Tesla? Some fuel for thought!

“Hey Stefan! You drive a Tesla, right? You think you would choose one again if you were in the market right now?”

At least once a week I get asked this question. Really not that weird because most of my colleagues, family and friends are (still) driving Diesel or petrol powered cars. A lot of my colleagues are thinking about switching to electric though, but are looking for validation if this is really the way to go. Some seem to want to trick me in confessing that I made the wrong decision, others are sincerly interested in getting a more complete picture. I am not a fanboy in that I am proactively trying to convert people, maybe you think I am by means of this blog ;), but I do share my thoughts and experiences with whoever wants to hear them.

Ducati Hypermotard 950SP Corse

In my opinion I am a true petrol head. I ride my motorbike (Hypermotard SP) whenever I have the opportunity. It’s a V2-engine (L-Twin) with a straight exhaust, open air filter, new software mapping, you get the idea. I like the raw sound of the engine, revving it to above 10.000 RPM, and shooting flames from the exhaust.

While all of this is amazing for my, mostly short, rides in the weekend -with friends- I like the quiet and comfort of my electric car during the week. Living in the south of The Netherlands and having office in Amsterdam I spend a lot of time on the biggest parking lot of the country, called the A2. Driving slowly on the highway does not give me any satisfaction (Neither does driving anywhere else slowly but that is beside the point :) ). My radio and streaming of audio with no engine noise gives me comfort. Add an enhanced autopilot and the comfort rises to another level making the journey a lot more enjoyable.

“Don’t you miss the sound of the engine?”

Hmm… what engine? Do you mean that 4-cylinder Diesel or maybe Petrol engine? Ah… you have a V8-engine. You are a unicorn, at least in The Netherlands, don’t switch!

One thing you will never have a discussion about is the performance of an electric car. Everybody knows how fast, for example a Tesla, can accelerate compared to a traditional car. If you want something that comes even close to this kind of performance you are talking real high-end cars like M, RS or AMG models of the premium German brands. I will not compare these cars with a Tesla, it is simply not the same. They target another audience in my opinion and are priced differently as well, definitely if you calculate total cost of ownership. I love them, it would be amazing if I had the opportunity to own one, but it would not work for me as a daily-driver.

“But what about the charging, how many kilometers can you drive on a single charge?”

Yes, true, that is great question and the answer depends on multiple factors; the way you drive but also the weather to name just two of the factors. The latest model Tesla’s have over 500 kilometers of range, some even more than that. There are also other brands out there who can over an amazing distance on a single charge. In my opinion the car should be able to cover my daily-kilometers 95+% of the time. In my case this is around 250 kilometers a day on average. This is probably already more then most people in The Netherlands will cover in a day. On rare occasions I have to travel over 500 kilometers a day, this means I have to charge during the day. While the Tesla Supercharger network is amazing and chargers can be found almost everywhere I do not use them that often. Most of the times I have the opportunity to charge my car at the customer location. After your appointment you leave with a partially or maybe even fully charged car, continuing your journey.

With my car my regular number of kilometers a day is not an issue. I have the opportunity to charge the car on my driveway. At the end of every day I plugin my car and after ~5 hours the car is fully charged again. Every morning I leave with a fully charged vehicle.

Covering my kilometers on the highway I see people filling-up their cars with fuel and I think that once I had to schedule these fill-ups as well. Now the only time I stop at a petrol station is when I want a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Range anxiety? It is something that is made up by people who do not own an electric car!

“So, you charge your company car at home? Do you pay the electricity yourself or do you somehow expense this or …?”

I am not sure if this is the same in other countries than The Netherlands, so please leave a comment if you have a different experience.

I use a 3-phase charging station at home. The charging station measures the number of kiloWatts and the manufacturer shares this information with my lease company. The lease company sends a bill to my company. I get a credit note from the manufacturer and we’re all set, It’s way simpler and I do no longer have to expense my fuel usage. A win-win :).

Regarding these fuel expenses. Electricity, in The Netherlands, is way cheaper than petrol, or Diesel. Driving my electric car, my refuel cost dropped to just 25% of my previous fuel cost driving the same number of kilometers. Cost of refuelling is definitely something to keep in mind when calculating your total cost of ownership.

“I heard the software updates and the in-car games are amazing and fun, what do you think?”

Yes and maybe. The software updates are amazing. Small incremental changes to your car’s software with new features added on a regular basis. This is amazing and works flawlessly. The car is getting better and better and more feature rich every day! Part of these software updates are also the famous easter eggs, the classic Atari games and, the newly announced, playing chess (Chessla?) against the car. Personally I do not really use them. Not sure really when to use them. Again the software updates are amazing and receiving regular updates to your car gives you the idea of real value for money.

“Ok, sounds like a perfect car then?”

You can’t argue about taste but in my opinion this is an amazing looking car! :)

Yes, No… Maybe. It depends… For me, with what is currently available, within reach, and with what I want from my daily-driver, it is the perfect car. It is fast, has great handling, it is quiet, comfortable and has all the features and gimmicks a nerd like me would (ever) want in a car. My next car, based on what I know now, will again be an electric car, maybe even the same brand. We’ll see what the future brings. It does look bright though. If you see how a start-up like Tesla is able to really connect customers to their brand; the way they sell cars, deliver cars, do service to their cars, deliver updates, reward customers and more. It’s Car 2.0; a different ballgame from existing manufacturers. Looking forward to see how this industry evolves during the next years. #TheFutureIsNow!

Chief Digital Advisor at Red Hat | Creating organizational impact through Open Transformation

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