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If you are already a Tesla owner, you will likely laugh at the trepidation I had before I drove away on my first Tesla. For those of you new to the Tesla family, you will likely understand the onslaught of emotion.
I usually write about newly published research on clean energy and the environment. My narratives are syntheses from whitepapers, press releases, interviews or full-length journalism that rely on the work of CleanTechnica to provide context. Seldom do I write an editorial or tell personal story – it doesn’t seem appropriate for this audience and our focus. However, today is delivery day for my Tesla Model Y, and the process I went through might be of interest to others who haven’t bought a Tesla – or even an electric vehicle (EV).
Okay, some of you Tesla -Fans will giggle at my thoughts or decisions as I prepare for delivery. Other readers will admit they too had questions about a computer on wheels. And there will be an intermediate group who are EV or tech savvy but may not be familiar with Tesla’s contactless approach. Here goes.
Downsizing to a condo opened up opportunities for my family, and one decision we made was to switch from our 2015 Nissan Leaf to a brand new Tesla. We looked at other makes and models of course, but a balance between early adopters concerns and confidence in the Tesla brand helped us make our choice.
We originally thought we would buy a Model 3 – the EV for the masses, so to speak – but we’ve learned that the Model Y sits a little higher off the ground. Baby boomers that we are, it seemed sensible to take some pressure off our knees. Plus, we always seem to be moving slightly oversized goods from one place to another – a small freezer to expand the storage space for condominiums, plants for the community landscape, luggage to and from the airport. The smaller Tesla SUV made sense.
Having only relied on a Nissan Leaf for the past few years, we were used to monitoring the current range and planning the charging process. While we couldn’t visit our friends on the other Florida coast without serious planning, for the most part our daily trips don’t go far beyond 10 miles each way, and the Leaf was sufficient for most of our needs.
But there was greater range certainly a stimulus that I found particularly valuable. It made sense to have the opportunity to go further, especially after the travel restrictions of COVID-19.
Long haul? Check. We paid for our vehicle through online transfers from our investment accounts. When you buy a Tesla, everything goes online – from text messages and emails to my personal Tesla account that I now have (which I can access as an app on my iPhone or on my computer via a tab on the Tesla main page ).
I filled out the order form online, checked all fields for correctness and clicked on send.
We were waiting for the delivery. We were pushed back a month after the investor call in the second quarter, and I resigned myself to the likelihood that Model Y wouldn’t sync with vacation travel or represent a vacation gift for ourselves. Then – what do you know? The delivery target period has been postponed from the end of November to most of December. We soon learned that the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week would be the scheduled delivery day.
We had been waiting for a chassis number to be assigned to start exchanging information with our insurance company, but as soon as we were given an exact date, they started Phone calls. Did the vehicle have a built-in alarm system? Was there a LoJack device to track the vehicle in the event of theft? We knew there was a lot of tech in Model Y, but it took a couple of phone calls back and forth with our local Tesla dealer in West Palm Beach and the agent to find an insurance driver.
Real human conversations! It felt like a little relief to talk to real people.
I took a screenshot of the insurance certificate, saved it as a jpg and then uploaded it to my Tesla account.
Because our Tesla before our The original delivery date did not have enough time for a DMV inspection in West Palm Beach, we were moved to Thanksgiving Sunday. This new date was a bit of a problem for us as we had to reschedule our shuttle – the Leaf doesn’t have enough range to make it to West Palm Beach.
Thanksgiving Sunday is a crazy day to travel there drive the visitors of our community to the airport. Our shuttle driver couldn’t accommodate us on a morning run, so we had another real human conversation with Tesla and were able to schedule a new appointment.
This resulted in more texts, emails, and updates on my Tesla account . But we were getting closer to the delivery day.
We received a list of recommended videos for Model Y with our purchase confirmation. I looked at all 9 on the first night.
My first impression of a Tesla was the interior design, which I thought was quite minimalist, and I really liked that. The touchscreen is the source of most of the settings, functions, and adjustments that would otherwise be found on the dashboard, and is traditionally spread across toggle switches, knobs, knobs, lights, tuners, indicators, sliders, and pointers.
As a lifelong educator I was kind of amazed and dismayed by the information-sharing approach of the introductory videos. All media are deliberately constructed – each step is deliberately chosen for a specific purpose and effect. However, I felt that the introductory Tesla videos went way too fast for a person without sufficient prior knowledge to tackle all of the steps. There was a small amount of verification but not enough to make the order of identifying the various functions of the touchscreen meaningful. The one video I was comfortable with described how to charge the Tesla; As someone who had already owned an electric vehicle, the similarities were great.
Periodically, as the delivery day approached, I would watch the videos again. I came to the conclusion that they are similar to learning another language. I watched, repeated, and tried to speak to the narrator so I could adjust and repeat the steps independently.
During one of the rescheduling calls to Tesla Customer Service, I took the opportunity to speak to a real person, to ask a question that bothered me. Would it be a real human gift if we picked up Model Y or would it be a purely app-based experience? My biggest concern was unlocking the car while I had to set up my phone key, as the credit card-like key (which is supposed to serve as a backup to be used for servants or emergencies) would be kept in the Model Y, according to the video.
The real customer service reps assured me with a slight laugh that a real human would actually be there to answer questions and perform any necessary troubleshooting. This answer gave me a lot of consolation and relief.
“Your Tesla is ready to be picked up on site in our delivery center, so that you can arrive in peace and quiet and drive straight to your vehicle. This will be a completely touch-free experience to maximize your safety and comfort. The vehicle keys are securely locked inside. ”
I had read about the horrors of the Tesla delivery day. I found an unreliable Tesla delivery website. I received a pre-delivery email asking for information that I had already provided (obviously it was just a prime example sent to everyone preparing for a Tesla delivery). p> Yes – voila! – the experience at Tesla West Palm Beach was A. There were several customer service representatives ready to help us. Jonathan was courteous and familiar with the various procedures required to get us in the car and on the road. He put our license plate on. He helped us access the Tesla app using the store’s guest WiFi network, helped us set up our phone keys, worked with us to create our mirror and seat profiles, and even showed us how the GPS works. </ We made our way back north to our house. The regenerative braking was definitely much stronger than with the Leaf….
But wait! Model Y’s performance will certainly be the basis for some of my future articles. In the meantime, yay! I’m a co-owner of a Tesla!
Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong commitment to eco-justice. She has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, the International Literacy Association, and the Leavy Foundation.
Carolyn is a small investor at Tesla.
Please follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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