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My Story: From Model S to Model X Signature reservation, to...?

Discussion in 'Model X' started by AnxietyRanger, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Greetings! I agree with great members like MiddKidd is his posts that one of the great value - aside from the analysis and opinion - of a place like Tesla Motors Club are the deeper real life stories. I don't have a very practical story to share, but I have put a lot of thought and emotion in my short Tesla history and thought I'd share my emotional journey. Therapy, if nothing else, as others so well put it.

    As some may you recall, I entered the Tesla realm relatively late internationally (but early for my local region) in 2014 when I suddenly had the - here very common, but elsewhere still novel - epiphany that electric vehicles are the only way to go. Once I made this realization, as I explained in my introductory post "Car market literally down to 2 cars today", it suddenly felt the car market had shrunk to one/two vehicles for me: the full-size, significant-range EVs. Basically, at that time and still today, the Teslas.

    So, I did what many here did, bought a Model S that I still have. It is a mostly loaded P85 (pre-autopilot), which aside from asking to replace a 12V battery, has had no issues during my ownership. All the handles work, rear wheel drive is surprisingly good even in snow, the acceleration still feels great. The utility of the vehicle is undoubtedly significant, the amount of stuff you can haul in it is massive. The charging network around me has grown quite significantly (Tesla and non-Tesla alike), from the point of getting into real trouble a few times in 2014, to quite comfortably moving around inside a relatively large sphere in 2016 (arrival of CHAdeMO adapter helps too).

    I like the P85 - and I really, really do love the skateboard/drive-train and am a big believer - but it I wouldn't say I necessarily love it as a car. I've had cars I considered more luxurious and there are convenience features I miss. What really captured my imagination about Tesla was, though, the Model X. I had placed a Signature reservation on it before getting the P85 and I have kept that reservation all this time. Indeed, initially, I thought - prior to really understanding the concept of Tesla time - my stint with the P85 would be quite short-lived and that it would be quickly replaced by a Model X, perhaps in early 2015.

    Well, the deeper I dug into my analysis of the Model X situation (as some on this board may remember my Model X analysis threads), such illusions vanished. So, it has taken much longer and bad news have followed one-another: the smaller Falcon Wings/rigider seats not allowing so nice access to both back rows, the dropping of the folding seats, the predicted/leaked quality issues and manufacturing delays turning into real ones, the lack of a proper roof-rack replacement, controversial front door design, very few new traditional convenience features introduced with the Model X and so forth. All the while my P85 ownership has grown longer than expected.

    What started out as a car to tide me over, the P85 was quickly becoming one to either keep much longer or to trade into something completely different. Eroding trade-in value in mind as well (autopilot, facelift...), I admit, I started looking at wildly different alternatives. One thing I entertained and went as far as getting some brochures and making some math, were convertibles/roadsters. I still have a gasoline SUV also, so I can afford to be flexible in the practicality aspect, if need be. My thinking was that aside from the aging Tesla Roadster (probably not an option, though I did consider a used one too), no EV convertible would probably be around the corner, so I might as well enjoy something like that for a change. I almost pulled the trigger on an Audi TTS Roadster. Loved the yellow color they offer.

    On the other end, I also took a long look at the Volvo XC90 T8 that is getting so much attention over here on Tesla Motors Club as well. I must admit, it is a very nice looking car and tons of that utility and convenience features Tesla Model X is still missing - and the fact that it could be driven electrically for short commutes, started to seem like an interesting addition, instead of a pointlessly complicated compromise (it is that, of course, in theory, but practical/emotional considerations can be different than theory). What kept me from this route mostly, was the lack of performance in pure EV mode, and the short range. Had these been a little better, or my absolute requirements for utility much higher than they are, the Volvo XC90 T8 would have been a likely contender. I did also configure a new Model S, but just didn't feel the excitement.

    All this time, I started drifting further and further away from that "market down to 2 cars" thinking that brought me to this forum a couple of years ago. I mean, I still hate going to the gas station for our gasoline cars, but as the novelty was wearing off and I was still driving ICEs and not totally hating it, and especially as the practical considerations for getting another EV were meeting stronger than expected headwind, I got to the point that I abandoned that thinking. Instead of thinking of never buying another ICE, I was expecting to do so again at least for the next car, perhaps two. Plug-in hybrids started looking like options, too, to retain some of that EV magic and progressive experience at the plug. I recently started reading the European Plug-in Magazine that covers mostly non-Tesla (PH)EVs and find it interesting.

    A big part of all this was slower than expected progress at Tesla and a feeling the company struggled a bit to keep their footing regarding the great service experience, communication and improving quality. I must say if I was a total Tesla fanboy two years ago, I am much more of a critical observer and speaker now. I think Tesla could use a big more open and a bit more humble approach to the market. I think they should listen more carefully and talk more openly. And I think their choices in lessening the customer service level have been unfortunate, be it about the Supercharger stipulations, ranger service changes, or simply the way they went about the delayed Model X launch trying to put a too-brave-a-face on it. Even if the changes were absolutely mandatory fiscally, they could have communicated about them so much better. I hear great things about the old customer service boss (now gone) at Tesla Motors on TMC and I think a lot of people miss him for a reason.

    In the end, today, the market is not down to 2 cars for me - and when the next car buying opportunity comes in some years time, I see the Model 3 and perhaps the likes of an Audi EV being contenders, but probably not the only ones. I doubt I'll ever enjoy an ICE as an ICE again (very hard to get excited about cylinder counts and engine displacements anymore), but I might still enjoy as a great car. I will probably always enjoy EV the most as a drive-train (pending possible other alternative fuel), but that doesn't mean some other car couldn't be more interesting still.

    The world seems more complex again and I guess that is a story several Tesla fans have gone through on TMC as well. In hindsight, the Model X probably was not as successful a launch we hoped, neither production-wise - and more importantly - nor product-wise. Instead of the end-all-be-all, it is a compromise product that Tesla didn't manage to get into the market very well either.

    So, what happened to my Model X Signature (EU) reservation? I exercised it.

    As many here, I was somewhat disappointed by the Model X reveal - the well-documented limitations were unfortunate (no folding second row) as were the lack of progress in convenience and safety hardware (e.g. AP2.0/more cameras still missing, entertainment options few etc.). The new stuff that they did march out ranged, in my opinion, from not very exciting (the HEPA filter) to unnecessarily gimmicky (the driver's door). The prototype front interior being relegated to a show/concept car (that Tesla has said they'd never do) and instead the front interior coming from the Model S, made it all a bit less exciting as well, coming from a Model S. No touch steering wheel, no new cameras in mirrors or anywhere, no new stylings to really set it apart as car from the place where I'd sit the most (the driver's seat) and so forth. Even the standout feature, the windscreen, seemed a bit compromised since it offered no interesting active features and has had issues. Add to this the massive delays and other quality woes experienced by many here, made it hard to know what to think.

    There were some bright spots, of course, too. The adaptive spoiler is a cool exterior feature and seems useful too. The addition of ventilated seats in the front was a convenience feature I had missed and Tesla did get a lot of small details right like adding more storage and those kinds of things. The progress borrowed from the Model S, like the heated steering wheel option, the autopilot with adjoining features, also meant the Model X was certainly still a step up from my P85 in many regards. As a bonus, for the European deliveries, I guess Tesla even finally got the new automatically opening and closing EU charge port done. And, of course, from my perspective the drive-train improvements and the towing capacity were well within the ballpark - I know some hoped for (and Tesla had teased) more, but for me I have no complaints about these once Tesla fixed the problem of announcing inflated HP numbers (good!). These are clear steps up from my RWD Classic P85.

    The utility, I must admit, is the one area that really gave me pause too and lead to a rather surprising - perhaps not all that surprising to people here - thought process. The RWD Model S is such a versatile car with its huge frunk and folding back. It actually has the most cargo space in a car I've ever owned and I've owned some rather large wagons/SUVs - all this in car that is also the quickest from the line. The Model S utility is, phenomenal. With a Model X Signature, the frunk would be of different shape (although larger than AWD Model S I guess), but most importantly the second row would not fold. I feel this was a major fail at Tesla and wish they would have addressed it better over the launch process. I also almost laughed out loud with the 6 seater introduction - literally pulling out the middle seat was, really, such an amateurish move that it was almost hilarious. No armrests, no added seat width, just a huge gaping hole in the middle.

    Yet, and really credit where credit is due, I've come to see genius in that. The 6 seater Model X is something probably no other car manufacturer would have ever done. I mean, I know many do captains seats, but to just pull out the middle seat like that probably very late in the design process is something nobody else would do. It is such a silly and crazy move and the end-result looks exactly like it, when you know the history. But then: it was also Tesla listening and hearing. Something I said they should do more. And here they did. The non-folding second row is probably the biggest single drawback, after delays, of the controversial Falcon Wing doors - I am convinced the doors are the reason they couldn't get folding second-row certified yet, because of seat-belt placement (they will eventually, I think for certain for 5-seater, perhaps for all models). And Tesla heard this call and made an unprecedented move to remedy.

    It turned out one of the biggest drawbacks of the Model X, as launched, turned into one if its major strengths for me. Look, as said (and I even entertained convertibles for my daily driver), the rear/trunk utility is not absolutely mandatory for me. But I do at times carry long items and even those convertibles usually have a hole in the rear seat to put things through (Tesla would do well to offer a ski hole in the middle second row seat). And I welcome the utility when possible. In a convertible I get other benefits form-factor-wise to make it worth the limited space, but in a car like the Model X the expectation is that I can do most of my occasional hauling needs in it. It would be unfortunate to have to leave the Model X parked just so that I can haul the occasional bigger item, when size-wise the car would be a perfect fit. I know there would be moments when it would be embarrassing even. The 6 seater fixes most of that, especially the question of the occasional long items. I never needed 7 seats anyway, 5 would be enough and 6 is already a bonus.

    But there is another reason why the 6 seater turned into such a big plus for me. As someone here put it, it really feels like first class or business class - or maybe a small private jet - compared to the coach that is the cramped 7 seater. In some ways, that "aisle" in the middle is even better than larger chairs or some module filling that space, it creates a very special sense of airiness in the car. Instead of a second row, the car feels more like it has two front rows and a back seat (the third row). That is rather unique in a car. And as this sensation grew on me, so grew my decision to go with the reservation I had. I know the side seats can feel cramped next to the doors, but - for my use - they will be mostly occupied by kids anyway, so adult standards need to not apply. It also helped the decision that Tesla made the second row middle seat so massive - the improved rear visibility in the 6 seater is welcomed.

    Then there was the question of the Falcon Wings. Back in 2014, I opened a thread about must have them, will absolutely hate them here on TMC, and I guess my thinking remains pretty much the same. I have read the teething troubles and obstacle avoidance woes with abject horror and with the sentiment that my prognosis in 2014 was probably not all that incorrect: "Myself not wanting to park in any public garages (or not letting anyone in the back out in said garages, if I do) for the fear of hitting the ceiling with the doors. So I must let my rear passengers out on the other side of a muddy field from the destination, after which I won't let them back in because they are dirty from the mud and they have to take the bus instead. Besides, I'm not opening their doors in the garage where I parked, so they couldn't get back in anyway."

    I am not sure the Falcon Wings were a very successful idea. Frankly, while they may make the Model Y as things may be far along enough, and certainly Tesla will likely never out-design them from the current Model X due to the structural redesign involved, I wouldn't be surprised if a future second-generation Model X launches without them. The gains, some tight scenarios and putting in baby seats, really are offset by a huge amount of issues that Tesla may not be able to fully fix (and the novelty/publicity value will wear off over time too). Maybe they will come up with that roof-rack solution at some point (one that would perhaps allow opening of one of the doors) and fix those folding seat issues, and/or add more sensors and better implementation to the doors... but if not, I have hard time seeing this idea taking off in a wider sense. We might even see that biker decapitation.

    But for me, the Falcon Wings certainly still are the deal maker. I will hate them, the attention they get from bystanders (frankly, I often dislike the still occasional Tesla moments when parking the Model S too, though some interactions are nice) and the family will hate them every time we are in a tight spot where I will not let them open the doors or somesuch. And when getting that one small item from the back and waiting it do its dance, I will wish it weren't so. Also, the front doors seem like tons of trouble - I really don't see why the electric opening concept had to be extended to them as well. But then again, I also know that I will love them all. I will play with the front door automated chauffer and enjoy closing the front passenger's door electrically. And I will marvel those Falcon Wings and the family will too. And since they are all computerized, I will enjoy witnessing OTA updates and see what they do over time.

    In the end, being a part of this freakshow was too intriguing to pass. Being a part of it early on (just like I was early on with the Model S for my local market), is exciting. Being a part of it slightly later than the first ones though, is reassuring, quality-wise in this case. I probably would not have pulled the trigger, had my hand been forced to do it, say, in March. Sometimes living in not the most progressive neck of the woods helps, just enough.

    I speak in the future tense as I'm yet to take delivery, but the order is in - a Model X Signature P90DL, 6 seater. Whatever the shortcomings, I expect it is all a part of this intense story I've been taking the ride on, and be part of the car's character. Good and bad, I feel it will, very, very likely, be the most memorable car I've ever owned and getting in on early enough is an integral part of that. The nice Signature badge and the fact that the P90DL drive-train is amazing, helps.

    I am excited again and that's what counts.
     
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  2. MikeC

    MikeC Active Member

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    Welcome back, AR. Glad you came around, I know you certainly put some thought into the decision!
     
  3. GVTesla

    GVTesla Member

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    Hi @AnxietyRanger. I remember your detailed analysis of several parts of the X, back in the 'mule spotted' section of this forum so well. Excellent contributions and also a ton of fun as we were all speculating on what might come. And to be honest. I missed that there haven't been new posts since the official launch.

    As to buying a Roadster, do consider buying a Tesla Roadster. Even if today they are only available as "pre-owned". It is one of the most fun cars I've ever driven and the E-drivetrain has never failed to excite me. Not in summer, nor in winter.

    Thanks for your post. I've truly enjoyed reading the journey you've made before pulling the trigger and ordering your X.
     
  4. systemcrashed

    systemcrashed Please Reboot

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    I believe once you get your Model X your cynicism will fade. The car is remarkable, but it does take some getting used to. Congrats in advance.
     
  5. MiddKid

    MiddKid Member

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    Great story (and not just because you linked to my post in the first line)! Our stories are remarkably similar and I can't wait to hear how your ownership experience goes. We did pull the trigger on that XC90 and are so happy we did. Fantastic vehicle so far.

    So with the XC90 as our family SUV (sorry X) I'm left with the 2014 P85 Model S. I've told myself I'm going to re-evaluate the entire situation come March of 2017 when my Resale Value Guarantee kicks in. Us pre-"D" models have taken a pretty big hit and I'm thinking that RVG is going to be enticing. I may go X. I may go S. But Tesla lost the opportunity for us to go all-Tesla.

    One thing that continually makes me nervous is quality. I'm taking my MS in for it's 37,500 service next Monday and the list of items to fix is LONG. Just for fun, check out the attached. Imagine my joy when I opened my rear hatch and saw this stream of water coming out of the hatch and handles! Unacceptable. I actually have caught myself taking the wife's XC90 out more often when I could have taken the Model S. The fit and finish is fantastic.

    Photo Jul 06, 8 43 27 AM.jpg
     
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  6. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Thank you, MikeC , GVTesla, systemcrashed and MiddKid. I appreciate your shoutouts.

    Thanks. Of course there hasn't been as much to speculate after the mule show, but mostly I was (and still am) just ahem, limited by past events. :) And I appreciate the note on the Roadster.

    Reading your story, which indeed inspired me to share mine, you made the right choice for your family. You get so much utility from the Volvo and the appointments of the car are impeccable, it looked enticing to myself as well, even without the same needs! Personally, I can 99% of the time get away with four seats and that 1% with five (and in that 1% usually never with much cargo), so I'm still usually good even if I need to fold the third row for cargo. If I couldn't, or the the 6 seater were not available, the Model X would have been a much more difficult option for me too.

    Urgh, that picture of your Model S certainly doesn't seem very nice. I bought a pre-configured Model S back in 2014 to get it quickly (it was new, came fresh from the factory for delivery, but not configured by myself) and one surprise was that it was made in that twilight between the AutoPilot and the Classic - it has the reversed cruise control stalks (which I prefer greatly). Perhaps this breed of the very last Classics had contributed to its rather good quality record. Or I had good luck. I have no complaints overall for my unit, other than the 12V battery replacement and the fact that the reversed stalks delayed some initial OTA updates compared other Classics.

    Similar things have actually been one more reason why I have been a bit apprehensive about all things Tesla. After the initial period, I don't mind driving our gasoline SUV as much as I thought I forever would. It is not just that the EV hubris has diminished (though, that surely plays a small part) it is also, as I said, I don't unconditionally love the P85. It is undoubtedly a great EV and a great drive-train (even in its Classic RWD guise it is a great drive-train), and a massive cargo carrier for its type, but overall, it is not unconditionally the most exciting car I've owned. I mean, after a break it is nice to return to it and I again remember how cool it actually is... but I take some breaks from it for practical but sometimes also for other reasons.

    EVs are no fad to me, nor is the P85. But it isn't the end-all-be-all either. Probably the Model X won't be that, but I hope the Model X will still be the most exciting car and one that I want to return to as often as possible. It seems to tick so many more boxes of excitement for me than my current does, or a even a new, Model S would. Cars/SUVs can be both practical and emotional journeys, surely, and sometimes you know only after time.
     
  7. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    By the way, I also reserved a Model 3 recently. Wondering if going BEV only (replacing ICEs with the Model 3) in that timeframe might be possible. Not sure today, but we shall see.

    Who knows, it is as expensive a reserve as the Model X Signature money was. :)
     
  8. spottyq

    spottyq Member

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    It's great to see you back ! I've quite enjoyed your long and arguments posts on this forum.

    Sorry for juste selecting a very small part of your interesting story, but I believe the part I quoted below is not quite true.
    The Renault Espace (not the last one, but a few model years had that feature) had a completely flat floor from behind the front seats all the way to the back; they were various rails on which you could put the five (or any number of) seats in any configuration you liked. And the seats were completely independent (so the seat-belts were integrated in the seats.)

    This picture speaks for itself : [​IMG]

    So, it certainly was possible to design completely practical (and quite confortable) seats with their seat-belts. (But damn those things were heavy !)

    It is quite possible that regulations have changed since that time, or that these seats were deemed too heavy for an EV by Tesla, or many other good reasons could explain why such seats are not present on the MX.
     
  9. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    spottyq: Thank you. You make a fair point. Though I think it was pretty conclusively examined on TMC earlier that no U.S. version of seatbelts-in-seats folding cars had been made in recent times, so those cars that in Europe had such seats, had different rigid seats on the U.S. or examples were really old or never made it to Tesla's home market...

    So it is still possible U.S. (or newer) regulation (or merely updated safety testing standards) has put pressure on the seating that had delayed the folding seats. But I agree, nothing mechanically stops from making such folding seatbelt-integrated seats. It may just be very difficult to do today in a regulated, five star manner globally speaking.

    Anyway, what seems clear is that Falcon Wings have demanded this type of seatbelt. Without Falcon Wings, they could have integrated the seatbelts to the sides of the car more easier and gotten an easier time with the second row.

    p.s. Thank you for the nice welcome!
     
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  10. Hitman007

    Hitman007 Member

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    My uncle returned his Volvo XC90 under the Lemon Law. Hope your experience is better!
     
  11. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    So, went with the P100DL upgrade (car not built yet). They said parts availability (for Europe?) would take perhaps until early 2017 so they confirmed they will upgrade it as soon as available and will honor the 10k price after delivery. Price is roughly the dollar equivalent plus local tax.

    I'm cool with that.
     

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