Tesla the Man and his Dream
Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors) is an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 2003, the company specializes in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and residential photovoltaic panels (through the subsidiary company SolarCity).
Why the name Tesla?
The company was named after the Serbian-American electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla by companies original co-founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
Tesla began with a sports car aimed at early adopters followed by mainstream and mass market vehicles, all serving “as a catalyst to accelerate the day of electric vehicles”.
Tesla signed a Roadster production contract on July 11, 2005, with Group Lotus to produce “gliders” (complete cars minus powertrain). The Roadster used an AC motor descended directly from Nikola Tesla’s original 1882 design.
The Tesla Roadster(2008) was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production electric vehicle with a range greater than 200 mi (320 km) per charge. Between 2008 and March 2012, Tesla sold more than 2,250 Roadsters in 31 countries. Tesla stopped taking orders for the Roadster in the U.S. market in August 2011.
Tesla began shipping its Model S sedan in June 2012. Global sales of the Model S reached 100,000 in December 2015. The first delivery in Europe took place in August 2013. Deliveries in China began in April 2014.
First deliveries of the right-hand-drive model destined for the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan came in 2014.
The Model S has four base configurations: the 75D (2-wheel and all-wheel), and the 100D and P100D with ranges of 335 miles and 315 miles respectively.
The Tesla Model X is a full-size crossover SUV. Model X deliveries started in September 2015. It is offered in 5-, 6- and 7-passenger configurations. Notably, the passenger doors are articulating “falcon-wing” designs that open vertically.
Production was rescheduled several times, from 2013 to late 2014, to the second quarter of 2015, to the third quarter of 2015. In August 2015, user groups estimated around 30,000 X pre-orders, compared to 12,000 for the S.
The Tesla Model X shares the same platform and 30% of the parts of the Tesla Model S.
Deliveries of the Model X Signature series began on September 29, 2015. Model X sales totalled 2,400 units during the first quarter of 2016, rising to 4,638 in the second quarter of 2016. Global deliveries totalled 25,312 units in 2016. The United States is its main market with 18,240 units delivered through December 2016.
In September 2016, the Model X ranked as the top selling plug-in electric car in Norway. Previously, the Model S had been the top selling new car four times.
The Model 3 (originally stylized as “☰”) is Tesla’s third-generation car. The car was originally intended to be called the Model E, but after a lawsuit from Ford that holds the trademark on “Model E”, Musk announced on July 16, 2014 that the car would be called “Model 3” instead.
On March 31, 2016, Tesla unveiled the car. Potential customers began to reserve spots on March 31 with a refundable deposit. Tens of thousands were reported waiting to reserve their spot. As of April 7, 2016, one week after the unveiling, Tesla reported over 325,000 reservations, representing sales of over US$14 billion. As of July 2017, Tesla reported about 500,000 reservations.
The Model 3 is one of the first modern cars to have a barren dashboard, with the exception of a centre mounted LCD touchscreen. Bloomberg News claimed “the Model 3’s unveiling was unique in the 100-year history of the mass-market automobile.” Bloomberg compared it to the 1955 Citroën DS that took in 80,000 deposits over 10-days at the Paris Auto Show.
The standard Model 3 delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 220 miles (350 km) and the long range model delivers 310 miles (500 km).
First production Tesla Model 3 cars ready for the delivery event on July 28, 2017. Limited vehicle production began in July 2017. The first 30 units were delivered at an special event on July 28, 2017.
In October 2015, Musk described a future ‘Model Y’ that would be a Model 3/Model X-like cheaper crossover utility vehicle with falcon-wing doors. Tesla had trademarked the name “Model Y” in 2013. In August 2017 Tesla announced that the Model Y would use the Model 3 platform.
Musk wanted the first three models to spell “S-E-X”, but settled with “S3X” because Ford owns the trademark to “Model E”. Making the next vehicle the Model Y means that the model names will spell “S3XY”.
Musk hopes to produce a car cheaper than the Model 3: “There will be future cars that will be even more affordable down the road . . . With fourth generation and smaller cars and what not, we’ll ultimately be in a position where everyone can afford the car.” — Elon Musk at the Future Transport Solutions conference in Oslo, April 21, 2016
On July 20, 2016, Musk detailed his master plan for Tesla. It includes more affordable cars produced in higher volume, solar power roofs, mid-size vehicles, SUV’s and pickup trucks, as well as the refinement of autonomous vehicles and the creation of a sharing economy, in which cars can be active while the owner is not using them. A Tesla Minibus would be built on the Model X platform. In May 2017, Musk indicated that he might favour a 10–12-passenger version of the Model X over a dedicated minibus design.
The Tesla Semi is an all-electric Class 8 semi-trailer truck first mentioned in the 2016 Tesla Master plan. Production is slated to begin in 2019.
The vehicle’s official announcement was at a November 16, 2017 press conference where two prototypes were shown. Musk confirmed that the range would be 500 miles and that the zero to 60 mph time would be 5 seconds versus 15 seconds for a similar truck with a diesel engine. The Semi will be powered by four electric motors of the type used in the Tesla Model 3 and will include an extensive set of hardware sensors to enable it to stay in its own lane, a safe distance away from other vehicles, and later when software and regulatory conditions allow, provide autonomous operation on highways. Musk also announced that that the company would be involved in installing a solar-powered global network of the Tesla Megacharger devices to make the Semi more attractive to potential long-haul customers. A 30 minute charge would provide 400 miles of range.
The vehicle’s range is disputed however, as are Tesla’s estimates as to the time required to charge the battery and the cost of electricity assumed by the company, according to a research completed by Bloomberg.
Through a surprise reveal at the end of the event that introduced the Semi on November 16, 2017, Tesla unveiled the 2020 Roadster. Musk said that the new model will have a range of 620 miles on the 200 kwh battery pack and will achieve 0–60 mph in 1.9 seconds; the top speed will be 250 mph. The vehicle will have three electric motors allowing for all-wheel drive, and torque vectoring during cornering.
Research completed by Bloomberg L.P. indicates that the estimate as to range per charge is optimistic, based on comments from Salim Morsy, electric vehicle analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Morsey indicated that the claimed battery capacity would require batteries that would be too large for the Roadster’s small frame. “I really don’t think the car you saw last week had the full 200 kilowatt hours in it. I don’t think it’s physically possible to do that right now.”
At the time, the base price was set at $200,000 while the first 1,000 units, the Founder’s series, would sell for $250,000. Reservations required a deposit of $50,000 and those who made a reservation at the event were allowed a test drive in the prototype.
In 2012 Tesla began building a network of 480-volt fast-charging Supercharger stations. As of November 2017, 1,032 Supercharger stations operated globally with 7,320 superchargers. The Supercharger is a proprietary direct current (DC) technology that provides up to 120 kW of power, a full charge in around 75 minutes. Tesla cars can recommend the fastest route for long-distance travel, incorporating possible charging delays.
All Tesla cars come standard with Supercharging hardware. Cars ordered after January 15, 2017 get 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits, as roughly 1,600 kilometres or 1,000 miles per year. Cars purchased before that date get free supercharging.
In December 2016, after a complaint sent to Musk via Twitter about abuse, Tesla announced that it will start charging an “idle” fee for vehicles that continue to occupy charging stations after they are fully charged.
Destination charging location network
In 2014, Tesla discreetly launched the “Destination Charging Location” Network by providing chargers to hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, resorts and other full service stations to provide on-site vehicle charging at twice the power of a typical charging location. On 25 April 2016, Tesla launched European destination charging, with 150 locations and more to be added later. Chargers are installed free of charge by Tesla-certified contractors. All installed chargers are appear in the in-car navigation system.
Tesla as an automaker has always excited me with their ambitious approach and attention to detail. The only one problem I have with tesla is, Elon time and earth time never seems to match. Which leaves people wondering whether they’ll get their car or not?
Despite that, I’m on the look for what Tesla is upto next.
What do you guys think? Would you buy a Tesla? Let me know in the comments down below.
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