At 218,000 miles the time had arrived when it made more economic sense to get another vehicle than to spend the several thousands of dollars necessary to repair the air conditioning on our 2007 Prius. It was the second such car we had owned having retired another one with about the same mileage. We were early purchasers of a Prius for environmental reasons since they burn so much less gas. The fears that many expressed that we would lose our investment when the battery wore out were never realized. We still own a Prius with about 168,000 miles, but with our lifestyle and work responsibilities we need two cars.

Environmental impacts topped the list of concerns as we approached shopping for a new car. Such concerns are an important consideration these days as there are many zero-emission vehicles on the market in the form of electric vehicles. If you have not looked at the car market recently you will be amazed at the number and variety of all-electric vehicles that are available. Totally quiet with no emissions and driving distances on a charge having greatly expanded with new technology and batteries, the choices are numerous.

Several manufacturers have announced that in the not too distant future they will be making only electric cars. A campaign is underway in Fairfax and other localities to go to electric school buses rather than the diesel-coughing yellow monsters of the past. With the rapid expansion of charging stations the concern of running out of power is no longer a real issue.

After some rides in other cars we went to the Tesla dealership for a test drive. Here I should offer a warning: Do not test drive a Tesla if you are not seriously in the market to buy one. It has the smoothest ride and most accommodating features of any vehicle I have ever driven. But please remember that I was considering the car for its zero-emissions feature.

We made our purchase over the Internet and had our car within a day. There was no time for me to worry about my image driving a car that most consider expensive. There are expensive Tesla models for sure, but ours is the most economical available with the autonomous driving features that are great safety features. It looks really sporty but that sleek aerodynamic design contributes to its environmental efficiency.

We are mastering the battery charging. I plug the car into the same outlet overnight on the deck where I used to plug in my electric lawnmower before I got a cord-free mower. There are more fast-charging stations than you may realize, and your car will direct you to the nearest one when it needs a charge. It’s that use of electricity for its power that makes it zero-emissions. I know that production of the electricity may have been in a pollution-generating plant, but I work hard to bring about changes to renewable energy sources.

Buying a Tesla is like joining a new family or community. Many have named their cars, and most speak of their cars affectionally. I appreciate joining a community of people who want to protect the environment and who appreciate the fact that they are helping to keep the air clean and who may even be slowing the rate of climate change.

I hope to see you on the road soon. Yes, my car is beautiful, but remember I bought it because it is zero-emissions!

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