Big Mike Tesla and Corsa from CD 187Big Mike Tesla and Corsa from CD 187


Big Mike: Our secret used car dealer on Electric Eddie and his awkward Tesla

Our ever-popular mystery columnist has a cautionary tale of Teslas and their chargers…


Time 9:14 am, September 24, 2023

Electric cars appear to polarise people, with some folk extremely positive and others completely negative about them.

Now that the obvious battery pun is out of the way – guilty as, ahem, charged – I’ll be quite honest about my own opinion.

Much as I love the smell of exhaust smoke, they’re probably a good thing for air quality, although there are other environmental aspects of their existence that seem to be overlooked, such as the impact of making the things in the first place.

I am, therefore, a full-on fence-sitter. I genuinely don’t know if they’re a good thing or a bad thing, but what I do understand is that they’re accompanied by a load of nonsensical jargon and I aim to have retired before having to properly understand it all.

We could sit here and argue about the pros and cons of EVs until the cows come home, but given the lack of cows here in Birmingham’s western suburbs, I’d rather not as we could be a while.

I will, though, share with you the comical experience of a man down the pub who has long been known as Electric Eddie, partly because he was an electric car early adopter, but more because the standard of his conversation is electrifying in the most sarcastic sense of the word.

He’s about as exciting as a Conservative party annual conference. In other words, the man is a crashing bore.

Anyway, about a decade ago, Electric Eddie bought a Nissan Leaf – back when such things were new and exciting and electric cars had to look super-goofy so you could stand out from the crowd, as opposed to today where electric cars look just like normal cars but with a green stripe on the number plate.

He’s had three Leafs (Leaves?) since, but has recently accelerated the ‘excitement’ of his pub conversation to a new level by going full Tesla on us all.

Yes, Electric Eddie has bought the EV fan’s chintzy status symbol in gigantic SUV form (the photo at the top of this column shows it in the pub car park, next to a lovely little old Corsa I’ve got as a PX runner at the moment).

Of course, owning a Tesla is like owning an Apple phone or computer, which means that rather than use an industry-standard charging cable, you have to have a special Tesla one.

Alternatively, you can join the exclusive club of smug-looking oiks who tend to congregate in darkened corners of motorway service station car parks talking to each other on their apps, as if owning such a car gives you access to some sort of arterial route swingers’ party.

Big Mike Nissan Leaf from CD 187

Nissan’s Leaf was Electric Eddie’s EV of choice – until he had his head turned by Tesla

But I digress. Undeterred by what I, personally, would see as a reason to buy a completely different car, Eddie arranged for the charger people to come and replace the unit in his domestic garage with a spangly new Tesla one, ready to boost up his rather expensive new set of wheels.

He sold his Leaf while waiting and – bizarrely – had a filthy old diesel-powered Hyundai i30 off me for a few weeks as a PX-to-clear beater on its last legs, pending the delivery of semiconductors (or whatever) to allow his new Tesla to be dispatched.

His excitement was measurable. Come Friday night in The White Swan, he couldn’t wait to give our assemblage of late middle-aged reprobates a weekly update on where his Tesla was, from the production line to on a boat (he even got some ship tracker app thing to show us where in the middle of the ocean it was) to it arriving in the docks in the UK and sitting there for three weeks until someone came along and, I presume, wiped a whole load of seagull poo off it.

The big day arrived a couple of weeks after that, and on the morning of the Tesla’s appearance in one of the leafier parts of Edgbaston, Electric Eddie returned the Hyundai i30 to me in exchange for half of what I’d sold it to him, as per our agreement.

He was giddy with excitement when I gave him a lift home, which almost made me cancel that Friday’s trip to the pub because, inevitably, we would all end up being bored senseless by Eddie’s Tesla-tastic tales of charging and cable types and other associated horrors. But I’m glad I went.

Walking into the pub that Friday, I was almost immediately greeted by a beaming Electric Eddie.

‘Mike, my friend,’ he said. ‘Just the man! I don’t, er, suppose, perhaps, maybe – and if you haven’t it’s no big deal – but do you still have the Hyundai and can I borrow it for a week or so?’

I nodded my agreement, but only if he’d tell me what was up with the Tesla.

Nothing at all, it turned out – other than the fact that while it would just about fit inside his garage, it wouldn’t do so with his charging unit mounted to the wall and, as such, he was stuck with a Tesla he couldn’t charge and a charger that wouldn’t reach.

Of course, it was all duly sorted in a matter of days by getting his charging apparatus moved (no doubt at further great expense), but we had a riot of a laugh in the pub that night.

Each time one of us got a round in, we’d put Eddie’s pint down on the table just a little bit too far away for him to reach it…

This column appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 187 – along with news, views, reviews, features and more! You can read and download it for FREE here!

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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