Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's a VIN!

I've been checking the My-Tesla website quite often, and was surprised to see that I was just assigned my VIN number.

I guess it's official, now!

My Model S will now be in the 95,000th car that Tesla Motors has ever made.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

No Turning Back... Confirmation

Just hit the "confirm" button on the Tesla website.

Ended up going with the 85D instead of the 70D, because I figure it will be a good longer term payoff. Also, was able to secure a decent interest rate, which puts the 85D's payments in the realm of reality (albeit the upper end of the budget).

Now the waiting begins.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Premium Audio or Not?

Just a quick side-note about the audio packages.

I'm not a hard-core audiophile; but I do have a very sensitive ear. I appreciate a wide dynamic range complete with both low and high frequencies, and just enough mids to make vocals clear. I often listen to electronic, by the way. And since the interior of a car is my mobile office / meditation space for at least an hour each day, being able to crank it is important to me.

First, I'll let you know that I agonized and researched for days about this. Because everybody's hearing is subjective and widely varied, I could not come to any definitive conclusion about whether to go with standard audio or pay $2,500 for the premium studio package.

The premium studio package adds a few more channels, Dolby/DTS, subwoofer, and custom-designed acoustics for the car (even with glass roof).

Part of today's test drive was to determine if I could hear a difference between the two.

Long story short: I could not.

There is a bit more low-end with the sub, but I wasn't too impressed with it's strength.

In summary, if the package was only like $500, I'd do it. But for a costly $2,500? Nope.

Final Test Drive, Auto-pilot & Pulling the Trigger

A truly exciting day!

Partly to figure out the difference in audio packages (and mostly an excuse to drive one again), I dropped by the Tesla store on the way home from work today. Much to my pleasure, I was allowed to drive two different configurations and even got to try out the autopilot.

Oh.. and also, I placed my order!
You know... the little things :)

First up, the auto-pilot.
Wow... that was an experience. Both scary and crazy cool at the same time. I had not realized it, but we tend to drive so much using our subconscious mind. We were following a car with the autopilot engaged to 1 car length (maybe Chelsea, my Owner Advisor was having fun with people's reactions), and I was told to take my feet off the pedals. "Okay, not bad," you say? Well, except a stop sign was directly ahead. You know that automatic foot-stomping you do in the passenger seat while someone else drives? Yeah... I did that, only with a real brake pedal.

Okay, so round two. With a round-about ahead, I tried my hardest to keep my feet planted on the floor. I literally asked Chelsea if I would be held liable in a crash (and I was serious). The car in front starts to slow down to enter the circle... then, so do we. "Okay," I thought... foot starting to twitch toward the brake pedal, hovering and ready. The car leaves the circle, and I suddenly worry about the auto-pilot speeding up while I'm still circling. Nope... holds slow and steady. I'm thinking, "hmm, not bad;" but I wonder when it will speed up again. Next comes my exit from the circle, and I braced for the quick electric acceleration. Nope... the car waits for me to straighten out from the exit, then smoothly gets back up to speed.

The take-away?... It would take some getting used to. Scary, but crazy super cool... and it seems to work very well, actually. But, personally, I'll wait for it to be adopted and tested by more people before I plunk down $3,000 for that option. Less sales tax, up-front, too, that way.

So back to the Tesla store... and we sat down and ordered my new car (I could have done it at home online, but was too excited to wait). They give you a week to make any changes, before the order is confirmed and finalized (at which point, they begin sourcing parts). I paid the deposit, got a cool hat, and came away happier than a kid in a toy store. It's amazing to feel that young again when you're in your 30s and usually stoic.

So what did I order, exactly?
  • 2015 Model S 70D
  • Black exterior w/gray leather next-generation seats
  • All-glass panoramic roof
  • Smart air-suspension
Those are the basics... we'll see what the next few days do to change my mind on anything?! That's if I can resist not hitting the "confirm" button out of impatience.

Not sure, yet, if I'll make any changes. I'm not yet 100% on the interior color, though. Kinda worried about the color getting dye transfer from clothing.

First Insurance Quote

Well, it looks like insurance for the Model S will be quite a bit more than the old 2004 Honda Accord (like I didn't expect that). My State Farm agent is quoting almost $80/month. Yikes.

Well, I'm still saving money on operating/ownership cost (compared to a gasoline car), I figure; but this will certainly cut into those savings. We'll see... maybe multi-policy discounts will kick in, in the end.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Crunching the Miles

Today, I found myself on EV Trip Planner playing with various routes that I'd like to take. This was all part of my justification for actually buying a Tesla.

A couple of trips were just barely within range of the 70D; but the 85D would be able to handle them with an adequate margin.

I'm thinking of going with the 85D... but it is much more expensive.

This would later become my final decision!
I'm glad I did, because the more I learn, the more it becomes apparent that the 85 pack has more advantages than the 70 pack: higher voltage means faster charging, potentially upgradable to the new 90 pack, and superior range in cold weather.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

In the Beginning...

It all started with a few news pieces and articles back when the company was even more young than it still is. I remember being intrigued by how the Roadster was blowing away pretty much any supercar, and was all-electric, AND had tons of range (200+ miles per charge was and still is kind of unheard-of).

Then, the car that would soon change everything was announced: the Model S. The "family" car that could do 0-60 in half the time as most others. I was secretly coveting one so badly, but convinced myself it would never happen since I'm not rich.

Fast-forward a few years. My desire had not waned, no matter how much I tried to convince myself; and the Model S (now a couple years more mature) continued to improve. Notably, the "D event" added autopilot hardware and dual motors. This would eventually become one of the last nails in the coffin.

Then, enter 2015...
My wife, just one random weekend, encouraged me to GET ONE. Still trying to convince myself that I could never afford to buy something this expensive that wasn't an absolute necessity, I agreed to at least visit the Tesla store. That was a monumental step right there.

Soon, we're looking around the store, of course having a close-up look at the cars. Let me remind you that I had been in this position before, but that time was just to merely satisfy my curiosity; and I remember walking away with a substantial underwhelmed feeling. The seats weren't good, and the interior just felt cheap. But this time... wow. Tesla had made major upgrades, especially with the next generation seating. Even HeeLa's qualm (low head-room) was squelched (especially with the panoramic roof).

Bam... next thing we know, we've scored an impromptu TEST DRIVE!

Then, the heavens opened up, light shone down, and choirs of angels began to sing.

That test drive changed everything. After 3 minutes, I was convinced that I NEEDED this car. I would later start to hear that anecdote quite a lot from current owners.

Going back home in my turbo-charged Acura RDX that day... man, that was painful. I felt like I had reverted to the 19th century horse and carriage or something. But that was okay... I had created a Tesla account, chosen a preliminary order configuration (originally the 70D), and set my mind to crunching numbers for the rest of the weekend.