There isn’t a shortage of Tesla fans to be found. From young to old, and rich to poor, they’re simply everywhere. The brand itself has been built upon the promise of building a cleaner future with their electric cars, and the added promise that one day, the cars will drive themselves. When you factor in a founder who claims to be an altruistic, future-monger, everything starts to add up. Hundreds of thousands of people who never cared about what car they drove have now become obsessed with owning a Tesla product. Overnight car enthusiasts
Look at last year. It’s easy to see just how popular Tesla has become. It has delivered just shy of 500,000 vehicles and reported a profit of $721 million. For a company that released its first car in 2008, and was in the middle of a pandemic, it’s astonishing. With all its accolades and innovations, Tesla has catapulted itself to mainstream popularity. In the past, electric cars were a niche inside of an even smaller niche, something only the most hardcore environmentalists drove. Now, you can’t get away from them.
Consumers are drooling over every car Tesla releases. Take the Cyber Truck for example. Tesla has amassed over 1.3 million reservations at $100 each. That’s roughly $84 Billion for a truck that doesn’t even have an official production date. When I speak to my friends about Tesla, everyone knows the brand. Everyone wants one. Whenever I bring up my Miata, those same friends roll their eyes. (Poor taste in friends really).
A car enthusiast shouldn’t be excited by the prospect of driving less. It’s about the feeling of freedom and being connected to the car and the road. The magic of being in a great car on an exciting road is what it’s all about. Tesla, while it produces very quick cars, is not focused on giving you the best driving experience. It is focused on giving you the most technologically advanced automobiles. For Tesla, that means further development in autonomy. Because that’s what will drive the brand forward. The goal of Tesla is to eventually take away the entire driving experience altogether.
There’s still some hope for the traditional enthusiast though. Take Cadillac for example. It uses its own semi-autonomous software called “Super Cruise.” A software that rivals Tesla’s and, in some cases, is better. What makes Cadillac different from Tesla is that they just gave us the CT5-V Blackwing. A V8, manual transmission super sedan producing 668 horsepower. That’s a company that recognizes the need to develop technology for the future but still caters to the hardcore enthusiast.
Ultimately, we’re seeing a delineation of the driving experience from all over the automobile industry. Our definition of what a “car enthusiast” is and should be will change as time goes on. Change is good and will happen as technology advances. All I hope is that in 40 years, when I’m 70 years old, I can still find a fun and exciting car to drive. Myself.