The only thing I’ve experienced that compares, in speed and sophistication, is the Maserati Ghibli. But there is no comparison – The Tesla’s Model S is the bee’s knees.
I saw him several times driving around town in his Tesla. He glided across our pothole-stricken roads with a perma-grin on his face when I waved to him. After letting me take it for a drive, I can see why the Model S has the ability to completely change one’s mind about what a car can be and how it should ride.
This neighborhood dad, a friend whom I play tennis with (who I have yet to beat), bought the Model S last year and I was keen on checking it out. We scheduled an evening match last week, and when he offered to pick me up the mature father would have said, “sounds good.” Instead, I gushed, “YEAH DUDE! I want to check out the Tesla!”
Look, even dads who are responsible for the lives of small children can act like ones occasionally. My inner pre-teen made his presence felt.
He pulled into the driveway, which is also pothole stricken, got out of the driver’s seat and said, “Go ahead. You drive.”
This doesn’t represent a, ‘that’s pretty cool’ moment. It’s a, ‘Wow, that’s cool as f–k!!!’’ kind of thing.
I’m staring at a silver machine, that compared to my 2000 BMW 528i, feels like a vehicle that reappeared from Back to The Future. Sans the cold fusion flux capacitor, the two vehicles seemed to be one hundred years apart in design and functionality.
But Tesla vehicles do not come equipped with cassette players. I’ve got that on Elan Musk. Suck it!
Sitting in this vehicle, with it’s massive touch screen display and controls, felt like a spaceship. I had sat in one before, but when it’s in your driveway and your friend is letting you drive it, the experience is three dimensional. Needless to say, I turned it around in my driveway with the utmost care.
When we got on the road, my friend said, “Go ahead, open her up.” That’s how my brain interpreted his words but his comment was probably more refrained. So, like a preteen without a fully developed frontal lobe, I slammed on the accelerator…
I have never traveled so fast in my life. In literally two seconds, we went from 30 to 70 MPH. My double chin was thrown into the backseat but flopped back into place when I hit the brakes on the 40 MPH street.
This wasn’t even the best part. A mile down the road, he said, “double tap the bottom bar on the steering column.” The turn signal went on and I realized I hit the wrong handle. “That one,” he said. I did so and the steering wheel started to pivot. I felt the accelerator implement the cruise control, but the steering wheel operated… independently.
The car was driving itself… autonomously. For the first time in my life, I was in a car driven by no one, yet traveling down the road at the legal speed limit. A turn came up. “Uh…”
“The car has seven cameras. It reads the lines on the road.” Then the car turned and glided left, then right.
“You’ve got to be shitting me.” This prompted a laugh and my friend went on to note he could turn on this feature, sit back and let the car drive for MILES down the highway.
That, my friends, is the Tesla S experience.
But the real experience I took away was the generosity my fellow friend exuded by letting me drive the car. As parents, if we can all provide this kind of altruism to our friends and family, think how much better the world will be for our kids.