For this week’s article, I’m going to update an article I published about 3 months ago on giving rides in your Tesla. I’ve been an EV owner for over 7 years (6½ years as a Leaf owner and 6 months as a Tesla Model 3 owner) and have been offering rides in my EV the whole 7 years.
There are many differences between the Leaf and the Model 3, but the one relevant to this article is that most people are thrilled to ride in the Model 3, while they had little interest in the Leaf. I used to chalk that up to styling, but I think the reasons are slightly broader. The Model 3 is better looking, but the other reason people like the Tesla is that it is known as an expensive and exclusive brand. That is not how I see my car, but that is how others see it. I do everything I can to show how Teslas and other EVs are for “regular” people and not for an elite few.
Hemanth Naga and Anuja Panday (two of my coworkers)
In the spirit of Christmas, I recently gave another round of test rides in my Model 3. I don’t keep a count, but I’d imagine that I’ve offered over 100 people the chance to ride in a Model 3 and ask questions about how it works. My objectives aren’t to directly sell Teslas (although, if people are interested in buying, I do offer my referral code), but to correct their misconceptions of EVs and plant a seed in their head to look at EVs and plug-in hybrids the next time they are ready to shop for a car.
The misconceptions haven’t changed much in the last 3 months, but here is the updated list of the most common ones I come across:
Myth: Teslas cost as much or more to own as a BMW or Audi.
— They actually cost a third less.
Myth: EVs cost a lot to charge.
— Wrong, they cost about a third the price of gas. (As gas prices have dropped 20% from their summer peak, the savings are still dramatic but slightly reduced.)
Myth: It will take me 2 years to get a Model 3.
— Wrong, they are available in just 1 or 2 days! (Getting some configurations takes longer, but if you are willing to compromise, you can get a car fast!)
Myth: EVs are slow.
— Nobody that has been in my car thinks that anymore!
Myth: EVs handle like a boat.
— I also resolve that misconception in all test rides. I ensure nobody confuses the Model 3 with a Prius in acceleration or handling.
I have two types of test rides: the Intro, and the Complete Experience.
This one is for people who don’t have any experience with EVs or Teslas. I try to keep this to 20 minutes. I get on the road as soon as possible and usually just go around the block. Luckily, the block has a nice curve in it that allows me to show the Model 3’s exceptional handling and acceleration!
I don’t like to play the radio or explain the huge touchscreen until we are parked (since I need to pay attention when driving quickly). I also don’t show Autopilot in the intro, since it doesn’t preform all that impressively in the city and I really like to show the new Navigate on Autopilot features and you just can’t do that in the places I usually give the Intro.
I try to hit the 4 main ways the car is unlike any they have ever owned.
- Extreme savings in fuel costs, the tax credit, and maintenance. I usually use $1,000 a year for fuel, but it really varies based on how much you drive and what vehicle you are replacing.
- Active and passive safety features that make it the car with the lowest probability of injury of any car the NHTSA has ever tested!
- Acceleration and handling superior to most sports cars but in a roomy car as practical as a Honda Accord. The instant torque will ruin their impression of any gas or diesel car they will drive in the future.
- The controls are like comparing an iPhone to a flip phone. Not only are they super modern, they are updated every month or two with new features, so your car doesn’t feel dated a year or two after you buy it.
After we are stopped, I explain all the controls on the massive screen, how roomy the trunk and frunk are, and give a little demo of the Summon feature. I also explain how you just use your phone as the key.
Photo via Paul Sykes, windmills in OK.
For most people, it is just too much to process in 20 minutes. They have lived their whole lives listening to ads that proclaim that this or that car is the “totally redesigned” car, only to find it has been restyled, had 1 safety feature added, and gets 3% better mileage. They never imagined that a car could be so radically different from every other. Some have questions, but many are just in shock and need time to process all they have experienced. Some contact me a few days later with questions about the car that they didn’t think of during the drive.
For people who show an interest in actually buying a Tesla, I spend a little more time explaining the car. For someone buying the car, they need to understand the range options and decide if they will order Autopilot (since it costs $2,000 more if you order it later).
I spend some time showing them the voice recognition and I show them the extensive Supercharger network and how you can see from the car the location of all the charging stations (now even non-Tesla chargers are shown). I also show that, for the Tesla Superchargers, you can see the amenities available at the location and how many stalls are available at the moment.
In addition, I talk about the ordering, financing, and delivery experiences and what to expect.
As many have said, most recently here, Tesla owners are its greatest asset! Each person has to decide if they are comfortable sharing their new baby with others. I can assure I’ve found it more fun to share the joy of your EV than to keep it to yourself. This holiday season, we should remember it is better to give than receive!
You can use my Tesla referral link to get up to 9 months free Supercharging (6 months if you have test driven a car with Tesla) on a Model S, Model X, or Model 3. Here’s the code: https://ts.la/paul92237