Elon Musk is one remarkable man. Not only is he a self-made billionaire, but he has two companies at the cutting edge of their technologies (he previously merged his online payments company with others to create – then sold to Ebay – PayPal). SpaceX has been delivering payloads to the International Space Shuttle under contract to NASA. As such, his is the first commercial company to dock a vehicle with ISS. They plan on transporting astronauts too – it’ll happen. (Oh yeah, BTW, his third company is Solar City – the massive US end-to-end solar power operation.)
His other headline company is the one that I’m particularly in awe of – Tesla, whose electric cars – yes, 100% electric, cars are shaping the future of personal transport on Earth. His Model S P85D electric car is:
Really good-looking – sleek, sporty styling whilst retaining 4-door usability with none of the usual American design excess – none. You wouldn’t pick this as an American car.
Roomy – Because there’s no traditional combustion motor filling the front end, & electric motors are comparatively tiny, what looks like a 4-seater with 5 at a squeeze, is in fact a 7-seater. Whilst looking like a sports car.
Incredibly powerful – up to 690bhp equivalent, 0-100km/h in
3.2sec make that 2.8sec thanks to an overnight software update (Lamborghini Diablo took 4.2sec, Ferrari’s stripped out F40 did it in 3.7sec, the $NZD 2million Ferrari Enzo requires 3.2sec)
Silent – electric cars just are. Whether single motor, rear-wheel drive or dual-motor (1 front, 1 rear) 4 wheel drive, there is no combustion to create noise. Nor gearbox to add weight and mechanical sound.
Stunningly innovative – it’ll self-drive to where you are. With forward looking camera and radar plus 360-degree ultrasonic sensors, it’ll actively avoid collisions as well as move you into the best lane for your journey. The speed limit sign-reading camera ensures you avoid tickets. And so on. & on & on.
Affordable – under $USD80,000 for 2WD base spec, which still comes with 21-inch wheels & nappa leather seats. The full spec 4WD, dual power, 690bhp version clocks in at $USD120,000 – incredibly good buying.
Guaranteed reliable – on August 15, 2014, Musk announced they were doubling the Tesla warranty – from 4 years unlimited mileage to 8 years with infinite mileage. This warranty extension also applies to every Tesla ever sold. So your 2-3 year old Tesla suddenly has an extra 4 years of factory cover. You’ve got to incredibly sure of the quality of your product to make an offer like that.
Future-proofed– Just like you can update the OS on your phone, tablet or computer, so it is for the Tesla. If you want BMW to update your computer, they’ll charge you $180 to update the maps on your GPS. Tesla, whenever they complete an enhancement, contact every Tesla on the road, worldwide, (using the car’s built-in 4G LTE modem) then automatically download & install the enhancements. Result? Your Tesla can suddenly perform new tricks. You’ll never have an out-of-date Tesla.
Industry-disruptive – From the very start, there were no plans to involve a dealer network. Tesla is a direct purchase product, you deal with the company that designed & built the thing. Want a test drive? Book one online, they’ll deliver a Model S to you on the set day & leave it with you for 24 hours. You think they’re sure of their product? Damn right they are. After 24 hours of near on 700bhp, what would you want to do? Tesla vs Ferrari 575, check this out:
That reliability offer makes Tesla the absolutely perfect choice for commercial transport – a taxi that runs 21/7 (3x 1hr charge ups), pulls 750km/day – 275,000/year, will, at 87 months old & 2million kms travelled, be fully covered under factory warranty. Plus, it’ll be the flashest damn taxi on the rank & have people flocking to it as first choice transport. Ok, it costs more than your average POS petrol car to purchase, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that the sums work out heavily in favour of the electric car over 5 years, let alone the full 8 years of covered motoring.
For the first time that I’m aware of, I can actually feel a frustration at living in a South Pacific backwater. I can totally understand that Tesla will take some considerable time to New Zealand, economies of scale do not exist in a country of 4.5million people. The innovation that is Tesla has me disturbed, it’s just so right in every way. I want one now.
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