I bought a Tesla on a whim. I love it, but I still take a gas car on road trips so I don't have to charge.

·4 min read
A white Tesla fills up at a charging at a point.
Barnes takes home $2600 renting a Tesla for 25 days, per Bloomberg.Picture Alliance/Contributor/Getty
  • Liz Eselius-Naporano bought a Tesla Model Y in 2021 while out on a shopping trip with her son.

  • She says it's a unique and fun car that's great for not using gas money on close-to-home commutes.

  • This is her story, as told to the writer Jules Rogers. 

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Liz Eselius-Naporano, who bought a Tesla Model Y in 2021. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

A little over a year ago, I was shopping with my son. He's a college student and was 22 at the time. We went to the mall to buy new clothes, and we stopped by the Tesla dealership. My son absolutely loves Elon Musk and is obsessed with Tesla, and I ended up walking out with a Tesla Model Y from 2021.

Liz Eselius-Naporano
Liz Eselius-Naporano

My favorite feature of the car is that it's comfortable. I love the white interior, and I got the white exterior, too, which I think looks sharp. I also love the Toybox, a tech menu that shows all the cool Tesla electronics features, such as the Boombox, which can play audio inside and outside the vehicle. Another feature that I love about the car is the app that shows where my kids are, as well as the speed they're driving.

I do have a Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, but we needed a second car because I have two kids.

I thought the Tesla would be a fun, unique car to own

I liked the idea of never having to go to a smelly gas station again. I bought it for environmental reasons and not so much to save money at the gas pump, because at the time, gas wasn't really expensive.

I'm not a car person. I've always been the kind of person who sees a car as getting you from A to B safely and with a lot of reliability, but I do love driving this car.

The Tesla is super heavy, and I feel safe in it, but it definitely has disadvantages

I planned a last-minute trip to visit my friend in South Carolina. I live right next to Detroit, so it was a long journey. The night before, I was psyching myself up. I told myself that I was going to take the Tesla. That it would be fun. I woke up the next morning, and I just couldn't do it. I was worried about having to stop to charge and adding hours to my journey.

There's also the anxiety of "Oh my God, I'm at 5%, and what if there's no Supercharger or there's a brownout?" I said: "Screw it. I'll take a gas car." I got there and back for under $200 in gas. It wasn't bad. So for me, the Tesla is not a good car to do road trips in.

I have a long-range Tesla that's supposed to have a little over 300 miles of range. I've never tested it out, because I don't want the battery to die on me in the middle of nowhere. I guess it depends on how fast you drive, but I live in a cold state, and the battery does not do well in Michigan.

The battery drains pretty quickly just sitting there

I put the 220-volt charger in my garage, which was a major expense, because the outlet box was in the farthest corner of my basement. It cost $1,800. That wasn't cheap.

It's easy to charge around Detroit. My boyfriend is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where there's a Supercharger, so that makes it easy, too. I also charge it at home.

I don't really drive much, so it works out.

It's not for road-tripping, but it's a great car to go to and from work in

In Michigan, the Tesla rebates were all already taken, so I didn't benefit from the rebate.

I would tell my past self to buy another Tesla. I'm hoping it lasts a lifetime, and that I just have to replace the battery. I will probably get another one someday. Hopefully, in 10 years, the world will be more equipped to handle all of them, and I won't have to worry about road trips.

For me, the Tesla is great for saving on gas. I let my daughter drive it to work. She has to go a great distance, and I just stay close to home. I think it's going to save me a lot of money, and I'm glad I have it now.

Read the original article on Business Insider