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BEN WEHRMAN

Contents:

Intro
I. The Consumerism Problem
II. Elon Enters the Chat
III. Tesla’s Plan
a. Production Efficiency
b. Product Life
c. Reusability
d. Renewables Capability
e. Recyclability
IV. Tesla vs. the World
a. Transportation
– De-gasification
– Autonomous Rideshare
b. Energy
– Solar
– Battery Storage
– Home Efficiency
Conclusion

 

~~~

 

Following one of my usual Tesla rants on Instagram yesterday, I received the following question in my DMs.

Tesla

“How could making even MORE products (electric vehicles, in this case) possibly solve climate change?”

This is a great question, and I wondered the exact same thing before getting educated on the topic of clean energy, as well as working at Tesla myself.

We’ve all seen the world’s largest corporations pile onto the greenwashing train…

“We care about the planet!”

“Buy our products to save the world!”

It’s 99.99% nonsense, of course. So what makes Tesla and their fancy EVs any different? Aren’t they just cars?

To put it bluntly: No. Here’s why.

tesla model 3

 

We shall begin our tale by defining our current predicament, and why it’s shitty.

I. The consumerism problem

  1. Person buys thing
  2. Thing breaks and/or needs repairs often, incentivizing thing-makers to make more unreliable things
  3. At end of thing’s life, it gets tossed into landfill
  4. Person buys new thing
  5. Rinse & repeat

The result?

  • People get used to short-life things, and cycle through them quickly
  • Thing-makers make lots of money, since customers are trained to buy new things when they’re done with their old things (not to mention all the servicing revenue from all the repairs required during the lifetime of the product)
  • Landfills, oceans, and the air get clogged with waste and pollution with every turn of the cycle

Who remembers this:

In the age of profits over everything, this has become the new normal. Companies are incredibly-incentivized to sell shitty products, since it makes them more money.

And their favorite part?

Every company is doing it, so they can all pop champagne on the gravy train together.

The current system of crony-capitalism is hell for the environment.

Likewise, it’s heaven for every fat-cat executive on earth, who makes boatloads of money during the process. And no CEO would possibly want to interrupt this cycle of constant bloated profits….right?

 

 

…right?

 

 

II. [Elon has entered the chat]

Elon Musk thinks this cycle of perpetual pollution & waste in the name of maximizing profit is stupid.

He creates Tesla, a little Silicon Valley startup with an unthinkable goal:

Completely vanquish humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels, by transitioning the highest-polluting industries on earth, especially Transportation and Energy, to 100% renewable power sources that last forever, and produce essentially zero pollution OR waste.

III. Tesla’s plan

Tesla’s top-notch team of engineers builds products that make the world better. That means throwing all convention out the window, and building their business from the ground-up with sustainability in mind:

1. Production efficiency

  • All of Tesla gigafactories & production facilities use the most sustainable materials possible (all seats are made of vegan leather, for example).
  • The factory’s power comes from renewable energy.
  • This efficiency is INCREASING as solar improves.
Tesla Gigafactory Solar
Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada. That’s a lot of solar panels! Photo: tesla.com

2. Product life

  • The oldest Model S’s from waaay back in the day are just now beginning to push the 1 million mile mark on their odometers. Keep in mind–technically speaking, these are the oldest, least efficient Teslas in existence, without any of the new tech that has come out in the last 5 years. 1 million+ mile batteries will soon become the guaranteed standard for EVs, placing yet another dagger into the ICE argument.
  • EV battery life is INCREASING as batteries improve.

3. Reusability

  • Elon is the king of reusability. Tesla batteries can be recharged thousands of times, as opposed to fossil fuels, which simply burn up, and pollute the air we breathe. Does that seem efficient to you?
  • These batteries can be re-purposed after their EV lifespan, in all kinds of creative new ways.
  • This reusability is INCREASING as battery life improves.

4. Renewable power capability

  • Gas cars are powered by burning stuff. Tesla’s cars are powered by the wind and sun.
  • The availability and usability of this renewable power is INCREASING as battery storage and renewable energy efficiency improves.

solar panel field

5. Recyclability

  • When EV batteries reach the end of their useful life, they are recycled:
    • First into gradually smaller, less energy intensive products
    • Then, into raw materials to make new batteries, for new Electric Vehicles.
  • This process, you guessed it, is IMPROVING as scientists improve the sustainability of the battery life-cycle.

This final step completes the CLOSED-LOOP process, bringing us back to Step 1.

Oh, and I should probably mention: Every single Tesla on the road today has a battery that lasts 20-30 years. So all this “recycling” stuff? It won’t even be an issue for at least another couple decades, at which point the recycling process will be long-solved, allowing infinite battery production at essentially zero net waste of material or energy.

Of course, oil companies will spend billions pumping the same old “BuT BaTtEriEs aRe BaD fOr tHe EnViRoNmEnT!!!” line. It’s complete bullshit, please do your IQ a favor, and ignore it.

OK so EVs are more sustainable than normal cars….but they’re still just CARS. How does this solve climate change?

Here’s the kicker that most people are sleeping on: Tesla is not a car company.

They are a sustainable energy company, taking aim at every polluting aspect of our lives. Cars are just step 1.

Let’s take a closer look at how Tesla is tackling the highest polluting sectors.

Pie chart of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in 2017. 28 percent is from electricity, 29 percent is from transportation, 22 percent is from industry, 12 percent is from commercial and residential, and 9 percent is from agriculture.

IVa. Tesla vs. Transportation

Every gas-powered car, boat, train, and plane burns fossil fuels when moving from A to B, which makes Transportation the #1 source of pollution on earth.

Let’s see if we can fix that, shall we?

Replacing the pollution-machines on wheels

Replacing ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles with electric vehicles (beginning with cars, and permeating to the rest once technology allows) will immediately remove all of these pollution machines from existence.

*poof*

If your first thought is: “But what about the pollution from producing all those EVs?” Go back and read “III. Tesla’s Plan” again (earlier in this post) for a refresher on how EV production is actually very sustainable, and getting more so every year.

Remember: Gas cars pollute every second of their lives.

There’s no such thing as an “eco-friendly” gas car. You put fossil fuels in, and they puke toxic air out of the tailpipe. That’s what they do, and that’s all they’ll ever do. PERIOD.

gas car pollution

EVs don’t need a tailpipe. Their fuel is their batteries, which can be charged from the sun.

You’ve probably heard this skeptic claim:

“But don’t EVs just move the pollution to some coal plant somewhere else?”

 

Even if this were true, it would be far more efficient to re-allocate pollution away from jam-packed cities full of breathing humans, and consolidate it to a remote location.

Luckily, this whole headache of “where should we move the pollution to” is completely irrelevant, due to Tesla’s ENERGY innovation. In a nutshell, Tesla’s disrupting the energy production side by accelerating solar power adoption, and boxing out dirty producers like coal and natural gas. More on that in the next section, “Tesla vs. Energy”.

Autonomous Rideshare

What if I told you that Tesla’s long-term mission is actually to take cars off the road?

 

Yup! Tesla’s end goal is NOT to sell infinite cars to private consumers for single-person use. That’s not efficient or sustainable, and Tesla knows this.

While none of this is confirmed obviously, there are plenty of breadcrumbs out there alluding to the prediction that Tesla’s goal is to sell ENOUGH cars to awaken their army of self-driving robotaxis, which will transition their automotive business into a rideshare company similar to Uber & Lyft.

The difference?

  • The cars will drive themselves, so no more worrying about distractable (or sketchy) human drivers
  • WAY Cheaper
  • Faster
  • Safer
  • More reliable
  • More flexible
  • No pollution

This game-changing move will make ride-sharing far more affordable for everyone, even for extremely long-distances. Many experts predict this will result in a jaw-dropping 90% REDUCTION in cars on the road.

Thus, far less people will be buying cars. Why buy one when you can just spend a couple bucks to get anywhere you need to, without even needing to pause your Candy Crush game?

Removing the ridiculous standard of every human being owning and driving their own vehicle will be a CRUSHING blow to the fossil fuel industry, and a massive W for planet earth.

Note: If you’re wondering how Tesla would be able to continue to thrive as a business if they were to simply stop selling cars like this, I recommend you watch this videowhich does a fantastic job of explaining how this scenario may play out.

IVb. Tesla vs. Energy

Tell me if you’ve seen this one on your Facebook feed:

“But EVs use electricity! Doesn’t that just move the pollution somewhere else?

Today? Sometimes. In the (very) near future? Not at all.

Here’s why.

tesla charging

Tesla Solar

If you haven’t heard of the Tesla Solar Roof, you will soon.

tesla solar roof V3
Tesla’s latest Solar Roof: Version 3. Photo: tesla.com

As we speak, Tesla is creating roofs (and panels) that absorb energy from the sun. These roofs will eventually cover all of our basic residential, commercial, and industrial electricity needs.

Tesla’s solar projects have taken a backseat to their EVs in recent years, but make no mistake…this is going to be HUGE.

Who will benefit from Tesla Solar? That depends on one question:

Do you like free money?

The dirty energy industry (coal, natural gas, etc.) is on its last breath.

Once they croak once and for all, we’ll no longer have to feel guilty for using more electricity, as it will be coming from solar, wind, geothermal, and other green energy sources. (In the above case, it’d be coming straight from your roof!)

Battery Storage

We’ve all heard it before: “But what if the sun isn’t shining? What if the wind isn’t blowing?”

The answer to this concern is incredibly simple:

  1. The efficiency of renewables is improving, so the amount of actual sunlight and wind you need to produce energy is decreasing.
  2. The efficiency of batteries is improving, so the energy produced by wind & solar can be stored for longer periods of time.

    tesla powerwall
    The Tesla Powerwall (AKA future power source for your home) Photo: tesla.com

Tesla gets a ton of practice building batteries in their electric vehicles, so they’re expanding this technology to be used everywhere.

Whether you’re charging your Cybertruck at home with the Powerwall (Tesla’s home battery, photo above) or powering your whole city, Tesla’s batteries are making it possible to STORE all of this clean energy so it can be used at any time, regardless of if the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.

That means no more coal, natural gas, or any other polluting crap that utility companies are dependent on.

Once you have a Solar Roof producing your energy, and a Powerwall storing it, something very fun happens….

Remember that electric bill you used to pay? Yeah, you can go ahead and forget about that, chief. You don’t need the grid anymore- you make your own power now!

Oh, and if you live in an extra-sunny region? You’ll probably be generating more energy than you need, so you can sell this energy back to the grid.

That’s right, folks. When you Teslafy your house, your utility company pays you!

Home Energy Efficiency

This is Tesla we’re talking about, so simply producing the energy for your home wouldn’t be enough.

That’s right–there’s reason to believe that Tesla will lowering the actual energy required to power your home as well, which is yet another huge source of pollution worldwide.

This hasn’t yet been confirmed, but hints from Elon have made it difficult not to speculate the possibility of Tesla becoming a full-blown home energy efficiency company at some point.

For a great article outlining the practicality of this potential path for Tesla, check out this Electrek article.

Conclusion

So, how can Tesla’s building MORE cars help fight climate change?

In 1 sentence:

Because Tesla isn’t just building electric cars; EVs are merely the first step in transitioning our entire energy system away from burning fossil fuels, and onto clean, renewable energy.

When this puzzle is complete, the evil, pollution-dependent corporations of the world will crumble, and Mother Earth will smile brighter than ever before.

 

And trust me….we will too.

driving a tesla

 

Thanks for reading, friends! If you know someone that is either undecided or skeptical about Tesla or the EV movement as a whole, DON’T BE SHY! Share this post so we can continue spreading knowledge and excitement for this revolutionary industry.

I’ll be sharing tons more Tesla and EV content in the future, so remember to subscribe in the footer below.

-Ben

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