Outlandish Want: Tesla Model S

I have a few days worth of posts of outlandish stuff that I really want. Today is day #1.

I want a Tesla Model S


This car is the second car from a new technology/car company, Tesla, who is focused solely on developing electric vehicle (EV) technology.  The first Model S is supposed to roll of the line in 2011.

Tesla was the first company to have a real-live electric vehicle on the road with its Roadster.  The Roadster is a Porche competitor in speed, handling, and PRICE, costing upwards of $120,000.  But this price isn’t just buying a car, it’s really investing in a company that is the future of electric vehicles.  Tesla’s business plan was to develop the EV technology from the high-end to the low end, starting with a customized, performance vehicle and using the extra margins to reinvest in the research and development of the technology.

Now, with the Roadster (phase 1) complete and almost 1000 Roasters on the road, Tesla is moving on to Phase 2: the Model S.  It’s been in planning for some time now, but the recession put the brakes on another round of funding that was needed to build out the infrastructure for mass production.  However, a recently secured a Department of Energy loan will now outfit the plant in California where the Model S will be mass produced.

The idea for Model S is that it will be a Lexus/Audi/Infiniti competitor, and will be the first mass produced Tesla.  After government subsidy, it will be about $50,000.

And it will have a range of 300 miles, about the same as a tank of gas and an internal combustion engine.

Tesla’s technology is far superior to anyone else’s, their car’s designs are incredible, and they are pushing the envelope on the car purchasing and maintenance experience.

To prove that their cars are for DRIVING and not just for the showroom, Tesla drove a Roadster from its headquarters in California to the Auto Show in Detroit… and they didn’t even wash it afterwards, proving that this car could go the distance.  All the other manufacturers had their little concept vehicles, but not one of them has a working car on the market like Tesla.

Electric vehicles are a good answer to a lot of current problems with transportation:

  1. An electric car is simple.  An electric car consists of three basic components: batteries, a computer, and a big motor.  The part count in an internal combustion engine pales in comparison.  Imagine having a vehicle without hundreds of fallible, frictioned, moving parts that wear down and fail at the worst possible time.  Granted, even an EV will have maintenance problems, with its complex computer hardware and sensors, but it will be nowhere near the complexity and fallibility of the internal combustion engine.
  2. Offloading the energy fueling our cars to the electric grid makes sense as an alternative to gasoline.  Currently, the energy to drive a Tesla costs about 2 cents per mile driven.  Plus, the electricity can then come from various renewable or non-renewable means: coal, nuclear, wind, solar, etc.  Either way, EV is the most realistic way of significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil and taking control of our own country’s energy policy.
  3. Zero emissions.  Nuff said.  Cleaner urban air is better for everyone.  (Granted, the emissions for non-renewable fuels go somewhere… but at least it doesn’t get blown in my face from a tailpipe as I walk the streets)

The problem, though, is battery technology.  Currently, the batteries are the single largest weakness of the car.  Significant breakthroughs in this technology must be made to make it commercially viable to give the car a long enough lifespan to make sense for average consumers.

Here are a few videos to wet your appetite:

Finally, Tesla Roadster wins a drag race between four performance cars: