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Teaching Tesla To New Audiences

What strategies do you use to reel friends into the excitement of owning a Tesla?

Teaching Tesla to friends and family is a new hobby of mine.

Since I’ve moved to Florida, I seem to have lots of friends come to visit. Hey, we’re immersed in a winter of sunshine, mild temps, outdoor activities, farmers’ markets — who wouldn’t want to stop by and say “hi?” Recently, good friends from the north joined us for a couple of days. As we introduced them to our area, we took the role of chauffeur, driving them to restaurants, museums, and the local marina in our Nissan LEAF. It was an intentional auto choice, as I was aware that our guy friend had only limited knowledge of EVs, and our gal friend really had none.

You see, I had a plan. I would use the innocuous LEAF to demonstrate the attributes of driving an EV, and then I’d up the ante for these fairly affluent friends — I’d begin teaching Tesla to them.

The readers of CleanTechnica are already EV savvy. But we have to remember that, even though EV sales doubled in 2019, most people in the US and around the world drive a car with an internal combustion engine. Barely 5% bought an EV last year — and the percentages were much lower for every year before that. Most people don’t know that there are more than 21,000 charging locations in the US, with some 57,000 hookups that offer “level 2” charging.

Our visiting friends aren’t your typical EV drivers today, but they are likely part of the next generation of EV owners. So I wanted to prod them along a bit toward Tesla. They were receptive, and it was fun.

First, I demonstrated how we charge our EV in our condo carport parking space — so often, people are amazed at how easy and convenient it is to charge an EV. Then I talked about the confidence I have when accelerating, the miles I typically drive, the correlating no-problem mileage range, and the relief of not having to locate a gas station or sit in a loud and drab service department awaiting repairs.

I let the new EV ideas simmer.

Teaching Tesla, Step by Step

Back at the condo, sitting out on the lanai with the afternoon sun peeking in from the west, my gal friend announced, “I want to let you know that I’m starting to think about getting an EV for my next car. Mine is starting to have a few problems, and I’ve started to think about trading it in.”

“Well, then. I have the car for you,” I nodded. “A Tesla Model S. It’s the premium luxury EV on the market right now. And,” I smiled, “you can afford it.”

I pulled out my laptop and clicked through the Tesla website until I came to the Model S specs. “390 mile range. Expansive 17-inch touchscreen,” I read. We discussed how handy Autopilot would be for those tedious trips back and forth down the I-95 eastern seaboard, “to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving.”

Tesla Model Y. Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica.

“I want a small vehicle,” she replied, looking keenly at my laptop. “And I like a hatchback, too.”

“Okay, then,” I jumped in, seeing I had captured her interest. “You might like the Model Y, which should have its first cars off the production line later this season.” I jumped over to the Model Y page on the Tesla website. “315 mile range. All wheel drive.” We looked at the prototype pictures that described room for up to 7 adults with optional 3rd row. I allowed that next year, when my family consolidates our vehicles, we’re likely looking to purchase a Tesla Model Y. “I really like the convenience of the extra space in the back,” I explained.

“And, yet, you could afford the slightly bigger Model X, which is already on the market,” I continued, standing up and pointing to a picture on our wall. We had traveled with the Global EVRT in 2018 to Dubai, where our EV caravan was interrupted by a pack of wandering camels. We stopped to take photos, only to notice that the camels were quite curious about the Tesla Model X falcon-wing doors.

We reviewed the Model X page on the Tesla website. The high range of 351 miles made my friends feel at ease. And those falcon-wing doors really would set anyone apart from the Joneses.

Image credit: Global EVRT

Photo by Carolyn Fortuna | CleanTechnica.

I talked a bit, too, about the Tesla Model 3 and its appeal to a mass audience due to its lower price range. Still part of the Tesla catalog and offering the 322 mile range and AWD, the Model 3 added more options for my friends to consider.

Before we knew it, our afternoon had worn down, and it was time to head out to one of the local waterfront dinner sites. My window of teaching Tesla had closed, but the impact of our conversation lingered. In a post-visit Thank You note, my gal friend included, “And my lesson on electric cars (Tesla) give me more to think about!”

What strategies do you use to help your friends who weren’t part of the early EV adopter wave to join the Tesla family?

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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.


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