While EVs are really starting to come into the mainstream now, especially overseas, it obviously wasn’t always that way. Like any new technology there’s a very long development time before it gets good enough for the general public to adopt it en mass.
As such we thought we’d take a look back at the past ten years of Tesla technology development to see just how far Electric Vehicles have come in order to get a better understanding of what to expect in the future.
2009 to 2012
While the original Tesla Roadster started deliveries in the later half of 2008, it wasn’t until 2009 that they really ramped things up and delivered the bulk of them. By then end of 2009 over 700 of the total 1,500 odd ever produced Roadsters were delivered.
Coming in at around $100,000-$110,000 USD the Roadster had:
- 390 km Range
- 53 kWh Battery
- 17 kW Charge Rate
- 3.7 Seconds 0-60 mph
It was expensive, had a decent range and a horribly slow charge rate but boy did people love to drive them! It also did a fantastic job of jolting people out of thinking EV’s were “only golf carts”.
2012 to 2016
After a very difficult first 3-4 years building and delivering the Roadster multiple technology and battery advancements – not to mention a lot of hard work on Tesla’s behalf – had driven the prices down enough to make the Tesla Model S a reality.
Still selling today along side the Model X, the Model S has had many different configurations over the years. As such to best compare them to our other cars I’ve chosen one of the lower spec models for comparison. Cost has always been the most important thing for most buyers of cars and the Model S 60 was a great budget version of the luxury car.
Coming in at around $70,000 USD the Model S had:
- 350 km Range
- 60 kWh Battery
- 120 kW Charge Rate
- ~5.2 Seconds 0-60 mph
Not only was the Model S similarly speced range and battery wise but 40% cheaper, it was also a significantly better car than the Roadster. Built from the ground up to be electric it seated 5 adults comfortably, had industry leading safety, ground breaking infotainment and technology systems not to mention a significantly faster charging rate.
Taking into account its curb weight of around 2,000 kg (compared to the 1,200 kg of the Roadster) it’s a significant leap forward. But the march of technology never ends and Tesla was only just getting started using those new advancements.
2017 to 2019
In July 2017 Tesla started the very first deliveries of the Tesla Model 3. Going through production Hell they didn’t manage to produce too many over the rest of the year, but throughout 2018 literally hundreds of thousands of them rolled off the lines.
With Tesla still working hard today trying to fill tens of thousands of orders all throughout the world the Model 3 is the latest step forward in EV technology development and cost reductions.
Coming in at $44,000 USD as of Jan 2019, the Model 3 Mid Range has:
- 415 km Range
- 62 kWh Battery
- 120 kW Charge Rate
- ~5.6 Seconds 0-60 mph
Furthermore Tesla is promising to offer the $35,000 Model 3 Standard version sometime in 2019 reducing the cost even more. This literal halving of the price whilst at the same time slightly increasing the range compared to the Model S 60 from 2012 shows just how fast the tech is now moving.
In just ten years Tesla has not only reduced the cost of a production, everyday usable EV car from $110,000 to $35,000 – a 70% cost reduction! – but also managed to hugely increase the quality of that product too.
It’s far more refined and usable day to day thanks to it being a full sized sedan seating 5 adults. It has incredibly powerful computer, camera and AI systems built into it for self-driving capabilities and many more advantages.
2019 to 2022
While the future is always difficult to predict, following the trends of a raw developing technology – for example battery storage capacity or costs – can be quite a bit easier and more importantly, accurate.
For example using the progress achieved over the past ten years it’s extremely likely that by 2022 we should be seeing a similar or better speced EV than the Model 3 for $20,000 USD.
These cars (whether produced by Tesla or another company) won’t be the best or the fastest in the world, but should present a very compelling purchase for the general public. Think Mazda 6 rather than Lamborghini.
At $20,000 USD or around $30,000-$35,000 AUD these cars should have:
- 350-400 km Range
- 50-60 kWh Battery
- 120+ kW Charge Rate
- 5-6 Seconds 0-60 mph
This type of well made, brand familiar EV would beat out a large majority of petrol or diesel car even before you take into account the petrol and maintenance savings.
Having far fewer components than traditional Internal Combustion Engineer (ICE) cars it’s almost certain that they’ll eventually be even cheaper than cars are today by 2022 or later.
For comparison a similar sized new base model Mazda 6 that costs $36,000 AUD has:
- 700-800 km Range
- 62 L Tank
- 7.6 Seconds 0-60 mph
Only time will tell just how quickly and far battery and EV technology progresses over the next 5-10 years. It’s entirely possible the combination of electric and fully self-driving technology will mean the majority of travel is done by fleet owned Transport as a Service (TaaS) companies like Waymo.
So do you still want to be driving and owning your own car in 10 years? Or would you rather pay less, not deal with the hassle and catch a robot taxi everywhere? Let us know in the comments below!