Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hotel California

I'm not in the market for an electric car, but were I, it would surely be the Tesla S.

Wandering around the streets of Chelsea the other day, taking in the artistic sights, I found myself in the Tesla showroom staring at a true thing of beauty.

Note:  If you are unmoved by the phenomenon of cars, just move along.  Stop reading.  Nothing to see here.

If you're not (unmoved, that is), take a look at this ...


The reason I even knew that a Tesla sedan existed is that there has been a spate of unpleasant accusations thrown back and forth between the Tesla people and a reviewer from the New York Times.  I'm not picking sides, but I'm a sucker for a beautiful body so I guess I'm leaning in the direction of the car.

0-60 in 4.4 seconds.  All in more or less total silence, which would have to make a person smile in the midst of it.  No gears.  Prices between 50 and 100K, depending, as near as I can tell, on battery parameters.  It takes a 5K deposit to get a test drive.  Which is both understandable and annoying.

Previous Teslas were incredibly small.  Small to the point that I might have been able to get in one, but I'd have never gotten back out.  Hence the title of this post.  But not so the S.  I would describe it as being just a hair smaller than the interior dimensions of the Batmobile.  Which is really an e-series Mercedes.

This picture was taken on the 4th of July, 1954.  I was almost one year old.  Look at that thing.  Silver fucking Arrows.  Stirling fucking Moss.  Maybe Fangio.  I swear to God, if I look any longer at those exhaust pipes coming out of the side of the body and those cooling ducts above the rear fenders I'm gonna have to go upstairs and take a cold shower.

Anyway, the best thing about the Tesla S is the dashboard.  Most notably the center portion of which, in that it is entirely comprised of a touch-sensitive video screen.  When you pull up google maps, you get a full display that is, I'm not exaggerating, a foot wide and a foot and a half high.

Stunning.  Plus you touch it and all sorts of things happen:  Options for web connectivity; media; engine/battery instrumentation; blah, blah, blah.  There's a slide bar that allows you to dial in the percentage of openness you would like the sunroof to achieve.  If that even makes sense.

All of which brings me to this:  Any reasonable person who lives in modern society will agree that texting while driving is a terrible idea.  It is true that you are compromised to a level about on par with a drunk person.  And we all know about that.

So why, dear reader, isn't somebody saying something about the proliferation of touch-screen controls on the modern automobile?  I looked at the Tesla dash and thought it would be an interesting challenge to try to tune my radio to WNEW-FM, if that even exists anymore, while driving quickly through heavy traffic on an uptown Manhattan avenue.

I believe Vin Scelsa, on the night of December eighth, nineteen-eighty, announced the death of John Lennon on WNEW-FM.

John would have owned a Tesla.


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