Hey, Elon, Can We Haz Model S Plaid For Testing?

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I’ve been writing for CleanTechnica for long enough to remember back when Tesla had press people we could reach out to. I was about to say something like “those were the days,” but then I remembered what Doug Larson said about nostalgia — that it’s the file with which we remove the rough edges from the good old days.

Plus, there’s always one simple alternative: reach out directly by publishing a story about our request.

In this bleg post, I’ll go through why it’s in Tesla’s best interest to lend CleanTechnica a Plaid Model S for a few weeks.

Reason #0: I’d Actually Drive It

The FSD Beta is cool. Autopilot is cool. However, I actually enjoy driving and don’t live in places where driving sucks so bad that I’m begging for a robot to take over. There are still plenty of people out there who want to know how a vehicle drives, and intend on driving it themselves quite a bit.

There’s more than enough videos of people riding around in cars that mostly drive themselves. The whole point of reviewing the top-shelf performance version of a vehicle, though, is to actually drive the thing and compare the experience to other vehicles. Given the chance, I’d do that extensively rather than reviewing all of the gadgetry everyone’s already familiar with.

Reason #1: My Undisclosed Rural Testing Areas

“Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano’s edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man,” Shan Yu, supposedly said.

I’m the kind of person who would just as soon pack up and go “plink” in the desert rather than go to an established range. Why? Because there’s nobody there to bug you about anything. It’s not that I’d want to do anything stupid, but it’s never fun to have some old Fudd breathing over my shoulder and occasionally suggesting that I’d be happier with a 5-shot revolver (because women are obviously too stupid to operate a semi-auto).

The same is true for cars. If I’m going to really figure out what a car is all about, it’s not going to happen in the city. Give me a nice stretch of rural mountain road and I’ll be able to tell readers a lot more about what the vehicle is capable of. My driving record has been flawless since 2004, so it won’t crash or get impounded, either.

While I would certainly never do anything that would attract the attention of the local constabularies, I’m also not going to publicly disclose the locations. Feel free to DM me, though, if you want those details.

Reason #2: Photo Opportunities Not Available in California

Whoever it is you have doing photos does a decent job, but you won’t find scenic overlooks like this one in California:

White Sands as seen from the nearby Sacramento Mountains. Photo by Jennifer Sensiba.

We’d actually be able to show off the far-flung places the vehicle would be able to get to, and not just show it off in places everyone has already been to. Some of the places it would reach:

And that’s just the most notable places. There are plenty of places along the way to these.

Reason #3: Showing Off The Vehicle’s Range

It’s easy to show off what one can do along the interstates and their accompanying Supercharger stations, but that doesn’t really tell us a lot about a vehicle with around 400 miles of range. Being able to go to places with no established charging infrastructure, often without needing to rely on slower charging, can really show us how far things have come.

There are still huge areas in west Texas and southern New Mexico that don’t have any rapid charging infrastructure. Being able to get into those areas and (more importantly) back out of them can really show what the advantages are to longer range EVs.

Reason #4: We Don’t Ask For A Lot

Sorry, TSLAQ. We don’t get paid anything from Tesla for what we do here. Some writers have referral codes, but many do not. Even those who do are only able to get a few free supercharging miles. Yeah, we’re hardly eating caviar on Tesla’s dime.

Just getting some temporary access to new models and variants when they come out is pretty standard in the industry, too. We just weren’t sure who to ask these days.

Reason #5: I’ll Pick It Up If Needed

If you can get the review vehicle to El Paso, I’ll pick it up from the service center. It would be a bit of a drive for me to get over there, but that’s still a lot better than needing to go to some other state for it.

Let’s Do This!

I think we have a decent opportunity here to get a review of the new Model S Plaid that won’t happen anywhere else. The access to rural areas, the photo opportunities, and a real test of the vehicle’s abilities will differ a lot compared to other outlets. Instead of focusing on city driving and driving between the cities, we have an opportunity to show how a vehicle performs when rural areas are the destination, and not just a place people are passing through.

Also, focusing on the driving experience more and the gadgetry less is important. I don’t mean to say that I wouldn’t discuss that at all, but we need to find ways to reach out beyond the target audience that’s currently very well served. While there certainly isn’t a shortage of people who want a rolling computer that does everything, there are plenty of people who see that as a second priority.

The experience, the power, and the feel on the road are still the highest priority to many drivers. Having reviews that focus on that are still something we need.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1766 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba