The Upside

El Brown
3 min readMar 19, 2021


The thing about articles, YouTube videos and blogs like this one is that the writers tend to focus on the negative. Despite the best of intentions, I fell into the same trap. When you’re spending a lot of money, you tend to have expectations. That’s normal. Despite the last couple of thousand words in this blog, my experience as a Tesla owner has brought more smiles than frowns.

So what do I like?


There are hundreds of YouTube videos where Tesla owners put an unexpecting (or even an expecting) passenger in the front seat, then hammer the throttle. We get to watch their faces as they’re pressed into their seat by the instant torque of the Tesla’s electric drivetrain.

Even my Standard Range Model Y has enough get up and go to put that look on your face. Getting onto the freeway is a joy. Every time. Passing on the freeway never gets old. Pulling away from stoplights is magic.


I opted for the white seats in my car. They tight! I was worried about how they’d age, but dozens of YouTube videos can’t be wrong. They clean easily and the vegan leather holds its shape even years later.

The 15-inch screen is amazing. The Tesla UI is fluid and responsive, and the Google-based maps are pretty and accurate. There was a bit of a learning curve remembering where everything is. Having to tap an on-screen button to open the glovebox is decidedly ridiculous, but a month in now, it’s all good.

I do wish Teslas had Siri Hands-Free, like my BMW i3 and last couple of Hondas. Instead I control music and can close the garage door with the Amazon Alexa Auto I put in the center console.

Speaking of the center console, I (accidentally) timed things perfectly. My VIN ending in 123,000 represents the first week a new design was shipped. Gone is the fingerprinty, piano-black plastic. The new cockpit divider is wrapped in stitched leather and has a pair of Qi chargers covered in alcantara. The storage compartment features a smooth sliding door instead of the plasticky hinge on earlier Ys. Mine is also among the first Ys to ship with a heated steering wheel.


Every Model Y and Model 3 comes with a pair of credit card-sized black cards which serve as keys. By default, there’s no fob. You can buy one, but it’s unnecessary. The most common Model Y / Model 3 key is your smartphone. Whether iOS or Android, your Bluetooth phone unlocks the door and allows you to drive with the key card tucked safely in your wallet as a backup. I’ve read a lot about the occasional flakiness of this system, but haven’t once yet had an issue with it.


Whether it’s in the drive-thru at Starbucks or waiting in line for my Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, everyone wants to talk about the Model Y. My boss came out to the parking lot at work and plopped herself in the passenger seat while marveling at the minimalist Model Y interior. Unprompted, another coworker told me my car “looks like it can fly.” I get random waves from other Tesla drivers on the freeway and excited stares from kids in the neighborhood.

I thought I’d hate the attention which comes from driving a car like this, but so far it’s been 100% positive. If you’d like some positive attention of your own, use my referral code and get 1,000 free Supercharger miles.


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