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Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

WOW! I wasn't prepared driving in my Model S Sig today to get a negative taunt thrown at me... I was showing some friends of mine at their office in a heavily walked area. Some guy comes up and says "Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for." Now, I'm not normally political, but I went off... For those just receiving your car, have some nice witty retorts just in case you get something like that... I have a few good ones now that I am prepared. Of course, that's been the 1 bad out of 100 good who keep stopping and looking or wanting to see it (and I've only had it on the street for less than an hour)...

@ Brian H:

"[...] then you'll get to unload. Both barrels. >:)"

Indeed it is tempting. It's amazing how many people I've encountered who are experts in renewable energy, BEVs, hybrids, diesel engine technology, oil and gas exploration, urban planning ... the list goes on.

The more time goes by the more I realize that I know nothing and all of these same "experts" are simply full of hot air. At this point I think it's best for techy people like us to stay focused on what we're doing and ignore everyone else -- particularly those with uninformed opinions.

The only thing I hear is from guys who like engine sound, but so far everyone who has noticed the car has been positive.

Had my first negative encounter today, Thanksgiving of all days. I was backing out in a parking lot neae some running/hiking trail heads when I saw a young man get out of his car and began walking along the back end of the cars on the opposite row. He was listening to his earbuds, focused on his iPhone. I was clearly watching him on the HD backup camera, keeping in mind the car is silent. Half way out of my parking space, I turn the car 45 degrees, and I never get within 10 feet of this guy. Before I could shift into Drive, he approaches the driver's side window. I am thinking he wants to ask or say something about the car, so I roll down the window, and he starts cursing at me, yelling that I almost ran him over. I thought he was going to kick the side of the car, so I hopped out and asked what was his problem. He called me an F'ing hippie driving an F'ing electric car. More words were exchanged then I decided to defuse the confrontation, so I just shut up. He walked away cursing me.

I took a picture of him and his car/plate, and he turned around and got back in my face. I have the county sheriff on my phone Contacts, so a called and told the dispatcher I want to file a report against someone verbally abusing me and making threatening comments against my Model S. The threatening guy left to go for his run, but I still filed a complaint. The Deputy Sheriff was very nice, even asked a dozen questions about the car. The Sheriff said he would wait for the guy to finish his run and get his story. Fair enough, but I can only imagine what he'll say.

I know it is my word against his, but it sure would have been nice if the backup camera could/would record the video for retrieval just for such disputes. My biggest fear is that I use these trails many times per week, and this guy, if returns, might do something to the car at some future point in time. That is the main reason I insisted on filing a complaint, so at least he knows the Sheriff knows he had threatened me and the car. Happy Thanksgiving folks.


Happy thanksgiving to you too!

Don't let this affect you. Along with Elon, we are actually all in this fight against ignorance and dogma.

Heh, I remember the funny number plate cover: "My Karma ran over your Dogma" !!

I get the most from BMW owners who think their cars are far superior to anything American. The first (a three series driver, couldn't believe I bought a Tesla instead of an M3 ??? The second (BMW 8 series driver) was at first resistant but after a tour of the car, turned to me and said "This is the future isn't it!"

Living in Northern California, most people are very anti American auto, pro Prius and euro sedans so I expect (and enjoy) that the Tesla gets under their skin!


That must be a California thing. We are back woods here and I am surprised if someone even knows the car is electric.

"Best investment you could ever make -- for your Grandchildren."

@Velo1 - this whole business of a silent car is something that has been on my mind a bit. I used to cycle to and from work here in Brussels and I was caught out a few times with Prius's running on battery; we don't realise how much we rely on passive hearing until we get caught out.

I know on Fiskers they play that weird sound when they're below a certain speed, but Teslas don't.

Does this cause an issue? Other than driving with it in mind are there any strategies out there?

@Lycanthorpe - many moons ago there was a thread about the need for a pedestrian horn. If interested see:

I, too, cycle here in Colorado. Once at a stop light a Prius silently pulled up right next to me and it startled me to where I almost jumped out of my cleats.

I love that tweeter horn used by support and official vehicles that work pro cycling races. Just mid-range volume and short enough to alert, but not scare. Cheers.

I was sitting waiting for a bridge on my Zero a few hours ago and having to breath the trash that comes out of the exhausts. I was thinking to myself (1) it is amazing what we can get used to and accept as normal and (2) it does not have to be like this.

Part of me wants to apply the same thought process to this "need to make noise". I understand why people would want the comfort and warning of ICE noise as that is what we are all used to. We use those signals as warning that a vehicle is near. However, would the world not be a better place if we allowed that noise to fade into history and adjust to the new level of noise around us. Driver's need take steps to remain safe and bikers/peds need to reset their warning systems to tire noise.

At least it is an option.

lolachampcar, +1

Maneuvering in parking lots is dicey. An ex-co-worker had just left his car when someone turned into the pavement behind his car, and before he could move, crushed his legs against the rear body. He is now disabled, permanently crippled, and very bitter.

Sound was irrelevant there, of course. Just sayin' the dangers are real.

Perhaps in parking lots, pop the pano roof, or a window, and play music inside the car loud enough to be heard?

Simple solution, a wireless doorbell in tHe fronk with the button concealed under the driver seat. A simple Home Depot fix.

@Smith 1
It would be nice to once hear a positive statement come out of you. It seems the only time you speak up is when you have an opportunity to say something negative or critical of others.

You are free to impress us

truth and intelligence :-) You think very highly of yourself hey? How about instigation and indignation - a bit more appropriate me thinks.

The problem is not a silent vehicle. The problem has become the people listening to headsets and texting while they are completely at a loss for the world around them. The walk into walls, doors, holes in the ground, and mall fountains to name a few.

Listen to the news. Once a week somewhere someone is run over by a bus. You think the bus is silent?

@jbunn, @jjaeger

@Velo1 - thanks, will take a read.

@BrianH - "Perhaps in parking lots, pop the pano roof, or a window, and play music inside the car loud enough to be heard?"

- I think there's three days per year here in Belgium where opening the pano would be acceptable :-D

Is Smith 1 still around? I thought he had been permanently flagged.

+1 @lolachampcar

The whole silent car issue is, as far as I can ascertain, a red herring. Here's why:
In a city environment, the background noise masks not only an EV's approach, but also that of all kinds of other relatively quiet cars. Many large luxury cars produce practically no audible engine noise, just tire noise. So that eliminates the issue for cities.
For quiet residential areas or out in the country, the tire noise from about 15 mph up brings the Model S's to about par with those same types of ICE cars. It's definitely audible by pedestrians. For cyclists, or the jackass in Velo1's encounter with the earbuds, there is no difference - they wouldn't hear any of them over the wind noise or music in their ears.
So now we're left with the very narrow circumstance of driving with speeds below 15 mph in a very quiet environment. The car will stop on a dime from that speed. So if we just keep our regular state of awareness when we drive, an unaware pedestrian with blinders on would have to run into our stopped car for there to be any contact.
So the whole thing really is a non-issue.

@Smith 1 - regardless of any other posts of yours that I may not agree with, in this case I support what you're saying.

I do think silent electric cars pose a risk to pedestrians and cyclists, purely because they're not used to them. Yes, they're also often at fault for being absorbed on their mobile devices while walking, but I feel us Tesla owners (or in my case to-be...) have a responsibility to exercise extreme caution and extra courtesy to others.

Right now I don't drive much, but walk and take public transport. I wear bluetooth headphones all the time and listen to music, I also run wearing them. I have learned to use my eyes as I'm fully aware I can't hear any cars, never mind the EV's (not that we have so many here in Brussels). I've also spent a lot of time observing the behaviour of other pedestrians and a lot of them are purely relying on their ears, I see them walking onto pedestrian crossings without looking at all. When they're texting it's even worse, totally oblivious to the world around them.

So I would recommend you're extra observant, anticipative and perhaps edge out of that parking space a little slower than you could. Better safe than sorry.

And yes, I expect a software update in the future to address some of these issues with an audible warning.

Listen to any modern sedan on the street. Tire noise is all you hear. With diego on this one. Non-issue or fake issue.

You could be right Brian. Perhaps I've a skewed perspective living in Belgium as the vast majority of cars are diesels (due to the lower cost of the fuel here); they make a LOT of noise, rattling like a bag of spanners in a washing machine...


The subject is gone for now. All that remains is resurrected zombie posts. If a post is reinstated it becomes invincible, it seems.

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