It’s one month since I bought my Tesla Model S and there have been a lot of questions from family and friends about why I decided to buy an electric car – so here are my top 10 reasons for making the move.
Before I got my Tesla Model S 75D, I was a Mercedes-Benz driver. In fact, the last four cars I owned were Mercs.
So why the change?
From the first time I got to drive a Tesla almost a year ago, it felt like the future to me.
The car was packed with technology, offered incredible performance, had zero emissions and could be charged in the same way I charge my smartphone.
I knew from then that this would be my next car and even when I got back driving my Mercedes-Benz E200 (which was still a really nice luxury car) it felt like yesterday’s vehicle.
So here are my top 10 reasons for buying a Tesla.
Obviously, the Tesla is an electric car and something that takes a little getting used to.
It’s quiet so anyone who gets off on the roar of an engine will probably want to look elsewhere.
But it’s so quiet, I actually need to be extra careful around pedestrians especially in shopping centre car parks.
Usually people are looking down at their phone and often can’t hear you driving behind or near them.
Tesla has proven an electric car is a viable option in terms of design, performance and technology.
You’re not driving a golf buggy, this is a state-of-the-art vehicle that is pushing other car manufacturers to keep up.
Not paying for fuel ever again is also attractive and I will be saving more than $2000 a year.
It probably comes as no surprise that a car like this would be attractive to a person like me – a tech journalist and early adopter.
Tesla is doing to the car, what Apple did to the phone – creating amazing technology and an amazing experience.
Everything is controlled through the central 17-inch display. There are only two physical buttons in the cabin – one to open the glove box and the other for the hazard lights.
There is no shortage of things that continue to surprise and delight me about this car.
A favourite part of the technology offering is the smart air suspension which can detect when I am approaching my home and raise the car automatically so I don’t scrape my driveway.
Every Tesla also comes with a built-in SIM card so you can access data and stream content on the go.
The car also has its own premium Spotify account.
The Tesla can really move. Anyone underestimating an electric car like the Tesla Model S will look silly when they see it in action.
The electric motors, I have the 75D which means there’s a motor on the front and back axles, offer instant torque so acceleration is out of this world.
The first thing a driver and passenger will notice when they set foot inside a Tesla is the incredible performance off the mark.
Unlike a regular engine that needs to go through the gears to reach faster speeds, the Tesla offers that power instantly as soon as you put your foot down.
It really throws you back in your seat.
My Model S 75D goes 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds. That’s pretty impressive.
If you want to spring for an extra $120,000 for a P100D you’ll go 0-100km/h in just 2.7 seconds.
But it isn’t all about drag racing, although I did leave a cocky Commodore V8 driver in my dust once at the lights.
That acceleration can come in handy navigating traffic and changing lanes.
- LOW COST OF OWNERSHIP
There are only 15 moving parts in the Tesla Model S so there’s no need to worry about oil, filters, spark plugs or any of the many things that can go wrong with the traditional combustion engine which has hundreds of moving parts.
The only servicing the car needs is just to check your tires and brakes annually.
The car also has an eight year warranty – one of the longest in the industry.
And, unlike traditional car manufacturers, Tesla says it makes no money in its after sales business.
The company says the service side of the business does not run at a profit.
Other car companies see that differently and make a lot of money in after sales business including servicing and maintenance.
Throw in the fact you’re not paying for fuel anymore, and that brings the cost of ownership down even further.
Your brake pads will also last even longer in a Tesla thanks to its regenerative braking.
As soon as you take your foot off the accelerator, the Tesla motors go into reverse and put the power generated back into the battery.
This slows the car down significantly so you can often drive without hardly ever having to touch the brake.
That means the brake pads are going to last a lot longer in the Tesla and save you even more money.
On my previous car, the Mercedes-Benz E200, I had to replace the brake pads and brake assembly after three and a half years of ownership and it cost me nearly $3,000.
Independent studies have also shown Tesla cars retain their value better than other similarly priced cars from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Maserati and cost thousands of dollars less to run in the same three year period.
- FREE SUPERCHARGING
Not only do I save on fuel costs I can also charge my Tesla Model S for free at one of the many Superchargers around Australia.
This is because I used a referral code when I bought the car.
Now that I’m an owner I also have a referral code so anyone of you can use it if you’re thinking of buying a Tesla Model S or Model X.
So you too can have free supercharging for the life of the car.
Here it is: https://ts.la/stephen70479. Using a referral code is the only way to get free supercharging.
The network of Tesla superchargers is expanding across Australia and will allow owners to head out on those long road trips knowing they have regular places to charge on their way.
But 90 per cent of Tesla drivers charge their vehicle at home, including me.
I had a wall charger installed at my place and can charge any time.
If I was on zero percent, it would take about 4-5 hours to be fully charged which is why it makes sense to do it overnight.
There are also plenty of destination chargers to be found in places like shopping centres, hotels and car parks.
- ENHANCED AUTOPILOT/SELF DRIVING
All the hardware required to enable Enhanced Autopilot and even autonomous driving with my Tesla is already included in the car.
There are numerous cameras and sensors built in as well as a radar that puts the car’s driving abilities way beyond that of a human.
The only thing required is the software to activate those features.
In the case of Enhanced Autopilot, owners can choose to tick the box when they buy the car and have that installed from the get go.
I chose to save some money up front and decided I would upgrade the car to Enhanced Autopilot later this year.
But even when self-driving becomes a thing, it’s good to know my Tesla has everything it needs already to make that a reality.
Of course we need to wait for changes in the law for that to happen but as a Tesla owner I’ll be ready when that day finally arrives.
Enhanced Autopilot is designed for freeway driving with the car virtually driving itself.
It can steer, stay in the lane, change lanes, not exceed the speed limit and keep up with traffic and keep a distance from the car ahead of you.
Drivers still need to have a hand on the wheel and be ready to take over at any time.
If you don’t have your hand on the wheel, the car will warn you to put them back.
- SOFTWARE UPDATES
This almost fits into the technology category but having regular updates, like you do with your phone, will provide new features and capabilities.
The day I picked up my new Tesla Model S they told me this is the worst the car will be.
They explained that through these software updates, the car will continue to improve over time.
There are not many cars that can claim that.
And the software updates can provide surprising improvements.
A couple of years ago, Model S and Model X owners woke up to find their cars could accelerate from 0-100km/h a whole second faster.
Recent software updates have allowed users to set speed and acceleration limits to their car if someone else needs to drive it.
Another part of the software package for the Tesla is the companion app.
The Tesla app on your smartphone allows you to see exactly where the car is located and the battery charge level.
You can also control the car, flash the lights, honk the horn, open the trunk and turn on the climate control so it’s at the right temperature when you get back to your car.
The Summon feature also makes it possible to move the car with your smartphone whether you want to move it out of a tight parking spot or bring it closer to you if it’s raining.
The app can also send you a notification when you’re charging is completed.
- DESIGN & FINISH
One of the things that attracted me to the Tesla was its sleek design – it looks modern and sporty.
Things like radiators and exhaust pipes are not required in a Tesla and it gives the designers a little more freedom to make it look pretty slick.
Even inside the car, the quality and finish is impressive. Coming from Mercedes-Benz, known for its luxury and quality, I was used to a certain standard with my cars.
And the Tesla certainly has not disappointed.
Yes, I did read reports from a couple of years ago, of the problems with panel alignment and quality control.
But in my experience, Tesla prides itself on its quality and finish.
In all the Tesla cars I have driven before I bought my own, they have offered the utmost standards in design and workmanship.
I recently visited the Tesla factory in Fremont and saw first-hand the attention to detail and focus on quality that goes into every single vehicle.
Safety as an important reason for any car buyer.
My previous car, the Mercedes-Benz E200, was renowned for car and driver safety but I’m happy to say the Tesla is even safer.
In fact, it is the safest car in the world.
The car’s battery is located in the base of the Tesla which gives it a low centre of gravity and minimises the risk of a rollover in the event of an accident.
Not having an engine means there is no risk of the engine block entering the cabin of the car in a high-speed collision.
Instead Tesla has created crumple zones and placed boron steel rails in the front and back of the car as well is in the pillars.
Tesla says the machine used to test the rollover strength of a car broke when it tried to crush one of its vehicles. That’s pretty impressive.
Of course, there are numerous airbags inside the car which, when deployed, automatically disconnect the battery unit to avoid any further danger.
- IT’S A MOVEMENT
There is a huge love for the Tesla brand among owners. It’s similar to the sort of love shown for Apple which has millions of loyal customers.
Tesla drivers feel like they are part of a club. We’re part of this group of people who are driving this extraordinary vehicle with extraordinary features.
You do feel a kinship with these people who made the same decision as you to buy a Tesla.
Whenever I bump into other drivers at Superchargers or anywhere, there is always a bit of a nod and a wink as an acknowledgement.
Usually the conversation is about how long you’ve owned the car and how much we love it.