The Electric Revolution
Imagine driving from Los Angelos to San Francisco on a single charge of an electric car. Tesla can imagine this, and not as some far future dream, but rather as something that the newest Tesla Roadster should be able to do today, or at the latest, within a year or two.
The one major downside of electric cars, compared to traditional gasoline powered vehicles, is that they don’t have very good ranges. A traditional vehicle can drive somewhere from 300 to 500 miles on a single tank of gas. Most electric cars average at about 20% – 25% of that value on a single battery charge. That simply isn’t a far enough range to make most drivers comfortable. But Tesla, the clear industry leader in electric cars, is constantly pushing the envelope in battery design, and its newest design, it its newest car, offers roughly 400 miles on a full charge.
Given how many traditional vehicle can’t reach that 400 mile threshold on a single tank of gas, that is a more than competitive value for range. And, according to Tesla, that value isn’t seen as the limit of the technology, but rather as a stepping stone to even further improvements in battery efficiency.
The Car of the Future is Plug and Play
Even more amazing than the fact that the new Tesla Roadster can potentially outperform traditional gasoline powered vehicles in terms of range is the fact that someday soon the old Tesla Roadster may be able to do the same thing. Unlike cars with traditional internal combustion engines, a battery pack is something that can be removed and replaced in a vehicle with relative ease. Thus, the true value of a Tesla may very soon be not just that it protects the environment, but that it can effectively be replaced without having to purchase a brand new car.
In the current environment where car prices are already so high that leasing is more common than outright ownership for most cars, the potential to never have to buy a new car again is
something that could rewrite the rules of the industry. Tesla hasn’t made any claims about replaceable battery packs yet, but the writing appears to be on the wall. And if this should come to pass, making car “engines” effectively plug and play is likely to have as big an impact on the car industry as similar technology did on the computer industry.