December 7, 2022

Tesla Test Week

Had a work trip which justified flying direct to LAX, and then driving down/up to San Diego — where our HQs are located. When looking at rental options, I was surprised that Hertz offered Tesla’s for about the same price of a premium sedan.

Here are a few notes after using a white 2022 Model Y for about 4 days:

  • Initially, the accelerator pedal was messing with my head. It doesn’t flow like a gas engine when you lift your foot — it actually breaks the car. There’s a mode to simulate how a regular gear box works, but after a few miles I got the hang of it.

  • The fact you don’t turn off the car was also weird for most of the trip. On my 2008 Nissan Xtrail, I have a ritual to allow the diesel turbo to cool off a bit, and turn off the AC, lights, etc., to minimize any funny business. On the Tesla, you just push the Park button and get off.

  • I left the car unlocked the first day, assuming it would lock itself after I walked away. This wasn’t the case, but I think this has more to do with the simplified access key card” you get with the rental.

  • Same with the dashboard screen. I missed CarPlay a bit, but I guess it’s because I didn’t have any mobile app to send addresses or integrate Spotify. That said, the navigation app was still better than Waze or Apple Maps for me.

  • It felt extremely stable on the highway. My racing days are behind me, but even when going at the highway limit, the Model Y felt maneuverable and predictable.

  • I did hit the back tires on the curb a few times. Not sure if it’s because the car is wider than it appears.

  • There’s a billion videos of this, but it needs to be said: the acceleration is life-changing.

  • I had the long-range option, which translated into me leaving LAX with 80% and arriving at San Diego with around 30% after ~125 miles.

  • Charging was far from the drama I had imagined. It helped a lot that Christian told me the following a few days earlier:

    Forget about the gasoline car paradigm — in which you always top up.

  • I spent ~$60 on two Tesla supercharging stops. Hertz charges this to your credit card as it would for tolls. Easy.

  • On the drive down, the autopilot disabled itself because I let go of the wheel, which I consider fair. The drive up was made a lot less bothersome thanks to the autopilot. It did brake very hard once when it though a car was going to change lanes in front of me, but other than that, it was a great driver. I wasn’t brave enough to allow the autopilot to change lanes and exit the highway. But for LA traffic and highway driving, it was amazing.

In the end, I loved driving the Tesla. In my mind, this was like using a SSD laptop in 2009. It’s still expensive, but not crazy. It’s not as convenient as regular” cars/laptops. But you don’t have to imagine it’s the future, it’s already a better present.

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