Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Future

People!  I have seen the future and it doesn't involve a combustion engine! Last week I had the distinct pleasure to drive in the Tesla S saloon car. Once you have driven this you will never want to drive another car again...I'm serious.  I am sure by now you have seen reviews, new stories, and maybe the fact that Consumer Reports gave it a 100% rating, something they had never given any car before.

I knew about the car, and had read the stories, but you just don't "get it" until you drive in one.

First of all, it's a beautiful saloon car.  Forget the electric stuff for the moment, it's an amazingly appointed & designed car.  The interior has a lot of room, mainly because there's no engine, gearbox or drive shaft.  The dash is all electronic, the seats are soft calfskin, lots of legroom, and enough room on the back seat to swing (albeit a very small), cat.  The outside styling is classy, it doesn't scream, "look at me I'm an electric car", but it does scream, "don't you wish your Maseratti looked like this". As you approach the car with your key fob in your pocket, (there's no key, just a fob), the handles in the door automatically pop out, then when you close the door they retract flush with the door.

Ok the electric stuff...

The car is never off.  By this I mean, the car has no engine to turn on, it sits there charged, and is always on, just put it in drive and go.  This also means that you can turn the AC on to cool the car or heat it from your smart phone.  The car sends Tesla continuous usage reports via the fitted cell, and the car learns from your driving and adapts to it.  The car is completely controlled from a 17" touch screen. This means that everything from entertainment, (streaming radio stations from anywhere in the world, a real potential Sirius killer), AC/Heat, car settings, diagnostics, seat preferences/personal profiles are all on this screen.  You can also search the web, email, etc. When you put the car in drive, because with a normal automatic car it would creep forward even if your foot wasn't on the accelerator, they have built a "creep" option so that the Tesla will also creep forward, and it's clever attention to detail like that, which really wins you over.  So, in drive, and off you go.  But I expected it to be somewhat sluggish....HA!  This thing throws you back into your seat and if you have the runway to do it, will accelerate so fast that your skin will ripple like an F16 fighter pilot on novocain!  It has amazing torque and speed.  Cleverly, to slow down just lift your foot off the accelerator and the friction of the electric motors winding down slow the car, whilst, charging the battery.  Yes the slowing down of the motor charges the batteries!  The windows on this car are coated with a special film that blocks UVA/B and keeps the interior cooler than normal glass, as I said, attention to small detail really wins you over with this car.

Charging.  How much was your last tank of gas...for me it was $80 to fill empty to full.  With a rapid charger, your Tesla will fully charge in a couple of hours. You can program the car to charge at a specified time, so... with electricity being at it's cheapest after midnight, you can charge your car for $1.00. That's not a typo, you can charge your car for $1.00, which by my basic math, is $79.00 cheaper than my last refill! The car has a range of approximately 250 miles and gives you a continual update on that rage depending on your driving style.  Some restaurants in LA actually have charging stations, so valet, plug in and return to a fully charged car.  Tesla are planing rapid charging stations all over the country by end of 2014.

It's not until you drive this car, see it, feel it for yourself do you get it. It's amazing and if you're a gas company it's very frightening. They have banned the sale of Tesla's in Texas. Not joking here, they have used an old law banning the sale  of any car without a dealership in Texas.  At the moment, the best way to buy your car is to build it online and order it that way, so no dealer, and apparently in Texas that's illegal.  It could have NOTHING to do with the gas companies could it! Tesla will prevail, this car will re-write the automobile industry, the beginning of the end of the combustion engine has arrived.  Next year Tesla bring out an SUV.  It looks beautiful, it will be beautiful and if my wife lets me, it will be mine!

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