Most people may not realize it, but the same man, Elon Musk, who’s company SpaceX developed the Dragon capsule (and Falcon 9 rocket) the first privately owned spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station in June (see http://rootshed.com/article/unmanned-dragon-spacecraft-set-to-make-f…) is the same man behind the Tesla Roadster here on earth.
While other car manufacturers have been concentrating on developing hybrids, Musk has set his sights on developing all-electric cars that can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge, beginning with the Tesla Roadster, which hit the streets with a range of 200 miles in 2008. I
It should be noted, however, that while Elon Musk is now the man behind the cars, the basic concept for Tesla autos is actually the brainchild of J.B. Straubel, who created a way to connect hundreds of lithium ion batteries together for unprecedented battery life. These are also the same batteries that power your laptop computers.
Yet, despite Straubel’s genius, it has taken the ultimate inventiveness of Musk to turn the once failing Tesla Motor Company into the “promise” of the future of the automotive industry. In fact, he has now come up with an even better vehicle than the Roadster, the five passenger Model S, which can travel 300 miles on a single charge, and can go from 0-60 mph in a mere 5.5 seconds, as well as slow down from 60 mph to a dead stop in 105 feet.
“It’s the first all-electric car that does everything my old gas-guzzler does, only better,” he commented. “It even handles like a racecar and its battery comes with an 8-year, 100,000 warranty. In addition, if you charged it with solar panels, it would run off the sun.”
The Model S, which debuted this past June, comes with a price tag beginning at $57,000, and is currently being produced at the old Toyota factory in Fremont, CA at the rate of 100 per week.
The main problem with this car is that it still takes 9 hours to charge-up on a standard 240-volt electrical hook-up, making it impractical for long distance travel. However, Musk is hoping to solve that dilemma by creating six networks of 100 electric filling stations, he calls superchargers, across the country. The first of which has already been opened in California. Each station will be designed to pump electricity at 90 kilowatts in order to add an additional 250 miles to the Model S battery. He also hopes to create the stations so that they will be powered strictly by solar power, which will mean using zero fossil fuels, and thus emitting zero emissions.