Monday, March 21, 2016

The official announcement from Tesla Motors about Buying a Model III

Tesla Motors just tweeted this update to their blog. I can see a few pieces of new information there:

So it looks like the deposit to reserve a Model III is not $1000 USD but $1000 in your own currency, approximated by how your country's numerical currency system. They have a link there to see what the specific deposit is in your country's currency. Knowing how much higher the exchange rate is for the (Euro) and the £ (British pound), those deposits look substantially higher than those in North America.

So instead of going with an all-inclusive waiting list, the lists will be divided by regions. This makes sense to save on shipping costs. It's much easier to ship a lot of cars to one location than it is to ship them out piece by piece to separate addresses all over the world. They will start with the western-most part of North America and move East. Afterwards, it's the countries with right-hand driving systems. Hm, so if I live in Vancouver, Canada, that's technically the west coast of North America, which puts me closer to the front of the line. *insert grin here*

However, it appears that they will deliver the first Model IIIs to Tesla owners in each region first before they get to the new Tesla hopefuls.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Tesla Model 3 Unveiling Event

As the date and time approaches to Tesla Motor's announcement and unveiling of their Model III sedan, gradually more information is being posted. Here's what I have figured out so far from various articles I've read:

DATE: MARCH 31, 2016
If you are one of the lucky owners of a Tesla, you hopefully got drawn for a ticket to the event. 650 of the total 800 people who will be in attendance will be current Tesla owners.

TIME: 8:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Those attending the event should be there when the doors open at 7:00pm.


At TESLAMOTORS.COM and so far I hear that will provide live streaming as well. I'll update this with more alternate locations if needed just in case Tesla Motor's website can't handle the traffic. Or I suppose you could just wait for the video to be uploaded to YouTube the next day.

If you are lucky to get time off of work and stand in line at one of your nearest Tesla Stores, they start taking resevations at 10:00 AM PDT. This means you probably have to go earlier if you want to be one of the first in line. Oh, and get your "Tesla-fanatic" on because the press will probably be there wanting to take your picture. (Sorry Utah, Virginia, and the other 6 states who have banned Tesla from opening a store... it's a road trip for you if you want to do this. Tell your members of legislature to stop taking money from the Kochs and GM and maybe they will grow a brain.)

Online orders will start at 8:30 PM PDT as soon as the event begins. In preparation, I highly suggest that you create an online account at TeslaMotors beforehand to save yourself time.

Oh, and the deposit is 100% refundable, and no you can't start paying off your car before you get it. 

If you are one of the 15,000 lucky ones employed by Tesla worldwide, you'll be near the front of the line (I assume after Elon has granted all the first bin #'s to his various friends and family members). Next are current Tesla owners. Yes, I'm bummed about that too. Then it's whoever is next in the reservation order. So getting your order in as early as possible helps. This includes special features like the colour of the car and others that we'll find out about.

So far, it's been leaked that we'll be seeing a working, driveable prototype. I suppose this means that they are much further along with the development than first thought when all we were getting excited about were possible pictures of maybe some parts of the car. However, it's a prototype. That means the final production version may be a watered down or altered version of what we will see.

Frankly, I don't know how Mr. Musk is planning to fill 3 hours of time. Perhaps the presentation is only about an hour, and the rest is to give test drives to those present. Or maybe he'll announce the leaked P100D Model S (affectionately being nicknamed "PLOOD." Yeah, I hate it too.) and Gigafactory updates.

What I know for sure is that it's gonna be one hell of a celebration. We've been waiting for so long. It's like 10 years of  waiting for the arrival of Christmas Day.

Unfortunately, I work on Thursday nights from 8:00 to 9:30 PM. Go figure. I guess I'll be getting my car in 2019.

Enjoy the show everyone!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Tesla Can't Operate In Utah.

Before I get into my responses, let me give a quick background on the issue with the Tesla store in Utah. You may need to double check the dates and numbers since I'm piecing the information together now after the fact.

About a year ago, Bill HB294 (substitute 1) which was in the works for about a year was defeated in the House. This Bill outlined regulations for new car dealers -- in this case, Tesla Motors, to operate in the State without the use of a third-party dealer. This issue is being debated in virtually every State in the US with varying success.

On February 23, 2016, the video of a Utah House of Representatives meeting was published on YouTube containing raw footage of the presentation and discussion of Bill HB294 (Substitute 2), another attempt to get the Bill passed. If you aren't a Tesla fanatic, this may come across ridiculously dry and boring. But if you are wondering what the issues are that blocks Tesla from opening direct sales stores in various States, the lengthy discussion in this meeting may be an eye opener.

DISCLAIMER: I should say that I'm not up to speed with all of the details of this issue. That includes the exact date of the meeting in the YouTube clip. Ask a Utah-residing Tesla owner/follower if you want more indepth insight into the matter. I'm just highlighting the issues raised in the discussion at the house via the video post.

The discussion of the bill starts at 19:51 and ends at 1:16:18. Yup, a lot of people have a lot to say.

Now you may call me a bit of a conspiricy theorist here, but I'm very suspicious about the outcome of the vote and frankly, am surprised considering how Utah prides itself in supporting free-market as a driving force for their economy.

1. It was not clear that the last minute changes made to the bill the weekend prior to this meeting were completely vetted by the two negotiating parties, the motor vehicle dealers and the new car dealer, Tesla Motors. 
Based on the discussion, my sense is that the house members are either unconvinced that a true consensus was reached, or that their interest in the issues have gone stale, and they just prefer the bill to shop showing up over and over for discussion. Most of the members who did speak are clearly passionate about the bill and want it to happen. But the unclarity in Sen. Coleman's responses to questions about whether or not consensus was reached leaves one to think that full consensus was not confirmed prior to the bill's presentation.

2. The car manufacturers who "control" the dealerships are much more involved than they let on.
It's clear, and frankly not too surprising, that the franchised dealership owners are not happy with the decades of abuse that they have suffered under the heavy hand of the auto manufacturers. I commend them for even considering the amendments to allow Tesla to set up shop in the state and not forcing them into this dysfunctional relationship-type business model. But what was surprising was Sen. Coleman's statement that they reached out to the car manufacturer's directly and it was clear they were not interested in getting involved with the negotiation. Considering GM's desperate attempt to push down Tesla (consider their involvement in Indiana) in favor of their upcoming new Bolt EV, and their direct involvement in the Bill in Indiana (which was probably less of a compromise and more of a ban) they certainly would have a vested interest in this bill. Or perhaps they have paid off enough senators to have the majority of them vote against the bill. If you notice in the video, the nay-sayers seem to be eerily silent throughout the whole discussion. We don't want to think that the legislature has been corrupted, but we can't turn a blind eye to the US problem of corporate endorsements in exchange for political gain.

3. Two words: Koch Brothers
The best way to stay out of trouble is to stay out of the limelight. If it is correct that the Koch Brothers are investing 10 million dollars to combat environmental government subsidies, I suspect this is just a smoke screen for a much more underhanded business. They want to kill the electric car -- again. That part is clear. And politics is one very powerful way to do that. I'm just saying...

I should add that I have read elsewhere that Tesla is suing the State of Utah over the unfair regulations. After all, they allowed them to invest 3 million dollars into a new store, and then put a stop to their grand opening celebrations just days before it was to take place. Now it has stayed empty for over a year, racking up property fees and taxes, while they wait for the politics to play catch up. They also are appealing to the Federal Courts for help.

Read the defeated Bill here:

A small sample of news to read and watch for a snapshot of the issues:

Run-in with Utah law could block Tesla's grand opening plan. The Salt Lake Tribune, Mar 4, 2015
Bill Opening Door for Tesla, other online dealers advances to House. The Salt Lake Tribune, Mar 5, 2015
Lawmaker pushing for compromise over Tesla Sales in Utah. Deseret News. July 15, 2015
Tesla sales bill in Utah sputters to halt after multiple changes (updated)  "Green Car Reports" Mar 16, 2016

And another YouTube Clip:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tesla Model 3: These are the Bells and Whistles I Want...

So from what I heard from Musk, the Model III will be about 20% smaller than the Model S and will not come with all the bells and whistles. So just for the record, here's the list of Model S features that I've identified that I would like to see on the Model III, or otherwise would be okay to go without.

In my limited understanding, Model S chose to go with aluminum because it's durable, and its light weight can offset the weight of the battery. For the Model 3, even Elon Musk has said that it will likely be a steel body and still be about 30% lighter than the Model S. Assuming steel is cheaper than aluminum, I'm fine with this.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for the Model 3 to come with auto-pilot. This is a footprint to the future of mass individualized transport and needs to be there in the mass-market Model III if he is to get other auto makers on board. The expected widespread market means an massively larger intake of data that will speed up the development of this technology towards autonomous driving. If this is not present in the Model 3, all will be lost.

It could be argued that it isn't necessary to install such a large touch-screen between the two front seats. But in all honesty, large screens means less distraction because you don't have to squint to read the map or the various option buttons. However, I do think the price of exponentially increases with screen size, and may perhaps require Tesla to reduce the size in order to keep the price affordable. It would be sad, but it would not be a deal-breaker for me.

I guess it's just personal preference, but I don't use my sunroof that much as it is already. I have to admit that I am intrigued about having a bigger visual range while driving. But this is definitely more of a luxury than a necessity.

This one is a toughy. To start, having a single motor at the back wheels in a Tesla is not the same thing as with a gasoline car. The typical gasoline car is front heavy -- and disproportionately so. So while back-wheel powered driving may feel smoother in this type of car, it's the reason why it's a much more dicey drive in bad weather. The Tesla, on the other hand, has a low centre of gravity smack in the middle of the vehicle. This alone gives you substantially better handling and control. The second motor at the front wheels, which is a smaller motor, just increases the range slightly because you have more sources of regeneration. So while having an all-wheel drive is attractive, it's not as essential as it would be in a front-heavy gas engine car. For this reason, I've made my peace with foregoing the dual-motor to revert my extra funds towards other stuff, like...

When I went for my Tesla test drive, I seriously thought the best part was going to be testing the acceleration, or witnessing auto-steer. But by far the feature I got most excited about was the auto-park. The idea of a stress-free experience backing up your car into a tight spot delights me to no end. Now it's hard to imagine Tesla keeping the auto-pilot feature and not including auto-park, mainly because they seem to use the same 5 sensors built into the Model S. So I would assume that if Musk removes one, he'll remove this too... and in-so-doing, possibly remove a Tesla customer from his wait list. I simply can't imagine buying a Tesla without both of these features.

As insanely ludicrous as this feature is, the truth is that paying $10K for this upgrade is pure luxury and will have to remain something that the wealthy can have. Essentially a show-off feature, I would be surprised if Musk bothers making room for this option in the Model 3. It's definitely a show-stopper, but probably not worth the price tag.

I think many of us would agree that this is probably not an essential feature to have, or even to offer. Switching between comfort and sport mode was definitely illuminating, and while it's nice to imagine being able to choose between the two, having no option isn't really giving up much, in my opinion.

Likewise with this feature. I do have a very steep driveway where I've had other cars and even a moving truck scrape their bumper on the pavement trying to drive up to our front door. So it makes me wonder, if this option isn't there, will the car be high enough to not damage itself everytime I come home. In general, the idea of having the car lower itself at high speeds to reduce wind resistance and thus increase energy efficiency is brilliant. But probably not essential enough to boot up the price of the car.

I'm not sure if it was just me, but I was shocked when I found out that the LTE wireless service came with the car. I was sure this would have required another monthly subscription for the service. The fact that it is complimentary (meaning I can cross the border into the US and not even worry about roaming fees -- or any fees for that matter), blew my mind. But it makes me wonder how this affects the price of the vehicle. I don't know how long Tesla will be able to offer this if the car really does go to mass-market. Am I being nervous for nothing? (Clearly, I've never owned a car with wifi. Someone want to enlighten me on this?)

Um, I'm Canadian. Please make this an option, Mr. Musk. Full stop.

Up until now, I've never bought this upgrade in any car. Then again, my nicest car to date is a Honda Civic -- nice and loud, and clunky. There was simply no reason to get nice sound in your car if it's always going to fight against the roar of an econo-class transmission. Well, I look forward to finally having a nice quiet inner space to finally hear the beautiful overtones of my Rachmaninov piano concertos, or whatever awesome hit Ed Sheeran comes out with next. I hope this comes as an option.

I thought I'd throw this in here even if it's really not a point of contention. It will be interesting to see if they incorporate the Model 3 into the existing app, simply because it's hard to know which features in the app will remain to support the Model S, and which will go inactive if it is synced up with the new Model 3. Having never used the app (because I'm not yet a Tesla EV owner), this is something I guess I'll come to discover when it's my turn join the Tesla club.

Personally, I find minimal need to have my side-view mirrors tuck into my car while it's parked. It's a nice idea to reduce the amount of protrusion from your car, reducing its exposure to more damage. But sometimes having the extra mechanical feature is more of a bother than an enhancement. I watched a video where the car had frozen over enough that the side mirrors were stuck in the tucked position until the car heated up. I feel the same way with the door handles. It's a neat feature, but it feels like it's just something else available to break down (and I think there have been some issues with the earlier Model S's with the door handles). If the Model 3 were without these, I wouldn't miss them at all.

Well, it would be nice if I could somehow download my driving stats shown in the car into a spreadsheet so I can do my own analysis. This includes not just distance or power used by minute or day, but also stats like how much energy I regenerated on a trip. 

It would also be really cool to see a finger-printing technology to access certain features, removing the need for the use of a key fob or any other external device. I realize the doors right now can open without removing the fob from your pocket, but there's something about the idea of putting your fingerprint on the vehicle that really makes it feel like its your toy.

I'm excited about March 31st. I can't get a day off of work to line up to put my deposit down at the nearest Tesla store, so I'll just have to hope for the best that the site doesn't crash on April 1st when I try to do it online. Part of me is expecting to be disappointed at how little will actually get revealed. But whatever we get, it's more than what we have now.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Owning $TSLA stock!

It's official! I finally own Tesla Motors stock!! It took me about 2 weeks and a few mistakes to make it all work, but it finally happened for me last Friday! I'm excited.

Frankly, I know nothing about the stock market. Everything that I do know so far I pretty much figured out as I went along for these past couple of months. I took a certain portion of my savings that I was willing to lose and decided that this was a good a time as any to learn about how to be a stock owner. It's the price I was willing to pay to educate myself, and to also invest in something I believe in.

I don't plan to be trading regularly. Actually, I don't plan to be trading ever now that I have my stocks. I will let $TSLA rise and fall on its own. I'm merely an observer.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why Short Stocking $TSLA is Short-Sighted

Alright, so I think I figured out what Citron is trying to say when they wrote about Tesla's potential supply and demand issue. So I'm going to attempt a second and final article to analyze Citron's reasons for shorting $TSLA stock. The reason it didn't come to front of mind is because -- IT'S SO RIDICULOUS. (There, I said it.)

There seems to be a "Prophet of Our Times" cast-type being placed on Elon Musk. He saw the internet and said the yellow pages will be replaced by an online business directory. And it did. Compaq bought, and he became an instant millionaire. Then he looked to make financial transactions a smooth, completely online experience. Boom. Enter PayPal. So eBay gives up their own online payment system and buys Paypal for 1.5 billion. Then he's decides that he needs to mass market solar energy. Investment into his cousins' Solar City company leads to it becoming the biggest supplier of solar energy panels in the US. Then he feels humans need to go interplanetary, so he reads up on rocket technology and founds Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) with his sight on colonizing Mars. Whether you are on board with all of his ideas or not, you have to admit that this is a guy who sees what he wants to change and believes it enough to go for it.

And, of course, he wants to revolutionize transport and get us off of oil and gas. So along comes Tesla Motors. The point of it? To prove that an electric car can perform at a level that would make it a desirable alternative to gasoline engine cars. And in so doing, he hopes to jumpstart the electric car industry worldwide. And guess what...

Yes, there are a host of other car companies who are releasing their own line of fully-electric cars this year. And yes, it is likely that they are trying to get a jump on Tesla's production of the Model III in late 2017 in order to break into the market. Their hope is probably to try and coerse Tesla watchers to consider their "ready-for-you-now" EVs and give them a try. What Citron doesn't realize is... all this activity is a good thing for Tesla Motors. They are fulfilling their vision for wide-spread EV distribution.

You see, those of us eager to plunk down $1K to reserve our Model III aren't bandwagoners. Sure, we'll probably take the Chevy Bolt out for a spin. We'll eagerly read all the latest news on every new electric car that comes to market while we wait for our Model III to go into production. But we aren't doing that to shop around. We are simply enjoying the "advent of sustainable transport" come to be. We aren't sold on Tesla just because it's a great car (and it is!). We are sold on Tesla because we believe in the vision the company stands by. I mean, when was the last time you heard a GM consumer say "I believe in the company's vision"? Betcha had to think real hard. And, of course, it helps that after reviewing other EVs, Tesla still comes out on top when it comes to performance and ingenuity. There are those among us who have been waiting for the Model III back when it was just "Phase 3 of a three-phase roll out plan" almost a decade ago. We saw the new Roadster, we salivated, we secretly hoped for an economical version of it, we heard Elon Musk say "that's what we want to", and we started our "Tesla Life Watch" eager to get in on it all. In the end, we WILL buy a Tesla. The conversion was already complete before Elon even said "Model III."

So let's look at what Citron might be seeing:

2014: Tesla's Model S production was far below demand. But eager Tesla owners were willing to wait knowing that the company was still small and growth never happens overnight.

2015: Model S production doubles to meet demand and by year's end, buyers wait only about a month before they can pick up their Tesla purchase. The Model X is introduced, but buyers end up waiting longer due to a dispute with the falcon door developers. Tesla Motors has to retract their contract with the German company and go to the next in line in the bidding war.

At the time, the main competitors of the Model S (introduced in 2012) were the Chevy Volt (introduced in 2011) and the Nissan Leaf (introduced in 2010). And when you consider how Tesla Motors faired in that market, I think it's fair to say that it was a win for them. They got the press they needed to continue on their rollout plan towards the more affordable Model, and both the Leaf and Volt gained enough momentum to stay in production and even spawn more EV competitors.

Now that 2016 is here, the Chevy Bolt will be available, the Nissan Leaf is being revamped, and a whole host of other EVs are being introduced. On Tesla's side, the Model X's are now being delivered and orders are slowly beginning to be filled. The Model S continues to gain interest. And now the Model III is finally on the horizon, there is potential for an instantaneous billion dollars in revenue the moment the unveiling is complete.

So if you look carefully, there's two potential errors that Citron is making in their "supply and demand problem" projection with Tesla. Now remember, they are not showing all their cards. That would be dangerous for them. So this is me just trying to get into their heads to figure out what the hell they might be thinking. (roll eyes here)

The first possible error, is that they think the demand for the Model S will dry up. The Model III isn't coming out until late 2017 (or more realistically, 2018), so for this year, it's all about selling Model S's and X's. But I'll focus on the Model S for the sake of simplicity. Tesla wants to increase their production even more this year (and every year thereafter), even though the current wait of 1 month to have your Model S delivered is already pretty reasonable. And with a whole host of other luxury EV Models now coming on the market, they are banking that those considering the Model S may be swayed to go after a BMW or Audi EV instead. But they are forgetting one thing -- the software updates. You see, it's not enough that Tesla is the only EV that provides autonomous driving, or that generally, a Tesla purchase actually improves over time just by virtue of having a super computer and wifi installed in the vehicle itself. What they forget is that Tesla Motors is still a small company with only 2 models in active production. Unlike a major car company with a host of gasoline models that push their EV development down on the priority list, Tesla's ability to implement new development is virtually unhindered. This means your new Tesla purchase could experience so many software updates in a given year, that you may feel like your vehicle is constantly regenerating into a new life form on a regular basis. I'm not sure that any EV in or entering the market can boast about this the way Tesla can.

A small sample of proud Tesla owners. There were just too many to do them all justice.
The second possible error is even more egregious. You see, one of the basis for short stocking is trying to read people. When a company seems to receive more hype than it deserves, there is opportunity to capitalize on a crash when everyone comes to see that the excitement was actually about nothing. And from this standpoint, I believe Citron is sorely misreading the Tesla follower. With the wide-spread press that Elon Musk is receiving, it's not hard to imagine why a company like Citron would think that the glories of Tesla Motors have been blown out of proportion. But let's just break it down for a minute. Model S owners pretty much swear by their purchase. Even the owners of the three Model S's that caught fire went back to buy another Model S. The rest of us, for whom owning a Model S is just a pipe dream, have been watching intently on the promise of a more affordable version for the masses. In the meantime, we watch the good and the bad of owning a Tesla, causing our loyalty to Tesla to grow more visceral. And we get addicted to the idea of going fully electric causing us to research EVs from other car companies while continually comparing them back to our primary choice in the Tesla. We cheer Tesla on as they fight bill after bill to defend their need to keep a direct sales business model within a State (after all, think about it -- a Tesla vehicle is essentially a huge computer on wheels. You almost feel weird calling it a car), and as we do, we become more informed of the issues that EV owners will have to face to make this this era of sustainable transport work.

The reason why I believe Citron is under-estimating the eager Tesla owner is that they forget that they are fighting years and years of information that Tesla watchers have fed themselves in anticipation of the Model III. This upcoming announcement to finally unveil the more affordable Model III is what we, the Tesla fans, have been waiting for for...well, it seems like a lifetime. To think that we would just turn to feed our need for instant gratification by buying an EV from one of the other car companies just when the Model III is finally being introduced is complete nonsense. The longer you wait for something, the more committed you become. And these hopeful Model III owners like me want to become a member of the Tesla club. This is how humans behave. Reading numbers without understanding this basic human instinct is why Citron (and other shorters) have been led astray.

As for the other potential EV owners who are not sold on Tesla yet, I'm insinuating that they have not yet scoped out the Tesla enough to make any informed decision on any EV purchase. The Tesla Model III will certainly be in their sights as an option. So with the pool of future EV owners who are not following Tesla (who are these weird people considering EV's and not knowing what Tesla is about???), Tesla will certainly get a portion of that share which is simply an increase on their already solid customer base.

In short, (no pun intended), Citron is definitely barking up the wrong tree on this one.

Something's Off about Citron Shorting $TSLA

I saw lots of buzz around this tweet yesterday:

After watching $TSLA stock go up for the last couple of weeks, it suddenly had a downturn yesterday. Well, not significant enough to cause any panic, but it did go down. And it returned back on the upswing again today. So much for trying to influence the market, Citron. One day of slight-but-not-so-much panic.

The thing is, Citron seems to be betting their short stocks on the fact that Tesla has had a problem supplying their demand in the past. I mean, it's possible that Tesla Motors may have some delays initially filling orders for the Model III when it comes time to ship (a lot is riding on their new gigawatt factories), and it wouldn't surprise me if there was a delay. But that's looking beyond this year.

While the Model III continues in development for now, this year, Tesla factories are focused on pumping out more Model S's and X's, and is increasing their output. Their aim is to once again double their production in the coming year. But even if they fall slightly short of that goal, there's no doubt that they WILL grow. The issue of the falcon doors on the Model X seem to settled now that they have gone with a different supplier. And the X's have started to show up at the buyers' doors. Whatever supply problem they had, they seemed to have weathered most of that storm and are back on track.

As for the Model III, there's no demand to fill yet. They don't go into production until late 2017, far after Citron's projection of a minus-$100 loss on each share. Maybe Citron's projection has merit for next year. But for this year, they are blowing their whistle way, WAY too early. I think they will be in for a big surprise.

I think Tesla stock owners know there'll be a ramp up in price leading to the Model III unveiling on March 31st. If Citron's trying to kill, or at least dampen, that upward trend, they are going to be in a losing battle this month. While $TSLA stock prices might go through a bit of a roller coaster after the announcement, I expect it to equalize shortly thereafter and return to its course upward.

Stock trading is a game, and we're trying to figure out who is reading it right. I'm not convinced yet that Citron has got it right. But what do I know, right? It's not like I'm an experienced trader. I'm just trying to do my homework and rooting for Tesla Motors to make a difference. So good luck, Citron. But for the sake of the future of sustainable transport, I hope it's not good...

Dear Elon Musk

After months of reading up on Tesla and watching as many YouTube videos that I could find to get all the pros and cons of going fully electric for my next car, I finally got the chance to test drive a Model S today. It was an experience I'll never forget -- and it was everything that I had hoped it would be.

I'm writing this post because I believe I represent the type of car buyer who is eagerly awaiting the release of the more affordable Model III, and I want to explain my mindset when I shop for a car based on my limited income.

I am prototypically middle-class with a mortgage, and a full-time job with another part-time job on the side. I try to balance between making smart life choices while still wanting to enjoy the comforts of modern technological advancements. I have to troubleshoot through any purchase that's about $500 or more to make sure it's workable within my below-50K annual income. I don't have the luxury to be frivolous because I don't want to get myself into debt trouble. So when I shop for a car, I do it with the intention of paying off a debt. For me, this means years of planning ahead, making financial sacrifices like holding off on vacations in order to put money away in a savings account, and continuing for years afterwards to pay off the remainder of the debt. I'm happy with my life. I don't feel burdened for lack of money. But this still demands a vigilant eye on my daily spending.

If I decide to buy a brand new Model III, I am breaking two rules I've always held to when buying a car: (1) never buy a brand new car (why pay $5000+ for just a year's worth of use out of your car), and (2) never buy a first generation model. From this standpoint, investing in the Model III, sight-unseen, is an unprecedented risk for me. But I am willing to do it because there's something here that I believe in. I am not an engineer. God didn't wire me that way. So I can't build my own alternate form of transportation to reduce emissions. I need people like you to create an opportunity for someone like me to participate in. Even if electric cars are not the perfect solution, I think this is a sensible place to start towards a better future. It's a first step towards a massive move towards sustainable energy and I want to be a participant, not a by-stander.

There's one problem. I can't afford for this experiment to go bad. I don't have the financial resources for an immediate back up plan. This is it. If I buy a Tesla, it either makes the difference that I'm hoping for, or I crash and burn with it. This is by far the biggest financial risk I've taken in my life -- to put down my life savings on something that remains unproven. The bottom line is this: This chance I'm taking on the Model III must pull through. If it takes an extra year to make sure that it will work flawlessly, then do it. I don't care about broken promises on delivery times if it means delivering a better product. I just ask that you give me something that I can be proud of, not have to give an excuse for.

The Model S that I test drove today is more than just a great car -- it's a work of art. I am deeply impressed. And that gives me some hope. In fact, driving an electric car actually felt guilt-free. I mean, seriously, I didn't even know I actually felt guilty driving a gasoline car! So my expectations have been raised for the Model III, and I'm both nervous and excited.

I love what you are doing. It's fun to watch as your plans unfold and I've definitely turned into a fan. As for the Model III, I leave it in your hands now, Mr. Musk. I want to look back on this decision to buy a Tesla as the one of the best decisions I made in life. Please don't let me down.