It has been a tough day for Tesla. Shares opened down 5% and drifted lower throughout the day after Wednesday night’s circus disguised as an earnings call. On the call, Tesla provided incrementally negative commentary regarding Model 3 profitability. As believers in the Tesla story, spirits at Loup Ventures HQ were a bit low.
Then the day took a turn. At about 10 o’clock in the morning, we had an unexpected visitor, Bo Hu, the proud new owner of a Tesla Model 3. Bo picked up his Model 3 earlier this week and stopped by our office because he wanted us to see the car. We had been on a staged test ride in a Model 3 at the hand-off event last summer, but this time was different for two reasons: 1. we got to drive the car for the first time, and 2. we witnessed firsthand how Model 3 owners become Tesla evangelists. We felt like it was 2007 and we were listening to an early iPhone user sing the praises of his new device.
The driving experience. There’s not much that we can add that hasn’t been well-documented regarding the experience of driving a Tesla. The overall experience, including ease of use, acceleration, smoothness, comfort, and attention to detail, exceeded our high expectations. The one issue was an error message on the display reporting an open charger port which was in fact closed. We view this as a small but important data point that suggests the Model 3 is not airtight today. That said, it’s easy to see how Tesla will work those bugs out of the system over the next 6 to 12 months. We left the test drive a little jealous of Bo, and with the feeling that purchasing another vehicle in this price range is simply foolish – a feeling that Bo shares, as he mentioned that any new car purchase for his family going forward would undoubtedly be a Tesla.
The bigger story. As Model 3s hit the road, everyday drivers will become Tesla evangelists. Bo is an engineer by trade, more the technical type than a salesman, but the way he talks about the car and his experience with Tesla is a compelling pitch. This is common among Tesla owners, and we anticipate that Model 3 sales ramp, word of mouth will be a powerful demand driver. Bo mentioned several of his friends that own Mercedes or BMWs that have recently put in Model 3 reservations since seeing the car.
Bo’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time. Just as we were disappointed with Tesla’s latest turn of events, driving a Model 3 refocused us on what matters most, a product that delights consumers backed by an inspiring mission.
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