A few weeks ago 6Echo received an email from Melbourne based production company Gen-C. Gen-C wants our assistance on an exciting project to be filmed in New Zealand, they need a few cameras and toys but the budget isn’t going to stretch very far. After a few emails we decide this is a project that needs the lot; Movi, drone, car mount, extra cameras and the best lenses 6Echo has. Why?….The project is for TESLA!
Curiosity has gotten the best of me and I need to get up close and personal with what many are saying is the future of transport (plus who doesn't want to make a car ad!).
The team from Gen-C arrives in New Zealand on Monday afternoon and after a couple of beers and dinner we are all on the same page and excited for the early start the following morning. This is going to be a slightly “run and gun” shoot, as with all smaller budgets shoots there’s a little less time and control, but with our local knowledge and the well-oiled 6Echo machine at the helm we are confident of capturing magic hour gold.
5am, we're off to New Zealand’s beautiful East Coast for sunrise, a lovely stretch of coastal road east of Maraitai. Thankfully, the gods are smiling on us as we are greeted by a stunning cloud free morning. Taking advantage of the rising sun, Dylan and I plan our first few shots while we wait for the Victorians but more importantly for the star of the show to arrive, the Tesla P100D, the maxed out premium model of the Tesla 2.
The Gen-C team Nic and Gianna arrive in their rental but still no sign of the futuristic sports car. Then…. it is there! No audio phonic fanfare that most luxury sports cars have to announce their arrival, it is just….. there! No throaty exhaust piercing the morning air, no heavy big block thunder, just the sound of rubber caressing the road. I can’t work out if I am impressed or uninspired by the P100D’s lack of acoustic presence. I suppose we are just so accustomed to the enticing sound of some sort of mechanical beast, the creation of an imposing symphony pounding our Paleolithic chests. Instead we are greeted with…. silence…
Not only is the Tesla’s engine volume minimal but so is its sleek style, before me is what appears to be the crimson love child of a Maserati and an Aston Martin but something is missing, there’s no holes… no vents for the beast to breathe and where you’d expect to have a front grill, intent on devouring the road in which it travels, there’s…. well…. nothing. Again I am torn between lackluster enthusiasm and absolute curiosity.
With the sun threatening to break the horizon there is no time to inspect and dig deeper, we have shots to achieve. We launch the drone, capturing some stunning early morning shots of the stealth automobile winding its way along the coast. With each pass I am beginning to admire the Tesla’s silence, there is absolutely no sign of engine noise, just rubber on road. Yet, I’m still not convinced.
All that is about to change…..
After more drone and “car to car” shots, we decide to strap a camera to the exterior and grab some detail images. Someone has to ride along to check the gear…. I seize the chance. Taking position in the co-pilots seat, my excitement grows, the plush interior, the seats and styling are ergonomic and luxurious and the smell is expensively delicious. Again, I note the Tesla style is minimal, but the real beauty is starting to present itself.
Instead of a large number of buttons and levers to trip over, there is one 19” tablet in the centre console. This giant iPad controls everything and I do mean EVERYTHING. Performance, air-con, stereo, seats, even the sunroof is controlled from the touch screen. I felt like Sulu or Chekof piloting and Enterprise out of space dock, it is, in the words of another Star Trek alumni “Fascinating”.
Once we’re moving the first thing I notice is the sound or lack thereof, no engine start up, no clutch, no audible acceleration, just movement. I haven’t realised the thing is even turned on! With all those distractions eliminated the movement and power of the P100D feels….pure, like one is being pulled along by telekinesis or dear I say “the force”.
The pick-up is immediate and firm, all while being a very smooth ride. I don’t need to be in the driver’s seat to know this electrical beast is incredibly responsive, it’s an exciting ride. Oh and before I forget, there’s the glass roof! That’s right, you drive in silence with 360 degree views.
The driver explains all the features this particular model brings and how much control the driver has, “Tesla’s are future proofed by the built in sim card” she says “you can literally go to bed and wake up with the internals of a brand new car”. Now I’m starting to really appreciate what this new tech is all about.
We come to the half way point of our journey, which is ‘conveniently’ at the end of a 1 kilometre straight. We 4 point turn around to face where we have come from, the driver turns to me and asks
“would you like to feel ‘ludicrous’ mode?”;
“Ludicrous mode?” I reply;
“Yes, Ludicrous mode”;
She presses a few buttons on the control panel and says “hold on”.
The foot goes down and I’m thrown back into my seat by a dark magic the likes of which I’ve never felt. I’ve found the childhood euphoria I’ve been waiting for, like a Viper launching from the Battlestar Galactica.
In 2.6 seconds I’ve gone from having design reservations and sound critique, to subconsciously mapping out our future finances to raise the 200k+ needed to have one of these silent beasts parked in the garage. Do we buy a house with a charger installed? Or build the house around the car? Pablo Escoba’s finest is no match for the high I am now feeling!!
After 2 days of playing with 2 different P100’s I’m a changed man, I’m in awe of what this technology holds for the future, not just in Tesla but all electric vehicles to come.
The Series 2 Tesla holds the road, responds perfectly and has intuition at the heart of its synthetic brain. Not only do I want one, I want us all to have one. With auto pilot just around the corner in NZ I can say if you’re still making combustion powered engines, you’re in danger of being the last horse and cart salesmen in a changing world.
From the team at 6Echo, a big thanks to Nic and the gang at Gen-c and the Tesla crew for a fun few days.