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… On How Some Tesla Fans Can Do More Harm Than Good To The Electric Revolution

This morning, while waiting for my EV to charge at a public charging station (one of many inconveniences of living in an apartment), a group of teenagers walked by the car and one of them said in a way I could hear from inside it:

“Hey! This car is charging….”

Then he looked to me and said, disapprovingly:

“Na… This is no good, buy a Tesla!”

This morning, while waiting for my EV to charge at a public charging station (one of many inconveniences of living in an apartment), a group of teenagers walked by the car and one of them said in a way I could hear from inside it:

“Hey! This car is charging….”

Then he looked to me and said, disapprovingly:

“Na… This is no good, buy a Tesla!”

After the teen kids walked away, and after mumbling something like “Stupid kid,” I remembered certain comments on web forums and EV-related sites, where some Tesla zealots praise everything that comes out of St. Elon’s mouth or is made by the brand while at the same time dismissing any other EV as “legacy OEM garbage” or “compliance vehicles” or [fill in the blank].

90% of the elements of the Tesla tribe are good people in their normal life. Many believe that by defending Tesla with warrior zeal they are doing their part to make the world a better place, but, much like many Trump supporters, some go too far and lose the critical spirit with regards to what they defend. It’s like if their leader said: “Go and jump off a cliff!” Many would do so … or not. But who can tell, right?

And while defending Tesla and dismissing everything else, they mare making the EV transition harder, because Tesla, whether we like it or not, can’t achieve its own mission alone (hasten the transition to EVs enough to help to save the world from climate change). Tesla can’t do it alone not only because it’s not affordable for the average person to buy a Tesla, but also because Tesla vehicles do not suit every person’s transportation needs or style preferences. For that, we need diversity, including several kinds of EVs.

Because of this, other EVs shouldn’t be seen as a threat and sacrificed at the altar of Tesla for being “inferior, crappy creatures.”

Sure, the media doesn’t help with all that talk of “Tesla killers,” when those EVs in fact will just add more choice to the current plug-in crop rather than take sales away from Tesla. Sometimes it’s hard to not go bananas with the things we hear and read in the media. But try to keep cool and remember that Tesla is the star player on the EV team, and it’s pointless to go after other team members. Star players alone do not win matches. They need the rest of the team to help, and we need a variety of EVs in order to win the game against gasoline & diesel vehicles.

In a way, it’s the same story as with the iPhone from Apple and remaining smartphones. Apple products might have some unique selling points, but that doesn’t mean that what is offered by the competition won’t perfectly suit millions of users. It’s a matter of suiting each individual’s needs and preferences.

When I was in college, a teacher explained this subject with the following example: “If you want to have a professional career in photography, then a top of range Nikon or Canon is what suits you best, but if you have no training in photography and just want to take some pictures on your holidays or in daily life, an average camera will do perfectly what you need and won’t outsmart you, like a top of range Canon will.”

It’s the same thing, in a sense, with EVs. Teslas are great for certain needs (long range, highway-capable touring), but if you just want to make your 20 km/mile daily commute downtown in a packed city, then maybe a Smart electric will be better, as it can be parked anywhere. Need more space for family and/or groceries in that commute? Then a second hand LEAF would do the service in almost the same way as a Model S and you would save a ton of money.

OK, the LEAF battery is not the best on the market. So what? For those daily 40 kilometers/miles, it will be enough.

Basically, if you don’t want it, then don’t buy it, but there’s no need to shout, “Nissan Leaf battery is crap!!!” every time you hear the words “Nissan” and “LEAF” put together … like some sort of Pavlov-dog reflex.

And so what if the Jaguar i-Pace is not better than the Model X. Doesn’t it have the right to be sold, despite that?

Like I heard someone say : “There are as many different tastes as there are colors.”

So what that not everyone is into Tesla? Tesla alone won’t save us from future carbon-induced hells.

And the same can be said about “BEV purists” who say plug-in hybrids shouldn’t be considered in plug-in electric vehicle sales rankings … because “they have ICE engines.” Sure, we should promote BEVs first, but ignoring the benefits that PHEVs provide (reducing battery prices, cutting pollution, and cutting oil consumption) is just foolish, because many who own them would never go electric if only fully electric cars existed. If the plug-in vehicle market was already at 50%, then maybe BEV purists would have a point, but we are not. In fact, at 1–2%, we are faaaar from it, so we all need to be “Team EV” players, including Tesla fans and zealots, BEV purists, short-range PHEV drivers, etc…

All aboard the Electric Revolution, as I heard someone say.

 
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Written By

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.

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