Have you found Tesla Reps to be knowledgeable and helpful?

Have you found Tesla Reps to be knowledgeable and helpful?

I know things are new with the Tesla business model and there will always be hiccups, but I ran into some disconcerting moments recently:

Chatted with my rep before signing my MVPA and had a few questions for him about recharging and road trips (pre Supercharger announcements.) Basically I told him I had to drive 540 miles every few months between DC and Michigan and wondered how hard it would be. I was informed for the next 5 years give or take, the only option I'd have was stopping for three nine hour recharges. When I went over the math with him, he agreed I only needed 2 with a 65kw battery, but ended the conversation with "this really isn't the kind of car you can take that kind of trip in reasonably until they come out with superchargers in 5 years."

Disconcerted, a week or two later, I walked down to the Tesla dealership, it's on my walk to work - a nice detour by the way - and asked if what he said was true. The very nice lady in charge straightened things out for me, explained about RV charging options and the upcoming Superchargers within a year or two. (still pre-supercharger announcement)

As I'm a contractor who tends to move a lot, I had further questions about living in a city style apartment in DC and finding adequate charging. I know there's one apt complex nearby that announced they were installing EV chargers, but wanted to explore options. When I walked into the dealership and asked "Do you guys have any suggestions on where I could live around this area to best charge my new car?

I was met with the following options:
Anywhere! - followup: more specific please?
You could charge publicly! - followup: I'm not sure that's really realistic for a 15 hour+ charge
Well....We don't really know, just ask your garage to install a plug
None of these seemed like terribly good answers to a fairly normal seeming question involving range anxiety with their brand new product. I never ended up getting a good answer, still looking around for a good place to park.

Wondering if anyone has had similar experiences. For a group devoted to making you feel good about what amounts to a $75,000+ comparatively untested technological gamble, I didn't leave with a terribly good taste in my mouth.

Theresa | 15/10/2012

I think that you are being a little unrealistic in your expectations. The range question could have been handled better and they should have been able to assist you better. But as to where to live to get good charging options is like asking where the best place to live to get the best deals on XYZ (fill in whatever you would like). The best childcare? The best food? The cheapest gas?

The charging question is definitely location specific as one apartment may welcome EVs and the next wants to discourage them. Any residence should be able to install a charge port easily whereas condos and apartments may not be able to accommodate you.

timdorr | 15/10/2012

Are you considering the 85kWh battery? That would place you roughly around Pittsburg for the midway point between DC and Detroit (where I assume you're going).

If so, you can charge at several public stations around the area with J1772 plugs that you can try. There are also going to be more and more HPWC's in people's homes along the route, which could be made available via PlugShare:

But until the SuperCharger network is fully in place, it's probably going to be rough going on that one trip for the next couple years. Maybe a rental car is a better solution until the network is built out?

Velo1 | 15/10/2012

To answer the question, I have found the reps to be helpful, courteous, but not as well informed as many posters here. There have been a number of times I have dropped by the store in Park Meadows only to ask a question about something previously discussed in this forum or the Teslamotorsclub forum, only to recognize quickly I know more about it than the rep. Plus, I have had one rep tell me something completely different than another rep, so I leave more confused than when I walked in. And trust me, I walked in pretty confused. But I truly think these reps are well intentioned, just not always as knowledgable as you would hope they would be.

For example, my wife was talking to a rep while at the same time I was talking to a different rep. She was told the carbon fiber interior trim is available with any car. When she told me this I said no, that's not true, and I went over to her rep to confirm this was indeed what he said to her (not that I doubt her - trust, but verify). So we called over a more seasoned rep who enlightened our less knowledgable rep. So I have learned to take what they tell me and see if somewhere there is confirmation in these forums, or on the Tesla website.

pete2212 | 15/10/2012

Thanks for the tips! I think I'm set with the 65kw battery, don't really see the value increase in the 85kw for the 1-3 times a year I'd make that drive and there are plenty of KOA's on the way if needed. A benefit of working from home(or car?) on your own hours it seems.

I guess I was more commenting along the lines of Velo1's experience. The 9 hour charge time quoted by my 'personal' rep completely ignored various other charging options and he told me flat out it was not a car to take on long trips. Coupled with the 5 year timeline for supercharging was almost a deal breaker for me.

As for the living situation question, I realized they probably wouldn't have a great answer, but currently living and working within 3 blocks of the Tesla store(coincidence,) I was hoping they might at least know which local lots had charging ports. Perhaps my expectations are set too high.

In any case, love the car and the reps are very polite and courteous, it just seems like even internally they don't necessarily have all their ducks in a row at times.

Brian H | 15/10/2012

And for your calcs, note that it is a 60kWh battery, not 65. Really, the only model that works well with the SuperCharger spacing/locations is the 85. It's always going to be borderline for the 60s (and unworkable for 40s if they had the option.)

mrspaghetti | 15/10/2012

@velo1 +1


Tesla has no "dealerships". They are merely exhibit stores.

Captain_Zap | 15/10/2012

No dealerships and no "gas pedals". Awesome!

portia | 15/10/2012

If you have a iphone you can download the "recharge" app free, which tells you where chargers are, some are public, some are not, you can reserve some, etc. There is probably a web site where you can find such information too. I am lucky that in California, superchargers are going live on Oct 19.

jerry3 | 15/10/2012

And don't forget to also download the Apps for RV sites. A 50 amp RV plug will charge faster than the majority of public chargers, which are mostly 30 amp.

mrspaghetti | 16/10/2012


There are a number of different apps/websites, none of which are comprehensive. Maybe as more Model Ses get on the road we'll find or create a more comprehensive source for charger info. I hope so, because it's a little inconvenient to have to check 4 different sources...