5 ways Tesla is leading the sustainability charge

Tesla and its founder Elon Musk have been paving the way for sustainable innovation in the automotive industry, renewable energy generation and beyond.

Telsa's electric cars are just one of its sustainable innovations

Telsa's electric cars are just one of its sustainable innovations

Some of Musk's plans look set to break new ground, from the necessary improvement of electric vehicles to wild and ambitious new ideas for transport and energy storage.

These ideas have helped to broaden public engagement with sustainability and Telsa's future plans look set to revolutionise the electric vehicle market. Recently edie looked at the ways in which Google and Apple are becoming green giants, so this week we decided to explore five of the most biggest advances to come out of Tesla and Musk's other ventures.


1) Its accelerating the take-up of electric vehicles

Tesla's sales records have shown the potential for a thriving electric vehicle market. The iconic Tesla Model S reached 10,030 sales in the first quarter of 2015, a year-on-year increase of 55%.

This new company record shows the popular potential for electric vehicles and the success has been mirrored around the world in 2014 with 320,000 new electric vehicles registered worldwide. 

2) It doubled the capacity of the Powerwall....for free

Tesla's Powerwall battery pack was hailed as a breakthrough for home renewable energy. The battery was priced at $4,000 for the base model and aims to store energy for the home from solar panels.

Even better was the announcement by Musk that Tesla would be doubling the power capacity of the standard Powerwall at no extra cost. The battery's capacity would be doubled from 2.2kw to 5kw, claimed to be enough to power the entire house, unless the household are using energy draining air conditioners.

The larger Powerpack system is expected to be deployed in Ireland as early as next as part of a pilot scheme.

3) Its CEO is supporting amazing new technology

It is hard not to get a rush of childlike wonder when imagining the Hyperloop. Originally envisioned by engineers at Tesla and SpaceX, the Hyperloop system would see passengers catapulted between Los Angeles and San Francisco in capsules at speeds of up to 760mph, using a system of magnets and compressed air.

It sounds brilliant, but how exactly is it sustainable? Well, the Hyperloop would be self-powered by a massive solar panel array along the roof of the tube, providing 57MW annually. Musk's company SpaceX says it is not developing a commercial Hyperloop, but it did this week call an open competition to develop test pods for a prototype track. Bring on a real life pod race.


4) It is driving collaboration

In an almost unprecedented move, last year Musk announced Tesla would not pursue lawsuits against anyone who wants to use their technology to improve sustainable transport.

In a blog post last June, Musk wrote: "Electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales."

"We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform."

5) Its massive Gigafactory will be completely powered by renewables

Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada will be powered entirely by renewable energy sources once it is completed. Tesla aims for its factory to produced 50GWh of batteries by 2020, enough for 500,000 cars while achieving net zero energy for the factory. Graphics and concepts of the factories design show a massive plant covered in solar panels and surrounded by wind farms, so it might just be possible.

Matt Field


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