“I own a Tesla. I’ve also crashed one. See below:
I think I’m qualified to answer. First off, I don’t like my Tesla, I love it.
I originally wanted to buy a Ferrari. It’s always been my dream car, ever since I was a kid. In early 2013, I was flying out to Chicago to buy a Ferrari 430 (my favourite model), and got screwed out of a deal. It was the best thing that happened to me.
A few weeks later, I was walking in Yorkdale Mall (the one with) and saw the Tesla store. This was back in early 2013 – Tesla (the Model S) hadn’t won any major awards (later that year it went on to win then later, Car & Driver called it the Car of the Century). You have to remember, that in 2013 Tesla wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. It was a relatively unknown brand but I loved the lines & look of the vehicle so I decided to step into the store.
The moment I sat in the car, I immediately fell in love. I asked to take the car for a test drive, but they were hesitant and said the next test drive appointment was a few weeks out. I knew that wasn’t true. I knew it was because I was very young (I was 31 at the time – I looked like I was 26-ish). They confirmed my suspicions when they mentioned the fact that they get a lot of university kids who just want to take it out for a joyride. I explained to him that I was serious about the car and told him I was ready to fly to Chicago two weeks ago and buy a Ferrari. He smiled, probably thinking I was full of it, but I was persistent. I was interested in the car. After some back and forth and convincing him I was sincere about the car, he finally grabbed the FOB key. We walked to the underground parking (where the chargers and cars are) and walked me through how the car worked: no ignition, no oil, no gas, no need to unlock the car. Just walk up to it, the, step on the brakes and the car is on. It was FREAKY. It’s like I travelled to the future. I couldn’t even tell if the car was on! There was no sound, no noise, nothing.
We went out for a quick spin, he asked me to get on the highway and to floor it on the on-ramp. I did. It was exhilarating. There were no gears. The car sped up so fast, I can only compare the feeling to an airplane taking off. You don’t feel changes in the transmission (because there is none); it’s just this constant, unbelievable speed. Never in my life had I been in a car that fast.
When we got back to the store, I bought the car on the spot. Literally, did my configuration in 15 minutes (I picked all the options) and debated the colour with my wife for a few minutes and ordered my P85+ in pearl white, with all the options (I can fit 7 people in my Tesla – 5 adults,).
That’s the back story of how [quickly] I bought the Tesla. I dropped $140,000+ on the car, on the spot (full transparency: I believe it was a $4K deposit, then the rest due when I picked up the car – regardless, the amount was the same – $140K+). That’s how much I loved the car. Believe me, nothing on the market comes close to it.
Now, here’s a summary of why it’s such a great car (and this is by no means the exhaustive list of reasons, but the ones that jump out at me as I write this answer):
- No gas. No emissions. Self explanatory. If it’s good for the earth, then it’s good for me.
- Safety: It’s the safest car ever created. Literally, it’s the safest car, in the . I can attest to his. I was side-swiped by an 84 year-old man who didn’t see me. I tried avoiding it but he ended up pushing me onto oncoming traffic. I hit a Dodge Caravan head on. The van was was a complete write off. Mine had primarily all cosmetic damage. Batteries were fine, motor was intact and since there’s front trunk space, there was no mechanical damage. More importantly, I was okay. Since I was okay (and so was everyone else, including the 84 year old that left the scene), I giggled to myself when I saw how great the car still looked after being in a head on collision. Scroll-up for a sec and look at the pic again – looks great, doesn’t it? Tesla even called me to see if I was okay and needed assistance. It’s crazy – they KNOW when you’ve been in a major collision. I’ll talk about how amazing the customer service is shortly.
- HOV: I can’t speak for the US, but in Canada, the Tesla allows me to drive in the HOV lanes. When I have to meet clients in Toronto, on average, it saves me about an hour each way. That’s about 2 hours a day when I do have to commute. Numerically speaking, every hour I save, I give it a value of $500/hour – I value my spare time & time in general. Tesla gives me more time by saving it.
- Technology is out of this world:
- In the winter, I never go into a cold car. Right now, it’s -6 degrees Celsius (that’s 21 Fahrenheit). I have to head out to a meeting soon so I’m warming up the car. It’s now 12.5 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit). I’ll wait until it gets to be at least 20 degrees before I hop in. I hate the winter – Tesla makes it a bit more tolerable.
- If anyone somehow stole my car, I can track where they are. I can do that by using the location tab on my phone. It comes in handy when I forget where I parked (although it’s not that great when you park deep underground).
- Over the air updates: do you know how your iPhone or Android updates with new features? My car does the same thing. Since I’ve bought it, there have been some major updates.
- It tells me where the nearest chargers are.
- It’ll point me to a charger if it estimates that based on my driving habits, I won’t be able to make it back home (this has only happened once and it was my own fault – so it guided me to a charging station).
- The dashboard and the user interface has been updated twice I believe (it’s really really cleaner looking now).
- They created an update where the navigation now takes you through different routes if it can save you time.
- Before, the Google map always pointed North, which is hard to explain but it’s really annoying. They fixed that so you can choose for the map to move according to where you’re driving towards so you can better visualize left and right hand turns.
- I can control almost every aspect of the car from the scroll wheels on the steering wheel. Before they made this update, I believe I could only control volume and temperature. Now I can control almost every aspect of the car.
- There’s a lot more updates that I’m missing – some may seem trivial in hindsight but when you actually see them, it’s a nice surprise and delight. I love updates. My car gets better with time.
- The Dashboard: is a whole other topic within itself but here’s what I love about it:
- No blind spots w/rear view cam: the rearview camera has a fish-eye lens. I use it when I’m driving because it’s much more convenient and allows me to make sure there’s no one in my blind spot.
- Navigation: I’ve set up my navigation so it re-routes me through other roads when it can save me 5 minutes. If there’s a traffic jam or accident, Tesla tends to take me off the highway through backroads to get me to where I need to be quicker.
- Charging: you can set it so the car only charges in the middle of the night when electricity is cheaper
- Slacker & TuneIn Radio: I never noticed the quality of Internet radio versus regular radio and I don’t use the radio anymore. I find the exact stations I would normally listen to through TuneIn radio – the quality is just night and day. It’s all free too!
- Web Browser: everyone is usually blown away at this feature. I rarely ever use it, but it is a nice to have. I personally think it’s overrated.
#5 Customer Service: I can go on and on about this one.
- It’s impeccable. Any issue I had with the car (big or small), they fixed it immediately. If it was an emergency (ie. my FOB stopped working in a random parking lot), they showed up in less than 2 hours. They’re that fast. That good. That awesome.
- Since I’m extremely busy, I got their ranger service. That means if I need service, they’ll come to my house, pick up the car, take it to their shop and leave a Tesla behind for me to use. It’s probably the #1 thing I love the most – anything that saves me time.
- I wish I took a picture yesterday – they came to my house and installed my winter tires. The best part: it was free. For those who are skeptical, here’s the bill (I couldn’t screenshot the full thing):
There’s a lot more I’m missing out. I’m really short on time but when I have some more free time, I’ll continue to update this answer.
Hope this helps!
I left out some crucial info – I’ll continue to update it as I have time.
- Innovation: I just finished reading the
(I highly recommend it btw), and I didn’t factor in how truly ahead of the game they are. And it all comes from the top (Elon). Here’s what I mean:
- When they were building and working on the Model S, the iPad wasn’t released yet. They CREATED the technology that allowed them to have a 17″ touch screen in a vehicle – something that didn’t exist when they were building the first model. If I can guess, that was back in 2010 or 2011. The iPad touchscreen simply didn’t exist, especially in a larger size and certainly not in vehicles. They were about 4-5 inches (max). Tesla was thinking of the future (just like Apple was with the tablet). Crazy. What that means is that they’re thinking of solutions to problems and innovating for concepts that are so ahead of their time. The engineering talent that Tesla has is insane. Elon Musk has a phenomenal army of talent, guided by him, a guy that is nothing short of a perfectionist. “Either you do it perfect, or don’t do it at all” is one of the quotes from the book. That’s the type of mentality he has.
- A perfect example is the engineering achievement that they earned with the Falcon doors on the Model X. Most people don’t realize how complex and difficult it is to build that. Why? Because they’re not just doors that open up like a DeLorean – they have sensors that scan the surrounding areas to see if there are cars or obstructions in the way so the angle in which the doors open adjust accordingly. You can read more . It’s an easy concept to grasp, difficult to make a reality. But Tesla did it. Not because it looks cool, but because it’s practical.
- Tesla’s approach to building cars isn’t that they’re building a car. It’s a product. Anyone in the tech industry will tell you, when you build software or a product, you’re always improving it. Always. It never stops, it mutates, you get feedback from customers, you iterate and you perfect. No other auto manufacturer in the world has this mentality of being agile. They are so dependent on external suppliers, Tesla owns their software, they are able to make changes to the vehicle and the experience by updating code versus releasing a new model all together. I personally see them as a technology/innovation company that happens to focus on building cars. Their methods of building cars are well known in the tech industry, but not in the auto industry.
- Autopilot & P85D: I will confess that I wasn’t a happy camper when the following year, they released the P85D Model and Autopilot. Selfishly speaking, I wasn’t happy because I didn’t have it. 🙁 All I had to do was wait an extra year. But then I realized a few things:
- No one needs that much power/acceleration. The P85+ model is just as fast as some Ferraris and it’s scary how quickly you can fly. I never ever floor the car – it’s so dangerous, it’s borderline unnecessary unless you take your car out to the track (which I don’t). To then go 0-60 in 1 second faster (3.1 seconds), is just ludicrous. No wonder they gave it that name (albeit a tribute to ).
- Autopilot: Most people don’t realize this, but Tesla doesn’t actually make the autopilot themselves. I’m sure there are components and parts related to it that they own, but it’s actually a company called Anyhow, from my understanding and reading on it, it works extremely well. The autopilot is tied into something called machine learning, where the car improves by itself. The more people that have it, the better the autopilot gets. Here’s what this means: I’m driving on the highway, I have the autopilot turned on, and I notice the car isn’t staying inside the lanes because the lanes aren’t clearly marked. So you have to tug the wheel a little bit to keep it within the lanes. What this means is, the car will get the information that was processed on where you were driving (latitude & longitude), it will take the patterns from the road and merge that with the motion that you had to make to keep the car within the lane, and then train the system to say: “hey autopilot, if this ever happens again, when someone’s either in this exact area or an area that has similar road markings that aren’t clearly marked, you should turn the wheel slightly to the left and follow the same pattern as the car ahead of you.” I’m really really simplifying the complexity behind it, but I hope you get the picture. The future of autopilot and a lot of other industries will be artificial intelligence ( ).
- Free Gas! Well, not really. But it’s the same concept. All Tesla owners get free electricity (to charge their Tesla) at over
. It’s amazing. Imagine buying a car and being able to have free gas for long road trips. That’s one of the many things I love about the company. Although I’ve never driven extreme distances where I needed to use one, from what I understand, to charge the car to 80%, it takes 30 minutes. As a reference:
- You’re not supposed to charge the car to 100% on a daily basis (it’s always 80%, then you can adjust to 100% when you need the extra juice)
- Tesla claims that 80% is enough to get you to your next charging station
Thanks tofor asking the question on the charging station. Like I said in the beginning, it’s really tough to list out all the perks. I’m sure more will come and I’ll continue to update this post.
Update: Thanks very much to those who have upvoted and shared my response. It made it back to Tesla in Canada! They told me they read the answer.
Update: I’ve been a bit busy lately and forgot to post up this update. About 6 weeks ago, Tesla came by my house to pick up my car so they could take it back to the shop and put on winter tires and do their annual maintenance check.
They dropped off this beauty: The P90D.
For those who aren’t familiar with this model. This is the the model that goes faster than Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, etc… etc… Check it out for yourself. [Update August 19th: someone correctly commented & the Wikipedia page has been updated to include the new models of the cars I list above and no longer reflects what I wrote. What I write does hold true for models a few years older when the P90D first came out].
A few things to mention:
- Speed: I didn’t get a chance to fully floor the car and experience the full acceleration:
- it was -10 degrees, so the battery was a bit cold
- it was too dangerous so I couldn’t go full throttle
In saying that, I STILL GOT A MASSIVE HEADACHE AS A RESULT OF THE G-FORCE.
I thought my model was fast, but this is just on another level.
- Autopilot: It takes a lot to impress me. I knew the car had autopilot. I wasn’t even going to bother trying it. I’m glad I did. It’s by far the most impressive thing about the car. It’s one thing to see it, read about it, or watch videos on it. But it’s a completely different experience actually letting go of the steering wheel and seeing the car steer itself on the highway.
I was joking with the guys at Tesla. Saying to them: “I love how you strategically dropped off a new/upgraded model than what I have. You sold me while servicing my car.”
Just wanted to share my two cents on the P90D model since my initial thoughts/opinions were based on the P85+ (which didn’t have autopilot).”
I don’t know about you, but that is one of the most interesting analysis I have ever read.
What do you think ?
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