Henry Ford didn’t invent the assembly line, he did however use it to mass produce automobiles and fundamentally changed the world forever. Elon Musk certainly did not invent the electric car. In fact electric cars were around in the days of Henry Ford and the earliest times of the automotive industry. But Elon Musk and his fantastic company, Tesla has me thinking the internal combustion engine is taking its final gasps of air, soon to find itself alongside the Brontosaurus, Chariot, and Abacus.
Tesla is best known for its luxury sedan, the Model S. This car has managed to overcome many issues and is now a top selling high end luxury car. It has a variety of trim and power levels from $70,000 to around $100,000. They have since launched a small luxury crossover SUV as well.
Tesla has three new vehicles very recently. The Model 3 which is their first foray into the “entry-level” car market. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but with government incentives ends up at a fairly pedestrian $27,500. That car however is not really ground breaking as it’s competitors from both Ford and Chevrolet are well matched.
Tesla has announced two vehicles that have my attention firmly focused on the ash heap of gasoline. Mind you I am not trying to push the mighty internal combustion engine into its grave. I do so love the roar of an American pushrod V-8. But these two vehicles are more than just intriguing, they are mind bendingly real and it is something I thought was still a decade or more away.
First, Elon Musk announced his companies introduction of an all-electric semi-tractor truck. Yes my friends, a “Big Rig” hauling truck capable of towing the DOT maximum 80,000 lbs. The truck will have 500 miles of range and will accelerate from a dead stop to 60 mph fully loaded in 20 seconds. Could clean and quiet big rig trucks be on our highways, right now? Yes more or less.
But what was just as amazing and was announced at the Truck presentation is Tesla’s new flagship supercar. Tesla has a sexy supercar that in one sweep has cleared the record books. This car has knocked the 1200hp Hennessy Venom of the perch as fastest accelerating production street car in the world. It is not even close, the Venom and it’s million dollar price tag will rocket you from a dead stop to 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds. Tesla roadster? 1.9 seconds. This new car also knocked Dodge of the top of the podium for fastest street production car in the 1/4 mile. The Hemi Challenger Demon did a 9.65 second run in factory trim. Tesla? 8.8 seconds. The new roadster from Mr. Musk is also expected to have a top speed exceeding 250 mph, placing it in rarefied air among the legends of car culture. Here’s the really amazing part… what, fastest, quickest isn’t enough? Not for Tesla apparently, because the new roadster will go 620 miles on a single charge. Now let’s be clear this is a supercar and it does have a super price. But it is cheaper than most Ferrari or Lamborghini models and will smoke those into dust all while whispering along under library approved noise levels. This is the ultimate eco-car that destroys super cars or hyper cars on its way to a Sierra Club rally.
We have often been told you can’t have it all, pick your poison slow and pokey Nissan Leaf or Rocket Ship destroyer of worlds fast car. Elon Musk says, “Bullshit” because you can apparently have it all. For 200 large you can cruise for 620 miles sipping light loads of electricity with a big fat zero emissions. When that cocky Lambo starts riding your ass, you can show him what warp drive looks like and disappear on his horizon. Yes you will be that guy… making that other guy seek a new form of compensation all while saving the planet from some form of eco-disaster brought about from burning fossil fuels in cars. Oh and get this, after your done dusting the Lambo’s dingle, you can pick up your two kids at school, yes it’s a two plus two. WTF just happened?
So will history place Elon Musk alongside Henry Ford? Hell yes it will. ‘Merica.