By Andy Symmonds
One of our Zine contributors recently had a letter published in CAR magazine, a monthly British publication about cars that is widely respected across the motoring industry. The letter sang the praises of the Tesla saloon, a fine looking vehicle that runs entirely on battery power (rechargeable, naturally) that has been poaching business from the more established German manufacturers of premium brand automobiles (Audi, BMW and Mercedes).
The text of the letter can be seen here:
The article was prompted after reading an article stating that the Germans were readying their alternatives whilst ignoring the fact that one of the key reasons for buying the Tesla saloon is that it is not made by one of the aforementioned companies. It certainly has distinctive looks and is immediately recognisable. One of the challenges faced by the German companies is that their models all follow the same design cues, so there is a family theme but it has now become blurred to the point that individual models can only be identified by their model badge. As more owners choose to delete this badge (usually by owners with the smaller engines), the cars become harder to identify. Audi now make saloons in their A3, A4, A6 and A8 guises that look pretty much the same apart from their length and girth, and the other makers are no better in terms of differentiation. The net effect is that the Tesla saloon stands out very clearly.
The only chance that we have had to experience the Tesla saloon is in taxi form, and there are now a lot of taxi drivers in Amsterdam piloting the Tesla saloon. The interior is certainly a nice place to be, and the car accelerates remarkably quickly when the correct pedal is pressed, but we have also received negative commentary from the taxi drivers who really do live with these cars. One driver said that would never buy one if he had the choice as the finishing is of poor quality. He pointed out small stuff like if you grab the window rubbers from the inside it opens the seal completely so the windows don’t really fit the door frames properly (we did and air gushed in). He also said that despite the seats looking luxurious (they do!) they are actually really impractical and not very comfortable.
Based upon the positive publicity that our letter to CAR magazine had given Tesla, we approached their publicity department for a test drive. Sadly, multiple emails have been ignored so the local Tesla team miss their chance to provide any support to our speculation over how good the car could be. On the positive side, Tesla have proved to the world that electric cars are now a serious alternative to the internal combustion engine by making a fast, elegant vehicle with a useful range (more than 400 km) that offers an attractive and alternative thinking to the default choices. The forward looking attitude of the Amsterdam authorities in installing charging points across the city will help the Tesla cause, but also opens up the opportunities for other forward thinking manufacturers. The BMW i3 is already available for sale and starting to appear more often on the streets of Amsterdam, and more will follow.
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