Compensate the Green Way

I just received a comment from my good friend Jim Fairthorne over at State of Affairs (great political blog, check him out); he brought this to my attention:

BTW, have you heard of Tesla Motors? A few years ago they released an electric sports car and the sedan was coming out this year some time, but they kind of dropped off the map. Do you know what's going on with them?

Contrary to Jim's belief, Tesla Motors has not, in fact, dropped off the map. In fact, they're doing rather well for themselves, and that bodes well for the future of alternative energy vehicles.

For those of us who have never heard of this company, Tesla Motors (named after famed electrical engineer Nikolai Tesla) is a Silicon Valley automobile start-up company that focuses on the production of high performance, consumer-oriented battery-electric vehicles. Since 2003, Tesla has been pushing back the boundaries of electric-car technology.

In 2006, they released their first model, the Tesla Roadster -- and why millions of people don't own this car is beyond me. First of all it's sexy as hell:

See what I mean? That's part one. Part two is the sheer economic value of this vehicle. Check this out (from the Tesla wiki):

"...the car has a range of 221 miles (356 km). The company and reviewers state that the Tesla Roadster accelerates from zero to 60 mph (100 km/h) in less than four seconds, and has a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) (limited for safety). The cost of powering the vehicle is estimated at US$0.02 per mile."

Two cents per mile. Say it with me. Two cents per mile. God, that sounds good, doesn't it? Beats the pants off whatever it is we're paying for gas, and of course there's that added bonus of not killing everything within a five meter radius of your toxin-spewing tailpipe.

But what, you're asking, is the price tag on this wonder of sexy, clean technology? Okay, it's a little steep for the layman -- the new sedan Model S is going to be released in late 2011 with a price tag of US$57,000. Certainly out of my budget, but -- what about all these hoity-toity corporate California types who just have to buy their sixth Hummer and use up all my air because they're compensating for something? The base model H2 retails for in and around $60,000, and even though General Motors doesn't like to admit it, the mileage for one of these automotive monstrosities is a maximum of around 15 miles a gallon. At two bucks a gallon, do the math: that means these yuppie yahoos are shelling out about thirteen cents a mile. Now compare that to the two cents a mile you get with the Tesla Roadster (which is already smaller, cooler looking and equally compensatory) and spread it out over a year. Federal standards suggest the average American drives about 15,000 miles a year. Ready for it?

H2 gas per year: $1950.00
Tesla electricity per year: $300.00

At the risk of this turning into a total math lesson, that means an average American driving a Tesla Roadster as compared to an average American driving a Hummer is going to save almost $1700 a year in gas, all the while keeping the air much cleaner, paying the same as they would for a stupid urban assault vehicle, and looking less like a midlife crisis on wheels.

What's my point in all this? Two things. First, saving the environment and looking cool doing it rocks. Second?

Nuff said.

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