Inbound Ambassador

Going Electric – Why I bought a Tesla Model 3

Electric vehicles (EV’s) will become the norm by 2030 as consumers demand zero-emission transport that benefits both people and planet. Japan may be slow to enter the EV market, but there is a growing infrastructure of EV charging facilities. US EV leader TESLA’s more affordable Model 3’s are now available in Japan!


To be clear, I’m not usually an early adopter and when I first thought about the cost of a new TESLA it made me think it was beyond reach. Take into account the cost savings of never having to buy gas, including the cost of daily fossil-fuel use carbon footprint, it seemed a more sound investment. Like many people, I’ve wanted to step away from my reliance on fossil fuel for daily transportation and was inspired by Greta Thunberg traveling only by EV.

At first, I considered the more reasonably priced, top-selling Nissan EV Leaf model. But I was put off by the underhanded way the company treated CEO Ghosn and had other scandals over the years in the US in terms of discrimination, in combination with a less than transparent greenwashing branding of its gas model cars in Japan “E-power” is advertised as if it is an EV, but is only a very efficient hybrid. On the plus side, there are many reasonably priced used LEAF models in Japan around 2 million yen ($18,500 USD) which is a real bargain for an all-electric EV.

In the end, as I intend to make this Model 3 last the rest of my driving days, and intend on traveling across Japan over long-distances on my #electricdrive #sustainabletravel Japan tour starting this year, it made more sense to invest in a new EV for greater dependability.

Over most of 2018 I researched EV’s in Japan by visiting many showrooms, but wasn’t inspired by the design and was put off by the fact that the salespeople didn’t even seem that excited about their own EV models if they had them. In terms of price, the new NISSAN Leaf EV costs just under 5 million yen ($46,000 USD) a similar price-point to Model 3 Tesla.

I was a long-time happy Honda owner and wanted to buy electric from the company, but there was no EV available anytime soon when I was looking for an EV in 2018. One of the reasons major Japanese carmakers are lagging behind other brands in developing EV’s and leading the markets globally seems to be due to Toyota’s investment (backed by the government) to promote Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars over Electric.

The New York Times wrote in January 2018,

Toyota displayed a new fuel-cell prototype at the show alongside its plug-in model. And the government remains committed to pouring money into transformative “hydrogen society” projects, with plans to build 320 hydrogen stations for cars by 2025.

“The trend toward electric vehicles is growing, and sales are increasing, but we can’t suddenly jump to E.V.s,” Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s industry minister, said in September, defending the government’s commitment to hydrogen.

Recently, there has been a shift in attitude to EV’s in Japan and Toyota and Honda have now promised to roll out their EV models by July 2020 in time for the Tokyo summer Olympics in Japan. Honda, however, is already getting into the game as a charging supplier helping lay the groundwork for electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Japan. I saw HONDA EV charging stalls at USJ in Osaka as well as at Honda dealerships across Japan including Hiroshima.

As 2019 is an important year to launch my sustainability-focused brand which involves trips by car, I couldn’t wait until the EV market takes hold and prices come down as availability from Japanese automakers increases. I needed a company that had an EV for me this year so, at the end of 2018, I ordered Model 3 Tesla, put down my deposit in the spring of 2019 and drove it out of the showroom in Autumn this year.

It was the combination of TESLA’s total commitment to EV’s, energy storage and solar, a transparent website, friendly interactions with staff, a reasonable price-point and the good resell value that sold me on the Tesla Model 3.

Of course, there are problems with any company and Tesla has had its fair share of scandals, but for me, the most important factor is investing in a company that’s all in 100% for electric vehicles and offers one of the highest-quality products on the EV market now. The network of superchargers across Japan was also a big selling point for me as I plan long-trips.

EV’s are not a side product line at Tesla, the company has excelled in creating a high-quality product that rivals any gas-guzzler for performance. I feel really lucky to be an early adopter and have the chance to enjoy using a Tesla in Japan for work and pleasure. I hope my enthusiasm for EV’s and driving electric can have a positive influence on the electric renaissance now just starting in Japan. I hope my reports on using an EV in Japan can be informative and encourage others to consider switching to an electric vehicle.

As one of the first companies in Japan to make a bold statement of the quality and value of EV’s, I really hope Tesla is able to positively disrupt and changes the automobile industry here in Japan. This summer, the Model 3 ranked as the #3 top-selling car in the UK, and #9 top-selling car in the US – could Japan be next?

EV’s are the future for Japan and the world as we will see standard gas and diesel cars phased out in the next 10 years (by 2030)!

Some may argue that despite changing to an EV the charging stations are powered by fossil fuels (coal and oil) in Japan. I am investigating the energy mix that Tesla Superchargers are using, but certainly, this is true of a majority of energy in Japan. In our case, we run our TESLA on renewables as we charge it from our solar panel energy on our roof. Combining EV with solar or wind power is definitely best practice which I hope we will see more and more in Japan.

I’m already seeing gas stations close and battery charging stations open everywhere I go in Japan- this is not the distant future, it’s happening right now!

If you are interested in buying a TESLA, find all the information you need on their website and make an appointment for a test drive near you to experience it for yourself. If you are going to buy a solar panel or car from TESLA, please use this link’s code and we can both get free supercharging for up to 1000 kilometers as well as an entry to win a new Tesla sports car model.

#nofossilfuels #nomoregas #electricdrive #tesla #ev #model3 #sustainability #innovation #japan #disruptiveinnovation