First impressions / new owners' driving experience

First impressions / new owners' driving experience

Don't see any thread for discussions from new owners about their Model S. I figure that perhaps those waiting for their car, may enjoy hearing what those of us lucky enough to have our car think about it. No bitching and complaining allowed. I know that we all have ideas for improvement, but there are many threads all ready for that.
Here's your chance to be a armature auto reviewer!
And for the benefit of those who are trying to read delivery date tea leaves, may I suggest the you state your reservation number, vin number and state?

jerry3 | September 29, 2012

There is one here:

TINO F | September 29, 2012

I had an opportunity to drive the Model S this weekend. It was a P85, and it was very fast, and very nice. That being said, I do have 2 real world concerns, but am hoping it was just the vehicle I drove. Being in the Automotive Business, I understand the car is new, but any comments from owners would be appreciated.

The first concern is that I could hear the Pano Roof making a buffeting sound the entire time, and it was closed. The second item is that while my wife drove, and I was in the back seat, the noise from the rear tires was quite loud. The Tesla agent who was very nice, and very knowledgeable agreed with me, and mentioned that he keeps the sound system on so that it was not as prevalent. This drive was in the city, and I can only imagine how this would be at 75mph. Are there any owners out there that can shed some light on this since your in them daily?

jerry3 | September 29, 2012


I'm pretty sure your experience was specific to that car. There were no noises like that in the car I drove at 75 mph with the audio off. You didn't happen to get the VIN number, did you?

walla2 | September 29, 2012

Test drive cars are not really 100% off the line at least not yet. Expect some oddities and variances like the one you described.

brijam | September 29, 2012

I've test driven two different P85s; once at the Get Amped tour and the second time last Friday. Neither Model S had the sound issues you mentioned. Sounds like it was car specific.

Last Friday in addition to driving I also sat in the rear while my wife did a test drive. I definitely didn't notice any unusual noise. The sound of the motor was a little louder in the back seat but even that was quiet.

Brian H | September 29, 2012

Very curious to see if women drivers have any different reactions than men do. What's your wife's "take"?

Tomas | September 30, 2012

Something really interesting happened yesterday, my third day driving my model S.
At first it is all about what a cool electric car it is. Then, all of a sudden,I forget that it was electric. My thoughts were simply on what a cool car it is. Seems so natural and normal. This is the future and it is here now. Way to go Telsa.
Btw, still having trouble with the motion sickness. Not sure if it's the cold I have or the sound of the wheels or sunroof or the air suspension. Hopefully I get used to it.

TINO F | September 30, 2012

We drove the Blue Model S from the Newport Beach store. My wifes take was the same in the Sunroof rumbling, and the tire noise while in the backseat. Sounds like this is not something that the actual owners are saying is going on. Perhaps this is a very early vehicle. I know changes are almost daily on the cars, and excited to hear more from the daily driving owners. Also thinking that the parcel shelf, once available, may cover up some of the rear tire noise as well. Perhaps a drive in a different S is in line. Thanks for the feedback from everyone.

noel.smyth | September 30, 2012

When I gets drove the s in ny (actually north jersey) I for to both drive it and sit in the back when my brother drove his test drive. The stones hitting the inside of the wheel well in the back seat is surely audible. It was the only time in my life that I've heard this. Now it could be that it's because there is so much less other noise in this car but it sure would be nice if it was insulated there. When driving I did not hear it so I am not very concerned about it but I would have thought that it would quieter in the back. Amazing car, can't wait to get mine P6484

petero | November 15, 2012

Sunroof noise. I would appreciate some feedback from “S” owners who have had their cars for a few weeks + or -. Do you hear noise (wind, buffeting , etc) when the roof is closed, also how about rattling?

I ordered the sunroof because I think it looked cool and distinctive, and was a “defining” option. However, my highest priorities are a quiet and smooth ride. Significant noise would be a distraction. So, “is the juice worth the squeeze?”

Please forgive my rudeness. I prefer not to hear from test ride experiences.

TINO F | November 15, 2012

I drove the Blue Model S at the Newport Beach Store, and I did notice a significant buffeting sound. The Rep there agreed, and said he usually keeps the sound system on. I posted this earlier, but felt I upset the tropps by putting it out there. Not the intend, but Tesla has a very low drag coefficiency, and this should be an easy fix. The noise is much worse in the backseat. I also came to learn that there were a significant number of sunroofs, and winsheilds that were not correct, and that would most likely be replaced down the road. I love most everything about the car, and realize that this is a game changing vehicle. That being said, changes to the car will be ongoing. I praise companies that push the limits, and hope to be a part of solution in taking many manufacturers back to the drawing board.

MandL | November 15, 2012

I've got 2K miles and about five weeks on my S and have never had any noise from the roof while closed.

Rod and Barbara | November 15, 2012

@ petero - After 3 months and 3000 miles, we have no noise from our pano roof when the roof is closed. If there is noise coming from a closed pano roof there is a problem with the roof that needs to be fixed by Tesla.

TINO F | November 15, 2012

This is great to hear. Thanks for sharing MandL, Rod and Barbara.
Sounds like the fix is handled.

joepruitt | November 15, 2012

About 1000 miles in and no sound from my pano roof. Granted, I haven't opened/closed it much due to the weather up here in Seattle.

William13 | November 15, 2012

No "roof" noise or car wind noise but I can hear trucks easier through the glass than I expect the solid roof would transmit. I prefer the head room as the car was designed to have the pano roof. I have anxiety about long term use but won't know the answer for several years.

bfranks273 | November 15, 2012

Over 1K miles and I do not notice any roof noise when closed. Have you noticed a sharp whistle just upon opening if you are moving at speed? But that's all.

William13 | November 15, 2012

Yes to the sharp whistle when openning at speed. It startled me. By the way I think the aging of the roof is related mostly to the number of opening/closing cycles and any trash accumulation in the seal area rather than milage per se.
I agree with others who posit that the car is so quiet that they notice the wind more. Driving on Chicago Interstates I thought that the car let in a lot of noise from the trucks around me, but the noises went away when I was passing other trucks on less busy roads.
The rear wheel well issue of rock noise I hope to never experience.

TikiMan | November 15, 2012

Anyone try and save their 'favorites' when on the web? I can't get it to show me my 'favs' after I save them, and the 'fav' screen is blank?

Otherwise, how long should it take to unplug the charging cable after you push the charging-cable release switch? Mine turns to a solid blue color, and I hear a clicking sound, but it won't release the lock. After about thirty seconds, it finally goes to white color, and unlocks, so I can unplug it. (Does this sound correct?) Also, still heard the clicking sound until I shut the charger-port door?

dahtye | November 15, 2012

No wind noise from my pano roof but I do notice that the car interior is cold and stays cold even if I have the heat turned up high - I think it's the glass roof (thermal mass that's cold) staying cold and pulling the cold into the car whereas a metal roof would have a roof liner and maybe some insulation.

Regarding the charging cable, mine unlocks within 1 to 2 seconds consistently.

My favorites for music seem to stick. I haven't tried the web favorites yet.

dahtye | November 15, 2012

Now, speaking about first impressions (I've driven mine for about 1100 miles so far over 2.5 weeks)....

I like how we can choose what shows up on the speedometer display left and right areas. Also, the Nav shows up in that area so I don't need to keep looking down at the large screen (and I don't need to have NAV maps open on the large screen).

Here's a few others that I like:
- The Ambient interior lighting - it's a nice touch.
- LED map lights are pinpoint so rear passengers can have them on without disturbing my driving (other cars may have this already, but it's new to me).
- When turning a corner, a side light turns on to light the area that I'm turning into (again, other high end cars probably have this already)
- I can load a USB flash drive with music and play it from the console screen - even the album art shows up!
- Music from my iPhone sounds great over Bluetooth (in stereo).
- The charging cable has its own bag and place to store it in the trunk
- That cavern beneath the trunk area that can conceal items - it's quite large and good for heavy items so the cornering ability of the car is not compromised

I think there's many more, but this is what comes to mind quickly.

Brian H | November 15, 2012

The heating thing sounds wrong. Get a service check.

Robert22 | November 15, 2012

I take it all the seals are tight on the panoroof and steady rain hasn't presented any leaks or concerns?

Robert22 | November 15, 2012

Ack.....the prior comment was directed @joepruitt or others.

Peter Spirgel | November 16, 2012

I've had my car for 11 days and around 600 miles. Last night I experienced my first instance of pixilation on the dash. Reset the dash using the two upper buttons on the steering wheel and the issue was gone when the dash came back on. The car did not seem to allow the dash to reset until the car was in park. I've read that both the touch screen and the dash can be reset on the fly. Perhaps in my case the delay coincided with me reaching my destination?

I continue to have problems getting my iPhone to sync with the car. It works for a while then stops paring. Resetting the touch screen seems to solve this problem but Tesla, assuming you are reading this, I think based on other owner experiences reported, you should investigate why this is happening.

I have a rattle that has developed. Have not pinpointed the cause yet. When I do, I will report the location.

Things I love other that the obvious (car's looks performance and oh yeh, the no gas thing!!!):
the ergonomics are fantastic. Easy to operate, logical and responsive. Charging is easy. I use a NEMA 14-50 at home and get 27 miles an hour of range and a J1772 charging station at work that charges a a rate of 18 miles per hour.

The chargepoint app on my iPhone works great and even tells me when my car Is full. As previously posted, my only caution is that when traveling, investigate charging locations in advance because I've found the information regarding charging locations on the various apps (chargepoint, recharge, plug share) are not always accurate.

One last comment regarding range -both rated and projected. Most of my driving is local and my projected range is much lower when I start each day after fully charging (not using max range mode when charging so battery does not fully charge) then I thought it would be. Car shows projected range each morning of 185 and rated range of 235. Is this what other people are experiencing?

I get very close to the rated range on the highway at highway speeds (for me around 73mph on average). That's much better than I expected. I expected the opposite - namely, higher range with local driving and worse range with highway driving.

vouteb | November 16, 2012

no wind noise here in the UK


dahtye | November 16, 2012

I've noticed the projected range is much lower as well for my daily driving (2 miles of city driving then 17 miles of highway driving). The city driving chews up projected range fast due to start and stops (the stops don't regen enough to compensate for the energy used to start moving). So, if I reset my projected range after a standard charge, the project and rated range will be approx 240 miles. Projected miles drops to about 210 very quickly - approx. by the time I'm at highway speeds on the freeway. I recover some of that project range while driving on the freeway but seldom does it completely compensate for the city driving over the 17 miles of highway driving.

I did, however, find that my driving method has a huge effect on projected range. On a long trip, I was able to keep projected range fairly close to rated range.

I estimate that rated range seems to average about 300W/mile. My driving style varies, but since I got the car about 3 weeks ago, my average is about 335W/mile (this includes A/C, Heater, audio, lights, etc.). So, for range, I would "derate" by about 11% on average. Tnstead of 240 miles range on a standard charge, I'm expecting 215 miles range based on my driving habits. I could probably eek out more range if I change my habits, but I would do that only if I had to.

dahtye | November 16, 2012

@Brian, yea, I'll need to have that checked. I'm also a bit sensitive the cold too. The seat heaters work very well though.

Brian H | November 16, 2012

Yes, you should be able to eke out more cabin heat before you have to say, "Eek, my nose froze!"


dahtye | November 16, 2012

Hey, I just learned something. I had no idea the difference. Thanks!

STEVEZ | November 16, 2012

I've had no problems with rattles or whistles from the (closed) pano roof in my first 1500 miles. The wind noise/buffeting does start to become noticeable above about 90 mph, though. ;-)

I was doing a posted 75 mph on the highway last night when I became aware of a loud roaring noise that I couldn't locate or identify. It seemed to be coming from everywhere, and nowhere. Then I spotted an afterburner trail through the top of the windshield: it was an F-16 launching over my head from Buckley ANG.

sergiyz | November 17, 2012

You're doing pretty well then, my average (about 1,400 miles now) is about 380Wh/mile.
The best I've seen is about 4miles per kWh, the worst is around 2miles per kWh.

I've now seen pixelation about 3-4 times, pretty much any time I use navigation.
I was able to reset the instrument panel in-flight.
That was not enough to fix the navi though, had to reset the main console/screen as well both times.
They do need to fix it, it's definitely a bug.

MB3 | November 17, 2012

Brian is always good for grammar lessons. Next to talking about our cars what else would we come here for?

snowmass4 | November 17, 2012

Can any owners comment on long term seat comfort? Ergonomically is the seat comfortable for a two hour stretch? Obviously not an easy question to address on my ten minute test drive.

Andrew18 | November 17, 2012

My drivers door handle slid out but did not open the door. Later that day it worked fine, but I needed to open it up from the inside by crawling in the back door. I have only had the car 3 days. All else fine.

portia | November 17, 2012

no wind noise from pano roof or elsewhere!
I did notice noise when you open the sunroof while driving, butonce opened it is pretty quiet.
but I usually drive with it closed.
I have not seen pixelaion on the screens
front seats are comfortale in long drives, no backseat experience for long trips.

sergiyz | November 17, 2012


I had this on the front passenger door, tesla replaced the handle and sensor.

The seats are very comfy, been driving for 4 hours a couple of days, at least 2 of them without a break - no problems whatsoever.

dahtye | November 17, 2012

I agree, the seats are very comfy. Took a 2 hr trip last week and had no issues. I like the lumbar support - works well and is adjustable both in strength (i.e. how much) as well as height.

Seat heaters are great on cold days.

@sergiyz, it actually takes some patience to get a low watts/mile average. After I posted my long term results above, I started driving a bit more spirited and now my long term average is around 350 watts/mile. I have a feeling that I won't be able to sustain below 340 w/m since the car is just too fun to drive!

Brian H | November 18, 2012

Yeah, the only real reason to worry about W/mi. is long range driving, hypermiling it. Cost and "incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons" from goosing it no longer apply! :)

robert27 | November 18, 2012

I have been driving the car back and forth to work for two weeks. About 60-80 miles per day. I'm speechless--still. The numbers you read about just dont do the experience justice. The lack of sound and vibration combined with the low center of gravity and acceleration characteristics make for a very unique driving experience. My commute will never be the same. Its almost like a drug.

dpann | November 18, 2012

I've had the car for about a week know and all I can say is amazing. Performance and handle are the best I've ever driven before. I'm not a car expert, but I've had BMW 540,Audi A6 and this car blows them away. There are a couple of issues.

1) There is some left over glue around the rubber seal of the sunroof.
2) The breaks squeak/hum when I press of them hard at the end of breaking. I spoke to Tesla and they said this is normal, since the high performance breaks don't get used that much. Could take 5000 miles to break it, but Tesla is looking into the issue. They suggest I bring the car in to check that my noise is normal.
3) the charge port door is a little picky and sometimes I need to open it from inside the car.

The are lots of software updates they need, but they will come. I also got an RV extension cord and am using it and the mobile charger to charge the car during the day, but over night I just use the mobile charger.

The technology package is great, love the streaming internet. I also copied music to a usb drive and have been playing music off that.

kent | November 18, 2012

After 1030 miles my average consumption is 362 wh/mi. I've given about 12 test rides showing full acceleration each time. Drove on the highway yesterday and obtained 302 wh/mi for a 20 mile trip.

Extremely pleased with the Model S.

Signature #121 - Performance

joepruitt | November 18, 2012

@Robert22 - No issues at all with the seals on the pano roof and with the non-stop rain lately here in Seattle, I've been perfectly dry!


dahtye | November 18, 2012

Just today I noticed the windshield wipers going on when I open the driver's door. This didn't happen before. But then I noticed that I had left the windshield wiper lever in the "rain detect" position. I wonder if this is related. I've since changed the setting to off and will see if I have the issue.

I also had the issue of not being able to open the drive's door from outside. The handle came out but pulling on the handle did not unlatch the door.

These two issues occured at the same time. This was the first time I had to use the keyfob to get into the car once the door handles didn't work. All other times, I waited a few more seconds and was able to unlatch the door by a slight tug on the door handle.

dpann | November 20, 2012

Went down to the Menlo Park service center to have my brakes looked at and some interior spots cleaned.

1) Those guys are great...
2) The humming on the breaks is normal. Since the breaks don't get used that much (regen) they don't break in or heat up enough. I turned regen low and the sound went away after a few miles.
3) I also found out the chargpoint antenna is in the rear window, not near the charge port. I was having problems opening the chareport with the mobile cord since I was pointing it at the charge port. They told me to hold the cable chest high and aim it at the rear window. The door will open.

I took some guys out for a test ride on 280 in CA. They were blown away.