Tesla owners are an interesting bunch, as seemingly disproportionate amount of them become unofficial brand ambassadors. That is, they volunteer their time to further the Tesla Mission. Tesla’s mission, for those unfamiliar, is not to build the most popular electric vehicle. It’s not to be the most profitable. It’s not to put Ford, Chevy, or BMV out of business. Simply put, Tesla’s mission is
“to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
In 2006, the company published a “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” that boiled down to:
- Build sports car
- Use that money to build an affordable car
- Use that money to build an even more affordable car
- While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options
Don’t tell anyone.
There have been many bumps and bruises along the way including delays and cars far more expensive than expected. However, there has also been something rather phenomenal going on in the background. Famously, Tesla does not partake in traditional, paid-advertising. You won’t seem them on billboards, TV commercials or magazines. Yet somehow the world knows about these cars. In addition to a wildly successful social media presence from both the company and CEO Elon Musk, Tesla owners themselves fill in the void. They make YouTube channels, websites, spreadsheets and calculators. They host discussion forums, interactive maps, have contests, host boot camps and events.
Ryan, of Ride the Lightning Podcast
Ryan got hooked on Tesla when he drove the original Roadster in 2009, long before he could own a Tesla himself. A commonly echoed statement, he told me “once you drive one, you instantly ‘get it’.” He started the Ride the Lightning podcast in August 2015 and has never missed a week. Perhaps the most famous of his episodes, episode 200, included a conversion with Elon Musk himself. As Ryan puts it, “being a part of the Tesla community as been every bit as much fun as the car itself.”
Vivianna, of Tesla Boot Camp and Tesla Crash Course
A Model S owner for nearly 7 years, Vivianna and has gone from not being a “car person” to being the President of a local Tesla Owners Club, and picking up a Roadster and Model 3 along the way. Most notably, she channeled her passion for Tesla’s mission into creating successful workshops for new owners called the Tesla Boot Camp in partnership with Tesla Cherry Hill (NJ.) She aims to use social media and these workshops to educate owners so they can enjoy their cars to the fullest and help dispel misinformation. More recently, Vivianna created a second workshop, called Tesla Crash Course, directed at first responders.
Konstantin, of All Things Tesla
Konstantin’s story starts much like my own. After a test drive, he “couldn’t get Model S along with its joyful ride and performance” out of his head. His wife even joined him recently, the happy owner of a Model 3. His obsession drove him to create a Facebook Group called All Things Tesla, which has nearly 2,000 members. He has also created spreadsheets to help illustrate how Teslas are more affordable than most people think. In addition, Konstantine is happy to to field questions that strangers ask about his car. His clever licence plate, Gas 404, helps to draw attention.
Bill, who goes Back to School
Then there’s me, the accidental YouTube creator. After convincing my husband to test drive a Model S and obsessing over it for months, we finally ordered in August 2014. Our anticipated delivery date was delayed for what turned out to be the best reason possible: Autopilot hardware. It would be 10 months between delivery in December and the software being released. At 4am Eastern Time on day 1 of firmware version 7.0’s roll out, I got the notification. By 7am I had tested the capabilities a single time, filmed it, and posted it to YouTube unedited. I figured only a few friends in the community would see it but it turns out many folks and media outlets were waiting for early footage. Our car continued to get new features early in each firmware roll-out throughout 2015 and 2016, which I documented on video. There was a huge buzz by this point and an eager group of enthusiasts happy to consume content. These days I mostly leave YouTube for the pros that came after me (and who have exponentially better editing skills!) but am happy to continue to share my opinions here and on Twitter.