Model S owner's survey

Model S owner's survey

I received Tesla email to spec out my Model S Performance late last week but I'm having second thoughts.

When we signed up for the wait list, we were told by reps that Tesla was working on some modifications to address some items that have pretty much become standard on a $100k car. I am aware that this an all electric car, that drives like a rocket, and has phenomenal range. But we also need to consider how this car will be used.

Can you please tell me if any of these items have been an issue for you? Or is it just me?

1) Armrest and cupholders in the back seat?
-The armrest is to keep some distance between the kids and also to keep them from sliding around as I take those hard turns. :0)
2) Usable armrest and cupholders for the front seat.
-Neither my wife nor I are 6'6", so if you slide the armrest forward, you have no cupholders in the front.
3) Storage compartments between driver and passenger footwell.
-Don't see the need to let everyone that peaks into the car see what is in there.
4) Park distance control.
- I know there is a rear camera, as an option, but what about the front and rear park distance control. I would like to keep the front and rear bumpers scratch free and with the wife driving, sorry ladies, I NEED park distance tones. (As annoying as they are)

I know these do not seem like major issues but they are standard items in comparable priced cars, S class, 7 Series, Jag… I realize they have other issues, like gas, but I'm looking at daily usability.

Thank you.

Epley | 22. januar 2013

1) Still none. This would be nice. On the other hand, my car is much cleaner. The other thing we've noticed is that our daughter likes to ride in the middle position--she can see better and there is no hump so it's as comfortable as the sides.

2) Just the two up front. It does keep the car looking clean, but the cup holders work best with water/soda bottles or cans, not so great with large fountain drinks.

3) There is an aftermarket product coming soon: He has a website, but I can't find the link--it's in the forum somewhere

4) Rumored for a software update, but not implemented yet. This would be rear only. No front sensors that I'm aware of.

Can't really compare this car to the others in it's class. If you're looking for those other features, you should buy an ICE. The reason to get the Tesla is to help pioneer a better and safer way to drive, to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and to enjoy driving again. My 2 cents!

bobinfla | 22. januar 2013

Link for soflauthor's cci:

mkh1437 | 22. januar 2013

1) Not an issue for me. Sure, it might be a minor annoyance if I ever have anyone ride in the backseat, but I probably won't let anyone bring drinks in the car for quite a while! At least, not til the new car smell wears off. Also, my 2003 BMW doesn't have any cup holders in the back either, so it is nothing new to me.

2) The armrest is plenty usable. Sure, the cupholders are a bit small and close together (you couldn't put two Venti coffees in there). Again, has not been a show stopper for me.

3) There is a small cubby right below the 17" screen, but you are correct in that the remaining center space is wide open. Again, not a show stopper for me, and certainly not something I would have considered cancelling my reservation for. Tesla says they are working on a console insert which can be added, but I'm not sure I need it. I kind of like the openness.

4) Not an issue for me. I don't have trouble parking, and I don't have these on my current car. Consider it a skill to be learned.

All in all, I would consider these things to be annoyances at best. I think you would be doing yourself a disservice if you decided not to get the car based on these minor (IMHO) omissions.

Signature VIN #871

Tranman | 22. januar 2013

I am in the same boat as the original poster myself where i am not necessarily second guessing my decision to buy, but just want to make sure it is the correct decision.

My alternative car would be the BMW 535 Xdrive pretty fully loaded around 65-70K

I am considering the S model 40 KWH fully loaded at basically the same pricing.

1. I have made the conclusion that the Model S is better value given the gas pricing.

2. I am concerned about the Tesla's exterior body quality...In the storeroom i can press on the hood and it pushes in and out like a very unstable metal. On BMW's, the quality on the exterior I find to be much more attractive and stable.

3. Space on the Tesla. In store rooms and test drives it feels very roomy. I have a child with car seats and I feel i could maneuver very easily in a Tesla...Agree/Disagree? More so than the 5 series.

4. The BEWARE argument. When I ask experienced car enthusiasts or knowledgeable people (family member works for Nissan)...they tell me to be very cautious about buying Tesla.
-unproven car company who only started in 2003 and has been releasing cars for a short while
-no performance record of how the vehicle will perform once it hits 50K miles
-All of the kinks and unforeseen items that continue to pop up and Tesla says they'll fix...
-Just understand you're being an early adopter and there are positives and negatives that come along with it.

I understand the beware...but i want to know from current Tesla owners if they are truly happy with it. And hopefully if anyone was a previous BMW the transition went...

I own a BMW X5 2011 now and my lease ends where I'd be getting this. I've driven BMW for over 10 years and I am afraid some of the things i take for granted now (I.E. Park distance control) is going to be an issue once i no longer have it.

Thanks for your advice and comments.

Cattledog | 22. januar 2013

Tranman - My wife and I own a Tesla Model S and a BMW 525. We sold a Lexus RX when the Tesla arrived. We haven't played in the $80K sandbox before but have in the 40K+, which is really now the $50K+.

To your main issues:

-they tell me to be very cautious about buying Tesla - YES

- unproven car company who only started in 2003 and has been releasing cars for a short while - YES

- no performance record of how the vehicle will perform once it hits 50K miles - YES

- All of the kinks and unforeseen items that continue to pop up and Tesla says they'll fix - YES

- Just understand you're being an early adopter and there are positives and negatives that come along with it - YES


If you live to drink soda in your car,
If you live to store McDonalds bags in your car,
If you live to park within 6" of the curb,
If you live to drive the same as before, but a little better,

Get and ICE. Get a BMW.

If you live to drive like driving should be,
If you live to be a leader and not a follower,
If you are cool making history and not just watching it,
If you want to want to drive again.

Get a Tesla.

It's better than a BMW. Sorry Germany, Sorry Japan. The US gets the upper hand in autos for the first time in 40 years.

JohhnyS | 22. januar 2013

The non-storage in the center is great. I put a few papers or envelopes or snacks that I have with me there. The cupholders are better than my Porsche. There is room to hide endless stuff in the frunk or the rear footwell under the cover.

With the back up camera and tilting outside mirrors, parking is easy.

I think you will forget about these minor issues when you actually get to drive a model S. I have been driving ours everyday for a month except for Saturday. My wife came home with a big grin talking about her driving excursion--blowing by other cars as if they were parked, smooth continuous acceleration, etc.

TikiMan | 22. januar 2013

It's amazing how quickly I completely forgot about the need for all of those extras, after I started zipping past traffic in the HOV lane ;-)

The Model S is a commuter DREAM CAR!

markapeterman | 22. januar 2013


After driving my S for a week, it was due to be detailed by Tesla after being trucked to Texas - so my dad loaned my his 535 to take to work since he's retired. I hated driving his car - couldn't wait to give it back to him. I have borrowed his car before and always thought it was fun to drive (compared to my Maxima), but no longer - the Model S is a game changer.

Also - the S body panels are aluminum to save weight so less rigid than steel - not a problem if you are careful closing the frunk.

Space is great - room everywhere.

The extended warranty is very reasonable - the only worry is if Tesla goes under and I think we are safely past that possibility, but then again GM went under (almost) so who knows.

noel.smyth | 22. januar 2013

I have about 700 miles on my new S. I have no regrets, though its not for everyone. Tonight I get my first software update - and I am looking forward to whatever fixes and/or enhancements it brings. On longer trips you have to plan, I actually like this but its not for everyone. I love that I no longer have to stop at gas stations and admit that I sometimes smile as I drive by. I love slacker radio. I love having traffic showing on the 17" touchscreen. I love that I no longer pollute the air to get to work daily (I do have solar panels to cover my car usage) I love the smooth ride and acceleration. I actually like the open room between the seats to put stuff, though I could use somewhere to put change and stuff. I am still trying to figure out how to drink my morning drink with my elbow but I suspect I will adjust! Overall, the car impresses me from the sheer power and smoothness of the drivetrain. If you notice, there are some complaints but absolutely none about the amazing ride of this vehicle. Its truly awesome.

olanmills | 22. januar 2013

I think it is very reasonable to compare the Model S to other cars in the same price range and make a note of what is lacking.

This is probably obvious, but now your choice is about how much those different things matter to you.

The Model S has a lot of things going for it that other cars do not have. I'm not going to bother listing all of the different features and "implicit" features (like the convenience of plugging in every day vs. going to gas stations) because you probably know them already. I'll just say that the Model S is my only car, and so I primarily use it for commuting, and I use it for everything else in life too, including going shopping, giving rides to friends, transporting largish items, etc. etc. I love living with and using the car. You can always wish that it had this or that extra thing, but I find the car very convenient and enjoyable, and I don't find myself really missing some specific feature that another car has. I don't mean to deny that something like 360 cameras or whatever would be awesome, but I just mean to say that I don't for even a second think that I would have been happier with some other $90k car.

If the you think the features that the competition has that are missing in the Model S are important, that's perfectly valid, and you should think about what you really want carefully.

As a consumer, I don't think you need to be convinced about why Tesla did this or that. You want to spend $X on a car and you're looking at A-B-C different features. That said, Tesla is a startup company producing a new product with a new team of people with a production system and expensive components. I'm sure they would have loved to have whatever features necessary to remain competitive with all other cars, but they had to balance their variaous plans for design, pricing, profit, production, etc, and the Model S is what they were able to come up with. I think it's a fantastic production, but also, I know that it's a 1.0 product.

MrB | 22. januar 2013

I got my black model S performance on the 23rd of December last year, and so far only one day has gone by that I haven't driven the car, and that's because it was at the Service Center in Menlo Park to replace the windshield (I got unlucky in the rain and must have hit a rock).

The car is a dream to drive, whether taking the wife and kids somewhere and driving it smooth and comfy, or commuting and zipping into traffic at warp 7, or taking friends for a ride, it's a blast.

A few days ago my buddy in his 911 turbo and I zipped into traffic together, from like 30-65 his turbo spitting clouds of black smoke, and grinding though gears, me just pressing down on the accelerator and staying at the same distance behind him as when we started.

He called me on the phone, and wanted to trade cars :-)

Obviously I'm keeping my P85.

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

must have been frustrating holding back on the goose pedal.