It’s just after 5 AM on February 4th and I have an email in my inbox letting me know that Tesla Motors, after much anticipation, is opening their new location in Washington, D.C. They want to know if I would like to “take another spin in the car”…
First of all, there is no way I would turn down another opportunity to drive what is quite possibly a turning point in automotive history. Second, I had been looking for more of an opportunity to talk about the people and company that is Tesla Motors instead of just chatting about blinding performance. After talking with Tesla VP of Communications, Ricardo Reyes, I found that they are focused at taking a serious, customer-centric stab at changing the face of automotive industry.
With over 3500 electric vehicles operating on the road today the company has established a toe hold on its goals of making every car electric. A lofty goal if ever there were one. However they currently supply battery packs and electric power trains to Toyota and Daimler/Mercedes. They also have vehicles operating in the harshest of climates from the Arctic Circle to Arizona having logged almost 10 million electronically driven miles.
True, hybrid electric vehicles have been around for ages helping to promote greener electric technologies. However, having established themselves as the leader in electric vehicle technology, Tesla is taking the next step which is what this night was all about.
Unfortunately it’s my understanding that once the Elise based Roadster is finished its contracted production run, it’s over. For many it will be a sad bit of news but the truth of the matter is that the Roaster is simply one technology, modified to support another and in the long run isn’t considered to be the platform necessary to promote a permanent change in auto culture. So the gears are moving to put a strong emphasis on the production of the Model S, a purpose built chassis designed specifically to support full electric vehicle technology. To move forward with a system that will allow Tesla to get the most out of its technologies. Having driven the roadster twice now it’s difficult to imagine what more they could extract in the way of performance however the numbers for the Model S hint at a shift from ragged edge performance to extended range and efficiency.
If you want a true electric vehicle with no compromises that is effective for the full range of daily uses Tesla will be your only option. Making such a change to a vehicle like the Model S is why they will continue to be industry leaders in this field, simply because every other auto manufacturer will continue to try and adapt old chassis designed for propulsion by internal combustion. And when the results of Tesla’s efforts take effect (i.e. making the technologies cheaper) most auto manufacturers will be off balance for quite some time and some kept that way possibly until we stop using petroleum based fuels.
I was honored to be included in such a moment in history. For a long time electric cars have been discredited because of one fault or the other that have kept us from living our lives unchanged from an automotive standpoint, kept us from moving freely without compromise. I truly believe though that Tesla’s establishing their Washington location is one more building block in the infrastructure needed to support its plans for the Model S which will go a long way toward changing the way we think, the way we look at the automobile and its capabilities and ultimately change the world itself.
Here’s to a cleaner and more intelligent way of life. Thank you, Tesla Motors.