A Week in a Y: Driving a Tesla Carputer

I’ve just spent a week driving a Tesla Model Y electric car. I’ve driven Teslas in the past, including a Model S on a short test drive and a Model X but only for a day or two. The range was so good I didn’t need to use the Supercharger network. It. Was. Great.

The Model Y is a combination of a sophisticated software device that’s intimately connected to the Supercharger network, as well as a high-performance, long-range, battery electric vehicle (BEV). It’s a spacious family car. It’s clear why this electric vehicle (EV) is Europe’s best-selling passenger vehicle. 

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With the perfect synthesis of hardware and software, it’s part computer, part car; a kind of carputer, if you will. The user experience, drawing on the language of a computer user, is such that you feel like you’re using a computer with a steering wheel.

This is most apparent in its seamless integration with the Supercharger network, not just in charging but also in mapping. This delivers a framework of assurance around charging and longer journeys. All of the issues of EVs fall lightly away with the Model Y, like the combustion sector surely will in its wake.

It was the first time I’ve used a Supercharger and it was frictionless. The mapping worked. The chargers worked. The experience worked. Even though Energy Superhub Oxford at Redbridge was only pushing out 50kW, rather than the 150kW, it was an enjoyable experience. 

Although the charging speed was slower than I’d like, especially with two kids in the car, the Model Y even had a solution to that: The Mandalorian on Disney + and a computer game. Both kept the kids involved and entertained. As for me, I was happy to be at the Superhub Oxford because this project is the most significant infrastructure outcome of the EV SUMMIT which I founded back in 2018.

Mapping anxiety is something I experience in other EVs, especially the way they speak to EV hubs and plot routes to chargers. Tesla have totally nailed this with full visibility of Superchargers along your route.

There is little not to like about the Model Y. The only thing that was less than optimal was that it wanted to stop at green lights when the software was driving it. In the hands of the software it is a cautious driver but less so in the hands of real drivers according to rising insurance premiums for Tesla drivers.

For families that travel a lot, this is the car. 

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