Selling to those that want to buy
I'm a huge Tesla fan. There's no other way to say it.
I purchased a Tesla Roadster for my dad in January, 2012. After enjoying the car for a bit, my dad gifted it back to me, telling me his "aging" body and NY roads weren't cut out for it. I loved that car.
Although separate at the time, I had Solar City installed on a rental home. When Elon purchased the company, it made complete sense to me. Tesla is more than a car company. It is an infrastructure company. It is a transportation company. Apparently it will soon be an insurance company too!
I was one of the first to reserve the Tesla X and took delivery of it in May, 2016 at the Fremont factory. The tour was epic and I highly recommend it. Auto-pilot (mostly) drove me home 500 miles and I was loving it.
In the beginning, the X was in the shop frequently. I didn't care. As my partner Howard says, I was living in the future. At one point the car told me to pull over immediately and I had to have it towed.
None of it mattered because I was part of a movement and I was on the forefront of a technological revolution. I was happy.
For a while, I owned both cars at the same time. A two Tesla car family. And I was driving both. Then I found out that I was outdone by my neighbor who had the Roadster, S and X, all in gray. I wasn't the biggest fan boy on the block!
But I went further. I installed Tesla Energy at my home, after their purchase of Solar City. I say energy vs. solar because I had both the solar panels and the battery packs. And I love it. I still show the app to anyone who shows the smallest level of interest. My X charging from the energy generated by the panels. The batteries charging the car at night. Producing energy for the grid during summer months. Glorious.
When I first installed my energy system, I discovered that my roof maxed out at 50 panels. And that four battery packs would be optimal for the size of my home. But I was selling my Roadster and I knew that battery technology would improve over time. I asked how many panels were required for the smallest install, and the answer was six. I opted to install 43 panels (optimizing for placement to be less obvious from the street) and two battery packs. I figured this left me the opportunity to do another install with seven panels and two battery packs.
It's been a year and I love the system, but I found myself still paying too much to SDG&E. So, I reached out to Tesla to order a second install of seven panels and two battery packs. To my dismay, I learned that they had changed their policy. Their new minimum for installation is 10 panels - and I don't have room for 10 panels on my roof! This was my first moment of Tesla doubt. I tried to plead my case. I told the rep that I was a fan and an advocate. I explained that when I bought the system, I was told I could "upgrade" with six additional panels. None of this worked. I asked about purchasing two more battery packs without additional panels. And I was told that I'd need to speak to someone in a different department.
I received this email, just days after having my disappointing conversation, rubbing salt into my wound:
I think that Tesla needs to figure out how to sell to people that want to buy. I'm sure that this is a one off and that I'm in the minority. I am begging for ways to spend money with the company, all while promoting their products, and I'm turned away. I want to buy and Tesla is saying I'm not worth it. I expect more from Tesla.
I'm still a fan. I am long the stock and continue to buy as it continues to dip to below $200 and lows not seen since 2016:
I love their products. I read articles like this and I get excited by the cleverness of the company and its leader and for the promise the future holds. But still, I expected more from Tesla today.
On a closing note, it feels good to know that I'm a part of their Earth Day email:
Thank you for your commitment to sustainable energy. Every year, over one billion people in 193 countries celebrate Earth Day and the promise of a clean planet. To celebrate, let’s feature a few of our contributions.
We have driven over 10 billion electric miles, supported by a global network of over 12,800 Supercharging stations. This is the same as preventing emissions from hundreds of thousands of ICE vehicles, while saving the equivalent of over 75 million gallons of gasoline.
Energy installations have produced over 13 Terawatt-hours of 100% clean energy – enough to supply the annual residential electricity consumption for the entire state of Connecticut.
Thank you for supporting a zero-emission lifestyle. Together, we continue our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
If you're ready to buy - use my referral link to get 5000 free supercharger miles.
Update: Shortly after publishing this post and the associated tweets, Tesla reached out to me. They let me know that they were going through a transition and my request was somehow categorized incorrectly. They apologized, took my order and my money and successfully installed new panels and powerwalls. In the end, I likely didn;t need the extra panels and walls, but I was glad that they took corrective action and make a customer (me) happy.