My Tesla Model S was delivered on December 12, 2012. An easy date to remember - 12-12-12. Since it has now been one year, I thought I would write about how I feel about having the car now that I have a year's worth of experience. At one year, I must say, I haven't felt even a twinge of buyer's remorse. The car has been a dream. Below is my list of all of the things I've love about it. Many of these things are not the type of things that come through very well in reading the typical reviews in magazines. Some of them are subtle details that I've noticed having used the car daily. So here goes.
One pedal driving - It's hard to describe how much you get used to this. When I near a corner in my neighborhood, I let up on the throttle and the car slows at a perfectly smooth pace, transitioning from acceleration or constant speed to deceleration with no hesitation, shifting, etc. You go around the corner without ever moving your foot to the brake. When approaching stop lights or signs, you also don't hit the brake until the last minute only to bring the car to a complete stop. If the light changes back to green, you often don't ever hit the brake. You slow down by letting up on the throttle and then continue from there. This is a feel that is hard, if not impossible, to recreate in an gas car.
Perfect, smooth acceleration - No matter what speed you are at, pressing the throttle yields acceleration instantly with no hesitation. Because there is a single-speed gearbox, there is no downshifting and so no hesitation or jerk. The Tesla feels extremely smooth to drive because of this.
Fast - This is the fastest car I've ever owned. Its acceleration amazes me. When combined with the lack of shifting, it is a powerful combination.
Sleek and beautiful - I constantly get people staring and asking about the car. Many of them don't actually know what it is and just like how it looks. It is the most beautiful car I've ever owned and one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. For people who have a lot of attention to detail, you notice the subtle curves in the overall shape of the car especially as they round out the rear. Rather than just straight, boring curves or lines, you see curves that are unusual in a car's appearance. From the slope down to the front like a Maserati to the curves along the rear panels, it is a very beautiful car.
No fumes and bad smell - My garage never has fumes or smell. I notice this especially when I switch to a gas car (like a rental). I think we all get used to the cars we have and don't notice this as much. But once you switch to an EV, you begin to notice how much of a difference this makes. The smell of gas and fumes is offensive to me now.
Don't have to interrupt my routine to go get gas - Looking back, I always hated having to look down, see my tank approaching empty and then have to interrupt my day to stop and get gas. After using the pumps, I would feel like I need to wash my hands 3 times. And the smell of the fumes from the gas is awful. I also recently encountered yet another reason to hate gas stops. I took a car to fill it up at a gas station and while I was there, someone came up to me asking for money. You never know who you're dealing with in a situation like that.
Instantly turns on A/C and music when I open the door - Because there are no emissions, CO or CO2, the car automatically turns on when I open the door. This turns on my music and the A/C (if I had it on previously). Even though its in the garage, they are safe to do this.
Constant internet connectivity - This is a cool feature. By having internet connectivity all the time, I have streaming music, constantly up-to-date maps, traffic, weather, web access, etc.
Controlling it with my phone - I can use my smart phone to turn on the A/C, unlock the charge port, unlock the doors, see its location on a map, honk the horn or flash the lights. Since the entire car is controlled by software, I would expect they can add more in the future.
Easy to plug in with one hand - This is a little thing but yet it is something I've noticed and effects you daily. The car is easier than plugging in my cell phone. The plug has a button on it and when you press that button near the charge port, the port automatically opens. You then can click the plug in easily with one hand. If you notice, your cell phone usually takes two hands - one to hold the phone and one to plug in the small connector. Since this is something I do every night when I come home, it helps - especially when my other hand is holding something.
Automatic software updates - This is very cool. Like your cell phone, I get features over time. They've made many improvements to the car since I bought it already and many more are coming.
Superchargers - I haven't used one yet but the idea that they are available in case I did want to take a cross-country trip is very cool. They offer them to owners for free for life. I also think that it is interesting to note that I haven't had any need for one yet after a year of daily driving. I have never even come close to using up all of my range so far. So there really is no "range anxiety" with this car. The superchargers just give me confidence that I could use the car for a trip if I wanted.
Huge 17" touchscreen - The touch screen is very easy to use and large enough to easily tap while driving. This was a big risk, in my opinion, with the car because prior touch screens in cars were criticized for being hard to use when driving. This makes sense since you have no tactile feedback with a touch screen. But in Tesla's case, the screen is huge and the buttons are positioned well so there is ample room between them and they are easy to glance at and find. I've had no trouble using the touch screen while driving. Also, its size is very nice. I can full screen the navigation map and see a huge overhead map when I need. And of course it supports multi-touch for easy zooming and moving.
Retracting door handles - This is actually one of my favorite things about the Model S. When I walk up to the car, the door handles extend automatically when I'm near the door since it senses the key in my pocket. Even after a year of using the car daily, I still love this. It is so "welcoming" as an owner.
Keyless and button-less entry/exit - Many cars have keyless entry. But with the Tesla, there is no extraneous button to press or key to turn after getting in the car to start anything. So you're experience is to walk up to the car, the car unlocks and the door handles extend automatically, you get in and hit the brake with your foot, then move the drive mode from "park" to "drive" to go. Likewise, when you are stopped and want to get out, you simply put the car back in "park" and get out. No additional button to press to turn anything off. And as you walk away, it detects that you are no longer near and, after a time, locks the car for you and retracts the door handles. After getting used to this, I drove a different car and accidentally, got out leaving the key in and the car running! You really get spoiled.
All in all, this car has lived up to my very high expectations. I feel privileged to own it. I'm so impressed with the car they've built that it is hard to describe. Tesla built a completely new car from the ground up and got it almost perfect the first time. That is a difficult accomplishment for any technology or industry. I remain very impressed.