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The pros and cons of driving an electric car after a year of ownership

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It’s been more than a year since we bought our Tesla Model S 75D and we certainly don’t regret the decision. We’ll take you through the pros and cons of owning and driving an electric car.

We can’t ever imagine ever driving a fuel car ever again.

There was a bit of a learning curve when we first purchased our Tesla but it didn’t take long to adapt to the new and exciting world of electric vehicles.

And the wallet’s a lot healthier as well thanks to not having to pay for fuel or servicing.

We clocked up just under 10,000 km in a year.

Here are our top pros and cons to driving and owning an electric vehicle:

PROS

NO RUNNINGS COSTS

We have not spent a single dollar in the past 12 months running our Tesla Model S 75D.

The car is charged either at home through our solar panels, at a Supercharger or at a communal destination charger.

Because we used a referral code when we bought the car, Supercharging is free for the life of the car.

Today if anyone were to use a referral code, they will get free Supercharging for 1500 km.

Anyone ordering their own Tesla can use Tech Guide’s referral code to get 1,500 free Supercharger km. https://ts.la/stephen70479.

We also took advantage of destination chargers at local shopping centres and car parks.

Bottom line, we saved more than $3000 a year because he didn’t have to pay for fuel anymore.

NO SERVICING

Another bonus of driving a Tesla is that they don’t need to be serviced like a regular vehicle.

Out of habit, we booked in a service to coincide with our year of ownership and were then told all we need to do was to check our tyres (which still have plenty of wear).

And as far as our brakes go, Tesla told us we didn’t need to check them until we hit 100,000km.

The reason for this is the regenerative braking.

Every time you take your foot off the accelerator, the Tesla slows down sharply because the electric motors switch into reverse and the power this generates goes back into the battery.

There have been plenty of times when we hardly touched the brake on some drives because regenerative braking was enough to slow us down.
So we ended up cancelling the service because Tesla said it wasn’t necessary.

There is no oil, no filters and nothing else that needs checking.

In fact there are only about 17 moving parts under the hood.

PERFORMANCE

Another major attraction to the Tesla for us was its performance.

Our Tesla Model S 75D has dual motors (that’s what the D stands for) and they provide instant torque.

That means they’re instantly engaged and don’t need time to rev up like a regular engine.

As a result our acceleration is remarkable especially from a standing start.

Knowing you have that sort of acceleration in your back pocket is a big help in negotiating traffic.

It’s one of the first things that impresses our passengers as well.

NO EMISSIONS

Electric cars like our Tesla produce zero emissions that are environmentally friendly.

I have had responses from some people though who argue that the electricity needed to charge our car had to be produced by burning coal.

That could be the case for other drivers, but I charge my car through my solar panels.

IT’S QUIET

This is both a blessing and a curse (more on the latter in a little bit) that no one can hear the car approaching.

That means our electric car is not only reducing air pollution but reducing noise pollution as well.

It also makes for a more pleasant experience within the cabin and it means we can hear our music, podcasts and audiobooks even better without the drone of an engine under the hood.

SOFTWARE UPDATES

Our Tesla is the biggest gadget we own and it’s connected to wi-fi when its parked at home.

Software updates are regularly sent to the car and in the past year we’ve had a major user interface update along with the introduction of a few new features including Dash Cam,  Sentry Mode, PIN to drive and many more.

Not many other car companies can tell you your car will improve over time.

ENHANCED AUTO PILOT

This is a cool feature that I upgraded to not longer after taking ownership of the Tesla.

On freeways and clearly marked roads, the car drives itself – but you do need to keep your hands on the wheel.

It’s been excellent on long drives and also keeps me right on the speed limit. But the main thing is that it takes the stress out of driving on those longer journeys.

Our enhanced auto pilot also includes Auto Park and it never ceases to amaze us. It nails the park every time – and it isn’t afraid of getting you into tighter spots that other cars with this feature wouldn’t attempt.

PEOPLE LOVE IT

In the year we’ve been driving our Tesla, there has been no shortage of people fascinated with the vehicle.

They mainly asked all the same questions – how far can you drive it, how long does it take to charge and are you worried about running out of battery. All fair questions and the answers are 490km, about 40 minutes and no.

And when it became part of the election campaign, when Labor hoped to have half of the new cars sold in 2030 as electric vehicles, that fascination increased even further.

CONS

CHARGING TIME

Whenever I use the Supercharger I am normally down between 20 and 30 per cent and it takes up to 40 minutes to get me back to 90 per cent.

Tesla encourages drivers to charge to a maximum of 90 per cent for day-to-day driving and to only increase it to 100 per cent when you’re heading out on a longer drive.

I’d love to be able to instantly charge our electric car to the level we needed but the reality is it takes time.

And we don’t mind, we make use of this downtime to work, answer emails or just read a book.

Other times, while charging at shopping centres or destination charges, we’re doing something else like watching a movie, doing our shopping or enjoying a coffee.

There are some days when we head to the destination charger located within a shopping centre and do our work in a café while the car gets topped up.

We also park our Tesla in one of the two dedicated charging spaces in the P1 car park at ANZ Stadium while watching our beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league team.

This isn’t actually a Con, we make use of the time it takes to charge by doing other things.

IT’S QUIET

We mentioned this as a Pro earlier but it also turned out to be a Con as well.

There was one incident when we were driving and a person parked by the side of the road opened his car door just as we were driving by.

His door collected our passenger side mirror and damaged the side of the car.

His excuse was “I never heard you”.

I suggested that perhaps he should have used his eyes as well and it would have avoided the whole thing.

You really have to be on the lookout in places like shopping centre car parks where many people walk around looking at their phone and can’t hear you approaching.

LENGTHY REPAIRS

As a result of our little accident, we found out the hard way that repairing a Tesla is nothing like repairing a regular car.

For a start, we had to find an authorised repairer and we had to be patient.

Finding the repairer wasn’t hard. We found one not far from where we live.

We learned that these repairers don’t fix the car’s panels, they replace them – so they had to wait for parts and panels to show up.

In the case of the panels, these needed to be welded precisely before being painted.

We were without our car for four weeks while we waited for the repairs which, we understand, is actually pretty fast for a Tesla repair.

And because we were not at fault, we had access to a replacement vehicle which was, ironically, a Mercedes-Benz – which is the car we used to drive before purchasing the Tesla.

NOT FOR EVERYONE

Driving an electric car is not for everyone.

People who live in remote areas who have to drive long distances every day may not be served by destination chargers or Superchargers.

We have a charger at home and can top up the car whenever we need.

If the people doing regular long commutes in their car would need access to a charger either at home or at their regular destination or both.

But this sort of management is not difficult and is naturally something people should consider before purchasing an electric vehicle.

REVERSE LIGHT

This is only a minor complaint, but the Tesla only has one reverse light and it make reversing in the dark a little tricky.

Yes, we have night vision through our rear camera but a little bit of extra light would be a big help.

YELLOW RING ON DISPLAY

One of the best features of the Tesla is the huge 17-inch central screen which gives the driver complete control of the car.

A defect identified by numerous drivers in online forums is the tendency for a yellow tinge to run around the border of the display.

You can still use the display but you just have to put up with the yellow mark running around the edge of the screen.

Unfortunately, our screen developed this condition as well and we are waiting to get it repaired under warranty. Our Tesla has an eight-year warranty.

We were told by Tesla that it was a common problem but rather than repairing the display now and the problem being likely to return, we were told we need to wait for an updated display.

The new display, we were told, would no longer be affected this issue.

Only problem is, you have to wait for it to be available. We are still waiting.

Anyone ordering their own Tesla can use Tech Guide’s referral code to get 1,500 free Supercharger km. https://ts.la/stephen70479.