Tesla Motors certainly hasn’t been sitting around watching the paint dry after a New York Times reporter took the company’s Tesla Model S EV for an ill-fated spin earlier this year. Since then, company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has cut loose with a flurry of press releases and tweets, the latest being a tweet alerting Tesla fans to a mysterious “really exciting @TeslaMotors announcement” originally slated for last Thursday, then pushed back to this Tuesday. That gives us the whole weekend to guess what the big Tesla announcement mystery is and meanwhile, AAA has stepped in with an announcement of its own that could provide a clue.
Guess The Tesla Announcement Mystery
We went over to the forum at teslamotorsclub.com to check out the “best guesses” for the mystery announcement, and here’s a sample of what we found:
Elon to literally “eat” his fortune.
Elon repaying the DOE loan from his pocket.
Elon planning to be the first CEO to circle Mars with upcoming 2017 launch window.
Haha okay but aside from the fun stuff, there were a few serious guesses related to charging Tesla EV batteries with renewable energy:
Tesla and SolarCity merge.
Elon to fund development of a Solar Powerplant backed up with Tesla batteries.
Free solar for all Model S owners and all future Tesla car customers.
By our count, though, the biggest category by a slight margin had to do with battery range and charging station availability. Here’s a few samples from that category:
Expansion of Supercharging network and licensing its usage to other EV companies.
Tesla to use “Phinergy” 1,000 mile Aluminum-Air battery in 2017/Gen3.
New battery packs/ Model S variants.
Another Take On The Mystery Announcement
The full tweet from Musk last week was, “Really exciting @TeslaMotors announcement coming on Thursday. Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way.” If you read that literally it does sound like some kind of major investment news for Musk and/or Tesla Motors, but it could also be a veiled reference to the now-infamous New York Times dust-up.
For those of you new to the topic, Tesla Motors lent a Model S to reporter John Broder for a test drive along the company’s new East Coast Supercharger network, and of the hundreds of other similar test drives for the Model S that have occurred without incident, this one ended with a spent battery and a tow truck.
Though the consensus here at CleanTechnica and elsewhere was that the test revealed more about the driver than the technology, the critical review stung. Musk was quick to lob a grenade of his own back at Broder and the Times, in the form of embarrassing counter-evidence straight from the car’s onboard data recorder.
The AAA Mobile EV Charging Truck
All this leads us to side with the battery range/charging station availability guessers, the idea being that the next driver who sets out to drain a Tesla battery on purpose (that’s the gist of Musk’s answer to the Times) is in for a rough ride.
In the meantime, AAA has come up with its own solution for EV drivers who don’t take their dashboards seriously. Last week, AAA announced that it will provide the first mobile roadside EV charging service for stranded EV drivers in the Seattle/Bellevue area of Washington State.
The fast charging Level-3 service only takes an average of 15 minutes and will give spent EV batteries a fresh 10 miles of road time, which should be enough to get to the next charging station in the growing number of U.S. regions where charging networks have been established.
The concept actually dates back to 2011, when AAA announced that its contribution to a cure for EV range anxiety would be to offer a roadside quick-charging service, exactly like the emergency gasoline service it has routinely offered to generations of inattentive drivers.
AAA already has mobile charging trucks on the road in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. Next on the list after Washington are Tampa Bay, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee.
The bottom line is that the AAA solution will prevent another Broder-style photo op, at least one that involves a spent battery and a tow truck, regardless of what Mr. Musk has up his sleeve for Tuesday’s mystery announcement.
Speaking of which, there’s still plenty of time to play the guessing game, so feel free to put yours up in the comment thread.
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