Are some "problems" and "flaws" really with the car? Or, with the buyers?

Are some "problems" and "flaws" really with the car? Or, with the buyers?

All too many Tesla buyers use these forums to endlessly whine about things their S does not have. Adaptive cruise control, AWD, door pockets, parking assist, center console, rear seat cup holders, lighted visor mirrors, etc., etc. These are NOT problems or flaws with the S. Instead these complaints are problems and flaws with the buyers.

Every buyer who paid attention to the Tesla site before placing their order, or who read a magazine article, or who viewed an internet road test, or who visited a Tesla showroom, should have been fully aware that their S would not include every desirable feature found on other luxury cars. Yet they placed their orders and took delivery, then use these forums to blame Tesla for what their car does not have.

Yes, some buyers have discovered real problems with their cars. Virtually all of these have been quickly taken care of by Tesla Service Centers. And others have been fixed with firmware updates. What other manufacturer can often fix and improve their latest models without requiring their owners to drive to a dealer?

Nearly every manufacturer has been forced to recall various models that had problems that made driving seriously (and sometimes deadly) dangerous. Lexus, Audi, BMW, Ford, Chrysler; even our Acuras and our Mercedes. Tens of millions of Federally mandated repairs for these serious design and manufacturing glitches.

These forums contain lots of interesting and useful suggestions for adding features and enhancing firmware and software. And Tesla listens! Some of the better ones will no doubt eventually become standard or optional. So go ahead and tell Tesla, and all of us, what you wish your S could do. Just remember the things on any wish list are NOT problems or flaws; the problem is the folks who think everything on their wish list is a Tesla problem.

Brian H | 24 maart 2013

When I read your subject line, I thought it sounded a bit goofy. But after reading the post, it now makes good sense. Well-thought out and written.

bigez1 | 24 maart 2013

+1 mcx-sea

dr.jacks.tesla | 24 maart 2013

+1 well written and I don't miss those other "luxury" features, must be the buyer :)

Kleist | 24 maart 2013

+1 I am missing nothing

biggator | 24 maart 2013

We took home ours yesterday. We were fully aware of what features were and were not in the car - and like you said, we bought it anyway.. willing to live with a few missing luxuries.

The two items that I would have LIKED to have in the car would have been parking sensors and better console storage/cup holders. Both of these seem to be easy to remedy if we find that they're really a nuisance. There are other omissions that seem a bit odd (no rear-seat entertainment option for kids.. no rear-seat power/usb) but none of them are deal-breakers.

After driving it a bit.. the last thing we're thinking about is cup holders.

gasnomo | 24 maart 2013

I think this is a silly thread. People have the right to post their opinions, both for and against the car, without being attacked or suggesting they have a problem.

As for some of your claims, such as 'virtually' all problems have been 'quickly' taken care of by service, this isn't true, and there are lots of threads here suggesting that Tesla's service is, understandably, going through growing pains. I have been waiting for a fix to my sunroof since the day I received it (it broke when the DS showed me how to use it).

Now I agree people shouldn't 'bitch or complain' about missing features, but I'd argue there are more suggestions that bitching. What Tesla could be doing is talking about features in the car that simply aren't activated, like Wifi, parking assist, etc...which would deflect some of the criticism/suggestions on the forums.

The one thing that does bother me is advertised features that are not active - such as saving songs to the hard drive (part of the reason I purchased the upgraded sound system).

gasnomo | 24 maart 2013

let the attacks against me begin...

skymaster | 24 maart 2013

+1 I get sooo sick of all the nitpicking going on here!! Tesla will improve on everything (including interior) in time. You have to look at the BIG picture. None of these folks have said they would sell their model S and go back to their bmw or mb ect.

bobinfla | 24 maart 2013

+1 mcx-sea

@cfriedberg - boo, hiss, moida da bum, lol

biggator | 24 maart 2013

@cfriedberg - where did you ever see anything about parking assist being there, but not activated? This is news to me (I knew about wifi).

Based on the pics of the aftermarket install that someone had done - there doesn't seem to be any sensors on the car. Now, they COULD do something in software to at least have an overlay on the camera - but I've never heard of this as existing.

Sorry to derail.

gasnomo | 24 maart 2013


my local service rep told me when I asked him about whether or not installing a third party park assist system would void the warranty. He also informed me that there are numerous other hardware and wiring features already built into the car, but not 'activated'.

Captain_Zap | 24 maart 2013

There are aftermarket options for those that want mini-van features. You can find those by using
You can also read the previous threads on these topics and post there. will help you find those discussions.

Pockets, rear cupholders and rear entertainment systems are more like space eating cluttering mini-van features than something you expect to find in a sporty performance sedan. I would be more inclined to expect them in the Model X rather than a Model S.

biggator | 24 maart 2013

@Captain_Zap -
people with kids drive cars, too. Strangely, they also drink drinks.

Captain_Zap | 24 maart 2013

Kids with drinks in the car???
Does not compute!

DouglasR | 24 maart 2013

I CANNOT BELIEVE that a $100k buyer would have such flaws and problems!

torst1 | 24 maart 2013


Well I would have to say I could not disagree more with you.
Just because Tesla S is drawn, modeled and produced a certain way does not make that way the best way possible.

For Tesla not to listen to what paying customers are voicing Tesla would have to be either more then a little arrogant or plain stupid. I have never owned a car that fitted my every need - I saw that when I bought it but a purchase of a car is always a compromise just as it is with Tesla.

Most manufacturers solve issues like this with a mid-life updated model. Minor issues are ironed out - stuff engineers and designers forgot on the drawing board are added. In return the manufacturer get more satisfied customers. And often those little shortcomings like missing cup holders, no center console or whatever have been voiced over and over suddenly becomes a great selling point. Journalists and testers tends to focus on mid-life updates improvements and those updates generates lots of press and PR.

While you see these flaws as minor problems if problems at all - other have different views on that. And that is fine. After all the car was bought with hard earned cash and we all like to get "our moneys worth". Even a car that shines on so many levels can feel less then premium because of those things you mentioned in OP.

Should Tesla listen. Most definitely. And hopefully Tesla will do more then just listen. Hopefully Tesla will address as many as possible. If feel the need for an upgrade when Tesla have a mid-life update of model S - feel free to rip out, destroy or shorten any or all of these hopefully added features: Adaptive cruise control, AWD, door pockets, parking assist, center console, rear seat cup holders, lighted visor mirrors. - After all you don't need them, you don't like them and you prefer to live without them. | 24 maart 2013

@mcx-sea Love the question!

I've been exceptionally happy with my MS, and the few features it didn't have that I wanted, I added myself. Yes, it's a minor pain to add parking sensors (which I did) or some other add-in, but I think Tesla did a great job at picking the right set of initial features for the price of the car. I've never seen a car that offers every possible feature, and often users hate to have some features, even if included free (for me it's a sunroof in a car, something I never use).

Every purchaser has to decide when they buy a MS (or any car for that matter) does it include the features and functions you require. If not, buy another car or expect to add them yourself!

I built a whole website ( to cover add-ons and vote on features anyone wants on the MS or future Tesla cars. It's a bit extreme, but what I thought was needed is asking the question (in many cases) how much EXTRA would you pay for feature X.

If you want a head's up display, BMW has it as an option for $5000. Is that worth it to you? My guess is very few users want it at that price. There's no reason Tesla shouldn't charge the going rate for some feature they add in the future. When put in that perspective, it's not surprising that many users suddenly no longer feel they need a "missing" feature.

zero2hide | 24 maart 2013

+1 mcx-sea
Nice well thought out piece. There's a fine subjective line between annoying griping and constructive criticism but I'm sure the Tesla folks are taking note of the ever expanding wish list for future improvements.

We all know (I hope?) that to build a car such as this was a massive engineering undertaking and some compromises had to be made to get it to market.

stevenmaifert | 24 maart 2013

The problem lies with some peoples expectations for a car at this price point. Do your homework and if you decide to purchase, you do so knowing that Model S will not come with all the amenities you might have expected. The early adopters have been very forgiving in that respect. Acceptance by the mass market remains to be seen.

derek | 24 maart 2013

I'm with the dissenters. No reason why people can't voice their opinion, although dislikes are better in a private thread.

Geez, how do you think Tesla knows how to prioritize the next feature, software updated, or hardware update? They can measure the buzz from their owners on this forum, among other tools.

The brilliant Steve Jobs said "No app store for the iPhone." But the developer community bitched and moaned about how constrained they were because they were limited to within the browser. A full year after the iPhone launch, and after lots of bitching, Apple reluctantly launched the App Store. How did that work out for Apple, developers, and users?

I agree that nobody should be *surprised* that there are no door pockets, etc. However, that doesn't mean they have to like it, and can't complain about it. Developers loved the iPhone, but wanted more. They complained and prevailed.

The Model S rocks, but it's not perfect. Stop making a car a religion. Allow dissent. Allow free speech.

torst1 | 24 maart 2013


Great Iphone example - never let arrogance get in the way of great business. After all - a healthy bottom line means more R & D and even better products and happier customers.


I got nothing to do with homework.
Even people who but might feel they would like to have more features. I totally understand TM's need to be conservative in what features are shipping as standard - but really buyers should have even more choices for tailor-made cars even from Tesla.

I can only speak for me and my wishes, but I do see several shortcomings in today's model S. If I could opt to get all those fixed by adding x's in boxes on the order form I would happily do that - even though that means price will go up. As long as I get my needs met I will pay extra as long as I feel the value of the car increases. For me and my everyday needs.

For premium cars we are all used to pay money up the river for cool gadgets, bragging rights and features that we might not actually need but that we feel add an extra value to the car and the ownership of the car. So yes Tesla. Let me by all the extra, I will put my money where my mouth is, and I am sure many others will as well. A big fat option list will mean even more money in for Tesla. I can't see how that can be wrong.

OP ever considered you might be a happier man living in north-korea? As they seem to share many of your outlook on life.

DouglasR | 24 maart 2013

I think the OP has every right to complain about the people who complain.

SD Supercharger | 24 maart 2013

If you have expectations, run the closest comparator--a Panamera GTS. Starting price around 115k, if you add all the goodies--145 k. Are you willing to pay this amount for a few more bells and whistles?

torst1 | 24 maart 2013

If I could get ie AWD model S and also those other voids filled I would pay a premium. If it means I need to add 20K $ or even more I still would. Cause that would make the car fill my hopes and dreams. And that is important too.


Sure he does. I was trying to make a joke - sadly I forgot the smily-face.
So I see why you posted your comment. It was a joke - even though it was poorly executed.

dschulner | 24 maart 2013

Great post. And a long time coming. After reading everyone's petty complaints, I have been so envious of them! Because surely the rest of their lives must be utterly perfect. That or I would really like to read their posts where they complain about their house, spouse and kids.

Life isnt perfect. And neither is your car.
Vin 308

GeekEV | 24 maart 2013

You cannot grow and improve yourself if nobody ever challenges your position on things. But I do agree there does seem to be a lot of pissing-and-moaning. Welcome to the Internet.

shepski | 24 maart 2013

I could care less if my Tesla S lacked any of the OP-mentioned, bitched-about features - but it's kind of hard to justify skimpy and/or flimsy sun visors in any car over $20K... (Not saying they're flimsy in the S, but that seems to be the gripe.)

olanmills | 24 maart 2013

I think at least part of the issue is that those of us who have been around for a while have already hacked these issues to death, but now there's a whole lot of people who are jumping on the bandwagon now and these discussions which are new to them are tired to us.

Deliveries are ramping up quickly, and I'm already seeing lots of people who are now taking delivery of the car that I would not call "enthusiasts" (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that btw).

torst1 | 24 maart 2013

So basically you are so unsure about yourself you need validation from the community cause of your purchase decision? You would prefer if we all just pet each others back on congrats each other with a smart buy?

Be real dude. Voicing it is important. That way someone might listen and make your dream come true. And a new and improved version with a longer option list might be a great way to justify a new model later on.

I once got a new model of the same car cause the new one had ventilated leather seats - and my old didn't. In fact I had never seen that before. And here was a brand new model with more features and it even had a cool breeze blowing from the seat. How amazing it that I thought. Cause I was rather fat at that time so I struggled with massive body heat. The moment I read about it in a magazine I called my dealer and put in an order. I was so excited I didn't even remember to haggle on the price. And to be honest the ventilated seats up front did wonder for my well being. I was never sweaty any more walking into the office so for me that justified the change and extra cash out for a new car I really didn't need. The smart solution - not to mention a lot cheaper would be to loose weight to control body temp.

My point is you never really know what is of value to others. Something you don't miss or even think about might be something others would shell out good solid money for. And that means more income for Tesla. We do know manufacturers put on a heavy price tag for add-ons they know will sell well. Try order best sat-nav on cars from Germany. 5.000 - 8.000 $ extra.
And really a 200 $ handheld device will point in correct direction. Yet people spend that extra bacon for the factory look.

Captain_Zap | 24 maart 2013

Why don't we all play nice?
This is getting ridiculous.

SD Supercharger | 24 maart 2013

olanmills +1

Tesla303 | 24 maart 2013

My car is so fast I gave up caffeine!!! Corners so well there is not a cup holder made that could keep my drink from spilling. Plus since I never go to convience store for big gulp temptation

If you complain about this car, you seriously need to have your head examined!

Maybe those of you that are unhappy should trade your MS in for technology from last century

Drive your car proudly! We all knew what options it had when you bought it!

Brian H | 24 maart 2013

Elon once said it best; "The best car in the world -- in all the dimensions that count."

Yours don't.

The "$100K" buys different things with the MS than are possible with any other car.

tvntesla | 24 maart 2013

Model S is not a $100K car. I keep hearing this misconception all the time. The 60KWh version with Tech package and active air suspension is $68,820 and you get 3-in-1 package of a sport car + a family sedan car + mini van with the fuel economy that none of the cars at this price class can offer. With $2,500+$7,500 tax incentive, the car costs $58,820. Average middle class (engineer, small biz owners, etc.) can afford this family car, it's not only a car for the rich people. Rich people can of course afford two fully loaded P85s and one fully loaded Model X and pay in cash. I think.

RedShift | 25 maart 2013

I agree about the whining. Every car has a few flaws.

I am prepared to overlook:

Thin visors
Thin seats
Lack of storage

This car is really the future. That its also a bonafide thoroughbred
With awesome bones is icing on the cake.

I took delivery Saturday, had some issues, the most serious being a stuck charging cable.
It took several tech support guys assisting and debugging, and at one point I was ready to email georgeB with a bitter email.

Today morning the stuck cable is resolved. (Main screen controls,open charge port, then press button on cable, pull out)

I am happy as can be. I know there will be more issues, but I don't care.

Car is zen. Magical.

RedShift | 25 maart 2013

Oh BTW planning a 2 hour lunch with quick trip up and down the mountains.
Almost like playing hookie.

Grown little boy, that's me today.

dstiavnicky | 25 maart 2013

The fact is the MS is fantastic value. But no car could have everything. I admit to at least half-a-dozen items/features I would love to have in my MS. I hope when I trade this MS in for a new one in a few years they have added the rest of my wish list. And it will cost more, and it will still be fantastic value!

GLO | 25 maart 2013

+1 mcx-sea

We could not be happier with our MS. On the surface, I have no issue people posting features they'd like to see or discuss issues and possible solutions. But in talking to some "insiders' I've been told that many of the complaints are outright fabrications by the posters to get negative attention. Sadly, that's often been the case. It's those types of posts I have issue with. Sadly, one cannot discern which are tue and which are false.

cablue | 26 maart 2013

We've put about 3500 miles on ours now and are still giddy driving this car! We had problems with the charging cable in the beginning, but that was fixed. No issues since. I think I'm pretty picky when it comes to cars, but this car, nothing bugs me. Thin visors? Who cares! I drink in the car all the time. The cup holders have never been an issue to me. I don't get it. I drive the loooong way home whenever I can, and cannot wait to drive it each day! I don't mind people complaining as they have a right to do that, but I also want to voice my love for this car. Honestly, I keep saying we need a his and hers! It is so much fun to drive. We have always had BMWs - still do - but we've never had anything that compares to this.

gianni.terragni | 26 maart 2013

Well-thought out and written. Said Brian H
I say:Well-thought out an very, very well written.
I'm not a native English speaker, but it is one of the few times that I should not ask for help to "google translate" Thanks


torst1 | 26 maart 2013

@Brian H

Sometimes this forum gets kind of dark - like now with your post.

It seems that a number of you guys has lost the ability to think for yourself. You act like you are part of a sect or like you have been brainwashed. And from you Brian H I didn't expect this, as you seems like one of the more well read members here. The fact that you also take this path is sad really - not only on your behalf but on the behalf of the community at large and in a much bigger scale the society at large.

You really think and believe that one should not be allowed to voice up if one is not happy with a product? Sure Tesla is good - but this is past the line of redicilous. Why shouldn't the voice of paying customer count? People wake up - you are not living in the peoples republic of china. You live in the free world. Start acting like it.

Really I just feel sad for you people.

gianni.terragni | 26 maart 2013

torst1, you have the ability to say a lot of things right and meaningful in the most disagreeable way possible.
Is true, there are some comments that go beyond a proper admiration for the S. This can peeve and unnerve, but reading your answers, sometimes I think you've been bitten by a tarantula