The next step

Much hubbub has been brewing lately about the possibility of us, meaning the Reno area, landing perhaps the prize plum that currently dangles on the Tree of Industry—the gigafactory that will supply the Tesla Corporation with batteries for its amazing electric cars. Which leads me to ask—what the hell is a gigafactory? Whatever it is, it sure sounds hot, hip and extremely now. I mean, I can tell from just the word, this joint ain't gonna be makin' no tea kettles or licorice ropes!

The thing about Tesla and its cars right now is that there's an aura of possibility surrounding them, an aura of not just game changer, but Game Changer, in terms of igniting a sea change in how we live. Right now, Teslas, at 90k a pop, are basically there for the 1 percent. In 2017, Tesla will make cars available to the 50 percent with its $35,000 model, and its influence will ripple much more deeply than that. You're damned right Nevada wants to be a part of this company. We need to be. It will be absolutely crucial in helping us wave goodbye forever to our beloved but ever declining Golden Age of Gambling.

You can participate right now in this shift toward the electric car. You can be a part of it and encourage its progress. Not by buying a Tesla. Not unless you have 90 grand laying around. But you can do what I just did. You can buy the Poor Man's Tesla. That is to say, you can drive a Nissan Leaf.

Actually, I didn't buy, but lease. Three grand down, 220 a month for three years. Yes, you can trade your current car in as your down payment. In other words, you can drive a fully realized, fully functional, totally great electric car today and at an extremely affordable price. I've had mine now for two months, and you know what? It's a knockout little vehicle. I really, really like it. For one thing, it's comfy as hell. Even kinda plush. And please, please, please, don't make the automatic jackassumption that what you're dealing with here is some kind of lame, gutless prototype. Many assume this, for some reason, and it's just plain effing wrong. This ain't no experimental car for geeks and dipshits. It's a rockin' little ride that is completely freeway ready. That is to say, the thing can zip. Electric cars are fast. End of story.

Other upsides? The biggie—mileage. How does 129 mpg city and 102 highway sound? How does saying goodbye to gas stations sound? You like? The range on a full charge is 90 miles, which makes it a very practical car for urban use. Yes, the downside is you can't get to SF from here. So for travel outside of town, you'll need a plan B. But I'm betting that in the very near future, battery performance will increase and increase impressively. Bring on the gigafactory, baby.