Tuesday 22 January 2019

Media criticisms prickle as owners rave about Tesla

Plugged in: (From left) owners Bernard, Dermot and Grattan at the Tesla event on Monday
Plugged in: (From left) owners Bernard, Dermot and Grattan at the Tesla event on Monday
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Going by three delighted Tesla owners, the rest of us should be buying far more of the brand's electric models.

So far this year, 33 new cars have been registered (SIMI data), but there is no doubting the exceptional level of interest in the brand, especially in the wake of generous Budget BIK measures.

Georg Ell, western Europe director, says those measures and a "very good" charging infrastructure (not all would agree) are helping to set us apart.

One man testifying to the benevolent Irish environment is Grattan Healy, the Galway man who, as Motors reported last year drove his Tesla Model S to Morocco and back. He recently drove it to Fez (Morocco) and back. He claims the car has cost him a pittance in running costs. With 73,000km on the clock, all he has changed are the two front tyres. He pays €120/year road tax and little for charging. He went to "Fez and back and it cost me nothing, absolutely nothing".

He's convinced "wind, solar power" will underpin our economy.

Bernard Smith, Terenure, Dublin, was rapturous about his Tesla Model S. He plugs it in for charging at night to coincide with the cheaper electricity and that does him for several days. For a former BMW 535d driver it is something to hear him say of the Tesla: "It's a car I love driving."

Digital architect Dermot O'Shea had two BMW i3s, but now his Model S ticks all his boxes. He travels from Blanchardstown to south Kerry fairly regularly; no bother with range. The decision was made for him when he compared repayment costs with a Porsche Panamera or Macan. His monthly Tesla repayments were half those for a Porsche. He's thrilled with his car.

Bernard was perplexed to hear we (motoring journalists) think build quality is not as good as a BMW, Merc or Audi; and some think the S doesn't look as good. He couldn't fathom that. Neither can Tesla execs, who feel they are getting a bit of a raw deal. I don't think so. It's not Old World v New. It's a dynamic fact. Just like as I drove the S with auto pilot for a brief stint, there is no denying the acceleration in these electric cars is extraordinary.

Meantime the mass appeal Model 3 is due next year, we're told. It could be the car that opens the floodgates. Only thing is Audi, BMW, Merc etc have a load of their own EVs on track for the next couple of years too. Then perhaps comparisons will be possible on a level playing field.

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