Image courtesy LA Times |

Teslas aren’t helping the environment as much as you think

Owning a Tesla today means you’re contributing to a bigger cause. It means you care about the environment, and you want to cut on your gas consumption dramatically. At any of the Elon Musk Tesla events, you get this feeling that the world is changing as he speaks. The kind of vibe you would get at an Apple event when something revolutionary is announced. The events are highly anticipated with people lining up to order the next car before they know what it looks like. The cars built today have new technologies that were not prioritized before Teslas existed. You can buy a Tesla today with a list of features, and by downloading software updates, have a more improved feature list months after your purchase. This is unprecedented in the industry. Musk has certainly caused disruption in the car industry and by the looks of it, will soon have all cars turn electric.

During the unveiling of the Model X, Musk announced the advent of Tesla as “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport” which means moving away from gas cars, and turning cars into electric vehicles. I was always a supporter of this cause, and think it’s an amazing initiative with most executives in the industry doubted at first and were certainly proven wrong as more and more Teslas were sold to the public.

But have you ever asked where does electricity come from?

When all cars eventually become electric vehicles, how will we power all that excess electricity? Even if the number of cars did not increase, where will we get all this power from? Keep in mind that cars need quite a bit of power to reach full charge.

Today, only 20% of the world’s power comes from renewable energy. The remaining 80 — fossil fuels.

One might think that solar power is the answer. With the future increase in the number of cars, there are not enough countries with adequate sunshine per day to power up all the current cars let alone more cars. The reality of what’s happening is that Tesla cars are raising the demand for electricity, and in return raising the demand for fossil fuels.

I dream of a world where we can have 90% or more renewable energy sources, but our reality today is different. We need to be focusing on how to divert to renewable energy just as much as we focus on electrifying our cars. Here’s to a truly green planet, but don’t fool yourself into thinking the electric car revolution is helping us as much as it is advertised.

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