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The Effects of Innovation?

Let’s talk cars and what the future holds (a break from our industry). Back in February I bought a Tesla Model S, an all electric car made just 12 miles from our home in San Jose, Cal.

First question people ask: “How far can you go?” Answer: 250 miles. Charging takes four hours using a standard 40-amp home “dryer” plug, or just 30 minutes at one of Tesla’s 300-amp stations.

My wife and I decided to take it on our first road trip, to the AWCI Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Meetings in San Diego, 600 miles south. Stopping three times at free Tesla charging stations conveniently located every 150 miles up and down California, we had a wonderful trip—1,200 miles round trip, no fuel cost. I would do it again.

So what are the bigger implications of this electric innovation? Ford and GM will surely come out with all electric cars, but where will you charge them? Normal public charging stations are only 30-amp and require six hours for a recharge. That doesn’t work on a road trip. Tesla stations are proprietary, and they don’t have the room for a bunch of other brands. Will Ford and GM also dot the country with 300-amp stations as Tesla plans? Doesn’t seem feasible, so all car manufacturers have some strategic thinking to do because of this innovation.

And what about fuel taxes? California charges a road tax of 72 cents per gallon. If we had driven a regular car getting 25 mpg to San Diego, we would have paid $35 in taxes. There are no taxes at charging stations. This can’t be sustainable as electric cars grow in popularity, so Congress also has some thinking to do.

Innovation is everywhere; be thinking about how it affects your big picture.

In addition to being 2013–2014 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Daley is president of Daley’s Drywall & Taping, Inc., San Jose, Calif.

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