I’ve wanted a Tesla for a long time. But the car was well out of my reach from the start. When they first came out, most banks were cautious about financing Tesla’s and there was no way I could come up with the 20% down payment and cover tax and licensing. So when Tesla started the CPO program, all of a sudden the S was an option. Before getting a Tesla I got a BMW i3 a month or so after they were released last year. I did the research and the i3 is by far the most efficient EV on the market. With the range extended and fast charging the car has more utility than any other EV on the market with the exception of the Tesla. The fit and finish of the i3 is much better than all other EV’s, the sustainable materials are cool, and the way the car drives is unique. But the i3 is stuck in the city and long trips are not an option. When we finally decided to get the Tesla I did a ton of research on what options and colors I wanted. Initially the plan was to get a CPO P85 if we could find a good deal with low miles. Buying Experience Let me first start of by saying that the buying experience of a Tesla was less than great. You have to either have a lot of disposable income or be really motivated to get a Tesla. Tesla has a long way to go in being ready to sell cars to the masses. They don’t have flexible financing options, their process is extremely slow, and there is no incentive for them to get you into a car quickly. We almost gave up on buying the car due to all the issues. It took 2 week to find the car another week to pick it up. We had 10% ready and talked to the Buena Park dealer. I have a hard time ordering a car without seeing it and I have to get a deal. I cannot pay full price for anything. Finding out Tesla had a dealer was huge for me to feel comfortable buying. We found and put a deposit on a P85+ and just had to wait on financing. We were told 10% was enough. We were very surprised to find out the next day that Tesla does not offer any financing that includes Tax and Licensing. The best they can offer is 90% financing and the buyer is responsible for covering the remaining 10% plus tax and licensing. That is a total of 20% down. Cars are my vice. I get a new car about every 2-3 years. I’ve had a lot of cars over the years. I’ve never had to come up with 20% down to buy any car. I think banks are still a little cautious about financing Tesla’s because the company is still so new. But Tesla dealers and showrooms need to be more forthcoming with buyers on what they actually need to buy a Tesla. The dealer was little help and their only option was get your own financing. Trying to get 100% financing on a car worth over $70k is difficult when you trying to do it on your own. It’s always better and easier when a dealer has financing options already negotiated with banks. Needless to say no bank would even recognize the CPO value of the Tesla because the program is so new. Buying a CPO with my own financing was not an option. So here we were. We put down a non-refundable deposit and could not double our down payment in a week. Our sales guy was no help and offered no options. Not even get us our deposit back. Luckily the dealer manager was aware of our situation and was extremely helpful. She took over the deal, offered us our deposit back and started showing us option. Turns out if we leased a new S, our out of pocket cost would be less and the payments would be close to the same amount. Also if we went with an Inventory car, the monthly payment is also lower because the car’s depreciated value. The process of finding that inventory car was painful. We ended up sitting with the sales manager for a couple of hours over 2 weekends and found a couple of examples. But after driving and comparing an 85 and 85 D, it quickly became apparent that we wanted the D. Well I really wanted a P90D but that is way out of our price range. Finding an 85D with the right option took another couple of hours of searching with the sales team. It was a very long, tedious, and frustrating time because the inventory list is only available to Tesla sales teams. Cars would also literally get snatched up as we were finding them. When ended up getting the following car: Model S Details 2015 85D White Pearl on Black Black headliner Gray 21in wheels Teach package with Autopilot Air suspension 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] row seats High fidelity sound 200 miles on the Odometer $7000 discounts (included Inventory & Referral discounts) I really wanted a Red one with the Next gen seats but we could not find it. I would have changed to a custom order but the overall cost of the car would have been higher and we would have to take on the full depreciating value of the car so the payment would have been $200-300 extra a month. I’m so glad we did not give up. After almost 2 months of having the car and going on 2 long trips I absolutely love the car. Driving The 85D is an amazing car to drive around. The car is extremely quiet, all you hear is some road noise from the tires. You don’t really realize how loud and dirty your convectional gas cars are until you’re behind the wheel of an EV. The All wheel drive really improves the handling and helps compensate for all the extra weight of the battery pack. The car handles great but you can really feel the weight of the car in a turn. I also have a WRX STI and the handling on that little car is amazing. The car can handle more than I’m willing to do. The Tesla is close but the size and weight really have it falling a little short of what I have read from other reviews. Well at least when compared to the handling of my STI. The way the car takes off is just amazing. There is nothing like it. With the 85, 0-60 is fun, but with the 85 D you feel like your pulling some G’s it’s so much faster of the line. I really enjoy showing people the car and surprising them with how fast the car can move. Now, I have driven a P90D and my brain could not completely wrap around how fast that car can move. But for how I drive the 85D is more than enough. I beat a Viper at a red light the other day so the speed is more than enough for me. I had a chance to try out auto-pilot this last week and on a road trip and I really like it. I have nerve pain in my hands and Auto-pilot is a life saver on long trips and thru traffic. Every time I hit traffic, I let the car do the driving and kept it eye on it. It allowed me to check the map and plan alternate routes, find a place to eat, and just interact with my passengers better. It’s not perfect but it’s only going to get better over time 1200 mile trip Within the first month of owning the car I took a trip for work from Temecula, CA to San Jose, CA. It’s was about a 450 mile trip one way and I really wanted to test out the Trip planning software and range. I’ve read articles with people having problems with routing and I wanted to see how the car did. So I set the trip and checked out to route and found something odd. The car wanted me to stop at the Rancho Cucamonga supercharger but stated I needed 0 min charging. This was a 5 mile detour so I skipped it and went on to the Tejon Supercharger. On the first leg of the trip the efficiency of the car was really great and I could see the projected range go up even driving at 75 mph. But as soon as I got to the pass, going up hill really sapped my range by a lot. I was hoping to get some back in regenerative braking but I only got a small amount. I was monitoring the battery percentage and it felt like I only got about 1.5% back on the downhill. Because I still own an i3 I expected more aggressive regenerative braking from the Tesla. I got to Tejon Ranch and I also doubted if I needed to stop. Harris Ranch was about 140 miles away and my estimated range was around 160 miles. I decided to stop anyway because I needed a bathroom break and the car said it only needed 5 minutes of supercharge time. So I stopped and spent about 10 minutes before taking off again. I’m glad I stopped because when I got to Harris Ranch I only had 10 % battery left. I got a little anxious right before getting to Harris Ranch as I saw the range dip. At Harris Ranch the car stated I only needed 40 Minutes of Supercharge time before heading out to the Gilroy Supercharger. I ended up taking closer to an hour. Before I left the car had updated to route to have me stop at the Fremont supercharger that was just past my destination. It was kind of cool to see that just an extra 20 minutes would give me enough range to skip the next supercharger. But I found it odd that it wanted me to get to the supercharger past my destination. So I did my own calculations and decided to keep an eye on the range and head over to my final destination. As I was driving along the car lost confidence and decided to route me back again to the Gilroy supercharger. But like before with the first stop, It said I needed 0 minutes. Odd, so I decided to skip it. I had more than enough range and went ahead to my destination and arrived with 12% battery. After arriving, I decided to go to the Freemont supercharger to get a 100% charge. My hotel did not have charging and my company did not have any chargers near the building I was at. I wanted to visit the factory anyway so this was a great opportunity to do both. When I arrived all 12 chargers were full. I’ve never seen that in So cal. You cannot image the sound that 12 Tesla’s make supercharging. The charge here was more than enough for the rest of the week around town. I did not need to charge again till right before I had to leave a week later. Completely blew me away because I did not have to change to way I drive and I still got very good range out of the car. So before leaving I topped off at the Mountain View Supercharger. I flew my family in and we decided to take the long way back. We first went to San Francisco and did the tourist thing before heading out to Santa Cruz. We spend the night at Santa Cruz and headed over to the Monterey supercharger to get a full charge. I had only 10% so it took about an hour and 10 minutes to to-off off. But that charge was more than enough to do the 17 mile drive thru pebble beach and then taking highway 1 all the way down thru Big Sur and Hearst castle. We stopped a lot along the way to check out the sites and had more than enough range. The car ended up routing us to the Atascadero supercharger just south of Paso Robles on the 101. Car needed 40 Minutes so we stopped and got a snack this time and did just the 40 minutes before heading out to the Tejon Pass supercharger. At the Tejon charger we stopped for a late dinner and charged for an hour and had more than enough to get home. Once again the car wanted us to hit the Rancho Cucamonga for 0 minute charging so we skipped the detour and headed home. So here is what I learned from my trip. The trip planning software does a really good job of making supercharger stops mimic the stops most people would make anyway on a long road trip. Just about the time I needed a bathroom, the car had already planned a 5-10 minute stop to charge. Then just about the time I needed to eat I needed a longer 40 charging stop. To me the trip felt more relaxed than before. The car figured out all of my stops and I was way more relaxed than usual. I’ve made this trip several times in a gas car and this trip was only an hour longer than my normal time. The only reason it was longer is because I did not eat and drive. This time I took my time and stopped to enjoy a really good meal at Harris Ranch. I always wanted to stop and eat at Harris Ranch but never did before because it was just not in the budget when you consider fuel costs. To me the overall trip felt much more relaxed and I arrived far less tired. But an even bigger benefit; I did not have to pay anything for the trip itself so I could stop and enjoy a really good meal. This past weekend we decided to go back to San Simeon and check out Hearst castle and had a completely different experience. This was the same weekend interstate 5 was closed due to mudslides. The 101 was grid locked and the Navigation was a big problem. I have my Nav setup to not offer any route changes unless it’s provides a 20 min improvement. But it does not work. The car kept routing me for 5-minute route improvements thru streets that were more congested than the freeway. It would also suggest mountain roads that drastically reduced range compared to just sitting in traffic. It was really frustrating not getting any time improvements and loosing more and more range. We ended up just figuring out or own route. Range On average I’m getting anywhere between 200-220 miles of range out of the battery. I have not actually taken it down to 0% yet so calculations are based on the trip computer and estimated range. I try and not change the way I drive and still drive at 70-75 mph in the freeway. Considering the rated range is for 270 at 55mph, I’m very happy with the average range I’m getting at my speeds. I’m averaging around 321 wh/mi over the last 4000 miles. I really don’t understand the calculation though. On my i3 efficiency is rated at miles / KWH. It’s really easy to figure out your range and like a car you are shooting for a higher #. On the I3 I was getting an average of 4.2 mi/Kwh. In the Tesla that wh/mi did not initially make sense to me because you are shooting for a lower number. So I get that you want to use less watts per mile part, but to me it’s harder to wrap your mind around figuring out how many Miles/kWh I’m getting. I figure I’m getting around 3 mi/kWh on the Tesla. The good So here are the surprises and things that I really like about the car. - The touch screen is amazing & easy to use - The key and functionality available from the key Hold down the trunk button and the charge door opens - I like how the Homelink remembers where you programmed a garage door button and they automatically pop up as you pull into the driveway of that location. - Auto- location of suspension raising. If you’ve never had a Tesla, the car remembers where you raised the suspension and assumes that you need to raise it there every time. So when you get back to that spot the suspension gets raised automatically. - With lane keeping enabled, the steering wheel makes a noise when you get out of your lane just like if you hit the rumble strips on the side of the road - At first I did not like the large cavity of space in between the seats. But after this long trip I absolutely love it. On the drive back I had more than enough space to store my camera for quick and easy access. - The seats are more confortable than I expected. - Being able to select the steering response is really great. I loved having it in sport, but after a couple of hours of driving it was really great to take a break and put it in comfort mode. - The sound system sounds great. Not sure what other have been complaining about. The new Hi fi system with the sub in the back sounds great. - I really like how the car starts to learn your routine. It remembers your schedule and preconditions. The car also automatically routes you back to your work address too. The car did this all automatically after a week of learning my routine. - The app response is really good and almost instant. Being able to track the car while it’s driven is a really great feature. On my i3 the iphone app and control of the car just does not work. - I love the auto-pilot. It was great while stuck in traffic last weekend. Gave me a chance to take a break. Just be careful using it on the number 1 lane. It gets a little confused and tries to exit the freeway when I don’t want it to. The bad & Suggested Improvements - The Regenerative braking feels really week to me. I have it set to the max setting but when compared to my i3 the Tesla regen braking feels weak. In my i3 I can do true single peddle driving. On the I3 I only need to touch the brake for emergency braking. On the Tesla I find myself using the brake all the time. The regenerative braking does reduce how much I have to use the brake. But I have to use it to hold the car (I have creep disabled), to stop the car, and there is a ton of brake dust on my front wheels. Tesla needs to offer more aggressive regenerative braking with better hill assist and hold assist so that we don’t have to use the brake at all. V7.0 did improve Hill assist but it wont engage till you press the brake. - The display is SLOW. Most application work fine but the display can get a little dopy at times. I’ve had to reset mine a couple of times now. Once for the slacker not working and a 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] time to improve performance. But the worst, is how slow the display functions while surfing the Internet. It gets really dopy. Even Tesla designed website tend to fail loading and require a reload. For a car this sophisticated I expected it to be better. - Curb Rash. Within the first week of ownership I had 2 wheels with nasty curb rash. The car is huge and it’s way too easy to scratch the wheels. Tesla needs to offer some kind of wheel protection accessory. Either that or redesign the wheels or use wider tires. But the curb rash is a problem I see on just about every other Tesla I have encountered. I installed Alloy gators on mine to reduce any future damage. - I wish I would have held out for the new seats. The original seats, while comfortable, don’t really hold you in place. In spirited driving I really slide around a lot don’t really feel secure. - Why doesn’t the Tesla have ventilated seats? A car this expensive should have ventilated seats. I can get them in my f150 so the tesla should have them too. It would have made the long trips that much more comfortable. - The AC Vents blow directly on my hands while driving. Not sure if other have this problem but the placement of the vents is in a really bad spot for me. The adjustment is also very minimal and I always found that I was freezing my hands and constantly repositioning. I can lower the steering wheel, but I’m short and now I’m blocking my view of the gauges. - I would like to see more functionality from the app, We should be able to send addresses to the car for GPS Routing. I would also like to see the battery percentage along side projected range of the car. I really don’t like the rated range view. Right now I have been using the Iphone Calendar to avoid having to type addresses to the car. I cut and paste it into the location field and once you have you phone paired and click on the appointment the car start to route you. - On the main display or on the graph I would like to see both the battery percentage & the projected range. The rated range or ideal range does not help me at all because I’m never going to drive the car at 55 mph on the freeway. I want more real time data on the dash along with the battery percentage. Modifications: After driving the car for a couple of weeks I’ve made a couple of modifications. 1. Dash Cam: highly recommend installing a dash cam into any car. Not just for when you have an accident but to capture cool moments. 2. Alloy gators – I had to spent $150 to repair the rims a week after getting the car. So I ordered some red gators for the car. I originally wanted a red car but since I could not find a good deal on it, I figured my white S needed some red on it. I also did it because at every supercharge I stopped at had at least 1 other white Tesla that looked identical to mine. I wanted mine to look a little different. I’ll put a threat together on the allow gators next as I ran into a couple of problems that could help other Tesla guys out there. 3. Red Tesla Logos on Front, Rear, side indicators, all wheels, & Rear tesla letters in the back. The car juts needed more red on it.