In November of last year, I took delivery of my new black car and a Long Range model. I had never tried an electric car, let alone a Tesla Model Y. Yet the appeal of a fully electric vehicle, a range of over 300 km and the subsidies we encouraged my wife and I to take the plunge.
About six months and 11,000 km later, the car has more or less ruined my desire to drive any other vehicle. The Model Y offers solutions that seem revolutionary to me. It’s amazing, but they make me wonder, “Why hasn’t it always been like this?” »
Entry, exit and control of the vehicle
This is done through an application (via a smartphone, therefore); it’s virtually flawless and doesn’t require any other dedicated device. If you approach the car with your smartphone activated, all you have to do is pull the handle to enter the vehicle.
Other cars behave similarly with key fobs, but who wants to carry anything else when I already have a computer with all sorts of connectivity options in my pocket? That’s what Tesla did: eliminate something I used to carry around.
The funny thing is, I never really thought about carrying keys until I didn’t have to anymore. Now that the milestone is crossed, when I drive my wife’s car, I’m very aware of having this other device in my pocket.
Acceleration is effortless, quiet, and addictive.
Seriously addictive, even.
I came to the Tesla after driving an economy sedan. So the difference for me is bigger than for someone who may have had another performance luxury vehicle. And, wow! The acceleration is just terrific.
Best of all, it’s all done with no apparent effort. When I get into another vehicle and step on the pedal, I feel like everything is working so hard to achieve what the Tesla does instantly and almost noiselessly (just an appealing engine hum that reminds me of the Tumbler in stealth mode in Nolan’s Batman trilogy).
Thus, when someone in a thermal vehicle passes by roaring his engine, it seems to me to observe an anachronism.
The entire brake system does things right.
Thanks to magnetic braking, I usually only have to use my physical brakes at a speed between 4 and 6 km/h to come to a complete stop, instead of braking the vehicle from 60 or 65 km/h, which leads to much greater wear and tear on the braking system.
Magnetic braking was the thing that made me the most nervous initially, after reading stories of people stopping jerkily when they got used to it. These fears were completely unfounded. With the exception of my first toll stop (which was, hilariously, about 15m too early), I found the system entirely intuitive and easy to pick up.
Now when I’m driving another car and I take my foot off the accelerator, I get grumpy because I have to press the stupid brake pedal (what’s that, 50s?) to really slow the car, instead of the car doing it automatically.
Speaking of annoying things you do in your car without thinking about it?
How about turning the car on and off ?
The Tesla system that allows you to turn the car on (we don’t really do that, but we prepare it by pressing the brake pedal with our phone in our pocket) and to turn it off (we don’t really do that, it just open the door) doesn’t have to be a Tesla exclusive. Any car with a key fob could do both of those things, really.
Why are they asking me to press another button? Speaking of which, it takes a little getting used to that the Tesla automatically locks the doors when you’re out of range (initially feared it won’t work), but once you do , it’s another one of those little things that all cars should do, but for some reason don’t.
Note though that as you get used to this stuff, you’ll probably leave your other cars running by accident. My wife caught me several times getting out of our other car without turning it off. Sorry, I thought it was 2019.
I loved the minimum gauges as soon as I sat in the car for the first time.
It took me about 10 minutes to get used to looking slightly right instead of slightly down to find out my speed, and (you have to admit) about a week to get used to detecting obstacle on the way in one place, but everything is so neat and tidy.
The internal navigation is fantastic (and the 3D perspective it gives is a nice touch), and the infotainment system works well (in general). I was initially afraid to hate the absence of SiriusXM (and honestly I still think for this level of car it should be an option) but I ended up canceling my Sirius subscription based on an app or so 2 months after buying the car, because there are a ton of built-in options for free.
Climbing into a more conventional car now feels like information overload, with dozens of dials, gauges and buttons vying for my attention, and LED lights coming from all directions. Driving the Model Y, especially at night, I feel much more connected to the outside world due to the minimal distractions in the cabin.
How much does gas cost right now?
Honestly, I don’t know, but until November, I always had an idea of gas prices, because I was filling up every six days. Best of all, my wife doesn’t have to refuel more than once a month because on weekends the five of us pile into my car for pretty much every trip (us plus our three daughters).
Our other vehicle (a V-Class) is relegated to times when we both have to go somewhere or when we’re traveling a long enough distance that having three kids in the back leads to arguments.
Otherwise, even though the kids have significantly more space in the MPV, they still want to drive in the Tesla. This brings me to another reason why this car made me lose my taste for other cars.
Sure, I need to recharge, but I just plug in when I get home, and I go back into the house. No more freezing up while refueling in the middle of February.
I’ve also lost about 25% range during the winter months due to the cold, but that’s not a big deal when you can fill up every night (by programming electricity prices by off-peak hours) if you’re worried about range, and the car is filling up while I’m reading, spending time with my wife and kids, or sleeping.
And the interview?
I had a slight squeal coming from the rear wheels in reverse (common issue) and my horn only sounded when I pressed the right side (again, common). I scheduled the service in the app for the nearest location.
Then Tesla messaged a few days later saying these issues could be fixed by their mobile service system, so they came to my house and did everything in my driveway.
I didn’t have to go to a store, sit in their waiting room for who knows how long, try to work using their wifi, etc. I stayed home, doing what I usually do, and they fixed both issues. Awesome.
They are simply impeccable and fast. You are notified on your phone that an update is available, you click to start the update process, and a little later you are notified that the update is complete.
By comparison, the software updates for our V-Class created a situation where the air conditioning was off for a month while I figured out what was wrong, and updating my old car required me to download images to a flash drive and sit with the car running for an hour while the update was applied.
Updates are also very frequent and not insignificant in what they do, including things like adding 5% range to the car and better power (as if it was really needed).