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neroden's first week with "Electro" the Model S (Best Car Ever)

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by neroden, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    #1 neroden, Mar 5, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
    Whew.

    Summary: Best Car Ever. It has some issues, but it's still the Best Car Ever.

    So I got my car on Monday February 25th around 3 PM! I wasn't intending to give it a name, but it quickly acquired the name Electro.

    It's plain white with body-colored roof, grey leather interior, and obeche wood gloss. I promised pictures, and I have them -- showing that Tesla Grin -- but I couldn't figure out how to attach them.

    A very nice fellow named David drove the car up from Queens and spent four hours showing me every single control. He acted in Spamalot, so we got a couple of Monty Python jokes. The tires were overinflated so we let some air out, and then did a short test drive around town. The weather was beautiful.

    The first thing I discovered is how incredibly well the car maneuvers and handles at extremely low speeds. No gasoline car can match this -- most of them really can't manage to go below 4 mph. But Electro can crawl at 1 mph or less. (I turned creep off immediately.) The car is a narrow fit in my garage and requires a tight turn to reverse in the turnaround spot in my driveway. But this is easy because I could go as slowly as necessary.

    I had been worried about the large size of the car, but this has made it very easy to adjust to it. It's much easier to avoid curb rash when you can go very... very... slowly. (While I'm getting used to the size of the car I've been having my fiancee jump out of the car and check my location.)

    On Tuesday, I had to take a trip 60 miles away. I had range anxiety before Tuesday, and range charged in expectation of very cold weather, which turned out to be unnecessary. With above-freezing weather on Tuesday, I got pretty much exactly the EPA range. :smile:

    This "shakedown trip" is when I discovered the true amazingness of Electro.

    Usually, if I've been driving for an hour, I expect to have a certain amount of soreness, stiffness, or general discomfort. This has been true in every car I have ever driven, even after careful adjustment of everything.

    In Electro, after driving for an hour, it felt like I'd driven for only fifteen minutes. The same was true on the way back. The same has been true for the rest of the week.

    This is the most ergonomic car I have ever driven.

    I'm not entirely sure why it's so ergnonomic. The seats are excellent, the best of any car I've ever driven. The air suspension is clearly "muting" some of the (many many) bumps in the road. The lack of the constant vibration from a gasoline engine is probably beneficial as well. And there may be some other reasons.

    The handling takes some getting used to. It is uniformly better than the handling of any gasoline car -- which means I have to break some habits.
    - The accelerator response is instant. When I need to speed up quickly, I'm used to tromping on the gasoline pedal and then backing off; now I simply push my foot down a little on the accelerator. (This may be another part of why the car is ergonomically superior.)
    - The car slows down extremely quickly thanks to the regenerative braking. I have to get used to that too.
    - The accelerator response feels linear; the amount I put my foot down is pretty much equal to the amount of force applied to the car (or negative force in the case of regen). This is very simple, but it's not how any previous car behaved.

    I found that I had to spend less time thinking about accelerator response, because it is so straightforward. I could use more of my mind to pay attention to the road, and to other things. This is most certainly another part of why the driving experience was so much more comfortable.

    In addition, it means I can have an extremely gentle foot on both the accelerator and the brake, which is probably another ergonomic benefit.

    Another thing I discovered on Tuesday: I thought I wouldn't like the automatic "touchless" key stuff... but I actually do like it and turned it back on. I'm still keeping the key in a Faraday-cage pouch ($40 from RA Mayes) when I'm away from the car, in an excess of caution in order to avoid RFID cloning attacks.

    On Wednesday, the temperature dropped, we got hit with really terrible weather and I spent most of the day scraping black ice off my driveway, so the car stayed at home.

    On Thursday, I again spent two hours clearing ice off the driveway, but it wasn't quite as bad as Wednesday. So I got to drive Electro around town. This is when I discovered how incredibly useful the very-low-speed maneuvering is in tight parking lots.

    On Friday, I again spent two hours clearing ice off the driveway (yeeargh), and this time took Electro out to a quiet event in the evening. So Electro sat for four hours unplugged at night in the cold. Fair warning to other buyers, it lost something like 20 miles of range just sitting. I got to scrape the snow off the car in the cold at night for the first time. The area which the windshield wipers come out of is not well-designed for snow clearance, but it worked out OK.

    The auto wiper settings don't work at all. The auto lights, to my surprise, mostly do work right, though I've already overridden them a few times to force the lights on. Tesla, if you're listening, the car should not revert to auto lights every time I start it.

    The front left window and front left windshield do start fogging up very easily. I know Tesla is engineering a fix for that; I need it ASAP. In the meantime, setting the front defroster on full does deal with it, but that makes the car extremely hot very quickly, and burns energy at a tremendous rate. You can see the heater power on the energy meter on the right side of the dashboard. When I don't need to put the defroster on full, the energy usage when just starting the heater is visible, but it soon drops -- the car is clearly well-insulated. (Pretty much every problem with the car is attributable to California designers who don't understand winter. They are all manageable, but I'm beginning to understand why previous carmakers located in Detroit.)

    I find it annoying to have to go through the touchscreen to adjust the vent controls. Perhaps a control for directing the air could be placed as an option on the right scrollwheel. Same with the lights.

    I do like that the car heats up immediately, especially for the short drives around town. I knew I was going to like that.

    On Friday I actually got into the car with sore shoulders and they felt better when I got home. This is unheard of. The ergonomics of the Model S are astounding. Since I have problems with chronic muscle tension, this is huge for me.

    On Saturday, going out in the evening, after another two hours clearing ice off the driveway, I got to drive the car for the first time on parking lots and roads which were actually snowy. (The county and city have been very good about plowing the roads, but apparently not that late at night.) The all-weathers handled the snowy, icy flat parking lot with no trouble. On the way back, coming down a sharp slope with snow and ice, the front end started to fishtail and the antilock brakes kicked in twice. But they worked and I managed to get home safely at 15 mph. (I'll want snow tires for next year though.) The two friends who had carpooled with me to the event... could not get home in their car and ended up staying overnight.

    My friends liked how silent the car was. Regarding that, I mostly liked how extremely easy it was to hear road noises. (Yeah, I'm a practical driver all the way.)

    On Sunday, my friends spent two hours clearing ice off the driveway :)wink:) and then the spell of awful weather finally broke. I took the opportunity to stay home! Monday and today were spent catching up on things I didn't do last week due to the exhaustion of snow clearance.

    The energy usage graph has been kind of mesmerizing and I've been keeping it visible all the time (along with the backup camera, which is useful for spotting tailgaters).

    The energy usage graph looks like a map of going up and down hills. Tesla, if you're listening: the vertical scale doesn't go high enough or low enough. Ithaca is a town of hills. I have been regularly getting energy use off the top of the chart, more than 900 wh/mile (extrapolating, probably higher than 1000 wh/mile) and I've regularly been getting usage off the bottom of the chart, lower than -300 wh/mile (and extrapolating, probably as low as -400 wh/mile). It's sort of funny -- it really does make it clear what a large effect hills have. I keep thinking about how much energy must have been wasted going downhill (and at stoplights!) with gasoline engines.

    In this short week, I've been approached about the car by three strangers: one guy during (!) the drive on Tuesday rolled down his window and said "Nice wheels, man!" while driving past. The parking garage attendant downtown in Ithaca asked what sort of car it was, and when I told her it was all-electric, said "I didn't know they were making those yet!" And a young man shyly stared at the car in the grocery store parking lot until my fiancee told him it was OK to ask about it. :smile:

    For my allergy, I still have to coat the headliner and sunvisors with something like Scotchgard, but it's a tight flat weave, unlike the headliner on the Signature model, so I don't think it's bleeding too much polyester right now.

    Now Electro sits quietly in my garage giving off an eerie green light. :biggrin: There are various minor things which should be fixed (most of which can be fixed in software). But the astounding, unmatched ergonomics, "no thought required" accelerator response, and extraordinary low-speed maneuverability make it the Best Car Ever.

    (Edit: and, of course, not having to go to the gas station and not having to burn gasoline. After a week, somehow that goes without saying! :tongue:)
     
  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Great post, neroden! Welcome to the Tesla Grin Club. :)
     
  3. hershey101

    hershey101 Member

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    Awesome review... Hopefully I run into you sometime soon (I'm at Cornell but I frequent the commons) so I can see the car and it will hold me over until mine arrives next month *fingers crossed* :D
     
  4. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Cheers Neroden, so glad Electro's arrival was a magical moment that was worth the wait! I am amazed at how the things that bugged me during the wait all seem to dissolve away with more time spent behind the wheel.
     
  5. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    I will say I found a small downside to the interior design which nobody else has mentioned. I lost a few coins between the center console and the driver's seat. It was impossible to get them out in any seat position even with pliers. They promptly crawled *under* the rails on which the seat is mounted and are completely inaccessible from any position. I'm going to have to ask the service center to extract them next year at the annual service.

    Also, there appear to be floor vents for heat to the rear seat. Since they have no grilles on them, they're another place where coins are going to fall and be lost forever. I'll have to ask the service center to extract coins from the floor vents at the annual service too.

    So the car may cost me a few extra dollars. :wink:
     
  6. Lyon

    Lyon 2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D

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    Great write-up. You're spot on about the windshield wipers.
     
  7. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    @neroden, first off, congrats! It's been a strange ride for you across two reservations and numerous issues.

    The part about ergonomics is interesting. It may be a function of how tall you are and such but, for me, at 6' 1" with long legs, I'd say the Model S gets only a B+ from me in driver ergonomics. The elevated floor (with the battery pack) and the low, sloping roofline may have something to do with why I just can't seem to find the right heel position for my right foot when operating the pedals. I've tried all the seat settings and such. I like to sit tall when driving and that hasn't worked out quite well in the S. I'm constantly fidgeting in the seat and moving my right foot around (I turned off Creep today for the first time so that I can move the foot about more often) - I sometimes am too far over the accelerator and sometimes not enough. Still, the best car in the world!
     
  8. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

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    I'll say! Good write-up, and interesting stuff I haven't read elsewhere, like all the ergonomic/comfort stuff. Some have dissed Tesla for the seat quality. I've found them very comfortable, but I've yet to take a long trip in them, so I'm reserving judgement. ;-)

    Did you get the "RFSP-FOB-EL"? Most of those look kinda large. I'm mildly interested in this, although it seems like it would kinda do away with the benefit of automatic keyless entry. I like that I rarely have to reach for the key.
     
  9. UMD86

    UMD86 Member

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    Great summary!!! Maybe next winter you should invest in a new driveway with electric heaters built in. You get a lot of ice!
     
  10. ModelX

    ModelX Member

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    Very happy for you!
     
  11. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Congrats Neroden. So glad it all worked out and you're pleased. Congrats also on the fiance that jumps in and out of the car to help you park. Sounds like a keeper!:smile:


    A note on the electric driveway heaters: I looked into them and have found them to be unaffordable even if you can afford them. The cost is just ridiculous. They also draw a ridiculous amount of energy. Even if someone were going to spend the money from what I learned, the average home could never handle the additional energy draw.
     
  12. AustinPowers

    AustinPowers Total Smeghead

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    Hey great, another Monty Python fan :smile:


    Priceless :biggrin:

    I'm so glad that someone who in general very much likes the car mentions this. Some functions just are easier to use with a simple button/switch than an item on a screen menu you have to access first. (I hate the BMW iDrive and similar features by Audi and Merc as well by the way).
     
  13. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Spot on. Fortunately, Tesla seems to be taking notes and finding fixes. Glad you're enjoying Electro!
     
  14. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I find the S lacking in ergonomics (slightly) because of the lack of a center console. I'm used to resting my right leg against the console... Resting it against the corner of the screen isn't very comfortable at all! (I'm 6'4" fwiw)

     
  15. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Yeah day 2 in my car and a quarter fell between my seat and the center rail. And as soon as I was able to look down and grab it tucked nicely under the seat rail. But I have found a quarter in my car. In the BACK SEAT footwell. I think a few hard accelerations should 'find' all your coins. Maybe some hard left rights (once the weather is better) to help move them out is also in order.
     
  16. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I don't remember anyone else taking about this here.... It's extremely smooth, and I can't think of any other car where I can maneuver at 1km/h.

    So glad you love the car. It's refreshing to see you say something positive for a change. :)
     
  17. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    He DID say all along that he just wanted to buy an electric car. Now he's done it!:smile:
     
  18. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #18 ToddRLockwood, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    Congratulations on your new ride! I just wanted to comment on a couple of details...

    As others have pointed out on this blog, the 20 miles you "lost" while parked in the cold were not actually lost. The Model S was simply estimating it's range differently because the battery pack was cold. When you resume driving, most of the miles you thought you "lost" will be "regained" as the battery warms up. The lost miles won't reappear on the display, but the displayed miles will take you further than what is indicated. Perhaps in a future software upgrade, Tesla will come up with a more obvious approach to dealing with this.

    The new defroster upgrade (which corrects the driver-side fogging issues) is now available as a service center upgrade kit. At my request, mine was just installed at the Boston Service Center prior to my delivery in Vermont. I'm not sure whether Tesla has implemented the upgrade on the assembly line yet. They probably had a lot of pre-assembled dashboards to work through first.

    Weather notwithstanding, I hope to see my Model S arrive by this weekend.
     
  19. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    Post your pictures ;-) Please
     
  20. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    One place you can always look at after the car has cold soaked and the "range" number may be in question, is the battery display on the 17". In my testing, I've found that while I can have 30-50 miles disappear on my rated range display, the SOC percentage doesn't change (any more than expected due to known losses). It would be great if they added a true % number displayed on it also...

    Thanks for the heads up on the defroster upgrade, I just had my service center order one for my car too.

    Peter


     

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