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My Tesla Model S Extended Test Drive Review

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Skotty, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Thanks to a year end drive event, I have the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S for almost 2 full days. My test drive is not quite half over yet, but I have enough to report to do a first review post on it. I'll add another followup review post after the test drive is over.

    For my test drive, Tesla was generous enough to loan me a near top end model, a Tesla Model S P85DL. I'm not going to go into detail about all of the options on the car, as I don't want to make this review excessively long. There are plenty of other reviews out there already, so for the remainder of this review, I will just focus on things I personally found surprising or unusual, be it good or bad.

    First, I'll cover a few glitches/problems I've encountered. We put in both a toddler car seat and a booster seat. The toddler car seat went in fine, attaching with the LATCH system. There doesn't seem to be a top tether on the car, but the seat seemed perfectly secure with just the lower points, so I don't see this as a problem. However, the booster seat did present a problem. Because of the design of the seat and the position of the belt buckle latch, the booster seat we have covers up the belt buckle latch making it very difficult for our older child to buckle the seat belt. We will need to do some investigation to see if there are other booster designs that maybe don't suffer from this issue. It's hard even for an adult to buckle it with the booster in place.

    Another issue I had was with disconnecting the charge cable. (as a side note, I am using a GE Wattstation with a SAE standard J1772 plug fitted with the matching Tesla adapter) The charge cable locks into place. I think you can tell from the charge ring color whether or not it's locked on, but I haven't learned what the colors mean yet, so I'll need to do some reading on that. Knowing what all the colors mean would help. The problem is, I had an issue trying to get the charge cable to unlock so I could remove it. I've read you should be able to remove it when the door handles auto present, but the door handles auto presented, and I still couldn't remove it. I tried hitting the door unlock, and it still wouldn't come out. It wasn't until I got into the car and pressed the Stop Charging button on the charge screen that I was finally able to remove it. This wasn't a huge problem, but the whole experience just felt glitchy.

    Another minor issue is that it appears you cannot play music off of Apple devices plugged in through the USB port. I would assume this is probably because Apple and Tesla can't agree on what this capability should cost Tesla. However, while I haven't tried it, supposedly you can play music off your phone by connecting it through Bluetooth. Beyond that, it will require copying all of your music from your Apple device to a common USB stick. I think I undestand this issue, and I don't fault Tesla if Apple is being unreasonable, but it is a minor annoyance that the other major automakers don't seem to have a problem with.

    Getting in and out is a little more awkward than some other cars, in my opinion. I think it's because of the steep rake of the windshield, that it doesn't give a lot of space to squeeze your head in if you try to get in with the one-leg-first approach. I can be done one-leg-first, but it takes a little adjusting. It also works to put your butt in first and then swing your legs in. But once in, it is very roomy and confortable.

    Another oddity is that the car turns on and off automatically. This is fine, and could even be described as a positive feature, but it does take some getting used to. After years of cars with keys you turn or buttons you press to turn them on and off, it takes some getting used to just putting it in park and walking away. The maintain an appropriate level of safety, the car doesn't turn on unless you have the break peddle pressed and the key in the car. Also, it seems you must do it in the proper sequence. The key must be in the car first, then the break peddle pressed. At one point, I pressed the break peddle and it gave a message about the key not being in the car. Then my wife stepped into the car with the key, and it then had a message saying the car was off. Then I was briefly confused about how to turn it on. However, all I had to do was take my foot off the break peddle, then press the break peddle again, and it was ready to go.

    Some positives. The whole driving experience is very good. But lets just say that was expected and move on to other less expected things or things of greater interest.

    It's a little different that the voice recognition system doesn't talk to you, but it does work exceptionally well compared to other cars we have used. So far, it has understood both my wife and I flawlessly, something we have not experienced in other cars with voice recognition. I'm really impressed by this.

    The configurability of the informational displays and buttons is also a huge positive. I love that you can change the function of the steering wheel controls, in addition to being able to change what is shown (and where it's shown) on various parts of the dash and center console displays.

    The pano roof is awesome. I am impressed by how far it can open.

    I was also impressed by the proximity seasors and display when in tight spaces. In tight spots, it will show you a line pretty much all the way around the car that shows how close all of the obstacles are. I've never seen a system provide so much detail before.

    The rear view camera is also awesome. The display is huge and the picture is good. The back up lines curve with the turn of the steering wheel and they seemed pretty accurate to me.

    I also tried out the auto-pilot. I still don't trust it, but I was reasonably impressed with it so far. The road I drove on was a curvy 4 lane divided. It had tons of those black squiggles where road crews had filled cracks in the pavment, but the auto-pilot was never confused by them. There was a also a couple of places where the side line was either broken or suddenly shifted in or out, but the auto-pilot handled these situations gracefully. A nice first outing.
     
  2. thimel

    thimel Member

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    To remove the charge cable, you need to get the door handles to auto-present as you did AND press the button on the handle of the charging cord. I also hold the adapter as I pull out the handle to make sure the adapter stays with the handle.
     
  3. tstafford

    tstafford Member

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    If I understand you correctly regarding the top tether, there is one. It's extremely hard to find because it is well hidden. It's about half way down the back side of the seats - you'll find it if you look and look for a slit in the fabric.
     
  4. TampaRich

    TampaRich Member

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    I will say that Bluetooth streaming from iPhone works great. I actually see it as an advantage because i don't have to plug anything in. Just throw the phone onto the shelf below the big screen and tell Siri what to play from Apple Music. I did download my purchased music from iTunes onto an ultra tiny USB stick and keep that plugged in. The screen is handy to navigate through that content.
     
  5. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Thank you for the helpful responses. One thing about removing the charge cable. I think I figured out part (or maybe all) of the problem. I think the car needs to stop charging before the lock will release. Makes sense. This means you either have to click the Stop Charging button inside the car or disconnect the J1772 from the adapter first to get the EVSE to stop the charge. The latter should be the better way to go, though it feels a little quirky to do it that way.
     
  6. thimel

    thimel Member

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    No, the car does not need to stop charging before you remove the cable. Pressing the button on the charging cable forces the charging to stop and then unlocks the cable.
     
  7. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

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    Respectfully, it's garbage. Not bluetooth audio, not bluetooth output on the iphone, just the bluetooth input in the Model S. I was going to do an extended comparison later, but try streaming the same song through slacker then through bluetooth. Something is just wrong with it, and it's not compression, slacker is already compressed!
     
  8. fwgmills

    fwgmills Member

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    He's using a j1772 charger so there is no button to push. Only if you're using a UMC, HPWC or supercharger is there a button to press to stop changing and release the connector.
     
  9. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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    With regards to entry and child seats I would suggest waiting a few weeks and taking a look at the X (if a SUV is OK with you). I would guess that most centers will have one by mid-Feb.
     
  10. thimel

    thimel Member

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    I also use a j1772 charging station. It DOES have a button which stops the charging and unlocks the cable. What it doesn't do is open the charge port.
     
  11. mobe

    mobe Member

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    /rant........I know I'm not the grammar police but it's brake for braking and break if it no longer works.
    There is no break pedal in a Tesla. There is however a b r a k e pedal.
    I'm not trying to pick on the op but it seems like every other post mis-spells the word brake.
    Rant over, carry on.
     
  12. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

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  13. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Give me a brake! ;)
     
  14. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    True. But it's too late to go back and fix the typo (edit no longer an option). Sorry!
     
  15. mobe

    mobe Member

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    Sorry for getting my knickers in a bunch.
    That's one of the Things that bugs me about spell check. If a word is properly spelled even if it's the wrong word, spell check can't catch it. It sees no difference in brake vs break or to vs too vs two. ( I guess it's called spell check and not context check for a reason eh?)
    That P85DL wouldn't be the new blue one that was at the plaza store would it?
    I was admiring it a few weeks ago. Beautiful car!
     
  16. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Okay, so if we are going to get picky, lets detail everything that is involved. First, there is a mechanical lock on the J1772 handle. I also verified that it also sends some kind of a signal when pressing on that same button on the J1772 handle that stops the charging (though I can't say for certain whether it is the car or the EVSE that actually stops the charging; I would guess it's the EVSE, since it's supposed to be safety equipment). There is also a lock that locks the Tesla plug into the Tesla receptacle (correct?).

    So it would seem, what needs to happen is you press the button on the J1772 handle, this triggers the charging to stop, which triggers the car to release it's lock on the Tesla plug. If you let go of that button, it will most likely resume charging and everything will lock again. But if you simply pull out the handle, since pressing the handle button releases the mechanical lock on the adapter, it will simply remove the J1772 handle leaving the adapter plugged in. This is why you either have to remove the J1772 charger, then remove the adapter, or press the button on the J1772 handle and use both hands to remove both the J1772 handle and the adapter together.

    Regardless, it would still seem accurate to say the car needs to stop charging before the lock will release. I don't think the semantics go wrong anywhere there.
     
  17. hybridbear

    hybridbear Member

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    Does Tesla offer everyone extended test drives? Or was this something special? They are a very useful tool to sell cars & make sure that they are a good fit.
     
  18. Beryl

    Beryl Member

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    I agree. I got a 2-day and a one day test drive after making 2 reservations -- Model S and X. I was glad that I got the blue car for 2 days because before the test, I didn't realize how much dirt would be visible.
     
  19. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    I was offered an overnight test drive after two short test drives several months apart. Need to determine if I can deal with a car this large in our limited garage and around town. I'm afraid this may be a very expensive test drive...
     
  20. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    This has been helpful for me. I use a J1772 all the time. At work, I should just send a stop charging command on the way out to my car. Then I won't have to perform the slightly awkward - press button, wait a sec (oops make sure the car unlocked) and then pull. I have to say that I have messed up and looked a bit foolish in a public area....

    And I think I have brake all figured out. I am annoyed by your/you're. That one is pretty obvious but still screwed up.

    Lastly, I had an overnight test drive. It was scheduled and they pushed me out 12 hours. Turns out it was from a forum member extending his weekend long test drive even though they said it was a loaner issue. I think we both reserved after that. At the time, I thought I was pretty cool getting a Monday evening to Tuesday drive. But the person before had a Friday --- extended to Monday evening test drive.
     

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