What is it like to own and drive a Tesla?

I've owned the Tesla S for 2 years and I have to say it EXCEEDED all my expectations...
I was going to get a Bentley next but it totally changed my mind... so much that I ordered the Tesla X already.
Why ? very simple - it's the best car out there... seriously.
I've tested them all (anything above BMW - not talking about low budget cars like Honda , Toyota etc) - and none gave me as much as my Tesla.

It's kinda like when Apple released the Iphone - it was so friendly...so natural - that we all loved it and got used to it so quickly...  same thing with Tesla - they do things the way they should be - in today's world.

Big Touch Screen Control monitor - we are used to Ipads and such - it makes total sense this will replace all those primitive buttons... and it does a lot more because it can be anything you want... it can be an internet browser , a control panel for the A.C , the sun roof , all the car settings , music player ... basically anything they want it to be - they just add to it.

And talking about the ADD feature - they keep updating the software on regular basis , so the car just gets BETTER and better every month...  I just love it !
Last update - they changed the whole interface - made it better looking and more space efficient... they added AUTO PILOT ... AUTO PARKING... I mean , did Bentley added AUTO PILOT to their buyers 2 years after they got their car ?? exactly...

But of course, there's plenty more - the amazing quiet driving , the speed , the control, the long range batteries... the fact you charge for FREE in many places... charge at home ... no need to waste anytime in gas stations... and above all - the AMAZING SERVICE you get from Tesla !

I had some issue with the sun roof - they came to my home - gave me another Tesla - took mine... replaced the whole sun roof... brought me back my Tesla - clean and shining...(they always wash & charge my car fully ) at my home...  it makes you feel like a king...

I truly believe that life is too short so you need to enjoy it fully - and my Tesla is part of that... best decision I made !
I have owned a Tesla Roadster Sport for four years, and it is my only car. Many people just garage their Tesla Roadsters and treat them as collectibles (which they are, since Tesla is no longer making them), but I drive mine every day. I have also driven the Model S extensively, though I do not own one. So I thought I would answer the question from more of an "early adopter" viewpoint, with some specifics about the Roadster.

The car is a head-turner. People are always taking pictures of it; I once walked back to where it was parked and there were three middle-school boys taking selfies using it as a backdrop. Almost every day, people give me a "thumbs up" or shout "I love your car!" And I hear the same questions repeatedly, and predictably. A sample conversation:

"How many miles can you go on a charge?"

I tell them 240, but that Tesla is now offering an upgrade that will raise that to 400 miles and that they plan to demonstrate that by driving a Roadster from San Francisco to Los Angeles without recharging.

"How long does it take to recharge?"

I tell them it recharges a mile a minute, and they have to digest that. "Think of it this way: If I drive thirty miles and come home, I plug it in and in half an hour it's fully charged again. It's just like charging a cell phone."

"So you have a special charging station?"

"Uh, it's called a wall outlet. You can use a regular 120 volt wall outlet, but the 220 volt outlet in my garage charges it faster."

"Is it... all electric??"

This is the one that always makes me smile. People simply cannot believe that there isn't a gasoline engine in there somewhere; with many car companies building serial hybrids like the Chevy Volt and the BMW i3 and calling them "electric vehicles," I can see why there is confusion. So I point out that there is no exhaust pipe on my car. And then add, "No tune-ups. No oil changes. No smog inspections. No fuel pump or transmission to wear out."

"No transmission! What do you mean, no transmission?"

"The motor is connected to the drive axle, and the torque curve is flat. That's why it can go from zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds. But the fun part is zero to thirty in 1.8 seconds, which looks like something out of a Road Runner cartoon, and feels like an amusement park ride."

"Wait... if there's no transmission, how do you go in reverse?"

"You run the motor backwards."

"Oh." A few seconds pass as the questioner struggles to find a fatal flaw in the car. "But how long does the battery last?"

"Well, after four years I still have 90% of the original capacity. I suppose at that rate, in twenty years it will have the same range as a Nissan Leaf, but by then, replacement batteries will be much cheaper and much better than this one so I'll be glad to get a new battery."

"If you charge the car off the power grid, aren't you just pushing carbon emissions upstream, back to the power plant?"

"I have solar panels on my roof that are enough to power my house and recharge my car, with kilowatts to spare. And even if I didn't, the CO2 from even the dirtiest coal-powered electric generator would be far less than the amount of CO2 I would produce to go a given distance using a gasoline engine."

"How fast can it go?"

"It's limited by software to 150 mph, but I don't think I've ever exceeded 85 mph. Lots of cars have higher peak speeds, but you never get to use those anyway. It's the acceleration that matters, in everyday driving."

It is thrilling to ride even when the speed limit is only 30 mph; I enjoy the game of ramping up to exactly the speed limit in the shortest possible time, without exceeding the limit. There is no numerical legal limit on acceleration, only on speed! And unlike a gasoline car or a hybrid, there is really no penalty for jack-rabbit starts, other than wearing out the tires more quickly. And a very funny thing often happens after I accelerate like that in city traffic when the light turns green: after a few seconds, some car like an Audi or BMW goes roaring past me, exceeding the speed limit by at least 20 mph, as if to say, "Oh yeah? I can go fast too!" And at least once, they were then pulled over by a cop. I couldn't stop laughing. If you want to go over the speed limit, you can do that in a Yugo, so I'm not impressed that they managed to catch up.

A lot of what I have written applies equally to a Tesla Roadster and a Tesla Model S P85D. The difference with the Roadster is

• It's very low; you ride with your butt about six inches away from the pavement, which makes it feel even faster, like riding a go-kart.

• It's not sound-insulated like the Model S, so you hear more wind at high speeds (but the motor is barely audible, just a whine like that of a distant jet engine starting up). The Model S is a very refined ride, but in the Roadster, I can't really have a hands-free cell phone conversation if I'm driving.

• You really feel the road, very directly. The steering is manual, not power!

I have never loved a car as much as I love my Tesla Roadster.


Had my Model 3 since December 2017, and have driven a Model S so I've had a good amount of time to get familiar with Teslas outside of work.

Charging

Personally it hasn't been a problem for me but I can see how it could be a major issue for some people. If you have a reliable place to L2 charge (208–240 v plug), this problem is non-existent. Plug it in overnight, or at work during the day and you'll always have more than enough juice to make it through the day.

Now if you don't have a L2 charger at work or at home it's going to be more difficult. Superchargers are plentiful in the bay area. However the faster 120 kW ones are always full during the day, so you're stuck with the slower 72 kW ones. It's not too bad in a Model 3 you get more mileage out of the same charge rate, but for an S or X expect at least an hour of waiting around.

Driving Experience

I was never a car guy but my Model 3 is extremely fun to drive, even with the standard 18 inch tires and non-performance motors. It takes corners quite nicely, especially going up Page Mill Road at Palo Alto. Note that I've never driven any performance-oriented cars before so I have no idea how they compare. The S handles decently but it's way too much of a bulky car for my tastes.

I haven't pushed it to the limits during winter driving but around Tahoe with the stock tires it seemed to be doing fine. I have a good amount of experience driving through snow so I never felt that I needed all-wheel-drive (although I wish I had...).

The instant torque felt like a gimmick to me at first. Sure you can beat most cars on a drag strip to a quarter mile, and its really fun to floor it, but that says nothing about how a car performs on an actual race track. However, I do realize it's extremely useful in regular day-to-day driving when you need to avoid other cars. I've almost been rear AND front ended and the instant torque saved me from those dings.

Personally I feel way more in control of my car as well because the response from throttle to motor is instant. Going back to a regular car just feels lethargic. It's kind of like input delay in an online game. A Tesla feels like you're on a wired fiber optic connection, while normal cars feel like online gaming with a 56k modem...

Range Anxiety

310 miles is quite comfortable amount of range. It's enough for my random nature day trips / hiking expeditions. On a full charge, I can drive from San Jose to Monterey or Point Reyes and back without ever charging. The lowest I've ever gotten to was around 20 miles and that was still enough to get to a supercharger in the bay area.

With the 60 kWh Model S, and 75 kWh Model X dual-motor, however, you have to be more reliant on super changers for day trips. Day-to-day commuting was fine however.

I haven't traveled outside of California in my Tesla so I can't really comment how it is elsewhere.

Autopilot

If you understand the limits of autopilot, it can be a real life saver. There have been several times where I've been driving late nights and on the verge of passing out that auto pilot handled safely guided me to my highway exit.

Despite the longer "fill up" time compared to gas cars, I would say Teslas are the ultimate road trip machines simply because of auto pilot. Driving down the 5 to LA is so much more bearable when you don't have to do 100% of the lane keeping. Driving down on the 101 is really nice as well with autopilot cause you can enjoy the views while you drive.

Course I'm not crazy enough to use autopilot on California 1. The software isn't there yet!

Maintenance

Pretty much zero maintenance cost for me so far. There were a few things that I had to get replaced due to my Model 3 being a very early model but that hasn't cost me anything, and after 15k miles I haven't had to do any oil changes. We'll see what it's like in the near future once the warranty expires.

I will say though with the RWD cars, expect them to eat up your tires pretty fast. I'm already down to ~4.5 mm of treads after only 15k miles of driving. Keep it in chill mode to make the tires last longer!


I find them incredible to own and drive. By far the best car I have had and likely will have for a number of years. I've included a few reviews below:

Interested in a Tesla? Use my referral code and gain some benefits:

Unlimited Tesla Supercharging and Extended Solar Warranty


I bought my Tesla Model S, Brand New on the 31st March 2017. Shortly afterwards I wrote this blog reviewing my experiences:

Tesla Model S Tech Review

Just today, I posted an updated review focused on the new features here:

Tesla Model S Feature Review

The above post is copied below:

Back in April, I wrote written a depth review of my initial ownership of my 2017 Tesla Model S. This blog now follows up with my further experiences given the rapid roll-out of features


After almost 2.5 years of ownership I can honestly state my Tesla Model S, which is the only vehicle I now own, is my favorite vehicle of all I've ever owned. I've owned many vehicles in my 48+ years of driving most of which were bought pre-owned but my last 6 vehicles were bought new.

Responsibly performing my due diligence, I managed to personally demystify the interesting EV concept of range anxiety before I bought it by intellectually imagining every scenario I have ever used my personally owned vehicles for during those same 48+ years. Therefore, I would be remiss if I did not mention charging an EV and in particular a Tesla - so pay attention.

First here are a few links explaining EV charging and it should be noted this can be confusing and these links are only scratching the surface of the EV charging topic:

Levels of Charging

Electric Car Charging 101 - Types of Charging, Charging Networks, Apps, & More!

Understanding Electric Vehicle Charging - Plug In America

So now that we understand EV's obviously require charging this immediately poses the owing/qualifying question of whether the owner has the means to charge the vehicle when not in use, e.g., while sleeping. A Level 2 charger/power source is what EV owners need where they live (house, condo, townhouse). Level 2 charging is slower than a Level 3 DC Fast Charger but Level 2 Fast Charging is the most that can be installed in a personal residence. For what it's worth and in the spirit of fully informing curious Quora readers, Level 3 DC Fast Charging involves a installing a new large electrical transformer capable of handling as much as 400 Volts and 1,000 Amps. Now let's get back to Level 2 home charging; No matter how much the potential owner may want an EV, if they do not have the ability to conveniently Level 2 charge it is hard to rationalize EV ownership. Now that's not saying it's impossible, but the ability to Level 2 charge while sleeping should be understood to be more than a mere convenience. It is practically mandatory to a pleasurable EV ownership experience.

EV's have on-board rectifiers which means an EV merely needs access to AC to charge. The larger the AC power source is better. For example, a typical US home wall outlet can supply 120 Volt 15 Amp or a max of about 1800 watts. Because of this, a typical US home wall outlet is inferior to a 240 Volt 50 Amp (electric dryer) wall outlet which can deliver 9.6Kw or more. (a 50 amp circuit is designed to carry 40 amps. A 20 amp outlet is designed to actually be closer to 11 or 15 amps max).

What this means is the vast majority of EV owners install a 240 Volt 30-50 Amp service at their chosen charging garage/carport/driveway location at a cost, depending on the particular electrical modifications needed of between $300 and $1,000.

Yes, this is an expense most potential EV owners are not initially aware of but once it is taken into account as part of the price of buying, the EV buyer will intellectually understand this additional price of admission to the EV ownership club.

By the way, if you are building a new house, condo or townhouse make sure you include a 240 Volt 50 Amp service to the EV charging location (at the time of new construction, such an outlet should add less then $100 to the final cost and pay off as a bullet item when you go to sell the house). I believe this new home building construction feature will become a standard practice within the decade if not sooner.

Tesla vehicles are unique among the presently (September 2017) available EV's due to, among other things, one very significant attribute. Tesla Motors Corporation is constructing a worldwide, Tesla owned and maintained, network of Level 3 Fast Charging stations that enabling reliable long distance travel (beyond the round-trip range of a fully charged battery). Tesla's efforts here are unmatched by all of the other EV manufacturers. Known as Tesla Superchargers, these level 3 charging stations are a feature no other competing EV manufacturer is making nor has announced plans to do so.

Level 3 Fast Charging via the Tesla Supercharger enables a Tesla to charge the battery to 60% in 33 minutes and to 100% in 95 minutes. For official Tesla Charging information, see Charging | Tesla. Read carefully as page's links connect to other pages where there may be more than initially meets the eye.

I might revisit my answer in order to include information about actually owning my Tesla but suffice it to say that virtually every other aspect of private vehicle ownership is so similar between an ICEV and an EV that I feel no need to mention it unless someone wants to ask for more specific amplification about the ownership experience.

But wait a minute, there is one thing worth mentioning and that has to do with fuel costs. Do your own fuel consumption math and compare it to my very simple calculation. Where I live I pay $.10/kWh and I use on average 350 kWh per month to drive 1,000 miles for an electric fuel cost of $35/month. That is a third of what I would pay for gasoline in costs to go the same distance.

Can this factor be used to economically justify the price difference between a Tesla Model S and another premium vehicle like a BMW 5 Series or a Mercedes E Class or a Audi A6 class? Simply - No, but if you then explore the maintenance costs associated with these vehicles I believe the price differential curves will eventually cross due to the fewer amount of potential repair parts between an EV and an ICEV.


There's a phenomenon known as the Tesla Grin. It's stunning how consistently happy-making it is to drive this car. And I've owned and driven some really fun cars. It's not a tossable go-kart the way my tweaked 1983 VW GTI was. It's bigger than either of my BMW 3 bodies. But, dang it, I look forward to getting in the thing, even for a short trip to the store.

Part of that is obviously the brobdingnagian torque available at the slightest twitch of my right foot. But Tesla did a stunning job of making the rest of the car extremely driveable. Long trips are far less fatiguing than in any car I've ever driven.

Like any car, it has its quirks. The shuffle when I play music off of a USB drive isn't random enough. (I don't think they re-seed the random number generator.) Some owners complain that the nav routing is poor. (There are never route options in the Bay Area, so I haven't noticed.) Fortunately I learned to drive in a 1963 Cadillac, so I know how to park a really big boat of a car. Fortunately the Summon feature allows me to fit in some tight spots. Every now and then you have to reboot it just like your phone.

But, on the other hand, like my phone it gets software updates. A recent one made regen braking even better. Oh, I hadn't mentioned that. One-foot driving is a joy. I get more braking by lifting my foot than I ever got in 2nd gear on my BMW ZHP. With a little thought you can go a long way and never touch the brake pedal except for stop signs and red lights.

Autopilot makes heavy traffic so much less stressful. It's amazing how many cycles it takes to constantly manage lane keeping and car speed in stop and go traffic. I had no idea until it was an option not to spend them. Now I can relax and just watch the big picture. Catch up on podcasts.

One needn't get all Priusly self righteous to appreciate the fact that I've significantly lowered my carbon footprint. That, and the low cost of fuel, means there's zero guilt or hesitation at taking the scenic route, or a nice Sunday drive, if I feel like it.

It's hard to overstate just how wonderful it feels to have not visited a gas station in over half a year. There is nothing pleasant about gassing up a car. Fueling the Tesla is not only dirt cheap, but it takes pretty much zero time and effort, except on trips when it takes zero effort and a little more time. Now, I know that I sunk a lot of money into the car and the solar panels to make this all happen. I understand that, on paper, it's not cheap to own the car. But it's hard to overstate how wonderful it feels, and that's what this question is asking.


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