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The Tesla Easter egg

I was rushing to get to a real estate forum dinner last night and so instead of walking — which is normally what I would have done — I decided to grab an UberX. As some of you might be aware, I like UberX. It’s convenient to use. And the fares are cheaper than regular taxis. So why wouldn’t I use it?

But last night I got an extra treat. A guy named Mike picked me up in his Tesla Model S:

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According to Mike there are two of these “Easter eggs“ in the UberX Toronto fleet, which I was also told is now up to hundreds of cars. So it’s not everyday that you’ll get picked up in a Tesla.

If you’ve never been in a Tesla, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the absolutely epic screen that sits in the dash. Most people’s laptops don’t have a screen this big. It’s gorgeous.

But there are a bunch of small details that also standout. For example, the door handles sit flush with the door until they’re needed. Here’s a video of how they work:

But the real question that is probably on your mind is: Why is some guy with a Tesla driving around Toronto offering rides via UberX? That was certainly one of the first questions I asked him after I got in the car.

And the answer is that he does it for fun.

He actually owns a medical clinic in Markham, but comes downtown on the evenings and weekends to drive around and meet new people. In fact, he called it the “best networking tool on the planet.” Because as soon as he picks people up in his Tesla, they immediately take him seriously and want to have a conversation. That has translated into business relationships and even invites to parties. As in, he drives a group to a party and they ask him to come in — which he said he often does.

If he really took it seriously and did it full-time, he figures he could make around $40,000 – 50,000 a year driving for UberX. And I believe that’s close to what a regular taxi driver would make. But again, that’s not why he’s doing it. Isn’t it interesting how things change?

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