The Tesla

I was scared out of my wits.

On the very first weekend of college, I was in the backseat of a Pontiac Trans Am driven 110 MPH down the curves of Route 125, separating the two halves of the Middlebury College campus. Frijid Pink was on the 8-track, I was wearing no seat belt, and I was about to scream for my Mommy.

I felt exactly the same way last night. Only the driver of the Trans Am had been to racing school, and the Tesla had quicker acceleration.

Is Elon Musk the new Steve Jobs?

Looks like it. When he said he was going to solve the 405 construction clusterf*&^, everybody in L.A. believed him. He’s the new rock star. Because unlike the phonies in the magazines, he’s beholden to nobody and he plays by his own rules. And as monumental as his achievements are with SpaceX, it’s his consumer product that’s truly making inroads into the public consciousness, the electric car, the Tesla.

Maybe you’re aware of the “New York Times” brouhaha, wherein the writer pooh-poohed the range of the automobile and Elon Musk provided the data. Whoops! That’s what’s wrong with old media, it no longer understands the game. The fact that this car was more computer than automobile never occurred to the scribe, that Musk was tracking every move that was made, from the venues visited to the speed driven to the length and the amount of the fill-ups.

Yes, that’s what’s holding back the electric car. The range.

Not that anybody in L.A. is going to exceed the two hundred plus mile range of the Tesla Model S, because there’s nowhere to go that’s not close and if you can afford one of these automobiles and you desire to go that distance…you fly.

Yes, Tesla is for the rich.

For now.

What an interesting perspective. Musk is selling technology, not an automobile. You know technology, you price it high for the early adopters, and when you’ve got all the kinks worked out, you lower the price and you’ve got a bona fide hit.

In other words, if you’ve been to Beverly Hills recently, you’d think they’re giving Teslas away, that’s how prevalent they are. And I’ve been up close and personal, even at the “showroom” on the Third Street Promenade, but I’ve never been inside, I’ve never been taken for a spin.

But how do you get inside?

You see the door handles are recessed into the body. There’s nowhere to grip!

Turns out as you approach the automobile, it senses this fact, and the door handles pop out. It’s mesmerizing…

And you don’t bother to turn the car on. You just sit down and it knows, it fires up by itself.

And then there’s the dashboard screen. The size of two iPads, bigger. Touch-sensitive. With not only maps and radio controls, but Internet access, yup, all your e-mail is right there.

In other words, Elon Musk is making a car for today. This ain’t the music industry, this ain’t Detroit, there’s no shrugging of shoulders and talk of legacy customers and insurmountable challenges…the Tesla is positively now, as my buddy says, it’s not a car, it’s a computer.

And you can barely hear it.

And there’s none of that jerkiness as you switch gears. Because there’s not a transmission, but a rheostat, and when you floor it…IT TAKES OFF LIKE A ROCKET!

0-60 in 3.9 seconds. All you’ve got to do is press the pedal to the metal.

Or as “Automobile Magazine” said:

“It’s the performance that won us over. The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had us all endangering our licenses.”

I was scared s*&^less! It was like being at Magic Mountain, but without the confidence that engineers had assured my safety. Could my buddy handle all this speed?

Jon Landau may have declared Bruce Springsteen the future of music.

But I’m declaring Tesla the future of the automobile.

You’ve just got to go for a test drive.

Yup, I’ve seen all the accolades, the highest rating ever in “Consumer Reports,” but in a world filled with hype, with superlatives straining credulity, you never really get it until you experience it. Kind of like music, the hardest thing is getting people to listen. How many people getting the new Jay-Z album for free are gonna listen to it through and through, ad infinitum? Not many!

But everybody with a Tesla can’t stop talking about it. The media isn’t selling the Tesla, the owners are. How the car updates itself overnight. How they come to your house to fix it. How there’s a trunk not only in the back, but the front!

Leafs are great. Hybrids are cool. But if you truly want to penetrate public consciousness, shoot for the apex, the pinnacle, wow them, then you’ve got a chance.

You couldn’t understand why you needed a computer.

Then AOL connected the world and you rushed out to buy one.

You couldn’t understand why you needed a smartphone…then your friends were frustrated they could not reach you on the run.

Oh you’re gonna drive an electric car, you just don’t know it yet.

This is no Bricklin, this is no DeLorean, because unlike those failed experiments, the Tesla just works.

I’d love to be pontificating so positively about a record.

But I haven’t heard one so groundbreaking, so flawless, in a very long time.

While you’re trying to placate the gatekeepers, while you’re trying to fulfill expectations, Elon Musk is ignoring Detroit, ignoring the naysayers, he started with a clean slate and delivered something jaw-dropping.

This used to happen in music.

Remember the Beatles? Remember Bob Dylan?

Then again, they were enterprises unto themselves, they didn’t bitch that they couldn’t make enough money.

Elon Musk is not a crybaby.

And that’s why he’s successful and you’re not.

2 Responses to The Tesla


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  1. […] making it a true alternative to gasoline cars. According to some Tesla S owners and car experts, driving experience is fun. Acceleration is super fast with an impressive torque of 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 […]

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  1. […] making it a true alternative to gasoline cars. According to some Tesla S owners and car experts, driving experience is fun. Acceleration is super fast with an impressive torque of 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 […]

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