Recently I had to take ‘Scarlett’ in for a check up. Primarily, I just wanted to have an unfortunate scratch taken care of. It happened to be a crisp, fall Friday and I had a few errands to run. I needed a loaner car for the day. There just happened to be a couple. One of them caught my eye though… A midnight blue Tesla roadster. I had heard that the service centers were now incorporating them as loaner vehicles. It seemed too good to to be true. I inquired to it’s availability and they said I could take it for the day. There was also an element of sentimental excitement as well. The first time I ever got to experience a Tesla in person was back in 2009 and I was down in the Bay area. I got to drive a Tesla roadster that had almost exactly the same layout. They give me the keys and I run out to the car immediately. I try to jump in and I start to have flashbacks… Being almost 6’3″, the roadster is a snug fit. I am confident that a smart car has more room. After using what knowledge of yoga I had to contort myself into the car, I took off. Luckily, since it had been a nice day I also took off the removable top. Otherwise most likely I would not have fit.
Then some other things started to return to me. Not only is it a small car, it is a very, very low car. I pulled up to some other cars at a stop light. Looking at the car next to me I noticed that my head was well below where the side mirrors are on the other car. I noticed the car next me start to take off and that’s when I had more deja vu. The top of the windshield is at just the right level and size to perfectly hide all sorts of traffic signs. I was unable to see the traffic lights without peering up over the windshield. Having the top to the car on would have made it pretty much impossible to see. Stop signs were also completely invisible. As I proceeded to merge onto I-5 I noticed the roadster’s track tuned suspension start to really shine, AKA break me into pieces. Within 30 minutes I was ready to get out of the car. Later that day I swung by a friend to show him the car and work on some web stuff for our site. He, like many other people, was in love with the car immediately. He said he wanted to go with me to the service center. Now the thing about the roadster is that you want to make sure you know whoever you’re giving a ride fairly well. Because you’re going to, either way. It’s space, or lack there of, factor came back up. There we were, scrunched together shoulder to shoulder. Our elbows unintentionally jabbing into each others’ sides.
The roadster is an amazing car and don’t get me wrong, it is very fun! However, the difference between the roadster and the Model S are night and day. It’s amazing to see how Tesla Motors evolved their product. While the ‘Hyper Drive’ like acceleration of the roadster is a blast, the overall usability of the Model S makes it a winner. Not that the Model S is by any means slow… Plus for it’s price, the Model S is a deal. In what had become a world where the norm was to sub out manufacturing to other companies in other parts of the world. By Tesla Motors having full control of their production they can create a revolutionary product on their terms. With the roadster Tesla Motors teamed up with Lotus, which is an automotive legend in their own rite. However, being separated by the Atlantic Ocean among many things can make it hard to build a cohesive product. Now that Tesla is fully independent in their production, I can only imagine what the next generation of the roadster will be like when it comes out in a few years.
While having the ability to try the roadster again was fun, it was a great example of the grass not being as green on the other side. I couldn’t think of a better day to have the roadster to enjoy it in. The customer service experience of borrowing a rare sports car was amazing. It turned out to not only to be an overall very pleasant experience, but one where I learned a lot. Most loaner vehicles are usually a cramped, base vehicle. While I was in a cramped loaner car (at my own choosing), I can’t think of better one to be stuck in. I was however quite relieved when I returned to the service center later that evening to exchange cars. When we jumped into the Model S and drove back it felt like being in a mausoleum; so quiet, smooth, and spacious. The Model S is a big car in it own right; plus the minimalist interior and perks of a proper electric car really gives you a lot of space. It had been a fun day, but now I was even more convinced there is nothing else on the road (yet) that I would trade the Model S for.