Chuck, this fits in with Tesla's strategic plan. They brought out the sports car, next the BMW 5 Series competitor (the Model S) and next will be the more mass market car. In the car business the way to make lots of money is to make a mass market vehicle. In manufacturing the real money is in large volumes.
What Tesla is doing is to engineer their cars well as the recent acolades attest to. That gives them a good reputation. By selling the high end cars they get real experience in the field. This is especially important with a totally new technology.
The next step will be something Tesla cannot really control, though. Energy storage has to improve greatly for them to make it in the next step. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I agree on all counts, naperlou. They've developed a great reputation, but energy storage will be the key as they try to move closer to the mainstream. Elon Musk has said that "half of all cars will be (pure) electric" in 15 years, so I can only assume that's where they're headed. We'll have a blog about that tomorrow.
But can it take you back in time and forward in time on just banana peels and garbage? No- you still need a gas powered Delorean for that. Plus a flux capacitor. So gas engines still have their place in the future.
I can't help wondering if in 50 years people will be looking at us burning oil to get around in the same way we look at our parents painting things with lead based paint and using asbestos in building construction.... Or will they be wondering about us all carrying lithium batteries around going "but didn't the ol fogies know how poisenous lithium is to the environment...?". I wonder which it will be if not both? They were crazy in the early part of the 21st century.. just crazy..
I saw that interview with Mr. Musk, as well, and I shook my head when I got to the part about half of all cars being electric in 15 years. Think about how radical of a change that would be, if by that time 30 MILLION cars being made each year were electric? It's too big of a shock to the system and it can't happen. We don't have the generating capacity to keep them going - and look at how the current administration treats those who want to open a new generating plant. From 2008:
"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," Obama continued. "It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
The EPA is also constricting natural gas and nuclear activities with respect to constructing power generation plants, so I don't see how in the world people like Mr. Musk believe that we'll be transitioning to an all-electric-car world anytime soon.
I do agree that naperlou has this well sorted-energy storage is vital to mass market penetration. I would add widely available, rapid re-charging to that requirement.
The Tesla S is is cool, but it is an expensive toy for a limited market-that's great and a perfectly viable buisness model. But lou is right the next step is far tougher.
For all of Elon Musk's abilities and obvious intelligence I am still amazed at his claim that half the cars on the road will be electric in 15 years. If the market was now 100% electric vehicle turnover might get us there by then. 10% would be a high estimate in my opinion.
Still, I wish him good fortune, men of vision like him are rare and valuable.
Perhaps it's hard to understand if you've never driven an EV or hybrid, but gasoline engines have started to gross me out. Every time my Prius kicks in the ICE, especially when it seems to do so for no good reason, it keeps reminding me, "this thing is noisy, big, Rube-Goldbergy, complicated, high-maintenance..."
I hope that in 25 years or so, we'll look back at gasoline vehicles, shake our heads, and ask ourselves, "isn't it bizarre how, for almost a century and a half, everybody just assumed that there's something *normal* about a car belching smoke out a tailpipe? Eeeeeeew!"
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