Things I will miss about my gas car...

Things I will miss about my gas car...

I live in gas-friendly California, so when I get my Model S, I will really miss:

My 300HP car gently rocking back and forth as another Prius races by me in the HOV lane

That awesome 'pointing hand' icon next to the words "Smog Check  Required"  on my registration bill

This car requires 'premium' electrons for another 20 cents per mole...

Using Shell gift cards (scrip for the kids' school) that promise cash back, but instead become worthless if they get below a dollar.  I get it... cash back for Shell!  They get up to 1% on a $100 gift card.  I should have read the microscopic text next to the asterisk. What a great lesson in marketing!  Thanks, Shell!

Getting to go through the fill up process twice when the gift card runs out, which it will quickly because the fill up costs over $50.

The joy of standing out in the cold (ok, it's CA, but it's still relatively cold), repeatedly re-squeezing the handle that says "do not top off" because the pump keeps shutting itself off and trying to ignore the one-channel TV they force you to listen to.

Idly staring at a sticker that says: "Prop 123 Warning: The fumes entering your nose and making you nauseated contain chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects..."

The privilege of having this conversation: "So, what did the 'check engine' light mean this time? ... uh huh... a leaking seal... the smell is burning power steering fluid?  It's leaking onto the hot exhaust manifold? What's it going to cost me?  You're kidding!  Oh well, at least I'll get cash back* on my credit card..."

The shade provided by that  'next oil change required' sticker in the corner of the windshield. "Why do you have a square on your face?" "Oh, yeah, that reminds me, I have to get my oil changed...".

The fun of repeatedly pressing the button to dismiss the  'oil change required' reminder popping up on the screen in the car every few thousand miles.

The marvelous smell of burning clutch when I try to start out going uphill.

The charming cacophony of squealing belts and grinding gears.  I didn't want to hear the stereo anyway...

The inside of the car just starting to warm up when I arrive at work...

Oh, well.

I'll just have to get used to it! **

* - not really
** - not really

BYT | 14 avril 2012

The wait for the car to warmup in the morning when I'm already 5 minutes late for work.

Tiebreaker | 14 avril 2012

From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?

I can't get used to this lifestyle**

** - not really

petero | 14 avril 2012

What I am going to miss most about filling up my gas car? Going into the cashier, cash in hand, and having to wait 10 minutes for the clerk to sell the people ahead of me Lotto tickets! As a youngster (just after the dinosaurs died) I use to love the smell of leaded gasoline as it was being pumped.

Other than those…not a darn thing.

Brian H | 15 avril 2012

Prob'ly that's what caused the brain damage. Lots of kids in northern Inuit communities have the same addiction. Very sad.


Larry Chanin | 15 avril 2012

I'm going to miss being able to take my car to a car wash.


BruceR | 15 avril 2012

I'm going to miss trying to diagnose that new puddle under the car....

petero | 15 avril 2012

Battery coolant, water from AC condensation, Exxon crying, the dog?

Jason S | 15 avril 2012

I don't understand Larry's comment. Is there a problem with putting a Model S through the car wash?

ddruz | 16 avril 2012

I drive a Leaf (till my Tesla arrives) and put it through the car wash no worries. Nothing in the Nissan owner's manual says no. So I'm also perplexed at Larry's comment about the car wash. Has Tesla said one cannot take the Model S through a car wash?

Brian H | 16 avril 2012

He probably doesn't want those harsh fibres and detergents touching his baby. He'll delicately wipe it down with facial tissues and mild soaps, using distilled water only.


Teoatawki | 16 avril 2012

Distilled water, mild soap and Q-tips, no doubt. ;)

Timo | 16 avril 2012

Automatic car washes are in many cases better than they get credit for. If equipment is maintained and cleaned at regular bases then humans rubbing dirt off the car usually make worse result to the paint job and windows scratching them. Of course if you do the cleaning yourself you can get better result than those machines, but it is easy to do worse as well.

Sudre_ | 17 avril 2012

Letting my foot off the accelerator and having the car go faster and faster down hill. If I wanted to be going 100 mph I would have left my foot on the accelerator!

Stepping on the accelerator from a stop and having a brief delay before the car figures out what I've done. I will probably end up running into other drivers of gas cars because of the prompt acceleration. I'll have to remember when I am behind someone at the light to first see the light turn green then think, "duh", then step on the accelerator.

joesontesla | 17 avril 2012

The smell of napalm on the morning.

Larry Chanin | 17 avril 2012

I don't understand Larry's comment. Is there a problem with putting a Model S through the car wash? - Jason S

This discussion over at the Tesla Motors Club forum got me a little worried.

What's wrong with a car wash?

Admittedly the thread is about Roadsters, but I think there's reason to be concerned with all Tesla paint jobs. Here's the thread starters original remarks.

My owner's manual says to avoid automatic car washes as well as those coin-operated ones where you get a minute or two of high-powered spray for a few quarters. It says to hand-wash only.

And here's a response but an apparently knowledgeable forum member.

To answer why to not use a Car Wash is because of the water-based paint (WBP) that Tesla uses. WBP is one of the next big things in the automotive industry, the main reason is because they are Environmentally friendly compared to Acrylic paints. Most automotive companies around the world are using water based paint to reduce VOC emissions. Besides reducing VOC emissions, WBPs also reduce risk of fire, are easier to clean up (creating less hazardous residues) and result in reduced worker exposure to organic vapors.

Sounds great but WBPs have their drawbacks;

1. WBPs are softer than acrylic oil based paints. The quick forced dry process using higher curing temperatures causes the paint to dry fast, but not as hard. As a result, these paints scratch more easily.

2. WBPs also have difficulties with increased orange peel and production line runs and sags. The increased orange peel causes a reduction in overall smoothness and gloss.

3. WBPs are also more porous than conventional acrylic finishes. This accelerates a process known as drift. Drift is the process of waxes and sealants soaking into the pores of the finish. Because the finish of a painted surface looks similar to the surface of the moon, peaks and valleys etc., as sealants heat and cool, they soak into the finish. Drift occurs in every known finish, however the water borne paint allows this process to occur much more rapidly, in some cases, even as short as a two week period of time. As drift occurs, the paint is left susceptible to the outdoor elements. This leads the paint to loose gloss and be susceptible to water spots, acid rain, industrial fallout and many other forms of foreign particles.

Other manufacturers that use WB paint such as BMW, Lotus, Lamborghini and Ferrari have the same warnings about car washes and their owners really have perfected the best ways to keep a car clean. I didn't see a detailing/wash guide here, but here is one we compiled on our Lotus' forum In that it details the normal and rinse-less wash systems.

Here are some things not listed and some that really make a difference when dealing with WBP;

1. Do not use an automated car wash or or a sponge when washing as both create scratches. Sheep Skin mitts are highly recommended when hand washing. Micro Fiber is a close second but tend to hold some material like its Velcro-ed on (usually Plant Material)

2. When hand or machine polishing, it is recommended using a "diminishing abrasive" such as Meguiar's Body Shop Professional line to remove defects without damaging the delicate finish. Or for a more experienced tech the 3M line 3-step professional line works miracles.

3. Because water based paint is more porous than Acrylic based paint, it is essential to keep the paint "sealed" as well as waxed to prevent damage from environmental pollution. We recommend that only microfiber towels be used to remove sealant or wax as this will diminish any damage to the paint.

4. USE THE STRAIGHT LINE METHOD when Applying and Removing sealants/waxes/protectants by hand. Whatever circle motion you learned from Mr. Miyagi about waxing, throw it out the window, it only induces circular marring. Apply and remove the products in a straight line in the direction the air moves over the section. What this does is take that one little piece of debris that might fall on the car after drying and instead of creating multiple circular scratches that is visible in all light and angles it will be a straight line only visible in very limited types of light and angles. It's more of a professional technique that you only find in really informed detail shops.

Hope this helps,


So until I hear to the contrary from Tesla regarding the Model S, I think it would be prudent to be prepared to do a lot of hand washing of our babies. ;-)


ddruz | 18 avril 2012

Thanks Larry. That's very informative. Really too bad also. I personally don't have the time to hand wash my car.

Volker.Berlin | 18 avril 2012

This really sucks. Sorry to say that. I do not intend to hand-wash my car, neither do I look forward to being seen in a dirt-encrusted Model S.

With increasingly more vehicles using WBP (according to the above post), automatic car wash should be updated/upgraded/improved to be able to clean WBP cars without doing any harm. Hey guys, here's a business opportunity!

MandL | 18 avril 2012

This is something I would very much like to see Tesla respond to. I've come to expect car finishes to be extremely durable. There was a post a couple of months ago about after-market paint protection ( Of course, if this just moves the problem of VOCs to a different part of the plant maybe it's not such a good idea.

Brian H | 18 avril 2012

Something similar to this:
but perhaps not the same product was mentioned previously. A new super hydrophobic coating, not yet sold at retail. Hmm...

EcLectric | 20 avril 2012

"Officer! I'd like to report a hijacking!"

"Plane? No. Someone hijacked my thread!"

"Yes, I have a suspect. He goes by the name 'Larry'. He hopped on and yelled 'nobody move! this thread is going to CarWashLand! It's been there ever since."

I'm going to have my Model S painted the color of dirt, so I won't have to wash it.

Brian H | 20 avril 2012

The windows, too?

chasdohanich | 20 avril 2012

You can always get a one color vehicle wrap. This way you can pick the color you want (even clear) and you won't have to worry about the paint being chipped. 3M makes a great wrap material and laminate. You can even take it through a car wash and never have to worry about hurting it.

BruceR | 20 avril 2012

Let's stop and think about the car wash claims. Paint applied to Roadster is totally different than Model S. Remember the Models S is a powder coat process which is completely different than the water based paint used on the Roadster. I am not a paint expert but comapring these two totally different vehicle paint jobs will not teach us anything IMO.

We now return you to your normally scheduled forum.....

EdG | 21 avril 2012

@BruceR: We now return you to your normally scheduled forum.....

That kind of bantering is our norm. But I think your point is a good end to that particular flow.

Brian H | 21 avril 2012

"The smell of napalm in the morning ..."

William13 | 21 avril 2012

@bruce r, the powder coat idea was rejected some time ago by Tesla. I don't remember what they are using and don't know how delicate it is yet.

BYT | 22 avril 2012

I know that one of the selling points for Tesla to get the plant from Toyota in Fremont was the new paint plant. well, maybe not a selling point but maybe a bullet point?

"NUMMI had a relatively new paint shop, and that alone is a huge amount of cost for any factory," Robinet said.

Maybe with the new paint shop comes a totally new paint process and one very different from the handmade Roadsters?

Quote from

jerry3 | 22 avril 2012

"The innovative paint process will use powder coating for both the primer and clear coat layers. The Model S will be one of the first cars to employ not one, but two layers of powder coating."

This is from the blog in the other section of this site. | 22 avril 2012

To get back to the original theme...I can say "fill er up" everytime the windshield washer tank runs empty....

Brian H | 23 avril 2012

The description of one (?) paint job in the Design Studio says something like "Multi-coat", which may refer to that.

MarioL | 23 avril 2012

I will miss the time when people were not looking at my car and asking me tonnes of questions about it when parking downtown.

BYT | 23 avril 2012

One annoyance I think I will experience, as I have heard it already when I mentioned I hold a reservation for the Model S, is I hear "they pay you too much." It's assumed I make a crap ton of money because I hold a reservation for a Model S, and I don't! I saved up and am earning what I make to buy my car and will still have to take out a loan to cover it. I just find the comments annoying. I guess that is all I will truly miss about driving in my $20k ICE.

Jason S | 23 avril 2012

+1 BYT -- I get the same comments

I just explain my family's living expenses are well below my family's income. We ain't rich, but we don't do things like replace carpet and furniture every 5 years.

So I'm actually blowing a very large chunk of accumulated savings on this car. I'm hoping it turns out well.

MarioL | 24 avril 2012

Hey BYT and Jason S

Maybe we should start another topic that would be: What is your response to people commenting on your "high" income because you hold a reservation on Model S?

I say to these people : My extra effort in paying a Model S is my way to save the plannet and to stop depending on petrolium companies.

Volker.Berlin | 24 avril 2012

This is considerably easier in German culture. Depending on who they are, I may respond with a political or environmental comment, but my default would always be "mind your own business" (paraphrased one way or the other). That would be a rare occasion anyway, because nobody would dare making a comment wrt my income in the first place. Similarly, I am usually hesitant to tell people about my own Model S reservation, even though I wear some Tesla-branded gear occasionally and frequently mention electric cars and specifically Tesla in lunch conversations.

I find it striking that American people tend to be much more open about their personal economies. Some of the comments or even entire threads on this forum that center on questions like "can I afford this", "is it worth it", "I am not rich but", "I have owned x Porsches and y Mercedes" make me shake my head in silence. I wouldn't comment on any of these threads, at least not with any reference to my own economic situation. And I doubt most Germans would.

So for the most part, this is a non-issue for me. It may change when I am actually seen in the car, but I don't think so. Maybe some people will raise an eyebrow, but I do not expect any remarks that actually require commenting from my part or otherwise make me feel uncomfortable. Of course people will be talking about the technology and will ask a lot of questions in that regard, but that's an entirely different topic.

steven.maes | 24 avril 2012

I agree with Volker.Berlin. In Belgium we have the same situation. After a few technical questions, the only money related question is the price of the S. The answer of course is indirectly related to your personel welt since you can afford it one way or the other.

petero | 24 avril 2012


I agree with VolkerB and Steven M's comments. I wouldn’t worry too much about people commenting on our “high” income because we have a reservation for an “S”. Some people will always find something critical to say. The hardest criticism for me, are those that will criticized Tesla owners (Fisker too) for taking government rebates to help pay for such a luxurious car. We are beginning a wonderful EV/BEV journey with no economies of scale. Early products like the “S and X” (computers, VCR, plazma screens, digital watches and calculators, etc.) are very expensive at their introduction. I say, “too darn bad,” I work hard and pay my taxes too!

Glad we are among the few who wish to save the planet. According to Royal Dutch Shell, they project global energy consumption will at least double by 2050. China will have 600+ million cars! (Forbes 4-23-12, page 34, interview with Peter Vosser). Further, Shell’s asserts there is a relationship between energy-water-food, all of which they project will double.

Volker.Berlin | 24 avril 2012

The answer of course is indirectly related to your personal wealth since you can afford it one way or the other. (steven.maes)

Absolutely. But people would usually at least pretend that they are interested in the price of the car rather than your financial situation. In these cases, I politely direct them to Tesla's website, thus avoiding any debate of the numbers in the situation at hand.

If people insist, I usually state that it's approximately the same price as a 5-series, with the larger engines roughly equivalent to larger batteries. That is usually the kind of illustration people are looking for to get an idea. Everybody knows someone who drives a 5-series, some of them used cars, some company cars, but essentially the fact at hand, me driving a 5-series-comparable car, then becomes no big deal after all.

petero | 24 avril 2012

I would like to say there is nothing I am going to miss about my gasoline cars? Unfortunately, I will own several “ICE age monsters” for the foreseeable future.

What will help my transition away from ICE will be the growing EV infrastructure and how well my 60Kwh battery (w/o supercharging accessory) is able to adapt and at what expense.

steven.maes | 24 avril 2012

If people insist, I usually state that it's approximately the same price as a 5-series (Volker.Berlin)

Good one. Going to use it ! :-)

Mark K | 24 avril 2012

Actually, I think getting my Model S absolutely will affect how long I keep my ICE cars.

I really love my Mercedes SL, but if you add up the differences - Model S is faster, quieter, lower Cg, massively roomier, better cabin electronics, no gas, less to go wrong ... and all in a package that's quite beautiful ...

It's beginning to look my little two-seater might feel like a come-down after I get my new high tech S.

I'm ready to replace my ICE sports car the millisecond TM offers a nextgen Roadster built on the new power train.

Things sometimes change faster than we expect.

Brian H | 24 avril 2012

An Austrian ex-pat I knew in my long-ago university days was always astonished at the things North Americans were open about. His image was of one or two thin and readily penetrated privacy shells, vs. the thick (but highly polished) one (or several) he was acculturated to maintain.

Brian H | 24 avril 2012

He claimed his life's ambition was to convince the world that he was a long-hidden younger cousin of Adolf Hitler, and his designated successor.

gjunky | 26 avril 2012

I have to laugh about the European comments (I was born there and now live in the US). Many companies in Europe will have some kind of car leasing deal for employees (mine does) and there is usually a type of class system based on your role in the company on what kind of car you get/can lease. How is this not a statement on your personal wealth/income...?

I agree that Americans speak more openly about it although actual $$ numbers are hardly ever discussed. No matter where you live, people are still often interested in other people's financial situation, even if just for comparison.

As to the topic on hand: I will actually miss the exhaust note of my current car but gladly trade it in for a silent car.

Volker.Berlin | 26 avril 2012

Many companies in Europe will have some kind of car leasing deal for employees (mine does) and there is usually a type of class system based on your role in the company on what kind of car you get/can lease. How is this not a statement on your personal wealth/income...? (gjunky)

Precisely. That's one major reason why there are surprisingly many new, comparably big/expensive cars on the road. And of course these cars serve as status symbols (for the drivers as well as for the company that wants to attract employees) and are certainly used as a way to rank yourself among your friends or colleagues.

The discussion started off with BYT and Jason S commenting how people would mock them wrt to their presumably high income. My response was that in Europe it is very unlikely that you hear comments like "they pay you too much" (except from close friends). People may raise an eyebrow or treat you with some additional respect if you drive an expensive car, but that's about it. Nothing to feel uncomfortable about.

BYT | 26 avril 2012

@Volker.Berlin, "People may raise an eyebrow or treat you with some additional respect if you drive an expensive car, but that's about it. Nothing to feel uncomfortable about."

That is the thing, I am uncomfortable about it. I am NOT buying the Model S for status, I am NOT buying the Model S to give the impression that I am more important in social status or harbor some hidden wealth.

I am buying the Model S because it is a PURE electric car worthy of it's sticker price and I have a very strong emotional and political issue with getting from point A to point B in an ICE. I would have purchased the Leaf or the Coda is the Model S wasn't on the table, but since it is, I would never even consider those poor excuses for an EV with their limited range and very poor design. This of course is my humble opinion and motivation for buying my car. Even if I buy the base model for $60k, everyone assumes I dropped $100k for it because Tesla is known as a luxury and niche car manufacturer. I personally can't wait for Tesla to sell the Bluestar car and I will buy that for my wife and maybe even my daughter since she currently is in High School and is already eying the Honda Civic in the driveway.

Sure, I will be super proud to drive my Model S and I will so VERY MUCH enjoy doing so. I can't change peoples opinions but that doesn't mean I also have to like their opinions either.

My 2 cents... :)

BYT | 26 avril 2012

"if" the Model S wasn't on the table, can I give the web designers $5 to add an edit feature? :)

Brian H | 26 avril 2012

Nop. I means Noppe. I meaned ... oH, to Ades wit it!!

Volker.Berlin | 27 avril 2012

That is the thing, I am uncomfortable about it. I am NOT buying the Model S for status, I am NOT buying the Model S to give the impression that I am more important in social status or harbor some hidden wealth. I am buying the Model S because it is a PURE electric car worthy of it's sticker price and I have a very strong emotional and political issue with getting from point A to point B in an ICE. [...] (BYT)

Ok, that's the thing. I'm very much like-minded, except that I don't give a sh*t if people think I'm an arrogant a**h*le. :-) There may still be a difference in culture (or convention) that helps with this issue: Because we have so many company-owned cars here, people generally don't assume that you actually have the cash to buy the car you drive, particularly if it is a 5-series kind of car. Well, company cars are usually German brands, but that's details. The people I care about know why I decided to buy the Model S (you named it).

BYT | 27 avril 2012

@Volker.Berlin, yeah, I don't typically care what others think but assumptions and rumors sometimes have ways of finding themselves and biting me where the sun doesn't shine. Nobody here drives a car that wasn't either purchased or leased by them and it will be ignorance that will lead to the rumor and speculation and trust me when I say I will be the FIRST to educate them on it... ;)