posted on August 22, 2019

For many urbanites, downtown living makes car ownership hard to justify.

Not for Jemma H. The 31 year old cardiovascular technician walks to work every day, and by her own admission has little need for a car. But for years, she’s had her heart set on one vehicle in particular: the Tesla Model 3.

“I’d followed Elon Musk and Tesla for a long time before the Model 3 was even out. I knew that I wanted my next car to be electric and I didn’t want it to be hybrid.” When her mother suggested she find a cheaper car, her answer was simple. “Either I’m gonna buy a Model 3 or I’m not gonna buy a car.”

A bumpy ride towards a dream car

At first, Jemma was content to take the famous car for a quick spin during a trip to California. No dice. At the age of 29, she arrived a bit too early to rent the coveted car — Tesla required drivers to be 30. By the time she got back to Toronto, Jemma had set her sights on ownership.

Luckily, Jemma secured a spot for the Model 3 back in 2016. Now it was just about ordering one. But when it came time to buy in 2018, an election year, Jemma figured the new provincial government would end the $14,000 rebate for electric cars.

Hoping Tesla would win its lawsuit, she tried her luck and ordered one, but when Tesla called to set up delivery the rebate was gone. “I was like, ‘If I don’t get that $14,000 rebate, I can’t afford it’ so I cancelled. And then the next day Tesla won the lawsuit.”

While everyone who’d reserved a Tesla would get the rebate, those like Jemma who’d cancelled were fresh out of luck. Determined to at least drive her dream car, she booked a Model 3 on Turo from one of the fortunate Canadian owners. And in November, she got some great news.

“Tesla emailed me and said that anyone who’d ordered but cancelled because of the rebate could re-order and get [the rebate].” 

Jemma's Tesla Model 3 - Toronto, ON
Jemma’s 2018 Tesla Model 3 (Toronto, ON)

“It’s booked so much I haven’t really used it for myself.”

Not surprisingly, Jemma’s Tesla is a popular car on Turo. In just nine months, Jemma’s Model 3 has fueled 70 adventures on Turo and has been so popular that aside from a few trips to visit family outside the GTA, she hasn’t driven the car a whole lot. But she’s not complaining.

“I knew when I bought it that I probably couldn’t afford it,” Jemma says with a laugh. “I got the car in December, and I put it up on Turo almost right away. I walk to work. I don’t really need a car. I just really wanted that car… so far it’s been really good. It covers my car payment and insurance most months.”

Jemma’s 2018 Tesla Model 3 (Toronto, ON)

Aspiring car owners turn to Turo for Tesla test drives

Think everyone’s booking a Tesla just to roll up to a party in the best ride? Think again. Jemma’s observed something different. Many of her guests really just want to test out the car to see if it’s worth the purchase.

“Because it’s electric and it has a range people are nervous that it’s not going to get them to where it needs to go. So they book it for a little bit and do their normal routine to work and back to see if it fits with their lifestyle.”

Even though Jemma rarely gets to use the car — “It’s booked so much I haven’t used it myself a ton” — she’s hoping to get some alone time with her treasured Tesla when she drives it to Chicago to visit her best friend.

After the twists and turns she took to buy one, she certainly deserves it.