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Tesla’s Radical Innovation: Making Electric Vehicles Better Than Gas


Let’s be honest: before Tesla electric cars were a joke. The key selling point was “lower your standards to save the environment”, and manufacturers hoped you’d overlook the low range, poor performance & lack of features because you were helping the planet. It’s no wonder they didn’t sell.

Then Tesla came along, and next thing you know Jay Leno’s losing races in his AC Shelby Cobra to a Granny driving a car powered by laptop batteries. The Tesla outperforms nearly every car out there — although I hear you can still beat it in the quarter mile with a $319,000 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

It’s not about the racing, it’s not about the 620 mile range of the new Roadster, the cross-country network of charging stations for it, or even about the self-driving computer control systems. It’s about the fact that Tesla combined all of these things and more into a single package to build a luxury performance vehicle that actually inspired consumers.

Not only did Tesla inspire consumers, it’s inspiring massive change in the auto-industry. In 2020, we’ll be seeing even more sporty, high-performance electric car & SUV models from nearly every major auto manufacturer. Not only is the auto-industry going green, but it’s doing it in style. I’d call that a radical innovation.

Here, watch a Tesla SUV beat a Lamborghini Aventador in the quarter mile:

Is Tesla Overrated?

Right now, Tesla is the “Apple” of electric vehicles because they were the first electric vehicle manufacturer to break through into the mainstream automotive market. Believe it or not, there have been homebuilt & niche electric vehicles for quite a while now — but Tesla is “the big one” because they’re taking it mainstream. They’re actively creating a market — just like Apple did with the original Mac. They’re creating the desire for people to switch from conventional to electric vehicles, and that combined with a long-term savings on fuel & maintenance lets them charge a premium price.

I’ve written that Apple is overrated because people buy it for the name, not for the actual product value, and that does apply to Tesla to some degree. However, the value that Tesla offers is being the first electric vehicle on the market to offer stylish design, sports performance, self-driving capabilities, 200+ mile range, and a nationwide ecosystem of compatible charging stations.

There’s another big thing that separates Tesla Motors from Apple as well: Rather than relying on proprietary standards and vendor lock-in to force exclusivity, Elon Musk has taken all of Tesla’s technology open-source, including its innovative supercharger network — which puts Tesla in the position of setting future standards for the automotive industry as well as providing infrastructure for future electric vehicles.

Tesla’s Real Innovation Is Style

Yes, there were electric vehicles on the market before Tesla, but they were either hybrids like the Prius, or underpowered low-range vehicles like the Nissan Leaf — and in all cases they were marketed as a bland, boring, eco-conscious alternatives to gasoline vehicles. What Tesla did was sell to people’s dreams. While electric vehicles have fewer parts to break and cost less to operate, it’s the romantic vision of racing down the road in a cherry-red sports-car that turns heads. People quit saying “I need it”, and started saying, “I want it”. In other words, Tesla’s biggest innovation has been making electric vehicles sexy— not only are they clean & green, but they’re sharply styled, outperform a Formula 1 car and drive themselves. That’s why Tesla is the first electric vehicle to go head to head with mainstream automobiles in the marketplace and win.

This story was originally published on

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