I recently attended a talk at Tesla Motors about the state of the electric car industry and the history of Tesla. Wow, was I impressed. Driving an electric car fueled entirely by solar power no longer is a dream of the future. It’s here today, it’s happening around the country, and I can’t wait to join in!
First off, the Tesla guys did not talk about driving an electric car as a means to be green. They spoke about it as an issue of national security, and they had the data to back it up. When they showed us a map of where the world’s petroleum is (Saudi Arabia & the Middle East) versus where it is used (U.S. & China) their argument became very clear. Furthermore, according to their slides, about 75% of the petroleum used in the U.S. is used for transportation, and 2/3 of that, so 50% of the petroleum used in the U.S., is for passenger cars. Wow. Now I really can see how electric cars help move us away from foreign oil.
Will a sexy $100k+ electric sports car get us off foreign oil? No, definitely not. However, what Tesla is really building is an electric drive train and electric vehicle platform that they can use to build electric sedans and SUV’s at a much more affordable price point. Tesla is also licensing their technology to partners like Toyota, who will use it to build electric RAV4’s and like. And that platform could in fact help get us off of foreign oil.
But if you’re also concerned about the emissions from a mostly coal powered electrical grid that will be powering these electric cars, then you can go one step further and install a residential solar energy system on your home and charge your car via solar power. Now that I’ve installed solar panels on several homes and driven an electric car, it is not hard to imagine how we could greatly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce our use of coal-fired power plants via a combination of electric cars and solar energy.
You can bet that in a few years when I own a house and need to replace my car, I’ll be looking very seriously at getting an electric car to go with my future solar energy system.