I like to read Seeking Alpha. These folks put together articles that speak to me and my thought process. I don’t always agree with their conclusions, but I do like the logic they follow. Like all people, to be fair, they sometimes exclude facts I would not, and vice versa.
I stumbled on this article from November 2018 talking about the 2019 Toyota SUV versus the Tesla Model 3. This article speaks to me since I own a Honda SUV that gets about 28MPG highway. I drive less than the average 1,000 miles a month; about 750. In my case, my average is skewed a bit since most of my driving is long family trips to see family in other states or for hiking and such. My day to day drive is only a few miles.
I did a post talking about my test drive of my friend’s Tesla Model 3. I do love that car and want one, but it’s more of a luxury car than my wife and I want to buy. The Toyota SUV in the Seeking Alpha article is a small one; a RAV4. I have a mid size SUV with a V6 so naturally mine by comparison will get less mileage.
Anyway, a lot of people buy electric cars because they use less fossil fuels. They do. That is a good thing. The truth is, though, ideally, as a lot of other blogger talk about, you are better off skipping a car all together whenever you can do it. Cars, even Teslas use a lot of energy to make them. Steel, plastic, and glass are all made in energy intensive processes. Walking or using a bike is better than driving. Driving an electric car is better than a traditional car, but still about 2/3 of US electricity comes from fossil fuels. Of course, if you live in a state where you can buy your electricity from any supplier you want then you can get 100% of yours from renewables. I have been doing that for more than 15 years myself. Most Northeast states allow it. My point here is that you have options. I love the fact that one person on my street can buy 100% renewable energy, and the next can buy less. CT for instance requires 25% minimum, and other states have their own mandates. For me, I am a fan of nuclear and I dislike solar or wind, but that is another story for another post.
Still, the author’s point is valid. The Toyota SUV will cost you $800 more a year to use over the Tesla. To me, I see this as a win win. SUVs are a necessity for many people in many places. The Toyota in question has a lower MSRP than they Tesla, but that is not surprising when you consider that the Tesla Model 3 is for the Mercedes crowd, and the RAV4 is for a wider audience. The Chevy Bolt would be a better comparison in terms of cost.
Now to be fair, the Tesla is awesome, as I said in my other post. Also, this article is more click bait, and I guess I fell for it. The Chevy Bolt or the Nissan Leaf is a much better comparison. He also calls the Tesla an eco-box, which it is not. The Leaf, I am told, is more of an eco-box.
His other main point is that you can do more with the SUV than the Tesla. Well, that argument could be made about any sedan, and I think it’s a large part of the reason why Americans are not buying sedans any more, and why US car manufacturers are focusing more on SUVs. I can not fit my large telescope in my wife’s Sedan or the RAV4. I need the larger, mid size, SUV that I own to fit it.
Anyway, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.