A lot of stuff has happened in the auto world in the last three years:
- Fisker is gone
- A123 is gone
- The 2nd Generation Chevy Volt is in production
- BMW begins delivery of an EV, the i3
- The Tesla Model S is a roaring success
- Production of the Tesla Model X is about to begin
- Tesla begins construction of the Gigabyte Battery factory
- Tesla announces that production will begin on a low cost EV, the Model 3 in 2017
- GM announces it will produce a low cost EV, the Bolt in 2017
It’s amazing that one company’s name appears in most of these events – Tesla. Every major automobile manufacturer has announced plans for production of an EV, and all of this is a reaction to the success of Tesla. One company along has started the electric vehicle revolution. After watching Tesla for a number of years, and assuming (hoping) Tesla would fail, the other manufacturers finally realized electric cars weren’t going away. Tesla proved that current battery technology was good enough to begin producing electric cars. And not just a golf cart in the guise of a car, but beautiful, high performance, award winning electric cars. Consumer Reports says that the Model S was the best car they have ever tested. This eliminated any arguments that the pending fuel economy standards were unobtainable.
Do you remember the hysteria that the rightwing and others opposed to electric cars tried to cause when the battery in a Chevy Volt caught fire several weeks after a “what if government test”? Not only did the fire occur weeks (not minutes or hours) after the test, but GM’s procedures for handling the battery after a severe accident were not followed. But facts did not matter to the rightwing luddites – this was not really about electric cars. In 2008 there were an estimated 236,000 vehicle fires in the US and none of the vehicles were electric.
Well guess what happened in May 18th of this year? A driver in Geneseo, NY driving a Toyota Camry at a high rate of speed smashed into two parked cars; a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and a Chevy Volt. The Jeep suffered substantial damage and had to be totaled. The Volt was crushed beyond recognition. The Camry – it burst into flames! Fortunately the driver of the Camry was rescued by the swift action of bystanders (including the owner of the Volt and Jeep). I have heard no mention of this in the rightwing press or on talk radio.
May and June are very significant months for Elon Musk. In case you don’t know who Elon Musk is, he is the co-founder, chairman, product architect, and CEO of Tesla Motors. He is also the CEO and CTO of SpaceX.
Last month SpaceX managed to launch the first commercial space vehicle. Since the demise of the Shuttle Program, Russian supply craft were the only means of getting supplies and crews on and off the Space Station.On May 25th the SpaceX Dragon space craft successful docked with the International Space Station – inaugurating the era of commercial space transport.
And if that were not enough, Tesla Motors is scheduled to start delivery of the Tesla Model S on June 22. The Model S is as ground breaking and important for pure electric cars as the Dragon space craft is for commercial space transport. Tesla first car, the Roadster, was a great example of what a total electric car could be, but at slightly over $100, 000, was beyond the reach of the average person. The Model S on the other hand is a totally different story. It will be produced as three standard models with a price/range varying from $49,900/160 miles to $69,900/300 miles. There are also premium models costing up to $97,900. Unlike the Roadster, the Model S is a 4-door sedan. The Model S is beautiful and besides the great range and prices will also have great performance. We can’t wait to review the Model S.