Can a Green Mom Drive a Bad-Ass Car?

mom in car


I’m in love–crazy, deep, obsessive love.

This new love is exciting.  Exhilarating.  It brings out a side of me that I didn’t know was there.  I feel younger, more vibrant, more alive.

Thankfully, I can keep Hubby around and still have the new love in my life…if I’m willing to let him drive it once in a while.  My new love is the Tesla, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.

It all started with a fun idea for a date night.  Hubby had been reading about Tesla’s new Model S, a bad-ass electric car whose performance outstrips that of just about any high-end sedan on the market.  With my love for all things green and my desire to get out of the house and do something fun and grown-up once in a while, we decided to check out the Tesla as part of a date night.

I was curious about how powerful and fun an electric car could really be.  Is it like a kale and spinach smoothie–you pretend to like it and talk about how much it improves your skin but you really wish you’d ordered a chocolate shake?  If it really is something special, could a harried mom in a ponytail and yoga pants pull off driving the car that beat out the Porche 911 for Motor Trend’s coveted award? To find out, we made an appointment for a test drive and a reservation for a nearby restaurant, and left the kids happily watching a movie with the sitter.

Tesla’s business model is totally different from that of the typical car dealership.  Their tiny showroom is at the mall, right next to Victoria’s Secret (not a bad idea, as we all know that fast cars and push-up bras go hand-in-hand).  We wandered in to check out the specs, see the one Model S they have in the showroom, and play around with the computer screen that allows you to design your own vehicle.

Already amazed by the 100% electric technology, we were eager to get behind the wheel.  The assistant manager took us out to the parking garage, where we found a smart-looking gray Model S parked in its on special charging spot.  He wasn’t your typical condescending, smarmy car-sales guy (like the guy who sold us our minivan, who ignored all my questions and kept showing Hubby all the sports channels he could get on the XM radio).  He was actually just a cool dude who was way-into his product and totally willing to answer any questions we had.  The people who work there are not on commission, so there was absolutely no pressure.  In fact, he seemed kind of happy just to teach us about electric vehicles and evangelize for the non-combustion-engine way of life.

Hubby took the wheel first and instantly turned into that wide-eyed kid I always knew was in there.  It took him a minute to get used to driving a car that is totally silent when on (to drive, you really just wake it up from a “hibernate” state) and doesn’t move forward when idling.  It also took a minute to figure out the many technological features on the huge interior screen (Hubby’s car is so old it has a cassette tape deck).

Once we were out on the road, the Tesla’s driving performance literally blew us away.  We were told it does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, so of course Hubby has to test this for himself.  The Tesla guy took us to a quiet stretch of road and had Hubby completely stop the car, then told him to floor it.

Oh, my.  It was INCREDIBLE!  It felt like we were taking off in an airplane .  I’m not sure if it’s torque, or g-force, or what, but I was pinned against the seat watching the world go by.  And then the thing stops on a dime. (Note, if you decide to take a test drive, I highly recommend going to dinner afterward.  I’m not sure what they charge for a clean-up fee, but you do not want to find out!)

I had to try this for myself, so I hopped in the driver’s seat and think I scared the poor sales guy to death.  That sweet ride hugs curves, accelerates like a rocket ship, and stops fast enough to give you a concussion.  It is by far the most powerful vehicle I’ve ever driven (insert smart remark about minivan here)–and it’s completely and totally electric.  No engine in the front (it’s a “frunk”), or the rear (regular-sized trunk).  You could store a lot of kid stuff in those two locations (or a lot of shopping bags… I’m just saying).

It is quite a pricey vehicle, starting at $49,900 after the federal electric vehicle tax credit, and going way up from there.  The price tag starts to look a little better, though, when you figure in the fact that you will never, ever buy gas again.  You won’t even have to spring for an oil change.  Without a combustion engine, the only maintenance is for brakes and tires–and a mobile service technician comes out to your house to do that!

I’m not sure I can make a lifetime commitment to a sedan at this point.  It sounds sensible, but I can’t imagine driving a car that allows my three kids to touch each another with so little effort.  The optional jump-seats in the hatch are great and would work in a pinch.  But it seems somewhat impractical for our every day school-soccer-dance routine.

So I’ve got my eye on the Model X, an SUV-like vehicle with three rows of seats, which makes its debut in 2014.  It appears to be very much like the Model S, sacrificing only a little performance for more space.  The best feature is the Delorian-like doors that open upward like insect wings at the touch of a button.

How fun would that be in the school pick-up line?  Blaring one of the 3,000 songs I could store on its audio system, opening those fly-looking doors, patting myself on the back for my eco-friendly anti-petroleum driving machine.  Hop into our futuristic, bad-ass car, kids.  We’re green AND cool!



  1. Betty Saah says:

    Omg..this is hilarious. Too bad you have to wait until 2014. I’d pre-order if you could.
    You go Green Mom…that was a fun and educational ride.

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