The shockingly cool incentives to become a Tesla owner

Tax credits, fuel savings, and just looking so super cool. Sorry, Edison. You done got pwned.

Photo by: ehpien

Living in most places, owning a car is inevitable. The gas stations, the maintenance, the wear and tear. But Tesla Motors is gradually revolutionizing how we drive, with two completely electric cars already on the road, in garages, and available for consumer purchase. And with electric cars gaining momentum, gas-powered cars could eventually be a thing of the past.

An electric car requires no gas, and runs solely on unconditional love and consistent hugs. No, it runs on electric motors and electrical energy. Which means that instead of filling up with gas every week, electric vehicle owners (or EVOs as probably no one calls them except me, for the remainder of this article) plug their cars into an electric charging station and fuel them up that way instead.

Tesla currently has two models, the Model X and the Model S, both of which are environmentally friendly and require much less upkeep. However, each model costs a minimum of $70,000, keeping electric car ownership out of reach of a majority of the population. So you might as well give up on your dream of buying one anytime soon.

Until now!

Piece those dreams back together!

Recently, Tesla has unveiled its plan for the Model 3; a much more affordable car (or in car salesman terms, starting as low as $35,000!) with nearly all of the low maintenance and environmental benefits as the Model X and Model S.

But what, you may be thinking, are the advantages to an electric car? (Or at least I’d like you to think that because I need a segue).

Environmental stuff you probably already know about

Electric cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide cleaner energy, and produce less pollution overall. And, since transportation accounts for one-third of the greenhouse gases produced in North America, we’ll take all the help we can get.

Power and fuel savings

You never have to worry about fluctuating gas prices (and don’t have to participate in the annual “summertime gas prices are so expensive” conversation). Regular oil changes will never seep into your schedule again (which is great news for those of us who never remember them anyway), and you can forget about “fuel injections” (whatever those are).

In fact, according to Dominion Power, filling up a gas-powered car with fuel for 40 miles costs about five times the amount to power up an electric car for 40 miles. And for customers, Dominion is currently offering lower rates during daily off-peak hours for EVOs who want to charge their cars at home, which takes about six to eight hours, but is totally an option!

And these days, electric vehicle charging stations are popping up all over the place. Just like how gas stations started blooming a hundred years ago when cars were invented; except back then they didn’t have smartphone apps to guide them to the nearest one. Now there are multiple apps that will lead you to a place to charge an electric car; just type in your location (ha, no, I mean let your iPhone figure out where you are), and get the lowdown on the nearest station to get your car juiced up. And as electric vehicles gain popularity and ownership, so will charging stations, until recharging your car will be as mindless as filling the tank. They take about 20 minutes for a full charge, but are much cheaper.

Savings on repairs due to collisions

The safety features are impressive, too; by impressive I mean, almost perfect. The Model S received the highest safety rating in every tested subcategory. Tesla cars are designed to alert drivers when an object gets too close, and will jump into autopilot mode to avoid collision. Which makes almost everyone feel safer knowing that their car is in control, except for the 70-year-old lady in this video at the end.

An enormous tax credit

There’s also a $7,500 tax credit available courtesy of the IRS. That’s a tax CREDIT, not a tax deduction, which means that if you owe $7,500 in taxes, you now owe $0. If you owe $0 in taxes, you now get $7,500.

Many states also award rebates, but Virginia is not yet on that list.

Possible insurance breaks

Your insurance company could–and many do–offer you a lower rate for driving an eco-friendly car. And if yours doesn’t, well, maybe it’s time to start swiping right on some other companies with better rates and incentives.

A bunch of non-tangible benefits

  • All of your neighbors will be jealous
  • Your friends will like you more for being progressive
  • You can brag to your current or future grandchildren
  • You can have something besides your small pile of recycling to back your “I’m an environmentalist who cares about the planet” claims
  • You can spend less time in the waiting room at the mechanic watching daytime television
  • You will look damn cool driving it around

There is also an entire section on Tesla’s website devoted to customer reviews from current EVOs, which is a great way to get personal opinions on electric cars. There’s one about a woman buying her husband a Tesla car for their 10th anniversary, and revealing the surprise while sitting under the gazebo where they got married. Don’t read those reviews without a box of tissues next to you, is all I’m saying.

So by now, there’s a good chance you have already posted your car on Craigslist in anticipation of your new Tesla vehicle. Well not so fast, folks! The new Model 3 isn’t scheduled to launch until late 2017. And just like Uber, AirBnB, and gourmet doughnuts, bigger cities in the country get to reap the benefits and work out the kinks before it trickles down to Richmond. So we’ll have to wait until the West Coast launch; BUT, you can go ahead and reserve a car for $1,000–then in a couple of years put your environment-hating, gasoline-gobbling monster of a vehicle on Craigslist.

And in the meantime, get as many updates as the internet will allow and satiate your environment and technology-loving self with the car of the future.

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For further reading, and a look into the weird world of automobile manufacturer vs. automobile dealer, check out this piece by the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s John Reid Blackwell.

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Rachel Marsh

Rachel Marsh wishes brunch was more than a weekly occurrence.

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