I wrote the following letter in early August 2014 and sent it to Elon Musk at Tesla’s home office. I received a pleasant response from his PR folks. Several requests have been made to see the letter and its contents, so I am publishing them in a public forum in hopes of better exposure. And maybe a call from Mr. Musk. This version has been modified (lengthened) for clarity and readibilty.Mr. Elon Musk 3500 Deer Creek Palo Alto, CA 94304
Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my letter. Many congratulations to you and Tesla Motors for the increasing success with your line of electric cars. It’s so refreshing to see such innovation in an industry that typically shies away from it. Releasing many of your patents to the public is a bold, but necessary move.
While recently considering innovations around extended range electric vehicles, I had a couple of thoughts which may be worth consideration.
- “E-pipes”: A play on the traditional exhaust pipes. Perhaps they could be re-introduced onto Teslas, but with a very environmental purpose. E-tubes would consist of large intakes on the front of the car and run the length, exiting the side/rear (as with traditional exhaust pipes). These pipes are engineered to maximize airflow and volume, creating a high velocity wind tunnel. Lightweight turbines power small electric generators at optimum locations; one per side. This would allow Tesla drivers to harness the power of the wind their speed generates, providing a small charge to the batteries or powering auxiliary devices like radio and climate control. Drivers on highways could stand to benefit most from this innovation. To be honest, I’m not sure if the air could be manipulated in such a way to completely eliminate additional vehicular drag, but it seems like a feasible idea for the brilliant engineering team at your firm.
- Tesla Pickup Truck: Pickup trucks account for a massive portion of new car sales and greenhouse emissions. Ford’s F150 alone accounts for 6% of new car sales. Many of these can be attributed to fleet sales. Fleet drivers include trades and construction, municipal and state/provincial organization, utilities and tens of thousands of small business owners. The vast majority of these operate within a limited geographical area, in town, and drive less than 100 miles a day. A Tesla truck, designed with fleet owners/truck “people” in mind, would make a massive impact on greenhouse gases and fuel consumption. It could help reduce the reliance and influence of foreign oil on both our economies. Tesla’s unique design features and electric platform give it huge platform as a mobile operating base for the solo contractor. Charge stations, power jacks, internet connectivity and productivity applications are becoming huge must-haves in the marketplace. A truck $40,000 to $60,000 in range would be immensely popular and an easy sell to thousands of contractors and fleets across North America, even globally. It would also give you a platform to expand into other traditional fleet vehicles. This presents a huge opportunity for Tesla both fiscally but as an overall champion in the elimination of vehicle based greenhouse gas emissions.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to consider my thoughts. I look forward to more great innovations and, someday, owning a Tesla myself.