|Above and below: Tesla Model S|
A news item said that Tesla will build a battery factory in the American southwest. Panasonic currently makes batteries for Tesla and can't keep up. The new factory will employ several thousand people (I think the report said 4500). If you want to buy a Tesla, currently you go to the back of a 3-month waiting list. This is for a car that costs $71,000-95,000 (the Model S) or more. What car manufacturer wouldn't love to have these problems?
Last summer I saw a black Tesla Model S "in the flesh," in a suburban park. Apparently the grandparents were there to watch grandkids play soccer. The Model S is a beautiful car, beautifully made. It matches the best in fit and finish. It also appeared to be comfortable with fine ergonomics and a stylish cockpit. In other words, competitive in its price class. I haven't looked into range and charging issues involved in owning a Tesla, but it's clearly a practical car for short-trip urban and suburban use.
The news report was a self-awareness check for me. I would love to know the demographics of Tesla buyers. I'm a social fossil. I will never own an electric car, even if mainstream manufacturers can get the cost of a subcompact down to the mid-$20,000's. (Here it's important to say that the Tesla Model S gets from zero to 60 m.p.h. in around 6 seconds, fast enough for me.)
Humans are doubtless contributing to global warming, which is a fact. Seven billion people, each driving around in his own 4-passenger internal combustion car is, as the cliche has it, unsustainable.
But for me, there's something about bringing an internal combustion engine to life that's wired deeply into my brain. One of the tipping-points that got me into my Mustang was the sounds it makes when the key is twisted, or when I bury the throttle. A practical electric car may be... practical... but it's no fun. I'm glad I won't be around to hear the sound of American V-8's and Italian V-12's replaced by nearly silent electric motors.