Electric Cars in Shenzhen

My Tesla Model S

I am and have always been a car guy so how to put this thing into words? Let’s try a few combinations:
— The biggest revolution in cars during my lifetime
— The best car I have ever driven
— An insanely great car

I’ve had my Tesla Model S now for a few days and 300+ kms. It is the first car I have ever acquired new. It has pretty much all the options except performance and top end audio packages to keep the delivery time minimal and costs comparably reasonable. Thanks go to Miika at Auto Outlet to get this metallic red colored magical space car in a month from his reserve lot.

It all started when I realized a month or so back I can sell my trusted but ageing and pretty thirsty workhorse Porsche Cayenne in August. I know ordering a new popular car model will always take several months. So I went out and test drove all the latest BMW, Audi and Mercedes family wagons and SUVs. The cars I can see every morning and afternoon parked in the front of the upper middle class homes on our home street. The cars I’ve often rented during my trips to Germany. Boring. Just boring. BMW 5 series. BMW X5. Audi A6. Mercedes Shooting Brake. Well, Benz has a good name badge in there. I even test drove the new S. But said to Szaka during the test spin something like: “Well, this is nice. But it’s just another car.” I was not hyped. Because it really felt like that. Even Mercedes S class is just another car. No surprises anywhere. It is what you can expect.

While comparing these tested and tried options it just hit me I have totally forgotten one big thing. The brand name I always saw when driving on 880 in the Bay Area. For sure I had seen some of those early two seating Roadsters go fast and wondered who are the guys driving them. And I was aware Model S was in the pipeline, but it had a lot of issues before getting to the market. We had already moved back to Finland before they delivered. A quick update one night and the next morning I first went to Sports Car Center close by who advertised Tesla along with Auto Outlet. Turns out Sports had imported so far none and just copied the competition’s ads. One call, 15 minutes tense driving, and I meet with Miika. Right after kicking it down I just utter out something like “Wow. Okay, this is it, why don’t we just go back and do the paperwork.” This is how I bought my first new car. Less than 24 hours from the discovery it does exist to signing it home.

What is so amazing and revolutionary about this car it completed trashed my little kid “lists” of cars I’d like to own before I die. I have these lists written in my childhood, teens, 20s, early 30s consisting of the usual Ferrari Testarossas, Lamborghini Countachs, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Porsche 911 Turbos I need to have in my garage one day. What has just happened is those lists kinda lost their relevance. Or at least I see them completely differently. I see those cars with engines that explode, with trannies full of greasy, moving parts, with spark plugs, gas tanks, regular maintenance and so forth as something like… A CRT at the time of LCD. A modem at the time of always on broadband. A landline at the time of mobile. You just don’t want to own a CRT, modem or landline anymore. The change Tesla brought with it is just huge, big, disruptive. Having Tesla today is kinda like having iPhone in 2007. It just kicks in and tells you this is what all cars must be like. Never in the car market have I seen or felt anything similar before. Ever.

Btw, hybrids are a really stinking, bad joke. I’ve always kinda known it and now I can finally argue it. Just give any ugly, slow, boring Prius owner a Tesla for a quick drive.

There’s an interesting political angle to Tesla as well. Right now the Finnish government gives you a 500 EUR per month credit for any new company lease under this program. I want to show this car to everyone interested. My message: when was the last time you had really fun in test driving a new car? Let’s face it. Getting a new Tesla is a no brainer. Period.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo — with CPO warranty

It’s been a while since I posted about cars. And It’s been even longer I posted about V8 cars. So here goes an update now that I have something to report.

When we moved to the US last August I had to of course get back to real cars with real engines. After checking Audi Q7 (overpriced, underpowered, looks sloppy), Mercedes R series (huge but more American than German, not a real SUV) and calling after a few Mercedes GL series (overpriced) I settled with Porsche Cayenne Turbo, model year 2004. This car had it all and was an absolutely beast to drive. Twin turbo V8, 450hp stock, 0-100km/h in 5.3 secs, all possible options. Handling and acceleration like a sports car but still with all the comfort extras and even cargo space for a family. Jack of all trades. No comparison to the others.

The only controversial you can say about the car is how it looks. Cayenne’s nickname in the forums is P!g. To me this particular animal, with 20″ rims and shining black basalt paint, has looked good from the first sight. However, I have to say knowing what’s inside does affect how you look at it.

I test drove two cars and ended up choosing the one that had 10k more miles on the dash but came with an extended Porsche Approved Certified Pre-Owned warranty, or just CPO in short. This was the first time I bought a car with warranty. Turns out the choice to have a car with the factory warranty was absolutely the right one. Here’s a list of maintenance and repairs over the CPO period. My part starts from the 80K mile service up:

  • Replaced Air Suspension Compressor, Jan 2012 @ 92k miles
  • Replaced Lower Control Arms, Jan 2012
  • Replaced Passenger Side Mirror Motor, Jan 2012
  • Replaced Brake Booster Line and Valve, Dec 2011
  • Replaced Starter, Nov 2011
  • Replaced Remote Key, Sep 2011
  • Replaced Battery, Sep 2011
  • Performed 80K Mile Service (inc. Air Filter, Spark Plugs), Sep 2011
  • Replaced Drive Shaft, Apr 2011
  • Replaced Driver Side Headlight Assembly, Oct 2010
  • Replaced Coolant Hose, Oct 2010
  • Replaced DME Control Unit, Mar 2010
  • Replaced Dome Lamp, Jan 2010
  • Replaced Park Brake Shock, Jan 2010
  • Replaced Fuel Door Lock, Jan 2010
  • Replaced Aux Water Pump, Jan 2010
  • Replaced Coolant Pipes, Jan 2010 @ 76k miles

Pretty long list over two years and just over 15k miles! My experience with CPO has been excellent and prompt service. Everything has been replaced without questions (except for the air compressor that took three visits and a call to Porsche USA) and over repairing things I’ve reported they have found other issues and fixed them on the way. You get a free service loaner while the car is in for repairs, and when you pick up the car back it comes hand washed.

I have no information of major maintenance and repairs before the CPO period except what Carfax tells me. Interesting details include “engine serviced” in March 2007, “transmission checked” in March 2009 and several notes for “electrical” service.

The CPO coverage is now over. From now on I’m driving this beast on my own. The car does have mileage behind but the good thing is I know my car has been meticulously serviced, always at the dealership, and with original parts. It has no open issues. The fix list above goes pretty much through the known problems of early Cayennes.