Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Another Newbie from the Northwestern US (SW Washington)

This site may earn commission on affiliate links.


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
Clark Co, WA
I hope I'm not seen as an interloper here. I'm serious about buying a Model S, but it's going to take me another year to save up my money.

I live in Eastern Clark County, WA near the mouth of the Columbia Gorge. I joke that I can see Oregon from my window. :biggrin:

I currently drive a 23 year old Buick I bought new in 1992. It's been an excellent car, but it's beginning to get a bit tired. I've been looking at cars for a few months and a lot got crossed off my list for not having enough leg room. I'm 6' 2", which is fairly average for a Caucasian, but all my height is in my legs. I also broke my tailbone when I was a kid, so while I can drive a car for short distances without enough legroom, if my thighs aren't pretty much straight, I get a pressure point right on my tailbone on a long trip that turns into agony after a couple of hours.

I am concerned about the Model S not having enough legroom. I wrote for a test drive, but they told me I'd have to come in on a weekday. The only Tesla store in the Portland area is on the opposite corner of the metro area and between traffic and work commitments, it's tough to get there on a weekday. We're going to have to work out our schedules to get down there. Why don't they do test drives on weekends? The hours of the Tesla store say they are open on weekends.

I'm also concerned about eye fatigue from the LED back lights on the displays. White LEDs are blue LEDs with a coating and they have a spike in the blue spectrum and my eyes are unusually sensitive to blue. If I try to use LED lighting or try to use a computer monitor with an LED back light for more than about 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the back light quality) I get suck severe eye fatigue it feels like someone is trying to pull my eyes out of my head. Philosophically I like the idea of LED lighting and I tried replacing lights in the house with it, but I had to switch back to halogens (my SO can't be around florescents, they give her a headache).

There are some companies out there that make screen protectors for mobile devices that filter out the extra blue. I figured I could get some kind of screen protector if the Tesla screens bothered my eyes. I won't know until I expose myself to them for an hour or so. Because I won't be looking directly at them all the time and it looks like they can be dimmed a fair bit, it may not be a problem.

Anyway, I'm hoping I can manage to sit in a Tesla soon and figure out if the seats can be adjusted comfortably for me. From what I've read about the Next Generation seats, it sounds like they are very comfortable on a long trip.

It's kind of funny, but until this week, I had never actually seen a Tesla in the aluminum so to speak. And in the last week I saw two of them, one black and one white. The white one we saw Friday night on our way out to dinner. I was telling my SO about something I had read about the Tesla and there it was coming the other way down the street. She was concerned the car would be a behemoth. She doesn't like my current car because it looks massive. The wheelbase and width are actually about the same as the Model S, but where Tesla tried to make the Model S look like a smaller car, Buick made my car look as big as possible. She thought the size looked very reasonable. She is the car nut in our family, her father owned a car dealership in Portland when she was a kid. The Model S is the only car I've checked out in my car search this year she has taken much interest in. With the rest her attitude has been, "it's going to be your car, get what you want, I won't drive it."

I am bummed that Washington went and did away with the sales tax credit. Now I'm going to have to pay the somewhat high sales tax rate for my town when I buy the car. Tesla should open a store in Longview, which has the lowest sales tax rate in the state. There are a lot of car dealerships there because people will drive a ways to buy their car there and save a few bucks in tax. My SO did that with the Subaru she bought in 2012. When I was buying my Buick in 1992 when I lived in Seattle I considered going to Longview to save on the tax, but bought locally instead. Apparently some people in Seattle do that.

This is probably way longer than it should have been. I hope I'm not intruding because I can't afford my Tesla yet. I'm pinching every penny to save up for mine.
Welcome to TMC. You are not "intruding". Many forum members are not Tesla owners but are planning on buying one someday, or like you, are just researching and asking for opinions from owners. And I am sure you will get many opinions. [emoji3]
If I lived near you I would let you try my car out for an hour. Maybe a Tesla owner near you will read your post and offer to help.
I hope you're able to test drive one soon, and I think that will allay your concerns. I don't think you will have any legroom issues at 6'2". You don't look at the screen for an extended period of time like you would a computer. You're driving the car, after all. It's just glances at it when driving, even when parked there is no reason you would look at it for more than a minute or so unless you were using the web browser. Even then it's not a problem, because almost no one uses the web browser, it's too slow.
I imagine they are booked solid into the next century for weekend test drives, or otherwise foot traffic to the store on weekends is too heavy for them to also give test drives, or something along those lines. There is a drive event starting up real soon. I can't seem to find the link to the full schedule, so I'm not sure if there's one in your area. Maybe someone else will have that info, or you could check Tesla's website for it. If so, this might get you that test drive sooner.
Many tall people drive Teslas. I am 6'4". Lots of back trouble. Original seats. Many road trips (77,000 miles) and currently on one in eastern WA. I always have enough time to show off the car, let people drive it, sit in it, stare at it, play with the screen, so wish you and I were in the same area at the same time. Coming from Spangle down to Walla Walla, then to Pendleton for SuperCharge, then to The Dalles all on Tue. Then to Springfield on Wed.

Any of that work?
I'm 6-1, also with height in my legs. Some back issues from ancient fractures. I went with the NextGen seats and have had ZERO issues with comfort or legroom. Better than the seats in my previous E-Class Benz. Nothing approaching fatigue let alone discomfort. You could double the battery capacity on me and I'd still be able to drive it non-stop to zero charge without issue I expect.

Like a previous poster, I really doubt the displays will cause you any sort of problem.

Apart from the sticker price, there is really nothing to not like about this car! My only word of caution would be that you be comfortable with the idea of buying a Model S before you drive one... because once you've had your test drive, there really isn't any going back! :biggrin:
Thank you for the welcome. From seeing all the stuff out there on Teslas, I think Tesla has one of the best sales forces of any car company in the world: its owners. To paraphrase the old Packard ads, "ask the person who owns one".

I appreciate the offers to try your cars. I do telecommute to Morgan Hill, CA, but it will be a while until I'm down there again.

Headroom isn't usually a major issue for me, but I thought I would check out the pano roof anyway. I'm leaning towards the regular roof at this point. Neither of us have ever been fans of moonroofs or sunroofs. The only advantage to having it would be the hardpoints for a roof rack which I might want once in a while.

I know comments on the forums have said that heating from the sunroof isn't bad, but it's still going to let in more heat that a solid roof will. I'm also planning on getting white because it's the best color for temperature regulation year round (radiates less heat when cold and absorbs less when hot).

Good point about probably being booked solid for weekend test drives. I hadn't thought about that.

I think the screen might not be an issue because I'm not looking at it all the time, but I am concerned about the screen in my peripheral vision. My SO has an iMac with LED backlight that is in my peripheral vision when I'm working and it hasn't bothered me. She recently upgraded to a new one with retina which is supposed to be easier on the eyes (I have found retina displays are better than non-retina, but I still get eye fatigue using them). Her old Mac was pre-retina. If I had to sit in front of her computer for more than a few minutes my eyes would hurt, but it wasn't a problem across the room.

I'll be closer to the displays in the car, so I can't be 100% sure. I also don't know how Tesla drives the backlights on their displays. There are two issues for eye strain, one is the flicker rate of the dimmer and the other is the blue. Retina displays deal with the flicker rate, which is a more expensive way to drive the LEDs, but it helps. Very few displays are dealing with the blue these days, though there are some aftermarket items.

My SO and I were talking about the culture that is springing up around Teslas. The nature of the Superchargers is bringing together people from varied backgrounds in an interesting way and knitting together a new type of community. I think the early Tesla owners also had to justify their unconventional car choices to enough people that they bonded together with fellow car owners more than typical car owners. I've owned a Buick for 23 years, but never felt any particular camaraderie with other Buick owners, or even other GM car owners.

The types of personalities that are drawn to this type of car might be a factor too. But that's probably an entire discussion in itself.

Anyway, thanks again for the warm welcome!
I'm leaning towards the regular roof at this point. Neither of us have ever been fans of moonroofs or sunroofs. The only advantage to having it would be the hardpoints for a roof rack which I might want once in a while.

I know comments on the forums have said that heating from the sunroof isn't bad, but it's still going to let in more heat that a solid roof will!

We tried both and we ended up getting the sunroof for the two simple facts that it makes the interior a little more well lit and the headroom. For me without the roof the interior feels cramped (ironic in a gigantic tugboat of a car, I know). It also adds a lot of the luxury feeling.

But during this summer we have had no problems with heat from the roof also no glare problems. and our climate is very much like the PNW. Much like Olympia and there about actually :)

But try them and see what you like.
I'll think about it, but I do think it's a little warmer here than Denmark. If we get snow, it's usually just a day of it once a year or so and in the summer it can get up to 40 C, though usually only for a few days a year. Temperatures above 30 C are pretty common in the summer. Olympia is still on Puget Sound and it gets a moderating influence from the Sound. We're further from a large body of water here in Portland and the summers are a little warmer, but drier than Puget Sound. I lived in Seattle for 17 years and when temperatures got into the high 20s C, it got uncomfortably humid. Here it gets drier the hotter it gets, which is more common west of the Rockies. The summers here are sort of California-light, though this summer has been like Los Angeles (I grew up there) though without the smog.

Now that I have pretty much made up my mind (barring the caveats above), now I have to wait for my funds to accumulate. I went through the same thing with my Buick, I finally got together enough funds to order it, and the factory had a strike that shut down production for about 6 weeks. I was anxiously watching my bank balance for about 8 months while I saved the money, then pulled my hair out when the strike happened. It's been an insanely reliable car though, the original battery even lasted 6 1/2 years.
Hey wdolson,

I live in Camas (white Tesla) and would be glad to arrange a time for you to drive my car. The only thing I would caution is that my car is quite a bit older (VIN: 3305) and does not have the new seats (or anything else new for that matter). I have friends and co-workers 6-3 and 6-4 who have driven the car and have commented that the leg room is just fine.

Also, wrt weather/winter here. I have 21” wheels for the summer, and purchased a second set of 19” with winter tires for the winter and swap them every year. With AWD in the new models, the traction has improved to the point that I would not do that if I were to buy a “D” Tesla these days.

There are quite a few local Tesla owners here and most of us know eachother by now. You should join the mailing list here: PDX Tesla it’s a friendly bunch and definitely not just Portland.

Good luck and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. You can private message me on this board and we can exchange emails if you’d like.