Seems there has been a lot said here at Lockergnome.com regarding Tesla. It has been going on for at least a few years now; in 2007 I was stunned that I missed the news. I mean it is just so geek, I should have never missed.
My first question mark regarding this electric car start up is who was going to get them the VC? Seems Toyota and Panasonic are already on board by actually buying into the new venture. I don’t know what is going to happen with this company. Some here wonder if it will go the route of the DeLorean. I like the comparison and agree, money seems a common issue. Some ways apples to oranges but in others two autos pushing the tech edge. Nonetheless, what about the money problems they both share?
I am old enough to remember the DeLorean and a whole bunch of cars that man had his hand in. Many fans of the brilliant man were stunned that he failed. I was not among them. The concept of the DeLorean in the 1980s was years ahead of its time and just as much so ridiculous.
While DeLorean had a great idea, a “buy one in your life” car, the economy, the changing American values and, relative to the time period, huge disparity in price all led, even young Lumpy, to believe that not even “Back to the Future” would save them. Consider the following:
- In 1981 the DeLorean sold for over 25,000 US dollars, the average cost of a new car then was about $7,000. It was big scary news back then, gasoline climbed to over a dollar a gallon. Regardless, both vehicles burned gasoline. I don’t think that whole inflation thing sunk in yet, we doubted it could ever hit four bucks a gallon in our lifetime.
- In 2010 the Tesla sells for about $75,000 and the average car now cost just over $26,000. Today gasoline costs about $2.61 per gallon. I would not be surprised at 5, 6 or 7 bucks in my life.
I think the Tesla, even though it is very pricey, has more appeal today that other famous car (even if you tossed in a flux capacitor). You see this Tesla thing would, at least in terms of gasoline, lower your operating cost. Assume you average 12,000 miles per year and your car gets 30 MPG. In 1981, you would have spent, at 1.31/gallon, 540 bucks on gas. Today that number is 1044 dollars.
Back in June, I rented a Toyota Prius, the hybrid averaged 54 MPG and my trip from Cleveland to Columbus and back cost me 19 dollars in gasoline. The car was quiet, drove smooth and handled well. It was a positive pleasant thing to drive.
So, for a weekend state hop, a hybrid works. The hybrid also charges on gas and breaking. So it can extend the range. How to do you extend the range on an all electric car? I have not noticed any electric filling stations, are the hotels, for longer trips, willing to let you charge your ride?
What will remain to be seen, something all of us speculated on in the DeLorean days, is what about long term maintenance? if these hybrids hold up, and the cost to maintain them is not exceptionally prohibitive, they may take a larger hold than one would first think.
I think the same would be true with an all electric. I think it might take a bit longer, but investment from Toyota shows more industry support than DeLorean ever had.
So, now that Toyota and Panasonic are buying in to the company it will be a fun thing to watch. However, is it going to be enough? The higher fuel cost rise, the nicer the higher price will seem.
Another thing, you can still actually get a DeLorean. I was rather surprised you could still actually order a kinda new one, even though it is an older model so to speak. I knew there would be some one who sold parts but an entire car? If the demand is great enough someone will likely sell it. As gasoline prices go up, hybrids and electrics will certainly have a higher demand. I rather like the Tesla cars — I hope it is them.