By Jim Predmore Chairman of the Imperial County Transportation Commission and former Mayor of the City of Holtville California.
Back in October I was invited to be a speaker for the Chairman’s Roundtable at the Mobility 21 Summit that was held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. As the Chairman of the Imperial Valley Transportation Commission and the Mayor of Holtville, I felt honored to be able to part of the panel with chairmen of all of the transportation commissions throughout Southern California.
When I registered for the summit, I received a raffle ticket and placed it in the large barrel filled with tickets of the 1200 local elected officials and leaders throughout Southern California that attended the summit.
The Summit was great and I felt that I represented the Imperial Valley well, as we are the second largest county with the smallest population. This makes the Imperial County unique from all other counties, giving us different challenges when it comes to transportation.
At the end of the Summit, they held a drawing for 3 prizes. They started drawing tickets and reading off the numbers for the first item of the three prizes that were to be given away. As they read off the numbers, the numbers on my ticket weren’t even close. Someone from the audience of the 1200 got up to receive their prize. Then they drew the second tickets and as they started reading off the numbers, my numbers were matching all the way to the last number. I was shocked and got up to claim my prize which included a Bluetooth Speaker, a gift basket, and a certificate for a free weekend rental of a Tesla Model X from Green Commuter (https://www.facebook.com/greencommuterinc/).
The next part was challenging… to get a weekend that my wife and I could get a way. After several emails from Laura Candioti from Green Commuter we settled on the weekend of January 5th through the 7th as I had a meeting in Los Angeles on the 5th. We were able to stay with my son who lives in Hollywood.
After my meeting finished on the 5th, my wife and I drove over to Green Commuter which was located inside LACI (LA Cleantech Incubator) which is a green technology university. As we walked in we were greeted by the receptionist and she asked me to sign on the iPad that was attached to the counter so I did. We were greeted by one of the Green Commuter employee that was carrying a key fob that looked like a hot wheels car without wheels. Laura, who had scheduled a test drive with was called out on an emergency, so were taken to the car, a black Tesla Model X, and were given a brief introduction. My wife and I got into the car as the employee walked away. I looked at her and asked “How do I start it?” I found a lever on the steering column that had a R and D on it. I moved it up and it went to “R” on the dash panel. We didn’t hear or feel anything. I pushed down on the accelerator and the car backed up, put in “D” and off we went.
The interior of the car was sleek with a 17- inch touch pad display in the center of the dash that helped control the car. We started checking out all the different options on the screen and we found that we could control the suspension. We could lower and raise the car by pushing the screen. We could control what kind of music we wanted to listen to and even stream music as we drove, and even control driver assist.
We headed to my son’s apartment building and found a parking place, which is hard to do sometimes. We went to his apartment and visited for a bit until it was time for him to pick up his little girl, who is 4 years old, from preschool. We took the Model X over the Hollywood Hills to Burbank and found the car handled very well. I had to get used to how the car drove. It had a lot of power with quick acceleration but when I would let off of the gas pedal, the car would decelerate very quickly and I found that I would have to push back on the gas pedal to get to the stop sign or signal.
When we got to the preschool we wanted to surprise the little one with the car. So my son went inside to get here and my wife and I waited in the car. As they approached the car we opened one of the back doors which open like a gullwing. She was a little taken aback but got in the car and said that it was cool.
When we picked up the Model X it showed that it had 217 miles of charge. We drove the car all over Hollywood, Burbank, Century City and Beverly Hills over the weekend and found it very enjoyable. After driving it for a while I got used to the decelerating and was able to drive the Model X smother. The Model X has seating for 7 people with a very futuristic interior and sleek outside design, it has a front and back trunk for storage. The 17” display was very helpful with its huge GPS display so that we could find our away around. The stereo was awesome and overall I felt that the car was awesome. It felt solid and heavy, it did ride a little firm and was rough on some of the rough roads. I couldn’t find any voice control for the GPS, but that could have been me. If I had the chance to drive the car again I would jump on it. We had a great weekend of family and fun.
I want to thank Green Commuter and Laura Candioti for this awesome opportunity to be able to drive through the hills of the stars and to be able to feel like one.
Green Commuter is the only all-electric vanpool provider in California and the first company to combine vanpooling, car sharing and fleet replacement. This means we can make a greater environmental impact by maximizing the use of our zero-emission fleet. We use the latest technology to make sure that we can make the greatest impact and best serve your transportation needs.