I wanted to wait a while before writing this review of my new Tesla. For those of you who may have read my latest blog in February, I ended the article saying that my next car would be an EV, promising to purchase it within three years. As good luck would have it, a speeding SUV the size of a small military tank slammed into the back of my beloved Audi A5 and bent the frame into the shape of a well-worn accordion. Fortunately, neither the driver of the SUV nor I was injured. Suddenly, the anticipated three-year wait turned into fewer than three weeks.
Truth be told, I confess to trying out a few internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles just days before taking a test drive in a Tesla. I thought, “perhaps I can find an inexpensive car with low lease payments and hang onto that for 3 years until the car of my dreams is created.” And I found one, a nice looking 4-door sedan boasting 38 mpg, with most of the bells and whistles anyone would ever want or need. I had just about made up my mind to sign on the dotted line when I got a sudden, irresistible urge to stop by the Tesla store. So off I went.
Moments later I was surprised to find the store buzzing with people as they stood around gawking at the group of shiny, spic and span Teslas. They were opening and closing doors, trunks, frunks, and glove boxes, all the while muttering the same mantra, “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God. Hey, honey, dig this dashboard, Oh my God.” And I, being an unrepentant empath, was drawn mind, body, and soul into their excitement. After showing my driver’s license and insurance card to a salesperson, I was invited to take a 20 minute test drive.
My first impression, after adjusting the mirrors, seat, and steering wheel, was the incredible feeling of comfort. The car enveloped me like a custom-made glove. Following the salesperson’s instructions, I flipped the lever into reverse, and with my eyes glued to the enormous backup screen (I swear it looked like I was watching a movie), I ever so slowly backed out of the parking space.
There’s not a lot one can do in a 20 minute test drive. I was too far away from the interstate highway to test top speed (the speedometer tops out at 145 mph), so I settled for a short spin, street to street feeling the four-wheel drive hug the curves as I careened around corners, occasionally coming to quick stops to check the quality of the brakes. It was all good — in fact, superior.
As I pulled back into the Tesla parking lot, the salesperson wanted to know how long I had that wide smile on my face. Exactly 20 minutes, I replied. We both laughed, walked into the store, and without hesitation I ordered my car, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range with 4-wheel drive in MSM (Midnight Silver Metallic). I promptly named it “Twilight.”
Fast-forward 2 months.
The coronavirus put a chink in my plan to take a long toll-road trip in Twilight. In the interim, I settled for short sorties to the supermarket and back. But last weekend I managed to drive 250 fun-filled miles under sunny skies through the back roads of southwest Florida. My first impression while on the open road was the feeling of solitude and quietude. Narrow roads slice through the lush green Everglades, creating a feeling as if one was driving through an impressionist’s painting. Thanks to the expansive view created by the wide windows and glass, see-through roof that slopes back practically touching the trunk, it was like sitting in a gorgeous vehicle while the verdant world went whizzing along besides me. It felt like I wasn’t moving, but rather the world itself was moving past and beyond me.
The experience is so new and unique that it’s difficult to compare it to any other vehicle I’ve owned or driven since I got my first driver’s license 64 years ago. Driving is no longer a chore. In fact, it’s fun. When you step ever so softly on the accelerator, it feels like you’re floating. And when you put the pedal to the metal, you’re swooshing. It’s an experience I look forward to while I plan a cross-country trip as soon as the lockdown is safely lifted.
I’m thrilled that so many other manufacturers are designing and building EVs. The competition will herald us into the dawn of a healthy and sustainable future. Electrification — not only in autos, trucks and buses, but also in home heating, cooling, and every application that requires power — is key to our survival as a human race. Fossil fuels won’t take us there. Electricity, powered by sun, wind, and water will. We’re in this together. Let’s all take a leap forward and enjoy the ride.
More images of Twilight:
The title of this article, “Good Travelers Leave No Tracks,” is taken from the Tao Te Ching, an Asian classic written by philosopher Lao Tzu in the 6th century B.C. Our legacy is to leave the world as we came into it, leaving behind no trash, no pollutants, and nothing negative, hence no tracks.