Tesla will not save us


Tesla will only accelerate us 10 feet into the future, and into the next traffic jam. Photo credit: MCT Campus

Will you save us, oh great and mighty Elon?  I shake my Magic 8-Ball once more, and then wait for the blue triangle to surface from the black liquid.

Don’t count on it.

The company website touts, “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Tesla will only accelerate us 10 feet into the future, and into the next traffic jam. Are electric cars going to solve the parking situation too? And what of the traffic situation?! The electric car may solve the fossil-fuel-car problem, but it isn’t the option that should be receiving the most investment—public transportation is.

The website makes another far-flung claim, “Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.” If Tesla truly believed in this mission of assuaging humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels, the company would invest in trains, buses, and other modes of public transportation, which are grossly underfunded in the US. Compared to cars, the amount of people electric trains can carry is much more, and trains take up less room. We are running out of freeway space (they’re so ugly anyway) and Musk’s other project (The Boring Company) to build a single-lane tunnel beneath Los Angeles isn’t going to do much either. And yes, his plan to mollify LA traffic is a single-lane tunnel with pretty lights. Why is it a single-lane? So rich people can get places faster, and rest of ya’ll can figure something else out.

As a company whose net worth (as of December 2019) is 23.6 billion, Tesla can definitely afford to invest in public transportation. That would better mitigate the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and eliminate a ton of traffic and produce zero emissions. It seems like a easy fix, but I guess its not as cool as Cybertruck.

Tesla is not completely useless. The company could be changing the public’s mind about electric transportation, but why Tesla won’t save us is because with the money Tesla and Musk alone is worth, they could be doing so much more to make the Earth less reliant on fossil fuels, as they claim.

A lot of people love Mr. Musk, seeing him as a benevolent billionaire working 120 hours a week for the good of the people. Mr.MoneyMustache, a popular blog about financial freedom (with very “masc-for-masc-only” overtones), defines Tesla as: “Almost unlike any other big company on Earth, Tesla exists primarily to help out the humane race.” This struck me as very strange, but I guess some people still believe billionaires care about people. Turns out, Mr.MoneyMustache is not the only one who thinks this about the company owned by our resident intergalactic colonizer. Musk owns another company, Space X, whose mission is literally to colonize Mars. Does someone whose company’s primary purpose is to colonize another planet, really likely to be concerned about preserving Earth? The entire purpose of colonization is extraction of resources, either things or people.

Let’s not forget, Tesla is a for-profit company. It’s a boldface lie for Tesla to claim itself as a company whose mission to do accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Its mission is to make money on the idea of sustainability. Idea is the golden word. That’s all he’s selling you, the idea of an enormous, revolutionary shift to zero-emissions, a complete cessation from fossil fuels. But what he’s giving you is just another fancy car to drive into the climate catastrophe.

To those who say ole Elon is trying his best, I say, No! He’s investing in his toys, not in the public good. (May I remind you he’s building a single-lane tunnel?) Some people will most likely ask why I can’t just be happy with what he’s doing now. But why should we be happy with only Tesla, an alternative that still won’t adequately make a dent in the transportation sector of the climate crisis? Of the finite fossil fuel conundrum? I do believe that as a society we tend to choose the lesser of two evils. But we shouldn’t be striving for the right way to do the wrong thing. We should be pushing for what we actually want.

Do I think Elon should stop making cars? No, of course not. Go for it, dude. Follow your dreams, man. But don’t pretend like Tesla is going to save the world, because it’s not.