People who buy new cars generally like and enjoy them during the first months or years of ownership.
Many Tesla owners, however, seem to love their cars with a deep, abiding, even overwhelming passion. This is one such story.
A longtime personal friend and his partner recently acquired a 2014 Tesla Model S after we had some general chats about electric cars.
First he traded in the gasoline Smart ForTwo he used to get around San Francisco for a new Smart Electric Drive, along with a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station in his garage.
He liked the torque and the smoothness of the powertrain compared to the jerkiness of the gas Smart with its automated manual gearbox.
Then came the Tesla.
The rest of this article is a lightly edited version of a 1,500-word letter Tom sent--entirely unprompted--about their new car.
He describes all the things he enjoys about the car, his experience of electric drive, and the camaraderie among Tesla owners he discovered during a factory tour and on a road trip.
We asked permission to reprint it as an example of the remarkable passion this startup electric-car maker seems to engender among its owners.
2014 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
Those are the same owners who have put the Model S, once again, at the top of Consumer Reports' customer satisfaction index.
While owners of other new cars might write similar stories, the Tesla simply seems to spur more owners to tell their stories more often.
They become evangelists for the new product--just as owners of new Apple products, from the first Macintosh to the latest iPad, tend to be.
Here's what Tom wrote a few weeks ago about the Tesla he owns with his partner Jeff in Palm Springs, California.
-- John Voelcker, editor
Jeff and I have been drinking the Kool-Aid and so far we are enjoying it.
We took a tour of the factory in Fremont last week, and this Wednesday we took the 270-mile road trip from Palm Springs to Phoenix, to see how the car and the Supercharger system performed.
We don't wear Tesla ball caps or Tesla T-shirts, but we kept the paper "Zero Emissions" plate on the back even though the real license plates arrived 10 days ago.
2014 Tesla Model S owned by Tom + Jeff of Palm Springs, CaliforniaEnlarge Photo
Fremont factory tour
You've been on the factory tour so I don't have to describe it in any great detail. Jeff was blown away by the robots twirling car chassis around in the air. And by the scale of the place.
Three things stood out for me. First, the low-key affinity that emerged among the Tesla drivers as our group waited for our tour to begin.
Second, the way that Tesla set up office zones for engineers and such in the middle of the factory floor, so the people responsible for painting were sitting alongside the paint line.
Third, the staff's eagerness to look after their customers, beyond the customary offers of coffee or bottled water.
We took the BART [rapid transit system] over. When we asked if there was a shuttle back to the BART station, the guy on the desk said no, there was no shuttle--but he thought he could find someone to drive us. And he did.
Jeff returned to Palm Springs, and our car, two days later. I knew something was up for the birthday, since the week before he'd tried to ask me whether I wanted to do something but lost his nerve about halfway through.