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My journey to Tesla ownership


Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
Inland Empire
I was a 3/31/16 reservationist. I was not a line stander, I was an on-line, pre-reveal reservationist. I was waiting for the 3SR but really wanted a car with a range midway between SR and LR. When Elon announced the availability of the MR in October, I was all over it. I configured and ordered on 10/20/18.

The first issue is that Tesla was charging me $11K for the MR rather than the $10K was listed on 10/20. Mid November I was contacted by Tesla sales to give me an update, assure me the car would be delivered by 12/31/18, and if I had any questions. I asked about the discrepancy in price. He said that additional $1K price in my configuration was incorrect. It was a software glitch in their system. He said that he couldn't change it but when my DS contacted me, he would change it.

In early December I received emails telling me to expect delivery within a 10 day time period. Two different emails had two different time frames with different delivery locations. I noted the discrepancies but decided to wait for the DS to contact me to resolve the issues. I was given a VIN of 155XXX.

I was contacted by the DA on 12/10 setting up my delivery for 12/13, 5pm at my preferred delivery location, the Cathedral City store. The DA said he would take care of the price discrepancy and revise my cost $1K downwords. Great!

I was contacted by the DA on 12/12 saying the car was delayed and he was rescheduling my appointment 4pm on 12/14 at Cathedral City.

On 12/13, mid-morning I received an email on Sunday saying my car was still in transit and rescheduled my appointment for 12/17 5pm in Marina del Rey. This was completely unacceptable to me. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be on the freeways of Greater Los Angeles at 5pm on a weekday. I called my DA on Monday morning. He apologized for the confusion. He said the Tesla system was in mass disarray trying to get tens of thousands of cars out by the end of the year. He said he said my delivery location would be in Cathedral City. He said he was going to assign me a DS in Cathedral City right now in order to give me better service.

Later that day I was contacted by the DS in Cathedral City, explaining that my car had been delayed because of "technical problems." He rescheduled my delivery for 12/21 at 4pm in Cathedral City. However, he said he had a 3MR in my configuration but with the 19" wheels. He said if I wanted to take that car, he would throw in the $1500 wheels for free and I could have the car the next day. I declined because I wanted the additional range provided by the 18" wheels. So my appointment for VIN 155XXX remained for 12/21 at 4pm.

On 12/20 the DA called me and said we needed to have a chat. He said I should know the whole story. Cathedral City has had my car since 12/13. It had arrived on the car carrier in Cathedral City DOA, inoperative. The car had been operative in Fremont when they loaded it on the carrier but something happened in transit. They had been trying to fix it for the last week with no success. They didn't know when it might be fixed, it could be weeks waiting for parts. He said he didn't have any more of the cars with the 19" wheels to trade me. BUT he said he had a cancellation yesterday by a customer in Palm Springs with my exact, preferred configuration. It had come off the assembly line just two days ago and was being delivered to their store by carrier in two hours and I could pick it up that afternoon. It is VIN 168XXX. I said I'll take it! but their were two problems. I had an insurance binder issued for the previous VIN (full boat coverage from Geico for $900/yr) and I would need time to change that. Second, my bank (Clearpath at 1.49% for 48 months) had already issued a check for the previous VIN and I would have to check with them. The DA said fine, he would put a "hold" on both cars for me and the delivery time TBD.

Changing the insurance was easy to do on-line with Geico. But the bank said they would have to generate new paperwork based on the new VIN and issue a new check. They said they wouldn't be able to do that until after the Christmas rush. They are a very small bank with only two branches and just one loan officer and they were processing 15 loans just that day alone!

I called the DA back and told him my tale of woe. DA said no problem, it was Tesla's fault and he would accept my personal check (50%) and accept the banks check (50%) next week if the bank would send him a loan guarantee since I had already been approved for the previous VIN. GREAT! I called the bank back and they moaned and groaned but said they would get the letter out later in the day. I called the DA back late in the day and he said he received the loan guarantee, it was acceptable to him, and I was good to go. He said, "the car has arrived, we have prepped it, it looks great, when would you like to pick it up?" Since I already had and appointment for the next day, 12/21 Friday at 4pm, and I had arranged business meetings earlier in the day, I decided to keep that appointment.

Wife and I along with Ricky Ricardo (our Havanese breed dog) arrived at the Cathedral City store at 4pm sharp on 12/21 with a bit of trepidation. I had attended another delivery with my SonIL at Costa Mesa for his 3LR a couple of months ago and was curious about the different experiences. This is where it really gets good!

Cathedral City store is a completely laid back experience. We were the only ones there picking up a car. Our car (WOW, WOW, WOW) was the only one in the showroom, center of attention, bright and shiny. My wife had been somewhat reluctant about the white interior, always driving cars with dark interiors. Her reaction....."OMG the white takes your breath away, I love it!"

We had two people attending us, Bill who did the paperwork and Alex who did the orientation. It was all very casual with no necessity to hurry. They are both dog people and spent several minutes playing with Ricky Ricardo who is very sociable and loves to perform tricks. We were there for about an hour. The wife had never driven a BEV before and is not a techie person. Alex was very patient and went over everything in detail. He said "I am just going to teach you the basics to get you going but when you are confident with the basics, come back in anytime and I will teach you the advanced stuff." At the end of an hour, Alex asked if she felt comfortable and if she wanted he would go over everything again. She said she was good to go and she was going straight home and open a bottle of Proseco to celebrate.

Cathedral City store/SvC is top notch!!!!!! They get very high (and deserved) ratings. Thank you to the Cathedral City staff - Chad, Efraim, Aloin, Bill and Alex - Ricky Ricardo's new best friends (ours too). All's well that ends well!

Saturday we took a 3 hour shake down cruise up into the mountains above Palm Springs with wife at the wheel and me riding shotgun. She said, "this car is too fast" (remember this is a 3MR, the slowest car Tesla makes at this time). I put it into chill mode. She said that is better but it is still too fast. I reminded her she controls how fast it goes with the "go pedal." She said she knew that but it is addictive to just punch the pedal. Then she she had range anxiety. As we were going up the grade she was watching the power consumption. "We're never going to make it back!" I said I was watching it and not to worry. On the way down she observed that the car generated battery range. And then the light bulb went off in her head. "I get it, I get it, this is fantastic!" And then there was the regenerative breaking which I had set to standard. We went up the mountain in jerky cartoon fashion. 30 minutes later she was getting the hang of it. "I love this feature! Why don't all cars have this? I don't think I will ever need to use the brakes again." We went down the mountain with her doing a masterful job of feathering the go pedal.

This morning she needed to go to Trader Joe's for some things. I decided to push her off the deep end and send her by herself. Trader Joe's is a 30 mile round trip on the I -10. Sunday morning is not busy on the I -10 but it is still a 6 lane freeway. I told he I would stand by my phone if she had a problem and would come and rescue her if necessary. Silence on the phone.

She returned home with a big grin of accomplishment on her face. "This car is so easy to drive and so much fun, why didn't we get one sooner?" "Just one problem, how do I open the charge port door?" My bad. I had cautioned her to always plug the car in when she returns home, just to get in the habit. I have charging scheduled for night TOU rates. Worked great last night, charged to 80% just like I programmed. I didn't think to go over that with her.

The car is flawless (but we are not that anil about micrometers, laser lights, and 100 point checklists). The phone key has been 100% reliable so far (Samsung S8 with latest OS) The 3MR is perfect for us in every way. And I found a little surprise in the console when I arrived home that first night - a model of the red Tesla Model 3! I'm giving it to my SonIL as one of his Christmas presents. The FUTURE has arrived for us and we couldn't be happier.


3MR with PUP - $45,000
EAP - $5000
Pearl White - $2000
White interior - $1000
Delivery and prep - $1200

MVPA = $54,200


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
SF Bay Area
Since I remembered seeing your name on forum posts over the past months waiting for your car, it was interesting to read your write up and nice to know how delivery turned out for you. But what? No pictures??!! :( I am sure all of the delivery centers would love to provide a better experience if they had more time to spend with their customers. Really nice how Cathedral City was so patient with your wife, getting her acclimated to the EV world and car. Wonder why they were so slow with deliveries however? Were they waiting for carriers to arrive or was this a location that Tesla wasn't using as much so they could send other kinds of traffic that way?

I'll share a few tips from my first few months of Model 3 driving. Since both of you also are using your phones to connect to gain entry -- make sure you don't forget to bring along your key card with you in addition to your phone. You could find yourself needing it as I have when the phone for whatever reason doesn't work. Initially I had problems connecting with my phone....and even gaining entry with my key card. That turned out to be learning where the sweet spot was on my B Pillar. I had always seen people tap the card near the camera but it just didn't always work for me. Nothing like being a new car owner and frustrated you can't get into your car and wondering if people think you are trying to break in! Now that I know where to place the key card, no problem, works like a charm. But I do like to use my phone for entry as I have it set to Honk on Close so I know I have locked the car. That feature only works with the phone access, otherwise you have to use your key card or fob to manually lock the doors. Occasionally I will find on my iPhone that I need to turn bluetooth off and back on again to get a signal, not sure if that is something you might need to do on your phones. I also now have a fob that I like having around.

Just a few minutes ago we pulled into our driveway at home and went to charge with our charging setup in the driveway. Husband said he couldn't open the charge port door when he pressed the button on the wand, tried it twice. Car port door did open using the center screen. I told him someone had experienced problems like this and said they had to put the wand rather close to the port and press. Tried it and it opened (his MS can be opened with the wand at a further distance). So maybe something to mention to your wife. Do not lift the charge port door yourself, it will mess with the mechanism. Of course you guys should check out Supercharging in advance if you have one near you. A lot of the Superchargers in our area are now back-in style and your wife might want to get comfortable with using the center screen to back up. My husband is a pro at backing in quickly and precisely and I'm still a work in progress but getting better. At least I haven't hit our garage door or taken out a charging pedestal :D. Our driveway is on an incline backing up so it's been different than backing up on a flat surface. Also it might take your wife a little while to judge distances backing in. A few times I have needed to back up closer so that the wand isn't taut when I go to insert it.

Stopping and pressing the brake pedal stonger for Brake Hold is another thing to know how to do. Then there's being on an incline and getting use to stopping with Hold and then just using the accelerator for moving forward when ready to move. Otherwise touching the brake pedal first would release the brakes and the car would start to drift backwards kind of like driving with a manual transmission and not getting the two foot brake/accelerator pedal work down yet! Maybe she already experienced that going up the hill if she had to be in stop and go traffic? You mentioned jerky in your description.

I'm so glad you and your wife are enjoying your car after your long wait. It's good to hear that people who have waited so long for their cars and sometimes had less than ideal delivery experiences are just loving the ownership now.
  • Informative
Reactions: neroden


Feb 20, 2020
Brookings, OR
Love hearing all the wonderful delivery experiences. I cancelled my home delivery so I could drive to Portland, OR to experiance for my wife and myself. We drive up tomorrow so we will be there for their first appointment at 10:00 AM Monday morning 3-16-20. Can't wait...........Uh oh.........just got a phone call from Tesla and due to the Corona Virus cancellations and closures going on around the country my much anticipated "meet and greet" picking up experience will be basically a "here is your car, we're sorry for the inconvience but there are videos you can watch to familiarize yourself with the car's functions". WHAT!!!!! I am sooo disappointed. I am glad that the phone call wasn't a more serious hardware blunder or accident of some sort and I still will be driving back down the coast toward home on Monday in my dream car but...........I really do understand their concern for their staff. My wife's outside work at a school district has all been put on hold/cancelled for the next month so I do get it. Hope the car comes in perfect :)

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