I got to test drive a Tesla yesterday. Yes, one of the electric cars. You can schedule your own test drive here: https://www.teslamotors.com/models/drive?source=homepage, or sign up for a test drive event here: https://www.teslamotors.com/events.
The rep who took me for my drive actually toned down the acceleration for me, because I indicated nervousness I would hurt the pretty, expensive car. He let me take some photos, then pointed out all the controls, which I promptly forgot. This thing has a ton of settings, all controlled by a big tablet built into the dash, or one of 5 levers around the steering wheel. I got to try out the auto-drive feature, which steers the car. It’s best for highway use, but we were next to the airport, so, close enough.
The acceleration, even on the muted setting, was insane. I didn’t time it, but I was blowing away the other lane at every light. The engine whirs a bit when you push it, which is the loudest it gets. The car started when I stepped onto the brake, and I had no clue.
The hardest adjustment for me was the coasting. The car doesn’t coast. There’s an appreciable deceleration as soon as you take your foot off the pedal. I found myself nudging the accelerator to get up to stop lines, until I adjusted.
The heater is electric, so you don’t have to wait for the engine to warm up. The seats were heated, too, and they get cozy fast. The radio, as you can see above, is controlled by the dash tablet. The door handles don’t pop out until the person with the key approaches. (I thought that last was particularly neat.)
For all the gushing car guys do about this thing, the most impressive thing was the space inside it. There was a spot for my purse (photo #3), the back seat was roomy (photo #4), and there are TWO trunks, in the front and back. The back one opens up for extra storage (photo # 7), and the front sits alongside the engine (photo #8). You can’t actually get to the engine. They recommend bringing it by a dealer for some basic maintenance every 12,500 miles.
The Model S currently starts at $75k, so I don’t see that in my future. BUT, they’re announcing the Model 3 in March, which will retail for $35k. Still out of my price range, but more realistic for two-income families.
Anyway. I got to drive a 100% electric car, and it was the highlight of my week, possibly my year so far. I know what I’d buy if I won the lottery I don’t play, now.
Switching to an EV was the best thing we did in automotive terms… when we moved over to the US we had to sell it and are temporarily back using petrol/gas cars, and I hate it. It’s probably going to be about a year before we are properly settled somewhere and can buy another one.
But if you live in a city (pretty much any city) you can probably get away with a Leaf or something similar. Our EV only had a range of around 60 miles, but actually that was way more than enough for most things – and life is so much more pleasant when you don’t need to visit gas stations.
I should mention… I do write for an EV news / reviews site, so I may be biased.