There was once a time in the 90s, when electric cars were envisioned with odd designs like that of a UFO. This was because the concept was to make a solar-powered car, and so the design was more suited for larger surface areas. Naturally, this meant compromises on the aerodynamics of a car and a weak power source to run the vehicle.
Come 2003, Tesla Motors was founded under the vision of Elon Musk, a self-made millionaire from the dotcom-bubble era. Having no previous expertise or business experience in the automotive field, Elon invested quite a bit of time and money in three companies – Tesla, SpaceX and Solarcity. After nearly 16+ years, all these three companies have become some of the greatest and most disruptive businesses ever.
Tesla as the world’s most valuable car-maker
Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” They aim to eradicate gasoline-powered vehicles in its entirety from the world and replace them by electric vehicles.
With such a daunting mission in a highly volatile sector such as the automobile, where numerous century-old companies have gone bankrupt, the rise of Tesla as the world’s most valuable car-maker is a phenomenal story.
The 10-year Tesla’s secret master plan
When Elon Musk started out with Tesla, he envisioned a 10-year plan that would make the company a worldwide success story. The plan was kick-started in 2006, with producing a supe rcar named Roadster with a premium price tag, which eventually was launched in 2008. This move was to demonstrate that electric vehicles (EVs) were a practical means of transport and not just some concept which may take decades to materialize. The Roadster was a success and people could see what a practical and affordable EV could look like.
Then came the Model S, the equivalent of a Mercedes S-class sedan, from Tesla’s stable, which followed suit in terms of success. Building on the popularity, the world experienced a shift from gasoline-powered vehicles to a Test-cult with a highly loyal customer following. Next, the Model X with falcon wing-doors featured a brilliant and quirky design that raised the stakes of innovation for other car companies. By 2013, Tesla was a world-class EV producer with a 5-star safety rating in every category of its cars. The company then delivered the Model Y and later in 2016, introduced the Model 3 – a low-priced, high volume EV that began production in 2017.
All Tesla EVs were exceptionally fast, creating speed records that were once considered incomprehensible. For example, the Model S held a record of 2.28 seconds for the 0-60 mph acceleration time, coupled with the longest range for any EV at that time. Tesla didn’t stop there and in 2017 came out with a semi-truck that could save nearly $200,000 in ownership costs, the Roadster 2.0 with a 1000 mile range and the fastest acceleration time in a supercar and the Cyber truck in 2019 – a pickup truck with 200 to 500 mile range.
Is Tesla really an automotive company?
The straight answer is YES. But, it is not that simple.
If you go into the nomenclature of Tesla Motors, it is registered as a tech company and not just an auto manufacturer. This is because the Tesla EVs has cutting-edge battery technology, electric power train and an infinitely scalable clean energy generation products. The software that the EV runs on are auto-updated frequently just with your Wi-Fi much like any of your mobile phone apps, and also collect data for executing the autopilot mode.
This novel initiative put Tesla in a highly strategic space, as the EVs sold had been collecting traffic data and other important parameters that could make driving on autopilot a reality. Thus, Tesla has more than 100,000 hours of data and driving conditions that the company configured with AI and introduced the autopilot as an option for a safe driving experience without even having to touch the steering wheel.
Is Tesla the pinnacle of EV evolution?
With the current global climatic changes, Tesla is rightfully one of the most valuable companies on earth. However, it still has to come up with a high-density carbon-based battery technology that is practical and non-polluting. The reason is simple – 100 years ago, in the era of animal-driven carriages, horse-dung was considered a source of pollution and gasoline cars were deemed cleaner. History can repeat itself with lithium-ion batteries and after a century, who knows, we may again need an innovative solution.
We can anticipate Elon Musk (or a similar genius), who has set his vision to colonize Mars, to come up with a solution for this quandary too. As of now, these baby steps from Tesla is well appreciated and the world is truly impressed by their strive towards transition to sustainable energy.