If you ever read reports about Tesla, you may notice something strange about the company’s customers. We saw the phenomenon with the debut of Model X, the brand’s luxury SUV. Despite numerous reports of tech glitches and poor reliability scores, owners gave the performance electric vehicle the highest rating for customer satisfaction.
Basically, people found themselves frustrated with their own Teslas but remained willing to support the automaker on most fronts. Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys hammered the point home: 91% of Tesla customers said they’d buy one again — the best mark of any brand.
What is going on here? Car companies known for defective products (e.g., Fiat, Jeep) usually rate among the worst for customer satisfaction. In short, Tesla has pulled off something extraordinary, and we’ve noticed other electric vehicle enthusiasts feeling a similar way about their cars. Here are the reasons so many owners of Tesla and other EVs will never drive a gasoline-powered car again.
1. The performance edge
In some ways, car enthusiasts have not changed a bit. Build a model that thrills drivers and you’ll build a loyal following. It happened in the golden age of American muscle cars, and it’s beginning to happen among EV owners. Without getting too technical, we’ll just note electric motors have the advantage of delivering a car’s full power from a stop. (Internal combustion engines require gear changes at high speeds to generate maximum torque.)
So Tesla’s top performers are among the world’s quickest production cars. A Model S P100D can hit 60 miles per hour from a stoplight in 2.5 seconds. If you produce lightning-fast cars, drivers will swear by them. It’s one of the oldest stories in America.
2. Electric car value
Everyone knows Teslas are expensive. The base Model S starts at $75,000, while the range-topping Model X starts near $130,000. However, these cars are the priciest models in the segment. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are awfully expensive as well, but you don’t need to buy one to drive a quality vehicle. Besides, it doesn’t cost $4.01 to drive 100 miles in a Lambo; in a Model S, it does.
Meanwhile, a used Nissan Leaf is the cheapest commuter car you can buy right now. You can get one for $16,000 and afford its trifling operating costs without a second thought. Electric car purchase prices are high, but once you have one you begin saving. You won’t need an oil change ever again.
3. The green factor
Electric cars are the greenest cars available to American drivers. This point, like whether the planet is warming, is no longer up for debate. Charged on energy grids with a high fossil-fuel mix, EVs still beat any other vehicle type in greenhouse gas emissions per mile. Every Tesla driver gets access to this green technology in an attractive package. Those who run their EVs on solar power pull off the “zero emissions” ideal.
While Tesla soars above the competition in many areas, the automaker’s advantage in EV charging is without dispute. Model S and Model X owners have access to the Tesla Supercharger network, which made these cars viable for road trips with a range below 400 miles per charge. Buyers of the upcoming Model 3 will also have access to the Supercharger network on a subscription basis. With other EVs, drivers have to piece together charges from various networks.
5. A status symbol
Make no mistake about it: A Tesla will turn heads and get people talking. Americans of any political persuasion and social class are likely to get a status bump from driving a Model S. That may not hold for the more affordable Model 3, but there is certainly something different about this automaker that will hold true. Tesla is like an indie-rock band’s first album, long before they signed to a bigger label and made more mainstream music.
6. Supporting U.S. manufacturing
U.S. manufacturing jobs seem headed in one direction, but Tesla has been hiring new employees consistently for several years. The company created products people want in factories that are only located in America. Once the California plants fill out and the massive battery factory in Nevada becomes complete, Tesla will employ tens of thousands of people across the country. East Coast factories would be a logical step in the future.
7. A feel-good story
Everyone who heard about the devastation two hurricanes brought to Puerto Rico knows U.S. residents there have suffered from the moment of landfall. We also heard reports of the slow recovery on the island due to logistical problems and bureaucratic red tape. However, Tesla found a way to bring relief to Puerto Rico through its green energy department.
On October 25, Tesla announced it had restored power to a children’s hospital in San Juan through the use of a solar panel installation. Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, continues to think big while fulfilling his company’s mission. Following the hurricanes, Musk reached out to the governor of Puerto Rico and offered his zero-emissions plan to help. Tesla customers like being a part of these feel-good stories.
8. An American pioneer
What is an American pioneer? That’s become a tough question to answer, but whatever it is, Tesla has got to be close. Looking ahead, Musk and his co-founders saw an opportunity to bring sustainable transportation to an industry drowning in gasoline and fossil-fuel exhaust. Some 10 years and multiple accomplishments later, Tesla is heading into its next phase with a market value equal to or greater than Detroit automakers.
Henry Ford and other pioneers brought that same energy in the early 20th century, and we imagine their consumers felt like they were part of the future. Tesla owners feel that with another dimension added (i.e., the health of the planet). It doesn’t matter what one U.S. political party thinks about our warming climate. The rest of the world recognizes the danger and is acting. Tesla has been a key part of this movement in America. When the rest of the country joins the fight, Tesla’s place as a pioneer will be secure.
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