Early adopters love the ride

A handful of Wisconsin residents have purchased the Tesla Model S. They hope to never again make a trip to a gas station.

Chris Allessi II of Greendale purchased a black Model S through the company’s website in mid-March and, after some time on the national waiting list, received it on May 25.

He bought the $74,000 60-kWh vehicle – not for environmental reasons, but to save the money he would have spent on gas. Allessi drives more than the average person, between 25,000 and 35,000 miles per year.

Previously, Allessi spent between $750 and $780 per month on gas. Now, his monthly car loan payment is $730 and his monthly electric bill has increased by about $20 a month for the electricity needed to charge the car in a home 240-volt outlet.

Allessi, 28, is a manager at Customs Unlimited Auto Body/K-Man Auto & Scooters in Cudahy.

“I’ve been following Tesla for a long time,” Allessi said.

Allessi said he choose the Tesla over other electric vehicles because the Tesla is comfortable and handles better than other cars he has driven, since the battery pack gives it a lower center of gravity. It creates virtually no noise, even at high speeds and there are a variety of public and private charging options. And most of all, it goes farther on a charge.

“It’s got the longest range of any production electric vehicle pretty much in the world right now,” he said. “There is no comparison.”

Allessi said he has never been stranded without charge, though he has tested the Model S’ limits by limping home at zero charge. He also has taken advantage of businesses that offer charging stations or allow to use their outlets.

He once needed to turn around unexpectedly during a trip across the state, and ended up charging the car using a 240-volt outlet he found at a fast-food restaurant. They didn’t mind – in fact, the employees came outside to check the car out.

While he cost the restaurant about 15 cents in electricity, the retailer received a $20 food sale out of the deal, Allessi said.

Heather and Will Schreiner, who live in a southwest suburb of Milwaukee, decided to purchase a Tesla as soon as they heard the Model S was going into production.

“My husband is very much into technology, and that’s why he wanted the car, because of the technology behind it,” Heather said.

The Schreiners operate their Model S with an onboard touchscreen computer and can also remotely keep track of it on a mobile app that tracks the vehicle location, miles of charge left, temperature and problems.

Tesla kept the couple up-to-date on the production process from the time they put their deposit down about two years ago. The 60-kWh silver car was delivered to their home in May.

Will drives the Model S 19 miles to work and back each day, and still has about 70 miles left for evening transportation before he plugs it in overnight, she said.

Heather has been impressed with the amount of space for the two of them and their two children, and the driving experience.

“Overall, it’s just luxury,” Heather said. “It’s smooth, it’s comfortable. It can sneak up on people, and they don’t know that you’re there.”

The Schreiners have never charged their car at a public venue, though Heather said they might consider purchasing the supercharger plug to use the superchargers if they are installed nearby.

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