Living in the rural area around northern Hong Kong while running his family business, Donald Chan is a veteran horse rider. He encourages young people to start riding as early as possible since he regrettably thinks he started too late. Why horseback riding? Romantic? Classy? Actually Donald thinks that riding creates a sense of responsibilities in youths - something that he thinks the new generation in Hong Kong lacks in general. In choosing his cars, Donald shares the same view - they have to be functional and serve a purpose. He still insists on washing his cars himself and he takes care of his cars personally.
During his school days in North America, Donald bought his first car. It was a Datsun 120Y/140Y. He remembers that this tiny, yet popular, Japanese car trained him how to use a manual transmission. Since then he has owned plenty of cars including a few Italian luxury cars in the 1990's. "Those unpredictable and high maintenance cars really trained up my EQ," Donald smiles. These days, Donald keeps 4 cars – all high performance, yet practical, cars. What led him to the decision to buy a Tesla Roaster?
"I once owned a Toyota Prius (2nd generation), it was the first taste of a green car for me." Donald knew about Tesla for a while but never thought he would be interested in the Roadster, thinking that it was just a Lotus and was overpriced at over HK$1 million. However, he liked the upcoming Model S and thought it was really interesting to order a car by paying the deposit online via PayPal, "this was my first time to do so," he says.
Within a few days, he was contacted by Tesla’s Hong Kong office and was invited to have a test drive of Roadster. Donald knew that it would be a while before he would be able to take delivery of his Model S and accepted the invitation. A few days after his test drive, he bought a Roadster. To explain this about-face, Donald offers some praise to the staff of Tesla Hong Kong, "they were not pushy at all and just encouraged me to have a try,” he explains. Without any pressure to buy, Donald took his time to get to know EV technology and was stunned by the performance and excitement the Roadster showed him. His attitude towards the Roadster changed entirely. Donald drives the Roadster on daily basis for his 80km round-trip commute, and charges it each night at home.
After owning the Tesla Roadster for a year, how has it impacted Donald's life? Besides the fun driving, "it's all about the human connection," he says. Donald said that by traveling with his Roadster everywhere, strangers on the street would come up and talk to him. Those people who don't know much about Tesla are amazed that it is an electric car. Those who know Tesla have many questions to ask and want to know more about it. Given the Roadster’s relatively low price point (it is completely tax free), silent operation, and green creds, no one thinks driving a Roadster is showing off. On the contrary, their attitudes are almost universally positive. Donald loves the fact that his Tesla brings people closer together. Of course, he also stresses that the Roadster has cut his gas bill a great deal. Looking at his electricity bill, he thinks the cost for driving the Tesla is around HK$0.20 per kilometer; his petrol bill was 7 times more! This everyday savings comes on top of the massive up-front savings of buying an electic vehicle of course – the complete lack of a First Registration Tax to pay! "This is the first time I didn't need to pay tax when buying a car!" he grins.
He thinks Tesla has proved that with existing technology, it's possible to drive an electric car daily, while delivering unbelievable performance to boot. No noise, zero emissions, and always-ready powerful torque. Donald feels that everything is in his control when driving a Roadster. Yes, he does want his Roadster to have more unique options, more interior storage, and electronic remote control of the suspension modes, but he is more than happy to wait until he takes delivery of his Model S to indulge in those luxuries. For now, the Roadster is his daily driver and short of a horse, it’s the best transport in all of Hong Kong!