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May 30, 2023

The Rise and Fall of Tesla’s Unsustainable Solar-Powered EV

The first auto company to mass-produce an electric car was Tesla, with their Model S sedan. Teslas are known for having a good range and high-tech features. The Model S even has semi-autonomous driving functions. With its low cost of ownership, a high resale value, and the best technology available in electric cars, the Tesla Model S was supposed to be a sustainable alternative to conventional fuel cars. However, as is the case with most new technologies today, there are concerns over how sustainable they really are. The solar power component of Teslas is one such concern. Find out more about the risks involved with owning an all-electric car as well as tips on protecting your investment.

What is the Tesla Solar Roof?

Owners of the Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles have had the option to have a solar roof since November 2016. The solar roof is a thin layer of photovoltaic cells embedded in the roof of the car. These cells charge a Tesla battery pack, which provides the car with electricity and charges a Tesla wall battery. The data collected from the roof is used to power an array of Tesla gadgets. The roof also has a unique design, with a seamlessly integrated light sensor that can adjust the light saturation, temperature, and intensity of the roof’s LEDs to mimic the look of natural sunlight. Tesla expects the solar roof to last for 25 years. A Tesla owner can choose to remove the tiles altogether to do a full roof change and get a brand new car. The solar roof is built by Tesla’s in-house shingle-making division, Solar Roof Systems. It is the only roof that comes with the company’s full warranty of 10 years, half the length of the rest of the company’s product warranties.

Tesla Battery Pack and inverter

Tesla claims the solar roof’s battery has the capacity to charge an 85% battery, but the actual charging speed depends on the energy consumption of the car. For example, if a Tesla is parked in a fully dark garage, there is no need for the headlights, which consume a lot of energy. This could result in a lower than 85% battery charge and, therefore, very slow charging. The Tesla solar roof also has a built-in inverter. It converts the direct current from the panels into alternating current that powers the lights, fridges, air conditioners, and other gadgets in the car. Tesla also offers an option to add a Tesla-branded shingle generator to the roof. When electricity is available, the generator charges a Tesla shingle battery. The shingle battery can be used to power a Tesla S or X and charge the Tesla wall battery.

Tesla Solar Roof Costs and Installation

Tesla offers two different solar roof options. The base option comes with a solar roof that incorporates Tesla’s solar tiles and a Tesla-branded shingles with a price tag of $36.85/sq ft. The “premium” solar roof comes with a thicker roof, which adds to the overall cost but also adds to the lifespan of the roof. The premium roof costs $51.85/sq ft. However, Tesla offers a “0% financing option” for the standard roof that allows the car owner to pay $10,000 over the life of the car with no interest or payments. This option is only valid for people who don’t have a good credit history.

Risks of Owning a Tesla Solar Roof

– No downward price pressure – After the initial surge in demand for the Model 3, it looks like there will be downward price pressure on the Model S and Model X, as the demand is likely to be much more than the production rate. This could result in a downward price trend. – Lower than expected lifespan – Tesla has been projecting a 25-year lifespan for their solar roof. However, due to increased sunlight exposure and the age of the car, the roof is expected to last for only 10 years. – Lack of innovation – Tesla is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to new technologies. However, the Tesla solar roof seems to be taking the safe route. While the technology seems to be very innovative, a lot of other carmakers are now jumping onto the affordable and convenient solar bandwagon. This could result in lower sales for Tesla.

Final Words

The Tesla solar roof looks like a good option for people who want to go green but also have a high budget. The technology looks very innovative and promises a smooth transition to green energy. However, it is important to note that the lifespan of the roof is going to be much less than what Tesla has projected. The price is also expected to go up over time, which could be another barrier for the technology.

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