It began with the company’s recent announcement that the Model S sedan in its base sedan-hybrid configuration can generate 250 watts of electricity per kilowatt-hour of electricity — or about one-fifth of the energy that wind power produces in the United States. That’s a staggering 30 percent boost — which is, in its own words, “as fast as wind can be generated with large turbines.”
The Model S doesn’t even need to be charged. The car is able to store that energy for use over long periods.
The company claims that the battery will provide up to 25 years of range, although Tesla has yet to prove this, and the model S isn’t expected to be able to travel more than half of that distance. We can guess it could be close to 100 percent, of course. Tesla believes it’s possible to increase the range of the battery by simply improving battery chemistry — but that’s a long shot.
The free energy doesn’t come entirely free; there’s a cost attached to being able to use it. The electric grid — which is already stretched beyond capacity — is a huge expense to manage on its own. To make the car free to use, Tesla had to first install a battery management system — a network that monitors the car and charges the battery when it’s not in use. This is another area of the company’s potential for growth.
Why should Musk care about the free energy, you ask? A lot. He has hinted that he wants his Tesla to move beyond cars, to electric-grid-powered transport. When the company did that with the solar-panel-mounted Powerwall, it demonstrated that the idea could be commercialized and is now being explored as a potential future business offering by Tesla.
This article was co-authored by John MacFarlane, an economist who writes about energy and the environment for Ars Technica.
It is possible that if you’ve never read my blog before a few things will just seem like the most obvious thing in the world—I wrote this. When it happens it is pretty easy to see why. There was a good chunk of bookish people there for a reason. The world is full of these little details. It’s the “oh, this person in the corner is a lawyer, and the other person in the corner is a doctor. It’s not fair, it’s not natural.”
That’s it. That’s the explanation. How can this be true?
The person in the corner
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