From zero to sixty real quick


By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer

Tesla has gained attention over the past couple of years due to its eco-friendly, autopilot technologies. The concept of self-driving cars has been in the works for many years, but Tesla is starting to make it a reality.

That breakthrough, combined with its network of fast-charging stations, make Teslas highly sought-after. But is it worth the hype?

The Tesla brand is exclusive, with only fifty-two Tesla showrooms in the United States and Canada. Tesla’s cars can go an unfathomable speed, from zero to sixty miles per hour in just two and a half seconds and are designed to achieve a five-star safety rating. Supposedly, there are only six parts on a Tesla Model S that would ever need regular replacement: the four tires and the two wiper blades. Other than that, Teslas run on an electric battery that give the cars juice for periods of time, similar to a computer or smartphone.

The Model S can travel anywhere from 219 to 337 miles per charge, depending on how much money you want to spend.

The price range varies from $82,000 to over $150,000, so that’s pretty reasonable. (I’m kidding, but for that much money, I would expect the car to travel much farther than only 300 miles on a charge).

On the other hand, the new Model 3 is supposed to be Tesla’s most affordable car yet, starting at only $35,000. To pay $35,000 and not have to worry about ever paying for gas again doesn’t sound like a terrible deal.

Speaking of fuel, one unique element of Tesla’s is their ubiquitous fast-charging stations, known as “Supercharger networks.” The price of the charging stations is rolled into the price of the cars themselves, so all Tesla drivers get the relief of free Supercharging.

While the lifetime cost may equal that of gasoline, it’s much more convenient and certainly environmentally friendly. This network definitely sets it apart from its primary competition, the soon-to-be-released Chevy Bolt, which doesn’t have its own fast-charging stations.

While Teslas are eco-friendly, they also have autopilot technologies. Personally, the concept of self-driving cars is a bit scary. What about that guy who died watching Harry Potter while his Tesla was in autopilot mode? The sensors didn’t pick up the eighteen-wheeler that was crossing the highway in front of him, and the car attempted to drive full speed right under the trailer. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, explained that this was the first autopilot death in approximately 130 million miles driven by Tesla customers. But still, until this technology is absolutely perfect, you won’t find me at the wheel of a self-driving car.

Self-driving cars sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but I really don’t think they’re too far off in our future.

However, there are just a few cons that stand out to me. One, it seems unsafe to have such a lack of control over the vehicle.

What if the computer system malfunctions? What if the software gets hacked? I feel like that’s bound to happen with such advanced computer technology.

Or, what if the software can’t pick up different sensors or signals, as in the case of that fatal crash? Second, since self-driving cars don’t eliminate the likelihood of an accident, what happens legally if one occurs? Who (or what) would be held responsible?

These are just some of the questions I would have before even considering getting on a waitlist for a Tesla (that is, if I could afford one). Nevertheless, research shows that self-driving cars are considerably safer than those driven by humans.

Safer traveling would mean less accidents and traffic, which would benefit everyone. In addition, a completely electric car would significantly reduce the amount of toxic gases and smoke that are released into the environment when we drive.

Hybrid cars are a step in the right direction, but a 100 percent electric engine sounds more appealing, given the state of our climate.

Once all of this ground-breaking technology is perfected, I think cars like Tesla’s will be a good investment. And, boy, do they look cool!

We need safer roads and eco-friendlier transportation, so electric, self-driving cars seem to be the logical answer. I can only hope that the price of this technology will decrease over the next several years, and we can all move toward cleaner, faster transportation.

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