It’s amazing what Tesla comes up with. Buzzing the motor windings to generate heat. Wow! I learned about them when it was Martin Eberhard writing posts about the drivetrain and the ESS. I read everything I could find, and when that ran out, read rumours and all. What a joy to follow the development. And what incredibly good taste they had!
I’m not a car person, so free tickets to the auto show resulted in me mostly forcing myself to learn as much as I could, expand my horizons, and ask a few questions.
Honda: the Civic Hybrid is the most fuel economic vehicle in its class!
Me: uh, what differentiates its class from the Prius? (At that time I had been reading mileage sheets and I think the Prius was literally miles ahead).
Honda: they differ by _ cubic feet of interior room.
Me: oh, and they make a class just for those few cubic feet?
Then realize I ought to shut my trap and stop embarrassing the poor sales reps. Oops! But I sure learned to chase “best in ___” with ample doses of salt.
The auto show was forgettable, even though it occupied our largest stadium in Vancouver, and had cars from almost every make imaginable. I felt so bad that I wasn’t a “car person” so I wasn’t super excited as I imagine some other people I know would be, and therefore would have made most of the free tickets.
As I was leaving the stadium, I saw 4 luxury vehicles parked next to each other, on the exit ramp of the stadium. A Lamborghini, a Ferrari, and then... the most beautiful car I had ever laid eyes on. Stopped me dead in my tracks.
I never ever had that kind of internal reaction to ANY car before. I was afraid to ask, as I know I could never afford the other cars beside it. But hey, why not ask?
“That is the Lotus Elise. It’s $55K and it handles really well! It’s got a good power to weight ratio, so while it’s not as powerful as the other cars, it’s very fun to drive!”
mind blown “How is it that a car that’s a fraction the price of the ones next to it, can look SOOOO much better? Like it descended from the heavens, and the others...” (caught myself this time)
In hindsight I wish I had inquired more. I’ll bet it was the Lotus booth and they went incognito, with their cheeky sense of humor and all, to intentionally juxtapose it with some crazy expensive cars. But it was the one vehicle I remembered from the entire show. Unforgettable. Didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo the camera in the Treo. (I won’t launch into a missive about how unusable features are unused/useless features.)
So I am not a car person, but when the original Tesla Roadster was unveiled, I just about fell out of my seat in front of my computer. “I swear I’ve seen that before! It looks just like the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen... only... it’s even more beautiful??!??”
I’m not a computer wallpaper person either, but for the next few years all I put up were Tesla Roadster images. Way way out of my budget (I drove a rusty Volvo almost as old as me, held together by duck tape, zip ties, and bondo). I had winter tires but from different brands. I was ever grateful that “Grey Ghost” got me everywhere safely, and allowed me to go home when the busses stopped after midnight.
But yes, even though the Roadster was out of my budget, and I wasn’t a car person, I was completely hooked. And it’s been pretty much that way with all the Tesla unveilings. Well, the Model S and the Model 3.
I almost took an S for a test drive!
I had used the Model Configurator on the web site and researched the interior for vegetarian-friendly options, extra wheels for winter tires, etc. I almost sold all my stocks for a Model S. I dreamt of doing this gag where I’d pack an insane number of sandwiches and see how far we could get the family on a coast to coast roadtrip before taking out our wallets. Driving my stepmom, brothers, sister in law, and nephew and niece - who at the time were small enough to fit in the optional folding child seats.
But I’m glad I didn’t sell all my shares! I think it was very fun dreaming up what we could do if we weren’t limited by fuel. That we could get all the upsides of car ownership without the downsides of wrecking our planet. And it made me rethink energy efficiency.
I transformed my plan into a willingness to attend any family event or road trip, no matter how hare-brained. To put aside any prejudice on method of transport or choice of food.
So we’ve gone rock-crawling in very not fuel-efficient SUVs, but had a blast, camping at a Fossil Beach that is out of reach of most “cars”. We’ve gone deep into snowed in Forest Service Roads, and done 13 rescues in a day, getting hands-on with many different ways to tow or winch a vehicle out of mud, snow, and ditches, without damaging any of the trees. We’ve done the Dempster highway (my poor Tesla, if I had one, would have needed a windshield and a paint job after). We’ve slept on wooden platforms built into the trucks, with home made magnetically attached bug screens to let us breathe under 24 hour Alaskan sun and bugs.
I guess not buying the Model S, was the end of a fantasy but the realization of an even better dream! I am happy when people choose to buy a Tesla, but I also hope that those who can’t at this time, are inspired to find eco-friendly ways to achieve all the things important to them!