David Heinemeier Hansson

September 11, 2023

Tesla wins

When we first got our Tesla Model X four years ago, I wasn't the biggest fan. Build quality was spotty, brakes didn't match the performance, and handling was at best so-so. But it could carry seven, including luggage, was electric, and the dual-motor acceleration was a hoot. So it stayed in the garage, pending competition on these criteria. Well, now we got a Mercedes EQS SUV, which also carries seven, is electric, and is fun-fast for its size. But the Tesla still wins!

At least in judgement of the rest of the family. Their verdict was unanimous. The Tesla is "less fuzzy", "more fun", "has games", and even is "more comfortable". Now, personally, I appreciate the German build quality, prefer CarPlay over Tesla's UI, and love the quieter cabin. But I'm clearly in the minority. Even though the Mercedes is considerably more money, and brand new, the rest of the family would rather keep the Tesla.

This is what the legacy car industry is up against. Most of its traditional virtues under attack by a huge portion of the market who just don't give a damn. To whom the fact that, for example, Tesla has a sense of humor trumps the minor niggles it might still have compared to the legacy competition. It's fascinating.

And even for people like yours truly, who absolutely do appreciate those traditional virtues, it's becoming harder and harder to hate on Tesla. I mean look at the performance of the Plaid, with its 1,020 horsepower, and compare the fact that it's now a mere $90,000. For a car that'll beat a Bugatti Chiron, along with virtually every other car on the planet, in the quarter mile. That's just ridiculous.

So the Model X is staying, and I've put down an order for a Model S Plaid. GG, Elon.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.