Toxic Tesla Fandom Is Counterproductive

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An early version of the Porsche Taycan. Image provided by Porsche.

I’ve seen a lot of hate lately toward the Porsche Taycan. Sure, there are a number of ways it’s not going to be as good as most Tesla cars. It looks like it will likely be less efficient, have less range than most Teslas, and will definitely not have access to a charging network that’s as widespread as Tesla’s Superchargers. Those things are all true, but we need to keep things in perspective when it comes to other EVs.

We, as Tesla fans, need to look at the bigger picture.

Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

The most annoying thing I’ve seen is that Tesla fans want to have it both ways. When Tesla is better, they rub it in Porsche’s face on Twitter and Facebook. When it looks like the Taycan may have an advantage (such as when it did repeated launches from 0–124 MPH), fans mock the possible advantage as not relevant to the average driver, not something you can legally do on public roads, etc.

I’ve seen this with a number of other EVs. The Chevy Bolt and the second-generation Nissan LEAF, despite their shortcomings compared to the Model 3, both got to mass production and widespread availability before Tesla could solve its production issues. When that happened, I saw a good number of Tesla fans ripping on those cars and comparing them to the 3, which many simply couldn’t possibly buy yet.

The fact is, though, that many people needed to buy a car in 2018. I was among them. While I would have loved to pick up the cheapest Model 3 available today, at the time I bought the LEAF — it was the EV I could afford. The first few reservation holders were getting their highly equipped long-range models, which were out of my price range.

If the lower-spec Model 3 had been available at that time, I would have been all over it. It wasn’t, though. Had I been less interested in EVs and listened to the naysayers, I would probably be in another gas car, waiting to buy an EV in “a few years” (whatever that means).

Don’t Forget Tesla’s Mission

A screenshot of Tesla’s About page.

It’s right there on Tesla’s “About” page, in large print.

Does it say Tesla’s mission is to dominate the electric car market? Or that the company’s goal is to put all other automakers out of business?

Here’s another example. Last year, Elon Musk retweeted one of CleanTechnica’s articles listing every EV for sale. He knows that not everyone wants a Tesla. He also knows that Tesla can’t supply the whole world’s need for vehicles all by itself. He definitely knows that not everyone can afford a Tesla. He therefore actively encourages people to drive electric, even if it’s not one of the vehicles made by his company.

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What We Should Be Doing

Instead of making asses of ourselves, we need to keep our eye on the ball. We need to look at the big picture.

The Taycan isn’t a Tesla, but many people will buy one and be perfectly happy with it. That’s a good thing for all of us. It’s a victory for the EV transition. The same goes for the LEAF, the Bolt, the I-PACE, the e-Golf, and every other electric car. Even the $3,000 heavily degraded 2011 LEAFs that can only go 25 miles will work for some people’s daily needs.

Photo by Jennifer Sensiba | CleanTechnica
Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica
Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica

Instead of focusing on where the other cars are falling short of Tesla, we should be cheering them on. The more that sell, the more those companies will be motivated to continue improving. As they improve, they’ll sell even more. That’s how progress is made, especially for slower moving companies.

With the problems humanity faces right now, there’s no second chance to get this right. We need to all be working together to electrify the fleet, even when the cars aren’t as good as Tesla’s are.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1882 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba