If you and Deb ever come back to Seattle for a visit, let me know. I was talking with our Executive Director, and we would love to have a reception for you at Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum. I'm assuming if you were at Seattle Weekly then you must know David Brewster who was our Founder. I know our members would love to meet you in person.

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Jun 29Liked by James Fallows

You,hopefully are not Tesla people, you just happen to drive one of their cars! There seems to be some kind of moral to the story. What would Freud make of your decision,hmmmm?

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Jun 28·edited Jun 28Liked by James Fallows

oh also, enjoy your car!

we all have cars until more money is put into modern public transport

in the vacation areas in northern New England, we have scads of tourists spending huge dollars

but put tax money into providing public transportation for our workers, families, seniors, veterans, and to relieve tourist congestion at favorite spots? not a dime....

somehow we are stuck in a time warp loop in the past, while the future wooshes past us in Europe and other places

money for medicine and proper care for all of our citizens? nope

all the money they need to explore space while we fry in climate change on earth....

and all the money they need to prosecute wars in the poorest countries around the planet?

yes, all the gelt you need for that....

up here we are driving the newest cars on the most broken down roads and bridges you can imagine, like Indian roads used to be back in the day :) But lets spend a bunch of money and all our creative energy on the 20 talking heads running for the GOP presidency as a way to boost their net worth...

"Everything is Sold American" Kinky Friedman

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Jun 28Liked by James Fallows

thanks for sharing!

In Europe and most places around the world, people ride trains or bikes. What is wrong with the US that we have to ride around in our own self-enclosed worlds? It seems impossible to get Americans out of their cars, but maybe the younger generation will smarten up.

Back in the 1970's, we hippies did not have cars, we lived in communes, and we tried to Save the Planet.

As the timeless George Carlin hilariously points out, what hubris. We can't save ourselves, let alone the planet.

Time to get out of our cars - it is wonderful and possible as Amsterdam shows us. Hundreds of thousands riding on wide, safe bike lanes, free ferries, and happily staying fit.

Their trams are silent, clean, and run every ten minutes.

It is like the US, and much of the planet, refuses to upgrade, move on, and evolve. But in the space race and the arms race, of course, every resource is available while our people stand in food lines and live on the streets in tents.

" When asked about Western Civilization, Gandhi said, ' it would be nice. ' "

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Jun 27Liked by James Fallows

One other reason that I am so disgusted by Musk is how far from the potential positive impact he could have contributed to the world. He had the opportunity to be an inspiration of the best of humanity and instead he chose the dark side.

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Jun 27Liked by James Fallows

I remember being in a OS/2 users group meeting in 1995 when one of the bright guys in the room asked the IBM rep what their plan was when MS released Win95. I don't remember what his answer exactly was, but it was something like Win95 was gonna crash and burn on take-off and then OS/2 was going to take over the world. On the way out to the parking lot, the bright guy said that hope is not a plan, and he was going to stop by Barns and Noble on the way home and buy every book that they had on Windows NT Server. I followed him to bookstore and in 1998, I made a big, successful career change at the age of 40 from the EMS and Emergency Management field to the IT field.

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I started in that field was to learn the vi text editor backwards and forward. I had to go out on disability due to Parkinson's in 2019, but back in the day I could fly on vi or VIM. For Word Processing I got very good on WordPerfict in my undergrad days getting a Pol-sci degree, but I wrote my MBA paper using DeScribe, I have a copy of Scrivner and if I decided to write the G.A.N. (Great American Novel) it would be my tool of choice.

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Jim, it's been a blast getting to talk cars in your comments. Here's a fairly short story about where I put my nostalgia for the year in Paris when I was 12.


(Ignore the title—should have been In Search of Lost Time—With Apologies to Proust.)

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

I bought my Subaru Forester (basically the Alaska State Car) new 11 years ago for $26,000+ and haven't looked at car prices since. I'm still freaking out over: "According to Car and Driver, the average price for a new car in the US is now $48,000."

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

Congrats on taking the plunge. I expect you'll enjoy it for at least 5 years.

We've owned a Model 3 since 2018, now with 53,000 miles. It's been good, with very few repairs (but your tires will wear out fast, since it's so heavy) and, or course essentially no maintenance (oil changes and the like). "Fuel" costs with our Palo Alto home electricity rates has been around 7¢ per mile, 10¢ per mile if on the interstates with the Superchargers.

We've driven across the country (well, CA to Ohio and back) several times, and the Supercharger network is the biggest selling point, even though we're starting to see some maintenance problems at some locations. We also subscribe to ChargePoint as a backup.

It was great at first, once you get used to it, but they don't age so gracefully. Battery capacity has dropped by over 15% and continues a downward trend. And now that we're out of warranty, minor repairs are very expensive. I used to be impressed with service's courtesy and competence, but staff has turned over a lot and has been growing more surly as we question the genius of Musk and Tesla by having a car with a problem. And getting timely service appointments through the App is almost impossible. Almost no traditional sense of customer service.

We used to be confident we could get anywhere, but this Spring, I wanted to head out into the CA deserts to try to see the super blooms, and realized I might not make it with the sparse charging network around Death Valley, so we just didn't go. We're thinking of selling before Musk destroys the reputation of the brand, and buying a plug-in hybrid to try to get the best of both worlds (electric for local driving, but gas for desert runs).

Good luck with your Y. Hope your experience is good. Just remember, Teslas monitor everything you do to build their AI self driving database, and that can include listening in on your car at any time. So keep driving your Audi if you want your privacy really secure.

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

I can’t fault your decision making process on your Tesla purchase but I thought I’d share an encounter my daughter had with the company. She was working for Ford at the time as an engineer and decided to take an interview with Tesla, this would be 2 years ago.

The quote she relayed from her interviewer that I found interesting was “we don’t have great work/life balance here”. The expectation was to work 12 hour days, 6 days a week for roughly 15-20% more pay than at Ford (8-10 hour day, 5 days a week). Of course she decided that devotion to the Elon way was not worth the sacrifice of a personal life.

The thought of that kind of dedication to the company somewhat soured my own perception of Tesla. Again though your rationale for your purchase was sound and I wish you many years of safe travels.

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Jun 26·edited Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

At 89 with 41,000 miles on my second hand 2011 Audi I am not in the market for another car. I watch the Tesla/Musk debate simply as a spectator. [Like I watched the Joe Louis/Billy Conn fight in Yankee Stadium in 1946.]

Your article brought auto nostalgia, as it may have triggered for many others. My first car was an undoubtably second-or-third-hand Buick. I nick named it 1:1 because it seemed to consume a quart of oil for a gallon of gas.

Some years later I had to choose between a sensible VW bug or a TR3–zoom zoom. In Congo I had two VW bugs. Very practical and fixable. My only problem was that, on occasion, in the morning I would find my car propped up and my tires missing. I believe that I found the place where I could repurchase my tires and hub caps.

In Chile as a diplomat I could import one car. For a second car I bought an Isetta with over 50,000 miles. Front-wheel drive, 13 horsepower, and front of car was the door. Bus drivers in Santiago enjoyed pushing my car up on the sidewalk and local cops couldn’t believe that an American diplomat could own such a bucket of bolts.

My last ‘can’t believe it’ car was an Audi S4. Stick shift and zoom zoom. At the Somerville roundabout I could escape all oncoming traffic.

Currently I am considering an electric vehicle [4 tires] to get me from my summer home to the Orient Country Store about a mile away. It runs on batteries with plug in charger and costs less than $800. That’s as close as I’ll get to EV—and no Musk issues.

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

Just bought a new car myself last month. I’m just about the perfect use case for an electric. I have a 15 mile commute to the office, drive 15 to 20 miles each way to nightly AA meetings, and a couple times a week to the grocery store. If I needed to drive any distance, which might happen 3 or 4 times a year I could rent a car. But… I live in a 60 year old townhouse development in Reston Virginia. There’s no parking directly in front of my house, and the carport doesn’t have wiring for car chargers. Heck, it only has a 10 amp circuit that barely supports power tools. So electrics are not a good choice.

I’m on the HOA board and rewiring the carports is on the list of things to look at, but it’s likely to be expensive and is a few years off. Eventually it’s going to become necessary to keep house prices from falling.

Once I ruled out electric I decided I wanted a convertible, and I didn’t want to spend 6 figures, and there aren’t many options there, so I ended up with an Audi a5. Fun car, and most of the controls I need to use while driving are physical. Gets 30 mpg, too.

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I'm no fan of Elon Musk, but I understand your decision. We bought a Hyundai Ionic 5 last summer (after waiting in vain for a Mach E we ordered in January), before the tax credit rules changed. I love it, but the advantage of your purchase is that the Tesla is American built, the charging network is the best, and your net cost sounds a lot better than if you had bought a Mustang Mach E. Musk, like so many super-rich guys, is a threat to our political system. If we survive their intentions, though, eventually we'll start taxing them at an appropriate rate to pay for a genuine social democracy.

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

1) I am siding with the 'not a Nickel for Musk' faction.

2) I don't believe the Y will last 25 years as your previous rides

3) Isn't it appalling how big and heavy cars have become

PS Interesting how the halo car marketing theory worked with you (TT/A4)

Safe travels

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Jun 26Liked by James Fallows

Sad that this is so. I've had a Tesla Model 3 since 2018. It's a fabulous car. I will not be buying another Tesla because of Musk. I will not be buying Tesla Solar and Batteries even though the technology is pretty great because of Musk. I am trying to find an alternative to Starlink because of Musk. I can't bear giving him anymore money.

Musk is clearly one of the biggest enemies of freedom and democracy. He is a fascist and he is using his billions to encourage fascism.

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