Intro: The first word that comes to mind when thinking of Elon Musk and Tesla might be “innovation.” But is Tesla the greatest invention of this century? And is it Elon’s biggest contribution to humanity?
These days, it is impossible not to think of Elon Musk without quickly thinking of Tesla. But there’s more to Musk than just the companies you’ve heard of.
SpaceX and the Falcon rocket.
Musk’s aerospace company may be just as famous as his automobiles. It was founded in 2002, to help reduce the cost of space transportation and enable the colonization of Mars as the rockets are reusable.
In 1999 Musk co-founded a company called X.com, which focused on financial services and email payments. Company’s best-known service is PayPal, which was bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
A rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco that would work in a tube with extremely low air pressure, which would theoretically reduce drag and enable higher speeds. That would be up to 800 miles per hour with lower power consumption.
The second-largest provider of solar-power systems in USA, creating storage systems and letting people, at night, to tap into power produced by solar panels during the day.
Vertical takeoff and landing electric supersonic jet. Planes would not require a long runway, so more airports could be used for flying.
Who founded Tesla?
You might not know that Elon didn’t actually found the company.
Many believe Tesla is Musk’s brainchild. However, the fact is that the company was founded by Eric Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, in 2003.
In 2004, Musk joined Tesla’s board of directors as its chairman and later became the CEO.
He does this for an annual salary of just 1 USD.
And if you didn’t know already, the company’s name is a tribute to inventor Nikola Tesla, as the motor uses AC induction, which Tesla helped invent.
Tesla electric cars.
In the automotive world, Tesla has truly pushed the envelope and made the pipe dream of driving an all-electric car come true.
The company has come a long way to make its once rare and out of reach cars more affordable and accessible to the public.
Tesla cars don’t come cheap even now but buyers feel they pay for their worth.
Not only the car buyers save on gas, but the automobile makes it so that drivers only have to replace the tires and windshield wipers routinely, as nothing else needs regular replacement.
The car has been built with quality in mind, therefore it takes minimal damage when crashing into an utility pole, for example.
Because every Tesla is connected, they are able to use the billions of miles of real-world data and use it to improve the cars.
With a crash every 479000 miles for vehicles, Tesla’s Autopilot is about 6 times safer.
Musk consistently said that Tesla’s long-term strategic goal was to create affordable mass market electric vehicles.
Tesla’s manufacturing strategy is to continuously improve the hardware of its cars, rather than waiting for a new model year.
You are able to update the technology in your car, like your software in your computer or smart-phone. Tesla created their cars to do this, so the innovation goes beyond switching from combustion engine to electric.
Performance at its best.
Tesla’s electric vehicles are no step behind in regards to speed or power, compared to their older combustion engine peers.
The Model S can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.2 seconds, while still saving the ozone layer. At a speed of 25 mph, Tesla fan group testers spoke about a distance record of 670 miles on one charge.
Good for humanity.
Tesla has a lot of patents but allows other companies to use their designs and principles. The hope is that other car manufacturers will expand the reach of electric vehicles and develop their own.
A mind of it’s own.
Tesla has self-adjusting suspension capabilities. This means that the Model S remembers roads that drivers went, and will automatically lift the car when faced with this terrain again. Smart, isn’t it?
Prepared for the worst.
Tesla Model S has an air filtering mechanism called The Bioweapon Defense Mode which filters out allergens, bacteria, and even viruses in the air.
Batteries. Never enough.
Tesla owns the largest battery that’s ever been built in South Australia and it’s actually so big that it’s footprint is comparable to a football field.
Unlike other automakers, Tesla does not use individual large battery cells, but thousands of small, cylindrical, lithium-ion commodity cells .
Tesla states that Autopilot is “designed to assist drivers with the most burdensome parts of driving” in order to make Tesla cars “safer and more capable over time.” The company states that Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.
After a decade in the market, Tesla ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in and battery electric passenger car manufacturer in 2019.
There are 1,716 Supercharger stations operated globally with over 15,000 superchargers
Instead of selling their cars through a third-party dealer,Tesla bet on showrooms where the company sells directly to the consumer.
Tesla’s overall customer interaction strategy is to “ensure owners have the best possible experience”.In 2020, Consumer Reports ranks Tesla as having the highest “overall customer satisfaction” of any car manufacturer.
The factory is so big that the footprint of the building could fit about 100 Boeing 747 jets. It’s so big, in fact, that it will be the world’s largest building by footprint.
It’s purpose is to make Tesla’s next cars much more affordable.
The factory is using renewable energy to power its operating equipment. The lithium ion cells production this year is expected to be more than the entire world production in 2013.
Solar energy realm
The company purchased the largest rooftop solar installer in the nation, SolarCity Corp, for $2.6 billion. A Tesla-built solar panel could soon show up at a home near you.
The idea is called the “Powerwall.” and it’s intended to be used as a supplemental power source, in case the primary source quits in some way.
Tesla has a “stratospheric” valuation value of over 400 billion USD. Its brand reputation, earning forecasts and market appetite has continuously over-hyped the company’s valuation. Since the first listing on the stock market, in 2010, the company’s stocks have risen by more 1000%.
The Model Y is likely going to become Tesla’s quickest turnaround from unveiling to production as the compact SUV space has been booming.
Tesla unveiled its all-electric heavy-duty truck, the Tesla Semi, in 2017. The company has been taking reservations for the electric truck, and said that the production versions will have 300-mile and 500-mile range.
Over the last year, the automaker has acquired several companies with experience building batteries or battery-manufacturing equipment.
Tesla is planning to build new batteries themselves. Their scope is that Model 3 batteries will last as long as a commercial truck, a million miles.
The company expects to launch the first robotaxis as part of broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network.
Citing from Tesla’s masterplan written by Elon Musk:
Integrate Energy Generation and Storage by creating a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world.
Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport requires Tesla to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. That is why Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine – turning the factory itself into a product
In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport.
As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely.
When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.
Invention of the century?
Electric vehicles first appeared in the mid-19th century. More than this, an electric vehicle held the vehicular land speed record until around 1900. But they had a high cost, low top speed and short range. Added to the greater interest of oil companies to promote the internal combustion engine vehicles, led to a worldwide decline in electric vehicles until recently, when Tesla reinvented the electric cars manufacturing processes.
21st century achievement.
Therefore Tesla can’t be the greatest invention of this century for it’s electric cars. But the company itself is now powering the leap forward of humanity so it deserves its place in the picture of the 21st century game-changers.
So if we are to make Mars our new home, for sure Musk’s companies will take us there and we will be driving his Teslas there as well.
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