Our road to buying the Model S85 had surprising twists and turns. Our Mark VIII was 17 years old, so we asked “if a meteorite fell on it, which car would we buy to replace it?
We heard a Dodge Challenger’s throaty 5.7 liter Hemi roar, and arranged a test drive. It was powerful, but had treacherous blind spots. As long time owners of American V-8s, we wanted to test out German diesel sedans. After driving the high-efficiency Mercedes Blu-TEC E350 and the BMW 328d, we talked about the good aspects (45 mpg and tight handling, nice interior comforts). And the bad: after studying the 35 page shop manual for the complex MB diesel/twin turbo system with urea cleaner fluid, Steve looked up at me, shook his head and said “As a mechanical engineer, I can see that this system has way too many moving parts”.
A neighbor had to cancel his test drive of a Tesla. We told him, it’s too far to go to LA for a test drive; we didn’t know San Diego even had a store. Five minutes later we were home on the computer booking a test drive for October 23, 2013. Steve made the left onto Nobel Drive and floored the P85. In the back seat, for the first time, I lost my equilibrium, and became dizzy. That’s never happened before, even driving in my boss’ Porsche.
We spent 2 hours in the store poring over the skateboard’s robust aluminum fabrication. As both of us worked in aerospace, we were drawn to the finely cast AlSi10MgMn parts, and went home to research the alloy. We read this forum and met with Tesla people to be sure that our concerns (12V battery, replacement of drive motor/inverter due to 65+ hum) had been resolved by redesign/procurement.
We hadn’t planned to replace our V-8 Lincoln (65,000 miles). But before pressing the confirm button in December, I asked Steve when did you know we would have to buy the Model S? “The moment my foot hit the go pedal and it took off”. And my moment was, “when you floored it and I was floating.”
The road we traveled originated in brawny American V-8s, to the refinement and efficiency of German sedans, to Tesla. How did Tesla win us over to purchase the Model S? Exhilarating power, stable center of gravity, equal weight distribution, solid Al construction, excellent range, interior spaciousness, few moving parts to fail, quiet, beauty of design, commitment to making the car right, supercharging, large display, flat torque curve, hauling capability, safety. It’s a travel car par excellence. A green car that made us see stars.
As I filed all the documents collected during the process, I came upon 10 pages from Tesla’s site that we had printed July 16, 2012. At that point, we realized, we’d actually been thinking about this since it came into production. Back then, we didn’t foresee that on March 12, 2014, a blue Model S85 would be arriving in our garage.
This was what we wrote before…reflections on how we feel now…coming up.