Posts Tagged ‘Tesla’

Tesla passes on the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

December 4, 2015 Leave a comment

TeslaI really admire the Tesla car company and concept. Build an electric, high performance car with real world usability and normal (to me) design. No weird/comical, bulbous/door-wedge shaped eggs, but strong cutting edge design that looks great, and with a range that someone who doesn’t live within walking distance of everything can use.

Elon Musk also seems to be an incredibly smart, driven guy with a strong sense of the way things should be and stands up to those who think otherwise. Which brings me to the tie in with the title…

From today’s Detroit Free Press: “Tesla currently sees little need to drum up business in Michigan, a state that forbids direct vehicle sales under franchise laws that require sales to go through a dealership. Tesla officials continue to lobby for the right to sell and deliver vehicles directly to customers.”

For the record, I fully support the fight that Tesla is going through to be able to sell cars directly to consumers and love that they’re standing up to states that have these indefensible ‘dealer only’ laws on the books.  I can’t think of any other commodity that a consumer isn’t allowed to buy directly from the manufacturer than motor vehicles.

From the state’s (IE. the auto dealer association lobby’s) perspective, having to use a dealer supposedly helps the consumer protect their purchase through having an advocate who can fight for them with the manufacturer in case anything goes wrong, and is specially trained to repair their brand of vehicle. But what I think it really does is unfairly protect a slow to adapt, outdated business model at the expense of consumers. What other product can you not buy on the internet? Sure, there are more progressive auto dealers out there using the latest technologies, but even they are hand-cuffed by the franchise laws that are there to ‘protect’ them.

State and Federal laws, and the laws of economics, protect consumers from bad manufacturers: If a company sells you something and it fails to deliver on its quality or warranty, they get in legal trouble and word gets out about how awful they or their products are. Bad performance has a way of weeding out bad companies.

In my opinion, dealer franchise laws simply exist to protect dealers from having to truly compete for their sales. Their territories are protected from other dealers selling the same brand, so they don’t have to worry about competitors popping up next door with better service, pricing, whatever, and even internet leads are given to them due to location of their dealership in relation to the customer, not the customers preference or dealer pricing or reputation.

If auto manufacturers were really interested in protecting consumers and improving the businesses in the state, they would make them have to compete for our business.

Categories: Automotive, Rants... Tags: , , ,

To be Green or not to be…


Great article that summarizes some of the same reasons I would never (yet) buy an electric car.  While I don’t live in California and can’t speak to some of the subsidies they offer for their forced environmentalism, I do agree with a couple of the main points: The car I choose to drive and spend my money on isn’t offered in an electric version, and the idea that electric cars somehow are more green than conventionally powered gasoline cars is really not true.

On the first issue, I have a quite large and active family and we ain’t all fittin’ in Leaf or a Prius.  I would have to own 2 or 3 of them (and be able to drive them all at the same time) to be able to fit everyone.  But maybe even more of an influence on my non-purchase is that I drive 40+ miles each way commuting to work.  From the specs I’ve read a one way trip is about the maximum range on the mass produced electric cars.  Of course, I’d love to drive a Tesla but that’s not happening on my current pay rate.  My current employer doesn’t offer a charging station and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Which brings me to my point of confusion.  Why do automakers waste time designing and producing electric cars with such limited range?  (I suspect it has something to do with forced government mandates, but I digress…)  People who drive under 40 miles per day aren’t using that many resources to begin with, comparatively speaking.  But people like me who drive nearly 100 miles a day are.  If companies were really trying to be socially responsible and good stewards of the environment, wouldn’t they go after the biggest offenders first?  I realize that there’s a lot of additional cost in developing batteries with that kind of range, but I have to think that the biggest bang for the buck for the environment, the automaker, and the auto owner would be on providing vehicles with a much greater range.  If you take one car off the road that was driving 200 miles a week or one that was driving 500, where would the greatest benefit be?

Which brings me to my final reason for not purchasing an electric car.  I believe the benefit to the environment to be negligible.  At best.  The vast majority of the power in the United States is produced by coal or oil burning power plants.   It’s a one for one trade off.  You need more electricity to run these vehicles, so you need more oil and coal to run the power plant.  Every drop of oil saved in a car is burned to create electricity.  And I have no proof of this, but I have a suspicion that a power plant produces more carbon dioxide than a fleet of Hummers with the catalytic converters ripped off.  And this doesn’t even touch the issue of how much exploitation takes place in mining the special minerals used in making exotic vehicle power plants…

It may seem that I am a resource waster or don’t care about the environment.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I just believe that the only thing buying a car to be green does, at least at this point in time, is make us feel good about ourselves but does nothing to help the environment.