Wooooo-Hoooo! The Tesla S is a BLAST to drive!
So how did I weasel my way into a test-drive?
I had already seen the e-mail that there were going to be Tesla test drives in my area, but I dismissed it, knowing that I wouldn’t be available at those times. However, I got an e-mail this morning from my friend Mike (who loaned me the Brammo a while back) that he was going to be taking a test-drive, and was in fact helping out with the entire event.
I had a class this morning, and then was working in the afternoon at a location that, by complete chance, was only about a mile from where the test drives were taking place. So, when I was done with work, I swung in hoping for the odd chance that I might might maybe get a chance to drive one.
Of course, that was the first thing I asked about, and was immediately told that all test drives were completely booked up.
I did get to see right away a parked performance version of the car, painted metallic blue. Boy, was it nice! Turns out it belonged to the owner of the business that was hosting the event. I had a good conversation with him. While NOT a tree-hugger, he just believes that it makes sense to recycle, save energy, and do other things that save the business money. The fact that those things are eco-friendly is just a really nice bonus.
Just as I was about to leave, one of the other Teslas pulled up, with my friend Mike in the back seat. He motioned me over. “Just hop right into the driver’s seat” he said in a hushed tone after the previous driver stepped out. Well, if nobody else was driving it, who was I to say no? I quick had Mike snap a photo of me using my phone as I squinted into the late afternoon sunlight.
Right after that, our Tesla sales guy, Brian, slipped into the passenger seat. “You ready to go? Allllllrigggghhht.”
He showed me a few quick items on the S’s giant touch-screen (a 17″ LCD monitor turned sideways) including how to adjust the regenerative braking and how to disable the automatic transmission “creep”.
I adjusted the steering wheel (fully electric! with motors!) and eased out of the parking lot. The car pulled forward with the quiet ease of any electric car, like my Electro-Metro or a Nissan Leaf. Once I was on the main road, I could press the accelerator down a bit more. WOW! Zip! Tremendous response!
I began driving MUCH more aggressively than I EVER would in normal driving. At a right-hand turn in the road, I accelerated instead of braked! The car simply shot right around the curve WITHOUT me feeling like I was getting thrown out of it.
Next up was taking the freeway for a few miles. Unfortunately, it was starting to get into rush-hour, but traffic wasn’t too bad yet. Still, it was congested enough that I couldn’t simply yell “Everyone out of my way!” and floor it. I did make a few lane changes and try a burst of acceleration. What’s really great about the car is that you still get that same amazing acceleration when you are already at freeway speed as when you pull away from a stop.
We exited the freeway to loop back towards the start. It is actually a weird split freeway exit, and I took the wrong one, but knowing the area well, unlike the salesperson (who was up from Chicago) I simply took an alternative route (which was actually BETTER than the one the sales guy had picked out!) This just left me one last stretch of strait-away before returning.
Since I hadn’t been told I couldn’t, I floored it.
Yipes! The car leapt forward in a way that no natural thing should be able to. My heart pounded. That type of movement shouldn’t be able to happen without a HUGE engine and the accompanying suck-bang-blow! Of course, there was no engine at all. (Instead, there is some great storage space in the “frunk”.)
Once back, I had to quickly head back home, as that’s what I was about to do before Mike pulled up in the Tesla in the first place.
Driving the Hymotion Prius, it seemed like a fat pig, a dull, slow car. Funny, it seemed fine on the drive in! Ruined for all other cars, I made my way home. It was only reflecting for a bit that I realized when I had had the same sensation before as driving the Tesla S.
It’s when I went sky-diving.
For my brother’s birthday (I think it was his 30th), he, I, and one of my other brothers all jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. The craziest thing about it was that split-second right after jumping out. Suddenly my body was touching NOTHING. It’s that feeling you get right after you trip….. except it keeps going.
Screaming “AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAHHHAHHHHGHHHHHHH!” falling towards the Earth, approaching terminal velocity… THAT’s the feeling you get when you put the pedal to the medal in a high-performance electric car.
Right now, I’m trying to convince my wife that we can buy an S if we simply sell the house. So far, she’s saying “No”, but I’m pretty sure I can convince her if I can just sneak her in for a test drive.
Til next time, stay charged up!