Tesla is moving forward with its Hyperloop, as the Elon Musk company continues its attempt to almost single handedly map out the next decade of electric transportation, this time in the form of electric bullet trains. Tesla already leads the electric car market with the sportiest and fastest performing, not to mention best looking, cars on the electric market. The company is also making breakthroughs on the battery technology side of the equation. But other challenges remain which won’t be solved by the Hyperloop alone.
The most immediate challenge to electric car adoption has long been the fact that their batteries tend to last something closer to one hundred miles than the three to four hundred miles that a traditional automobile can get on a single tank of gasoline. Combine that with the fact that it’s far more difficult to find charging stations than gas stations, and owning an electric car has been burdensome. Both those concerns are evolving. Tesla has cracked the four hundred mile mark in its battery development. And a greater number of locations are offering recharging, at least in forward leaning cities – but that’s a core part of the problem.
The most forward thinking Americans, the ones who led the shift toward buying hybrid cars and the ones who are most eager to lead the shift toward electric vehicles, tend to live in liberal leaning cities like New York and San Francisco and Los Angeles. The trouble: those crowded cities are largely occupied by apartment dwellers. They park their cars in an underground garage at their apartment building or on the street. And there is as of yet no solution for how to charge an electric car under such circumstances.
That leaves Tesla largely marketing its electric vehicles to people in progressive cities who are wealthy enough to afford a house there, or to less-forward thinking Americans living in the suburbs where houses are more commonplace. The Hyperloop is a good start at revolutionizing public transport in those cities. But if Elon Musk truly wants to make electric cars mainstream, he may need to begin leaning on forward thinking cities to pass legislation requiring charging ports in the parking garages of newly constructed apartment buildings. That’s where the ongoing adoption battle will truly be fought and won.