How Freaking Cool is Tesla?

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Cars as we know them are fairly standard. They have batteries, brakes, doors, a windshield, and gasoline-fueled engines. Our automobiles have run on gasoline since the first practical gas engine was invented in 1860. We have also known for a very long time that oil is a finite resource and that burning gasoline releases hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other pollutants that wreak havoc on the Earth’s natural environment. It’s taken a long time, but it looks like we might finally make a change for the better.

Electric cars are becoming so popular, in fact, that Mom’s Organic Market now offers car charging stations at some locations, and will eventually offer the stations at all locations.

(click on the image to open a larger version)

(click on the image to open a larger version)

The stations are free to use and compatible with all electric car ports. MOM’s founder Scott Nash wrote on his blog that he wants to be conscious of his carbon footprint and help support the electric car technology.

More fuel efficient and hybrids (cars with an electric and gasoline engine) already exist, of course. Volkswagen’s new XL1 hybrid can apparently reach 300 MPG under the right conditions (it usually reaches 200 mpg). The Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are both fully electric cars, but you won’t see many people driving them. It seems surprising at first that these cars are not more popular when considering high gas prices and obvious damage to the environment, but the reason behind the lack of electric cars is rooted in marketing and not logic.

VWXL1The XL1 reportedly will not be touring America. Advertising for the Leaf and the Volt does not come anywhere close to the advertising efforts for the companies’ other cars. Why? Because gas companies like Exxon and Sunoco would lose millions of dollars if electric and hybrid cars became too popular. Lobbyists for big oil are often elected to office, in fact, and are able to pass laws in favor of their former employers. This venn diagram from Naked Capitalism should give a fairly good idea of how connected the government and businesses are. Looking at it, it’s easy to see why the gas-guzzling vehicles we currently drive in the United States are often seen as the only option.

(click on the image to open a larger version)

(click on the image to open a larger version)

But now, slowly, things are changing for the better. Electric cars are becoming more popular and will likely be the norm in the future. Who is the company helping this movement along? Tesla Motors.

Tesla (the name comes from inventor and improbable superhero Nikola Tesla) cars are cool. Really cool.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla

The Model S is so cool that it won Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year title, the first time an electric car has done so. Tesla has sold all the cars it has ever made and the cars are beginning to really catch on with Americans. The engine is fully electric, totally silent, and located under the car, so you have to make the “vroom-vroom” noises by yourself. It’s incredibly safe; in October of 2013 a man crashed full-speed into another car and walked away without a scratch. And it can run for about 300 miles on a fully charged battery.

But what makes Tesla especially awesome is the fact that the company is pushing the U.S. to make the move to electric cars. They recently released all their patents to the public in order to encourage the mass-production of electric cars. They are already discussing a collaboration with BMW. If you don’t think a fully electric BMW is the sweetest car you’ve heard of today, you must be at some kind of futuristic car show. The Tesla Model S is a very expensive car, but the release of the patents, and the economy of larger scape production, are expected generate more affordable versions that will be on the market within a few years.

Electric cars are the future, and they have to be. Fossil fuels are finite, they are ruining our environment, they’re increasingly expensive, and they’re a major cause of international tension and conflict. Tesla Motors is paving the way for better, more appropriate vehicles, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want one.

For more on the negative influence of oil companies and how they prevent sales of fuel-efficient cars in the U.S., read the following article: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/crs/R42666.pdf