I love cars. Ask anyone that I went to high school with and they will probably remember me as the guy who had “the Back to the Future car” as my daily driver, a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. Some vehicles I’ve owned are utilitarian, like my Jeep Wrangler. Others are more for pure fun and car shows, like my Lotus Esprit V8 Twin Turbo. I still have one of my oldest cars – a bright orange 1972 Opel GT.
Over the years I became accustomed to the slow but steady progression of technology and improvement in the auto industry. But recently I bought a car that is so different, so incredible, that it’s changed the way I look at cars entirely.
Imagine a car that is as fast as a Ferrari, safer than a Volvo, and has the comfort and space of a Toyota. This car can go over 320 miles per fill-up (from here to Washington DC in a single go), and that fill-up costs about $8-$10 without a drop of gasoline. It never needs an oil change or radiator flush. In fact, it requires almost no maintenance at all (apart from washer fluid, wipers, and tires). Its brakes can last over 100,000 miles. It has no belts or pulleys or valves or crankshafts. Its simple design makes it more reliable than any car you’ve ever driven and it’s also easy to operate.
I’m not done…It can literally drive itself and come pick you up from the other side of the parking lot. It has Netflix and video games built into a large HD screen and has an audio system that sounds better than any stock system you’ve ever heard. It can make you laugh with hidden jokes and make you groan and giggle with incredible acceleration akin to something you’d feel on a roller coaster.
But wait – there’s more! It gets better every few weeks with free updates, including more features and even more horsepower at times. If you need service, there is a mechanic that will make a house call to your home or work and fix it without having to disrupt your day. There is a nationwide system of over 16,000 stations for re-filling, making any road trip a breeze. It has no running emissions whatsoever and can be fueled by the power of the sun, wind, and water.
Oh, and it’s made in America by an American company.
Sound like a car you might be interested in? Or are you still skeptical? Well this car does exist, and you can buy it right now. It’s the all-electric Tesla Model 3 Performance, and it’s a game-changer.
“There must be a catch!”, I can hear you say. “Maybe it costs six figures?” Nope – the base model is $35,000 before incentives. The Performance model that does 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds is about $55,000 to start. Supercar acceleration for a fraction of the cost.
Going from an internal combustion engine car to an all-electric Tesla is truly like going from a flip phone to a smartphone. On the surface it seems that they both do the same thing (make calls or get you from point A to point B), but once you see how much you can do with a smartphone and an EV there is no turning back. We now take for granted all that smartphones can do, but there was for all of us a time when we had to make the leap. Now we have a single device in our pockets that gives us a nice camera, a photobook, GPS, flashlight, calculator, internet access, messaging, weather info, banking, and, of course, still makes calls. It’s fun too – we can listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game. Now that same leap applies to the kind of car we drive. And it’s a change that will help our environment too.
When most people think of cars that are “good for the planet”, they imagine small, underpowered, boring, and weirdly ugly vehicles that evoke no sense of fun or joy. People also fear that they will have such a small amount of range that you might get stranded somewhere. That may have been true in the past, but fortunately we have now reached the point where EVs are actually superior to internal combustion vehicles in virtually every way.
Our planet needs us to make better choices, and it’s a lot easier to make that choice when it’s so much fun. The Tesla is even faster than the sportscars and supercars I’ve owned, and its power delivery is instantaneous. Everything else feels slow in comparison. If you’ve ever savored the feeling of a muscle car pinning you into your seat, this is a car you need to drive.
National Drive Electric week was created to help people like you check out EVs in person. This year it is September 26 through October 4. Visit driveelectricweek.org for details on upcoming EV events in Connecticut where you can talk to owners and dealers with EV offerings from Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, and, of course, Tesla. There is one at the Miller Memorial Library in Hamden on Saturday, September 26th, and another in Old Saybrook on Saturday, October 3rd. Both events start at 1 pm and I will be there with my car if you’d like to chat. In the meantime, please check out this video to see my Tesla in action and learn more about EVs in general: https://youtu.be/xz2gsNItwc8. You can also check out the Tesla showroom in Milford, CT to setup a test drive.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Ahmed Yamani: “The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”
The same applies to flip phones and internal combustion engines. We won’t stop using them because they aren’t available – we’ll stop using them because there is something better. Better for our families, better for our country, and better for our planet. More fun too.
By Kent Golden – Woodbridge Sustainability Committee