The Tesla Model 3 is not just a car - it's one of the most important things to happen to the Valley since Porto's.
We drive too much. The 40-mph madness of suburban sprawl ensures that our car becomes our second home. With the Tesla Model 3 finally manufacturing at an acceptable pace, I got mine after a year of waiting. I'm under contract with another car, so I ended up giving my Tesla to my mother.
The Tesla Model 3 is made for you, my fellow Valleyites. There is no other city in the nation it's meant for more than the San Fernando Valley. Its price point and autopilot are the perfect antidote to the geographic and economic makeup of our suburbia.
1. AUTOPILOT IS MEANT FOR THE VALLEY
We’re cursed with traffic. There are those of us who commute to downtown LA, or from the Antelope Valley. The 405 freeway is the busiest in the nation. The 101 freeway is packed at all times of the day.
Yet we’re so used to it, that we don’t realize we spend more than 550 hours in our car a year. That’s 22 days straight. It’s 3 weeks of time we can now spend part of working, reading, responding to emails, or maybe even webcamming our loved ones. 550 hours is 68 8-hour work days. If you’re a business owner like me, I would be delighted to have a 68-day advantage on my competitors. That’s a ton more articles I can write.
It's still in beta mode, but it works like a charm.
2. CONQUERING VALLEY DRIVING CULTURE
The Valley is driving-dependent. It’s a suburban sprawl mixed with Los Angeles traffic madness. This potent combination makes it so we spend much more time in the car.
Unlike in Downtown LA, which is much more dense, we’re spending a lot of time driving from one point to another, instead of just doing it all in one place, or even better - walking. The mundane driving chores of suburban life are assuaged with autopilot.
Sunday errands are horrible. I’ll start a Sunday off by going to the gym - 10 minutes. I need to head to the Northridge Mall for some clothes, which is another 10 minutes. I absolutely must have coffee at that new cafe on Reseda, which of course is another damning 10 minutes. Then I spend another 10 minutes driving to the Bangluck Super Market in Reseda, which is where I get my Vietnamese food. Then I head home.
We’re stuck in the schizophrenia of 90-degree suburbia moreso than most of the entire world. It’s our curse. But the affordable Tesla Model 3 is here to save us.
The small mom-and-pop shops can now flourish in the SFV. We’ve had a bad case of chain restaurant invasion in the Valley. IT’s hard to open up a trendy spot when everyone needs to drive 10 minutes out of their way to get there. No longer is the case. As previously mentioned in a different article, we need to support our local shops. With it, comes the life of a progressive city. Suddenly, coffee at that weird new shop that opened up on Reseda seems a lot better. Pilates at the gym just got more accessible.
And finally, no more pumping gas. The existential terror of it is best described by rummaging for cash to get that 10-cent discount per gallon. The pain of the 10-cent charge at Arco for debit cards will be no more. Never again will you have to guess whether a station has a restroom or not - and if it’s sanitary. I hate pumping gas. It’s our very personal San Fernando Valley first-world problem.
The point here is that in the Valley, we have to deal with more driving than most of the entire world. We have our own special breed of slow driving. Sure, if you go to Saigon, they drive there too, but it’s a lot more chaotic. In downtown LA, the density of shops keeps things bikeable. In the Valley, it’s a slow, 40-mph roll that can now be defeated with a brand new fresh, affordable approach to driving.
3. THE MIDDLE-CLASS PRICE POINT MADE FOR YOU, ME, & THE MAILMAN
$49,000 is the price of an entry-level luxury car. Instead of ponying up money for a decently-equipped BMW 3-series, how about a similarly-priced Model 3?
If you finance it, the monthly payment is around $750. It's high, but if you're like me, you're spending $250 on gas a month in this city. Subtract this from the $750 and you're really only paying around $500 a month. This is extremely competitive for an entry-level luxury car.
Otherwise, the Model S and X start at least at $1,000/mo. With the median income around $50,000/year, this has been inaccessible for all but the wealthy.
Conversely, the lower-cost options for electric vehicles are unappealing. Three main competitors are the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and the BMW i3:
They're all kind of... nerdy. The Model 3 introduces a sporty middle ground for EV's. You get all the bells and whistles of the Model S & X, while paying the same as your flashy colleague with the Benz.