TESLA : Everything you need to know, that you probably didn’t

Tesla has taken more than its fair share of headlines over the past few years. The Californian company has been heralded by the tech and motoring presses for its innovation, stirring up fairly a traditional market and introducing electric cars with a distinct buzz about them.

Some of this has been driven by the excitement of the much talked about “Ludicrous” mode on some Tesla cars, some through the company’s drive to move away from fossil fuels. There’s been a good helping of savvy media handling by CEO Elon Musk, as well as endorsements from many excited customers, as well as the sort of fan enthusiasm usually reserved for brands like Apple.

But what does Tesla really offer, what’s coming in the future and how can you you join in the fun? Here’s everything you need to know about Tesla Motors.

  • The car that never turns off.

    The car that never turns off.

    Tesla’s Model 3 is so powerful that it actually never turns off. Okay, maybe that’s not the reason, but the Model 3 in fact goes to sleep, much like your laptop does when you close it. Once you put the car in park, the Model 3 hits the hay.
  • Elon Musk, you are not the father!

    Elon Musk, you are not the father!

    Even though he’s made claims of being the “founder,” Elon Musk is neither the founder nor the designer of the Tesla. It was founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003. Musk didn’t join Tesla’s forces until 2004 when he came in to take over investments and assist with design plans.
  • This revolutionary car got its name from Disneyland.

    This revolutionary car got its name from Disneyland.

    Martin Eberhard came up with the name for Tesla while on a date at Disneyland. He and his wife were eating at a restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean suite.
  • Now, even you can own a Tesla!

    Now, even you can own a Tesla!

    The Model 3, which is a relatively more affordable model, is scheduled to make its first appearance in 2016 for a respectable $30,000.
  • You can open your door like the superhero you really are.

    You can open your door like the superhero you really are.

    The Tesla Model X is another new vehicle that will hit the market in late 2015. It is Tesla’s SUV Crossover Model.
  • Wheels up!

    Wheels up!

    If this car wasn’t cool enough, it also has a self-adjusting suspension that remembers rough roads you’ve been on before. Although the driver can tell the car to raise up by almost 1.3 inches, the Model S actually remembers where you’ve done this before and will automatically lift itself up on rough terrain.
  • You can continue to make your license plate as cheesy as you want.

    You can continue to make your license plate as cheesy as you want.

    There is actually a cheat sheet that has literally hundreds of ideas for personalized license plates for a Tesla, including “GAS LOL.”
  • Watch out, your neighbor just might start building one.

    Watch out, your neighbor just might start building one.

    Tesla Motors no longer has a “patent wall” protecting its patents. In 2014, it tore down this wall and its designs became open sourced. They are free for anyone to use as long as they are used to advance the industry.
  • Tesla’s sales model is actually illegal.

    Tesla's sales model is actually illegal.

    Tesla’s sales model is illegal in 48 states. If you want to buy a Tesla, you go directly through Tesla Motors — no dealership, no bargaining. In most states, cars must be sold by a franchised dealership and never directly. Tesla operates galleries where you can learn about the cars, but there’s no pricing or test drives. You have to order your Tesla online.
  • It’s basically a really fancy laptop.

    It's basically a really fancy laptop.

    Tesla uses basically the same battery used in your laptop, the lithium-ion 18650, to power their cars. In the car, a bunch of these batteries (made more heavy duty, of course) are wired into one.
  • Goodbye gas.

    Goodbye gas.

    You can say goodbye to spending a ridiculous amount of money on gas, since it’s free to charge your Tesla at a Tesla charging station and it only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to charge.
  • Need a new battery? No problem.

    Need a new battery? No problem.

    You can also take part in the “battery swapping” done at the Supercharging stations. The Model S was specifically built to change a battery very fast (in 90 seconds to be exact). For $60 you can drive up to a Supercharging station, have your battery completely changed and come back later when your other battery is fully charged.
  • You can actually go 0 to 100 real quick.

    You can actually go 0 to 100 real quick.

    The Tesla comes with an “insane” mode, which makes your car go 0 to 60 in 3 seconds. This mode removes the restrictions on the engine and releases all the power at once. Be sure to make this happen while driving next to a Mustang with tinted windows to show them who’s boss.
  • Coming soon: a charging house?

    Coming soon: a charging house?

    Tesla hasn’t just stopped with cars. Its newest innovation is a new “powerwall.” The “powerwall” is a battery intended for use in the home as a supplemental power source, with the hopes of it eventually upgrading to a primary power source.

 

  • Tesla Is Constructing One of the World’s Largest Buildings
    The Tesla Gigafactory is shown under construction outside Reno, Nevada

    The huge battery factory will sprawl across 5.8 million square feet, making it one of the largest buildings by footprint anywhere in the world. When completed, the facility is supposed to churn out enough batteries to power 500,000 electric cars per year, which is about the equivalent of the entire world’s lithium-ion battery production.

 

  • Tesla Is a Tiny Automaker
    Assembly Of Tesla Model S Electric Automobiles At A Tesla Motors Inc. Factory

    Despite the amount of attention and headlines that Tesla receives daily, the company still produces a very small volume of cars. Tesla has shipped about 100,000 cars to customers over the course of its lifetime. By comparison, the U.S. auto industry delivered over 17 million cars last year, and it is expected to ship a similar number this year. BMW, Lexus and Mercedes all sold over 340,000 luxury cars in just 2015.

  • Tesla Almost Died a Bunch of Times (And Was Nearly Bought By Google)

    A Tesla on the road

    In an effort to build an independent electric car company—a feat that no one else has accomplished—Musk has taken some big gambles, some of which haven’t paid off. The company has been on a roller coaster ride throughout its life, which Musk detailed during the company’s annual shareholders meeting recently. Tesla has run through cash and come perilously close to collapse. In 2013, Tesla only had two weeks of cash left after struggling with production of its Model S car, and Musk was close to selling his company to Google, which was co-founded by Larry Page, a Musk pal.

  • Tesla Makes Batteries for Buildings and the Power Grid

    Tesla already packages batteries to power its electric cars, but last year Tesla launched a division that packages similar batteries to be used for buildings, homes and the power grid. Connected together in big battery farms, utilities can use Tesla batteries to store solar energy produced during the day to be used at night, or use the batteries to help manage supply and demand of energy on the power grid. Some companies, like this winery in Northern California, are using the batteries to lower their energy bills by shifting their energy usage onto batteries when the cost of grid power goes up.

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