I strongly feel that I have to support people and businesses who are trying to change the world for the better in a big way. We are running out of time and need to get radical about it. For me the most pressing matter has always been how we are screwing up our little world and failing miserably as its stewards. If we ruin our spaceship Earth, as Buckminster Fuller called it, then nothing else matters. Future generations will have the dystopian lives I’ve portrayed in my novels that have a backdrop of climate change. I’ve felt this way about the environment since I was a little kid. The 1970’s commercial with an Indian crying as he canoed through the polluted river was iconic for me.
Elon Musk is reality’s version of Tony Stark (Ironman) with Musk fighting for the future by betting everything on two big goals: reducing our carbon footprint with Tesla and Solar City combined with a push to get colonies on Mars with SpaceX. In the long term as a species, if we do survive our self-destructive polluting adolescence then we must expand throughout the solar system before some Everest sized space-rock ruins our day.
I’ve driven an electric car since 2012, a Chevy Volt. The way I drive I use almost no gas. I typically put gas in it a couple of times a year. After many months of ownership, the first time I went to fill it up I realized with embarrassment that I did not know how to open the electronically locked filler door. Ouch!
Last year I traded in my first Volt and got a 2017 Volt. In July when Dana and I moved to South Florida, Dana needed a car to replace the leased gas burner she’d left in California. We tried to get her a good deal on a Volt, but here in Florida the dealers are ripping people off with the prices they’re charging for e-cars. As in most parts of our country, here the big goal in Florida is short term profit today—and who gives a damn about tomorrow.
In California I got my Volt for 30% less than Florida prices (not including a $1500 CA state incentives). Here in Florida, gas burners are cheap but not e-cars. Why? I suspect it’s because dealers make more money on gas burners. E-cars need far less maintenance or repairs than their gas burning counterparts, and it’s maintenance and repairs where dealers make their big bucks. The GOP is in control of Florida state politics. The GOP believes greed should be the guiding principal for our society and big oil is its lubricant of choice. I humbly disagree and think we should make decisions using our brains instead of our lessor instincts and lubricants.
I have a $1000 deposit for a Tesla Model 3 which will likely come due sometime in the spring of 2018. I was planning on going 100% electric then. I could not stomach the idea of Dana getting another gas burner, and also wanted her to have a nice car. So I did something which may seem crazy on the surface. Dana has taken over the lease for my 2017 Volt which will end up costing her $180 a month thanks to saving on using zero gas and good California lease terms. I then bought a brand new Tesla Model S 100D. It feels really good to know that I will no longer burn a drop of gas. For the rest of my life I will no longer stop at gas stations or primitively burn dead dinosaurs to go run some errand.
To all those skeptics out there who say, hey you’re getting your car’s electricity from power plants that burn oil and pollute just as much, I say bull. Every peer reviewed nonpartisan scientific study has shown: (A) that even in areas of the country where they have the dirtiest coal powered electrical plants, e-cars are still over 20% cleaner than gas cars cradle to grave. In cleaner electrical power states like Vermont, California, New York, and Washington e-cars are over 70% cleaner than gas cars cradle to grave. The national average is 60%. (B) There is the indisputable fact that every gas car will pollute more as it ages, while the opposite is true for every e-car. As every e-car ages it pollutes less because every year the power grids get cleaner and cleaner. So every e-car comes with built-in zero cost pollution lowering upgrades for the life of the car. Oh, and one more thing. All of Tesla’s superchargers are going solar in the near future and will get a large portion—or even all—of the power to charge each Tesla from the sun.
Even though the Tesla Model S is insanely expensive (at least to me), it feels insanely good to know that I am helping to bankroll the radical dream of a genius madman named Elon Musk who is trying to change the world in big ways and save us from ourselves.
No matter if you are poor, rich, or in between, vote with your money every day. Buy products from the responsible companies even if they cost more, reward good behavior and starve the bad into extinction lest we all go extinct. This is what Dana and I are doing.
My next dream is a LEED Platinum house with solar power to reduce our carbon footprint as close to nothing as possible. I am doing all this not to save money. I am doing this to invest in a future for all the kids. I am doing this because it is my childhood dream and responsibility to leave the world in better shape than when I came into it. This is why I write about the environment in my novels.
I still have my Model 3 reservation… If you’re shopping for a new car, you can get a Tesla Model 3 for $35,000 not including all you would save by not buying gas. If the Federal government grows a backbone and decides to help instead of kill off our future, they could extend the $7500 e-car tax credit so the Model 3 will cost $27,500. If more states start getting with the program like California, Colorado, and others, you might even see thousands more shaved off that price. Yeah, you could get a Prius for less, but you would not be voting with your dollars for a real American company and a madman named Elon Musk who wants to change the world for the better. Now how crazy is that?