Model S as a daily driver?

Model S as a daily driver?

I've placed a deposit on a Model S (60 kW, 19" wheels, leather) and I'm reading as much as I can about the car before I finalize my configuration and purchase.

Interestingly, on the Tesla Motors club forum, there are 100's of pages regarding mechanical glitches. Because I live in Savannah, GA, well away from any dealerships, I won't have the opportunity to do a test drive, so I'm buying the car on faith. To do so, I'm getting rid of my Porsche Cayman (my "fun" car: truly a marvel of engineering and handling) and my current daily driver, a 2010 Prius, which I'll give to my eldest daughter who's returning from a year of teaching in China. I've had 4 Priuses over the last 10 years and loved them all.

Since I'm so far from the nearest Tesla service center (Atlanta, GA is 240 miles away) I'm concerned about service. I'm told that service "rangers" will come to me with a loaner in the event of a problem. The simplicity of the electric drivetrain should lead to almost zero maintenance, but I am concerned about the multiple reports of glitches on this and other forums.

Can other owners who perhaps live in a similar situation, well away from a Tesla dealership or service center, comment on my situation? Is it reasonable to depend upon a Tesla as a daily driver? My commute to work is only 8 miles, and I don't plan on using it for long trips--for that, I'll use my wife's SUV.

TommyBoy | July 30, 2013

You've got to remember that they've sold 20,000+ of the Model S in the past year. These forums are like hospitals - if you walk around a hospital and peek in every room you'll come away thinking "Holy moly! Every SINGLE PERSON IN THIS PLACE IS SICK!!!!!"

There are most likely thousands upon thousands of owners without problems.

It's a new car company and a new car. The old adage was to never purchase a first-year model of any type of vehicle and that was from established automakers. The theory was that they would work all the kinks out after that initial year of manufacturing.

I'm taking the leap. I love that car and every week that I don't get to drive it is a week less of joy.

Bighorn | July 30, 2013

I've had a Cayman S and Prius and my TMS blows them away. I'm 425 miles from service, though I'd gotten used to that scenario with my Porsche and BMW. Tesla's rangers have made that problem moot. I also had the new car dropped off by my house while I had to drive 400+ miles to pick up my other cars. Tesla's emphasis on service after the sale is second to none, except maybe Rolls Royce. Perfect car for a daily driver--you can easily get by with a 110V service, though if you're like me, you'll run down the battery showing it off to curious friends.

jbunn | July 30, 2013

I sold both of my ICE vehicles, and it's our only car now. High wire, no net. So far so good. And we like long trips. Just got back day before yesterday from our third 750 mile trip.

FYI - remember though that folks come to report an issue. There are far far more people that have no issues that never report on that.

Overtime, Tesla will be building out more service centers, so you won't be in the wilderness forever.

bfranks273 | July 30, 2013

It absolutely is fine as a daily driver. I have had mine since Sept and at no time has it stopped me from going anywhere. I am closer to service center (30 mins) but I dont feel that makes any difference. I dont mean to say you wont have glitches, but I just wanted to relay that my confidence is very high.

dyarmoff | July 30, 2013

I got my car 2 weeks ago and am up to 1200 miles. I commute 120 miles per day round trip, so I'm banking on it all going well too, for years to come.

What I'd do for an 8 mile one way commute! Then again, the reason I got the car was to pile miles on it, as the cost save vs gas is terrific, and the savings obviously compound the more miles are put on it.

Enjoy your car!

Anonymous | July 30, 2013

Great analogy TommyBoy, I've never seen that one.

Mathew98 | July 30, 2013

@Windsurfer - I have been driving my MS60 for six weeks. This is my daily joy ride (about 30 miles round trip). I've taken one long trip in my backup hybrid so far.

As far as service is concern, the folks at the various SC have been wonderful according to all the threads in the forum.

Most of the glitches were reported from the earlier production batches. The latest deliveries have incorporated fixes from the aforementioned batches. The issues with pano roof, loud LCD fan noise, 12V DC battery, softer hood, and a host of other earlier production issues have been resolved. Mine even came with a tinted rear lift gate window.

And if you do find any issues with your MS, the SC will fix it to your satisfaction. Just make sure you reserve a loaner before any repairs.

CHARGER01 | July 30, 2013

Windsurfer: I have a model S 60, 19 in wheels, PANO and leather with 952 miles. I have not had a single problem with the car. It's extremely fast and very reliable. Drives like a dream. Mine was delivered with less than 1 mile on the car.

jackhub | July 30, 2013

I am about 280 miles from nearest service center. My Model S is a daily driver and it is great! When it first arrived (in January by covered truck to my driveway) I had a problem with the key fobs. They did not work. A ranger came to my house and cleared things up. While here he gave the car a once over to be certain everything was shipshape.

TommyBoy | July 30, 2013

Tezzla: Great analogy TommyBoy, I've never seen that one.

Probably not mine. I'm sure I stole it from one of the forums I've been known to frequent over the past decade!

Doug H | July 30, 2013

I live in Lithonia, GA (Atlanta) and have had my MS (60kw,pano,19",leather,tech,blue) since June 21st. It just turned 5,000 miles as I pulled into Chicago on my first road trip. It was an adventure, but I made the trip in a little over 2 days.

I've been back to the Marrietta Service Center three times. Twice to pick up adapters and once to charge on the first leg of this trip. I have literally had no problems with the exception of people screaming out of their windows on the expressway to ask me what kind of car I'm driving.

My Yukon XL blew a head gasket on the day my MS arrived in Atlanta. My MS is my only car and I love it. I had a 50 amp outlet installed in my garage and I charge every night there. I also have a 50 amp circuit at work.

I told my wife when I order it that I was going to be the smartest guy on the block or the dumbest. I'm feeling pretty smart right now.

hamer | July 30, 2013

It is fine that you're buying the car on faith without a test drive because there is no store near you, but compared to the price of the car, the price of airfare to and from a location that does have a store so that you can test drive it is trivial.

That's like someone who doesn't want to pay the relatively inexpensive price to get on Angie's List to check out a roofer before paying the roofer thousands of dollars.

Windsurfer | July 30, 2013

Thanks for all the responses.

Hamer, you're right, I'm thinking about hopping a plane to Miami (actually, two planes, since there's no direct flights) and checking out the Teslas there. But then again, since I've already made the emotional leap of faith to buy the car, part of me says just buy it on faith!

TommyBoy | July 30, 2013

Plus I'm telling you you're going to love the car after the test drive so why incur the extra expense of a flight!!!!

riceuguy | July 30, 2013

I live close to a service center, but after 3 months and 3000 miles I have only been there once, and only for items that easily could have waited for a long time. So far the car has been pretty much flawless (knock on first update last night and haven't tried it since!) as a daily driver, and is by far the best car I've ever owned. By far.

bigbit | July 30, 2013

Well you'll run the risc of a major Tesla psychososis (just read that topic on this forum if you are not familiar with the expression). It's what i'm suffering from since my testdrive in may...


jb2510 | July 30, 2013

Windsurfer, Congrats on the purchasing the Model S. I too am in Savannah and looking at the Model X for my wife.

First, there is a SuperCharger station coming to Savannah by the end of the year and there should be one in Jacksonville sooner than that. Both the website and Sales Rep verified it.

Second, We where lucky enough to be in Nashville TN this weekend where Tesla was giving test drives at Third Man Records and got 2 test drives. My son went first and I went second. Our wives and the Tesla rep also went along.

For those that don't know, TMR is Jack White's (musician, actor, marketing genius) location for retail, recording, and concert venue in downtown Nashville. Jack owns 1 (or perhaps 2) Tesla Model S's and is a big fan of Tesla; the car and the man.

On the drive we were definitely NOT disappointed. We drove the Model S85+P. It was a short drive of mostly downtown with traffic but we had a short highway segment with a couple of on-ramps where you could put your foot down. With 5 not-so-small people in the car the acceleration was still truly awesome. We couldn't really test the handling and the +P is setup differently than the standard Model S.

Hope yo see you driving around town. (Funny thing is that I saw my first Tesla Model S on the highway just south of Atlanta on Thursday on our way north.

AmpedRealtor | July 30, 2013

I've never test driven and have no problem committing. Imagine my surprise... :)

Docrob | July 30, 2013

Interestingly I went on a Porsche forum and their were hundreds of pages about mechanical issues, then imagine m astonishment when I found the same thing on a Mazda forum, a GM forum, a Ford forum, a Kia forum and a Toyota forum. The only thing one can clearly take away from this is that there has never been a single car anywhere that worked....or that in looking at a forum you are seeing a severe selection bias of the people who have had trouble. How many people do you think who have a perfectly functional car go to a forum and say "no problems to report"? I would also say that the "hundreds of pages" are actually a few dozen reported problems with hundreds of replies, and the vast majority if you troll through them have a post at some point from the OP along the lines "Tesla sorted the whole thing out, even had a P85 Model S loaner whilst they did, love this car"
Can we guarantee a glitch free experience absolutely not, can we guarantee a speedy and positive response to any glitches and a low risk of them occurring to begin with, absolutely.

TommyBoy | July 30, 2013

Excellent points Docrob!

I frequented a BMW 7-series forum for awhile because that was right up there on my list of cars to purchase and the forums scared me to death!

Evidently the battery was not powerful enough to keep the car charged if you left it a couple of days so people were recommending what trickle chargers to hook up to keep their batteries charged enough to start the car! How's that for irony!

And after tale after tale of 20" sport tire horror stories I was seriously starting up a cash reserve of $200 a month to afford all the tire replacements the car would warrant.

Tesla's got it easy!

Tesla-David | July 30, 2013

@Windsurfer. I live in Washington State, and about 15 miles from the service center, so I can't directly relate to your angst about distance from the Atlanta SC, but I can summarize my experience with the car over the past seven months. I got my TMS (Pearl White, 85 kWh, pano, tech, twin chargers) on 1/2/13 and have had absolutely no problems with the car (5,300 miles) except a minor door alignment issue that was quickly resolved at the Service Center. You will love this car. The problems reported in the forum section, are generally rare and as @Docrob summarized very well, if any issues come up, they will be promptly delt with by the excellent Service Centers and/or Rangers. I was fortunate to get a test drive, but would have brought the car without one. This car rocks!

San Diego Tesla | July 30, 2013

I'm coming from a 2008 BMW M3 and bought my Model S P85 without a test drive. Can't tell you how much better in every way (and so, far, much more reliable) it is than my M3. You won't regret the purchase.

Jesse K | July 30, 2013

Would like to add to the "no problems here" list. Granted, I have only had my car a couple of weeks (Green, 85, Pano, Tech, Sound, Air Susp, Leather, Shelf). I got rid of my ICE and have not looked back. Had to drive an ICE today and almost killed myself because the damn thing didn't slow down when I let off the go pedal! I was driving an Audi S6 and honestly "hated" it when compared to my TMS. My only regret is that I can no longer get excited about any ICE car. Its so sad. I see a Porsche and am like "poor guy has an engine". I see a Maserati and think "that thing has tail pipes, ugh!" You are going to love the car.

AirForce462 | July 30, 2013

I truly love my TMS, I have only had mine for five days and I am dreaming about this beauty every night. I actually look forward to my 100 mile one way commute now. And the reactions of the other drivers on the freeway is priceless. But be careful, people lose all common sense on the freeway and I have seen many a driver videotaping my car on the freeway. Anyone have any advice for an easy method of removing fingerprints, I park the car at work and mysteriously there are prints all over the car as well as puddles of drool. My car was delivered without incident and I have had no problems. Funny thing is up until about two weeks I was a Tesla employee, I built the battery modules and superchargers.

DTsea | July 30, 2013

I drive mine 50+ miles every day. Zero problems.

EcLectric | July 30, 2013

I've had my Model S for 7 months and only took it in once, to have the tires rotated and the spoiler installed. This car is by far the best 'daily driver' I've ever had.

rbmartin | July 30, 2013

I would recommend getting the 19" wheels. The 21" wheels are great looking but fragile. I hit a pothole at 20MPH a few weeks ago and blew two tires and bent a wheel. The car had to be towed via flatbed to the service center, which fortunately in my case was only 10mi away.

My only other significant issue was a wheel bearing that failed at around 16000 miles. That may have been due to road damage also, although I don't know of any specific incident that would have caused it.

Xerogas | July 30, 2013

For me, best daily driver ever.

S4WRXTTCS | July 30, 2013

What I find remarkable is people seem to be able to go from something like a Cayman S to a TMS seemingly without any regret as to the sheer SIZE of the MS.

The TMS is considerably larger than the Cayman, and I honestly can't imagine it being as fun. I had a Cayman S a few years back and I consider that car to be the benchmark in terms of handling that I measure all other cars against. In fact I'd go as far as to say it numbed me to any other car (aside from an Audi R8) until the Tesla MS came out.

In my own test drive of the MS (both the 60KW and the 85KW) I came to the conclusion that it was an awesome daily driver (the 60KW especially considering the price savings), but I still wonder if it's really a fun weekend car. With the Cayman you could just throw it around corners with hardly any care in the world.

I can't imagine the TMS replacing the desire for a CaymanS, or a Roadster. But, as a daily driver the TMS is just sheer awesome.

GeekEV | July 30, 2013

@TommyBoy - AWESOME analogy. I hope you don't mind if I borrow it!

Brian H | July 30, 2013

Driving the MS is such a gas that you don't need any!

mallynb | July 30, 2013


Our 60 just turned over 1,000 miles. About 700 miles in the city. It's 140 miles to the nearest Service Center. No problems, no glitches. We spent less than $30 on electricity. Our ICE would have required about $250 worth of gas to do this. No worries. For city driving, go for it.

Originally, we decided to keep our ICE for the 800/900 mile trips to visit family. Then, 2 months after reserving, Superchargers were announced. This prompted us to upgrade and add Supercharger capability. We look forward to selling our ICE when the Supercharger roll-out reaches where we need to go.

Do this upgrade and you may not need your wife's SUV in a year or so.

michael1800 | July 30, 2013

The car is great for a daily driver vehicle. Like most folks, I haven't had any problems with a vehicle at all. Buying an S without a test drive isn't as dicey as one would think unless you know (or more importantly, your friends tell you) you are a very picky individual. I'm not saying picky is a bad thing; I'm saying good or bad, if you get upset when things aren't nearly exactly as you expect, recognize your own expectations and test drive first. I could care less about cup holders, grab handles, backup camera lines and parking sensors, but these things are important to some people who expect these things on all luxury vehicles. Upsetness follows. Know thyself.

Instead of flying to Miami, you could try to contact owners in Charleston or Marietta for a test drive (person-to-person arrangement; not official Tesla test ride). The MS Reservation map on TMC indicates there's a lot of owners in both cities. Look for the SOUTHEAST owners communities forum on TMC to make contact. Owners are usually pretty friendly, and I honestly think an overwhelming majority of us give test rides fairly often. Additionally, you'll get non-salesman insight into the car. It is a bit of pain, especially if you're not an extrovert, but actually more useful than an official test drive.

Lastly, I'd contact your DS, Order/Sales, or Ownership contact to confirm details on the ranger service. The loaner and valet programs are for those within 50 miles of a service center (the last I heard from ownership). Rangers will come to you no matter what, but I'm not 100% on if they will bring a loaner/rental or not.

ziggy | July 30, 2013

My Model S is my daily driver.. I cannot live without this car..
I have had no major problems.. The car just tends to work. There are little things here and there, they just roll off my back.

Cattledog | July 30, 2013

Model S as Daily Therapy!

Mark Z | July 30, 2013

11,500 miles and no problems that prevented a timely arrival. One friend refused to join me on a January Las Vegas drive from So. Cal. He regretted driving his gas guzzler when I arrived before him. Now they want to ride in the electric car! Haven't missed a theater or movie event yet. Did have extra time one day to help a person who was out of fuel. Sold the XLR. HHR and Escalade aren't needed and sit parked. Love driving the Model S.

highfalutintodd | July 30, 2013

3,000 trouble free miles here in Nashville thus far. Closest service center is Atlanta for the time being, although I was shocked out of my mind last week to find out that Tesla is opening a service center here this year. I had planned on going the long haul with only relying on ranger service and don't regret my decision one bit. In fact, I find myself enjoying my Model S more and more with each passing day.

cwmenne | July 30, 2013

Windsurfer, when I bought mine, there was no store and no service in Minneapolis, so I went to a store in Seattle to do a test drive and finalize my order. It's a good thing too... I ordered silver with gray interior and switched to red with tan interior when I went to the store. I'm sure I would have liked the silver as well, but I love the red. Now there is service in Minneapolis, but in some ways, I'd actually prefer the ranger service over driving 40 miles one way to go to the service center, but I do love driving the MS. My wife and I have actually just gone out for a drive many times with the MS and she would never have done that with any other of my cars (even comparable BMWs). Just get it, you will not regret it.

TommyBoy, I LOVE that analogy and it is so true!

KirkP | July 30, 2013

Windsurfer, what michael1800 said. There's going to be an Atlanta Tesla Owners get-together on Sat. Aug 17 at 3PM at Atlantic Station in Atlanta. There'll be probably a dozen or more cars there, including my P85, and I'm sure you can get a test drive or two.

BTW, zero problems on mine after five weeks...

ppape | July 30, 2013

@ Jason.....Love to hear employees enjoying the product.....I'm curious......why don't you work at Tesla anymore?