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Alexander Voigt

Autonomous Vehicles

A Love Letter & A Goodbye

Sometimes, in order to find the truth that we did not find from facts, statistics, or specifications, we need to step aside and look at a topic in a different way and from a different angle. That’s what this love letter is about – it’s about experiencing a new perspective.

Sometimes, in order to find the truth that we did not find from facts, statistics, or specifications, we need to step aside and look at a topic in a different way and from a different angle. That’s what this love letter is about – it’s about experiencing a new perspective.

People love cars, be they gas or electric, but they don’t often love both. When these two groups — gas heads and electric heads — come together, it feels like there is a disconnect of epic dimensions. They talk to each other, but they don’t reach each other, almost as if they talk in a different language and live in a different world or on a different planet.

Almost everybody has driven a gas car before starting to discover the world of electric driving, but only a small number of current gas car drivers have driven an electric vehicle. Of those who have, for many it was just one model, and the vast majority never drove a Tesla.

I can personally testify to the profound effect experiencing a Tesla Model 3 Performance has on people. It is very emotional and lasting. This not just because it happened to me, but because it has happened to everybody who has driven my car.

Personally, I had the opportunity to drive a few fully electric vehicles (BEVs) for short trips in recent years, and from that experience I thought I knew about electric vehicles. Now, after I’ve received my own, I realize that I actually knew nothing. I was naïve, I was blind, and I was not expecting what this vehicle would do to me. The Model 3 destroyed forever my ability to enjoy driving a gas car again — whether that be for a short or long trip, and no matter what gas car you can buy for whatever amount of money.

All the technical specifications, all the YouTube videos, all the Twitter messages and testimonies from friends and family, all articles and studies and statistics are worth nothing to the emotions that you have or don’t have. That statement is true for almost everything in life, and it is particularly true for the ongoing disconnect between these groups with regards to gas cars and battery electric vehicles.

When I received my Model 3, which I named HAL after the super-intelligent computer in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which ironically killed all passengers in the spaceship except one. I not only received a new car, but also a set of new emotions that I never have had before.

These are emotions that I tried to express in a letter to my former (now sold) vehicle, a Porsche Cayman S.

Dear Cayman,

Over the last year, I am convinced you will agree with me, something unexpected happened to the two of us and somehow, step by step, our relationship moved in different directions. It’s not because you changed that much — it’s really more that I changed. Or, actually, I have been changed. To be truthful to you, my expectations of you changed dramatically, and although that’s not fair, it is what it is.

You have of course realized that suddenly I lost all joy and interest in you, and for a long time you’ve stood unused in our garage. I even covered you up — not to protect you, but because it’s almost a weird memory now that we spent so much time together day to day on my way to work and back. Looking at you leaves this taste, this memory from the past — frankly, not the best one.

For the entire time I have been with you, I did not really know or realize what I was in fact missing. I have been very happy with you, but now it’s all of a sudden so crystal clear that it hit me like lightning. I feel awake now, and realize what I could not even imagine before.

I don’t know how to say it best and I don’t want to hurt you more, but I feel like we live now in two different worlds, and it’s so difficult to express my emotions and experience, and every minute, the distance gets larger and larger. I have to say I do even welcome it, and all but regret it.

It’s important, I believe, to be honest, and I want you to know that I found someone new who every day in a magical way makes me smile and laugh when we are together.

She’s so silent, gentle, agile, and fast all at once that I only want to be with her and, to be frank, I even invent excuses to go with her around without any real purpose. Something the two of us did a long time ago, but now is all over.

It’s like I see the world now through new eyes and everything is suddenly so exciting, with new promises and temptations and colors — after being in a black and white movie before. To feel so much happiness in me that I even did not know was there is … breathtaking.

The worst is that I do not regret one single second telling you that I abandoned you, and it feels so good in every aspect of life that I know now from the bottom of my heart I will never ever come back. I know what I want now, and I was so silly before because I did not know.

I don’t expect you to understand me, because you are what you are and no one can change that. We had a great time and great moments together and I will remember them with happiness, but the time to move on is overdue. Now is the time to separate and I need to add that this forever. I will never return and know I will not regret it for one single second.

A new decade has started and you won’t be a part of it. You’re stuck in the past while I’m moving in the future.

To be frank, I even cannot honestly wish you all the best for the future because your days are numbered and fewer people will have interest in you and your value will drop quickly. It’s not really a question of whether you disappear, with all your similar fossil cousins, but only when. Sorry — all of that sounds really cruel and harsh, but we promised once to be honest with each other.

There is more I need to say, and you are asking yourself why I am leaving you, so let me try to explain.

It has always been somewhat noisy with you, and now with HAL, it’s all so quiet that I feel like I’m in a peaceful, soft, and safe environment. Safety is so beautiful and I relax when we drive together. I do not even have to work for it, as HAL is doing all that’s needed when I want her to. It is joy. Yes, I need to remain aware, but with you, I had to do something all the time to keep moving whereas now I can just enjoy the ride.

To be fully frank, you did smell, almost all time, and that’s true regardless of how carefully I cleaned you. All this smoking is really a bad attitude and made me feel quite miserable, and you know, it’s really not healthy either.

Usually outside, but also from the inside, it was just what I now call disgusting. And your needs in gas and oil and grease are really weird. I mean, what are you really doing with those liquids? And at the end, it smelled horrible, and could even kill me or others — even people all around the world. Countless people actually suffer from your emissions and leftovers.

Not to mention that these places where you forced me to go to buy your essentials, to keep you moving — these places called gas stations — they are the summation of all that smell and dust, and my hands were stinky at least for the rest of the day because of visits there.

Also, I do feel that you have some kind of attention deficit disorder, because I always had to take care and make sure you did things right. Any time I was not fully attentive with you, you went very fast towards trouble. That is really bad, and just not safe.

And then all these ticks you have, like a small kid. For instance, if it’s cold outside, you don’t react at first to my needs and you are all the time cold yourself, making me feel cold, and it takes so long until you heat up and have a pleasant temperature. It always took a long time for you to get working as you were supposed to, and promised to. I know you tried, but let’s face it, it’s just not sufficient.

And I also must say your constant trembling is really odd and feels like a disease — I know that now. I mean, who besides you and your kind needs to vibrate all the time? And although you do that, you do not move immediately once I ask you to. It’s almost as if you need time to digest and understand before you decide to move forward. Besides, I doubt that you digest or decide anything, which is actually quite the opposite to HAL. It does not need to be like that, and there is no good reason for it. I always felt exhausted when we went somewhere with you because of all of this.

Now, thinking about it, I believe you have been kind of distracted, or maybe somehow disabled. Something is clearly wrong with you. Plus, this guy in the dealership, who never stops talking, was more and more demanding that you come in for high-cost treatments and pampering just to make sure you were not breaking down or getting something that, if we don’t fix it right away, would become severe and even more costly or dangerous. This is about life and death. If I think about all the time and dollars I spend just for that … oh my.

You have been really so costly to keep healthy. It just brought me sometimes to my limits, and even when nothing had to be fixed. So many needs and so much time just to keep you going, and now it feels like I am a free man without any burden on my shoulders. What a relief!

Another point is your ability to develop and improve. Since we have been together, you never ever improved, changed, or even tried to learn anything. You remained where you have been from the very first days we met years ago, and you even consider this okay! I mean, seriously, what behavior and attitude is that, and you even expressed you don’t have to justify it! At least, that’s what I heard from this guy who never stops talking. HAL is so different in that respect. She is constantly, continually learning and improving for my safety and comfort.

Also, to be honest, you are pretty lazy. I mean, can I ever expect you to earn your fair share of income as true partners should do? I had zero expectation that you ever would earn anything, because you have not been built for that, it’s not a part of your DNA. And you know what, I think that HAL will make decent money starting next year when she is not being used by me. She will drive others around for real money, which is urgently needed. That’s what I call a real partner! I mean, it was very expensive for me to get you and you continue to decline, giving me nothing in return but bills, while HAL gives me a lot of great emotions and on top of that, eventually, hard-earned dollars.

Finally, let’s face it, all of this handholding is really so outdated and HAL will be able to independently move from A to B without me next year, without anybody supervising. In fact, this is what she already does today in large parking lots, while you stand still as if you were frozen. She moves alone wherever I am in order to pick me up. That’s what I call a true pleasure — a friendly, attentive attitude — while you are like a stubborn kid playing, “I don’t hear you, I don’t see you, I don’t move!” That’s childish and I am just so fed up with that behavior and I can’t stand it any more.

HAL has a much longer life span than you will ever have, and she makes my life more pleasant and enjoyable. People are simply losing interest in you. That’s the hard, undeniable truth, and apologize again for being so direct, but at the end of the day, I hope it will help you to understand.

My family liked you. However, they have been critics of your extensive consumption and pollution. On the other hand, I have never seen them so blown away in every aspect at how HAL deals and interacts with them. At that point, I realized, it’s not just me. For all my loved ones, it is an order of magnitude better experience with her. It’s not that I decided to leave you because of my family, friends, and colleagues’ reactions to HAL, but it’s a confirmation to me that I am not alone with my feelings, and it’s happening instantaneously like an infection that starts the second you get in contact.

We must separate now, and I am so delighted, so full of happiness about the future — and sorry for yours.

Don’t be too sad, though. There are many of you already in parking lots waiting in remote areas like the desert, and you will have much company soon. But while you sit there with the others, do not expect much to happen other than your slow decline…


Porsche Cayman e-volution

Porsche Cayman e-volution

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Written By

Alex Voigt has been a supporter of the mission to transform the world to sustainable carbon free energy for 40 years. As an engineer, he is fascinated with the ability of humankind to develop a better future via the use of technology. With 30 years of experience in the stock market, he is invested in Tesla [TSLA], as well as some other tech companies, for the long term.


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