Yesterday I decided to walk to Whole Foods instead of riding the bus which took me past Tesla Motors on Westlake. I've noticed the showroom before. A sign in the window said it has moved to Bellevue. Which makes sense, that's where the money is. So what was going on here now in this space? A single white roadster was parked in the window...breathtaking. I took a couple of pictures, trying to get a decent shot through the glass.
I walked past the open door and did a double-take at another roadster this one on a lift with a couple of guys working on it. I stopped in my tracks. In the back of the shop a group of men stopped and looked at me looking. We all kept looking at one another. I badly wanted to take a picture but I wasn't sure if I should. Suddenly one of the men came over, with practiced ease he said here let me give you a tour and suddenly I found myself stepping past the men working on the carbon fiber grill of the yellow roadster briefly tangling my purse with the airhose (girl meets auto shop...I turned and laughed I mean what else could you do it was a funny moment) and there I was in the beautiful high-ceilinged space with its exposed brick walls concrete floor gorgeous graphics and cars.
Beautiful, sexy cars.
I was in heaven. Why on earth do I like cars? Though I grew up in an auto-mad family I never picked up the mechanics but the aesthetic and the excitement rubbed off on me.
Yet in recent years I've grown to hate the damn things. Henry Ford turns out did the world no favor. His invention made all too ubiquitous a technology our planet can't sustain in such numbers, not without cost.
The last time I owned and drove a car, a 1990 Corolla wagon inherited from my ex it made me actively anxious and sick every time I fired the thing up or stopped at the gas station. I hated the feeling of being a part of the problem, exhaust pouring out the back I couldn't see or smell yet I knew was there.
The best bumper sticker I ever saw says I POLLUTE.
I have a theory that no-one at the front end of their vehicle really believes they're polluting because they can't see or smell what's coming out the back. It's the My Car Don't Stink theory of driving. Everyone should have a picture of the rear end of their car running on a cold day plastered to the dash as a reminder this is what's coming out the back as you drive just like the car in front, you're not special.
I haven't owned a car now in four years and while taking the bus and walking and riding aren't perfect solutions at least I don't suffer from carbon footprint Bigfoot psychotraumatic guilt issues as much.
Enter the Tesla. What if cars could be non-gas burning gorgeously designed desirable performance machines crazy light but stronger than steel with engines that have eight moving parts, accelerate to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds recharge in a wall socket and drive 245 miles per charge?
One owner in Alaska whose life mission is to get everyone off-grid reportedly powers his with solar panels on the roof of his garage. This to me is a beautiful system.
No there will never be anything like the throaty roar of a V-12 or the rumble of a combustion engine under you. I'll always turn my head for certain vintage cars, for a variety of reasons having to do with their design, the way they've weathered, their romance and glamour or lack of it, a certain story they tell me.
But damn I'm looking forward to my test ride in the roadster. I was promised one next time I stop by since the right keys had temporarily been misplaced. It's supposedly absolutely silent.