In America, what car you drive says a lot about you. Our current car, a 2015 Ford Fiesta, was the first new car I ever bought and was a reasonable expense. At the time, Dana and I wanted a brand new car that wouldn’t need any extra bells or whistles, and would reliably deliver me to work and her to school. The Fiesta was functional, straightforward, and checked the necessary boxes.
While the Ford Fiesta has served us well and taken us across the country to Texas, we are ready for a change. After much thought on what car we would want, we decided on a Tesla Model 3.
Despite almost no marketing or direct advertising, Tesla has managed to sell cars, shake up markets, and redefine the automobile. We are both looking forward to our 2020 Model 3 with its incredible innovations, including the induction motor, re-gen breaking, multi-camera autopilot, and the wifi connected touchscreen interface.
Some of our friends and family assume that we are rolling in cash because we will be driving a Tesla. This is not the case. Yes, Tesla’s are pretty expensive; however, the Model 3 is marketed as the affordable, middle-class offering totaling up to $37,990 for the Model 3 SR+ with basic trim and features. For comparison, a 2020 Jeep Cherokee costs around $35,785. Rather than owning one, we are leasing the Model 3, which takes the monthly price down to a reasonable $350 per month. After estimated maintenance and energy savings, the cost drops further to an estimated $315 per month.
Leasing is usually the best option for cars because you don’t bear the depreciation costs (a lesson we are learning with our 2015 Fiesta). Leasing also allows you to trade up for a newer model at the end of the contract if you liked the vehicle.
While Elon Musk and Tesla have been controversial concerning how they do business, our decision to purchase a Tesla was based on a few essential needs. Dana and I both wanted an electric vehicle that wouldn’t contribute to the daily pollution generated from combustion engine vehicles. Her research on this subject has been extensive, through her public health resources and what we could find online. As Dana would put it;
” The research is clear that automobiles are the primary source of tropospheric pollution aggravating and exacerbating asthma and other respiratory diseases in humans. Air pollution also contributes to morbidities and mortalities associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.”
We also wanted a vehicle with a certain degree of self-driving ability and smart safety features so Dana can drive herself independently and safely. Following surgery in 2017 to remove a cavernous angioma, she was left with multiple physical disabilities, which affected her vision, balance, and bodily sensation. These mobility related limitations will be significantly reduced by the autonomy provided by the Tesla Model 3’s self-driving and smart vehicle features.
As a company, Tesla has political and financial concerns, but we still have faith in their product. Tesla has accepted multiple US Government subsidies over the years (totaling close to a whopping $2.4 Billion) and has made it nearly impossible for its workers to unionize. While these aspects are concerning, I believe there is room to call for change from companies and support what they are doing right. We know (because the science is clear) that climate change is an existential threat and that humanity needs to move away from fossil fuels; the more electric cars and solar companies we can invest and purchase from, the better.
Because of this, we believe in the overall goal of Tesla. The other ventures in pursuit by Musk include developing reusable rockets for trips to space, alleviating traffic and benefiting public transit systems for cities, and more powerful home solar panels to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. When you purchase a Tesla, their representatives continually talk about “believing in the mission” which I will admit, was repeated like an ingrained mantra. If that mission is to transform the world positively, we do agree with it. The investment of money, innovation, and effort to topple to old fuel regimes (fracking, oil, and coal) is worth the cost, and I feel it’s a valuable endeavor.
With that said, we are excited for our first ride in the Model 3 this week. It will be great to see Dana behind the wheel and enjoy driving without the same impediments that have been with her the past few years. We are debating upgrading to full self-driving (a feature that costs a little more), but for now, we are grateful for the opportunity to have something safer and cleaner in our driveway.