Last week was my last week at a company I've worked at for the last four years. While I've grown to have some disagreements with management, I've established some great relationships and many folks there were sad to see me go. As a "parting gift," a bunch of my (now former) co-workers chipped in and got me the best present I can imagine: 24 hours in a Model S!
They "kidnapped" me from my house, blindfolded me, and drove me for 45 minutes or so. Along the way, I was guessing at what we might be doing -- skydiving, go-cart racing, and I even guessed test-driving a Tesla. Then, they walked me into a quiet building. When they removed the blindfold, I saw it: a pearl white Model S P85.
I was literally jumping for joy. Then, blew my mind: it was mine for 24 hours!
The place was Club Sportiva in San Jose; they do rentals of all kinds of exotics (think Ferrari, Rolls Royce, etc.).
So first, the rental agreement: they do contact your insurance company to verify insurance, and they make a hefty pre-authorization on a credit card. And they have a pretty hard limit on miles. A standard rental comes with 100 miles, and my friends had pre-purchased another 100 for me. If you go beyond your pre purchased mileage, the penalty is steep -- $5 / mile.
But given that the rated range of the standard charge battery is 240, and given that I knew I'd be driving it pretty hard, I realized that 200 miles would be fine.
Now, the car: what can I say that can't already be said? I had ultra-high expectations given everything I've read here, and it did not disappoint. This was a performance 85 with everything but the jump seats. I forgot to look at the VIN, but I noticed that the registration date was 12/26.
The acceleration is absolutely other-worldly; as one of my friends said, "It's like a spaceship." He was totally right: the jaw dropping force, absent a roaring ICE, just seems like alien technology.
The display is amazing. My co-workers and I are all software product managers; after playing with the display for a few minutes, one of my former employees said in awe "This is the kind of product I want to manage!"
I did some good highway runs (the 60 to 90 acceleration is absolutely perfection), took my wife out for a lovely evening, and had the car back on time the next morning (with 20 miles to spare!). I loved the feel, the handling, and full-regen. Rear camera is great, and I actually thought the visibility was just fine. I did notice some distortion at the bottom of the windshield but it didn't bother me at all.
The car did have one flaw, and it's one I've read about here: the back speakers were really, really weak. I think last I read there was a software problem (like it was playing 2 channel music at 5.1) -- has there been an update?
And now I've driven a Tesla. It has really made a dilemma for me; I had pretty much talked myself out of getting one (mostly due to the electrical infrastructure work we'd have to do on our house, and we won't necessarily be in it for all that long)...but driving that car was amazing. So we are talking about it again.
And, for anyone out there who would like an extended test drive, I HIGHLY recommend Club Sportiva. Yes, it is pricey (I think my friends paid something like $800). But this is a far cry from a 10 minute test drive; this is a chance to take the car wherever you want, see if it fits in your garage, see how it feels to park, you name it. You get to experience the Tesla grin, you get to see the looks people give you at stop lights, the whole deal. And they treat you like a total VIP.
Of course, it's also a great present, as I can attest!