Thursday, April 28, 2016

My savings with a 2015 Tesla Model S now top $11,000 in state and federal taxes

My 2015 Model S 60 backing out of my garage on its own after I hit the "Summon" function on my smart phone's Tesla app.


Let's clear the air on why just over a year ago I used $30,000 from my retirement fund to put down a deposit on the purchase of a Tesla Model S 60.

I didn't do it to save money on gas, for crying out loud; I owned Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrids for 11 years, and hardly noticed my spending on gas.

Yet, the media continue to report that sales of EVs and hybrids have been negatively affected by low gas prices.

That's because they refuse to recognize there are consumers like me who want to slow climate change by driving hybrids, having solar panels installed on their homes and putting an all-electric car in their garages.

Of course, the media aren't in the least bit interested in making the world a better place.

They're beholden to the oil companies, GM and other traditional automakers, and greedy auto dealers, who keep their publications or Web sites afloat by buying advertising -- lots of advertising to deceive consumers on just how harmful their products are.

In unveiling the Model 3, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said auto emissions kill 53,000 people a year, but any reporter who dared quote him risked being sacked. 

My Tesla Model S says good night, buenas noches and bonne nuit.
Plugged in for the night.

Tax savings

My purchase of a Tesla did take advantage of government green-car incentives, saving me more than $11,000 in state and federal taxes in the first year.

My Model S 60, the base model at the time, cost about $81,000 with such options as a tech package that enabled software downloads of autonomous-driving functions.

Immediately, I saved $5,670, because I didn't have to pay the 7% New Jersey sales tax when I took delivery in mid-April 2015.

And this month, an accountant filed my federal tax return, and took more than $5,700 of the $7,500 federal tax credit that came with the car.

Although I'm retired, the $30,000 I put down on the Tesla and other withdrawals from my IRA were taxable, but the Tesla tax credit helped reduce my federal taxes to zero.

Why wait for Tesla's Model 3? If you buy my Tesla Model S 60, you will save $4,550 in New Jersey sales tax. I plan to lease my next Model S.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Environment isn't getting much of a break in a city where the good times still roll

The oil industry dominates New Orleans, where a few concessions to the environment include small solar panels atop parking meters, above, and a growing network of electric streetcars, including this one on Canal Street, below.


NEW ORLEANS -- On a six-day visit to the Big Easy, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Downtown streets were filled with an unusually large number of big SUVs and pickup trucks, and only a small number of gas-electric hybrids.

I rode plenty of electric streetcars, but saw not a single all-electric car from Tesla, Nissan, BMW or other manufacturer.

And solar panels seemed more common on parking meters than on buildings and homes.

In the city's Garden District, I saw a rare Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrid in a neighborhood filled with SUVs.

Oil, music and fish

A visitor soon learns how important the petroleum industry is to New Orleans and Louisiana, despite the Deepwater Horizon spill six years ago that nearly destroyed the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil companies are the major sponsors of two major music and food festivals in April -- the French Quarter Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which began Friday.

Louisiana is the primary source of the nation's crude oil, and the second-largest refiner of petroleum for gasoline and plastic, according to the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp.

Meanwhile, the Louisiana fishing industry has bounced back, "accounting for 26 percent of all seafood landed in the country, and 40 percent of all seafood consumed by Americans each year," the city's marketing group says. 

Tesla New Orleans

Tesla Motors has promised a service center in New Orleans beginning in 2014, but Model S owners are still waiting.

A friend who lives in the city says he has seen a few Teslas.

The company Web site lists a New Orleans service center as "coming soon."

Tesla has installed free Superchargers and destination chargers across Louisiana for Tesla owners.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

SNL unveils 'Double AA Class' Mercedes, lampooning lame efforts to catch Tesla

Comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Saturday Night Live demonstrating how the all-electric Mercedes-Benz Double AA Class luxury sedan can dump all of its 9,648 batteries at once.

The TV skit last Saturday night may have been aimed at the German automaker's pathetic efforts to catch the all-electric Tesla Model S, which this year outsold Mercedes' big gas-guzzler, the S-Class luxury sedan.


"Batteries not included."

That was the final punch line in a Saturday Night Live send-up of Mercedes-Benz -- the German automaker that has spent more time churning out annoying TV commercials than developing an all-electric Tesla fighter.

Host Julia Louis-Dreyfus unveiled the Mercedes Double AA Class luxury sedan.

"No more plugs, no more charging stations, just 9,648 Double AA batteries," she said on SNL's show last Saturday night.

Top speed: 52 mph.

Click here to see the entire video:

Batteries not included

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tesla freshens front of Model S hatchback so it looks more like Model X and Model 3

A Tesla Model S with a freshened front bumper and grille, giving it a family resemblance to the new Model X. The image appears on, the company Web site.
The front bumper and oval grille on a 2015 Model S.

The Model X is billed as the safest SUV on the road.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiling his $35,000 Model 3 on March 31 in California. This smaller Tesla could use the same slit grille as Model X and the freshened Model S.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Update: Media totally ignored what CEO says Model 3 will mean for environment

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiling his $35,000 Model 3 in California on Thursday night.

Editor's note: On April 7, Tesla announced more than 325,000 reservations for the Model 3 had been received in the week after the car was unveiled.


At the unveiling of the Model 3, the first words out of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's mouth were to alert the media to the dire state of the environment.

But his strong environmental message -- that this affordable all-electric car will "accelerate sustainable transport" -- was virtually ignored by reporters and financial analysts.

Noting record high carbon-dioxide levels, Musk said 53,000 deaths a year are caused by auto emissions.

200,000+ reservations quoted Musk as saying 232,000 Model 3 reservations at $1,000 each were placed in the first 24 hours after Tesla stores opened on Thursday morning.

No other single vehicle in the history of the automobile has generated this kind of excitement.

This is a watershed moment, and if Tesla achieves volume sales of the Model 3, it could mark the beginning of the end for the antiquated internal combustion engine.

Glass roof

Model 3 won't just be a smaller, three-quarter version of Model S.

Notable differences from Model S include:
  • The roof of the Model 3 will be glass to give the driver and four passengers a feeling of openness.
  • The central touchscreen will be mounted horizontally, and include the speedometer and other instruments.
For $35,000, the new all-electric car will come standard with Autopilot, Autosteer and Autopark, autonomous functions that were extra on the Model S 60 I bought a year ago.

Free charging

And Model 3 owners also will be able to use Tesla's nationwide network of Superchargers for free as long as they own their cars, just like Model S owners.

Free charging for life is an exclusive Tesla feature no other automaker has matched.

Chevrolet hasn't said whether it will build a network of fast chargers for owners of the all-electric Bolt, due out late this year.

Musk also said Model 3 will be the safest car in its class, with 5-star ratings in every category.

Model 3 battery

Model 3 will have a range of 215 miles on a full charge, compared to the 208-mile range of the Model S 60 I own, so the battery in the new car likely will be about 65 kilowatt-hours.

The Model 3, like the Model S 60, does 0-60 in under 6 second.

The current base Model S is the 70D with dual motors, a 70 kilowatt-hour battery and a range of 250 miles at 65 mph.

Battery, car factories

Musk said on Thursday night Tesla's battery factory in Nevada is "operational," and batteries from there will cost 30% less than those in Model S, allowing him to sell Model 3 for $35,000.

And he noted the Tesla Factory in Fremont, Calif. -- a former GM-Toyota joint venture -- has the capacity to build 500,000 cars a year.

The plant was building an average of 6,000 cars a week when it closed in May 2010.

Tesla Motors reopened the factory in October 2010.

EVs go mainstream

On April 7, the Tesla blog announced more than 325,000 reservations had been received in the week since the March 31 unveiling of Model 3:

Tesla declared that was "the week when electric vehicles went mainstream."