Washington DC test drive feedback

Washington DC test drive feedback

Sorry about the new thread but I couldn't post this under the other WDC thread already started.

I too just returned from the WDC test drive event. My thoughts:


1. Car is really fast and very good looking on the outside, in all the colors. The green/tan combo looked best to me of the five that were there.

2. I drove the sunset red non-performance and found that the performance version is not necessary. I am actually not sure why you would spend $10K on the performance version unless you are just trying to impress people. Non-perf was jaw dropping, esp when moving from 50 mph to 75mph as the torque is always-on. I am not sure I've been in anything that changes speed that fast at high-end...I can't imagine what the perf battery is like.

3. While I won't get the 160 mile pack, I believe that for short commuters the performance you'd get there is still very good - those of you who are thinking about getting the low-end version due to cost reasons are going to be pretty happy.

4. Touchscreen was easy to see in bright daylight, no issues. Backup camera is incredible but does NOT come on automatically when in reverse. So you have to reach over and hit the camera button if you want it on during backup. Lots of passenger space in the back if you are not tall.

5. I think the regen is going to be a lightning rod for many people. It takes some getting used to but I grew to like it. I really liked the concept of not using the brakes (much).

6. Car was super smooth, quiet, comfortable. Handling was exceptional, similar to BMW quality if not better. I read about the seats not having great side support but I found them to be just fine.

7. I am unlikely to need any of the optional power cords/gear that are available and I would assume many of you are like me (40 miles roundtrip a day or so, minimal road trips). If you fall into that category you don't need those things as the standard power cords take care of 110, 220, and the charging station plugs.


1. Front seat cupholders are completely useless. To have the armrest in the right spot you cannot have anything in the cupholders as the armrest moves right on top and covers them. Crazy design flaw. No other place to put a drink. The open bottom center console thingy is a junkpile waiting to happen.

2. No cupholders in the backseat at all, and no pouches on the backs of the front seats. Anyone with kids riding in the backseats they have no place at all to put anything - a drink, a handheld, a book, etc. This is really really awkward. Tesla is testing a back seat accessory that may or may not come to market. It was in one of the cars today but I was not able to see it.

3. Stereo in my test car was the upgraded version. I thought it was just so-so and I am not an audiophile. If you are, I do not think you would be happy with the base version, and you might not be that happy with the upgrade.

4. Driving pretty hard, my 7.5 mile test drive route used 13 miles of the battery range. I now expect to get low 200s per "tank" with my driving style.

5. Visibility out of the rear window was really poor. It has a low angle and I noticed significant distortion in the image - almost like a house of mirrors at a carnival.

Bottom line:

I'm still holding onto my spot for now, no decisions made. If they solve for some of the storage issues I am probably in, if not it may make it so impractical for me that I take a pass and go get a 5-series or similar.

Gator | July 14, 2012

Great Experience! I just did my test drive as well at Gaithersburg. Test drove the non-performance Red one with 21" performance wheels. I loved the Regen and hardly used the brakes. You could literally do one pedal control utilizing the regen.

I agree with you in the item #4 in the Con section. Driving aggressive will lower your range, but this is the same with driving an ICE car.

The car is super quiet. The dash display was alot nicer than I had expected. I switched from sport to comfort back to sport ride. The sport ride is the way to go. I liked the brown color. The silver did not look as nice to me with the black wheels.

The car was limited to 75 max. I hit the max 3 times on my test drive. The torque is definitely there at any speed. You have to prepare yourself since it will launch you back into your seat when you stomp on the pedal. I guess I should have warned my passengers as well.

I followed another Tesla Model S on the test drive. This was cool to see how it looked on the road.

Bottom line, this car is awesome!
The Tesla crew were all great as well.

I posted pics on my Facebook page: Video to follow on YouTube.

iridium | July 14, 2012

@Gator Was that the sunset red in your pics?

brianman | July 14, 2012

"Backup camera is incredible but does NOT come on automatically when in reverse."

I wonder if this is something we could do with the SDK.

vouteb | July 15, 2012

Did you test the remote key fob?

Do you have to press it 3 times to open all doors?
(Thats ridiculous)


jscottsanders | July 15, 2012

@vouteb They never gave me the key so I don't know. Tesla rep riding shotgun must have had it in their pocket.

@iridium the sunset red was the only red there today so guessing it has to be.

digitaltim | July 15, 2012

My bro tagged along and documented the afternoon - here are the photos:

I'll post a video when he gets it online.

Overall the car met my expectations...quiet, sophisticated, powerful and minimalist interior...on par with my BMW performance wise, but maybe a little loose in high speed turns. I drove the non-performance green w/ 19" wheels and no pano roof. I have the performance w/ 21" wheels on order, so I expect that to close the gap.

Teoatawki | July 15, 2012

I think the 2 quick presses for driver only is to prevent accidental unlocking with the fob in your pocket. My copilot had the fob in the cupholders.

cybercop | July 15, 2012

Loved the drive in the brown non-performance with 21" wheels and no pano roof. I won't have much analytic thinking until the adrenaline wears off. I took the 270 degree turn at 45 mph and thought I was pushing it given I was borrowing someone else's $100,000 car, but I was told I went too easy on it. Someone reported taking it at 72 mph. Turns were so much more impressive and fun than straight-line acceleration (which was great, just that the turns is when the low COG really impresses).

By the way, the 19" rims looked FANTASIC. I feel in love with the turbine wheels but knew I would not pay for them. I will not be disappointed at all if I end up buying this car and get the 19" rims.

Volker.Berlin | July 15, 2012

Do you have to press it 3 times to open all doors? (Thats ridiculous) (vouteb)

It can be configured ("multi-door unlock setting"):

vouteb | July 16, 2012