They say that the first car race was held as soon as the second car got out of the factory. Well, whether this is true or not, car owners tinkered with their cars for them to go faster, or at least look cooler. That’s true of small Volkswagen GTI, Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution (featured in The Fast and the Furious series), as well as sports cars like the Nissan Z and Ford Mustang. Even the iconic Ferrari Enzo get’s tricked up, so why shouldn’t the Tesla S?
Pete Rutman of San Diego, CA found out the hard way when he won a 2012 Model S Signature at an auction for US$50K and spent another US$ 8K to have it modified. It was easy to get the car tricked up, but it was very, very hard to deal with Tesla. He got blacklisted and could not gas up, well give it a charge, and drive it out of the garage. So now it’s as worth as much as a heap of metal. Oh wait, it’s worth less than that.
As it is, there are already a number of cool features on the Model S. For one, you can track where your car is in real time and even its keyless ignition. Furthermore, as the car maker showed last year, they know the car mileage, its speed, distance traveled and time of charging by remotely accessing the car’s data. These are all quite nifty, except that it doesn’t exactly make your car look more spiffy nor speedy as many a car owner wants.
Well, the company said that once you tinker under the hood, you can kiss your 8-year/Infinite Mile warranty good bye. You much as add a Lightning McQueen icon to the screen and you void it. Tesla says that it doesn’t want to sell certain components and reserves the right to screen a repaired car to determine if it is safe and roadworthy before it reactivating it. This isn’t a problem other car owners encounter because you can get any part from an authorized dealer. Heck, the Big Three US car makers will even sell you all the parts you need to build their sports cars, including an entire car body. So the contrast between Tesla and other car manufacturers approaches to mods would seem to be as different as night is to day.
But that isn’t to say that nobody is trying. Corona, CA based car Saleen Automotive came out with the FourSixteen Tesla S at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last July without much of a peep from Tesla. Saleen engineers found ways to improve car handling, battery management, as well as aerodynamics. They also improved drivetrain cooling, though the battery was left untouched meaning it could overheat after a few laps around the track.
A car purchase is a very personal thing and is usually the next big purchase a person makes after buying a house, maybe even before. This is why some car owners go through enormous lengths, sometimes doing crazy stuff to have their cars personalized. Sure, Tesla could eventually release their own branded performance parts like Honda’s Modulo and Nissan’s NISMO, but these aren’t always to the car owner’s taste. And sure, they have an image to protect, but isn’t it that they are in the business of selling cars, not renting them out? At some point, they should allow the car owners to do what they want with their chariots.