Tesla owner Glenn Berry asked me to write a blog post explaining why I don’t own one yet, so here goes.
I live in downtown Chicago at the corner of State & Randolph. Parking spots in my building don’t have electric chargers, so to put one in, I would need to buy a spot ($50k-$65k), then get the homeowners association to allow me to get an electrician to install a charging outlet. I don’t own my condo – I’m renting my condo and my parking spot – so this cash outlay doesn’t make much sense for me.
The nearest building with charging is Interpark at 20 E Randolph. They have exactly two parking spots with chargers shared for the entire garage. If you use one, you have to come back to move your car after it charges, or leave your keys with the parking staff so they can move it for the next person. (In that case, when you’re ready to come back and drive, you have to go to the parking attendants first, get your keys and your car’s location (which can be anywhere in the 9-story garage), and then go to your car.
Yeah, uh, no.
And if I even tried to foist that on Erika, she’d kill me. She hasn’t had to fill up a car in over a decade – we jokingly call it Magic Gas Tank because it’s always full.
The other common issue with electric car ownership is range anxiety – worrying about how far the car will go. That doesn’t bother me at all during the summer. I do take road trips a lot, but I’m the kind of driver who likes to stop for extended periods to eat. Stopping for an hour every four hours isn’t unusual at all for me.
However, range anxiety in the winter kinda blows, and I’ll give you an example. Last winter, I took a road trip to see my parents in Michigan – 195 miles door to door, well within Tesla’s range. Halfway through the trip, I got stuck in a snowstorm and had to get off the road. I pulled into the first available hotel, slept overnight, and then took off again in the morning. Had I been in a Tesla, I would have been in a tougher spot – I couldn’t have left the car out in subfreezing temperatures, started up, and made the rest of the drive home.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m wildly excited for the future when electric cars are affordable, easy to charge, and fit into my routines. If I could just get a home charger for $2k-$3k, that’d completely change the way I feel about electric cars. But spending $70K minimum on the car, plus $50k on the parking spot – those numbers just don’t make electric cars economical for me today.
I’m willing to spend less on something that’s less convenient – but I’m sure as hell not willing to spend more.