I became more aware of electric cars around 2013, but it was a few years later when conversations popped up with more people who were interested in electric cars, and in particular Tesla and Elon Musk. Then, from diverse directions, old and young mentioned Tesla. I began sensing the rise of a new kind of techno folk hero.
Initially, Tesla and Elon Musk broke through sluggish stereotypes about electric cars being uncool and made the electric car cool (which they already were anyway for an appreciating portion of the population). It took the Tesla Roadster to make many more take notice, and then the Model S to go much further in raising awareness and enthusiasm.
Yes, look at a 2013 Model S and note not only the impressive torque but also the improved quality of automobile safety: “This is rather insane, given that electric cars have the potential to be much safer than gasmobiles thanks to all the crumple space they can put in and a lower center of gravity (as you probably know, the Tesla Model S got the highest safety rating of any car ever rated in North America), and they of course don’t have to be small. There are now over a dozen electric cars on the US market, many of which are of an average size or larger.” Read more here: “Perceptions of Electric Cars Are So Off, + Thanks To Tesla For Flipping People’s Perceptions.”
Breaking narrow stereotypes — in this case about electric cars — takes a certain kind of thinking outside the box, and sometimes the right instrument. In this case we had Tesla, bringing us futuristic technologies, supreme performance, and prodigious safety standards.
Musk was no longer just seen as a tech folk hero, but was increasingly described as a disruptor, or the #1 disruptor. Musk had help due to fine choices in engineering and a “first principles” approach. From the start, the ever-present engineering genius was an innovator, one we have come to depend on and appreciate as Tesla has accelerated the transition to clean, zero-emissions, electric vehicles and renewable energy.
I believe more people became comfortable with the sometimes challenging discussion of climate change — once there was more hope. Once climate issues were associated with innovative solutions, denial was a bit easier to break through. Truly remarkable zero-emissions vehicles, improved battery technology, and lower costs in catching sunlight to power those things brought solutions within reach.
Still, some disliked Elon Musk, enough to try to trivialize him and spread false information about him and Tesla to shape public perceptions. Nonetheless, Tesla has done better than any other corporation to disrupt big, dirty oil, to disrupt the grip that big oil had over our habits and assumptions, to disrupt the complacency we accepted.
The Tesla Model 3 has shattered records for electric cars, and for premium-class cars of any powertrain. It is becoming a world wonder in the auto and tech market. You can read all about its birth and rise here on CleanTechnica.
Charging is another factor altogether. For me, in a BMW i3 REx, it is never an issue (I’ve done a 2 day, 4 state road trip with 71 miles of electric range and a small backup gas tank). Still, charging a non-Tesla electric car is an issue for many people. So, here is what Tesla has done: made charging incredibly fast, superfast. Tesla has reduced charging times to the time of a brief break, a quick conversation, with its Supercharging technology.
A recent test shows a Tesla Model 3 can charge from 2% state of charge (SOC) to ~50% SOC (~150 miles of range) in just 11½ minutes. Check out the video below and stop stressing about charging. (I feel Electrify America has added similarly satisfactory fast charging for the rest of us, but that’s a story for another day.) If you don’t have an EV, don’t worry about charging. It is easy. And if you get a Tesla, it has quite a network of chargers.
Trans-Canada Supercharger route from Vancouver to Halifax is now open! 🇨🇦⚡
Over half the locations are V3 for the fastest charging speeds. https://t.co/42mnW3hNL5
— Tesla (@Tesla) December 24, 2019
The young and their plight seem almost invisible to those in some circles, despite large portions of the world literally catching fire. Some people needed the vital force that Tesla infused into the marketplace of clean technology, while others are still ignoring the crisis. Thankfully, more heroes for the young are appearing.
Arnold Schwarzenegger sends Tesla Model 3 for climate activist Greta Thunberghttps://t.co/Fv5JL8bbli
— TESLARATI (@Teslarati) September 29, 2019
— Teslaconomics (@Teslaconomics) November 1, 2019
We were just grasping the wonder of Model Y, and then the 2022 Tesla Cybertruck arrived. Both the Model Y and the CyberTruck have been sighted in the wild, one so soft and curvy (Model Y), and one so eclectic and angular.
People want trucks, yet the planet needs zero-emission vehicles. Tesla responded to the need with a unique vision. And now, love it or hate it, Tesla implements its polarizing trick on the masses. The Bondish, versatile, colossal, and technologically talented Cybertruck seems to have gotten more press coverage and generated more discussion than any Tesla vehicle before. The original divided debate on Tesla’s dynamic style resurfaced thanks to the distinctive pyramid and angular edge of a vehicle that’s basically in its own class.
— X Auto – Tesla, EV News (@XAutoWorld100) December 4, 2019
Cybertruck in the wild near LAX pic.twitter.com/E4FW4KCkgS
— 𝙲𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚂𝚒𝚖𝚖𝚜 施俊挺 (@codysimms) December 8, 2019
Wish I could stop, but I can’t, haha!
There can’t be enough pics of the truck of the decade while I‘m waiting for mine! #cybertruck
— Rear view of the front seats 🥵!
Thanks @elonmusk for making your wildest dreams become reality! 😁 pic.twitter.com/V5oZNYclWE
— Pauline 🚀 (@justpaulinelol) December 9, 2019
Iqtidar Ali weighs in on 10 years of a praiseworthy innovation and higher standards in technology and automobiles: “TeslaPodcast which is a daily Tesla podcast crunched some numbers comparing the 2012 Tesla Model S Performance vs. 2022 Tesla Cybertruck‘s price, cost of range per mile, efficiency, and other metrics to show us how much the Silicon Valley-based automaker has improved in lowering the cost of producing the best electric vehicles in the world.”
A ~24% cheaper price tag, Tri-Motor All-Wheel-Drive vs. Single Motor RWD, a quicker 0-60 mph time (Model S now down to 2.28 seconds, by the way), Autopilot hardware with 8 cameras, 12-ultrasonic sensors, and 1-forward radar that is capable of delivering Full Self Driving features like Smart Summon.
Talking Autopilot, Andrew Whittle’s YouTube video shows that Tesla’s Autopilot protects animals as well as humans, while also supporting a purer atmosphere and natural environment.
Getting back to the highlights of what Tesla offers now, Ali summarizes,”The range has almost doubled from 265 miles (426 km) to 500+ miles (804+ km) for a lower per mile of range purchased, from 2.9 miles/$1k in 2012 to 7.2 miles/$1k in 2022 (150% more range per $) — Tesla’s ability to get more range with software and hardware tweaks with every release is way beyond ordinary.”
“Today the argument is ‘if the Cybertruck is going to be acceptable to the masses or not’, now Tesla has transitioned from a small electric vehicle manufacturer to a trendsetter within a small 10-year timeframe — a major factor ‘radical thinking coupled with weapons like advanced engineering, creative design, Autopilot/FSD software’.”
My take talking to young (and a bit older) people is that it seems Elon Musk and Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen have tapped in once again to the culture’s appetite for fresh, stylish electric vehicles. The young people I know love the design. And Musk consistently keeps the tech conversations alive.
Kids these days have no respect! pic.twitter.com/lfJTJnqllQ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2019
Will talk about that on Q4 call
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2019
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book
Our Latest EVObsession Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.