The ‘going electric’ will be different blogs from my usual beat. Not only because they will not be related (directly) to software development, but also because they are opinionated and personal reports; editorials about switching over to an electric car. They will list my personal joys and annoyances about the switch, but I’ll try to be fair and balanced. Oh, and this first one will be longer, so I’ll include chapters and pictures. 🙂
I’m a nerd, always have been. In primary school I was ridiculed because my fantasy sometimes got the better of me. Luckily nowadays nerds are cool, because people need nerds to make their gadgets work, so the world became a better place for me. But that could become a whole separate post. What matters is that technology always had my interest; I like spaceships, watch science fiction, and dreamt of flying on the Enterprise. But also more down to earth tech like cars and trains always had an appeal. Not in a way that I had posters of them on the wall, but those big American trains… As an adult, whenever I found a nice image, it was included in my set of rotating desktop wallpapers.
Besides beautiful images on my desktop, I read a weekly car magazine to know more about cars. Because, you know, supercars have a tendency to be totally unpractical. One of my favourite brands is Aston Martin, because they look good and actually are usable.
The DB’s have a sleekness and finesse that really appeal to me, my nerd-side likes things to be polished, smooth. You see that in the way I code, how I do my work… But not as much on my desk though. The appreciation for smoothness and finesse is not an autism, I can also see the beauty in some messy rawness. That is why I came very close to buying a Ford Mustang…
But the caveats of driving a grey import US car won from the allure, and I decided not to do it. Oh, and that crisis in 2008 helped. I did not have the money. So I ended up with a Mazda 3. 😀
And then Tesla came along, and suddenly a marriage between technology and beauty happened. The car is smooth, it is nerdy, and has performance that makes a supercar cry, and that all in an eco-friendly package! Everything suddenly fell into place.
I made a test drive in a Model S in 2015 and was so impressed. But the money! What a TOTALLY RIDICULOUS amount of money to spend on a car! Never will I spend so much money on a car, I said, I’ll wait until it gets cheaper. So in March 2016 I entered myself on the Model 3 reservation list.
To pass the time I subscribed to YouTube channels like T.E.N., Model 3 owners club, Teslanomics and Now You Know to stay informed. I have the feeling that (at least some of) these channels try to separate the FUD from the fanboys, and be objective.
I noticed that I stopped reading the car magazine, just leafing through it quickly. ICE (internal combustion engine) cars overnight had lost all their appeal. The combination of factors electric cars offer make ICE cars seem so obsolete. I was turned. I did not become a Tesla fanboy, but I did become a believer in the product.
But time kept dragging on and the Model 3 was postponed over and over again, and my expected delivery date slipped back. Early 2018, mid 2018, late 2018, early 2019…
While waiting I kept my eyes open for alternatives. There were test rides in a VW e-Golf and e-Polo, I examined the new Ampera-E, rode in a Renault Zoe and sat in a Nissan Leaf. And all cars had drawbacks. To name a few: the e-Golf had not enough range, and the Zoe is not ‘car’ enough, very plastic and toy-like.
So I kept waiting for the Model 3. In the meantime the economy had picked up, so the savings account of my company (I’m self-employed) kept growing. Until suddenly that ridiculous amount of money was on the bank. (Company money is seriously different from private money; it comes, but also goes, in greater quantities.)
January 1st 2019
And then the Dutch government made a change in the tax rules. I’m not going to explain the details, but starting January 1st 2019 fully electric cars below 50.000 euro keep profiting from reduced taxes (4% instead of normal 22%), the amount above that threshold is to be taxed at the normal rate. And the model 3 has slipped to early 2019 and very likely will be substantially more expensive than that 50.000…
After some math, it turned out that (over a 5 year period) buying a Model S before Jan 1st is less expensive than the long-range Model 3 after Jan 1st. And there still are no real alternatives. The Jaguar iPace loses from the Model S 75D in overall comparison tests by automotive journalists; the Jag is simply too new. And the Hyundai Kona also is brand new, what kind of hickups does it need to overcome before it reaches the maturity of a Tesla?
I was majorly frustrated by the impasse caused by the changes in tax rules (which I fully understand and support), and the fact that Tesla does not seem to pay any attention to it. Jaguar, in comparison, decided to dump as many iPaces as possible in the Dutch market prior to Jan 1st. But Tesla decided to first deliver the Model 3 to people in the US who simply walked into a store.
Hello? Why have I been on the reservation list for 2.5 years??? Does that mean anything?
I felt that Tesla’s inability to deliver somewhat close to the promised date is forcing me to pay 20.000 euro’s extra on the car, being it the S or 3. But that is not how it is of course. No one is forcing me to spend money on a Tesla; this is what Tesla offers, and I can take it or leave it. It was the 2.5 year wait, and seeing it fail so close before the car would be delivered, that was causing the frustration. Understandable though, I think, and to be frank: I’m still not okay with it. The fact that anyone in the US can buy Model 3’s, and have it delivered in 3 weeks, feels unfair. But hey, first world problems.
September 20th 2018
So what to do? Wait for the 3? Or an alternative? Or go for a Model S?
All it took was one moment on a sunny Sunday morning of not paying too much attention to what I was doing on my computer, and then the deed was done. And thus, on the 20th of September 2018, this happened:
Laura was born.