Would You Buy This Car?

  • January 1, 2024

Rational people may have difficulty following the following:

A man buys a Tesla and says, “we never get what was promised; we get way less.” He refers to the range advertised by the manufacturer of his battery powered device, a 2017 Model X. Tesla’s advertising has proved serially false. He did not get what he paid for, in other words. Yet the man is not angry that he has arguably been – what’s the appropriate phrase – ripped off by Tesla.

How would you describe it if the vehicle you bought that was advertised as being capable of taking you 40 miles on a gallon of gas only went about 32 miles, about 20 percent less than advertised? This is the typical disparity in advertised vs. actual range when it comes to battery powered devices.

Ask Hyundai – which was class-action sued by people who felt gypped because advertising suggested its vehicles went 40 miles per gallon but didn’t. And the difference between advertised and actual was only about 5 percent.

“One of the questions that people have when it comes to electric cars, especially Teslas, is how much range do you lose over time,” the owner of the 2017 Model X explains. And then proceeds to show just how much – by gingerly driving his device as far as it can go on a charge after seven years of discharge/charge cycles and about 105,000 miles of driving.

The answer is about 32 percent less than the driving range it supposedly had (according to Tesla’s advertising) when it was new, which was 295 miles.

It is now just barely over 200 miles, as the owner demonstrates by driving his Tesla from his home in California to Las Vegas – just barely. He made it there by driving no faster than 70 on a highway with a 75 MPH speed limit – so well below the speed of traffic – and on a temperate day, neither too hot nor too cold and so just right – Winnie the Pooh style – for an EV to be able to go 32 percent less far than advertised.

“Going 70 is going to be very slow. We’re going to have a lot of people passing us . . . but, I gotta stick to this,” the man says. “I want to make sure it’s a fair range test.” He then explains that he won’t cheat by driving behind a semi and taking advantage of the truck’s draft.

“If I’m being honest, this is brutal” – i.e., driving 5 MPH below the posted speed limit and probably 10-15 below the speed of traffic whizzing past.

In his “high performance” Tesla.

If it had been 85 degrees (or 25 degrees) and if he’d driven at least the speed limit – in his high-performance battery powered device – he probably would not have made it.

But he did, just barely.

And he’s not angry about it.

Nor about the fact that the Tesla Model X he spent more than six figures on just seven years ago is “probably worth like $25,000 now.”

So, over the course of seven years – just barely – this six figure device has lost about 75 percent of its value, in addition to about 32 percent of its originally advertised range. Put another way, this man spent about $75,000 to drive this Tesla for  about seven years, just barely. Which means this Tesla has cost him about $11,000 per year to drive – so far. Not counting the cost of getting range-gypped by Tesla.

And he’s happy about it. States that he’d buy another of these devices.

Is there a diagnostician in the house? Of the psychiatric variety?

The rational mind tries to understand the rationalizations.

“It’s not like you lose a ton of range off your gas-powered vehicle” after seven years, the man says.

Italics added. You do not lose a “ton” of range “off your gas powered vehicle.” You don’t lose any. A seven-year-old vehicle will go as far as it did on a tank of gas after seven years of driving as it did when it was driven off the dealer’s lot. A 17-year-old vehicle will have the same range it had on a tank as it had when it was new. And it will typically take about that long for a vehicle – that isn’t a battery powered device – to lose 75 percent of its original value.

But things could have been worse.

The man says the Tesla was mostly driven short-hops by his wife, taking the couple’s kids back-and-forth. In other words, not the kind of high-speed/long-distance driving that would likely have resulted in the device having lost even more than the 32 percent of its originally (falsely) advertised maximum range, because that kind of driving rapidly discharges the battery, which the man openly (and chirpily) admits “is not good for the batteries.” “Especially,” he adds, in an “older” car.

By which he means his just-barely-seven-years-old device.

Is it not stupendous?

Is it not of a piece with the strange and terrible derangement of people who continue to take drugs that do not ward off sickness nor prevent the sickness from being transmitted to others – and which do impart such sicknesses as permanent heart damage?

And death?

Never mind all that! Where do I get my next booster?

And my next device.

. . .

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