Tesla Trounces the Competition

“Great companies are built on great products.”
Elon Musk

When you look at sales in the large luxury car market in the US last year, you can appreciate that perhaps some struggle in the economy might lead to a dip in sales. And for the most part you’d be right. Looking at Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, all have them dropped in sales between 2014 and 2015, anywhere from five percent up to almost 17 percent.

But overall, the drop in the market was only 0.8 percent. How can that be? BecauseTesla saved the day. While all of these other cars saw declines in sales, the Tesla Model S saw an increase in sales by more than 50 percent. Most impressive because it’s not even close.

tesla sales

© Tesla

According to Tesla’s press release on the subject:

In the U.S., just over three years after entering the market, Model S took share from all incumbent manufacturers to become the number one selling comparably priced four-door sedan. In fact, Model S was the only vehicle in its class with growing sales last year. Even on our competitors’ home turf and in countries without government incentives to purchase electric vehicles, Model S is winning.

What makes this all the more impressive is that these other automotive manufacturers have significant advantages that Tesla doesn’t share such as dealer networks, higher production capacity, and years of experience building their brands with substantial advertising.

Tesla is clearly here to stay.

Ontario Increases Rebates for Electric Vehicles

“I think there are more politicians in favor of electric cars than against. There are still some that are against, and I think the reasoning for that varies depending on the person, but in some cases, they just don’t believe in climate change—they think oil will last forever.”
Elon Musk

My home province of Ontario has announced that it is offering some major incentives to people who buy electric vehicles up to a whopping $14,000!

There have already been incentives in place for some time that give anywhere between $5,000 to $8,500 to those who purchase electric vehicles, but this week the Ontario provincial Liberal government formally announced that it will be increasing that range up to between $6,000 and $10,000. In addition, drivers could even get another $3,000 if their electric vehicle has a larger battery capacity, as well as an additional $1,000 if the vehicle has five seats or more.

Higher-priced electric vehicles—defined as having a sticker price between $75,000 and $150,000—do have a cap on the incentive at $3,000. This makes sense since folks who can afford such vehicles really don’t need extra money back from the government. It ceases to be incentive.

What’s particularly nice is that these new incentives are actually retroactive to January 1st, 2016, so anyone who already bought an electric vehicle earlier this year before the announcement came out will still benefit.

As it stands, Ontario has about 5,800 electric vehicles on the road. These incentives will surely help to increase that number.

My Tesla Model X is Coming!

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

At long last, Tesla’s eagerly anticipated, all-electric SUV is finally being delivered to consumers, and I’m one of them! Back in mid 2013 I put down a substantial deposit to get a Signature Edition of this amazing technology. It started to be embarrassing when friends would ask “When do you get your car?” and all I could say was “I don’t know.” But at the end of the holidays, Tesla contacted me and asked for the specs I wanted for my car. (According to my order I’m number 19 in Canada so I knew I would be relatively early in the queue when the time came.)

Here’s a brief video highlighting some of the awesome features of this amazing albeit admittedly pricey car. (When I ordered it, there weren’t as many options for electric vehicles as there are now, and the climate I live in combined with my steep driveway necessitated an all-wheel vehicle; the Model S didn’t offer that at the time.) If you’d like to see the official launch by Elon Musk last September, you can see that video here.

Tesla!

“What’s casual for a robot isn’t necessarily what’s casual for a human.”
—Alan Tudyk

I love electric cars. I currently drive a hybrid (a Lexus RX450h to be precise), because I need all-wheel drive to contend with our Canadian winters. I purchase carbon offsets for the fuel I purchase. But I’ve been dying to get my hands on an electric car. Only problem was that I had to wait for a Tesla that’s all-wheel drive.

Thank goodness the Tesla Model X is coming. I’ve been very impressed with Tesla vehicles, and their champion Elon Musk. And I’m not the only one: fact is that the Tesla Model S won Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award for 2013, the first time an electric car ever got that distinction.

This brief video shows how robots puts the Tesla Model S together. The innovation isn’t just in the design of the vehicle, but also in its manufacturing. Watch the dance and behold our future. Not just the future of robotic manufacturing to the extreme, but the future of the electric vehicles we will be driving exclusively one day.

Tesla: Building a Better Battery

“Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy.”
—Elon Musk

Last week, Tesla made a huge announcement: they are offering a better battery for both homes and businesses. Called the Powerwall, it’s available in both 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 7kWh sizes, costing $3,500 and $3,000 U.S. respectively. The home version is already available, and the business version is coming soon.

This is huge because as we make the move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy, we’ll need to rely more on intermittent energy sources like solar (only good when the sun is shining) and wind (only good when the wind is blowing). It’s always been easier to control how much electricity is generated by burning as much fossil fuel as you need so battery storage hasn’t been as important, but it will be a major component of the energy grid of the future.

This announcement isn’t a big surprise to Tesla’s investors. In developing their electric cars, Tesla’s research has led to huge strides in building more efficient and compact batteries. Getting such batteries on the grid makes perfect sense as the next logical step.

Some people worry about the cost, but these batteries for homes and businesses (as well as for the grid) will follow Moore’s Law, improving in efficiency while coming down in price every eighteen months or so. Some day, every building will have them. Once upon a time, computers were considered an extreme technology where nobody had the vision to imagine everyone owning one that could fit on laptops and be carried to work (let alone fit inside a cell phone—or a watch!). Batteries for energy storage like what Tesla has just announced will become par for the course.

It’s about time.