Photo by Matt Grocoff
Last week I had the honor to drive my friend Dan's all-electric Tesla S. Yes, it was an honor and unique privilege since Dan has never let anyone drive his sleek, black Tesla . . . No one. Ever. Not even his wife has driven his buzz-inducing baby. And I suspect she won't be happy with Dan after reading this (sorry, Dan).
I've been sucked in by the hype of what many are calling the greatest car ever made. Yet even with my high-expectations, I still found the experience breathtaking. I don't mean that in any metaphoric sense. I mean it quite literally took my breath away. I gasped when I hit the accelerator as I entered the highway.
Photo by Tesla Motors
In a conventional gas-powered muscle car, the growl of the engine and the thump of the gear shift pumps your adrenaline before you feel any speed. You hear a roar. Your body prepares. Then you jolt forward.
But in a Tesla the experience is unparalleled. There is no warning or indication of the imminent thrust you're about to feel. There is no transition from a silent glide to pure, unadulterated speed and motion. To say it's like a rocket is misleading. A rocket rumbles and there's a countdown before lift-off. The Tesla . . . just knocks your head back as if shot from a giant slingshot. The instantaneous power and speed is pristine, silent, and mind-blowing.
Under peak acceleration the Tesla pumps 200,000 watts of energy from its lithium batteries (equal to about 700 refrigerators with the compressors running simultaneously). It's those powerful batteries that could be the most game-changing home improvement project in the next few years.
Solar energy is rapidly growing in popularity. The challenge is when too many homes start putting energy back to the electric grid it can cause problems. Storing that energy for later use becomes the goose that lays the golden energy eggs.
Photo by Tesla Motors
The Tesla Roadster can take energy from your house or deliver it to your house from its battery pack. The Tesla S Sedan does not have this capability but may in the future. This means you soon will be able to use your electric car as portable power plant for your house.
In the meantime, Tesla and its sister company Solar City have teamed on a project called DemandLogic. DemandLogic is currently available for businesses in several states. It helps to reduce energy costs by using stored electricity to reduce peak demand, and can also provide backup power during grid outages.
Tesla CTO and co-founder JB Straubel says, "The economics and scale that Tesla has achieved in the automotive market now make stationary energy storage more cost effective and reliable than it has ever been in the past. We expect this market to grow very rapidly now that we have crossed this economic threshold."
With Telsa's upcoming battery Gigafactory soon to be churning out unprecedented volume, it won't be too much longer before you've got a rooftop of solar panels, an electric car in your garage and a refrigerator-sized cabinet full of Tesla batteries that will provide all the free energy you can harvest from the sky. Kiss the gas pump and your utility bill goodbye.