Tesla is Defining the Future

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Current Affairs

Never mind the outstanding acceleration, low running costs, and quiet ride, there are other stronger reasons why Teslas are a game-changer in the market-place.

Watch this video on Someone Killed My Model 3 – but we’re uninjured! to see what they are:

  • Auto-updates of software whenever improvements are made
  • Structural strength to protect occupants from collisions
  • Alert sent to the company if an accident occurs.

Imagine that you’re female or an elderly driver involved in a collision on a rural road at night. The car immediately alerts Tesla to the fact that your vehicle has been involved in a collision, and someone calls your mobile to check if you need assistance. Data about the collision is collated, and improvements can be made to improve braking, autopilot, etc., then issued as updates within weeks (as happened recently when a car review site highlighted longer stopping distances).

Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

Drivers need to understand that the current autonomous driving is driver assist, not full self-driving. Even auto-pilot on aircraft needs to be overridden by the pilot sometimes and there are not nearly so many other close-proximity vehicles in the sky as on the road.

It may be less than a year before full self-driving is available, but it may take a few more years before regulators will permit cars on the road without a driver. The UK may take even longer to catch up with the US, but within five years I expect to see fully autonomous vehicles on the roads.

No Need to Advertise

While other car manufacturers are spending huge amounts of money on advertising and dealerships, Tesla needs neither. Tesla fans create countless videos on social media reviewing their cars and some go to great lengths to build customised Tesla models.

Never Mind the Naysayers

Whenever a new disruptive technology appears, there are many saying that it will never catch on who are quick to point out the possible disadvantages. They do not understand the issues at all.

The Range is Too Limited¹

Currently, the range is about 300 miles on a single charge. That is adequate for daily use, but for long journeys one will have to stop to recharge. However, one should stop after driving for four hours anyway if only to take a toilet break and buy a snack. Super-chargers can add 80% of the car’s range in about half and hour.

Future battery technology will steadily increase the range and reduce the recharging time. After five years the best electric cars will go a thousand miles on one charge and recharge in fifteen minutes.

People Living in Flats won’t have Anywhere to Charge

People living in flats do not refill their petrol or diesel cars from home either. However, slow charge points could be added to street lighting columns. Plug in to charge overnight.

They Cost Too much

The initial purchase price is high, but total cost of ownership breaks even after about five years, depending on the model and the mileage. Lower maintenance, depreciation, and insurance will mean significant savings. Tesla cars are the safest on the road.

Full self-driving will allow your investment to earn money whenever you’re not using it. That is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Sure, the vehicle will wear out after five years if used as a robo-taxi, but it will earn many times its purchase price in revenue.

Even if you don’t want to have strangers riding in your smart new car, you can send the kids to school in it, transport elderly relatives to the shops or hospital, fetch urgent deliveries, etc., all from the comfort of your home or office without spending your precious time to be an unpaid chauffeur.

Where will the Extra Electricity Come From?

Solar, wind, wave, and biomass are all developing. The main problem with solar and wind is storage. An electric vehicle connected to the grid is a power storage device. Charge it when the wind blows, and feed energy back to the grid when you do not need to use it. Invest in a solar roof to produce all that you need for your own use.

Electricity is Not Green if it is Produced from Fossil Fuels

Some electricity is produced by burning coal, but not all. More and more is produced from renewable resources. Bulb account holders use only electricity purchased from renewable sources.

Are Electric Cars Really Green?

The World will Run Out of Lithium

Perhaps lithium will become scarce, but that will drive the search for alternative electrolytes. Nearly 100% of lithium can be recycled. Degraded EV batteries can be used for Power Walls; degraded power wall batteries can be stripped and the lithium recycled. We don’t need to throw away aluminium, copper, or lead; why would we throw away lithium?

The World Will Run Out of Copper

Some say that electric vehicles will need so much more copper for super-chargers that copper will become scarce. Perhaps, but innovation always finds a way around such problems. The Tesla Model S uses 3Km of wiring, the Model 3 uses only 1.5Km. The Model Y will use only 100m! Saving expensive copper is not the main reason. Using sub-assemblies greatly reduces manufacturing complexity and cost. Super-chargers need much more copper than cars, but similar innovations will reduce the amount needed. Perhaps graphene will soon remove the need for heavy copper cables completely.

Stock Market Crash: What it Means For Tesla²

  1. In April announcements about new battery technology are likely to include batteries with much longer range and faster charge times.
  2. Due to the coronavirus the Stock Market is extremely volatile at the moment. Tesla Stock has always been volatile, but it seems to be weathering the storm fairly well. Check the NASDAQ index for the latest prices.

2 Comments

  1. jamesbeardmore says

    I think the fast-charging (or charging in general) issue, and purchase price need to be addressed before EVs can become mainstream.

    A Renault Zoe costs more than a full-spec Ford Mustang. However, a fairer comparison would be between a Ford Mustang and a Tesla Model S – however a Tesla Model S costs more than my house! The Tesla also needs to be at least a 75D or 85D before it will comfortably out-accelerate the aforementioned Mustang, which, last time I checked, retailed at 1/4 of the price in my area. Even accounting for the massive fuel consumption of the Mustang, it would take decades to break-even on the cost of the Tesla.

    An additional problem I have, is that I can drive to a filling-station and get a tank of fuel in a few minutes. Unless the car and the charge point are both fast-charge compatible, an EV takes a long time to charge, meaning that you can’t just fill up then get on your way. Even a 30 minute “fast” charge is a long time if your absent-minded friend returned your car with very little power left, and you’re starting a journey with an empty tank! We also have the issue that the easiest way to charge a car is overnight, when you’re not likely to want to use it. I can’t get power down to where I park my car easily. People in flats or terraced-houses would have to trail power-cables across the street.

    These are not unsurmountable problems. They can (and will, I’m sure) be fixed. But I fear we are rushing into EVs without thinking, before the infrastructure is there to support them. Fast-charge needs to get faster, and prices need to come down. I’d love to see cheaper plug-in EVs that represent a real choice between electric, petrol and diesel, and I’d love to see charging points that allow you to travel a meaningful distance on just 10 minutes of charge.

    I do applaud the safety of EVs, Teslas in particular. Apparently the Model S has the best safety record of any vehicle that has ever been produced.

    One EV I really like the look if is a novel design from a Dutch company: the Lightyear One. The roof, hood and trunk are all covered in photovoltaics. On a sunny day, the solar-panels generate enough energy to add 60km to its range. For me, this would mean that I could drive to and from work solely on solar power! Additionally, if you completely ran out of power, the car can still travel (albeit very slowly) purely on solar power, allowing you to get it to a charging point. I think this is the future of electric vehicles.

    The Lightyear One is not a cheap car. It costs around the same to pre-order as the top-of-the-range Tesla Model S, which is more than many houses in my area. It also does not accelerate very quickly: My 42 year old MG is slightly faster. That said, the performance is still adequate. It’s as quick as most people need, and is similar to any ordinary (non-performance) modern car. But I think Lightyear can be excused the high purchase price temporarily. They are a startup and have developed an entirely new car. I look forward to their future offerings and hope that they will be more affordable.

    Despite a lot of other EVs being a lot quicker than the Lightyear, I love the solar-panel design. I think that’s the real way forward. It completely bypasses all the arguments about burning coal in power stations, waiting for the car to charge, and small operating-range. I just wish I had the cash to pre-order one! Perhaps in a couple of years, when the first generation hit the second-hand market…

  2. pesala says

    Faster and more convenient charging, and purchase price will improve in a few years. It may be a decade before the sale of EVs outstrip those of ICE cars. Even in five years, the landscape will have changed radically.

    I don’t think the Lightyear Solar will ever become mainstream. The small solar panels that can fit on a car simply cannot provide enough charge. It still needs a 60Kwh battery to supplement its range, and not everyone lives in sunny climates.

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