Kids in Charge

With the persistent notion that kids — as the cliche goes — are our future, I frequently display my Tesla roadster (affectionately known as “Tessie the Tesla”) at southern California junior high schools, colleges and high schools. I sometimes present a PowerPoint, sometimes just hand out Plug In America tri-folds and talk to the students or occasionally act as a one-woman panel to answer the kids’ rather spirited questions about the film documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?

The one routine that does not vary, of course, is that I always drive and display the Tesla, and the kids are always engaged, fascinated and excited to actually take a peek at what lies inside, under the hood and in the trunk. In one fleeting glance their image of an electric car moves from an imagined golf course full of old duffers in carts to a race track. Predictably the most common questions I get are: “Where do you plug it in?” And “Do you need any gas at all?” I then strive to answer the shockingly probing and lightning-quick questions from a heretofore bored group of teenagers (while also striving to wipe drool marks off the glossy surface of my car.) Intelligent questions such as:

  • Who will control the electricity needed to plug in lots of electric cars?
  • Will there be enough electricity to do that?
  • Who will make sure electric cars are available for us to drive?
  • Who will control the cost of electric cars?
  • Will electric car development get in the way of mass transit?
  • Do electric cars cost more than gas cars? Why?
  • How far can you go in that car and electric cars in general?
  • How fast does that Tesla go?
  • Will electric cars get even faster and have even more range than the Tesla?
  • Do you ever run out of charge and get stuck somewhere? What would you do if that happened?
  • Why are electric cars better than gas cars?
  • When will I be able to drive my own electric car?
  • Where do I enter the lottery to win the car?
  • Even if I had enough money, where would I buy an electric car?

That last question is a doozy. Plug In America works hard to ensure that we will soon be able to answer a rational question like that with a realistic list of options. Because the kids I talk to deserve honest answers, and they deserve cleaner, cheaper transportation that still offers a touch of excitement. It’s an irrefutable fact that kids will one day be “in charge.”

Tessie at Lakeside Middle School

Tessie the Tesla at Lakeside Middle School

Posted by Linda Nicholes

Photo courtesy of teacher Michael Trimmel

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