Tesla Inc. is making waves at the moment, and for a variety of reasons. First, their long awaited Solar Roof is now available. Second, they have just announced the introduction of the so-called Tesla Semi – an incredible new truck. And third, to cap it all, they’ve unveiled a stunning four seat roadster scheduled to be launched in 2019 – an automobile touted to be capable of reaching 60 mph in less than two seconds.
There’s no doubt that Elon Musk (Tesla’s founder and animating genius) is playing a leading role in the world’s slow but discernible shift to an economy away from fossil fuels. So let’s take a look at all three of these astonishing product innovations.
According to Building Science1 (May 12, 2017) the solar panel product ‘comes in a variety of designs, including Smooth and Textured (available this year) and Tuscan and Slate (available early 2018).’
Made with tempered quartz glass, the tiles are said to be more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. Tesla provides an online tool to help purchasers estimate the solar roof’s costs and savings, based on their roof’s square footage.
Not all tiles on a house with the system will be actively gathering the sun’s energy, which involves mixing solar and non-solar tiles, though both look identical.
For a two-story house in Raleigh, N.C., with 2,467 square feet — the median size of a new, single-family home in the U.S., according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data — the cost of replacing a roof with the solar tile system will come in at about US$46,000.
The Tesla Semi2 has four motors, one for each rear wheel, and is classified as a Class 8 truck – Class 8 is the heaviest weight classification on trucks – and capable of hauling any type of freight.
According to tech sector analyst Toni Sacconaghi3 – he works for New York based Sandford C. Bernstein, a major U.S. investment and wealth management firm – ‘a Tesla truck with a range of 300 to 450 miles would be able to address less than half of the total semi-truck market.’ Conventional diesel trucks are capable of traveling up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km) on a single tank of fuel.
The vehicle incorporates Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system, designed to keep a vehicle in its lane without drifting, change lanes on command, and transition from one freeway to another with no human intervention.
This long-delayed second generation Tesla Roadster4 will be configured as a 2 + 2 vehicle with a removable glass roof. It will have three electric motors, one in front and two at the rear. This will allow for all-wheel drive. It will have a range of 1,000 km on a single charge, traveling at freeway speeds. The base model is expected to sell for US
$200,000 but the first 1,000 to be produced, the so-called Founder’s Series, will be priced at $250,000.
The bottom line on Tesla
It’s hard not to be gob-smacked by Mr. Musk’s entrepreneurial audacity. Especially since, in the words of Alexandria Page, writing for Reuters and published in The Globe and Mail5 (November 16, 2017): ‘Tesla Inc. is burning cash, has never posted an annual profit, and is in self-described manufacturing hell as it struggles to start up production of the $35,000 Model 3 sedan. Tesla shares are currently flat.’
Dave Ritcey, The Ritcey Team, Scotia Wealth Management