Electric driving picks up speed… ‘thanks to Tesla’
“If your children are breathing clean air 50 years from now, they will owe that for a large part to Elon Musk. With the launch of the Tesla Model 3 a clean future is nearby”, Karsten Lemmens writes in the newspaper De Standaard on Tuesday. The launch of the Model 3 is a tipping point in electric driving to pick up speed.
“Tesla made electric driving attractive, but it was not affordable yet. Now Tesla makes a big move to affordability”, Mathias Bienstman from environmental organization Bond Beter Leefmilieu (BBL) says. But experts claim we passed the tipping point already earlier, with the introduction of the Model S.
Electric driving made sexy
“Classic car manufacturers were thinking: what is this?”, Maarten Steinbuch, professor car technology at Eindhoven Technical University (Netherlands) says. “Opposed to little electric cars like the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoe, this Tesla looked good. Tesla made electric driving sexy”.
At the moment Tesla announced its Model 3, there was dieselgate. “This gave consumers food for thought,” Steinbuch adds. “Everybody got convinced we’re all going to drive electrical in the near future. This was true also for classic car manufacturers, who formerly saw no reason to put aside their combustion engines, the lucrative fruit of years of expertise?”.
Everybody on the wagon
This resulted in everybody jumping on the ‘electric car wagon’. “Besides Tesla there will be lots of other models with a range of 400 km or more”, professor Joeri Van Mierlo from the Mobi research unit at the Brussels University (VUB) says. “And this while prices are coming down. It’s going way faster than we all expected. Look at VW for instance which announced 30 electric models by 2025”.
At Tesla, they don’t mind competition. They welcome it. “This evolution is positive, isn’t it?”, Berith Berens from Tesla Benelux says. “We can’t accomplish this turnaround by ourselves alone. Our company is ‘mission-driven’ and when you look at the climate today, it can’t go fast enough”.
Cake big enough
The cake is big enough for everyone, professor Steinbuch points out. Every year 80 million cars are build. “Tesla hopes to build half a million cars next year, so you’ll need an extra 20 to 40 manufacturers”.
Tesla can’t accomplish the swing to clean air on it’s own. “But without Tesla we would have come to late. Governments who wanted to bed on electric mobility faced the mighty car lobby who wanted to stick with petrol and diesel. Thanks to a disruptive company like Tesla, we have managed to break through this stalemate.”, Mathias Bienstman says.