Robin Tauck’s Tesla

Today is Earth Day.

You and I might celebrate by taking a quicker shower, or finally buying a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Robin Tauck will drive her brand-new Tesla in New York City’s 1st Earth Day road rally.

Robin gets excited about a lot of things, like international travel.  (Her family’s company, Tauck World Discovery, is a global leader in inspirational, innovative touring.)

National parks.  (She has helped renovate treasures like Mesa Verde, and been praised by presidents for it.)

And the Tesla Roadster.

Hers is the 1265th produced.  There is at least 1 other in Westport; perhaps 8 or 10 throughout Connecticut.

Robin Tauck's Tesla.

The Roadster is the 1st all-electric vehicle in the US.  It goes far beyond gas/electric hybrids like the Chevy Volt.

The  Volt travels 25 to 50 miles on a lithium-ion battery.  The Tesla gets 275.

Welcome to tomorrow — on display now in Robin’s garage.  That’s where she keeps her battery cords.

One plugs into a regular 110-volt outlet.  A fully depleted battery takes 24 hours to charge.

A 220-volt hookup (dryer type plug) gets 40 miles for each hour of charging.  “It’s like charging your cell phone,” Robin says.  “And the battery is strong enough to power your entire home.”

Her work with the World Travel and Tourism Council first opened her eyes to the incredible damage carbon dioxide emissions inflict on the world.  (The organization, of which she is a leader, is helping the global travel industry reduce emissions, and encourages sustainability plans.)

Robin — who travels 120 days a year, and contributes carbon offset miles to worthy programs — had long rented Priuses wherever they’re available.  (She spends lots of time in California; nearly all rental agencies have them there.)

She knows that Fairmont Hotels offer free parking for hybrids, and Logan Airport has preferred lots for them.  She understands their value to the environment.

But then Robin — who has a home in the San Francisco Bay Area, and studied at Stanford — got an up-close look at Teslas, which are far better known in California than here.

The Wilkes Bashford store in Palo Alto — owned by Westport’s Mitchell clothing family — sits across the street from Tesla‘s world headquarters.  The company was founded in 2003 by Silicon Valley engineers.  It took 5 years to produce its 1st car — the hand-built, carbon fiber Roadster.  There are now 1,500 of them, in 30 countries.

They look very cool.  Hidden inside, a large (recyclable, after its 10-year life) battery sits above a watermelon-sized motor.

Robin test drove a Roadster.  So did her husband, Pete Romano.

They went all around Palo Alto.  “You’ll come back with the ‘Tesla grin,'” a company executive predicted.

They did.

“It’s fast, responsive — and totally silent,” Robin says. “It accelerates extremely fast — 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds — and slows quickly too.  It’s very nimble, and takes quick turns.

“It’s the most exciting drive I’ve ever had.”

Though a tight fit for Pete — “he’s 6-3, a big guy,” she says — he loved it too.

Robin Tauck, holding her battery charging cord.

The Roadster goes out of production next year.  It will be replaced by a roomier, mass-produced Model S that gets (depending on the battery pack selected) 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge.  It can be recharged in just 45 minutes.

Robin knows all the questions about electric vehicles.  What if I run out of juice?  Where can I get it serviced?

She called Roadster owners in the tri-state area.  “It gets 275 miles on a full battery charge,” she says.  “Who drives 285 miles in a day?

“You can charge it in any garage.  And almost every hotel and garage has a 110-volt outlet.”  Owners, she says, tell each other the “best places” to charge.

Servicing, she says, takes place once a year:  “basically for tires.”  With no oil or gas to worry about — and few of the traditional under-the-hood components to fail — maintenance is almost an afterthought.

Robin is a fun person, and Tesla is a fun company.  They know their customers by name, and seek out events like today’s Earth Day rally in New York.  Two dozen or so Teslas will join other CO2-friendly vehicles in a loop around Manhattan.

Then it’s back to Westport with her Roadster.  Robin says the Gaults may put a charging station in their new Saugatuck development; she’s heard talk there might be one at the train station too and at several town buildings.

She hopes to show the Roadster at next month’s Eco-Fest at the Levitt Pavilion, and possibly join other electric car drivers in the Memorial Day parade.

You can’t miss it.  It’s sharp-looking, and Tesla calls it “glacier blue.”

Though a better description might be “Robin’s-egg blue.”

31 responses to “Robin Tauck’s Tesla

  1. Dan:

    The Tesla is an environmental poser car. According to my calculations, you are best off buying a used Lotus Elise or even a new Elise unless you keep the Tesla for at least 5 years (versus a new Elise). Anyway, the Elise is more fun to drive. Either are worthless for anything else. Engineering is a bitch, isn’t it! See calculations link:

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aj5JFViTIbUudHYtLXgzaWRBODY0Z0N6N0R2eXZyZHc&hl=en

    I know, I am a geeky guy, but if we are going to solve real environmental problems we need real data and real solutions, not puffery. Right now you are better off with a hybrid car or a diesel due versus plug-ins due to losses in the electrical lines along with fossil fuels used for generation by coal and natural gas. If you like the earth, you’d better start liking nuclear power a lot more; that will swing things in favor of plug-in electrics.

    I own a sports car that gets 50MPG that is WAY more fun to drive than a Tesla. How? I bike to work 3 days a week and drive my 20MPG car 2 days a week. Lots of ways to save energy!

  2. Princeton '82

    Kudos to you. Seriously. But do you really think anybody is listening?

  3. nope.

    It is better to feel good than to do good.

  4. The Dude Abides

    Not sure about that. A little sacrifice in this country would be nice. But it would seem you are doing both i.e. feeling and doing.

    • It was actually a general statement that I feel many people believe.

      I believe in feeling good by doing good; unfortunately a lot of people would rather just feel good without any real sacrifice or cost.

    • anonymous IV

      Sacrifice is highly overrated and largely unnecessary. Most calls for sacrifice are the result of the government’s mismanagement of something or other or the claim that more swill is needed for the public trough. The energy sector of the US economy has been mismanaged by the US government for over 35 years. When the government bureaucrats who have created the disequilibriums in the energy market sacrifice ( fat chance) then maybe the rest of us should sacrifice.

      • The Dude Abides

        Are you telling me that the citizenship of this country did not sacrifice during WWII? Rationing, etc. Welp, we are in three wars now. Time to start again. Maybe then it will dawn on people that we are fighting?

        • anonymous IV

          You make my point. Why are we in three wars? Mismanagement of foreign policy?

          • The Dude Abides

            Are you implying that Americans can actually think for themselves???? 90% in favor of W after 911, then 70%
            against the War in Iraq. 50,000 troops still remain. The
            sacrifice has to be mandated and then only, will the vast amount of lazy slobs will realize that someone is actually dying so they can drive their SUV.

          • The Dude Abides

            P.S. I am convinced the wars are just about money to perpetuate our military industrial complex and our economic interests overseas.

          • I don’t think so. As Friedman argued, American military involvement in the ME made no economic sense. There are other economists who have argued as much. WW I was foisted on the Anmerican people as a noble crusade by America’s first “progressive” president. Since then, we have become embroiled in one failed military adventure after another. I don’t think Wilson was swayed by economic arguments; he was a classic ideologue. Ears is getting soldiers killed to further his own political interests.

          • Most of our imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico. We could be oil self-sufficient if the Government would just butt out of the market. The guys who flew the planes into the WTC did not do so to raise the price of oil; Huntington was right.

          • John D. MacDonald

            When 70% oppose the war, how is Ears effectuated his political career??? I think he has been brainwashed and manuvered by the Generals and the big business contractors. We may get our oil from Canada/Mexico but that is not unlimited and we are playing chess with the camel jockeys to insure where they export their black gold. The big worry is that we will run out of oil in the long term. Certain areas are dry now. 4 bucks now. You watch a dive in early January when election campaigns start.

          • 70% oppose what war? This WH is driven by ideology and nothing else. If Ears gave a crap about what the private sector thought, he would give up on the class warfare, tax rate increases, Obamacare, and smothering regulations. He has been consistent in his recommendations that the defense budget must be cut while he engages in more military adventures. Pfui!!

            There is enough oil in the North America to supply our needs for many decades. There are also ample natural gas and coal resources to supply our egergy needs for at least a century. And then there is nuclear energy. Ears is pushing “alternative energy” as a payoff to the VC firms ecofascists who supported him. The price of oil is rising in large part as a result of helicopter Ben’s efforts to devalue the dollar; it’s called inflation.
            Inflation is a direct function of monetary policy and confidence in the dollar. Having the financial outlook for the US economy downgraded by the rating agencies doesn’t help lower the price of oil.

          • “According to a Rasmussen Reports survey taken at the beginning of this week, 34 percent of likely voters think the United States should get “more directly involved” in the Libyan crisis. Supporters of military intervention might be eager to point out that this number was 12 points higher than the 22 percent who favored greater involvement two weeks earlier. A Gallup survey conducted Monday shows a plurality — 47 to 37 percent — approving of President Obama’s airstrikes in Libya. And a new CBS poll released on Tuesday finds an even higher 68 percent of Americans supporting the strikes. Considering the current debate over spending and the fact that the country is already engaged in two unpopular wars, the dramatic increase in support of military intervention in Libya is surprising and worth further examination.”

          • Travis McGee

            As the good Representative from Arizona responded: “My statement was not meant to be factual.” I still maintain that Ears is at the mercy of the Generals and contractors who didn’t get enough from the “trough” in Iraq. Gates wanted to cut but is getting out. War is good business. Tough image. If your statistics are correct, we Americans have become a bunch of chickenhawks. Better get used to Ears because 4 more years will be the future. As to the economy, I am looking to Panama as an ex-pat.

        • Hillary is the loud mouth pushing for bigger wars in the ME. The defense stocks don’t look like market leaders. Obama and his band of lefties will cut defense spending while fighting the more numerous wars. Americans will die for no reason. Right now Ears is killing people with no clear objective and no idea who he is killing. He just needs to look decisive on one foreign policy issue.

  5. Travis McGee

    Yeah Bill Maher joked that if Americans could cure global warming by giving up their remote, they wouldn’t.

    • Yet another example of a futile gesture. Global warming and cooling have been taking place for about 800,000 years, long before the remote or the internal combustion engine. why sacrifice for no gain?

  6. Travis McGee

    Why don’t we just pollute the environment, killing all the wildlife, overdevelop all our land for the sake of the almighty buck and then
    hope Mars is available for habitation???? Under your vision, we will
    be out of oil (as many towns found in Texas) and wearing smog masks as they cut off our SS checks. Hell with our kids. Let them fend for themselves.

    • Well it makes no sense to hand over to those kids a bunch of useless windmills and then claim that is our gift to then. Or a bunch of electric cars that are nothing more than rolling toxic waste dumps. Current environmental policies require the inefficient allocation of scarce resources; lower output at higher prices. How does that benefit our issue? There is an intelligent way to deal with pollution, Stigler and others wrote of it, but ignoring economic realities won’t help anyone except the VC firms bellied up to the trough waiting for Obama to provide the swill.

      So why not stop all industrial output, all production of energy, move back into caves and hand that off to our kids. Seems to be that is what the ecofascists favor for the US. The rest of the world is not that stupid for the most part. Get a second passport, and an offshore bank account. BTW they will not cut off your SS checks; they will be worthless, but you will still get them. And I read that Club of Rome twaddle in the 1960’s; same old same old. The sky is falling.

  7. Archie Goodwin

    There is always hope. All we have to do is balance the budget, diminish the deficit, withdraw our combat troops, slash our military expenditures, create jobs, limit our dependency on oil, instill universal health care, elect a woman President and wait for the Chinese to foreclose. Piece of cake. Already got the Cayman account but how the hell do I get another passport?

  8. If you review you “to do” list you will see that most of what ails us is a direct result of our own actions; stupidity brings consequences. Doing more of what we have been doing will not likely improve the conditions we leave our children, but the stupidity of others does make for an opportunity to profit. The passport thing is not as difficult as you migh imagine.

  9. Charles M.Cain

    Why, under your theory, does government attract individuals who do some miserably in government while fairly successful outside that sector??? It seems that you are advocating anarchy where every one would be better off without any form of government, including the defense (and offense) by the military. Nuts and bolts time.

  10. Why does less government equate with anarchy? We established a War on Poverty in the 1960’s and by 2009 poverty had reached its highest level ever. We established an Energy Department to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy and now we are more dependent than ever. We established an education department that spends hundreds of $billions with no measurable improvement in results. We have a war on drugs that has done little more than throw young minority men into jail. Are you claiming that elimination of the SSS will result in anarchy? Are you claiming that if I get to chose the type of light bulb I prefer that equates with anarchy? Prior to Wilson’s pursuit of a “progressive” agenda, we had no central bank, no federal income tax, and no participation in a World War. Why are any of those efforts commendable? Less government does not mean anarchy; it means more individual freedom.

  11. Horstman Laws? But that is why we have government. To protect the individual liberties of our citizens from being stampled by business or enemies afar. Following the Industrial Revolution, we had children working in factories, women couldn’t vote and there was segregation. Without government, many things would not have changed. Looking at it from a purely economic standpoint, your points may have some merit. In the long run, I believe we have to have some form of regulation.

  12. Huh? Segregation was both de facto and de jure. The government enforced segregation. The fact the women could not vote was yet another government enforced restriction. Who protects us from the government? How do we determine if a regime is legitimate? Is the peace time draft a legitimate activity of government? Again, we need a smaller government not anarchy. BTW Think Orchids.

  13. Robert Crais

    I concur on the spending side of government and the number of agencies/employees. But I see their efforts as a watchdog important
    in some areas. Have you considererd what would have happened if we had not bailed out Wall Street??? Not being defensive but curious on whoever Horstman and his thoughts are???

    • It was not necessary to bail out Wall Street. There was another much simpler and less costly method of staving off the crisis, but it would have produced much less opportunity for graft and corruption. In some areas I agree, but until they can keep the borders safe, I don’t need them telling me what kind of toilet I must have. Nero’s orchids needed tending, Horstman filled the bill, and thanks for the Christmas card.

  14. The Dude Abides

    Oh, I certainly knew the voice but not the call name, Horstman. I thought
    Archie was Nero’s assistant? So what was the “much simpler and less costly method of starving off the crisis”???? Just back from the doctor to provide me another year of controlled substances, I have realized from the waiting room that we need not worry about much else: we are indeed eating ourselves to death in this country.

  15. Horstman was the orchid maven, Archie was the legman. As to the financial crisis, it is not easy to explain here, but one of my associates made the case on Kudlow at the peak of the panic, the response at the time was that his approach was too expensive; the actual costs have dwarfed the costs of his approach which would could have been implemented overnight and would have required no legislation. Let’s just say that if all of the sub-prime loans were taken out at par, there would have been little or no reason to panic or for the market to collapse.