Advantages and Disadvantages of Tesla Vehicles
Tesla currently offers 4 cars in its lineup. The premium sports sedan Model S, the premium SUV Model X, the entry level SUV Model Y, and the entry level sedan Model 3. Tesla has recently also added a pickup truck to their lineup, the CyberTruck, which is expected to launch in 2021.
One of the most differentiating features across the whole Tesla lineup is their sheer performance. Despite weighing a lot more than internal combustion performance cars, Tesla’s still manages to beat most of them in a quarter mile drag race. This is all due to the instant torque delivery of electric motors, throughout the rpm range. Unlike IC engine, electric motors used in Tesla’s reach their peak torque at quite low rpms and sustain this torque throughout the rpm range.
This allows them to accelerate at any speed with the same punch. Another factor that plays a vital role in performance, is their lack of a transmission. Electric motors used in Teslas have a large rpm range of up to 13-14,000 rpms and coupled with their almost uniform torque delivery throughout rpms, they do not require a gearbox to keep them in an optimal torque range. This allows them to accelerate like a rocket, without any hiccups during gear shifts like in every other IC car.
2. Lower Maintenance Cost
As a typical mechanical engine, with hundreds of moving parts, is replaced with an electric motor, that only has one rotating axle. The chance of anything going bad or wearing out over time is also reduced. Electric motors also do not require, any kind of oil change or air filter replacements. Moreover, it also lacks a typical transmission, hence does not require any kind of transmission fluid replacements.
The braking in Teslas is also handled by the resistance of the electric motor, which also serves in recharging the batteries. And the brake pads are only utilized under heavy braking, or for bringing the vehicle to a complete stop. Tesla Claims that you won’t require ever brake pad replacements, as they are meant to almost last forever.
3. Zero Emissions:
Electric cars literally do not emit any kind of harmful gases or fluids out of the car. The electricity production is projected to convert mostly to the renewable sources on all geographical location in the future, that are not harmful for the environment. Hence the only emissions or environmental impact these cars have to the environment is constricted only to their manufacturing period, which can also be reduced by adopting environment friendly manufacturing techniques.
Infrastructure is one of the main segments where Teslas, are superior to any other electric car in the market. Being the pioneer in this segment, Teslas have developed a dense charging network equipped with one of the most, powerful chargers across the board. Tesla currently has 908 supercharging stations in the US only, whereas the total number of Supercharging stations owned by Tesla is near 16,100. This puts them, among one of the very few electric cars, that can safely travel on long routes or across different states without any worries. None other car manufacturers have such a huge charging station Infrastructure, Although Elon Musk is working on sharing the infrastructure with other manufacturers, to sustain the electric car market.
5. Charging Technology
Tesla being a pioneer in Electric cars, have one of the most sophisticated charging mechanisms across the board. Their Latest V3 fast chargers, when hooked up with the Model 03, can fill up the battery from 05 to 90 percent in just 37 minutes. These chargers charge with a peak power of 250 kilowatts, which provides 75 miles of range in just 5 minutes of charging.
Tesla is continuously working on innovating and improving their battery designs, to allow for even faster charging rates, throughout the charge level. They are also working on solid state battery technology to bring down the size of their batteries. This can enable them to pack batteries with even larger capacities in their future model, that would result in even longer ranges, and shorter charging times. A lighter battery technology will also enable their cars to maneuver with stability at higher speeds.
6. Class Leading Range
The range offered by Teslas are class leading among their other electric competitors. The latest Tesla Model S Long Range Plus can run up to 402 miles, in a single charge. Their entry level sedan, Model 3 offers a range from 263 miles to 353 miles according to the selected trim.
7. Economical to Run.
Electric cars are cheaper to run, as the cost of electricity to top up the battery is marginally less than the petrol cost in almost all geographical regions. On top of that maintaining an electric car is also cheaper than any IC engine car, as there are almost no fluids or filters to change, and considerably lesser moving parts that will considerably wear out.
8. Futuristic Interior
Tesla vehicles are known to have simplistic interiors, and the all the cabin controls are managed through the big 15-inch vertical touch screen. Everything from adjusting the air vent direction, to opening the glove box is done through the touchscreen. This provides the interior a simple yet futuristic look.
9. Driver Aid Features
Tesla vehicles are equipped with one of the most developed driver aid features from any car maker, that make their cars fall under level 02 of autonomy. This means that the car can itself accelerate, decelerate, change lanes and stop in traffic. But the driver’s attention to the road is still mandatory to intervene in any situation that the computers cannot interpret. Through the data collected by Tesla cars, the company is working on enhancing the car’s AI interpretation of road scenarios and is expected to gain level 05 of autonomy with the same hardware in the near future.
10. Frequent Software Updates
Tesla vehicles have set a new standard in the industry of providing frequent over the air updates to their owners, to address software, and electrical issues as soon as they pop up. They have even added new features to their cars like the cheetah stance launch etc. through these updates. Another thing that must be appreciated is the level of ease with which a regular user can install these updates. They do not require any special tool, you just have to connect the car’s touchscreen to the Wi-Fi and can easily install the updates, just like in a smartphone.
1. Build Quality
Tesla being new in the automotive industry, still have a lot to learn in the car world, in addition to their top notch electrical and software integration. Tesla have been reported to have a number of cases regarding misaligned body panel, nonuniform body gaps, uneven paint jobs, and some electrical and heating issues with the battery within the first 90 days of delivery. Although the company is rapidly working on improving their build quality and addressing these issues with the help of the huge market share, they have been successful to capture.
Teslas interior quality, such as panel gaps, material choices, and padding also is inferior to the offerings by other conventional companies such as Audi, BMW and ford in the price segment they fall.
2. Recharging Time
Although the charging speed of Teslas is class leading among other electric cars, but when compared with an IC engine equipped car, which takes around 5 mins to top up the fuel tank. Teslas and electric cars in general still have a lot to innovate and optimize to reduce their battery charging times.
3. Charging Network
Teslas have their supercharging network well spread throughout the United States as compared to the charging solutions provided by other car makers. Still Teslas are far from providing the level of confidence that you get with an IC engine car, that if your gas tank is almost empty, you will probably find a gas station within 5 km radius even in the most remote areas. Tesla is working on collaborating with other electric car makers, to address this issue.
Although the cost of driving and maintaining a Tesla is lesser than that of a conventional car, still their upfront prices are on the higher side. Their entry level sedan, Tesla Model 03 which is made for the budget segment still costs around 35 to 50 USD according to the trim levels and features opted.
5. Ease of Repairability
Teslas electrical and software systems being quite new in the market, are not yet understandable to 3rd party mechanics that well. Tesla strictly does not recommend their owners to tinker with the electrical or mechanical system equipped in the car for safety reasons. So, a regular owner can not fix his own car with ease, so he has to take the car to Tesla’s dealership to even address the minor issues.