The biggest problem with driving an electric vehicle (EV) is not driving from home to work. It’s the long trips and vacations that scare people – beyond the EV’s range of 75-150 miles per charge. They need a network of charging stations, like gas stations, placed along highway routes for all the popular destinations.
And while the major car manufacturers are content to let governments and utility companies build these – Tesla has announced they will build their own. The company has six in operation in California and plans for twelve by next year. After that, if sales continue to grow, building 100s of them nationwide – allowing you to drive an EV from Los Angeles to New York.
And like all things Elon Musk does – these will be sleek, high technology, sustainable devices. Powered by solar technology, giving a 150 mile charge in 30 minutes, and free for Tesla drivers – while giving energy back to the grid.
For comparison, the standard models on the market offer 16-31 miles for a 30 minute charge.
It’s not often you read a profile of a man fit for comic books. One whose life so closely resembles a superhero’s that a movie was made about him. In that movie genius billionaire Tony Stark builds a powerful metal suit that can fly, produce unlimited energy, and battle gods. Which nearly describes Elon Musk.
Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but Musk is flying people into space, building electric cars, running a billion-dollar solar company, and – his latest venture – trying to create a super train that’s “at least twice as fast as a plane, solar powered and leaves right when you arrive.”
Those are some achievements fit for a superhero – and you have to wonder, how can one man do all that? It’s hard to put in words but more comparisons help – from Business Week:
Friends and colleagues describe him as Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller, and Howard Hughes rolled into one. “He’s a throwback to when people were doing less incrementalist things,” says Peter Thiel, the tech investor who co-founded PayPal with Musk. “The companies he’s started are executing against a vision measured not in years but in decades.”
I’m not sure what that means, but it definitely makes for an interesting profile – Elon Musk, the 21st Century Industrialist.
Note these specs are the most hotly contested in the industry. The price is based on MSRP excluding tax credits and all those crazy option packages (for Tesla you can get the base model for $50k and the same car with options for $100k).
Battery power and range are based on EPA estimates (though, those vary a lot too).
Ford Focus Electric
- 23 kWh
- battery range – 76 miles
- 80 kWh
- battery range – 73 miles
Tesla Model S
- 40 kWh
- 160 mile battery range (+$10k for 230 mile range)
These two cars are marketed as Electric Vehicles (EV) even though they have a gas engine. What separates them from other hybrids is a larger battery pack that requires a charge (plug-in) to function.
- 16 kWh
- battery range – 35 miles
- 1.4L 4-cylinder gas engine
Toyota Prius Plug-in
- 4.4 kWh
- battery range – 11 miles
- 1.8L 4-cylinder gas engine
Photos of each EV: