A taste of the future: Why the Tesla is unlike any car you’ve ever driven

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Earlier this week I had the new P85 D Tesla Model S to drive for a day and I just don’t think many people really understand how very different this car is from everything else on the road. From the displays, to the way it feels, to the information it provides, to the sound stage it really feels like you are driving the future and the future is good. It really strikes me as somewhat amazing that Tesla doesn’t have any real marketing effort behind this car and that it has done as well as it has without it.

I figured this week I’d try to capture in words some of the experiences.

Insane Mode

The Tesla P85 has Insane Mode and the more powerful P90 has Ludicrous Mode. I don’t think I could survived Ludicrous Mode. Part of the wonder of this was I had a brand new Viper pass me and I knew that if push came to shove I could fry that car 0-60. Most of this is the fact that an electric engine gets all its torque from the start which is why most trains use electric motors today. The feeling is like having our eyeballs suddenly revolt and try to drill out of the back of your head. The closest thing to this is one of those launching roller coasters where they use something similar to what is used on aircraft carriers to get you going an suddenly your gut makes a run for the seat behind you. It really is the most fun 0-30 you’ll likely ever have in a car and you’ll likely do it once for everyone you give a lift to at least once just to see the OMG look on their faces. With the new D models all 4 wheels pull at once which is why you can likely fry any other car on the road 0-30 you are likely to meet at a stoplight and just knowing that the guy in the exotic next to you is too scared to race your sedan is a huge kick.

Often they won’t even look at you for fear you’ll call them out. Oh, and if they have a date… This is almost worth getting the car all by itself.

Traffic

The one of the big things about an electric over a gas car is they get more efficient in traffic while a gas car goes the other way. There is something nice about the fact you can just sit and listen to tunes and realize you aren’t wasting gas. Here the very quiet nature of the cabin gives you a fantastic environment to listen to your music and now that the car will do limited self-driving (which is pretty cool to watch on the center display) just makes traffic go by so much better. If you can’t get out of traffic you might as well enjoy it and there is nothing in the market I’m aware of that is more fun to drive in traffic if you are driving. Granted if you aren’t driving a motorhome is better because you can take a nap on an actual bed or watch a big screen TV.

The Amazing Screens

This car uses NVIDIA technology and two huge screens to display information on. The central instrument cluster is actually a flat screen and you have a huge tablet like screen in the middle for car and entertainment functions. Granted if this were my car I’d likely be trying to figure out how to get TV onto that center screen but it is like being in the cockpit of a space ship. The wow factor is through the roof and this is likely the way all cars will be in 2 to 3 years, you just sit in the seat and want this.

Wrapping Up: I Think Everyone Should Drive a Tesla Once

Or maybe not because it will spoil you for any other car. I rented mine from Club Sportiva in Santa Clara (I’m a member) and this is one of their most popular cars even though they have a bunch of true exotics ranging from Ferrari, to Lamborghini, and even a Bentley. Oh and they have about every flavor or Porsche for variety. But, of all the cars they have, I think I enjoy driving the Tesla most even though it isn’t a convertible and it doesn’t have a sweet sounding powerful gas motor.

Honestly, I think if more people just drove the Tesla we’d go a long way to getting the world off gas and onto electrics. In any case, if you ever have a chance to drive a Tesla, check it out. It’ll give you a taste of where the other car companies are likely to be in 5 years.

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About Author

As President and Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, Rob provides regional and global companies with guidance in how to create credible dialogue with the market, target customer needs, create new business opportunities, anticipate technology changes, select vendors and products, and practice zero dollar marketing. For over 20 years Rob has worked for and with companies like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dell, Toshiba, Gateway, Sony, USAA, Texas Instruments, AMD, Intel, Credit Suisse First Boston, ROLM, and Siemens.