Cars are going electric. There is no stopping it.

by Chris on June 24, 2014

Last week I picked up my Tesla Model S. I’m the first to admit this is an expensive car, and most people aren’t going to buy one. And I realize that it will be at least a couple of years before their Gen 3 car (expected at $35k) is going to arrive.  In the mean time there are other electric cars on the market that cost less, but have significantly less range.  The Nissan Leaf is probably the most common pure electric car out there aside from the Tesla.

Driving electric for one week is more than sufficient to convince me there is absolutely no turning back.  Electric cars drive better in every way possible. They accelerate more smoothly and generally faster.  They use regenerative braking so you aren’t wearing down your brake pads. They are super quiet. They are UNREAL to drive.  My kids love being in the pasenger seat and my wife (the furthest person from being a car entusiast possible) is absolutely in love with this car.

My experience with the Model S so far is amazing. Aside from the awesome drive quality I wake up with a full battery every morning and I set it to charge on off-peak hours (staring at 7pm) so it costs about $10 instead of $65 for the equivalent range in my Lexus SUV which uses gasoline.  No extra points for guessing which car stays parked at the house these days.

So for now electric cars cost more, they can’t go quite as far as a gas car (although my 420 km real world range is pretty solid) and they take longer to charge when compared to a gas tank refill.

That’s today.

Costs are coming down. Electrical infrastructure is improving and Tesla’s fast-charging technology is likely to be adopted by others now that they’ve opened up access to their patents. Looking at Tesla’s supercharger network in North America, Europe and Asia convinces me that charging will be a total no brainer in the long run.

As an investor I think beyond this quarter or this year … or even next year.  I’m thinking years out.  And on that basis it’s 100% obvious to me that the world is moving to electric cars.  It’s a complete no brainer.

(Disclosure: I’m long Tesla stock)

Eric Spencer June 24, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Technology changes quickly thème is ni doubt! I work emmersed it it everyday! I am a long time car enthusiast and given the technology available today I am in love with what Tesla does and how they go to market, they are innovators and dreamers; the stuff that real life is made of !

Although a little underwhelmed by competitor car offerings in the electric market place it is nonetheless interesting to witness this emerging technology. Today there is:

Nissan Leaf
BMW i3
Harley Davidson ( coming soon)
Zero Motor Cycles ( comparible to Tesla)

As I write this I witness a child in my neighbourhood riding an electric dirt bike! How things change and I can’t wait to see what is next!

Eric Spencer June 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Please pardon the grammar I was using the wrong keyboard on my mobile device

Glenn June 26, 2014 at 9:11 am

I agree, electric cars will completely take over the market at some point however I don’t believe it will happen until range matches a gas vehicle and more importantly, a full charge can be completed in 5 minutes or less. The battery swap idea seems like a non-starter to me.

It will happen and I’m guesstimating 5-15 years before gas vehicles go into serious decline as a percentage of new car sales.

If oil prices seriously decline, then it could take longer.

Chris June 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

I think 5-15 years is a reasonable guess, Glenn. It would be nice if we could recharge in 5 minutes but I don’t think that’s a required goal to hit to make electric cars go mainstream. Just think about the number of 2-car families where, even for the rare road trip, you only need one vehicle that has very long range and quick refill capabilities (currently gas).

BTW yesterday was a neat experience where I drove into Toronto and parked at the TIFF building at King/John and used the charger in the parking lot. I didn’t need the range but wanted to try the public charger. These are not super common today but they are coming online fast. Green P is putting electric chargers in their lots. So electric car drivers are going to find that whenever they pay to park in a lot they’re going to leave the lot with a full battery. That will never happen with a gas car. Electric is SUPER convenient, and if I really need more range / quick refill I’ve got my old Lexus SUV.

Frank July 11, 2014 at 11:40 am
Chris July 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

I’m not sure if Anton’s post was a joke or not. He certainly understands the Tesla story better than most people.

Ryan P July 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hi Chris,

Former BlackBerry R&D guy here (maybe you remember our talks about PlayBook and the battery over twitter or the drop test blog). I moved into the world of Solar power here in Ontario.

You should look into the possibility of adding Solar to your roof or a ground mount in a net-meter or microFIT. That way you’re really using clean power to run the Tesla (as well as the other items in your home). We have fielded quite a few calls from clients. microFIT ROI’s are in the 5-10% range depending on the roof face and other variables and payback is in the 6-10 year range which I realize is long but its also the right thing to be doing for the planet – its just nice that it also pays you back.

Excellent choice on the Tesla. I hope to be able to get to a level financially where I can afford one because I believe they’re the future (and also pretty awesome). For now, I’m looking at a Volt or a Leaf.

Hope you are doing well!

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