By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
There can be little doubt that Tesla motors is revolutionising the car world. Sure, it’s not the first company to try and start a fully-electric car company; in fact, long before Elon Musk gave Tesla a go, many American cars and buses in America were electric. But due to various barriers and obstacles thrown into the market by oil companies and makers of combustion engine cars, the electric car faded into history.
Today, despite the high entry barriers in the automotive industry, one startup car company has succeeded even where the likes of Chrysler (who filed for bankruptcy in 2009) has failed. What’s more, when Tesla launched its first commercial car, the Tesla Roadster, in 2008, the timing couldn’t have been worse: the global economy took a huge hit and even automotive giants like General Motors and Chrysler were suffering just when Tesla was being launched; founder Elon Musk had made his fortune from Paypal and had no experience in the auto industry, let alone the burgeoning electric car niche. And yet, he somehow made Tesla work.
The fact that Tesla is not only surviving, but thriving is nothing short of mind boggling. Since its listing on NASDAQ in June 2010, its value has exploded to around US$30 billion, and since 2013, its market cap has risen by more than seven fold from US$4 billion to US$29 billion: a rate of growth rarely experienced by any company in any industry– and all of this without any advertising (because Musk believes the excellence of the product will sell itself). Demand is so high, Tesla can’t keep up with demand; thousands of customers are waiting on back orders.
Such is the power of one man’s blind ambition towards building a better future for all.
Clearly, Tesla has given the public many reasons to love this company. We’ve listed 8, but there are surely many more…
1. Its CEO is a socially responsible visionary
Elon Musk might be a magnate with an estimated net worth of US$12.4 billion, making him the 39th wealthiest person in the US, but his business choices prove he’s pretty concerned about mankind as a whole. He has been one of many tech luminaries who have recently intensified their concerns about the threat of Artificial Intelligence run amok, and how perilous it can get without proper ethical boundaries. For this reason Musk decided to donate ten million dollars to the Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity.
But that’s not all: Musk is known for his dedication to the environment and other philanthropic causes: he is chairman of the Musk Foundation, which focuses its efforts on providing solar-power energy systems in disaster areas. In 2010, the Musk foundation collaborated with SolarCity to donate a 25 kW solar power system to the South Bay Community Alliance’s (SBCA) hurricane response centre in Alabama. In July 2011, the Musk Foundation donated US$250,000 towards a solar power project in SÃ…Âma, Japan, a city that had been recently devastated by tsunami, and he is also a trustee of the X Prize Foundation and signatory of The Giving Pledge.
2. They cater to vegan needs
The New York Times recently revealed how the eco-conscious car buyer will finally enjoy Tesla’s luxury vehicles,without having to worry about any animals being slaughtered to furnish the seats and wheel of the car. Synthetic leather is now available as an option for the new Model X sport utility vehicle. In the past few years, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Ferrari have begun offering models with faux leather seating, and Volvo and Ford have increasingly emphasised the use of more natural components like soy foam in their seats. It was just a matter of time before Tesla would go completely vegan, and the time is here at last!
PETA has congratulated electric car maker Tesla for offering all-vegan interiors for its Model X SUV. The animal rights group (which is a Tesla shareholder), last year asked Elon Musk about the possibility of using synthetic leather and Tesla kept its promise. The company ever since has been working on the option for artificial leather interiors, which includes the seats, steering wheel, and gear shift. But there’s more! This isn’t Tesla’s first fully vegan car. The company has always offered eco-friendlier cloth interiors for customers who don’t want to use leather.
3. Tesla’s an environmental leader
In 2010 Tesla Motors received the Environmental Leadership Award from Global Green USA for its innovative use of sustainable product designs. This recognition was given to tribute the development of the Tesla Roadster, the world’s first all-Lithium-ion battery powered sports car, capable of going from zero to 60 mph in around four seconds, with a top speed of better than 130 mph and which can travel up to 250 miles on a single charge. Ever since, Tesla has set a very high benchmark for its rivals and has proved to be an outstanding role model for green motors.
4. Their lithium batteries are truly revolutionary
Tesla Motors announced the launch of Tesla Energy, a new business unit that will provide lithium-ion batteries to homes and businesses. Elon Musk described the potential of a world entirely powered by batteries charged with renewable energy as being far less toxic and smoggy than the one we know today. The Nevada-based battery producer called Gigafactory will have a production capacity that far outstrips the demand produced by Tesla’s vehicles. It also aims to satisfy the desire of all the company’s automotive customers, who want to be able to rapidly charge their cars at home. Furthermore, the company will conduct onsite recycling of lithium ion batteries at the Gigafactory, capturing nickel, aluminium and lithium for use in new battery cells, with expected recycling rates close to 100%.
5. Car owners are happy
If you browse for feedback on Tesla’s customer stories, you will discover that those who bought a Tesla car would never go back. They use it for miles and miles, and with all the superchargers set up at home, they don’t have any anxiety over maintenance costs or running out of power. Customers are happy to have given up on gas for environmental issues as well as for costs. Having a Model S automatically gives them a sense of family and community and friendships have even blossomed between Tesla owners.
6. A comparably priced electric car is coming up
Tesla’s primary mission is to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. Following the recent unveiling of General Motors’ all-electric $37,500 Bolt and the company’s confirmation of late 2016 rollout, the pressure is on for electric-car maker Tesla Motors to follow through with its plan for a comparably priced electric car of its own. Tesla’s response to the challenge is that Model 3 will be unveiled in March. After the unveil, Tesla plans to begin delivering Model 3 to customers by the end of 2017.
7. The name of the company says it all
The company’s name refers to the Croatian electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, inventor of transformers, the AC electricity supply system and more – Nikola Tesla. Perhaps unusually for most scientists, Tesla’s interest in electrical invention was spurred by his mother, Djuka Mandic, who invented small household appliances in her spare time while her son was growing up.
Tesla was far from a material person, preferring to invent for the sake of improving our lifestyles rather than for simple profit, and although his father was a priest, he had spiritual views that were more aligned with today’s notion of ‘God consciousness’ – he believed each living thing was a manifestation of a higher consciousness, having an experience on the Earth that was transitory, but part of a larger whole.