Automotive enthusiast and former Late-Night funny guy Jay Leno hosted Elon Musk and a series of Tesla vehicles on his show, Jay Leno’s Garage, earlier this week on CNBC. While most of the “well-informed” Tesla fans (including me considering it is my job to know anything and everything going on with this company on a daily basis) found the episode to be disappointing and somewhat outdated, it was certainly a good opportunity for people who know about Tesla, but not the company’s finer points, to expand their opinions on the Cybertruck.
Nothing was more entertaining than listening to Leno and Elon Musk talk about the Cybertruck. Even though a lot of what was being said was stuff I already knew, it was cool to see someone like Leno, who has driven/owned some of the coolest cars to ever exist, nearly awestricken by the features of the all-electric pickup.
Despite a lot of super cool things, the segment was really only about 1/6th of the entire episode, while the rest of the TV time was allotted for excessive commercial breaks and a few other interesting portions of the show itself.
From past experiences, I knew mainstream media outlets would hop all over the story to give a summary of what the episode entailed. I also expected to see a lot of people who don’t follow Tesla closely give their uninformed and incorrect points of view on the truck and the company.
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I don’t mean cosmetic opinions, because those cannot be right or wrong. What irks me and really drives me wild is that in 2020, an entire eight years after the Model S was released and three years after the most affordable Tesla vehicle was unveiled to the public, people still hold this false pretense that Tesla’s cars are for the rich and the wealthy. I’m here to tell you, they are not.
The first thing I did was head to Facebook and look at the comments on CNBC’s article. Boy, was I in for a treat. The comment I really wanted to dial in on for this week’s newsletter had to do with Tesla’s rumored “inability” to offer the automotive market a reliable and affordable electric vehicle. For some reason, this is still not common knowledge, which is extremely surprising to me considering we are literally years past these cars being “new” to people.
The comment simply states: “Ok he got the technology side. Now he needs to work on the economics. These vehicles are not priced for the average person.”
I really don’t know what to say to this, and I tend to just read these kinds of comments and navigate away from them to avoid pointless arguments. Sometimes I want to get involved just to spread the narrative that Teslas are affordable, but other people usually beat me to the punch.
Some replies to the comment talked about pricing points, the most logical saying “The starting price is slated to be only a few thousand more than what most regular size trucks go for.”
For me, it is still striking that people see the cars as “luxury mobiles that only Matt Damon can afford after his biggest motion picture.” This narrative is effectively killing Tesla from growing even more than it already has in the past few years, and to me, it is the arrogance that prevents some people from doing a simple Google search to find out how much these cars cost.
The most affordable truck costs $39,900. The Base Regular Cab Ford F-150 starts at $28,745 and is missing a lot of features that most people expect with a nearly $30,000 vehicle. Even Cars.com states that one of the drawbacks of the F-150 is that Limited trim not luxurious enough, and the price of High-End configurations of the truck are very expensive. Try over $71,000 for the most expansive version of the F-150. Just a reminder that the price of the Tri-Motor Cybertruck is cheaper than that at $69,990.
Here’s my question: Why aren’t people holding this same narrative with gas trucks? Why is it super acceptable to spend $40,000 on a gas truck, but $40,000 on a Cybertruck is key for the misinformed to say that the electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla are “not priced for the average person.”
It goes past the Cybertruck. It goes to the polar opposite of the Cybertruck: The Model 3. There is a $35,000 variant of the Model 3 that is available “off-menu” which is more than affordable for most people. People will spend $40,000 on Honda Type-R and not blink twice, but a $35,000 car that you never have to put gas into is “too expensive.”
So to get to my main point, we as Tesla fans/enthusiasts/owners hold a responsibility to inform the misinformed about the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. We also hold a responsibility to inform those who have misconceptions about the car’s price. It’s not unaffordable, people just want to believe that it is (for whatever reason).
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