Using the car-sharing service Turo, I rented a Tesla for the first time for a road trip in Montana.
It was my first time driving an electric vehicle after a decade of driving big, gas-powered SUVs.
It felt like driving a spaceship at first, but once I got used to the high-tech features, I loved it.
This week, I rented a Tesla for a trip through my home state of Montana. After a decade of driving bulky, gas-guzzling cars, it was my first time driving an electric vehicle.
I rented the car — a brand-new Model 3 — through Turo, a car-sharing app that lets people rent cars directly from other people, instead of going through traditional companies like Hertz or Enterprise.
After a flight from New York to Bozeman, Montana, I headed to a parking garage to pick up the car.
I had never driven an EV before, so I was nervous to drive a Tesla. I watched videos beforehand to learn how to use the car (including how to even open the doors).
But the person renting me the car offered to show me how to use it, and spent a good 20 minutes giving me a tour, which was met with lots of "oohs" and "aahs."
I was glad he showed me how to put the car into drive. It doesn't have a gear shift like I'm used to (instead, it's behind the wheel), and I don't think I would have been able to find it otherwise.
He gave me the key card that comes with the Tesla, but also gave me access to the car through the Tesla app, so I could lock and unlock it from my phone.
After our brief introduction, the owner wished me a safe trip, and I was off. I was amazed at how someone could so nonchalantly send off their luxury vehicle with a stranger — but that's the magic of Turo.
I left the Bozeman airport and started the 90-mile journey to my hometown, Helena.
The Tesla had the option for autopilot, but I was way too nervous to try it.
I was struck by the car's speed — but had a hard time regulating it. Because the car is so quiet and doesn't have to shift through gears, I could speed up without really noticing. Even with Montana's generous 80-mile-per-hour speed limit, I found myself way above the legal limit a few times.
The screen was gorgeous, but it also felt deeply unsafe. Spotify was right at my fingertips, but because I'm used to regular knobs and buttons on a car's dashboard, I kept fumbling around looking for the volume and other commands.
And while the Model 3 boasts a range of 358 miles, a sense of range anxiety crept in. This was exacerbated by Montana's lack of electric-vehicle infrastructure: most gas stations don't offer EV charging, and there's only one Supercharger in Helena.
There are two "destination chargers" in Helena, but they typically take longer to charge, and one, at a local restaurant, is only available to patrons.
The day after arriving in Helena, I took the Tesla for a spin to see how the car fared in the mountains. I drove it to a campsite near the Continental Divide, and was impressed with how it handled the bumpy dirt roads.
I also found the car had some really thoughtful details, like a spot to wirelessly charge your phone…
High beams that automatically turn off if you pass a car…
And that the touch screen automatically shifts to dark mode when the sun goes down.
I was stunned that you don't actually have to turn the car off — you just park it and walk away.
After about 48 hours with the car, I had to return it to Bozeman's airport, and was sad to see it go.
Turo's return process is easy: I simply charged the car and dropped it off right where I picked it up. Because I could lock the car with the app, I just left the key in the glove box and messaged the owner to tell him where it was located.
Overall, I loved driving the Tesla. And while I'd love to rent one again someday, I wouldn't buy one if I lived in Montana. Given the lack of chargers in the state, I think it'd be too inconvenient to drive until the infrastructure improves.
Read the original article on Business Insider