Tesla and the electric car revolution

Bradley Smith / The Watchdog

With the increasing research and awareness regarding climate change, the impact of gas-powered vehicles has been a growing source of concern. Some countries have made great strides in sustainability – Denmark has replaced cars with bikes as a main source of transportation in cities in an effort to decrease environmental impact. In America, however, cars are a key element of culture and lifestyle.

The question remains, how can the third most populated country in the world reduce the carbon footprint of its automobile industry? Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors claims to have the answer: Electric vehicles.

Founded in 2003, Tesla Motors has recently been brought into the spotlight following the release of its flagship vehicle in 2012, the Tesla Model S. Often referred to as “the car of the future” and now equipped with an autopilot feature, the best safety ratings of any car on the road and the fastest model boasting a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 2.5 seconds, it is undeniable that Tesla is taking huge technological leaps to move the automobile industry forward with a main focus on sustainable energy.

Of course as with any technology, there are drawbacks. Tesla powers its vehicles with lithium-ion batteries which require unrenewable resources to produce. The new Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, NV is projected to eventually produce 500,000 cars per year, which would require the entire current production of lithium ion batteries worldwide.

Tesla’s ambition to achieve this seemingly unrealistic goal is attracting criticism, but the company is confident that through sustainable and efficient production of lithium-ion batteries, it can successfully revolutionize the auto industry with a positive impact on the environment.

Of course, this may be hard to believe given the staggering statistics but I am convinced that Tesla can fulfill its promises. In order to make a real impact on emissions, Tesla needs to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road as quickly as possible. In order to do so, ambitious plans may be necessary.

Another cause for concern is the reliability of the autopilot feature. With the growing number of Teslas on the road, accidents caused by faults in the system have been reported. Tesla is receiving too much blame for the incidents, autopilot is clearly presented as a feature to assist the driver, not to replace them. Just because the car is equipped with cutting-edge technology to analyze its surroundings does not mean that a driver can lose focus on the road. In addition to this, Tesla’s vehicles are the safest production cars money can buy.

Every day, people die in car accidents caused by at-fault drivers in unsafe cars. Considering the number of miles driven and number of accidents caused by autopilot, Tesla has a solid reputation for keeping drivers safe. The only reason for peoples’ fear of autopilot is the excessive press coverage of virtually every accident involving a Tesla.

Despite the flaws of Tesla Motors, it is my firm belief that their cars will have a positive impact on the automobile industry worldwide. Before the growth in popularity of Tesla, it was a common belief that electric cars were for tree-hugging losers but now the Model S P100D is the fastest accelerating car in production. Anyone who drives the fastest car around is certainly no loser. Tesla’s cars are extremely desirable – luxurious, beautifully designed, and exhilarating to drive.

Tesla was the first automaker to create a practical electric car, all electric cars before the Tesla Model S had a maximum range under 100 miles and were no larger than a compact car. Tesla, however, extended the range of their cars to 250 miles on a full charge and introduced the first electric SUV, the Tesla Model X. With the extension of range and larger size, Tesla made the electric car an option for those with long commutes or an active lifestyle. With the exciting advancements in technology, Tesla could very well be the trailblazer for the future of transportation.