Search 4,000 EV News articles

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Does a Lotus Elise use less energy than a Tesla Roadster?

Does a Lotus Elise use less energy than a Tesla Roadster? I would've thought the answer to that question was a fairly obvious NO. An Auckland New Zealand publisher has produced a 168 page report that he's spent 3 years researching that says otherwise "the Tesla electric car is less efficient and more polluting than its petrol sibling and a Tesla would require over 25% more energy than the Elise"

Normally we here at Electric Vehicle News don't re-publish such blatantly ignorant claims but I have exchanged emails with this 'self-appointed expert' on a previous occasion and I'd just like to add some cold hard facts to the debate.

It’s simply impossible for an EV to use more energy than an ICE car. All gasoline fueled ICE powered cars are just 15% energy efficient at the wheels. They’re the road going equivalent of an incandescent light bulb as a product that converts the majority of the paid-for energy it consumes into useless waste heat.

Comparing the Tesla roadster with the Elise is like comparing a 4 cyl against a V8 in performance terms. A standard Elise has a 100kw motor and does 0-60 in 5 sec, a Tesla Sport has 215 kw and does 0-60 in 3.7 sec.

Yet despite the huge difference in performance, in terms of energy efficiency, a Lotus Elise consumes 9.6 Liters per 100 km. The energy content of petrol is 8.89 kwh per liter so to drive 100 km in an Elise requires 85.34 kwh worth of energy or approx 853.4 watt hours per kilometer (wh/km). A Tesla Roadster uses 110 wh/km so consumes only 11 kwh to drive 100 km. That’s 1/7th the amount of energy to drive the same distance. Quite literally the energy required to drive one lightweight, small 1.8L engined, Lotus Elise around town could power seven Tesla Roadsters driving the exact same distance.

So the answer to the question is... a Tesla Roadster in fact uses 87% less energy than a Elise to do the same work, or looking at it the other way the Lotus Elise uses 775% more energy than a Tesla Roadster. That's exactly why EVN will not be re-publishing the fact-free Kiwi report any time soon.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Anonymous said...

Add that a Tesla can run 15 miles on the electricity it takes to refine a single gallon of gasoline.

For scale, if California was a country it would be the 9th largest economy. The 2nd largest user of electricity (next to the State itself) are the few oil refineries in that state.

Anonymous said...

Was this report trying to include the full manufacturing energy expenditures as well? At least that would be worth thinking about. If not it just sounds like desperate grasping at straws in denial of our electrical future.

Anonymous said...

very good point "LiveandLetDrive" :)

aelazenby said...

Electric cars require an enormous amount of energy to produce. I would imagine that the article would be very worth the time to read. Was it published in a way that the public can read it?

tsport100 said...

Any attempt by a layperson to compare the energy consumed in component manufacture would be pure speculation and simply ridiculous!
There are 600 moving parts in an average ICE, each part being made from cast aluminium or steel. To cast those materials they must be raised in temp beyond their melting point which consumes enormous amounts of energy. Battery production is a low temperature process.

Post a Comment