As you may have seen by now, 7 year Tesla insider David Havasi and I have been getting together in recent months to talk about the deep history of Tesla from an insider (David) and outsider (me) perspective in a podcast and video chat series called Tesla Inside Out. We’ve together decided that we really want to do two things with this series: 1) delve into funny, cool, interesting Tesla stories from years ago (that’s basically all David), and 2) discuss Tesla news of the day together (like friends at a coffee shop — but you’re invited), drawing on David’s history in the company and my historical perspective from covering the company for 7+ years.
This episode is the first one that fits the latter theme. We’ll come back to an old, fun Tesla story from David in the next episode.
The thing that triggered this chat was recent data from BloombergNEF showing that battery energy density has nearly tripled in the past decade. That better energy density shows itself in lower-priced batteries per kWh, which shows itself in electric cars that have more range for the same cost. I was interested in talking with David about this in the context of Tesla’s vehicle evolution.
We talked about the early Tesla Roadster, and how you can now get a Tesla Model 3 for far less money that has more range, the same 0–60 mph acceleration time, much more advanced tech inside the car (Autopilot and the whole infotainment system), and far more space. David never dreamt that he’d have a Tesla with that kind of performance at such a low cost.
We also talked about the early base Tesla Model S with a 40 kWh battery pack, which had a range of 160 miles, starting price of $57,400 before the $7,500 federal tax credit, and a 0–60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. [Update: the EPA range rating for the Model S 40 actually ended up being 139 miles.] You can now get a Tesla Model 3 Long Range that has 322 miles of range, a starting price of $48,990, and a 0–60 mph time of 4.4 seconds (or 3.9 seconds for $2,000 more). That’s a much quicker car with twice the range for nearly $10,000 less. Or you can get a Tesla Model 3 Performance for $56,990 that has a range of 322 miles and accelerates to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
Or you can get a Model 3 Standard Range Plus for $39,990 that has 250 miles of range and a 0–60 mph time of 5.3 seconds. That’s 90 more miles than the early base Model S and significantly better acceleration and tech for nearly $20,000 less.
Going further, we talked about the fact that the 5 year cost of ownership of a Model 3 can actually compete with a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry for some people (or a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla in more extreme cases). So, you get a car that might seem like a $100,000 car if you consider the performance and tech but for the cost of ownership of a Camry or Accord. For those who think I’m being dramatic, I’ll drop the value to $70,000.
I took a short side route at one point as well to highlight that the Nissan LEAF’s range has nearly tripled in the past decade.
We didn’t spend much time on that, but we did later talk about the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Volkswagen ID.3, and the truly disruptive phase of the EV era that we’re entering.
We’re going to go from having a few competitive EVs and one highly competitive EV (the Model 3), to numerous electric vehicles that absolutely demolish similarly sized, similar-class vehicles that run on gasoline. The technology trends are not going to just stop today. They keep going. So, as dramatic as the improvements in the past decade have been, consider what will happen in this industry in the coming decade as those trends continue.
For more, watch or listen to the whole episode!
*We’ve launched new podcasting channels for the Tesla Inside Out podcast series. You can listen and subscribe on Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Breaker, RadioPublic, and Anchor.fm. It will be added to other platforms, like Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts, soon. Alternatively, you can listen on the CleanTech Talk channel on: Anchor, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket, Podbean, Radio Public, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher.
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404. Or not. Always best to use the code of the owner who most helped you decide on a Tesla, imho.
You can also get a $250 discount on Tesla solar with that code. There is currently no use for a referral code when putting down a reservation for a Cybertruck or Model Y.
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