Energy & Sustainability Science
What does Tesla Motors mean to you?
ReFuelTesla.JPG

When Chad was a freshman in my high school program, he was talking about wanting to do a car project. The teenage car project is a time tested pursuit, an opportunity to learn many of life’s lessons, learn tools, techniques, create a useful product. Chad is currently a freshman at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where he is studying engineering and working on their EcoCar project. Tesla was about to unveil their second model.

In a recent email exchange, I asked Chad what Tesla Motors means to him. Below is his answer.

Tesla Motors gives me excitement and hope. It represents a new era of car manufacturing and a large step towards a more sustainable earth. The company has been able to design and manufacture highway capable electric vehicles that perform better than most internal combustion engine(ICE) vehicles on the road today. Tesla has single handedly shown the world that electric cars are feasible to produce and usable for the majority of people’s transportation needs.

The Model S emphasizes the point that it is possible to create an all electric vehicle and also shows that people want to purchase this type of vehicle. Additionally, Tesla is committed to their original company goals that it is to produce cars in three stages. The first being a flashy sports car, the Roadster, which will pay for the design of a sports sedan, the Model S. Then the money gained through the production of the Model S, will be allocated to the development of the Blue Star a vehicle affordable for the majority of drivers.

Telsla brings hope that in a couple of years the world will be a better place, less pollution, more affordable, fun cars, and more innovation. This last point is brought up because Tesla is showing other businesses how to make it from a visionary start-up to a full blown car manufacturer(which is one of the toughest markets to enter). It has used proof of technology by showing that electric cars are more powerful than ICE cars. Tesla has taken the money at the top to fund the projects for the middle and bottom just like the airplane and cell phone industry did.

Finally, Tesla brought excitement and hype to their product just as apple has brought to their iPods by keeping all information secret until have a big press event. These building blocks will help future car manufactures and companies in general get out of the start-up phase and into the main stream.

I graduate in 2012, a couple months after the Model S is projected to start being delivered. I plan to make my fist purchase as a college grad a Tesla Model S. I believe this will provide me with a fun but also practical vehicle. It has a low running cost, almost no cost for refilling, and minimal maintenance costs.

Additionally, the Model S has so many capabilities. It can transport 7 passengers, travel 300 miles, recharge in 45 minutes, which is less than the time it takes to get a bite to eat. It is also a customizable vehicle, allowing for a bike or surf board to be carried inside the vehicle. The Model S suits the needs of a large market, from a college student like myself to the thousands of business men and women throughout the world. The white star is going to fill in the small gap and allow any and everyone to purchase an electric car! I cannot wait till they unveil Tesla begins delivering the Model S and also till it reveals the Blue Star.

So there is Chad’s perspective. What does Tesla Motors mean to you?

46 thoughts on “What does Tesla Motors mean to you?

    1. I was thinking the same thing, however I bet he got a full ride scholarship at the school he is attending. So the 50k is probably what his tuition would have been. On that note I graduate in 2012 too and I want one.

  1. It means yet another company founded on the misguided ideal of happy individual motoring as a sustainable mode of transportation.

    Is Tesla working on localized transportation that doesn’t have the expectations of long-distance driving? Local commuter vehicles? Electric bikes? Light urban rail? Better long-haul solutions than cars?

    How about real solutions instead of toys for the wealthy?

          1. Apparently wall street actually costs society more than it benefits.

            So actually, no it hasn’t made us better off. And with the opening of the market via the internet, it’s now more efficient than ever at concentrating wealth in the hands of a few, at the expense of all others.

            Wish I could remember where the hell I saw the article now.

  2. Don’t make the mistake of either buying that individual motoring is the devil or possible entirely green.

    But it could be part of a total green solution going forward.

    Is it as efficent as light rail? No. But when light rail is totally silent and also at my front door, I’ll be thrilled.

    Not holding my breath. It also doesn’t solve all transportation problems/needs. I would vastly prefer for America as a whole to kick the auto habit except when it’s truly necessary. But we are challenged by a infrastructure momentum that will take decades to divert into a well planned fully integrated and sane transportation system.

    Add the cultural resistance factors, and well, I say Tesla is doing a hell of a lot more good than harm.

    I’ll probably wait for a bluestar, as I live in the bay area and my house owns me.

  3. What does Tesla Motors Mean to Me?

    Since I lack the money to license, maintain, and buy the compulsory insurance for even the beaters that friends have kindly offered to give me– I sure as Hell will not have $57,000 to spend on this eco-toy of the rich.

    In a world where 35,000 children starve to death each day (a holocaust equivalent to dropping a Hiroshima-sized atom bomb on 2 major population centers each week), in a world where enough food is now produced to give each person on the planet a 3200 calorie a day diet, in a world where it is possible to deliver food to all who need it but where we do not because there is no profit in it for the 2% of the world’s population that own 50% of the world’s wealth while 50% struggle to live on less than 1% of the world’s wealth– the fact that the development and distribution of yet another key resource should be left to a capitalist enterprise such as Tesla motors gives me one more reason to join with other workers to organize militant action to reverse this suicidal social trend.

    1. not sure whats your point. the people around the world aren’t poor because of the rich. i think we learned that lesson from the communist experience in places like the ussr where everyone just got to be poor together.
      like it or not some disparity of wealth is required to get the advances that bring better quality of life/environmental solutions to us. everything including the pc you are typing on came from technology that was ridiculously expensive at some point.

  4. Americans and cars are like the girl who keeps coming back to the abusive boyfriend. Every time, he tells her that it’ll be different this time. Every time, it ends the same way. A person watching from outside the relationship wonders why the heck she keeps taking him back.

    The Tesla makes 2 of the over 15 problems caused by cars somebody else’s problem. (That being pollution and buying oil from countries who actively hate us) It does not solve problems like traffic gridlock or how a person’s daily activity could be as little as a few hundred steps. It enables a drooling idiot to control sufficient megajoules of potential energy to splatter pedestrians, cyclists, bikers, and other drivers into a bloody pulp. It creates a new set of problems, like all of the added generation capacity that, even if it’s solar, is going to be a huge capital investment that e-car folks gloss over. And you know that, even though it can carry 7 people or a bike or a surfboard, it’s primary use is to transport a single person, their briefcase, and a cup of coffee to a destination that is totally within the realm of a more practical form of transportation.

    Furthermore, because we think it’s OK to ignore the inherent lack of practicality in the car just because it’s electric, it’s obscuring a better path forwards. A network of more practical, sustainable forms of transportation… say electric and human-powered bikes that you can take with you in a heavy rail train so that we don’t need to build a dense light rail mesh… is going to have a far lower amortized cost than all of this electric car BS.

  5. Hello,
    I know that electric cars are not the most efficient transport in the whole world, but they are more efficient than the gas-guzzlers we all drive today. This is America we are based on independence and freedom, which begins with being able to travel where we want. I know that many people posting may disagree with me, but I would encourage you to reassess the general public’s feelings on this issue (Change is not made by one person. It has to be a group effort). People love to travel. It is fun and excites the senses. Also, it is practical, many people gain happiness and support in their live through visiting their family, and without transportation this would not be possible. Most people’s families are spread out and must take trips to see them. Furthermore, how would we have high paying jobs in the city and live in a beautiful area among nature and its beauty in a small community? Other than cities, most towns do not have enough jobs for all the people who live in them.

    We may eventually solve these problems, but until then we should start making small steps to becoming more sustainable, like moving to electric cars and the promotion of solar and wind power generation. If we as a society don’t promote these technologies, then we won’t make any change at all. I hope that everyone can see that little change is better than none and that little change can become big change. It just takes time.

    To tie it all together, Tesla Motors is offering that little change. Although you may be critical of them, they are trying their best to change the world while also making a viable company. Electric cars have never been as practical and available. Additionally, Tesla is committed to offering electric cars for everyone. As it is stated at the bottom of the article above their White Star will be just as capable as the Model S and also will be financially achievable for the majority of drivers(in the twenty thousand dollar range).

    I encourage you all to say the glass is half full rather than half empty. You will have a much longer and happy life.

    -ccc

    1. The problem is, when gas prices up last summer, a whole lot of Americans, who cannot afford a Tesla if it were available, were canceling their trips so they could pay for the gas to get them to work.

      On the other hand, a lot of other Americans dusted off their bikes and biked to work and were still able to afford their trips.

      The problem is, worshiping the Car as your God tends to lead to a shorter and less happy life. If you bike / walk / rollerblade / etc. even part of the way to work you will be a happier, healthier, and more fit person. If you ride in a vehicle that doesn’t have a cabin, you excite the senses in a way that a car never will. Stringing small communities through the countryside along a high speed rail line that connects to the city is even more beautiful than living next to a highway big enough to fit all of the wasted space taken up by a car that seats 7 but usually holds 1 and the space required for that car driver to be able to stop if somebody in front of them does something stupid. The idea that a personal car is part of the spirit of America is just as much a creation of carmakers as the diamond wedding ring is a creation of DeBeers.

      The problem is not that us naysers think the electric car isn’t an accomplishment. It’s just that it obscures that the model of driving cars that we’ve been building since the beginning of the 20th century has been rapidly declining in practicality since 1960. Instead of asking “How can we make our cars more efficient?” we need to be asking “What is the best way to get people from point A to point B, knowing what we know today?” And the answer to the second question is very different from the first.

      1. The idea that “car culture” is uniquely American is… uniquely American. While we have romanticized the car in many ways, there isn’t a country in the world where people don’t want personal mobility.

        As for bicycles, they have their uses, but getting groceries in January in New England is not one of them.

        The average MPG of the US fleet is something around 20MPG, IIRC, so something like the Tesla is going to be 3-4x as efficient, at least. Given that it is easy to retrofit to the existing infrastructure, it seems like a pretty good win to me.

        1. We will never be able to pump the last drop of oil out of the ground. It may be that the last drops are mixed in with the tar sands of Alberta where they have to use almost as much energy to harvest the sludgy oil as will come out of it. Eventually oil will become just too expensive to bring to market.

          Just like whale oil. The last whale wasn’t landed, but we moved away from lighting our evenings with whale oil lanterns and tallow candles. We moved to gas lanterns, then electric light, then flourescent light, and now some of us have transitioned to LED light. Are we done with the light transion? Maybe not.

          Vehicles will undergo a similar transition, which is finally getting going after a few decades of waiting. Is the electric car the answer? For some, yes. For others, no. Bus, train, bicycle, foot and carpool are just a few of the options that are currently available. In my neighborhood, there is now a bus that goes by the house once an hour. I could take it to work, to the train and then the city, or to the shopping mall. The car and bus will get me to places that my bike won’t, especially on a dreary day.

          We just need to become aware of and to cultivate the alternatives that we desire in the world around us. Keep an open mind and keep making solutions.

          Will Chad be able to afford a $50k car after college? Maybe. I wouldn’t put it by him. This is, after all, the same guy who used a month or so of half hour lunch breaks to restore to running condition a 30 year old electric vehicle that had no batteries, no title and lots more wrong with it than right. He had little information about how to do it when he started, but lots when he was done. After his end of school year EV building binge, he drove it in the local 4th of July parade. He drove right by that antique ICE that couldn’t make the hill.

          Never doubt the optimism of a person who believes. Help him along or get out of the way.

          What does Tesla Motors mean to me?

          I think it presents an opportunity. I would like to see more car companies innovating the way Tesla is. I would like to see more companies from people’s garages coming up with novel solutions to the problems we face. I would like to see more companies built around the idea of moving the pollution out of our roadways and centralizing it in the power generation points so that it can be properly sequestered or prevented.

          Read Solo by Noel Perrin or Electric Dreams by Caroline Kettlewell to catch the bug of electric vehicles. They answer a lot of the questions, but certainly not all. You have to start someplace.You have to start some time. Educate yourself, educate the people around us. Take chances, give it a shot!

  6. To me, Tesla is an important next step towards a less polluting, quieter, more socially responsible means of killing pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.

  7. Instead of bailing out these malfunctioning auto companies, we should be giving money to companies such as Tesla Motors. Imagine what a company like this could do with $10BILLION? Allow the aging dinosaurs to go extinct…as they go bankrupt, companies like Telsa could purchase their old factories, resources, etc for pennies on the dollar, reoutfit them for their own production needs, keep many of the same workers employed and produce a better product at the same time.
    We should also be creating a new nationwide mag lev based train system. This would be another great capital project which will create jobs AND actually leave us with a valuable national asset/resource when it’s finished.
    Thirdly, we need to get our a$$es in gear space-wise…we should have a moonbase by now.

    1. Don’t give Any car company money.

      Seth Godin on the car industry:
      Not only should Congress encourage/facilitate the organized bankruptcy of the Big Three, but it should also make it easy for them to be replaced by 500 new car companies.

      1. I agree that we actually shouldn’t be giving any money to auto companies, but since that’s basically already been decided, the money would be better off in the hands of a company like Tesla offering a fresh start in a new, needed direction.

        “Don’t blame me…I voted for Ron Paul!”

  8. An electric car might make your driving experience more “green”, but that electricity’s got to come from somewhere. With the current state of electricity generation the pollution of a car is merely being moved to a power plant.

    1. “I keep hearing the same old argument…’If you have to use electricity to charge it you are still A) Putting Carbon in the atmosphere, or B) driving up the cost of electricity.’ C’mon people, What do you want? We haven’t mastered the antimatter engines in Star-Trek yet. So what if we put more people in the US to work creating electricity. It beats building up the Oasis of the Middle East, i.e. Dubai. Get real. You just can’t be happy. Perhaps we should go back to the days of Horses for travel…but wait. Don’t they put out gases that affect the atmosphere as well?”

  9. “The Model S emphasizes the point that it is possible to create an all electric vehicle and also shows that people want to purchase this type of vehicle”

    i think the obama voting yuppie will do as they did before, talk a good game and buy a Mercedes or volvo.

    its a bit like how when people harp on gm for not building more efficient cars, most of the time these same people instead buy a volvo or a toyota landcruiser.

Comments are closed.

Tagged

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

View more articles by Chris Connors