How will having a Model S change your driving habits?

How will having a Model S change your driving habits?

I was actually thinking about this after my visit to the Santana Row event and my cross country trip. I figure for my daily driving not much will change as I only have a 20 min commute so the electricity I burn going 75 MPH will easily be recovered every night. But on long trips I can definitely see my driving changing, especially because there will be a point where driving faster actually gets you there slower since you will have to recharge more often. I'm sure someone far better at math will be able to tell us what that tipping point will be. But I wonder does anyone else see their driving habits changing after they get their S?

Larry Chanin | 03. april 2012

Hi Liz,

I've never been much of a driver, but now I think that I'll be driving more and enjoying the sights along the way. I've never been a marathon driver, so I don't think that will change. I'll probably drive 3-4 hours and find a suitable hotel where I can charge overnight. Obviously I'll be doing a lot more preplanning of routes to locate chargers enroute as well as suitable hotels.

Here in Florida almost everyone drives at 10 mph over the posted speed limit on major highways. We have weird laws that require folks traveling the speed limit in the fast lane to move aside to make way for speeders. I am not making this stuff up! So, if I decide to take an interstate highway I'd better plan on driving fast.

I'm not even sure whether I'm capable of driving slow now anymore. ;-) The only way to go slow would be to select slower routes with lots of traffic signals. I might do that if the route were more scenic. I'll have to see how that plays out. I won't be traveling alone so my wife's driving preferences would also need to be factored into the equation of any trips we take.


Jason S | 03. april 2012

I'll prolly floor it more, park it in the boonies. I've never parked a car in the boonies, but this might be my first like that.

Even on the highway I'll just go with the flow of traffic. Not going to push the 300 mile range at all -- 200 miles is longest planned trip so I simply charge a bit at the other end. Hmmm, I'll hafta plan on charging a lot on that trip but I imagine my parents can provide a cord at 5 amps for a weekend. =)

I'm not yet convinced I need to get a wall charger, but could be a good idea just for convenience.

I plan to use the remote climate control a lot. I look forward to never going to another gas station.

phb | 03. april 2012

I'm going to accelerate quicker, pass more frequently, and corner harder... all without worrying about how much gas I'm using! I'm looking forward to worry free driving again. ;-)

DavidG | 03. april 2012

Charging at hotels isn't as slam dunk as you might expect. Yes, they will all say you can, but the Honda EV+ that I had, required a grounded outlet. While the NEC code requires grounded outlets in commercial buildings, few hotels actually comply. No safety ground, and the charger won't work. Maintenance workers have said yard tools work more reliably without grounds. Expect the S to have the same safety protocol.

Sans a fast charger, you have a better chance looking for day use at KOA camp grounds, specifically those with the NEMA 14-50 service that campers like. The 14-50 provides 240Vac at 50A, but chargers usually derate this to a cooler running 40A. I know a student who took an EV+ from Los Angeles to Michigan this way and he only had 110 mile range. Mind you it took 3 weeks, but he did it. Day use is often at a nominal fee because most campers only stay overnight.

However, with TM planning a fast charger network, one can half charge in 30 minutes instead of 4+ hrs on NEMA 14-50. The question we are all waiting to hear on, is where these fast chargers will be.

Discoducky | 03. april 2012

I will most likely drive happier. I love that my transportation dollars are staying in the States.

And we'll drive more, as right now we really give thought to the things we do as travel can be $20 in gas even around Puget Sound. I'd bet we'll end up spending more money as we travel more and venture farther out more often like campgrounds, eating out and motel/hotels.

And I agree with phb; with a CoG around hub height and instant full torque how could you not flaunt it a bit.

David den Boer | 03. april 2012

Instead of driving 55, or taking the corporate bus to work, I will drive, and drive FAST!
But when not going to work, or not in a rush, I plan on driving the curvier, hillier roads around here and enjoying the ride.

BYT | 03. april 2012

I don't plan on changing a thing, except for maybe parking farther away from other cars so my baby Model S doesn't get a ding... man, that first ding always upsets me to no end and I will be livid the first time it happens to my Model S... :(

jbunn | 03. april 2012

Please, don't let us be mistaken for Audi drivers. The Passing Agressive attitude is difficult enough here. Me, I'll park in the boonies till the first dents, manuver a lot more carefully, lock cruse on stated limit, and safeguard my investment. Lest I appear too stodgy, I will give new passengers a thrill, and for the ice fanatics and electric doubters, terror.

Mark K | 04. april 2012

I will find myself offering rides to those I normally wouldn't ... and then proselytizing shamelessly.

I will wave and grin broadly, as I pass each gas station I'll never frequent again.

I will smile a quiet, contented smile ... all by myself ... as I just skip that next article abut the Strait of Hormuz.

And I will look in my rear-view mirror, exhale a deep sigh, and just zoom off ... bidding farewell to those ludicrous troubles we used to accept, as they gently recede into history.

This is about the point where we hear Mel Blanc's Looney Toons voice-over chirping:

"So long ...Sssuuuckkerrrs!"

Teoatawki | 04. april 2012

I will definitely drive happier, and a LOT more. Locally, I'll be the first up the on ramp and up to highway speed. Most of my highway driving is at or just above the speed limit. My only speeding ticket was in 1982. I'd like to keep it that way, but I expect there is at least one more in my future.

I particularly look forward to maintaining effortless highway speed going over the mountain passes while the cars around me are straining and downshifting. Sucks to be them.

My main route home after leaving the expressway has a traffic signal at the bottom of a mile long steep upgrade posted at 40 mph. I intend to be well in front of the rest of the cars by the time I hit 40 going up that grade.

steven.maes | 04. april 2012

I will probably search for the limits of the car, like I always do. I am particulary curious about the range at higher speed. In Belgium the speed limit on the highway is 120km/h. When you go with the traffic, that can be 130-140 km/h. In Germany there is no limit on the autobahn. I guess I will have to learn to restrain myself.

For day to day work there will be no issue. For day trips there might be some preparation to find places to load the battery. And I guess the charging stations are not close in the surroundings of the place you were planning to stay...

Kallisman | 04. april 2012

I won't be looking for the lowest price on gas when I'm driving around, trying to fill full tank when it's less expensive, and trying to avoid filling when it's really expensive. So much easier to just plug it in when it suits me, at home or a public charging point. The only times I'll visit a gas station is when I need to borrow the toilet, or buy a snack.
I'll be looking for roads with bus lane so I can pass the ICEs in rush hour. I'won't drive a detour to avoid the road taxes anymore, since I won't need to pay for passing the toll station anyway:-)
If I'm going on a long trip, I'll most likely try to keep the speed limit, since going fast can give a significant penalty on range. Would be nice to have a cruise control that, connected with the navigation system, will automatically keep me at speed limit unless I set it to something else. If I'm going on a car vacation it will need a different kind of planning. Need to stop in the right places for a charge, but the fuel budget will be a lot lower.
I might be annoyed by the other noisy smelly cars, in fact I already am when I'm a pedestrian.
I'll enjoy the silence in the Model S, and the music not disturbed by all that rattling from an ICE.

David M. | 04. april 2012

Larry's right. In Florida, most highways have a posted speed of 70, and it seems that many drivers are routinely 10mph over that. So, here's your choice: 1. drive with the speeders in the fast lane, or 2. drive with the truckers in the other lanes and risk a cracked windshield by following a semi.

It probably won't all sink in until I have been driving the Model S for 2 months, and I realize I haven't been to a gas station. I've been going to gas stations for 37 years (that's longer than the average age of a Tesla employee - ha!).

Also, no more oil change stickers on my windshield! I'm preparing myself to give lots of rides to curious friends, and to answer tons of questions. It will be a lot of fun. Kinda like being a kid again, on Christmas day -> but it'll be everyday.

Side note - Several times now, I've seen young people post the following: "When I graduate, I want to work for Tesla Motors".
That just blows my mind, and makes me proud to be supporting an innovative company that wants to change the world for the better.

EdG | 04. april 2012

In hilly areas, speed limits seem to be enforced on the downhill - where people tend to go faster and the penalty higher.

I might just go fast on the uphill and allow regen to take me back to normal as I crest.

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 04. april 2012

I expect the Model S will have the same lack of a true coast that the Roadster has. Thus, I think I'm going to have to learn to manage that the same way I learned to maximize coasting in my hybrid. Also, I tend to use the engine brake to slow and charge in the hybrid (75k miles on the original brakes still).

In this case, I expect the car will automatically hit the regen gears, this slowing down to some extent sans brakes being engaged.

Also, I need to adjust timing of things, as people will invariably stop me to ask about the car, making me late for things...

stevenmaifert | 04. april 2012

I won't be stopping by gas stations any longer, unless they have a DC fast charger.

I will listen to the sound system more because I will actually be able to hear it without the distraction of engine noise.

I will have a big grin on my face :)

prash.saka | 04. april 2012

Smile. And drive guilt-free :)

~ Prash.

petero | 04. april 2012

Unfortunately, my driving habits won’t change- my wife has laid claim to the “S.” I will seek revenge by selling her toy (2003 baby blue, Thunderbird).

I drive a 1992 Alfa Romeo Spider. The top is always down, it’s noisy, bumpy, can’t hear the radio, uses 91 octane, slow (4 cylinder, 125 hp) and it is a joy to drive. I expect the “S” will also be a joy: fast, smooth, quiet, and all the things the Alfa isn’t. I always try and take the longer, winding, scenic route. To me, the journey is more important than 4.4 seconds. Driving alone in the HOA lane will be a nice perk.

Yesterday we visited the Newport Beach TM showroom. We looked at the color and interior samples. In Fremont we liked the Brown but the ‘new brown’ is not exciting to us. We are going solid black, a big yes for the pano sun roof, tech package, black leather, and banana wood. We will consider the upgrade suspension during the test drive phase.

A few observation. Yesterday I sat in a Sig Beta (#23?). I was very impressed with the stark, simplicity of the interior. No clutter, it was almost too simple – I really liked it. The empty space in the middle was not a deal breaker. The visibility is restricted and I prefer backup sensors over a camera.

DavidG | 04. april 2012

Unless you have a bicycle pump, you will still stop by gas stations for their free air!

DavidG | 04. april 2012

Once, I stopped by a gas station to plug in, being open at 7 AM. For some reason :) people are more serious about grounding outlets at gas station than at hotels. I only needed a little to get home.

BYT | 04. april 2012

I have an electric pump in my garage, the stations near my home all charge so I don't need ANYTHING from them after I get my S.

TikiMan | 04. april 2012

The only thing that will change for me is... I will avoid parking at curbs with my Model S.

Unfortunately, as it appears currently, with the larger wheels (as per what is on the current showroom betas), the wheel sits further out than the tire, thus if you rub your tire on a curb by accident, you WILL have also scrape the outer edge rim of your wheels.

If you go for the smaller wheels (19"), this might not be a problem.

Sudre_ | 04. april 2012

I will go back to taking long drives in the country on weekends. I used to love doing that now I don't want to burn the $50 to $100 in two days on gas.

I'll stop being so annoyed sitting at stop lights on my way to work as the gas just burns away.

BYT | 04. april 2012

I'll still be annoyed that I'm sitting at a stop light but you are right, it will not bother me that the engine is running and burning the dollars away and killing the environment at the same time.

dborn | 04. april 2012

I will probably start driving "for fun" again. You know, local tourism. No anxious watching of gas prices which swing wildly even through the day here in Sydney. And, at $1.50 a LITRE at present, i am NOT happy. That is approx $6 US dollars a gallon!!!

Mark E | 04. april 2012

@dborn - I use 98 and paid $1.70 for the privilege yesterday. Easter long weekend price hikes. Interesting to see NRMA calling for an enquiry since the wholesale difference between 92 and 95 is 2c, but the average charge is 11c. 98 is even worse, but makes a difference in the performance. My car has a 96 min sticker...

Looking forward to ignoring the weekly fluctuations in price.

Mark E

dborn | 04. april 2012

@Mark E- the price of diesel is even worse, most other places it is significantly lower than petrol. New Zealand for instance, and Europe. That makes sense since the majority of a barrel of oil is oil not petrol which makes up about 10 - 20% of crude. Pity we have to wait at least another whole year for the S. I really hope our cars will come out with European delivery.

Mark E | 04. april 2012

@dborn - re European Delivery. It'd be great, but unlikely. I remember European delivery for bikes but have never seen cars done that way.

dborn | 05. april 2012

@Mark E - what i meant was that release of right hand drive would be concurrent with European Left drive release.

Mark E | 05. april 2012

We can only hope! Although the original European delivery could be fun too!

For those who don't know you used to be able to pick up a new BMW bike in Germany, ride it around Europe and ship it home for the same price as buying it here - so you got your holiday close to free..

Im looking forward to ignoring he weekly fluctuations in prices.

steven.maes | 05. april 2012

Mhhh, would the same apply for Europeans that pick up the model s in the factory in California? Would like to drive around in the US and have it shipped to Europe for the same price :-)

Mark E | 05. april 2012

Looks like the program may still be running to the US..

steven.maes | 05. april 2012

Nice. I didn't know BMW had such a service.

ckessel | 05. april 2012

I'll probably take more day road trips given the cost of fuel will be so cheap.

Manta | 06. april 2012

I rent a car (for work) most days of the week, so unfortunately that won't change.

As for my few days at home, I'll be looking forward to coming home to my Model S Performance much more than I do now with my Prius.

Tom A | 06. april 2012

Interesting thread! In terms of range, the 60kWh pack would make no difference to me. The 40kWh pack would require me to rent a car to visit relatives or do some serious hypermiling (which would be fun, but annoying to my fellow motorists). With the 40kWh pack, I would also opt for the aero rims and air suspension to max out highway efficiency.

The other changes are more emotional and/or convenient in nature, like smiling at the excellent styling; smiling when I get in each morning to a full charge; smiling as I pass every gas station for good; smiling that I'm not leaving any oil or gas drips in parking lots and streets; smiling that I'm not producing those fumes from a bunch of cars starting at once and idling in line to leave a parking garage; and just smiling for the overall efficiency, superior performance and general comfort a Tesla provides.

I would probably drive more often, as others have said, if for no other reason than pleasure, but that partially defeats the purpose. The ideal is to (a) use less energy, and (b) to use the energy from (a) in a more efficient manner. Oh, well. At least part (b) would be true, regardless. :)

Supergreekster | 06. april 2012

Also looking forward to leaving the AC on as I run into a store or something... Or turning it on in advance as I walk to the car (smartphone app)

DallasTXModelS | 08. april 2012

I have usually put 22K miles a year on my previous 4 vehicles living in the DFW metroplex where there is continuous development over 5 adjacent counties everywhere seems to be a local drive. Over the past 4 years with gas twice what it was for the other 4 vehicles I've cut back to 20K a year. In fact current car had 80K two days before the car turned 4 years old.

Not having to pay $65 to fill up each time I stop at a gas station I will probably go back to not worrying how much I'm driving. Plus I'm sure I will be struck by the cool factor of the Model S that at least the first year I'll look for reasons to get to be in the car. Just like 30 years ago when I got my license on my 15th birthday.

I'll probably have to take off from work a week or two or I'll never be able to get anything done.

I can hardly wait! Woohoo!

Brian H | 09. april 2012

Tom A;
Just consider that since the electric is about 3X as efficient converting energy into kinetic motion, you're "saving" energy up to at least double your previous mileage.

CPM | 12. april 2012

I am planning on the pano roof. So for the last month(Chicago) I have been using my sun roof. I have opened it more this last month then I have in the last 6 years. I really like having the open air so the pano roof is 100% a done deal. Also been using Pandora from my phone in the car instead of local radio, can now listen to what I want instead of what is on, bring on the Internet radio stations on a 17" screen. P3594 can not come soon enough. TSLA needs to hit 55 for me to get the 80KWH.

Volker.Berlin | 13. april 2012

Mhhh, would the same apply for Europeans that pick up the model s in the factory in California? Would like to drive around in the US and have it shipped to Europe for the same price :-) (steven.maes)

I'm with you on that one!

Brian H | 13. april 2012

Sort of like a 2,000-mile pre-delivery test drive? :) Suggest having it shipped from NYC or Florida after you pick it up in CA!

Would the EU versions (esp. RH drive) be street-legal in the US?

olanmills | 14. april 2012

(answer to topic)

Not at all, hopefully. That's sort of the point, isn't it? I don't ever drive more than 200 miles in a day, so nothing's going to change for me really, other than the fact that I'll have more time since I won't be using gas stations.

andrewmfallon | 14. april 2012

Friday morning we left New Smyrna Beach in Florida at 0700. 850+ miles later at 2345 we arrived in Hamilton, VA. Such a trip won't be possible (thank goodness) in my Model S. We were zombies last night and we spent today recovering. Next Fall when we drive south, it will be the blue roads in 250 mile bites and multiple nights in small motels. We look forward to seeing a different part of America.

Brian H | 15. april 2012

So, how many tank and stomach fill-ups did you have along the way? \:)

BYT | 05. oktober 2012

Please invite me to pickup my Model S soon Tesla? :( | 05. oktober 2012

Daily commute more peaceful
Weekend drives more spirited (my motorcycle may suffer from neglect)
Annual cross country drive more planned & paced
Hopefully no performance awards from local speed traps

Brian H | 05. oktober 2012

You mean cross some countryside once a year, or cross the whole thamn ding? :) | 05. oktober 2012

Brian H
Actually about 2/3rds -- Live in Colorado & visit family & friends on the East Coast (NC up to NY) every summer. Sometimes fly & rent. Sometimes on MC. Plan to do the trip in the S this June.

Brian H | 05. oktober 2012

So you miss going over the mountains? Pity. I loved it every time I had to cross The Great Divide! ;)