Dennis Murray Jr. is proving environmentalism can be fun and look unbelievable cool.
Murray has been walking the walk of environmental conservation for years now. He has solar panels on his home that have greatly diminished his use of electricity. The Murray and Murray Law firm's building on Shoreline Drive in Sandusky also has solar panels. About four years before adding the solar panels, he installed a geothermal system that reduces the family dependence on natural gas. Last month Murray added an electric car to the family fleet when he purchased a Tesla S.
The company wants to prove its technology and get it out into the public, so it has taken the risk onto itself with a lifetime warranty to its crucial battery system, Murray said.
The only things he has to worry about replacing are the windshield wipers and the tires, Murray said.
“These cars do not require a lot of service,” Murray said.
The company started to manufacture the Tesla S two years ago, there are not that many on the streets.
Murray picked his electric car up at the Tesla store in Columbus, where he was told his was the first Tesla sold in this area.
A service center will open soon in Cleveland, he said.
It is important to support developing technology and innovative companies that can change the world for the better, he said.
“It is also just fun to drive,” Murray said during a recent ride with a Register reporter behind the wheel.
“Environmentalists need to start shedding their sackcloths and show how being responsible to the earth can still be fun.”
The car glides silently. It is responsive in both its steering and its acceleration and deceleration.
The most fun in the car happens in the almost instant acceleration from zero to 40, Murray said.
Regenerative braking is responsible for the car slowing down quickly and recharging the battery at the same time. It slows quickly — so much so that while the car has a brake, there is not much need for an experienced driver of an electric car to use it.
The car's systems, and the weight of its batteries, make for a very stable car; sliding or even screeching of tires is unlikely.
The average driver drives about 40 miles per day, but Murray travels more than that. The Tesla S has a battery range of about 260 miles, he said.
He has never had trouble finding a place to charge the Tesla in his travels, which include an occasional trip back and forth to Columbus. For a trip back and forth to New York he planned to stay overnight at a hotel where he could charge his car.
The Tesla S has had some issues. Consumer Reports, which buys its vehicles anonymously, gave some of its top marks ever to the car last year but just recently said it has had problems with the Tesla S it owns. The magazine's car is under warranty, and Tesla has repaired every problem.
The company's direct from the manufacture sales concept has caused controversy with dealership networks.
An average conventional car emits 11,740 pounds of CO2 per year. There are CO2 emissions in the production of the electricity used to charge the car, but the car's zero in-use emissions do help to lower CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Those levels could fall even more as renewable energy sources gain more of a hold in the production of electricity, such as Murray's solar cells at home.
The technology will only improve in efficiency, but even now electric cars would work for the routine driving habits of the vast majority of drivers, said Holly Myers, Bowling Green State University lecturer.
She believes out of all the new technologies being tried in the automotive industries, such as hydrogen-fueled cars, electric cars are the most likely to take hold with the most people.
“People are already exposed to it with hybrids,” Myers said.