The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Elon Musk Says Tesla Has Conquered 'Range Anxiety'
If nothing else, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk knows how to make headlines.
One of the most frequently cited drawbacks to electric plug-in vehicles (EV) such as the Tesla is that they don't go very far before you have to stop and charge them, at times greatly exceeding what it takes to fill a gas tank. That's been dubbed "range anxiety." Some EVs only go about 100 miles, while Tesla models average between 200 and 270 mpg. And while the number of public charging stations, including the faster Superchargers, is increasing rapidly especially in EV-dense states such as California, they're not equally easily to find everywhere.
On Sunday, Musk tweeted that he had solved the problem of range anxiety and that he would unveil it on Thursday. And unveil it he did, though whether it's likely to put to rest peoples' fears of running out of a charge is uncertain.
Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety ... via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2015
All week EV-related media and fans buzzed with speculation that it would involve a battery redesign, better distribution of power or a more accurate warning system—or something else.
It turns out to be something else. It involved two software updates to the Tesla Model S. One is a "range assurance" application which Musk claims makes it impossible to run out of range unless you do so on purpose. This app lets you know if you're in danger of running out of range and then tells you where to find the closest supercharger. The other is the "Trip Planner," sort of a high-tech version of those old AAA maps that designed a travel route for you. This one would direct a drive to a route that would keep him within comfortable distance from a charging station at all times.
"It's a big network of Superchargers communicating with a big network of cars," said Musk. "This has never happened before."
But Musk's melodramatic announcement wasn't the only big Tesla news this week. Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that would allow the company to sell its cars directly to consumers. The bill removes the prohibition on direct sales by auto manufacturers who do not have franchise agreements, allowing Tesla and other EV companies to sell directly to New Jersey consumers at up to four locations in the state. Traditional franchised showroom dealers have been fighting such measures across the country and mostly been successful. Michigan, Arizona, Texas and Maryland have banned such direct sales.
A huge victory in New Jersey for consumer choice: We are open for business! @GovChristie
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2015
"I said last year that if the Legislature changed the law, I would sign new legislation put on my desk and that is exactly what I’m doing today,” said Gov. Christie. “We’re pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations for consumers in a manner lawfully in New Jersey.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Fino Menezes
Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.
By Charli Shield
At unsettling times like the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like things are very much out of your control. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as far as the experts tell us, is far from certain.
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced: