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Things you should know as a "Tesla Ambassador"

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Liz G, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    All,

    Many of you may have seen my post about the St. Louis Auto show, where my Tesla will be displayed. In preparation for this, I would like to mine the collective knowledge of the TMC members in an effort to put together a list of information that would be beneficial for me or anyone to know as "Tesla Ambassador". This would not just be info on the Model S, but info on stuff related to EV's and Tesla that the general public may get asked.

    I've read a lot of the threads and the Tesla specs and manual but it is difficult to get this all together and it's likely I'm missing important things. So I was hoping you (and the moderators) would humor me and help me with this task.

    Thanks,
    Liz
     
  2. Puyallup Bill

    Puyallup Bill Member

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    In addition to the obvious - being honest about range, where to charge, how long to charge, etc - be ready for the EV haters.

    Only the rich can afford EVs, especially a Tesla.
    There are lower cost EVs, and over time the savings in fuel cost will make up the difference between ICE and EV. As more and more EVs are produced, costs will come down.

    Because of federal tax credits and some state credits, you are getting your car on the backs of those that can't afford an EV. And, since you do not pay gasoline taxes, you get to use the roads for free.
    Financial incentives are necessary to get the public interested in the technology, and will be phased out over time. Some states levy a road use fee at registration, and many others are looking at ways to fairly charge all users of the public roads. (Missouri?)

    St Louis gets 80% of its electricity from burning fossil fuel, coal. You are contributing to air pollution.
    True, but because of scrubbing and other measures, EVs using coal supplied electricity cause less pollution than an ICE powered vehicle. And, most battery charging is done during off-peak power use times. (Probably best to not comment on the large number of big Escalades, Expeditions, Navigators, and such idling at red lights.)

    There is a study that concludes that EVs in Chinese cities pollute more than ICEs because the electricity comes from fossil fuels.
    This is not China; we have stricter pollution controls.
     
  3. ORB

    ORB Member

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  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    It's true about the EV haters, but my experience at the Toronto auto show was 95% positive, 4.9% simple and easily countered ignorance, and a tiny fraction who were aggressively anti-EV. The anti-EV types can actually be fun, if they're willing to engage in a debate. Just make sure you're prepared for them.

    My favorite discussion started like this: "I'm personally offended as a taxpayer that thousands of dollars in subsidies are going to electric vehicle owners." My response, "I'm personally offended, as a taxpayer, that billions of dollars in subsidies are going to oil companies." The guy had an utterly shocked expression, looked like I had slapped him! Too funny. He tried to deny it but I rattled off a few statistics. Go prepared!
     
  5. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    #5 brianman, Jan 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
    Just an opinion, but I'll give it anyway.

    When people ask about the range (on my 85 kWh), I say 265. I don't even mention 300. The EPA 5-cycle rating says 265, and the U.S. buyer typically speaks that language when comparing vehicles. Most people are astonished and the discussion moves on to other things with a positive vibe because the 265 leaves the competition fading in the rear view.

    Some people have -- via whatever means -- run across the 300 number and ask with a slightly puzzled look. In such cases, I briefly elaborate on the history of Tesla's range marketing for Model S. Initially speaking of a "300 mi." battery -- as their top-end based on their measurement of the distance at a steady 55mph, and later changing the terminology to the explicit battery capacity (85 kWh). I conclude that currently the web site lists both distance numbers with clear labelling to hopefully avoid confusion.

    At this point, the person is usually somewhat impressed with the depth of information and (sometimes) gives off visible cues that they have will have high confidence and trust in my subsequent responses and opinions.

    Honesty, openness, and depth-when-appropriate is a good way to communicate and build trust -- especially with the cautious potential convert.


    For the longer demos/walk-thrus, I list my top 3-5 "nitpicks" because I know that's what I usually learn the most from when evaluating new purchases and getting advice from owners.

    - - - Updated - - -

    False premise. We can discuss in another thread if you like.

    Love your profile picture, BTW.
     
  6. Ardie

    Ardie Member

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    It can be a fine line to walk when you are an ad-hoc spokesperson for anything. I congratulate you in your decision to help educate (and maybe excite) the general public about the Tesla Model S in particular, and electric cars in general.

    Rather than attempt to upstage the Tesla PR folk, I'll just suggest that you get some Tesla downloads of photos, performance spec's, prices, and a Tesla contact for the curious. With all your enthusiasm, it may be a bit more difficult to NOT come off as some kind of sales rep for Tesla.

    Educating people about electric cars will be trickier. There's the stigma of limited range and long recharge times (well, for most of us EV'ers, and most charging spots), and difficult tho' it may be, its the primary reason why today's electric car isn't for everybody. But if one can accept a few lifestyle changes to accommodate the limitations in today's electric world, the rewards will far outweigh the inconveniences.

    And here's where your personal experience comes in.
    I've driven nearly 15,000 miles without gasoline. (Okay, for me its a BMW ActiveE.) My $50 per week gasoline bill changed into a $50 per month increase in my electricity bill. No oil changes, spark plugs, fan belts, or tune-ups. Ever. And the performance ain't too shabby, either. Acceleration and cornering more like a slot car. Quiet, fast, modern, safe.

    -- Ardie
    Going electric isn't a sacrifice. Its a change for the better.
     
  7. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    The other item people get hung up on is charging times and locations... thinking it difficult to go beyond 265 miles.

    Just as the first gasoline cars did not have an refueling infrastructure in place, or more recently diesel cars... this issue is already being solved by the supercharger network (30 to ~60 minute charges) being installed first on the two coasts, and within two to five years, networked across the country. And most all of it tapping the sun, allowing you to drive for free.
     
  8. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    An example:
    (A) "The range limit is not a problem because..."
    (B) "The typical driver does not need to worry about range with the S because..."
    (C) "You don't need to worry about range because..."
    (D) "I don't worry about range because..."

    (A) and (B) are impersonal and often offputting.
    (C) is pushy, presumptious, and generally overstepping what you really know about the person/audience.

    (D) is relating your personal experience, and is usually received far better than the other 3.
     
  9. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    As to range. I say "The EPA says 265, but it varies a lot depending on speed & driving style. For instance, one guy got 400 miles, but was driving 35mph."
     
  10. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    As to range. I say "The EPA says 265, but it varies a lot depending on speed & driving style. For instance, one guy got 400 miles, but was driving 35mph."
     
  11. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    What is the range of your ICE? Have you ever ran out of gas? Do you top it off before heading out on remote desert or mountain roads?
     
  12. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    Your BMW ActiveE gets 30MPGe? Is that the inference to draw about your gas and electricity bills being equivalent?

    David
     
  13. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Week - month
     
  14. Babylonfive

    Babylonfive Power12

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    That's not embarrassing AT ALL.
     
  15. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Don't sweat it, I had to read that twice too... :)
     
  16. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    As part of my regular job, I work in IT -- for an IT company, which means that many times I'm asked to speak to customers. I make it a point to use only the (D) frame of mind and talking point of view. "Here's why we did it," or "here are my thoughts on the matter," and I'm not afraid to point out the flaws or concerns. When I talk of SuperChargers, I still talk about it being a slower "fill-up", *but* note the fact that it's at the point where it's acceptable to me.

    If Tesla wanted to sell cars there, they'd be there on the floor with the marketing messages. I don't plan to represent the company, I plan to show how EV's (especially the model S) are now usable where they have not been before.
     
  17. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Liz,

    I think one of the most important details is this: "What makes the Model S revolutionary is its range. If your round trip commute is within 200 miles, you'll never need a pubic charging station. You simply charge at home at night."

    It's likely that someone would then ask, "What if I need to go on a longer trip?" So you tell them about the Supercharger network, ending with, "Oh, and did I mention it's free? When the network is fully built, you could drive coast-to-coast for free."

    I also think it's helpful to make a simple energy cost comparison: "If you compare the Model S to a similar gas car, such as a BMW 550i Gran Turismo, the BMW will cost about $60 per 300 miles, while the Model S will cost about $10." (This is a conservative estimate. Some Model S owners report an 8-to-1 cost benefit ratio. When Tesla's Gen III car arrives, I believe fuel savings will be the number one incentive.)
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Nitpicker's corner: Tires aren't free. ;)
     
  19. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Car shows have been a LOT of fun. Bring water as I normally have people lined up the entire time I am there. The three things I have found most helpful, or that gathers attention are: The EPA sticker laminated posted in the window. The 119 MPGe really gathers attention. Then I have a laminated top questions document I lay on the windshield that answer most common questions. And finally I have a tri-fold brochure I made up similar to to the ones on the Electric Auto Association Flyers - Electric Auto Association. My common questions is at http://dl.dropbox.com/u/94320747/QUESTIONS.docx and my flyer is http://dl.dropbox.com/u/94320747/Why_Electric_Brochure.docx
     
  20. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I did an Earth Day event last year w/ my Roadster and had a ton of fun. I didn't get any haters. People either knew about Tesla or EV's and would ask detailed questions or they would ask basic stuff like where do I charge it, how long it takes, and range. Cost is another big one.

    My typical tack is what I'm following in my own home. We kept my wife's ICE for towing and ski trips. I tell people that for every multi-car family that I have ever talked to, one of their cars could be an EV. The tech isn't quite there for most people to go all-EV but it's getting there. I usually then talk about how in the early days of ICE's there were very few gas stations so people had to plan carefully, etc and now there are stations everywhere - it's the same kind of transition.

    Grab some brochures from Tesla to hand out. People will ask if you work for Tesla but just tell them that you are a customer. Don't be shy about your enthusiasm for the car. It will be contagious. As others have said, talk about why you bought the car, why you love it, etc.

    One question for the group... with my Roadster I let people sit in it. I had the roof off and I was standing there so I could see what they were doing and without the key there was nothing they could do. But w/ Model S I'm wondering how I'll do that. If I'm standing next to the car w/ the fob I assume it will drive if someone gets in, hits the brake, and shifts the car? Anyone know what Tesla does at the stores? Do they just leave the car unlocked but make sure the fob is far enough away that the car won't drive?
     

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