Yes, it appears that I’ve come full circle from being an admitted early Tesla skeptic (but not shortseller!) and reluctant embracer of Mr. Musk’s shtick, to now having just placed an order for our own Model Y, Tesla’s newest model as the newest “Cars Of A Lifetime” (COAL) entry in my stable. Hopefully it will arrive around the end of the month, after which there’ll be regular updates describing our experience(s).
Mrs. Klein’s 2016 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD, while still impeccable as far as being a reliable and quality vehicle is concerned, was starting to become too familiar to her after four and a half years. Coupled with its still impressive resale value at this point ($21,500 as a trade-in with 64k well-maintained miles and new tires, currently on Craigslist for $26,000 obo, hit me up if you want it, I’ll even buy you lunch!), and more importantly our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary, a change was in order. Originally we thought that might be in the form of a Lexus such as the one I tested recently, but then last Monday I suggested we take a look at the Model Y, so off to one of Tesla’s newest dealerships in Superior, Colorado, we went. Superior is about an hour away on the outskirts of Boulder.
Arriving at the dealership, the parking lots were packed with Teslas either in for service or about to be delivered to new buyers as well as employees’ cars. Construction was still underway for parts of the facility including for their own (Super)charging stations. We fit our BMW test car into an empty spot, unlikely the first or last to do so, and walked inside, having made an appointment for 1pm.
The building is about 90% service space, and 10% dealership. Seeing as how the majority of Teslas are just ordered online the showroom is devoid of cars and only had a couple of small tables at the end. I assume perhaps in the future this might be outfitted differently, likely at least more like the mall locations, but who cares, we weren’t there to lounge around.
We texted Dave, our sales representative, and he walked in, introduced himself and asked if we had any questions as we were a few minutes early and the car we’d be driving was out on another test drive currently; it appeared that they had three Model Y demo cars and all were booked all day long in one-hour test drive increments. My wife had a few questions which were answered and then “our” demo pulled in and the previous testing party got out, at which time Dave got to work with the disinfectant spray while we looked it over externally.
A few minutes later it was our turn. Dave explained how to use the key card to start the car (basically just place it near the cupholder) and helped us adjust the mirrors and showed us how to find a few other things on the screen in case we needed to adjust them for whatever reason. Luckily our 11-year-old had come along and he had been studying videos on operating Teslas so we let him help and educate us. The front seats are soft and very comfortable while still being surprisingly supportive, adjustments are easy and done conventionally.
Of course, pretty much everything else is controlled by the large screen in the center of the minimalist dashboard in conjunction with two buttons on the steering wheel that are used for actually moving things such as the mirrors and making adjustments, but also become the interface for voice commands (depress the right one and speak) etc.
We messed around with the HVAC and the Infotainment options as well as the Autopilot functions, which Dave was careful to explain did not mean you could just remove your hands from the wheel and take a nap, but rather was to be used as an assistive device much as we rely in part on similar technology in other cars. A few things are slightly different, Blind Spot Assist is not done via a light in the mirror as most other cars might but rather the screen has a rendering of this car and every other thing around it which you can keep in your peripheral vision. See left side of screen below.
However if you ignore this, signal and try to move into another lane that is occupied, the Tesla will shriek at you just like most other modern cars will now. If you just move without signaling or looking at anything first I suppose you will have what’s coming to you (an insurance claim or worse).
Putting the car in gear is pretty much like any modern Mercedes with a small column wand for reverse, drive, and park. We pulled out and headed for the open road. Immediately noted was both the silence and the thrust from a standing start. Our test car was a Long Range Dual Motor, which was what we were most interested in, we felt it would have plenty of performance so that we would not need the “Performance” version. And we were not disappointed.
Acceleration was smooth, strong, and unceasing. Pulling onto the freeway saw triple digit speeds appearing within seconds and merging from one lane to another was done with an almost hyperspeed burst. Having full torque available at any particular speed is quite addictive.
Pulling off the freeway, I ceded the wheel to my wife and got in the backseat where I had the opportunity to look around more. The Model Y has a full windshield/roof combo piece of glass that is deeply tinted overhead, we were in it on a hot and sunny day and felt comfortable without a separate sunshield overhead which was one of my concerns.
Legroom in back is abundant, and visibility is good in most directions except for perhaps the somewhat wide front pillars and immediately rearward where the liftback design makes for a shallow rear window aperture. This car makes good use of its rear camera system and proximity sensors.
My wife was very impressed with the smooth power and was pretty much ready to sign for it right then and there. We drove around a bit more and then headed back to the showroom. We then tried the Model 3 since we were already there, the 3’s were more readily available to drive without needing a new appointment and we drove one for a few miles but decided that the Y was more to our liking (higher seating position, more space, more practical and barely more cost).
After returning again and speaking with Dave some more we decided to think about it a bit and bid him farewell, but not before he presented our son with a 1:43 Burago scale model of a Model 3, a clever marketing move such as Detroit used to do at times.
On the way home we stopped at the Lexus dealer and test drove an RX Hybrid, the car that my wife thought she wanted as of the week prior. After driving the Tesla less than half an hour earlier, she remarked that while the Lexus was nice, it now just felt old and kind of slow and not really much different from her Highlander. She was no longer interested in it at all no matter how much she liked the layout; the sleeker and more minimalist interiored Tesla appealed to her more.
Upon returning home and going on our usual afternoon walk, we knocked on the doors of our neighbors that we had seen with Teslas in their garages. One had a 5-year-old Model S, another had a new Model 3 and another had a Model X. After introducing ourselves and explaining our quest, all were immediately enthusiastic about the Model Y and professed to be immensely pleased with their car and the resolution of any service issues that may have arisen since they owned them.
All would purchase them again and either considered or are still considering the Model Y themselves as well, with general agreement that it seems to be the form factor and price point that should catapult Tesla to the mainstream even more than the Model 3 has. This direct personal feedback from people that we would be seeing regularly in the future reassured us tremendously, not that there aren’t still some issues with Teslas but that the company does resolve issues that may arise in an acceptable manner.
This morning I placed the actual order for our car, which will be a Long Range Dual Motor Model Y with 316 miles of range, the color will be blue over black (same as this one here) and the wheels are the standard 19″ units which are different than the larger units fitted to this demo car which is fine, we’d rather have 19’s than those 20’s and while the standard wheels aren’t unattractive, removing their covers presents an extremely attractive silver spoked wheel that I forgot to photograph and haven’t been able to find a picture of on the internet yet.
The pricing is $49,990 plus another $1,000 for the blue color (pearl white is no charge, gray, black, and blue cost $1,000 and the red is $2,000). Other options we did not choose are the Performance option which would have cost $10,000 more (ours allows for 0-60 is 4.8 seconds and a 135mh top speed which should suffice especially as there for once will not be any degradation due to altitude), and the 20″ wheels would have been $2,000 more, a trailer hitch is $1,000, and a third row of seats (not yet available) is on the menu for $3,000 as well as Full Self Driving (also not yet available, if ever) can be reserved at today’s price of $8,000 which was frankly completely unappealing to us. Oh, and the snow white interior option is $1,000, while beautiful and apparently popular it’s not a great idea for our family and we much prefer the strip of wood across the dashboard in the black version anyway.
Also included is a 4year, 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, while the destination charge is $1,200. The order fee (credited towards the purchase at delivery) was $100. While I placed the actual order on my laptop, it was also possible to do so on my phone, I actually got all the way to the “submit” button, then decided to do it on my laptop instead. Dave was also happy to have entered it himself for us if I had chosen to do that. In the end it was as easy as ordering anything from Amazon.
Our insurance agent quoted a coverage price not significantly more than a new Lexus RX would cost which itself was only slightly higher than our current Highlander, as this was one of my concerns I was relieved. Colorado will provide a $4,000 tax credit when we file our 2020 taxes which will cover at least the sales tax. We will be installing a charger in our garage, the Tesla branded one costs $500 and our favorite electrician has provided a quote to install it for $600 including a city permit.
Our garage will necessitate about 35-40 feet of conduit to run the 6ga wire up the wall, across the ceiling including around some obstacles, and then down a pillar, other quotes we got were in the range of twice that amount. This, with a 60amp circuit breaker will allow us to charge at 48amps, essentially recharging from 20% to 80% in less than 5 hours which will be done overnight when our city charges under 7cents per kW and even with the last 20% charging at a dimishing rate should still charge to full during the overnight hours.
The top charging speed will be 11.5kW, or about 44 miles of range per hour of charging. The battery capacity itself is 75kWh which in this long range dual motor car translates to 384hp and 375lb-ft of torque (combined). Weight of the vehicle is 4,367lbs, and it has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. There is no weight difference between the “tank” being empty or full…
Dave confirmed that the order had been received, we will apparently be assigned a VIN soon, the car will be built in Fremont, CA and then shipped here. He expects it to most likely arrive by the end of the month, but there is a small chance it could go into early September. In the meantime we will see if we can sell the Highlander privately for an amount greater than the trade-in offer plus the sales tax saving that would be generated via that option and make it worth our while.
I’m frankly still a little surprised that we did it, but looking forward to it, I’ve been more and more intrigued as I’ve learned more about electric propulsion in cars and have been very impressed with both the plug-in hybrids as well as the electric cars that I have driven. There’s not really any way to accurately explain the difference in sensations versus a conventional vehicle, it has to be experienced first hand to be understood.
I’m still into internal combustion and all that, but this is certainly one path into the future that is sure to spread wider and I believe Tesla is well poised to accelerate the trend both for itself as well as the industry as a whole. And if not, oh well, the Tesla is costing less than the Lexus would have while not providing any less capability in the aspects we deemed most important. Once it arrives I’ll provide a full review with continuing updates, no punches pulled.
Oh, one more thing…If you decide to ever order one too, feel free to use my referral code https://ts.la/james86546 We each get some goodies out of it.
Jim’s full list of Cars Of A Lifetime
Whilst I doubt any teen male is likely ever to have a poster of this Countach-fast device on his wall – not that the virtual world of that teen has posters, or walls, come to that, but I digress – it is entirely inoffensive to behold, and verges on the nice.
The interior is not quite the same. The blank-faced workstation effect had a charm as long lived as any new trend, I guess, but it’s already feeling a bit yawnful to me. And it doesn’t exactly invite one in, so to speak.
And I do have to ask, is it just the pics or are the interior plastics a bit on the ordinary side? They too don’t exactly invite me to feel them, or alternatively, look a bit like I have done that too much already, but this may be wrong.
Those things apart, I want one.
I have a pet theory that the Gen Current – what ARE they called, these entitled screen addicts, he said, typing furiously on his screen to the exclusion of the Gen Whatevers in his presence? – that they grew up in the late and advanced flourishing of the car, and, unburdened by the wonderment or shiny-object phase of the device’s history, only saw many hours spent in a very dull place, not moving very fast, or, even if out of the city, a place where 70, 80, 90 mph didn’t mean anything exciting to the dullness of the place itself other than to get them to the unwanted aunt’s place quicker. For them, logically and properly, what on earth was romantic or moving or exhilarating or remotely interesting about this business of moving about? It’d be good if the way of doing that was quieter, better internetted, possibly driverless (so mum/dad shut the hell up about traffic), and altogether as functional as the net through which much of their lives were done.
And damn, on that theory, they have a point. A vast majority of motoring is not best described by that quaint word at all, but by the word “grind.” Get a better program, a better computer. A Tesla, currently, is that.
The vast bulk of my current motoring needs would be met by this car. Once in a moon that was blue, I’d need to hire a car that’d go further than this range in one go. Maybe once a year, if that.
I look forward to your future installments, which, for many of us, will also be about our future installments.
Posters of fast cars on teen bedroom walls has gone the way of the dodo bird. But scale model cars still have a tangible appeal as was demonstrated with Jim’s son.
I think screen savers are the new posters. But the scale model is cool. He, as many do, has still left it in the clear display box but I know he handles it a lot as it’s always in a different part of his room.
The teen (or preteen) boys seem to know a lot about Teslas, more than they do about Lamborghinis, curiously, or maybe not so, actually. Our little guy has been the electric car proponent longer than we have…
The plastics are fine and I’d say better than many vehicles that have an upper trim level in this price range and maybe barely on par with others that start around the same area. That door panel has the upper being soft with the lower hard and the inlay being of the Alcantara type of material. Dashboard itself is far enough away that you aren’t constantly bumping into it. Center console has basically a few bins with piano black plastic swing out covers that if closed will collect scratches like any other if care isn’t taken. The biggest difference is less the materials and more the “less is more” aesthetic. It isn’t that some things like cupholders and air vents etc aren’t there, it’s that they are mostly tucked away and not presented as items that your eye hangs up on. There’ll definitely be adjustments made but with everything going on over the last few months adjustments have become a normal occurrence….
That being said, and not being an apologist, we recognize that the money has been spent on the software and electric-go bits. If this had a visually more sumptuous interior and was $15k more we would have been a lot less likely to go for it. On the other hand, as an overall package this is far more compelling than most of the other cars I’ve been driving this last year until you get to a seriously higher price point and even then I’m not sure…
My 13 year old goes back and forth between supercars 4wd’s and Teslas. Thou he seems more and more interested in Lamborghini and Ferrari as he gets older.
And he has a poster of a new Supra on his wall.
Hey, this is cool! Neat desicion. I must admit that I’m not the most avid fan of Tesla, but I do like it when car guys try new things especially EVs. Most other guys I know either dismiss EVs as stupid, or absolutely hate them for some unknown reason. I’m glad you know better. 🙂 BTW, about that scale model your son got from the dealership, it’s spelled ‘Bburago’. Thanks for the write-up, I hope you love and enjoy the car, and I can’t wait to read your review! A lot of people who bought the first few Model Ys had quality control problems, like crooked panels, really sketchy paint, huge gaps between panels, or hatches that wouldn’t open right. I hope yours does not have any problems! Good luck with your first EV!
Thank you. It’s not hard to like an electric car but it’s hard to like someone who forms a hard opinion without bothering to actually experience something firsthand. Most “car guys” are very often “performance guys” at their basic core and from that perspective EVs deliver. And yes, I did know that but forgot about Bburago, I’ve owned some over the years as well!
We may well find issues with ours too, that will be part of the process too I guess and I’ll report on it and it was part of what was discussed with the neighbors. While it’s a shame it happens I’m hopeful it either won’t happen to us or will be resolved as seems to be the norm.
Whatever. If somebody gave me one I’d give it back, but that’s just me.
Thank you very much for your thoughts. Your contribution is invaluable
Nice comment. As a pre-teen/teen, did you get pleasure out of telling young children that there was no Santa Claus?
Very interesting. So there is no “F&I guy” torture chamber at the dealership – do they offer financing during the online ordering process?
Nice job on the color choice btw.
You can choose, cash, loan or lease. I checked and the loan is currently posted at 2.49% for 48-72 months when starting over as a blank site. No idea how one’s credit affects that, that’s just what’s on the ordering part of the site. You can go to it and see it yourself. We haven’t taken a car loan in years (but probably would if it was at zero), There aren’t any incentive games either. Didn’t really consider leasing although that’s offered too.
From what I understand the paying for it part is all handled prior to picking up the car. They will take a wire or a cashier’s check and the salesperson apparently handles all of it. Or perhaps not but there isn’t some guy selling you fabric protection and that BS. I won’t miss it but will report on what happens.
Excellent review, thank you. I’m impressed and encouraged that Tesla has resisted slathering their cars in ugly, useless creases, folds and excess ornamentation as the other brands do. It’s depressing driving on highways surrounded by ugly, robot-look devices, each one simply covered in angular, clashing useless details.
Teslas are always a breath of fresh air with clean, beautiful, timeless shapes. If or when I buy a new car, it will be a Tesla. Style aside, the simplicity of electric power is appealing. So much of the devices, complexity, expense and inevitable repairs of a new ICE car aren’t related to making it go, but to overcome the problems related to burning fuel. I find this objectionable in a new car.
Thank you, I didn’t mean to do a full review here, just started writing stream of consciousness as I normally do albeit normally with a few key notes to support the stream, I was surprised how long it turned out and scrambled for pictures, as I was just kind of snapping away randomly while demo-ing, not planning really on writing much at the time.
I’m sure there are some that will complain how it looks like a rounded bar of soap like all other cars out there. Whatever, that’s all fine with me, we’ll drive our car and they can drive theirs. We like the way it looks but at the end of the day it isn’t offensive nor was it the primary reason we chose it. You are correct on the visual simplicity of it, which IS nice and I think something I struggle with in other parts of my life. I love the idea of minimalism and zero clutter with clear open spaces, but can’t make that happen in my own personal bubble for some reason…
“It’s depressing driving on highways surrounded by ugly, robot-look devices, each one simply covered in angular, clashing useless details.”
Agreed! The most egregious examples are the damnable Lexus angry-catfish grille and the Honda Civic afterburners, or whatever they’re calleed.
Congratulations, and excellent review. 300 plus miles of range is a game changer, as it eliminates range anxiety for 95%+ of normal trips, and the low operating cost makes it very affordable.
Awesome choice; thanks for bringing us along on your journey!
Yes, driving that electric MINI solved some of the potential anxieties I had about the whole thing (we were not really looking at any electric seriously back then), and brought to the front what exactly we would need. The range is not going to be one for us with this but 200mile days are definitely in our repertoire. The neighbors said that they see perhaps 20% reduction on a cold day while at high speed on the freeway. I think the heat pump design of the HVAC will help with that and we don’t go that far normally anyway as well as there being superchargers if needed almost everywhere. The neighbors regularly take long trips across Wyoming and Utah to CA apparently and don’t consider taking anything but their Model S even though they also have a modern minivan.
Jim, for whatever reason, this doesn’t surprise me. But it’s good to see you are taking the plunge into EV ownership. Your experiences will be very insightful for the rest of us.
The range of 316 miles is a sweet spot for many. Many will tire after driving that much in a day’s time anyway. As for the range anxiety some have, it seems a little planning could overcome that one way or another.
Is there a way to diminish the power output? I ask as your boys will be driving soon (unless I’m aging them) and, well, that much power would be tremendous fun at that age.
I get range anxiety in a gasoline car when in parts of Wyoming or Utah, mainly to do with wanting to avoid being gouged on gasoline in the middle of nowhere, planning with this will not be that hard… 🙂
I do not know re the power output, I would expect that there is or easily could be. Many newer regular cars now have a “teen mode” where some parameters are restricted. The boys are 13 and 11 currently but I will say that my first car had 80hp and I am positive was the absolute fastest car in the West Valley of Los Angeles. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…
“I get range anxiety in a gasoline car when in parts of Wyoming or Utah, mainly to do with wanting to avoid being gouged on gasoline in the middle of nowhere, planning with this will not be that hard… 🙂”
I hear you about that, I hate it when I have to fill up at a place that charges a 10%-20% premium because they are the only station for miles.
With the Supercharger there is no uncertainty, you know you’ll be gouged, significantly. With the average supercharger rate of $0.26 kw/hr (per Tesla’s website) it will be like paying $7.50 per gallon when you can fill up at your local Costco for about $2.02/gal. And Tesla is the value proposition when it comes to public charging.
It’s actually $0.28 for locations that charge by the power unit but I’m not understanding how you’re doing the math or perhaps I’m doing it wrong. If you take a 75kWh battery and charge it from zero to 100% at 26 cents per then that looks more like $19.50. If that is actually around 300 miles of range and we assume 25mpg (which our Highlander has NEVER achieved on a road trip) then that would be the same as about 12 gallons of gas. $19.50/12 is more like 1.63/per gallon which even at the low gas prices we have out here is less.
In places where the charging is done by the minute the rate is $0.26 per minute if the charge rate is above 60 and half that if it falls below 60, such as towards the end of a full charge. Seems like the overall cost would be similar. The new V3 chargers can add 75 miles in 5 minutes and close to 1000 miles in an hour assuming a large enough battery.
Either way we don’t intend to use the SuperChargers very often if even a few times a year. Our off-peak home rate is around 7c so I’m starting to see how saving money on fuel (gas vs electricity) is a real thing, never mind the time-suck of going to the gas station.
I’m not talking about the over all cost per mile of operation.
I’m talking about the premium you pay for charging away from home and how that is much worse than the premium you pay when you fill up at that station that is the only one for miles in the middle of Wyoming.
So at $0.28 kw/hr that is 4x what you pay with your off peak rate of $0.07 kw/hr.
So in the terms of relative cost using a supercharger is paying 4x the cost of charging at home. Not unlike filling up at your local Costco for $2/gal and then getting out in the middle of Wyoming and having the only station around for miles that charges $8/gal.
So what’s your point? How often is the typical driver going to use Supercharging? And when they do, a “fillup” will cost about the same as a gas fillup. Why continue to harp on that?
Oh, that’s irrelevant since it’s less than gasoline anyway. But even compared to the local cost of gasoline it seems to generally be cheaper no matter where you go. So still a win.
Paul, My point was that Jim said he got range anxiety in his ICE powered vehicles in remote areas because he is adverse to price gouging that can occur. With an EV you are guaranteed* that price gouging will occur if you charge away from home and not just an extra 10-20% but 4x the cost in this case.
*Yes there are some free chargers out there Volta for one, but those are mostly L2 though they are adding DCFC. You’ll also find some hotels and public garages that have “free” charging when you pay for the parking.
I won’t be caring since the electricity at home is bundled into my bill and I won’t see the “per fillup” charge on either a display or on a credit card statement. And even if we charge outside of the home it’s cheaper than fueling up a relatively efficient more or less equivalently sized conventional vehicle.
Although I do want to figure out how to separately measure the energy throughput of the charger at home so that I can investigate how to deduct that portion of the overall energy cost from my taxes as the vehicle will be used for work.
Well if you want to compare cost per mile a Highlander Hybrid would do much better than your ICE only version. Or since you went with the 2 row maybe the RAV-4 hybrid or Prime.
The car should be able to tell you how much energy you put into the battery. However that ignores the efficiency of the internal charger and any supply wiring losses which will vary due to the length of the run from the meter to your EVSE.
There are devices that will allow you to monitor the current on an individual circuit. A quick search turned up some people who have used them on Tesla Model 3 that report about 94-95% efficiency when using 240v. Presumably the Model Y will give similar results.
So for every kw/hr you pay for you get .95kw/hr of energy in the battery.
Fast charging is a little more efficient to the end user, since the charging equipment is moved up stream so are the losses. Though for fast charging you’ll get a separate bill.
From reading/watching the experience of Tesla owners with home charging, many seem to visit superchargers only on major road trips – i.e. a few times a year.
If the range is 300+ miles and you’re driving anything under that daily, keeping it topped up overnight at home is easy and extremely cheap. Even on road trips free 120v trickle-charging overnight at hotels is common, sometimes enough for a quarter of a tank.
Annualized, fuel costs seem to be very low for most owners.
That is what my research indicates as well. I’m not an Uber driver and we don’t intend to drive back and forth to New York to get bagels every Sunday. The vast majority of our driving is within a 100mile radius of our home.
There is a valet mode, but that’s not going to work for kids as it disables certain other functions. One can set a limit to the top speed. And there’s a Chill Mode, that impacts acceleration. I would not be surprised if Tesla added a New Driver Mode; it would be ludicrously easy to do so.
On the other hand, kids need to learn all of it.
It seemed like various modes would be quite easy to have.
I don’t disagree on the kids needing to learn all of it. We’ve gone to great lengths to not shelter our daughter but then the little nugget of me that asked that question remembers a teenaged Jason.
Meanwhile Ford has had My Key for a decade now, though that doesn’t limit power output, but can limit speed. What it does though is hit teens right where it hurts right in the infotainment. Unbuckle your seat belt and the radio gets muted, go too fast and the radio gets muted so there is no question that the chimes are warning you that you are approaching the speed limit. It also prevents disabling of driver aids like traction control, blind spot warning and the parking sensors.
I do agree that kids need to learn all of it, eventually, but having them ease into it is not a bad idea, particularly with some of the high powered vehicles that are so common today.
Jim: Fellow Coloradan here. Nice car… enjoy!
One question… it appears that the rear luggage area must be far smaller than that of your Highlander. Is this accurate?
There is a large second compartment underneath the cargo area, about the same size as the pictured front one. Overall the upper part I think IS a bit smaller than the Highlander. We decided that since we also have a truck it’s not a problem. We do have three kids and consciously decided to go for the two-row this time. If we end up driving to CA with everyone and all our crap we can rent something larger for that week. For just getting everyone to the airport (no plans currently…) this will work or we can take the truck. There may be limitations but we will work around them, decided not to let the various potential obstacles stand in the way this time.
More annoying is that there is no cargo cover provided nor apparently a way to affix one. The windows are tinted dark but still. I guess a dark blanket will live in the rear but this seems like an oversight on Tesla’s part to not at least mold in attachment points for a cover, I could see that becoming a running change. Oh well.
Congrats, Jim! I hope you and the Mrs. enjoy this car for a few years. Having read your writeups on a fleet of exotic and cool cars that you’ve owned over the decades, this one is a great fit. It’s a more spirited choice and not the appliance that a Lexus would be. I would love to own a Tesla one day, but it’ll be a decade of depreciation before I’m in a position to consider one. The bass player of my band drives a Model 3 and offered to let me drive it, but that was before the band went on hiatus for Covid. Hoping I can still take him up on it sometime in the future.
Thank you. Yes, see if you can get a drive, it’s surreal at first. This does fit in the overall scheme of trying everything possible…although it will mainly be her car.
This makes perfect sense. You have owned around 200 vehicles if my calculations are correct, and I have either owned versions of them or wanted them in like 95 percent of the cases.
If I was in the market for a new car, this is the only one I’d probably consider, so of course this is the lattest addition to the stable.
Congrats to you both. I’m really excited to readmore about it.
Yes you are my Danish twin brother from another mother. Thank you.
Looks like you made a good choice, and it’ll be very interesting to hear about the ownership experience. The Tesla buyers I know are extremely happy. A question about the Performance version: how much quicker is that one, exactly, and does it come with any other useful upgrades besides speed? The 4.8 0-60 time on yours does seem plenty energetic.
It’s about a second faster (3.5 vs 4.8 to 60), the top speed is 155 instead of 135, the suspension is slightly lower (not a plus really), and the wheels are larger (definitely not a plus). And your wallet gets a lot lighter so there’s that to help with weight too…oh, and the range goes DOWN to 291 which would still be fine, but…We didn’t even really look at it and never considered buying it, there’s no obvious usable difference to us. Had we driven it perhaps we would have loved it, but not even trying it was the better option just so it wouldn’t be a factor.
The “slow” one that we are getting is realistically faster than 99% of the internal combustion ones at this altitude. At this point I think range is the more useful performance parameter for most people. Frankly maybe they should offer a 6 second to 60 car and if the range could be over 400 miles then that might get rid of the last objection most serious people could conceivably have.
Reducing acceleration speed wouldn’t affect range, as electric motors are so close to 100% efficient, regardless of the speed. Of course if you use the acceleration potential of your car, it’s going to reduce range anyway from the EPA range. My point is that on the EPA cycle, acceleration is well below the 6 second 0-60 times.
There’s actually little or no difference in the hardware between the Performance and regular two-motor version; it’s all in the software, possibly a heavier cable and/or a few minor bits. Same motors in all the versions. The only reason the Performance has less range is in its big tires/wheels, which affect range not insignificantly.
The Model S is rated at 402 miles, but that’s due to a bigger battery and more aerodynamic body than the Y.
The only way to make a 400 mile MY would be a bigger capacity battery at this time. There will be a one-motor RWD MY soon, but the additional range will probably be only some 10-15 miles, due to lighter weight.
Teslas, like most electric cars are not limited by the power of the motors, but by the amount of current that can be delivered to them either due to the max batt discharge rate, the ampacity of the wiring and control components or limiting the current in software.
That is why the torque curve is shaped as it is with a big straight line until the rpm where the Lenz effect becomes the limit of the current flow.
RPM does make a difference in a motor’s efficiency. EVERY motor curve has a peak efficiency rpm and it falls off on either side of that peak. Below is a brushless DC motor curve and every brushless DC motor will have the same basic shapes.
Yes EV manufactures will tell you they have AC motors, but they operate as a brushless DC motor or as an Alternator for regen braking.
Tesla takes advantage of this on the Model S with dual motors, the front is geared for cruising efficiency while the rear is geared for acceleration.
Thank you for that, although I’m not quite as dumb about EVs as your comment suggests. I chose not to go into greater detail on purpose. My point was that EPA range is not materially affected by the acceleration potential of the car.
But that applies to an increasingly degree to modern IC cars too. I repeatedly see comments decrying high hp engines in modern cars because of the profound impact it must make on fuel economy. It actually make quite little impact, thanks to modern technology. Unless of course you actually use that potential power.
I apologize if it sounded like I was calling you dumb about EVs.
“My point was that EPA range is not materially affected by the acceleration potential of the car.”
Yes and no.
Change the gearing for better acceleration and the range will decrease, change the gearing for better range and acceleration will decrease. Which of course is why Tesla runs different gear ratios front and rear on some versions of the dual motor S.
However upping the limit on the current delivered to the motor won’t affect the range, well at least until you use it.
So, here’s a question. If Tesla put a moonshot gear into the car, such that it did 0-60 in 8 secs – a more than ok-enough amount of go for most driving – would the range go up, or would there simply be a need for more current flow to overcome the “resistance” (for want of a better word) that the gear would present? I’m thinking a stonking super-overdrive gear that no petrol engine could start off in.
I’d far rather have another 100 of range than 4.8 0-60, because that level of go is doubtless great fun, but used maybe 5% of the time.
Congratulations to the Klein family! In about 10 to 15 years from now, pater familias Jim will drive a 2020 Porsche Taycan as his “hobby”-vehicle, instead of a Neunelfer.
The neunelfer will be reborn with six battery packs packed flat in two rows of three near the rear of the car.
Nice choice – I really like the colour. A friend of ours bought a new Model S (in black – he calls it Betty) three years ago, and he’s very pleased with it. I’ve ridden it in many times and find getting into the car a bit tight (I’m a 6-footer) but once I’m in it’s fine. A little more interior space would be nice, though. I drove it once last summer, and I found the acceleration very addictive. No noise, no drama – just like a giant hand pushing the car to triple digit speeds almost instantly. Who knows? Maybe there’s a Tesla in our future as well.
Thank you. Our first experience was with someone in our old neighborhood that got an early Model S, coincidentally in what I think is the same blue that we ordered now. The giant hand pushing the car is an apt analogy, like when you as a kid pushed a Hot Wheels car across the floor…and driving it is more different than riding in it as you can feel yourself controlling the acceleration rather than just experiencing it.
Agree that Jim getting a Model Y isn’t much of a surprise. I haven’t read many reviews of the Tesla ‘experience’, but this one seems about the best, particularly since it’s for the Model Y which I suspect will quickly ovetake that Model 3 as their new top seller.
With that said, it reminds me a great deal of the 2nd gen Toyota Prius which came very close to revolutionizing the auto world and is now a mainstream vehicle. Tesla, far and away, seems to be the future in personal transportation in the same way the Prius was back in 2004. Tesla has shrewdly gone a long way to solving the EV range anxiety problem by investing in their widespread Supercharger network, and are adding more every day.
I don’t think it’s much of a leap of faith to suggest that, in a few years, Model Y’s will be as common on the street as Priuses are today.
Thank you. And yes it is somewhat analagous with the exception that the looks aren’t really much different than many other vehicles out there. I’m on record as not really a fan of the fastback look on CUVs but if aero gives more range as it apparently does then I’ll take the function over the form I suppose. It works far better on this than on the X at least which just seems too large to pull it off. Also no complex doors to scare people which while a huge publicity win, likely turned as many or more people off again with their (feared) complexity.
I have no doubt that the Y will end up being a significantly larger success than the 3 as there is almost no downside besides a slight incremental cost and perhaps somewhat less “handling” capability although still far better than many other vehicles and anyway not something that the vast majority of the public is really concerned with anyway.
I’ve passed by that Tesla dealership numerous times on the way to the RTD bus stop. The 3 is already a common sight out here and I expect the Y will do just as well. Put a ski rack on top and you’re ready to go! By the way, have you ever seen that weird Subaru graveyard/junkyard at Valmont and 63rd in Boulder? I’d love to know what the deal is with that place, but am afraid to get too close.
Congratulations! Your conversion was quick, but not unexpected once you got a taste of electrons in a car.
If we had a way to even half-way utilize it, this is exactly what would be in our driveway, right down to the color. But we drive so little, it just makes no sense, at least for now.
I’m excited for you, as this will not be just the usual new car experience. And I’m very happy to have you sharing your experience here at CC. I would have liked to be the one doing that, but frankly, it’s even better that you are. Thanks for taking CC into several new directions.
Thanks, we are excited. After doing the Hybrid thing, the Diesel thing, the NGV thing, carpool review, commuter bus, this feels like a natural progression…
As the owner of a Prius, I still have concerns about the long-term viability of vehicles driven wholly or in part by batteries.
The battery technology currently in use gives us packs that have a life of around 15 years. At that 15-year mark, the owner of any vehicle with a big battery has a huge financial decision to make. I assume you don’t plan on keeping your Tesla for 15 years, but at least in theory, *someone* will be driving it at that point and have to make that decision.
Comparing the value of my ’08 Prius to an ’08 Corolla, the Prius is worth a lot less, because the market is by now fully cognizant of what happens at the 15-year mark. And this, despite the fact that the Prius cost significantly more when new.
I’m meandering here, because I’m not exactly sure what my point is – but it seems like part of the overall value proposition of any given vehicle is built on how long that vehicle will last in its entirety. Any vehicle with a big battery can well be EOL at 15 years, while modern ICE-only cars can be viable for 25 years or more.
Comparing the value of my ’08 Prius to an ’08 Corolla, the Prius is worth a lot less,
Edmunds says the value of an ’08 Prius is between $1602 and $5281, and the ’08 Corolla between $1513 and $4735.
The issue with Teslas will be somewhat different, most likely. If not abused, the battery pack will degrade slowly over time; more slowly than originally anticipated. That affects range. In selling a used Tesla, the car will clearly show how much range its battery still can provide. So a 15 year old Model Y that still has 260 mile range (because it was treated more carefully) will of course have a better resale value than one that only has 190 mile range. But even that will still have some value. And there will be a market for used and degraded battery packs for energy storage devices.
And of course new battery pack prices will steadily decrease.
I’m not as pessimistic as you are on that regard.
Don’t forget the market for used batteries. Cars get totaled and their parts get sold for a fraction of the price of a new one. So as long as the packs are used for a reasonable length of time, ie they don’t only fit 1 model year, there will be a way to put some life back into a car with a newer/better used battery. Plus everyone’s range needs are different and when that 300mi has turned to 150mi there is likely someone out there that can get several more years since their normal daily use is much less than 150mi.
Let’s be honest, how many people expect Jim Klein to own this car for fifteen years or more? More likely I’ll be on my fifth one. Windshield wiper blades only last so long… 🙂 The resale on Teslas appears to be quite good.
True that. Jim seems to change cars more than some folks change underwear.
I know guys who run Toyota hybrids as taxis.
They go 1,000,000 km on the original battery.
I haven’t paid much attention to Prius resale values since we sold our ‘08 to our son four years ago. And he has been complaining about an mpg decrease though it’s still in the mid 40’s (US mpg), at about 160K miles. But I just checked out a nationwide vendor that sells a lifetime warranty replacement battery for $1450 installed. That’s not a significant maintenance cost considering what people pay for transmissions or other major repairs after 150-250K miles on other cars. And a 10-15 year old Tesla with half the range of a new example would still be inexpensive to run, for a typical charge-overnight commuter.
This is some exciting news. I look forward to an insider’s look at Tesla ownership. With this new Tesla and your never-ending stream of test cars, has Jim Klein bought his last gallon of gasoline? 🙂
Let’s hope. I also recently bought an electric lawnmower!
I’ll believe you’ve stopped buying gas when you trade the RAM for a CyberTruck or Rivian.
Haha! I don’t own a RAM 😀. Your point stands though, there’s still a fleet…working on it.
Exciting decision – I’m envious. 🙂
Ben Sullins posted a recent video of post-delivery issues they had with their new Model Y, acquired 2 months ago. They love the car overall (it’s their third Tesla) but it hasn’t been without some problems, mostly involving panel fit. They expect most of them to be resolved. Useful perspective.
The major takeaway though seems to be overwhelmingly positive owners’ opinions of their cars, as your neighbourhood survey confirms. I don’t think I’ve seen any owners’ reviews that indicate serious regret over their purchase.
Thank you, I won’t be surprised if we see some issues too, hopefully with our order date we won’t have to worry about an end of quarter push. Thinking about it, I’m in general more concerned with a traditional dealer promising the moon and then trying to weasel out than I am the manufacturer directly.
I see a blank space between the steering wheel and windscreen – where the instruments should be….. My first car, a side valve Ford, had the speedo in the middle of the bakelite dashboard – I used a wood-saw to cut the dash in half and position the speedo in the correct place.
My current car has some functions controlled by a touch-screen, so I never adjust those as it is too dangerous while driving.
Many years ago I got a spin in a Model ‘S’ courtesy of an early-adopter. I loved the car, except for the lack of ICE and the silly tablet in the middle.
I’m not the Tesla kind of guy, and much of the tech stuff others mention here is over my head.
But tangent to auto culture: I imagine there are enough CCers in the USA who remember Renault (before AMC), Peugeot, Daihatsu, and Fiat (the first time), just to name a few, and even the Austin Marina.
A new car company which seems to have legs to last in the American market? That ain’t nothing to sneeze at.
No degradation due to altitude, I get it, but what about due to cold? I lived in Boulder for a while, so I’ve experienced Colorado winters.
The word from the neighbors is about 20 percent when cold AND traveling at higher speeds such as on the freeway. The Model Y has a different type of heater, a heat pump in this case which is supposedly much more efficient than what the others (including the M3) have. So we’ll see how that goes. The neighbors and the other guy I knew with an early Model S seemed to go up I-70 frequently in the winter to go skiing so it doesn’t seem to be a big problem. I guess I’ll find out for sure this winter and will report back…But that’s also one of the reasons I’m happy to be starting with 316 miles of range, there’s room to lose some.
Hate to sound negative. But it sounds like, you wanted a Tesla, you bought a Tesla. Good for you. Hope it turns out the way you want it. Most of the cars are engineered and designed by the same group of auto suppliers in and around Detroit anyway. Enjoy the experience!
No, they weren’t designed by Detroit people.
They were designed by the same people who built the first successful private space transportation company. They even have rockets that land instead of being burnt up in the atmosphere.
MANY Tesla systems are designed in Detroit. I have personally worked on them…
You don’t sound negative, but we wanted the best vehicle for the job. We wanted a safe car that would fit us in comfort for 99% of the driving tasks we perform and not be concerned about range in the semi-frequent instances that we do 150-200 miles a day and was priced competitively. Avoiding gas stations is a huge plus and it fits our lifestyle as well as being interesting and a new experience. My wife is used to driving an SUV with snow tires as well as AWD in the winter and preferred to stay with the same type of format. We thankfully rarely need to seat five people anymore and when we do we can scrunch a bit like we do when on vacation in a rental car. This seems to (on paper) fit the bill perfectly. I didn’t see anything else on the market or about to come on the market that could do the same. Having a maker that is committed to the technology is a plus too, everyone else is just hot air for the most part. Our second choice would have been a plug-in hybrid, most likely a Lexus RX as there also isn’t a large variety to choose from in that format either for some reason. It’s not like this is new tech anymore but that’s how the old makers seem to act about it instead of just buckling down and getting the job done. The Tesla is cheaper than that RX450H option would have been.
If you go back and read anything I’ve written here over the last few years I have been FAR from being a Tesla or Elon Musk fanboi, I’ve doubted them all along, rebutted Paul on multiple/most occasions, but am open-minded enough to not stubbornly stake out a position that seems to be more and more incorrect as time goes by as that gets embarrassing after a while.
I’m interested in the technology (just like I have been with and owned Hybrid, Diesel, CNG) but if Nissan or Toyota or VW had a similar car with similar performance at a similar price we’d have looked at that. They simply don’t, nor does anyone else. Jaguar and Audi are far pricier with shorter range. Mercedes’ entry never made it to market over here. Nissan, GM, BMW, MINI don’t build anything AWD and EV and only in a format that is econo-car sized. The Ford is still vaporware and unattractive to us for other reasons besides. (Note that we have owned all of those other brands I just mentioned previously except the BMW ones). We’re not rich but we have worked hard for what we have so we are comfortable, note that exactly ten years ago this month we moved to this town without jobs or much of anything else except three kids, but this is at the upper end of what we’d want to ever spend on a vehicle although we’ve spent a similar amount previously.
Believe me, if it sucks you will hear about it. I have nothing to hide here, especially my personal anecdotes as it comes to cars.
I drove a Model S shortly after they came out. At that moment I realised that all ICE engines were on the way out. It’s just so much, well, better.
I also find it comical how so many guys are threatened by an EV. If you don’t like an EV, don’t buy it.
I’d add that a better course of action is to try to understand that which is threatening. The easiest way in this case is to drive one and learn about it yourself. It’s free to try one, what could be better/easier? And they (as well as I) really don’t care if you don’t want to buy one afterward, but this was easily one of the most respectful “dealer” experiences of all time so far.
Carl Benz and Henry Ford both should have looked more into electrics and battery tech 100 years ago instead of taking the world on a huge detour and now, as two of the most storied automobile companies in the world, are barely able to look in from the outside as a cocky little startup runs away with it.
Congratulations, Jim, it already sounds like you’ll enjoy it (well, if your wife lets you drive it) and based on what my Tesla-owning friends say, it will be an overall enjoyable ownership experience, and not just the behind the wheel time. We’re about to add a very different kind of COAL to our modest fleet, but when it’s time to replace our Golf, I know Tesla will be near the top of the list. Even three years ago I wouldn’t have said that, not because I didn’t see an EV in my future, but because I assumed VW or Toyota or even Ford would have smacked Tesla into bankruptcy or acquisition. But Tesla seems to keep hitting home runs and the big guys are just shooting blanks, to mix metaphors.
Congratulations on your purchase, Jim! I’ve had my Model 3 since Nov ’18 and still genuinely enjoy driving it every day.
Rather than purchasing a Tesla wall charger I just had my electrician install a 240V NEMA 14-50 outlet and use the charger that came with the Tesla. It costs much less up front and still charges at a rate of about 30 miles/hour which for most should be plenty fast for overnight charging.
Thanks, yes the NEMA plug charger may be the backup plan if the wall charger remains out of stock…I’ll report on it!
Congrats! In the next few years, I’ll hand over our trusty 2012 Accord to the kids. A Bronco or something fun is tempting but an EV is just as likely since I’m a long term keeper. An EV next to my wife’s GX460 would be ironic, but that’s a good vehicle for Idaho. I also like a minimalistic look and am so fed up with Lexus Enform!
Anyways, I found a picture if the 19” wheels with the cover removed. Looks great!
Those wheels look good. Reminds me of some Priuses, whose wheels are quite handsome under their plastic covers. Removing the covers probably reduces range by 0.05% due to aerodynamics, compensated for by 0.03% improvement due to reduced rotating mass to accelerate.
The one we saw was the same wheel but in silver under the cover. Not sure what determines if you get silver or black underneath. But they look good. Thanks!
Congratulations Jim on a great choice! I have had the opportunity to drive an older Nissan Leaf, a Ford C-Max energi on EV mode and a Tesla Model X. While the Ford and the Nissan weren’t nearly as strong, I was greatly impressed with how smoothly and rapidly they accelerated and how quiet they were at cruising speed.
Like many here, I see EVs as the way of the future and am excited by it. My wife drives only about 4,000 miles per year and mostly in urban environments so an EV would be perfect for her. The Model Y looks great but my needs are for something more squared off like a RAV4 or CR-V. The new Rivian looks interesting but is much larger than I wanted.
Oh, and the Tesla buying process sounds far more humane than the outmoded dealer franchise model we’re confined to with most others. I hope you will post some updates!
I don’t see how this car could possibly have a comfortable 3rd row seat. There is no headroom back there. I can’t see leg room either. The sloped roof design means there is very limited cargo space as well. How is this car not classified as a 4dr hatchback?
I keep hearing about quality problems with the Model 3. They seen to rush them out of the factory and deal with the problems later. It’s about quantity and not quality. Is this true?
I bet it will be like the Model S with a rear facing seat. The underfloor storage area will be the footwell. The location of the power point also is optimized for a rear facing 3rd row.
I’m sure small kids will love climbing back there through the hatch, and making faces at drivers behind them, that is if riding backwards doesn’t make them car sick.
We did not opt for the third row seat. It does not seem like it would be spacious at all and the speculation is that perhaps the second row will sacrifice some room for it. Whether front or rear facing it doesn’t seem like an attractive proposition, then again it’s rare that any of the third rows are overly comfortable until you get into a large-ish SUV or fullsize minivan. Mostly strictly occasional use… The first and second rows are very spacious, no complaints there when we were driving in it.
Cargo volume is surprisingly large. There is a deep underfloor storage area that is about the same size as the front storage area that I pictured. The seats also fold down. The shape of the vehicle is optimized for aerodynamics/range rather than absolute rectangular practicality.
I think every Tesla model to date has had some or numerous people reporting issues at delivery. I assume it’s not every single one but my understanding is that the overwhelmingly vast majority of issues are cosmetic in nature and are taken care of without a fuss. As I mentioned somewhere else I believe perhaps the fact that it’s the manufacturer’s own service people dealing with it rather than a third party independent dealer’s people makes it more likely to be dealt with, certainly that seems to have been the experience of those that I surveyed in person that own the car rather than random unknown people on the internet. Interestingly these types of issues seem to also sometimes befall manufacturers that have been in business for over a century for some reason with one recent case where truckloads of vehicles at similar and higher price points were sent to a second factory to have issues corrected.
Way late to the party here Jim, but congratulations! I am a bit jealous, I must admit.
I am very much looking forward to your reports on this car, having totally enjoyed your new car reviews here. This one will be special, as it will be a long term test drive like they do in Motor Trend.
The color choice is perfect. That blue, or the metallic red would be my choice. Not needing the space however, I think I would personally pick the Model 3, but your pictures here make this look like a very nice choice. My wife would probably prefer the higher seating position of the Model Y though.
Congrats, you won’t regret this. Once you drive a electric car, you start to realize that the ICE is indeed an over a century old design, that is doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Another late to the party, but I compliment you Jim on the most informative and enjoyable read/review on Teslas! I, personally don’t do a lot of driving anymore, (my 2012 Fit just turned 21K!) but I am interested in tech. I absolutely LOVE the color choice (same as mine) but I’m not a fan of black wheels; and in all honesty, the “austerity” of the dash leaves me cold. I look forward with anticipation to the forthcoming episodes! Best wishes! 🙂
Congratulation to choosing a EV, stepping to the future. I have experienced the TESLA 3 for a week and was blown away with the performance, its truly fast. There TESLA really run away from competition. If you are driving around the “block” and rarely had to deal with charging outside your house, its perfect solution.
During my experience, I had to make around 1500 miles per few days with my agent in Portugal and the range was not so great while pushing it harder. We had to visit a supercharger twice a day, while the first visit was OK for lunch, the second in the evening was becoming boring. That’s where I learned the Tesla X can do disco dance with the doors flying, TESLA have a prepaid Netflix, have a simulator of fart and firework screen saver. While supercharger is really fast and can charge car in 40 minutes, thats the only true if there is no other car on the same station (2 connectors).
Later on, I have realized the seats are not all that comfy, the legs are up because of the battery in the floor (maybe Y model address that with the higher seating), the glass roof adds a road noise which is also coming from the tires. All overall, I was glad to be back in my VW Arteon, which all the sudden felt like a much “adult” car with the slow diesel engine but range +600 miles and gas station on every corner, comfy seats, much less road noise and way better fit and finish.
I´m looking forward to read your impression in 6-12 months, once the blast from the drivetrain gets used to and all the small things likely will pop up on daily living bases. Maybe then, you will realize there is some hidden quality of the Lexus you overlooked now.
Anyway, good luck with your TESLA Y and hope you will not get loose the licence because of speeding 🙂 because that’s where TESLA really shine.
Congrats on a new COAL!
It was recommended as a good vehicle by Sandy Munro: