The skirmish in the Nevada desert is distracting us from the real story of the day.
Volkswagen’s electric-vehicle epiphany, a few days late and a few dollars short, profusely vindicates the early efforts of young mad scientists like Musk and Straubel, who doggedly got ahead of this game before the ref had even blown the starting whistle. Turns out that the future for many, if not every, automaker is indeed grudgingly, reluctantly, embarrassingly, electric. Not diesel, not hybrid.
Just a few years ago, an exhausted Tesla crew showed off a slapdash Model S prototype that had magnets holding the hood in place. But now Tesla has forced Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, to ride in its rooster tail.
Today’s WSJ piece about European air quality just plain assassinates VW — and the entire gas-vehicle world by proxy — while echoing the air pollution slides from the Model X unveiling. Remember? They showed the reduced life expectancy in various polluted regions of the world. Sorry for the cliché, but Tesla smells like a rose right about now.
Regarding that skirmish in the desert, a B-movie scene come real: This may mark the first time photographers have resorted to such desperate measures to capture juicy images of a . . . wait for it . . . building. The incident illustrates how far Tesla has come, so quickly. Here’s Tesla in 2004:
“Had anyone in Detroit stopped by Tesla motors at this point, they would have ended up in hysterics. The sum total of the company’s automotive expertise was that a couple of the guys at Tesla really liked cars and another one had created a series of science fair projects based on technology that the automotive industry considered ridiculous.”
That’s an excerpt from that Ashlee Vance book that everyone was talking about months ago, and which TeslaMondo has finally gotten around to reading. It took a while to snag it from the library. TeslaMondo did not wish to blow its entire annual budget by buying the book.
Anyway, compare that snapshot of baby Tesla to the adolescent company today, with its celebrity construction site in Nevada. A Tesla factory is sexy enough to attract paparazzi hoping to catch it sunbathing topless or something. Maybe Tesla should rename it Rihanna.