One Owner's Experience

One Owner's Experience

Model S 85 delivered 12/21/13.

This is a spectacular car and incredible driving experience. In fact, it seems inadequate to even call it a "car". Think of it as a Disruptive New Paradigm. However it is new technology, very early in its life cycle, and the purpose of this post is just to give one owner's experience. It is not to suggest that all Tesla's have issues. I'm sure mine is a glaring exception and that all other S's are flawless. The dozens who will rush to post a response will attest to that! These DO NOT diminish in any way my love of this car or make me regret that I bought it. I cannot imagine ever driving a gas car again. This car is heavily cannibalizing sales of the big Lexus, the 7 Series, and the S Class. [Someone told me it is outselling them 3-1 COMBINED. May be apocryphal so don't quote me] But these are also great rides. While these are very expensive to operate compared to the Tesla, many of the people who buy these cars do not care about that [was it JP Morgan, when asked how much his Yacht cost, replied "if you have to ask you can't afford it"?]. I have owned these cars, and, in my experience, while they always perform armed robbery when you go in for service [all "service Advisors" at auto dealers are paid partially on commission and so are alwasy trying to sell you things/stuff you do not need] , they are also remarkably trouble free. Many high-end buyers will not want to buy a new technology which MAY have one small issue after another. Be an informed buyer.

Only two issues were really scary, as they occurred far from home and, at the time that is -AT THE TIME - potentially marooned the vehicle with no power. Fortunately both resolved and with minor inconvenience. Hindsight is 20-20!

The condenser fan fortunately acted up and was replaced the day before a 1000 mile trip, so this could have been far worse, assuming a condenser fan is important. I have no idea!

I also am lucky to live 12 miles from the Scottsdale SC, staffed by the best AND most responsive I have ever seen. They have never tried to sell me a fuel system flush or PS fluid change, or, as a Camelback Toyota service guy once did, new tires based on the car's mileage. I had had them all replaced a week before ... he hadn't even looked!

Issues to date:

1/2/14, mileage ~ 500? [Didn't record, so this is a guess Had the car for 11 days ...]. Drive to Oceanside, CA from Phoenix. [An adventure in itself; we have to travel 480 miles between Superchargers]. Stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad because it has two BLINK chargers. Tesla will not establish a handshake to either. Call Blink. They tell me to call Tesla. 10 PM: Tesla checks its logs and sees some glitch. They have me reset the entire system and it all works, eliminating the stress of being marooned with 20 miles in the tank. Wake up at 2am and something tells me to check charge status on my iPhone [great feature]: good thing, as it had shut off at 12:10 am! I go down to the garage and re-start it. Have to hang around till noon to get a full tank - necessary because it as 240 miles back to Quartzite. Call Blink for a shut down explanation. They - of course - blame the car. Call Tesla - they have no explanation but, god bless them, don't blame anybody. Add this to the list of range anxiety issues. Note: to go from 20 miles to a full tank with Blink Level 2 takes 12 hours [10 pm - midnight; 2 am to noon]. We are visiting a close friend who is a Google Maps Software exec vacationing in Oceanside and VERY anxious to see/experience the car [don't get started, guys; they are working hard with Tesla to add the elevation info to range calculation for trips]. But now he has to come get me in his rent a van to spend the morning with them. Bummer.

Sometime in January: Audio system freezes entirely. I call Tesla, and they have me do the double wheel reset and it restores. Since then I have had this happen three or four times. I was able to re-set myself until the 3/25 incident. After the Service Mgr's explanation for that, I wonder if any of the other freezes were concurrent with software updates?

1/29/14, 1467 m: Right side condenser fan is very noisy. SC takes the car for a day and replaces it.

1/30/14, 1689 miles: Drive to vacation home,190 miles away in Eastern AZ: Electrician will install the NEMA 14-50 and 240m service on 1/31. Plug the car into 110 for an overnight trickle charge [we are at 7400 feet and it is cold outside]. Nothing but a red ring, and a message: "Contact Service". To make a long story short, SC sends a Tech who arrives 4.5 hours later. He finds the Cable is dead and he replaces it. Tesla Service ROCKS: he brings a replacement vehicle on a flatbed "just in case".

3/25/14, 3193 miles: Communication error: touchscreen and all audio functions frozen. Bluetooth also frozen. Solution: reset parent module and MCU, update firmware. Car in the service center for a day and forced to suffer the humiliation of driving a horrible Nissan Xterra supplied by Enterprise.

3/26/14: Sirius/XM connection has disappeared. Called Sirius/XM to reestablish. They are unable to do so as the radio ID does not appear on channel 0, and a check of my VIN indicates that, according to their records no radio has ever been installed in my car (!) [yes, we double checked the VIN]. Over the next three hours, I check the car constantly to see if the radio ID returns. It does not. Call to Sirius XM again and they say that this must mean the radio module has failed. I call the service center who is completely perplexed by this and offers to send a ranger to get the car and to try to find the radio ID. I check channel 0 one more time and, wonders of wonders, the radio ID magically appears! I cancel Ranger and call Sirius XM and get service reestablished. No one can explain why the radio ID disappeared but the service manager tells me that he suspects it was caused by the software upgrade. He explains, after every software upgrade "a number of cars [not all!] have issues caused by the upgrade". [Tesla is not afraid to admit that there are problems]. The whole affair is a giant time four hour time suck.

4/9/14: Condenser fan singing like a bird. SC picked the car up to diagnose - have to order parts to repair it. 250 mile RT road trip tomorrow, which they say is OK. Forgot to ask if it is the fan already replaced or the other one. There are two. They are fitting the shield and returning the car tonight.

commasign | March 27, 2014

So this thread is actually useful and constructive. Your other thread not so much.

suresv | March 27, 2014

I agree with commasign on the usefulness of this thread. I do have have to say that my experience with the German cars (which you seem to love very much) is not very different from the experience you have had with Tesla whereas the Tesla experience has been flawless for the last nine months - goes to prove that every car manufacturer has a few out of the ordinary experience.

Webcrawler | March 27, 2014

@AmpedRealtor - I have no idea if he is a owner or just a child, but his post border on the bizzar... | March 27, 2014

@stabephaben thanks for a clear and well reasoned post. Like any group I see some writers ready to flag/troll someone at the drop of a hat, and other (like me) rarely flag anything other than outright spam. It just goes with the nature of forums in general. I run an unrelated forum and see similar situations on occasion.

I've not had any problems with my car that are on your list. I have had a few issues, all very minor and fixed quickly. Hopefully the problems are behind you and you can enjoy the car to the fullest!

Nuts4MS | March 27, 2014

Nice to read a positive post but really you are just being a jerk with your constant negative references about your fellow owners. Try using more constructive phrasing and for goodness sake quit trying to kick the hornets nest for fun!

Brian H | March 27, 2014

Not flagged.

amitb00 | March 28, 2014

Sorry to know about all your troubles. Hope things get better for you . Do you have a lemon law in your state? Please explore if Tesla can replace car for you?

J.T. | March 28, 2014

@amit Not sure the lemon law applies to a very, very buggy radio.

Mathew98 | March 28, 2014

Lemon law applies to multiple repairs to the same issue which takes more than 20 or 30 days during the first year.

OP has issues but none that would escalate to LL threshold.

amitb00 | March 28, 2014

You are right about inapplicability of lemon law.. I guess OP has to rely on good will from Tesla. It is really sad to see one of the fellow owners so disappointed and frustrated. This is a great piece of machinery. I look forward to my driving and hope all of us have similar experience.
Best wishes OP, Amit

info | March 28, 2014

OP. Could you fill in some details? Could you tell me the location(s) of the SC that has been servicing your S and the names of the various service representative you have dealt with. Also, could you give me the names of the service representatives you conversed with in your call to Tesla? Thank you for providing these important details of your experiences.

Gadfly | March 30, 2014


The word lemon never entered my mind; certainly nothing rises to the level. And I'm sure things will get better.

tes-s | March 30, 2014

Trade-in for a Mercedes or BMW?

nkwazi | March 30, 2014

Praise in public Reprimand in private.

You had no earth shattering problems and Tesla bent over backwards in working with you to get your problems resolved.

You are one of 30000+ owners and the world does not evolve around you.

Stop sniveling.

Koerner | March 30, 2014

I am new to this forum. I test drove and really like the car. I came to this forum hoping to learn the good from the bad before I buy. It's new and I don't want a problem. I drove it less than 10 miles!

I'm not sure why this is posted twice under different titles, but I find it extremely useful. I read the "if you are new post" where the advice is not to post anything negative. Nkwazi seems to agree.

That makes the forum nothing but a useless cheerleading forum where people pat themselves on the back for buying a tesla.

What's more, I don't see anything negative in the guy's comments, and some of his experienced were scary at the time.

I don't believe anything on this forum will affect "short sellers" or the stock price.

Gadfly | March 30, 2014

Amen. Get ready for the venom. These guys may gang up and "flag" your comment to remove it.

The reason there are two postings is because some of the folks on this site didn't like the original posting so ganged up and flagged it so it was automatically taken down. It turns out that Tesla doesn't like this kind of censorship, and they restored the post such a way that I don't think they can take it down anymore.

You may have seen the article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about Tesla on the editorial page. I posted this yesterday without comment. It is not a positive article but a somewhat cynical view regarding the motives of Mr. Musk. Nevertheless, it appears in the newspaper with the largest circulation in the country, if not the world, and the one with the highest median income. It's readership is right in the sweet spot of the Tesla target market. I just posted the article. No comment. Just posted. And of course these guys had it taken down with their little flag tool.
And you are right about the effect this forum has on the TSLA trade. Defies capital market logic.

Do a forum search on "cult". The thread consists of that one word and links to reputable 3rd party articles on the Tesla Cult. There is no comment in the post at all. The replies are Hilarious? Sad? Pathetic? All of the above?

They'll flag this, too.

And, by the way, go ahead and buy the car. I used used to tell people who visited me in England (no, I am not British): plan on bad weather, rain every day, and hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised. Expect a few problems, but nothing major, and you will also have customer service better than anything you've ever dreamed of. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised and your car car will be trouble-free, but if it is not, believe me it is worth it anyway. And if you still have doubts, take the cheap financing with the maximum amount down and thereby you will have a three-year in the money put. I assume they are still offering that.

tes-s | March 30, 2014

@koerner - the car is not for everyone. Don't make the mistake the OP did and buy a car that is not for you. Keep doing your research - it would suck to spend $100,000 on a car you won't love.

carlk | March 30, 2014

"the car is not for everyone. Don't make the mistake the OP did and buy a car that is not for you. Keep doing your research - it would suck to spend $100,000 on a car you won't love."

Also don't let the fanboies here to stop you from shorting the stock and make loads of money. There is no better way to be rich than shorting the company that produce inferior products.

J.T. | March 30, 2014

@Koerner As people around here know I am very keen on keeping my New to the Forum thread accurate, helpful and up to date. So, could you please copy and paste to this thread that part which says you shouldn't post anything negative. I certainly would not want people to think they should refrain but posting negative impressions of the car or the company. I've done both, at length, since taking delivery.

AmpedRealtor | March 30, 2014

Koerner and Go Long are the same individual.

Gadfly | April 9, 2014

4/9/14: Condenser fan singing like a bird. SC picked the car up to diagnose - have to order parts to repair it. 250 mile RT road trip tomorrow, which they say is OK. Forgot to ask if it is the fan already replaced or the other one. There are two. They are fitting the shield and returning the car tonight.

ERon | April 9, 2014

Lawyers, some are the scum of the earth.
How does this relate? Call me cynical.