My wife and I are proud owners of a Tesla Model S all-electric car. As Americans we should all be enormously proud and appreciative of Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, and Tesla Motors for their incredible technological, economic and competitive success. They are manufacturing cars, not just in the U.S. but in California — over 3,000 jobs and growing.
The Tesla Model S has received the Motor Trend Car of the Year, the Automobile Car of the Year and the highest score that Consumer Reports has ever awarded any car. These awards are not for the best electric car but for the best vehicle period.
The car and company are phenomenally successful and represent the entrepreneurial, innovative and competitive spirit that makes our country great. They can’t make the cars fast enough. They are outselling all other luxury cars in their class beating Mercedes, BMW and others. They had their first profitable quarter in their first year of making the Model S. They received a U.S. Department of Energy loan of about $460 million but have been so successful that they paid it back in full — 9 years early.
Yes this is an expensive car but operating costs are very low. We expect to drive 20,000 miles in our first year and will save $4,000 a year in fuel costs net of electricity costs for a typical PG&E customer. Maintenance costs are expected to be very low — there are no smog checks, oil changes, spark plugs, fan belts, catalytic converters — you get the idea.
We live in Shingle Springs, have over 14,000 miles on the car and with its 265-mile range per charge, have never had to charge it other than in our garage, except for two road trips we’ve taken. When we visited our daughter in Carlsbad for Easter, we drove to Harris Ranch on Interstate 5, plugged into the Tesla Supercharger for free, went to lunch and when we came out 40 minutes later, it was fully charged. One more 20-minute charge at Tejon Ranch and we were down to Carlsbad with 100 miles to spare.
Gas cars are five times more likely to have a fire (and a much more dangerous one) than a TESLA and the TESLA received the highest five-star safety rating in all categories by the NHTSA — only 1 percent of cars achieve this.
TESLA plans to come out with its “third generation” car in 2016 which will have at least a 200-mile range and cost about $35,000. When you consider gas and maintenance savings, it should be very cost-effective for many folks as well a lot of fun to drive.