Thursday, December 17, 2015

I Drive a Tesla

A local hotel in my area yesterday sponsored test drives of Tesla's Model S.  I'd never driven an electric car before, much less a Tesla, so I thought I'd have a go at it.  I drove a couple of miles in it, and, I gotta say, I was floored!
The car ran like a top, and not only that, the ride was smooth as glass.  The ride was also quiet, with a spacious cabin and a sense of ease and comfort with the controls that you normally don't get from an expensive sedan; if I'd tried to test-drive a comparable Rolls-Royce, I probably would have been nervous.  But the Model S is thoughtfully laid out and has simplified controls that you get used to easily.          
And what controls!  Almost everything is set up on a touch-screen, with Internet access and a highly sophisticated global-positioning system that finds recharging stations based on the vehicle's range.  The car felt nicely put together overall, and it excelled at braking and acceleration.  I wouldn't have expected anything less from a car that did so well in Consumer Reports tests that it got higher scores than the maximum number.  In other words, it performed at the equivalent of a bowler scoring 301 in ten frames.
It's too pricey for me, but if Elon Musk's company can come up with a model that's smaller and less expensive, it could attract a lot of prospective buyers priced out of the Model S's range today.  Tesla, now the number four American automaker, is something of a spiritual successor to Studebaker, which challenged Detroit back in the forties and fifties with its bold designs and in the sixties with its technically sophisticated, high-speed Avanti sport model.  However, because Studebaker was one of many domestic challengers to the Big Three that went by the wayside - before Musk founded Tesla, the last such company in existence was American Motors, which disappeared in 1987 - GM, Ford, and the Chrysler Group are likely not to take Tesla seriously.
Not taking Tesla seriously would be a big mistake.  Elon Musk doesn't just want to make the best cars in America.  He wants to make the best cars in the world.
And he's succeeding.           

1 comment:

Steve said...

Oh yeah, legal Tesla sales in New Jersey resumed in March 2015.