A Family's Tesla Affair

Plan a test drive Experience Autopilot for yourself

Sometime in early 2010, I was invited by an acquaintance to take a short drive with his friend in a Roadster. All it took was a simple ride to register in my mind that this was indeed something very, very different and positive. Over the next couple of years we watched as Tesla talked about its ambitions to build a new car from the ground up; it purchased the factory in Fremont, began building its capability, and gave us more and more sneak peeks at what it was developing.

Just after a dinner with colleagues in San Jose’s Santana Row, I told my team I was going to stop by the Tesla store, where I had seen the beta prototype vehicle. I went into the store, sat in the car, and got my first experience of what automobiles should be like. I drove back to my hotel, called Crystalyn (for permission, of course), then sent Tesla a deposit for Model S.

Our first Tesla

After getting on the waitlist for a Signature edition of Model S (the first 1,200 in North America), our car was delivered on November 26, 2012 – just 4 days before the birth of our fourth son. It was a new experience for us – because the St. Louis service center did not exist at the time, the semi-truck pulled up to my street, with a delivery specialist who had flown in from Chicago following immediately behind it. The car was unloaded, and together we unwrapped our Model S, affectionately calling her “Tessie”, and it was just stunning – one of the most beautiful cars we had ever seen.

Spreading the word

Immediately, the car drew attention. People would pull up aside us to take pictures while driving; they’d stop us as we were leaving the grocery store to ask questions about it. Along with another local owner, we were invited by the St. Louis Auto Show to demonstrate our car in January, 2013. Thousands of people gathered around to see the future of transportation and ask us questions about how we managed to “drive electric”. We’ve always taken the time to tell others what the future of vehicular transportation looks like.

Our four boys love to ride in the Tesla and talk Tesla just as much as we do. They love explaining the technology to others, telling about their role in plugging it in, keeping it clean, etc. When the rear-facing seats were installed in January, 2013, they immediately hopped in and buckled up:

As the Superchargers opened across the country, it gave way to long-distance travel – and we were delighted to take the entire family on two trips to Florida without paying a cent for fuel!

Tesla puts pride in their customer service

Tesla continues to amaze and delight us with the combination of ever-improving technology and top-notch service. The technology is amazing, yet simple at the same time. When something has gone wrong, we’ve never experienced a level of service from another manufacturer or dealer compared to what the team in the St. Louis service center is able to provide us. The staff puts pride in their customer service.

Gathering the troops for Tesla

It is said that Tesla’s best marketing asset is its customer base, and we’re proud to be a part of that. We co-founded the St. Louis Tesla Enthusiasts group, demonstrating our own personal vehicles in events that benefit from showing the cars. For four years, we have demonstrated Tesla technology at the St. Louis Auto Show for tens of thousands of people. And when a former car dealership owner in the Missouri legislature attempted to sneak a provision into a bill which would deny Tesla the ability to sell its cars in Missouri, we rallied the group and brought 14 different cars from the St. Louis area to the Missouri Capitol to fight for the consumer’s right to purchase cars the way they want to purchase them.

Model X joins our Tesla family

There’s an even happier end to this story: our experience with Model S led to a down payment in 2013 on Model X. An anxious wait over the next couple of years led to the first Model X delivery in St. Louis on February 5, 2016 – a beautiful new signature red Model X, with all the technology improvements that Tesla has built into the new model… the car drives itself! It was affectionately named “Eve-ah!” by our boys, after one of the robot stars of Disney’s Wall-E movie.

Over 3 years and 72,000 miles later, we can confidently say that we plan to be loyal Tesla customers for years to come!

--Craig & Crystalyn Huegen & family