My first year with the Tesla Model S has been very enjoyable. It is fast and efficient, has incredible pick-up and looks amazing. I love that it has almost no moving parts and zero emissions. My law practice requires me to put about 25,000 miles per year on my vehicle and each mile of this past year has been a pleasure. I have owned a Tesla Model S since mid-March of 2013 and can report that it is, by far, the best car that I have ever driven. Beyond the beauty of its design, the performance of the vehicle is world-class. Most importantly, the Tesla Model S is environmentally friendly and almost maintenance free.
Amazingly, no other start-up automobile manufacturer has succeeded in the United States in the last 90 years. That is, no company since Tesla Motors. Tesla has been successful to date but the future is still uncertain. The uncertainty stems not from the quality of the product, as there is a growing consensus that the Tesla Model S is one of the best cars ever produced but, rather, from the fact that there are huge corporate interests working against it.
Tesla Motors does not focus its profit generating on dealer service of its vehicle. In my more than one year of ownership, which includes nearly 25,000 miles of travel, I have spent $0 on service! My last vehicle was a Mercedes S Class Hybrid. I spent thousands every year on servicing that car and it did not provide anywhere near the performance. I also spent approximately $500 per month on the required “Premium” gas. With the Tesla Model S, I drive the same mileage each month but only spend about $160.00 on electric. Both cars retail for about the same price. However, the Tesla Model S came with a $7,500 federal tax credit. There is no comparison between these two vehicles on either performance or efficiency metrics.
As a plug-in all-electric vehicle, The Tesla Model S has an impressive range of approximately 250 miles on a full charge. Charging is simple, as I plug my vehicle in each time I pull it into my garage. I have a High Powered Wall Charger and recharge to full capacity in anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, even if I have run the charge down significantly that day. Additionally, Tesla has built and continues to build “Super Chargers” which are able to restore 170 miles of charge in 30 minutes. Supercharge use is free for the life of my Tesla Model S (that is right, FREE) and the superchargers are powered by the sun. Every morning I enter my car with a full charge and have rarely needed to add charge during the day.
The concern I and many others have is that the monied interests behind the big oil companies and the automobile industry will be successful in inhibiting the growth of Tesla and even, potentially, causing enough economic damage to put them out of business. Many states, under pressure from automobile dealer lobbies, have attempted and sometimes succeeded in stopping Tesla from selling vehicles in their state. Texas and New Jersey recently passed laws prohibiting selling cars directly to consumers without franchised dealerships. Now, as most everyone will attest, it is no fun walking into an automobile dealership and dealing with a salesman who will not give you a bottom line price and pressure you to purchase. Tesla Stores are casual and there never is pressure to purchase. I purchased my car online from the Tesla website. It was the most rewarding, pressure free car purchase that I have ever made.
The Tesla Model S performs better, is easier to purchase, requires very little maintenance, charges at home and comes with free supercharger service. It is also environmentally friendly, quiet and beautiful. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has done something remarkable. Hopefully, Tesla will continue to prosper and deliver on Elon’s promise to deliver a Tesla for the masses. If Tesla ultimately produces a model in the 40-50 thousand dollar price range, it will not only succeed but, possibly, become the most successful automobile manufacturer in history. That success would benefit every person on this planet because as new renewable sources of electric power are created and put into use, our reliance on carbon emitting fuel sources will lessen and, hopefully, our environment can be saved.
Greenland is Melting! I was sitting on my couch and watching television the other night when I came across an episode of the HBO series, “Vice”. For those of you who are unfamiliar, “Vice” is a half hour news magazine in the vein of 60 minutes, only shorter and MUCH edgier. I’ve seen episodes where the correspondent will literally negotiate secret meetings with Taliban leaders who openly support killing western journalists, on Taliban controlled turf! Think for a moment about the danger for a western journalist in that scenario….. The show is very thought-provoking and the danger element that exists in many of their stories makes the television that much more compelling.
The episode that I most recently watched contained a story about the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The Greenland Ice Sheet is truly amazing. It covers approximately 660,000 square miles of land surface and the thickness is generally 1 mile! It is the second largest ice sheet in the world after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Click here for the Wikipedia page, which contains more information about the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The correspondent travelled by helicopter with a leading Glaciologist over Greenland and what is initially striking is the amount of land that is no longer covered by the glacier. The expert noted that the land was covered with ice just ten years ago and that enough ice had melted to supply Las Angeles with fresh water for 2000 years. In all, 5 miles of land had to be travelled over before they reached the new edge of the glacier.
To get an idea of the amount of water contained in the Greenland Ice Sheet, it covers 80% of Greenland, which is three times larger than Texas. It is also multiple miles deep at some locations. It is estimated that if it melts completely, sea level will rise about 20 feet! That means goodbye to the worlds coastal cities including New York and it also would spell Atlantis time for Long Island as well. In fact, 80 of the worlds 100 largest cities would be under water!!
The expert then indicated that the ice is melting at a rate of 27 feet per year! One of the reasons the ice is melting so fast, is obvious from looking at the color of the ice. It is actually dark from soot from burning of forests and the massive amount of pollutants that we put into the air. Black ice absorbs, rather than reflects heat, which speeds up the whole process.
The expert notes that the ice melt has far outpaced the worst case scenario estimated by experts just 20 years ago. The host states that we are 60 years ahead of the worst case scenarios. The episode actually shows glacier pieces, the size of Manhattan buildings, falling away one after the other. The two eventually set-up camp next to the glacier and at night and hear what sounds like thunder in the sky, only coming from below, where the glacier mountains were falling, one after the other, into the sea. It is truly chilling, even from my couch, to witness this. Especially, considering that global temperature rise is only going to continue to increase. Greenland is melting and will continue to melt at an even greater pace.
The expert states that the trajectory we are on now heads toward “climate catastrophe”. The worst cased scenario was taken from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Report (IPCC5) which concludes that we have dramatically exceeded our recent worst case scenarios. In order to put into perspective what the IPCC5 report means, the correspondent then met with Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a highly respected Climatologist from NASA.
Dr. Schmidt talks not only about how Greenland is melting but, also, the dramatic melt in other glaciers as well. He also discusses the enormous heat that we are dumping into our oceans which is warming the oceans and causing them to expand. All of this is leading to dramatic sea level rise and he anticipates it will accelerate over the next 50-100 years. He says we need to cut emissions by 80% in next few decades or else we will see rise of sea levels by 4 or 5 feet by end of century and it will continue on.
Dr. Schmidtt says that WE are responsible for ALL OF THIS CHANGE! “This is a crime scene that is so covered in our fingerprints, there is no credible way you can say it was somebody else”. He goes on to state that we can only slow it down, it can not be completely stopped. The future holds the reality that Cities will eventually have to build large sea walls to remain dry. This will happen in the foreseeable future unless we take DRASTIC action.
Now for those of you, some of my friends included, who do not believe this FACT… Who may feel global warming is just an agenda for liberals who want to tax us and Hollywood types blowing hot air, consider the good that will come of heeding the warning of this episode. If we can cut emissions by 80% it will mean that we have drastically shifted our energy generation from carbon emitting to renewable sources such as wind, solar, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. We will finally kick the oil addiction which has led America into conflict in the middle east and only increased fundamentalist hatred and terrorism. The bottom line, if the facts are the facts then we must make these changes for our race to continue. If, somehow, all of this science is wrong, heeding the warning will still result in better sources of energy and an end to our reliance on the ever depleting oil sources around the globe.
Please check this episode out on HBO on demand. It is necessary viewing for all who care about our children and future generations.
Here’s a story on the episode.
Here’s another story on the Greenland Ice Sheet melt.
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