Above is a picture of the first production Tesla Model 3. It’s not a hybrid; it’s 100% electric. No engine at all. It starts at $35,000, it can travel 215 miles on a single charge, and it looks great.
A few months ago, I purchased an electric car of my own – and I can tell you, once you go electric, you’ll never go back.
If you think electric cars are just souped-up golf carts driven by urban hippies, think again. Going electric is now a no-compromise choice, and it’s going mainstream faster than you think. Here’s why:
Range anxiety is no longer a thing. My electric car can go up to 300 miles on a single charge, which is about the same as a full tank of gas. And every night, it recharges in my garage, so I start every day with a “full tank.” You actually worry less about range in an electric car than you would in a gas-powered vehicle, where you periodically need to stop at a gas station. Even long road trips aren’t a problem – we traveled from Orlando to Miami and back a couple of weeks ago, and used conveniently placed “superchargers” to recharge (for free) in about a half hour while grabbing lunch a couple of times. But remember, it’s only those occasional road trips where you’ll even need to charge on the road – 300 miles of range is way more than enough for any daily driving needs.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re an environmentalist. Driving an electric car feels like you’re in the future, and it delivers a far superior driving experience than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Once you’ve driven an electric car, driving an ICE vehicle seems like driving an ancient relic from a more primitive time. While electric cars do use energy much more efficiently than ICE vehicles, you’ll find you want to drive them because they’re fun – not just because you want to save the planet. Although that’s kind of nice too.
Their performance kicks ass. My wife described the experience of flooring my electric vehicle as “it feels like you left your butt behind you and then it races to catch up with you.” Electric vehicles deliver torque instantly to your wheels – there is no engine that needs to burn your fuel, no transmission, no gearbox. This gives them 0-60 times that even supercars can’t beat. They also have very low centers of gravity (the battery packs make up the bottom of the chassis), making their handling impossible to beat as well.
No more gas stations. I hate gas stations. They’re usually disgusting, and you’re always taking a chance of your credit card getting skimmed at them. I don’t miss them. At all.
They’re quiet. If it’s a nice day and you don’t need the A/C fans going, an electric car makes no noise whatsoever. It’s creepy. And magical.
They’re reliable. There are only about a dozen moving parts in an electric vehicle. It’s an electric motor connected to wheels. No engine. No pistons. No transmission. No gears. No fuel lines. No carburetor. No spark plugs. No fuel injectors. No radiators. Basically, there’s almost nothing of consequence that can break. And the batteries are designed to last a very long time – at least 10 years, maybe more – we just don’t have enough data to really know yet. Longer than you’re likely to hold on to your car.
Zero maintenance. No need for oil changes, changing transmission fluid, changing air filters – because none of that exists in an electric vehicle. About all you’ll ever need to do is replace the tires and windshield wipers and wiper fluid.
They’re safe. The Tesla Model X was recently rated the safest SUV ever made. Having no engine means you can devote more space to crumple zones, and heavy battery packs give electric vehicles a very low center of gravity making them almost impossible to tip over. The battery packs themselves are protected by a thick layer of steel in order to protect them from impacts – and that layer of steel gives the car a smooth, impenetrable undercarriage.
They’re roomy. With no transmission and no engine, that leaves lots of space for storage and for people. There’s no hump going down the center of the interior where the transmission would go in a ICE vehicle. And instead of an engine, you get a “frunk” with extra storage space under the hood.
They’re future-proof. Given the simplicity of the hardware, most of your experience as a driver is driven by software – and that software can be updated over the air at any time. Every month my car’s self-driving capabilities and features get a little better, just through software updates applied while I sleep. In an electric vehicle, absolutely everything in the car is electric, and can be controlled by software. In a vehicle like this, the entire concept of “model year” goes out the window – your car will continue to evolve even after you’ve bought it.
They’re getting cheaper. The Tesla Model 3 starts at $35K, which is making electric vehicles a real mainstream choice. And as other manufacturers jump on the bandwagon, the cost of batteries will continue to fall, making them even cheaper. Volvo has announced that it will stop producing ICE vehicles in 2019, France has already banned ICE vehicles starting in 2040, and BMW is rumored to be working on electric versions of its entire lineup of models. Every major car manufacturer has some sort of electric vehicle program in place, because they see the writing on the wall.
Also, can your car do this?
So, even if you think global warming is a hoax and we should burn all of the oil, it doesn’t matter. Electric cars provide a far superior experience for their owners, and that alone will continue to drive their adoption. And as more people buy them, economies of scale will make them cheaper and cheaper, until they’re just a no-brainer choice for everyone. Sorry about that, oil industry – electric vehicles are here to stay this time.
Image Credit: Tesla