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My Thoughts After 2 Years of Ownership

AmpedRealtor

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2013
6,414
4,106
Phoenix, AZ
I wanted to take a moment and provide an update to my ownership experience after two years and 35,000 miles. Actually two years and 3 months, to be exact. I ordered my "classic" P85 in June of 2013 and received it two months later in August. At the time, Tesla's Arizona service center was being operated out of a small, temporary facility. I ordered my car without ever having test driven a Model S and solely on what I read in the forums.

If you don't want to read the rest of this long post, here is the bottom line:

Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT!

How much do I love this car? I BOUGHT STOCK IN THE COMPANY!

If you have more time...

Two years into ownership and I couldn't be happier. This car does everything I could have ever wanted and more. Never once did I experience any range anxiety. A few months ago I drove to San Diego, that was a very easy trip with no range or charging anxiety whatsoever. I recently purchased the CHAdeMO adapter to help me visit the town of Bisbee, AZ and other locales which are outside of the Supercharger network. More adventures!

I've completed one long road trip from Phoenix to the SF Bay Area, about 1,400 miles round trip. I used to hate driving long distances in my previous car - a Toyota Prius. I drove the same trek a few years ago in the Prius and hated every minute of it. I couldn't wait to arrive at my destination. The 1,400 miles driven in my Model S were the most pleasurable miles I have ever driven in my life, primarily because I took more breaks. Supercharging along the way was a game changer and not at all inconvenient in the overall schema. When I drove the same route in my Prius a few years ago, I arrived at my destination with the most horrible backache you can imagine. The pain was in herniated disc territory. Even though driving the same route in a Model S took approximately a little longer, I felt much more refreshed and with no aches or pains!

To be honest, I lingered much longer than I needed to at the Superchargers because I met such interesting people! When was the last time anyone said that about stopping at the Shell station? I met a Tesla suspension engineer once while charging at Harris Ranch around 11pm. That was a fun conversation! :)

I had some cosmetic issues with my car when it was delivered, mostly little things. All issues were resolved deftly by my local service center. By all accounts, initial quality has improved substantially in the last year.

The one recurring issue I've had is with the drive unit, but when I bought the car in 2013 I knew there would likely be some teething pains. Thankfully, having my DU replaced was no more inconvenient than getting an alignment done. Outstanding Tesla service makes up for any potential negative on this front, especially when I'm given a loaner car that is better than the one I own! If you are on the fence, don't let what you read about this issue in the forums keep you from buying this amazing car. I've informally polled many owners here in Arizona during our get togethers, it seems that DU replacements are uncommon.

A lot has been said in the forums about Tesla changing as a company, policies becoming more restrictive, etc. All I can say is this: I have noticed no change to the outstanding quality of service here. Realistically, Tesla has to evolve its service division to keep pace with all of the new deliveries and the introduction of the Model X. In many ways I was spoiled by Tesla. I used to enjoy email banter with their SVPs. I even exchanged a few emails with Elon Musk over questions I had about the car prior to ordering. It seems those days are over, but not because Tesla's core values have changed. The organization has grown so much in the last couple of years that it may no longer be practical to continue doing in 2015 what made sense in 2013. It feels a little surreal to be lamenting the loss of something that nobody else who buys any other brand enjoys. Spoiled is the word that comes to mind. :)

Service issues arise with any car. What's important is how those issues are handled and whether the company makes things right. Tesla service hits the ball out of the park each and every time. Whenever one reads about a negative experience in the forums, remember that we are hearing only one side of the story. It's very easy to jump to conclusions and I've certainly done my share of that. Keep in mind that we never, ever hear Tesla's side.

If I can offer one piece of advice, it's this: The Service Manager is your best friend. If you need to escalate an issue, that is the person to speak with before posting frustration in the forums. Even if escalating something to the regional or executive level, communications will still flow through the local Service Manager who will be the point of contact. My Service Manager here in Scottsdale is an owner advocate, as are all of the SMs. They are an incredibly valuable resource.

I hope to be in a position to buy a 2nd Model S or a Model X in the next couple of years and I can't wait. Cheers! :)
 

Discoducky

P100DL, 2021 M3, 4 CT reservations and counting
Supporting Member
Dec 25, 2011
3,897
8,959
My mountain
Couldn't agree more AR and with this especially

Service issues arise with any car. What's important is how those issues are handled and whether the company makes things right. Tesla service hits the ball out of the park each and every time. Whenever one reads about a negative experience in the forums, remember that we are hearing only one side of the story. It's very easy to jump to conclusions and I've certainly done my share of that. Keep in mind that we never, ever hear Tesla's side.
 

JenniferQ

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 13, 2015
1,262
534
San Diego, CA
Great review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love mine so much and have only had it one month. My "about-to-be-permitted" daughter will learn in it and can't imagine having to drive anything else. I must say, that with its combination of safety/environmental features, I find myself agreeing. But I need to find a very good price on a 3 year old one next year. And it must be white. :redface:
 

TES-E

Member
Jun 23, 2014
412
57
Casa Grande, AZ
AR... I couldn't agree more. 14 months of ownership for me, and any issues I have had were trivial and quickly corrected. I also drove to SF this summer, and was a most enjoyable experience.
 

CHG-ON

Still in love after all these miles
Jun 24, 2014
3,079
648
Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
Thanks for your post AR. I have had exactly the same service experience. It has been completely flawless and effortless for the few minor issues I have had. As a matter of fact, I just noticed that my rear mirror is not dimming, emailed last Tuesday, set the apt last Friday and they are sending a Ranger out tomorrow (Tuesday) to replace it at my office. I have read stories of multi week, if not month, waiting lists for repairs. That has never been my experience. They even brought in an outside glass specialist to get my pano just right. I actually thought it was fine! Just a minor seal issue...I thought. But they, as always, went the extra mile to get it perfect.

Who else does that? Nobody.
 

paulkva

Member
Jul 22, 2013
722
292
Falls Church, VA
Service issues arise with any car. What's important is how those issues are handled and whether the company makes things right.

This really rings true for me -- not just for Tesla, but frankly with any product or service I've purchased:

A good company delivers high quality, but nothing is ever perfect. A *great* company knows what to do when quality falls short, or when anything goes wrong.

I bought my car right around the same time you did, and in ~27K miles I've had two significant issues (suspension and drive unit). In both cases Tesla made it right with minimal hassle. I'm hoping my next car (well actually my wife's) will be a Model 3.
 

FreeOfPge

Member
May 12, 2013
440
111
CA
Awesome post. The difference in driving, that is the pleasure or lack-of when driving something other than a Model S is something that must be experienced firsthand to understand. This post is as close as words can get to expressing the experience.
 

sickfox

Member
Jun 7, 2013
417
52
San Francisco
From first to last paragraph, check!!! 100% agree and I can relate to everything, especially with DU. I'm thinking it's a huge service but the service center made it feel like it's a quick tire rotation service.

and YES, I also bought the Stock of the Company. 4-5 years from, I truly believe the stock price will triple! Could be sooner too.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,117
25,398
Texas
Totally agree with AmpedRealtor except that I enjoyed my 2004 Prius. However, it got old and Toyota never improved the car (they actually made it worse in my opinion) and I hated going in for service with it.

I've done several road trips of up to 5K+ miles in the Model S and they've been the best road trips I've taken. I've only ever had minor problems, other than the alignment that the earlier cars were plagued with, and those were all fixed.
 

Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,171
972
Holbrook, MA
It all sounds familiar to me too. 2 years + 2 months, 53k miles for me. No extended road trips, but several (multiple SC) day trips. The longest was about 550 miles round trip. An absolute breeze with superchargers.

I never thought I could enjoy going back to where I bought a car. With Tesla service, sometimes I just want to go back and visit but I don't want to keep them from their work! I really haven't been there all that many times, but they recognize and greet me when I enter.

Now I'm in the post-warranty period of ownership, but I have high hopes this was still the right decision for me.
 

stevezzzz

R;SigS;P85D;SigX;S90D;XP100D;3LR;YLR
Nov 13, 2009
6,100
122
Colorado
AR is in the right of it. In some ways by spending time on these forums we run the risk of losing sight of the pure pleasure it is to drive a Model S (any Model S), after being confronted with a seemingly large number of threads where one owner has had a bad experience. It's those experiences that are the outliers, not those of us who've just gone out and enjoyed the hell out of our cars, day after day and mile after mile. After driving 17K miles in a Roadster 2.0 and 38K miles in my Sig S 85, I moved up to an early P85D late in 2014; I've already put 20K miles on it, including several multi-day road trips. The P85D hasn't been in for service once yet, except to rotate tires. Road trips along Supercharger routes are no-brainers and now, with Autosteer, those long, boring highway miles melt away in quiet comfort, accompanied by a sense of well-being and a total absence of stress. It still makes me smile whenever I have a reason to drive my Tesla.
 

AmpedRealtor

Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2013
6,414
4,106
Phoenix, AZ
I never thought I could enjoy going back to where I bought a car. With Tesla service, sometimes I just want to go back and visit but I don't want to keep them from their work! I really haven't been there all that many times, but they recognize and greet me when I enter.

My appointments sometimes take me all over town, and when I'm near the service center I always pop in to say hi. Sometimes I bring cupcakes. :) I never did that with my Toyota dealer! lol

- - - Updated - - -

The other immensely satisfying aspect of owing this great car has been meeting and interacting with all of you wonderful people. While we may not always agree on everything, at the end of the day we are brought together by our common love for this car and the company that created it. This aspect of ownership is truly unique and wonderful. When I look back on some of the more "passionate" (lol) discussions I've had with forum members, I'm humbled by the fact that I'm conversing with good people who love this car as much as I do, enough to take time out of their busy schedules.

I can't see myself ever owning anything else. Thank you for being my support group! :)
 

Larry

Member
Jul 28, 2013
488
92
East Bay of SF
I received mine about a month after you and after 35000 miles I can't imagine ever driving another vehicle. I've had pano issues, suspension issues, contactor replacement, and a nasty squeak but all have been taken care of professionally and courteously. The S is just a pleasure to drive!
 

rgensler

Member
Aug 27, 2013
12
2
usa
2 years+ of ownership, 25k miles on VIN 16,xxx. Tesla proactively replaced our 12 volt battery within a few months of ownership. We just had the trunk stop latching and they replaced the latch mechanism. We've had a clicking noise from the rear on starts which the service center said it's probably not going to get any worse but will replace the drive unit to rectify the issue. Otherwise, the car has been great. They have replaced our power cord 3 times. They even brought one out on a Saturday to the house. The only expense we've had was replacing two tires when I hit a piece of rebar sticking out of a curb. It seems that Tesla learns and makes improvements fairly quick. Looking forward to an X in 2016.
 

HFh

Member
Jan 15, 2012
423
875
Atlanta, GA
Ending three years this month.

The car, the service, everything is amazing (well, except the one thing about not being able to see time elapsed on a song when connected via Bluetooth: what the...?).

Love it. Second one is due to arrive mid-December.
 

rogbmw

Member
Feb 10, 2012
839
89
Central Florida
AR - I am totally in agreement with you. We have had our S since February 2013, and have 29,000 miles on it so far. We too are stock holders. Wonderful car, and great company. Has it been perfect - no, but TESLA has always taken care of us. As AR said, it is not what a company does when everything is perfect, but how they handle situations where things go wrong, and they need to be fixed. TESLA has been outstanding.

Unfortunately, we recently cancelled our X reservation made during the X reveal ceremony 3 years ago. Not that we do not like the vehicle, but my wife drives home back into the Midwest on a regular basis, and the supercharger network has not caught up with that area yet, and projections have it some time off (she is somewhat off the interstates). But, as the network continues to fill in holes we will revisit the X again. In the mean time, we will continue to enjoy our S. I intend to have it at least 10 years.
 

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,672
3,835
NoVa
Nice review. I agree about the road trip comment. My wife hated driving non-stop for 8 hours. She wanted to take stops to let the kids out, and to get to the destination more relaxed. Now with the Tesla she can.

5 months of ownership, approaching 12k miles.

And we're also thinking of getting a 2nd one (a Model 3) in the near future.
 

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