My Model S Crapped Out Day 2- The Car was UNRESPONSIVE TO KEY after 100 miles of driving...

My Model S Crapped Out Day 2- The Car was UNRESPONSIVE TO KEY after 100 miles of driving...

Wednesday the 27th of March, I took delivery of my 60kWh at Tesla's Lower Manhattan show room. First, I signed my documents, handed over a $50,000 check, requested copies of all documents and asked if our other vehicle was parked legally just outside the shop door.

1) I was told that I would receive a copy of the closing documents by is now nearly thee days later and no email copy of closing documents.

2) I was told that the other car was safe from parking enforcement....a $100 ticket was waiting outside as soon as we stepped out for orientation. Tesla offered to pay ticket.

3) I drove the car alone, 65 miles to home, gave wife and daughter a quick spin, then garaged the S for a charge w/ NEMA 15 / 50 amp overnight.

4) Next morn, I depressed charger button continuously to uncouple the charger from the charging port ( as instructed ) and entered the cabin, sat in driver's seat w/ key.

5) 50 mile drive to work expended 60 miles of charge due to occasionally frivolous acceleration and powered off the car by touching "power off" button on screen.

6) I exited the car with setting to lock the car after leaving the vicinity of the car set and departed for my office.

7) I returned to the car eight hours later with boss & boss's brother for spin, doors did not auto unlock upon proximity sensor detection of key.

8) Double clicked on top of key to open doors. Opened driver's door, immediately noticed that display was blacked out instead of in standby mode.

9) I sat on the seat, hoping that depression on the seat switch would bring the displays to life but no.

10) Aimlessly touching the screen, depressing shifter and other brake pedal motions yielded giggles and comments from passengers but no joy from the electrical system. I had ink drying on check written 24 hours earlier...

11) We abandoned the effort to start the day old, $82,020.00 car and made arrangements to wait for roadside service.

12) Various telephone conversations yielded a free 50 mile taxi ride home, courtesy of Tesla. The car was left for a more convenient hour to relocate by flatbed next morn.

13) Next day, after explanations to various children, wife and others, I returned to the car with key, having driven other car to work and noticed that key was detected...

14) Upon looking inside, displays were alight, car started upon seating and shifted into drive for a three mile spin with 68 miles of range showing rather than the ~100 miles of range from previous day's reading. How did I lose 40 miles of range by just leaving the car overnight?

15) Car performed well despite going on strike previous night with a blacked out display. I returned the car to parking space after first test drive at 10:00am today.

16) Second test drive at 11:00 am yielded similar normal operation with sunny, warm conditions being enjoyed.

17) Third test drive at 1:00 pm yielded similar normal operation again with sunny, warm conditions being enjoyed.

18) Finally, at 5 PM when Tesla person arrived towing flatbed trailer behind Ford pick up truck, I had high hopes of the car starting so that we could try this onto the flatbed.

19) This was not meant to be, as the car decided to go on strike again blacking out the displays and ignoring the presence of the key.

20) The Tesla person opened the front trunk and removed the cover to the fuse panel and re-seated a fuse in the fuse panel when we heard a "click".

21) I asked the Tesla person if he had trouble with other cars' fuse boxes. He said yes, but never a car with only 100 miles on it.

22) The Tesla person drove the car onto the trailer and secured the vehicle and drove off with the intermittently functional $82,020, one day old car in tow.

23) I had the presence of mind to take plenty of photos since the was no exchange of documentation once again, despite the complete loss of possession of the car.

24) I was told that I would receive a call once the car had reached the service center, but there was none received. I asked for the car to be fixed over the next ten days while I will be in Florida. I even requested a complimentary installation of paint armor offered as compensation for the hassle.

DTsea | 29. März 2013

You arent supposed to power the car off when you get out from the touchscreen. Thats to power off when you are SITTING in it. That may have put in some weird mode.

You sound pretty unhappy so call the customer line-

Why should they give you a $1000 paint armor bonus for taking care of your car?

NB my car works perfectly.

kilimats | 29. März 2013

my head hurts, this is a neverending spinning loop....where are you going with this? confused...

ddruz | 30. März 2013

@jbm - I sincerely empathize with you. There appear to be a small number of cars that have significant problems in the first few days for various reasons that slip by quality control testing because of their obscurity.

Tesla has always taken care of the problems whatever they may be. They will also do so in your case. It is a real hassle and letdown for the owners like yourself who are so affected, however.

In following the forums both here and on TMC diligently every day for over 15 months my observation is that the reports about this small percentage of serious problems is continually shrinking.

You need not worry about Tesla trying to pull a fast one on you. Admittedly they are a bit overwhelmed and disorganized at this stage in their growth. But you will soon have a wonderfully working car and all your paperwork signed, sealed and delivered.

David Trushin | 30. März 2013

No brain that the problem with nnt

bradslee | 30. März 2013

No life that the problem with nnt

Vall | 30. März 2013

You sound pretty unhappy with your purchase, you should obviously return the car and get a full refund IMMEDIATELY! Nobody should be forced to suffer by having at product that doesn't perform as advertised.

Mliss | 30. März 2013

I am so sorry and sympathize with your frustrations. As I am writing this, my new $100k+ P85 (VIN 6672) is sitting dead in my garage - plugged in - charged - but dead. I have posted the issue elsewhere but the Chicago SC is supposed to come and tow my car today - probably a dead 12v and/or faulty UMC. The car has 500 miles and is 2 weeks old - already the 3rd issue that I have had.

Chicago SC has been very nice and I am sure that Tesla will get it all straightened out. I do love the car (when there are no issues).

One thing I do not like is the ridiculous posters on this board that immediately try to blame the us for our problems. @kilimats if your head hurts - take some tylenol - if you don't understand where jbm "was going with all of this" - then maybe you should repeat the third grade and learn how to read. @trushin and @ bradslee - what in the world does nnt (yes I know who that is) have to do with this guy's dead MS?, please let us know how the issue was resolved so that we can be more aware whatever issue they find.

Captain_Zap | 30. März 2013

Can we see some of the photos you took?

Don't bother with the paint armor.

Sudre_ | 30. März 2013

Sounds like a rather annoying ordeal. Never hurts to ask for something in return when your time is wasted. Go for the free paint armor. I can't believe they are still slow in the paperwork department. I had to plate my car a few days later than my state allows because the papers where late. Luckily my wife talked them out of the fine.

On the bright side things do sound like they are improving. I am also perfectly happy with my car. Hang in there.

TikiMan | 30. März 2013

Unfortunately, things like this will happen, and it's a good thing Tesla will fix it, or give you a new car.

I recently read a story about a man who was arrested at a BMW dealer, because he was sold a new 7-series BMW that turned out to be a lemon. It was supposedly in the shop on and off constantly (like 30 times in the first year), and the owner finally got fed up, and tried to force the dealership to take the car back. I guess one thing lead to another, a physical altercation occured, and the customer was arrested by local athorities for assult (he is now sueing BMW and the dealership).

I once owned a 1994 Nissan 300ZX (twin-turbo), where the turbos had started leaking oil at the seals (which is a sign they are going bad). I took it to a well-known high-end custom repair shop that did racing upgardes for Nissan vehicles, and also made and sold high-end racing parts for serious enthusist (a multi-million dollar operation). The shop was owned by a well-known world renound retired celebrity racer. To make a long story short, after I brought my car to them, they kept my car for months, and kept giving me the run-around, until I finally got my car back (and that was only after many threats, and finally a certified letter from my attorney with a threat to sue, plus a few other major things NO car shop wants on their record). Needless to say, I finally got my car back with new turbos, and a major apology... FOUR MONTHS LATER!

mrspaghetti | 30. März 2013

Ok, I understand the frustration. But is it really necessary to post this story on the forums at this point? It sounds like Tesla is on top of the situation and it's only the 3rd day since you took delivery. At least give them a reasonable amount of time to respond.

Mliss | 30. März 2013

@mrspaghetti. You are absolutely ridiculous. The purpose of the board is to post every encounter good and bad for the benefit of all of us. If you don't want to read the bad experiences, shut off your computer. I for one totally appreciate all of the postings.

h8young | 30. März 2013

+ 1 @Mliss

Ohms.Law | 30. März 2013

These forums are valuable to all of us. But they work best when we don't attack each other.

nvjx | 30. März 2013

+1 @Mliss

cb9 | 30. März 2013

+1 @Ohms.Law

Theresa | 30. März 2013

I,ve had a few issues with my car as well but I didn't,t come screaming here right away. I gave Tesla an acceptable amount of time to respond and they have responded as quickly as I would expect. A business model doesn't,t have extra people just waiting around so that everyone can have immediate service. If they do that for long they go out of business and if that happens then how will you get your car fixed and who will you complain to?

Theresa | 30. März 2013

Sorry, my post was meant for the Santa Monica thread.

djm12 | 30. März 2013

Excellent run-down of the problem you faced @jbm. Some folks will just post a rant.

When you get your car back, please let us know the cause of the problems so that we may learn from your experience. Although it is a shame that you had this technical glitch, Tesla did appear to respond quickly and even tossed in the free paint armor. It's good to know that.

Docrob | 30. März 2013

All car companies will have the odd gremlin and occasional total lemon, the most important thing is not that it occurs but how the company responds and so far I am fairly impressed. I have no issue with the story being posted as long as the OP follows up with how the situation was resolved, advertising the problems but not the solutions comes across as having an agenda.

Brian H | 30. März 2013

He requested the paint armor, it has not been "tossed in", as yet.

jbm | 30. März 2013

Today is one day since my post. Perhaps the most encouraging event today was getting a call from Kasey, the technician who is working on my car. He was quick to offer me his cell phone no. and update me with progress on a will call basis. I asked him for a description of his technical background and he readily filled me in on his extensive credentials and had been on board with Tesla for over a year with BMW tech experience prior as well as strong tech education. That said, decoding by engineers in Ca. would not commence until Monday AM at the soonest.

I also received an email from my Tesla Owner Experience rep who attached scans of my closing docs. He said that service contacted his boss w reminder of my copy request. Since Tesla kindly delivered my car to lower Manhattan instead of Queens, I was transacting in a sales showroom where there were no photocopiers. Hence I readily agreed to recieve copies later, but next day was in order, not five days later...guess I'm high maintenance. Still no copy of $50,000.00 draft.

I also received a call from Omar, the service manager who provided me with a courtesy call. I told him that I was going to be out of state all week and that a thorough QA/QC was what was required, not necessarily a quick turnaround. One thing I said to Kasey was that the standby losses suffered by the car overnight must be reduced from the apparent 50 - 60 miles of range lost on Thursday Night to the more acceptable loss of 8-9 miles of loss which he said was common. Naturally, the fuse box needs to function so that the car is functional. I also will request adjustment on the right front door so that it doesn't have to slam.

My car is blue, with natural Obeche and black napa and w tech pack.

For those of you who feel that I'm a cry baby.... ; ) I share your sense of hurt that Tesla, our first hope of a revitalized USA mftcr in a long time, needs a little slack... Just a bit more time to make good on the car I bargained $82,020 for. While I appreciate the story (above) about the 7 series owner who got locked up for an altercation over his lemon, I deployed a measured transmission both here and by email to various internal Tesla addresses in order to draw attention to the fact that a car shipped that blacked out day 1. No doubt, those of you who drive your model S on the weekends for fun and have two or three other ICEs for real transportation, you can be more laid back about your diminished slush fund and zen. Me- I don't have a slush fund, am borrowing my mothers car while S is in the shop, and have three other drivers to transport w remaining Prius and Hybrid Hylander.

As for the paint armor, that would be some small consolation for the nagging feeling that I may have an itinenerantly functional $82k car that loses a charge almost as fast as I can charge it, and now, I have to document the episodes of chaos for possible exercise of Lemon Law Rights. Other option is to pay my car payment for the month...of course, since I just purchased the car Wednesday, I don't have documentation on that amount either.

Brian H | 30. März 2013


Brian H | 30. März 2013


Mel. | 31. März 2013

jbm, thanks for the update. One question, if you have a problem with the right front door, why not tell Casey that you have a problem with the right front door? I think you are very lucky to have Casey working on your vehicle. He diagnosed the problem I had and fixed it . I think Tesla would like to clone him.

Last question, how did you bargain for the car?

If you need a car, ask Omar for a rental.

mrspaghetti | 31. März 2013


Even the BBB strongly encourages consumers to first try to resolve their issues with service/product providers before making a public complaint - which is what this post is. I'm not suggesting that it's not worthy of complaining about, just that it's not yet something I'd be publicly doing at this point. After resolution, or after failure to do so within a reasonable period of time, I'd post the story one way or another.


I'm pretty sure that Elon Musk is not going to abscond with your $82k to the Cayman Islands or anything. But in case I'm wrong, remember that your financial institution also has records of your payment(s) to Tesla.

Mliss | 01. April 2013

Last time I checked the First Amendment of our Constitution provided all of us the freedom of speech - so it is with that in mind, that I respect your opinion. However I would respectfully request that you extend the same respect to jbm, myself and the many others that find the information valuable and allow us to post our experiences and opinions with being attacked by those trying to keep a particular situation or information "quiet".

With that out of the way, here is an update on my situation:

My P85 died last Friday while I was out of town. I knew it died because it was non-responsive to the iphone app and I had my Crestron programmer would is extremely technical and onsite verify that case. I called Tesla at the end of the day on Friday (on the 29th). Chicago SC (Chris) said they would look into the situation via their analysis tools and let me know the next steps on Saturday.

I called at 9am on Saturday and Chris (Chicago SC) said they had confirmed that the vehicle had a problem. He did not elaborate. He indicated that they would try to get someone to my house within a few hours - impressive.

I put together and printed off a word document that lists all of the prior POSTERS experiences and resolutions (good thing mrspaghetti did not have a hand in blocking the prior postings). These included possibilities like 12V voltage very low, bad UMC, UMC indicator flashing red 3 times, high voltage interlock loop fault, HVil faults, electrical short within drive inverter, etc. I can post this document if anyone is interested.

Chris from Chicago SC called around 11am Chicago time and told me that they would arrive at my house within an hour or so. I told him I had left him the aforementioned document - he was surprised but thankful. (I wanted to avoid them simply replacing the 12v only for me to find a future problem). I mentioned that I also have a tire pressure system sensitivity issue that the Chicago SC said that they can easily adjust (system says the tire pressure is not correct even though all 4 tires are within 1 psi of the correct pressure).

Tesla did arrive in about 1 hour and met my Crestron programmer (I am still out of town). Tesla accessed the 12 volt battery terminals via the front of the car (as well documented on the various forum posts), charged the 12v battery for a few minutes and then drove the vehicle onto the flat bed. Before leaving my house, the Tesla personnel called me on my cell and was exceptionally courteous and wanted to let me know he was leaving and asked if I had any other concerns, etc.

I can see the vehicle on the iphone app since Saturday sitting in the Chicago SC. The frunk is open, the vehicle is unlocked and it is not charging. As of 10am Monday, I have not received a call from Tesla (a little disappointing).

I had to roll out the ICE vehicle this morning to get to work (I guess Tesla naturally assumes that we all have a back up ICE vehicle since they did not offer a loaner). I am dreading the questions at work this morning from my workmates who are probably wondering why "Mr. Green" drove his ICE to work today. More updates to come as they are available.

Love the car (still) and would not trade it for any other.

mrspaghetti | 01. April 2013

I merely said that I would have waited a little longer before posting a public complaint - hardly an attack.

Glad you still love the car and they're taking care of you.

Logical_Thinker | 01. April 2013

I'm very happy to hear of Tesla's commitment to quality customer service. Every car company, let alone a startup novel tech car company, is going to have glitches.

tcoughlin | 01. April 2013

I picked up my Model S Performance in Toronto last Thursday and I love it!!!

The delivery run-through was very professionally done and the paperwork was completed quickly, without incident.

I am absolutely thrilled with the performance. I'm trashing my Porsche. The thought of going back to an internal combustion engine with gasoline, oil and fumes, would be like going back to a horse!

The biggest problem I've had is other rubber-necking drivers who are trying to video me on the highway while they're driving.

I had one minor issue where I plugged the charger into a 110 volt receptacle and verified it was blinking green before leaving it for the night. I locked the car with the remote. In the morning there was no colour around the charger and the range hadn't increased more than 40 km. in 15 hours (?). The next night I didn't lock it remotely (although it locks by itself if you leave it for 15 seconds) and it charged all through the night OK. Last night I was on my home 240 volt receptacle and it charged up from 89 km to 445 km in 7 hrs.

It's a total blast to drive. Thank you Tesla!

prash.saka | 01. April 2013

@DTSea You arent supposed to power the car off when you get out from the touchscreen. Thats to power off when you are SITTING in it. - is this true? Where can I find more information about this?

~ Prash.

GLO | 01. April 2013

Our new 60kw was dead on day when we got into it. We rebooted the touchscreen and it came to life just fin. Nowhere did i see you'd rebooted the system. I assume TM service must have done that.

FLsportscarenth... | 01. April 2013

Hearing how TM resolves the infrequent problems bolsters the brand more than NOT hearing about problems, which makes you wonder if you will be up the creek without a paddle later on. TM is off to a good start...

Thanks for posting in this public forum so people considering reserving will know that they WILL be taken care of properly after purchase...

An after the fact "oh they took care of it" is less convincing to a buyer than a real time step by step resolution. And the real time postings from real owners keeps TM accountable.

TM is braver than most companies with these forums, no phony testimonials here, just owners giving valuable feedback and sharing real experience. Trolls will reveal themselves for what they are and can be purged out if posting excessively.

lolachampcar | 01. April 2013

I've read many accounts of issues. They tend to fall into one of two categories; they are either factual accounts of issues and how they are being addressed or they are rants about real issues where the owner wants to vent and has little interest in how the person/people on the other side feel.

*hit happens. It has happened to me in the past and will happen to me in the future. I've had more success using the first approach and thus have learned not to use the second. Perhaps you will get a warmer response from all if you tried the first approach moving forward. Either way, I agree with others that we (MS owners) need to hear about these issues. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I have 3K on mine with ZERO problems. Maybe my time is coming. When it does, I hope I have the calm to follow my own advice.

riceuguy | 01. April 2013

@Mliss - Do please post the document; it would be very handy to have!

mrspaghetti | 01. April 2013

@lola +1

riceuguy | 01. April 2013

@Prash - Yes, this is true. See page 3 of the manual. The idea (I assume) is that if you're just hanging out in the car and don't want to waste power on the displays, etc., you can manually power down as though you're leaving the car.

Brian H | 01. April 2013

Yes, it's always better to be clam, clue, and corrected. ;)

lolachampcar | 01. April 2013

The wrap of Brian or was that wrath, I'm so confused.

Brian H | 01. April 2013

Clams got scruples. (Extra points for identifying source.)

jason_freedman | 01. April 2013

Life of Brian. Sorry just had to....

Thanks for sharing. For what it's worth, I think I saw your car when I was getting a minor fix at the Queens service center today (fixing thumping noise in the hatch).

DTsea | 01. April 2013

prash~ page 3, and the briefing from my DS.

hope this poster's car is ok.

mstubbs | 01. April 2013

I hate to say it but this is why you don't buy the first production model of anything. I really like the fact that these posts are identifying the problems with the car. I will continue to monitor the cars progress. This also provides other manufactures with time to get into the game with something better. Nothing like a little competition to bring the prices down. I love my Ford Focus Electric

Mliss | 01. April 2013

@mstubbs. My car is in service but I can tell you that I don't regret being an early adopter for a second. This car and company is the best on the planet. Easily 5 years ahead of everything else out there. Even with my car in service, if I am in a shopping mall with a tesla showroom, I spend time there telling other perspective customers how awesome it is. Go drive it - you will not regret it. And no - I do not work for tesla and no I don't own tsla stock. I just really love the car

@everyone else thanks for your support, I will post the document shortly and especially once they figure out what went wrong with my p85.

Rhinotyme | 01. April 2013

Sounds like jbm really should have bought a LEAF or Mitsu i.

michaelseda | 01. April 2013

My P85 shut down after 6 miles from leaving the dealership.....bad drive unit. Service jumped through all kinds hoops to fix the car, even overnighting the drive unit. Car is flawless ever since.

These are machines.....machines have problems, just like humans do. I think I see more issues with some of the owners than I do with cars.

gbrody1 | 02. April 2013

i live in toronto
i got the 85kwh tesla s march 7th
i have no charging option at home, and i charge 240 volt 40 am at work
i loos 50 KM each night (30 miles)
software 4.2
i would realy love sleep mode to loose less KM each night
i have 2800km on the car

love the car

prash.saka | 02. April 2013

Thanks riceuguy and DTsea.

jbm | 02. April 2013

Still No prognosis on when car will be ready to own, but got this helpful message that is highly plausible explanation of effect on temp on predicted miles of range shown on display-

Hello John,

My name is Luke and I'm an Ownership Experience Advocate with Tesla. I’m very sorry for the experience you had recently with Model S. I think it would be best to discuss the matter over the phone, so I will give you a call tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I’ve attached your final Purchase Agreement for you to view, as you requested. Also, I’d be happy to submit the request for reimbursement on the parking ticket. Would you be willing to scan it and send it back to me so I can attach it to the request?

Regarding the range loss you experienced from leaving the car overnight—it happens from the temperature loss of the cells during colder nights. The battery temperature will decrease from operating temperature to ambient temperature, causing the range algorithm to read a range loss. However, when you drive the car, the cells return to operating temperature, so the range will adjust back up to accurate assumptions. You will find that range will not drop for the first number of miles (to compensate for the error), then drop off normally after accuracy is regained. We plan to adjust the range algorithm to compensate for ambient temperature in future software updates.

Anyways, I’ll give you a call tomorrow to ensure all is well.

Kind regards,

Luke Sohl | Ownership Experience Advocate
3500 Deer Creek Rd. | Palo Alto, Ca 94304
p 650.681.6180 | 877.79.TESL

Mliss | 04. April 2013 Can you update us on your progress? (That letter is a really bad joke, did you get it on April 1st?). I continue to feel your pain.