Saturday, December 4, 2021

Can other manufacturers keep up with Tesla?

After decades of round steering wheels there’s a car company designing the future cars it manufactures sporting rectangular steering ‘wheels’ on its Model S and X.

If you guessed Tesla, you are correct.

We have a few Teslas around town, but the sci-fi looking Tesla cockpits will impress even the skeptics who view electric cars and trucks as futuristic.

Tesla rolled out its Model S and Model X last week. Each is sporting a rectangular steering wheel that looks like an airplane yoke rather than the round steering wheel found on most ‘normal’ cars.

Spaceship designer and electric vehicle entrepreneur Elon Musk suggested that the cars would be capable of fully autonomous driving by this year end. (Doesn’t that make the steering rectangle redundant?)

There are still skeptics about the electric car, but certainly off-roaders have their doubts about a 4-wheel drive electric truck.

Musk’s top of the line S Model has a bone-rattling 1,020 horse power tri-motor powertrain. It is capable of accelerating to 60 mph in a head-snapping 1.99 seconds. What’s the top speed of Mr. Musk’s ride? A mere 200 mph.

Now, before you rush out to buy the latest Tesla, consider that the Model S has a starting price of only $119,990 for one that has a 390-mile range. So, if you’re planning a non-stop trip to Denver (874 miles in light traffic) you’ll need to stop somewhere in Nebraska for a re-charge. (If these cars are capable of 200 mph, how fast will a Minnesota Highway Patrol cruiser go? Just asking for a friend.)

Later this year Mr. Musk is planning to launch the Plaid+ that can travel 520 miles before running out of a charge. It can take anywhere from an hour to 12 hours to charge your Tesla. (Tesla charge time is dependent on how full your car's battery is and the type of charging station that used.)

If Denver’s not your planned destination you could always plan a trip to Washington, D.C and talk with President Joseph R. Biden about an executive order that would make an Elon Musk-vehicle mandatory by the end of 2021. (You’d still have to plan a recharge stop en route—it’s 1,063 miles to D.C.)

There’s no doubt that we will move away from gasoline and diesel powered cars and trucks. Huge farm equipment, Boeing 777-9Xs, locomotives and spacecraft may take a while to design and build. Until then, we’ll have to continue to drive our gas-guzzling pick up trucks, our comfortable SUVs until the auto industry designs vehicles with greater distances in mind.

Assume the day will come when we all have plug-in vehicles.

Let’s also hope that quick-charge technology keeps up with the Musk-type electric vehicles. Ford, GM and other worldwide car manufacturers are dipping their collective toes into the tidal wave of the future.

 

 

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