Making The Decision To Buy A Tesla: “It Was Very Scary To Me”

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Tesla Model X

“Flat-footed” legacy carmakers have feared this time of the EV’s ascendance, according to the Wall Street Journal. With a “slew” of new battery-electric vehicles debuting, 2020 is seeing a confluence of constituents and forces coalescing around increased optimism. Many new groups are finally joining the call to go electric, and lots of car owners perk up when they start to think that they, too, could buy a Tesla or other compelling electric vehicle.

But not everyone is convinced, so we here at CleanTechnica are making it part of our 2020 mission to help allay fears about the transition to all-electric transportation. Let’s start with a story out of Gulfport, Mississippi, where it absolutely did take a mentor to unlock fears before a local couple felt comfortable enough to join the electric vehicle community.

To Buy a Tesla is to Join in a Movement

buy a Tesla
Many Tesla wannabe owners are filled with FUD — Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt. It takes a trusted guide to unlock the door to the Tesla ownership experience.

Consumer Reports revealed in 2019 that Tesla owners finished first in its yearly Owner Satisfaction Survey — 91% of owners said they’d buy a Tesla vehicle if they had it to do all over again. That’s the 3rd consecutive year that it was #1 and a huge accomplishment.

The satisfaction with Tesla emerges from several areas:

  • Routine software updates and little need for maintenance or repairs.
  • Rapid acceleration, appealing styling, great comfort, quiet driving, and class-leading technology.
  • Being part of an elite community.
  • And so much more…

Yet there are many people around the US who are hesitant to take the Tesla plunge. In South Mississippi, Jason and Christy Livery wondered whether they could be one of the rare Tesla owners in their region. It seemed the time was right to buy a Tesla, due to a tax incentive. Mike Lacey, a WLOX multimedia journalist who covers the area, told CleanTechnica via email that the couple seemed well positioned to make a “pretty expensive investment on the front end.” According to Lacey, who interviewed the Liverys, the “adventurous” couple started off their Tesla buying experience with some palatable fears.

The couple’s primary concern was the big investment.

Jason admitted that the investment into a Tesla can be “frightening,” especially when one takes into consideration insurance, licensing, and the Mississippi tax on electric cars that compensates for the EV’s lack of tax money spent on gasoline.

Their Gulfport friend, Chris Sweebe, offered some guidance and personal reflections on his own Tesla. “I love this car,” he smiled. “This is the best car I’ve ever owned. The reason I bought this car is the performance and the technology.” He likes the fact that his own Tesla constantly downloads new programming, so the technology always stays current and timely. Sweebe also savors the attention that driving a Tesla brings him. “They’re rare” in his area, he acknowledged. “So, if anybody sees this car driving down the road, they’re like, ‘Oh!’ They know exactly that it’s my car.”

Christy Livery did her own research to build her background knowledge about driving a Tesla. “I actually wanted to stay up and watch YouTube all night to find out how to drive this thing. So, it was very scary to me. Like Autopilot, how do I drive this thing?”

Jason, too, needed to learn more about driving a Tesla before he could be convinced. “My mind was going a million miles an hour,” he admitted. “I was just nervous. I wasn’t sure what I was doing — if was doing things correctly.” The couple was uncertain about the learning curve they’d need for the Tesla technology and if the availability of charging stations would become problematic.

The more they learned, however, the easier their decision became. “Seeing all that and seeing all the research, I’m like, ‘Well, we’ll never have an issue with charging.’ So, we went ahead and pulled the trigger on it,” Jason reflected.

Tesla Model X

The Liverys drove their two internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to an Atlanta dealership, traded them in, and returned with an all-electric 2020 Model X. The cost was about $98,000. Their previous anxiety didn’t last long. “Within, like, 10 minutes, I had it figured out,” Christy said.

Their calculations indicate that owning a Tesla in the long run will offset their large initial investment. Jason said it’s worth it, especially since Tesla is making more affordable models, some of which he noted are in the $40,000 range. “People look at the Teslas and they say, ‘Oh, they’re so expensive.’ But, by the time you factor in maintenance on your vehicles, oil changes, brake jobs, the gas — depending on how far you drive on your daily commute — it all evens out,” he explained.

To Buy a Tesla is to Transcend those Negative Media Vibes

“You try to think, ‘I need to start my car,’” Jason continued. “But there’s nothing to start. So, when you get in, it’s, like, you put your foot on the brake, put it in whatever gear you’re going to go, and that’s it.” Jason also figured out the Autopilot feature fairly quickly and learned “there’s Tesla Superchargers all over the country on every major interstate everywhere.”

The Liverys are pretty pleased with their decision to buy a Tesla.

Elon Musk said on Autonomy Day that no other car manufacturer on Earth has released a car that can compete with the 2012 Model S, and that model is still years ahead of any other EV you can buy today. Perhaps overcoming the hesitancy with Teslas simply comes down to word of mouth, gentle critical friend guidance, and an individual’s ability to turn away from negative media vibes.

Thanks to Mike Lacey at WLOX who offered background on the Liverys and their Tesla buying experience.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a Model Y as well as a Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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