Tesla has established itself as the brand to beat when it comes to electric vehicles. The hype is evident in its almost year-long queue for new orders. Automotive purists and petrol-heads who remain skeptical to jump into the EV bandwagon might experience a whirlwind of emotions and mind-blowing moments once they allow themselves to test these awesome machines. After driving a Tesla for the first time, they would get off with a big smile and the word “CONVERT” tattooed to their foreheads. They would not be able to wait to tell their friends how the future is upon us, as they ask around for a buyer of their Land Rover. How do I know this? This is my story.
As a Land Rover enthusiast, I used to perceive Teslas as mere golf carts on steroids. I always pitied the fools who are probably stuck on the vast desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas waiting for a tow truck or in line for hours at a charging station in triple digit weather. Then my wife’s lease on her Honda Odyssey came to an end in the middle of the pandemic/microchip shortage driven automotive market. It was impossible to find the right replacement for the minivan without the ridiculous markups. After leaving several dealerships defeated, we stopped by a Tesla showroom just out of curiosity. We asked if we could test drive the Model Y, and the shame and fear of being in a Tesla was suddenly overwhelmed by excitement. Here are the top reasons why I became a convert.
Range – The current range of Teslas take the “Range” out of my Rover. The new Tesla models could go up to 405 miles on a single charge on the Model S Long Range Plus. That is 50 miles more range than my Land Rover on a full tank of petrol (18 gallons). The new models that will coming out of their new Gigafactory in Texas are even rumored to have 30 percent more range on the Model Y and inititial Cybertruck estimates.
Charge times – As a person constantly on the go, trying to meet deadlines and make it to meetings, waiting is not an option. Spending time on the pump for 5 minutes is already too long. This used to be the biggest factor of mine to not consider electric vehicles. So, when I found out that 15 minutes of charging can get me 200 miles, I was all ears. I figured I can manage my charge timing right (during lunch breaks, overnight at home, or rest stops on long drives), and save time by multitasking. This is possible because of the next reason.
Availability of charging stations – If you look at this in terms of ratios, there are actually 14 times more charging stations per EV than available gas pumps per gas powered cars. This number will continue to go on EV’s favor with charging stations popping up like mushrooms. With far less regulations to starting one, charging stations can easily be installed on strategic locations like shopping centers, offices, and even apartment complexes. Chevron’s partnership with Charge Point is an indicator that gas stations will also cater to the EV market sooner than we think.
Warranty – This is another thing that blew my mind. I admit that I once bought into the “Teslas are poorly built” rhetoric. There is some level of truth to this, Tesla even admitted to rushing production to meet demands at the expense of quality. However, this does not affect the most import warranty of all, powertrain. This is simply because Teslas don’t have the traditional engines and transmissions that are prone to wear and tear. Tesla’s version of the powertrain warranty, their battery and drive units, beat any other manufacturer’s warranty with their 8 years 120,000 miles on the Model Y and 3’s long range models, and 8 years 150,000 miles on the S and X. Teslas have far less moving components than gas powered cars, making their drive systems require less maintenance and wear and tear. Teslas are projected to surpass gas-powered Toyota’s lifespan.
Autopilot – This is my wife’s favorite. Although the unit we drove did not have the Full-Self-Driving Beta activated, we enjoyed its basic autopilot features. If you are not bent on changing lanes, it practically drives itself on the freeways. We were tempted to add the Full-Self-Drive, a $10,000 feature, but opted out. However, this does not mean our Tesla will not have this function. All the hardware needed are already installed and is available for $299/month. We figured to just subscribe during months of heavy driving and having to navigate through unfamiliar roads. Rumor has it that this feature will be much affordable in the near future – and can be installed through cloud anytime.
Safety – Per the Tesla sales agent “You cannot flip a Tesla even if you fell off a ravine”. This is because majority of its weight is at the base of the car. It has a low center of gravity, making it more stable than any other car on the road. The absence of an engine makes the “frunk”(front-trunk), and trunk essential 3-4 foot crumple zones. These features earned Tesla a 5-star rating in all categories set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Cost to own – This is a tricky one and may vary on your vehicle usage and options. The hefty $42,000 price tag on a base Model 3 may seem expensive, but when you factor in maintenance and gas prices you may actually save on your yearly transportation budget. This can hold true even when you consider the typically higher cost to insure a Tesla. In our case, we project to be saving $3,200/year mostly attributed to gas savings by going with the Model Y Long Range over a Kia Telluride – and factoring in the average of $5/gallon of gas in Southern California.
These reasons are just the major factors that turned me into a “Tesla Convert”, higher resale value, minimalistic design, and a built in Ipad are among many reasons worth mentioning. It even has built in video games for eff’s sake! – and I’m not talking about Tetris, I’m talking about “The Witcher 3” and “Fallout”! – games that are supposed to run on a Playstation 4 at minimum! So, if you are in the market for a new car or video game console, do yourself a favor and test drive a Tesla.