Drivers in the Buffalo Niagara region had the opportunity to zip around in a Tesla electric vehicle Saturday.
Tesla Owners Club New York State and the electric automaker brought Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles to the parking lot near the Brennan’s Bowery Bar and Restaurant, 4401 Transit Road in Clarence for a two-day test drive event that continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for pre-registered drivers.
“Once I’ve driven a Tesla, I don’t see a reason why I would go back to a gas car because … (a Tesla) is so much more fun to drive,” stated Patrick Ho, TOCNYS founding member.
John P. Weiksnar stated his Model 3 was among the first in Buffalo.
“The idea of an electric car is that you get to forget about all of the nuisances that would normally run into with a standard car. Gasoline prices, nonissue. Routine maintenance, basically a nonissue,” he stated, adding the best feature of the vehicle is probably the autopilot.
“Autopilot will keep you in the lane. It’ll steer the car. It’ll avoid you from colliding with anybody even if they swerve into your lane,” Weiksnar stated. “The robot in the car takes care of that.”
And if the driver loses consciousness, “the car will sense that and will drive to the side of the road and put on the flashers,” he stated, adding the navigate function on Autopilot “does even more.”
“It permits the car to make decisions (like) when it changes lanes to discover the fastest route, and it will take on-ramps and off-ramps. So it’s one step away from full self-driving,” Weiksnar stated.
There’s no dashboard, only a flat screen that is voice- or touch-activated and controls and navigates the car. With the dog mode function, for example, with a touch of a button, the car will maintain a constant temperature for a pet that is left alone inside the car, Weiksnar stated. And the screen cautions passers-by that the animal is not in danger.
“If I left the car, you could keep a pet in here and the screen will state the temperature and, ‘My owner will be right back so there’s no need to break the window.’ That’s just one of the many perks,” Weiksnar stated.
The test-drive event was held close to the local Tesla Supercharger, a high speed charging station that can charge the vehicle in about 30 minutes, Weiksnar and Seemueller stated. The Buffalo Supercharger station has eight stalls.
A Supercharger allows routine long distance travel, organizers stated.
“If you’re plugged in for an hour, you’ll get 500 miles of range,” Weiksnar described. “That’s why they’re called Superchargers as they provide the most electricity at once.”
Tesla cars, which can also utilize a regular electric vehicle charger with an adapter, can locate the nearest Supercharger from its present location and show which stalls are available and which are in use. For long trips, the navigation feature will locate Superchargers together the route.
“You’re never going to run out of juice,” Weiksnar stated.