Commentary: I’m up for early adoption


The Tesla Model S. (James Lipman)
February 3, 2013

Occasionally, we publish blog posts, speech transcripts and other commentaries of interest to the Washington business community. This post, by the founder of Rockville-based Mom’s Organic Market, originally appeared on the author’s Scott’s Compost Pile blog.

I’m getting a Tesla S.  There.  I said it.  This feels like a confession. 

The nicest car I’ve ever driven was a Ford Fusion hybrid (and it is a really nice car). I basically despise status and will frankly be pretty embarrassed to be seen driving my new car. Nice cars, nice clothes, fancy stuff — not into it.

My dad bought his cars at auction. He would sometimes go out for the day shopping for cars like others would shop for groceries. I remember one Saturday afternoon, he brought home three cars from the auction. Those cars lasted forever, it seems. One was a retired fire chief wagon. It had the spotlight on it and everything. Those cars all got about 10 miles per gallon, [by the way].

I currently drive a Nissan Leaf. I really like it, but it will be nice to have an electric car with longer range. The Leaf is great for every day running around, but there are plenty of times when I have to take a rather long day or weekend trip.

I’ve decided to buy a Tesla because of this article I recently read in the [New York Times]. Here is an excerpt that sums it up …

Though Tesla’s products are not yet affordable to the masses, this is a car that a lot of people can aspire to, and maybe even stretch their budget to buy. No single new model can overhaul the auto industry, but the Model S, along with its charging network for long-distance travel, suggests that Tesla is playing for keeps. If the car’s appeal can be transferred to higher-volume models, the Model S could become the Model T of an approaching petroleum-free era.

I was in Costco doing some Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. I noticed that their LED lights have dropped about 50 percent in price since 18 months ago. With all of our recent growth here at Mom’s, we ordered about 1,000 LED bulbs from them for our stores this past year, paying double the price we could get for them today ($30 vs. $15). Do I have any regrets? Not one bit! As a matter of fact, I’m proud that the price has now come down. Were it not for the early adopters who are the first to support environmentally friendly technology, such products wouldn’t be available to anyone.

I know I’m vastly over-paying for this car. I’ll bet in three years, there will be a similar option with a price that will be at least 30 percent less. I am confident that the electric car industry will take off similarly to the LED light market, though — and those of us who are able, must show our support now.

Telsa’s Model S is an all-electric vehicle with a base price of $52,400, according to the automaker’s Web site.

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