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One year. One Roadster. 40,000 miles

By Hansjörg von Gemmingen, Tesla Roadster Owner - Germany
Wednesday, December 01, 2010

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I first heard of Tesla when I read an article about the company in the big German business publication Manager Magazin. Before I even finished reading, I wanted a Roadster. An electric sports car with great performance and industry-leading range? I immediately reserved the car, even before I could test drive it the following year at the Geneva Motor Show. I couldn’t wait for my car to be delivered!

I know that a lot of customers fall in love with the Roadster in a similar way – but I don’t consider myself a “typical” Roadster owner or even a typical premium car owner. I don’t baby my cars. I drive cars until they literally fall apart. My first car, for instance, was a Volkswagen Beetle, which I drove until it had 182,000 miles (290,000 kms). I drove one of my Mercedes until it had 347,000 miles (558,000 kms), and I drove another Mercedes until it had 560,000 miles (902,000 kms). The Tesla is my first 100 percent electric car – but I intend to drive it just as much as my previous cars. Since getting the car in October 2009, I have already put 40,000 miles (65,000 kms) on my Electric Blue Roadster!

After so much “quality time” behind the wheel, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by several things. Most people know about the Roadster’s legendary performance – that’s always fun. But the Roadster is also convenient – especially for those of us who live in places with four seasons. I always had to pre-heat my combustion cars; there is nothing more inefficient than starting a cold motor or driving a cold car at maximum speed. But with the Roadster, I plug the car into my home’s outlet – and the Roadster is  ready to roll every morning, no matter how cold it is outside. I could zip immediately onto the autobahn and drive 125 miles per hour (200 kph) without worrying about losing efficiency due to a cold engine.

People always ask me why I drive so much. The answer is easy: Because I can! I don’t have a long commute – in fact, I often work from home. I simply love driving. I live near Freiburg, Germany, which is at the edge of the Southern Black Forest Nature Park (Naturpark Südschwarzwald). This is one of Germany’s most beautiful travel destinations – and it’s a great place for joy rides.

In the last year, my wife and I have been active in the European Tesla community, which includes a lot of customers near Basel, Switzerland, and Berlin, Germany. We’ve taken several trips to Switzerland, and in September we drove about 500 miles (800 kms) to Berlin -- the longest road trip we’ve attempted so far. On the way north, we stopped to visit family members and charged at their homes. It was an unbelievable experience, culminating in a reunion with nearly two dozen Roadsters passing through “Checkpoint Charlie” and cruising around the Schlosspark Charlottenburg in the inner city of Berlin. Being part of the convoy of Teslas was an incredible feeling: It gave us all a sense of optimism and enthusiasm because we realized that future cities could be clean and quiet.

Before I got my Roadster, I was concerned about charging. But there are 1 billion conventional outlets in Europe – and the Roadster charges from conventional outlets! So now, wherever I drive, I see outlets – at hotels, parking lots, restaurants, rest stops, even at barns and farm houses in the countryside.

One of the few adjustments I’ve had to make with the Roadster is that I have to add an additional 30 minutes to even short trips. That’s because so many people ask questions, and I spend a lot of time talking to them. I even give strangers test rides. But this is a role I am happy to play because I get so much positive feedback from people. After all, I’m educating people about the future of personal transportation!

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