Tesla’s Alternative World is Here and Now
US-based electric car company Tesla Motors set out with a goal to usher in an era of electric driven transportation using renewable sources of energy. It was founded in 2003, and 13 years later it looks well on its way toward achieving that goal.
Today, supercharger stations crowd a map of the United States, with similar coverage planned for Europe and Asia. The company has produced 3 successful models: the Roadster, the Model S, and most recently the Model X. Each car was designed to help develop the electric car market in a very specific way both financially and technologically with each model being progressively cheaper and more capable, and thus more accessible to a wider range of people.
However, despite its current success, Tesla Motors almost didn’t come into being. Founder and CEO Elon Musk has recounted in interviews how he had hoped to encourage AC Propulsion to develop their tzero model into a more viable product. When they declined, Musk and others took the tzero design and transformed it into Tesla’s first model, the Roadster.
Musk’s attitude, which also prompted him to create his SpaceX rocket company as well as SolarCity, is one of: if you think it is necessary and should be done, and no one else is doing it, do-it-yourself.
This has also prompted him to pursue alternative forms of mass transportation including the Hyperloop project slowly taking shape.
Don’t Fight the System, Build Your Own.
Tesla Motors was created essentially to solve a problem. Electric transportation and the necessary infrastructure needed to support it simply was not being developed. Established car companies seemed hesitant to do it, governments seemed undecided in creating the optimal conditions to prompt it, and thus an antiquated system was allowed to continue perpetually. This was not for a lack of people protesting and advocating otherwise, it was simply for a lack of viable alternatives. Tesla Motors began creating those alternatives.
Musk and his team at Tesla Motors did not set out to protest, fight with, or tear down this antiquated system. Instead, they simply began systematically replacing it with a better alternative. They have summoned the dedication, talent, leverage, and incentives required to weather regulatory obstacles, political criticism, media hounding, and cultural resistance based on preexisting expectations and financial realities among potential customers.
Today, you can still buy a petroleum-driven car, but side-by-side a Tesla, as cost becomes less of an issue, there is no comparison or competing with Tesla’s vision of an electric future.
For those tempted to simply acknowledge Tesla Motor’s success and “leave it to them,” they may be missing the most important lesson Musk and his team have tried to teach the world. If you want the world to change, you must change it yourself. You must go back to the very basics of the problems you are trying to solve, and work your way back-forward toward a viable solution that could potentially solve them.
For Musk, a successful entrepreneur with access to significant capital and human resources, he is able to effectively create an entire, nationwide and perhaps even global alternative infrastructure to move humanity forward. For us, individually, we can think of others ways to improve our communities and network with others nationally and globally, to replicate our success in a wider and more meaningful manner.
Hopefully large enterprises like Tesla Motors and local grassroots efforts can both compliment each other and meet each other somewhere in between.
Our recent coverage of a solar-powered school in rural Thailand told the story of a school that lacks the vast resources of Tesla Motors, but by offering training and by leveraging social media to share knowledge on how to install and best use solar power, a national network of people both using solar power and capable of installing systems for others is forming. Already, when asked to install solar systems in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok, the school’s founder was able to defer the opportunity to Bangkok-based members of this growing network.
Whether you live in Asia, the Americas, Europe, or Africa, there is a way to build or contribute toward similar networks, not only for advancing alternative energy, but for a whole host of paradigm shifts.
Tesla Motors is an extreme example of what can be done by highly organized and well-motivated entrepreneurs building an alternative vision of the future. It is an alternative future that is coming into focus right here, right now. But it is also a hopeful example for others to not only buy into, but to replicate elsewhere, even if on a smaller and less spectacular scale. Don’t commit yourself to protest a system that has nothing to gain from changing the status quo, nor waste time in tearing it down. Instead, build a system of your own, the way you think it should be done.
If your vision of the future is truly better, people will support you, and no matter what the obstacles are you may face, you will be able to overcome them with that support. Tesla Motors and others certainly have, and in a very big way.