Manhattan, New York City. April 11, 2021
Dear Elon Musk,
My first car was a Triumph. A British made car. I remembered it so well because it used to break down a lot. You fix one thing today, then pops up another apart, requiring either a full replacement with the same, a fine tuning or a removal — which then allows you to sort out an ingenious way of coming up with a generic replacement that would do the same, but most of the time better than what came from factory.
Good thing about this is, within a very short time, not only did I garner a lot of knowledge about this type of vehicles, it’s variants, their behaviors, and their penchant to break down for one reason or the other when put through different seasons, in comparison to other vehicles — British, German, Italian, American and British, it also enrich me with a lot of new social contacts.
Some in these list of contacts were professional mechanics with garages, spare parts dealers, electricians, heaters and air conditioning installers, car body shop and detailing specialists. But what surprised me the most was that a huge number of people on this list of contacts were mostly part timers and hobbyists. These hobbyists are people who have gone through the experience of having a similar car as their first or second vehicle, and are willing to share experiences to fix things, or help and point in the right direction — if and whenever I come up with something that requires a specialist job.
Compare to now, where we have social media, then, there was no social media platform or search engine other than yellow pages — where you can go to get an almost similar experience. These people as at that time, were my social contacts. And the vehicle was my means of getting to know these people, their number, their address, what interests them, what they can offer and what they can not.
Point I’m trying to draw from this experience is, British vehicles as at that time might have had a reputation for not being reliable and breaking down more often, but there is a reason behind adopting such a doctrine. And that reason is the need to allow people to interact socially about this product, share experiences, and gain new skills that could be socially useful for the person, his neighbor and others — wherever he/she ended up.
If my vehicle had been German or Japanese, I would have had a perfect car that runs flawlessly, doesn’t break down at every sharp bend, and would not have been able to meet the people I met, patronize the garages — the professional mechanics, the body shop walkers, the car electricians, talk less of building those social contacts. In short, I would have known next to nothing about vehicles and wouldn’t have had a clue about what to do to avoid something as simple as the cause of overheating.
Today, we have Tesla — an artificial intel powered electric car that runs perfectly. Unlike Triumph, it doesn’t break down at any given opportunity. But like Triumph — if it breaks down or you run into something, it cannot fix itself, and neither can you, your next door neighbor.
And since all garages, tire repair shops and car body shops have all closed down because a company like Tesla has a monopoly on everything to do with their brand, you have no option than to go back to Tesla every single time a pigeon poops on your Tesla.
Now, not only has that social interaction I gained from owning a Triumph gone, so also are the specialist jobs in local mechanic and car detailing garages as well as the type of technical knowledge about vehicles and fixing different aspects of vehicles parts gone from our local economy for ever.
Sad thing is, we as tax payers are still being asked to foot the bill for keeping these new type of AI driven companies afloat.
I like Tesla and I love their series of electric vehicles. But as a New York city mayoral candidate, I want a city that will not focus on service and banking alone. No. It is my wish to bring back technical education into our schools, bring them up to par with AI and core learning variants, and bring those car and tire repair shop jobs back to the city.
Therefore, if Tesla is to continue running in our city, I’d love some compromise for small businesses and specialist vehicle repair shops and garages in and around the city of New York from Tesla. I’d love New York city mechanics and car body shop workers to be able to repair — from ground up, sell parts, program and dispose off, any of Tesla’s electric vehicle series.
I’d create a law to back this up, and a regulation to restrict the garages, so Tesla is not only protected from it’s IP, but also covered from any type of property abuse and internal AI infringement.
Thank you Elon Musk.
Abbey Laurel-Smith (SmithieForMayor NYC 2021)