Until March 2015 I never did make road trips. I took a new car for a spin, of course. I have taken my Mazda MX5 to Germany when I worked near the border to see what it could do, but that is about it. Don’t get me wrong: I love driving. But it never occurred to me that you could just get in a car and drive, drive and drive some more just for the fun of it.
That all changed in March 2015 when I took delivery of my Tesla Model S. What a car! What a joy to drive! I fell in love with the machine the moment I sat in it and since then I look forward to every single trip I can make, no matter how short.
A month later, during a national holiday, I had a day off and decided to drive for a bit. I live near Amsterdam and decided to drive south to Oosterhout, near the Belgium border (I stopped at Supercharger stations, they more or less determined the route for me), then went to Maastricht, then through Belgium and the Ardennes to Luxembourg and after that back to Maastricht but this time through Germany. As you may know: there are a lot of roads in Germany that have no speed limit so I thought that would be a nice way to see what the Model S could do. After Maastricht I went home again.
All in all, I drove about 1200 kilometers that day that took me about 11 hours. The funny part was: when I got home I wasn’t very tired. Usually when I drive that much I am exhausted but with the Model S I didn’t feel more fatigue then I normally would have felt at 11 pm.
The following days I was thinking about the trip I made and wondering why I enjoyed it so much. In the end I decided that there were a couple of things that helped:
- The car is luxurious. It’s a very nice place to be in
- The drive is easy. When you get used to it, you can use the so-called one-pedal drive system which means you only use the accelerator pedal. Braking is hardly done at all.
- The autopilot beta made sure I could relax more: I just didn’t have to pay as much attention to what was going on the road. The car would slow down and accelerate to the maximum speeds I set whenever necessary or possible. It kept a nice distance with the cars in front of me when I drove on busy roads. In the Ardennes however, I did all the driving myself. There is nothing quite like driving through a very nice piece of nature with a very responsive car that handles as if it can read your mind.
- When the radio was turned off and I was driving at 50 km/h, all I could hear was a soft noise from the tires and the wind and nothing else. Driving through the woods in Southern Belgium and hearing almost nothing besides the rain on the rood was very soothing.
- It didn’t cost me anything besides lunch, dinner and coffee…
A month later we had planned a trip to Paris. We were supposed to make that trip with my wife’s car, since that is the family car but I said I would like to try out the Tesla to see what that would be like. To make a long story short: we had a great trip. We had to stop twice on our way to recharge but since we wanted to get out of the car after a couple of hours anyway this wasn’t a big deal. My wife and daughter enjoyed getting out for coffee and a soda while the car spend 20 minutes recharging. We arrived very well rested and relaxed at our destination, and, a couple of days later, back home again.
This is the moment I knew the car would be the perfect car for long road trips. It’s relaxing, you get to enjoy the environment much more and you can safely travel longer distances than I could with my previous cars.
So, next week, I shall be testing this when we go on a 5000 km road trip through Norway. I can’t wait.