Tesla leads in test driving

Tesla delivers on its promise of a safe, touchless test driving experience.

BY GUY HALL, ELECTRIC AUTO ASSOCIATION SECRETARY

Now that Tesla is delivering the Model Y, I thought I would check into a test drive. But given the global pandemic, and the inability to go to a dealer, what are the options for a prospective customer? 

I visited Tesla’s website, specifically set up to reserve test drives, and  a couple of clicks later, I was scheduled for 4 PM that afternoon. As my wife and I drove to the Tesla store, I was eager to see how Tesla technology is used to support their “Touchless” test drive. I expected a low touch experience, and it was, aside from exchanging my driver’s license with the advisor and using one finger to sign an insurance agreement. We were told that the Model Y interior surfaces had been wiped down, and that it was ready for my wife and I to take for a spin. So far, pretty standard treatment, not unlike any other dealership.  

Touchless also meant no key to hand to me.  The sales rep had not only started the car with his phone, he had programmed the route into the navigation. There was a caveat; because the Tesla is keyless, it was important to leave the car running, even when switching drivers. Of course,  the sales rep was able to monitor our test drive on his phone (including our speed), so it is likely he would have noticed our mistake and remotely started it up again.

It is interesting to note, that with their dynamic “over the air” updates, Tesla can add special capabilities, if necessary, to deal with touchless test drives and deliveries. With other electric vehicle brands, each dealership must invent its own process, and it would not include the tightly-coupled level of support from the Tesla engineering team. The results are pretty clear given the most recent overall sales statistics.

So off we went. We were driving the car while ‘under surveillance’ from afar.  As most readers know by now, Tesla has really cool technology.  Because they are the only auto manufacturer that owns the entire delivery chain, from engineering to manufacturing to showroom to final delivery, they can tweak any part of the car or process with helpful improvements. 

 Need room for the kids?

Considering a Model Y for the family? EV Vlogger Ben Sullins who has spoken at some of our Electric Auto Association events shared this video of his family’s entertaining experience test driving the Model Y.

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