20+ great things about Tesla that have nothing to do with the environment


People love Tesla. Funny car reviews, 26 thousand words on How Tesla Will Change The World, and even a cartoon strip about a “magical space car” do a great job at highlighting why.

I’m going to attempt to condense many of these these reasons into a concise list:

Safety: Strong chassis. Low center of gravity. No engine in the front = more compression room = the engine won’t crush you. This could easily be an entire article on its own. Matthew Inneman covers it about halfway down in his comic.

Efficiency: Idling never happens. You never spend money just to keep the engine on while you’re sitting still.

Efficiency: Regenerative brakes mean your car doesn’t lose all of its energy when it slows down. City mileage is much closer to highway mileage.

Wireless charging. The kind that doesn’t require you to do anything except park your car and go about your business. This will never happen with a fuel source like gas or hydrogen. In addition to the apparent benefit of never plugging in, this means vehicles can run all day, charging as they drive. That specific implementation has been around since 2013, and WiTricity was first demonstrated at TED in 2009.

Go months without ever going to a station. Sure, you’d need 30 minutes at a supercharger to keep going on a road trip. But think about the time you’d wait on roadtrips and subtract ( ≥4 min refilling + x min travel to & from station) x fillups per month x 12. Or pay roughly the cost of a tank of gas for a 90-second battery swap. This benefit multiplies for companies, police departments, and any organization that has a fleet of cars.

The average person will never have their own gas station, but they can definitely recharge at home and perhaps even generate and store their own electricity. And who knows, maybe cars will even charge themselves eventually.

A 250-mile range doesn’t matter 99% of the year (360/365 days). On top of that, the range may double to 500 miles soon. (Other EV’s currently have a much smaller range of about 80 miles).

Free refills! Tesla has a network of superchargers that cost $0 for Tesla owners to use. You could drive across the U.S. or Europe and back, spending $0 on recharging.

Recharging does not involve punching buttons on an old machine that could be used to steal your credit card number.

Software updates can improve performance & safety.

Modern interface. The controls for all of the extras (air conditioning, music, etc.) are on a 17" screen in the middle. Normally, you’d have a 6" or 7" screen on top of other controls, if that. And it’s not just about having a big screen. It’s an iPhone vs. Blackberry in 2007 kind of thing.

Less stress, more enjoyable travel. The car can drive itself. I think I’d take a 9-hour trip in a self-driving car over 8 hours in anything else.

Self-driving » reduced traffic » faster & safer travel, and possibly less need for road expansion thanks to improved traffic flow.

Self-parking. Convenient, but there are other long-term benefits. If cars could park themselves, parking structures could be a less prominent part of city design (or even home design). Less parking lots could even lead to minor differences in temperature.

Efficient: Most aerodynamic. Air literally costs you money as your car has to push it out of the way in order for you to move. Tesla cuts through air more efficiently than most cars.

Global access. Gas isn’t everywhere. Electricity can be. Solar, wind, gerbils… these and many other things can be used to generate electricity.

Redistribution of power. Because electricity can come from a number of sources, using electric cars could decrease our dependence on a single source for energy. The literal redistribution of power could help reduce conflicts.

Less moving parts = less maintenance. No oil changes, coolant, radiators, timing belts, camshafts, crankshafts, pistons, or alternators. Batteries do have to be replaced, but Tesla covers replacement for 8 years, and battery technology is improving.

Clean. No oil on the car, hands, or driveway, and no fumes in the garage.

Silent. Also means less noise pollution in cities, on freeways and in neighborhoods.

Roomy. No engine in front = more space. Bonus: you get to make fun of Tesla for calling it a frunk.

Instant torque. The car starts moving right when you push the pedal — whether you’re at 0 mph or 60 mph.

The fastest 4-door, with 0–60 times as low as 3.2 seconds. This means a ~$100k Tesla is on-par with supercars much higher in price (at least in this aspect). Lamborghini Veneno ($3.9 million): 2.9s. Bugatti Veyron ($1.7 million): 2.5s to 2.9s.

Accelerating innovation

Tesla created a giant factory called the Gigafactory to create “more than double the total lithium-ion batteries made each year globally,” and potentially reduce battery cost by at least 30%.

The distribution model doesn’t depend heavily on dealerships or sales people.

Tesla’s patents are open-source. Anyone can use them. (This may include the Gigafactory, but I’m not sure)

Musk created SolarCity and the PowerWall battery as a compelling means to accelerate solar power adoption in homes.

The strategy wasn’t to sell expensive cars, it was “accelerating the advent of sustainable transport”. The Model S is opening doors for the model 3, which will start at about 35,000.

Left off the list? Environmental benefits. “Yeah, but the grid is still powered by coal & oil so it doesn’t matter” — a.k.a. The long tailpipe theory.

1) power plants are more efficient than cars (take a look at https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/secret-tesla-motors-master-plan-just-between-you-and-me for Elon Musk’s numbers).

2) About 66% of the grid is powered by gas & coal. That’s better than 100%, so I’ll take it. (See how emissions would compare in your area)


Do what you can. Each benefit in this list is exactly that: a benefit. Whether or not you think it’s the perfect solution, it is progress and it is better than many alternatives. Let’s start there.

Focus on potential. Not every benefit is 100% there yet, but the potential is definite. Certain drawbacks will fade, and benefits will grow.

Let’s open some doors.

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