UPDATE: Hope you all enjoyed our April Fools' Day gag for today - happy April 1st.
Fancy having your own electric vehicle with supercar performance?
Tesla Motors announced today that it will sell its innovative, modular electric car platform — known colloquially as the ‘skateboard’ — to the public, and will even install it beneath any vehicle body provided.
The platform sharing plan, announced at a snap press conference this morning by Tesla founder Elon Musk in California, is seen as a way of fast-tracking the industry-wide shift to vehicle electrification, and to help push the company into long-overdue profit.
“We need to hasten the shift over to electric cars,” a Tesla spokesperson said. “We can’t always be skating ahead of the pack. The planet isn’t going to save itself. If you could have Tesla Model S performance in your existing car, why wouldn’t you?”
It works like this: Tesla will produce and sell the skateboard, which comprises the batteries, motors, suspension and wiring, and sell it as-is to customers.
From there, owners are able to do with it as they wish, by installing any car body type onto the platform. To speed up the process, Tesla will expand its service centres, giving them the tools necessary to perform these conversions in-house.
“We can strip out a car’s internal combustion setup, lift away the body and bolt it to our EV chassis, thus making any old vehicle as fast and clean as our Model S P90D,” said Tesla chief engineer of platform development Michael Edison.
Tesla says its scheme has been designed to ensure any aftermarket platform conversion meets the design rules and regulations of a given country, Australian Design Rules being no exception.
“Think about the possibilities,” Edison said. “Your C-Class Mercedes, your Volkswagen Beetle, your old Mustang, even something like an old Datsun, any of these cars can now be available with the neck-snapping performance of our P90D.
“Elon just loves getting his D out there.”
In a marked piece of synchronicity, Tesla's plan errs close to a proposal put forward by enthusiast site Jalopnik earlier this week.
The platform program is the latest step from Tesla to speed up the industry wide shift to electrification. The company previously released its EV patents into the public domain, and is rolling out its Supercharger charging network.
Any vehicle with the skateboard fitted will be able to utilise the Supercharger network, the company says.
What do you think of the idea? And what car would you 'skateboard'?