I have no doubts that the future of automobiles is electric . Having seen first hand the experience of several friends and colleagues who bought a model S and/or a model T , and reading about the 180000 people who put down $1000 as deposit for a model 3 – I am sure Tesla will be a top auto maker in future . But despite all my excitement – I have no reason to jump in and buy one in near future . I am going to sit and watch this play out from the side lines for a few years .
Picture : http://icdn8.digitaltrends.com/image/tesla-model_x_side-3-970×546-c.jpg
I am VERY thankful to everyone who has bought a Tesla already or will buy one of the next several ones to come out . You definitely are subsidizing my potential future tesla and you have my gratitude .
It’s an engineering marvel for sure . When it comes to design – I love everything from the looks , to the lack of mechanical parts (I am a mechanical engineer by training and Automobile engineering was my most favorite subject in college ), to the “software rules” paradigm, to the autopilot , to the safety features (and promises) to the amazing dashboard display …well I like it all !
Musk’s salesmanship is a sight to behold – especially on the big stage for new product intros . 180,000 people parting with their cash (granted, it’s refundable) – several of them even without seeing the car first – is a feat only apple can boast of today . That is 180 million dollars of interest free money . What is not to like ?
So why am I hedging my bets and not buying one yet ?
1. I can probably afford one , but Tesla is still expensive in my mind – especially when I think of how much lower the prices can get once it gets mainstream in future
2. I live in AZ – it will take some time to get the charging network established throughout the state
3. By my rough math – Tesla sells as many cars a year historically as say an established company like GM does a week . Scale is very capital intensive in this business and I am not sure if Tesla will have a sustained advantage when all the established car companies jump in and start delivering at scale
4. Tying the affordability of the lower end model 3 car to a government decided tax break makes me wonder if that is a good idea . Granted – Musk will have the best lobbyists working for him , but I still don’t feel comfortable on this line of thought
5. Tesla will need to sell more X and S models to gain their big margins to make model 3 work . That is largely the top end market that Porche and Merc and others have a stranglehold of today . If these German/American/Japanese luxury brands come out with truly great electric cars – I don’t see Tesla managing to sell a lot .
6. Apple /Google and their car projects – that is a wild card too. No idea if it’s going to be a real car or if Apple/Google does software and car companies just OEM it . Tesla is not the only company to have top talent on software
7. Given the lack of driver loyalty , I am no longer sure if Uber and other companies like that will thrive long term . I really wish they do – and if they do , I can’t wait to get rid of car ownership for good .
8. If Tesla does come up with a safe driverless car – then maybe it’s the uber like companies that will buy all of them . Again – I would rather not own a car at all in that case
9. The car is green and I like that . But I am not convinced yet that the manufacturing process for these cars and their monster batteries are energy efficient . And I don’t really know how long it will take to make the process fully green .
There are more reasons – but my flight is about to land and I need to power down . So no Tesla for me for now . But I hope I find reasons for my heart to over rule my head , or to find my head is just wrong and I should just buy one 😉
One thought on “Tesla – thanks , but no thanks !”
Interesting read, thanks for posting. Don’t disagree but a couple of comments:
Point 3: yes but on that topic of scale it’s very interesting to read about Musk’s plans around the gigafactory. The big manufacturers wouldn’t want to wait too much longer to get serious about their own capacity planning in this regard if EVs are truly the way to go. Some very detailed and interesting comments on this topic in the reddit thread about the announcement if you’re interested.
On point 9, agreed but minor point: it doesn’t need to be fully green – just more efficient overall (e.g. compare end to end total cost of the car given average total mileage, cost of manufacture, environmental impact of mining materials etc.) than current petrol/diesels/hybrids to lessen the impact on the environment.