– By David Brown –
Tesla has shot to fame as an entrepreneurial, visionary organisation that has disrupted many industries. But they will not be resting on their laurels and will continue to introduce innovations into the market.
From a motoring perspective the company has two new models that are coming onto the market about now.
The Model 3 sedan is now in production and has had unprecedented advanced orders. It is a Tesla at a reasonable price: US$35,000 and then a buyer can get, in the US, a government incentive up to $7,500.
For freight, Tesla has said they will release their electric prime mover truck on 26th October 2017. Electric freight vehicles have typically focused on the smaller vans: think of the milk truck in England.
But the electric motor is well suited for large freight vehicles because it gets it maximum power starting at zero revs. Obviously semi-trailers travel long distances, so the opportunities to recharge and the time taken to do so are going to be critical. It would be easy to dismiss the possibility of making a practical prime mover, but Tesla has never been constrained by traditional thinking.
Details of other future Tesla models are not clear but they will aim to cover as many market segments as they can.
The first Tesla was a sports car and Elon Musk has confirmed that the Roadster 2.0 will arrive but there is no timetable at the moment. Musk has also discussed the need for smaller public buses with better use of interior space. It would not be surprising if they were to embrace an autonomous vehicle designed specifically for the taxi industry.
And Tesla innovations are not limited to creating all-new models. Tesla is regularly sending out software upgrades to existing vehicles and all their new vehicles now have the detection technology good enough to be an autonomous vehicle. At the moment the computing systems are not fully developed but when they are, Tesla says they can update your existing model and you will be able to go autonomous.
Their Hyperloop concept has been promoted as a way to move people great distances at aeroplane speeds. But it has also been suggested that it could move freight and possibly for relatively shorter distances.
Tesla are expert at looking at broader opportunities that can link various products. Battery packs for your houses that we help charge your car but also work as part of your whole energy use, is a classic example.
Their lateral thinking goes further. When we get autonomous vehicles we will have a lot more time to do other things in the vehicle. The advocates of autonomous technology suggest this could be good, productive work time (Though not everyone is that committed to work).
With autonomy, your car will become more of an entertainment centre and Tesla have been having discussions with music labels possibly to establish its own music streaming service. This could be an avenue to get into advertising in a similar way to Google, Facebook etc.
Tesla’s image is strongly linked to a brief history and an expectation of greatness based on innovation. Their market value is now greater than either General Motors or Ford yet in 2016 they sold just over 76,000 vehicles worldwide. General Motors sold 10 million. What Tesla sold in a year, General Motors sold in less than three days.
Telsa has not been forthcoming in discussing the Australian car market. But they are here and their goals are more than just selling cars.