Truly Disruptive Technology

I am in line to get the new Tesla model S 85D.  This is the new dual motor, all wheel drive, some limited self driving capabilities, update of the Model S.

When you sign up to buy one they take a small deposit and then loan you a car for 24 hours to test it out, see how it works for you.  So much nicer than a normal dealer where the test drive you get is with the sales person and it is limited to a few miles from the dealer and for probably a few minutes.  My test drive of the Tesla was 200 miles in length, down freeways/interstates at reasonable speed, down California highway 1 which has twists and turns, through redwoods and up the coast.  In short it was sufficient time for my partner and me to really both drive it to our hearts content, try out the features and really understand how it felt to us.  What a different car purchasing experience.

Some states in the USA will not permit Tesla cars to be sold!!  Can you imagine this in the land of the free?  They do this because Tesla cars are not sold through dealers but through the factory.  Does anyone really have a great dealer experience to tell us?  If they do then it is about a dealer who probably did solid long term service on the car that was sold.

Do you know that Teslas generally are not sold at all on the basis of service?  It almost never comes up in the sales discussion and if it does it is pretty small discussion at that.  Why?

Because Teslas have almost nothing that under normal wear can break.

Car repairs come it 2 flavors – those that are considered “normal maintenance” and those which are just problems that arrive –  here is a list of these from Yahoo

  • Replacing Intake Manifold Gaskets
  • Replacing Ignition Coils
  • Replacing Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor
  • Replacing Exhaust Gas Recirculation valve
  • Replacing Spark Plugs
  • Replacing Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Replacing Catalytic Converter
  • Loose Fuel Caps
  • Replacing Oxygen Sensor
  • Changing the Oil
  • Changing the Oil Filter
  • Changing the Air Filter
  • Replacing the Brakes
  • Replacing the Coolant
  • Replacing the tires

Of this ENTIRE list only replacing the tires happens on a similar basis with a Tesla.  The rest of the list mainly is not valid because the Tesla’s don’t even have the parts or systems in the car … they have no spark plugs, engine coolant, ignition coils, manifold or manifold gaskets, catalytic converters, oxygen sensors … well you get it.

So repairing the Tesla is something that many people don’t do for years.  They may rotate the tires from time to time to get longer wear from them.  But that is pretty much it !!!

No wonder dealers are wary of Tesla cars … they will kill the dealer model of making money from post sales service.

That is pretty disruptive and it is the kind of idea that comes from Silicon Valley.

When Finisar was started in the late 1980s the entire fiber optic world  was centered on Japan and the east coast of the USA.  20 years later the Japanese are still contributing but honestly at a much lower level.  And the rest moved to Silicon Valley because it was ripe for disruption.  Same for the automotive industry.  Detroit is so embedded in its vision of the past that this industry will change forever soon.

The next disruption is when we get sufficient numbers of pure EV cars that can stay plugged in whenever they are not moving and then become one major element of grid storage to help stabilize a grid where renewable sources are a significant part of the grid.

For example in California if there were 1M Tesla each with 85 KW-hr batteries.  Then theoretically the grid would have about 2 hours of storage in place to help manage transitions from renewables back to other forms of energy generation.  Such transition times are more grid friendly.  And of course this storage also can be used to provide peak shaving at any time.

Go Tesla!

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives, Personal Stories

  1. The car batteries connected to the grid could serve as a back up for the home electricity during blackouts. In Florida, blackouts are frequent during the storm season, and their are a hazard for appliances.

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