Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): Could You Power A Model S With Just Big Macs?

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is known for not only making high-end luxury cars but also electric ones which have much more range than other EVs. So what would it take for you to run the Model S on nothing but your own body fat and some Big Macs to help you up a bit? Believe it or not, Michael Ballaban at Jalopnik decided to do the math and figure it out.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): Could You Power A Model S With Just Big Macs?

Pedaling power for Tesla’s Model S

There are already bicycles which can generate electricity, although they don’t generate much in a short period of time. But this is the route he decided to take when determining whether it’s possible to run Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s car on human energy. He made a number of assumptions and opened the floor for others who want to comment, providing their own assumptions.

First, he said we’ll assume that a bicycle generator can trickle-charge a Model S, so as the car drivers, no power is lost from the batteries. He provided “a relatively fit person named Nikola” for the bike and said he puts out about 100 watts per hour. He assumed that Nikola doesn’t need to sleep and that he doesn’t need to take bathroom breaks “because we’ve hooked up some sort of bag or something.” And he gave him an old TV show to watch so he doesn’t get bored.

Setting up bike power for Tesla’s Model S

Of course to power Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s 85 kWh Model S, he’s going to have to pedal for 850 hours, which is more than a month—35.4 days. So he’s certainly no Supercharger. Since Bonanza, the old TV show he’s watching, had 430 episodes which are each an hour long, he’ll just have to watch the whole series, complete with commercials, almost to times.

And since food is human fuel, he’s going to need plenty of food to keep pedaling non-stop. So let’s feed him high-calorie Big Macs since he’s going to need 155,000 calories for all of that pedaling. It takes approximately one calorie to generate one watt-hour of power, so if he’s usually on a 2,000 calorie diet, then he’s going to need about 85,000 extra calories on top of his usual calorie intake to pedal for more than 35 days.

A cheaper way to charge Tesla’s Model S?

Each Big Mac is 550 calories without fries or a drink, so Nikola will need 282 of them. The Economist’s Big Mac Index shows that on average, a Big Mac in the U.S. costs $4.56. This means he’ll have to pay $1,285.92 for Big Macs just so he can power Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model S.

On the other hand, if he just used a plug, the price is only 12 cents per kilowatt hour on average, which would be $10.30.

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.

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