Do you have to drive the Model S before signing a hard contract?

Do you have to drive the Model S before signing a hard contract?

Elon said in the conference call that he didn't expect most of us to need a drive before taking delivery. I for one require a drive. How about others?

BYT | 15 februar 2012

Because of my location and the HUGE investment, I expect to drive before I buy.

TJK | 15 februar 2012

I expected one. In the summer I was told that test drives would take place in the fall. Then, at the Fremont event I was told that test drives would take place in the spring. Now they're saying test drives start when deliveries start...

I want to test drive the car before I purchase it.

AndyM | 15 februar 2012

+1 for test drive prior to paying the rest of the cash. This is a norm for all car purchases, and Tesla is not that different. Way different yes, but not THAT different.

jbherman | 15 februar 2012

+ 1 for test drive. I don't pay $100K for something without trying it first!

JayK | 15 februar 2012

There are many reasons for wanting a test drive:

1) To see if the car is as advertised and to see the final product
2) To decide between performance vs. nonperformance
3) To see if the interior has been updated
4) To see the actual interior/exterior colors in real life
5) To see the options
6) Because we were promised one before we sign the contract

I'm sure there are other reasons. Each of those reasons alone is compelling enough to warrant a test drive. You add all of them together and it would seem like test drives are a must for most people. I can understand the Special Signature holders who have a Roadster may not require a test drive, but for just about everyone else, I'm guessing the majority want a test drive.

breading | 15 februar 2012

I would certainly prefer to drive before finalizing the purchase. I asked a customer service rep about this today. She said we could expect test rides in the spring and test drives in the fall.

She was also unaware of any plans for a new Tesla store in the Midwest. Since there is no Tesla store here in KC, I am hoping they will have a Model S tour in the summer.

Slindell | 15 februar 2012

I require a Model S to test drive before signing away the rest of my money. I also expect to be able to compare the Signature, Performance and Standard versions.

phb | 15 februar 2012

I'll go take a test drive, but I'm P5651 so there's no danger of me running into the problem that early folks; the car will be ready long before my number is up.

My dad, who is a Sig. res. in the 400s may have a problem with it.

Schlermie | 15 februar 2012

I'm expecting a try before buy.

William13 | 15 februar 2012

I don't need to drive to buy. I would prefer to sit in a finalized interior so that I can decide between standard and performance.

Brian H | 15 februar 2012

Assuming test drives are available, I wonder how many will cancel their orders after trying the car ...
Surely out of all those thousands there'll be one?

Mycroft | 15 februar 2012

Only the first 500 or so signatures will have to decide whether they want to delay delivery for a test drive or to order without a test drive. Everyone else will be able to get a test drive before ordering.

The problem appears to be that they have to get the cars to pass federal tests before customers can drive them on the road and they don't expect to get those certifications until May or June.

Brian H | 15 februar 2012

Well, in any case, what's your guess for the number of cancellations or downgrades after test-driving?

Crow | 15 februar 2012

I think folks misintepreted what Elon said, which isn't surprising because he worded it a little weird. I believe he was trying to say that customers are so smitten with the car that they don't seem to even need a test drive. They just want it. The CFO then clarified that everyone that wants a test drive will be offered a test drive.

wtrask4 | 15 februar 2012

I would need to sit in the car and drive it before I buy it!!!

More specifically, I want to test drive the model S standard VS. performance version to decide which one I want.

toto_48313 | 15 februar 2012

If I got a 15% off for not test drive it, that will be ok, otherwise I would like to testdrive to confirm my current choises.

discoducky | 15 februar 2012

But would you use your one time defer to wait for a test drive? That's a tough question if it meant waiting another 3 months or so.

If there was a Car and Driver full review or Motor Trend, where they said something like "M5 has lost it's crown" then no test drive needed.

stephen.kamichik | 15 februar 2012

I shall need a test drive also.

Klaus | 15 februar 2012

In 1989 as I was stationed in Stuttgart Germany, I walked into a BMW dealer, sat in a nice 5 series, asked for available options, ordered my car, and waited several weeks while it was being built (American specs). No test drive, just a firm belief that the car I was getting had a reputation for excellance. Fast forward to 2009. I ordered a car sight unseen (except for a video of the unveiling). Since then I have driven the Roadster several times, ridden in the Model S beta at the Factory tour, sat in it several times at different locations, and don't need to know anything more about it. I'll get to drive the crap out of it when it arrives at my front door. I'm that committed. You won't hear me threatening to cancel or even delay my order.

Every complaint I've heard over the past 3 years has somehow been resolved. There was the ground clearance issue, The alpha nose, cup holders (give me a break), no buttons to push. Now its center consel, head room, and more. This car obviously won't please everyone and that's fine with me. Those that can't live with the engineering "faults" won't buy. As for me, I'll be waving with a Tesla grin on my face as I pass you all by. :D

Jason S | 15 februar 2012

I want a test drive. I will make time to go to the factory for a test drive and test viewing of as many variations of the S as possible.

And then I'll prolly get the Sig perf variation I am planning on anyway. But it'll be handy to be there for the paperwork.

Jason S | 15 februar 2012

The 'worst' part after a test drive is I'll go from counting the days to counting the hours till I get my car.

olanmills | 15 februar 2012

I think what Elon said is probably true, because say for instance, they did not make test drives available for the first year (and there was some convincing reason; we didn't feel it was because they were trying to hide problems). I imagine that the vast majority of of reservation holders would still take delivery of their cars.

I am definitely going to test drive the car. I definitely want to use it as only chance to find out if there's anything about the car that I find unnacceptable for my tastes, expectations, and driving habits.

I'm just kind of like that though. I waited until the Beta came to my town so that I could see it in person before I made the deposit. That was foolish because now I'm much farther back in the line than I would have been if I had made a reservation when I first started thinking I actually wanted the car. After all, I could have always cancelled my reservation if I saw the car and didn't like it.

cerjor | 15 februar 2012

Yes to a test drive.

Teoatawki | 16 februar 2012

I WANT a test drive, but it's not a deal breaker.

dborn | 16 februar 2012

Yes to a test drive. Surely those able should be able to test drive around the factory (it is big enough) even if the are not allowed to drive on public roads? That would be a reasonable compromise for the early deliveries?

brianman | 16 februar 2012

@dborn - Way to think...inside...the box. :)

harryjsommer | 16 februar 2012

I want a test drive for one reason. I expect it to be super fun. I only live 10 miles from the Florida store so i'd love to go for a test drive once a month. Hopefully they'll let me. It will keep me excited for six months til I get mine!

Volker.Berlin | 16 februar 2012

Of course I want a test drive, for all the reasons that have already been stated plus the mere fun of it! If it was only for me, I probably didn't strictly need a test drive, but it'll help convincing my other half.

Volker.Berlin | 16 februar 2012

Oops, too late. Now harry was quicker to mention the fun factor. :-)

harryjsommer | 16 februar 2012

Great minds....

Charged_Up | 16 februar 2012

although i expect the ride to be perfectly acceptable, spending 100 large without a test drive seems to be the height of irresponsibility. For pete's sake, we haven't even seen a list of standard options!

Robert.Boston | 16 februar 2012

As Mycroft pointed out, this question is only relevant for Signature buyers. Even then, you can have your test drive, but it will delay when you get your car.

Here's the transcript excerpt:

Elon Musk

I think the assumption of customers is that they’re just going to take delivery. There’s no presumption of a test drive before delivery. There may be a few that want to do that, but my sense is, in talking to those customers, really is that they just want the car as soon as possible.

In terms of test drives, we have to wait until the car is fully (inaudible) and so that’s really effectively going to be at the point that we’re delivering the first production cars. So that’s (inaudible) this year is when people will be able to take a test drive.

Deepak Ahuja

And over time we’ll have a lot more cars out there, Andrea, so clearly any customer who wants so a test drive before (inaudible) that should not be a problem at all.

Elon Musk

Yeah, absolutely.

discoducky | 16 februar 2012

And due to this quote, with the possible delay of publishing, Sig holders may not even get to hear what the experts think of the car before delivery...

Adam Jonas – Morgan Stanley

Hey, Elon. Just to follow up on the test drive question. Would the magazines’ first chance to drive the Model S also coincide with deliveries to customers in the middle of the year or would there be an opportunity before?

Elon Musk

Probably coincide, yeah. We definitely don’t want to -- I mean we (inaudible) before we get it to any auto/motor journalist to test drive.

jedwards | 16 februar 2012

Hi Harry! Still have your NSX? Sold mine and went to work here.
For me, I don't need to drive one first. Com'mon People! My motto: "Just say yes and walk right into trouble". I work as Senior Technician and have been helping to build them for over a year.

Let me put it this way, I can almost promise you that even the most critical Car Nut driving the Model S will have their expectations exceeded in all departments: quality, performance, styling, ergonomics, features, balance and name it. If it doesn't exceed your expectations in EVERY category, then pass the vehicle on to the next person on the list. I expect to take delivery on my vehicle around October of this year and Harry will get the first drive..........that's right Harry I didn't say "ride". 8-) Hope you still live in the S.F. Bay Area.

Monterey Blue Model S Sport
Friends and Family #317

Soflauthor | 16 februar 2012

I would certainly like a test drive, but it will not be a deal breaker. If configured vehicles are to be ordered three months before delivery, the first 500 on the Sig list (I'm one) will be asked to commit on or about May 1st. I doubt that test-drivable cars will be available anywhere except possibly the factory or select CA locations at that time.

Regardless of what Elon said about allowing test drives by automotive media, I would hope that TM gets cars to them early for review. Those of us who may not be able to test drive will at least get a collective assessment of the car and its driving characteristics.

Time is getting short. To be honest, I'm more interested in seeing the final interior, understanding all standard equipment and other options (e.g., what does the pano shade look like), knowing what interior "extras" will be provided for the Sig, and having a fully configured design studio to play with. Test drives would be nice, but the preceding list is essential—the sooner, the better.

petero | 16 februar 2012

Definitely want/need a test drive – a long one, say about 299 miles!

At the dealership(s) I have worked at, it was a requirement that customers test drive a car before they buy. This is for both the customer and dealership protection. Occasionally a customer objected and I asked them to at least consent to the 2 driveway test drive (out the first driveway into the second). Besides, the smart ass car salesman can always say, “ it is the only time you get to drive the car for free!”

Forgive me, we are not talking about driving a car, we are driving a Tesla. I have no doubt the “S” will meet or exceed my expectations -especially after the Fremont ride.

David M. | 16 februar 2012

Tesla will be building the production intent cars beginning next month. I'm hoping that 15 of those cars will be put on display at Tesla stores, and available for test drives beginning in June.

I will definitely want a test Drive before parting with $90K. Also, I will need to see at least one production intent car before configuring my vehicle. Thus far, I have seen 6 Model S cars in person, but none of them have the standard wheels. Am I supposed to go from a photo?

Fortunately, my car will be in the 2nd 1,000 produced, so this should buy be 2 more months to view and drive before configuring.

Hey, where the heck is the final interior?

Brian H | 16 februar 2012

I see Elon is pretty much committing to leasing etc. for GenIII, but it also sounds like they're pushing for that to happen with S & X, too.

I'm still curious to see what develops with car rental companies and other fleet applications/users.

jackhub | 16 februar 2012

Wanting a test drive and requiring one are two different things. How many woulld cancel without one- assuming inspection of one is available without the drive?

Volker.Berlin | 16 februar 2012

Tesla is very cautious of the motor press -- once bitten, twice shy. I think it takes steady nerves, but in the end it is wise to deny the press any rides in any unfinished vehicles. It should be something like the 10th or 100th actual production car off the line that can be made accessible to the press, IMO, which on the other hand implies that there won't be any drive reports published until the first real customers have already received their cars. We are talking about a few weeks here, it really doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things, but it could make a crucial difference in the opinion that ends up being published.

stevenmaifert | 16 februar 2012

Taking a test drive before committing to such a large purchase would seem like the common sense thing to do. I would also like that test ride to be in a production model so I can see, sit in, and drive a finished product before buying it. I sometimes get a little annoyed at the arrogance TM exhibits in promoting the Model S. Yes, we're all anxiously awaiting the first deliveries, but not all of us are so smitten by the hype that we will sign on the dotted line without a final critical evaluation of the vehicle.

phb | 16 februar 2012

@Robert.Boston: I'm pretty sure that first "inaudible" was "homologated," so:

Elon Musk

I think the assumption of customers is that they’re just going to take delivery. There’s no presumption of a test drive before delivery. There may be a few that want to do that, but my sense is, in talking to those customers, really is that they just want the car as soon as possible.

In terms of test drives, we have to wait until the car is fully HOMOLIGATED and so that’s really effectively going to be at the point that we’re delivering the first production cars. So that’s (inaudible) this year is when people will be able to take a test drive.

Volker.Berlin | 16 februar 2012

Wanting a test drive and requiring one are two different things. How many woulld cancel without one- assuming inspection of one is available without the drive? (jackhub)

The real question is: How many would choose to delay delivery of their cars by a couple weeks if that's the only way to get a test drive? Canceling without a test drive should not be an option for reasonable people. Canceling after the test drive might be.

harryjsommer | 16 februar 2012

@jedwards - i must be a different Harry.... i drive an infinity. I still drive it. she's 11 years old and just praying she lasts 10 more months until my new baby comes. And sorry, i'm in S. florida not CA.

But can you get me on the friends and family list :-)

(Did i take this thread off course).

Sudre_ | 16 februar 2012

While my production S is probably far enough off that I will get to have a test drive I could and probably will live without it. If I don't like the car I am going to post it here and at several other places for sale. I bet I'd sell it quick and not loss any money. Heck I might even profit.
I do anticipate that I will like it very much.

For those who can't decide which one to get I can definitely understand wanting to test drive it.... but come on... you don't think you are going to just fall in love with either one.

Brian H | 16 februar 2012

verb (used with object), -gat·ed, -gat·ing.
to approve; confirm or ratify.
to register (a specific make of automobile in general production) so as to make it eligible for international racing competition.

Though why he wants to race it internationally, I'm not sure.


TikiMan | 16 februar 2012

I think for those of us that will primarily be using their 'S' for long range commuting, we will need a test drive. Regardless of gas prices and HOV lane access, if the car is not comfortable for the driver, it won't matter how amazing everything else is.

I for one am not completely satisfied with the seats on the current beta models. I am hopping this was just overlooked on the betas, to get them in showrooms in time, and the final cars will be fitted with proper padding to match that of any luxury car on the current market.

With that said, I have faith that by the time I get my car, there will be a few out there for test-drive demos before I sign on the dotted line.

brianman | 16 februar 2012

"Though why he wants to race it internationally, I'm not sure."

Why *wouldn't* you want to race internationally?

Sounds much better than your typical day job.

petero | 16 februar 2012

Volker.Berlin. I agree with you, TM should be wary. What is the rush to build cars for the motor press? I feel TM should build all Signatures and showroom display models and then make the “S” available for the press to review. There is no benefit having the motor press evaluate the “S” early. TM already has a year + worth of orders and reporters /magazines with agendas (Top Gear comes to mind) could damage this foundation. When “S” hits the road the word of mouth will inflate orders well past the 2 year mark (my opinion).

TM please “MAKE SURE YOUR SIGNATURE OWNERS ARE COMPLETELY SATISFIED.” These and early 'P' owners are your ambassadors. They will sell quite a few "Ss" for you.

David den Boer | 17 februar 2012

Want one, don't need one.
What I really want is earlier delivery :-)