Tesla Accelerates the Electric Vehicle TransitionThu, 09/01/2016 - 16:35
Since Tesla had its iPhone moment on March 31, 2016 reaching a total of 232,000 reservations in just 2 days for its Model 3, Bloomberg has compared it to the Citroen DS that, back at its launch in 1955, signed 80,000 unit sales. The Citroen DS was also marketed as a cuttingedge engineering marvel, that was incomparable with its competitors. However, the Tesla Model 3 broke barriers as one of the fastest accelerators in its category and with the cheapest battery range available.
In December 2015, Tesla brought its electric cars to Mexico and is committed to expanding its presence here. The innovative company found creative ways to succeed by getting close to people interested in its transport and energy solutions, says Ricardo Blanco, Head of Communications at Tesla México. “It was great to see that Mexico already had infrastructure for owners of electric vehicles, such as special electricity tariffs and policies that could be further strengthened like deductibility, beyond the existing International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN) and no road tax in most states,” says Blanco.
Tesla opened the first Mexican supercharger just six months after starting operations. Its goal is to continue growing its supercharger and destination-charging locations as the company boosts its brand in the country.
Tesla’s system of selling only at own-stores or online means that prices are predictable and not negotiated at dealerships. Elon Musk, Co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, wants to make electric cars not just desired objects but accessible as well. To that end, the vehicles save on maintenance costs as oil changes, filter changes and emission controls become obsolete with cars powered entirely by batteries. Tesla also wants every updated generation to be more affordable than the last as the company gains economies of scale and becomes more efficient.
The goal, Blanco says, is to innovate in energy. It introduced 60 and 75 kWh batteries in 2016 to support the needs of its customers. Accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Tesla’s belief that electric cars could surpass petrol-powered cars, seemed beyond reach when Musk announced his vision. Formed in 2003 by a group of engineers in Silicon Valley, the team dreamed of creating cars that did not compromise on torque or power but could still be tagged as zero emissions. The company has even developed HEPA technology that removes 99.97 percent of the harmful contaminants in the air with a ‘Bioweapon Defense Mode’ that eats up the smoke, pollution, allergens and bacteria even inside the vehicle.
In collaboration with Panasonic, Tesla is building a factory in Nevada to produce lithium ion cells and battery packs for stationary storage use. By 2020, this factory will produce more lithium ion cells by itself than the rest of the world did in 2013, the company says. This will facilitate the production of the Model 3, a mass-market vehicle. The battery packs will reduce costs for businesses and homes and act as a backup power supply.
Tesla gets its name from the inventor Nikola Tesla, whose 1888 AC induction motor was the inspiration for the company’s first sports car. Launched in 2008, the Roadster set a new bar for electric cars. Its lithium ion battery lasts for 245 miles per charge and the Roadster reaches 60mph in 3.7 seconds from a standstill. Over 2,400 Roadsters have been sold in over 30 countries.
The Model S, released in 2012, was designed to be electric from the get-go and was the first premium electric sedan, with four doors, room for seven passengers and over 64ft3 of storage. It is a family car but it accelerates almost as quickly as the Roadster. It also has a low center of gravity thanks to a flat battery pack in the chassis below the cabin. Named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year, the Model S achieved a 5-star safety rating from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The company’s innovation also extends to connectivity. A dashboard screen in the Model S displays maps with charging stations and navigation as well as having 4G Internet music and radio. Although not yet a driverless car, Tesla has an autopilot feature similar to that used in airplanes. The goal of Driving Assist is to improve safety and make highway driving more enjoyable, not to take full control of the car, though the company is a step closer to true autonomous driving.