Feel the Power: Brooklynites Gather for a Tesla Test DriveDespite a bumpy road for the company, young professionals turned out in Red Hook to take the sleek machines for a spin
Behind the wheel of Tesla Model S, Abbie Cheng, a real-estate broker from Brooklyn’s Borough Park, was given permission to gun it.
Let’s not say how many miles per hour the 28-year-old was able to hit on her test drive of the electric sedan, which is capable of going from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.
Suffice to say it was faster than the Vespa she rode to the Tesla showroom in Red Hook. Fast enough to make a reporter in the car shoot backwards as his internal organs remained, for a moment, in the same place.
“It’s so comfy,” said Cheng, and “so fast.”
Cheng, who works for TerraCRG, the real-estate group based in Prospect Heights, was one of more than 50 professionals who attended the networking event last night, which was hosted by Young BK Professionals, part of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
As guests mingled over hor d’oeuvres, they could sign up to test drive or just gape at the glass roofs and 17-inch touchscreen console of the Model S sedan (starting at $77,800, before possible tax credits), or stand under the falcon-wing doors of the Model X SUV (starting at $82,800).
For Tesla, it was a chance to show off its high-end vehicles to Brooklynites who may not have heard much positive about the brand lately. The company posted a $785 million loss in the first quarter and is behind schedule on its production of its Model 3. The model is advertised at a starting price of $35,000, though in May CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla cannot sell the model at such a low price until production increases. To reach its Model 3 production goal of 5,000 cars a week, Tesla has reportedly built an assembly inside a tent at its Fremont, Calif., manufacturing plant.
Tesla’s reputation has also been dinged by reports in the last year of sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions, and wasteful manufacturing.
Last night in Red Hook, though, the focus was all on the cars (and snacks). Not everyone attending was sold on the brand yet, but a test drive did make a potential convert in Nicole McGarrell, who owns Sunny Day Marketing, an agency in Brooklyn that works with nonprofits and small businesses.
“No, I’m not a car person,” answered McGarrell, who’s on the BK Young Professionals committee at the Chamber. She had heard of Tesla, she said, but “I never really understood what the big deal was.”
After a spin around the neighborhood, McGarrell understood. She liked that the car rode smoothly even along the bumpy back streets of Red Hook. She was impressed that it had a HEPA filter to purify air coming in. And of course, she also liked how fast it accelerated.
McGarrell isn’t in the market for a car right now. But someday–once her business takes off even more, she said–“I would definitely consider getting a Tesla.”