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Sonny Chen, Brilliant Yellow Roadster

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The Tesla Roadster reignited my interest in cars. Most men are brainwashed since childhood to like certain cars such as BMW Z4’s and Ferraris. They are probably “taught” at some point that Ferraris are some of the coolest cars to drive. But they are not. Just a couple of months of ownership can disabuse you of that notion. That’ s how I lost all interest in cars until I read and learnt about the all-electric Roadster in mid- September 2010. It was a moment of discovery.

The first car I owned in high school was a Hyundai Santa Fe. I loved it. It was big and I took it everywhere. I also had a Beemer i325, a Beemer Z4, and a Lexus GS450h. The Lexus was the first Hybrid sedan I had. It went from 0 to 100 mph in 5.9 seconds. Not bad for a sedan. Fuel economy was excellent considering the acceleration. It made me appreciate the important role technology played in car manufacturing. I also had a Ferrari California, but I can understand now how I had been tricked by childhood brand imaging again. Now I drive a Lexus RS450h for my family and a Tesla Roadster for my own personal use.

My standards for choosing a car have changed over the years. Initially brand recognition was important. But the more you drive some of those cars, the more you realize much of the brand’ s value is just marketing hype. My first rule today is that a car must be all-electric. Then I’ d look at acceleration and technical specs such as battery capacity, charging speed, motor power, cabin accessories and electronics, and finally chassis appearance and cabin finish.

In terms of “fun” ownership experience, the Roadster also comes at the top of the list. Acceleration is exhilarating. But more importantly, being able to “step on it” knowing that the resulting emissions are actually really low puts your mind at ease. I always hated the way sports cars accelerated. On regular streets you can’ t really hit that “LAUNCH” button. So the acceleration always feels disappointing. To get that back-pushing experience, you’ d have to step on it really hard. As a consequence, you always feel guilty about releasing extra tons of carbon on top of what the car is already pumping out in the air. But owning a car like the Tesla Roadster restored my good feelings about sports cars.

I made the final decision to buy the Roadster in September 2011. My mind was actually made up the moment I laid my eyes on it. But it sounded a little too good to be true at first, so I wanted to check it out for myself. I also had to take time to reach consensus with my significant other half as to which car to let go, as our garage was full at the time.

After actually driving the Roadster, I could see its potential more clearly. It’ s faster than most Ferraris, as most of their owners don’ t even use the “LAUNCH” button on streets. It’ s all electric and emits way less carbon. It also costs less to run and is less hassle to maintain. It looks cool. It’ s compact and highly maneuverable. I wish all cars would move toward that direction.


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