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Tesla’s annoucement of its official launch in Thailand in December last year has created a huge buzz and added life to the country’s EV sector and Southeast Asia’s market. On the first day, the company brought home 4,000 orders, leaving its Chinese competitors in the dust despite their earlier launch. The buzz still continues even though noone has an idea how Tesla’s customer service will look like, and that the only reservation channel is ‘online only.’

What makes consumers put so much confidence in Tesla? It’s definitely not just because of its founder Elon Musk but when it comes to this brand, these three words sum it up perfectly – advanced, smooth, and fast.

How advanced is a Tesla car? Just play with the car infotainment system. The touch screen is super fast and smooth. The acceleration function can run from 0 to 100 kilometers in two seconds (on Tesla’s fastest model). The price point, starting at 1.7 million Baht is also make it highly competitive against Chinese and Japanese cars with combustible engines.

But I won’t bother with the car’s features. Instead, let’s see what the real users say about it.

The Oh-so-simple Design – This may sound trivial but could be a problem to those who are familiar with button functions because if you own a Tesla, everything happens at the infotainment screen from shifting the driving mode to adjusting the temperature. Even if it’s just opening a console drawer, you still need to do it on the screen!

There is hardly any button or switch either inside or outside the vehicle. It will take some time to adapt as you will need to look back and forth between the road in front of you and the screen to select or switch functions. In terms of safety, Tesla might not be your cup of tea if this is your top concern.

The Operation System is Not Widely Used – If you expect it to be synchronized with Apple Car Play or Android Auto, you are out of luck. Those who purchased the car from the grey market have to pay more to install this function on their own. Moreover, Tesla cars don’t support popular apps like Google Map as it has its own Navigator which, unfortunately, doesn’t have the Thai language.

Free Over-the-Air Updates – You can call Tesla by another name: A smartphone on the wheels. Whenever there are new software updates, your car will update them automatically. But what if your favorite function is deleted? So be prepared if some of your favorite functions are gone.

Another function that Thais need to be rooting for is the Full-self Driving in Thai version. This function is available fully in the US, but might be reduced to Auto Pilot in Thailand.

Let’s wait and see when the first delivery, scheduled within the first quarter of this year, is made. Will there be any difference compared to the US version? Personally, I’m really keen to see how the Summon function will turn out. I just can’t wait to see if it can drive itself from a shopping mall’s car park to pick me up at the waiting area.