Life with a Tesla Part 2 - The Accident
Driving a Tesla is VERY different from an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car, and it times it can be dangerous!
The Tesla, like other EVs, drives using one-pedal driving. This means you use the accelerator for both accelerating and for braking. If you press the accelerator, the car moves. If you take your foot off the accelerator the car will brake very quickly without even using the brakes. Even if you just lighten the pressure on the accelerator, the car will slow down. The Tesla does have a brake pedal, but once you get use to one-pedal driving you rarely use it. The rims on my Tesla are still very clean as they don't really get any brake dust on them because I rarely need to use the brakes.
This type of one-pedal driving can be dangerous at first when you are still learning to drive it as you end up jerking up the road, with sudden, unexpected stops. It can take some time to get the hang of this kind of driving. I was scared to drive on the highway with my Tesla for a while because I was worried I'd make these sudden stops and the car behind me would plow into me, causing an accident. I also kept my old ICE car for several months after I bought the Tesla so I was frequently switching between one-pedal driving and standard driving. This made it more difficult for me to adapt to one-pedal driving. I finally ended up selling my old ICE car recently, so now I'm driving the Tesla full time. I've become a lot more comfortable driving it since then. Given the initial difficulties learning one-pedal driving, if you see a Tesla on the highway, give it lots of room as the person driving it may be new to this type of driving. You should also avoid driving the Tesla on the highway for a while, if possible, while you get used to this new way of driving.
That said, once you get used to one-pedal driving, it is a much better way of driving. It even feels like you have more control over the car because you can easily accelerate and slow down without moving your foot constantly back and forth between the accelerator and the brake. Now that I've gotten used to it, I rarely need the brakes, and I can easily slow to a stop at a traffic light with no brakes. In fact, I often find myself stopping way before the line at the traffic light because the 'braking' is so good.
The acceleration on the Tesla is phenomenal. My 2022 Tesla Model Y Long Range has the equivalent of 425 horsepower, and this is on a SUV that weighs over two tons! I used to have a 300 HP Camaro Z28 that was incredibly fast. That car would be across the intersection when the traffic light goes green before any other cars even start crossing the intersection. The same goes with the Tesla. That said, the acceleration feels very weird compared to an ICE car because it is silent and perfectly smooth. You hit the accelerator and the car just takes off. There's no hesitation, there's no roar of the engine, and there's no 'jerking' as the car rapidly shifts gears. A friend of mine described it as 'a roller coaster launch' and this is true. It just goes from 0 to speed in seconds without you even feeling it. It's a wild experience. The car accelerates very fast, but you don't feel like it is accelerating at all. If you don't watch the speedometer, it's easy to go 80+ MPH without realizing it. I like it!
The Tesla has a series of cameras that have a view of all 4 sides of the car, and even the interior. These cameras, plus the large screen, plus the onscreen guides, makes backing into a parking space trivial. I've always been nervous about backing into parking spaces, because I can't judge distances well. With the Tesla, it's easy to back into any parking space. Heck, it's almost easier to back into a parking space then to drive forward into a parking space. The rear visibility out the back window though, is practically non-existent. Thankfully, the cameras more than make up for this deficiency.
The cameras on the Tesla are always watching the road on all four sides. The computer inside the car is able to identify where other cars are relative to itself and it displays this on the screen. This means, you can easily see if cars are coming up on either side, even if they are in your blind spot. This awareness of other cars also means that the car is very good about warning you if you are about to change lanes and hit the car next to you. If you are doing this and it thinks you are going to hit the car next to you, the car on the screen will turn red and the car will beep loudly at you to warn you. I believe it also will try to avoid crashes by stopping you from changing lanes, but I've thankfully never had to test this.
While the Tesla can detect multiple cars in the lanes to your left and right, it is a bit more limited in what it can detect in the lane in front of you or behind you. Because the front cameras look straight ahead, and are at roughly eye level, they can only see the car directly in front of you. This means that even if there are multiple cars in front of you, it can only really see the one directly in front of you and not the car in front of that. The same goes for behind you. At best, it can see 1 or 2 cars in front or behind you. I don't think this is a serious problem, but it's something to be aware of.
Full Self Driving
The Tesla has the ability to mostly drive itself to your destination. This is not a standard feature and costs an additional $15,000 currently. The car has all the hardware needed to do this. If you purchase this feature, it's simply a software upgrade. That said, this feature has been beta for a long time, and so I don't trust it. Besides, why would I pay $15K to test a beta product? I did not purchase this feature on my Tesla and I have no plan to any time soon.
The built in navigation system is pretty good. It will route you to whatever place you want to go. It's not perfect though, and sometimes routes you on weird paths that don't make sense. Once, while in Orlando, I told it to route me to the Epcot parking lot. It kept trying to route me to drive into the parking lot of a fire station, rather than the regular parking entrance! I suspect this fire station might have some kind of special access road that goes to the Epcot parking lot, but that's obviously not something that the average driver can use.
My biggest complaint about the Tesla is the feel of the ride. It is very rough. You feel every bump in the road as you are driving. On bad roads, you get bounced all over the place. I'm used to driving sedans where the ride is very smooth. This Tesla is my first SUV, so maybe this is typical of SUVs, but I have to say, I'm not happy with this.