If the Tesla D’s Such a Great Car..

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

My teeth hurt.

Over the past week, I’ve been assaulted by one “news” story after the next about the latest fruit of government motors. Not GM. Tesla. The Model D. It is very slick! And very quick! It has all-wheel-drive! Not one but two electric motors (which isn’t new, by the way). Orgiastic comparisons with Porsche 911s and other exotic high-performance cars.

No mention, of course, that the government doesn’t pay people to buy 911s. Nor is Porsche a rent-seeking cartel whose existence depends on government support.

I was asked recently during a radio interview (here) why I do not like the Tesla. But that is not the right question, much less a fair question.

I haven’t got any particular like — or dislike — for the Tesla as such. If Elon Musk — or anyone else wants to build a car (powered by whatever, be it electricity or air or unicorn farts) and offer it for sale, they ought to be free to do so. I certainly have no objection to that.

What I do object to is being forced to “help” anyone else manufacture — or purchase — a car. I especially object to being forced to “help” the very affluent buy this toy.

The least expensive Tesla is a $60k car. Anyone who can afford to spend $60k on a car is someone who does not need my “help” to buy it. I’ve never spent more than $10,000 on a car myself — and all of it was my money. The guy who buys a Tesla gets a $7,500 federal tax kickback — more than what I paid for one of my trucks.

Why is it that — so far as I have been able to determine — no one in the mainstream media ever bothers to ask Elon Musk: If your car is so uber-luscious, how come it’s necessary to dangle large amounts of other people’s money in front of prospective buyers? Porsche doesn’t need to do this. Indeed, Porsche typically sells every car at full mark-up. Good luck trying to haggle down the price of a GT3.

Why is this?

I’ll tell you why. Rather, I’ll tell you what the supine (and engineering-ignorant) media will not tell you:

While the Tesla is indeed slick, its quickness is extremely short-lived if used. It has the capability to reach 60 MPH in just over 3 seconds. But it does not have the capability to do so more than a handful of times before you run the battery pack to “empty” — at which point you had better be within close proximity of an electric hook-up and have at least 30-45 minutes to kill while the car recharges itself. That’s assuming the hook-up is one of Tesla’s “super” charging stations. On ordinary household current, the recharge time is several hours.

In order for the Tesla to deliver on its touted maximum rage (an alleged 275 miles) it must be driven like a Corolla — not a 911. Accelerate pedal to the metal more than a handful of times or run it up to 80 and hold it there — and watch the battery charge indicator drop more rapidly than the gas needle in a ’70 Hemi ‘Cuda with 3.90 gears.

And the ‘Cuda at least refuels in minutes rather than hours.

Which rather defeats the point, does it not?

What, after all, is the point of paying $60k-plus for a car with excellent performance which you can realistically use only every now and again? Imagine if Porsche 911s came with a 1 gallon fuel tank — which you had to refill using a syringe. The car would accelerate furiously…. until you burned up the gallon of fuel. Which would happen very quickly. Now, you’d get to spend the next 30-45 minutes drawing gasoline into a syringe and squeezing it little by little into your car’s one gallon tank. If you needed to drive any significant distance, you’d have to drive as if you had an egg under the accelerator pedal. Keep it around 55-60. Do not pass that slowpoke up ahead. Indeed, you’d better drive like a slowpoke.

How many people would buy such a car? Would pay $60k-plus for such a car?


This is why billionaire Musk needs your money to make his “business” work. His cars are unsalable on their merits. So he resorts to government force. And that’s why I dislike Elon Musk — and disparage the Tesla.

Note, by the way, that Apple computer never resorted to force. I mention Apple because of the oft-repeated Elon Muskian BS that “early adopters” of Apple’s initially expensive gadgets up-ended the usual model of trying to sell basic, inexpensive stuff to a large audience and then building the fancy/expensive stuff. No one that I am aware of ever got a government kickback to induce them to buy a Mac or an iPhone or tablet. And so, I am not annoyed when I see a young hipster playing with his $600 iPhone. I figure he either bought it with his own money or his parents’ money.

But he did not buy it with my money.



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15 Responses to “If the Tesla D’s Such a Great Car..”

  1. David B says:

    Mr Peters,

    I am an NMA member and a Tesla owner. I accelerate quickly 0-60 often, and travel on my 90 mile commute mostly at 72 mph on the highway. I average 250 Wh/mi efficiency. That gets me nearly the advertised range in my car. This has been my experience for all of the 77,000 miles on my car. Your assertions regarding range and efficiency when the car is driven like it should be are simply untrue.

    David B

    • notTHame says:

      How does it work in Montana mid-winter? And did you decline on the government tax breaks? And No, I do NOT like subsidizing your purchase.

  2. Koolz says:

    Tesla Roadster Battery Life Study: 85 Percent Capacity After 100,000 Miles

    Not exactly sure what BS your website on Tesla cars is supposed to create but the Info on Tesla is very positive. You sound like stupid Propagandist of the Gas industry or are just completely misinformed very annoying.

  3. Spike says:

    This article sums up what I have said far less articulately for years!

  4. George says:

    The tax credit is a reduction of the unConstitutional 'tax' [extortion] you have to pay to the IRS/federal reserve.

    The new Tesla D is the first product by Tesla that is even worth contemplation of purchase: specifically the 85D.

    The dual motor configuration increase regeneration ability, increasing city/suburb range.

    Having dual motors, allows Tesla to change the gearing [less reduction from motor(s) to axle], increasing top speed to 155mph.

    If you want to criticize this car, complain about the red turn signals, and the fact that 19" wheels are standard (18" would fit over the brakes), and you can nickel & dime this car from $60k all the way to $120k.

    • George says:

      The P85D is the toy. 221hp front electric motor, an upgrade from the 188hp in the 60D & 85D; plus the rear 470hp. The battery pack only has so much power and thermal abilities-and the rear drive P85 is substantially over that.

      And the standard staggered 21" wheels with little to no sidewall

      And don't forget the frameless glass windows/doors.

      Delieveries of the 85D are supposed to begin February 2015/

  5. Frank says:

    I think, in light of the failed solar companies I lean towards agreeing with you on subsidizing stuff. However he did produce a car, and while you don't like how it works, e.g. not hardened like a ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), and more flimsy like an HHO generator's frequency pulse circuit, I do get it. But one has to keep in mind if you want "Free-er Energy" your going to have to work for it. In the Case of HHO that's a lot of salted IRON ICE engine blocks. Where's stanley Meyer's VW? I digress..

    The Solar co's that failed are because of the UN Agenda 21, and this fascist green human depopulation movement riding proxy on Government and Media deception on the matter. Yes I want a Clean planet, but get real. What's all that SAG/SRM operations for!?

    Shifting Gears…
    In the case of Tesla, there is a benefit.. Even though it was subsidized– hey the damage is done now. Might as well deal with what's NOW..

    The Batteries.

    Funny how it costs too much to make them in California. But I tell you what, from a Off grid Solar Panel owner, I would love to get my hands on them even if I never drive a Tesla.

    I think your hate is misplaced personally, (EVEN IF MY THEORIES ARE WRONG)
    You should be mad at your Representatives for funding the subsidies, not at TESLA who is just jumping at the offers.

    Be mad that you have no choice but to buy Health Insurance.
    It's unconstitutional. Not to mention things like $500 aspirin and $5000 bandages. In light of the protocols for stopping disease, it's more like a WAR.

    If Tesla can put out a battery and I am willing to buy it and his company can turn a profit from the whole thing, then I am okay with it. Where was that subsidy money going to go anyway? Off TO ISRAEL?

    Perhaps we should also discus, Amazon and profits. And NGO's starting stuff up in 3rd world countries who aren't members of the world bank.

    I agree for the most part of what you say. Even the APPL opinions. But if we are going to talk mobile phones shouldn't we talk about the NSA, about Spying by corporations, about VPN's and blackberry?

    The whole thing seems to me, is because we have OATH BREAKERS holding office. They raised their hands, and swore to protect the US Constitution against all enemies, yet their actions are nothing but an attack on this country.

  6. Michael says:

    Dear NMA,

    This is an article about government subsidies, not Tesla, much less Tesla's latest announcement. The company is irrelevant. Besides, if the government is forcing us to subsidize auto companies I'd much rather it went to one that only produces electric cars, vs one that is still doing both. The same could have been written about Toyota 5+ years ago. This article is a tasteless grab at extra clicks. Choose your battles and focus on the right enemies, or you'll do more harm than good.

  7. Jerry says:

    David, 72mph is “Corolla” speed (actually, my Corolla friends used to drive faster than that, but of course they could refuel quickly). Can you test it at 80 for a few days and report back?

  8. Luke Ball says:

    David, glad it is working out for you but every car magazine that has assessed the usability of the Tesla has come up with the same. The "daily driver use" range just doesn't get enough for the vast majority. What is "accelerating quickly" for you? It likely isn't at a rate that results in the fast drain Mr. Peters refers to. It also doesn't answer the point of the question in his article. If the Tesla accomplishes all you assert, why do taxpayers need to subsidize a billionaires company? Especially one that "helps" so few?
    It doesn't take long for the "better item" word to get out and Americans buy more than can be made. Apple being a good example. I doubt the average american driver loves to pay $4 a gallon so much that they would bypass an equal, cheaper use, alternative.

  9. SP says:

    I can understand the questioning of the $7,500.00 tax credit. It probably isn't necessary in the case of the average Tesla buyer. Without it, the cars would still sell, they would just sell a few less.

    At the same time the credits for Teslas make up less than .0005% of the federal budget and represent 69 cents per federal tax payer. I guess I can see how you could be upset over the loss of your 69 cents. It's almost a whole candy bar now days. You must be really pissed every time you file in April knowing how much of your tax dollars are going to lower the price of other people's gasoline.

    What I'm not clear about is where you are getting your info on the Tesla. It's embarrassing to hear someone spout off as much incorrect information as you do.

    Go for a test drive, take a road trip, borrow a buddies for a few days. Report back.

  10. Steve Hunter says:

    Thanks! Your article made my day. It was hilarious! Split my sides! And you're right! These luxury electric cars are so inefficient they rely on massive tax-payer funded support to sell. Talk about welfare for the wealthy!

  11. Rich K says:

    Mr. Peters,

    Whatever the range and efficiency, you're right about the charging time.

    And the "other peoples' money" thing is worse than just the $7500 that we, as taxpayers, pay to each buyer. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars and tax credits have been given for Tesla car and battery plants. Whether Tesla succeeds, or fails like Solyndra and other friends of the Administration, it's still corrupt and un-American for government to pick winners at others' expense.

    Even worse, that money stolen from the taxpayers could have gone to more productive causes. When we were a free capitalist country, government labs like Lawrence Livermore, NASA, etc. used to team up with universities and other basic research sources to make new technology available to anyone smart enough to develop and use it. Now, less funds are going to battery and solar research, because more is spent subsidizing the manufacture of existing technology.

    Thank you, Mr. Peters, and the Wall Street Journal for being among the few who are perceptive and honest enough to report the truth about this travesty.

  12. seenmuch says:

    On top of me agreeing with everything you have written, I will never understand how the fact that these things are running on coal produced electricity is always forgotten when the greenies claim they are cleaning up the air.

    That also leaves out the FACT that these things are far more expensive to produce and produce many more emissions when battery production is figured in! I Know, I know they can recycle those batteries but after over a decade of these less than useless things being built today there is no real evidence they are being recycled!

    We want to reduce oil use we should be pushing and giving tax breaks to small displacement gas and diesel powered manual trans autos. These things costs pennies compared to these things, literally pennies! And they can and do produce similar if not better mpgs real world than any of these electric autos…..

  13. bill holland says:

    And that doesn't include the following absurdity: [From the WSJ]. Last year, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of the Model S electric car collected $40.5 million—about 10% of its total revenue—selling credits earned from states to other auto makers, according to the company’s annual financial report. http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2013/03/08/tesl