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Ownership Away from a Service Centre City?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by beeeerock, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Doing my research... been pondering a Tesla to replace my Mercedes E320 Diesel ever since I saw one at Hot Nite last summer and have found plenty of reasons why it would be great, including some spreadsheets that seem to be tweakable to make it a financially prudent decision too... :biggrin:

    I'm in Kamloops and obviously, there is no Tesla corporate presence here in town. I don't think there is Model S owned here either, although plenty seem to be driving through now that the SuperCharger network has expanded.

    What I'd like to get an unbiased opinion on is whether I would be making a mistake by owning a Tesla so far from a service centre. How frequently do owners find issues that require Tesla to become involved? I'd assume there is little or nothing that could be done by an intelligent local mechanic that wouldn't end badly or void warranty? I can accept (and look forward to) a trip to Vancouver once in a while for regular scheduled maintenance, but I don't want to spend my life on the Coq just to fix some trim or chase down a funny noise.

    Assuming at least some service centre visits are a fact of life, how likely is it that I'd find myself in a situation where I had to either bring in a repair person or have the vehicle transported to Vancouver because it wasn't able to go on its own power? Does Tesla have a policy on this sort of thing?

    I'm going to assume many owners here previously owned Mercedes or BMW or other import luxury cars. And have an expectation of a solid feel, quality build, etc, that goes with such a car. I know the Tesla isn't a Ford, but it IS American.... :cool: Will I feel like I've given up the quality of my Benz after the initial thrill of the Model S wears off? If you're comparing, is it more of an EV Ford/Lincoln or an EV Mercedes?

    On a related note, what are the typical stops between Vancouver and Kamloops for charging necessary to complete the trip? With the vertical component of the Coquihalla highway considered, I'm not sure how to adjust down the EPA range ratings. Is the Fraser Canyon an option?

    Any and all comments appreciated!!
     
  2. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    #2 PoweredByRain, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
    The typical stops between Kamloops and Vancouver are: Hope. There is a Supercharger there. Take a look at Supercharger | Tesla Motors or Superchargers

    I live arguably the same travel time from Vancouver as you do, since it's a two hour (possibly much more with longer waiting time) ferry ride from Victoria to the mainland. I could have bought Ranger service, but didn't, since I figured that travel to Vancouver would be necessary to do the annual inspection well.

    Immediately after buying the car, the glove compartment would not remain closed. The latch stuck inside. I emailed Tesla, they sent a ranger the next day - he just swapped out the whole glove box. There's been no problem with that since.

    At one point the charge port door separated from the magnet, so it would remain open in the breeze. This did not disable the car, but was embarrassing. I emailed Tesla, and got back a response within an hour with detailed instructions as to which epoxy to buy and how to apply it to the door. They also promised to replace the door at the next service.

    I went on a long trip last summer. I was going to be in Toronto at the time that the car hit 20,000 km, so I arranged for an annual service there. The service manager in Toronto talked to the service manager in Vancouver, who contacted me and suggested that I drop in to have the car checked out before I went on the trip. I did so. Everything was fine. They replaced the charge port door, and also added the titanium shield (this is included in cars built within the last year and a bit). I was given a red Model S 85 loaner for the day.

    A couple of months ago, after extended periods of not being plugged in and very short trips in colder weather, I got the "replace 12V battery" notice. I emailed Tesla. They looked at the logs, which includes a log of battery voltage. I was told that the battery itself was ok, it was just a transient blip, but they would replace it anyway as a precaution. A couple of weeks later, when a ranger was in the neighbourhood, they replaced the battery.

    There's been no additional charge for any of this.

    In my opinion it's quite unlikely that there would be anything that would totally disable the car. And I expect that if somehow that happened, they would look after it. The car isn't cheap, and the service contract isn't cheap (4 year service prepaid is $2000), but to me the peace of mind is worth it. Once you've driven a Model S, there is no going back.


    There is now 33,000 km on the car. It's still fantastic.
     
  3. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Hi PoweredByRain,

    That's a helpful response, thanks very much!

    I've been looking over the Supercharger maps and was gratified to see how quickly the build out is happening. However in BC, it doesn't look like you can get too far off of the beaten track (i.e., the Trans Canada Highway) before you'll be stuck to plug the extension cord you borrowed from your weedeater into a tree somewhere... and hang out overnight. I can live with that, because all joking aside, I recognize there are other types of charge stations all over the place and while they aren't going to be as fast as a Supercharger, you won't have find a hotel very often. It's interesting to note that Vancouver and Calgary are both conspicuously absent from the Supercharger list... so far anyway. I see they're scheduled for the future, but I guess the assumption is you're either originating or 'destinating' in those cities and therefore will be able to charge *somewhere* at your leisure.

    So evidently the Coquihalla can be overcome if you top up in Hope... and you should be able to make it to Kamloops without another charge. I know Merritt has some sort of charge station, but not a Supercharger yet. Kamloops-Vancouver would be my typical longer run, so if I wouldn't need to make more than one stop in each direction (Hope), that would be entirely acceptable.

    Your service comments are interesting. I had seen comments about Rangers and also a Valet Service, but nowhere did I find a clear explanation of the rules for either... typically Google gave me discussion with comments in passing, like yours. It looked to me like the Ranger service was being phased out in favour of Valet, but how that works and any possible distance limitations weren't clear. I suppose that the digital aspects of the car allow so much more in the way of remote trouble-shooting than what I'm used to in the ICE world. And I guess there are fewer 'fatal' issues that would prevent you from driving. No crank position sensors, air mass metering, fuel pumps... etc!

    I found a 'How it Works' episode that showed the Tesla production line. Of course, it was simplified, but what struck me was how simple the car is. They didn't go into any of the details, like sound deadening, suspension, electric windows and so on, so I came away feeling like it was a bit of a go-cart. That conflicts with what I saw at the car show here last summer, so I know a Tesla is more than that! But Mercedes and the others have had decades upon decades to improve on every aspect of their cars and the result is a very refined drive - Tesla is very young by comparison. Do you feel like you're driving a car that's *worth* $100,000, or is it a $50,000 car with a $50,000 premium for exclusivity and electric drive? I don't mean that to be an insulting question, but until I drive one I can't get a feel for this from a smooth corporate web site alone. And I can't judge whether they become creaky and loose after a few thousand km's either.

    I'm not sure if I'm asking the question correctly... but I'm wondering if all the big names were selling EV's and the ICE didn't exist, would the Model S still command the price it does today? Part of my analysis is attempting to determine whether the depreciation will be low or at least reasonable, or whether the price will plummet once competition arrives in the market and market corrections will mean that I'll be able to buy a new one for less than the anticipated resale value.

    On a somewhat humorous note, I bumped into my Italian mechanic (in his 70's - just won't retire - loves the business too much) at the grocery store today. I mentioned that I might sell the Mercedes and get into a Tesla and his reaction was.... interesting. He was genuinely hurt that I could and would consider giving up the sound of an ICE... even after I reminded him I'd still have my Alfa Spider and first gen RX-7. He looked quite mortified actually! "You can't tell an old man that!", he said... :crying:
     
  4. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I can't help you with not being near a SC, but I moved to a Tesla from a Lexus GS350. The technology in the Tesla is vastly superior to what was in my Lexus, which was supposed to be very good. I don't have any complaints about the fit and finish of my car, but I do have a few minor niggles. The centre console isn't placed very well as it is too far back and the seats aren't great - I am waiting for my next gen seats to come which is supposed to be around May. And you can tell that the car's designers don't have much experience with winter - some of the sensor designs are asinine when you consider snow buildup.
     
  5. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    You're welcome!

    In general, yes, that's the idea. It's more convenient to plug in overnight wherever you're sleeping, than wait for the charge - even at a Supercharger.

    For details maybe just contact the Vancouver Service Centre. Tesla's web page about service is here: Tesla Service | Tesla Motors


    Exclusivity? It's one of the best selling cars out there at its price point. Tesla has sold over 70,000 of them. They are hoping to produce 50,000 per year now. They are hardly exclusive.

    The car feels rock solid to me. One of the (many, many) advantages of electric drive is that the car isn't shaking itself all the time, even just sitting there going nowhere. So if you're worried about the car being "creaky or loose" over time - well, that's another factor in an EV's favour. As for a "refined drive" - really, you just have to drive one. All ICEs feel like ridiculous Rube Goldberg contraptions by comparison. The Model S is smooth at all speeds at all times. It's effortless. You want to go faster? Press on the "go" pedal. But be careful, because it can GO at any speed, instantly. And it handles curves amazingly, since there's a ton of weight (almost literally) under your feet.

    There are lots of rave reviews of the car out there. There's a reason for that.


    I am not a Tesla sales person, and I do not own Tesla stock. :)
     
  6. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    I also live far from a service center (130 miles) albeit in California so there are many, just not close. Your concern was the one that almost made me not buy. So far after 3 months of ownership I have had zero need for a service center. It will still be an issue from time to time but it's worth it for me. If you're the type that likes a camry-like ownership experience with a dealer 10 minutes away, perhaps this isn't the car. If you're adventurous and an early adapter as you pretty much have to be at this point to buy a MS, go for it.
     
  7. harry

    harry Member

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    We are in the Maritimes and based on the recent change in policy here, I would warn potential buyers that warranty service will cost you about $2500 round trip to transport the car to and from the Montreal SC, or a trip of five days round trip (with a day for service) if you drive it. Montreal refused to transport our car for the contactor pack upgrade and was adamant that there will be no more Tesla paid transports. They are within their rights, since the warranty agreement states clearly that the owner is responsible for getting the car to a SC. Of course, that was never enforced until now.

    Be aware...
     
  8. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    One comment about the winter reference...B.C. was at +7 while we froze in Ontario at -20 . So with BC's mild winters, the winter pitfalls of the car might not be that extensive in B.C.
    Good information to pass along though.
     
  9. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Ah, I love that BC is gaining the reputation of being the California of Canada! :) Certainly this winter was the oddest I've seen in... perhaps... forever. However I'm not in the Vancouver area and in fact, 3.5 hours NE into the Thompson-Shuswap region (Kamloops). Winter is typically colder than it was this year and we generally have a few weeks two or three times a winter where the temperature stays in the -20 or colder range. Other than the odd warm spell where the snow accumulation melts partly away, we stay in the 0 to -10 range.... Livable! We had one of those cold snaps at the end of November this winter, another a few days after Christmas, and then winter seemed to forget about us. I've had the crocuses blooming in my front yard for the last week or more... normally the ground would still be frozen!

    So I am concerned about the winter performance of the car. Heated seats, steering wheel, mirrors, wipers etc. all get put to good use around my place. Thankfully, my work commute is very short (less than 15 km round trip) so going through charge quickly won't be a huge concern... and I gather that heating the batteries and getting onto the highway for a longer trip helps that situation anyway(?). My longest winter drive would be to Vancouver, but only if I had no option! If you've seen 'Highway thru Hell' on TV, you'll understand why I'm not anxious to thrash any of my vehicles with road bullets or risk going under a semi.

    Equally important is summer performance. We're sagebrush and cactus around here - plenty hot in the summer. The AC needs to work! And the battery cooling system will need to be effective at 40+ degrees. Given the factory location, I'm assuming this isn't an issue?

    - - - Updated - - -

    This is the sort of thing I was worried about... but thankfully I'm significantly closer to a service center than you are. I read through the service information linked above... should I gather that you don't have any of the optional extended coverage? Or is there a distance limit hidden in the fine print somewhere?
     
  10. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    So, you still get snow in B.C., :biggrin: This was my first winter with my classic s85. I found that putting on 4 snow tires is a must. The car handled fairly well for my 45 km commute to work. I found that you lose about 25% of the range you normally get with the battery in the summer. Doug wrote a nice blog about winter driving here . As long as you preheat the car with the tesla app, the drive should be okay. I don't have the heated steering wheel heated wipers.
    The A/c in the car is great, probably due to where it was built.
     
  11. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I have had a Tesla for 4 years now and still the closest service center is 300 miles away. The distance has not been a problem at all. I feel I have gotten great service whenever I have needed it.
     
  12. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    By 'exclusive', I was thinking more in terms of "there is no real competition in the long range luxury EV market" and "they can charge what the market will bear because you either want it or you don't". I agree, the S is becoming more common on the roads with every passing day. What I'm trying to understand is whether this is a car that after 10,000 km you think 'yeah, I guess I paid a good chunk of money for the name', because it has started to decay around you like the stereotypical American car (no offense to anyone who owns one - LOL), or the cockpit no longer feels as plush and sophisticated as the Euro Sedan you had before. Or do you think 'wow, this car impresses me more every time I get in for a drive!"? I guess I'm wanting to hear whether owners who transitioned from similar value Mercedes, BMW's etc. think they left anything behind in the transaction that they miss. I can't option up an E-Class diesel far enough to get to the Model S base price... the nearest comparable is an entry S-Class. I don't want to come to the realization, after a few months of ownership, that the Model S feels more like a VW Passat than an E or S-Class!

    I'm planning to head to Vancouver in the next week or two for a proper look and drive, but most cars present well in the showroom and it's only after you've had it for some time that the true nature of it comes to light. From the comments I've read here, I'm expecting the Model S *will* stand the test of time well, but you know what I mean! I *like* that my Benz doors close with a heavy 'thunk' and not a lightweight garbage-can-lid sound! All the European cars I've owned over the years have felt well made and worth the money even years after purchase - I'm just trying to get a feel for whether the Tesla compares favorably this way.

    It's not that I'm a car-snob in any way, but rather that quality is important to me. I've always been the person who prefers to buy one good product over several cheap ones. As I also tend to be an early-adopter, this complicates my life regularly, believe me! :-D
     
  13. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

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    I'm in Ottawa, so the nearest SC is Montreal. I've had some service done in Toronto when I happened to be there anyway, and I've had a ranger come to my house from Montreal twice. It's actually kind of nice to have the work done at home and the service is always excellent. Now I need a drive unit replaced and they will be sending a loaner car from Montreal, taking my car back there to do the work, and then bringing it back to me. This kind of remote service is actually one of the things about Tesla that I like to tell people about - they are always impressed.
     
  14. dasRad

    dasRad Member

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    Peter,

    What's up with your drive unit? Our S85 was delivered a few days after yours and I thought (hoped?) that problems with earlier units had been resolved before ours was built.
     
  15. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    I have never owned a car this expensive before, and I'm only 1/3 of the way to 100,000 km, so I can't vouch for it. But I know what you mean by doors closing with a heavy "thunk" - I've seen lots of very expensive cars in showrooms - and yes the Model S is like that. That's part of what I meant by "the car feels rock solid to me".
     
  16. harry

    harry Member

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    I bought every optional coverage Tesla offered except for the tire/wheel warranty. I have eight years of annual service. I bought eight years of prepaid Rangers. I have the eight year extended warranty (confusingly also called a "service agreement") BUT... Ranger service only applies to the annual service, not warranty repairs. If you read the two agreements you will see that you are responsible for getting the car to a service center unless you have Ranger service. Given Tesla's recent actions I would expect that Ranger service is going away soon for everyone who has not pre paid, and it's not going to help with warranty work in any case.
     
  17. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

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    We drove to Florida a few weeks ago and when we got there we noticed a new rising, "whining" sound at low speeds (under 40 km/h) when accelerating. I wasn't too worried about it but thought I'd ask at the Paramus NJ store on the way home while we charged. They took it for a drive, took a recording and sent the info to the Montreal SC to arrange to replace the drive unit. I didn't get much detail on what's causing the noise - they just said it's coming from the gearbox (not the inverter or motor). It still drives fine and it'll be a couple of weeks until they replace it.
     
  18. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Assuming I take the leap, mine would only be about 225 miles away, but over a mountain pass that can be a less than relaxing drive in the winter. Given the mechanical simplicity of the vehicle, I'm beginning to believe that failures able to keep the car from moving would be few and far between... it's more likely to be little glitches like the charge door mentioned earlier... which could wait for the right day and wouldn't keep me from getting where I needed to go prior to servicing day.

    Well, that sounds good to me! The price is higher than I've ever paid too, but it's funny that I'm not looking at this possible purchase in the same way as I would a new ICE luxury car that's going to depreciate at a breathtaking rate. Rightly or wrongly, it feels more like a cross between a car purchase and a home purchase... I know there will be depreciation, but it feels like with proper maintenance it's not going to be as steep and that the car could be expected to go many more miles than an ICE. So you might have to put on a new shingle roof (replace batteries) once in quite a few years, but the odds of having to jack up the house and replace the footings (engine-transmission rebuild) are much lower. Not to mention the future of the ICE is already known - it's just the timing that's not. Maybe I'm being overly-optimistic, but this doesn't feel like an irrational and unjustifiable luxury car purchase... at least not in the same way a new S-Class would be!

    I've decided to take a road trip to Vancouver on the weekend and have booked a test drive. Driving is believing I suppose. Assuming that goes well, the next problem will be deciding what model I actually *need* (!) rather than *want*... :cool: Given my relatively remote location, I think an 85 is more practical than a 60. I know I don't need the 'P', as much as I'd like to wear out tires faster than a teenager with a new (old) Mustang. It comes down to RWD vs. AWD I suppose. A couple of sandbags in the trunk of the RWD Benz and I've managed to get everywhere I've ever needed to go. Even up the hill into my neighbourhood that regularly repels many of my neighbours in icy conditions. Decent winter treads, good traction control system and an understanding of static vs. kinetic friction go a long way...! And the weight distribution in the Model S should be an advantage.

    I will have a chat to the salesman on the weekend about all of this. I noted the apparent discrepancy between prepaid service and service agreement and came to the conclusion you've explained. I suspect these packages are getting more difficult to sell as people become more comfortable with the reliability of the cars. I've bought extended warranty a few times in the past and either used it and appreciated having it, or didn't touch it and felt like I'd been ripped off. It's a conundrum! I think the key comment you've made is that the Ranger service looks like it could be on the way out and that it doesn't help with warranty service anyway. Regular maintenance can be booked in advance and made into a short vacation - any excuse for a drive... LOL!
     
  19. PoweredByRain

    PoweredByRain Member

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    #19 PoweredByRain, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    I would agree. I think that after 10 years my cost of ownership will work out to not much more than $10,000 per year, whereas with an ICE the maintenance costs are going to start piling up, and the fuel costs will be astronomical. Depending on how much you drive, the fuel cost of the ICE could add up to $30-50K by that time. Even if the Model S has cost more over the same period: I got to drive a Model S for 10 years! (And I expect that it will last at least another 10, though I'm sure I'll upgrade to the P250D by then.)

    I happen to think that the battery will be fine after 10 years, but even if it isn't: it takes literally just minutes to swap it out for a new one. And what are the odds that you'll be able to get a similar capacity battery for much less, or else a much higher capacity battery for a similar cost? I think the odds are pretty good. So the utility of the car could actually increase.

    As for the dual motor drive: I think the rear-motor car would be fine, but if you're anywhere with snow I'd say go for the dual motors. The only down side I can think of is a little less storage space in the front trunk, and that's not generally a big deal. (I haven't seen a dual motor car - I'm curious how much less space there is in the front trunk.)

    It will be interesting to hear what you think after your test drive!


    P.S. The price of gasoline could easily double or triple in 10 years. The economic equation will change if that is the case.
     
  20. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

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    My thinking about battery degradation is that I'll never need to replace the battery, because the supercharger network will grow way faster than my battery's range will decline. If the degradation predictions of 3% in the 1st year and 1% per year after that are accurate (and so far they seem to be), in 5 years an 85 kWh battery will have around 395 km of range. But there are 403 supercharger locations worldwide now vs. just 94 one year ago. Even if the growth of the network is only linear (not quadrupling every year), 5 years from now there will be almost 2000 supercharger locations worldwide. Who knows exactly how fast the network will actually grow, but by 2020 we should be well past the 2016 map that Tesla is showing now, and with that many superchargers, the difference between 395 km and 425 km of range won't be important.
     

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