Looking at this beauty gives me a thrill. Can you hear the deafening cognitive dissonance clanging in my head?
I like the cars manufactured by Tesla Motors. I admire Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, as a futurist and visionary. The engineer in me really geeks out at the technology. I really don’t object to ostentatious displays of wealth and success, either. It’s great that you’ve made it. Hurray! I also think much of the bad press that appears is unfair and feels like sour grapes.
But last Saturday’s cycling fatality in Santa Cruz County reminds us that Tesla Motor vehicles are still death machines capable of killing and maiming.
When I made the decision to call out the make of the car involved in Saturday’s cyclist fatality in Santa Cruz County, I knew I’d catch a little heat for it. I was initially undecided – should my focus instead have been on the driver’s alleged phone use? I eventually decided to headline the make of the automobile in that collision fatality.
I can appreciate Tesla Motors’ efforts to create a market that previously only appealed to people on the extreme end of the geek scale. He’s made a lower carbon footprint vehicle cool, sexy and fun. Like any conventional motor vehicle, however, Tesla cars create a hazard to anybody outside of the car. They still require significant storage space and other infrastructure to use.
Like Toronto’s beleaguered mayor Rob Ford, who says it’s “not realistic” for him to stop drinking alcohol, many cycling advocates don’t believe it’s realistic to curb our nation’s dependence on motorized vehicle travel. I still own a car (a Nissan Sentra with a 1.5ℓ engine on which I log about 5000 miles per year) eight years after I pledged to myself to go car-free, so I know how hard it is to break that addiction. My self righteousness on these matters is more than a little hypocritical. Like His Worship the Mayor of Toronto, we say we’ll curb the consumption of our favorite substances, but sometimes I wonder if technology and high efficiency might be enablers rather than a cure.
Lest you still feel like I’m picking on Tesla, this isn’t the first time I’ve highlighted the car’s make in the headline. A 12 year old kid riding his bike to school in Byron, CA was killed by a GMC Yukon. For a minor non-injury collision last February it was a Toyota in the headline. I have called out the automaker’s brand in the past, and I will continue to do so in the future.