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First month with my Tesla Model S: What I learned

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Science->Truth, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. Science->Truth

    Jul 4, 2013
    These are my personal reactions and experiences after one month driving my Model S 85.

    My 10-minute test drive months ago was a "wow" experience that led me to order one. But, driving it daily after delivery is another whole order of magnitude better. It is a different and better car in hundreds of ways. After a week, you learn how to best handle and enjoy all that power and torque. I realized more fully then why Motor Trend and Consumer Reports (using quite different priority criteria) both said it was *the* best car ever tested. To me, it was like the feeling when I first got the iPhone a few years ago, and finding that it was not just 20 or 30 percent better than my previous Blackberrys, but was 10 or maybe 100 *times* better. The Model S feels the same--it is orders of magnitude better than any other car I have ever driven.

    First few days driving the Model S, I was largely trying to imitate my previous ICE cars with settings (e.g., creep=on; regen=low), but then you realize how much better the standard designed settings are. Same thing with all the on-line discussions about missing a large center console with covered storage for all your stuff. In fact, the spacious open design without the large center console is a major advantage (I'm 6 ft.). So much room to stretch your legs, no feeling of confinement of your knees, open and expansive. Another detail of great design, different from other cars.

    There are three great sources for on-line Tesla S discussions: the official Tesla site (Forum | Tesla Motors), the independent Tesla Motors Club (Tesla Motors Club - Enthusiasts & Owners Forum), and the Tesla section of Reddit (Tesla Motors). But, be aware that a significant portion of the info is very outdated, even if you are reading posts only weeks old. The technology in this car seems to be improving weekly. For example, for months I was worried about the "vampire load"--the trickle of juice used while the Model S is parked--based on forum discussions. However, by the time mine was delivered, the load while parked was essentially eliminated with an improved sleep mode software update. Just turn on the new sleep mode option, and I have had no miles lost to the "vampire load." The only side effect is a slight delay to wake the car when checking status remotely on the iPhone app. Other quite inaccurate info, in my experience, is all the discussions about the need to buy and install "chargers" for thousands of dollars. In reality, the charger is in the car, and comes standard. All one needs at home is a standard 240v outlet used for stoves and RVs.

    Cost of having electrician install *two* NEMA14-50 electric outlets in my garage (an extra for future visiting friends with Teslas) was only $248.

    Charge points are ubiquitous. I was not at all aware how many are out there. Now, whenever I go anywhere (shopping, dinner, event) as I approach my destination I simply check an iPhone app (or use the car's web screen) showing on a map the nearest charge point. Quite often there are a couple somewhere within a block or two, right on the street or in the corner of a parking structure--if you don't look, they are so small and unobtrusive that you never notice them. The result: it's so easy to just top up with a couple hours charge while you are doing what you came for, no waiting, no inconvenience.

    Buying one top-line car really gets you two. Drive it in easy style, and you have a quieter, smoother, more comfortable luxury sedan than the Lexus 460LS and similar competitors. Drive spirited, and the rear tires bite down hard, head and shoulders pressed forcefully back into the seat, and it immediately *goes*, better than pure sports cars in this price range that I've driven (Porsche, etc.).

    Well, maybe it gets you three cars for the price of one, because the amount of storage and hauling space in the Model S is really surprising--equal to most SUVs. A nice sized trunk up front. A huge cargo space on the flat floor in back. Putting rear seat down expands the space another substantial amount. And a large hidden third trunk under the cargo space floor that I didn't even notice until after I got my Model S home.

    And, finally, little whimsical things you never previously noticed. Such as, only now I realize that when I was out and about driving my ICE cars, I was often subtly looking at/noticing gas prices posted at all the gas stations, and thinking things like "darn, I shoulda filled up yesterday, because today the price jumped another dime a gallon as we get closer to the holiday weekend." Now I can stop that--my price per gallon equivalent for juice to recharge is equal to $1.12 (The eGallon: How Much Cheaper Is It to Drive on Electricity? | Department of Energy), and it holds constant.
  2. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

    Nov 29, 2012
    Batesville, IN
  3. bazer

    bazer Member

    Oct 14, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    Makes me even more excited to get mine next month.
  4. MarkR

    MarkR Member

    Mar 24, 2012
    N. Scottsdale, AZ
    At the end of the month, it will have been a year since I received my MS . . . it just keeps getting better. I find myself noticing all of the tail pipes at intersections that pump out toxic gases even while going nowhere. I feel a kind of kinship with Leafs, but am simply amused with the wannabe BMW i3. I LOVE avoiding gas stations and any part of funding global warming. I agree with the OP that the MS is part luxury sedan, part SUV, and part sports car . . . the people at the welding supply shop call it my "pick-up truck." I often think in metaphoric terms and see the S as a rocket attached to an iPad.
  5. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Central Virginia
    Agree - and the stereo goes to 11!

    BTW 13K miles.
  6. Cal1

    Cal1 Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    Battle Ground WA
    When passing the typical long Costco gas lines I have this childish urge to open the very wide sun roof, crank up the Hendrix and just do the pope wave at the sheep! So far I've been able to hold back but I doubt I'll make it though the summer!
  7. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    Greendale, Wisconsin
    So If I've done the same thing (minus pano roof as I don't have that option) does that mean I'm going to hell?.................
  8. BigAirHarper

    BigAirHarper Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    Destin, FL
    Your post finally converted me from a 4 month long lurker to a member. I watched the keynote when Steve unveiled the iPhone and knew he just changed the world. I feel the same way about the Tesla. Ever since my first test drive I knew this was the future. Thanks to everyone for letting me learn from their experience via this forum. I can't wait till I can say I have my baby in the garage.
  9. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Seattle area
    we refer to it as the SOG tool of cars! ...or some times I refer to it as my mid life crisis minivan :~)

    great write up btw, always fun to hear the fresh perspective of a new owner.

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