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New Model S concerns.

Happily enjoying my intuitive, simple, and reliable Bolt EV. Im waiting for all these luxury features to "shake out" in the coming years, when I have the feeling I will be purchasing some boring Lexus EV. It can take decades for a company to mature. Tesla will stay niche, which is fine. Let the big boys figure everything out. But Tesla will still have its successful niche (think 90's and 2000's Apple). That is where Tesla is headed (at this rate). It will be awhile before they refine and polish their proprietary niche ecosystem. Besides, It is still the early years in the EV development world. Plenty of low hanging fruit markets for Tesla as well others as we move forward.
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I've come to the conclusion that Tesla's problem is that it's a $40B revenue company that's run like a start-up. I see now that back in 2015 when I bought the Model S that I still have and love, all the inventive energy of what was then a much smaller start-up was focused on inventing the key differentiators that set it apart - basically the power train, but also autopilot. That took all of that smaller company's energy, so they made the rest of the car out of standard parts and technologies available to the rest of the industry, perhaps the paradigm example being the stalks from Mercedes. Any driver could get into a P85D and be comfortable with its familiar stalks, wheel, shift selector, door handles, etc. Yes, the screen was new, but at that point it wasn't taken quite to the dogmatic limit of absorbing everything else, like the shifter.

But now that Tesla is a much bigger company with more resources, and yet a company that still has the same passion to invent new things that it had when it really was a start-up, they are trying to re-invent everything because they frankly can't help themselves. Now it's "let's reinvent the wheel, the car key, the door handles, the shifter, the turn signals, the horn," and everything else. Tesla now has a lot of resources, but because they are still run like a start-up that's focused on almost nothing but invention and showing us how smart they are, they are running amok.

The problem is that so much of the usability of the driver-facing parts of a car has been developed and refined by the industry over a very long time, where there is deep industry experience of how the ergonomics plays into all the situations and corner cases that a driver is likely to encounter. Tesla's inventiveness has not been tempered by experience in this way.

It is very tempting to ultimately replace my P85D with a plaid that can be my everyday hypercar. But my more cautious instincts tell me my next high-end EV should be a Mercedes EQS.

Compared to the Model S, I think the EQS looks like a large potato, although a very luxurious one. There would be little barnstorming down twisty roads in the EQS or flinging myself past slower cars on two lane country roads before they even realized they've been passed.

However, the thing about Mercedes is that I trust their long experience designing safe, usable cars. Because of Tesla's passion to show us how smart and inventive they are, I don't trust them as much right now.

Fortunately, the P85D is still running well, so I don't have to make a decision until things shake out and we all see how usable the new, refreshed MS really is, and how safe it is when those corner cases arise, as they eventually will.
I feel like the turn signal buttons should have been split (one on each side of the wheel) to make it more intuitive but I sort of understand the reasoning for keeping them on the same side. That being said, I don't think I would have a problem adjusting to the yoke. For gear selection, I have a feeling I would probably use the secondary (tertiary) method e.g. the buttons on the console vs. the screen.
Naw, no worries about that yoke wheel, if the Cybertruck still has the yoke when mine is ready I'll just get one a these here.

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Well, I got a test drive. I was seriously considering trading in my 2017 but after seeing more details particularly about this steering wheel and related features, among some other items, I think I'm going to wait and see how this shakes out. I have a feeling that some of this new stuff is going to evolve once enough people have one and start complaining. I hate to sound like this as I consider myself fairly comfortable on the edge of technology and willing to participate in paradigm shifts. I'm just having a difficult time with some of these changes from a usability standpoint. Maybe I'm wrong but here are my issues. I'm curious what others think.

1) No more key fob:
So now you use your phone as the primary key and you get a wallet card as backup. I think this is a great feature addition but not to replace the dedicated key fob. In fact I would be happy to pay extra for a key fob as an option but we don't even get that choice. I would see my phone as a good secondary or backup option. I just don't want to have to rely on a non-dedicated device let alone the multitude of reasons why my phone might not work as expected at any given time. Phone battery dead, an app freezing or crashing my phone, the Tesla app crashing (which I've had happen), making sure I did forget to turn the BT back on after I needed to disable it, etc. In fact, in the car, I often give my kid my phone to play a game or stream a show or even do something for school. When I do this I have turn off the BT so the sound comes out form the phone. I'm not even sure if this would prevent the car from driving if it looses the BT connect once you're in the car. This means I would have to use the wallet card.

You also loose the ability to easily do the functions of the fob such as opening the frunk or trunk as you approach the car, automatically closing the trunk without walking around to the rear of the car, activating the summon feature to pull it out of a parking spot when someone parked too close for you to get in easily. You would be required to pull out your phone, unlock it, open the app, let it connect, find the functions and use them. Not practical from any standpoint. Not to mention there are plenty of times I'm somewhere I don't want to pull out my phone or wallet and I need to be vigilant of my surrounds. Loosing the fob does not make things easier.

2) Gear Selection:
Again, I think this automated selection of the likely gear you want based on obstacles and automatically setting park under the conditions it does so is a great new feature. Love it and can't wait for it to evolve. However there are plenty of regular complex scenarios where it doesn't work and moving the gear selection to the screen means one must take their eyes off the road to use it. That seems short sighted. Think of trying to make a quick 3 point turn, parallel parking on a tight roadway or worse, an emergency situation you need to avoid quickly. This feels like a solution looking for a problem.

3) Steering Wheel:
I have no issue with the yoke idea and think I would probably get used to it just fine. But the only thing this improves is arguably the aesthetic of viewing the dash. It certainly dos not make driving any easier. Again, a solution looking for a problem. At highway speed it's not an issue because you do not need to move the wheel very much. At local speeds however, anytime you have to rotate it more than 90 degrees it gets awkward and more difficult. Also, the more sporty you set the car the more difficult it become to use the yoke as it gets pretty firm. I don't know how it would feel on a long drive but I do know I often move my hand positions on the wheel to reduce fatigue. Furthermore, you can no longer let the wheel slide though your hands as it returns to center coming out of a turn controlling its rate easily. Again, a solution looking for a problem and that does not really improve anything worthwhile. I expect to see a robust aftermarket business of swapping the steering wheel.

4) Steering Wheel Controls:
Ok, this stuff bugs me the most. Removing the stalks and putting those functions on the steering wheel is again a solution looking for a problem. It not only improves nothing, it's dangerous. In particular, having the turn signals and horn as buttons on the wheel means that you will never find them when the wheel is turning without taking your eyes off the road and looking. That's the beauty of the stalks and why those functions have traditionally been there. They don't move. They are in the same location all the time and easy to locate no matter what you're doing with the wheel. Try finding the horn in a split second to avoid an accident as your navigating a turn, traffic circle, turning around, doing two turns in succession, etc. The turn signals suffer in the same way in addition to the fact that they are both on the same side which is not intuitive.

5) Rear Screen:
This is an awesome addition even if the location is awkward and not ideal. However it's not fully ready yet. I have to image this will get better with software updates but right now you can't bifurcate the audio. For example you can't pair headphones with the rear and stream something there while those in the front listen to something else. You also can't play something on the rear speaks that's different from the front, though that would probably not work well in practice anyway. I do think this will improve.

6) Electronic Doors: Now all the doors have electronic releases instead of mechanical levers. The rear doors on my 2017 model s are already like that and I hate it. It requires an emergency mechanical mechanism be available in case of failure which would likely happen exactly when you don't want to have any issue getting out. No one would know they were there either. You would have to show everyone getting in your car how to do this. It's not young kid friendly either. While my 8 year old has no problem getting out of the car I have no faith she would remember what I showed her with regard to this and be able to do it in panic or god forbid if I was incapacitated. Now with all of the doors like this your odds seem worse should you be in an accident and there be a fire or you are in water.
You can buy a fob and pair it easily under security
Those things were called "Suicide Knobs" for good reason. I think they are allowed in all states. Brodie knob - Wikipedia and State Laws – Suicide Knob – Steering Wheel Knobs.

Just make sure they are tight (if not...)
I'd never heard of those terms before but long ago, I had a co-worker (this is the late 1990s) who only had one hand. IIRC, he had a stump at the end of his other arm. He one of those attached to his steering wheel so that he could drive. We were living in WA state back then.
Wife buy-in is important!

Thanks for the insight.
Telling you from experience - 2 weeks in with the new Model S LR - the wife buy-in is assured when you get it …lots of happiness here on all fronts

Also - just my 10c on the phone key - its freeing tech! Oh and they DO give you 2 x traditional fobs when you take delivery…so you can just use the Fobs if you want - but phone key ’just works’ for us…we have it on my and wife’s phones and it supports both.

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