By Katy Cable
A line of cars piled behind me. Angry motorists were leaning on their horns screaming colorful profanities at me. They were getting more revved-up every second.
My brand-new Tesla wasn’t moving, and I didn’t have the first clue what to do. I hadn’t been this embarrassed since the big homecoming game. I missed my footing and came cascading off the top of the cheerleading pyramid, face-planting in front of hundreds of fans.
Anyone who knows me laughs at the fact I bought a Tesla. For a gal who can’t even open an app on her iPhone without assistance, purchasing a car that is basically a computer on wheels seemed like a bad idea to everyone but me. What pushed me over the edge was the last service bill on my now 5-year-old Range Rover. It was so traumatic I contemplated ditching my Rover for an electric scooter.
This brings me to the first thing I hate about my new Tesla:
1.THE BUYING EXPERIENCE: Forget being pampered with cappuccinos and pastries while perusing slick automotive catalogs at the dealership. With Tesla, everything is done online. Due to Covid-19, it was promoted as “contact-less delivery” but it was really just “cut-and-dry delivery” and an easy way to reduce expenses.
First, I spent an entire weekend electronically securing a loan and completing the online application in order to finalize my purchase. Tesla has waiting lists and buying windows, so you never know exactly when your vehicle will arrive. After trying to get in touch with a “live” salesperson to no avail, I finally received a text with a date, time, and a secret meeting place to pick up my car. I felt more like I was in a movie making a drug score than purchasing a new car.
I arrived with my ID (and facial covering) at an unmarked parking garage and stood in line with 15 other people getting their new Teslas. Once I reached the front of the line, I showed my ID and was handed a key that resembled a hotel key card. I was told my new Tesla was in parking spot number 23. Thank God I had my husband and tech-savvy daughter to help me figure out how to operate my new vehicle because Tesla was very short-staffed for anyone needing assistance.
2. INSURANCE IS ASTRONOMICAL: I purchased a Model 3 Telsa that was less expensive than the three other vehicles I’ve bought over the last 15 years. Tesla has very few upgrade options. Basically, everything is included in the base price. Therefore, to replace a Tesla shouldn’t be difficult. It has state-of-the-art, intuitive safety features, and is considered one of the safest cars you can drive. Yet, my insurance rate nearly tripled for what I paid on my Range Rover and BMWs.
3. THE DESIGN: Tesla comes in 5 basic colors: white, black, gray, blue, and red. Any color other than white with a black interior is a $1,000 upgrade. Unfortunately, pink is not offered as a color choice. The bare-bones-basic front of the Tesla Model 3 is a dead-ringer for the Autopia cars at Disneyland. For such an advanced, innovative car, they sure did miss the mark on the exterior design.
4. TESLAS MUST BE OPERATED WITH A SMARTPHONE: Other than swiping the key-card to enter, start, and lock the car, you can’t truly operate it without using the Tesla app on a smartphone. The app stores all your information and acts as a remote control for operating the car. This brings up another point… It’s a bit unsettling that big brother Tesla has all my driving data. Not to mention Tesla can basically shut down or take over my car at any time if they were so inclined. Forget privacy and driving incognito.
5. THE GLOVE BOX, FRUNK & TRUNK: This may fall under the previous issue, but there is no button to open the glove box, trunk, and frunk. The fact that I have to turn on my phone, open the app, open the “controls” button, hit “OPEN TRUNK” then hit “CONFIRM” every time I want to pop open my trunk, is a 4-step pain-in-the-butt! Forget “hands-free!” Trying to open apps and hitting the equivalent amount of buttons as composing a text message is often more multitasking than I can juggle. More than once this feature has left me with torn grocery bags, broken jars of pasta sauce, and soup cans rolling through the parking lot. Meanwhile, I’m desperately trying to open apps and hit all the right buttons to get my trunk open. While it’s not a problem to hit the “open trunk” button from the main screen inside the car, it’s a lot of steps if you’ve got your hands full and are outside the vehicle.
Those are 5 things I HATE about my new Tesla. However, there are at least 100 things I LOVE ABOUT IT! For starters, even without the ability to charge my car at home, (I live in a parking impacted beach community) I’m able to find charging stations easily. I spend 1/3 of the money on charging as I would pay in gas. And that’s before gas prices started rising faster than a thermostat in direct sun during an August heatwave.
As for maintenance, well, other than tires, the vehicle needs zero repairs. No brakes, rotors, fluids, gaskets, belts, oil changes, or servicing. Teslas may need some upgrades to the battery and computer system, but those can usually be done remotely. That’s an enormous saving right there.
And then there’s the driving. Once I figured out how to actually drive the car, (you put the car in gear by using the indicator stick on the side of the steering wheel), it’s by FAR the best, most comfortable, and fastest, automobile I’ve ever driven. I love driving this car! The pick-up is lightning fast, yet so quiet. Even driving at high speeds, the car just floats. I love zipping onto the freeway or making a quick lane change without that lag after accelerating. I can keep up with the fastest sports cars in my Tesla.
After driving an SUV, I was pleasantly surprised at how much space this car has. For a smaller model sedan, it seats four adults comfortably and has ample storage in the trunk and frunk.
I was certain I would hate having to charge this car, but even that is simple. Charging stations are conveniently located, and I can be fully charged in about an hour. I have rarely had to wait more than 10 minutes for a charging port. Plus, the car indicates my charging options on the on-board computer.
I assumed I would go nuts driving such a high-tech car but instead, I’m obsessed! The car is intuitive and everything I need is right in front of my eyes on the computer screen. It navigates my trips, calculates the charge needed for my commute, plays my music, connects my calls, and pretty does everything except drive itself (and it’s not far off from doing that too!) I’ve been spoiled by the ease and innovation of this car.
One of the things I love the most about the Tesla is what a comfortable, quiet, ride it is. The second you slide, no MELT, into the comfy, contoured, seats, you’ll be in NIRVANA! The interior cabin is so quiet, you’ll be shocked to learn the car is actually on. Turn on the amazing sound system, and you’ll hear music so sharp and clear you will feel as though you’re actually in a recording studio. The car’s climate control silently circulates air and keeps the cabin at a perfect temperature. I love the heated seats and the panoramic sunroof that extends the entire length of the car. When driving, even at high speeds, it remains as quiet as a church mouse inside the vehicle. Other than my blaring music shaking the car windows, you would never hear me cruising down the road.
By the looks of things, I’m not alone. Every day I see more and more Teslas on the road. And even though there are wildly popular, not a day goes by when somebody doesn’t roll down their window and compliment me on my “basic, white, Model 3, Tesla.” Imagine that…not only am I saving a fortune in fuel, repairs, and maintenance costs, I am also saving the planet. I’m zipping down the freeway (in the HOV lane) while also reducing my carbon footprint to a size “0”. If you’re thinking about getting a new car, I encourage you to go check out Teslas. You won’t be disappointed! And, for a 1,000 miles of FREE charging, tell them Katy Cable referred you.
Now, back to my story… Remember to always carry your Tesla key-card! That way, if your cellphone dies, like mine did, you won’t stop traffic with a car that won’t move.