Electric Cars for Everyone? Not Unless It’s Cheaper.


The people here are not Hollywood stars or billionaire tech entrepreneurs who can own Ferraris and private jets. But they are in good condition. The median household income in the area exceeds $165,000, and half of the homes are worth more than $1 million. Eight out of 10 people have at least a bachelor’s degree. As high-income early buyers, they can easily qualify for the federal EV tax credit.

Mr Teglia, who also has solar panels in his home, said the incentives actually “subsidize my luxury”. Model 3s he owns sell for around $40,000 before government subsidies.

An obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Jack Hsiao had avoided buying an electric vehicle for fear he wouldn’t be able to get very far without plugging in – a phenomenon known as range anxiety. But his sister, who moved from Texas to California and bought solar panels and Tesla, is 54-year-old Dr. He convinced their father, who lived with Hsiao, to buy one as well. After his family, Dr. Hsiao bought a Tesla and solar panels.

“Gas prices have skyrocketed and so it cost me almost nothing, given that I have solar panels,” he said. “For me, it was just the perfect fit.”

Elaine Borseth, a retired chiropractor, is another convert. Before buying a Model S, he had never spent more than $20,000 on a car. But after seeing several big, sporty sedans on the road, he drove one about seven years ago. “I thought they were stylish and sexy,” said Ms. Borseth, who runs the San Diego Electric Vehicle Association.

To explain why there are so many electric cars in his neighborhood, he said, “The more you see, the more it’s just one of those cases where it reproduces on its own.”


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