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What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla? 330

Posted by timothy
from the anything-that'll-turn-into-a-pumpkin-please dept.
cartechboy writes "The presidential limo is known as "The Beast," and it's getting to be about that time where it's replaced. Currently The Beast is a General Motors creation with a Cadillac badge, but what if the next presidential limo was a Tesla? Stick with me here. The Beast is a massive vehicle, which means there would be plenty of room in the structure to have a long battery pack a la Model S. Plus, it could use the upcoming Model X's all-wheel-drive system. Tesla's air suspension would keep it from encountering high-centering issues. There could even be a charging port on both the front and back so a battery truck could hook up while driving, like in-flight refueling. Obviously the battery pack would need to have extra protection so it wouldn't have any issues with road debris, but that's a minor issue. Tesla is an American company, and that's a requirement for The Beast. So is it that far fetched to think the next presidential limo could be a Tesla?"
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What If the Next Presidential Limo Was a Tesla?

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  • by the_skywise (189793) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:35PM (#46477557)

    be required to buy it through a dealer though...

  • by Lumpio- (986581) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:37PM (#46477571)
    Does it make any practical difference? Is there any point to this post?
    • Heh... you mean like a History channel special?

      What if the next Presidential Limo was... a space alien?!

    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:59PM (#46477859)

      You obviously never collected comics. Geeks who did are fond of "what if?..." special issues because the exploration of the possibility of something weird is fun.

      You remember what fun was like, right?

      Don't worry - I'll get off your lawn now.

    • by Etherwalk (681268)

      Does it make any practical difference? Is there any point to this post?

      Yes. Practically the poster and various commentators enjoy the hypothetical. In addition, if there were actually a chance of this happening, it would make a practical difference in the security status of the president of the United States.

      • Does it make any practical difference? Is there any point to this post?

        Yes. Practically the poster and various commentators enjoy the hypothetical. In addition, if there were actually a chance of this happening, it would make a practical difference in the security status of the president of the United States.

        This.(**)

        And also, note that many of the comments are technical in nature, regarding recharging, weight, etc.(*)

        (*) News for nerds.
        (**) Stuff that matters.

    • I hope my just submitted "what if" about unicorns ruling the universe will make the front page as well. Given what they are posting these days I think I have a 50/50 chance of making it.
  • by zlives (2009072) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:39PM (#46477591)

    and what if it was paid for by using bitcoin...
    now i think this post has all the magic words to make it a successful slashertisment.

  • Fanboi much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:40PM (#46477613) Homepage Journal

    Everyone wants to provide the presidential vehicles. Does Tesla provide as many jobs as GM?

    The votes those employees provide are probably the most important factor when deciding who gets to provide the presidential ride.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:40PM (#46477615)
    Would you depend on this vehicle if your life was at stake. Tesla can certainly bring it, but the internal combustion engine has over a century of demonstrated reliability.

    .
    • Yeah. Electric motors have no track record.

      {sarc}

    • Reliable? I've had two regular cars in the last decade that died simply because they over-heated in normal urban driving, leading to engine block failures. And that's no weird anecdote, as that is still a common cause of auto EOL in general.
      • Really, this sounds more like user error. I haven't had a vehicle overheat ever and yet I have driven probably about 300,000 miles in my life all in vehicles that initially had at least 80,000 miles on them when I purchased them. The total mileage on all vehicles I have ever owned is well over a million if not closer to 1.5 million with the average mileage when I sent them off to the scrap yard probably around 250,000 miles. The only strangeness I have ever had with the cooling system was when a temp sensor
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Would you depend on this vehicle if your life was at stake. Tesla can certainly bring it, but the internal combustion engine has over a century of demonstrated reliability.

      As do electric motors. I mean, the first cars were electric (or steam!) - the ICE didn't come about until much later.

      The big problem with Tesla is the dealers. The reason Tesla sells directly is because no dealer wants to sell a Tesla. It's just like Nissan and the Leaf. Dealerships don't make much money on car sales - sometimes as little

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @07:42PM (#46478691)

      Tesla can certainly bring it, but the internal combustion engine has over a century of demonstrated reliability.

      Keeping in mind that electric cars have been around longer than gasoline cars, and than electric motors are used in the powertrain of every modern locomotive in the united states (and are the prime movers for almost any industrial plant)...not really, actually.

      Car engines need a lot of maintenance due to all their sensors, electromechanical and mechanical valves, mazes of hoses and wiring (all of which has to deal with high temperatures), dependence on multiple fluid types (the fuel, the coolant, the lubricant) and need for so much cooling (gasoline engines waste 3/4 of their fuel on heat.) One of the reasons Tesla is getting away with not having dealers is that the cars are so much simpler drivetrain-wise. I imagine the only fluids that need changing are the brake fluid and probably the gearbox oil.

      An electric car for the presidential limo would be brilliant, particularly since it typically doesn't need to travel very far most of the time, and an electric vehicle provides massive torque for handling the heft of all that chassis and armor. Adapting an electric drivetrain, in part because of how simple it is and how flexible one can be with component locations, would actually make it far easier on the coach builder. Tesla already has a dual-motor AWD drivetrain, so they've definitely got the oomph (although I suspect the dual-motor drivetrain motors are individually smaller.)

  • by Lluc (703772) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:40PM (#46477617)
    The lack of range would be a huge security hazard. It will have poor range to begin with when you consider the lack of aerodynamics and weight of the armor. You can't beat the energy storage capacity of petroleum.
    • Yeah. I see the POTUS driving over 300 miles in a limo every week.

      {sarc}

      Marine One is for anything outside of a city. Jeez. Are we even half-awake here commenters?

  • Armor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sugar and acid (88555) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:41PM (#46477631)

    The Presidents limo is in a heavily disguised armour. It weighs multiple tonnes.

    An electric design just can't make the range or extended get away speed required with the protection needed.

    Of course the one true maker of presidential limousines is ford....

    • The battery is actually double platted with metal that is quite protective.

      There is no car with a better safety score than the Model S. The Model X could be far superior with minor modes compared to any Caddy.

    • by gsnedders (928327)

      The constant, massive, torque from idle would surely be massively useful for a vehicle weighing multiple tons and needing quick acceleration?

      • I was going to post that the range would be teh suck, and disqualify a tesla, but a stretch version with 2-3x the batteries, and high-performance regenerative breaking might actually make it a better choice. Yes, it takes a shitload of energy to get the 10 ton vehicle moving, but this is mostly an in town car - lots of stop and go. You get a percentage of that kinetic energy back every time you brake. Even with an enhanced fuel tank of 30+ gallons, the Caddy probably doesn't have even a 200 mile range in t

        • Yes, it takes a shitload of energy to get the 10 ton vehicle moving, but this is mostly an in town car - lots of stop and go.

          You've never had The President visit where you live, I assume. The President Does Not Sit In Traffic. [go.com] The "stop and go" is mostly after miles of driving.

        • by Nethead (1563)

          Not much stop and go in a motorcade.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      I dunno...

      For one thing, a bog standard Tesla already has pretty good protection [teslamotors.com]. The NTSA actually had to make up new tests to find any kind of limits to the thing. For example, when they tried doing standard crashes into poles, it kept breaking their poles. They flat out could not get the thing to roll over. You'd think with that as a standard to start from, they could achieve some pretty great things if given the extra custom design latitude and budget a POTUS limo vendor is typically given.

      For anoth

    • The Presidents limo is in a heavily disguised armour. It weighs multiple tonnes.

      An electric design just can't make the range or extended get away speed required with the protection needed.

      Of course the one true maker of presidential limousines is ford....

      Range is more the issue, I would think given the weight of the vehicle sans any drivetrain components. How far away from a secure location would they go before switching to air transport (Marine One)? A gas or Diesel fuel is going to give you critical units of energy per gram of mass than batteries. Even if they use super-secret, only installed in the new Beast and some stealth drone battery I don't see a good 90% of 14,000 lbs going very far. You would get a hell of a recharge from breaking that thing to a

    • Actually electric motors power the biggest machines I can think of, such as draglines [wikipedia.org], railroad locomotives and ships. [wikipedia.org] The Presidential limo is not designed for a high speed getaway, it is really an armored personnel carrier with a nice paint job. It also doesn't have to go very far. The only time a limo had to go very "fast" was after an assassination attempt, but remember that it has a police escort that will clear all other traffic ahead of it. In JFK's case, speed would have been irrelevant, and in Reag

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      It's actually so heavy IIRC it's engine is a 8 cylinder diesel engine that's typically used in the largest commercial pick up trucks (think 1 ton dualies) with more than 7 liters of displacement and a fuel efficiency of 8MPG. The car has sealed air tight compartments, oxygen supplies, armor thick enough to stop armor piercing 50 caliber rounds, a blood bank in the trunk and numerous other features to prevent attacks on the president including physical, chemical and biological attacks.

      The possibility of the

  • by Kevoco (64263) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:42PM (#46477649)

    and is built on a GM truck frame.
    I have a hard time imagining this level of protection working for an electric vehicle.

  • Yeah, I think Teslas are designed to be light and aerodynamic. "The Beast" is neither.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      They aren't actually very light. Between the battery cells and the armor plate protecting them, the Model S weighs over two tons (4647 lb, or 2108 kilo). That said, the Beast weighs a few times as much, due to being armored on all sides (instead of just the underneath). With that said, they do save weight elsewhere when possible (aluminum for the body except the structural/safety parts, for example).

      You *could* make an electric Beast, but it would have relatively short range hauling that much armor around.

  • by Kevin Fishburne (1296859) <kevinfishburneNO@SPAMeightvirtues.com> on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:53PM (#46477767) Homepage
    How small can they make nuclear reactors these days? Tesla could make the President's new "Beast" something like the Tumbler from the new Batman movies, with an extra 1000 HP thrown in for good measure.
  • Just imaging the President on a presidential bike. True, nowadays he would most likely be shot by some idiot for stupid reasons or by a terrorist loaded with a lot of hate. However, future might be just so if we could learn to tolerate each other. I know, this is not going to happen soon ;-)

  • Charging solutions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @05:58PM (#46477843)

    While I have no doubt that you could build a fully electric vehicle that would meet the specs required for the President's limo, I think the biggest hurdle will be charging it. The Beast is one of the only vehicles in the world that drives in countries all over the world without being registered, or modified in accordance with the local market. I've seen the Beast myself here in Canberra, Australia a couple of times. It is kind of a novelty seeing a left-hand drive vehicle with US license plates cruising around on the 'wrong' side of the road in Australia. :)

    But I digress. Countries all use different shaped plugs, different voltages etc. and the charging infrastructure in some places the president might visit is not always reliable. Yes you can ensure that US embassies and the presidential plane/other vehicles have the right systems in place. But you never know what might happen ... one day they might be stuck somewhere with insufficient range and no charging options. Gasoline OTOH, you can find almost anywhere, and can carry a spare supply of it quite easily compared to lugging around some kind of backup battery. I think for that reason it'll be a while before you see a vehicle built for this purpose be fully electric. Maybe a hybrid would work. But I think all-electric vehicles need to become more widespread globally and another decade or two of track record behind them before they would fit the bill for this need.

    • Plugs and voltages can be dealt with, especially since US voltage is the *lower* standard (considering the most available as (nominally) 120 and 240). Infrastructure is more touchy, and more easily interfered with, something the Secret Service tries to avoid. Just as important is the charge time; even if you have a second vehicle following with an any-combustible-fuel generator, it takes too long to refuel. Much easier carrying that second vehicle's weight in gasoline.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @06:00PM (#46477861)

    Would the electric car still work? Could you easily find a place to charge up in that event? A car for the president has some different considerations than me in Suburbia who works from home 3 days a week and doesn't drive much. (For the record I'm a Chevy Volt owner)

    • Would the electric car still work? Could you easily find a place to charge up in that event? A car for the president has some different considerations than me in Suburbia who works from home 3 days a week and doesn't drive much. (For the record I'm a Chevy Volt owner)

      I drove 5-ton dump trucks in the military, most of systems were redundant including air-pressure brakes and the like. Your Honda, unless it's 30+ years old, will not survive the EMP either.

  • by houghi (78078) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @06:02PM (#46477873)

    It is a tank made look like a car. It reminds of of this hammer I bought where all I changed was the head and the handle.

  • I feel the reason that the car will not be electric is that most Military vehicles can run on just about any fossil fuel available in case of emergencies or low fuel.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      The Presidential limo isn't military. It is diesel though (Duramax 6.6L V8, same engine as a Chevrolet Kodiak), so you'd just fill it with JP8.

  • Now what DOES work well for Tesla is the blank check they'll get for making it. However, it will end up having a whole lot of redesign involved. Even if you tripled the battery pack's size, is it a linear gain for a vehicle that's somewhere around triple the weight of their existing models? Methinks not. The "in-flight refueling" truck situation has its own can of worms - you'd need a mobile charging unit capable of giving it enough juice to justify the trip in just a few minutes...I'm pretty sure that despite thirty years of work regarding power generation, we're still stuck with bolts of lightning and plutonium from Libyan nationalists to generate 1.21 gigawatts...neither of which are exactly 'portable', and all of THEM will have to be powered with something, so either you're simply offshoring the oil combustion, or "it's turtles all the way down".

    Meanwhile, you'd need not just one of these things, but a dozen - remember that Tesla would have to build the decoy units, too...which means you'd also need a dozen refueling trucks. If you ditch all of that, then you'll have a fairly short range you'll be able to go, which will defeat most of the purpose of getting the limo replaced.

    And after all of that...exactly what does that net Tesla? Are they looking to make alternatives to the Ford F150 or similar (justifying the work done on making a Tesla engine that can move that kind of weight)? Would it be a foot-in-door to get military contracts (justifying the R&D on an armored Tesla)? Could the charge-en-route tech be adapted for AAA tow trucks? ...Or would Uncle Sam simply pay for all the R&D because the tech needed for this project to work is so vastly different than Tesla's existing designs that monetizing them independently of the limo contract will prove impractical?

  • American made? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @06:15PM (#46478021)

    Buy a Mercedes off the Alabama production line.

    Oh, you meant corporate citizenship? F*ck the workers. Buy a GM from a Mexican line.

  • by Pontiac (135778) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @06:23PM (#46478071) Homepage

    The 2009 Limo was built on the Medium duty Kodiac truck chassis.
    GM shut down the Medium truck division in 2009.

    What would they build it on?

    At 7 tons it's more than even the 3500 series truck is rated for.

  • and won't go far if it needs too.

  • The Queen's official car is a 1958 Rolls-Royce [wikipedia.org], but as of a few months ago the Crown Prince uses a Tesla Model S.

  • Given that the american presidential limo is more or less 500 meters long, how about putting solar panels on its roof?

  • What if the Presidential limo burst into flames and the Secret Service agents started shooting Elon Musk?

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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