How do I convince family I'm not crazy for going all-electric?

How do I convince family I'm not crazy for going all-electric?

So my Infiniti G37 is on its last legs and I'm looking for a new car. I just test drove the Model S and am extremely impressed. I'd like to get it but I'm getting a lot of negative feedback from family. Not that any of them own a Tesla but my wife says it's a silly car because we can't drive all the way from Toronto to New York. My father (a car buff) says the Model S is an unproven go-cart (he did test drive it). He asked me what would happen if I experience an issue with the car when I'm up in cottage country (1.5 hours away from the only service center in Canada). With a gas powered car I'd be able to pull into any local garage but with the Tesla I'd either have to tow the car 1.5 hours to the service center or wait for someone from Tesla to drive up and give me a loner.

How do I address these questions and convince my family I'm not crazy for going all-electric?

jamesberday | May 9, 2013

Hi there well I live way farther north and travel much farther distances with out any thing but bush, so when I can afford one I will buy one. If you can afford one then I figure you can afford the tow if required but by the sounds of things these cars are very reliable and we all need to start thinking about the future of our smog ridden cities. I think southern Ontario would benefit so much with out all those cars polluting the air not to mention the noise pollution. So how do we change the world one car at a time eh. cheers.

jbunn | May 9, 2013


Your Model S will never suffer from any of the failures of the 10,000 extra moving parts your other car has. Sure, if you have your fuel injectors clog, you can go to a mechanic, but your Model S does not have injectors. Roughly the total system failure rate is the number of failure points times the probability for each failure point. To my mind, simplify the system, and you reduce the possibility for total system failure. Compared to a modern ICE, the Tesla mechanical system is very simple.

While you cannot drive 490 miles from Toronto to New York without recharging, you can't drive that without refueling your car either.

My wife was skeptical as well. She's also economical. I have a history of taking care of my cars, so I got 14 years on the one I was nursing. I took out the pencil and showed her what replacing my car with the new model would use in fuel over the same 220,000 miles. Comes out to be about $45,000 USD in gasoline not including oil changes and other maintenance. That was using the assumption that gas over the next 14 years is at current price. Then I asked her if she was willing to bet that gasoline would stay the same average price for the next 14 years. And she pretty much got out the checkbook and wrote a deposit check.

And we both love the car. Taking it to LA tomorrow for a few days. It will cost zero in fuel for 700+ miles.

Brian H | May 9, 2013

Brilliantly simple. Simply brilliant.

olanmills | May 9, 2013

"Your Model S will never suffer from any of the failures of the 10,000 extra moving parts your other car has."

True enough, but Model Ses can and do fail for different reasons. Until millions of people are driving Teslas, there won't be garages everywhere that can service them.

That said, the Model S is an awesome vehicle, and the risk is worth it, imo.

I don't know how often you need to drive from Toronto to New York, and how much inconvenience you're willing to put up with on such a trip, but those are all certainly factors you have to figure into as well.

What you definitely shouldn't do is think, "Well the old car can do X but the Model S can't do X, therefore, the Model S is worthless," The Model S can do things other cars can't as well. I'd gladly trade the ability to drive from Toronto to New York for all of the other every day conveniences that the Model S affords.

jbunn | May 9, 2013


I agree. Excellent way of putting it.

Complexity is the enemy.

Brian H | May 9, 2013

I was referring to your wife-convincer.


The other point I use is for the difference in fule cost for 265 miles I can pay for a rental car for a day when needed.


Excuse me fuel cost

portia | May 9, 2013

you can enjoy a great car NOW, or wait a few years until you are more certain of the reliability about the car. It is a new technology and it is not yet for everyone (GEN III maybe your car), so ask yourself what kind of person you are and do what you feel comfortable, or go out and do something new and different! It is great that there is this option for you.

some new supercharger announcement is coming, so maybe that will answer part of your question, do you plan to have this as your ONLY car? or do you have another car you can drive? there is always the rental car for a week option (during which time I can assure you you will sorely wish you were driving the Tesla!) and it's not true you can not drive from Toronto to NY, it's just how long it will take with some stops for recharging at RV parks (or maybe a supercharger someday).

trydesky | May 9, 2013

Show your wife the 99/100 rating from Consumer Reports!

carlf9121 | May 9, 2013

Having taken my 1st roadtrip from the South Bay to So Cal (OC/LA) and back with my P85, you'll need to add 1.5 ~ 2.5 hrs each direction to the actual driving time to wait in the queue of cars already occupying the charging bays & the reduced output when another Telsa owner is occupying the bay that is sharing the powerline. And if your wife wants to get from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time and not share in the Tesla experience, this may not be a winning proposition.

Being a proud Tesla owner, I met so many great people at the SuperChargers located at Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch & Hawthorne. It's all part of the Tesla Experience !!!

inverts | May 9, 2013

Another thing to consider is to rent a car for the special trip. When I got my last car (8.5 years ago, a Prius) I was wondering whether I could do all the homeowner's errands with it re load capacity. So we decided to get the Prius anyway, and rent a pickup if needed. Guess how many times I rented a larger car? Yep, never ever. Replaced boiler, put 4 drawer filing cabinets in, got 10' boards, bricks and bags of cement, trees, mulch, you name it. The MS has more room ...

So if for >95% of times (i.e., all but <18 days) a MS is fine, don't worry about it. I have a 150 mile roundtrip commute (3 times a week, so 500mi/week), and love the MS. Supercharger network is increasing, and fuel cost will go down to 10% of Prius (currently working on getting TOU meter installed), which already is a very fuel economical car.

BAMMM | May 9, 2013

take the train to New York

Jewsh | May 9, 2013

Don't worry about what your family thinks. The proof will come when you show up on time, every time for family events and have a normal or below average number of issues with the car... it will speak for itself.

RMajere | May 9, 2013

Hi Drymr,

I don't own one of these cars but like you I face a hard road to convince family that this is the way to go. so to help with your question on family I have the following advice.

For those, like your father, that point out possible repair issue and the distance to a repair place there is no difference between the tesla cars and a gas car. for example if a gas car has a leak in a gasket or a broken radiator or a trany failure or some type of large failure most likely you will need to have the gas car towed. The corner gas store is not going to be of any help. The same as with the tesla car.

now if he is referring to the gas car running out of gas or being out of radiator fluid or being out of oil! then yes the corner gas store will help out, but the only thing in the tesla car that is like that is being out of battery power and even then the corner gas store will be able to help out as long as they have an outside outlet and the tesla car can charge off a 120 outlet (which right now I cannot remember if they can). but lets make sure that we are discussing apples and apples.


TheAustin | May 9, 2013

My wife thought me getting a Model S was impractical, a waste of money, and a gamble on unproven technology that needed to utilize an infrastructure that wasn't quite ready for it. And while there may be some room for discussion on that last point, she has fallen in love with my car, and if the first one to rave about it when people ask me (me!) questions about it. She has totally come around on the Model S, and would like to get a Model X when they come out.
And, beyond me, I think you can take solace in the thousands of Model S owners that have been driving their cars for several months now (some almost a year!)...Have their been glitches and break-downs? Sure. There have been a few accidents as well. But outside of those few incidents, there have been over a million Model S miles driven by thousands of very, very happy Model S drivers. I think we can safely say that we've legitimately surpassed the Tesla Fanboy/Kool-Aid drinking phase and say that there are many, many Model S owners who are driving their Model S cars without any change/negative impact on their lives. The proof is out there.

kafahsholtz | May 9, 2013

I have had a very similar experience as TheAustin. Except that at this point my wife has taken over 'ownership' of the Model S (as she has the longest commute), and I get to drive it on the weekends. I keep reminding her about the skepticism she expressed about putting $5k down 18 months before delivery...

We've driven the car over 6,000 miles in a bit over four months. Electric bill has gone up (on average) $80 per month. Gas bill has dropped over $500. We've had no significant problems other than a cracked windshield, which Tesla fixed under warranty. My wife loves not having to stop at gas stations, and has no worries about maintenance. This is the first car in our 20 year marriage she has actually raved about as well...

To put it simply, this car has simplified our lives. Put a 220 outlet in your garage, and then figure out how you can afford a second... My wife really wants a Model X... And she made certain that we had two outlets installed.


johnpreiner | May 9, 2013

I live in Toronto and have driven 7000km since I took possession of my Model S in mid February. I have had no issues what-so-ever. My wife was sceptical initially as well, but now she shares my enthusiasm. If you have concerns about the trip to cottage country, have a 240v plug installed at your cottage. I was told this week by the Toronto service manager that there will likely be a Tesla supercharger installed north of Toronto for the trip to cottage and ski country. If you want to convince your wife, take her for a test drive at Yorkdale. I garantee she will by sold.
We are reservation holders for a Model X to replace her SUV, and will never buy another ICE car again.

Brian H | May 9, 2013

The references to getting fixed at the local gas bar are way out of date. The modern franchises have no mechanics, few parts, no repair bays, etc. They are just fuel outlets. The staff have little or no automotive knowledge. They are useless in any emergency or problem.

Sudre_ | May 9, 2013

I have to chime in on the easy repair thoughts for an ICE while traveling. Last year I was only 250 miles from home in my Saturn. The flex joint on the exhaust system broke up by the engine. I drove around Branson, MO for an hour trying to find someone to fix it since the noise was intolerable. Neither of the three exhaust shops could fix it. The part would have to be ordered and the wait was at least a few days. When I got back to St. Louis it was still a drop it off and pick it up the next day issue. My fuel pump that went out the year before took an extra day waiting on the part.

Now Tesla. They drive out to you with the loaner and leave with your nonfunctional car in tow. Sounds a heck of a lot nicer and easier than that paragraph above.

ICE: headaches and a lot of running around.

Model S: A phone call and go back to fishing, skiing or whatever is near by to do while you wait for the loaner car to arrive.... and that's if they can't fix it remotely or on the spot.

Is waiting 1.5 to 2 hours for the Model S loaner really more awkward than waiting a day for your ICE to get fixed with no car to use the entire time?

As far as dads. My dad also had a long list of all the reasons not to get the car. When I put in my order and I asked him if he wanted his name on the title too in case something ever came up he JUMPED at the chance. Remember it's not unproven car tech. The Roadsters were the unproven car tech for Tesla back in 2008. Electric cars have been around since the 90's... well actually well before that. The first car ever made was electric so they predate the ICE.
Google: "1830s The first rudimentary electric vehicles emerge, powered by one-use power-storage units. The four-stroke gasoline engine is still four decades away."

My wife now wants a Tesla but she likes smaller cars... as in BMW3 series which she loves the looks of.... so she is waiting for GennIII. She really didn't want the Model S until it arrived. She was all excited like a little kid when MY car was coming off the truck. You have to keep reminding them that it was a 'bad idea' after delivery or you will loss the car to them.

Brian H | May 9, 2013


HenryT2 | May 9, 2013

I'm sorry, I disagree with the others. I'm supposed to take delivery on my Model S later on this month. I'm sure I'll love it as much as or even more than many other Model S owners. HOWEVER, I have a second ICE car as I suspect many others do. I would not as yet go ALL ELECTRIC. I hope that that is a realistic thing to do 10 years from now. As yet, for long distance trips, backup, etc. I'm going to have a second ICE for the foreseeable future.

If this would be your only car, I would stick to a more conventional car. Sucks, but there are a few compromises.

generubin | May 9, 2013

I thought the same thing about retaining my ICE car and held on to my Civic. I never used it once in the last two months. The Model S is a daily driver, plus I have done some pretty long trips. I am in California so that makes charging easy. I sold the Civic a few weeks ago. I think once you get your Model S and have some miles on it, your confidence will be ripe to lose the ICE altogether.

negarholger | May 9, 2013

@HenryT2 - let's talk again 4 weeks after you have taken delivery. I had the exact same thought and I was so wrong. Now all I am thinking is how to pay for the 2nd MS as fast as possible - I want the red for my wife. It may depend on your location, battery size etc but once I had driven the MS for less then 2 weeks I hate every second in the ICE.

HenryT2 | May 9, 2013

@Kleist, @generubin - I hear you. But I suspect that most of us have spaces in our garage, and our bank accounts for one ICE that gets very little use. I imagine needing to drive beyond the comfortable return range of the Model S at least a few times a year. During those trips, I'd rather not have to plot out my trip to look for chargers, etc. I may be lazier than most, but I like to tailor my car to my driving habits and not the other way around. I recently took a pilot course. Decided not to get the full certification because of all the prep work etc. that it takes to fly. From what I've read on these forums, plotting a long distance journey in a Tesla is only a little less complicated to plotting cross country in a Cessna.

Also, I'm currently in Seattle area, but will be moving to California in about six months. I'll be sending my car down on a truck because otherwise, it would be a long, complicated journey. I'll be driving my ICE because I have 3 dogs and wouldn't want to unnecessarily put them on a plane. If I only had ALL ELECTRIC, I'd have to decide whether to drive down for a week with my dogs (4 carefully charted days just to get to nearest supercharger in 60kWh) or send them by plane and my car one the truck.

I'm sure, if I were a camper or owned a cabin without electricity, there would be other concerns. Or how about the unplanned road trip - I'd like to spend a week driving through Yellowstone without having to pull out a detailed map, list of charging stations, and a datebook.

Now that I think of it, I guess in those rare cases, you could borrow or rent another car. If @Drymr is prepared to do that, I say go for it. But, if for whatever reason he isn't prepared to have an ICE backup in one form or another (principle, space, not wanting to hear the "I told you so's", etc.) he's better off with a Lexus ES300 hybrid.

negarholger | May 9, 2013

@HenryT2 - I hear you and I said it may depend on your situation. Going to the in laws ( 2 hrs drive one way ) I always tried to avoid the drive in the ICE... now I am volunteering to drive the S and visit the ( very nice folks ) in laws. First time I studied all the charging points etc... now I know what the 85 kWh battery can do and no sweat, piece of cake. All I am saying is that owning and using the S may change your views - it changed mine. But enjoy the experience... and welcome to CA.

jbunn | May 9, 2013


Tesla 60 came in Febuary. Moved from seattle to california last month. Had a nice relaxing drive down over a few days. And sold my two ice cars. Teslae dont fall from the sky like Cessna

I really enjoyed the drive, and the car did great even with 400 pounds of extra gear, highway speed, and mountains. Driving from san fran to la tomorrow. All superchargers, zero cost

FLsportscarenth... | May 9, 2013

Um your crazy to buy a ICE car when you can have a MS...

Gas stations... yuck!

Tâm | May 10, 2013

@HenryT2 :

I live in Orange County/Los Angeles area. I used to own a Prius and I used to got stressed out with my ICE and flew for my travel needs of a stretch of about 600 miles to Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego in California and Las Vegas next door in Neveda.

I sold off the ICE immediately and never look back when I got the Model S 4 months ago.

It does take more time in long distance driving but it's so relaxing with My Model S. It has proven to be perfect for the job for my travel needs and I no longer got molested or irradiated at airport security checks!

I plan to expand my travel distance and drive across the US to visit old friends once more Superchargers are deployed.

I am now no longer stressed out while driving my Model S. So far, it's over 11,000 miles for the past 4 months, and have never driven an ICE ever since!

Brian H | May 10, 2013

We're betting, IOW, that you too will discover a great willingness to do whatever planning and plotting is necessary to use the MS and avoid the ICEs. Remember, the human brain is the organ responsible for finding means and justifications for what we want to do. And you will want to maximize your MS driver's seat time.

HenryT2 | May 10, 2013

@Kleist, @jbunn, @Tam, @BrianH:
The few minutes I've had to drive the Model S during 2 test drives were exhilarating. I've had butterflies ever since I got my delivery schedule. Getting my Model S will be one of the best "gifts" I've gotten since I was a kid. I've wanted a Tesla ever since I heard about the Roadster long ago but I didn't get one then because of practicality concerns. And, as a practical kinda guy, if I could only have one car now, I still think, as much as I love the Model S, I wouldn't. It's like asking a Ferrari owner if he'd keep his Ferrari if he couldn't have a second car. I'm sure most Ferrari owners are fanatic about their cars and love them as much as the love I've seen here for the Tesla (well, maybe not quite as much - we do seem to be a fanatic bunch). But I think they'd agree that there are limitations and it might not be the most practical for a single car solution.

I realize that, as fun as it can be, unlike the Ferrari the Model S is NOT A TOY and is very practical in most cases. And as I said, I'd probably be satisfied if I knew that on the rare occasion, I could rent a car for those situations where the Model S wasn't the best fit.

However, I hope I'm wrong. I've had a taste of the kool aid, but I have not had the opportunity to drink my fill. I may just come around to your side in a couple of weeks.

Bottoms up, gentlemen!

P.S. I got the 40kWh version because I live in the Seattle area and I rarely drive more than 60 or 70 miles round trip. This will not translate well to California driving and even the upgrade to 60kWh may not be adequate.

HenryT2 | May 10, 2013


Why an ALL ELECTRIC solution? Is this just a hypothetical situation? Is there a REAL LIFE CONDITION that would keep you from having a second ICE car?

Liz G | May 10, 2013

My husband and I will be going totally EV just as soon as we can figure out how to pay for our second one. We drive Lithie everywhere now. In fact, I've already experienced a dead m old car for lack of driving it.

We plan on taking her up to Upper Michigan and out to Colorado this year. Yes, we realize until the SuperCharging network is up and running these trips will take a bit longer, but we're willing to pay that early adopter fee.

We know not everyone is willing to do that but the daily benefits of having a Model S are great enough that we are willing to accept the additional time for long trips. In fact, I think I may find it quite fun. When I go to Denver, I plan on using my charging time to check out some of the small towns I stop at and met new people. Might turn out to be the best trip ever.

ChristianG | May 10, 2013

If the next service center is far away from you it probably will be more inconvinient than most other cars if it breaks down. And many posts here and on TMC proof that it did happen.

The ranger service is here to lessen that problem, but it probably depend on where you are if it really works, as Tesla is still ramping up all the service centers and stuff. Also Tesla is not too big to fail, so it is a risk.

You have to decide yourself if you are ready to take it or not.

Madatgascar | May 10, 2013

It's simple. If there is a superchager on your regular long route, it's a no-brainer. The Model S beats every other car in every metric you can think of - safety, reliability, user interface, storage capacity, acceleration, you name it. You will never look back. Heck I would have bought the car on its looks alone even if all those things were equal to other luxury cars. Some people are a little slow on the uptake, but eventually they will come around.

BUT - If there are only regular charging stations on your route, you should wait for the supercharger. Regular charging really takes too long to rely on it for a regular long commute.

mrspaghetti | May 10, 2013

Instead of trying to convince them you're not crazy (because you might actually be), try to convince them that's not always a bad thing.

Some would say Elon is crazy too :)

celtrog | May 10, 2013

your family may not be ready for a MS.....
It is not for everybody right now.
Consumer reports rates it the best car EVER....

However we are in its infancy....
there are some great strides in battery technology (particularly in Israel).....
they have a 1000 mile battery probably ready to go in a year or 2.....

that may be your window....

right now if you drive hundreds of miles regularly
you have to be willing to put up with a little inconvenience to drive the best car ever made.
you can't have everything.....(yet)