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Published on October 30th, 2012 | by Adam Johnston


Tesla’s Model S Our Century’s Model T?

October 30th, 2012 by  

Henry Ford and the Model T revolutionized the automobile industry one century ago. Could the Tesla Model S from Tesla Motors be the 21st century equivalent?

If you listen to the words of the recent Motor Trend video review, it very well could be.

Reviewer Carlos Lago in the video noted that the Model S “may very well be the most important new car since the Model T,” while taking it for a test run.

Obviously, there are some unique features of this car that would make it stand out in the automotive market.

For starters, in the video, we get to see the potential of how awesome electric vehicles can be. Lago notes the Model S can drive between 238 to 285 miles on a charge.

Also, unlike other cars, to open the car door, you simply press the door handle, and not hit the unlock button on the alarm pad or open it up with a key.

Secondly, the car in four seconds can go from 0 kilometres an hour (km/h) to 100 kilometres an hour (0-60 mph), as “the torque is insane” with the Model S.

Additionally, the car is one huge step out of the fossil fuel era into an era of clean cars and clean energy.

Lago truly has very high esteem for Tesla’s visionary vehicle, ranking it with other worthy competitors noted below:

Adding up the performance, style, technology and price, Lago compares the Tesla favorably with the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Porsche Panamera. He says it feels “like car 3.0.” It all kind of gives us hope our favorite fastback will come out on top when MT reveals its Car Of The Year sometime in November.

While it’s still early to see if Elon Musk will be this century’s Henry Ford, the Model S could be off to a great start towards putting Musk on the same benchmark as Ford over hundred years ago.

Source: Autobloggreen

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About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business www.salayconsultiing.com.

  • Great debate here about Tesla, the Model S against the Model T and Henry Ford. Bob, I think I was comparing what the Model T did 100 years ago, compared to what Elon Musk is doing now in 2012-13. Although Musk’s Tesla Motors has gotten off to a slow start, if he and the company can hold on for another few years, then I see big things for them. With emergence of a rising middle class across the developed world who want a lifestyle like Americans, it will be very important to push EV’s on the market faster. While Tesla is aiming for a more fancier crowd, the more ev’s come on the market, regardless of what preference, it will benefit pushing the overall cost curve down.

    As for flying cars, it could happen, but I won’t spend my money on that idea, yet.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think what Tesla has done is great. I’m a huge fan.

      I watched the Leno/Model S video a couple nights ago. I got a chance to take a good look at the “$100k” Roadster a couple of times. Tesla has brought a much higher quality car to the market at a much better price with the S.

      But it’s going to take “affordable” to bring the mass market. That might be happening with Nissan’s and Ford’s $199/mo leased EVs. Someone with a significant commute could make out like a bandit with one of these leases. They could drive a brand new car for what they would have spent for gas and maintenance on a 25 – 30 MPG gasmobile.

      The real breakthrough comes with a cheaper, higher capacity battery. EVs should be cheaper to build than ICEVs and they are certainly cheaper to drive.

  • thanks for the notes. updated the post.

  • SecularAnimist

    The Tesla Model S is a high-performance luxury car for rich people. It’s not an affordable, utilitarian vehicle for routine daily use by ordinary working people like me. The Honda Fit EV is a lot closer to a 21st century Model T than the Tesla.

  • mopper

    Also, the picture shows a Tesla Roadster, not a Model S…

  • Bob_Wallace

    No, the S is not the electric T.

    Henry’s Model T was cheap enough to be affordable for a large portion of Americans. The S isn’t.

    Henry’s Model T was also a ‘limited features’ car, it had to back up steep hills, had no windows, no windshield wipers, no electric starter. The S is a luxury car with tremendous performance.

    Tesla is approaching car manufacturing from the opposite direction that Henry used. His approach worked for his time in history, Tesla seems to have chosen the best approach for theirs.

    • Conrad Clement

      “Henry’s Model T was cheap enough to be affordable for a large portion of Americans. The S isn’t.”

      This introductory statement is in contradiction with your conclusion:

      “Tesla seems to have chosen the best approach for… (their time in history).”

      Being able to recognize that “No, the S is not the the electric T” obviously doesn’t help Bob Wallace define what the electric model T should be…

      I for one, would rather see an ultra-light electric VTOL aircraft as the game-changing 21st century achievement to boost individual mobility for all of us.

      And note that our venerable tin Lizzy would have missed her career if the government had not sponsored extensive road-building to accommodate the 15 million units produced from 1908 to 1927 — which means that Henry Ford has been granted official support for his game-changing venture…

      As to our flying EVs: take it for granted that the US rulers will go out of their way to obstruct any development in this line — although the corresponding game-changing infrastructure of the 21st century is already in place with the geostationary GPS satellites!

      Hence, the vision of an electric model T leading to the transition from road-bound to airborne individual intercity traffic also means having the civil society reconquer the global airspace with myriads of personal aircraft in order to challenge US military air superiority about to close in on all other nations since the advent of drones.

      • Bob Wallace

        This introductory statement?

        “Henry Ford and the Model T revolutionized the automobile industry one century ago.”

        If anything, the Tesla Roadster was the EV that revolutionized the automobile industry. The Roadster killed the myth that EVs were nothing but golf carts with roll-up windows.

        There were other gasoline powered vehicles on the road when Henry’s T came out. But they weren’t affordable enough for mass adoption.

        The “Model T” EV is probably the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf won’t work for everyone, which was true of the Model T, but it offers an affordable no-gas vehicle.

        As for flying cars – I wouldn’t invest your retirement money it that idea. (But I am considering increasing my holdings in tin foil manufacturing.)

        • Conrad Clement

          Did I say ‘flying cars’?

          You’re stuck on that myth — what I mean by a flying model T is an ultra-light electric vertical-take-off-and-landing personal tilt-rotor aircraft with a detachable, wheeled cockpit for driving into urban areas, while leaving the airframe anywhere at the vast urban periphery, with almost zero landing infrastructures needed — except in places where the craft could dock to a platform at the top of a perch (like a bird) and have its cockpit winched down…

          Because of a severe political ban on personal freedom of movement, light helicopter development could not unfold in the Soviet Union — it needed a Russian immigrant, Igor Sikorsky, to come to the States to built the first commercial chopper.

          Today, the ever more stringent US regulations imposed on GA (latest blow: Obama’s 100$ tax for each flight), make it very improbable that a flying model T be ever developed in the USA — it may need a Swiss inventor to immigrate into Russia… although if it were to be me, I would definitely not trust Vladimir Putin…

          BTW, the tilt-rotor concept is indeed to date the only known to be eligible as successor of the motor car for extra-urban individual mobility — but my own revolutionary concept is deemed to outfly the tilt-rotor in the longer run.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Did you say “flying cars”?

            You said “flying EVs”. I think that’s close enough.

          • Conrad Clement

            An EV is an electric vehicle, and an UAV is an unmanned air vehicle — so the term vehicle appears to be a generic expression. Hence, a flying electric vehicle isn’t necessarily a flying electric car (be it one with detachable cockpit for use as an electric city-car…).

            Model T, as the topic of this discussion, is more like a symbol that stands for a major break-through in individual mobility, or more precisely: individual automobility (whereby automobility in turn doesn’t necessarily refer to the motorcar since its generic meaning is simply that of a vehicle moving on its own…).

            Yet it is important to recognize that, paradoxically enough, this historical break-through in individual mobility referring to Henry Ford’s Model T, was at the same time a fatal setback for individual freedom of movement — since the then rulers thus intended to keep the masses grounded in order to preserve their exclusive control of the airspace for power enforcement from above.

            And although GA has been allowed to flourish in the USA until the end of the seventies when GA aircraft sales reached 20’000 p.a., this figure dropped to a mere 700 by the end of the nineties. Not at all because the average upper-middle-class American renounced his dream of a farmhouse with a private landing strip for his own personal aircraft — but due to sharply increasing regulations intended to counter the steep ramping-up of GA aircraft performances through massively increasing use of fiber-reinforced composites threatening to wake up a sleeping giant named ‘massively popularized individual aeromobility’…

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, la-de-da.


  • correct

    That’s 0 to 100 kilometers per hour, 0 to 60 miles per hour.

  • kevin

    The acceleration is 0-60 MPH in 4 seconds, not KPH, but otherwise a good article.

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