Tesla is clearly the mindshare leader when it comes to electric cars, but the company has a reputation for lofty pronouncements and futurist strategy while most consumers just want to figure out if any electric car makes sense for them. Now what?
Tesla’s recent investor briefing and “Battery Day” tech showcase made it clear the company has a hard time keeping its sights set on everyday drivers who have yet to buy into the EV vision. The company’s perennially higher aim delivered these key takeaways:
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The ‘biscuit tin’ battery. This whimsically-dubbed breakthrough promises EV batteries that are 50% less expensive to produce while affording up to a 16% increase in range. That could move a 322 mile Tesla Model 3 up to 370+ miles, or help create…
The $25,000 Tesla. That’s at least $10,000 less than the average price of a conventional new car today. Roadshow Editor in chief Tim Stevens reminded me that Tesla previously promised such a car…by 2010. So he shakes some salt on this one and even Tesla doesn’t “promise” it for three years.
Model S Plaid. Named for the ultimate speed mode in the movie Spaceballs, this new version of the Model S can go 520 miles on a charge, get to 60 in under two seconds and top 200 MPH. Two of those three are pretty useless in daily life, but that range is remarkable. Tim Stevens thinks the Model S Plaid is really a development platform for the coming new Tesla Roadster.
Full Self-Driving. No, really. Tesla is one of the main reasons a lot of consumers and regulators are confused and even angry over the misuse of terms “self driving” and “autopilot”. But Elon Musk promises at least a beta version of this ability by late 2020. Tim Stevens thinks this may be the most unlikely claim of the day, given that most states have arcane and restrictive rules about using self-driving cars, and that several of the breakthroughs Tesla says will allow it to achieve full self driving are not entirely new and have yet to deliver true autonomy from any carmaker.
Tim and I dissected some more interesting facets of Tesla Battery Day, hear them all in the video above.