Should You Buy a Tesla?
Tesla’s all the rage these days. But should you really buy one?
To some people, that’s just a stupid question. They love to follow trends, be the first person to have the new trinket, or genuinely think that getting on board with Tesla now makes them better than others. I suggest you ignore such people when weighing your decision, because their reasons for getting a Tesla are just plain silly.
Instead, there are several points you need to know about and examine thoroughly before either getting a Tesla or holding off. That’s right, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this question. So be prepared to think actively and let’s explore some major pluses and minuses of getting a Tesla.
One of the biggest concerns about getting a Tesla at this point is reliability. The company has had a fairly rocky go of making cars. The Roadster was essentially a Lotus Elise with a huge, heavy battery. The Model S has had several reliability issues, some of them controversial and others that are definitely legit. The door handles were perhaps the most notorious, because nobody likes having their fingers pinched by something they’re supposed to trust.
The Model X has been rife with problems, especially with the doors. Then there’s been problems with the huge windshield and accusations of suspension defects. If anything, it just goes to show it’s not easy to manufacture vehicles.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to be bothered by reliability issues, a Tesla probably isn’t for you. Instead, go with a Toyota Camry or something similarly safe/boring, avoid spicy foods and staying up past midnight.
What most people fail to realize about Tesla’s reliability problems is that often the issues revolve around software. The company pretty regularly sends out over-the-air (OTA) updates to its cars. That means a solution to a big problem can come in the middle of the night, so you don’t have to sit in a dealership, smelling burning coffee and stale popcorn while Mission Impossible 2 plays on a big screen.
So Tesla’s a work in progress. Either you can look past the flaws and enjoy the benefits, or you’ll be ultimately annoyed.
This is the biggie when it comes to pretty much any electric car. Everyone worries about range, while EV fanboys go into a fit of rage because people are so “stupid” or “petty” or something like that.
The reality is you can’t drive a Tesla all over the place without plugging in. Depending on the vehicle, you might have a range of somewhere between 200 and 300 miles. On your average day for the average driver that’s plenty.
If you have no idea how much you drive each day, it’s time to start noting that. You’ll probably realize that the range of a Tesla is well within what you need, but it’s best to figure that out before you get the car.
Then there’s the problem of long-distance trips. Sad as it may be, there aren’t vehicle chargers all over the place like gas stations. Sure, Tesla has a network of Superchargers that’s always growing, but they’re still only in select areas. Recharging the car using a regular wall outlet takes hours, and most people don’t have that long to juice up.
What this means is if you regularly drive long distances where vehicle chargers aren’t available, getting a Tesla could leave you stranded. If you’re an epic road tripper, then a Tesla likely isn’t a good fit. But if you’d rather fly everywhere for vacation, getting one could work.
Don’t buy a Tesla if you want to lay low, at least not for now. Pretty much everywhere you go, your car will generate a lot of attention. Tesla owners in California even report people following them, taking pictures, drooling over their car in parking lots, etc.
Essentially, you’re buying a novelty for others to be amazed at seeing. Other drivers will shout questions at you while sitting at red lights. Some muscle cars might want to race. People who think electric cars are the devil might lash out at you. Kids might want your autograph.
If all that attention sounds like too much, you should hold off. In a few years Teslas might become so common that this issue no longer exists, but the reality right now is you’ll get hit with all sorts of attention.
It’s no secret that cars are becoming more digitized all the time. You can look at that fact as a good or bad thing, but it’s not going to stop the inevitable. If you’ve been in some newer cars, you might feel like you’re being babysat by the electronics, constantly being reminded that you can’t do this thing or that while the car’s on the move, because you’re just too irresponsible to make your own decisions.
Dealing with these “nanny electronics” can be downright annoying.
The good news is Tesla actually doesn’t do this. You can access all of the car’s electronics while driving down the road, including the full web browser in the head unit. Honda, Toyota and many others restrict a number of infotainment features once a car’s in Drive, figuring you’re just too irresponsible to know when to use them.
So you can use the humongous touchscreen in a Tesla while sitting in thick stop-and-go traffic to look up pretty much anything. That’s helpful when you’re wondering if you should take the next freeway exit, because you can see whatever you want about what might be there. In other cars, you’re limited to the crappy info in the navigation system, which half of the time isn’t even accurate.
Buying a Tesla’s a big commitment. After all, the cars aren’t exactly cheap and they’re honestly not for everyone. The best thing to do is to think seriously about the different issues surrounding Tesla, then make an honest purchasing decision that’s independent of what everyone else thinks. After all, it’s your car and your cash, so do as you see fit.