My husband is a total car enthusiast. He’s obviously more into car stuff than anything else, or anyone. I am usually okay with his undying passion for car, because he keeps it to himself. Occasionally, he gets me involved.
With COVID living amongst us, there isn’t much to do on the weekend. So my husband, let’s call him N, suggested that we visit the Tesla dealership, with no intention of buying or leasing one. I remembered the look on his face when I expressed my disinterest. Don’t give me wrong, before sitting in one, I was fascinated with it too. I guess the difference between N and I is that he hadn’t sat in one yet. Poor guy, imagine the anticipation, must have been driving him nuts.
So I came along only because the alternative would be staying at home, with our little terror H-dawg.
Tesla has a tiny store front, compared to any other major dealership that I have visited in the past. Four floor models, a front desk, some sani-stations and a dozen people already made the room quite stuffy. Within minutes, we were led to the parkade level full of Teslas. They all parked in this ordinary commercial parking space, guarded by no one. Followed by a 2-minite tutorial, we departed from the underground and headed to UBC.
The first sentence I said to N was “is it as fast as you hoped for?” “Oh yes, it’s fast. They gave us a performance model.” I saw a big grin on his face. While N was busy testing different modes, I looked around the interior trying to look for something impressive. But sadly, besides the enormous console in the middle, there was nothing else to take my attention away. I hate to say this but everything felt every, unoriginal.
Like I mentioned in the Disclaimer, this is a safe place for me and my audience to share our candid thoughts, so even if my comments will rock someone’s boat, I still would prefer a more analog machine over a futuristic Tesla. I felt I was being watched and analyzed the entire time I was in the car. Doesn’t anyone else have the same feeling, that the machine is listening in to each conversation, monitoring our expressions, behaviors and vital signs, so it can learn human cognitive abilities and limitations? Or was that just me being paranoid?
Out of all the features Tesla offers, I do not understand the need for Caraoke, unless it was designed for passengers only. A cheeky little play on words though.
Another feature that creeped me out was the self driving ability. Apparently as long as the car can sense the driver has laid his or her eyes on the road, self-driving can be enabled. Tell me that I’m crazy, but it’s totally watching us.
With little to zero driving experience, I can’t speak to the performance of the car. But as a passenger who’s gotten more than 20 years of being driven, I wasn’t wowed by it. The seats were oddly designed, pressing into the back of the legs. The steering wheel looked like plug-ins, which is for easy repair and replacement I pressum. Every little knick knack felt it was ripped off from somewhere else and smashed together with the other cool gadgets the car holds. The bright console was an unavoidable distraction. And N, for the first time, didn’t feel he was in full control of a car. The potential of the car frightened me.
Call me selfish, but to a passenger, I still enjoy a good road trip where I get to watch trees and roads roaring past by us, while playin “I spy with my little eye” game to help N stay engaged and entertained. A brilliant multi-functional console offers way more entertainment than I do. Does it also help a driver to unwind and distance from the busy world?
But don’t mistake me for one second that I will deny the innovative advancement, sustainable transport, environmental contribution and many more advantages that Tesla and the team behind it has created. It is ahead of the automobile’s game. And soon, it could become another commodity. Maybe by then, I have already been brainwashed to trust all small and big smart devices. Convenience will outweigh privacy and control. Until then, let’s hope Elon can solve the global warming crisis.