Tesla Roadster And Porsche 911 Comparison Engineering Essay

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Purpose and Scope of Assessment. The scope of this LCA assessment is a comparison between an electric Tesla Roadster and a Porsche 911 gasoline sports vehicle. The differences in weight, and fuel consumption and the emissions separate each car into its own category where each assessment is different. This LCA takes into account the use phase of vehicles with both a short and long lifespan, and their production comparison. We have chosen the Tesla Roadster because we are both passionate about cars and transportation design, and the Tesla Roadster presents a unique evaluation to explore what the first production "green" marketed product supercar, really is from a sustainability standpoint. In our opinion Tesla Roadster is a great product for changing the public perception of what an electric super car really is, from the perception of a slow short range vehicle into a high performance zero‐emissions supercar. The shift plays an important role in changing publics opinion in sustainable automobiles and their introduction into mainstream market. However even with efficient low emissions, Tesla Roadster is not a perfect "sustainable" vehicle. There are many things that could be changed to make it better, and we felt that this makes the Tesla an interesting topic for analysis.

Product Description:

The Tesla Roadster is an all-electric high performance sports car, which takes advantage of new electric propulsion technology, doing so it has promoted a new image of environmentally friendly automobiles . Priced at $98,000 the vehicle houses 6,831

lithium‐ion batteries, which accelerate the roadster to blazing speeds. Powered by a sophisticated hardware and software, the vehicle can accelerate from 0- 60

under four seconds without lag in the performance, with a top speed of 245 miles on a single charge. The Tesla Roadster plays and important role as a promotion comparing in changing boring electric vehicles into energy efficient transportation, that is more appealing to the average driver. The Tesla Roadster developed by Martin Eberhard is the first production project, in what the company believes will spark a full line of cars, ranging from luxury sedan to economy cars. The Tesla Roadster's chassis is loosely based on the Lotus Elise, with the cars sharing a similar look. The basic design of the car is very simple, it features a single electric motor, coupled with a 2‐speed transmission and powered by a lithium‐ion battery pack, which is situated on an extruded‐aluminum chassis and covered by a carbon‐fiber body shell. The wheels, tires, brakes and interior components are all industry fitted components. With built in systems designed to maximize power and longevity with minimize weight and increasing performance.

Bill of Materials

Component

Weight

% Total Weight

% Recycled

Recycled Weight

Battery Pack

992lbs

37%

30%

297lbs

Motor/Transmission

150lbs

6%

100%

150lbs

PEM

30lbs

1%

20%

6lbs

Chassis

150lbs

6%

100%

150lbs

Body

150lbs

6%

50%

75lbs

Wheels

60lbs

2.20%

100%

60lbs

Tires

100lbs

3.70%

50%

50lbs

Other

1024lbs

38.10%

0%

0lbs

Total

2690lbs

100%

31.20%

838.6lbs

Health & Environmental Screen for Materials

Tesla represents a 47% reduction in materials over the Porsche, based on the combined weight of the chassis, body, engine and drive train.

Tesla Roadster

Aluminum 300lbs

Carbon-Fiber 150lbs

Batteries 992lbs

Energy Consumption

68,161.50

Mj

47,554.65

Mj

498,632.73

Mj

Solid Waste

2,090.28

lb

146.32

lb

665.62

lb

Water Emissions

63.61

lb

0

lb

0.0042

lb

Greenhouse Gasses

3635.28

lb

1829.025

lb

0.0025

lb

Hydrocarbon

2

lb

1.46

lb

0.0001

lb

Sulphur Oxide

31.8

lb

14.63

lb

0.0045

lb

Total

5821.38

lb

1991.41

lb

665.6313

lb

Porsche 911

Steel 1000lbs

Aluminum 1000lbs

Energy Consumption

25,025.00

Mj

47,554.65

Mj

Solid Waste

2,502.50

lb

146.32

lb

Water Emissions

80

lb

0

lb

Greenhouse Gasses

13,013

lb

1829.025

lb

Hydrocarbon

4

lb

1.46

lb

Sulphur Oxide

140.14

lb

14.63

lb

Total

15739

lb

1990.46

lb

Tesla Roadster Flow Chart

Porsche 911 Flow Chart

Life Cycle Stages

Batteries -The battery pack in the Tesla Roadster makes up over a third of the total weight. The company strives for efficient effort to recycle what is can from its use.

The construction of 6000‐plus lithium‐ion cells makes it problematic to efficiently dispose and recycle, the batteries are held

together in a resin substance, which is in-cased in an aluminum box. At the end

of its lifetime, the aluminum container is completely recycled. The rest of the battery pack is processed by freezing and then shredding it to pellet size fragments. This shredding process produces two types of by-product, lithium and cobalt. Cobalt is recovered

with lithium and the rest of the left over material is shipped to land‐filled

Motor/Transmission - The electric motor is made from a combination of aluminum

and copper, which is highly recyclable. The transmission is made from aluminum

components making it 100% recyclable.

Chassis and Wheels - The chassis and wheels are also made from aluminum, and

are therefore also 100% recyclable.

Power Electronics Module (PEM) - This electronics control component is made

from aluminum with silicon and other electronic components. Tesla estimates that

the part is only 20% recyclable, with the remainder needing to be

handled as electronics waste.

Body Shell - To save weight, the Tesla Roadster's body is made from a carbon‐fiber

composite material. With no technology yet to reform carbon fiber, the material is disposed of in its end‐of‐life by down cycle process. The material may be reused in other applications after the original part is shredded.

Tires - Tesla Motors undergoes the same recycling program for the

Yokohama tires on the Roadster as with other car brands, the program is the same with carbon fiber recovery process. Tires are ground up for use in

other processes, such as filler in concrete manufacture.

Other components - The rest of the vehicle components which are also found on many other vehicles, such as plastic dashboards, leather seats, and various other metal and electronic components, have no specific full recycling process available today, to further reuse these parts. However, in the automotive industry it is very common to see

many of these parts utilized as spares when the whole of the vehicle is no longer

serviceable. The remaining non reusable components end up In the land‐fill.

Assessment of the Two Products

Tesla Roadster achieves an impressive gain of 18% to 32% over the Porsche 911, apart from energy usage in production phase. Tesla Roadster requires almost 50% more energy for production, and most of this energy is used in manufacturing the lithium-ion batteries. Compared to Porsche, Tesla has a significant advantage in almost every area, except for energy usage, in its manufacturing process. Tesla features significantly reduced material consumption in its use phase, due to much higher efficiency and greatly reduced mechanical complexity and maintenance. From the LCA analysis it can be pointed out that Tesla can only be given a middle grade for its sustainability, and it's all due to the high end non-reusable materials and energy costs, that go in producing the cars carbon fiber body shell and parts of the batteries. Once new implementation of efficient recycling technologies in reusing carbon fiber and battery components are in place, the entire production would significantly reduce the resource intensive processing. The Tesla Roadster would be the perfect sustainable and environmentally friendly vehicle.

Tesla Roadster

Porsche 911

Tesla Improvement

Energy Consumption

614,348.88

Mj

252,230.00

Mj

-41.06%

Solid Waste

2,902.22

lb

9,470.12

lb

+30.56%

Water Emissions

63.61

lb

292.14

lb

+21.77%

Greenhouse Gasses

5,464

lb

25,130.60

lb

+21.74%

Hydrocarbon

4

lb

11.57

lb

+32.24%

Sulphur Oxide

46.44

lb

246.17

lb

+18.87%

Total

8480.27

lb

1990.46

lb

125.18

Solutions to Minimizing the LCA Energy

Aluminum recyclability - Aluminum is a highly recyclable material, having the ability to be entirely recycled into the same raw aluminum state. Using aluminum with recycled content can save approximately 20,787 MJ of energy during the manufacturing process. This would represent a 33% energy decrease over using new raw aluminum, and would result in a significant cost savings to the company.

Recuperating lithium - At the current time lithium cannot be recovered from the

shredded battery waste. However ongoing development promises a patented processed to be able to recover the lithium from lithium‐ion batteries.

Alternative materials - Using technologies which could reduce the impact of the Tesla's carbon fiber body and plastic parts is beneficial for reusability.

Bio-fibers: Future bio‐composites will integrate carrot fibers as the main reinforcement

material. Materials made from carrot fibers, have a lower density than carbon fiber. It can also be moulded which makes it valuable for many applications.

Feather fibers: Chicken feathers have bio-fibers which are high in resistance, mechanical and thermal stress while in composing light‐weight with many other uses. Some examples of the prototype product formulations include: strong lightweight construction materials, biodegradable agricultural weed control films, air filters, insulation mats, composites with natural and synthetic

polymers.

Biopolymers: Currently, several projects are developing biopolymers for

automotive use. These polymers will be biodegradable and could be used to

replace the plastics currently used in the body and interior components. If

combined with the biological fiber technologies mentioned above, this

combination could potentially replace carbon fiber.

Battery technologies: New battery technology development utilizes nanotechnology‐based lithium‐ion battery provide results for vast improvement in efficiency of storing power, safety, and life as compared to conventional Lithium technology. Combination of these new developments in material engineering will set forth new advances and technological utilization for future vehicles like the Tesla Roadster.

Conclusion

The Tesla Roadster, is not a complete sustainable solutions as we would hope it to be. The life‐cycle analysis shows that manufacturing and complexity factors found with the electric portion of the car, pose an impact of its own in sustainability. Yet it can be agreed that it's the right movement into the future direction, in implementation of new technology. The Tesla Roadster is the first pioneering brand to establish its self as an exotic sports car maker, utilizing electric power platform. Funded by the fist luxury adapters the development of necessary technologies is sponsoring itself in exploiting new solutions. The risk taking factor of this small company, makes it unique as a brand which is not afraid of exploring new possibilities for the future investment in generations to come.

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