It was a little over a decade ago that electric vehicles started to make their way into the mainstream public consciousness. They were ugly, they were weak, and they– to a certain extent– ruined the image of the entire movement. Nobody at that time wanted to admit that they were friends with someone that drove a Prius, or even worse that they were actually an undercover Prius owner.
But within the last 5 years, the tide has started to turn on the electric hate because of one company: Tesla. Since its inception, Tesla has made it a priority to alter the public perception of electric vehicles by producing a stylish, performance capable car.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says, “I didn’t really think Tesla would be successful. I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought that we at least should address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart.”
Right off of the bat, with their Model S, Tesla came out swinging to knock down these beliefs. And almost immediately, the vehicle became beloved by auto-technology enthusiasts. It was stylish, and its performance was more than competent.
In a 2012 review, Car and Driver said of the vehicle, “In a city, even a sprawling one like Detroit or Los Angeles, the Model S gets the job done. It’s attractive, comfortable, fast, practical, technically fascinating, and not overpriced. Most important, it’s not just a good electric vehicle, it’s a good car.”
That’s how everybody described the car: good. Style, pretty cool. Performance, good. Overall, just good. Good, good, good. Now, that is a worthwhile achievement considering the tragically bad reputation of electric cars, but it wasn’t enough to really turn heads. I mean, would people really be willing to drop $70,000 on a vehicle that was just good?
Not surprisingly, sales of the Model S were mediocre.
Seeing only a partial success of the Model S, Tesla became even hungrier and has continued to forge forward, expanding their operations, involving themselves with battery development, fighting dealership laws, taking on every minute aspect that could help them turn the tide in their direction. And…
All of that energy and momentum culminated into a highly anticipated unveiling last week. Addressing ideas of mediocrity, CEO Elon Musk showcased his latest his latest project: a dual motor Model S.
Looking at the numbers and seeing the details, everybody immediately knew that this new vehicle (available today) was a game-changer. The all-wheel drive, dual motor car offers performance that was once just a dream for electric cars.
Auto News writer Gabe Nelson writes, “Drivers of Tesla Motors’ new range-topping version of the Model S sedan, the all-wheel-drive P85D, will get to choose from three drive settings: normal, sport and insane.”
At the showcase, Musk also stunned the audience with more details about the new Tesla updates, updates that include industry-leading autonomous capabilities and an extended battery life.
At the close of last Thursday’s showcase event, it became immediately apparent that Tesla had just rattled the auto industry. It knifed the old perceptions of electric vehicles, killing those false notions forever. More importantly, though, it further established Tesla as an American automotive juggernaut with vehicles and technologies capable of one day becoming the king of the road.