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TMC Members! What was your first Tesla experience?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Rheazombi, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Rheazombi

    Rheazombi Member

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    I'm wondering what various people on this forum have as their very first Tesla memory. How did you first hear about the car? Was the concept of an electric car new to you? Did you see one on TV? Did you hear a friend talk about it? Did one silently woosh past you?

    Especially if you eventually ended up buying one, what was the defining moment where you went "whoa, I have to have that thing".

    I'm super curious because lately, with all the Tesla Time I've been doing (still not totally used to it) I've noticed some people who come up to me seem to know literally ZERO about the car. Some of them think it's a Mercedes or a Maserati and have never even heard of Tesla or electric cars. I love talking to those people because they always seem the most flabbergasted. I feel like I'm alerting them to a possibility of transportation they never considered. Now if they ever hear about Tesla on the news, or from their friends they will have a different perspective on the whole thing. It's cool to think maybe I've sewed the Tesla seed in someone else's mind :D

    Anyway, I want to hear your stories! It can be the first few distinct memories, not just the very first, because I think sometimes discovering something you love takes a couple happy coincidences.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The first was when the Roadster was introduced, but that was so far out of my price range that it was only a "that's nice". The second, and the one that really made an impact was Elon's section in The Revenge of the Electric Car. That impressed me so much that I looked into it further and purchased one a few months later.
     
  3. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    In the early 2000s, I recall seeing a two page "cutaway" rendering of an early Roadster design in some magazine (not sure which one, possibly Popular Science.) It showed thousands of AA size batteries all over the place, including inside the doors. (Not a good idea in a wreck, I remember thinking.)

    But that drawing was my first clue about EVs and Tesla. I've searched for that drawing since, but haven't found it. TEG?
     
  4. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    I tested the Roadster in Milan..... and I fell in love. :love:
     
  5. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    I saw a Roadster with "EL xxxx" licence plates (all electrics have EL in the start in Norway as of yet) and had to look it up. I was hooked. Up until then I had only seen Revas, Thinks, Citroen Saxo EVs on the streets.
     
  6. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    I know I had vaguely heard of Tesla from a friend in the SF Bay area. Then one day I saw a small note in the San Diego Union Tribune that Tesla had opened their first store front in Santa Monica. My wife was away visiting relatives, and I like driving for recreation, so that Saturday I jumped in the AMG and drove up, about 2.5 hours each way. I first got a Roadster ride on the spot, and was impressed, but I don't think just riding gives the full experience, and I was after all comparing it to a pretty serious car. Anyway, a couple of weeks later we organized a test DRIVE, and we both went up and had a drive of the Roadster (1.0 with the transmission locked in second gear... this was well before deliveries had started). We got back and were grinning ear-to-ear, muttering "It's really impractical!". Put down a deposit the next day, and began our first multi-year wait.
     
  7. EdA

    EdA Model S P-2540

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    I read about the Roadster online way back when but ignored it since I'm not interested in two-seaters.
    In October 2010 I heard a story on the radio about the forthcoming Model S and did some more reading that night and put my deposit down.
    A week or so later I went to a test drive event for the Roadster but didn't actually drive or sit in one since they were booked.
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #8 TEG, Jan 10, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
    In 2006, I read this article about Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning working on a Stealth EV startup:

    High-Performance, No-Emission Cars - CBS News

    I had just bought my first EV (used Ford Ranger pickup), after seeing "Who Killed the Electric Car" (the movie that convinced me I had to start driving electric.)

    After seeing a glimpse of a prototype Roadster at the end of the movie, I fell in love with it and started to follow the developments fanatically.

    My blog and forum postings got enough notice that I got invited for a tour of early Tesla (then in San Carlos) and a ride in EP2 (with the 2 speed gearbox locked in 2nd gear.)

    When Martin finally got his production Roadster ("F2"), he invited me to drive it (!) We met up and I got a chance to experience first hand what Tesla had created.

    Due to needs for a family car, and budget concerns, I ended up getting one of the first Nissan LEAFs to hold me over until Tesla model 3 comes out.

    I have been somewhat of a "Forrest Gump" character in the background of Tesla events... Showing up at store openings, factory opening, X intro, etc.

    I have a lot of respect for Model S, but it is too big and expensive for me. By the way, someone let me drive their P85D in "insane mode" today! :biggrin:




    FF_162_tesla3_f.jpg
     
  9. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    TEG is amazing! That's the cutaway I remember, and it seems to be from Wired. And he also PM'd me with a pic of one of AC Propulsion's TZero with batteries in the door, so I didn't dream it...just conflated the two somehow. Cheers to TEG!
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  11. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #11 ChadS, Jan 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
    TL;DR: I think I first heard of Tesla in 2006 (I was actively searching for EV companies); but didn't consider the Roadster seriously until a "defining moment" in 2009. That was when I realized the Model S was the only long-range EV that stood a chance of being built - but only if people bought the Roadster.

    ----------------------------------------------------

    While I'd made some weak attempts at buying an electric car as early as 2000 (I never thought an auto dealer would hang up on a potential customer, but when I called a CA Toyota dealer to ask about buying a RAV4-EV from out of state, that's exactly what they did) it wasn't until 2006 that I made a serious effort to get an EV - even though I'd never seen one and didn't know anybody that had one. I spent a lot of time doing web searches (much to my wife's annoyance) looking for companies that were promising to build one. Roughly once a week I would scan all the web sites to see what was up; I was disappointed every week. My wife had a Prius, so I was following Hymotion to see when their PHEV kit would be available. Of course Tesla was a company I was looking at, but there was no way I'd spend THAT much money on a car. My $19,500 60mpg Honda Insight (purchased in 2006 after I failed to find an EV) was the most expensive car I had ever purchased.

    Around 2008 I heard Tesla was having a Roadster test drive in Seattle, and I was tempted, but didn't want to bug them if I knew I wasn't going to buy one. By this time I knew the Hymotion kit was coming; I got one of the very first non-fleet units in November 2008. I was happy at getting 100mpg in my newly-PHEV'd Prius for about 3 days - then I was became supremely annoyed that the dang engine kept coming on. I realized I loved the electric part and hated the gas part, so I redoubled my efforts to find a real EV. My wife told me I could experiment with my car all I wanted, as long as I left her Prius alone.

    By Feb 2009 I realized I wasn't going to be able to buy a new EV. Tesla was too expensive, the Corbin Sparrow was just a single-seater (I still had a kid to drive around), the automakers were not interested and the startups couldn't get enough financing. So I decided I either had to buy a used EV or find somebody to convert one for me. I found a local shop and was ready to convert a yellow Mini Cooper convertible in March 2009 when I won an Ebay auction for a 2003 RAV4-EV.

    Like most other people, I assumed there would be a lot of compromises when I got the RAV4. I quickly realized it was the best car I'd ever owned. I would have been happy...but unfortunately my wife also figured out it was the best car we'd ever owned. (Who knows; if she hadn't figured that out, I might still be driving the RAV4). I ended up getting stuck with the Prius PHEV a lot, so I decided to buy a second EV.

    We were very happy with the RAV4, but I realized that if we were to be a 2-EV family, the second EV would have to have a lot of range. Of course the Tesla Roadster immediately popped in to my head, but it was still way more than I was going to spend on a car. So I created a big excel chart and did a lot more web searching, not only looking at companies that were close to production, but looking at any claims about future cars. The $50k (ha) Tesla Model S sounded like the car we really wanted. I briefly assumed we would wait for the Model S to be built; after all, we already had a BEV and a PHEV.

    One night at the dinner table, I remember telling my wife (who was probably rolling her eyes) how I hoped Tesla was very successful finding Roadster buyers, so they could raise the money to build the Model S. All they needed to find were early adopter-types, interested enough in EVs to search for information about them, with enough cash for a Roadster and the ability to live with a 2-seater. Crap; there may not be a lot of people like that, and I'm one of them. That was my defining moment. If I really wanted Tesla to build the Model S, I needed to step up.

    I placed my Roadster order in July 2009. Back then, with no store in WA, you had to send over $100k to some small company nobody but you had ever heard of and hope that some day a car would get delivered to your house - another reason I had put off buying one. I placed my deposit online around 10pm; the confirmation page said they'd call me when they were ready to start building my Roadster, and then the rest of the money would be due. News reports were saying this took months. I got the call at 8am sharp the next morning; they wanted to know how fast I could get the money to them. While that was vaguely unnerving, it did turn out that July 2009 was their only profitable month, so I can see why they were moving so fast.

    My stomach hurt for 3 days after sending that check (it was more than my first house!); but since then, no regrets. I still love that Roadster, my wife loves her Model S, and we have a Model X reserved - we are anxious for the reveal.
     
  12. smil3193

    smil3193 Owner (S85)

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    #12 smil3193, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
    I first read about Tesla in my boss's Stanford alumni magazine, the January/February 2008 issue. For some reason it really captured my imagination and I decided that if I could, I would buy Tesla's economy car when it was available. Back in January 2008 Tesla's timeline was very optimistic, saying "[t]he company aspires to build a $50,000 sedan by 2010 and a $30,000 economy car a year or so later." I thought I could probably keep my 1996 Corolla running until 2011... Well, as we all know, when 2011 rolled around they didn't even have the sedan out yet much less the economy car, so at that point I went ahead and put down a $5000 deposit on a Model S. I didn't know if I'd be able to follow through and really buy one but thought that in the meantime, I was putting my money where my mouth was and at least supporting the technology with an interest free loan. After the Get Amped tour and my test drive, though, I couldn't resist! I had to defer on getting it when they first contacted me because I didn't have the money yet, but took the plunge and bought my Model S in September 2013 (an inventory car, to save a few dollars). I still sometimes question whether I should have waited for the Model 3 -- it was terribly extravagant for me to get the Model S! -- but I love my car and am happy to have played a small part in supporting Tesla's mission of accelerating the development of sustainable transport.
     
  13. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    I saw a segment about Tesla and the Roadster on CBS Sunday Morning (anybody remember the year?). The next time I thought about it was some moons later in October, 2009 when an office neighbor of mine mentioned that Tesla had just opened a store in Boulder. I 'dropped by' the store later that day and arranged for a test drive. I still remember that the biggest revelation to me during that test drive was not the mind-bending acceleration but the power of regen braking, and all that it implied.

    At the time, the state of Colorado had just determined that Roadster qualified for a tax incentive program wherein the purchaser of an alternative fuel vehicle was entitled to a state income tax credit equal to 85% of the difference between the base ICE vehicle and the alternative fuel version. The state based the calculation in Tesla's case on the price of the Lotus Elise, which was roughly $50K: 85% of the difference between that and the Roadster's $109K base price was a huge sum of money. Purchasing a Roadster all of a sudden became a value proposition; a no-brainer, even. The only thing was, as Chad pointed out, that you had to pay up front for a car TM hadn't built yet. So, being the prudent, sensible engineer that I am, I ordered a lightly optioned Roadster 2.0 to minimize my financial exposure and hoped for the best. Oh, and the other thing: it was already mid-October and the state incentive program was set to expire at the end of the year: I had to take delivery and have the car registered in CO by December 31, or lose the incentive.

    I don't know how many Roadsters were sold to Coloradans in that roughly two-week window between the date when the state approved the incentives and it was too late to get one built and delivered before the program expired, but I imagine it was a substantial percentage of Tesla's production capability, and that a lot of non-Colorado buyers were probably chagrined to find their delivery date slipping into 2010. But I was able to drive my new Racing Green Roadster 2.0 to the DMV on December 30, 2009; and the rest is history.
     
  14. dmckinstry

    dmckinstry Model S - U.S. P - #1649

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    I first learned about Tesla from a segment on 60 min IIRC. Elon Musk showing off his roadster. I'm guessing that was somewhere around '05, before I got my Prius (the first new car I'd ever purchased and I thought would be the last). The year could be wrong, as I'm not sure even the Roadster came out that early. The Roadster would never have been practical for me, as it was way too expensive and much too small for us. My Prius (to which I added two extra battery packs) got burned up in a fire caused by a short in an extension cord in December of '08. At that time I told myself the next new car I'd buy would be all electric. In the meantime, I bought a used 2004 Chevy Classic to see us through. In late 2009 my (now ex-) son-in-law told me he heard that Tesla was coming out with a sedan that could seat up to 7 and started at $50k. I thought, "Maybe I could manage that!" i went on line to research it. Since I had $5000 in liquid funds at that time, I made my deposit in February of 2010. I didn't tell my wife, as everyone knows it's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. I thought I could save up enough before the Model S was released to buy it. I already had close to $50k in the IRA part of my portfolio and some more in a small brokerage account. I'd been following TMC threads and had thoroughly drunk the kool-aid. Also there had been a lot of talk about short squeezing. How many of you remember Steph? In June of 2011 I gradually started to convert the stock in my brokerage account to TSLA, and over the course of the next year converted my IRA into TSLA.
    My wife thought I was crazy and made me promise that I not actually buy the car without discussing it seriously and completely with her. She gave me all the usual arguments (many of which we still hear today). I promised that I wouldn't buy until TSLA went up enough to sell half of it to pay for the car. I believed (and still do) in Tesla's (Musk's) mission. I thought that the worst that could happen is that I'd never get the Model S and would lose all my investment. The former would be the worst part of it.
    Finally in May of 2013 TSLA was high enough that I could sell and buy the car. The car was finally delivered that last Saturday in June.

    P.S. Now my wife is even a bigger Tesla supporter than I am. I can barely get her to shut up when talking to people about it.
     
  15. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Yeah, you are too early there. You could have seen a prototype in 2006/2007, but to see a production car would be 2008+
    ( 2008 60 minutes: The Race For The Electric Car - CBS News )

    By the way, this is a fun thread. Lots of nice stories so far!

    - - - Updated - - -

    2007? :: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/could-the-electric-car-save-us/
     
  16. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    I first heard about Tesla around 2006/2007. Some web forum stories about an electric sports car launching 'real soon'. Having grown up in the UK with my milk delivered by one of these (pic below), I was impressed by the technology:

    Dairy_Crest_milk_float_(modified).jpg

    Someone I know in California then took delivery of one of the early cars, and was raving about it. Being into the technology, more than the environmental concerns, at the time, I salivated over ever being able to afford one of these cars. Anyway, it couldn't happen as I live in Hong Kong and we drive Right Hand Drive cars over here.

    I started following Tesla day-by-day around 2008/2009. Saw the launch of the first RHD cars in UK, but by then had given up hope that the roadster would ever come to Hong Kong.

    Then, late in 2010, I heard that Tesla cars were available in Hong Kong. I told my friend "Thanks, but there's no way I'm buying a million dollar electric exotic from some grey market importer". Sure felt dumb a couple of months later when, while researching the Model S, I noticed a link on Tesla's web site to their Hong Kong office.

    The issue I had was that by then, my wife and I had produced 3 wonderful kids. The roadster was not the most practical car for a family of our size. I called up Tesla to beg to be allowed to give them money for a reservation on a Model S. They politely declined (saying it was too early), but did offer a test drive in the Roadster. That I did, and it was everything I had expected. Fast, silent, and such a joy to drive. With the lack of power steering, it kind of reminded me of the early cars I drove back in the UK in my youth. But, I still couldn't bring myself to push the button. Just so much money, and the practicalities of a 2 seater sports car for a 5 person family...

    I asked Tesla if I could have another test drive - this time to see if it was practical for day-to-day use. They had a car with 2DIN head unit and GPS, in pretty much the configuration I was interested in. I asked to drive that from their place to mine, which would be a similar sort of driving route to my day-to-day needs. It included car parks, city, highway and countryside hills. The day came, and I turned up at Tesla to see the wrong car prepped for my drive - the car had a JVC single DIN head unit without GPS navigation (which was something I really wanted to try out). The second salesman had already pre-booked a test drive on the car I wanted. "Never mind", he said, "I'll drive it out to your place in a couple of hours and you can try it then". So, I drove one roadster home with one salesman, and an hour or so later the second Tesla arrived at my home. My wife hopped in one roadster, I in the other, and we drove around the hills of Clearwater Bay, Sai Kung, Hong Kong. I still remember the scream of my wife as she shot past me, going up one of the hills she normally crawls up in our 8-seater Nissan 'family' car.

    We got home. "Get it", she said. And, I did. Took delivery early in 2011.

    View attachment 7183

    It was a good job I didn't wait for that Model S. Reservations finally opened up here in 2011, and almost 4 years after my first call, we finally took delivery of RHD HK Tesla Model production #1 car in August 2014.

    My kids still prefer the roadster ;-)
     
  17. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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  18. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    First heard of Tesla soon after the Roadster was revealed in July 2006 in some press clip or the other. I was in the midst of a lot of life changes: one month into a startup gig after years in a stable first job out of school and just a month away from becoming a father. Didn't think much of it except for drooling a bit along with some buddies at the startup over the few pics of the Roadster.

    Forgot all about it for a few months till the greenie bug bit me when I came across an ad for BP Solar at the local Home Depot. BP Solar's installer turned out to be a then relatively unknown local company called SolarCity. When the sales person from SolarCity paid me a visit, he mentioned how his company was backed by one Elon Musk, the guy behind a cool car company called Tesla. Well, the solar panels went up on our roof in the summer of 2007 and that was that.

    Didn't hear much of Tesla while the recession hit; the startup that I was at wasn't doing so hot either so, I jumped ship again to a big fish to ride things out. Then came March 2009 and I came across this YouTube video of the reveal of a futuristic all-electric sedan featuring some guy playing an annoying but popular song of the time - "Hey Ya?!" - on a touchscreen that took up the entire dash! I was instantly in love and researched it to uncover the Tesla story again.

    Kept close tabs on any news of the car and company but wasn't sure of committing any money yet. Saw news stories of a potential factory site in Downey one day and New Mexico the next while a loan application with the DoE was pending.

    Then came news of the DoE loan being approved and I jumped in with a deposit in Jan 2010! That credit card charge of $5,000 was the biggest leap of faith that I had taken to that point. The hunger for any news Tesla soon led me to TMC which was filled with a few fellow crazies at the time. :)

    Then, the milestones started rattling off quickly (seems that way now but, it was excruciatingly and painfully slow back then): the NUMMI factory purchase along with investments by Toyota and Panasonic, reveal of the alpha in early 2011, and a memorable trip to the factory in October 2011 for the beta reveal and test ride that was preceded by a great gettogether with the TMC old timers.

    The rest is (recent enough) history, I guess. :D
     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #19 TEG, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
    Did you watch the video or just read the text article? The video has a fair bit of Roadster in it...

    cbs-sun-tsla.png

    -------------------

    Or maybe this one? :

    http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/green-car-hits-the-us-market/

    green-car.png
     
  20. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    I had watched Tesla for years and invested about three years ago when it was at 20 or so (yeah!) I got a new job with a long commute and immediately decided to buy one. But the defining moment for me was when I test drove a P85+. All I could say was "holy f-ing s-it". The sales associate said it was the best response he had ever gotten.

    I immediately placed an order for a fully loaded model and have never looked back (sans cold weather). I'm in heaven!
     

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