Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and CTO J.B Straubel at Edison Electricity Institute’s Annual Convention
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CTO J.B. Straubel were in New Orleans on June 8th, the day before the Shareholder Meeting, to speak to utility executives at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) annual convention. In a fascinating interview, Tesla’s top brass laid out a strong case for their overall mission.
Source: Photo by Ted Jackson, Nola.com* | The Times-Picayune
The interview provides a unique glimpse into the “culture” that has developed at Tesla Motors. Musk and Straubel discuss a corporate culture where internal meetings are limited to a small core team only (these meetings are expected to have 4-6 team members). In addition, it’s expected that a Tesla team member actually walk out of a meeting if there is little he/she can contribute or learn. Also discussed were some (limited) cross-pollination between Space X and Tesla. Then, the discussion moves to electric vehicles, solar/renewables, and Tesla Energy’s stationary storage products, both Powerwall and Powerpack, with special attention to utility-scale applications. Musk also had some "not so kind" words for the LA Times towards the end...
Source, Youtube: EEITV
According to Nola.com*, here are five key takeaways from the EEI annual conference that demonstrate how Musk and Straubel envision electric vehicles becoming an American staple over the next decade.
- Batteries are getting better and cheaper. Straubel noted battery demand is on the rise, not just from car makers but also from homeowners and utilities interested in storing electricity. The result is better -- and cheaper -- battery technology, which results in more affordable electric cars, he said. He expects battery prices could drop to $100 per kilowatt hour over the next decade, nearly half what Tesla pays today.
- There are more places to charge up. Tesla rolled out its Tesla Superchargers across the country last year to offer rapid charging to its drivers on long trips. Musk said Tesla drivers can travel throughout the U.S., much of northwest Europe and China with electric cars. Musk said Teslas can recharge in 30 minutes, though the company is working on ways to shorten the wait.
- Charging stations are not needed everywhere. Musk noted more than 90 percent of energy charges to Tesla cars are done overnight at home. He said charging stations are popping up at grocery stores, malls and other public spaces to provide electric car drivers security, but they will be unnecessary in the future. Electric car chargers make sense in the "all the places people charge their phones, mainly at home and at the office," he said.
- Utilities benefit from electric car use. Electric cars need electricity and most of us get electricity from large regional utilities. Musk and Straubel encouraged utilities to embrace electric cars, which they said one of the few growing markets for energy demand. Utilities have a vested interest in making it easier for drivers to install charging stations at home, they said.
- More people see pollution as a problem. Musk touted electric cars as a viable alternative as governments and consumers seek to cut carbon emissions. Yes, electric cars rely on electricity generated by power plants fueled by fossil fuels, but Musk said the shift toward solar, wind and cleaner-burning natural gas is increasing overall sustainability.
*Source: Nola.com – please note that this article incorrectly cites the Model 3 with a promised range of 250 miles, this was (likely) a transcription error - Model 3 range noted during the interview was 200 miles.