What prevents me from owning a Tesla

What prevents me from owning a Tesla

I thought I would buy a Model S this year. Although it is still the top pick on the list of cars I'd like to buy, some of facts really prevent me from doing so. I might as well continue with my 18-year old Lexus which is still running strong.
1. 12V battery issue. It is not what I said, but a ranger said so, refer to
If people would still argue "it is expected..." "my car's battery died...." blah blah. i can't agree with you, sorry. The battery in my Lexus was changed at the beginning of 2011 and still running very strong, it starts up the car in -20C (-4F) no problem. My former Accord's 12V battery served me 8 years before I sold the car. The idea of changing a battery every 16 month is really a design flaw to me. I have seen numerous Audi A6, Benz S class and BMW 5 Series with batteries lasted years. You can single out failures for these cars, but those cases are simply not expectations whereas it is for a Model S. i would probably live up with a 5 year interval given the cost to swap it out is reasonable.
2. Building quality, Model S built in late 2014 still undergo some small problems as well as major ones. On an average, Model S build quality is still lower than most of the cars in the same class.
3. Longer range. That could be a debatable point, but most of the owners I met in Canada and US do want longer range. A practical projection would be a 40% bump on the battery capacity, it would make a long trip more enjoyable. Imagine driving with highway speed of 120KM/H for 4 hours straight and I would think most people can do a 4-hour trip without stopping. Getting rid of fancy things, and use the cost saving to bump up the battery capacity and Model S will enjoy more sales. for me choosing between a S85D + Tech package and S110 is a no brainer. The latter is certainly more appealing to me.

AmpedRealtor | 20 Janvier 2015

Enjoy your Lexus.

tmaz | 20 Janvier 2015

So then why are you on this forum? If you think the car is still a work in progress keep driving your 18 yr old Lexus, which will qualify for antique status soon. Quite honestly you are preaching to the wrong audience any tesla owner or reservation holder is obviously going to completely disagree with all of those points you made.

lolachampcar | 20 Janvier 2015

Just went over to look at my P85D being PDI'd for delivery. I've taken delivery of several MS' over the years and this one is by far the best build quality yet. I'll have to disagree with you on number 2 as this car is easily comparable to any previous BMWs I've owned.

As for number 1, my wife and I have never had a 12V battery failure but then we are down in sunny South Florida (if that makes a difference).

Lastly, the MS is both my wife and my daily driver. Again, we are likely not the norm but neither of us put on more than a hundred miles in a normal day. When we have taken trips, we find the super chargers work just fine.

tes-s | 20 Janvier 2015

Sounds like the Lexus is a good choice for you.

sule | 20 Janvier 2015

(1) You change your fuel, oil and brakes regularly. That is a serious design issue. Your car is using the 12V battery just to start. Tesla uses non-stop.

(2) You have the forums to see this so it is in your face. Any issues I had with my Tesla are minor. We are being pampered. Fixing many issues with a Tesla seems less a chore than a single regular oil change with an ICE as they, well, pamper us with rangers.

(3) We will always want longer range. On any vehicle. I'd like to go to the Moon. Maybe throw enough a perpetual motion scheme with an infinite range - never needs charging or filling. There exists a concept of "enough". Model S has enough range for by far most cases and I am a heavy user.

(4) If you are willing to drive anything else at more than HALF the Tesla price you seriously need to reevaluate things. The car is better in every (other) way. Until then, enjoy whatever you have.

damonmath | 20 Janvier 2015

For what it's worth: I drove only Benzs the last 10 years and find my Model S 85 to be far superior in just about every conceivable category, including the 12v battery. I just replaced the 12v battery on my 2010 luxury E350 in November. It did not last 4 years. My E550 coupe is gorgeous, but the exterior body parts are gaped at a much wider spread than my Model S and the front grill is cheap plastic. In fact, my 2008 C350 took a golf ball to the lower plastic grill and shattered. I had to replace the entire front bumper. On 3 of my Benzs the front bumper got caught on parking bumps and ripped the rivets out from under the wheel wells. I had to use self tapping screws to fix this on all 3 cars. As for range, nothing beats FREE. And out of all the trips I've taken longer than 5 hours, I have stopped for bathroom and dinner breaks that lasted longer than 40 minutes. I know it seems too good to be true, but Tesla has done something incredible. It's like that 1st iPhone, at first I denied it's existence and stuck with a Blackberry Storm for the first 2 years. It wasn't until I was given a FREE iPod Touch that I realized I was being a stubborn fool.

brian_in_TX | 20 Janvier 2015

smh. flagbait.

mjt.private | 20 Janvier 2015

Batteries! Of course, the Achilles heel of the Tesla. I think you read too much forum noise. Even if these regular battery changes were needed, you could just see it like an oil change. Oil change? Oh yes, I remember those. Design flaw. Like cambelts that need changing.

I think you are just scared, and are using this forum to try to help you feel like you have seriously considered a Telsa, then eliminated it for legitimate reasons.

nosken | 20 Janvier 2015

Like you I was in "analysis paralysis" and was ready to put my reservation on a Model X, knowing I would have plenty of time.

Reading this post completely changed my mind. None of us are getting any younger, and it could end at any minute. Like the poster mentioned---This is so out of character for me, but "we only live once"!

I started determining my build wants and needs, and finally Christmas Day ordered my P85D. March Delivery. The more I read, the more I am convinced, I waited long enough.... Now I can hardly wait!

I may replace the P85D with a Model X in the coming years, but I will have a few years of the Tesla Grin already acheived.

cpmarino | 20 Janvier 2015

@chengchy: I think, if you were to go on any vehicle forum, you will find lots of things that owners complain about. It's human nature. I think the 12V battery issue is, frankly, overblown. So, yes, it is a valid criticism, it's just not as rampant as you would believe if you only read those threads that complained about it.

In terms of build quality, I agree to a point. Problem is that the Model S is a $50k car with high-tech and very expensive battery technology. It might not compare to an S-Class or an A8 on certain things which may be important to you. This is all subjective, of course. Doesn't mean the Tesla build quality is bad, it all depends upon what you are comparing it to. Some folks love buttons (i.e. Panamera), some love the spartan nature of the Model S where everything is contained in a single touch screen. One of my pet peeves is the "blank" buttons that adorn many cars constantly reminding me of features that I did not purchase.

As far as range goes, it all depends on your lifestyle and needs. If you regularly drive 400 or 500 miles in areas that do not have superchargers, or do so with limited time and would be bothered to stop and charge, then the Model S is not for you. From my time on this forum, however, I can state that most folks stop having range anxiety and stop obsessing over the battery meter in fairly short order.

It is a very different car and one simply doesn't decide to buy an EV on a whim ... you do need to give it considerable thought to ensure it suits your needs and travel routines. Though some owners may surely beat on me for saying so, it isn't for everyone.

nosken | 20 Janvier 2015

I forgot to mention, the safety and upgradable nature of AutoPilot made my jump easier. Safety was a huge factor. That 18 Year old car is not safe by todays standards.

Phaster | 20 Janvier 2015

You sound like me 6 months ago - a restrained Canadian worried about making a $100K mistake. Then I tried the car, which is then followed by the "aha" moment, shortly thereafter followed by placing an order. I am patiently (ok impatiently) waiting for my S85D.
My bet is that you haven't tried it yet. When you do, concerns seem to fade quickly. This is simply a better technology, better car, strong, fast and silent. There are some compromises but they are more than compensated for by the benefits I think. If I were you - I'd test it, ask all these questions then, keep your Lexus (it's not worth a lot anyway) until you're convinced. Just my 2 cents.

malcolm.hall1932 | 20 Janvier 2015

chengchy. Please read recent post on "why you should not wait to buy a Tesla" if you like the car but want it perfect. It might change your mind. From personal experience I can vouch that the reasons are real and possible. We don't know what's just around the corner.

WØQR | 20 Janvier 2015

Battery. Interesting target. You keep hearing about it being a weak point. I think it's a glass mat..kind of marine type deep cycle battery I think. Have to read more about it. It never has to supply high current like a ICE car battery for starting. But it's always on..always running charging discharging cycling--but not 100%.
I can't help but think someone at Tesla is not looking at this right now figuring a fix. Maybe you can't just sub a lithium poly or Li-Ion battery since it doesn't do a 100% cycle like my cell phone. Or maybe there's a temperature issue. Lead acid is affected by temperature but not like lithium I suspect.
The technology just must not quite be there to solve this issue albeit uncommon.
An interesting read to see what they're up against:

carlk | 20 Janvier 2015

It's kind of strange that you refer to you current car only as the Lexus while name the car make for every other ones you mentioned in you post like people normally would do. Anyway you can go to Lexus forums to check out all the problems Lexus owners had. If there is a perfectly reliable car it has not been invented yet.

carlk | 20 Janvier 2015

@dennis The battery issue is down to just sreen warning for battery replacement now. It could be real bad battery or could just be too sensitive software but nowadays we have not heard a car that was disabled on the road due to the battery issue. It's pretty easy to be replaced and Tesla will replace it for you just like they replace a wiper blade. BTW it has never happened to me for my MAR/14 P85+.

7LJT8 | 20 Janvier 2015

I'm sure I'll buy one this year but here are the reasons I haven't.

1. I never owe income tax at the end of the year. So the Fed Tax incentive isn't something I can take advantage of. Going to review this with my tax adviser soon. Probably lease for 3 years.

2. I love my BMW '08' 535i. Yes I'm sick of using gas but the car rides awesome still with only 60k miles.

3. Driving this into work will cause a stir of people making comments in a bad way. Not sure it would go over well especially with cut backs.

4. I've grown to really enjoy singing "It's Electric" when I see a Tesla on the road. Pretty confident that would stop if I was driving one.

Totally want a Tesla :)

Haggy | 20 Janvier 2015

If there are things holding you back, then wait. If you have an 18 year old Lexus with nothing wrong with it, then keep it until you feel comfortable changing cars. You didn't say why you have an 18 year old Lexus. Perhaps you keep your cars until they no longer meet your needs and this one is still running strong. Perhaps you bought it used. In that case, a 10 year old Lexus in great condition would do far more for you, wouldn't depreciate quickly, wouldn't cost much, and could hold you over even longer until you feel that Tesla meets your needs.

There's already been enough written about why Tesla owners stop feeling range anxiety issues once they own the car. I'd suggest speaking to Tesla about the battery issue to get a feel for things in context. They should be able to tell you what it works out to as a percentage of vehicles rather than based on assumptions built on anecdotal evidence. If after checking the car out and test driving it you end up not buying a car because of the battery issue, tell Tesla so. It would be good for them to know that the perception of this as a problem is a problem. Ask then whether the 8 year unlimited mile warranty extends to the 12v battery.

I'm all in favor of any potential owner making sure that the car meets his needs. We all have different criteria and even a few months ago I wouldn't have bought it had I had a perfectly working car. I'm glad I bought it when I did, but I certainly wouldn't recommend that you get it until you feel comfortable.

EVBeast | 20 Janvier 2015

I've found that the build quality of my P85D is the highest I've ever seen/experienced. My friends with Mercedes are a bit envious/jealous of the fit and finish, and have shown interest in considering Tesla as their next car replacement.

That (in my mind) tells me that Tesla is probably a bit ahead of the pack regarding fit and finish at this point in time (maybe it was a problem a year ago though).

Chromeon | 20 Janvier 2015

Sir, I am 16 years old. I respect your opinion, but as a 16 year old who is tired of paying for gas, I much prefer a Tesla over a any gasoline car. If you are truly a man who is hoping to survive in the future; electric cars are the way to go.

TaoJones | 20 Janvier 2015

1. This car will change your life if you let it. I suggest you let it.

2. A car-sized marine deep cycle 12V battery costs less than $100. Non-issue. if you are actually concerned about this, carry a fully-charged spare. There's room. Your fob battery is more likely to fail - better to carry a spare for that.

3. Range and charging time. Heh. Add up all the time spent getting gas and repairs for your aged ICE chariot, not to mention the money, over the course of 1, 3, and 8 years. Reduce to zero except for tires and windshield wiper fluid. No dealership brain damage, either. That alone is worth the price of admission. Tesla service is unparalleled.

There is no comparable ICE or hybrid vehicle. If you've got analysis paralysis now, just wait until real competition materializes from VW, Audi, along with contributory noise from other lesser contestants.

Better to just take the plunge now. You'll end up trading up in a couple of years anyway; this is just the beginning of what for most is a very fun journey.

p1SL | 20 Janvier 2015

I wish we could have a separate forum for the "Why I won't buy a Tesla (and need to tell everyone about it)" posts. At least this list was shorter than most.

Anthony J. Parisio | 20 Janvier 2015

I think you should stay with Lexus. You just don't get Tesla.

Chromeon | 20 Janvier 2015

P1sl: No one would read it because no one on this forum has time to read about people complaining that the owners of Model S's wasted their time and money. Model S owners (I am not one therefore I cannot say this is true) I suspect, do not want to read hatred on their vehicles. They are great people who do not need to listen to someone claiming they waste their time when the accuser is driving a car older than me.

drax7 | 20 Janvier 2015

Maybe you cannot afford it.
18 year old car can be a hazard to your life.

paul | 20 Janvier 2015

What prevented me from going for a Model S is that it comes in no decent colors. A light-colored car is safer than a dark one for visibility. That means white or pearl white. (You can have any color as long as it's white. Take that, Henry!)

Yup, that prevented me from ordering for about 2.5 seconds. I adore this car. (Guess which color…)

Sure, the 12-volt is an issue, responded to well enough by the others here. I'm willing to put up with that because it's minor. I've had mine replaced once so far. Tesla not only replaced it (after only a questionable warning), it sent someone out to do the work within one day.

I don't find engines with thousands of moving parts guzzling gasoline to be a minor problem.

Archer | 20 Janvier 2015

What is it about these people who come onto a forum dedicated to enthusiasts and owners and feel the need to tell everyone why they aren't buying the car.

And I especially love your last statement, that "Getting rid of fancy things, and use the cost saving to bump up the battery capacity and Model S will enjoy more sales. for me choosing between a S85D + Tech package and S110 is a no brainer." You are a genius. How can Tesla be so stupid not to realize that that is all they have to do. So easy. Why didn't anyone else think of that. You should be running Tesla instead of Elon.

sule | 20 Janvier 2015

@Archer: They all secretly or subconsciously want a Tesla but are unable to pull the trigger for whatever reason. If they weren't interested they would not have come looking for excuses...

chengchy | 20 Janvier 2015

Just came back to desk from a lengthy work meeting that went through my lunch time and I'm amazed this post attracted some attention.

Here are my points:

1. I thank all people who replied to the topic I opened and express my special thanks to those with constructive and persuasive comments.
2. I am keeping the old Lexus since I am in a market for an EV which suits my needs. Leaf does not, nor do those hybrids. As some of you might hate filling up at the gas station, so do I. Model S is the ONLY one that works for me, with limitation of course. I can live up with some of the limitation, while the other make me think twice about getting one. I don't want my next car to be gas car again.
3. I did put down a reservation for Model X under my wife's name, although I was not too keen on the doors. BTW, my wife was persuaded by me to get an EV. She has so many friends working for traditional ICE manufacturer that her head is filled with anti-EV thinking even now. But X was pushed out time and again, while understandable since it is a new vechile and Tesla wants to make it perfect, I could't wait that long and backed out. So S is the only choice for me.
4. Since I am in the market of this car, I have met some of the owners, most of whom, about 20, got the delievery post mid 2014. Among those 20 owners, 5 or 6 ran into some small issues as well as major one. Of course, they were covered under warranty. I am speaking of a fact, not to bash Tesla. Maybe those 5 or 6 are just bad luck. maybe I just had bad luck. But just to be sure, not all of them check forums. And 5 or 6 out of 20 is quite high number.
5. All of the owners praised the service of Tesla. Yeah, good service is an important part of a company, but that is not all. Model S has yet to prove itself as vechile needing "less maintainance" than an ICE counterpart from my own observation.
6. I have much more to say, but my time is limited. I might as well put this post to some other Tesla forum.
7. Last thing is for dear Moderator, could u please delete this topic if possible? I guess a negative tone is not so welcomed here. Although I talked about Chinese sales a while back and predicted it would not be very good. My reasoning was wrong, but the sales number in China met my prediction.

Thanks you all, and have a nice day!

Chromeon | 20 Janvier 2015

The author of this forum definitely brought a knife to a gun fight.

Haggy | 20 Janvier 2015

I don't mind people saying why they wouldn't buy it. I mind when it's the same thing that people have said over and over, consist of excuses to justify why they drive whatever they do, and are all points that have been addressed. I see no reason to go into range anxiety ones except perhaps with a potential owner.

Enough people complained about the lack of ACC, and that included major automotive magazines. If nobody had complained about it, there's no saying if they would have added it at all or at least any time soon. Perhaps a few fewer complaints would have meant slightly less pressure to get autopilot out the door and a one day delay would have meant that I would have missed out.

If there were people who were about to buy the car, got access to the user manual once they put down a deposit, and then canceled when they realized a feature was missing, it would get Tesla to realize that by the time they added it, that particular customer might have opted for something else.

But when people say "My BMW can do that and I can drive for 12 hours straight without using a restroom," I don't care to waste my time.

tarheeltesla | 20 Janvier 2015

Enjoyed my Lexus but handing off to my son. Waiting for Model S 85. Tesla is not a perfect car but it has so many things right and it gets better after you buy it. My Lexus didn't get better.

jordanrichard | 20 Janvier 2015

chengchy, when you say less maintenance, are you talking about warranty work or actual scheduled maintenance?

If you are speaking about scheduled maintenance, well there you are mistaken. Per the owners manual, the required service intervals are as follows; Every 5K, rotate tires; Every 2 years change out brake fluid; and every 4 years change out battery coolant.

I certainly can't speak about the 5 out of 20 owners having "bad luck", since I don't know what their issues were.

Porsche has had to recall ALL of their recent GT3s to have their engines replaced. That is a bit more than bad luck. Talk to Porsches owners about the IMS issues. Being a Mercedes owner since 2000, I speak to the head gasket issues Benz has. The list goes on.

I think you will find that owners of Teslas tend to get defensive because quite often people come here and have an attitude that other cars in this price range don't have issues. No one here thinks the Model S is a perfect car in all areas, but again, when people come here to get advice and answers and have a holy than thou attitude about the cars they are comparing Model S to, is when things get dicey.

Haggy | 20 Janvier 2015

Even at that, changing brake fluid at two years is at the conservative end of the range. Brake fluid absorbs moisture over time and that affects performance. As brakes heat up, it gets even worse to have brake fluid with high levels of moisture. The boiling point will be much lower. With the regen, brakes in the MS are lightly used.

I'm not suggesting that anybody not follow recommendations. But when it comes to the theoretical issue of maintenance for an EV vs ICE, the fact that the brakes won't get significantly hot in the first place means that even for an emergency stop with the brakes slammed on, the fluid will be so far from the boiling point that it wouldn't be likely to make even a theoretical difference after two years for normal drivers. Turning off the standard regen option could change things and I haven't done the math, but unless drivers rode their brakes while driving downhill, I would have no qualms about driving an MS with four year old brake fluid. I repeat, this is not a recommendation.

chengchy | 20 Janvier 2015

As per the brake fluid issue, I definitely agree with you Hager. I kind of remember some Leaf owner said Nissan recommended a brake fluid change on Leaf every 2 years. And a service guy at a Nissan dealer told me personally Nissan did this to "ensure dealerships have enough maintainence revenue so they won't refrain from selling a Leaf". a 2-yr brake fluid change interval is an overkill. If I bought a Model S, I wouldn't go that far, 4 years or even more is good enough for me. But, it is my personal opinion.

As per maintainence issues, yeah, I should have been more clear, they are warranty work. One of 5 guys had some wierd cracking sound from the windowshield and he also underwent a drive unit replacement with 2 month ownership. Then he got bad luck and the cracking sournd came back to haunt again. The car is still in service centre and he has been on a loaner for 1 week now. The other guy had a charging issue and the car refused to charge from his Nema 14-50. For the first few weeks, he had to go to a supercharger to get it topped up, luckily it is only a 5 min drive for him.

As for me, those issues are not bothering me too much, I would cross my finger they can be fixed once and for all, although they reveal the fact Tesla has yet to do better quality control. But the 12V battery issue does not even seem to go away. Yeah, it is a high profiled car and people seem to be more likely to post the problem on forum, but what that ranger said worries me, a 16 month interval for changing a battery is expected. If that is expected, I would think it is more than a regular oil change which costs me only 30 bucks (if you are going to dealer to get it done for 200 bucks, that is your choice). And from the thread, some owner did get multiple 12V problems. The car has yet to prove itself on the longetivity of this 12V battery. I don't think a 5 year expectation is unreasonable given the battery is hard to reach and cost tends to be high.

nosken | 20 Janvier 2015

....but they will replace the battery for no charge for at least 4 years, 50,000 miles per the warranty.

Captain_Zap | 20 Janvier 2015

My BMW need two batteries. They were big and expensive batteries to replace too. All I had to do was leave my lights on for a few hours and I was stranded.

I can leave my lights on for over a month in the Model S without concern.

Captain_Zap | 20 Janvier 2015

The unofficial moderator arrived!

renwo S alset | 20 Janvier 2015

Let's make him honorary unofficial moderator. Then he can be you're idiot and my idiot.

AmpedUP | 20 Janvier 2015

Ah, the joys of not posting on TMC. This forum is a lot more fun to read. Regarding the OP, I've been sitting on the fence for almost 2 years now, but it looks like 2015 is my year. I used to have a laundry list of items I wanted improved on the Model S, but bit by bit the list has been whittled down to nothing. My last item was the grid lines on the back up camera, now checked off. I can deal with the 12v battery being a 1-2 year maintenance item. I just want to read the reviews of the first batch of S85Ds delivered, and then put in an S85D order when the new seats become available for it. The only thing that would derail me at this point would be new drive unit issues or primary battery contactor issues, both of which I seriously doubt because Tesla has been very attentive to these items over the last year. It sure would be nice to join the club by this Summer.

Sleepydoc1 | 20 Janvier 2015

Let me get this straight. An oil change that costs $50-70 every 3-6 months, depending on driving etc, and throw in an air filter once a year for another $20-25 IS better than a battery change every 16 months to 4 years for $100? Hmmm. Even going to Jiffy lube is an hour of my time each time. Getting to the dealer for the $200 "special" oil change is 30 minutes each way plus the 2 hours sitting there eating donuts and watching talk shows. Just saying, I am looking very forward to my MX in 2015 (please Santa!!).

dkenta | 20 Janvier 2015

If he has an 18 year old Lexus, what he really is saying is he can't afford a Tesla, just in lame speak.

Anthony J. Parisio | 20 Janvier 2015

I was one of those people that you are talking about. I complain about no ACC and so on. Boy was I wrong!. One the best things I have ever done is to buy a Tesla! For many people until they own one they just don't get it.

kevonandmarion | 20 Janvier 2015


It is absolutely NOT true that the twelve volt battery has not been an issue while driving recently. I have had two replaced. One of those times I was almost in an accident as it happened while I tried to pass another car at 75 mph and simply lost all power and had to cut across three lanes to pull safely off the freeway

EESROCK | 20 Janvier 2015

Sometimes you have to overcome your fears to enjoy life to the fullest.
We've had our Tesla for almost 2 years and have not had any major issues. I still look forward to getting in the car every day.

Madatgascar | 20 Janvier 2015

I have had mine for two years too. Also have kept a Lexus GS hybrid over this time, and I will more or less concede the poster's comments on the dependability and build quality from my own experience. Yet I only drive the Tesla. It would be useless to try to list all the reasons - it just makes me smile. Now the dependability and build are better, and Tesla leads in independent owner satisfaction surveys.

Madatgascar | 20 Janvier 2015

I should mention that we always opt for the Tesla for our long road trips too. The superchargers work great.

monisone | 20 Janvier 2015

I am an ex-Lexus owner (GS model) and I love my Tesla, there is no comparison between fossil fuel obsolete technology and Tesla. I love my Tesla every bit. We do all our road trips with Tesla. The responsiveness to questions, service, delivery, car buying experience and everything else is similar and in many cases batter than Lexus and much cheaper too!

You buy Tesla when you are ready, but it a car class apart.

TC56 | 21 Janvier 2015

Let's face it, you won't see many posts of "My 12v battery is perfect", but you will see posts when it fails. It's human nature to focus on what goes wrong and shout about it. There are far more perfectly functioning batteries out there than the ones that have failed, and which would you prefer, a message saying to pre-emptively replace the battery or wait until it actually fails?

Phaster | 21 Janvier 2015

It's called fossil fuel for a reason....