I've been privileged to be able to own both of Tesla's models (Roadster and Model S sedan) over the past four years. During that time I drove 15k+ miles and never visited a gas station, with the rare exception of my summer retreats to the Catskill Mountains driving convertible Mustangs around the Adirondack Lakes.
During that time I realized that we, the humans on planet earth, were hoodwinked, duped and bamboozled by the political industrial complex that electric vehicles were not feasible.
Last week, the Tesla Model S won two awards: Automobile of the Year from Automobile magazine and Car of the Year from Motor Trend. Well deserved to be sure. The car is flawless, and to call the object a car doesn't actually do it justice.
Now, the Model S is as much a movement as a vehicle. And while the car is groundbreaking inside and out, the greatest innovation is hiding in plain sight.
It's underreported and underappreciated by politicians.
Ignored by economists busy with financial cliffs and Greek coffee woes. Too high concept, and perhaps too positive and joyful, for the media to give it a fair shake.
What is this innovation Tesla released and no one is talking about? Free transportation for life.
Founder (and friend) Elon Musk doesn't just want you to drive the fastest, sexiest and most modern car ever built -- that's too easy for our generation's da Vinci. No, Elon wants you to drive the hottest car anywhere at any time for free. For the rest of your life.
On Sept. 24, Elon shared his "Supercharger" stations with the world -- and few people paid attention! Folks were so caught up in the car, and perhaps him docking with the International Space Station a couple of times I guess.
Oh yeah, the presidential candidate no one will remember and we'll never hear from again (Rommey? Ronnie? I can't remember), was playing dirty politics calling Elon and the car of the year company "a loser."
Seriously, you call the heir to Steve Jobs and the second coming of da Vinci a loser? Only a hedge fund dbag could do that.
Let's forget the politics and get back to the narrative:
1. Supercharging stations cost very little to install
2. They are solar powered
3. They can dump 150 miles of drive time into your car in an hour
4. They're popping up all over California, and Tesla is going to install them across the USA and Canada
5. They are free to use if you own a Tesla Model S
6. They're underutilized today, so they actually put more energy into the grid than they use
Is your mind blown yet? If not, read that list a couple of times and think to yourself, "How much do I spend on gas a month? A year? A decade and in a lifetime?"
I used to spend $250 a month, $3k a year, $30k a decade, and if I drive for 50 years that is $150k. If you make a middle-class salary of, say, $40k to $60k after tax in the USA, you're spending 5% to 15% of it on gas. I know, a lot of folks make less than that, but I assume they're taking the bus more often than not.
Anyway, what would happen if we freed up that 5% to 15% tax most folks in the USA pay? A 10% pay cut of after-tax income sounds transformative to me. In fact, the difference in tax plans by our two disappointing parties is typically single digits.
This one idea could settle their bitter debates over taxes!
Oh yeah, EVs have very little moving parts so they will last 2x or 3x as long as normal cars. Perhaps three or four decades or 500k miles. The software is updated over the air, so every month my car has new features. There is no reason to think that will end.
Imagine if your 1985 Benz got new software every month and never needed an oil change? That's EV life!
So, you're going to buy half as many cars and you're going to drive for free for the rest of your life. The punch line to all this? We could have been doing it in the '80s or '90s, and we could rush this technology to mass adoption in the next five years if we wanted.
Energy independence, sexy cars with better performance, no emissions and no reason to go to war in the Middle East over oil! And what would happen to our economy if all the money families and businesses spent on gasoline was freed up? Teachers, roads, jobs -- oh my!
Oh yeah, folks would take more road trips and put their gas dollars toward Disney tickets, hotels and local restaurants. We need to give Tesla $5B in taxpayer-funded loans -- not $500M.
A modern-day Manhattan Project to build a national network of "free driving for life" charging startions could be a reality in in this decade.
If you want this future, and you have the means to afford a Tesla Model S, please go buy one. If you don't, sit tight, as Tesla will have $25k to $40k cars in the coming years I'm sure.
1:46 AM PST Mon, Nov 19, 2012