The Tesla game plan?

The Tesla game plan?

Looking at the Tesla home page we see...a Supercharging station. It looks like the future.

What is Musk's goal? It is to save the world with clean energy. He has been very successful in kickstarting the cause with solar enterprises and compelling electrical cars, but what is next? Sure, more solar panels and more Teslas, but where is the REAL money and influence? It is in the fuel, not the vehicles. It would be better to be Chevron than to be Chevrolet, but it is really much better to be both.

The cars, then, serve as a way to get into the system and change it.

Maybe the real goal is to eventually operate many thousands of Tesla stations, located everywhere, capable of charging up any electrical vehicle and drawing on solar power that is available to Tesla at an advantageous cost. This would entice people to buy electric cars from whatever manufacturer. Musk has said he wants others to join with Tesla because his goal is to replace ICE cars with electrical ones. The lack of effective charging stations is perhaps now the most serious obstacle in this conversion process.

It could be that while we wonder about the details of the next Tesla, Mr. Musk may well be thinking beyond that with earthly ventures nobody suspects. And then there is Mars, but that is just the same game plan, isn't it?

nwdiver93 | June 8, 2013

While it's tempting to draw parallels between oil and solar; Don't lose perspective by forgetting how much more energy dense oil is.

Chevron can steal more energy from future generations with a 12" hole in the ground in 1 day than 100 Supercharger carports can harvest. Theft will always be more profitable until the oil is gone.

carlgo | June 9, 2013

Yes, and they could outfit their thousands of stations with chargers powered by that oil if they wanted to get in on the action.

But, if there is enough solar energy collected and if it can be sold for enough money to support free or low cost charging, then the oil companies would either have to match that price or forget about being in that market. If they do match Tesla's price, then they would be put in the position of subsidizing electrical cars and that is what Musk wants.

Timo | June 10, 2013

@nwdiver93, raw oil doesn't burn very well, it needs to be refined. refining process does consume quite a lot of energy. While gasoline/diesel are far superior in energy density to something like batteries it is not free to harvest. Neither is coal.

Energy discussion about is something worth doing is more a question "is it energy positive" than "is it cheap".

If making harvesting equipment and maintaining it uses up more energy than it is harvesting, then system is stupid. Money in this discussion is arbitrary concept because it just cycles back to use by services provided. Money is not an resource.

carlgo | June 10, 2013

Is anything energy positive at this point?

Paul Koning | June 10, 2013

Of course not, that's the first law of thermodynamics. Everything is run by the nuclear reactions inside the sun, more or less indirectly. Solar power; burning trees that grew from solar power; burning oil that came from ancient plants that grew from solar power; splitting uranium that came from stellar explosions many years ago...

Brian H | June 10, 2013

Uranium is just part of the contamination of the hydrogen cloud that condensed into the solar system. Originally from supernovas.

TeslaRocks | June 11, 2013

I always thought black holes were a major source of the heavier elements. Even if you gather the top scientists of the world in a room, you may hear many guesses but turns out we really know very little about what's out there and how it works. I found a show about the Milky Way on YouTube that I have yet to watch and I was almost surprised by how little we really know about our own galaxy, which may be big by our standards but is far less significant than a grain of sand on a beach except for the pattern value. Anyways, this is just another theory, but the reason I suspect black holes to be major contributors to the production of heavier elements, although simplistic, is that stars generate elements lighter than iron in a process that generates energy, yet I once read that fusing elements heavier than iron requires more energy than it generates (which also explain why nuclear fission of those elements yields energy), so black holes would seem like a likely place since they manage to hold on to everything while also absorbing gravity (which I believe could be a form of energy) plus that of the stuff that falls in it. If a meteor falling to Earth can be hot enough to melt rock, imagine one falling into a black hole, or even just gas or dust, it would feed the beast the energy it needs to make the heavy stuff. My point is: remember when we thought the Earth was flat, or that everything in the sky orbited around us? Well we think we're so advanced, but we still really have no idea about how it all works. Big bang theory is the current version of prevailing views in the time of Copernicus, because it is just a creationist and Earth-centric system based on the loose assumption that the Doppler effect is the only way for light to have a red-shift, as if it is a perfect perpetual-motion machine. But the cracks are starting to show and questions are beginning to be raised. We can sit on our rock and ponder, inventing new theories from time to time, and that is fine and fun, but the real satisfaction will come from finding out for ourselves by exploring beyond our home. So, what was the topic, again: the Tesla game plan?

Brian H | June 11, 2013

That's what the supernovas are for. They generate an internal black hole, and the "bounce" of compression/explosive expansion of the rest generates enough energy to fuse the heavier elements and blow them off.

The heaviest elements of all are neutron stars, each is one big humunguous atom. ;)

Brian H | June 11, 2013


Timo | June 11, 2013

Doesn't require black hole, just compression by gravity and explosion.

Bubba2000 | June 12, 2013

The key enabling tech for electric autos is the battery. The current battery tech plus what is on the pipeline is good enough for hi end autos like Model S, X in conjunction with supercharger network. Economies of scale, with the 300-500 mile battery will enable Model S, X to dominate the mass market in the 60-100k range. Sell 250-500k autos/year, and make a few $Bs/year. That has to be the justification to hold TSLA stock.

Mass market adoption will need discontinuous innovations, just like when we went from vacuum tubes > transistors > integrated circuits. Nanotech based Si-Graphene, Mn rich electrodes and advanced Li electrolytes, etc may get us there in 5 years. We will know when the batteries just showing up in hi value apps like smartphones. This would disrupt the ICE auto market, oil industry, etc. Big money to be made and lost.

Renewables are big challenge too. We need solar panels that have 3 bands, like the ones used by NASA and have peak efficiencies of 35-45%. Too expensive for now. Need cheap, hi capacity, long lasting batteries... not there yet. Wind turbines have improved quite a bit, but again, need cheap, hi capacity, long lasting batteries too. Advances in tech like LED lighting, hi efficiency HVAC, insulation, even with ICE, etc will decrease energy consumption.

Brian H | June 12, 2013

Both your S-X volume requirements and disruptive tech requirements for GenIII are excessive. TM projects 20K+ Model S and 15K+ Model X, and incremental cumulative battery tech/cost improvements for GenIII only. Anything better is bonus.

jamesd567 | June 14, 2013

gasoline here in so. cal = $4.25 /33.7 kwh/gal = $0.126 per kwh

solar power from my 4yr old array = $0.10 per kwh

Oil company Net energy ratio trends = declining.

Solar power efficiency trends = rising

solar power costs per kwh trends = declining

poisonous and costly emissions into our atmosphere from
EV's = very low (mostly from nat gas elec plants)
ICE = very high

likelihood that oil companies are lying about
the dangers of fracking = very high

Conclusion: No ICE car sales by 2025-2030

Its as clear as day to me. Continuous EV technology improvements will do to ice cars what digital cameras did to Kodak

JZ13 | June 14, 2013

@BrianH - actually Tesla told the Goldman Sachs visitors that they expect to deliver 100k S/X's annually within a few years. Their initial goal of 200,000 GenIII car's seems very conservative. BMW sells 360k 3 Series cars worldwide annually.

olanmills | June 17, 2013

"What is Musk's goal? It is to save the world with clean energy."

Musk's goal is to leave this raggedy planet behind and laugh at you from his mansion on Mars.