Surely you have heard of Elon Musk. He is the little South African immigrant entrepreneur that could; the classic tale of rags to riches. One could say he hit the jackpot as a determined, intelligent individual from the time he was quite young, leading him to found two of the largest tech giants in the world: SpaceX and Tesla.
Always a gaming and computer nerd, he was smart and gifted, the son of a Canadian model and a South African engineer. However, he was introverted and was bullied until he was 15, at which point he hit a growth spurt. Finally big enough to fight back, he learned self-defence arts like karate and wrestling
He would also quickly fight back in another way with innovative success. After designing and selling his first video game, Blastar, at 12 years old, he moved from South Africa to Canada in 1989 at 17 years to attend Queen’s University. By 1992, he left Canada to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating with two undergrad degrees in economics and physics.
He then left Pennsylvania to pursue a PhD in energy physics from Stanford. This move was timed with the boom of the Internet, spiriting him to develop Zip2 Corporation and drop out of school, saying goodbye to grad school.
New Endeavours of the Future
After founding Zip2 with his brother, Kimbal, the two of them sold the company to make room for a new endeavour: X.com. X.com, founded in 1999, would become a little e-wallet platform you know today as PayPal.
On a roll, Musk aimed for the stars in 2002 with his third company: Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX. SpaceX was mainstream by 2008 and NASA acknowledged their efforts by contracting them to transport cargo for the International Space Station. By now, the company’s Heavy Rocket is the world’s most powerful rocket. SpaceX is also among top companies looking to roll out space tourism in the next few years.
In 2003, Musk took on another would-be iconic project. He co-founded and became the CEO and product architect for Tesla Motors. Putting his brains, creativity, and education to yet another future-changing purpose, Tesla has been at the forefront of affordable and efficient electric cars.
In 2008, Tesla unveiled its first car, the Roadster. This was a sports car capable of accelerating from 0 to 96.5 kilometres per hour in just 3.7 seconds. It could also travel nearly 403 kilometres before needing its lithium ion battery recharged.
The Model S emerged in 2012 as the world’s first electric Sedan. This car could travel nearly 427 kilometres before needing a charge. Available at $58,570 USD, the Model S also won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 2013.
Becoming more accessible and affordable, the latest car, the Model 3, launched in March of 2019, is now available at $35,000 USD. Tesla also surpassed General Motors in 2017 as the most valuable car maker.
The World Wants to Know – How Environmentally Friendly Is Tesla?
Many people across the Internet frequently ask this question: “How green is a Tesla, REALLY?” As with many green and environmentally friendly developments, people get sceptical as they resist change to something different that could help reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
When it comes to electric vehicles (EV’s), sceptics are not wrong in that an EV is pollutant-free. But electric cars are not exactly spewing greenhouse gases, either.
Devonshire Research Group is an investment firm that put out data on Tesla’s environmental benefits. They surmised that battery production requires mining and use of toxic chemicals and that Tesla EV production affects a stronger carbon footprint than traditional vehicle production. Charging the battery also allegedly shifts CO₂ emissions from engine to power plants.
It is true that all EV’s create pollution and carbon emissions, but are these pollutants really worse than a traditional car?
Each stage of the EV’s life, Tesla or otherwise, does have environmental impacts. Production, charging, and battery development all do require the earth’s resources. However, when a consumer of gas-powered vehicles factors in the refining, processing, and transportation of gas, along with the expenditure of gas their vehicle requires, the numbers become clear. An article from Wired says it best when it mentions that it takes as much energy to produce a single gallon of gasoline as a Model S consumes in 20 miles of electricity-fuelled driving.
The numbers point to a Model S containing nearly four times lower CO₂ emissions per mile than a typical gas-powered car.
Other concerns revolve around the biodegradability factor of the batteries. Fortunately, those batteries do not go to a landfill but are recycled. Tesla is still working on an efficient recycling process, including recapturing rare earth metals.
The consensus seems to be that, yes, EV’s do eat up resources and emit CO₂. However, compared to the traditional gas-powered car, the numbers are less. And in this day of an environmentally destructive age, we do what we can.