First 1,000 Miles (VIN 09826)

First 1,000 Miles (VIN 09826)

Closing in quickly now on my first 1,000 miles behind the wheel, my Tesla Grin has not faded a bit. As I've said elsewhere, I couldn't be more impressed with the overall experience of purchasing and owning a Model S. A few observations:

Be an Extrovert: Even in an area that is rife with Teslas, I've been a bit shocked at the amount of positive attention the car attracts. For me, it's a bit embarrassing and time consuming. But there is the satisfying Schadenfreude of leaving exotic car owners steaming at the valet, as bystanders clamor around your car.

Restrained Luxury: The Model S, to me, recalls the great days of German cars. I remember clearly the simple, practical and well-crafted the interior of my father's MB 280. At the time, it was strikingly different from the leather sofa version of luxury offered by the American land yachts. It's been painful to watch the great German cars descent into the doo-dadery demanded by world markets, overflowing with useless technology, weird buttons and interior clutter. The Model S interior is soothing in its simple, clean take on luxury.

Easy to Love: In the midst of the Broder-NYT meltdown, I ran in to Elon at a film event. It was late in the evening, at the end of what must have been a harrowing day for him. We spent a few minutes chatting about the car and an encounter I had with a baboon (seriously). His boundless enthusiasm for his product and work, even so late at night and on a crappy day, instantly made me a real fan of his car.

A Full Tank: There seem to be a lot of niggles and complaints on the forum, but none dim the joy of having a full "tank" every morning. No more ICE range anxiety, discovering in the morning that, after a commute and the prior night's social rounds, there may not be enough gas left for the day's commute. A quick fill up? Sure, try that during rush hour in LA.

Tech Package: I feel like a teenager in a Japanese tuner Suzuki. And I love it. There are convenience lights everywhere. I have no idea what some of them are intended to do, but they look so cool. Sorry.

Navigation: Here's where the Tesla could really improve. The basics are all there, with a giant overview map and a turn-by-turn that sits conveniently within your filed of vision. Real-time route optimization in LA is not an option, it's an absolute necessity. Without it, one traffic misjudgment can turn a 40-minute commute into two hours. Unfortunately, I still need to rely on my Tom Tom for iOS. The potential here, though, is fascinating. Imagine that you enter a destination and then your Model S lays out an optimal route based on traffic conditions, elevation changes, speed, current consumption, location and amperage of available charging stations, etc. Probably not that hard to do and it could represent the death knell of Brodering (make the car smarter than the driver).

More Status Updates: Tesla has the opportunity to use technology to bring reservation holders even closer to the brand. How many times did I hit the reload on my browser to see if My Tesla changed? Why not break the process up into more steps that are automatically updated? Maybe even give reservation holders a peek at their car at key points in the production along the way. The Cabbage Patch effect is very powerful; what better way to bind buyers to your product?

Scaring Myself: During the boom years in the Valley, it seemed that hardly a week passed without seeing one supercar or another turned into scrap metal in the hills above Palo Alto. The Model S so effortlessly invites you to stupid speeds, I expect that many will join the constellation of Sand Hill scrap cars, too. I've given myself a couple of good scares (and a big smile).

ramtaz | May 21, 2013

Excellent feedback! Thank you for sharing ! In two weeks, I too, hope the have the TESLA GRIN!

Brian H | May 21, 2013

Did your encounter with baboons have anything to do with the driving scares? ;)

Have you noticed the Ratchet Effect yet? (Unwillingness and distaste at any prospect of having to drive even a high-end ICE car, however briefly.)

defmonk | May 21, 2013

@Brian H

My ICE company car has been parked so long now, I'm going to have to drive it around the block to get the flat spots out of the tires...;-)

c.bussert67 | May 22, 2013

+1 on the full tank part!
Anytime someone tries to argue they can't wait that long for it to charge up, I tell them "It goes 300 miles on a charge! How far do you live from work?!" I go on to explain even if you manage to drain the pack in a single day, it "fills up" while you sleep! An ICE doesn't sneak out at night and fill up at a gas station...
As for Brian's point, I have to admit I can't let go of the sound of my Mustang... A good exhaust note is something I miss. But it is offset by the fact that I can rip around town in the S and nobody bats an eye. It's so silent, it's like cheating!

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Owners of "tuned mufflers" like flooring it in the low torque ranges of the various gears just to hear the lovely "exhaust note". May they rot in Hell.

DTsea | May 22, 2013

It's funny how what (to an engineer) is 'waste energy converted to broadband noise' caused by 'inefficient conversion of heat energy to pressure and incomplete expansion' gets marketed as 'exhaust note.'

A 'note' is something you sing, make with a violin, or a tuba, or an electric guitar. An intentional sound to stir your (or the listeners) emotions.

Exhaust noise/vibration is associated with power- it's fun/cool to have and drive a powerful car. But it's even more fun to have something so efficient that the power is SILENT. Much cooler and more fun. I don't miss exhaust noise and vibration AT ALL.

However those of you who do enjoy it- as long as you don't do it in front of my house at 2 AM that's OK by me!

c.bussert67 | May 23, 2013

LOL Brian! Yeah, had my bags all packed for the trip to hell, but then I bought a Model S and all my sins have been worshed away!
On a side note, a co-worker who is a hog rider was lamenting about how the S doesn't make any sound. So with a silent swipe of my finger I disabled TC and romped on the goose pedal. My Model S left with a a set of black streaks, smoke and a howl from the tires that was music to both our ears! That was his only gripe...Now he loves it!

Brian H | May 23, 2013

Oh, for a video of the Conversion at Damascus! Produces the most potent evangelists, I hear.

jbunn | May 23, 2013


May motorcyclists with straight pipes rot in hell right along side them.

Brian H | May 23, 2013

No, deeper.

c.bussert67 | May 24, 2013

The silence of the S is deafening... or maybe it's the sound of it's awesomeness! The whir of the door handles, the solenoid release of the door latch, followed by the sound of an admirer, "Awesome!"

david.cheney | May 24, 2013

+1 for "More Status Updates: Tesla has the opportunity to use technology to bring reservation holders even closer to the brand. How many times did I hit the reload on my browser to see if My Tesla changed?". Surely TM can do better here.

kback | May 24, 2013

Defmonk - great post, excellent assessment.

Taking delivery of my Model S in a few hours. Tesla grin coming soon!

defmonk | May 25, 2013


That's exciting! Enjoy.

AlMc | May 25, 2013

defmonk; great write up

kbackman: thank for the loan info; enjoy your long weekend with your 'grin'. Hope to start grinning on the 29th! Al

rgreenway | May 25, 2013

Great post! My wife and I decided on the Model S first as a money saving decision. Really! Our cars before the Model S included a Nissan 350Z roadster, An Acura RL (2005) and a Chevy Volt that we leased (lease goes to Feb 2014). My overall upgrade plan was to replace the RL with the new RLX hybrid now, and the Volt with the new Cadillac ELR in Feb. Then we went to the Tesla Showroom in the Short Hills mall, and my wife says: Why don't we get a Model S, and keep our old RL (it has 108,000 miles on it, but is still in great shape) and skip the ELR? So we got a Model S and gave the Volt to a friend to drive to run out the lease (GM makes it VERY difficult to get out of a lease within the last year).

So instead of an RLX for about 60k, and an ELR likely for about the same, we now have a 85 kwh battery, Tech, Pano roof, sound studio, etc. This saved us about 20k!

And now I don't want to drive an ICE car either. And the RL seems a lot older than it did before Model S arrived! Good thing that is my wife's car! It will also be our car for long trips since the charging options for long distances in the Model S while improving quickly, there are, for us at least, currently too many uncertainties to be able charge efficiently on trips.

Last week I took the VOLT to New Hampshire. I had a Marriott hotel in Hadley, MA reserved for the one night stay. The hotel has ONE Level 2 charging station but they do not reserve it. So if another EV was using it, I would have been out of luck. It was open, and I was able to charge the VOLT, but if I had taken the Model S and had the charging station been in use, I don't know what I would have done. I'm not going to use a private station even with owners invitation if it is not really near a hotel, restaurant, mall. or other place I can hang for a couple of hours. And with the CT Supercharger, I could have made it to Salem, NH and then to Hadley in the Model S. Charging overnight in Hadley, while likely, was not guaranteed. That was the issue.

So, hotel operators, please install two or more level 2 charging stations, and please have a reservation system so we can plan ahead and be assured we can charge overnight. A reasonable charge is NOT a problem, so this should be an advantage for you. I now seek out hotels on every trip that offer charging!

Brian H | May 25, 2013

Indeed, hope (of charging) is not a plan. But reservations are maybe a bridge too far. What if you change plans and don't bother/remember to inform the charger owner?

nav66 | May 25, 2013

+1 DTsea !!!

I wish others with ICE vehicles would realize that our world is already too noisy, and the best thing we could do with our ever-densifying population is to at least TRY to keep quiet. I view my MS P85 as a step in the right direction.