A few impressions

A few impressions

Hello everyone,

My car VIN# 467 was delivered on October 26 at the factory. Thoroughly enjoying the car, feel like I am part of the future when I am in the car. Simply Awesome!

I was gone for more than a week in the middle, and here are a few issues I noticed so far, and what I was told by the service guys at Menlo Park Store.

1. Car pulls to the right from day #1. Probably an alignment issue. Service says alignment is something that Menlo Park does not do, they either send it someone else or back to Fremont, and to take care of it, they need an entire day. Sounds like a little inefficient.
2. Ambient lights buzz. Service says that is a known problem, when you set display brightness at below 90%. If it is set at 90% or above, the buzzing goes away. They are looking into solving the problem.
3. Bluetooth - Music from the phone (I tried a couple of different phones) cuts out intermittently. Phone functionality, on the other hand, is almost unusable. Multiple calls to multiple people ending up in other people not hearing me consistently. Service says, they have not heard of it, but will discuss with engineers.
4. Media - Surprised to see video on internet is completely disabled (not just when the car is moving).
5. Music from phone - If the car is playing the music on the phone before I turned off the car, turning back the car on does not resume the music play from the phone. I will have to press multiple things for the car to start playing music again. Most of the other cars resume the play when I come back to it.
6. Mute - There is no mute button anywhere on the screen. Probably easy to add to the volume up and down control at the bottom right. Yes, pressing the left scroll wheel works, but why not on the screen as well?
7. Door handles - Door handles actually work pretty well. Reading about them before I got the car, I thought they would be gimmicky and irritating, but I have been pleasantly surprised how nice they are and how well they worked. A few times, I have noticed that the door handles extend but the doors could not be opened. Not knowing what else to do, I had to fish the key out of my pocket, lock and unlock the doors using the key. Seemed to fix the problem. There is one irritant, however. When I walk up to the car, I usually want to throw my back pack in the back seat. I can't just press on the door handle on the rear door, probably because the car wasn't unlocked yet. I will have to press on the front door handle, and then open the rear door. Same is the case with unplugging the charge cable.
8. Range - Surprised to see the new range on a standard/full charge is 230/270. Not 260/300. More importantly, I can't seem to get rated and projected close to each other. The best I could do was within 35 miles to each other. Most of the time, in the morning, with the rated range being 234, the projected range is typically less than 200. Even if I understand why this is, it just bothers me that 300 mile range car I bought, in practice, really gives me something below 200. I am not sure if I can get to Los Angeles from San Francisco even if I stop at Harris Ranch for one hour on the way for Super Charging!
9. Charging - I charged the car over a Saturday night (230 mile rated range at the time). Sunday morning, I unplugged the car, and left on a trip. I came back six days later Saturday morning to find the range below 150. A little surprised that it is so low. As I was about to drive, there was a warning saying that air is low in the tires. Checked all four tires, none of them were flat. I also noticed that there are two dashed lines on the dial in the dash. It seems like one of the lines is similar to the one you see when you MaxCharge the car, it is limiting the amount of regen. The second one, I have not seen before, is around 160kW line. it seemed like it wanted to limit the power I can use to drive the car. Worried about the low tire pressure, I did not drive the car hard at all, and the tire pressure warning went away after a little bit of driving. I also could swear I saw projected range is higher than rated range. But, that reversed soon after.

The explanation for the last one was, it was cold that day, and therefore, I got the air low warning, not a big deal. But the two dashed lines do not make any sense at all. The service guys didn't have any idea. I got the advice that I should have taken a picture of it so that they can see what I was talking about. I DO travel a lot and I usually leave my car at the long term parking where there are no chargers. I don't want to come back to a car with bunch of problems. Service simply advised me to leave the car plugged in when I travel, because the car does a lot of things while it is not being driven. A-little-hard-to-swallow explanation!

As I am rereading this message, it sounds negative. I want to make sure that everyone understands how thoroughly impressed I am with the car. For being the first model of their lot, the fit and finish is excellent. The car drives extremely well, with hardly any annoyances. The purpose of the above list is to inform each other and learn from each other.

Any insights into any of these issues will be very helpful.

Mel. | 14 November 2012

Mohan, are you really getting an ambient light buzz? Could this buzz be from something else? Did adjusting the ambient light eliminate the buzz.? Thanks in advance. I appreciate your post

Peter Spirgel | 14 November 2012

I also just notified Tesla of the ambient light buzz. I agree with Mohan's comment #7 re door handles it would be nice if the rear door would open if you have the fob with you. Love the car!

portia | 14 November 2012

Tesla advises to leave the car plugged in all the time when not in use. I suppose it would be hard if you leave it (I am not sure I would leave it in airport parking) in long term parking, the manual says 1% battery per day drained when not plugged in or in use. What you saw definitely is a lot more than 1% per day. Hmm.

I too found that when I approach the car, and push the back door handle, it does not open. So I have been opening the driver's door first, and then open the back door, to put stuff in the back (not trunk)
or to manually push the keyfob to unlock.

I don't have problem #1 or #2, I have seen bluetooth phone not connecting automatically at times.

I too wish it will remember where it was in the music (on USB) when I switch to radio and back, it does not remember where it was on the USB, shouldn't be that hard. The USB drive had stayed in the whole time, it should know that.

Not surprised to see video disabled in the web browser!

Great car! Everyone who sees it loves it, those who got to ride it love it even more!

Michael32 | 14 November 2012

love the car (VIN 837) - have noticed that the brakes squeak a bit as I come to a complete stop. More than typical brake noise in a car. anyone having this issue?

dschulner | 14 November 2012

I am Vin 308. I've had my car for a week now. I don't have any of Mohan's issues. In fact after a week of driving my projected range surpassed my rated range. If you play music via Bluetooth it picks up exactly where it left off. I haven't even bothered with a USB. Sorry you are having issues. The car is insane.

DrJ | 14 November 2012

Vin 809. Have the ambient light buzz also. Just turned it off. Told by service it is a bad capacitor and that they have found a new vendor and will be fixing the rest of our cars. Wipers also flip whenever I open the car. They said theyll look into it. Car also loses significant percent, even plugged in (weird). Meaning 242 when goings bed, 236 when I wake up.
O/w love the car. People always asking about, especially now the MT article is out. This car is the future.

mohan | 14 November 2012

Mel: Yes, it is definitely buzz from ambient lights. The buzz goes away when you turn off the ambient lights.

Michael: Yes, I have the brake noise as well. I talked to the service guys, and they mentioned that it was because Model S drivers rarely use the brakes, therefore, the pads develop some glaze which causes the squeaking. Only way to get rid of it is by hard braking many times, but it will come back after a few days.

I also hear other noise, most of the time when I am slowing down to a stop. it is like something is moving mechanically and stopping. The service guy said, it is probably the automatic leveling of the suspension. But, it is kind of creepy to hear this loud noise in a very quiet car, along with squeaky brakes.

Phone always connects to bluetooth automatically. But, the music does not start playing. I will have to go into media player, choose the phone, and press play for it to start playing. When it starts playing, it does resume from where it left off. And the music breaks up a lot.


Michael23 | 14 November 2012

It doesn't remember you were in USB mode when you get back in? That's too bad I thought it would resume music when you opened the door. I kinda expected worse range which is why I think you need the biggest battery.

Michael32 | 14 November 2012

I have the wiper issue as well - when I open the car the wipers swipe once.

Volker.Berlin | 15 November 2012

A big thank you to all of you guys! Please don't stop nagging Tesla with these kinds of issues, such that most of them will be resolved before they finally ship cars to Europe...! :-)

steven.maes | 15 November 2012

+1 Volker :-)

vouteb | 15 November 2012

+! Volker!

The car seems great (but not perfect)

Brian H | 15 November 2012

Yeah, the entire NA market as guinea pigs and beta testers for EU! I guess 6-9 mo. or so delay is mostly compensated for by that. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, though, as usual!

Mark Z | 15 November 2012

The service center mentioned to me that everyone reporting alignment issues are all pulling to the right. They refused to do an alignment until approved revised settings are received for the alignment rack.

AC compressor causes vibration when the vehicle is in park. Quick fix is to turn the climate "switch" off.

The solar windshield has a perfect light rose or warm tint. I just wish the side windows were the same instead of green. Very noticeable when sightseeing on a bright sunny day.

Sudre_ | 15 November 2012

Curious about the loss in charge while sitting. Is it just the estimated miles or the SOC? Does the car show the SOC or just rated miles? If you plug the car into a 120 volt outlet at the lowest power setting does it maintain the charge? I have circled many parking lots and parking garages and usually find a 120 volt plug I can park near.

I remember a thread somewhere from long ago that the battery will equalize in charge within a week. I think it was in the Roadster manual. If unplugged the battery SOC drops to 50% within a week then 1% each day afterward. . . . .or something like that.

Timo | 15 November 2012

120 volt plug anywhere is enough to start charging (slowly).

This is from Roadster manual:
"When fully charged, the Battery’s charge level can drop as much as 7% a day and 50% within the first week. When the Battery’s charge level falls below 50%, the rate of decline slows down to approximately 5% per week."

7% out of 56kWh is 3920Wh / 24h = 163W.

IIRC Model S battery self-discharges slower.

Theresa | 15 November 2012

As a Roadster owner I can refute the owner's manual statement. I am sure that was put in early when they really weren't sure how quickly it would drop in charge state. My experience shows that even 5% per week is a bit high. My experience is closer to 2%.

Getting Amped Again | 15 November 2012

@DrJ - I think a fully charged battery will show different ranges depending on the battery temperature. My bet is that your battery was colder in the morning than when you went to bed, but considered itself "fully charged" both times.

Chris DC | 15 November 2012

The issue of idle power drain is real and has been addressed over at TMC:

To summarize, oweners are reporting a significant drop in indicated range when the car has not been used for some time. It appears to be in the range of at least 8% per day. Calculated power use of the model S is about 120W when not in use.

TM is aware of this issue and, according to the ownership experience team, is working on a firmware update. I hope this will solve this issue. We all need to be able to park our new toy for days (or weeks) and still be able to drive home when coming back. (Plugging in will not help since the model S apparently does not do an auto top-off).

On a separate note, they also said that the auto extending handles (with the tech package) are coming back!

hammy16 | 15 November 2012

Driving home at dusk yesterday my headlights did not come on when set on Auto. Is there a way to make the automatic setting more sensitive? It was not a matter of needing them on to see the road, but rather wanting them on to be seen by others as I was driving north on Highway 280.

William13 | 15 November 2012

Hammy16, have the DRL (daytime running lights)set to "on" so that others can see you day and night.

dahtye | 16 November 2012

I've had the audio drop out issue when listening to all types of audio: iPhone, USB, FM Radio, Slacker. The drop out seems somewhat random and lasts for between half a second and one second.

This almost sounds like some type of buffer over/under flow. I imagine it can be fixed by a s/w upgrade (they will need to 'tune' the size of the payload they take off the originating device to their buffer sizes. For FM radio, they may be digitizing and then sending to a DSP, so the issue could be in the DSP section.

Teoatawki | 24 November 2012

I've seen the dashed lines. I've seen the power limit line both when the SOC is getting low and when the battery pack is cold. I've seen the regen limit (and even regen disabled warning) also when the pack is cold,

I'm in Minneapolis this week, and there are no hotels with chargers. The parking garage where I'm staying doesn't even have 120V outlets. This morning (23 degrees in the garage) was the second time the regen disabled showed up.