An actual list of real-world benefits to owning a Tesla and not just infectious fandom.
I’ll cover real-world 21st century reasons for buying a Tesla instead of any other car.
- cost savings
- convenient refueling
- display interface
- software integration
- cool factor
…and still more bonus reasons!
REASON #1 – Performance
It’s fast as hell. Honestly, you could even say it’s too fast. I can totally see why they put the “chill” acceleration mode. The “sport” acceleration mode actually makes some of my friends nauseous. In case you’re wondering, even the “slower” models are faster than those roller-coasters with the extreme G-force. You literally feel like you’re in a spaceship being rocket-boosted into the future.
Also incredible handling and fun to drive. The battery weight on the bottom of the car really lowers it’s center-of-gravity making it much more stable. It’s the difference between a flimsy Toyota SUV swaying in the wind and a sporty Audi “sticking” to the ground.
But how is this helpful for real-world use?
- It’s cool as hell and more powerful than so many sport/muscle cars out there. It’s like Ferrari acceleration for way-less-than-Ferrari price. I think the Model 3 acceleration time is among the fastest of any car below $250k and it only costs like $40k.
- You can teleport across red lights at intersections.
- You can quickly speed up into a fast freeway lane from a stopped lane.
- Easily beat 98% of the cars trying to race you at red lights. (I don’t recommend this, of course.)
- Fun to drive. Really sporty vibe.
REASON #2 – Cost savings
I’m like most people. We want the better things in life but don’t want to pay more for them. But learning that Teslas cost you LESS while giving you MORE…makes it a no-brainer.
- How much gas/maintenance savings will you get in a Tesla?
- The answer is about $180 per 1,000 miles in a busy city metro.
- $2160/year if you drive 12k miles per year.
- You’ll save even more when factoring in that you don’t have to do all that car maintenance (water pump, timing belt, transmission service, spark plugs, fuel injector cleaning, etc and etc).
REASON #3 – Convenient refueling
I don’t even have a home-charger and can definitely speak on the convenience of refueling your car from anywhere. Just plug it in and you can charge your car while you sleep, eat, play, study, work, shop, go on vacation.
Yes, electric chargers are not everywhere yet…but they are like in the pre-WIFI era now. Soon, they will be everywhere and free!
You’ll always have to charge your car but it’ll be less of a thing that you need to do. No more pitstops in inconvenient scary places. No more having to stop and get gas.
But UNTIL that future hits, the current state of electric charging is like this (and it ain’t so bad!):
- LEVEL 1 – any regular wall outlet (charges 2-5 miles per hour)
- LEVEL 2 – industrial outlet or regular electric charger (charges 12-30 miles per hour)
- LEVEL 3 – Tesla supercharger (charges 150-1000 miles per hour, but slows down once you hit 80%)
REASON #4 – Display interface
The giant display makes everything so modern and clean and beautiful. Sleek lines. Simple display for all controls. Comparing Tesla to regular ICE’s is like comparing an iPhone to the old Nokia phones. Tesla feels like a simple screen iPhone compared to the usual airplane cockpit buttons and dials of an ICE.
Do the buttons make your car go any faster? No. But it’s so easy to use. So fun to use. Even if you’ve never used it before, you can figure it out in 5 minutes. Even if your friends or kids wanted to change the AC or radio station, they could figure it out in a minute…instead of the usual car where you don’t even know which button tuns the radio on/off.
All it took for me to appreciate the display was:
- Not seeing all the usual buttons.
- seeing a huge navigation screen of Googlemaps (not some outdated gamelike golf-GPS graphics). I loved it so much. No more holding up my phone and scrolling around to check out the map while driving at the same time. No more wasting phone battery for GPS. My phone is safely put away or better yet, I can use my phone without switching away from the GPS. Plus, you can see many steps ahead if you want.
- Car controls feel so much more immersive with that giant screen!
Honestly, the display is a whole other device and “bonus” in itself. Has a browser, streaming music, games. I love the giant backup camera (much bigger than any other car) AND you can have it on anytime while driving forwards (you don’t have to be backing up).
REASON #5 – Autopilot
This is for me the major game-changer and probably the #1 or #2 reason why I love my Tesla. (And I don’t even have the FULL SELF-DRIVING; I have only the basic “Enhanced Autopilot”.) It is so freaken cool and I want to cry with joy because of how much it’s improved my life.
What does the standard “Enhanced” Autopilot do?
- Adaptive cruise-control – maintains set distance from car in front (regardless if it speeds up or slows down). Also slows down if a car merges into your lane (or rudely cuts you off).
- Autosteering – automatically steers the car to stay in between lanes.
That’s it? Yeaup, that’s it. The basic Autopilot doesn’t stop at red lights or stop signs, make turns, change lanes, avoid potholes.
There is basically only one place you can use it for and here is why it’s so life-changing…
NO MORE FREEWAY DRIVING! Remember all those hours of you life you spent piloting your car on the freeway? Remember all those hours you spent in traffic? You can kiss those days goodbye. The Tesla autopilot will steer your car and hit the gas and brakes for you. Yes, it’s basic robot monkey driving but will literally SAVE YOUR LIFE!
I’ve only had my Tesla for 3 months and can’t believe how many hours of my life I got back. I almost don’t even “drive” on the freeway anymore. I just put the car into the 1st or 2nd lane from the left and turn on Autopilot. Then I do something else…like check emails, send messages, check Facebook, play games on my phone, even fall asleep (not recommended). I move my chair all the way back and stretch my legs. I clean up trash around my car. One time, I rebuilt a client server in traffic…yes, I was literally on my laptop hotspotting of my phone and just looking down and typing away.
The even crazier thing is I’m almost enjoy traffic now. It’s like getting free hours of my life. I just check out completely and go on my phone. I let my car do all the driving! All the stop-and-go, the braking, the car deals with all of it!!! It’s like having your own uber driver. You won’t believe how many hours of your life you’ll get back.
Autopilot alone is worth it a hundred times over. If you even think Teslas are expensive, just count how much your time is worth and how many hours you’ll save with Tesla Autopilot. We aren’t far from the future days where we’ll say, “Remember when people used to drive cars?” And someone else will laugh about how their grandfather had to do it every morning for work. It’s like the days of riding a bicycle to generate power.
But what happens when you get the “Full Self-Driving” package?
- Hitting the turn signals will tell the car to change lanes during Autopilot
- Basic Summons – car can be remotely controlled to go forwards or backwards (useful for parking or changing parking spots to avoid tickets)
- Enhanced Summons – car will come to you (must within 150-feet and direct line-of-sight from you) see video
That doesn’t seem like much but Tesla plans release in this order:
- Full self-driving capability from on-ramp to off-ramp, including automatic lane-changes. Crazy, it can handle all freeway driving for you!
- Completely full self-driving even on city streets, managing intersections and stop signs.
- Can even be summoned to come to you from a far away location. (Like you’re at a friend’s house and summon it to come pick you up. Then you can sleep while it drives you home.)
Personally, I think the free on-ramp to off-ramp is realistic and might not be that far away. But the whole Autopilot city driving is too hard to imagine. How will the car even know who’s turn it is at stop signs? How will the car navigate blocked roads or unexpected obstructions? What about unmarked roads?
But nonetheless, the fact that we’re even talking about how we’re gonna teach a car to drive itself is a sign of Tesla’s massive progress.
REASON #6 – Software integration
This is so brilliant and I think we are barely touching the surface of what this means for the future of automobiles. I wouldn’t even know where to being.
First off, Tesla cars are like a computer that gets upgraded over time with new features and improvements. This makes it more of a living entity than a stale piece of technology just depreciating without offering new value over the years. While the financial value of a Tesla car won’t appreciate (like Elon so claims), it’s ability to provide value to you will increase with ownership.
The software integration within the car allow you to manage endless features and settings within the car. And the beauty of software is that it’s all virtual. Your future Tesla might have more features while not requiring more buttons and knobs within the car. It’s brilliant.
What can the software do inside the car? All usual car stuff AND MORE:
- driver profiles (seat & mirror position)
- locking/unlocking doors
- open/close trunks
- AC and temperature
- wipers and defroster
- bluetooth & WI-FI
- GPS & navigation
- games (yes, there’s a whole Tesla arcade to entertain you/kids)
- mileage and energy reports
- lighting and mirrors
- open garage doors (it can memorize more than one!)
- graphical visualization of nearby vehicles and people
- distance sensitivity from nearby objects (I LOVE THIS)
But it doesn’t end there. Tesla software is also integrated on your phone! It’s a super cool mobile app that I think is worth so much more than we give it credit for.
All things the Tesla mobile app can CURRENTLY do:
- bluetooth key (locks/unlocks your car when you get close or walk away)
- lock/unlock car (yes, remotely, from anywhere!)
- honk or flash lights
- open trunks
- climate control (keep car warm/cool how you like it, safer to leave animal/kids in the car)
- monitor charging process (can check battery levels, also know when charging was interrupted)
- locate nearby chargers
- “Sentry mode” (car records footage from all cameras into a USB stick)
- see location of your car (address & satellite GPS)
- “Valet mode” (locks trunk)
- “Speed limit Mode” (choose speed limit that the car won’t go over)
- see car mileage and vin
- open garage doors (handy for accessing car from main garage door without carry opener around)
- Can log in and out of your account. For example, you can log into another account and access your spouse’s car and vice versa. You could allow anybody to access your car by logging into the Tesla app and using it like a key.
REASON #7 – Maintenance-free
It’s not so much the reliability but the EASE of reliability. Yes, gas cars can be extremely reliable as well. I loved my previous car (Lexus) as it not only worked perfectly for 13 years but also the dealership took such great care of me. Gas cars can be reliable…BUT…you have to maintain them.
But electric cars seem to “fix” the problem by not having an opportunity for the problem at all. They don’t fix the problem at the root cause; it’s a total paradigm shift. The reason why gas cars fail easily and often is because they have so many moving parts. Moving parts gears, tubes, connectors and connections, and require careful maintenance of every little part. They have to be oiled, cooled, fitted, checked, replaced. There’s a reason why vacuum cleaners break down all the time but cups work forever.
Gas cars are reliable IF:
- you do oil changes
- regular maintenance
- major tune-ups on time
- pay attention to odd signs and cues (sounds, smells, oil leaks, etc)
- find a trustworthy car mechanic
I believe Teslas only have about 20 moving parts? That’s shocking simple despite all the complicated things it can do. Fewer mover parts equals fewer points of failure and fewer points of maintenance. The genius of solving problems by removing (not adding).
- No more oil changes
- No more brake changes (many people lasted 10 years on the original brakes, and still going)
- Virtually almost no more of the usual car service
Thanks to Tesla, we don’t need a whole other generation of people learning how to fix cars or having to find other people who know how to fix cars. Gone are the days of women getting lied to at auto-shops. Gone are the days of having to remember to do tune-ups at 30k, 45k, 60k, 90k, 120k and trusting total strangers not to rip you off.
REASON #8 – Safety
I’m fully convinced Teslas are among the safest vehicles out there. The first aspect is because the frame seems to be made very strong. I’ve always watching the test videos showing how resilient the glass is (it doesn’t break even if the car flips and and lands upside-down). Then it’s got all the usual airbag stuff and blah blah blah.
Check out these links:
- Tesla Model 3 gets perfect 5-star safety rating in every category from NHTSA [Videos]
- Tesla Model 3 adds another 5-star safety rating to its collection
The other aspect is due to the reactive technology. Tesla cars have all kinds of warning systems. Warns you when you’re about to run into a stopped/slowed object. It’ll even put on the brakes for you (although I haven’t tested this personally). It will notify you if you drift out of the lane. It’ll also react-steer for you if someone enters your lane and about to hit your car.
Oh, and I almost forgot. The freaken camera system! The whole “Sentry Mode” recording videos to the USB drive is really something else. It’s like having your own mobile surveillance system that not only watches your car but also the surroundings. Handy to have footage as evidence for accidents, crimes, or just fun to see other people gushing over your car.
REASON #9 – Environmentally-friendly
Yes, you’re saving the environment by going electric. Not only less carbon, but less money to those bastard oil companies jacking up the planet, polluting the habit of humans and animals everywhere.
Yes, I’ve heard of the argument about most electricity being generated by burning coals nowadays anyway so you’re not really cutting down fossil fuel usage, just outsourcing it. There are still government demands and pushes for having more % of power generated from clean/renewable resources in the future. Some countries out there are going full electric anyway.
I love that the car doesn’t emit any toxic fumes inside or outside. It’s a clean vehicle and feels and smells that way! I do think buying a Tesla is one of the most conscious-consumption choices you can make to help the environment.
REASON #10 – Cool factor
Not that you should ever buy a car solely for its cool factor, it’s nice to know that Tesla has an abundance of it. I’m not 100% sure how but Tesla appeals to everyone. All genders, races, ages, personality types. Yes, there are those diehard GAS-ONLY REAL-CARS-ONLY type of guys who hate on it but even they can’t put down the fact that it’s super fast and easy to use.
But what makes the cool factor? The styling, the brand, the way it works. Everything. Even relatively gimmicky things like the gull wing doors on the Model X turn the $100k SUV into a supercar. My common-as-hell Model 3 gets checked out all the time. Everyone thinks it’s way more expensive than it is and cooler than it is. And then again, I think the car is actually even cooler than most people thing it is. It’s not just a great driving experience but a whole new lifestyle convenience.
More storage (frunk)
This benefit is somewhat nice but not that big of a deal it’s made out to be. The bigger models (like the S & X) give you way more space that you actually feel like you’re getting an extra trunk. But in the smaller Model 3, it’s just enough to fit a carry-on. It’s still nice, if only for the separation of space.
Self-presenting handles on the Model S and gull wing doors on the Model X make you feel like a goddamn super hero! The Model 3 with its cryptic push tab handle makes you feel more like a modern day than a superhero but still emotionally impactful nonetheless.
The spaceship factor
Driving a Tesla doesn’t feel so much like you’re driving a car so much as a spaceship. The glass and engineless aspect of it seriously makes me feel like I’m driving one of those concept cars from my childhood. And actually, I AM!
Electric is the future
Whether you like it or not, electric cars are the future anyway. Tesla has already put so much of a dent in other automakers’ sales that they’re all forced to make better hybrid/electric counterparts to compete (and they’re not competing very well).
In case you haven’t followed the sales graphs, Tesla isn’t only the #1-selling electric vehicle, it’s also the #1-selling luxury vehicle. If you’re buying a car now, it only makes sense to future-proof it by going with electric, not gas (and Tesla makes the best electric cars).
And in case you STILL don’t want to buy a Tesla, just know that some countries have already planned not to allow gas cars to be sold as early as 2025 (Norway). Other major countries have planned something more conservative like 2040 or 2050 but I can assure you it won’t take even that long.
There are many large automakers (like GM, Volvo, Toyota) with plans to go all-electric within 5 years. So if you’re buying a car now, I imagine it’d be smart to keep in mind what future “refueling” infrastructure might look like.