Rental car convinced me: I'm all electric forever!

Rental car convinced me: I'm all electric forever!

I've had my Signature for ten weeks now. Had to drop it at the service center to get an odd loss-of-navigation fix done, and they gave me a nice rental car - an Altima.

Driving back from Fremont to SF, I realized that I never, EVER want to drive a gasoline car again. Why? Biggest first reason: When you take your foot off the accelerator, it KEEPS GOING! My Tesla regenerates and brakes. In the Altima I found myself running up the back of people ahead of me and having to use a lot of -- horrors! -- braking.

I didn't have my usual acceleration and handling, but bottom line was the thrill of regenerative braking. I hope they only need my car overnight!


TonyF | January 8, 2013

I have found the same thing. My wife wanted her turn with the Model S so I drove her car to work one day this week and I cannot get used to the coasting when I take my foot of the accelerator. I have grown so used to the regen - I really love it. That brings up one issue though...

I use the brakes so infrequently, that I worry if a following car is not paying attention and does not see brake lights, will he/she continue to text and end up plowing into me because he/she did not see brake lights?

smd | January 8, 2013

I also got an Altima from Enterprise when the Fremont service center kept my car for a few days. What I really missed was the acceleration and all the internet audio choices. So glad to back in the S.

LazMan | January 8, 2013

@TonyF I think the break lights come on with significant regen.

portia | January 8, 2013

@LazMan Brake not break, I think you meant to say.

I actually have to drive other cars frequently, rental car, minivan, jeep in the snow since I got my Tesla, so far I am not too confused when I switch from EV to ICE, but definitely miss the acceleration and regen when not in the S.

Brian H | January 8, 2013

"Once upon a time, it was necessary to explode gasoline vapours to make a car go. Their small electric motors were only able to start big engines turning over, then gasoline was sprayed into hollow tubes, one after the other, and set off with short electric sparks. This cranked the axle round and round, through a complicated sequence of gears. The explosions were "muffled", turning the sound energy into waste heat. People thought this was wonderful! But Elon Musk and others disagreed."

Bedtime stories for the 22nd Century.

Anthony H | January 8, 2013

@Brian H
I'm still up at night reading. Post your next chapter.

Brian H | January 9, 2013

"He made the starter motor bigger and stronger, and put it back between the real wheels, got rid of the engine, and hid lots of electricity under the floor where it wouldn't get in the way. His new car went like spit, and gradually scared all the old kind away. So everybody drove happily ever after.

The beginning."

TonyF | January 9, 2013

@ LazMan, if brake lights go on with regen, that would do it. - Thanks, I'll check that.

@ Brian H, When it's published, I will buy it for my kids' future children and read it to them myself, with emotion, 'cause I (we) will know the story as well as anyone.

pilotSteve | January 9, 2013

@Brian H -- great post! Keep those stories coming. Truly Tesla is a game changer. Our children and grandchildren will give us some serious 'creds and 'grats in the future for being part of the Revolution's First Wave!

mclary | January 9, 2013

Great post!!! It reminds me of the stories my grandfather (born in 1903) used to tell me about the transition from horse driven carriages to the automobile.
Look at where we are today. It is better than the flying car we were all supposed to be driving by 2015. Lol (Back to the Future movie).

SD Supercharger | January 9, 2013

@ Brian H---
I think I can, I think I can----" The little Train That Could"--Elon must have had this read to him when he was little. You are unquestionably the most entertaining poster on these forums--don't stop.

RZitrin1 | January 9, 2013

Great, Brian!

Charged_Up | January 9, 2013

The funniest thing that happened to me when I had a rental for replacement of a fan in my Model S(bad bearing that was noticed at delivery) was that twice I forgot to turn off the engine of the rental car when I got out after stopping.

Of course, I did notice the lack of slowing down and more noise, but the idea of turning the car on and off just seems so old fashioned now....

Brian H | January 9, 2013

Heh. Thanx for the props, guyz. My embattled ego appreciates it. I'm currently on full pre-moderation probation over at TMC, with threats of imminent banning. They are less appreciative of my 'style'.

DigitalSavant | January 9, 2013

Not quite a rental, but my experience was similar when I drove my girlfriend's VW Tiguan. It was horrible to go back to frequent braking. Plus, I noticed something interesting that I felt fatigued after a few hours of driving. Something about the "un-solidness" on the road, gears shifting, cornering roll, engine rumble, etc. It's a phenomenon that might be worth mentioning by the sales department that people will probably feel less fatigued after hours of driving a Model S. No "driver fatigue"!

Superliner | January 9, 2013

@ TonyF

The brake lights come on when you lift and go into regen on Model S

bbmertz | January 9, 2013

Yes, the brake lights do go on during regen. You can see when the brake lights are on by watching the taillights illuminate on the MS illustration from the software version screen which appears when you press the Tesla logo at the top of the 17" screen.

DouglasR | January 10, 2013


Are you saying that the car's image on the touch screen is animated to show the brake lights illuminating in real time?

jbunn | January 10, 2013

My understanding is the brake lights are controlled by accelerometers.

Brian, I like it. People in the future will be horrified by building exploding fires inside our vehicles, in much the same way as I would if I were looking at an old coal or wood fired horseless carriage or motorcycle as they used to have back in the day... Barbaric.

Epley | January 10, 2013

Drive at night with the backup camera on and you'll see that the brake lights come on as soon as you go into regen and stay on until you accelerate or until your speeds levels at 5-8 mph.

Also, I feel completely out of control when driving an ICE. How did I do it before?

Epley | January 10, 2013


The car's image on the touch screen IS animated to show EXACTLY what is happening to the car at all times. door open, charge port open, side night light, fog lights, brake lights, sunroof, the works. It's beautiful!

Ohms.Law | January 10, 2013

Brian H - tell us the story about all the goopy, slippery dark stuff that those old cars needed to have poured into them. And then how messy it was when it leaked out all over the place. Oh yeah, and the part about the cloudy stuff that used to come out the back end and kill people who breathed it. Oh, and then the part about all the scary noises the cars made with explosions in the front and out the back, and the grinding mechanical sounds and stuff. I haven't heard those stories in a long while.

DouglasR | January 10, 2013


Yes, I have seen the doors and charge port opening, etc., but just never thought to look at whether it showed the brake lights. You may recall that Rod & Barbara and others had a discussion about exactly when the brake lights go on, and used the camera to make that determination. I guess they never thought to look at the car's image.

portia | January 10, 2013

@epley yes, the car's image on the screen is really cool, and don't forget it shows YOUR car, color, wheel, roof, etc too. It is truly customized.

Brian H | January 10, 2013

My salad is a bit different. Resenting oil, after all the huge advances in quality of life and energy availability which it has permitted, is churlish and childish, IMO. But it's time for a better way to move cars, etc.

Alan S | January 11, 2013

Sorry but Brian that was hilarious, ohm.slaw indeed:)

Ohms.Law | January 11, 2013

Ha! Made me laugh too. He dished it up I guess I have to eat it.

CIAOPEC | January 11, 2013

wait, Tesla is providing you with a Nissan Ultima when your Model S Signature is in the shop for service?? that is not acceptable!

gas or electric they should provide you with a similar class car, shouldn't you be offered a bmw or mercedes loaner?

CIAOPEC | January 11, 2013

what about giving you a Tesla Roadster?

RZitrin1 | January 12, 2013

Ciaopec, it was a simple Enterprise rental. I'm lucky it wasn't a Mitsubishi. As for a BMW (my wife has a new one at home), no, not really. Altima is not a bad car, for (ahem) a GASOLINE car....

To me, a BMW 5 is much more like an Altima than a Tesla.

BTW, I took it to Fremont, where I saw 300 or so new Teslas in the parking lots. They're churning 'em out now, with young guys driving them from the plant to the lot, then returning to the plant by electric scooter!

I think they'll soon have Tesla loaners for us.

FLsportscarenth... | January 12, 2013

I would guess in a few months they will have more 'spare' MS to use as loaners... I am thinking of the Model S's that get damaged during delivery and replaced with a newly made MS, the damaged ones can be fixed (damaged panels replaced) like new and used as loaners or reservation holders who at the last minute have to cancel due to job loss... Sure these can be resold to later reservation holders with the same specs, but if it is not a popular configuration then use as a loaner would be optimal...

I think they need to up 2013 production to at least 25,000; most will be pre-sold but need a few for the lot, loaners, fleet sales. I wonder if they have a purchase program for employees yet? That would sell 2,000 more easily... One worker laughs to his friend when he sees a newer worker... "Yeah that's the guy with the ICE car! Really! what a loser..." Hmmm does the Tesla Factory have a Supercharger site yet? All the prime parking spots reserved for Teslas only... Was shocked to see a number of GMs and even japanese cars parked in the employee lot at Ford's worldwide HQ...