Why Tesla and not other cars? Why a luxury car and not a normal car? Why a big car and not a small car? “Why” questions: very important questions; our entire life is wrapped around them. Some can be answered, some not, some are best left unanswered.
So, what makes Tesla special? Why should you choose to buy a car built by a young company and risk your hard earned money?
Hard questions and hard decisions because: money doesn’t just happen, information tends to grow into a tangle and salespeople (some?) would sell you a horse and say it’s a mustang – fresh off the production line.
Here are my thoughts on why I would choose Tesla every time, over something else.
Tesla is more than a car company
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur and engineer who made it his mission to revolutionize space travel. Yes, you heard it, space travel. Well, not just revolutionize it. Better said “to make it happen”, because until now we only had/have isolated attempts at space travel. Someone who strolls around his back yard and has once visited his neighbor doesn’t travel. He might send robots to explore around, but he doesn’t travel. Elon Musk wants to see humanity take this giant step. It seems this will be his life’s work and a great achievement at that.
In this ambition, Elon started “small”. His first plan regarding Mars was to send there a small greenhouse, which would use a little Martian soil to grow Martian plants and show that “there is life on Mars”. Beginning small the terraforming of a big planet! This entire process would have been streamed back home and the hope was this would relight the interest of people/students/scientists/engineers to take on seriously interplanetary travel. This is all in his bio written by Ashlee Vance and on Wikipedia (and probably somewhere else too).
This is one of the reasons I’ve got eyes only for Tesla. It’s a hope. Tesla, even though it was not founded by Elon Musk, it owes its existence to his money, money he didn’t use to point rockets at Mars. So, my hope is that buying his cars – because in the meantime he’s become CEO and largest shareholder of Tesla – will fund his efforts to send humans to our neighboring planet. Yes, his plans for Mars (and humanity) are in the meantime much larger: his company SpaceX – which was struggling in the 2000s to reach orbit – has become the major player in the rocket business, with contracts worth billions from NASA, the U.S. Air Force and others and has revolutionized the industry through their Falcon 9 reusable rocket boosters and, soon enough, through Starship.
All Tesla Models have a spaceship-like feeling inside and, when you drive them, you feel you’re really in the future. A further point.
There really are problems we should solve! But we should not forget to have fun.
There is this other problem related to our planet’s climate. In case you doubt it or it’s no concern of yours, I only have this to say: imagine you’re locked in city traffic and it’s quiet. Hard to imagine, right? That’s what Tesla is fighting for. Rapid transition to a future based on sustainable energy. This means a cleaner future and a future with less stress levels when you’re in traffic or when you walk on the side of a busy street because it’s a fact that noise pollution affects our health and less noise should mean less stress (hopefully).
Maybe you’re not interested in this. „If my health is in good condition now, I’m not interested in how it’s going to be later, when I’m old”, or something like that. OK. But, would you rather spend your retirement years helpless, incapable, weak and unable, visiting doctors and swallowing piles of drugs or would you avoid all this if it’s avoidable? And another thing. Maybe you have children, or you plan to have, or you’ll have them without planning. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get to spend with them as much time as possible and avoid an untimely death caused by pollution that could have been avoided? Not to mention that it would be a real blessing to be able to engage in your family’s life not as a helpless, dependent person but as an independent, sane, active one. Maybe they’ll send you to an asylum anyway, and you’ll want to go there to avoid being a burden. But if you think ahead it’s very probable that you’ll avoid such an untimely „move”.
This is achievable if more and more cars on the road go electric and this is the future for which Tesla is fighting. Tesla made electric cars cool and they showed the world that saving the climate doesn’t have to be a sad thing, where people stop aspiring to great things. Elon Musk has pushed his teams to build an efficient, safe and affordable car because it needs to be the front of the electric revolution. Of course it had/has to be mega cool because it has to inspire, it has to move people to want electric cars because, usually, people do only what they are comfortable with and forget that the years go by.
And Tesla did and do inspire. Almost every „serious” car maker laughed in their face at the beginning because they didn’t took them seriously, and now the tide has turned. Tesla is worth more than all the German car makers combined and the “serious” builders are the ones laughed at because they are almost oblivious to the fact that it could mean their very existence if they don’t transition fast enough to renewable energy, if they don’t adapt.
These are, so to speak, emotional reasons. There are also rational and/or practical reasons.
Human caused misery. We shouldn’t be ignorant.
I’ll start with a problem already mentioned above: global warming is changing landscapes throughout the world; millions are suffering under the change. A short search online will pull up tons of facts, data. In this respect, every little that we can do will have a great impact because it adds up with the “efforts” of others and it will matter. Driving a normal car or an electric car is one of these “efforts”. If you need to buy a new car, going electric is the thing to do. Yes, you’ll have to change your day to day routine to some extent, but the advantages are greater. Besides the facts that you are not producing toxic exhausts, you’ll have lower maintenance costs and, with a Model S/3/X/Y or another Tesla, you’ll feel no drop in performance. On the contrary: the most affordable Model 3, which costs less than $40,000, does 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds (0-100 km/h 5.6). To put this into perspective, the BMW G20 3 Series 318i (2020), which costs a little over $40,000, does 0-60 in 8.9 s (the Model S Plaid will zoom to 60 mph in <2s).
Another reason. Their cars learn: Teslas receive “over the air updates”. This means that you buy a car that will be improved through updates after it leaves the factory. That’s just nuts, especially because nobody else is doing it at the moment. But Tesla needs to establish itself on the market and they’re doing a good job at that (good job!) with a great leader, an excellent team, cutting edge technology and the willingness to implement suggestions from the community. This community is formed from Tesla owners and other enthusiasts who actually get to participate in the process of improving new and existing Tesla cars, just like you get to participate in the modding of a game you like, and suggest new features and content.
Then there is the Autopilot with the Full Self-Driving capability. All Tesla cars produced in the second part of 2016 have the capability to upgrade the cruise control feature named Autopilot to Full Self-Driving. FSD will enable level 5 autonomy, which means the cars can function without a driver, and Tesla intends to make it possible to use them as “robotaxis” and generate a substantial income for the owners, whenever they don’t personally need their cars.
It is also estimated that Tesla vehicles using FSD will be safer than the average human driver, certain versions of the software already showing promising results in this direction. There are also sad examples, in which the system didn’t react in time to avoid a collision. It is a new technology and it is inevitable that accidents happen. Accidents happen with hyper tested systems (rocket launches, for example) and it’s sad, but accidents also happen in the driveway with expensive cars and we are left to wonder why. It’s a high price to pay but we shouldn’t let this hinder progress.
Tesla Model 3 has been named the safest car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US. It has also received 5 out of 5 stars in the Euro NCAP tests, scoring more points in all fields (Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Vulnerable Road Users, Safety Assist) than many other more expensive “traditional” cars. The older Tesla models are also not far behind the 3: both Model S and X scored 5 stars out of 5, although in a completely spicier price segment. In any case, because they are built from the ground up as EVs, Teslas have a more robust architecture and more crumple zones, especially since the engines are located beneath the car, on the rear and front axle.
Every technology needs time to mature.
Some people are worried that batteries are a big safety issue because they catch fire. We should all be aware that lithium ion batteries are all around us: in phones, laptops, headphones, medical devices; you name it. Almost every consumer gadget is powered by this kind of lithium-ion batteries and, sometimes, they catch fire. It happened to Dell laptops, Samsung smartphones, HP laptops and probably other things as well. But, statistically, this does not happen often. Out of the billions of devices out there, you don’t hear about many incidents in which the batteries explode/caught fire. If there are thousands of cases, that is nothing compared to the actual number of normal operating devices.
The situation is similar in case of electric vehicles. Some do catch fire, but this doesn’t happen out of the blue. It happens most often as a result of a violent accident, a technical defect or a manufacturing issue (like in the case of two “Street Scooters”, used by the German Post, which went up in flames in 2018). There are a number of fire incidents in which Tesla cars are involved but these are rare and are almost always caused by serious collisions. To be fair, gas cars are not safer, given the same circumstances. According to the NHTSA study presented in the article linked above, there are roughly “55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars”, while there have been only five fires per billion miles in the case of Tesla vehicles.
An answer to some “why” questions.
To round it up, I see in choosing to buy a Tesla not just an opportunity to own a car that is perfectly suited for its purpose but also an opportunity to invest in an appreciating asset, an asset which will show its value once the Tesla Network of “robotaxis” goes online. Buying a Tesla is also a good way to invest in your health. You have less noise pollution and no exhaust pollution. Whether you want it or not, there’s almost nothing you can do to protect yourself, or your family, from the carbon monoxide gases produced by your car in the garage, on the driveway, when you’re loading the car etc. If you run a diesel engine, it’s a bit worse, because you’re also exposed to carcinogens.
When more EVs are on the roads, this hazard will be reduced – for you and many others – whether you’re a pedestrian or whether you’re waiting in traffic to go home from work. Choosing Tesla means you will invest your money in a company which has made it its mission to make this change happen as fast as possible. Not because there is not much time left (although it is running short), but because it is possible to make it (the change to renewable energy). And if it is possible, why wait? Because electricity and batteries are actually not as clean as we are led to believe and it’s all a big conspiracy? Nothing could be further from the truth as this.
If you have a little patience left, I’ll relay here some information from an article on the New Scientist. The first hit. It’s true in case of heat pumps, solar panels and almost everything which requires electricity to operate: the net carbon emissions are lower in the case of EVs, even if the electricity is produced from non-renewable energy sources! Production, life-time operation, recycling combined. The reason an EV is cleaner than a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) is that a power plant burning a certain amount of petroleum to generate electricity has overall lower carbon emissions (because of advanced carbon filtering/capturing technologies) as the equivalent amount of fuel burned by various ICE vehicles in traffic.
We need to find courage to explore.
This obscurity put aside, please bear with me a little longer, as I come to the last reason why I would choose Tesla over any other manufacturer out there. I’m actually reaffirming what I wrote at the beginning of this post.
I hope that by supporting Tesla I get to support Elon Musk’s other ventures, more specifically, SpaceX. Well, The Boring Company and Neuralink are cool too, but mostly SpaceX.
Humans are explorers. The other creatures on this planet as well. Some explore out of hunger, some out of curiosity. We humans explore for both these reasons, and a bunch of other as well. We need to know where our limits are so we can properly measure ourselves because, for example, if you don’t have sufficient place to expand, well, then you should adopt a sustainable strategy to avoid killing yourself in the long run. But you can’t know this (your limits) if you don’t explore. I believe this process brings about a certain peace. If you know your surroundings, you know where you can go, what you can do, how you can prepare. If you don’t, you can’t.
It’s the same in respect to space exploration. It’s the final frontier (or one of the major ones). We need to explore the space outside our planet to see where our limits are. And move them further if we can. Make life multiplanetary: a perfect summary to the last paragraphs I’ve written here.
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