This should grab some people's attention.
These reviews all SUCK! (sarcasm)
Every time I read one I want my car NOW and I want one I can't afford. By the time I get the call to order I am going to find it hard not to get the Performance version. How in the world am I going to explain that to my wife?
"Sudre i have the same problem...HAAAAAAA, how much can i sell my left hand ?
"The MSM made me do it!" ??
"Since I can't have a trophy wife, I might as well have a trophy car!" ??
"There might as well be one area of my life where I'm sexy and high-performance." ??
"Since I can't take it with me, I want it all NOW!" ??
It's more good press, which I suppose is good, but for those of us that visit these forums, a review like this adds little value. I think most of us are now anxiously awaiting "real" reviews.
In fact, this WSJ article is a bit over the top. It's feels kind of like a commercial or at least, a fanboy's ravings. Comparing it to a Lambo is a bit much, and then there's lines like this: "The Model S is the most impressive feat of American industrial engineering since [someone sent a rocket into space and docked with a space station]"
Statements like that may or may not arguably true, but Dan Neil isn't really making a case, he's just gushing, wish honestly, seems inappropriate. Maybe he thinks this will get him a "review" car for free down the line.
wish honestly >> which honestly
not really sure how I managed that one
The wsj reviewer's frequent reference to addictive drugs suggests he's not likely to be a mere "tester" for long. Dropped a hint he'd need (he wants) at least 3 months to fully validate the S's claims.
EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT article! I couldn't have said it better myself.....
Yet he just had to mention that he thought it might burst into flames?
I didn't take that to mean that he had a specific concern about it being electric. I think he was just saying that it was great after is first 10 minute drive, but that he can't judge the lasting quality and that there's no ownership history to rely. Replace "could burst into flames" with "could fall apart after a month" etc. I don't think he was trying to make a dig at electric cars;
To be honest though, I did think that he was basically trying to add a caveat to make his review seem a bit more objective.
I think good press, be it effusive or not, is a great thing for Tesla and it will only make the company more successful as they continue to deliver on those promises.
Also, note that this was 'an hour plus' test drive. Not a 10min drive. but still, the full reviews will be the most gratifying yet if they remain positive.
I don't disagree that the reporter has obviously been moved by his experence, and is comming off a bit 'fanboy' by it, however, I don't think he intended the article for those of us who already know more about this car than the dealers do.
With that said, I agree with his response, as I felt the same way with my test-drive last week in Hathorne, and thus far I have yet to read a review where the driver wasn't moved by what was happening when he (or she) hit the throttle.
I agree the Model S is no Lamborghini, however 1.5 seconds isn't a whole hell of a lot faster for a vehical that cost three times as much to buy, likely fifty times more to maintain, and 5000 times more to run, nevermind, like the reporter said, alerts the everyone within a half-mile radius when doing it.
The very fact that any electric car with five doors, and seat seven, can go from 0-60 less than 1.5 seconds faster than most powerful exotics, is an amazing feat of engineering genius!
Tikiman distilled the essence. The reviewer was effusive because he was genuinely moved.
Given the author, this is a very significant milestone for Tesla.
Dan Neil is no lightweight. He's a Pulizter prize-winning, very gifted writer, and arguably the most honest auto critic alive.
His criticism can be brutal when it's deserved. (Just Google his recent WSJ review of the Prius C)
When he drove this car for this first time, he had a "Jesus, the dream is now real" moment.
He gushed because TM earned it. Neil is a skilled jounalist with a keen sense of history. You don't want to be remembered as the guy who didn't get it when the transformative auto industry moment just occurred.
A truly brilliant editor knows when to let his audience see him humbled by the gravity of an event. That's when everyone understands that this news is important. (Check out some classic video of Edward R. Murrow for examples).
All of us jaded TM EV enthusiasts might pause to drink up just how cool what's happening right now really is.
+ 1 Mark
It didn't go well at my house: I am now "officially" in a mid-life crisis according to my wife...but I got the performance!
And I agree completely with Mark K. Reviews like this will change minds.
Great review. I drove the Model S, and could not have expressed my feelings any better.
There are always the “do nothings” who still believe the world is flat. You just have to leave them behind in their state of constancy. Big wheel keeps on turning – If you don’t go towards the horizon, you will never see what's around the corner.If anyone feels the Model S is too expensive to run and maintained; and that it requires special brain power to remember to charge the battery, then they should stay with their favorite ICE cars and leave the pioneers to explore.
They should however not forget to fuel their cars, change oils, replace battery, tune ignition, keep out of HOV lanes, etc ......
As for the risk of malignancy to the nether regions, I was pleased to learn when I asked the question a year ago at an alpha event, that the driver and passengers are not exposed to higher than "average" levels of EMF. Details were not provided but it was reassuring to know that occupant EMF exposure levels had been considered.
For those unfamiliar with the effects of EMF on biological systems, it has been shown that electromagnetic fields can, not surprisingly, exert an electromotive force within cells resulting in protein displacement and ion channel disruption. I'm not aware of any conclusive peer-reviewed evidence showing increased risk for disease or cancer with EMF exposure, but perturbation of the cellular microenvironment is undisputed. Until the results of further studies evaluating EMF safety are in, it's comforting to know I don't need to worry about it with this car.
Robert22: By bringing up something that in your own words "i don't need to worry about with this car", your intent is to do what? Scare people back into an ICE? Convince them to unplug their TV, toaster, and washer and dryer? I don't get it. What's your point?
I think you're in more danger of harm from going 135mph in your brand new Performance S, than any amount of EMF radiated from the vehicle.
My understanding is that you get more EMF radiation from the electrical circuits in your home then you ever would from any car. This topic comes up quite a bit in the Prius forums and those who have actually measured EMF in the Prius and other cars say there is more EMF in a conventional car because there is no particular care taken to reduce EMF. Toyota and other manufacturers have realized that there is a group which is concerned about the levels so they have taken steps to minimize it. I suspect measurements of the Model S will show the same thing although I haven't heard one way or the other.
I'd worry about the exhaust from diesel engines, which have been proven to be carcinogenic, long before I would worry about EMF.
Toyota and other manufacturers of cars with large batteries --drat the lack of editing.
My point is that I'd be uncomfortable with my butt 12 inches from a ? high EMF source for prolonged periods of time until more long term EMF exposure data is in. The fact that Tesla has either shielded or found a way to reduce that level to background through its engineering makes me much more comfortable. I don't sit on my toaster or other home appliances for hours at a time which is why they are of reduced concern to me.
I'm still a little puzzled by your bizarre response. I'm certainly not trying to scare anyone away from an EV. If anything, I was pleased to see that this issue had been considered by Tesla. The rep mentioned that this was not a trivial issue for the engineers, and that it was a frequent question and concern of those viewing the car.
Although you're probably correct, it might be worth reserving your expert opinion on the overall safety of vehicular EMF emission until we have more data. Would the lack of definitive information prevent me from buying the car? Definitely not.
After reading the WSJ review ………….. I just had a cargasm !!!!
+1 Mark K
@Robert22, your butt is about 8 feet from the EMF source when you sit onto drivers seat. Batteries don't do squat to EMF. Even sitting right on top of the rear axle your ear-button you use to avoid EMF from your cell phone probably causes bigger EMF than it does (distance squared).
Anyway, it's very low energy field. Just like powerlines. One second onto summer Sun causes more cell changes than year under those. Literally.
Mark2131, I don't believe Robert22 was bringing up the EMF issue to "scare people back into an ICE" as your tone implied. He was reassuringly responding to this comment in the article:
The thing could burst into flames or be found to cause cancer of the nether regions
-- Although you're probably correct, it might be worth reserving your expert opinion on the overall safety of vehicular EMF emission until we have more data.
EMF radiation has been common for over 100 years without a problem. How much more data do we need?
Some of the worst writing I have seen in the Journal in years, and yes, he throws in completely overblown caveats, but glad he liked the car. As for making him a tester, I am starting to understand why Consumer's Reports insists on buying its cars. Here's hoping CR has a low reservation number.
As CR has either missed the point or got it wrong on almost everything they've ever reviewed that I pretend to know a bit about, I'm not very hopeful they will do Tesla any justice. While they might not be as blatantly bad as Jalopnik, they aren't a whole lot better. The best grade you can give them is "E" for effort.
Where I live, the distracted driver behind me in traffic is THE most dangerous thing I have to contend with in all aspects of my life. Tesla could add a small nuclear generator in the Model S, and expose me to rads, and the driver behind or beside me on any given day wold still be FAR more dangerous to my life!
All the reviews I've read so far have focused mainly on the drive experience, which by any measure is truly amazing. We all get that.
I'm waiting for a review from someone who gets to spend a little more time with the car without a Tesla minder extolling its virtues. How well did their personal stuff stay put in the "opportunity space" when they took that curved freeway on-ramp at 60MPH? What did they think of the leg and headroom in the backseat of a non-pano, and the non-adjustable backseat headrest? How easy was it to parallel park using the backup camera, side mirrors and the restricted field of view out the hatchback window? Any difficulties charging from a public Level 2 charger using the J1772 adapter and Tesla software? Any changes to the handling of the car with a fully loaded frunk? Not trying to be critical here, just would like to see a review that goes beyond "it's a hoot to drive".
I hear in the TMC forum that they are about to deliver the first non-founder car. Once a few of those start being delivered we'll get those kind of reviews and comments.
I am assuming you haven't had the pleasure to sit in a Model S yet? Leg and headroom questions should be easily answered once you do. I don't think you should use other reviewers' takes to make a decision on those issues, re: different body types, torso lengths etc. Though I do agree that some of the other items you mention would be great to hear about. But either way, it's not going to sway me.
rd2 - I test drove in LA. I did sit in the back seat of a non-pano and my impression was both leg and headroom were inadequate for someone 6'0" or taller. But that's just my impression. I would like to hear from an experienced automotive press reviewer who knows a lot more about premium cars than I do. Maybe that's normal in a car of this design. Hopefully no one will make their purchase decision based solely on a press review, but I do value an objective evaluation from a professional as a starting point of reference. Sometimes they point things out I would have never thought of.
I couldn't comment on back seat room, but getting in and out of the driver's seat impressed me in that I wasn't aware of how easy or difficult it is to do.
It's a struggle for me every time I get out of my car.
Reviews can have two principal utilities:
1. A detailed catalog of known strengths and weaknesses
2. An overall impression of the driving experience relative to the alternatives
The first saves the time and effort to do your own detailed look. It's faster to read than to visit a showroom.
The second shares the wisdom of the cognoscenti.
For details as to personal tastes or needs, there's nothing as good as looking for yourself. I'd never trust a review to buy a car without my own take. The diversity of our personal tastes is, after all, what makes us individuals, and no one can truly be our proxy. A catalog of others findings helps mostly as a checklist of subtle points that we might miss.
To me, the best way to learn about subtleties is to scan user forums where there's a lot of unvarnished raw data. Through sheer statistical scale, all defects and virtues are ultimately exposed. "Crowd-sourced reviews" are the real deal, and much more on point than CR or any other publication. For that, you'll have to wait a year.
But the main reason I read car critic reviews is to learn what smart people think after they've looked at the whole field of offerings. That seems to me be a unique benefit of the words of an expert.
Dan Neil has lived and breathed cars his whole life, and driven many more cars than I ever care to. He is a professional journalist in the very best sense.
The wisdom of that perspective is something I value because it tends to compress the time to form a conclusion about how this car ranks relative to the competition.
Neil did not endeavor to do an exhaustive review of detailed features in his one hour run with the car. But this does not diminish the gravity of what he wrote.
He focused on the experience of driving. And for that, all that he has ever learned in his whole career came into play.
His impression was unmistakable. This car sets a new standard, and its arrival is important.
That a man whose life is cars thinks so ... says TM did their job well.
This really is a new chapter in the history of the car.
I'm waiting for a review from someone who gets to spend a little more time with the car without a Tesla minder extolling its virtues. (stevenmaifert)
Here's Jalopnik's take on Dan Neil's article, and they ask similar questions:
"It’s Too Bad Elon Musk Wouldn’t Even Give Dan Neil A Full Tesla Model S Test Drive"http://jalopnik.com/5924119/its-too-bad-elon-musk-wouldnt-even-give-dan-...
I think you know Jalopnik's MO, they like to bash Elon.
Here is Dan Neil's response on their blog. The last paragraph makes the point -
Matt has asked me to comment on his post and, while I try to avoid journalistic navel gazing, the Tesla Model S is an important car with an extraordinary story to tell. Here goes:
Matt’s prolonged throat-clearing means to school us on the virtues of the adversarial press in the field of automobiles. I’ll stand on my record, thank you, Congressman.
As for the length of my test drive, bear in mind it came only a couple of days after the infamous bet payoff. Setting aside logistics, it would have looked suspiciously like quid pro quo if I were granted an extended test drive of several days, say, while other outlets got an hour or so at best. I took my place in line and did not ask for special favors.
Before leaving this topic: I have to tell you, the underlying notion that I somehow enjoy carte blanche with carmakers is hilarious. Trust me, I get said no to a lot, and they only say "no" because it would be impolite to say, "fuck off."
Many of your valuable questions regarding the Model S’s performance are longitudinal in nature, e.g., "How does the screen work long term?" I don’t know. That’s something that, most likely, can only be answered with the experience of owners in the coming months and years. How long will the charge last at top speed? Or with seven people on board? Ay! If only you had combined these two questions, i.e., How long will the charge last at top speed with seven people aboard? You could have submitted it for the dumbest question in the history of the EV skepticism.
How do the child jump seats work? Really? I learned long ago that taking a preschooler on business trips can be awkward.
In any event, would you prefer that, absent these answers, the WSJ doesn’t write anything about the Model S? Or would you prefer writing only something dripping with easy and unearned cynicism? As you have formulated your standards here, I don’t see a third option.
You asked me to amplify on my doubts. My doubts and my certainties about the Model S were adjudicated in the process of writing my column. All writing is choice. But I’m happy to run some counter-narrative past you:
The Model S I drove was terribly quick between 70 mph and 120 mph. This thing goes upstairs like a bat out of hell, and I wondering, while fizzing in my own endorphins, if I was being played. The development engineer along for my ride said that, at Musk’s insistence, the power software had very recently been revised to improve mid-range acceleration. Oh? It occurred to me that Musk might be attempting to pander to car enthusiasts/early test drivers at the strict expense of efficiency. Such acceleration could easily soften a lesser man’s critical faculties, and I am certainly a lesser man. My exact thought was: boobs=box office.
Musk’s battery-pack solution is brilliant. At the outset I could not imagine how a liquid-cooled battery pack could be a stressed member and be also quickly service-able, if not exactly swappable. The Model S’s rigid aluminum battery pack (100mm thick, or 112mm with the protective skis) is attached to the bottom of the car with 37 through-bolts and connectors, 16 on the side sills plus 12 in the cross-members, plus two at the front subframe, plus four at front subframe cross-member, plus two for shear plates to rear subframe, plus one for the aero shield.
So fastened to the underside of the car, the battery pack greatly increases the vehicle’s torsional rigidity and bending moment. Musk claims best-in-world metrics for chassis stiffness and rigidity. The liquid coolant attachments are similar to racing’s dry brakes for fuel.
Now, what’s interesting to me is that in calculations of a structure’s torsional rigidity and bending moment, vector forces depend on load, which is directly related to mass. The Model S’s three battery packs (40, 60, 85 kWh) should by rights have three different masses. The 85 kWh pack accounts for 30 percent of total vehicle mass, but I don’t have the differential on the other two packs.
Obviously, three packs of increasing mass complicate force and load calculations, to say nothing of suspension tuning. This suggests to me three possibilities: First, the Model S chassis – the body in white, sans battery pack – exhibits world-beating chassis stiffness without any battery at all, and when they bolt up a battery it just gets stiffer. Over-engineered, in other words.
Second (and therefore), the cars with the smaller (lighter) battery packs net out to be stiffer and more rigid because of lower mass-related loads.
Third – and this is the more interesting thought – that in the interests of harmonizing the engineering, all three battery packs weigh the same, which would mean the use of ballast in the less-energetic packs. I would be personally delighted to learn that the spaceship-building, mass-optimizing mo-fo Elon Musk is adding dumb ugly mass to his underside of his amazing car.
(By the way, this degree of specificity, which seems entirely appropriate for Jalopnik’s got-it-bad, hyper-nerd audience, would utterly kill a story in a general-interest newspaper. Often my greatest challenge is to take very technical detail and translate it for a mass audience, many of who wouldn’t know counter-steering from cross-dressing.)
The tradeoff in the Model S’s pack design is obvious: The exposed underbelly pack is vulnerable to environmental conditions and to puncture/rupture. The pack looks amazingly well built, to be sure, but I would like more assurance that this piece of high-voltage equipment isn’t going to shit the bed and catch fire if and when some dope high-centers the car on a parking lot curb (happens all the time).
How am I "prepared for disappointment"? There is absolutely no evidence that a mass market for EV’s will emerge. I think it will. I hope so. God knows it ought to. But wise public policy seems to be rather out of fashion these days. So, fingers crossed.
The Model S powertrain is in some ways simpler than that of an internal-combustion automobile, but in other ways, it’s very much on the edge of available technology. You know what’s the biggest line item in the vehicle development process? Testing and validation. I have confidence that Musk and company have done good work here, but testing/validation is, in my experience, a cubic-dollars equation. I too am intensely curious to see how these cars behave in the field. All companies brag about their rigorous testing methodology. In my experience you can just shut the recorder off when they start in on that song and dance.
As others have noted, Tesla’s competitive advantage in the premium EV segment seems pretty perishable. Their space is about to be invaded by some monstrously big and capable car companies. When BMW and Audi come after your customers, look out.
In closing, I don’t want to seem aggrieved. I know I’m the establishment and it is your duty, as bloggy gadfly, to call me out. As the great Jamie Kitman once said to me, "Do you remember when we were the young punks?" Indeed I do. Besides, anytime I’m mentioned on Jalopnik, my online numbers soar, so thank you.
But I wouldn’t want the usual enthusiast flyspecking to blind us to the moment. The Model S represents something very big and very important. I cannot shake the feeling of a corner turned. As an American, as a car-lover, and as a parent, it makes me happy. As a critic, I’m prepared for disappointment, yes, but I’m also willing to be amazed.
-- Dan Neil"
Well, like with everything, time will tell and sooner rather then later, the car will be out there and the critics can have their day / weeks / months with the car to put all speculation to rest. In the mean time, don't burst my bubble prematurely! :D
-EMF radiation has been common for over 100 years without a problem. How much more data do we need?
Unfortunately, quite a bit more. 100 years ago we weren't bombarded 24/7 with cell phone (and for those living or working in metropolitan areas, multiple co-located microwave towers and airport radar, among others) EMF. Proximity to source appears relevant. There is no doubt that cellular function can and is being altered. It usually takes more time to demonstrate a deleterious effect if present. I don't wish to turn this thread into a referendum on the potential health effects of EMF exposure, but I'm confident you will be reading more about this in the future as the results of a number of studies become available. Up until a few years ago we never asked about the number of CT scans a person had previously received. Now we do. It turns out something once thought inconsequential, isn't. Cumulative dose seems to matter quite a bit in biology. They post SAR (specific absorbed radiation) values for all cell phones sold in the U.S. At some point they will likely do the same for EV's whether proven medically relevant or not. Circling back to my original post, I'm pleased Tesla was forward-thinking enough to realize that should EMF become a concern in the future, the car was designed to limit exposure to background levels (as was told to me by the rep).
For those who choose to believe I represent the lunatic fringe, feel free to sleep with your cell phones turned on and pressed tightly against your heads all night and we'll reconvene in a decade.
And for the gentleman that feels I'm trying to scare people back into an ICE, let me be absolutely clear:
Buy the car. I know I will.
Robert22: There is no doubt that cellular function can and is being altered.
Yes, there is doubt.
Cumulative dose seems to matter quite a bit in biology.
When biology becomes a hard science, then we can talk. I'm quite aware of how medical studies are done, and they're not even close to scientifically done. (E.g., if you get 92% correlation in physics, it means you don't yet know what you're talking about. In Medicine, it's called a proof.) XRays have been shown to cause damage. I don't know of anyone who disputes that. I'm waiting for good data on the rest. Imagine everyone rewiring their homes when they find out about fields and negative (or positive?) health effects.
Correlations don't equal cause and effect.
I don't wish to turn this thread into a referendum on the potential health effects of EMF exposure
Then don't take popular, unproven fears and post them here. I, for one, would like to see some real data on effects, and all my reading has turned up nothing of any value - at least to my eye.
If Tesla took EM into account when designing, it couldn't do them any harm, and might satisfy some people who test fields on the assumption that they're bad for you. That's good PR design.
Back on the topic of this WSJ review thread:
To me, the end of Dan Neil's response captures the essence, and is an amazingly explicit validation of why we believed he wrote that review.
"I wouldn't want the usual enthusiast flyspecking to blind us to the moment."
"The Model S represents something very big and very important. I cannot shake the feeling of a corner turned. As an American, as a car-lover, and as a parent, it makes me happy. As a critic, I’m prepared for disappointment, yes, but I’m also willing to be amazed. -- Dan Neil"
I've never read a more reverent review from this critic, and I believe there is a reason for that. TM has in fact made a significant achievement.
To a journalist with Dan Neil's chops, when you've got a ringside seat to history in the making, you don't yawn it off.
Time will indeed tell. Time is kind to truth, and physics never lies.
EMF is electo-magnetic field. It is a function of frequency (reversal of sign) of waves. A DC battery has very low or no frequency. The motor has a very low (relative to most emissions) frequency (RPM ranges, a few kHz at most). And it's shielded with a solid metal casing, an excellent block for RF radiation.
EMF exposure from headphone and earbud connecting wires is vastly more intense; the wire is a broadcasting antenna, and it's right beside the body/head.
You're hinting at the hormesis hypothesis. +1. Dosage is everything. The optimum is rarely zero.
typoz: electro-magnetic ... DC battery's output has ...
They post SAR (specific absorbed radiation) values for all cell phones sold in the U.S. At some point they will likely do the same for EV's whether proven medically relevant or not.
Just FYI, sparks from gasoline ICE engine cause far bigger pulsed EMF than electric motor of an EV. For some reason that's no-ones concern, I wonder why. Low energy magnetic field is no health risk, you would need to have around million times higher magnetic field before your cells even notice anything. Shake your head one time and inertia of the fluids inside your cells just caused thousand times more damage than BEV motor ever could. Put your head in summer Sun for a second and ultraviolet rays from Sun just caused real damage. This fearmongering over EMF in BEV is pure and unadulterated bullshit.
Person who claims to have some symptoms has hypochondria. Fear with placebo-effect can cause real symptoms over non-existing threat.
Volker- I think you know Jalopnik's MO, they like to bash Elon. (Mark K)
Yes I know, and I ignore them for the most part. However, I sometimes find it refreshing to give the "devil's advocates" some floor. Especially in moments like this, when everybody else is just foaming over with enthusiasm. That doesn't mean I agree with everything they say.
Thank you for posting Dan's reply. Given this response, the Jalopnik article was well worth it -- without that article, some of those questions would not have been answered by Dan in this kind of clarity. :-)
@Brian: Re: hormesis hypothesis
I'd never heard of it, but thanks, it helps make my point and that by Timo. There's enough unknowns and BS on this to go around. Perhaps one day we'll know something about real mechanisms of action, if any, instead of correlations of fears or falsified studies or whatever else people are doing.
If I were designing a low frequency, aluminum encased huge battery that was nearby human buyers, some of whom had outsized fears of electricity and waves, I'd probably point out that virtually all the EM was tamped down in the design. No need to point out that the design was done that way for other reasons. If it works to your advantage, no reason to keep it a secret.
Out this morning: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1077557_2012-tesla-model-s-tests-1-h...
Looks like Tesla's careful management of expectations is starting to wear a little thin in some press circles.
greencarreports is ford-sponsored almost fake green site. You can't trust them much like you can't trust Top Gear. Their method of false information is a bit more subtle, they insert it in a mixt of truth. Half-truths and things they leave out rather that what they say are what makes me hate that site. I bet they give quite bad review to Model S once they get a chance to do it.