The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Tesla’s magic has been reduced to its chargers

By Patrick George

15 Jun 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. Tesla's Supercharger network is the most extensive and reliable public charging network in the world, with over 17,000 locations in North America.

When you first drive a Tesla, there’s a moment when you just get it. For me, it was cruising around Detroit in a Model S about seven years ago and feeling that instant, supercar-crushing speed without the engine roar that usually accompanies it. Instead of an array of dials and buttons, I worked its controls through a giant touch screen, and used its Autopilot system to help with the monotony of long highway drives. When the Model S debuted in 2012, most other electric cars were impractical, souped-up golf carts. Here was one with sports-car acceleration that didn’t skimp on luxury, either.  

That revelatory Tesla moment? These days, you can have it in a Hyundai, a Ford, a Mercedes, or countless other cars. The playbook Tesla wrote is now being run by almost every car company, and Tesla’s cars feel less special than they once did. Its car lineup is getting old; it leans on heavy price cuts instead of fresh merchandise while the electric competition starts to pass it by. Its so-called self-driving technology is the target of lawsuits, recalls, and even a Justice Department criminal investigation. Over the weekend, The Washington Post linked Tesla’s Autopilot to at least 17 deaths. And even its top investors are begging CEO Elon Musk to log off Twitter and get Tesla’s house in order. (Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.)

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