When Tesla Motors rolled out its very first production Model 3 to an elated owner – CEO Elon Musk – this Saturday, something changed in the realm of human transportation. Forever.
The first ever electric car with half a million fans willing to put their money where their mouths are, the Tesla Model 3 is not just an EV. It is an EV that has been responsible for a massive upheaval of century-old thinking in the automobile world.
Today, Tesla wears an important feather in its cap: the first delivery of the Model 3 to its owner.
Let’s even forget that it was Musk who eventually became the first owner of a production line Tesla Model 3. We’re talking about a statement bolder than anything we’ve seen in the world of Automotives. It’s nice that we’re developing new technologies for existing cars – self-driving, connected and fully AI-capable – but it’s equally important that we now focus on the very tech that drives these cars.
As the largest car manufacturers around the world commit to the EV movement, they’re actually rallying around Tesla Motors and its founder’s vision for sustainable mobility.
The biggest European car companies are in; the biggest American automobile entities are in; even China is moving extremely fast on this.
But, as the first Model 3 rolls out, we need to be reminded that the sheer persistence, bull-headedness, and firmness of resolve shown by its conceptualizer, Elon Musk, was the single most influential force in the automobile industry since Henry Ford.
Of course, a more balanced view might be that the timing was just right and everybody was going to start making EVs eventually anyway and so on. Yes, that sounds like a more likely explanation.
But anyone but the most ‘balanced’ of us will see the obvious: this car, the Model 3 from Tesla, is representative of the massive effort required to get the world to change directions.
Interestingly, nearly a hundred years ago a similar shift happened.
From the late 1890s until the early 1920s, electric vehicles held a position of pride in society. London had a whole fleet of electric-powered taxi cabs in 1897, affectionately called “Hummingbirds” because of their incessant humming. New York got its electric hansom cabs the same year.
But in the 1920s, things started to tip in favor of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. These slow, loud smoky monstrosities had finally gained two major points over EVs – range and speed.
Of course, no electric car could match the ever-increasing range and speed of ICE cars of the day, and they eventually faded into the background to give way to gas-guzzling behemoths.
This was in the late 1920s, almost 100 years ago. It looks like we’ve come a full circle in less than a century. It is now the turn for EVs to rise against ICE, and every automaker in the world is now either implementing their EV plan or have one in place.
And if you’re saying the Model 3 doesn’t eloquently represent that event in history, nothing anybody says will convince you.