Eh? What does that mean?
It's as simple as it sounds. Serena has to perform on her merits or she's going to be kicked out to pasture. No special treatment.
Owner 1: He's had the car long enough to be well out of warranty and to have a laundry list of "early VIN" problems. It doesn't matter to him though, as the car is the embodiment of a worldview that gives him the patience to gloss over the imperfections in the car itself. Its virtues will always outweigh its foibles because of its place in history and tidal wave it started. His Tesla is impeccably maintained and shows almost no age, but enough parts have been replaced that its model year is debatable. I doubt he'll never replace it-- or if he does, it'll stay in the family and in the company of a newer Tesla.
Our take: We plan to own our car until it drops... but if it fails to perform adequately or becomes prohibitively expensive to maintain, we'll jettison it for a more reliable and updated version or competitor. Our loyalty is to our financial condition, not the company's. We're supportive and (I think) very patient customers worthy of our "early adopter" position-- but we're not blinded by the light. We expect satisfaction to all quibbles, eventually.
Our take: The goal is to be able to truthfully answer the inevitable questions about "how long does it take to charge?" with "I have NO IDEA." That's the car's business, not ours. Certainly we're well versed in the technical details, but it isn't an all-consuming game of Oregon Trail with electrons replacing supplies. We'll certainly try to take the car on every trip we can, but if we have to significantly alter our route or timetable the Tesla does stays home. I will not arrive somewhere just to make excuses about how long it took or to beg a a spare outlet from my hosts if I can avoid it.
Bottom line, we don't much give a darn about what the car COULD do or what it represents. We care about what it DOES do and how it does it. To be a viable product (or company), Tesla must compete on its merits and not with apologies for its shortcomings.
ONE road trip off the Supercharger network and bent over backwards to accommodate the car. Despite generous charging hosts and some pleasant sightseeing, it took an extra 2 hours to make a 6 hour trip and in hindsight, was arduous enough that we will not repeat it in the Tesla until the Superchargers catch up with our needs (years later than we were told at the time of purchase). On the other hand, we've made many trips on the network and have found it to be reliable and easy. The sophistication of long distance electric travel really does sell itself when the facilities are available.
The Tesla Math. If we happen to be changing public perception of EVs at every launch or glimpse of our license plate-- whether that was our intention or not-- all the better! The technology is the future and we demonstrate its superiority whenever it is appropriate to do so. I think our tire use speaks to that philosophy even if it skews our running cost calculations! But the company must also continue to live up to those aspirations. Though there have been many laurels thrown at the feet of the Model S, they must be ignored for there is much work to still be done.
For the other 5% of times when the Tesla can't deliver, make note of it. Talk to your local company representatives. Tweet Elon. Email the company. Try and politely explain where you think improvements are needed. I've found them to all be very open to suggestion and it is because of the quality of people Tesla hires that I've afforded them so much good will.
Zero tolerance... almost.
It's true, we don't think it's the perfect car or perfect company... yet. But they have been ambitious about making our experiences good and that is perhaps the factor that has most inspired me to view every interaction positively, even when the car has disappointed. Hopefully that continues, because we need Tesla to succeed... and I love this car.
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