Perhaps, like me, you feel as if you're Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day every time you read an article about electric vehicles, especially Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). Just as Murray's character woke up to the same day again and again no matter what he did, you see the same comments again and again no matter what the content of the article. Doesn't it seem as if one master template is floating around for the EV and Tesla Haters to use? You've probably seen it so many times you could repeat it in your sleep -- you know, as your EV (if you have one) was conveniently charging away.
I'm not talking about those who simply hold different views that they express civilly -- even vigorously -- such as believing fuel-cell vehicles will (or should) rule the future roads for whatever reason, or that Tesla's stock is too richly valued, for instance. There are certainly convincing arguments for both of those takes. No, I'm talking about Haters.
Some of you have your Bill Murray costumes, so you're set to go today! In the spirit of the holiday, join me as we help those who are considering being an "EV Hater" this Halloween with their lines and costumes.
Line: "Why would those 'green folks' buy a Tesla Model S when they can buy a Prius?!"
Costume suggestion: How-others-spend-their-money cop
This line is best pulled off by dipping into your Halloween goodies and gobbling up something sour before uttering "green folks."
Start out this thread by throwing in red-herring comments about politics, Al Gore, and taxpayer dollars. Don't concern yourself with facts, as they should never get in the way of a good story! No, it doesn't matter that it's common for new technology to receive government funding. That Tesla returned its government money is also irrelevant.
Ditch your money-cop costume for a moment and don a yogi master get-up as you repeat your mantra to yourself until you believe it: "Green folks are the only ones who would want a Tesla or another EV, and all car buyers make the choice of which car to buy based solely upon economics."
Of course, the non-Haters among you know that this "logic" is flawed. However, even if it weren't, doesn't it seem fair that until folks of all stripes need to explain or justify their consumer preferences, the "green folks" should enjoy the same rights?
Line: "Tesla Model S's limited range is a problem."
Costume suggestion: Long-distance trucker
This costume will help you sound more convincing when you say this line as if 50% of the American public are employed as truckers or traveling salespeople regularly driving over several hundred miles per day.
The P85 Model S has a 265-mile range. Let's lop off 15% during poor driving conditions. That's 225 miles.
Americans who drive passenger vehicles drive an average of 13,500 miles per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That equates to 260 miles per week. We're talking one or two charges per week, which, for many people, can conveniently be done overnight.
As for those occasional extended drives, you may be Super Bladder Man/Woman or Super-Steady Blood Sugar Man/Woman (yes, these are other costume possibilities, though you might scare kids), but many people stop after a few hours on the road to eat, stretch, and/or answer the call of nature. That's especially true of those with kids. A 20-minute break allows a Model S to get enough juice at a Supercharger station for about 130 miles, while a 30-minute pit stop will provide power for roughly 170 miles. Granted, these sites aren't conveniently located everywhere yet. So it should go without saying that a Tesla EV, or any EV, isn't currently a good fit for some people.
As for Supercharger stations, Tesla is aggressively expanding its charging network. By 2015, 98% of the U.S. population (and parts of Canada) will live within the Model S rated range of a station, according to the company. Granted, even when this coverage plan is achieved, a Tesla EV (or any other EV) still won't be a good fit for some people. But this is true of every auto or consumer product.
Line: "The charging network doesn't compare to the fueling network for vehicles with internal combustion engines."
Costume suggestion for those on the listening/reading end: The figure in Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream
OK, so no costume suggestion comes to mind to pair with this line. However, this oft-repeated line likely makes even the coolest folks on the listening or reading end want to don a costume based on the figure in Edvard Munch's The Scream.
- Most people who buy EVs can charge them at their homes.
- Everywhere there is an electrical outlet is a possible "fueling" station.
- Therefore it's not relevant that there are fewer public charging stations than there are gas stations. This is especially true with long-range EVs, such as the Model S.
Line: "You think all that electricity generation is 'clean'?!"
Costume suggestion: Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz
Remember to say this line in the most shaming voice you can muster. The goal is to throw off your prey so that they feel so bad that they don't realize that you're using a straw man tactic. Take lessons from politicians, as they're masters at this.
Tip: Don't use this line if there are guests at the Halloween party who are from certain countries. If you do, even the straw man argument that you set up might not hold up, because electricity generation is generally considered cleaner -- or at least "less dirty" -- in certain countries than it is in the U.S. For instance, Norway and Canada generate a large chunk of their electricity from hydropower.
Beth McKenna has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.