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No engine for this car

Another wonder product is the fully electric Tesla car. While not the first fully electric car by any stretch, this technology wonder has captured people’s imagination and interest in electric vehicles in a way no others have.

There is no engine beneath the bonnet in this fully computerised car powered by re-chargeable batteries.  The company has taken enormous care in setting up quick recharge centres across the country and building these into the price of the car. The distance covered in one charge is up to 300 miles (480 km) for its higher end car model. The base models are priced around $ 66,000 and the fully loaded ones easily cross $110,000. The company has constantly been refining the technology. Since software and technology are more prevalent than in traditional cars, car ‘upgrades’ are done through the Internet.  For example, if you didn’t have an auto-park feature before and would like to ‘order’ one now, you can put in a request, pay the fee and the new capability is downloaded to the Tesla. No need to wheel the car to a dealer! There is even an ‘autopilot’ feature that has the car driving on its own by using several sensors and cameras to determine road markings, the proximity of other vehicles and people. Oops.  

Tesla has been in the news a lot more recently for building the largest automotive battery plant in the world (called the Giga Factory) which will help it ramp up production to meet the demand from over 400,000 people who have put down deposits for this car.

While initial Tesla models – pricewise – aimed at both the environmentally conscious and luxury appeal market, the focus on the newer/cheaper model will indeed bring it to a mainstream level. The challenge for Tesla is that it has indeed created the interest and the demand but is struggling with the supply and meeting expectations portion.

Reva Motors made a beginning in electric cars several years ago. Mahindra & Mahindra acquired the company. Other large global manufacturers, including General Motors and Toyota, have also been working on electric vehicles. It would require extensive research and development efforts to perfect the battery technology that will lend for easy recharging and large funds to invest in producing batteries to  volumes.

My ride in the Tesla was smooth, exciting and cozy. I still wonder at the large boot space available both at the front and the rear!


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