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10 Reasons Your Next Car May Be Electric

For consumers who follow Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) closely, most of them could easily come up with a reasonable case for going electric -- or at least a reasonable case for buying a Tesla Model S. But, for the average consumer, there are still many looming questions. Over the next few years, however, this is probably going to change as Tesla paves the way for mass-market adoption of electric cars.

Model S.

Here are 10 reasons, thanks to Tesla's enormous progress over the past year, that driving an electric car may soon be not just feasible, but smart.

1. Say goodbye to range anxiety. Sure, the typical electric car gets very little range and needs help from a gas tank to drive a reasonable distance. But that's changing. Tesla's Model S already gets 265 miles of range on one charge.

Source: Tesla Motors Sept. 14 corporate presentation.

2. Whether you like it or not, the infrastructure is coming. By the end of 2015, 98% of the U.S. population will be within Tesla's driving range to a Tesla Supercharger station. And this isn't just a U.S. phenomenon. In a September press release, Tesla laid out the details of its plans for its Europe expansion:

By the end of 2014, 100 percent of the population of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, and Luxembourg will live within 320 km of a Supercharger station, with about 90 percent of the population in England, Wales, and Sweden living within the same distance of a charging station.

Norway, in fact, is already covered.

Model S chargeport. Source: Tesla Motors.

3. Charging is faster than you may think. When most consumers think of electric charging stations, they aren't thinking of Tesla's Supercharger stations, which are still a new phenomenon. These beastly stations provide Tesla owners a charge that is, on average, 20 times faster than most public charging stations.

Of course, you could just charge overnight while you're sleeping.

4. No time to charge? Just swap it out. Tesla is piloting battery swapping at a few of its Supercharging stations in California this year.

How does battery swapping work? Model S owners can swap out their batteries for a fully charged one in less than half the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Don't even bother getting out of your car -- you won't need to. Tesla says it will cost about $50 to swap a battery, less than the cost of filling up a gas tank for many vehicles.

Demonstration of battery swap. Source: Tesla Motors website.

5. Affordable fully electric cars are just around the corner. Sure, the Model S is way out of the average consumer's price range, starting at about $70,000 before any tax credits. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised to bring a more affordable fully electric vehicle to market in three to four years. He says the car will be priced at about $35,000 and have approximately 200 miles of range.

6. They perform. Telsa's Model S has won a number of impressive accolades, along them Motor Trend's Car of the Year and 99 out of 100 possible points from Consumer Reports -- just to name a few.

Model S behind Motor Trend Car of the Year Trophy. Source: Tesla Motors website.

7. They're incredibly safe. Tesla's Model S is the safest vehicle ever, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If it wasn't fully electric, it would have been more difficult for the car to set a record safety rating; Telsa-specific features, such as the large crumple zone in the front where the Model S has a trunk instead of an engine, or its low center of gravity thanks to the battery back built under the floor of the car, aided the Model S in achieving the record score.

8. They're fast. Telsa's AC induction motors with a single gear box have instant and maximum torque from a stand-still, pulling you into your seat when you press the pedal to the floor. Even when compared to other luxury cars and sports cars, the Model S is downright fast.

9. Juice is cheaper than gas (and in some cases it's free). The cost benefit of electric charging over gas is not just marginal; it's mind-blowing. On average, it costs about $12 to fully charge a Model S from home in the United States. Of course, it varies by location, depending on your cost of electricity per kilowatt hour. 

When you're on the go, however, Tesla's Superchargers allow Model S owners who have opted to pay $2,000-$2,500 to equip their vehicles for Supercharging to charge for free for a lifetime (Supercharging comes standard on any Model S with an 85 kWh battery).

10. Another 20 billion reasons. I'm not the only one who believes an electric car (a Tesla in particular) may be your next car. Hedge funds, investors, and the Street have shown their unwavering faith in Tesla to the tune of $20 billion. The company's stock price has soared more than 500% in the past year, giving the company a market capitalization at nearly one-third of Ford's. The market has already priced in mass-market adoption of hundreds of thousands of Tesla's affordable car.

Will Tesla live up to all the hype? It's very possible. So far, the company has exceeded all expectations and continues to sell every car it makes. If Tesla's short history is any indication of its future, there may be hundreds of thousands of Teslas on the road in as little as five years.

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Read/Post Comments (18) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 2:54 PM, badkat7 wrote:

    I'm waiting for fuel cell cars. To me they make far more sense as they can be refueled and use far fewer rare earth metals. A fuel cell has a lifetime of at least 20-25 years and you can use home solar to "crack" your own hydrogen from water.

    Companies like APS (Arizona) are trying to kill off grid-attached solar installations so cracking hydrogen is a good way to avoid them - and hey, maybe we can have fuel cells in our house and cut our reliance on grasping and deceitful companies like APS?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 3:03 PM, badkat7 wrote:

    Also, the "swap" option for pure electric isn't as simple as it sounds. They require that you return via the same "swap" station to retrieve your own "recharged" battery. If you can't do that you get hit with hefty fees.

    To be honest, what did you expect from a CEO who talks about "pneumatic" trains but entirely misses the possibility of vacuum trains travelling at speeds in excess of 7,500 mph?

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 3:33 PM, coll1951 wrote:

    Nice article, must have been written by the Tesla PR department. Just remember this, next time you decide to take that cross country U.S. trip, you'll need to cool your heels for a total of 30 hours at those Fabulous Tesla charging stations, assuming you can find one. Plus, just hope it doesn't breakdown or your involved in an accident, because you may not be able to get it repaired. Bodyshops, in parts of California are filled with Tesla S's that are waiting for repair parts, because Tesla Service Center don't do body repairs, and these bad boys like to crash.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 4:19 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    The Nissan Leaf has a range of about 100 miles which makes it the perfect commuter car. This would cover about 90% to 95% of most people driving needs.

    The major problem with an all electric car is that you cannot hop in one and go across the country but how often do you that? Maybe once or twice a year or maybe never. So just rent a gas car for your family vacation. Problem solved.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 4:29 PM, KGerbil1 wrote:

    And with every battery company working at full speed, and spending untold dollars to increase the range, who thinks that 5 years from now the Tesla will still only have a range of 265 miles.

    It should be more like 500 miles. Then electric will pound gasoline, diesel, and natural gas!

    And new battery technology's are in research that say they could increase battery life by 10 times.

    A Tesla with a 2650 mile range! WHO WONDN'T want one of those.

    Battery companies were a sleepy business when they were primarily used for flash lights and TV remotes, but with demand will come advancement.

    Smart phones got it started by demanding ever more time between charges, electric cars will put demand on steroids. Say goodbye Shell oil.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 4:30 PM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    0% chance my next car will be electric. Sorry but they are a very small niche market and will be so for years to come. Batteries have a finite life, one that's not like a light switch. At some point they need replacing. Charging them faster just shortens their life.

    As far as replacing batteries, maybe in a city where the car is free from dirt and grime but not where I live. Plus in the winter the underside of a car gets covered with slush and ice. The last thing I would want is, electrical connections under the car. Sure they will be sealed but sooner or later salt will find it's way inside that battery during a swap and it's going to be lights out.

    I have no doubts that EVs will play a part in our future but they aren't the key, at least not as they currently exist. Anyone who wants to own one has my support. I just know that they are not in my near future.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 4:39 PM, john2000young wrote:

    This article make sense to me.

    I am waiting for Gen III model.

    Fuel cell is too complicated.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 4:40 PM, thegreentreefrog wrote:

    The Teslas S Weighs 4,741 Lbs THE ELECTRIC PIG!1962 Dodge station wagon 4,325 Lbs ALSO A PIG. Don't call them electric cars until they win at 24 hours of lemans,Indy 500,and Daytona 500. They are GOLF CARTS>

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 5:02 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    I love my electric car. I self-installed a 6.1KW solar PV system for $13K in parts and it will provide me with all electricity I need both my house and my electric car for the next 25+ years. It is nice to neither pay for gasoline nor electricity.

    Go ahead and remain addicted to that price volatile oil. I'm done with it.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 8:12 PM, HunterofWarrior7 wrote:

    Change and innovation has always been met with resistance, from flying to women's rights. Time will tell. For now, the amount of water being polluted, the smog, etc., maybe reason enough for China, California's San Joaquin Valley, etc. to update their technology.

    When I swapped out a Tesla battery, it took about 7 minutes. It didn't seem difficult.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 8:51 PM, AjitC wrote:

    Tesla's BEV tech will evolve to the point that price will come down, range will increase. Supercharger networks, and other chargers will be installed quickly.

    Look at the cost advantages in terms of energy. Where I live, it costs $7.50 to charge my 85P. A comparable car like a S550 would cost $$75 to fill up. That is 10x cost advantage. That is disruptive.

    Yes, it is a $70,000-100,000 car. However, just like any manufactured tech product prices will come down. Look at the cost of microwaves, cellphones, home appliances over the last 30 years.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 9:06 PM, gjsuhr wrote:

    It's possible that battery prices will come down and electric cars will take over....but....batteries have been around for 200 years...they are not a new technology. Recent advances have been driven by the laptop computer market and people have been working on them hard for 15-20 years. It is by no means certain that advances will continue.

    For those of you who say "prices of technology always comes down, " wouldn't that apply to all cars. Anybody noticed how the most modern, technologically advanced cars are cheaper than they were 20 years ago? either. It's all about the battery, and it is by no means certain those pices will come down. BMW is now producing the i3....with a 22 kWH battery....roughly 1/3 the size of Tesla's S. They seem to think that batteries are expensive, and they have been building expensive cars for a while.

  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2013, at 9:49 PM, GrumpyKTM wrote:

    The article is incorrect in stating use of Tesla Superchargers is free for all Model S owners. Its a $2000 build option, $2500 after the fact, but included in the 85 kWh option.

    As for battery swap why would I be interested in paying $50 for a quick swap for up to 265 miles when the Supercharger will add 200 miles in 30 minutes? There would have to be something better/important for that $100/hr. Then again if I had a 40 or 60 kWh battery then it might make sense to swap once to 85 kWh for a week.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 1:46 AM, DeaneCO wrote:

    Test-driving a Tesla was an epiphany moment for me... I knew instantly that electric vehicles would one day replace internal combustion vehicles. I bought a Model S this summer and now driving (which always seemed like an unavoidable drudge part of my day) is an amazing and enjoyable adventure. This car is so fast and smooth and quiet, and, charged by the solar panels on my roof, is a CO2 free and incredibly cost effective means of transportation.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 2:37 AM, TheBorogroves wrote:

    I really do like Tesla - but to write this article you should talk about other companies as well. More than one company is starting to add greater range. Battery tech is being researched by tons of people. Fast torque is not unique to a model S. Even with things like the safety claim you are making that claim based on ONE car, from ONE company.

    Finally, market cap is a terrible reason to expect a success. If you think popular stocks haven't flopped, been scams or been unable to effectively transition product types(luxury vs mass market), you are mistaken.

    Disclaimer: I personally do expect Tesla to succeed and would very much like to get a gen 3 vehicle within a couple years of their release.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 4:24 AM, 7foolonthehill8 wrote:

    there is only 3 reasons your next car will be Electric.


    2# TESLA - S-TYPE

    3# TESLA - X-TYPE

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 10:42 AM, coll1951 wrote:

    The Tesla model is flawed, the real world future model will be a combination of smaller (half the 1000 lb Tesla battery) battery, plus a small 1 or 2 cylinder engine for battery charging. That would eliminate the need for charging stations, battery swaps and the hour plus charging wait times. This would also not require the additional coal fired power plants, that a world of Tesla's would require. Not everybody need a $100,000 400hp electric to drive to work or the grocery store. The market for the Model S is very limited, just like the market for the Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series. Both Mercedes and BMW sell or mainly lease, less that 38,000 of these cars a year,combined, in the U.S.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2013, at 12:33 PM, NavyChum wrote:

    Reason #11: We'll import LESS OIL FROM THE MIDDLE EAST. The price we pay for it is huge - not just at the pump, but in the blood of thousands of young Americans. We still care too much about that forsaken region. People can hack themselves to pieces in other parts of the world, and we don't care. But if there's a little nonsense in the Middle East, a carrier battlegroup is steaming there in minutes. IT'S TIME TO WEAN OURSELVES FROM MIDDLE EAST OIL. And EVs are a step in the right direction.

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