Monday, March 10, 2008

Gasoline as Antiquated as the Steam Engine

"The vanguard of the electric car revolution that is coming," proclaims Elon Musk, the Internet tycoon and Tesla Motors chairman.
In video interview with USA today, Elon further says that in 25 years the majority of cars will be electric drive and by the middle of the century, we will look back at the now 100 year old technology of the internal combustion engine the way we look at steam engines today, as an anachronism.
The company most likely to determine if these predictions come true or not is Tesla themselves. In the late '90s the major automakers proved it was technically possible to make freeway speed production EVs (See WKTEC). Of the ~6000 EVs produced by GM, Ford and Toyota, everyone of them was sold or leased and waiting lists went unfilled. Despite this, the legacy car companies stop making them. They had (and still have) an interest in the status quo. That is the beauty of start-ups like Tesla, they depend on innovation and break through technology, not legacy product lines.
Much has been hyped about Tesla, their high performance roadster and upcoming sedan. Since the major automakers left the EV game, for the most part golf carts and home conversions have been the only viable EV option. Tesla could either be the spark that ignites the new revolution and drives the legacy automakers to keep pace or be left behind. Or Tesla's failure could be the excuse they use to delay change and maintain their current technologies.

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