Tesla Model S: Best Damn Car Ever?
August 22, 2013
I was walking into my local Kroger store the other night, and, well, funny thing.
I’m not a car guy. Never have been. I hardly know one make from another, and don’t care a whole lot.
But I’m walking in the store, and I feel this, like, magnetic pull,…from this gleaming, jewel like, black thing in the parking space next to mine.. that makes me swing around like I’m pulled by strange tractor beam. Stop. And look, and stare.
What is that? BMW? Infiniti? Lexus?
Nope. It’s a Tesla. And Dayuum – that is some kinda beautiful machine. All sleek, and black, and shiny, and polished, and curvy, and sleek, and well, just..wow.
So I go in and buy some fruit and hummus. And on the way out, I see this tall, distinguished looking gent approach the car and beep it with his keys.
“How do you like your Tesla?” says I.
He cracked a huge smile.
“It does exactly what they say it does. I’ve been to Detroit and back, Grand Rapids and back, with no recharge. I love it.”
Sorry Fox News. Electric and Hybrid Cars are taking over.
In a welcome development for the planet, the cars on American streets are becoming much more climate-friendly much sooner than many had expected. Consumers are increasingly buying fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles thanks to breakthrough innovations and supportive government policies.
The transportation sector accountsfor 28 percent of American greenhouse gas emissions, the most after power plants. Reducing those emissions will require many changes, including greater use of public transit. More efficient cars will almost certainly play a critical role, too; increased fuel efficiency helped reducecarbon dioxide emissions from passengers cars by 16 percent from 2005 to 2012.
Automakers sold more than 350,000 hybrid and electric cars in the first seven months of this year, up 30 percent from the same period in 2012. While these vehicles make up less than 4 percent of light vehicle sales, hybrids, which use electric motors and conventional engines, are now so mainstream that there are more than 40 models available. The most popular one, the Toyota Prius, is among the 10 best-sellingpassenger cars in the country.
Fully electric cars are still a niche product bought mostly by affluent drivers. But sales of even these vehicles have been growing fast, thanks in part to federal and state tax rebates. Among the best selling of these cars is the luxurious Model S produced by Tesla Motors, which has been so successful that companies like BMW and Cadillac are also rushing to bring out high-end electric cars.
Federal policy has been an important driver. The 2010 mandate requiring a doubling of new-car average fuel economy by 2025 has pushed industry to accelerate the development of more efficient cars. So has the Obama administration’s program, much maligned by Republicans, of loan guarantees to renewable energy and electric-car companies. Despite a few regrettable failures, the government’s $36 billion loan portfolio has suffered losses of just 2 percent; in May, Tesla paid off its $465 million loan nine years ahead of schedule.
Hybrid and electric cars still have a long way to go. That they have come this far shows that timely regulation, targeted assistance and government-private sector cooperation can pay big dividends for industry and the environment.