A show-stopper for my eventual Tesla ownership...

A show-stopper for my eventual Tesla ownership...

I've followed Tesla from its early days when the Roadster was first introduced.
My enthusiasm has been steadily solidified.
I was 110% absolute that the model S Performance will be my next car.
...That is until I was "driving home" after a "beautiful" test drive a model S Performance few weekend ago.

Here are my 2 problems:

1. Show-stopper: Tesla cars are not able to "coast".
Letting off you accelerator and Tesla car "actively" slows you down.
In normal driving, both stop-and-go city traffic and highway driving, as a "green" driver, I "coast" my car quite often.
I even coast when temporarily breaking out of cruise control.
In my test drive, from the ram I merged into the fast highway. I got the Tesla to 100 mph in a blink (LOVE IT!!!) and without knowing it. Once I realized that high speed, as usual my foot was immediately off the accelerator.
I expected the car's momentum will gradually, steadily, and safely slow down to desired speed, i.e. 75 mph.
Tesla car "actively" slowed down significantly.
This is very dangerous as my Tesla would be slowing down and obstruct the vehicle behind me.
It thus required me to constantly pressing my accelerator to control the precise deceleration.

2. Another lesser but still is a show-stopper: Brake-lights are on...but I didn't even brake.
I supposed this is the programmed brake-light-on by Tesla's own implementation.
Due to its "actively" slowing down when foot-off-accelerator, Tesla turns brake lights on to warn folks behind us.
Though this is only a "visual indicator" and not as critical as the "not-able-to-coast" problem above, it bothers the heck out of me. It annoys me quite a bit when folks apply brake for no real safe-driving reason, especially on the highway.

Obviously I had a GREAT test drive.
I'm still crazily IN LOVE with Tesla.
I'm so PROUD that TESLA was invented and manufactured in the USA.
I even equate Elon Musk to Henry Ford for his innovations.
But I'll confess that unless I'm completely wrong on the above 2 issues or Tesla will correct them, I'll find myself not a Tesla owner :-(

Those who own a Tesla, please, please...prove me wrong! I'll appreciate you so much!

David Trushin | June 25, 2013

Wow, this post appears to be unique in that everyone makes a lot of sense (except perhaps the OP). Coasting is more efficient if you never use your brakes. Regen is better if you need to use your brakes. Aside from generally being illegal and dangerous, some people prefer to freewheel and those people can do it in the model s as well. People who use regen on a road with traffic will do better than those who coast. And the (OP) will never get a Tesla because coasting will never be a designed feature. Moving on ...

EcLectric | June 25, 2013

The Model S actually supports coasting.

When you let off the accelerator completely, the car goes into maximum regen. If you press down the pedal again, the car decelerates at a slower rate until you have pressed the petal to the point that you are demanding no acceleration or deceleration out of the car (neither the green nor the orange arc appear on the speedometer). Now you are coasting. There are only two differences: (1)the electric motor is free spinning, and (2) you can resume either regen or acceleration easily by easing off or pressing the pedal.

I don't think you lose much energy free spinning the electric motor. At the same time you have more control because you can easily accelerate or decelerate using the 'go' pedal.

Realistically, how long can you coast in a manual transmission car before you need to speed up or slow down? Not very long in my experience - especially if you don't want other drivers honking at you.

So if efficiency is your goal, the 1% efficiency loss from free-spinning an electric motor is far outweighed by the 80% - 25% efficiency advantage of an EV.

And if control is your goal, just keep the pedal in the 'coasting' position until people start honking, and then you can react appropriately without having to shift, clutch, etc.

justineet | June 25, 2013


Just noticed your second post. Though your initial post is ridiculous, U R warranted the benifit of the doubt after reading ur secnod post. By your own addmission U didn't even try the car in low-regen mode which is the closest approximate to regular ICE cars. I find it quite puzziling why you wouldn't have asked the Tesla guy about the different driving modes if "Coasting" was such a burning issue to you as you claim??? On the Low-Regen mode the car does not SLOW down as much a u claim on your intitial post!! Not even close! There is no doubt the car coasts..the car not only coasts similarly to ICEs in low-regen mode, it even does so from a dead-stop position if one puts the car in creep mode!! Tesla can easily modify the firmware of the car to include a complete swith-off option of Regen. But that doesn make a whole lot of sense if you are already getting virtually smilar coasting in the low-Regen mode. And on a long down-hill driving situation one can easily flip the motor to neutral and coast exactly the same fasion ICE cars do in neutral.

BTW: If anyone believes here there are no Trolls in internet forums or Trolls are all amatuer rude bunch, I have a Golden Bridge I would like to sell you over and over again!!

AmpedRealtor | June 25, 2013

If OP or anyone else expects the Model S to "coast" in the traditional sense simply by letting up on the gas pedal, that's not going to happen and will probably never happen with a Tesla car. The functionality has been built this way for a reason - to give you more, rather than fewer options. There is one-pedaled driving for those who like to accelerate and decelerate (w/ regen) using a single pedal. If you want to coast without regen on a long straightaway or downhill, then put the car into NEUTRAL and that will give you a true, bonafide coast with no regen. You have the best of all worlds at your fingertips.

It looks to me like the OP made up his mind before he even posted. I feel like we were set up! LOL

AmpedRealtor | June 25, 2013

OMG I called it a "gas pedal" OMG ROTFL!

Brian H | June 25, 2013

It's the "goose pedal", of course.

david.cheney | June 25, 2013

+1 @EcLectric

eye-foot coordination works great for me - watch the energy meter on the right. Accelerate, coast, regen, .. and very rarely, brAKE.

mdemetri | June 25, 2013

Is this thread a joke????!!!!!!

Someone is not going to buy the most incredible car ever built because of poor coasting and brake lighting!!!!!!!

Seriously!!!!! This cannot be the real.

justineet | June 25, 2013

@mdemetri....the OP seems to have detailed knowledge about the mechanics of "coasting" and "regen-braking" one would expect from someone in the car industry. Nevertheless -- during his test drive -- it completely escaped the OP's mind to ask the Tesla's guide about more "pro-coasting" options such as Low-Regen and Creep options though "coasting" was his PRIMARY concern......that's a 2+2 experience we need to work hard to add up to 5............

olanmills | June 25, 2013

For you guys criticizing the OP's choice of deal breaker, I'll just toss in that coasting is/was a major concern for me too. I don't think it would have stopped me from getting the car, but if it was impossible to coast, I would have been seriously dissatisfied with that aspect of the driving.

Fortunately, as others and I have mentioned already, coasting is totally (and easily) possible in the Model S. It's just that the input you give the car to accomplish coasting is different than in other cars. The downside, is that you get less opportunity to rest your foot if you want to do coasting.

Lush1 | June 25, 2013

Wonder why the OP didn't try putting the car in neutral if he is so fond of coasting? There is a "N" in the shift pattern after all.

Also, he didn't mention this, but I wonder if he would prefer it if Tesla added a few lines of code so, for several minutes after starting the car, it would actually speed up when he lifted his foot, just like gas powered vehicles do when the engine is cold and the mixture is rich? Maybe he lets his cars warm up for 5 or 10 minutes before driving them so the coasting effect is perfectly consistent every time he decelerates. I've only drove gas cars from 1969 until this past February, but every one of them, from my Fairlane to my Mercedes, exhibited this behavior to some extent when cold. The Ford had a manual choke that had to be incrementally adjusted from very rich to lean (or nominal)for the first several minutes of driving or the engine would stall. The lower the ambient air temperature, the more gas it needed until the engine was up to temp. Now that was some manly driving, I sure do miss it in my Tesla.

Maybe we judged the OP too quickly. Who wants a "choke mode" in their Tesla? Anyone...Bueller....anyone?

Lush1 | June 25, 2013

EDIT: only driven


HenryT2 | June 25, 2013

Just today, as my MS was taken in for the recall issue, I was forced to drive my ICE (God, what a miserable experience). I did, however, use the opportunity to do some coasting. I'm not sure what you and the OP get out of it. Yes, the MS forces you to keep your foot on the pedal all the time, but unless you are in cruise control, I don't feel comfortable unless I'm resting my foot on the accelerator or brake pedal. The additional effort to press down part way is not terribly onerous. Then, moving your foot fairly frequently from accelerator to brake and back again erase whatever 'relaxation' you must have gained from your 'rest'.

In addition, I noticed that coasting in city traffic requires either braking frequently, or being in a completely oblivious to other cars. You must ignore the fact your coasting to a stop has GOT TO be bothering the crap out of everyone else on the road. And you've got to stay FAR behind other cars so that their normal braking doesn't throw off your carefully planned coasting.

I can see the potential enjoyment of hyper-miling and seeing how far you can get on a tank of gas, but I'd rather drive my MS and play Angry Birds at home and try to get maximum scores on that.

I know you did come to the conclusion that the coasting was not a deal breaker. I wonder whether the OP will ever change his/her mind about this topic.

Lush1 | June 26, 2013


+1. I also had to drive my ICE the other day. I'm still saddled with it until I can get it fixed up for inspection, then sale. What a revolting experience it was. As I mentioned in my previous, somewhat tongue-in-cheek post, the idle speed during warm up was disconcerting and I found myself jumping on the brake. Everything else about it was uncomfortable too. The noise, the slow throttle response, the latency of downshifting under hard acceleration, the lousy traction control (compared to my Model S) intervening often because the ICE couldn't get the power down as efficiently as the Tesla. This is a MB we're talking about, not a cheap car by any means.

Sure, we're not all the same and people have varying tastes. The Model S might not be right for some people. But for me, and almost every Tesla driver that has commented on the forums, regen and one pedal driving is one of it's greatest attributes. ICE vehicles simply don't feel like that. One can simulate it by downshifting, but it's not smooth and isn't efficient. A Tesla can come close to feeling like an ICE in low regen with creep turned on, but it's not identical. Why someone would want a Tesla to exhibit performance characteristics identical to an ICE is beyond me. It's missing the point.

There is a short adjustment period when transitioning from what all drivers are accustomed to, to driving a Model S. It seems to me that overwhelmingly, Tesla drivers vastly prefer the electric experience and find driving an ICE, even a really expensive and refined ICE, to be a primitive and unsatisfying experience after adjusting to a Tesla. Perhaps the OP is one of the few that doesn't relate to the new feel and benefits of driving with regen, like convenience, efficiency, extremely long brake life and the enhanced, consistent control you develop as you quickly adapt to the brilliant way the Model S speeds up and slows down. He could turn on creep and put regen on low to get an experience similar to ICE driving dynamics, but it is not identical, nor would most of us want it to be. If he doesn't like it, he should not buy it, somebody else will. I think he is the loser for clinging to outmoded dynamics, but to each his own. He's even free to express his opinion, as we are free to disagree with it. He may be a troll, or he may just be an opinionated person that thinks his test drive experience gave him sufficient data to make a definitive determination that he does not like the Model S because it does not behave the same was an ICE does. He sure didn't make any friends here and I think he presented a poor argument that only convinced people he is either a troll or a jerk and the Tesla Grin has turned into a Tesla Grimace for him.

A Tesla is not and ICE, heavens be praised. The driving experience is different, most would say it is far better. Vive la différence.

contact | June 28, 2013

Column driving. Tap the N position for coasting. Tap D for regen. Leave your feet on the floor. Use responsibly. Increases range. Technique used regularly now. Wife thinks it's odd. 12k S-Ranger.

TikiMan | June 28, 2013

I LOVE the regeneration-function, and would NEVER go back to an ICE car that coast.

I can literally floor-it in bad traffic, and without slamming on the breaks, just release and I am safe with just a light-tap of the breaks. Yes, it takes a bit of getting use to, however, once you are a master at it, you realize quickly how amazing and more efficient it is. It's also FAR safer, as you never have to worry that the driver behind you will not see your breaks, as traffic slows quickly. I have driven behind a few MS's while in high-speed stop and go traffic, and I never once was worried that they would hit the breaks at the last second (which causes 75% of most rear-end collisions), because it's fool-proof.

Also, the VERY FACT that not only are you regenerating energy back to the battery, you are saving thousands $$$$ in wasted break-pads, makes it even that much better!

Brian H | June 28, 2013


Paul Koning | June 28, 2013

Please note that there is no neutral in the ICE sense. Tesla doesn't have a car style transmission -- it only has a constantly engaged reduction gear box. The only effect of "neutral" is to stop powering the motor. The motor is still turning.
In other words, the effect is exactly the same as when you're in drive but on the borderline between regen and using energy. So neutral does exactly nothing for you. If you can "coast" in "neutral" at constant speed, you'd get exactly the same result driving in Drive at constant speed -- zero power consumed either way. If coasting results in speed increase, you can apply brakes -- which turns kinetic energy into heat, i.e., wastes it. If you were in drive, you'd lift off the accelerator a little, resulting in regeneration. Either way, you maintain constant speed, but in Drive you're efficient and in "neutral" you are not.
I agree with the O.P. that this is different from conventional cars (though not so much from hybrids, which I've driven for a decade before the S). Half an hour of practice will make it feel like second nature. Give it a try.

AmpedRealtor | June 28, 2013

I am looking forward to this thing you call "one pedal driving" :)

HenryT2 | June 29, 2013

I'm guessing by your frequent presence on the forums, you ordered a MS. Be sure to post your clients' impressions when you drive them around.

Doug H | June 29, 2013

The answer is simple. If you want those features, and they are show stoppers, even with light regen braking, keep buying gas.

Is this a joke post or what? You have to be a low-information consumer.

Who cares? Regen braking is a benefit both in its energy benefits and its ability to extend the life of your brakes. If this is too hard to understand, you aren't smart enough to buy this car yet.

Show stoppers? That's like objecting to bypass surgery because of the scar that it will leave on your chest.