The Tesla happens to be mine and I since we just launched doing ceramic coatings I wanted to see how it would do on a new car and what was the process from start to finish with brand new paint. For context, in the title, someone asked me in a parking lot recently, "...if your car is electric can it still be washed without you getting electrocuted?" Don't laugh, I've also been asked if I carry a giant extension cord or if its true that you can sleep while the car drives itself. Often it comes from people who haven't seen one and since they are so different to an internal combustion engine they have a lot of questions. For the purists that are out there pointing and chanting 'shame!" that I have an electric car don't fret, I love the sound and the smells and the feeling of an internal combustion engine. I have an air cooled Porsche and a few other ICE vehicles and I love everything about them. Our business is about cars after all, from the classic to the exotic to the electric and all things in between.
By the way - neither Chino or I were electrocuted so I think I can answer a definitive 'no' to the title.
I expected that putting the ceramic coating on the Tesla paint would be fairly straightforward, after all its brand new and hasn't even had wax applied to it yet. I thought that it would be a simple process of washing it and applying the coating...then I spent some time with Chino our detailer. As always he knows his stuff and Chino reminded me that Tesla have great cars - but they don't have great quality control when it comes to paint. He's not wrong and there have been quite a few issues of fit and finish with some models like the 3 and the Y. If there is enough interest I may do a video review of the Y and its technology, idiosyncrasies and features.
Chino laid out the plan for the next two days and it starts with a deep wash to get rid of any contaminants and then drying it thoroughly and completely spot free. He is one of those detail guys that covers any part of the car that won't be getting the coating (like plastic trim parts) with tape to make sure there is no overlap. The prep work and the cleanliness is key as the ceramic application is the easiest part. I did a few time-lapse videos and attached them to give you some idea of a few days compressed down to a few minutes.
Some people say its like watching paint dry but the time-lapse of soapy water coming off the car is mesmerizing to me. Step one in the process was washing the car - next came the long and laborious job of cutting and buffing the paintwork to make the surface flawless. It really is all about the prep work on something like applying a coating, its got to be dust free and the paint stripped of any wax or contaminants before the coating can be applied.
After all the buffing and cutting and polishing applying the coating is almost a let down, as its a very simple process. The coating is wiped on, allowed to come to a haze and then buffed off. After that the surface has to be kept dry for at least 24 hours to let the coating cure and harden.
From a visual perspective the car has a deeper and darker color after the ceramic coating. The paint imperfections are gone, buffed away to a perfectly uniform finish. Beyond that, water beads endlessly and dirt doesn't seem to stick to the surface. The dirt washes off easily and the coating should be good for many years. Take a look at a previous post on paints and paint protection for more on what the coating does. Better still - have your car done here, winter is coming.
I do get a tingling feeling when I touch the paint - but that could just be me.