TBG's favorite human, Dr. Jim, shares his love of all things automotive. They've motivated one another through Porsches and Mercedes, discussed cross-overs and Ferrari's and commodity trading over a thirty year friendship. TBG's inability to find a new car which intrigues him has been a source of amusement for them. The 335i and the Boxster S and the VW GTI in our garage have kept him satisfied for the past six years. That's approximately six times as long as he's ever gone between a new car purchase.
Some people buy art. Some travel the world. I married a man who buys cars. It's something you get used to, over time.
At the wedding last summer, Dr. Jim revealed that he was on the waiting list for the Tesla. TBG began to drool. As I was planning this trip to Chicago-land, his only request was an afternoon with Dr. Jim and his new toy. Since he and the Dr. Mrs. Dr. were my friends first, it was an easy of course. And so, there we were, in their kitchen for hellos and then in the garage for the main event.
It knocked our socks off.
It doesn't have as many bells and whistles as its garage-mate, the Mercedes S550 sedan, but that's not really the point. The things it has and the ways it does them are on a totally different level. So is the way he talks about it. Elon Musk has created an experience around his automobile, and Dr. Jim warned us that proselytizing would be part of our afternoon. And, proselytize he did.
His smile lit up the dim garage. He bought the Model S
Tesla made a P40 but no one bought it; they changed the platform to provide the 40 via an adaptor to the 60. It costs more to get less. As I said, no one bought it. The company plans to have a network of solar powered, free for Tesla owners, 220v chargers across the country. For now, commuting between Chicago and their lake house, plugging in takes place in their garages.
He had to add a 220 line in each house, but that cost was obviated by the fact that he drives past gas stations with impunity. His costs work out to the equivalent of 180 miles per gallon. No, that's not a typo... the operating costs are basically nil.
There are no fluids. There is no radiator. The battery is warrantied for six years, and the company will subsidize its replacement. The low center of gravity created by placing the battery underneath the car, running down the middle, gives it a solid, hold the road, feel. It's rear wheel drive, and may need snow tires in the Chicago winter, but there's really nothing to go wrong.
The navigation system appears on a 17" screen on the front console. I could read the display while standing in the rear, behind the opened trunk. And, there's a frunk... a trunk in the front. We've had cars with front trunk, but I've never heard the word before. It was just another part of the experience which made us smile.
The door handles lie flush to the panels when the car is locked. They pop out when you push the button to unlock the vehicle. Mrs. Dr. Mrs. worries a lot; this visual cue makes her feel very secure.
The arm rests are molded to fit the curve of your forearm. The handle is part of the arm rest. There is nothing extraneous. There is everything you need.
Dr. Jim smiled shyly as he described feeling the thrust of acceleration in his testicles. I giggled as he said it... and then I got into the car myself. We were going (back) to Greek Islands, for saganaki and taramosalata and chicken riganati,
The beauty of a battery powered vehicle is that all the torque is available at the very beginning. We went from zero to eighty in the blink of a eye.... except I couldn't blink. I was plastered to my seat. My eyes were bulging out of my face. There was an idiotic smile on my face.
As Dr. Mrs. Dr. said to her sweetie: "I wish there was something I could buy that would make me as happy as this makes you."
I couldn't agree more.