It's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with Tesla Motors. I was always super curious, and of course we've had hybrids for five years, but leasing a Nissan Leaf really pushed me over the edge. Even this relatively modest car causes me to wonder, in an era of iPhones and the Internet, why do we still drive cars powered by thousands of little explosions that burn dead dinosaurs? (Well, mostly dead plants, but you know I mean.)
I won't go into the financial turn around we've been working on for six years, but it has been intense. It's the first time in my adult life that I've felt "stable," through a great many difficult decisions and focus. I finally feel like I can give to charities I care about without having to exercise extreme budgeting. There's something left over at the end of the month that isn't committed.
There are two issues I have with even looking at an expensive car. The first is that I've always viewed cars as a necessary evil. I mean, I drove Toyota Corollas for years, and getting a Prius seemed like an indulgence. I'm not a car guy. But the reason I initially was interested in the Prius was the gadgetry that it embodied. Tesla takes that to another level.
The other issue is that expensive cars feel like something you do to show status. I realize not everyone does this, but I look at something like a Cadillac Escalade, the most obnoxious of gas-guzzling ego-cars (they cost about as much as a Tesla), and I cringe. I literally have a physical reaction seeing someone get out of those cars. But then I realize, hey, the people buying Iron Man's sedan are nerds and scientists. They're people that appreciate the engineering progress they represent.
Indeed, the pretentious factor and practical factor were mental roadblocks to me. But some friends on Facebook made some good points ranging from, "Fuck everyone else and what they think," to, "Treat yo'self," and, "It's OK to buy yourself something nice." One friend suggested that I might be taking the "experiences not stuff" mantra too far, especially since a car can enable experiences. Mostly, I think I've had to come around to the idea that it's the intense interest in the science and industry that the car represents that trumps issues of perception and practicality. Just because I tend to be practical in terms of housing, and rarely care about fashion, doesn't disqualify this thing. It's for science.
So will we pull the trigger?