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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pursued by Paparazzi

Owning a Model S in our area makes for a minor dose of celebrity.   At the time of our delivery there were about 50 other Teslas in greater Pittsburgh, which made them more rare than Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc.   The biggest difference, of course, is that the Tesla is an ideal daily driver so people have a decent chance of catching one out on errands.  Even now, months later (surely Pittsburgh is nearing triple digits of Teslas), we still get a fair amount of attention.
Funny.  No one seems to notice when I drive my Subaru... which is even more rare.



I know that seems ridiculous at first glance-- but it is true.  Subaru produced about 33,000 of the Bajas, a solid 4000 or so of which were sold to eager buyers.  The rest were dumped at fire-sale prices because it's kind of a weird vehicle and didn't catch on.  Don't get me wrong, we LOVE ours!  It's all the truck we need and drives like a family sedan the rest of the time-- no other vehicle can boast that.  Even the famed El Camino can't put kids in a back seat.

 Tesla has issued VINs up into the mid 50k range so already there are far more Teslas than Bajas.  Certainly market penetration isn't as deep here though, as I regularly see other Bajas but only occasionally another Tesla...  I guess that means the Baja won't be invited to the Pebble Beach Concours anytime soon.  But I digress...

All this to say that I've been chased down several times, gets lots of grins/thumbs up and regularly catch people taking pictures of our car-- though I never know where exactly those pictures end up.  Except in the case of the picture below:
A friend of a coworker's brother-in-law (pause and think that one out for a minute) caught my wife running errands and within 5-10 minutes the picture found its way from one end of the city to the other-- through two people I've never met-- and finally to me, thanks to a coworker from the other end of our building and in a different department entirely.   Who needs the Tesla App for vehicle tracking??   Crowd-sourced LoJack!   I think we've invented something here...

About a month ago I had a more typical "fan" encounter.  Waiting at traffic light to get on my usual on-ramp towards Pittsburgh, an older silver Pontiac Grand Am pulls up behind me. Middle aged (?) couple (?) inside with man driving. Watching my mirror, I see woman holding a bright red-cased cellphone very obviously up to windshield... for a long time. Not sure if she's taking a whole portfolio of pictures or video! It's a long light so after a minute or so the driver apparently decides he'd like to take pictures too. So he produces a full-on SLR and starts snapping away at the same time. Family is with me and we're all laughing-- then the woman takes the man's camera away (clearly he's not the photographer in this relationship) and now she's taking pictures with it. Light goes green and we whoosh away and merge towards the city.

A few miles down the road the stalking continues. Grand Am is riding in that 7 o'clock shadow position with cameras still going. Quite amusing to us as Pittsburgh isn't the desert of Teslas it once was-- but still rare enough, I guess! They finally pass by us slowly, still taking pictures/video and smile and wave. We follow them for a while then they move over and appear to slow down. Okay... I get it... you want to see the other side of the car?  So we pull beside them. I tell my wife to give them a countdown with her fingers:
3.....
2....
1....
Then I floor the throttle and we warp decisively into the distance, grinning all the way, with my daughter's arms over her head in full "roller coaster" mode!
You can't see much of this from the dashcam... but it's there (the launch is the slight downward lurch of the frame around 1:15):
It does seem like every Tesla owner has a bunch of fun stories about people's reactions to the car--indeed, we've had our own share of them too--  but whenever I manage to catch them on video or in pictures, I'll be sure to share mine.  This enthusiasm someday will pass as more people go electric, a trade off I'm happy to make.

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