Tesla Motors continues to dazzle us with its electric cars of the future, but its solar-powered innovations might be on the way to completely eliminating your electric bill.
Tesla Motors Inc., an American automotive company, is making huge strides toward a more sustainable world. A group of engineers founded Tesla in Silicon Valley in 2003 with the mission to prove that electric cars could be better than gasoline-powered cars. But Tesla didn’t stop at that. In addition to wowing the world with its innovative car designs, Tesla’s bringing its vision for a more sustainable future to the forefront.
Tesla’s first premium electric sedan, Model S, proved to be spacious, speedy, and safe— it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds but still landed a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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But in mid-July, Tesla announced its decision that an acceleration rate of 0 to 60 mph in five seconds just wasn’t enough— “Ludicrous Mode” will now send the car flying from 0 to 60 in a swift 2.8 seconds. In the trailer for the newest James Bond movie, Spectre, Bond’s genius gadget guru, Q, presents him with a sleek car that goes 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Tesla officially outdid James Bond with Ludicrous mode.
Tesla now has 50,000 vehicles on the road worldwide and just released news of their best design yet: Model X. It features exhilarating speed abilities, all-wheel drive, enough space for seven seats, and arguably the coolest detail: Falcon Wing rear doors. The innovative Tesla models have the character of suave sports cars, but reach a new level of practicality that has never been achieved before.
You can plug the car charger in wherever there is an outlet but the Tesla charging stations will charge it the fastest in about 30 minutes. There are 473 Supercharger stations to date, but Tesla’s interactive map illustrates its plan to expand extensively over the next couple of years.
Tesla’s initiative to promote sustainability doesn’t stop at its innovative cars. On April 30, 2015, Tesla launched the Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The goal is to inspire customers to use Powerwall to create their own home solar installation systems. Each system consists of a solar panel, an electric inverter, and a home battery (Powerwall) which stores surplus electricity generated from the solar panels during the day. Powerwall is somewhat of a “smart” battery — it charges itself while utility rates are lowest so it can use the solar-generated power when the rates are highest, giving homeowners a sustainable way to save on their electricity bills.
In fact, Tesla might be close to eliminating the electric bill completely for some users. Vivek Wadhwa, a writer for The Washington Post and director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, shares his own experience with working toward a clean-energy future: “I live in a solar home that provides most of the power needed for heating, cooling, and cooking — and for charging my Tesla Model S.” He informs that his electric bills are around $100 during the winters but zero or negative in the summer — a tiny fraction of what he used to spend.
There are, however, some obstacles that society will be faced with on the journey to an energy-sustainable future. The fossil-fuel industry and utility companies will face declining demand and eventually bankruptcy. To counter it, they will try to create political and economical obstacles. Several utility companies are already lobbying to stop solar power generation and some states, like Arizona and Wisconsin, are imposing fees per month or per year for customers who use solar energy.
Thankfully, Tesla is solving these problems. With Tesla technology, customers will have the freedom to disconnect completely from utility grids and rely on their own solar-generated systems. As Wadhwa artfully analogized, “Tesla is about to do to the power grid what cellphones did to the land line — free us from it. And it will dramatically accelerate the progress of clean energy.”