By on August 31, 2009

A four-door sedan is not my kind of car. I need space in the back for mountain bike, dog, golf clubs–on occasion, all three. I currently drive a Mazda CX-7, which has the space, plus the bonus of snappy handling and zoom-zoom pick-up. But as a green kind of guy, I’ve followed the Tesla saga from the beginning, and the S seemed like a very cool car. I had recently started thinking seriously about buying an electric car, something I could power with a small hydroelectric generator I’m installing on the creek that runs by my house in upstate New York. So when I read that a prototype Model S would appear at the Plaza Hotel in New York City last spring, I decided to drive the Mazda down and learn something about electric cars, and see if the S looked as good in the flesh as it did in the press-release photos.

It did. Feline and gracefully sculpted, the S fit right in among the  high-end BMWs, Maseratis and Bentleys that paraded past the hotel entrance. Two Plaza doormen I talked to—guys who see hundreds of ultra-expensive cars every day—were  impressed. “It’s gorgeous,” one of them told me. “Are you sure it only costs $49,000?  Looks like a $100,000 car to me.”

Unfortunately, the  Model S on display at the Plaza was strictly for show; it had no motor, battery, or even an interior. (Hence, the blacked-out windows.) So I couldn’t drive it, or even sit in it. But I was at least able to kick the tires, rub my hand over its aluminum fenders, and look at it from all angles. Studying the car from the rear, I was surprised to see that it appeared to have a hatchback, and a pretty wide one at that. A light dawned. If the rear seats folded down, it might be possible to get my mountain bike in back without removing the front wheel–the sine qua non of any car that I buy.

I asked the Tesla rep about it. He smiled. “Absolutely, you can put a bike in the back without taking off the front wheel. That was one of the original design criteria for the car.” In fact, he told me, the Model S’s rear cargo area (with back seats folded down) would swallow a bike, surfboard, and 50-inch flat screen TV–simultaneously.

Holy shit. All of a sudden, this was the perfect car for me: electric, cool-looking, good performance, lots of space. It took about a week to get up the nerve to actually write the $5,000 deposit check and send it off. I assured my wife that the deposit was refundable, for any reason, at any time. And it would be a good, safe investment—the zero interest rate I’d be getting on the deposit was a lot better than my mutual funds have been doing recently. Projected delivery date was late 2011.

My sequence number is P 717, which puts me on the low-priority waiting list, behind the 1,000 rich guys who pay a $40-K deposit to reserve a special Signature Edition (price not yet determined), and behind current owners of the two-seat Tesla Roadster sports car, who get to jump the queue for the first standard production versions of the S. I don’t mind being shunted to the rear; let them get some of the production bugs out by the time they get to me. In any case, I’ll probably be among the first 3,000 customers to take delivery.

For now, the major bennie of being a Model S owner is the chance to test-drive a Roadster. I called Joe Powers, Tesla’s East Coast sales rep out of New York, who quickly set me up for the drive. A half-hour spin around Manhattan at rush hour is no way to test a high-performance sports car, but I just wanted to get a feel for what it was like to drive an electric car. The feel is, in a word, extraordinary.

Many people believe electric cars will someday revolutionize everyday driving. But after experiencing first-hand the seamless, effortless, head-snapping acceleration of the Roadster, I predict electric cars will revolutionize performance driving as well.

Acceleration is the way most of us judge a car’s performance. (Hey, let’s floor it and see what she’ll do! ) But it is not so much the quantity of the Roadster’s acceleration that’s so mind-boggling—zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds—but rather the quality of it. Flooring the Roadster triggers an instantaneous leap forward, almost before you’re ready. There’s no revving and popping the clutch, no shifting, no turbo lag, no lag of any kind. The car seems to be an extension of your right foot. Press down, go fast. Now.

For that extraordianary responsiveness, thank the torque characteristics of electric motors, which achieve their maximum torque at zero rpm. Internal combustion engines (ICEs), on the other hand, must typically rev up to 3,000 or 4,000 rpm to reach the peak of their torque curve. My CX-7, with its turbocharger and direct injection, can deliver peak torque as low as 2,000 rpm, which is one reason it’s so responsive to my right foot.

But in terms of instant response and seamless acceleration, the Tesla Roadster, with max torque from the first fraction of a second, inhabits an entirely different sphere. It made the CX-7 seem hesitant and plodding by comparison. I am no high-performance supercar driver, but I would discourage any Corvette or Ferrari owner from a test drive in a Tesla Roadster. You’ll never be satisfied with your car’s acceleration again.

One thing I didn’t like about the Roadster’s electric powertrain: the excessive engine braking when you back off the accelerator. Take your foot off the gas at 40 mph, and the car slows drastically, as if you were still in first gear in an ICE-powered car. That’s fine for racing or high-performance driving on twisty roads, but it’s annoying in normal driving.

Tesla  programs the car this way to maximize regenerative braking, which turns the motor into a generator and charges the battery as the car slows. The Roadster’s brake pedal operates only the mechanical brakes, which waste kinetic energy by turning it into heat. To minimize this energy loss, Tesla engineers discourage drivers from using the brake pedal by building in the extreme regen engine braking.

It’s a lousy system. The Prius is much smarter: the brake pedal actuates the regenerative braking system, automatically supplementing with the mechanical brakes only as needed in hard stops. The built-in regen braking that occurs when you back off the pedal in the Prius is set to replicate normal ICE engine-braking feel. The Prius system is both more efficient and nicer to drive.

Memo to Tesla engineers: upgrade the Model S to pedal-activated regen braking, like the Prius. Then add driver-programmable built-in regen engine braking. Give us a toggle switch on the steering wheel with, say, five positions to select five levels of built-in regen engine braking when you back off the gas pedal. For high-performance driving, pick Level 1 or 2, the eqivalent engine-braking feel of an ICE engine in first or second gear. Levels 4 and 5 would simulate the more gradual engine-braking feel of higher gears. And why not add a sixth “coast” position, which essentially turns off the built-in regen braking?

Model S owner bennie No. 2 was an invitation to the opening of Tesla’s New York store in July. Located on West 25th St. in the oh-so-hip Chelsea district, the showroom is literally in the shadow of the High Line, the long-abandoned elevated railroad bed that’s been converted to a stylish park-in-the-sky. The event felt like an art gallery opening, with young, artsy people, wine in hand, spilling out onto the sidewalk, where several Roadsters glistened under the streetlights. Every few minutes, somebody would hop in to one of them and charge off for a three-minute spin literally around the block.  (One guy, grinning madly, claimed he got up to 85 mph.)

But the bennie I’m really hoping for one of these days is a chance to test-drive a Model S test mule and actually offer some meanigful feedback to Tesla engineers. Stay tuned.

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31 Comments on “Tesla Model S Customer Begins Blog for TTAC...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    This will be an interesting story to follow. Tesla has gotten a lot of shit on TTAC for their wild promises, delays etc. I would like to think that the Model S launch will go more smoothly now that they have worked out their design and production processes. Maybe your TTAC byline will bump you up the list!

    If the Model S pans out, I see an even rougher road ahead for the Volt.

  • avatar
    wobblypete

    If I spent that much on a car, there is no way I would put my dirty mountain bike in the back. I would seriously investigate a hitch mounted or roof rack. A bit of a bizarre requirement (it is dead easy to take the front wheel off). Otherwise, interesting story!

  • avatar
    midelectric

    Once you get used to the high regen, IME it’s actually more convenient than the conventional way as speed can be more conveniently controlled with one pedal. If you’d like to coast then you just hold the pedal at even throttle. It works in a high performance two seater, but with the bigger market aspirations of the Model S it might be dialed down to something more familiar to gas drivers, unfortunately.

    Integrating regen into the brake pedal apparently makes VDC more difficult

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Yes, this will be interesting to follow. Speaking of which, what happened to that guy who bought a Tesla Roadster? Any follow-up on that one?

  • avatar

    Will Tesla be grossly exaggerating the actual production model distance estimates and obfuscating when asked for actual real world numbers being verified by independent laboratory testing on the Model S as well?

    May be a bit priggish of me to ask that, but I believe it is a valid concern.

  • avatar

    Dave, thanks for the article – it’s an interesting read. I still think it would be very interesting to measure the electro-magnetic fields in the cabin. And what happens if one drives through a deep puddle – like in an underpass after a rain. Does it produce a shocking experience for whoever touches the car?
    And pray you don’t skid off the road into a lake or river.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m not green.

    I don’t like paying for gas, and the complications of internal combustion engines.

    I think the Model S is beautiful, and I’d consider one if I had the money.

    But I’m more interested in the even cheaper cars that Tesla is considering for the future, where they will meet competition from several manufacturers.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I think the long term results are going to decide Tesla’s fate.

  • avatar

    “coasting” mode is what old-car drivers know as freewheeling.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    If you’ve ever owned a big V-twin sportbike (Ducati, Honda Superhawk, Suzuki TL-1000), the braking behavior of the Tesla would be second nature. I actually miss it on my current bike (my previous bike was a Superhawk, my current bike is a Triumph). You get used to modulating speed solely with the throttle which actually makes sense. Of course, this might be easier with a twist-grip throttle than with a gas pedal, I’d have to try it to be sure.

    The bigger issue, as I see it, is that engine braking can slow the vehicle extremely quickly and with no corresponding illumination of brake lights, you’re inviting a rear-end collision. I got in the habit of feathering the front brake lever just enough to make the brake light come on without actually actuating the brakes so as to keep mr. asleep-at-the-wheel behind me on his toes.

  • avatar
    MMH

    Great addition to TTAC’s running-series blogs! Looking forward to how this plays out.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    David –

    Thanks for this report! A couple of questions…

    1) That car is spectacular-looking – has Tesla frozen this design for the production model?
    2) What’s the price spread between the “base” model and more upscale ones?

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Regarding the engine braking – the edmunds crew has a mini-e, and it seems to have the same characteristics. I’d agree that this seems like an engineering shortcut, but then again many of the hybrid vehicle reviews where the regen and braking are linked to the brake pedal and go in stages seem to complain about the unnerving switch between regen and mechanical braking, and how it can lead to unpredictable and unlinear brake response (at least in the earlier models). I guess there are pros and cons to both approaches.

  • avatar
    yalej

    As someone who might buy this baby in the future, I look forward to hearing all about it.

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    Tesla S! Brought to you by the very same company who claimed 256 mpg for the Tesla Roadster! Yes, two hundred and fifty six miles to the US gallon.

  • avatar

    Many people believe electric cars will someday revolutionize everyday driving. But after experiencing first-hand the seamless, effortless, head-snapping acceleration of the Roadster, I predict electric cars will revolutionize performance driving as well.

    This bizarre idea that “electric cars = slow, so therefore new electric cars are an amazing technological tour de force because they are fast” is completely misplaced. Electric motors can deliver far more torque than any internal combustion engine. This has ALWAYS been true. Electric cars were “fast” 100 years ago. Electric cars have always had the capability of high speed.

    What electric cars have always lacked is range and fast recharge.

    This is why the internal combustion engine won the three way race with electricity and steam for the automobile. With an ICE you can start quickly, go fast, go far, and “recharge” in minutes.

    With steam you only can go and recharge fast. It starts slow and goes only moderate distances.

    With electricity you can start quickly and go fast. You just can’t go far and recharge times are timed in hours. This hasn’t changed very much in over 100 years because it is simple physics. Sure, battery technology has evolved a bit to get 1.5X more range than what was possible a century ago.

    The bottom line here is that the Tesla Roadster does not get it’s performance (beyond acceleration) from its electric motor. Its performance in terms of handling derives more from a century of suspension and tire development. Otherwise what you have is a car that can go VERY fast for about 2.5 hours, at which point it stops working and requires 8+ hours of recharge.

    It is wonderful that consumer choice in drivetrains may someday be real, as the US market choices of late have been minimal, and uninspiring. I do believe that electric cars fulfill a useful niche for short-range, commuter cars. (Oddly though this market has not embraced such vehicles equipped with ICEs at all. There are no kei cars or euro city cars that have been a market success in America ever. But that may have more to do with chassis than engines or efficiency.) But let’s not confuse the issue with emphasis on “performance” because just like with any engine the price of performance is inefficiency. The Tesla can go fast, OR it can go “far”… the more you go fast, the less range you will have. You can’t change the laws of physics.

    –chuck

  • avatar
    acurota

    The “problem(s)” of the electric car are going to be solved eventually. Early adopters are helping to finance companies’ working through the learning curve. Early adopters bought the first Toyota Prii and the first Tesla Roadsters, despite a cost/benefit analysis that doesn’t add up. Each car appeals to a different kind of customer.

    Microchips became economical through a different kind of early adopter: the defense industry and NASA needed what the integrated circuit offered, and could overpay. This gave the semiconductor industry the time and the means to perfect its processes and make its products competitive, and the only real choice to power computers going forward.

    Granted, there are serious differences in the challenges posed to the development of the electric car versus that of the microchip, but having people willing to pay $100k+ for a Roadster, $50k for a Model S, or (theoretically) $40k for a (supposed) Volt makes it possible for manufacturers to figure out how to bring these technologies into the mainstream, at mainstream prices.

    I expect in the future the American auto fleet will be an exotic blend of EV’s, battery-swapping EV’s, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, diesels, natural gas ICEs, and so on, each type selected by the customer based on his needs, driving habits, and location.

    I also expect biologists will finally breed bacteria that can turn cellulosic biomass directly into gasoline. It could be a really interesting future– reading about the Tesla definitely piques my interest for it.

  • avatar
    TR4

    “””One thing I didn’t like about the Roadster’s electric powertrain: the excessive engine braking when you back off the accelerator. Take your foot off the gas at 40 mph, and the car slows drastically, as if you were still in first gear in an ICE-powered car. That’s fine for racing or high-performance driving on twisty roads, but it’s annoying in normal driving.

    Tesla programs the car this way to maximize regenerative braking, which turns the motor into a generator and charges the battery as the car slows. The Roadster’s brake pedal operates only the mechanical brakes, which waste kinetic energy by turning it into heat. To minimize this energy loss, Tesla engineers discourage drivers from using the brake pedal by building in the extreme regen engine braking.

    It’s a lousy system. The Prius is much smarter: the brake pedal actuates the regenerative braking system, automatically supplementing with the mechanical brakes only as needed in hard stops. The built-in regen braking that occurs when you back off the pedal in the Prius is set to replicate normal ICE engine-braking feel. The Prius system is both more efficient and nicer to drive.

    Memo to Tesla engineers: upgrade the Model S to pedal-activated regen braking, like the Prius. Then add driver-programmable built-in regen engine braking. Give us a toggle switch on the steering wheel with, say, five positions to select five levels of built-in regen engine braking when you back off the gas pedal. For high-performance driving, pick Level 1 or 2, the eqivalent engine-braking feel of an ICE engine in first or second gear. Levels 4 and 5 would simulate the more gradual engine-braking feel of higher gears. And why not add a sixth “coast” position, which essentially turns off the built-in regen braking?”””

    If early auto designers tried to mimic what people were used to we would still be cracking whips to speed up and hauling on reins to slow down! I’m not a fan of electric cars in general or Tesla in particular but good for them regarding their “outside-the-box” acelerator pedal operation.

  • avatar
    tauronmaikar

    To the poster above: that is not the problem. The fundamental problem I have with Tesla is that, if you do a simple calculation, you will realize the Roadster is not any more efficient than a turbodiesel. The only difference is that instead of polluting in situ they are deferring the pollution to other places.

    For instance, nobody is talking about how to recycle the 7 thousand battery cells when they die and what kind of acidic damage to the environment will ensue.

    Nobody is calling them on their ridiculous claim of 256 mpg. A mileage that can only be attained if you are filling your car with plutonium. That to me is an automatic and permanent red flag that cries CRACKPOT! It is just physically impossible.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Being green as in your case, how about keeping the Mazda, give up golfing (all of those nasty pesticides and fertilizers) and riding your bike more? Come on, save the Earth man! ;)

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    @tauronmaikar

    “The only difference is that instead of polluting in situ they are deferring the pollution to other places.”

    Not the only difference. Less emissions are produced, even assuming 100% coal for the source, due to much higher efficiencies of electric drivetrain, and inherently greater efficiencies of producing power in one big power plant instead of millions of small ones.

    This myth of the “longer tailpipe” is getting tiresome. Some days I despair of seeing it ever die.

    “For instance, nobody is talking about how to recycle the 7 thousand battery cells when they die and what kind of acidic damage to the environment will ensue.”

    They don’t talk about it because these are highly recyclable Li-ions, not toxic lead-acid batteries (and guess which kind current ICEs use?)

  • avatar
    acurota

    @healthy skeptic 2:54: I second all that.

    Re. Lead-Acid batteries, I think that, to the extent that people recycle them as they are supposed to, the batteries are also highly recyclable. If discovery channel is to be believed…

  • avatar
    dingram01

    due to much higher efficiencies of electric drivetrain

    Not so fast! Electric drivetrains are LESS efficient than ICE mechanical drives. Why? Electrical losses. BUT. You get energy back with regenerative braking, which is not recoverable in ICE drivelines.

    I’m by no means against this technology. It presents an opportunity to reduce the pollution component of the car, or at least localize it at the power generation point, where perhaps it can be effectively scrubbed using large-scale technologies. But if you take the BTUs available in a gallon of gas versus the equivalent in coal or whatever, you’ll actually get more energy out of the gallon of gas burned in an ICE. For instance, while traveling in high tension lines between plant and consumer, about 15% of the generated electricity is lost, before you even plug in your theoretical electric car.

    A Prius achieves its economy by being programmed to deliver its power sedately, and by relying on the battery to keep the engine from running during its most inefficient cycle, like idling for instance.

    Again I repeat: I’m not against this technology. I hope things work for Tesla and others. It can only help!

  • avatar
    doug

    @ dingram01
    Not so fast! Electric drivetrains are LESS efficient than ICE mechanical drives. Why? Electrical losses. BUT. You get energy back with regenerative braking, which is not recoverable in ICE drivelines.

    They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing… Your conclusion is based on incomplete and/or inaccurate information.

    You should realize that in ideal situations an ICE is only about 30% efficient. That’s right, 70% of the energy is lost as waste heat. Compare that to an efficiency of about 90% for an electric motor.

    Now you are partially right in that a standard hybrid like the current Toyota Prius is more efficient primarily because it can recapture kinetic energy through regenerative braking. But ultimately all that energy came from gas since the standard Prius it doesn’t have a plug. Don’t confuse a standard hybrid with a plug-in electric vehicle.

    In 1995 the electrical grid losses “between plant and consumer” in the US were estimated to by 7.2% (not 15% as you guess), so about 93% efficient. But if you’re going to include those losses, you should also consider the energy spent transporting gasoline from the refinery to the gas station.

    You are correct that 1 gallon of gas contains a lot of energy. But the plain fact is that an ICE wastes most of that energy as heat. Consider that the battery of the Tesla Roadster holds the energy equivalence of less than 1.5 gallons of gas. An yet that car is regularly able to travel over 200 miles on that amount of energy (actually 244 miles on the EPA cycle in “range mode”).

  • avatar
    Robstar

    bunkie> My gsx-r 600 is like that as well, esp in the low gears…it breaks fast just rolling off the throttle.

    I also am in the habbit of “flashing” the brake lights so the guy behind me doesn’t rear end me.

  • avatar
    toutizes

    Two corrections:

    – The Tesla roadster automatically turns on the break lights when the regen is above a given threshold. This excellent feature even prompted a negative comment from Car and Driver: “Indeed, for safety, the Tesla has brake lights triggered whenever you lift off the gas. Thus, a small negative for all the cash saved on brake pads is that tailing drivers believe you’ve downed a hockey puck made of codeine.” Car and Driver.

    – The Tesla roadster provides several charging/driving modes. In the extended range mode the regen is less strong than in standard mode and you coast more.

    The comment about v twin motorcycles is spot on. Hard to get back to a 4 cylinder bike after you drive a v-twin.

  • avatar
    e

    I’ve got a Roadster with 10K miles on it. Absolute blast to drive, no problems. At 70-80 mph I figure I get about 150 miles on a charge, which is plenty.

    I like the heavy regen, though maybe I’m just used to it by now.

    All in all Tesla did a really, really nice job on the Roadster. If they do as well on the Model S, I think they’ve really got something.

    That said, I’m not in line for one. In my experience you need an ICE car too, or a spouse with one. But 50% electric is still good.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    They say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing… Your conclusion is based on incomplete and/or inaccurate information.

    I should rephrase my position thusly: GENERATING and DELIVERING power to the wheels is less efficient through electrical means than through ICE means, because of the losses that occur during the complete process.

    In addition to its native inefficiency as a powerplant, ICE drivelines also offer a menu of frictional losses between the engine and the wheels.

    However, I wonder how efficient a steam power generation plant is compared to ICE engines? If an ICE renders 30% efficiency, a steam plant will be worse. Much worse. Turbogeneration? Only slightly better than ICE.

    15% is the transmission loss number I’ve read. Certainly great if that’s wrong however! I’ll try to find a link.

    Once plugged into the car, there is additional loss between attempting to store that energy in a battery and then extracting it from that battery later. Are any batteries yet up to, say, 75% efficiency or better? Here I simply don’t know?

    Again, I don’t mean to rain on the parade. I want this stuff to work, and I welcome the innovation, or at least the effort in that direction. It’s just that, for the complete picture, an electric car is not yet a panacea. We should be honest in our assessments of its limitations along with its strengths.

    As to the “danger” of my “little” knowledge, my perspective is from the ocean shipping industry, where diesel-electric drive is often used in large vessels. But this has to do largely with improved maneuverability; for strict fuel efficiency, direct mechanical drive will still be specified.

  • avatar
    doug

    @dingram01

    I should rephrase my position thusly: GENERATING and DELIVERING power to the wheels is less efficient through electrical means than through ICE means, because of the losses that occur during the complete process.

    It may seem counter intuitive for you, but this really isn’t the case. You should look at a comprehensive well-to-wheels analysis. I don’t really have the time to go into details (it can get complicated), but the few times I’ve looked at it in the last few years, EVs always beat out ICE cars in terms of efficiency and CO2 emissions (if you think that’s important). The level to which EVs win depends of course on how the power is generated. (As an aside, you should also consider the electricity used to extract oil and produce gas. It’s not insignificant, and some say that it’s enough that an EV could travel farther on the electricity used to produce a gallon of gas than an ICE car could on that same gallon, but I have yet to find a primary source.)

    However, I wonder how efficient a steam power generation plant is compared to ICE engines? If an ICE renders 30% efficiency, a steam plant will be worse. Much worse. Turbogeneration? Only slightly better than ICE.

    I should leave it to you to look this stuff up, but I’ll fill in some gaps. The main thing to consider is that it’s possible for a stationary power plant to work at a much higher level of Thermodynamic Efficiency since it’s able to operate at higher temperatures. The other thing is I was being generous and said “in ideal situations” an ICE is about 30% efficient. The thermodynamic limit is 37%, but the average car engine is less than 20%. A normal steam power plant is about 35% efficient. A “simple-cycle” natural gas fired turbine is about 35% but a modern high temperature turbine can do 60%. On the Stanford campus we have a cogen plant that uses natural gas to run a turbine generator. The waste heat from that is used to produce steam which turns another generator, then the remaining waste heat is used to heat the buildings. This kind of setup can be very efficient (perhaps 80%) but since it’s old, the Stanford plant is only about 60%.

    Of course so far we’ve ignored wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, where you’re not burning a fuel at all.

    Charging efficiency is around 85%, but can be less than that if you need to spend energy to keep the batteries cool.

    So clearly on tank-to-wheels efficiency and emissions, an EV wins hands down. Well-to-wheels is harder to calculate, but here EVs still win, and win better as we continue to shift to better forms of power generation. (Solar panels on one’s home seems best.)

    Legitimate things to argue about on the subject of EVs are cost of batteries, range, and charging time. However, the efficiency argument is pretty much done.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    Doug:

    Very convincing and thorough information, thank you for it. I had forgotten that in ships, and in cars, we have limits to the temperature and other operating paremeters, and that these weigh on the choices available.

    Also good point about the energy required to refine and transport crude and its gasoline (or whatever) end product. True, some energy is required for coal mining, refinement and transportation, but far less than for petroleum.

    It’s great to hear points that suggest that at least SOME of that pie in the sky might really land on our plates.

    I’ll be much less cynical going forward.

  • avatar
    swaterman

    A Tesla Roadster Owner already has a blog:

    http://teslaowner.wordpress.com/


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