EDITORIAL: A ride to Crazytown in a Tesla

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We love everything to do with alternative energy. We believe that our government should be aggressive in pushing the country into green energy, and as far away from fossil fuels as possible. In that large scope, we also believe that the government should establish policy and practices that minimise the use of fossil fuels in our feel of vehicles (public and private).
This is why we wholeheartedly support the concept of the government’s adoption of electric vehicles, but, we cannot support the decision to purchase an expensive luxury Tesla Model X for the health and environment minister Molwyn Joseph. And here is why.
The Tesla Model X has been announced as the most unreliable car in the United States in the recently published Consumer Reports Car Reliability Survey 2017. That is down from its previous ranking as the 6th most unreliable car in 2016.  So, let’s see if we get this right … we are bringing the least reliable car to Antigua to determine feasibility of using electric cars? Who came up with this madness?
To make matters worse, there is no dealer support of the Tesla in Antigua. There is no one on island that is qualified to work on the Tesla. No parts! No service! Nada! So, when (note, we did not say “if”) the most unreliable, super high-tech, quarter of a million dollar (plus) car breaks down, who will fix it? Will we have to send the car back to America to get fixed? Or will we have to fly in an expensive technician to troubleshoot and hopefully fix the posh SUV? How will that be factored into the “financial and technical feasibility of expanding to the entire government sector?”
We can only imagine that the choice of the Tesla Model X is all about ego and “prestige.”  Government ministers need to drive big, flashy cars – mostly SUVs.  We have heard every excuse for these choices. From it being a “perk” of the job to the “dignity of the office.” After all, how can they pick somebody up, somebody from the airport, in a lowly Nissan Leaf, or Chevy Bolt.  Two electric vehicles that cost a fraction of the “more showboat than functional” Tesla Model X (again, according to Consumer Reports).
We shouted for glee when we saw the department of the environment boasting an electric Nissan van. Having tested it ourselves, we were longing for the day when we could change our fleet to all electric. Now, we are left to wonder if the electric vehicle thing is just that, a “thing”. A thing that is not being taken seriously.
Why not entice our existing dealers to import electric vehicles and our people to buy them. There are more than a few extremely viable vehicles that the dealers could support. Hadeed Motors could import the Nissan Leaf which sports a drive train that has been reported to be 25 times more reliable than an internal combustion engine (in a study conducted by Warranty Direct – an independent British insurance specialist).  Harney could offer the Ford Focus Electric or Kia Soul EV. Antigua Motors could offer the Chevrolet Bolt. CPM could offer the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. And the list goes on. 
Instead, we choose the Tesla Model X because it is flashy. You should note that each of the vehicles listed above do not cost half the price of the Tesla Model X. Some, about a third of the price.  Sure, they may not meet the demands of our posh ministers but they are extremely capable cars and cars that will appeal to the vast majority of people. Why do we need to include a super-expensive Tesla in the feasibility project when very few people would even consider buying a Tesla?
The government has put hurdles to slow down the adoption of solar because they have claimed that it is only the rich that can afford alternative energy. But now they plunge head-first into the electric car market at the rich end of the offerings? The chief environmental officer can try to make as many excuses as she likes about it being part of an evaluation of a broad cross section of vehicles but we are not buying any of it. 
It is hard for anyone to criticise a study of the benefits of electric vehicles, especially to a small nation such as ours, but this makes it easy.  Think about it for a while, we are studying how the most unreliable vehicle out there will fare on our roads? How it’s giant but lightly tinted windshield will keep out the blistering sun? How the thrill of hitting 60 mph from a standstill, and its firm, sport car like suspension will handle our potholes?  And how we will maintain this technological marvel without any support.  Brilliant!  Just brilliant!
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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