24 Hours in a Model S!

24 Hours in a Model S!

Last week was my last week at a company I've worked at for the last four years. While I've grown to have some disagreements with management, I've established some great relationships and many folks there were sad to see me go. As a "parting gift," a bunch of my (now former) co-workers chipped in and got me the best present I can imagine: 24 hours in a Model S!

They "kidnapped" me from my house, blindfolded me, and drove me for 45 minutes or so. Along the way, I was guessing at what we might be doing -- skydiving, go-cart racing, and I even guessed test-driving a Tesla. Then, they walked me into a quiet building. When they removed the blindfold, I saw it: a pearl white Model S P85.

I was literally jumping for joy. Then, blew my mind: it was mine for 24 hours!

The place was Club Sportiva in San Jose; they do rentals of all kinds of exotics (think Ferrari, Rolls Royce, etc.).

So first, the rental agreement: they do contact your insurance company to verify insurance, and they make a hefty pre-authorization on a credit card. And they have a pretty hard limit on miles. A standard rental comes with 100 miles, and my friends had pre-purchased another 100 for me. If you go beyond your pre purchased mileage, the penalty is steep -- $5 / mile.

But given that the rated range of the standard charge battery is 240, and given that I knew I'd be driving it pretty hard, I realized that 200 miles would be fine.

Now, the car: what can I say that can't already be said? I had ultra-high expectations given everything I've read here, and it did not disappoint. This was a performance 85 with everything but the jump seats. I forgot to look at the VIN, but I noticed that the registration date was 12/26.

The acceleration is absolutely other-worldly; as one of my friends said, "It's like a spaceship." He was totally right: the jaw dropping force, absent a roaring ICE, just seems like alien technology.

The display is amazing. My co-workers and I are all software product managers; after playing with the display for a few minutes, one of my former employees said in awe "This is the kind of product I want to manage!"

I did some good highway runs (the 60 to 90 acceleration is absolutely perfection), took my wife out for a lovely evening, and had the car back on time the next morning (with 20 miles to spare!). I loved the feel, the handling, and full-regen. Rear camera is great, and I actually thought the visibility was just fine. I did notice some distortion at the bottom of the windshield but it didn't bother me at all.

The car did have one flaw, and it's one I've read about here: the back speakers were really, really weak. I think last I read there was a software problem (like it was playing 2 channel music at 5.1) -- has there been an update?

And now I've driven a Tesla. It has really made a dilemma for me; I had pretty much talked myself out of getting one (mostly due to the electrical infrastructure work we'd have to do on our house, and we won't necessarily be in it for all that long)...but driving that car was amazing. So we are talking about it again.

And, for anyone out there who would like an extended test drive, I HIGHLY recommend Club Sportiva. Yes, it is pricey (I think my friends paid something like $800). But this is a far cry from a 10 minute test drive; this is a chance to take the car wherever you want, see if it fits in your garage, see how it feels to park, you name it. You get to experience the Tesla grin, you get to see the looks people give you at stop lights, the whole deal. And they treat you like a total VIP.

Of course, it's also a great present, as I can attest!

ddruz | March 9, 2013

Congrats Oaktowner! What a wonderful gift. I hope you can see a way to get one for yourself. Great post. Thanks.

CQN | March 9, 2013

Tesla grin! Experienced it myself during my drive test...crazy!

Runar | March 9, 2013

I am saving my first Tesla grin intil my car arrives in july;-) its hard, but i think it will be worth it. Or, it will be just to hard to only get a short taste, and then have to wait 4-5 months for more;-)

Brian H | March 9, 2013

So, MS is hitting the rental market here! It would be useful to have a list or map of locations, as that develops.

jat | March 9, 2013

Is it really that much electrical work to be able to charge? Even 30A@240V is plenty to charge overnight for daily use.

johan S 12 | March 9, 2013

I had to privilege to drive the same Model S from Sportiva for 6 days in late January.
Great experience.
We made a seamless trip of about 600 miles; except for one problem. After 3 days the roof suddenly blocked.
Did you notice anything?

cb9 | March 9, 2013

That is awesome - last year my boyfriend joined me for a weekend in NoCal (I was there two consecutive weeks for business) and he had Club Sportiva deliver a Porsche for the weekend trip to Sonoma - at the end of the weekend, he said it was worth it because he didn't like the car enough to spend six figures on it (good to know!!)

The guy who delivered the car explained that it really is a Club of high end car owners who rent out their personal cars through them. The thing that was the scariest about the rental agreement was that if car got dinged, you had to pay the daily rental rate for the time it takes for the repair. If more than two weeks, you are buying the car... So we figured not much chance for getting a franchise here in the lawyer-ridden DC area.

Oaktowner | March 9, 2013

Johan: the pano roof worked fine for me; wonder if they had it fixed. Did you notice anything about the back speakers being weak? I hope the weekly rate offers a discount over the daily!

jat - the thing is, I have an older house and would probably need a new box. Not only that, but with our electrical costs in Northern California, I would either need to put in a solar system or a separate meter (to use the special EV rate) -- but given a house that's already worth far less than what I paid for it in 2006, neither is appealing.

It does make me want to move, though! My new job is in Mountain View, so if it works out well I may consider a move to shorten the commute at some point.

ghillair | March 9, 2013


Congrats sounds like a great day.

I think your logic is backwards. If you get a model S you should be looking at moving to get a longer commute, not shorter. Everbody that has already gotten the car says they go out of their way to take the long way home.

Oaktowner | March 9, 2013

@ghillair: LOL. I will try that logic on my wife!

@nnt - thanks.

shop | March 9, 2013

I'm skeptical that you would need a new electrical box. Can you post a picture of your panel? There are usually things you can do like get double ganged breakers to make more spots for a new breaker. Also if there are breakers for loads you don't use (like a dryer plug, but you have a gas dryer), you can just unhook that load. A hack, but it isn't unsafe, and it will work.

Captain_Zap | March 9, 2013

Your story is fabulous. It is fun to re-live those first moments of being shocked that the car exceeds ones already very high expectations.

You asked about the rear speakers. The rear speaker power is definitely weak in my car. I have not figured out if it is a issue particular car's amps or the software. I'm going to have service go through it with me. Some people don't seem to have a problem with it. I definitely do. I have a car that was delivered earlier than the one you drove so it might be fixed in newer cars.

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Make sure Dolby is off.

Dripps | May 22, 2013

+1 Brian H, My rear speakers sound OFF if the Dolby is on. I turned off Dolby and it's much better. I think this is an issue they are working on but they don't have a fix yet. I've had the car since September.