Tesla Test Week
Had a work trip which justified flying direct to LAX, and then driving down/up to San Diego — where our HQ’s 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.