Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting behind the wheel of the
Model S, the electric car that has caused a big sensation. After
) (at $38) and owning the stock (at $150), I thought it was high
time to see what the real product is like.
First I should start out by saying that my wife and I have a
2010 Volvo S40 or C60 or something like that. I despise the fact
that it's a stick shift, as it makes no sense to me living in the
city of Chicago to constant have to change gears. My wife wanted
that car, so we got it. Yes, she ultimately calls the shots while
making me believe I have a say in what happens. She is pure
The Right Spot
Our test drive started out in the show room which is located in
the Old Orchard mall in the suburban Chicago of Skokie. It's a
great mall with higher class stores. A great spot for affluent
buyers of the Model S.
Inside the show room was a Model S that may or may not be
real... and a cut away of the car to show where the suspension,
motor and batteries reside on the floor of the car.
After logging in on an iPad, and accepting some terms of
agreement - which I never read - we headed out to the car that was
waiting for us. It was just the color I wanted, scarlet... I mean
red. I just think Scarlet due to my affinity for the Ohio State
Buckeyes. What luck, I thought to myself.
Mega Touch Screen
The door handles slid out from the car as we approached, a neat
feature that reduces drag. We spent the next 10 or 15 minutes
attempting to get used to the massive 17 inch touch screen. Google
maps with integrated traffic monitors, the ability to go to any
website (that doesn't show video) and the ability to make phone
calls. Tesla gives each car a 3G satellite connection to make the
calls and download data. It's free now, but when 4G becomes the
standard our salesperson noted that the policy could change.
Along with the power consumptions screen, we selected the rear
view fish-eye camera for the lower portion of the screen. This rear
view camera basically negated the idea of the blind spot, as I
could easily view the cars on each side of me as well as directly
behind me. This was an impressive feature.
The Electric Slide
Pulling on to the road, I notice the immense power this car had,
but as much as it had torque or pickup or whatever you want to call
it, it also had a huge drag when your foot was not on the
accelerator (don't call it a gas pedal!). The idea there is battery
regeneration, basically using the forward motion of the car to
create more energy that can be used to propel the car forward
later. This took some getting used to, but I could see why it was
being used. The idea of coasting in neutral with a stick shift is
not anything like when the "regen" is in full effect. You slow down
almost as dramatically as you speed up in the Model S, which makes
coasting into a red light a no brainer (thus saving the battery and
As I entered the highway, I immediately saw a Corvette next to
me and a slight push of the pedal and we were neck and neck. Only
the fact that traffic prevented me to procedure further allowed the
'vette hold a small lead on me. I did push the car up to 81 MPH,
and I must say, it felt the same as it did at 60 MPH.
Handling was fine and rest of the ride was as you would expect
from a luxury automobile. At one stop sign the sales rep told me to
floor it to see what the acceleration from a standstill was like. I
probably went from 0-50 in 2 seconds, maybe less, but you could
feel the G forces push you back into your seat. My wife and I
commented that it was almost dangerous to have that much power...
yet very exciting.
The sales rep noted that the weekdays are less busy, but the
weekends are booked solid with people test driving the Model S.
Most are just day dreamers, but some are buyers.
Overall, the test drive validated what I have been seeing on
YouTube from owners and other statements about the car that I have
read online. It is a thing of beauty and power, and the cost to
"fill the tank" runs about $7-$9 on electricity vs. the price of
gas. The "regen" idea also means that a conservative driver will
see brakes last at least twice the length they would on a normal
So all that is fine and dandy, but what about the stock?
Does a test drive of an incredible car make you want to buy the
stocks? I can tell you it does for me. Do you think you would have
the same reaction after a test drive of the Model S?
To me, this becomes a valuation and valuation only type play in
the stock. The product is undeniably impressive. The question is at
what price growth? And what growth rate would the company need to
support its current price or will the inevitable doubling of
production next year mean the stock doubles in price?
Honk your own horn and let us know in the comments below!
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