The first TESLA roadster was delivered in 2008. Since then, the company has been producing the world’s foremost fashionable electric vehicle. What’s it like to drive and even own one of the most sought after cars in the world? How does it compare to other luxury vehicles and how fuel efficient is the Tesla? To learn about these and many other questions that came to mind, reaching out to the source directly was the only way I would find out. When I found out that Caroline and Rafael Motta had just purchased this coveted car, it was time to learn about the Tesla and all it had to offer.
UR: What model of Tesla did you purchase?
C&RM: We own a Tesla Model S60 with Enhanced Autopilot 2.0 hardware, all black. We chose this model because it is the best “bang for the buck.” Our family doesn’t need a car to go 0-60 in 2.4 seconds nor do we take single 350 miles distant trips often. Our eyes were set on the Model 3 and we were a very early model3 reservation holder but with the release of AP2 (autopilot hardware 2.0) we just fell in love with the potential of the vehicle and decided to jump on board. The fastest car we ever owned was a CLK500 capable of 0.60 in 5.75 seconds v8, 5.0 liter engine and our Tesla is even faster than the fastest car we ever owned and loved. we have been eyeing Tesla cars for awhile for all its real world safety stories coming out and its autopilot features.
UR: How does the Tesla perform compared to conventional vehicles?
C&RM: In my opinion there are 3 pillars to compare: (1) performance: nothing compares to a Tesla. My husband has been on super cars, hyper cars, and one test drive once on a Model X90 was the first time he ever felt “fear” for the acceleration. Our simper model S60 does 0-60 in 5 seconds what that means in real world is: Enough power and fast enough access to get power to quickly get you out of any trouble should the need arises. keep in mind breaking sometimes isn’t necessarily the best option to avoid an accident. Because he vehicle has no gearshift to go through and power is instantly available overtaking over vehicles can also be done much more safely. (2) Technology: Our family as AP2 owners are paying the price for being in the forefront of technology but not currently having autopilot features which is the whole reason we bought the car but we understand we took our delivery before the software is actually finalized, in less than a month of owning our vehicle we have already been through one software update that added side collision avoidance feature to the car. When you purchase a BMW 7 series, Benz S class or any other high vehicle that vehicle is stuck at the technology dates it was designed for the life of the car wrist a Tesla evolves and develops with time getting better and smarter also from user inputs and request – so its very dynamic relationship between the driver, company and the car. Given our hardware is 2.0, we can’t wait what’s in the store for the next 12 months. (3) built: the big screen usually impress but built is one thing I believe is sub par compared to other 80K$ cars. we have identified a few personal QC issues ourselves that are being handled by Tesla in a very efficient way but issues that would’ve never happened from a brand new S class or BMW 7 series: (a)Bass was never plugged it, (b) Small piece of upholstery from the steering wheel came undone and a few other minor things that makes you see how production was a bit rushed. The 3rd pillar frustrates a bit but when you compare other German cars had dozens of years to perfect their manufacturing lines while Tesla started yesterday and is already ahead in so many fronts.
UR: I understand you owned a Prius at one time. How does the Tesla perform in comparison to the Prius?
C&RM: We owned a Prius to save on gas when it was $4.5/a gallon. A bit technological but nothing impressive, and has nothing to attach you emotionally to the car.
UR: How does the Tesla “fuel up”? How cost effective is this vehicle in comparison to the gas fueled vehicles? How is the fuel consumption compared to the model of Prius you owned?
C&RM: We installed a Tesla charger at home which provides 240V and 48A to the car, with batteries at 0% it fully charges the car in 6 hours. Take into account you never drive home at 0% at the end of the day, the model S even the S60 has enough to get you through your day. so just like a cellphone, regardless of how much you used its a habit now to park and plug the vehicle as part of your driving routine. a small price to pay to never set foot on a gas station again. We used superchargers twice, which charges the entire car in about 30 minutes while traveling to Naples, FL, so essentially we took a 350 mile trip paying effectively $0 in energy 🙂 at today’s prices for gas (Really low) the Tesla equals about 99 miles per cost of a gallon. I’ve done the math and its about $6 dollars total to drive the car 200 miles.
UR: When you first drove the Tesla, what were your first three thoughts?
C&RM: (1) Coolest thing in the planet, (2) Fast as hell, (3) Autopilot must work through witchcraft of sorts.
UR: How did everyone in your family respond to the vehicle?
C&RM: Loved it.
UR: Does the vehicle perform better in warmer temperatures as opposed to cooler temps?
C&RM: Tesla battery range gets tricky in very cold weather but that is not a problem in south Florida. it also “spends” more battery power driving during the summer because the car has to cool the batteries since it has an optimum temperature they must be at to perform. For a passenger, one of the cool things is that I can turn on the AC on the car via iPhone before I get to the car and the car also has a system where it never lets the inside of the car over a certain temperature-Elon built it thinking of all the child and dogs being left inside cars.
UR: How is the engine unique from that of a conventional vehicle? Fuel pump? Filters? Indicator engine lights? Etc.?
C&RM: Doesn’t have any of that. As a matter of fact it is virtually maintenance free. The only thing you have when you open up the hood is the place to put in more windshield wiper liquid.
UR: How does the vehicle perform at higher speeds-55+. Is the energy consumption better at high speeds and longer term drives?
C&RM: So, my Tesla is designed to perform at 300Wh/mile (Watt hour per mile) which is essentially 55/65 range. The 200 mile battery range is based on this consumption, under more abrupt driving conditions (Husband) the car spends over 20% on average more energy to comply with the demand-it will deliver the power but it will bring the range of the car down.
UR: What sparked your interest in the Tesla? Do you live an eco-chic lifestyle? If so, to what extent? Has investing in the Tesla made you more of an eco-chic consumer? If so, to what extent?
C&RM: We as a family do not recycle, don’t compost, and really don’t really pay too much attention to it. The technology geared toward safety and auto pilot is what sparked the interest the fact that it is electric and efficient was in addition to, rather than the reason. We have not changed our habits into a more “greener” life because of the Tesla, I understand some people bought it because it’s green and the technology is a “add-on,” for us it was the other way around.
UR: Do the interior functions of the Tesla work as interior functions of a conventional vehicle work? Seat adjustment? Indicator lights-turn signals? Gear shifting? Seat heating? Dash lights/function indicators? Steering wheel design/function buttons (If applicable)? Phone and exterior plug in functions? GPS? Dash board? Defrost? Floor mats? Air vents? Clock or time mechanism (In some Cadillac Escalade models, BVLGARI has a presence with time pieces installed)?
C&RM: The car has 2 buttons: open/close glove compartment box, and emergency blinkers. 100% of the other functions are delivered through a multi-function touch screen – think of it as a giant iPad where the car as “apps” and one of the “apps” are all the controls of the car, settings, etc.. It’s rather genius because it can and has, gotten better with time during the life of the car, which makes it very interesting to own a car that “evolves” with time both in features but also in software design and functionality. The other rather “legal” things are all normal such as P-D-N-R controls are identical to the Mercedes Benz GL series, turn signals are the same, buttons for changing seats (Memory configuration is the giant iPad control though) – GPS, music, car settings are all in the giant iPad such as AC, heaters, driver profiles even sunroof control. Tesla has a very minimalistic design, nothing exists without a purpose of it gets cut off. The dash is also a “mini” app screen where you can load the app you want on the left and right side of the controls, the center is reserved for understanding what the car is “seeing” on the road through its cameras, ultra sonic sensors and radars.
UR: Over-all performance. What are your thoughts on the all-over performance of the Tesla? Is this your ultimate dream car?
C&RM: It is easily the best car I have ever owned and we have owned BMWs and several Mercedes. I have learned to drive barely using the breaks because of the regenerative breaking which makes for a much less stressful drive in heavy traffic. More than happy with the car today, it’s the excitement of what the car will turn out to be in an year from now when all the updates occur and will keep occurring for the life of the vehicle. It is very exciting to wake up one morning and realize your car can do a lot of extra things it couldn’t do 12 hours ago. It outperforms and out comforts a lot of the cars I’ve had, but the fact that it will “out-technology” all the other cars and continues to evolve years after the car has been delivered to your hands in my opinion is just mesmerizing- it takes away the “my car is getting old” feeling to “my car gets better with time” feeling. That being said, there is the other side the coin: Sometimes things go wrong and some people over depend on those features being tested as if it was 100% ready which is why you’ve had autopilot accidents-but even that caused Tesla to radically and quickly upgrade systems to 2.0 and respond with software to avoid abuses. It is a very fast evolving company in my opinion.
If you have any experience with performance vehicles at all or not, this information gives amazing insight to comparative performance. Thank you Caroline and Rafael for sharing your experiences through photos and interview. Wishing you all the best in your Tesla journey!
Have a beautiful and successful week!
SOURCE: Images-Caroline Motta. Quote final artwork-UR. Shadow TESLA logo-Carlogos.com. TESLA logo-Carlogos.com. Interview conducted by Mary Winkenwerder with Caroline and Rafael Motta.