The Drive of Shame

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While I was in Los Angeles to attend the Tesla Model 3 unveiling (exclusive video here and exclusive pics here), meet with top execs at BYD headquarters, chat with executives from Schneider Electric and Evercharge in VIP suites at Formula E (videos coming), interview Faraday Future VP of R&D Nick Sampson (video coming), and more, CleanTechnica chief EV examiner and long-term Model S reviewer Kyle Field was doing the insane amount of driving we had to sit through in the City of Angels (he was more equipped for it since he lives in the area and it’s his beauty in grey — “midnight silver metallic” if you bother to look up the official color).

However, on my last full day in California, we were up in Ventura (where Kyle lives) and took a drive over to Santa Barbara to meet with another reader/writer, Don Baumhefner, a new Tesla Model X owner who is going to do a long-term review of the X for CleanTechnica and let Kyle and me poke around and even drive(!) his Model X 90D.

Tesla Model S Kyle
Image by Kyle Field of Kyle’s Tesla Model S and a couple more.

Unfortunately, I spent much of the week joking that Kyle was on the verge of getting a ticket from all the “boosting” he was doing on the roads of California, and within ~5 minutes of getting behind the wheel of the S, my words came back to bite me in the wallet — with bonus bites coming for the points on my driver’s license. Yep, I got busted doing a quick boost or two on the highway between Ventura and Santa Barbara.

It was actually right after I got on the highway, and we don’t need to go into details about it all, but the ironic thing is that I joked a mere seconds before getting the sign to pull over that I would end up getting the ticket since I had been harassing Kyle for days.

Anyway, none of that is really a story worth telling (except perhaps to help others to be more cautious and not get into such trouble!). What I was inspired to write a little bit about is what Kyle called the “drive of shame.” Indeed… sticking the Model S on cruise control right after you get behind the wheel, with your right foot aching to use the power in the pedal right next to it, is not particularly fun. In fact, I felt like it was torturous.

Elon Musk apparently created not just the best sedan ever mass produced, but also a cruel torture device. The car is constantly calling to be launched, boosted, or whatever you want to call it. It is made for that. The acceleration and fast cruising is so completely smooth, and there is so much power in the car, that it is a struggle to keep the car down to ~105 km/h (65 mph) on a broad road. While waiting on the drive all week, that had to have been one of my least favorite drives ever. That car feels like it’s going slow when driving such a speed on such a road!

Slumped down, right foot twitching, contemplating the likely cost of the ticket and boost in my eventual insurance payments (which I don’t have now but anticipate having if the US Department of State ever moves forward with the immigrant visa application for my wife), and occasionally glancing at the black Mustang behind me that looked like an antiquated noise machine (but also seemed to be engaged in a painfully slow/legal drive), I suffered through the drive of shame — don’t put yourself in that boat!

If only every country had an Autobahn for Teslas….

(For the record, though, hanging out with Kyle was such a blast that even this scenario turned into a healthy dosing of laughs and intellectual exploration — as you may have gathered from the article.)

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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