Life with Mr T – the Tesla

Here are two pictures. One of our Model S charging in our carport and the other of the solar panels on the roof of our house. Perhaps this will be a good starting point from which to discuss the experiences of my wife and I as well as other electric car owners.

Tesla S


Tesla S - charging

We picked up our Tesla Model S 85 on March 28th, 2014 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. I had ordered the car through the Tesla web site and expected the car to be completed and ready for pickup during the first week of April but it was ready a week early. When the Tesla rep called us with the good news I shocked her by telling her we’d already arranged for public transportation to get us the 110 miles from our home to Fremont for the following week and we’d rather wait than change our plans. It turns out they don’t like having cars sitting on the lot so after a bit of haggling and three calls from the rep we agreed to accept a free taxi ride to Fremont on the 28th.

The Tesla dealership experience is different than any other auto dealership I’ve ever dealt with. Since every customer coming in the door has either already bought their car or desperately wants to order one there is no salesperson trying to make as much money from the deal as possible. The price is the price and that’s it. We were seated in a very nice lounge where we could examine a Model S platform. Without the body and interior there is very little to a Tesla. A watermelon sized electric motor, the axles, wheels and a 4’X 8’X 4″ (approximately) battery pack. Nice and clean, not a lot of moving parts. We had a cup of coffee and talked with the other excited soon to be new owners while waiting for our tour of the factory.

The factory tour can be found on U-Tube.

After a forty minute hands on session with a tech to explain how to operate our Model S we drove home to Pacific Grove, first through heavy Silicon Valley traffic and then to highways 101, 156 and 1. I was recovering from a heart operation so my wife drove. She was a bit nervous at first but the Model S put her at ease within the first few miles. It is the smoothest, most easily controlled car either one of us has ever driven. During the month before we picked up our car, we’ve named it Mr. T, I’d had a 50 amp, 240 volt circuit installed in the carport. This charges Mr. T at a rate of 30 miles per hour of charging. So the 110 miles from the factory was recharged in a little less than four hours. I programmed Mr. T to start charging at 11pm so it was charged by the next morning.

We have solar panels on the roof of our house that reliably generate 15kW a day. That translates to a full charge, 85kW or 265-300 miles depending on how and where you drive, every five and a half days. Since we seldom drive more than fifty miles a day we are almost always driving on sunlight. Our electric bill, Mr. T included, was about $39.00 US for all of 2014.

Although we’ve only had Mr. T for a bit less than ten months my wife and I both agree it is the best car we’ve ever owned and one of the best purchases we’ve ever made.

I have some friends that own a Leaf as well as several friends that have Teslas. I’ll find out what their experiences have been and would be interested in reading the experiences of other electric car owners.

This a blog post by guest energizer John Olever