(TNS) — Tesla, the electric car company, plans to begin production Friday of its Model 3, which is highly likely to accelerate the trend to electric vehicles.
Unlike Tesla’s earlier Model S, which was aimed at affluent early-adopters, the Model 3 truly can be a transportation game-changer because it is targeted to typical consumers. The all-electric Model 3 plug-in has a range of about 250 miles on a single charge, goes from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds, and has a base price of $35,000. With a $7,500 tax credit for alternative-fuel vehicles, the drive-away price is $27,500, comparabel to conventional mid-range cars.
Tesla has not said exactly how many people have put down $1,000 deposits on the vehicles. But based on its production and delivery schedules, analysts believe that Tesla has about 500,000 orders.
Every major car company, meanwhile, has invested heavily in hybrid-electric and all-electric vehicles.
Government policy, meanwhile, continues to reflect a world contrary to the trend. Federal and state governments rely on taxes from gasoline and diesel fuel to fund highway and bridge construction and repair.
State and federal legislators must lay the groundwork to convert from per-gallon taxes to per-mile taxes to deal with the rapid transition to electric vehicles. That certainly will be unpopular because it will require vehicles to use technology that automatically reports miles driven, raising privacy concerns.
But the technology can record miles without location, which is the privacy issue. Congress and the state Legislature should devise a system that maintains highway tax revenue while protecting personal privacy. Conversion to different fuels does not preclude the need for a safe and effective highway system.
©2017 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.