Elon Musk, Tesla, and lithium-ion batteries feature a lot in any lithium conference you attend. Elon Musk heads a $52 billion conglomerate trying to cure the of its overdependence on petroleum products. Tesla Motors is making headway in the sector thanks to its ability to luxurious electric cars equipped long-range battery packs. The success of Tesla Motors comes in the backdrop the real pioneers in the electric vehicles sector – General Motors.
The Tragic End of the EV1 Fleet
In an ambitious plan, that a few people think was well ahead of its time, General Motors launched the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle in 1996. The move introduced drivers to the wonderful world of electric cars. And it proved to be quite popular too, generating a ton of excitement and enthusiasm.
Unlike Tesla’s Model S, you could only lease the EV1 from the company for anywhere between $399 and $549 a month. EV1 was powered by lead-acid batteries that were only capable of 70 to 90 miles on a single charge. The model proved to be a hit with drivers for the six years it was in production.
Sadly, the automaker announced the cancellation of the EV1 programming and recalled all the cars with the aim of destroying them. Saddened electric car drivers gather in California in 2003 to hold a funeral for their beloved vehicles before GM shipped off to the desert for crushing.
Enter Tesla Motors
Reacting to the destruction of the EV1, two Silicon Valley engineers founded Tesla Motors to build greener cars. Elon Musk joined as an early investor and held several roles in the company. The company was established with a deceptively simple plan that was potentially genius.
They were to focus on the more efficient lithium-ion battery that was expected to improve with time. Secondly, Tesla was to tap the power of the improved battery range and create a high-performance sports car with high margins.
The firm wanted to use the car’s performance to shed the stigma around the electric vehicle. Also, they aimed at using the revenues generated from the sales of the Roadster, to create a range of affordable cars.
The Rise and Rise of Tesla Motors
In 2008, Elon assumed the leadership of Tesla motors and steered it to success. The Roadster, running on a 992-pound Lithium cobalt oxide battery was capable of an impressive 244 miles with a top speed of 125 mph. That reduced range anxiety and made electric vehicles more appealing.
Since then the company has launched many successful models and is currently selling cars by the thousands. Tesla announced the production of model 3, an electric vehicle for the masses in 2016. Tesla established a Gigafactory, to help with lithium-ion battery production to meet its growing demand.
The ability to produce lithium-ion batteries at economies of scale is in line with the company’s goal of making electric cars cheaper than the gasoline one. Tesla aims to deliver semis that move from 0 to 60 with an 80,000 pounds payload. The company’s drive to steer the world toward sustainable energy is partially responsible for the growing demand for lithium.