Explaining Tesla to a child

Some friends and I were touring the Chelsea galleries last weekend. This happens to be one of the corners of Manhattan with a Tesla showroom (service is out on Long Island). The 11-year-old asked “What’s special about this car?” I responded with “You know how 4-year-olds have rechargeable cars that they plug in and then can cruise around suburban driveways?” (example at $ 118) This is the same thing but it holds five people instead of just one or two and it costs almost 1000 times as much.

Absent spectacular incompetence by the legacy car makers, it is hard to understand how Tesla can dominate the market in the long term. When battery technology advances to the point that an all-electric Honda Civic costs the same as a gas-powered Civic, why aren’t Honda and Toyota the natural market leaders? What will Tesla know that they won’t?

What do readers think? Any Tesla owners who want to comment on what they like about the car?

Here’s what a friend of mine said in 2013 about his Tesla:

It is absolutely fantastic.  It drives like a dream, is incredibly powerful, and has plenty of room and creature comforts.  My only complaints are that it’s big, which is taking some getting used to since I was driving a BMW 325i for seventeen years, and that the rear visibility isn’t good, although it has an HD camera that mitigates that.  But I’m loving it, and regularly feel this strange urge to get up from my desk in the middle of the day and go on a drive.

[in response to “Is it just unbelievably quiet inside?”] Yes, it’s super quiet.  The road noise is supposedly not as quiet as some other cars, and the insulation isn’t supposed to be as effective as some other cars, but the complete absence of engine noise makes for a surprisingly quiet experience. … The world will be so much less noisy once electrics take over, if it happens.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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