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The Electric Vehicle : Are We There Yet?

The TESLA - EV : Are We There Yet?
The TESLA - EV : Are We There Yet?

Image courtesy of Tesla Motors

With the rising costs of crude oil-based fuels, and the depletion of the minimal resources, the industry on the whole has been searching for viable alternatives for decades. While it is difficult to say for sure if the time of the all-electric vehicle is upon us, the automotive industry appears to be lining up their prospects for the predictably-imminent future.

With Nissan’s Leaf, BMW’s i3, Chevrolet’s Volt, Mitsubishi’s iMiEV, Vauxhaul’s Ampera, Ford’s Focus EV, Volkswagen’s E-Up!, Peugeot’s iOn, and why, even our very own Mahindra Reva’s e2O, just to name a few, it appears that the big names in the industry are gearing up for the revitalised future of the EV.

Now add to that list the Model S, from Tesla Motors, with its twin motor AWD (All Wheel Drive), and projected 300 mile per charge travelling distance on the Model S, and free charging at all Tesla Mostors’ proprietary charging stations. This addition appears poised to raise the bar for other industry players. Tesla Motors is a USA-based company run by its CEO, Elon Musk – an innovative and engineering-oriented man. Tesla Motors shot to fame in 2008 when it announced the Tesla Roadster, the first-ever all-electric Sports car. Tesla Motors currently sells the Model S, an all-electric, luxury sedan, and it has announced plans for a Model X and a Model 3.

With terms like MPG (Miles per gallon) or Kmpl (Kilometres per litre) now ranking up there with comfort, features, and, of course, cost, foremost on the mind of the conventional automobile buyer, the EV purchaser is faced with two undeniably critical questions:

Kilometres (Miles) per charge – and – Availability of charging stations

These questions will undoubtedly be the making, or breaking, point of this new wave of EV’s in the near future.

The features are there. So are the comfort and style. The cost is high, but not appreciably, especially when you take into account the absence of fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. But, is it right for me? Will be the deciding question with which the customer must grapple.

Couple that with: Can I locate a charging station when I need one? Will any EV power charging station be able to charge my TESLA S Model? And how will the climate in which I live affect my distance per charge?

These are relevant questions, and the answers are somewhat hazy, and less than cheery.

Yes – TESLA describes a couple successfully driving from California to New York, a distance of roughly 6500 km (4000 m) but, will you be able to drive from Texas to Maine, across India, from France to Denmark, or from London to Scotland?

And, will the cold weather in North Dakota or Sweden, or the heat in Goa or Miami reduce my battery’s performance?

These are relevant questions likely to be proposed at the point of sale.

In response to these questions, TESLA claims to have vast plans for new charging facilities in the coming years. These will include the quick-charge availability, allowing you to charge your car’s battery to 80% capacity within 30 minutes. (A big PLUS!)

Yes, extreme cold, or heat, will reduce your battery performance by as much as 40%, and as for universal charging stations – not at present anyway. Own a TESLA – Charge at a TESLA charging station!

As I stated earlier: The industry leaders are seeing the light, and it appears a relatively new player, TESLA, may be setting the pace.

In automobile reviewer fashion, I’ve provided a list of the TESLA pros and cons with personal comments based on my research.

  • Range: (Km or Miles per charge) – Nothing compares. The average range of an EV is around 160km (100m) The TESLA Model S is near 486km (300m). A Huge Plus!
  • Cost: The TESLA is, for now, a bit pricy. The TESLA Model S will cost you almost twice as much as the Nissan Leaf or the BMW i3. A definite down-side!
  • Charging Availability: Details are sketchy, but the company has wide ranging plans for new stations. 32 stations presently within the USA allowing motorists to traverse the country – with a well thought out charging plan!  The Hazy Part!
  • Features: The twin motor – All wheel Drive is ingenious. Though not glitzy, this feature allows for greater torque, and for power at the point of use. Smart idea!

Final Thoughts
With an adventuresome game plan, an ingenious design, and 3X the distance per charge as any competitor, I cannot foresee this car failing to grab its fair share of the EV market. It would be nice to see all the EV manufacturers decide on one fitting for their chargers, thus allowing all EVs to charge at each other’s facilities.

Article authored by Mark Thomas

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