My Model S Ownership Experience

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Jennie, Sep 29, 2017.

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  1. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    At 3 months ownership, I love the Model S. Will break up my experience so far in a few posts.

    To start...(might be boring for gear heads...)

    Buying/trading experience:
    I was going to consign/sell my previous car (BMW 640i) through a local company because I heard that Tesla underpaid for trades compared to traditional dealerships. When the local company couldn't come close to what I wanted for the car I asked Tesla about trading. They agreed to my trade almost sight unseen.

    I arranged test-drive via internet inquiry. I had option of going to Tesla service center but chose instead to have the Tesla 'consultant' (or whatever the approved term is!) bring the program car to my house to test drive.

    Like any sales transaction, there was some up-selling. (yes, I know not supposed to call it 'selling' here in Texas) We had planned to buy CPO but the consultant steered us toward a program car. The bad news is that while you have a choice of any program car in the nation, they sell fast. By the time we agreed to one in our planned price range, it had already sold. The good news is that it was end of the quarter so Tesla discounted several options on another program car in an effort to get the inventory out the door. I believe all told, it took three days from paying my reservation to receiving the car. (also delivered to my house, consultant even programmed HomeLink for me). When I hear about people waiting years for Model 3s and Powerwalls I wonder if my speedy experience is a Tesla record!

    My consultant guided me through process but as per Texas regulations and Tesla practice, the buying/selling was online. No sitting in a dealership waiting for paperwork or being pressured to buy extended warranty or service contract. (none really needed or available w/Tesla anyway)

    I didn't get a temporary tag with car. The day after I received it, i got a California DMV certificate that I put in my back window. I drove around without even temporary tags for at least a month without any problem. I finally contacted Tesla and they sent me temporary tag the next day; permanent tags came a week later...of course, being the car people we are, I had already removed the front plate bracket. :)
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  3. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    Why did I buy a Model S? I have always had a little bit of tree hugger in me....but I love cars. I love driving quickly. I love cars with great lines. (The Dino is one of my favorites alongside a 70s era Bronco. Totally different designs but both have distinctive and classic looks). The thought of driving a minivan or SUV (even as a rental) depresses me.

    I have driven many vehicles ranging from an International Harvester combine to a Ferrari California (both awesome machines). I drove a Fiat Abarth for several years and loved how zippy it was. The listed 0-60 is something like 6.8secs but it sure felt agile. Last fall we decided to try something more grown up. I considered several vehicles but Tesla was not at the top of the list. I've already indicated how SUVs make me feel and 4-door cars don't excite me that much either. I ended up buying a gently used BMW 640i. Super nice interior. Listed 0-60 ~5 sec. The car was a disappointment. Even though it was technically 'faster' than my Abarth, it felt sluggish. The technology took away from rather than adding to the driving experience. Too many dials/controls, too much 'thinking' on the part of the car and not enough input from the driver.

    After that, I realized how important quickness and agility are to me. When it finally dawned on me how quick the Model S can be, it was an obvious choice, even if it had 4 doors and an 'automatic' transmission.
    Domenick and KosherGirl like this.
  4. KosherGirl

    KosherGirl New Member

    I also heard that it takes a long time and there are waiting lists that are months-long. Why do you think your process was so quick?
  5. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    It was quick because I bought a program car....that is, one the service centers use for display and test-drives. It was also end of quarter so they were pushing to get cars out the door. The car was also close (Austin, we live in Dallas) so it was easy to ship. The bad part about buying a program car is that there are a limited number so the selection is not great and they go quickly. We originally wanted a black exterior with white interior but it was sold by the time I made a decision (less than 24 hours). I don't have any complaints though, the car is essentially new and has the battery size I wanted. It also qualified for the $7500 tax rebate and $1000 referral discount.

    If/when we trade this one we will probably custom order, though!
  6. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    To really start talking about my experience with the car, I'll run down a list of the good, the bad and the ugly thus far.

    Part 1 Good Stuff.

    Quickness, quickness, quickness. I know everyone has seen all the drag racing videos online so not a surprise....but it's just so much fun! To quote one Tesla owner's joke, "You might be a Tesla owner wish for red lights just so you get the chance to take off again." It’s a big heavy car but it zips through traffic so well. It’s agile. It does fast traffic well. It does slow traffic well.

    One pedal driving. I have a ~20 mile commute, meaning a lot of stop and go traffic in the evening. I don’t like using the brakes unless I have to. With a manual transmission, I could get away with engaging the clutch and coasting a bit. The Tesla deceleration is almost as impressive as the acceleration. I sometimes try to see how few times I actually have to use the brake in one commute.

    Simplicity of dash panel/controls. As I said before, my last car (BMW) drove me crazy with the number of buttons, dials and driving options. The Tesla design is pretty intuitive in terms of immediate access to things you need while actively driving (climate, audio, wipers, etc).

    The only consistent issue I’ve had is tapping the blinker instead of the cruise handle, but that comes from driving a variety of cars day to day with different steering configurations. Many car critics have complained that the Tesla dash (especially in the Model 3) is too plain, not pleasing aesthetically. The counterpoint to that is the image of a Blackberry and iPhone and asking “which one did people choose?” While aesthetics is important to me, I prefer controls that allow me to keep my eyes on the road.

    No gas pumps, of course. It always seems I need gas when I have the least amount of time to fill up and am furthest from a gas station. I tried to make an effort of filling up on Sundays but wasn’t consistent. Aside from one time during high school when I was driving a wheat hauling truck with a defective gas gauge, I’ve fortunately never run out of gas. However, being able to plug in every night (really every 3rd or 4th night) takes one more chore off my to do list.

    Interior space. Highlights so far: with back seat down, a roadbike fit easily as did 8ft 2x4s (not at same time but it could be done). Weekend road trip with 4 people including two golf bags, a case of water, cooler and several luggage bags.

    Remote access. I haven’t used this much other than to pre-cool the car. Car interior temperature at 4 pm in Texas in summer has measured 128F. I turn on climate when leaving office building and have down to ~74F by time I reach car 5 minutes later.
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  8. GreenMachine

    GreenMachine New Member

    Can you tell us exactly which model you bought and how much it cost? Did you pay cash or finance it? And what are your monthly payments if you financed it?
  9. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    It is the Model S 90D.
    Options: Leather seats w/cold weather package. Biodefense circulation mode. All glass panoramic roof. Carbon fiber detailing.
    Did NOT get autopilot (would be another $5k)
    $86k + tax. (will get $7500 tax credit).
    Had trade so paid cash.
    Domenick likes this.
  10. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

    FYI this was a program car. 2017, but only 1,750 miles.

    Another thing I found interesting is that Tesla wanted the sale so bad they offered way more than anyone else for her 2016 BMW 640. Such an easy transaction salesman came to our house for test drive and then to deliver car and take BMW.
  11. jelloslug

    jelloslug New Member

    Have you tried Autopilot out yet?
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  13. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

    she didn't get it.
  14. jelloslug

    jelloslug New Member

    You get a 30 day trial if you don't get it.
  15. 30 day trial sounds like a great idea. If it was me, though, I'd hold off a bit until Tesla can get more functionality back into it AutoPilot system.
  16. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    agh. I tried AP for about 1 minute when test-driving but was not told anything about a 30day trial! The options presented were to buy it at purchase for 5k or later for 6k. I googled and see it is an option (at least it was in 2016). Will have to send an inquiry.
    I have been thinking that a trial should be standard for those who don't purchase it outright. Similar to Xm/Sirius, get people hooked on it and can't give it up.

    I have heard AP is great for rush-hour commuting so I think I would like to try it once the AP2 bugs are worked out.
    I have to say, though,I am pretty happy with just regular cruise control right now after the awful adaptive cruise of the BMW 640i. It would start slowing down about a 1/2 mile behind another car. I tried all kinds of things to reduce the distance; the only thing that helped was decreasing the rear-end warning to almost nothing....and that required going through several menus and submenus on the center console. I like how the Tesla cruise is so simple and accurate that I can use it even at slow school zone speeds.
  17. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    I dropped my daughter off at a friend's house tonight for trick-or-treating. Her grandfather (a now retired Ford Sales manager from the Boston metro area) saw the car and started asking about it. He had never heard of an electric car (or, I suspect, didn't remember :( ) and was super impressed, asking all kinds of questions. I know that this kind of reaction was common when Teslas first came out but was my first time experiencing that kind of reaction. It was really cool hearing an old 'car guy' so excited about new technology.
  18. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    It is pretty cool having that conversation! When I first got my Spark years ago, a couple came up to me while I was plugging in at a college campus while waiting for my wife to finish class.

    They asked about it and how far it can drive, what other EVs are out there. They were looking to replace a Ford Focus. I suggested the Focus EV but told them it might be hard to find one around Dallas. They didn't think the range would be enough for them anyways. So I told them about the Volt, Ford's fusion and c-max PHEVs.

    A few weeks later, while I was sitting in the car waiting for my wife, the couple pulled up in their new (used) fusion. They plugged in, and started gushing about their first few weeks with the car. :D

    I haven't had anything that cool happen since then. I never ran into them again, but it stuck with me! Probably turned me into the outspoken (but brand agnostic) EV advocate I have since become lol.
  19. Sans Ice

    Sans Ice New Member

    As far as AutoPilot - there is a difference between AutoPilot and autonomous features. Full on Auto Pilot is still Beta as far as I know. That is when you punch in a location and have the car take you there. I am not sure if people are actually using that and that it is up and running. Enhanced autonomous features were 5k you have to pay yet another 4K to get full Autopilot - 9k total. I didn't think it was woth 4k more for something still in Beta.
    We got a new P60D and it was 83k - 4WD, Special Paint,Sets, Full glass roof. That model isn't available anymore. We used the autonimous following and steering all the way up to Vancouver from Seattle and it worked great. Make sure to not be in the far righ lane because the off ramps confused the car sometimes - it worked perfectly in the second lane over - solid lines.
    We love this car - absolutely love it. The best fastest, most luxurious car I have ever owned. No problems after about a year so far.
    Rob Lay likes this.
  20. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    Yes, at this point self-driving is still in beta and awaiting regulatory approval among other things. I believe what you used is what most call Autopilot. When I go to my Tesla account, I have the option of ordering 'enhanced autopilot for 6k and autopilot +full self driving capability for 10k. (it is an extra 1k since I didn't order it at delivery).
  21. Jennie

    Jennie Member

    First experience with Tesla service. The driver door handle started getting caught and not retracting without manual input. It looks SOOO classy driving down the freeway and opening the window to pop in the handle! I know there are plenty of youtube videos about how to fix it but given the car is under warranty, I emailed a non-urgent service request. There was a response next day but it was a few more days until they called to arrange service. (no biggie). I offered to bring it to the service center since it is near work but they arranged mobile service. Service guy came to my work this morning at 0700 and had it adjusted within 10 minutes. Overall great experience.
    Domenick likes this.
  22. Rob Lay

    Rob Lay Administrator Staff Member

    Had the garage door close on it last night! I pulled the car out of garage to realign it and then as I started pulling in the garage door closed on the roof. :D no damage I can see. I barely pulled out of the garage and also not sure why the safety beam didn't activate on the garage except it went under car. Maybe the Tesla autoclose set on 5 feet instead of 50 feet. :eek:
  23. specialgreen

    specialgreen New Member

    Rob, it sounds like your safety "seeing eye" on the garage door isn't working. Your story makes me glad I have a thick rubber gasket on the bottom of our garage door (for weather sealing).

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