Day 2 Owning a Tesla Model S

Day 2 Owning a Tesla Model S

The wait has finally ended. The Model S I ordered on March 14 (and confirmed on March 25) was delivered on Monday, May 5.

Config: S85, pano, tech package, air suspension, textile seats, piano black, mc-red, premium sound, 19" standard wheels, premium lighting, fog lights, twin chargers, alcantara headliner. The configuration was perfect - no issues there.

So what do I think? I absolutely love it, and I can tell I'm going to love it more and more the more I drive it. It makes my beloved Prius seem ancient in oh so many ways. Quite the upgrade. Spending this much on a car was a huge stretch for me, but I know I'm not going to regret it ever.

I am very happy I went with the premium sound package, and was also happy to see how well it reads my 1TB drive full of FLAC music. That should hold me over until they add iPod integration and/or Apple CarPlay ;)

Some minor issues:
- While I love the textile seats, I must say that even my '05 Prius seats are much more comfortable. The Model S seat bottom too stiff, and I can already tell that my butt is going to ache after a long road trip. I heard they are working on it, Elon even mentioned it on the earnings call today, but obviously the new ones didn't make it in time for me, which is a bummer. I hope they can resolve it, and I plan to get a seat cushion in the meantime. It's not horrible like say a wooden bench, but compared to my Prius, which has a very nice cushion (granted it's a much less sporty car and requires less stability), it's quickly noticeable. They do provide sufficient support though, which is a plus.
- The lumbar control button on the driver side sticks (top button only). I can still get it to work, so it's minor.
- XM Radio is not working due to a "check antenna" error. I'm already scheduled to have this fixed and I have no doubt they will make it right.
- Had a little trouble programming HomeLink for my 2004 Genie opener. Replacing batteries in remote and clicking the button within the Frunk helped get past the 1st step, but on the 2nd step, the opener would not register until I finally decided to pull the car half-way into the garage. Apparently, even though I was directly in front of the garage, that was too far away for it to register. As soon as I did that, though, it worked. Unfortunately it did not work with my condo's front gate (the car will not recognize the remote), but they must use a different technology.
- very minor body alignment problems, specially with the bumper around the headlights and the hood. They checked out the hood and it is to spec, but I'm going to have them check out the bumper when I return because I noticed when I got home that it's a little off (maybe it shifted while driving).
- I financed through Tesla, and Tesla acting as a middle man between me and the bank was a slow and frustrating process. It took many weeks to get everything resolved, and there were many delays and lapses in communication along the way. Fortunately, at the 11th hour with numerous phone calls and email follow-ups, they stepped up and made it happen just in time, but it was nerve wracking. However, they were always very friendly and accommodating once I was able to get through. Seems like they are just too busy, which makes sense since they just launched the leasing program as well. Also part of the delay was Wells Fargo approving me, which is more involved if you are self-employed, as am I.

Besides the financing delays, overall, the purchase experience has been heavenly. Between the modern website that keeps you updated and walks you through the entire process, and the friendly non-pushy staff, it's a much nicer experience than any dealer experience I've had. And the guys at the Longwood FL location have been really fantastic. Vic (sp) is the man. Today he drove about 60+ minutes to pick me up at my home and bring me back to the store (to retrieve my Prius - I had left there on Monday). And in a Model S no less :). Talk about great customer service. His walkthrough was also fantastic. I knew a lot about the car from renting one for a weekend in Vegas, but he taught me quite a few new things and was very patient with my questions and pickiness. I couldn't have been happier with his service - fantastic!

That's all for now. Maybe I'll come back and update this thread once I have more time to play. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions about my car or my experience. I'll be happy to answer them.

One last thing. Thank you everyone for all your activity on this forum. I learned so much from you all over the past few months - spending hours a day researching every option. Thank you also to Nick Howe; unfortunately your book arrived the same day as my Tesla, ha, but I learned quite a bit from your online version. The book looks great btw!

Thanks for reading,

J.T. | May 7, 2014

Dave Congrats on the best ride ever. You might find that you'll get accustomed to the feel of the seats. Give them a try without a cushion for a week. They're very good at fixing the fit issues. It might take a bit of persistence but as long as you're not happy they'll get it done.
Give lots of rides. The reactions are the best part of ownership.

AndyO | May 7, 2014

Congrats! Welcome to the "grin" club. And +1 for Longwood/Orlando Service Center!

NKYTA | May 7, 2014

Welcome Dave!


akikiki | May 7, 2014

Dave, welcome to the club. Awesome color choice. I have the same. It just keeps getting RED-RRRRR.

It funny to hear such a nice long report on only the second day. This doesn't happen often. Usually when someone picks up their car we don't hear from them for weeks 'cause they won't stop driving long enough to write us. LOL

Best to you. | May 7, 2014

May the TGrin be with you! | May 7, 2014

Congrats Dave!

As J.T. said, give the seats a little time and spend some time adjusting them. It took me longer than I would have expected, but I've found comfortable settings that I am happy with.

And, since you'll be driving more, you'll have a chance to see if they can work for you.

mrrjm | May 7, 2014

I thought the leather seat were too soft so I ordered the textile. No problem on long trips. They may seem a little stiff when one first sits. I can tell you after hours or driving I have no leg or back pain. One of the best seats I've had.

jmr | May 7, 2014

Dave, glad to hear you are enjoying the ride and glad to hear your delivery experience at the Longwood SC went well. My own MC-red P85 is due there at the end of the month. The wait is tortuous though. Did you have any movement in your deliver date? I keep hoping for it to get moved up. Order was confirmed 4/9 and VIN assigned 4/10. I was hoping the P in P85 might have meant things happening earlier. Oh well, I know the wait will be worth it!

Any advice with for delivery day in Longwood?

petero | May 8, 2014

Griffd. Congratulations on taking possession of your MS. I am ‘shocked’ how quickly your time frame was - Lucky you. I see you are an audiophile, have you checked out the Slacker internet radio feature? You may enjoy it.

“Besides the financing delays, overall, the purchase experience has been heavenly. Between the website, and the friendly non-pushy staff, it's a MILLION times better than dealing with a dealer. Maybe a billion :) “

I can understand your above statement, I am a MS owner too, but let’s be fair. You can find misinformed, poorly trained, sales staff almost everywhere- a prestige independent dealer or a TM showroom. The biggest difference I saw between the Tesla’s way and the traditional way is, in a single word –YES. You said yes to most everything, without being asked. When you are ready to buy a new car, you do not say OK to everything the salesperson or manager (sales and finance) recommends, you negotiate, you want the best deal not the easiest. If you were buying a new Ford, Lexus, etc. would you say yes to paying the full MSRP? I suspect not, but you did for Tesla. No offense, we made it a great buying experience because we ‘laid down.

P.S. I am a retired car salesman. Buying/Leasing cars can be torture or fun. It depends on your approach and level of preparation. I am a big fan of the MS, TM, and I also own some TSLA.

griffd | May 8, 2014

Thanks all! Such a welcoming group! I will give the seats some time.

@petero, fair enough. I have a few very bad experiences with dealers, especially when I was looking to buy a Chevy Volt 2 years ago - and it went far beyond the price negotiations. But I do understand what you are saying - there are great dealers/salesman, and horrible ones too. But also I was referring to the website experience as well - how it steps you through the process and keeps you updated. It's great, and I've never seen anything close to that with other auto manufacturers.

@jmr Yes, my delivery moved up 2 days just 5 days before my original delivery. I brought along an iPad with the delivery checklist. They let me go through it before we signed the paperwork, but if you are financing via Tesla, you'll want to leave time for that paperwork to process. It takes maybe 30-45 minutes. Bring your license and proof of insurance of course. You can pay right there using their iMac, no reason to pay before you go. You get 20% off of apparel as an owner, so grab a t-shirt and a thermos :). Although I love my car, I am very jealous of your P85, but I think I'm going to invest the money I saved into TSLA today. :) Keep us posted! Email me at my screename plus if you'd like to discuss further or even meet up someday in the Orlando area.

griffd | June 24, 2014

Well I said I'd come back with an update, so here it goes after 6 weeks and 4,000 miles:

Previously Mentioned Issues:

XM Radio: The Longwood FL took the dash apart and found that the antenna was not connected at the factory They connected it, and XM radio is working fine. In the meantime, they gave me a P85 which I got to enjoy for 1.5 days! WOW, it was incredible!!

Note: After this, I drove the car up the east coast from Orlando to NYC/Upstate NY for the summer. The trip along the Supercharger network was both fun and flawless.

Seat Comfort: Some of you said I would get used to them, and for the most part, I have. Still, I think there is much room for improvement, and I'm happy to hear from Elon that they are redesigning them.

Lumbar Control Switch: I figured out later that the switch sticks only when sitting on the seats. The extra weight must reduce the clearance the switch has to depress. Well, the Queens service center has removed my seat and replaced the switch, and it no longer sticks even while sitting! The passenger side still has the same issue (only when sitting in it) but I think I'll let that go for now (??)

Rear View Mirror: There was a blemish on the left side of the rear view mirror. It looked like a fingerprint, but could not be removed because it was behind the glass. They replaced the mirror and the new one is perfect.

New Issues:
On a trip back from Woodstock NY (thanks to Brian Wiley on Plugshare for letting me charge on your HPWC - already glad I got the dual chargers), I kept getting a Low Coolant warning. It would chime every time I went up or down a slight incline (vs staying on, as it probably should). The Queens service center drained the coolant and replaced the coolant pump and coolant hose from battery. Not sure if there was an actual leak, or just a flow problem? In any case, it's now fixed.

Pano Roof Not Closing at High Speed - At about 65-70mph, I could not get the pano roof to completely close. It would remain at about the vent position. I was informed that this is due to a firmware update that purposely does not allow the roof to close at high speeds. Can anyone confirm this and explain why this is the case?

Pano Roof Clattering - The pano roof would clatter when open while going over bumpy roads. The Queens service center corrected this by "applying felt tape to cross member panel". No more clattering.

Pano Roof Catching On and Ripping Seal - The seal along the top left of the roof had ripped from normal use of the pano roof. They replaced the seal and re-calibrated the roof. Unfortunately, the very first time I tried it after leaving the service center, the sunroof again got stuck at about 55%, and tore the seal. I was eventually able to get it to open fully, but it left even a larger size gash in the seal. Fortunately it appears to be working fine, which is good because I am several hundred miles away from the nearest Service Center now. Queens service center offered to bring me a loaner, but I chose to wait until I return to the NYC area at the end of July.

Despite the issues, both service centers have been great to work with, and I still love my car to death and would not trade it for anything else (except a P85, lol).

LuchoFC | June 24, 2014

When I received my car(S60) I thought the seats were not the best however my wife and I took a long trip from Miami to North Carolina and I was surprise how comfortable they were, I had an Acura TL before my Model S and the seats looked very nice but after driving 2 hours I had leg and back pain which I don't get now. I just love the ride of the Model S.

Griffd, just give it a try first.

karmamule | June 24, 2014

Thanks for the details Dave, it's interesting to see the issues you've encountered since taking delivery. I've seen some of these issues mentioned before in other threads, and it'll be interesting to see how much of a differency the July updates to the manufacturing line will make.

jbdvm1988 | June 24, 2014

just wondering if you get frustrated with several minor issues developing on a new car. the overall experience must be incredibly great. i'm afraid these little issues would all add up to buyers remorse if it happened to me

griffd | June 24, 2014

@jbdvm1988 - The only time I was a bit frustrated was when the sunroof failed the very first time after already being hundreds of miles from the service center. Kind of wish I tried it out right away, or that they put it through some more testing after re-calibrating it. Now perhaps it shifted around after driving that long distance - not sure. Besides that and the coolant issue, the other issues were very minor and I'm just happy they fixed them with ZERO resistance at all. You know, if this was an ordinary car, say a Ford Taurus, then yes, I'd probably be frustrated, but I went into this knowing that this is a very young company and, in many ways, their very first product. Still, it's been an incredible experience overall and these little things have not caused any buyers remorse whatsoever. Also, take a look at a recent thread about others who have had no issues at all. So if you experience the average case, which is probably somewhere in between, I'm sure you'll be extremely happy, ESPECIALLY if you are not too far from the nearest service center, but even then, I'm finding they'll go out of their way to please you.

jbdvm1988 | June 24, 2014

thanks griffd. i like your optimistic viewpoint especially since this is a young company. customer service is such a valuable part of the overall perception of the car