Tesla to shift entire auto industry

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Model S
The all-electric Model S.

Consumer Reports – a monthly magazine dedicated to reviewing consumer products ranging from electronics to cars – recently named the all-electric Tesla Model S sedan as the highest-ranked car of the year. Though few have enough money to afford the luxury sports vehicle, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is planning to make a mega battery factory that’ll drive the price of the car down across the globe.

Tesla Motors was first founded in 2003 when a group of engineers, including Musk, wanted to prove all-electric vehicles could be just as high-performance as regular luxury sports vehicles.

By the year 2008, Tesla came out with the Roadster – an all-electric vehicle whose design was heavily influenced by the Lotus Elise. Later, Musk would purchase the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me (and he plans on making it actually be able to transform from a car into a sub). So, it’s safe to say Musk’s Lotus-inspired passion helped the Roadster vehicle become a hit, and soon the company began focusing their attention on “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan.” Basically, Musk hopes to do nothing less than single-handedly shift the global auto industry, and energy in general, away from burning gas and coal towards ultra-efficient alternative power.

Tesla stores
Tesla stores will expand internationally as they become more affordable, thanks to the Gigafactory. In fact, all-electric vehicles may soon take the auto industry by storm, one day passing up gasoline-powered cars… then perhaps even hybrids.

In the meantime, Musk wanted to make a car that appealed to the general public, so the company released the all-electric Model S family sedan in 2012. While the car is still on the more luxurious end, Tesla is planning to bring the price down real soon. See, the company is working with battery experts at Panasonic to build the world’s largest battery factory in the United States. Musk calls it the “Gigafactory”, and it’ll produce 30 gigawatt-hours worth of batteries a year, which basically means one factory would create enough power to equal all of the world’s rechargeable “lithium-ion batteries” (which are used in everything from hybrid cars to portable electronics.)

If everything goes as planned, the price of the Model S will go from approximately $70,000 to about $35,000. This cheaper version of the car – the Model E – will be affordable enough to compete with other companies like Ford and General Motors, changing the automotive world as we know it.

Meanwhile, in the world of race cars, the Hennessey Venom GT broke the record for high speed in a production car at 270.49 mph. However, since the record is for a “production” car, there needs to be a total of at least 30 such cars produced. Before the record is official, Hennessey will have to finish adding another 19 vehicles to its current 11.

Images courtesy of Tesla Motors.