Tesla: The Future is here!
On Saturday morning, 20 JUN 09, the day before Father’s Day, a brand new Tesla Roadster, the 468th Tesla built was delivered to my home in Mount Vernon, VA. It was the dawn of a new age. This was an experience that is forever forged in my brain. Like the first horseless carriage or the first radio or first television or the advent of the personal computer, fax machine, cell phone, or even the Internet itself, this totally electric car free from having to run to a gas station, free from burning anything, free from noise and smell, free as a bird, represents the fundamental paradigm shift that will define the 21st century. How appropriate that it comes at the turn of the century as did the automobile that came at the turn of the 20th century. Surely a country that can put a man on the moon can solve this “carbon” and “gas dependency” problem. The United States of America has, does, and will continue to lead the world and “walk the talk.” It alone solved the enormous problem of putting a man on the moon. Still 40 years later it is the only country to have ever done so. The current economic and environmental problems by comparison are chump-change.
(2) You’re not sending dollars overseas to people, many of which don’t like us.
(3) You’re saving the economy. Sending upwards of a trillion dollars a year, every year to foreign oil producers hurts our economy and is not sustainable.
(4) You’re not paying “The Man.” Other forms of clean fuel such as hydrogen still require that you to visit a filling station and pay whatever price charged. Even those advocating for natural gas that can be charged from one’s home forget that natural gas pricing often follows gasoline pricing. The days of spending $100 to fill one’s tank will return; ask any European.
(5) You never have to visit a gas station; ever. Your garage becomes your own “gas station.” Whenever your Tesla is home, it is plugged in so you always leave home with a “full tank of gas,” about 150 to 170 miles worth. No explosive gasoline, hydrogen, or natural gas to deal with. Think about it, all gas or hydrogen cars are never in their garages with a full tank since they had to drive home after filling up. In actual practice, many cars have half a tank or less anyway.
(6) It is fast. The Tesla Roadster goes from 0 to 60 mph is 3.9 seconds. That is faster than most Corvettes and practically any other car on the road. The secret is that it achieves maximum torque at zero rpm through 4500 rpm. All combustion cars must reach several thousand rpm to achieve their maximum torque, Tesla does not.
(7) It is smooth. “Smooth” means that the force exerted on the car’s occupants changes gradually and steadily. Since force is directly proportional to acceleration, the car’s acceleration should not change direction because in doing so the occupants would feel forces in alternating directions causing them to be jostled; very “unsmooth.” Most cars must change gears either manually or automatically in order to maintain the engine at an RPM range that can deliver the necessary torque to accelerate. To do so the car increases RPM and hence its acceleration as it reaches its maximum torque. Then as it goes beyond that point the torque and subsequent acceleration drop signifying a necessary change in gears. Momentarily, as incredulous as this sounds the engine during this acceleration is disconnected from the gears to allow the change to take place. Once changed, the RPM is increased again. As before, the torque and corresponding acceleration start from a diminished state and increase with RPM until its maximum torque and acceleration are achieved. As this zenith is passed torque and acceleration start to diminish signifying that it is time to disconnect the engine and change gears again. And so on. This process that repeatedly changes a car’s acceleration is not “smooth.” Conversely, the Tesla Roadster is ALWAYS at its optimum torque, starting from ZERO RPM. That’s right, ZERO! Its engine is never “disconnected.” There is just smooth pure exhilarating acceleration. Every person, even strangers, I’ve given a test drive to is blown away by this paradigm shift.
(8) It is quiet. That is good. That’s right, good. It allows the driver to better connect with the environment and to the factors that affect one’s driving. The driver is more aware and can now hear other vehicles and nuances missed before. In neighborhoods one can now hear the birds chirping. And if one is so inclined to use the Tesla Roadster’s sound system, it does not have to compete with engine noise. The last ticket I received was due to the officer’s attention being drawn by the sound of my Lamborghini’s engine. With my Tesla Roadster, I have been able to zip through traffic effortlessly and unnoticeably.
(9) It is odor free. Without noise and gas fumes, you feel one with nature, part of the environment; like a bird. You belong.
(10) It has very little maintenance. I am currently waiting for a replacement oil dipstick for my daughter’s car since the original’s plastic handle broke due to brittleness brought on by prolonged engine heat. There is no dipstick that requires checking or replacement in the Tesla since there is no oil. This is another paradigm shift. No oil to add or drip and stain driveways and garages and pollute roadways and our environment. No oil or filter to change, no muffler, catalytic converter or exhaust system to replace, no fan belt or timing chain to replace, no spark plugs or fuel injectors, no valves or piston rings or rods. Most engines have hundreds of moving parts that can break and at best, wear out. Tesla’s “engine” which is the size of a watermelon has only one moving part: the rotor.
(11) It is cheap. Not only do you save money in maintenance, but the electricity to charge the car is inexpensive. The “tank” in the Tesla Roadster is a 53KWhr battery. It takes about 70KWhrs of energy to fill due to inefficiencies. So simply multiply your power company’s rate to figure what it costs to put 150-170 miles worth of fuel in your car. In Virginia, they are testing a multi-rate system based on the time of day or night. In the summer, the rate drops to about 6 cents per kilowatt hour after 10 p.m. and that includes a “3.9 cent per kilowatt hour fuel charge.” The actual electric supply charge is .823 cents per kilowatt hour, less than a penny per kilowatt hour or 58 cents to fully fill your Tesla “tank.” In the spring and fall that rate incredibly drops to .011 cents per kilowatt hour. At that rate you could charge your car fully for less than a tenth of a penny! Perhaps when the power company weans itself from oil, it will not have to charge the fuel charge that exceeds the actual electricity charge. In any case the battery lasts 100K miles and its pricing continues to drop 8% a year while gasoline prices rise. If that was not enough, the Federal government is providing a $7,500 incentive. Several states are providing incentives though Virginia does not appear to be doing so at this time.
(12) It is fun! I have purchased 12 new sports cars: 9 Corvettes, F360 and F430 Ferraris, and my current Lamborghini Special Edition Gallardo which I have used only once since receiving my Tesla Roadster. Yet my Tesla Roadster beats them all for all the reasons noted above. I have already ordered the new Tesla Model S sedan (#104) so the days of my current sedan, an S65 AMG 12-cylinder Mercedes are numbered!
Contact: John A. McEwan