You think you know what Tesla is? Think again
Tesla is not keeping it a secret that it is trying to subjugate the future of the automobile industry, aiming for a green future that is both bullish and stylish, in a way that defines the character of a company owner who is not content with changing the world only, but wants to conquer the Milky Way through timeless and tireless endeavours.
The thing is that Tesla’s trying to make the entire world green from two warehouses, one for cars and another monstrous one that it calls Gigafactory, now only 30 percent complete, in Nevada, US. It’s a well-kept secret, whose walls are impossible to penetrate.
“The Gigafactory, whose construction began in June 2014, is not only outrageously large but also on its way to becoming the biggest manufacturing plant on earth,” wrote the New York Times magazine recently.
Now, this Gigafactory is getting bigger.
“With the acquisition of Perbix, Tesla further advances its efforts to turn the factory itself into a product – to build the machine that makes the machine,” Tesla said on its website.
Perbix specializes in designing and building highly automated manufacturing equipment and has been a supplier for Tesla for almost three years.
So on which journey is the company taking us?
Electric cars: no shock here
In 2008, Elon Musk, the 22 per cent owner and co-founder, CEO and Product Architect at Tesla, introduced the Roadster sports car, with then cutting-edge battery technology and electric powertrain, followed by the electric Model S Sedan in 2012, which could go from 0-60 mph in 2.28seconds, and the Model X , in 2015, a full-sized, all-electric, luxury crossover SUV. In 2017, Tesla unveils the Model 3, a $35,000 mass-market electric car with over 215 miles of range.
Talking of speed, Designboom, a digital architecture and design magazine, said that Jeroen Claus and Fabian Brees, two Belgian designers, were putting together a scenario in which a Tesla racer would enter an all-electric 24 hours Le Mans race, by 2030, all with electric charging strips, embedded in the track, to provide a recharge during each lap and forecasting a Tesla accelerating to top speeds of 281 mph (453 km/h).
Musk had on several occasions made his intent clear to getting a Tesla-branded system of solar power as a key to the future, but also commercial hauling and urban mass transit systems.
“An electric semi is already on the drawing board at Tesla and could eventually reduce the cost of transporting goods by highway while improving safety and making it really fun to operate,” Musk is quoted as saying.
All Tesla vehicles have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability. According to Fortune Magazine, China’s Tencent, one of Tesla’s biggest investors, with a five per cent stake, has developed its own driverless car technology.
Tesla’s vehicles are produced at its Fremont factory in California, and production plans are set to increase to a rate of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2018.
Storage and solar solutions
Tesla’s summer 2017 valuation exceeded $60bn, hedging bets on a green zero-emission future as part of a strategy that the company hopes will put them financially in the black.
In addition to electric vehicles, Tesla builds scalable clean energy generation and storage products.
“To create an entire sustainable energy ecosystem, Tesla also designed a unique set of energy solutions, Powerwall, Powerpack and Solar Roof, enabling homeowners, businesses, and utilities to manage renewable energy generation, storage, and consumption,” said Tesla on its site.
“Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want,” it added.
In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States.
Tesla officially acquired sister SolarCity in a deal valued at $2 billion and made its first installations in the US this year.
Musk: the Ace of Space
Musk is Tesla’s main driver of its current electric car and future solar-powered vehicles business, but you can bet that he is trying to put some sort of solar-powered rovers on Mars, his next expedition.
In fact, he is devising a ‘Lander’, which would explore the Red Planet’s surface, with the possibility of later building a giant rocket that could send humans to Mars by 2024 and bring one million people there by 2060.
Musk is Co-Founder, CEO, and Lead Designer of SpaceX, in which he oversees the development and manufacturing of advanced rockets and spacecraft for missions to and beyond Earth orbit, with the goal of creating a self-sustaining city on Mars.
In 2016, NASA awarded SpaceX a second version of that contract that will cover a minimum of six additional flights from 2019 onward. SpaceX is the world’s fastest-growing provider of launch services and has over 70 future missions on its manifest, representing more than $10bn in contracts.