My friend Joseph Andresen set up the test drive through a friend of the family who works for the company. I met Joe through the Obama campaign and he and I discovered that we're both a little nutty about electric vehicles (he drives a Toyota RAV4 EV; I drive just the run-of-the-mill Prius). I felt incredibly fortunate to get a chance behind the wheel of this beautiful vehicle, especially considering how much attention electric cars have gotten this week at the Detroit Auto Show. Just a few months ago, Tesla wasn't given anyone test drives. Now, I believe that Tesla is still requiring people to put down $5,000 and put their name on the waiting list before going for a test drive, so I feel incredibly fortunate to get to drive the car around town for about an hour and a half.
Here's a quick review: the car is absolutely incredible. It completely lives up to the hype, which is no easy feat. It was incredibly fast off the starting line -- you can slam down the (ironically-named) "gas pedal" and within seconds, all other cars that had been waiting with you at the stop light will be a football field's length behind you. And yet you never feel out of control. The car is very nimble and accutely aware of your guidance.
The car is gorgeous, and a major attention-getter. We received a number of stares from people as we drove up and down the 280 freeway and around the streets of Palo Alto and Menlo Park.