Archive for November, 2021

12 Things I Love About My Tesla

November 27, 2021

Andrew Siegel MD    11/27/2021

I typically cover health, wellness, and urology topics, but this Thanksgiving week–a time to reflect on gratitude– am pivoting to an entry about my car. Yes, it is just a “thing,” but it brings joy and pleasure, which certainly contribute to a sense of well-being.

After decades of slow motion, the automobile industry finally is embracing the concept of electric vehicles.  Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Dodge and Jeep have all pledged to have 40-50% of total sales being electric by 2030.  This shift is motivated by a host of reasons including ecological responsibility, government subsidies and incentives, the decreasing cost of batteries, the anticipation of more stringent emission standards, and the fierce competition from companies like Tesla. Ultimately, internal combustion engines powered by fossil fuels will become history.

I first became aware of Tesla in 2012 when I read a NY Times article about the forthcoming Model S. On many levels, this struck a chord with me and I enthusiastically sent a deposit to Tesla.  In 2013, the Model S was delivered directly to my home on a flatbed truck, and Tesla personnel instructed me on the nuances of the car’s operation.  It quickly became evident that this was absolutely the best car I had ever owned, and two years later I sold it to trade up for the 2015 all-wheel drive model that I have had ever since, better for the snowy and icy winters of the Northeast.  

My 2015 Tesla Model S
Note the license plate that only 10% or so can figure out!

12 Things I Love About My Tesla (In No Particular Order)

  1. Gorgeous

Simply stated, the Model S is a beauty, admired from any angle–as handsome, elegant and cool a car as ever I have had. So sexy and streamlined.

2. Speedy

I have the regular model, not the high-performance model.  Suffice it to say that it is RIDICULOUSLY fast.  Step on the accelerator and the car immediately responds. No internal combustion engine hesitation. Instant acceleration. Before you know it, you’re driving 80 mph. It makes you totally confident accelerating to enter onto the crazy NJ highways. The rapid acceleration actually makes my wife queasy, but it makes my brain squirt dopamine, endorphins and other happy chemicals.  I also love the quiet driving, punctuated by the delightful high-pitched whine of the electronics.

3. Roomy, Comfortable and Safe

The cabin is spacious, with a sleek and roomy interior and comfortable seats with plenty of leg room front and back. The trunk is capacious and there is a bonus front trunk known as a “frunk.”  The rear seats fold down to create a huge cargo space.  The car has a forward-looking camera, a high definition backup camera, radar, 12 sonar sensors, 8 front row and 2 side curtain airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Model S a 5-star safety rating overall and in every subcategory.  The car has numerous safety features, including automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot collision warning, lane departure avoidance, etc., etc, etc.  

4. Clean and Green

All electric vehicle (EV).  We have a progressive global warming crisis and any effort to decrease our carbon footprint helps the cause. I am happy to be part of this movement. No need to ever get the car inspected every few years as is the case with internal combustion engine cars. Another one of life’s hassles eliminated.

5. Regenerative Braking

I truly love this feature.  When you lift your foot off the accelerator it is as if you are downshifting a manual transmission vehicle.  In other words, simply taking your foot off the accelerator brakes the vehicle and the energy is regenerated into the battery.  This translates into much less use of the brakes than are needed with an internal combustion engine vehicle.  When exiting a highway, you take your foot off the accelerator and the car slows down nicely and you often do not need to brake at all, unless you need to come to a complete stop.  A manual transmission internal combustion engine requires an accelerator pedal, a brake pedal, and a clutch pedal and an automatic transmission internal combustion engine requires an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal, but the Tesla requires the accelerator pedal and only occasional use of the brake pedal, almost one-pedal driving. As challenging as is a manual transmission with three pedals is as simple as is a Tesla is with essentially one pedal driving.

6. Touchscreen Controls

The entire vehicle is controlled from a single center 17-inch touchscreen that looks like an oversized iPad.  Operationally, it is simple and highly intuitive, similar to an iPhone.  The touchscreen runs the car, functions as a rear camera, provides a web browser, navigation, phone calls and texts, streams music and movies, provides climate control, shows your calendar, and even opens the glove compartment. The onboard navigation system is superb in every respect and voice control is a cinch. The Internet streaming radio allows me to use voice control to play ANY song on demand through speakers that provide exceptional sound quality.

7. Software Updates

This is an amazing feature.  Periodically you receive software updates via WiFi that improve the function of the car for the better, without having to bring the car in for service.  For example, one update eliminated the downwards roll that occurred when taking one’s foot off the brake when stopped at a red light on a hill.  After the update, the roll was eliminated. This example was an older update and the new ones keep the vehicle cutting edge.  These updates are similar to those you receive on your iPhone and presto, you have new and improved features. 

8. No Gas Stations

Those three words say it all—no gas stations—a beautiful thing.  Another one of life’s hassles eliminated.  Who really enjoys a trip to the gas station?  Granted, in NJ one doesn’t need to pump their own gas, but still.  Being able to charge your car at home is another beautiful thing, as easy as charging your iPhone. I have a 240v charger in the garage and get a full charge in about 8 hours. The Tesla best practice is to plug it in daily, but I charge it once weekly and it has worked out perfectly.

On the topic of iPhones, the Tesla app allows one to control the car from anywhere, lock or unlock it, drive it, control the temperature, locate it, summon it, set up roadside assistance and service, and so much more.

9. Customer Experience

Ugh, one of the worst and ugliest human experiences imaginable is buying a car– pushy salespeople, annoying franchises, haggling, “let me talk to my manager, I’ll be right back.”  This time-wasting, dehumanizing experience is eliminated with the Tesla sales strategy.  Prices are set, eliminating any haggling and the Tesla stores aim to provide information and education with the actual purchase done online, either from the Tesla store or via the Internet. Another one of life’s major hassles eliminated.

10. Charging Station Network

Tesla has a robust network of proprietary charging stations–Superchargers– located throughout the nation and world.  Currently, there are over 30,000 global Superchargers that are conveniently situated along popular travel routes with proximity fo restaurants, shops, restrooms and Wi-Fi hot spots. My 2015 Tesla is grandfathered in for free charging for life! I can drive anywhere in the USA with no worries about finding a charging station.  I can drive from the East coast to California with absolutely no fees for fuel. The onboard map on the touchscreen lets me know how many charging ports are available at any given Supercharger station. On a long trip, all I need to do is enter my destination into the navigation system and I will be instructed regarding which charging stations to use and how much battery filling is necessary at each station to optimize efficiency. It takes about 45 minutes or so for a full charge at a Tesla station.

11. Economics: Pricey, But Cost-Effective

Granted, the Tesla is expensive.  However, there are so many financial advantages to owning one.  The cost of electricity is significantly less than that of gasoline.  There is no exhaust system, hence no need for car inspection.  In NJ there is no state sales tax (a whopping 6.625%) paid on electric vehicles.  At the time I purchased my Tesla there was a $7500 federal tax credit.  Maintenance costs are far less for an electric vehicle as opposed to a car with an internal combustion engine.  Resale values are high. A “green” E-Z Pass gets you discounts on tolls and permission to use the HOV lane even if you are the sole occupant of the car.

12. Autopilot

Autopilot enables automatic steering, accelerating and braking. Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and by no means is the vehicle yet autonomous.  I love using Autopilot when I am in bumper-to-bumper traffic or when I am on the highway for long periods of time. When Autopilot is in use it measures the amount of torque that is applied to the steering wheel and if insufficient torque is applied, an escalating series of audible and visual alerts reminds one to place their hands on the steering wheel, and if I not, Autopilot is temporarily turned off.  The car is also capable of auto parking. It is only a matter of time before the vehicle becomes truly autonomous.

Thank you, Elon Musk! Both you and Steve Jobs have truly made a meaningful dent in the world.

“Are you peeing okay”

Wishing you the best of health and a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend,

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro AreaInside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.  He is the co-founder of PelvicRx and Private Gym.  His latest book is Prostate Cancer 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families. 

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Video trailer for Prostate Cancer 20/20

Preview of Prostate Cancer 20/20

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20 is now available at Audible, iTunes and Amazon as an audiobook read by the author (just over 6 hours). 

Dr. Siegel’s other books:

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health