This is a post in which I ask my husband Jason to explain why he chose to reserve a Tesla Model 3.
You’d be forgiven for not ever hearing about the Tesla Roadster when it was first released. Two years ago, few people outside my green-minded group of friends had even heard about the Model S or Model X. Over the last year, however, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore Tesla Motors and the upcoming Model 3. Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is General Motors’ very public announcement that they were going to bring the (ugly-as-sin) Chevy Bolt ahead of the Model 3.
At 10:30 p.m. last night, I, along with approximately 130 000 other people worldwide, placed a reservation for a Tesla Model 3. I live in a rural community with no Supercharger access; the closest public charging stations (240V, 40A) are in neighboring towns. My daily commute to work is 15 miles and winters here regularly see snowfalls of over 12 inches. Why would I choose an electric car that isn’t even in production yet?
The biggest reason is to reduce my carbon footprint. Every time I buy gas I cringe a little, knowing that that full tank, no matter how judicious I am with the use of my right foot, will eventually spew pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, and there’s no taking it back. Where I live, 70-75% of the province’s electricity is generated carbon-free. I love the idea of never having to buy gas to drive a car again, and the fact that I’ll save multiple thousands of dollars a year is a nice perk.
Secondly, I suspect that the fit, finish and overall quality and performance of the Model 3 will be superior to the Bolt. In fact, GM puts the Bolt’s acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill at about 7 seconds. The base, no-options Model 3 will do the same feat in under 6 seconds, and higher-optioned versions of the Model 3 will be, according to Elon Musk, “much faster”. Though I’m going electric, I’m still a car enthusiast at heart and when I put my right foot down, I expect to get shoved into my seat. If the rumor mill turns out to be true, the dual-motor version of the Model 3 should have approximately the BMW M3’s level of performance, at little more than half the cost.
Finally, I reserved a Model 3 because I want to see the company succeed. Most of Elon Musk’s detractors seem to be die-hard capitalists, or at the very least, obsessed with Tesla Motors’ balance sheet. Not too long ago, the intellectual behemoth Bob Lutz (insert sarcasm) criticized Musk for going about creating an electric car for the masses all wrong, citing negative cash flow and mounting inventory as reasons why the company is doomed (the validity of both of these statements is questionable, at best). Lutz’s recommended strategy would be to bring a plug-in hybrid car to market. I think Lutz misses the boat completely. What is the point of a company trying to pioneer the transition to sustainable transport through fully electric vehicles if they are hocking something to the masses with an internal combustion engine in it?
Tesla is a refreshing take on a century-old industry. Elon Musk is someone who cares more about making a difference than making a buck and that doesn’t sit well with Wall Street’s perpetual earnings growth model for success. With the release of the Model 3 my prediction is that, too late, the big automakers of the world (GM, BMW, Volkswagen, even Toyota) will realize that they have missed the boat and will trying to reclaim market share from Tesla. The shame will be in knowing that with the billions in resources that big auto has at its disposal, it could have accelerated even faster the move to fully electric vehicles, but it didn’t because it was too concerned with pleasing shareholders.
I’m happy to support Tesla in this way, even though it means I won’t be sitting in a Model 3 for another two years. How about you readers? Has anyone else out there taken the plunge?
Written by Jason Martinko