Battery technology still sucks. No amount of Elon Musk's grandstanding will change that.
But his grandstanding draws buyers. And if the buyers return favorable verdicts on his cars, that will draw more buyers. As will the reports of a lower-priced, smaller sedan that Tesla has planned for a few years down the road.
And with more buyers comes more incentive to improve battery technology, which is a win for everyone whether you want an EV or not.
You've clearly got a stick somewhere it shouldn't be regarding this.
There is better technology available right now, than what is presently being used in the Tesla. There has been better tech available for several years now, in fact. My issue with Musk is that he toes the line between hype and dishonesty with his claims, but the average Joe reading the daily news takes his bullshit at face value.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about.
* Tesla uses automotive-grade, Lithium-ion battery technology. These batteries do not suffer from “memory effect.”
Complete horseshit. Lithium-ion batteries develop a memory like ALL other batteries. Elon Musk's creations are still subject to the second law of thermodynamics (summarized as entropy). There is also no such thing as "automotive grade lithium-ion battery technology". The batteries used are simply a bunch of Panasonic NCR18650A cells, which are nickel and lithium based industrial batteries. Nothing special or groundbreaking as these are just off-the-shelf components.
Here is another example.
*The Model S battery will not lose a significant amount of charge when parked for long periods of time. For example, Model S owners can park at the airport without plugging in.
Obviously, Elon wants to make money through parts and services as well, since this statement is not entirely true. If you were to store the battery with a full charge, it would undergo major degradation in just a month or two. It's very, very, very bad to store Lithium-Ion batteries with a full charge, at room temperature. The chemistry inside them goes to absolute shit when stored, fully charged. This is why new rechargeable batteries bought from the store are shipped with a 25%-50% charge. Li-Ion batteries will lend themselves to being stored much more readily when they are at about a half charge, and especially if they are refrigerated, though the latter solution is not available to Tesla car owners.
Allegedly, their "supercharger" system, which will be implemented at proprietary charging stations, can charge the battery halfway in 30 minutes. 30 minutes, for 100 miles of driving (assuming you even get that from a half charge). I imagine a full charge would take on the order of 60-90 minutes. This is so far from where it needs to be, yet Elon Musk is here trumpeting his creations as though they are ready for the mainstream. If it took me 30 minutes to pump a half tank of gas, I think I'd probably prefer to ride a bicycle. The charging system is limited by how readily the batteries will undergo the chemical processes to break molecular bonds formed during the generation of electricity. Pushing the power into them too quickly will cause an explosion.
So, we can't drive more than 200 miles on a charge, and it takes more than an hour to recharge the system, yet pure EVs are somehow going to be the way of the future?
Elon Musk's company is not driving battery technology with their hype and miniscule sales figures. Not buying that one bit. Now the tablet, smartphone market on the other hand, certainly is driving the R&D. Unfortunately, his hype is drawing attention away from vehicles which could actually help - gas (or diesel)/electric hybrids. We already have the technology to produce renewable fuel for these platforms (be it biodiesel, or even alcohol), it's just a matter of scaling that production to meet the needs of a growing nation of people.