Tesla Product Experience Schizophrenia

A Tesla costs a lot of money. Mine costs far more than any other car I’ve ever bought. It was two and a half times as much actually, and I got the cheapest Tesla you can get.

You get a lot for that money. It’s an amazing machine. It shouldn’t be called a car. It’s a car like an i-phone is a phone. An Iphone is not a phone (“To me the phone is just a seldom used app on my phone.“). An Iphone is a software platform. The Tesla is a software platform thrown onto an amazing piece of hardware.

Like the Iphone, your first one is an experience in product design. It’s truly a joy to drive. Everything about it gives happiness. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also a remarkable piece of machinery. The folks who designed this deserve many awards.


While the car experience has been nothing but amazing, the experience with Tesla overall has not. The purchase experience is awful. Let’s not even talk about the months of wait time to actually get one. Let’s start with the actual purchase. I hit the button, spending the most money I’ve ever spent on anything outside of houses and college tuition. Do I get “Welcome to the Tesla family!”? No. Do I get “Congratulations, you just made the best decision of your life!”? No. I get instructions to add my drivers license, call my insurance company, track down form 392-Q for tax reasons, get here fifteen minutes early, use the side door, and can we send you marketing updates? It’s miserable. It takes a joyous occasion and ruins it.

The real schizophrenia is the nickel-and-diming and pricing strategy. Consider these three examples:

1) The live street view (where you see a real-time abstracted visual of the world around you, complete with trash cans, pedestrians, and traffic lights with the actual color displayed) ends up costing an additional $10/month.

2) Garage Door Opener is not included. Home link and garage door opening is pretty much standard on every car but the Tesla. They deliberately hold this feature back unless you pay them over $300.

3) Floor mats are not included.

Compare the cost of these features against the purchase price of the actual car, they are basically nothing. But the spirit of them is some financial analyst figuring they can squeeze a few more bucks out of each customer. These are features that obviously should be bundled in with the original purchase. Doing it this way just gets me pissed off.

And that’s how Tesla is. You pay a lot of money for an incredible product, and the rest of the experience sucks.

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