For my research project, I wanted to choose a topic thatI would be very interested in.  Also, Iwanted to choose something that is closely related to my career path.  The topic I chose involves Tesla Motors andthe advancement of technology in cars.

 SinceI am planning to become an automotive engineer, I believe this topic suites mevery well.  I am very interested in carsand want to learn how we can improve them to help out the environment.  Ever since I was a little kid I have dreamedof designing cars, and becoming an automotive engineer can fulfill thatdream.  Technology is very fast growing,so why can’t we use that advancement to help out the earth?  With this topic, I will be researching thetechnology in Teslas and various ways how we can use technology for the greatergood.

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  I will write about the informationI find involving the actions Tesla has already taken, and what may be soon tocome.  Technology is forever changing andI believe that I will be able to find a lot of information on this topic.  Hopefully through the research I do, I willbe able to know a lot more about the field I am going into.  This project will not only be fun, but it canalso help my future.

  I hope one day Ican even work for a company like Tesla Motors to improve day to day lifethrough the advancement of automobiles.  TeslaMotors is one of few companies who have been thinking about the future of cars. I will discuss the history and mainpeople of Tesla, environmental improvements that electric cars make, andtechnology improvements in the automotive industry.

With such a fast-changingcompany, the amount of ways that it can impact people’s day to day lives islimitless.History            Tesla Motors was named after the famous inventor.  Tesla was not only an inventor but he was alsoan electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a physicist.  Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and back thenthey probably had no idea what the company will soon become (Tesla Motors).  In 2008, Tesla came out with their first car,the Tesla Roadster.  The 2008 Roadstercost a little over one-hundred grand when it was released but has reduced tounder fifty thousand over the years.

 TheRoadster’s zero to sixty time is a little over four seconds and has a top speedof 125 miles per hour (Zero To 60 Times).  The new Roadster that will be sold in 2020 hasa zero to sixty time of 1.9 seconds, a top speed of 250 miles per hour, andcosts two hundred thousand U.S. dollars (Tesla).

 Not that affordable of a car, but for Tesla’shistory of luxury vehicles, this isn’t too much of a surprise.  When comparing the two Roadsters, you candefinitely tell that they are the same car model.  The main difference between the two is the2020 Roadster is much more sleek and aerodynamic.  This vehicle is the epitome of a futuristiccar.  It even has a spaceship likesteering wheel.  In 2012, Tesla startedto create the Model S.

  This vehicle hasthree different battery options which each give a different range ofmiles.  The best battery option comeswith a zero to sixty time of around 2.5 seconds, which is a little slower thanthe previous Roadster.  Despite thedowngrade of the acceleration, the top speed got bumped up from 125 to 130miles per hour (Tesla).  Not a hugedifference, but is comparably better than the 2008 Roadster.  Also in 2012, Tesla came out withSuperchargers, which are free charging stations for people with Teslas (TeslaMotors).

 In 2015, the Model X began tobe sold.  The Model X is a crossover SUVand has self-driving capabilities.  Ithas three different models, 90D, P90D, and P100D.  These models are listed from worst to best.  The Model X P100D has a zero to sixty time of2.9 seconds, a top speed of 155 miles per hour, and a range of up to 295 miles(Tesla).

  The Model X is labeled thesafest and fasted SUV and lives up to its name. The final model is the Tesla Model 3; this is the most recent model,other than the planned Roadster.  Thisvehicle has the biggest range of 310 miles, zero to sixty of 5.1 seconds, and atop speed of 140 miles per hour.  Thiscar is probably the closest to an everyday affordable car at a cost ofthirty-five thousand dollars (Tesla).  Alot of people cannot afford a car that expensive, but for Tesla that is fairlycheap.

  All Teslas have the same look tothem, excluding the Model X.  They areall very slick, high class sedans.  TheModel X on the other hand is just about the same, but it is an SUV version ofthe others.  The most amazing part ofTesla is that it has had no advertising.  It has built up its popularity mainly throughword of mouth and the internet (Halliday 17).  Although the internet is a type ofadvertising, there is no cost of getting the word out there.

 To get as popular as Tesla without advertisinghappens to a company once in a lifetime. Tesla has already grown so much and will continue to do so. Main People/Funding            Stated before, Tesla was founded in 2003.  Tesla was founded by two entrepreneurs, MartinEberhard and Marc Tarpenning.

 Eberhardwas born on May 15, 1960 in California and he went to school at the Universityof Illinois.  There he finished with abachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in electricalengineering.  Tarpenning, who was alsofrom California, was born on June 1, 1964 and went to the University ofCalifornia.  At the University of California,Tarpenning earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science.  Both Eberhard and Tarpenning left Tesla in2008 (Martin Eberhard and MarcTarpenning).  One of the main menof Tesla is Elon Musk.

  Musk was born onJune 28, 1971 in Pretoria South Africa. Elon Musk was one of the first people to invest in the company of TeslaMotors.  He attended Queen’s Universityand then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania.

 There he earned bachelor’s degrees in economicsand physics.  Musk has made a lot ofmoney through his smart decisions to invest in several companies that haveblown up in popularity.  He founded Zip2which was bought for $307 million and he founded X.com which became PayPal andwas bought by eBay for $1.5 billion. After he invested in Tesla, Musk became chairman and CEO of thecompany.  Musk had to take several risksin order to gain the amount of success he had achieved.

  These risks worked out in his favor and thatis why he has become so wealthy.  Musk’snet worth is said to be around $19.5 billion (Elon Musk).  All these men are extremely intelligent andsuccessful.  All three of them saw anopportunity and took it.  The companywouldn’t have gotten so great without the mindsets they had to make it thatway.

  This goes to show the amount thatcan be achieved with the right mindset. CO2 Emissions            There have been several studies to try and figure out if gasoline-poweredautomobiles are comparatively worse than plug-in electric vehicles (or PEVs).  Each type of vehicle has a different amountof carbon dioxide that they give off.  Theaverage emissions of each type of vehicle are stated in “Electric Cars” byPeter Van Doren.

  He wrote,  Currentplug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) consume 0.35kWh per mile, and thus result in0.735 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions per mile. Gasoline-powered autos andlight trucks in the United States in 2009 averaged 21.7 miles per gallon, andeach gallon of gasoline consumed resulted in 19.6 lbs. of carbon dioxide.

Thus,conventional vehicles emitted 0.9 lbs. (Van Doren) Even though this is asmall difference in pounds, it does show that PEVs are better for theenvironment than gasoline-powered vehicles. Several fuel-efficient vehicles have a smaller emission of carbondioxide per mile, but compared to the other gas-powered cars, the average israised to above PEVs.

  Even though noteveryone’s intentions are to improve the environment, switching to an electric caris definitely in the discussion.  Thissmall difference in carbon dioxide emissions per mile will eventually add up tobe a huge difference.  The sooner morecar companies switch over to electric powered cars the better off ourenvironment will be in the long run.  Weshouldn’t start worrying about the emissions when it’s too late. Environment ImprovementsByimproving the way automobiles are made, we can help out the environmenttremendously.

  These changes can be veryslight or can completely change the way a car works.  The first thing that can be done is reducethe weight of the car.  This can be doneby either using different materials, cutting down the size of the car, orreducing the amount of heavy luxuries in the car.  By making an automobile lightweight, itextremely reduces the fuel consumption.

  Reducingthe fuel consumption not only reduces the cost but it can benefit theenvironment in the long run.  Lightweight vehicles are also way more efficient when driving.  Light weight vehicles are very easy tocontrol and in my opinion, more fun.  Iused to work at Delta Sonic and through my employment, I have driven a lot ofdifferent cars.

  Cars like the ToyotaPrius and the Smart Fortwo, are just two examples of light weight cars thatI’ve driven.  Both these cars felt a lotmore smooth and reliable.  It is acompletely different feeling than driving a Ford F250, which is very rough andhard to maneuver. Another way to improve the environment through vehicles isproducing hybrid vehicles.

  A hybridvehicle is a car with an electric motor and a gasoline engine. Hybrid cars arevery environmental friendly.  Having anelectric motor and a gas engine uses less fuel than a normal gasoline poweredcar.  Since it uses less fuel it willalso reduce the carbon dioxide emissions. Going along with reducing the weight of cars, hybrid cars are normallymade with very light weight materials compared to gas powered vehicles.

  Hybrid cars have so many benefits that itcompletely makes people overlook the cons of the vehicles.  The cons include usually higher costs and thevehicle being less powerful than normal cars. The costs are definitely something to consider in order to help theenvironment.  There are so many ways wecan improve the way our vehicles treat the environment. As technology improves,the more efficient we can push the cars to be.

 Self-Driving            Tesla is very ahead of other car companies.  The technology that comes with a Teslavehicle is something that impresses a lot of people.  All Tesla vehicles have the hardware to makethe car have self-driving capabilities (Tesla). The thought of a car that drives itself is almost a nightmare.  To my amazement, the self-driving technologyactually works very smoothly.

  I havewatched several videos on the Model X P100D driving by itself.  The car can detect the lines on each side andsteers itself to stay in the lines.  If Iwere to own a Tesla, I don’t think I would use this feature.

  I’d probably try it out once, but I wouldn’thave the confidence in the car to keep me safe in every situation that mayoccur.  This technology has to be veryadvanced so when an outside driver accidently swerves in front of you, it willdetect the situation and stop the car before anyone gets hurt.  During the self-driving mode, the driver cantake control at any point in time.  Thisfurther ensures the driver’s safety in case a situation like this everhappens.  Even though this feature isvery cool, I don’t see it being a huge benefit of owning the vehicle.  It’s not like you can take a nap while thecar drives you to your destination.  Thedriver should still have their full attention on the road while theself-driving mode is activated.

  Teslamaking cars that can drive themselves shows how advanced they are, but I feellike this technology is somewhat of a waste. They could have spent their time creating something else that willactually improve the way a car runs or how the cars are produced. Technology Improvements             Many companies can look up to Tesla and how fast they areimproving their technology.  Advancingthe technology in cars can make them much more efficient and improve driving ona day to day basis.  There have beenseveral studies that show just how much the technology has improved over theyears. Don MacKenzie and John Heywood wrote about the fuel consumption of carsas the years progress.

  They stated, “Between 1975 and 2009, the actual fuel consumption of theaverage new car was reduced by 50%” (MacKenzie, Heywood 923).  This reduction of fuel consumption goes alongwith helping out the environment.  A lotof the technology advancements will fall into the same category of improvingthe environment.  If I were to work for acar company as an engineer I would gear my focus more towards the safety ofcars.  The safety can be improved in somany ways.

  First, I would try to usedifferent materials that would be better in the situation of a crash.  The materials that would be most ideal wouldbe something that breaks down instead of crushing.  When you have a very hard material and get inan accident it will get dented and pushed inward like a crushed pop can.  This can be very dangerous for the driver andpassengers because it is very easy to get impaled by a sharp piece of metal.  Material like carbon fiber breaks up when itis hit and this further ensures the safety of anyone in a crash.

  Another way to improve the safety in cars isto increase the number of sensors and warning signs.  If you have ever driven a car with a backupcamera, you know that it beeps when you get too close to something whilereversing.  Why can’t cars be made tohave this type of sensor all around the vehicle?  If the technology is already there, havingthese sensors in a 360 around the vehicle would further improve the safety ofthe driver.  Something else that could beimplemented is a built-in dashboard camera. Many people buy a separate camera to record their driving on a dailybasis.  Having a camera built-in wouldhelp those who don’t go out and buy a camera, to record the road in casesomething occurs that should be recorded to help in court.  As cars get further and further into thefuture we can realize just how much we can improve the way we do things.  The smallest things in life are some of thethings that make the biggest impact.

 Small technology advancements don’t seem like too much until the timecomes, and it really pays off to have it.             Through my research for this paper, I have a betterunderstanding of what engineers for big companies like Tesla go through.  They can spend months and even years onsomething for car that will only improve it slightly.  Doing this research project gets me veryexcited to finish school and go into the world of designing cars.

  Famous engineers, like Martin Eberhard, arewhat motivate me to want to make a difference through automobiles.  My research on how technology improvement canhelp out the environment has helped me see just how people are already startingto make a difference.   I hope that I will be able to become one of thesepeople and improve people’s daily driving while also improving the world aroundus.