What’s so different about Tesla vehicles?

Tesla Motors, Inc. is an electric vehicle designer and manufacturer headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Although other car companies are in the electric car business, Tesla is the first to manufacture an electric sports car, followed by luxury electric vehicles.

The Tesla Roadster is the name of the first electric sports car, and also the first production vehicle made by Tesla. The Roadster has an average range of 245 miles per charge, depending on speed and other external factors, according to Tesla. However, living with the luxury of an electric sports car won’t spare your wallet… initially anyway. The base retail price for the Tesla Roadster is $109,000.

The Tesla model S is the first premium electric car to hit the market. And it just so happens to be taking the market by storm. In fact, Consumer Reports named it “The most-loved car in America.”1 There are two battery options for the Model S, the 85 kWh and the 60 kWh. The 80 kWh will get you 306 miles of range per charge. That’s roughly the distance from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh! The Model S has a base price of $71,070. However, there are state incentives upon purchase in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Utah.


* Photo from http://www.teslamotors.com/ 

So how does the charging process work?
You don’t need any special specs to charge a Tesla at home.  It includes a 10 kW capable on-board charger with the following input compatibility: 85-265 V, 45-65 Hz, 1-40 A (Optional 20 kW capable Twin Chargers increases input compatibility to 80 A). Its peak charger efficiency is 92% and can be modified with a 10 kW capable Universal Mobile Connector with 110 V, 240 V, and J1772 adapters. The Mobile Connector plugs into standard 110 volt and 240 volt outlets. When charging at home, it takes roughly 1 hour and 12 minutes to charge.2 
If you are out on the road for a trip, Tesla has what they call “superchargers” scattered throughout the U.S., including many main highways (see map below.) Tesla’s web page says that you can recharge half of your battery using a supercharger in the amount of time it takes you to eat your lunch. This means that you can get roughly 170 miles worth of charge in about 30 minutes. 

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* Photo from http://www.teslamotors.com/ 

Many people wonder, with such a high price tag, am I actually saving any money? It’s hard to answer this question directly, but with the anticipated rise in oil, Tesla owners may be saving more and more each year. If a premium sedan drives 30,000 miles and gets 22 MPG while gas costs an average of $3.90, the fuel cost is $5,318. A Tesla Model S can drive the same distance and the “fuel” cost is $1,048. See the chart below for a comparison:

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So what’s next for Tesla?
You are currently able to reserve your Model X, a cross between a minivan and an SUV. Tesla is now catering to families, and it seems to be working. They had already accumulated over 20,000 Model X reservations in September 2014. Rumor has it that Tesla is developing a less-luxurious (costing less than what the Model S does) electric car. Whatever they produce, it seems as if it is likely to make a splash in the marketplace.

Tesla is truly helping the growth of the electric car industry, especially when they announced the removal of patents from their technology in June 2014. In a letter to the world, CEO Elon Musk announced that the company removed all patents, because patents “too often these days serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.” Tesla recognizes the growing demand for electric vehicles, and the reality is that they aren’t large enough to serve everyone. It’s rare to find companies these days that are willing to put the health of the world and its consumers before their own bottom line, so let’s applaud Tesla on their truly green business model.


2 http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric


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