Dan Dodson, a Trenton resident and business consultant who commutes to Philadelphia, says he will never buy a gas-powered car again. Dodson bought his Model S in 2010 for $70,000, after more than two years on a waiting list.
Owning an electric car is a long-time dream of Dodson’s. Five years ago, he set out to buy a used EV1, which was a prototype electric car made by General Motors in the 1990s. “The main reason I wanted one was that it was so simple. I figured, five years ago, that an electric car would be more practical and would have better pickup and have less maintenance than a gas-powered car.”
One of the potential benefits of an electric car is the lack of a complex engine. As any car owner knows, the engine and transmission are liable to break down, meaning costly repairs. Without either of those components, an electric car could, in theory, cost much less to maintain. And, of course, there is the benefit of never having to go to a gas station again.
Dodson soon learned that GM had destroyed most of the EV1 prototypes it had leased to consumers between 1996 and 1999. (The demise of the EV1 is the subject of the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”)
“After I saw that movie, I invested in an early electric car company, and I started reading a lot about the Tesla Roadster,” Dodson says. The roadster, Tesla’s first car, is a two-door sports car. “I wasn’t going to get a roadster because I need a family car,” Dodson says.
Dodson says the Tesla Model S is a great family car because it has a second trunk where the engine would go on a normal passenger car. He also likes the electronically controlled suspension, which can be tuned from “land yacht” to “sports car” depending on his mood, using the car’s computer.
Dodson, who was a BMW enthusiast before buying his Tesla, says the Model S is “by far the smoothest ride I’ve ever owned.”