Good news, ladies and gentlemen! It's that time again: the exciting moment each week where I take a well-meaning, intelligently written letter from a reader and respond to it using flawed, manipulative logic that somehow always ends up with the advice: "buy my book."
As always, you can participate in Letters to Doug by sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org (some asshole already had the address with "to" instead of "2") or by Tweeting me at @DougDeMuro. And remember: names will be changed to protect the innocent, and also because I usually forget the person's real name and I have too many windows open to go and find it.
This week, I received more than 50 exciting automotive letters from a wide range of exotic locations, including Argentina, The Bahamas, and Belgium. But my personal favorite letter came from David, a reader in Portland, Oregon, who writes:
Two years ago I purchased a Tesla Model S, which I love. The problem I have is that I am a compulsive car shopper and no longer have money to buy additional cars. For example, because of you I now want a 996 Turbo and a Range Rover and with Maxcare. And I could have both of those things if I were to sell my current vehicle.
Do you know what a 5 seat electric car with 135 mile range (when it's 70 degrees outside) can't do? It can't tow a trailer, it can't get me to the ski slopes just beyond my range, it can't get 3 sheets of plywood and a new interior door from Home Depot (although a 16 foot extension ladder through the sunroof did work). But it's just so good the other 95% of the time. So what should I do?
I'm glad David wrote in, because I'm constantly being asked to provide my opinion on the Tesla Model S. Not just occasionally. Constantly. Daily. Hourly, even. Every single time someone finds out I'm into cars, it's the first question they ask. "So what do you think of the Tesla Model S?" It's gotten to the point where I no longer tell strangers that I like cars, lest I be required to enter into a discussion about Elon Musk's shaving habits.
So now, when people ask me about the Model S, I can just send them right here. "What do you think of the Tesla Model S?" they'll say. And I'll reply: "Oh, good question! Just go to http colon slash slash Doug DeMuro dot Jalopnik dot com slash im dash bored dash with dash my dash Tesla dash what dash should dash I dash do dash one six eight one three six eight seven five zero." And then they'll look at me like I just swallowed a USB cord.
Anyway, back to the topic, which was: David, you should really buy my book.
Ha ha! Just kidding. The topic, of course, was whether David should sell his beloved Tesla Model S in order to get some sort of other cars that will offer more enjoyment and practicality. It's a good question, and frankly a rather personal decision that should be made by David and David alone. As a result, I've decided to take a crack at it.
Here's the thing about the Tesla Model S: it's a great car. It's luxurious, it's cool, it's fun to drive, it's fast, and it has a center-mounted touchscreen the size of a hockey goal. Seriously: I think my iPhone is big, and then I get inside a Tesla, and I'm reminded that my iPhone is actually the Pierre, South Dakota, of consumer market touchscreen electronics.
But here's the other thing about the Model S: it isn't all that interesting. I suspect this was by design. Tesla realized they were coming to market with an all-new vehicle, from an all-new automaker, with an all-new engine, and a lot of all-new technology, and they decided that the last thing they should do is take any major risks on the appearance. So the result is that the interior is fairly normal, and the exterior is fairly normal, and the only real standout feature is that screen, which you can rent out to movie theatres in order to make extra cash.
As a result, I have to admit that the Model S isn't the kind of vehicle a car enthusiast would probably want to own for a long time. The propulsion system is cool, and the acceleration is cool, and the idea is cool, but once you've had the car for a couple of years, and all that coolness is normalized, what's left? Ultimately, just a luxury sedan with a limited range, an automatic transmission, and a touchscreen that occasionally swallows live rabbits.
So, David from Portland, my advice to you is this: if you're getting bored with the Tesla, if you're reaching the limits of the Tesla capabilities, if you realize it's time to move on from the Tesla, I have only one thing to say: do it. Assuming, of course, that you have already taken the maximum possible credit on your federal and state income taxes. You can use the savings to buy my book.
@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He owned an E63 AMG wagon and once tried to evade police at the Tail of the Dragon using a pontoon boat. (It didn't work.) He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer, largely because it meant he no longer had to wear pants. Also, he wrote this entire bio himself in the third person.