Tesla Motors: Affordable Electric Cars are Coming
In a post on Tesla Motors' blog, Elon Musk, the chairman of the company, writes: "Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market [with the roadster], where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible [...] Without giving away too much, I can say that the second model [code name: White Star, scheduled for 2008] will be a sporty four door family car at roughly half the $89k price point of the Tesla Roadster and the third model will be even more affordable [...] all free cash flow is plowed back into R&D; to drive down the costs and bring the follow on products to market as fast as possible. When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car." That's what we like to hear! There's nothing revolutionary in saying: "Prices go down as technology matures and with economies of scale", but we're happy to learn that Tesla is proactively aiming at coming out of the exotic sports car niche and into the mainstream where it can make a bigger difference and force big automakers to react. Mr. Musk also addresses two frequent arguments against electric cars: What to do with the batteries, and "the long tailpipe" (displacing emissions from tailpipe to power plant). Check it out: ::The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me). See also: ::The Tesla Roadster: Electric Sports CarAnother interesting part of the post:
Becoming Energy Positive
I should mention that Tesla Motors will be co-marketing sustainable energy products from other companies along with the car. For example, among other choices, we will be offering a modestly sized and priced solar panel from SolarCity, a photovoltaics company (where I am also the principal financier). This system can be installed on your roof in an out of the way location, because of its small size, or set up as a carport and will generate about 50 miles per day of electricity.
If you travel less than 350 miles per week, you will therefore be "energy positive" with respect to your personal transportation. This is a step beyond conserving or even nullifying your use of energy for transport — you will actually be putting more energy back into the system than you consume in transportation!