When demo driving your car to others, do you...

When demo driving your car to others, do you...

I will get my MS85 in about four weeks. Everyone I know is already lined up to try the car.

When you demo drive it for others, do you drive and let them experience the ride, or do you let them drive it themselves?

I'd love them to try the drive, but it will be my new baby and I think I will be very protective of it. Is it proper etiquette to just let them sit in the passenger seat and let them drool, or, do you kind of have to let them try it themselves.

I am a little thorn with the idea and would love to hear what you guys and gals do in similar situations.


windex | 3 novembre 2014

Marijuana is legal in WA. So, it depends. :)

I promise the Tesla smile from the acceleration applies to the passenger seat, though.

Devin B | 3 novembre 2014

I always offer to let them drive. Sometimes people actually decline. | 3 novembre 2014

I've let 8 friends and family drive my car. They have all been extremely cautious and careful. I always tell them to floor it when the opportunity arises. They love it!

Captain_Zap | 3 novembre 2014

Here is a cautionary test drive tale:


If that is the case, they might just drive too slow and get ticketed for impeding traffic and something else.

SCCRENDO | 3 novembre 2014

@Chilli-e. Good luck entertaining others. I don't.

mclary | 3 novembre 2014



Chili-e | 3 novembre 2014

Okay... Lots of different opinions, a single very scary tale...

I guess my thought of letting people drive is off the table. They'll have to experience the Tesla smile from the passenger seat.

SongWhistler | 3 novembre 2014

@Chile--There was a long thread with many good comments here or at Tesla Motors Club. I can't seem to find it to link. From what I recall...

There really is no informal owners' norm about allowing test drives. People vary widely.

One reported providing maybe a couple of dozen test drives in his years of owning, with no problems. Another won't let ANYone but himself drive the Tesla not even his wife -- he took a little flack for that! I fall in the middle -- will allow trusted family/friends to try the car. However I felt extremely nervous during one such early try-it drive, and learned to pick a very quiet, no-traffic area...

One owner posted a nightmare story, he'd allowed his landscaper to drive the Model S. The guy drove way too fast for anybody's comfort, kept speeding up despite owner's telling him to slow down, headed into a curve hitting the throttle saying "Let's see what it will do," and spun the car off the road into, I think, a tree.

I learned, you can shut the car down from the control screen when sitting in the passenger seat if some bizarro emergency like that should develop. Consensus seemed to be, be careful who you let behind the wheel.

If getting P85D might be different. Driving 700 hp EV safely likely requires a learning curve ... looking forward to p85d owners comments when they start arriving...

Pungoteague_Dave | 3 novembre 2014

I always encourage them to drive unless they refuse. Then I scare the crap out of them outbound, and they are glad to take over for the return trip. My car has sold at least a half dozen others.

Blu Zap | 3 novembre 2014

I have had the MS for a month now. No one has driven it. Although I did let a valet park it. I had phoned ahead and asked about the valet's experience with MS. They gave me the valet mgrs name and he parked it himself right in front. Big tip.
In time, my girlfriend will drive it. She is a car geek too. But need to feel comfortable with that.

Captain_Zap | 3 novembre 2014

The nightmare story is the link I posted above.

Blu Zap | 3 novembre 2014

Thanks for posting that link. Indeed a horror story and one that gives us a dose of caution.

SCCRENDO | 3 novembre 2014

@Blu Zap. Are you and the captain related?

Anthony J. Parisio | 4 novembre 2014

Every time is a different situation. I take into consideration the location the traffic and the type of person that I'm dealing with. If I don't know them at all I will drive them. If they are friends and people I am aware of their sensibilities then I may choose to let him drive the car.

Red Sage ca us | 4 novembre 2014

One particular Friend, 6iX -- a bona fide Tesla Hater, will NEVER drive my car. I used to trust his driving skill. Once, years ago, he nearly killed me in my own car on Stunt Rd in the Calabasas/Pacific Palisades area. Another time he was showing off in his Girlfriend's Lotus tuned Isuzu Impulse and crashed it when he tried to operate the front wheel drive car as if it were rear wheel drive heading into a long right hand sweeper. Nah. He'll be lucky if I allow him the Shotgun spot. More likely he'll be relegated to the rear seat limo position on a test ride.

DTW_Tom | 4 novembre 2014

@chili-e, Come on the question itself implies that you know what your gut is already telling you. Heck No!! So they have an accident or someone slams into them because they didn't see them...then what? What, you will seek reimbursement from their insurance company....heck no! The Tesla grin arises from the driver side seat when you "punch it", believe me, they will be astonished and with no risk...unless a heart attack is considered risk! You waited and its your money...not theirs and you are not insured for that kind of risk!

mrspaghetti | 4 novembre 2014

Too much chance to ruin a friendship if there's an unlucky incident. I plan to disallow driving by anyone but me & my wife.

sbeggs | 4 novembre 2014


I first insist on a DNA test. If it indicates a familial match, I hand over the fob. So far only 4 people have driven the T.

PBEndo | 4 novembre 2014

I have giving dozens of demo rides and offered the driver's seat to many, but only after I demoed both the fine control of the accelerator (allowing for slow, smooth acceleration) and a Maximum Discharge Event. I am surprised how many decline the offer to drive it. I guess the combination of expensive/crazy fast/different than ICE scares people into thinking they may not be able to handle it.
Ironically, I feel it is easier to drive than most cars (possibly every car) I have ever driven, though I can understand how the incredible instant torque could catch somebody by surprise.

Brian H | 4 novembre 2014

That horror story: 2 corners then several trees. All sides of the car beat up. Thorough job.

Mathew98 | 4 novembre 2014

Do what you will with your car. If you trust others to be as gentle to your car as you are then go for it. You might lose friend

I won't even let my wife sit in the driver's seat when it's parked. I might let my concubine take it for a spin on my laps...


Blu Zap | 4 novembre 2014
No relation to captain_zap. I used to be tjmelka.

mrspaghetti | 4 novembre 2014

@Brian H

2 corners then several trees. All sides of the car beat up. Thorough job.

Don't forget the two bent axles and multiple fractured bones for at least one occupant. Thorough indeed.

@Captain_Zap: Thanks much for posting that link. Well worth reading.

neilhamrin | 4 novembre 2014

I try to not live my life in fear. So, I offer and some say no, some yes. No bad experiences so far. All are amazed and I like that. Good Teslavangelism.

nicole | 4 novembre 2014

I plan on driving them to my dealership down the road where they can test drive to their heart's content.

EESROCK | 4 novembre 2014

I've let a few of my colleagues test drive the car while I was in the car with them. Two of them drove it conservatively while the other floored it and made the car fish tail a bit.

A couple of colleagues declined the offer to drive. One was worried about damaging such an expensive car. The other was afraid he would start coveting the Tesla too much.

Kutu | 4 novembre 2014

I've had my Model S 5 months and my GF hasn't even requested to drive it. I am going to ask her make a "get acquainted" drive at some point -just so I can have a designated driver for the time I might have more than 2 drinks!

Jacqueline.gerhart | 4 novembre 2014

I usually don't have a problem with people (usually well known to me) test driving my cars. However, I know my wife (who has a lead foot) will love driving the Tesla...and that makes me worried! Mysterious dings often show up on her SUV. I may have to take some meditation classes before delivery.

Haggy | 4 novembre 2014

I've found Tesla owners to be the most accommodating of any owners when it comes to letting people see and explaining about their car. Before I bought one, I had an owner leave me with the car to look things over while it was charging. When it comes to driving it's a different story. I think people are hesitant to do so because one mistake could cost a lot of money. I've been declined so far but people love being driven in it.

I think once the auto pilot software comes out, people will feel safer testing out my car. I'll feel safer too.

Captain_Zap | 4 novembre 2014


Blu Zap and I are about as related as Blue Shift and Red Shift.

PhillyGal | 4 novembre 2014

This thread proves the answers vary widely.
It'll be a matter of comfort but perhaps a little of both? For the first 6-12 months, maybe you'll be comfortable for test rides only. Which, by the way, is perfectly acceptable.
If you feel up to it, you can start letting trusted family/friends take it for a drive after that period.

I come from a family that drives each others cars the minute a new one is purchased because cars are such a big hobby to us. My husband hates that idea with a passion and has refused to let my mother take his Manual 4-door Jeep Wrangler for a spin in the 3 years he's had it (and a dozen requests) so I'm sure our Model S won't be driven by anyone but us.

To me it sort of takes the fun out of it but its technically his car and he gets to choose.

Pilot_51 @US-MI | 4 novembre 2014

I'm a bit over 4 months in and I haven't let anyone drive it, not even my dad who is very likely the safest driver in my family. I have let a few trusted people sit in the driver seat and on one occasion, mostly out of my own curiosity, suggested to touch the brake as I was standing outside the driver door with the fob (it turned on, I wouldn't have allowed shifting if the thought came up).

I'm not ready to put the well-being of my car and sanity directly in the hands of someone else. I want to have my car paid off before I consider taking any unnecessary risks such as that.
That brings me to this thought: How much might the willingness of an owner to allow others to drive be relative to how easy it was for them to afford the car?

portia | 4 novembre 2014

I did let my family/brothers/sons test drive my car. And a race instructor at Laguna Seca is the only "stranger" I let drive. For others I drive and they sit in the passenger seat. I have never valeted my car (except by Tesla). I know people who would be more generous, but better safe than sorry. That story with the landscaper is surely a warning to be careful even if you can easily afford a car.

jackhub | 4 novembre 2014

I have driven many in my Tesla. I have allowed only two people to drive my Tesla- and did so because I believed they were potential buyers. The others were just curious.

JAD | 4 novembre 2014

It is just a car. I have let a dozen plus people drive the car. No total strangers but any friend who wants to drive is welcome. Best way to help Tesla succeed. Many just want rides but they are welcome to drive.

Of course I teach Porsche racing, so compared to a twin turbo 911 at 150mph, a street test drive is nothing.

jbunn | 4 novembre 2014

I do allow friends and family to drive, but they are people I know well, and trust. I sit in the front seat.

I'm not sure what I would have done in the OPs position, but if you don't follow my instructions, the ride is over. | 4 novembre 2014

@Red Sage -
I know stunt road really well. A buddy of mine and myself used to fly up and down stunt on our gsxr sportbikes....what a blast. The real treat was being at the top on a clear day, and looking out at the valley on one side, and of course miles of coastline on the other. Vroom VrOoOom.