The Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Company have an unusual history. The company has almost no connection to the traditional American auto industry. Tesla’s founder Martin Eberhard and his partner Marc Tarpenning has no experience in the auto industry when the founder decided to create the world’s first high-performance electric cars. Both Martin and his business partner founded a company based on a portable eBook reader as they were frustrated at the mainstream auto industries’ inability to create effective electric cars that had mass appeal and he decided to create one himself.
Instead of creating an entire car and all its systems from scratch, Martin took advantage of outsourcing, which made the various elements easy to acquire. After netting $60 Million in investment funds the company chose a design from England-based lotus. This partnership works well for several reasons, it is well suited to producing cars in small runs. This allows Tesla to basically manufacture cars to order, rather than building thousand and spending money to warehouse the overstock. Also, the Tesla-roadster is based on the lotus-Elise, they look superficially similar and have the same basic chassis and other parts. This added savings. While most of the Roadster parts and systems, such as stereo, the brakes, and the battery chargers are off-the-shelf, final assembly happens at Lotus facilities.
Tesla’s business plan recognizes that innovative technology is often very expensive and that the very rich are usually the first people to adopt it. Once prices come down, the technology can move down into the market.
SEE ALSO: XIAOMI Mi. 9 Phone Review
However, Tesla has set its sights on a 2008 release of the four-door electric sedan. The first 100 edition was successful and was sold out which more was produces.
Electric cars will probably always be more expensive than cars that use combustion engines. The saving comes when you look at its fuel costs and environmental impact. An electric car has zero emissions and doesn’t add to pollution. Driving an electric car a mile costs a fraction of what it costs to drive a gas-powered car in a mile.
Tesla’s long-range Model S promises to drive roughly 370 miles without stopping for a charge — about the distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Its closest electric car competitors on the range, from companies such as Chevrolet, Jaguar, and Nissan, can only make it about 240 miles — or a little farther than a drive from Washington, D.C., to New York City, though some individual models top out around 260. Most others are behind, barely topping 200 miles.
Tesla is leading the electric vehicle race because it has more high-powered battery tech — and it takes more risks. For more than a decade, Tesla has been designing battery-powered vehicles from the ground up and using software to make the batteries more efficient. It has scrapped many weighty, traditional luxury features in favor of aerodynamics, taken measures such as ditching multi-gear transmissions in favor of dual motors programmed to send varying power ratios to the front and rear wheels.
But car industry experts also say the company has taken more risks than traditional automakers, making its batteries ever-denser and out of different materials than competitors. Some point to a handful of spontaneous battery fires under investigation by federal regulators as a potential fallout. And it’s too soon to know — as with any new vehicle — what kind of durability the vehicles may offer in the long run. Even the oldest Tesla sedans have been on the road for less than eight years.
Battery range has helped Tesla maintains its grip on the electric vehicle market at nearly 60 percent of new sales in the first nine months of 2019, as new electric vehicle models from at least four major car companies have hit the U.S. market over the past year or so, and the company gears up to face its first real challenge.
“My belief is that Tesla is more willing to risk their battery not lasting 8 to 10 years and just dealing with the consequences on the back-end,” said Michael Ramsey, a senior director and analyst specializing in the evolution of the auto industry with Gartner’s CIO Research Group. “Part of their success is related to their willingness to go way past what the industry would normally do,” he said.
TRENDING TECH: How artificial intelligence is changing the Phone Cameras
Tesla was the company that brought the electric car to the masses, first with the launch of its sporty Roadster in 2008 when traditional car manufacturers were still largely focused on hybrids. In 2012, it launched its flagship Model S, followed in 2017 by its more affordable Model 3. The company’s market capitalization recently reached $87 billion, exceeding the combined value of Ford and General Motors. And it’s expanding in the all-important market of China, where CEO Elon Musk performed a revelatory dance that went viral this week.
People buy Teslas not just for their battery range. It has features like Autopilot, which steers the car on highways and executes lane changes. The cars are also less visually jarring than many competitors, some of which eschewed traditional designs while working on aerodynamics.
But in a key development, it helped eliminate range anxiety by helping reduce the possibility that its vehicles would run out of juice in the middle of a road trip. The batteries are tucked under the floor of the main body of the car.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has made substantial investments in battery technology and research. Last year, Tesla announced it would buy Maxwell Technologies, a firm focused on energy density and breakthrough storage technology that Musk has championed. In 2015, the company entered into an agreement with Canada-based Dalhousie University professor Jeff Dahn, a world-renowned battery researcher, to make lower-cost lithium-ion batteries that last longer and have higher energy densities.
Tesla’s improvements have added up to industry-leading energy densities, referring to the amount of energy that is stored in a particular battery unit, said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of clean power research at Bloomberg NEF.
Tesla also opened its Sparks, Nev., Giga factory in 2016, a dedicated large-scale battery plant that it says became the world’s highest-volume battery plant in 2018. Panasonic produces the battery cells, which Tesla assembles into packs and modules for its vehicles.
Rich Benoit, who runs Electrified Garage, an independent Tesla repair shop in New Hampshire, said incremental improvements over time have led to a sizable advantage for Tesla. One example is Tesla’s decision to opt for dual-motors for its front and back wheels overusing multispeed transmissions to increase power.
He said Tesla has learned how to gain efficiencies in the interaction of those two motors — what the power ratio should be between the front and back wheels for the best control, acceleration, power, and range, for example. Its Internet-connected cars have gathered data to fuel those improvements
They’ve had absolutely the longest lead time of anyone else — any other manufacturer out there,” said Benoit, who has taken apart dozens of Teslas to see how they work for his YouTube channel “Rich Rebuilds.” “When Porsche was still making Caymans and Boxster’s, the Tesla Roadster came out,” referring to Tesla’s debut 2008 sports car — “they’ve had years of [research] and development and sourcing different vendors to kind of perfect their technology.”
In electric vehicles, a higher energy density means more potential range from a smaller package, saving weight and improving efficiency, according to analysts and battery researchers.
Tesla’s Model 3 carries roughly 24 percent higher pack energy density as compared with a 2018 Nissan Leaf, according to data compiled by Bloomberg NEF research. That resulted in about 90 miles more range, though weight considerations and Nissan’s smaller battery size also factor in.
Tesla also uses different battery chemistry — aluminum, in addition to the standard nickel and cobalt — than other major automakers. The battery researchers said that choice has led to the maximum range because of higher-capacity battery chemistry, though downsides included a higher fire risk and shorter cycle life, or life span over hundreds of charges.
Other automakers have opted for manganese instead of aluminum, with lower storage capacity, portending less range but potentially longer life cycles, those researchers said.
The trade-off for Tesla: higher energy densities and higher-capacity materials tend to put out more heat, requiring more advanced cooling systems and temperature management systems to preserve the battery, the researchers and analysts said.
Will Chueh, a Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering professor who focuses on lithium-ion batteries, said Tesla’s choice of battery material also represents another bet: more range means less charging, offsetting some concerns about cycle life. Consumers won’t have to charge their cars as much if they have 300 miles of the available range, so Tesla can afford to use a battery with a shorter cycle life, in addition to taking proactive measures such as active cooling to preserve the life of the battery. “The larger the battery is the fewer times you have to cycle it,” he added.
As the batteries age, however, they become less potent, which can affect the driving experience. “As the battery degrades, you won’t be able to do the 2.5 seconds-fast acceleration because the battery can’t deliver as much power in that time as it did before,” he said. The range decreases and charging time goes up and available power lessens — which can translate to the driving experience, he said.