If 'Tesla Motors' doesn't ring a bell, then you might have been living under a rock for the past couple of years. Or perhaps, you are a true 'petrolhead' that has become oblivious to anything related to the EV (that stands for Electric Vehicles, boys and girls) segment. Either way, let me enlighten you, and hopefully broaden your knowledge regarding the future of the automotive industry.
Back in 2008, Tesla unveiled the Roadster which was an all-electric two-seater, with enough electrified horses to propel you to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds. It also happened to offer close to 400 kilometers of range on a full charge. Personally, I think we take Tesla for granted, and often forget that they were responsible for creating such a capable vehicle 6 years ago.
Fast forward to today, and the American company is now a key player in the EV market, mostly due to the renowned Model S. Combine a sleek and simplistic design with a practical 5-door sedan, and you have yourself a bestselling formula.
Starting at $65,000, the base model offers 335 km on a full charge. If you have $85,000 to spend, make it rain on the top-of-the-line model, and get yourself the more powerful battery capable of a 435 km range. Being all-electric, you're also eligible for a government tax credit on your purchase. Despite previous isolated incidents of a small number of Tesla Model S vehicles catching fire, the model has retained it's 5-star safety rating.
"That's quite a bargain there, Jon!" you say? It sure is!
"What's the catch?" you ask? Usually, I would say that there isn't one. But there is a catch, and it's the best catch there is (not a Catch-22 reference).
You see, electric vehicles are limited by their range and charging time. Despite Tesla's efforts to install supercharging stations, there are only a few in the USA installed at key locations and highways (see map below), and currently none in Canada.
But wait, it's not over!
Unlike other companies, Tesla doesn't sell their cars through a dealership. Instead, they've adopted a "direct sales" model which gets rid of the middleman (i.e. dealerships). This basically allows you to walk in a Tesla-owned store - the same way you would walk in an Apple store - and purchase a car directly from Tesla. No hassles, no price negotiations, no commission-paid salesmen.
Sounds great, right? I would agree, but here is where it gets nasty for Tesla.
While perfectly legal and ideal, politicians in the States of New Jersey, Arizona, Virginia, Maryland and Texas, have already set laws to ban this sales model.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk explains why, when asked to comment on the situation:
[...] car dealers are such huge contributors to their political campaigns on the local level.
Given that dealerships fear that this model would result in fewer jobs and less money in their pockets, it only seems logical for them to use their strong political influence to ban Tesla's only means of selling to the public.
Yet, all is not lost. With plans for a Gigafactory battery plant, the upcoming release of the Model X crossover, and a rumored entry-level addition to their lineup, Tesla's future is looking bright. Not to mention, for the financially-inclined, the 660% stock increase from 2013 to 2014.
If Tesla can manage to have the bans lifted, new markets would be able to benefit from the upcoming technological advancements we are likely to see in the next few years.
For more pictures and details, visit Tesla's website by clicking here.