Tesla Surprise


I drove the Tesla Model S last weekend. I was really impressed. OK, I didnt have high expectations going in, but this was not only an impressive car, but it was a mini-revolution both in terms of the car itself and the sales experience.

I happened upon the showroon in Westfiled of all places, en route to the Lego shop. I had a look at the car, whcih seemed much more impressive sitting shiny in its brand new showroom than when I first saw it sitting alone and unloved at the Frankfurt Motor Show 3 or 4 years ago. The showroom experience is slick, name taken and test drive booked on the salesman's tablet witin minutes and a web link emailed to me. Only fault I could find was that they did not email to confirm the test. When I turned up for my test, I was taken out by a very impressive guy, Max de Zegher, just graduated from Imperial College with an engineering degree - not a sheepskin coat in sight. He knew everything about the car and sold its attractions much more effectively than most car salesmen I know (Tom, you are of course an exception).

The car itself was a different experience - it's quite a large car for London commuting and it's not cheap, but wow, it's quick and it handles really well. The driver experience is really enjoyable and the turbine like acceleration coudl be quite addictive. And with the batteries below the floor (and I guess towards the centre of the car), the centre of gravity is low and the car really handles. And little things like no transmission tunnel, front and rear luggage compartments, an optional extra 2 seats in the boot to turn it into a 7 seater, plus no controls other than for the windows and mirrors (all the switchgear is integrated into a large LCD screen in the centre) a really good stereo, and integrated GPS with a 3d visual display mean plenty of brownie points at cruise night.

Will I buy one? Lets see what the leasing company says - I don't fancy the residual risk, which could wipe out the modest savings of the electric drivetrain. Also it has a staring price of £50k, and I managed to get the bigger engined car up to a short £100k without really trying. But the leasing company called today so I will report further.

But well done Tesla, I should have paid more attention when they did the IPO..