With Tesla, dream of electric cars

The new Tesla Model 3 electric car represents an achievement in American vehicle manufacturing.

Jasper Johnson

Last week, Tesla Motors introduced the Model 3, the most affordable of their cars to date. In a matter of days, 276,000 people placed their $1,000 reservations.
I believe that Tesla Motors has the potential to fundamentally reshape the American auto industry. If more Americans realized the benefits of electric cars, we could soon be living in a greener future. 
Electric cars are cleaner than internal combustion vehicles. The fact that there’s so much demand for the Model 3 (even with low gas prices) indicates how many people value that.
Almost 10 years ago, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk outlined his “master plan” in an unassuming blog post. He wanted first to build a high-performance, pricey electric car, then a less expensive one and eventually a mass-market, affordable vehicle. 
That plan of growth was brilliant. It started by shattering the preconceptions we held about electric cars. It will end with an electric car that average people will be able to afford. 
True, some critics balk at the “affordability” of a $35,000 Model 3. However, the vehicle may effectively become as low as around $27,500 after federal incentives take effect.
That’s well below the average price for a new car in the United States. Also, once we consider the lack of maintenance expenses like oil changes, sparkplugs and fuel pumps (not to mention the price of gasoline), the car’s long-term costs are considerably lower. 
It’s time to re-evaluate what we expect from automobiles. An affordable electric car lets us do that — more importantly, it provides us with a rare sense of optimism for the future of our country’s transportation culture
Jasper Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected].