Three months ago, a flatbed truck pulled into our quiet Vermont neighborhood just as we were finishing dinner, and everything changed. While a gruff trucker from Queens pulled the car off his vehicle, my kids did some sort of dance, and my wife and I watched amazed. We weren’t expecting a car for weeks, and suddenly, there it was in the driveway.
I signed a receipt and reminded the gentleman he was supposed to take the 2011 Kia Sportage we were trading in. That was news to him, but he did it anyway. By accepting delivery earlier than expected, I neglected to remove the plates from the Kia or even ask the driver how to unlock the car. We took it for a spin before realizing nothing in the car made sense. I had no idea how even to put the car into park. Although it was exciting and new, the adventure began months ago.
My daily driver up to then was a Subaru Outback which now my wife has. I love the Suburu and was disappointed their EV future wasn’t as bright. I had some money from a few crypto investments I made and liquidated. Enough for a sizeable downpayment on a car, an electric car of some sort. I was looking at the Volvo, unaware of Tesla’s entire inventory. I knew about the Model S and thought all their vehicles were in the low six figures. I didn’t know about the 3 or the Y.
I’m not a fan of Elon as a public figure, especially after he cratered some investment I had via an offhand comment. But he’s pushing technologies that need moving. One day over burritos with my boys, researching cars, we landed on the Tesla site. Saw the Model 3 price and was instantly intrigued. Not the right vehicle for a family of four and two. The model X was well out of our price range, and honestly not a fan of winged doors. That is when I learned about the Y. I knew nothing of it until that day and but quickly realized it checked all the boxes.
Our next car had to go more than 250 miles. It had to have enough cargo for two dogs and a way for them to jump in. I didn’t love the stock look, but black with black tires has a certain appeal. It took five minutes to order Tesla Y Long Range, with a $100 deposit. The deposit is now $250, I think. I put my order in at the end of April 2021. It took a bit to secure financing since we weren’t going with Tesla’s in-house financing, but our Credit Union was keen on working with us.
A few notes. Since we were in Vermont and the closest dealership was five hours away, I never even test drove a car or met a salesperson in person. The reps I worked with were great and answered questions quickly and honestly. Thinking about every in-person vehicle I’ve bought, I can think of at least one slimy tactic used with each one.
The hardest part is waiting for a VIN. It took a few weeks, and you question whether or not you bought a car during that time. Once the VIN came in, I priced insurance (Progressive seemed the best at the time) and finalized the numbers. We were now about four weeks into the process. I was looking at the end of June or early July delivery. I went from not caring about Tesla to growing impatient.
Somehow my car was ready much earlier. It was in Paramus by June 4 or June 5. Since the trade-in was in my wife’s name, she’d have to go to Paramus too. Due to work and kids’ schedules, it would be weeks before that could happen. Fortunately, there is an option of bringing the car to you. Unfortunately, it’s $750. I bit the bullet and had them deliver, primarily afraid of the test drives that would be happening if I left it at a dealership for a month. I wonder who put the 276 miles the car was delivered with since the paperwork had the milage at 12.
In the three months since I’ve driven it another 4,500 miles, those miles include highways from Vermont to New Jersey, hundreds of miles on pebbly dirt roads, and over grass and hills. The same roads my Subaru has conquered, the Tesla Y has handled equally well. I’ve read the paint job is one of the car’s weaknesses, but so far, it’s fared well, although it’s been a while since I’ve done a deep clean. I’m not fastidious when it comes to keeping the exterior smudge-free.
What I love about the car. First, yes, it’s fast. Suddenly other cars want to race you, and with a 0-60 time under 5 seconds, it probably can beat all of those Subaru tuners I seem to always be next to at Vermont traffic lights. There’s even an upgrade on the app to take your 0-60 time from 4.8 down to 4.2 seconds. That is if you pay $2000. I may at some point, but the temptation is not that strong right now. If you have the performance model, you’re already under 4 seconds.
It charges fast at Tesla SuperCharger stations. I thought it’d take an hour or more to change on long trips but was surprised to find it was about 20 minutes from about halfway to full charge at the Superstation in Kingston, NY. Good thing the car includes Netflix, and Disney Plus is coming.
I think about the people who have had Teslas for years. They probably felt like pioneers. With few on the road and fewer stations, it probably felt a bit like a novelty. But now they’re everywhere. Sometimes Tesla drivers will wave, but mostly not. I supposed with more on the road, that custom will disappear entirely. I’m okay with that. What I like now is the stations are Tesla only, but that too will change.
I also have a charger in the garage. Supercharger stations tend to be about five times faster, but you can schedule your charge for off-peak hours at home. We have solar, so our car is solar-powered primarily, although, with charging, we’re dipping back into the grid when in other years we usually are 100% solar in the summer. So EV’s aren’t free or like powering up a toaster. It costs money both at home and at the stations. If I’m charging during peak hours and running major appliances like the dishwasher, it sometimes trips the breaker.
I love the display. I’m not picky, and I know Tesla has made updates and will continue making changes, but I’m cool with everything they’ve done right now. It’s easy to get to the music, maps controls, etc., and I enjoy the minimalist quality of the dashboard. Your hands don’t get in the way, and the speedometer is never far from view.
I love Dog mode. With two dogs, I run errands with them all the time, stopping at parks along the way. Going into a store on a 90-degree day and knowing my dogs are in 68-degree air conditioning makes my life easier. You can check your car’s temp in real-time via the app. It’s a win-win.
I love the space. It has a lot of cargo room, about as much as our Outback. It’s a little lower in the trunk area, so we lose some there but makeup with the frunk – the front-Trunk.
I love the extras. You can change the horn sounds from everything from a fart to a goat. I’ll never use it in reality, but my kids love to play with it. Plus, the car has a speaker on the outside, so with preloaded sound effects, you trick kids into thinking the ice cream truck is on the way. Or channel Monty Python to sound like hollow coconuts.
There’s Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, with Disney+ being rolled out now. None of these work while the car is in motion. There are plenty of video games, including Chess and Stardew Valley. So the kids will have fun while my wife and I run into the gym for a quick workout. So as a babysitter, it’s great.
The Long Range Tesla Y says it should get 326 miles on a full charge. It won’t. Not even in ideal situations, but it does come close enough to avoid range anxiety. I usually can drive for nearly a week with a single charge. Then when I shoot weddings out of town, it gets me just about everywhere I need to go with a single charge.
The thing I’m not a fan of the Bluetooth. It forgets my phone often.
Full self-driving. I tried it for a month for $200 and hated it. It swerved a bunch of times for no reason giving me a heart attack. My hands are on the wheel, and I’m paying attention, so when there’s nothing but open road, your car suddenly thinks a child something is there sucks. I used autosteering all the time as well as adaptive cruise control. It just is an extra safety measure. If someone is using these and not paying attention, they shouldn’t be using the car at all, but having a second hand and brake is not a benefit that I think non-Tesla drivers don’t understand. All you need is an auto-steer and cruise.
Tesla hate. I never knew it was a thing. I’ve gotten some odd tailgaters, parking tickets when I’ve already paid, comments from co-workers who don’t like Musk. Here’s the thing. I haven’t had anyone drive with me who hasn’t been convinced that they’d like one by the time they got out. You kind of see how the media works in that their perception and reality are so far apart that they’re are surprised it’s nothing like they’ve heard.
Then there is Tesla Love, and it far outweighs the hate. I’ve had lots of conversations and may have convinced a few people to pick one up.
The blinkers take some getting used to. There’s been times when I thought I had the blinker on and didn’t and the converse as well.
Tesla has done that I didn’t think possible to make me care about cars again.