Its been a long time coming. Back in 2012 I ordered a Tesla Motors Model S, on the day they were announced. I believe that my car was order #69 in the world, and at the time there was no guarantee when – or if – they’d be sold in Australia.
A few weeks ago, and around 60,000 Model S vehicles later, my shiny new Pearl White and Carbon Fibre Black P85+ is finally in its home in Adelaide, South Australia.
Our household (in terms of cars) is now entirely electric. Before sending our last Internal Combustion Engine vehicle off to a new mission in a new household, we tried driving it again after a week or so of driving the model S and it was such a huge culture shock – it felt like driving a combine harvester.
Contrary to claims made in the populist press last month, and debunked here soon thereafter… the electricity grid in my street, and the wiring in our home, have not gone up in smoke (or required upgrading) to support the presence of three electric cars.
I’ve been following the evolution of these cars since first announced, I’ve had rides in the USA, I’ve even spent a few days driving one in the UK last year. I had very high expectations.
Those expectations have been solidly exceeded. The level of software integration with the hardware is fantastic. It leverages the capacity of software to harness all the vehicle sensors for multiple purposes concurrently. This is the subtle, but crucial, advantage that the platform has in comparison to other cars that treat each subsystem as a separated entity.
As a driver, I find that driving (and using) this car involves exploring a user interface and user experience that is at once very sophisticated, and yet also very easy to use.
To be clear, these cars are certainly not perfect. There are a number of things I’d like to see the car do better. The good news is that in most respects these are things that can be addressed via software enhancement over time. This is a car that gets better the longer you own it, as a result of those (‘over the air’) software upgrades.
It is a car that has you looking for excuses to go driving.
It has a sound system so great that you want to take the long way home to keep listening to Internet radio (in my case, that’s usually Radio Paradise), in glorious quality, in a cabin so shockingly quiet that you don’t need to keep tweaking the volume control as you speed up and slow down.
It has software/hardware integration so smooth that it makes the dashboard and user experience of other cars look half baked.
It is a car that looks fantastic, and that delivers instant, silent, and yet crazy-fast acceleration on demand with zero fuss or bother.
It is a car with zero tailpipe emissions that lets you remotely turn on the air conditioner with your iPhone before you get back to it on a hot day, to make it even cooler than it already was.
This is indeed The Future I Was Promised.