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Aug 11, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Tesla: Is the next step an electric "Transformer"-style model capable of recharging itself?

Tesla boss Elon Musk has grand designs when it comes to electric cars, and recently spoke of building a "Transformer"-style vehicle that could charge itself up with energy, using a panoramic fold-down solar roof. Musk also predicted the end of the steering wheel within the next 20 years.


A Transformer-style Tesla is Elon Musk’s latest eye-catching project, with the head of the brand talking of designing an electric vehicle fitted with a panoramic fold-out solar roof, as reported in Tesla-Mag.


A car where the roof would fold out "like a Transformer"


"You could imagine a car where, providing the engine is off, the roof would fold out like a Transformer to increase its surface and boost its power", the billionaire enthused.

This particular technology is currently at the embryonic stage, and Musk also admitted that the project is "certainly not the most economical way to achieve self-sufficiency, since even in this case, you could only recharge 30 – 50 kilometres an hour". Vehicles of this kind are not likely to hit the market any time soon, therefore, even if the manufacturer is seriously looking into this type of self-charging.


Steering wheels to die out in the next 20 years?


The Tesla boss also stated that steering wheels will disappear in the next 20 years, as he believes that all cars that are built by then will be electric and autonomous. He even went as far as to say that "Having a steering wheel in 20 years’ time will be like having a horse nowadays".

As is often the case, Musk’s vision is an optimistic one. He is saying that within 10 years, half of the vehicles produced in the USA will electric, despite the fact that rechargeable cars currently only represent 1% of automobile sales, according to French electric car blog Automobile-propre. In 2016, of the 17.5 million cars sold on the US market, only 160,000 were electric, said French ethical economy website Novethic.  Furthermore, models that are 100% electric only make up half of the sales of rechargeable vehicles.


China speeding up the transition to electric vehicles

The powerful US fossil energy lobby may hold up the transition that Musk is so desperate to usher in, but the billionaire can console himself with the fact that his Tesla Model S is the best-selling electric vehicle, just ahead of the Chevrolet Volt.

China currently leads the way with its policy of favouring electric vehicles. 8% of cars produced in factories in the country will have to be 100% electric by 2018, although this government directive is cause for concern for manufacturers of electric vehicles in China, as they do not think that they will be able to keep pace.


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