My car will be here in about a month. As I wait, I read and watch things posted by other Tesla owners and I’m getting the jitters.
The vast majority love their vehicles. X owners like them even more than their S models. But then I read or see something and I realize that there are a percentage of owners that are idiots. They allow these “self driving” cars drive into things or they only talk about impressing “babes” with the car’s ludicrous acceleration. Absent from all entries is the use of the all electric Tesla for what I do – drive the heck out of it from cities to off road.
This month I was on a driveway in Tennessee made of loose dirt and stones freshly dug to smooth out ruts. It was about a 35 to 40 degree incline that I needed to crawl over. My GMC needed 4 wheel drive to finish the climb. Will the Tesla’s all wheel drive with 2 motors synchronized through the computer be up to this task?
There were some driveway ruts this week in Georgia that shook my teeth at less than 5 miles per hour. Will I bottom out or damage the batteries that are in the floorboards? The Tesla can be raised on demand with it’s air suspension. What is cool is that if I choose to remember this location, the car will automatically raise the clearance height 6 months from now when I return to the farm.
The biggest change will simply be the logistics of driving. I pulled my diesel up to the fuel pump and in 5 minutes, my driving range was increased to 500 miles. My drive today from Tesla’s Super Chargers (SC) in Tifton, GA to a farm east of Orlando is 273 miles and 4 hours. Under the best conditions, the X will go 295 miles but air temperature, traveling speed and headwinds, air conditioning use and battery age all affect this range. To be prudent I will need to add a stop in Ocala to top off the battery. This will add about 15 to 20 minutes of charging plus another 12 minutes driving from the interstate to the SC and back. There are no restrooms or places to buy water to drink at this SC so adding that break adds a minimum of 10 min. Total additional time for the trip is 27 to 42 minutes.
Assumptions must include that there is an open charging station and that the station hasn’t had a fault which reduces available power or disables it. A power outage also makes charging impossible. Each charging station has 2 ports. When both are used the charging becomes slower. When the battery is too hot (summer day, battery coolant not working, range mode is on which heats the battery) then charging slows. Calculating how much to charge needs to take into account that the first 80% is fast (20 to 30 min) while the last 20% needs 45 minutes more. Lastly, I will need to add in the distances beyond the farm to the other farms and then to the next SC which may be out of the location of where I am working adding more time to the day.
We pride ourselves and are famous for giving an exact time of arrival to the farms we go to. Not only will we be strained to do this with the additional burden of charging, but we will need to give an hour range of arrival time to accommodate our learning curve.
Should all of this make me jittery? Am I having buyer’s remorse before actually buying it? Not really. While it isn’t perfect, neither was my first business computer I purchased for my practice in 1985 (IBM XT) or my first vehicle mounted cell phone in 1989 (Cellular One’s Uniden – before Motorola’s “bag phone”) or my first hand held PDA in the mid 1990’s (H-P’s Personal Digital Assistant with stylus and Graffiti handwriting recognition ability). I’m going into this technological addition of the Tesla with the same confidence that not only will I adapt but that everyone will eventually follow my lead as they have with computers and smartphones.
One note – while I remain on the cutting edge of technology, horses are living, breathing beings with their own wants, needs and desires. I will never join the technology revolution surrounding equine dentistry. This technology only makes our lives better and not the horse’s lives.