THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
How could a regular joe effectively maintain a Tesla?
Often when driving I think about the things that need to be done to keep my vehicle running. Those wheel bearings need to be changed and maybe I should finally reseal that oil pan. Then I see it, a deep blue colored Tesla Model 3 parallel to myself; but wait? There is no one at the wheel! Suddenly the man that I think should be behind the wheel sits up. Having dropped his McGriddle sandwich on the floor, he was able to turn on the autopilot to take the time to search for it.
This got me thinking, what exactly would it require for me to own one of these things? Sure, I could drive to my "local" Tesla dealership - four hours away in Minnesota - assuming my vehicle could make the trip when it requires immediate maintenance. Or, I could trust the work to my local mechanic who might not even know what a Tesla is.
The gears in my mind continued to turn. How in the world would I be able to maintain a Tesla?
Fuel is the most important commodity for any vehicle. How can I effectively manage the vehicle's electrical demands? I thought about putting solar panels on the roof of my home and wiring them directly into the breaker box that also powers my workshop. How much would that cost and how could I easily maintain or assemble solar technology?
However, if I didn’t mind paying more for my electric bill instead of paying fossil-fuel costs then this wouldn’t concern me. And vehicle maintenance when I need those necessary repairs? I think a Tesla will require much more specialized knowledge than a simple carburetor rebuild or an oil change.
Before society threw away their alternators, we rebuilt them. Could I rebuild or rewire the electrical components of a Tesla when the time comes? I live in the rust-belt and those of us who live here know it’s only a matter of time before corrosion eats away at my precious $35,000 vehicle. What about the batteries, and where would I dispose of all that non-degradable lithium-ion?
I can only imagine a future full of Tesla's where my plastic quarter panel someone or something dinged at Wal-Mart needs to be 3D-printed instead of hammered out by an auto body technician at a body shop. I don't think I will be able to find one at my local junk yard quite yet, that’s for sure. Seeing a junk yard full of Tesla vehicles would be like walking into a dystopian science fiction novel.
I think for now I will stick with my rusty truck, but I recognize the importance in understanding that a lot of technology, especially battery technology, is in it’s infancy. However, we are obviously on the cusp of great technological convenience and I will eventually have to accept the change when it comes, like everyone else.
The Sparks, Nevada facility will mass produce Tesla's lithium ion batteries.