Buying the connected car

Written by on January 6, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

01-2012-tesla-model-s-fd-1347336745Over the holiday period, I came face to grill with my first Tesla car. It was sleak, in a Bentley-like way. It was growly, in a Lexus-like way. It was also, on the face of it, expensive. The model that I was gazing at came in at a serious £65-70,000.

Fair enough, I thought. But not for me.

Two days later I was being driven to an event by a friend and I mentioned I had seen said Tesla car and he laughed. It turned out that not only does he have one, but that he got referral commission on the one I had seen.

I said that I thought it was expensive and he laughed again.

By his calculations (and he is a clever guy) once you take all the taxes out of the equation the cost comes down to £42,000. Because it is electric, there is no road tax, it is completely allowable as a capital expense, and there are other breaks that Governments like giving away when they try and persuade themselves they are ‘green’.

Fair enough, I thought.

And, when you put it on finance, the cost of the finance equates almost exactly to the amount he used to pay for fuel. And, of course, you do not have to pay for fuel (well, if you use a personal electricity supply, to completely recharge the car costs about £3).

So, according to my friend, you have a zero cost car.

And not only that. It is already capable of driving you down the motorway, if you want it to. If you go onto a track and off the main road, you can raise the suspension. And that is not the neat bit. The neat bit is that when you go to that same spot some months later, the car remembers and automatically raises the suspension again.

What about recharging, I asked, now properly curious. Does it not take hours?

It does, said my friend. You would think that would hold it back. But with a range of 300 miles, you can get a long way. And if you need to recharge the car on the road, adding an extra 100 miles takes about 10 minutes. The amount of time it takes to get a coffee – and who does not want to take a break on a long drive?

Fair enough, I thought.

And just as I was about to ask him about customer service, in a vain attempt at finding something faulty with the company, he jumped in.

Something was not 100 percent smooth with his car. He took it to the garage and it turned out that two bolts were a quarter turn too tight. They adjusted it and off he set.

Later he got a phone from Tesla saying they were not happy with the situation and were delivering a courtesy car – when would be convenient?

It arrived on a truck, covered with a rather smart black cloth. Two days later his own was delivered in a similar manner. With an apology for any inconvenience – of which there was none.

Sold on the company and the car, I started to wonder about the different routes that companies were taking towards the connected, driverless car. One camp wants the iterative approach, where drivers get used to relying more and more on the car itself. The other (Google) that the success of the driverless car depends on (pretty much) everyone taking them up at the same time.

Whichever approach proves the most popular, one thing is certain. Google will have to produce something very slick indeed, to catch up with the cool and clever Tesla.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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