Saturday, April 11, 2015

This soon-to-be Tesla owner wouldn't be caught dead in a luxury car from Germany

An all-electric Tesla Model S on display at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.



By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Does any American really need a 155-mph luxury car?

More than 15 years after the introduction of gas-electric hybrids to the U.S., German car makers offer only a handful of green cars.

Their luxury car lines still are filled with gas-guzzling sedans and SUVs that merely aggravate air pollution and hasten climate change. 

Some, like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, score low on reliability surveys.

Mindless media 

The automotive media are responsible for portraying German cars with hundreds of horsepower from dirty internal combustion engines as viable alternatives to Tesla Motors' revolutionary Model S and other all-electric vehicles.

For example, Car and Driver's blog interviewed Diamler Chairman Dieter Zetsche, who sports a walrus mustache (Diamler A.G. is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz).

One of the loaded questions was posed this way:

"And electric vehicles? Buyers seem unconvinced."

No one said you had to have brains to get a job at a car magazine or a blog like Gas2, which ran the interview recently.

Of course, "buyers" of electric vehicles must have been convinced or why would they have spent $30,000 to $70,000 and more for an all-electric car? 

Tesla Motors is selling about 50,000 Model S luxury hatchbacks annually from a single factory in California.

No ad revenue

The media's hostility toward Tesla might have something to do with the company's no-advertising policy. 

No ads mean no advertising revenue for struggling print and electronic media.

Elon Musk, the genius behind Tesla, didn't even bother showing his new model this week at the New York International Auto Show in Manhattan.

Model S 70D

This week, Tesla announced a new base model, the 70D, which costs $75,000 and has all-wheel drive and slightly more range, 240 miles v. 208 miles for the discontinued Model S 60.

The Associated Press story I saw in my morning paper reported the electric car maker "is going after mainstream luxury car buyers" with the new model.

The story didn't explain why the $70,000 Model S 60 -- which has a 380-horsepower electric motor and can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds -- didn't compete against "mainstream" luxury cars.

The new 70D trims only .7 seconds off that 0-60 time, even though it has a motor with 124 more horsepower.

My Model S

I am scheduled to pick up my new Model S 60 next week.

I am sure it will be the best car I have ever owned, and with free updates from Tesla will remain fresh and more advanced than just about anything else on the road.

The only cars we've had for more than a decade are Toyota Prius hybrids, and we have more than 60 solar panels on the roof of our home.

The Model S 60 will be a perfect fit, especially in view of the limited driving I do as a senior.

German cars

In the last few years, I've worked part time for fleet-management companies in New Jersey that supply new cars to the media and VIPs.

I've driven just about every Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche, occasionally as a chauffeur during Fashion Week or other special event.

Some of them have switches and controls that are so hopelessly complicated I had to consult the owner's manual to figure them out.

I couldn't wait to jump back into my 2010 Prius.