My Dream of the “Eternal Car” is a Reality

Paolo is an insurance agent from Rossano Veneto, about 40 miles from the canals of Venice. His Arctic White Roadster Sport was one of the first Teslas in Italy – and we expect it to become one of the most high-mileage Roadsters in Europe at this rate! Versione Italiana As a long-time technology fan, and contrary to what everyone else around me was saying, I knew what I could have expected from an electric car. But the Tesla Roadster has exceeded every expectation. What an incredible car! But let's back up. I work as an insurance agent, and I drive a lot – 30,000-35,000 miles per year, almost always in short hauls between the little towns of northern Italy. I often drive in rural places where gorgeous greenery is abundant and vivid. The back roads are hardly ever straight, and after so many years traveling here I have learned to appreciate every single bend, ascent and descent on on every hill in the region.

Because I rely so heavily on it, my car is more than a simple working tool – it’s where I spend a good deal of my life. So I usually “baby” my cars and am conscious of the fact that, with every single mile I drive, I am closer to the time when I will have to “abandon” my friend who carried me on so many journeys. My dear, old ICE cars usually hit this sad point at about 60,000 or 70,000 miles. At this time, I am forced to chose whether I should sell the car when I can still fetch an acceptable price -- or whether I should keep it and watch its resale value quickly plummet toward zero and deal with mounting bills as the complicated engine grew more fragile. Given my workload, reaching 70,000 miles for me is a simple matter of a couple of years. Yet selling a car so quickly simply because of the economics of resale value has always been unpleasant – almost painful, and certainly not lucrative. I have been devoted to BMWs, and I obviously dislike selling them at 50 percent of their new value. What I really wanted as an “eternal” car – and this desire, along with my passion for technology, turned me onto all-electric vehicles. EVs have few components, low friction and almost endless mileage. You reach 100,000 miles -- you replace the battery pack, and the car is like new! I really wanted to find such a car and move beyond the era where I am obliged to abandon my car for a simple matter of economics, wear and tear. Also, after two years with an all-electric Vectrix maxi-scooter, I wanted a car that would give me many of the advantages that only EV powertrains offer: no noise, immediate power and, importantly, a clean conscience knowing that I’m not polluting the amazing greenery that surrounds me on my daily commutes.

When Tesla debuted the Model S in March 2009, I was one of the first in Europe to put down a reservation. Many of my friends looked at me as if I were a madman, putting down a deposit for a car that existed only as a prototype and had many doubters. But I believe that was because they hadn’t heard about or driven the Roadster. When I discovered the Roadster, I simply could not believe the specs: 240 miles of range, 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds... and, above all, just one major piece of maintenance: a simple battery pack replacement! My "eternal car" was becoming a reality... Several months after I put down my deposit, thinking about how the Model S would not be produced until 2012, I made a bold decision: I decided to order a Roadster. I now know that this was one of my best decisions! Before the car had even arrived, I had read the user manual and simply could not wait for it to arrive to see if my high expectations from this technological jewel could have been real. And my expectations truly were really high. The car arrived in March 2010, brought by truck directly to my home. In less than a blink of the eye, I was already in the cockpit. From the first time I floored the "gas" pedal, I immediately realized that the Roadster not only met, but in fact surpassed, my expectations – and by a good length! The car reacts like no petrol car. The huge torque is always available, without unnecessary gear switching, conveying a priceless sensation of controlled power. And the regenerative braking is so intuitive that you simply move your ankle and you are at your desired speed, whether you want to speed up or slow down. You just think about accelerating, and the car immediately reacts, without lags. It is as if the car becomes a materialization of your thoughts! I have been driving the car for several months now, yet the sensation of the electric motor – day after day, again and again – delights me. No other car that I meet on the local roads can pass it, though so many try to challenge it. I have left behind Porsche and BMWs! I was one of the very first people in Italy to take delivery of a Roadster, and you still don’t see them very often here. Complete strangers stop me when the car is parked to say that the car is mysterious, even mystic. They don’t know it’s electric, and they expect the roar of a petrol super car. I often give these people rides. I have seen more than one person visibly shaken – and certainly no one remains indifferent. It’s an amazing feeling, knowing that I helped open so many eyes.

All of this is difficult to describe until you drive the Roadster yourself. Then you will feel it, too! I cannot remain a single day without driving the Roadster. I drive it for work, for amusement, even just for relaxation. Feeling the sweet but powerful hiss of the motor gives to me such a charge, no other vehicle comes close. To have this combination of feelings in any other car – that’s a pipe dream. Even on the preposterous assumption that you could find another car with all this torque and no noise, and even if you could get the same fuel efficiency from another car – well, it would still be a beautiful but sad dream because I would know that, in about 60,000 miles, it would again come to an end. With every single vibration and movement in the engine, you come closer to the car’s demise. But not in the Roadster. This is truly the only car that achieves all of the qualities I have ever wanted in a vehicle. My dream of an "eternal car" has arrived!