The first time that the folks at Consumer Reports drove the Tesla Model S P85D all-wheel-drive sedan, it scored a 103. The problem is that the Consumer Reports scale is out of 100. The car performed so well that it broke the rating system for CR, which, to its credit, documented its adjustments to adjust its metrics, which then gave the car a solid 100 (still the highest score of any car it has ever tested). Not bad for a car company that was founded in 2003.
Whether you are interested in buying a Tesla or not, you should know about all the ways that this daring startup is changing not just the future of driving, but of energy.
Batteries: not just for your car
Tesla’s Powerwall is made for your home. It stores electricity for your own use, for load shifting, or for backup in case of a power outage. You can use it to store energy “from the grid,” or from your own solar panels or other renewable energy source.
In order to deliver Powerwalls and other batteries at a sustainable price, Tesla is currently building the largest battery factory in the world in Reno, Nevada. The economies of scale that it will realize will not only aid its own plans, but will provide efficiencies for all products that utilize lithium-ion battery technology.
Tesla has started to build a network in the United States that will allow drivers to charge their vehicles on long drives. It’s also challenging and disrupting the entrenched car dealership system in the United States by focusing on small retail locations that are similar to Apple Stores. All this has forced Detroit to make its own moves to create real competition for Tesla, and that added choice can only be better for consumers.
Oh yes, and cars
Elon Musk is a visionary businessman who runs another company with a stated aim of getting to Mars. Thus, to some, the Model S might have just been a science-fiction concept vehicle: a beautiful and performance-driven sports car that can occasionally drive itself and runs on…batteries. And yet, a Tesla is something quite different from the vehicles we’ve driven since Henry Ford told us we could have any color we wanted, as long as it was black. Tesla’s pursuit of its goals rightly challenges all car companies to simply do better. Tesla is making the sort of car that inspires a gent: rooted in tradition, but willing to examine all past assumptions and look boldly towards the future.
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