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Mention Tesla Model S in certain circles, and it’ll spark debate. Is the Tesla Model S really green? Why does it cost so much? Is Tesla Motors just some upstart startup, or will it turn into something greater?

Personally, I believe we need the electric vehicle, in spite of the fact that so many people are ready to scrap the idea because of some really ridiculous reasoning. First, electric vehicles have limited range but, the Tesla Model S, in conjunction with a free [for now, at least] Supercharger network expanding across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, range is practically a non-issue. Second, electric vehicles are expensive, mostly due to the fact that lithium-ion battery technology is so expensive. That cost is coming down, and manufacturers are finding ways to increase the miles we can extract from a given amount of battery weight.

Tesla Model S Feedback

In spite of assertions that the Tesla Model S is not a luxury vehicle, this hasn’t prevented buyers from choosing it over luxury brands. According to Consumer Reports, one of the most well-known independent product testing agencies, the Tesla Model S “performs better than anything we have tested before… not just the best electric car, but the best car.” Tesla Model S owners agree, and the car scored an impressive 99:100, the highest score that Consumer Reports has ever handed out.

At first, Tesla Motors started with a prototype, the Tesla Roadster, a Lotus Elise converted to run electric. This is something that anyone with sufficient time and resources can do to practically any vehicle, and this is pretty much where most other manufacturers have stopped in their development of electric vehicles. Tesla Motors, after the success of the Roadster, continued with the Tesla Model S, built from the ground up as an electric vehicle. By starting from scratch, Tesla Motors managed to build an extraordinary vehicle, maximizing electric vehicle range and efficiency.

Anyway, semantics aside, what’s Tesla Motors doing right that other electric vehicle manufacturers haven’t managed to do? Is it possible to focus on everything at once? Tesla Motors seems to have been able to do exactly that. The Tesla Model S has practically everything that one could want in a vehicle. It’s fast, comfortable, efficient, attractive, powerful, high-tech, and safe. Other electric vehicles don’t even come close, but I’m sure it won’t be that way for long, I’m sure. At least, I hope that future electric vehicle manufacturers will take a cue from Tesla Motors in their future development.

What does the future hold?

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem that Tesla Motors is stopping anytime soon. The next vehicle in the pipeline is the Tesla Model X, a pure electric crossover that’s soon to enter production, but that’s not all. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has repeatedly hinted at a future mass-market vehicle, rumored to be the Tesla Model E, for Everyone, and a Tesla Model C, or Compact, has been seen in the motor shows as a concept. Bigger news though, is a recent extension of the contract between Tesla Motors and Panasonic Corporation.

Panasonic has been providing the Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion cell since Tesla Motors’ first Tesla Roadster prototype. Considering that each Tesla Model S 85kWh battery pack uses some 7,000 cells, Panasonic providing two billion cells over the next four years points to big changes coming. Tesla Motors is presently producing about 20,000 vehicles per year, but two billion cells would translate to better than 280,000 battery packs if they stick with 7,000 cells per pack. Reduce the size of the battery pack for a mass-market model, and that number could be better than 500,000 vehicles. It seems to me that Tesla Motors will be seriously ramping up production in the next four years. Is the mass-market model ready to roll?

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About the author: Benjamin Jerew

 

Ben Jerew is an ex-Toyota master technician and an expert in alternative fuels and hybrid/electric automotive technology. His work has been featured on GearHeads.org, GreenerIdeal.com, and GreenOptimistic.com, among others. You can follow him on Twitter @LoneWolffe.

 

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Why Tesla Motors MUST Build Their Own Lithium-Ion Battery Factory

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