The need for zero-emission vehicles has remained high and unanswered for centuries. Around 1900 there was an electric vehicle using batteries. The major shortcoming was that it was low top speed and a short-range vehicle.
By the 21st Century, the growing campaigns to switch to an eco-friendly energy consumption meant that something had to be done by the motor industry. It was among the highest emitters of Hydrocarbon-fuels and CO2 to the atmosphere – that was not sustainable.
Major motor companies were facing pressure to come up with eco-friendly vehicles. This led to the emergence of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles or PHEV and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) with little emissions. The Hybrids start off using electric motor then as speed increases, the gasoline engine turns on.
When discussing the history of Electric Vehicles, July 1, 2003, is a quintessential date to mark – Tesla Motors was founded. Tesla has a long term goal to create an affordable electric vehicle for mass production. No company had tried going fully electric before that.
Since 2004, Tesla has been through thick and thin. They had some venture capital financing to save it from bankruptcy. Additionally, there was a series of mass firing to ease the budget. All these were being done so that the goal of Tesla may be met.
In May 2008, a blog covering automobiles called “The Truth About Cars” launched a “Tesla Death Watch”, as Tesla was in the verge of collapsing if it would not get another financing. On May 2009, Germany’s Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes Benz, acquired an equity stake of less than 10% for about US $50 million. Musk says that the Daimler’s investment saved Tesla.
The 465 Million Loan
In June 2009, Tesla received US $465 million among the US $8 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. It was created to offer a low-interest loan to support the production of greener vehicles.
Tesla used the money, and in a shocking turn of events, it was the first to repay the loan. Despite the then-presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, calling it a ‘loser’ and likening it with the now-bankrupt company Solyndra.
Among the four beneficiaries, Tesla performed exemplary in terms of beating all its milestones and even repaying the loan 5 years earlier than expected. Nissan repaid their loan fully, and Ford is expected to repay in 2022. Fisker, the last beneficiary of the loan, went bankrupt and defaulted the loan.
Tesla has since then achieved its milestones, including the production of Tesla Model 3 selling over 500,000 units. In November 2018, Tesla vehicles had outsold Mercedes-Benz in the US market. The company also announced its initial public offering on NASDAQ. More than 13 million shares of common stock were issued to the public at US$17.00 per share. It was the second car maker to go public after Ford.
In June 2020, Tesla Inc’s stock jumped to $1000 a share after Elon Musk announced that it was time to bring Tesla Semi commercial truck to volume production.
Elon Musk talked about the production of Semi trucks almost coinciding with his rival, Nikola – an electric and fuel cell truck startup. Nikola has faced some allegations via a report on Bloomberg terming its debut electric semi-truck as ‘inoperable, missing parts.’
Nonetheless, Tesla has sparked and proven that the fully EV mass production is achievable. Existing motor companies are venturing in an electric way because it remains the future of energy.
Tesla Led, Others Followed
Below is a quick list of other electric vehicles produced in the recent past.
- Nissan Leaf
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric
- Renault Zoe
- BMW i3
- Audi e-tron
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Chevy Bolt EV
- Kia Niro EV
- Hyundai Kona EV
The Future of Electric Planes
The next industry to be disrupted by going fully electric will be the aerospace. On a survey done, it was seen that the United States is responsible for nearly a half of the world’s CO2 emissions from aircraft. This calls for immediate actions and results.
The future of more quiet, cheaper, and eco-friendly airplane is almost here with us. From now, you can hardly tell what to expect. Just like the motor industry, something will come up in the aerospace industry.
What we are left with is patience as we observe the already disrupted motor industry changing its norm from gasoline to EVs.
Are you ready to for change?