I hesitate to post this topic. I am a staunch environmentalist and fully support the electric vehicle technology. And in my view, Tesla's success or failure will be the success/failure of the industry. I'm all for being an early adopter and dealing with the kinks that come with that, but my experience so far with this car has been near horrendous.

I own a rather large environmentally responsible company. I write a blog and wrote on the topic of supporting Tesla- and the Washington Post ran the story...

I have put a deposit down for the X to replace our minivan. I'm eager for delivery, but my wife says she doesn't mind waiting- hoping that Tesla will work out kinks (explained later) before her car is made/arrives.

I really want to support Tesla, but my experience thus far with Tesla has been terrible:

Delivery was a bear. They said they couldn't deliver to my house because the truck couldn't get down my street. After eventually calling their driver at 4:00 to check in (I was told that he would deliver some time on this particular Saturday, but he never called to give me a time window), we arranged for pick up at school. My car was delivered with another owner's and mine needed full unwrapping, which I did because the driver was busy with the other car. Once done, there was glue on my windshield and windows. I went to the nearby hardware store to pick up some remover and got to work the next day. My car had 17 miles of charge on it when I picked it up. It's a good thing I lived nearby. The other owner's car was a wreck- the kid seats were uninstalled and his leather bucket seats were messed up. It looked like half of the leather was unfinished on them. He scheduled an appointment right away to have them replaced.

Driving the Tesla takes some getting used to. I hit a curb and got a flat. My bad. No spare. But whatever. Easy fix.

My brakes squeak, especially when the car is first driven for the day (maybe I can just hear it then). I asked Tesla to take a look at it and they said they couldn't hear anything when they drove it- but they lubed something or another. They still squeak.

I'm not a fan of some of the design. The center console is basically a floor with a couple of edges. It seems like wasted space and stuff pretty much just rolls around down there, in full view. The cup holders and armrests are an either/or situation. You can't have a drink and armrest at the same time. And no cup holders in the back.

I have 3 kids. I have to clean out the car every month, at least. I go to do that and to shake out the floor mats in the back. No floor mats. I call Tesla to tell them they forgot to give them to me- they say they don't come with the car.

I was thinking about taking my car to Maine on vacation, but after looking at the existing supercharging stations between DC and Portland, I realize that ain't happening. Why Tesla installed a 2nd charger in Connecticut before putting one in Boston (or DC, or Philly, or Portland for that matter) is beyond me.

I go on vacation and leave my car at a body repair shop (story coming later). I occasionally check in on the car's charge and see that it's going down into the double digit range, even though it had been charged to about 200 miles before I left. I call the shop and ask if they've turned the car off. They say yes. We call Tesla, which is nearby, and they run a charging cord over to the body shop and have me plugged in so the battery doesn't go to zero. What kind of environmental car bleeds out about 8 miles per day worth of energy? That's got to be the biggest vampire loss of energy of anything a person a can own!

Re: the body shop... My wife sideswiped a stone wall at the front right of the car. The fun really begins now. The car is bent up and scraped at that front right corner. She hit it at about 3 mph, so no crunching of metal or anything, but scraped up nonetheless. We call Tesla. They say the nearest/only "certified" Tesla body shop is in Annapolis, which is an hour away from where I live in the DC burbs. Why in the hell would they make the closest certified body shop 40 minutes outside of DC (where there are probably more Tesla owners than anywhere else south of NYC)?!? We send it to our tried and true body shop, which is about 1/2 mile from the Tesla garage in Rockville, MD. They are excited to get the car and call Tesla immediately to order parts. Here is how they described their experience dealing with Tesla...

"here you go!- 1st called down to the Rockville repair and was told to Call Tesla since we could only order parts from Freemont. L/m 6 different times for Jake-parts mgr. starting on 8/5. Called tesla back 510-249-3650 spoke with Jared? was told to email (sent several emails.) and was told that we would not be allowed to order parts since we are not direct repair. John the owner of White flint went down to tesla in Rockville again and spoke with the Mgr and they stated they couldn't sell parts to us on 8/9. After several attempts of trying to get a hold of someone in parts. On 8/12 John went back down to Telsa and told them what was going on and spoke to Lee from parts. He asked his boss again if he could just sell the parts to us and explained what was going on. He was the only one during this time who has helped us get the car repaired. The repaired should of taken 4 days not 3weeks of run around from Tesla trying to get prices and parts."

Yes- it took 3 weeks. No loaner offered. And, wait for it- $7000 ($5000 for the body repair- parts were $3500- and $2000 from Tesla to fix the air conditioning and alignment)! I have a picture of the accident. It wasn't bad- just some scrapes. If it had been a Toyota, it would've been $1300 and 4 days.

My kids sit in the back seat. One of them looks up about a week after I got it back and points out a big crack in the roof glass. I call Tesla, for the record- and ask if it's covered by warranty. He asks if anything fell on it. I said "no". He sounds skeptical- says I'll have to bring it in for him to look at it to be sure it's a stress crack rather than an impact crack. I say OK- when? He says anytime, but he doesn't have a loaner. I tell him to call me when he gets a loaner. A few days later, I open the sunroof and hear some crackling and popping- there is definitely something wrong with the mechanics of the sunroof.

A day or 2 after I got the car back from the body repairs, a light came on saying that my car might not start the next time I try. I figure it's just a glitch- like how a "check engine" light might come on when your gas cap isn't on tight. Car starts next time. About a month goes by- and yesterday I go to start my car to go home and it's dead. It's connected to the charger at work. The windows work, it's fully charged, but it won't start. I call Tesla and they start asking repeatedly if I ever let it go down to zero miles or if I've left it uncharged for prolonged periods of time. I told them I charge it almost every day and the only time it was not charged frequently is when it was in the shop- and even if I had let it go for a week or 2 uncharged, does that really warrant it not starting?!? They send a tow truck, with loaner. Takes 90 minutes, even though they're 15 minutes away. They pull up with a trailer and I inquire how they're going to get my car towed. The driver says he's going to drive it onto the trailer. I point out to him that the reason why I'm being towed is because the car won't start...

I call this morning to remind them to look at the roof glass and to also point out that now the sunroof isn't working right. The first thing out of the guy's mouth is- "Something fell on the car?" "No"- I reply.

I've had this car since April. It's got 6000 miles on it. I keep telling myself that Tesla will get their act together regarding service- that this will be the last time I have to deal with an issue from them. I so hope this company thrives, but they're making it damn hard for me to endorse them. People ask me all the time how I like it, and I say "it has great acceleration and a nice big screen", but to my close friends, I'm telling them to avoid the car.

A customer asked me on my blog how I'm liking it- I say it's great, but there are just some minor issues that come with a start up company. I'm lying, but can't lie much longer (starting with this post, I suppose)...

shop | 11 septembre 2013

And the reason you didn't make this thread private is?

jat | 11 septembre 2013

All I can say is I haven't had your experience at all. You don't mention ever emailing ownership@ or calling Tesla themselves, just the service center -- have you tried that?

swalkermd | 11 septembre 2013

Odd post here. Many of these "complaints" should have been considered before your purchase. If you were unhappy with the interior design of the car or the location of supercharger stations then why did you go ahead with the purchase? And with regards to the cost of body repairs you said, "...if it had been a Toyota, it would've been $1300 and 4 days." Are you seriously comparing your S to a Toyota? Apples and oranges man.
Some of your complaints seem legitimate, but in reading your post I can help but feel you're just searching for things to bitch about on the non-private thread. Odd.

earlyretirement | 11 septembre 2013

Yikes. Sorry to hear about your problems but it sounds like you have a bit of bad luck as well. Hitting a curb and getting a flat tire within days of getting your car? Sideswiping the side of the car within a few short months of getting it?

I got the car about 2 weeks ago and my car came with mats both in the front and back and also the third row where my kids sit.

So far I love the car. I did take delivery of the car covered in a ton of dust (there is a rock quarry near the service center in San Diego). And the next day I did notice some paint imperfections but I couldn't be happier with how they handled my call. I simply called my Delivery Specialist who put me in contact with a Manager.

They told me the next date when they had a loaner car and they told me I didn't even need to come in to the Center. They would deliver the loaner and pick up my car to fix the paint scratches and blemishes.

They are picking it up on Friday so I'll see how they do. I couldn't be happier with their customer service after taking delivery of the car.

Maybe you can speak with someone higher up on the chain if you're having that many problems with it.

Good luck.

Jesse K | 11 septembre 2013

Sorry to hear the issues. While I don't question the veracity of your story, this is so diametrically opposite of my experience through and through.
I hope it gets sorted for you soon.

eddiemoy | 11 septembre 2013

hmm... i don't think tesla gives loaners for accidents. vampire draw isn't new, they will fix in upcoming software release.

haven't had any problem with service, they are really nice the couple of times i dealt with them and they provide me with a loaner. i understand there is a low inventory on loaners because they keep getting bought out.

superchargers are on their way, they tripled the number during the summer. think they are doing great job at deploying them. as for why one gets deployed and not the other, think they are hitting the superchargers that support the most people. they have data on where the cars are being purchased. also there are delays in permitting and such, so give them a little slack.

you did buy in as a early adopter and it is hard to imagine that you didn't realize some of these bumps will happen. if you don't like the car, sell it... you may make a profit. then you can wait until they are more mature.

cloroxbb | 11 septembre 2013

All these problems, well that really sucks, and I feel for you, but the Tesla design stuff... I mean, you knew it was coming with the arm rest cupholders, and the lack of a center console, that shouldn't have been something you figured out after you took delivery.

Also, do you and your wife normally ding your cars so easily? I mean hitting a curb and blaming it on the car? Sideswiping a WALL? What the heck man?

Supergaard | 11 septembre 2013

@ nashveg, sorry about your problems but thanks for sharing.

I think this will be interesting for us all to see how it ends, so far I understand your frustrations.

What I don't understand is why this should be a private thread? This concerns anyone, also future owners like me. I love Tesla just as much as most people on this Forum, but if they have service/support issues it should dealt with.

Why is this forum only for positive discussions? New owners are bound to be disappointed if all we can read is peachy posts...

Keep us posted on how Tesla acts on this, and ignore the fanboys that wants you to stay quiet with any criticism.

Kaboom | 11 septembre 2013

Sounds like you had a frustrating first six months. Some legit complaints, and some i think are just sideeffects of a growing, very young company with still limited infrastructure, which is what you knew when you bought the vehicle.

I agree that the first repair experience should have been way smoother and supportive of you and your situation.

The delivery truck street issue, the solar roof issue (how do you know for sure nothing dropped on it, maybe when parked?), the few numbers of superchargers still are all things i would have let long as roof gets fixed.

And i whole heartedly agree, the centre space between the seats is just like an unusable vacuum of space. Someplace to effectively stow my laptop or briefcase would have helped, or some shelves to stash knick knacks like coins, access cards, ipods, cell phones or whatever. I trust there will be aftermarket things one can buy to address that. But you knew this when you bought it.

I am very curious though, what did they say was the issue with the car not starting? Did you get a lemon battery by chance that leaks when idle?

nashveg | 11 septembre 2013

I searched this website last night for a way to contact someone higher up at Tesla. I didn't see anything under "contact" or anywhere else, which I posted here (assuming Tesla is monitoring these forums).

I did call Tesla service last night. I almost asked to speak with a supervisor to go over all of this, but I got the impression I was at a call center and that the guy on the other end of the line was pretty much just reading from a manual. He kept making me do the same thing over and over again (putting the key against the cigarette lighter and stepping on the brake for 5 seconds- I did this 4 times) and he kept focusing on whether I've left the car uncharged for long periods of time.

Right- I probably should have made this a private post. I'm unfamiliar with these forums and just clicked on "public" without giving it much thought- with the experience from other forums I've been on that "private" might be premium subscription or whatever and potentially dormant.

And I bought my car sight unseen. The design flaws like cupholders and console wouldn't have been enough to prevent me from buying the car anyway, but that doesn't mean they're not a nuisance or room for improvement, so not sure what the point there is.

btw- another irritation was the windshield sprayers. When I first got the car, I needed to take it in to get them adjusted. The one on the driver's side squirted right into the blade (too low). Another minor, yet mounting inconvenience- death by a thousand cuts.

I've had some bad luck, but that doesn't excuse poor service. Hell, I forgot to mention that a shopping cart rolled down a hill and slammed into my driver's side door, putting a rather large dent into it. We had to get that fixed up too. That went fine- no replacement parts.

Blueshift | 11 septembre 2013

@nashveg -- You have used up your bad luck allotment for this decade, you should now be ok until 2020.

nashveg | 11 septembre 2013

The problem last night, btw- was the 12v battery apparently. I'm pretty sure the roof glass crack is a stress crack- there is a not a "star" indicating a collision and is starts from the edge. I would have heard something hitting the car while I was driving it- and the thing is, if it is because something hit it, it's likely that it happened at either the body repair shop or Tesla's garage. It wasn't noticed when I turned it in and got noticed just a few days after I got it back.

I'm not blaming Tesla for me hitting a curb, nor my wife hitting a wall. My only comment on the flat tire was that there was no spare. That's not my fault- and it's even something that bothers me (yet, worth mentioning), considering they probably need the space for more batteries to increase the range- obviously a great trade off.

bonaire | 11 septembre 2013

This is an interesting thread. Many Tesla owners are early adopters. This kind of issue-set raises the bar for the future, though, and when Tesla gets to the point of selling to the common-consumer, these nagging things pointed out by the early adopters will have Joe and Jane Public screaming at the service techs to make it right and will end up telling all their friends about the experience. The fit and finish issues will need to be shored up before going mainstream to the public. Early adopters seem to be getting along with some of the hassles so far. But from my point of view, the only thing I had to take my 2011 Volt in for service has been for an oil change and to take a look at something that got loose in the front engine/motor compartment, a quick few minutes fix. 23000 mile and still smiling.

I hang out here because I am interested in a battery SUV/CUV solution for our family and need to know what is going on with the Model-X. The news from one poster on teslamotorsclub was that he was told at the factory that Model-X will not be shipping in higher-quantities until mid-2015. This works for me since I wouldn't need anything until mid-2016.

Thomas N. | 11 septembre 2013

I am also sorry to hear of your journey with your Tesla.

The accidents are just that. Accidents. I managed to slice my fender on my 2-day old BMW 5-Series a few years ago and I was a mess about it. That wasn't an attractive repair bill but it was covered by insurance. Had your wife not had that accident and you not hit the curb those wouldn't be concerns but those things happened and it sounds like you were unsatisfied with the quality/time/price of the repairs and that may be justified.

If it's any consolation, my wife was backing up in our older Honda Accord and the driver's side front fender well was crunched by a small low metal pole she never saw. We took it into the Honda dealer because even though it is only cosmetic, it completely ruins the look of the car. The cost to repair it was $3300! They needed to pull the entire front fender and because the car was older the paint matching was very difficult and they would not even guarantee that it would match 100% when finished. I had a second opinion from a body shop and they were at $3000 for the same job. Needless to say, our fender was not repaired and we took a nice hit on the car when we sold it due to the damage.

My point is that a 10-year old Honda Accord can have a cosmetic fender crunch and cost over $3000 to repair so it's not just Tesla.

I've had long talks with my wife and am fully going into this knowing that at some point we may need to be towed, the car may not start, we will need to reboot the screen, we will get a flat, we may hit a curb and incur high repair fees, the motor may start to whine loudly at any time, the sunroof may break, the rear door window may fall off the track, and the car may just tell you it is shutting down and you'll have 10 seconds to pull off the road.

I hope Tesla helps you and all of your concerns are addressed. I do feel that since you are an owner you should have put this into the Private section but that's not my call. Good luck!

mrspaghetti | 11 septembre 2013

@swalkermd +1

OP doesn't support his assertion of a 'near horrendous' experience with the car IMO. He might have more credibility had he omitted complaints about cupholders, floor mats, the lack of superchargers in his vicinity, the interior design of the car, etc., all things known in advance of purchase. Also, if the alignment and AC both had to be repaired after his wife's (allegedly) minor "scrape" with the stone wall, I question how 'minor' it was.

I just can't help feeling like we're not getting the full and objective story here. OP just comes across as disgruntled.

Roamer@AZ USA | 11 septembre 2013

It's the cars fault that you nailed a curb and smashed in the side ? Maybe public transportation would be a better option.

It's Teslas fault you live on a street that can't accommodate a car hauler ? The driver that delivered mine delivered six cars that day. Only complaint I had is he called to keep me updated to many times. The driver was amazing. I was his last delivery after a long hot day delivering in AZ and he was very helpfully to the end. I gave him $100.00 tip and thanked him for keeping me so updated on his arrival time.

I ordered my car online, never left the house and it delivered to the curb out front. It even came gift wrapped in nice white paper, only thing missing was the bow. The driver helped me unwrap my present and I wiped the packing residue off with a micro fiber rag and a few squirts of auto glass cleaner. No big deal.

I was ecstatic to not spend five hours at a car dealer getting sold extended warranties and undercoating packages. This was the most painless car purchase in 40 years of car buying. Still smiling that the car delivered to my driveway and took all of 15 minutes to be underway.

I knew I was buying a first production run of a new high tech car and expected all kinds of problems. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything went. I am amazed that Tesla has pulled this off at this level. Other companies that have been building cars for a 100 years can't do what Tesla has done.

I have two Performance model X's on order and can't wait to unwrap them when they deliver. I fully expect glitches on a new production car during initial release.

My BMW 760i has not been driven in 5 months. Can't sell it until the charger network gets built. But then I knew that when I bought the Tesla.

7000 miles on the Tesla S and could not be happier. Amazing car and amazing technology.

nomorebmws | 11 septembre 2013

This forum seems to be very harsh on people saying anything the least bit critical about tesla and the model s. the typical responses seem to be:
-it's your fault
-that's a stupid feature to have anyway
-you're lying/ you lack credibility
-keep it to yourself / don't post here

Not really sure what good this does anyone including Tesla. As I consider one I like to know about all the potential issues so I go in with my eyes open. In the short term I suppose the suppression of information could make someone buy the car thinking that there are no issues. But once they get it they will be way more annoyed than if they had known the worst case upfront. Anyway, it's still a first year product from a young company so problems are to be expected. What's wrong with someone reporting their experiences?

By the way, I currently have a bmw 335i which are notorious for chewing through fuel pumps. I knew this going into it and in fact I did have this issue. But knowing about it beforehand made it way less annoying when it actually happened. There is a similar attitude on bmw forums as well with the typical response being "buy a Lexus". Given the ecologically concious and therefore community minded sensibilities of tesla I was hoping for a better attitude here.

Sure, not everyone is going to have the OPs exact problems or situation but they're all valid complaints. Even the "small stuff" like the center console and cuoholders are things you might notice in the showroom but won't realize how annoying they are until you live with the car.

Rheumboy | 11 septembre 2013

Again...........This must be a lemon or we are all going to be drinking a lot of lemonade!

Rheumboy | 11 septembre 2013

Or worse Koolaid

Thomas N. | 11 septembre 2013

I don't think the car is a lemon. He hit a curb and got a flat. His wife hit a wall and damaged the car. He is unhappy with aspect of the interior design. He didn't receive a rear floormat.

I see a couple of problems - the sunroof (common), the fact the car didn't start once, and a crack in the rear windshield. This is for a pretty early car (April 2013). I don't know what the resolution was for the fact the car didn't start. He said it was flatbedded in but didn't mention the resolution.

Nobody has doubted the veracity of his report. Nobody is telling him to suppress his problems - just that this might be better served in the Private Forum for other owners to comment upon.

Kind of like posting in the Marriage Forum when you're having difficulties with your spouse instead of the Divorce subforum. ;)

Doug H | 11 septembre 2013

Wow! They have made a bunch of mistakes. I hope that I don't have a collision in the next year while they get the parts stuff together. The car works fine for me. I'm very happy with the purchase and the service that I've received after the sale.

At the same time, I hope Tesla's ability to take care of customers that aren't having such a good time better than they have so far.

DallasTeslan | 11 septembre 2013

Sorry but when you write a novel it seems like you are a high maintenance complainer who will never be happy with anything. Some of your complaints may be legitimate, some seem a bit overboard.

Perhaps there should be a maximum number of characters for a given post.

carlk | 11 septembre 2013

Life is a bitch isn't it?

DallasTeslan | 11 septembre 2013

Also, why would you take a brand new vehicle, unlike anything else on the road, to a neighborhood repair shop?

Can't see why you would expect that to go well. I drive a Camry and only go to the Toyota dealership to get it serviced. Can't imagine buying a Model S and trusting a mom and pop shop to know how to fix it.

Neal.slafsky | 11 septembre 2013

I struggle with this post. I agree that the delivery experience was poor. I picked my P85 2 weeks ago at the Dania Beach store (which is a service center) and had less than a stellar experience. I let Tesla know and got a call back from one of the VP to go through my concerns. They have some issues to iron out on delivery.

The trade off for me was a few hours of frustration and weeks (so far!) of the best vehicle I have ever driven.

The rest of the post I have issues with. The center console and cup holder issue is fixed with an order for a custom console (awaiting mine) or the new Tesla center console option coming this fall.

The body shop issues come with the territory for a brand new vehicle.

The supercharger complaint is a bit unfair as there was plenty of data available as to where Superchargers are currently and when more are coming. The Northeast is lagging a bit, but a little patience on this issue is warranted. Also, you can charge at any number of other public charging stations, it takes some planning. Again, well worth the price of admission for the very best ride on the road today.

Some of the complaints - "it took them 90 minutes to get there when they are only 15 minutes away" sounds like frustration - maybe the truck was doing something other than waiting for your call?

Other than a poorly executed delivery, I have had nothing but pure joy from Tesla. Sorry your experience has not been the same, but to not recommend this car due to a poor repair experience, and one real service issue (not starting) seems a little over the top.

Roamer@AZ USA | 11 septembre 2013

Dallas Teslan, I had the same thought.

He complained about no spare. In my experience 90% of the car owners spare tire is sitting in the car flat because they never check the pressure. If the tire does have air they are absolutely lost as to how to change a flat tire and its probably safer for the rest of us that they don't try.

Call triple A. Not much reason to haul a spare tire around with the reliability of todays tires and availability of service. Tesla does sell an aircompressor and sealant system that will work for small holes. Probably not much help on a curb cut.

You didn't say what size tires you ordered. The low profile tires look cool but are a tire cut just waiting to happen. I gave up on low profiles years ago and only run 19's now. Better ride with fewer rim scrapes and tire cuts.

I am 3146 | 11 septembre 2013

@nashveg....I have had my Model S since January and you indicate your Model S has a very unique feature that I have never seen or heard of...a cigarette lighter...where is it located?

mrspaghetti | 11 septembre 2013


I think people should expect harsh responses when they put out a laundry list of complaints like this OP. I'm surprised he forgot to complain about the color he chose.

mrspaghetti | 11 septembre 2013

@ I am 3146 - the cigarette lighter is next to the Mr. Fusion.

thranx | 11 septembre 2013

1) You probably got one of the bad early 12v batteries: a known issue.
2) In re the cupholder vs. armrest issue. I always use before buying car I already planned to put any drink in the passenger's side cupholder and to use the armrest on the driver's side, at least until I decide to purchase an aftermarket center console with a cupholder.
European purchasers (cars frequently come without any cupholders whatsoever) would doubtless find this discussion amusing...or pitiable.
3) Sorry for your bad luck. Would be worse if you lived in Kabul.

johnpreiner | 11 septembre 2013

This guy is a troll!

Thomas N. | 11 septembre 2013

I also find the cupholder argument pitiable. I don't go to fast food and never bring water or coffee along with me on a drive. Throughout my whole youth I never recall one time bringing water along with me in the family car - and there were six of us children! Nowadays it seems like every child must have their water bottle with them at all times. If you leave the house and your kid forgot their water it's like the end of the world. We better turn around and go back for it!

Same with coffee. I drink mine at 6am when I get up. I don't get up at 7:30am and put one in a cup and drink it in the car. I can drink water in 27 minutes at work. I don't need it on the actual drive.

I know I'm in the minority - as evidenced by every new vehicle coming with 15 cupholders - but to me I'd rather have those two cupholders in the Tesla replaced with a small covered drawer that I could pop my sunglasses in. To each their own.

OP - I read the blog you referenced and I really enjoyed your article.

lolachampcar | 11 septembre 2013

for reference, we've taken delivery of MS #3 (all from the Dania Store 4288, 14694 and 18201) and, apart from some very minor issues, all three cars have surpassed any of the previous 8 BMW new car deliveries.

Oh, and I knew all about the flat floor (which I love), lack of rear mats and lack of SuperChargers (and lack of a local service center, lack of extended warranty or on site service,,,,,) so there were no surprises there.

donalo702 | 11 septembre 2013

Three months ago my four year old Audi A4 had a warning light come on. "Alternator Fault: Battery Not Charging". Three minutes after the light the thing went berserk. Every warning light came on, including one that said "limited gearbox functionality: driving may result in severe damage". The car would rev but not go anywhere.

I called for a flatbed tow as it's AWD. $300 tow and $440 battery. Total $740 and two days in the shop for a dead battery because an ICE car completely shutdown when its battery died.

Two days after picking up my car the same warning light came on. I called Audi and asked about the price of an alternator and asked why mine wasn't tested when I brought the car in with a dead battery. I was quoted:

"It's not your alternator, I've never had to replace an alternator in a four year old A4, I don't even know the price cause I've never ordered one. Bring the car in and we'll see what's really going on".

I was able to get to within two miles of the Audi dealership when the car died. They sent out a Service Coordinator with a jump box and attached it to my car, I drove the remainder two miles with it attached to the battery. This time, unlike the first visit, I was given a loaner.

A week later I was told it was my alternator. I was quoted $1200 for parts and labor. I called my service coordinator and explained the conversation I'd had with his co-worker (another coordinator) who wouldn't even give me a price because he was certain it wasn't the alternator. I called Firestone for a quote and they said $680 installed. I relayed this to my coordinator and he said they'd do it for part cost (dealer cost) plus one hour's labor. Total cost $880.

I decided to pay the extra $200 and have Audi do it as the vehicle was in their shop and I had a loaner while they did it. I explained to my service coordinator that I brought the car in with one warning light and expected it to be fixed with a $440 battery, and that if I'm going to give them another $880 I do NOT want to be back in here with an issue regarding the same exact problem. He assured me I wouldn't. Picked up the vehicle four business days later.

Three weeks later (only one week of driving as I was out of town on my motorcycle for two of the three weeks) the same light came on. This time I was able to make it to the dealership with out a tow or a jump box escort. I was given another loaner (front wheel drive in monsoon season, eck!). I was told the alternator that was installed was faulty and that they will be filling a defective part warranty and be replacing it for free.

A week later I pick up my car from the coordinator who originally told me it wasn't the alternator. He looks at the paperwork and says:

"An alternator! That's a first!"

I reply, "Actually its the second, in the same car, in two months"

"Hmmm..." He has a look like he wants to say something.

Turns out he probably wanted to tell me that if the first one didn't fix the problem the second wasn't likely too, as I got 15 miles from the dealership and the warning light came on again. The dealer was closed and the car died 100 feet from my house. My roommate had just come back in town and was able to help me push. She also gave me a ride to work the next day in her quarter million mile Suzuki XL-7.

Audi sent out two coordinators in two loaners, one to drop off at my work for me, the other to take them to my car so they could order a flat bed tow back to Audi. This will have been two weeks ago tomorrow. As of writing this I'm still in a front wheel drive loaner. The first occurrence was June 12th.

Cars are like people, some are better than others, and some are unreliable. I can remember the frustration as the bills from this fiasco started to mount, and more specifically that I was in the process of listing the car so that I could by a Tesla MS and take delivery before the end of the year (a near impossibility at this point). I don't fault 'Audi' although it seems their technician's aren't all brilliant. I don't fault their service coordinators, my personal coordinator was unbelievably helpful, his coworker not much more than an oxygen to CO2 machine. The same goes for Tesla personal as well as all other companies that have individuals interacting with customers.

They still have no idea what's going on with the car but I know this is anecdotal. I also know that despite this one recent issue the car has been the best driving machine I've had. The tale above might read like a sob story, that's because it is and should have little bearing on a prospective buyer's outlook on a company's product, service, or future prospects. This was my experience.

All that being said, much like my story, you have two maybe three valid complaints. Focus on them and not letting your frustration (especially regarding the personal responsibility aspects) bleed into your view of Tesla.

P.S. - What kind of ICE car has worse issues when the battery dies than an electric car. Ironic.

RZippel | 11 septembre 2013

Guys and girls,

If you think that nashveg is a notorious complainer, I think you take the love for Tesla a little to far. I don't want such eMails to keep people from posting the downsides of buying a bleeding edge car from a bleeding edge company. Tesla wants to become leading edge instead, well, then be thankful for all the hints what doesn't work well.

Someone hit a wall with the show-car in Frankfurt, happens with a car you have to get used to and maybe are a sporadic driver or never where a good one, still there is not admission test into the owners elite some would like to create here.

Spare parts are a problem for a company which has an issue to cover demand for new cars, no surprise but still a real problem and matter of priorities.

My MS will be a company car and I can tell you that our fleet management will raise hell (that is what we pay them for) if Tesla doesn't perform in case of typical processes like accidents, etc. The times of all-tolerant early adopters comes to an end, so buckle up for consumers. I for sure am one.

The only thing nashveg I would hint to you is: be strong ;-) You should have known that this is bleeding edge, it is also a very powerful and big car, none of what you write comes as a surprise so make it part of the experience, that is my plan at least for the stuff that will go wrong with my MS. I just have the luxury that someone else will have the effort sorting it out.

nomorebmws | 11 septembre 2013

@Thomas - Not sure why this post should've been private though? I'm sure many people considering a Tesla find it interesting. By the way, most of these issues I've already read about or could guess, but its' still interesting to hear about them in aggregate and how they led the OP to a "breaking point". I think that's common reaction to any ownership experience where a bunch of small things kind of add up.

@mrspaghetti - I think that's exactly it. It wasn't one big thing for the OP, it was "death by a thousand cuts" as he put it. Buying an expensive product like a Tesla is an emotional decision. So when things go wrong, it can be a bigger let down than when buying something more utilitarian in nature. Note that when JD power does their surveys they don't just consider things that broke; they include items that don't work as smoothly as the customer would like. Ford has been seeing this with myFord touch. And of course, BMW got (rightfully) pounded for earlier implementations of idrive. Point is, cusotmer satisfaction is more than just delivering a product that "doesn't break". And i'd include "ease of repairs" in that too. I'm sure if you go on an Audi forum you'd see complaints about getting the A8's aluminum spaceframe repaired so its soemthing the big manufacturers face too.

Tesla is likely nearing the point where they transition from selling to early adopters to a wider audience. Things that early adopters consider irrelvant or minor, could be deal breakers for later adopters. It's better for all involved if the "fence sitters" (like myself) get a steady stream of info on real life expereinces both good and bad to make sure we jump in at the point we're comfortable with.

I think they're clearly trying to sell more 70k+ cars than most manufacturers would be able to, and are also attracting people who wouldn't normally consider spending that much so they probably dont have as much leeway as would be typical for a higher end niche model. Given the Gen III won't be ready for a few years they really have no choice. If a BMW M5 or Porsche 911 has these types of issues, its chalked up to a "rich guys problem" and its not like they sell more than a few thousand anyway. But even if no one buys them, they still sell plenty of 1,3 and lower end 5s. Or in Porsches case they have VW as a parent. But in Tesla's case they probably need to be more mainstream-friendly sooner (meaning stuff that seems like nitpicking becomes more important).

mrspaghetti | 11 septembre 2013

OP bought his car sight unseen, now he's complaining about lack of cupholders, etc. Emotional decision, maybe. If you're the kind of person to be upset when the cup holders and floor mats are not perfect for you? Then not just emotional, but stupid.

My main point: If this guy has real issues, he would have been better off stating them and only them, not watering it down with other B.S.

And what exactly is with the "cigarette lighter"? He still hasn't explained that. Maybe all of this stuff actually happened to him in a BMW and he got confused, posting it on the wrong forum?

hpatelmd | 11 septembre 2013

When my neighbor backed into my parked MS, the first call I made (after the insurance agent) was to my local SC, & got the name & address of the Tesla approved bodyshop. While my SC is only about 12 miles from my home, the bodyshop I had to take my MS to was over an hour away. Was that a hassle, sure, but well worth it, since it was Tesla approved.

I readjusted many of my usual car related expectations when I got the MS, it has caused me less disappointment.

jbunn | 11 septembre 2013

This is a weird post, but it's important to sort out where Tesla begins and ends.

For example, your delivery... Had you picked it up, or had Tesla delivered it, they take off the plastic wrap, wash the car, charge the car, test the major functions and do things like make sure you have floor mats. Given that, it's clear your car was delivered by a non Tesla independent delivery company. Perhaps you live in one of those states where Tesla has state restrictions on delivery.

Next, your service appointment with a body shop. You ask why Tesla would put one there. You don't quite understand this. Tesla does NOT own that body shop. The body shop passed a certification to be able to do proper work on that car. There is no business relationship outside of that.

You've smashed your car twice, and delivered it to the independent body shop without the charging cord, causing Tesla to have to run over a spare cord so your car could be charged.

You've confused private companies with the Tesla service department. And then you post about it.

Owning an electric vehicle requires a bit different mindset. Just like we learned to not put diesel in our gas car, or to change the oil, or not put radiator fluid in the power steering reservoir.

But dang, dude... Smashing an 80K car twice in a couple months? (I do appreciate your honesty in reporting that. That's a difficult thing to admit)

You might want to think about whether this is the right car for you before you buy a second one.

nashveg | 11 septembre 2013

Some of you people are uber-defensive. Almost paranoid, it seems. Faulty thinking and reasoning throughout many of these responses- and I'll reply to them all later when I have time... cut and paste and all.

But for now, to put the "cigarette lighter" issue to rest...

When I called Tesla service center last night, the guy who answered the phone is the one who called it a cigarette lighter. When he asked me (4 times in a row, after nothing happened each time!) to put the key next against the "cigarette lighter", I too was rather confused to hear that term. I asked him where the cigarette lighter was and he said to look down to the right beneath the cupholders. I did see the power outlet/adapter or whatever you call that thing there- and assumed that's what he was talking about- so I put my key up against that panel.

I guess another flub on Tesla's part on the service side of things- does the car even have a cigarette lighter? The call center guy's words, not mine. Might be nice if that guy on the phone was properly trained and that he not refer to the "cigarette lighter" in a car that doesn't even have one...

nomorebmws | 11 septembre 2013

@mrspaghetti- didn't see anything in his post about a "cigarette lighter"?

And yes, cupholders and floor mats are small things but even BMW has learned the hard way (over many years of ignoring US specific requests) not to ignore them. People also get super pissed off about the lack of spares in BMWs as well. And as Tesla seeks wider adoption its these types of customers they will need to court and please.

stussy5555 | 11 septembre 2013

Sounds like you have had some bad luck with the car and you are taking that bad luck and turning it into Tesla's fault. You have some valid concerns but the problem is 3/4 of your story is your own fault, and not Tesla's. As soon as you started blaming Tesla for your own problems, you lost credibility and come off as someone who will never be pleased.

Hopefully you get everything worked out but honestly many of the items you have stated are indeed your own fault. I am confident if you reach out to the right person at Tesla, they will fix the rest.

tes-s | 11 septembre 2013

Wow. Looks like Mr. Murphy has been following you around. And your wife.

What color is your car? I want to be extra careful when in the DC area, just in case it is contageous.

When it is back at the service center, you might want to have them check the back windows to make sure they won't fall down, tire wear and alignment, inverter/motor hum, and AM radio reception. Those seem to be the only afflictions that have not hit your car, so it is probably just a matter of time until they do.

What kind of assinine 12v outlet design did they put in the modern Tesla electric vehicle?? Oh, that's right - it is a cigarette lighter plug. Perhaps the service technician was over 25 - you know, an old timer - that referred to it as a cigarette lighter plug.

From your post about the cigarette lighter, it does not seem you are looking for solutions, just problems.

Bighorn | 11 septembre 2013

I'm having a bit of a problem stomaching your litany of first world problems on September 11th of all days. Perhaps you had no connection to the terror of that day, but many of us lost friends. When I start to feel put upon, I consider the orphans of my grade school friend who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald to gain some perspective on what's important. I'm sorry you're living under a dark cloud. Did you ever consider that the glass roof may have cracked when your wife ran it into a wall? Just a thought.

DJung | 11 septembre 2013

If you havent owned a luxury vehicle before, they cost a fortune for the smallest of items and they take forever. MB charged me $4000 to change a piece of plastic that adjusts the seat after it broke off. Our car got into a scuffle with the gate and it took over 2 months to repair. These cars are made of aluminium and therefore take longer to repair. There also isnt a large aftermarket for parts, as a toyota does and the items need to come from Tesla themselves. And also, it's a bit weird that you didn't know what the interior of the car looked like before you bought it.

S4WRXTTCS | 11 septembre 2013

@bighorn - Why in the world would you bring such an event into this forum?

He described an experience with a car he purchased. Nothing more and nothing less. It shouldn't be compared to a tragedy, or accusing him of not having perspective on what's important.

Sure we can hypothesize on what happened to the sun roof. Sure we can crack jokes about cup holders. All that is fair.

But, 9/11? Seriously?

S4WRXTTCS | 11 septembre 2013

Some of negative things he mentioned have been mentioned numerous times in reviews. So why are we giving him a hard time for mentioning them?

Do we seriously want to scare people away from describing their experiences with the car? Simply because they're not perfect and they didn't know everything about it down to the last bolt?

Hell I know about the limitations of the cup holders, and I'm sure at some point I'll be bugged about them (I hardly ever use them). I'll have to remember to mention it in a review just to annoy some of you tesla fanbois.

Bighorn | 11 septembre 2013

We're all entitled to an opinion. Thanks for yours.

eAdopter | 11 septembre 2013

@mrspaghetti -1
There's no need to attack the messengers. Your posts seem to be more about the writers than the topics. Sad.

S4WRXTTCS | 11 septembre 2013

Oh, and I love how the first post was "And the reason you didn't make this thread private is"

It's like says "OMG, please don't scare people away. We can't take any negativity"

Yet, pretty much everything he mentioned is known.

We know fixing it even from a small accident is a bitch
We know Tesla takes a LONG, LONG time for parts (or has in a number of cases)
We know Tesla's Customer service isn't always the best
We know some people REALLY, REALLY want a Center Console, and Tesla has kept delaying it
We know there have been issues with the roof, but I think this is the first time I heard of a possible stress crack.
We know the brakes squeak (or at least there have been plenty of reports on it).
We know about the vampire drain in the pre 5.0 Firmware