Bearded Tesla Guy Justin Demaree's Automotive Background
The Tesla community is unlike any other community in the automotive world, and some have been fortunate enough to witness how the company has changed the auto landscape as we know it. EVANNEX staff recently spoke with Bearded Tesla Guy host Justin Demaree over the phone, discussing his family background in auto dealerships, the unique Tesla community, the case for a more affordable Tesla, and more.
Justin runs the YouTube channel "Bearded Tesla Guy," in which he discusses breaking Tesla news, experiences owning and driving a Tesla and general tech and EV topics. It'd be difficult to discuss everything we covered in this phone conversation, but below are a few of the most noteworthy discussion topics we covered with him.
Demaree has also owned two Tesla Model 3s and two Model Ys over the years, and he's been covering the company's vehicles for the past few years. He's now well-known among the Tesla community, and he says he first got into EVs through the larger automotive world — which his family has been a part of for multiple generations.
Demaree on his auto background
"So, I actually grew up in an automotive family. I grew up in a dealership. I did everything from when I was 15 until halfway through college. I did every job in that dealership except for the body shop.
My first job was cleaning the shop floor, and then I was a mechanic, then I worked in the parts department. I was a service writer, I sold cars. I did it all, and it’s just ingrained in my blood. My dad, his brothers, all dealerships. My grandpa, dealership, great-grandpa, and so on and so forth. So, [cars] are kind of a part of the culture of my family.
My first car, I had to rebuild the engine in it. I was 16, and got to rebuild an engine. Back in the day, that was no big deal, but these days, it’s pretty awesome. So I’ve always had a passion for cars kind of in my blood, but I’m a little bit weird because I always liked the future of tech and what it meant for cars.
Like when the Prius came out I thought it was cool, and I came up in an area where that’s not cool. My wife and I have owned two Priuses, and they were great cars. It was awesome — we drove everywhere like ‘Look how much money we’re saving, this is incredible!’ And I was always trying to figure out ways to use the battery even better. I also tried to work on a way to add a battery to the back of it."
Demaree on the Tesla community
"It’s very interesting watching the Tesla community because it’s unlike any other community in car culture. What I mean by that is a lot of people who are very passionate about their Tesla were never passionate about a car before, and didn’t care about cars before.
It’s a different crowd. There are a lot of tech people and a lot of engineers that are really passionate. A lot of people who are focused on technology, or climate, or name your thing. But they’re not, in general, a whole bunch of car people.
I don’t think everybody truly appreciates how fortunate we are that Tesla was as successful as they are. You don’t have to like Teslas to still appreciate it, but we would not be where we are in electrification if it weren’t for Tesla. They really plowed down the barriers to show that it can be done, and it can be profitable, and you can make a good product.
It’s really challenging the industry, and really forcing the dealership model to be challenged as well, which is also another good thing. There are just so many changes and it’s happening rapidly, and I would argue to the benefit of consumers as a whole because we’re getting better products because of it."
On Cybertruck and bi-directional charging
“Cybertruck, of course. Everybody is excited to see when this dang thing finally comes to reality. But I really hope it does have bi-directional charging.
CES this year was like a flagpole in the ground saying ‘this convention is the future of electrification.’ That’s what it feels like it’s turning into. Now, of course, it’s other things too, but, man, it is so well-represented.
“There was some really cool tech in that space, with bi-directional chargers and how they’re coming up with new, creative ways to auto-switch — all of that. So, essentially, you just leave your car plugged in in the garage, and solar is charging your batteries and it’s charging your car, and it’s running your house.”
And then power goes out. Before it starts depleting from your standard batteries, you can have it start pulling from your car, or vice versa.
I see it in the bigger picture: [people ask], ‘how’s our grid ever going to catch up?’ Well, this is how. There are some real opportunities, and individuals will be a big chunk, I believe, of how we solve the grid issue in the future as prices come down for storage and solar.”
On the possibility of a sub-$30,000 Tesla
“The other thing I’m probably most excited about is, let’s just call it the sub-$30,000 Tesla. That is actually gonna matter — not everybody can afford a $50,000 Model Y or a $50,000 Model 3 for that matter. They’re expensive. They’re not a car for the masses as much as we like to think that they are. They are absolutely a dominant factor of the EV space, but it’s such a small pie out of the bigger market.
You can’t sell everybody a Tesla because they’re just too expensive.
But, if they do come out with this sub-$30,000 Tesla, now you’re starting to make this thing reachable to most people in the market.
There are so many people that feel like they can’t be a part of electrification because they can’t afford it.
I have to remind people all the time: Tesla’s not the only one making electric cars. But at the end of the day, Tesla’s the only one making electric cars that people want. And that’s kind of been a problem, right?
How do we get the market to shift to where everybody can afford it, and it does have a value proposition, even if it’s not a Tesla.”
On what Tesla buyers should know before buying: range
Demaree also noted that real-world range can be confusing to some customers, especially when the purchase tag says a Tesla can go 333 miles per charge, and then they take it out for barely over 200 miles before needing to recharge.
"There’s a big difference between reality and how the EPA measures range. And even Tesla and how they test their cars versus the rest of the industry.
I don’t think people realize that Tesla’s the only one right now that does all five stages of testing where all other manufacturers do, I believe it’s three that they do. And then they just take the automatic multiplier which cuts your range down by a percentage.
So Tesla, because they have a heat pump and because it’s so efficient, they’re able to do these other two tests, which give them a much higher result than some other cars would if they did all the tests.
When you see 330, that’s not what you’re gonna get. And also explaining to people that the faster you go, the less your range is, which is kind of hard for people to understand because with gas cars you usually think ‘I get the best mileage when I’m on the highway.’
It’s kind of the opposite for electric cars. The faster you’re going, the more energy it’s gonna take to propel your vehicle through the air."
You can check out the first part of Justin Demaree's coverage of a coast-to-coast trip to the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley takeover in San Luis Obispo, California below, which he said was one of his favorite events to cover over the past few years.
Above: Tesla Model Y Coast to Coast Road Trip/Camp Mode 5,700 Miles!! - Part 1. Video: Bearded Tesla Guy / YouTube