other end of the cable with your teeth. Ask how I know)

        1. PoE (at least the standard kind) is 48V, but that voltage only applied if the switch detects a valid impedance. When disconnected, only a small sensing voltage is present.
          Every corded VoIP phone I have seen connected using Ethernet. You might be thinking of PBX phones which mostly use some proprietary signal on RJ11, those at least used to be common in hotels.

          1. One omission: the ~100VAC on top of the 48V DC is for the ringer signal, so is in short bursts (say 1 second). Afaik all modern devices that use catX-cabling should still be “ringer voltage”-resistant.

      2. Many automotive electronics use linear regulators. Because of the costs.
        Having now 48v is a deal breaker, and needs more sophisticated electronics.
        Think of small switches, with illumination – resistor to led won’t do any more…
        The few high power electronics stand against many many of these simple ones.
        That’s why it never took of!

  12. What voltage do train drivers have to contend with? Seems it’s 48 or higher DC. Something here years ago on HAD or elsewhere to run a ham radio on a loco.

    Sad that we have to move on. I’ve seen 6 volt go now the worlds most common single standard of power not 110 / 220 – 60/50 Hz. Hopefully we will have quiet clean agile converters to make things work, not RF transmitter heater blocks made in China.

    1. Most (older) trams and trains I’ve seen in Europe had 110V for their internal mid-voltage electrics (mostly lighting, but also HVAC fans and other stuff), which is weird as 110V is not a voltage often used in Europe.

  13. Just google “48v mild hybrid system” and you will see a ton of cars with 48v system replacing the old 12v boardnet. This is used for mild hibrid assist, electric steering, more AC power, dynamic stiffness control and much more.

  14. I just can’t stand that Musk, beyond the usual marketing bloat, sells 48v and rear steering like HE invented it. Yeah, needed it for steer by wire. If there’s one company that I trust with rolling out new tech that is directly, literally, related to health and safety where everything he manufactures is in beta mode, Tesla ain’t it.

    Especially with the amount of cash he is burning lately across all the companies. Corners get cut that way.

    Anyhoo, CT looks fun, impressive, and stupid all at the same time. Is it Elon’s Home Mobile? Not quite.

    Is it this revolutionary thing? No, it’s just another truck. Rivian was amazing and inspiring when it came out. CT is a weirder Rivian and *hopefully* costs less to repair (prob not).

    The upsetting thing about EV Trucks is this:

    Why is it a car when it should be a Lego truck? Give us the safety cab and the sled. Give us the front piece and the bed area to do whatever we want with. Create an entire industry that manufacturers modules for your Lego truck.

    This is why EVs are stupid.

    As for the EV industry overall, try living in a very hilly or mountainous region where most raw materials are in the valley or vendors need to deliver. Sparsely populated regions that are very hilly do not make EVs work.
    You cannot tow a 10,000 lb excavator and a skid steer to a job site and work all day with BEV.

    The real market is the service industry that relies on consumable pickup trucks that haul 10k lbs, so full size or larger. The lawn, stump grinding, tree cutting, etc services are too competitive to worry about range. Thanks, but any emergency services vehicle will keep running as long as someone puts gas in the tank that they picked up from the nearest gas station.

    Which brings us to another EV manufacturer sin: battery replacement. This is a game changer. But they realized that a 200k Tesla can appear brand new, but the battery is shot.

    If the batteries are easily swappable the market would be in batteries, not the cars.

    So now you pay tens of hours of labor to switch it out, plus an outrageous battery tax to get you to buy a new car instead of a battery. Saving the planet? Nope. That’s a lie, too.

    48 volt is not a revolution.

    Let’s switch the US to 220v while we’re at it (but please don’t adopt those stupid round plugs)

    CT is meh. I mean really meh. Like, that’s it after 4 years of tryface and struggle?

    It’s like DiCaprio arguing he deserves an Oscar because filming in the freezing cold all day and being helicoptered to a luxury hotel at night is *hard*.

    Uh, if you make it hard unnecessarily hard because it is fantasy, the. It ain’t hard. It’s just dumb.

    /Rant over

    1. tens of hours of labor for a pack swap? Come now, a shop equipped for this should be able to do in 2 man-hours.
      Even a single guy using just floor jacks, jack stands and dollies will swap a pack well under 8 hours…

      1. Does depend on the EV – many of them have not had easy to remove battery, some have had many battery packs and none of them easy to get at. Though on the whole I agree with you the norm is a single large pack that won’t be that bad to remove with the right tools.

    2. A hilly area won’t bother the bulk of EV’s much – they are good at regen braking so all that effort put in to going up isn’t going to be lost – might even end up going better than the petrol powertrains there, as they are nothing but losses, the energy density of the fuel can only make up for that so much. EV also tend to have way way more torque to pull crap than any comparable vehicle, so while the range cost of towing might bite you towing as a rule shouldn’t be a problem. So while I can agree EV wont’ be right for every location or user lets not oversell it as ‘stupid’ – if they are the right choice for you they will pay back the upfront costs and then some, and for most folks in that on the fence sort of job/location the EV will be sufficiently good the trade off are probably not enough to change that and the EV can be a good enough choice. The places and people for which for they are not suitable at all will exist, but its not invalidating the concept as a whole.

      As for a ‘Lego Truck’ to some extent or other that has been tried many times, and far as I can see its never really caught on much – perhaps the most successful example I know of being the bolt on modules for the older series of Landrover. In practice folks rarely need that degree of modularity, they buy the thing that does 99% of what they need and put up with the awkwardness or just hire a vehicle/pay for shipping the rest of the time.

  15. My e-scooter has a 48V system and it’s 4 years old… the only problem with 48V is that eventually you’ll need at least one buck converter to bring it down to 12V to power the millions of possible accessories that still operate at 12V. In my case: a horn, turn signals, LEDs..

  16. As a ham operator, a lot of the equipment hams use is 13.8V DC. The equipment can handle a loss of 1.8V.
    What I would be interested in knowing is how much RF this Tesla truck puts out.
    I’ve heard of a push to get rid of AM radios. https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a44855200/am-radio-in-cars-extinction-senate-bill/
    We’ve all heard the buzz when listening to an AM station and driving under some power lines.
    We’re awash in man-made RF. I’m not a fan of getting rid of AM radio, but if this Tesla truck
    is stuffed with all sorts of electronics etc. isn’t there bound to be some noise?
    An electric vehicle just drove past the house and stepped on your signal report, say again? :)
    As such, as a previous poster mentioned, there probably will be some buck converters used to drop
    down the voltage should an accessory require 12 or 13.8V. (How’d we get 13.8 anyways?)
    48V lead acid battery? That would weigh quite a lot. Pass the popcorn, the show should be interesting.

  17. Tesla is not the first to use a 48V electrical system. VAG has been using a 48V system in many of its larger vehicles. The difference is that Tesla seems to have switched the entire system to 48V whereas VAG has both 12V and 48V in the same car, with the 48V system running the systems that require lots of power like the compressor, adjustable torsion bars for the suspension etc.

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