From NYC to SF, owning a Tesla in the city is a breeze!

Mark Seeger, September 27, 2016

It all started with brown leather shoes. 4 years and 3 Tesla’s later (two Model S’s and one Model X) my amazing EV adventure continues.

In 2011, my friend and I entered the Bellevue, WA shopping mall in search of an enticing 50% off sale for Banana Republic leather shoes we had seen advertised. We were there on a business trip. As I walked passed a Tesla store, I did a double take and retraced my steps: I had heard of Tesla before, but never seen one up close. For background, I’m an EV fanatic. The benefits of electric propulsion speak to my sensibilities: incredible performance, magically smooth experience, orders of magnitude simpler mechanics, far more efficient than internal combustion. I can go on…

The future is here

What I found in that Tesla store was the future. Model S is what cars should have been all along: internet-connected, sophisticated machines with embedded technology upgrades designed into them from the start. As opposed to the best the automotive industry has to offer: commoditized vehicles with decades-old legacy technology sold as ‘new innovations’ that have already been eclipsed by 10-year-old consumer technology.

When looking at new cars, I have always felt that the human race could do better. Rather than drag progress by decades, Tesla pushes the human race forward by leaps and bounds. And continues to. The cacophony of noises, smells, fluids, hoses, radiators, fans, vibrations, and grease of traditional car technology is replaced by the elegance of a single moving part that represents the purest form of power delivery and energy storage.

Model S or Model X

I promptly made a reservation for a Model S and a Model X. I’m an SUV guy (I have a large dog) and as the X was years away at the time (this was 2011), the S would tide me over. 6 months later, I took delivery of my S in New York City where I lived, and enjoyed celebrity status for over a year. People would stop on the street, at lights, at crosswalks—asking all about it. I even had a convoy of three police cruisers pull me over only to ask questions and look beneath the ‘engine bay’ (the frunk).

The convenience of Autopilot

One day, I blew a tire and was given a Tesla loaner for the day. It was newer and had the Autopilot feature. It changed my life. The next day, I bought a brand new Model S P90D (my second S). Autopilot is of course where the future of cars is. But for me, with Tesla, that future is here today. I have since taken delivery of my P90D Model X. I simply cannot articulate how amazing this car is. Every day, every ride, my amazement in this vehicle remains. Autopilot has extended my productivity, reduced my stress and fatigue, and increased my safety. Commutes are now periods of comfort and productivity. I am still ecstatic, and in love.

Chargers are EVERYWHERE!

Owning a Tesla in the city (both New York City, and where I live now in San Francisco) is incredibly easy. The condo garages have always accommodated EV chargers. My current condo installed 30 Tesla wall chargers, because there are so many Tesla’s there (I was the first!). I have my own wall charger. My New York condo installed a NEMA-1450 plug for me that they metered. Outside of that, there are chargers pretty much everywhere I park: all the grocery stores have them (Wholefoods also has a 50 kW CHADEMO, in addition to several L2 chargers), Costco, etc. They’re everywhere. Even my office parking lot has several. Charging for me is the easiest thing to do. I can plug in and forget about it, pretty much at any destination, even when I don’t have to.

I commute daily to Palo Alto from San Francisco. That’s 40 miles each way. There are 2 Supercharger stations along the route, should I have a need. I’ve never needed them.

Road trips from the Catskill mountains to Lake Tahoe

Tesla road trips are always an adventure, most so with the Model X because of the amazing view screen that it has: the drive becomes part of the attraction. That’s still such a novelty.

In the past, when we lived in New York City, we would take road trips upstate and into the Catskill mountains. This was ~4 years ago. Back then, I would always call the hotel ahead of time and ensure they have a drier outlet available, and I’d often bring an RV 220v extension chord. They were always ready to support us. Now, every hotel/wine vineyard we visit has a Tesla (or other brand) car charger, and more often then not, they have solar panels on the roof. Parking the car at the hotel always means charging the car. This is lovely because ‘stopping for gas’ just doesn’t happen. I still have saved in my glove box the receipt from the very last time I ever paid for gas. It’s 4 years old.

Driving to Lake Tahoe, in the winter, is fantastic: the Tesla rockets up the mountains faster than any other car. There are plenty of Supercharger options along the way, all of which are beside wonderful lunch stops, and one set of Superchargers in Lake Tahoe itself at a grocery store. This means that I’m never waiting for the car to charge, as I always plan it around other things I need to do. Also, a side note: The dual motor Tesla handles amazingly in the snow. Far better than any 4WD car that I’ve ever owned.

New friends, wherever we go

There is always a connection when we meet other Tesla owners. Instant friends. We wave at each other on the streets as well, chat about our shared experiences at Superchargers. It’s always warm and fuzzy; always pleasant. One of my newest friendships came through bonding over our Model X’s (we live in the same building).

Being a Tesla owner is less like belonging to a club or anything so shallow; instead it’s being part of an aspirational future that is today. The instant bond comes from the fact that we have each experienced the future, together. And, we can’t wait to bring everyone else in the world along into it.

More than just a car, it’s family

Our Teslas are more than just cars. It’s funny, but because they contribute so much to the experience of our family (beyond merely an object that provides conveyance), we refer to them as part of our family, like a vacation home or a yacht—something that is core to the experience of our family. It goes beyond safety, being in our Tesla is part of the vacation, like flying first class in an airline, for example.. except that we own it.

We’ve even named our Teslas after our dog. That’s a family tradition: going back to my grandparents, we always named our vehicles after our family pets. I continued that tradition. Huska enjoys the trip: the cargo space is super large, enough to accommodate her large bed. The lack of engine noise, and smoothness of the ride, encourages her to rest and sleep. She is super calm in the car on road trips.

Tesla, thank you. I owe you so much gratitude and thanks. Please keep doing what you’re doing. For all of us.

Tags: Model S, Model X, Charging, city, Road Trip