With the introduction of the Tesla Roadster, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, started his desire to save the world. Electric cars have been around for a long time, however, typically produce a limited travel radiuses and early on they were difficult to recharge and took a long time to replenish the power needed to continue driving. Musk started a movement with the Roadster that began something that could relieve the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
The Roadster from Tesla was a breakthrough in the electric car. With help from the English sports car company, Lotus, Musk created the two seat electric Sportster that appeared similar to the Lotus Elise. The Elise, at the time, was considered one of, if not the best handling sports car on the market, and the Tesla was not too far behind. The similarity in looks came from the partnership and Lotus helped with the design.
The early cars were just what Musk wanted to start his company. However, as exciting as the cars were, the hit BBC automotive program, Top Gear, started a review of their test car and while it started out as a proper review, the main host, Jeremy Clarkson, trashed the car. He was excited about the acceleration, which was demonstrated in a drag race against a similar looking Lotus, and the all-electric roadster blew its petrol driven sister car away. And then it all went wrong. While driving the car around the track, the car just died, and the car received assistance from the crew to push it back in to be charged. A back up car was brought out, which “broke” also. It turned out that the “breaking down” issues, or losing charge, was fabricated and ended up in court, with Top Gear not found at fault.
While Top Gear may not have made the car seem appealing with the need to charge it and that owners may need to push the car after running out of juice, the range was not ideal compared to petrol cars. Compared to other electric cars, a range of 200 miles between charges was loads better and the performance was phenomenal. The car was quick to accelerate, hitting a 3.7 second 0-60 mph time.
When new, the Roadster was not cheap. At $109,000, the new car was priced at the low level of the supercar range, and with the new technology, it was a crapshoot by Musk to build a new car company off of the car.
However, the former co-founder of PayPal succeeded, and introduced the world to the 5+2 seat Model S at about half the price of the Roadster for the entry level sedan. Adding an increase in the range, and improving the technology, the company was starting to form. Now Musk has a dual motor Model S and a Model X SUV is on the way. Tesla is on its way to being a full fledged carmaker, and working on saving the world.
The fact that Tesla’s relies on electricity and not gas, the need for fossil fuels disappears. Musk has dreams of having charging stations set up around the world. The charging stations, or Superchargers, run off solar power, offer free charge-ups, and in some cases, offer a fully charged battery swap in about 90 seconds instead of waiting around to charge up a battery pack. A new upgrade for the Roadster in 2015 gives the little two-seater an impressive 400 mile range, improving on his desire to see people go gas free.
Musk wants people to be able to drive anywhere in North America without having to worry about where they will be able to charge the car up. Making a cross country trip free or near free with an electric car instead of having to spend hundreds of dollars gassing up every few hundred miles. The Tesla website offers a view of the CEO’s vision with locations of current charging stations and future locations offering potential buyers a better understanding of what is in store for them if they buy a Tesla.
Musk could be on the road to saving the world with Tesla, However, not just through his car. The Tesla technology that makes their electric cars the top in the electric vehicle market, The Guardian reported that Musk has offered his electric car technology to anyone who wants it. Foreign companies, other independent car makers, and even the major car makers. As long as the other companies promise to not engage in courtroom battles over their technology they introduce to the technology Musk has freely given. It could be a road to the demise of the gas powered car and potentially reduce automotive emissions to zero.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors