This story was supposed to start with the delivery of my Tesla Model 3 with zero on the odometer — which did not happen — and myself heavily in debt — which did happen. However, it’s a positive story, so far…
Previously In My Quest For Net Zero
Tune into my early expectations of the Model 3 after driving and owning many other electric cars: “9 down, 1 to go — a personal tale of 7 years with electric cars.”
Also check out my initial ordering and decision-making experience: “How My Tesla Model 3 Order Turned From Super Easy To Super Confusing.”
As I said, this story is not beginning the way it was intended. The plan was to take delivery of a Tesla Model 3 and share the story of living with the car in practical and financial terms. In the comments of my article about the ordering process of my Model 3, I got some heat for attempting to “clickbait” with the title by writing that things got “Super Confusing.” The confusing bit was actually mostly referring to the financial puzzle I had to solve regarding the potential economical advantage of charging the thing with my solar panels, and had little to do with Tesla, which actually navigated a few problems, such as calculating the impossibly complicated registration taxes of vehicles in Denmark in an orderly manner.
But then things actually got even more confusing, this time on Tesla’s part. However, let me make it perfectly clear before I go any further that, despite the unpredictable challenges this particular deal presented, the staff at Tesla Aarhus has acted extremely professional on both a practical and personal level.
With that out of the way, let me explain the graph above. It will appear in every part of this story, and it will be key to understanding what my quest is all about. I’m not going all Teslanomics on you (kudos to Ben Sullins) with sophisticated analysis on every aspect of financing an apparently much too expensive electric vehicle — no, I’m going to show you this simple graph only.
The graph has an axis of chronology and an axis of liquidity with one number: “0.” The price of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range RWD will give you the perspective you need, wherever you live, because looking at the graph it should be fairly obvious that from a relatively financially stable household like mine, with some debt at times and no debt at other times, our finances take a big blow the second I pay for the car.
The means to reach my net zero goal faster than would be possible with any other new car in automotive history? Savings, rental, and betting on the joker: Tesla Network. So, now, the race is on to get back up to zero!
Part 1: Delivery — Almost
My Tesla Model 3 odometer: 0 km (I think).
So, things would indeed get more confusing. One day I noticed that a delivery date had appeared on my Tesla Account order for my Model 3. It said May 27th, 45 days after placing the order. I was surprised, to put it mildly, since I had been told delivery would take place in 6 months or less. Less indeed! I wrote an email to my sales contact at the Tesla Aarhus store and expected him to explain to me that there had been a mistake, but no, my car had arrived and was scheduled for checkup and registration. Great!
I made sure to tell my insurance provider that things had now been expedited, and I could submerge myself in the tingling sensation of positive anticipation. The following days I indulgently fired up my good old 1987 Volvo 240 on my commute, and like an old dog not knowing we were going on that final trip to the vet, it happily purred it’s 2.3 liter internal combustion engine, slurping gasoline without having the faintest idea what was on its owner’s mind (“Don’t shit where you eat…”) while I was comforting the old box of Swedish steel with facts like having been the world’s safest car at one point, and the most solid and reliable machine ever built.
But life goes on, and I had started to believe long ago that life for humans might go on a bit longer if we stopped spewing pollutants into the air we breathe, and then Tesla called me on the phone on a Monday…
“Your Model 3 will be ready for pickup on Wednesday. Yup, that’s 5 days early. :-)” I put a smiley in there to illustrate that this guy was really happy. He was like these automatic doors in the starship Heart Of Gold in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy that have been programmed to think that opening up for people was the most exhilarating thing one could possibly do for a living.
You would need a heart of stone to not be excited at this point. The final invoice had popped up on my Tesla account, and with the blessing of my bank, I paid it, despite that it actually had a new error in the registration tax amount, but it was minor in the scheme of things and Tesla recognised it at once and assured me a refund accordingly.
Wednesday morning. At this point, the photo below may have creeped up on you and you are probably thinking that this idiot (me) doesn’t even recognise his own Model 3 from a Model S in the parking lot. Bear with me for just a minute.
So, you would think that I was happy this Wednesday morning, right? I had taken the day off work and planned meticulously the public transportation route to the Tesla store to pick up my Model 3. But not so much. My mood was just like the weather. It was raining.
The day before, while squeezing my old Volvo into a corner of my plot to make space for the new child of envy and chatting cheerfully with my curious neighbour about my crazy plan, Tesla called me on the phone. … This was a new guy who I had not spoken to before.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you that your Model 3 will not be ready by tomorrow. It has a whirring noise from the drivetrain, and we need to investigate further :-(“. I put the … well, you get the point. This guy was sad. He was like if one of those happy doors had been forced to close and lock up people to deprive them from their freedom. I just froze.
Still, here I was traveling to the Tesla store on a rainy Wednesday. I had tried calling first, but could not get through, so I thought I would just hope for the best. I arrived at the appointed time, and the sad voice on the phone the previous day introduced himself and explained: “We cannot take any chances with your car. The noise persists, even though everything works perfectly. It is only present at maximum acceleration. We have to get a new drivetrain to be sure. ETA unknown :-/”. Yes, that’s an emoticon indicating he was serious and firm in his professional assessment at this point in time.
I get it. Tesla had issues with a lot of early Model S’s and replaced thousands of drivetrains. Tesla has matured in that sense, and it doesn’t take chances — other than innovative chances perhaps. When it comes to actual hardware in the hands of actual customers, don’t take chances. It’s eventually a waste of time and money, and nobody wins. Like cheating on emissions and such, ahem…
At this point, the only difference between my old Volvo and me was that I was consciously aware that I was old, tired, wet, and disillusioned. I still managed to feel more sorry for my Volvo than myself, though. I mean, I could still do something. So, what did I do? I just stood there, and worked very hard on the looking disillusioned bit … and it worked.
The good people of Tesla want their customers to feel good. I mean, they are great salespeople too (made me upgrade to the Long Range, remember), but first and foremost, they bloody love their products. I count 4 men and 3 women at Tesla that I have been in contact with in my endeavours of self-inflicted financial debt so far, and all of them have treated me exactly the way I had best hoped to be treated.
Now, this last guy in the chain of nice people, who had given me the bad news, looked at me at length and said: “Let me see what I can do.” And shortly after, he came back with a Model S key fob.
So, there you have it. This adventure of mine into the Tesla world looks like this on square 1: I paid a ridiculous amount of money for something I don’t have. I now drive a stupendously luxurious 2017 Model S with almost all the bells and whistles, for free, until I get another call from Tesla. 🙂
Feel free to use my referral code (or anybody else’s) when you buy a Tesla in order to receive 5,000 free Supercharger miles! On May 28, this will revert back to 1,000 miles: https://ts.la/jesper18367