‒ Tesla seems to create a kind of irresistible craze that I have previously only experienced with Apple while it was under Steve Jobs, says Kay Nag, Senior Android Developer at Screen Interaction. Read about his own encounter with the user experience in a Tesla Model S and his efforts to demystify the hype surrounding Tesla here.
On October 14, Screen Interaction hosted a Breakfast conference with Andy Rietschel of Tesla. The event was by all means a monumental success for us and left the visitors with a great sense of excitement and optimism. Even our own employees were super excited by the Tesla experience.
Tesla seems to create a kind of irresistible craze that I have previously only experienced with Apple while it was under Steve Jobs. For me personally, I wanted to understand what, other than emotions (yes, I am an engineer), causes this incredible optimism. What is Tesla, at its core, beyond Andy’s very inspiring powerpoint presentation?
When I asked people what Tesla is, most of them answered something like, “A very beautiful and expensive car”. Fair enough, that’s a description I could very well subscribe to. But there are other beautiful and expensive cars, right?
A couple of days later, my colleagues at the company also had a chance to test drive the Tesla Model S. I did not drive it myself, but I was riding in the passenger seat. A perfect opportunity for me to see if my colleagues’ love for Tesla remained after testing the product itself, as well as an opportunity for myself to get an idea of what the mystique of the car is beyond the hype.
Those who tested the car became even more enthusiastic afterwards. They weren’t just smiling, they were grinning from ear to ear, and I asked them what it was that made the user experience so amazing to them.
Most of them answered the same thing ‒ it’s the silence inside and the power of the car that makes it awesome. Being a yoga trainer, I also immediately appreciated the quietness and spaciousness inside the car. The very silent electric motor is even more impressive when you consider that the Model S (the P85D model) is the world’s quickest production four-door ever, according to Tesla.
In the video below, you see Screen Interaction’s interaction designer Tobias Rosman test drive the Tesla Model S. While he speaks Swedish in the clip, you understand perfectly what he thinks about the car.
Also, my colleagues all mentioned the connectivity of the product in and of itself. Tesla is obviously in the forefront when it comes to connectivity in cars. In this short clip from our breakfast seminar, Andy Rietschel briefly describes the benefits of connectivity in a car like the Tesla Model S.
Among my colleagues, although not tested, the self-powered or autopilot mode was particularly popular. Ida-Maria Isaksson, project manager and designer, said, “I think it would be super cool if everyone had self driving cars. It would be possible to make traffic super efficient. But turning it on when you’ve never tried it before would be scary, since you have no prior experience with it, and you don’t even know anyone else that has that experience. So learning to trust it would be a huge leap for me”.
Frederic Medan, tester at Screen Interaction, said: “Stephen Hawking recently warned about giving control to machines, but I believe that if the machines obey the rules of robotics and artificial intelligence, they could be very helpful. They could avoid a lot of human errors, and robots never get tired”.
When I asked Basel Altishe, tester at Screen Interaction, how Tesla is different from other cars, he answered: “It’s so simple – it’s all about quality and the change which the car is bringing in competing with fossil fuel driven cars”. He also added, “People complain about the cost of the car, but then you get what you pay for”.
While it’ s probably true that the hefty price tag indicates quality, price is an obstacle not only for me, but for the majority of private car buyers. This is something that Tesla are aware of, and the upcoming Model 3 (which will probably be introduced in 2017) will reportedly cost less than half of the Model S.
If I’m ever able to afford a Model S, I can definitely see myself buying one. My initial doubts about the hype surrounding Tesla have been replaced with a kind of admiration.
What they’re trying to do is something that the automaker industry has failed to do for a century. And even if they fail as well, they have changed the industry forever. Change might take some time, but change is always good.