I have seen the future. There’s not much petrol in it.
I’ve been following Tesla for a while since they started on the Tesla S journey. The goal was electric cars for the mass market, but they started off at the high end where the revenues and margins are much better; the end of the market where owners may have another car and be more forgiving of experiments that may go sideways; the end that supports pricey vehicles that may not have everyday applications. This was a smart move – and I was interested to see how it plays out over time. This is like smartphones – started with business folks and Blackberry, today is an essential part of life. Mass adoption changes everything.
Couple of years down the line there have been multiple models of the Tesla S, and the Model X (an SUV). We all are waiting now for the eventual launch of the Model 3 – starting at $35,000, the mass market option that will bring Tesla into the mainstream. The queue is about 373,000 long as of May 2016 so it will probably be years before regualar customers like myself see one (2018/2019). People who already have bought either the S or X will be prioritized for delivery as a special thanks for supporting the Tesla project till date. Oh well.
Since I have my name on the reservation list (yes, I paid to join the queue!), I was pretty interested in having a real-life experience of what an all electric car feels like. My chance came a couple of days back when I was trying to figure out what fun stuff to on my long unplanned vacation. My friend (an auto-enthusiast like me) brought up the Tesla idea and of course it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, for liability issues, I wasn’t allowed to drive with my Ghana license so I had to be content with riding along. Needless to say, I was blown away! Check out the video below.
Elon Musk and his team have achieved something truly revolutionary here. The world would be a different space in another decade or so, and this is a glimpse of what that future could look like. Every time you drive one of these you’re effective time travelling.
Exciting. A little scary. But that’s fine.
Side bar: Mr Elon Musk is obsessed with electric things. He has a dream of a human colony on Mars one day and obviously that atmosphere is not exactly appropriate for fossil fuel fired locomotion like Earth is. So; electric cars, the HyperLoop, PowerWall, think of them as building blocks for the future on earth, but with technology replicable elsewhere. Of course his other popular venture is the SpaceX. What they do is in the image below captured from their website. Setting your sights up above has interesting interpretations…