At Web 2.0 Summit 08 John Batelle of Fedarated Media Publishing interviewed Elon Musk of Tesla Motors about the awesome performance of the Tesla Roadster, and the business reasons behind their pricing at around US$100K (one hundred thousand Unites States dollars). The Tesla definately fits my world view, if it does miss my wallet view of the world, and with a 100% electric Roadster reaching zero to sixty miles per hour in 3.9 seconds (soon to come down to 3.7 seconds) and 244 miles per charge… well the Santa Clause that doesn’t bring me one is going to suck milk through a wired up jaw and require a medical operation to extract the cookies. This year I very much want the electric sports car that is very much going to be an icon of the world motor industry into the next decade and further. Yep that’s a bold claim. I don’t say that lightly.
Elon Musk casually referred to the Tesla Roadster as a laptop on wheels. And some laptop. While they’re only producing 10 of these babies
this year per week it will rise to 30 per week in 2009 with a five seater sedan coming out at half the price. It’s about creating the expensive to reach the critical mass where prices and models will be widely available to the regular consumer. Which fits very nicely into the New York Times article by Al Gore about creating an energy independent United States of America in the next 10 years. Like it or not, the United States is in a position of global leadership where solutions for the global energy crisis and economic downturn need to be addressed. There is a large market out there for electric cars, the time is right.
Bill Buxton said an interesting thing about the way people’s opinions change over time. A decade ago we would have denied vehemently that we’d ever stoop to pick up dog shit off a footpath. Today, if we see someone not pick up dog shit we would think they were a sociopath. In the 70′s someone would fall into work half drunk and tell us how they couldn’t even remember driving home – we’d think they were a great guy. Today, we’d think they were a dangerous asshole. World views change. Bill points out that in five years time we’ll think the same about someone who reads a weekend printed newspaper (sociopath) as we do today about the person who doesn’t pick up dog shit. On the weekend my partner bought two newspapers that weighed up as a heavy portion of a tree (one was the Weekend Australian). I would venture to suggest this will apply in the very near future to our approaches to energy, water and transport. Electric cars are essential for the global need of a sustainable environment, and also essential to fit my world view as a consumer.
WE WANT AFFORDABLE, PERFORMANCE EQUITABLE ELECTRIC CARS. Period.
Visionaries and entrepeneurs like Elon Musk are essential components to achieving a sustainable future. But even more important (to me as a consumer) I want a Tesla Roadster. I’m buying into the vision. My next car will not be a Tesla Roadster, I confess, but it will be electric. Tesla are building the brand equivalent of the MacBook Pro in their Roadster. Zero to sixty miles per hour in 3.9 seconds – awesome. Design – iconic. Technology – matches my world view.
The hope is that this market success will proactively affect the rest of the motor industry with other electric car initiatives following suit.
[The videos from Web 2.0 Summit 08 are online. I should also mention I'm Australian, not American.]