After GM builds its last Cruze in Lordstown, no one knows what will come next. The automaker plans a shift into electric cars.
New Castle resident Russ Carley knows about electric cars. He owns a Tesla. He let our cameras in the passenger seat to take a drive.
There’s plenty of mystique when you see a Tesla on the road. It’s sleek, catching attention with a stylish design and the fancy T logo. Carley’s model, the Model S, also has a stealth-like quality. It’s so quiet you only hear the tires on the road. Carley said he was sold in 10 minutes.
“The smoothness, the modern technology and all the whizzes and bangs and bells with it,” Carley said.
Carley ordered his vehicle in July 2017 and waited 14 months to get it.
There aren’t any moving parts to see under the hood, and the ride is noticeably different. He said the quiet took some getting used to.
“It took quite a bit. First time I’m like is it on? Is it on?” Carley said.
Carley put 100,000 miles on two Prius’. Those vehicles are a hybrid and fluctuate between gas and electric, but the Tesla is a completely electric car. It plugs right into a wall outlet, adding $30 to $40 a month on his electric bill, but he pays nothing for gas.
“For all the miles I drive, (it is) really cost-effective,” he said.
The Tesla can go 300 miles between charges. The only drawback might be the initial cost. Carley’s Model S with his option packages cost $81,000.
Electric cars convert energy from batteries, which has advantages over combustion engines. Tesla can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds. The vehicle is heavy and decelerates quickly, which saves the brakes but wears the tires.
“So far, I’ve never had a problem with it. In the winter, it handles like a tank. It’s made of stainless steel aluminum, so it’s kind of heavy,” Carley said.
The Tesla also has a large computer screen where Carley can change the suspension, run the semi-autonomous feature, and read how much charge is remaining. The car can even park itself.
Carley bought a Tesla for the cutting edge technology, and he loves when people recognize the car. He believes electric cars are here to stay and if GM is serious about building them, he thinks it could be a long-term answer for Lordstown.
“You see this big wave of the future? Oh, I think so and I think we should’ve been doing something here in the U.S. with our auto industry,” Carley said.
Teslas are built in California. Elon Musk has said that factory is bursting at the seams. Last month on 60 Minutes, he expressed interest in the Lordstown plant if GM was going to sell it or not use it.