Every once in a while I get to do something really cool. Recently I was invited to drive a Tesla electric car. I thought about the invitation for approximately three and a half seconds before I said 'Yes'.
Electric cars are getting more and more popular, but they're still a novelty on the roads in my neighborhood. The sedan I drove, a Model S, came with all the bells and whistles. On the outside there was a automatic keyless entry system, retracting lighted door handles, and folding heated side mirrors. The space where the engine would be on a conventional car was extra trunk space. Inside, in addition to the normal goodies that new luxury vehicles have, like USB ports, power outlets, hands free talking capability, and backup cameras, this car had Internet connectivity, voice activated controls, and streaming radio.
When I sat in the twelve way power adjustable, heated driver's seat, the first thing I noticed was the giant touch screen in the center of the control panel, which controlled everything in the car. In addition to all of the normal information you'd expect to find on the instrument panel, you could also see how long you could go until the next charge.
I got to drive on both surface streets and highways. On the highway I was able to try out the autopilot, which uses sensors and cameras to steer the vehicle. It was creepy to let the car control itself, and I didn't do a good job of it. Instead, I kept turning the steering wheel such that the autopilot would disengage. I bet with practice I could get used to it, though. At the end of my drive I got to try out the car's perpendicular auto-park feature. I pulled up to a spot, put the car in reverse, took my hands off the wheel, engaged the auto-park, and watched in amazement as the car maneuvered itself into the spot.
If I had enough money I would head straight to the nearest Tesla dealer to purchase one for myself. Unfortunately, my bank account balance says that won't be happening anytime soon. However, if the car's price ever comes down I'd certainly think hard about it.
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