Tesla – Range Anxiety is a Mirage

We are happy owners of Tesla TSLA in our fund and have documented our core rationale here: Tesla sits at a great intersection.

One pesky objection has been “range anxiety” which it is suggested will prevent broad adoption of the technology. We haven’t dealt with it head-on since we didn’t think we had much to say about it. Let the market decide and so far insofar as Tesla is concerned buyers seemed to be eager rather than worried.

But then a funny thing happened almost a year ago. The entire dashboard/control panel of one of our cars failed. It’s black. No speed, no temperature, radio stations or gas level. Turns out this was a huge blessing in terms of doing a little unknowing market research.Tesla_image

Without a fuel level you have “range anxiety” with your car. Not right after a fill up but with four kids and a busy schedule you use the second car a lot even if it’s all local and often wonder how close you are to the bottom of the tank.

Frankly this is even worse than the battery issue where you actually have excellent information about how much range you still have before needing a charge. ┬áIt’s a black hole, you don’t know how much more you have in the tank.

At first we were like “let’s fix this right away” but our mechanic said that 1) it would be expensive and 2) this has been known with this model and the car company might have a program for it. Combine that with normal inertial (did I mention 4 kids?) and you get the picture. We’ve been living with it for a year.

And it hasn’t mattered one bit. We might gas it up more frequently but you’d be surprised how long we’ve let it go. And this is for a car we don’t particularly love or covet. It does a good job and serves a function. Our “range anxiety” is really a mirage, it doesn’t exist. Yes we are “range aware” but it has ceased to be a worry.

Tesla is making fantastic cars. Audi just won the big race at Le Mans with hybrid (electric) technology. It’s great stuff. These are cars that people want to buy. That’s why we see Tesla as the “Apple of the auto industry.”

Today I’m happy to say that we figured out that “range anxiety” is not as real as critics make it out to be and that consumers are well able to internalize and cope with the fact that all cars, not just electric ones have limits. Being able to adjust to having no updated information about range has had little impact on our ability to use our car.

We can cross “range anxiety” off the list of concerns regarding Tesla.

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