Monday, July 31, 2017

Elon Musk's Tesla pulls into San Miguel

Electric vehicles are headed for San Miguel.
That surprised the hell out of me.

Sometime last week, with as little fanfare as organ cacti popping up in the countryside, six shiny Tesla electric car chargers appeared in the parking lot of the Luciérnaga shopping center in San Miguel, by the Office Depot store.

We of course had heard of billionaire Elon Musk, and his rockets and electric cars, but we never expected to see any of his creations in Mexico, much less in San Miguel, in our lifetimes.

Oh we of little faith.

Be still my heart, and my checking account too. 

(Amid all the Trump-inspired palpitations and wing-flapping over immigration, I can't resist mentioning that Musk is one 12 billionaires who came to the U.S. as immigrants. He came from South Africa. Others on this list are Russian Sergey Brin (Google); French-Iranian Pierre Omidyar (eBay); Israeli Isaac Perlmutter (Marvel Entertainment); and Hungarian-born financier George Soros. I could have made the list (Cuba) if I had only paid more attention in school.)

Stew and I saw a Tesla at a showroom in Amsterdam two years ago, though before that we already had noticed the growing presence of electric car charging posts in other large European cities.

Sitting under banks of halogen lights, that Tesla baby was a vision. It had a mirror-like paint we had never seen on any other car. That and its futuristic lines made the vehicle look as if it were gravitating six inches above the showroom floor. Otherworldly.

Still, when we saw the Tesla charging stations in San Miguel our reaction was eye-rolling mixed with snarkiness.

Plug me in Scottie.  
After a bit of research, though, the vision of Teslas in San Miguel doesn't appear that far-fetched.

Tesla already has a dealership in Mexico City, in the hyper-posh neighborhood of Polanco, on Calle Presidente Masaryk, Mexico's equivalent of Rodeo Drive. Whether it's a Tesla, a Brooks Brothers shirt or a Cartier diamond, it's no problema in Polanco.

In fact, when the dealership opened last year, it quickly received deposits for fifty units.

As for some logistics: The long-range Tesla now on sale ($44,000) can go 310 miles between charges.

San Miguel is 170 miles from Mexico City, so even if you run into traffic or a dead burro blocking the road, you should be able to make to the Best City in the World with no problema at all.

One missing detail: How do you pay for
the electricity? I assume by credit card. 
Conveniently, the highway from Querétaro/Mexico City feeds right into the Luciérnaga shopping center. You can pull in, adjust your Ray-Ban mirrored sunglasses, fiddle with your rakish Hermès ascot, wave condescendingly at the less fortunate souls ogling your car—and plug her in.

Assuming the posts at Luciénaga are superchargers, the batteries on your Tesla should be charged in about a half-hour (for 170 miles), long enough to stretch your legs and have some churros or empanadas at Chocolates & Churros, owned by former soap opera actress Margarita Gralia and located next to the Cinemex theater.

You can also plug in your Tesla to a conventional outlet, in which case a full charge will take overnight.

However, this being Mexico—where aspirations sometimes run ahead of reality—you must make allowances for the superchargers at Luciérnaga being out of order, or if you arrive in the middle of thunderstorm, the electricity being out altogether.

Still. Gimme one.

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