1996 was 24 years ago. What does that time in history have to do with anything? That was when GM had a neat little car out called the EV1 or Electric Vehicle 1. At the time, the EV1 was revolutionary. It was peppy, had a decent range for using lead-acid batteries (mainly), and most of all, people loved them.
Then GM did what they love to do and destroyed the whole program. EV1 leasees were outraged. People literally hid the cars so they could not be found, but in the end, GM was able to round up almost all of them and crush them.
It was heartbreaking and devastating. The world for electric cars seemed to become nonexistent almost overnight. Flash forward nearly 30 years later, and things have changed. The electric car buzz is everywhere. Even the juggernaut Toyota has re-thought its approach to the use of electric cars. Toyota has pushed for HFCV for quite some time now. With little infrastructure and few vehicles on the road, they are forced to compete or get out of the way.
So what made the difference? Why are manufacturers scrambling to compete with each other in this once futile market? One word; Telsa.
Why Is Tesla Motors The Catalyst To The Explosion Of The EV Market?
To fully understand why Tesla is so essential, you need to know something about the automotive industry. They love oil. They are the largest oil consumer, and their entire strategy for building vehicles has been off of oil.
Next, what does a colossal car maker want? Market share. Have you ever seen the movie Ford vs. Ferrari? If you have not, treat yo' self and watch it.
The film represents a classic manufacturer struggle to gain rank as a better vehicle. If you know anything about the car culture, you will know that this is the game you play to win, lose, or draw.
Telsa is like Ferrari in the movie, and all the other automakers play the role of Ford. The question is, how long can Tesla keep the others from becoming better?
Think of Electric as the new oil, and you know exactly what we are up against.
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention
Honestly, ask yourself this question. If Tesla did not exist, do you think other car manufacturers would have even tried to make an EV?
Okay, Nissan was seriously considering it too, but if we are truthful, the Leaf is more of a joke than a real car, especially when compared to any Tesla.
The thing is, other companies expected Tesla to fail, so no one paid any attention to them for about the first 5 to 6 years. They watched the Roadster come and go. Then something happened in 2012, a new Tesla went to market and completely disrupted the game.
Now it became a necessity to build an EV. No. Matter. What. The problem is that they were years behind with research and development.
The game of cat and mouse in the car world is not new. The game has only switched to a more technologically savvy cat and mouse, the EV.
The fact that we now have a cool EV to drive is because of Tesla. Every other manufacturer is not copying the Leaf; they are trying to catch the model S, 3, X, and Y.
If you have not driven a Tesla, do not knock it till you drive one. They are fun; they are what an electric car is supposed to be. If you do not want a Tesla, drive a plug-in, or any other cool EV out there (except the Leaf). The Bolt is amazing, and from what I hear, so is the Ford Mach-E.
Thank Tesla for all your options, they deserve the credit. Check out what Toyota is doing to crush that competition though.
That is all for today, folks. Have a wonderful weekend, and I will look forward to seeing you in the next story.
Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.