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Personal observations from a Roadster owner who got to test drive several S Models.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by TOBASH, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    Dear Guys,

    I was interested in an S, so when my roadster went in under warranty issues I asked for loaners.

    The first was a Model S with air suspension and ACC, the second was a performance model with spring suspension.

    I currently believe that I cannot proceed with a purchase of an S based on my observations, but I wanted to post here to see how my observations over 2 weeks of driving in subfreezing temperatures matches up with others.

    Battery Life:

    Poor. Between 66% and 50% expected from car predictions. First car in range told me 272 miles, and I got 138 actual with just 30 miles left of charge. That was during 15 degree F temps in Brooklyn NY. All days started with fact that I could not utilize regenerative braking as battery was too cold. Over time I could incrementally get better regeneration. Second car was marginally better with 66% predicted mileage, but still regenerative issues at 35 and 43 degrees F. I was expecting a car that gets decent mileage in cold/warm/normal temps. I expected a car that would not get crappy mileage due to the battery needing more heat than my feet.

    I was told that Brooklyn driving (ie.: City Driving) in the cold is too much for the battery. I was told the battery burns energy keeping warm unless I use the cellphone app to keep it warming while charging, but that without owning the car I could not test or utilize that app to prove it would give better mileage.

    I was also told NYC driving will drastically reduce my actual miles seen. All this does not work for me.

    Icing of windshield fore and aft:

    During driving snow, wipers bog down. Also they can't be locked in an upright position overnight to keep them from freezing to the windscreen. The little area they tuck into also freezes solid making wiper cleaning and de-icing and extraction a chore.

    The rear windscreen has too little of an angle so Ice from the roof falls back and then sticks and gets stuck on the rear window, obstructing view. Without a rear wiper this also becomes a chore.

    Tires:

    The stock all season Pirelli's suck in snow and ice and slush.

    Suspension:

    The air suspension allows a great deal of play, and was preferable to the spring suspension in my mind. The air suspension allowed for hard ride when wanted, but softer ride when needed by road conditions. The springs were just horrible on rough roads. My kidneys are still sending me hate messages. I actually loved the air suspension

    EZ Pass issues:

    For whatever reason, my bridge and toll device would not work properly behind the windshield of either car. I had to open the window and hold it up and out from the car while driving through toll plazas. Not a pleasant chore when driving in rain and snow.

    Rear leg room:

    Needs 4 more inches. I like to occasionally be driven to work while I do paperwork. Mercedes and BMW have better rear legroom.

    Cruise control:

    ACC is the way to go. Just wish the +/- would move in increments of 2MPH and not 5MPH. Makes dialing in MPH annoying.

    Too many stalks near the directional stalk make things confusing at first also. Move cruise controls to the wheel.

    Window switches and my left knee:

    I thought I had a ghost opening my windows. It was the poorly positioned window switches being hit by my left knee.

    Radio Controls:

    While listening to Slacker, songs would jump as the fast forward switch is too sensitive. I do however love the volume control.



    Did/does anyone else have these issues OR am I off center here.

    After owning the Roadster I expected I would buy a Sedan SD Performance. Now I don't think so.

    Best,

    T
     
  2. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    Thank you for your nice report.

    The cold weather package helps a little with the windshield wipers, but I've made the point in previous threads that Model S is hardly an ideal winter car. I've had the charge port door, frameless windows and folding side mirrors freeze shut much more so than with other cars I've owned (the door handles haven't given me a hard time, though). Loosing regenerative breaking on mornings is a common sight and always feels a little weird, like an ICE that were to loose engine braking. That said, even the RWD version fares in snow better than average, thanks to the linear, torque-rich power delivery and, I guess, weight distribution.

    As for the rear legroom, are you comparing to long wheelbase cars? Competing similar, regular wheelbase ones don't seem better than Model S to me and there is more lateral legroom due to no center tunnel. Of course many high-end cars from competing makers have lots more in terms of rear amenities available, while Model S is very spartan.

    Never had the windows open accidentally, though, perhaps I'm shorter. :)

    I must add, though, I came to this thread hoping for interesting comparisons to the Roadster. If you have a moment for a follow-up, how would you say the Roadster fares in the areas mentioned (rear legroom exempted of course)? Thank you.

    p.s. The cruise control pardigm sucks big balls, but I wouldn't say move it to the wheel, instead make it like the Audi one. No accounting for taste, I guess. ;)
     
  3. DieAbetic

    DieAbetic Member

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    --If you pre-heat the car, the regen and battery range will be better. It'll still be limited in the cold and you will get reduced range especially with temps under freezing. Not much I can tell you there, that's just how it is.

    --If you are worried about cold weather and the wipers, get the cold weather package with heated wipers. Problem solved. Also pre-heat the car (or it will learn and pre-heat for you based on schedule)

    --Likewise, pre-heat the car from the Tesla App to deal with ice

    --EZ pass works inside in very certain areas (I think it needs to be by the rear view mirror - do a search, there are many topics), or you need it installed in the nose cone. Common problem due to windshield coating blocking. Tesla will put it in the nose cone for you.

    --Tires: All season always suck in snow/slush and cold temps. The winters tires work well so get those - I loved them in my cross country trip. Never had to use snow chains even in South Dakota snow storm.

    --Suspension: I like the spring, not much to say there. Air is good in winter conditions especially for raising the car with snow areas. Different strokes for different folks.

    --Rear leg room: get the executive seats that have more rear leg room, problem solved

    --ACC: if you do a half-click up it changes in 1MPH increments, if you push it all the way up its 5MPH. Already resolved.

    --Window switches: I don't have that problem, but I'm not that tall. Adjust the seat placement maybe? Not sure what to tell you there.

    --Slacker: I don't think there is a fast forward, unless that is something with the premium audio. Mine just skips on Slacker.

    I think if you had those options and had a little more knowledge of the car you'd really enjoy it. Give it another shot. Cheers
     
  4. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    Firstly, I want to thank you guys for the positive and informative feedback and the lack of flaming.

    Great information and I will look into these things.

    Please keep comments coming guys.

    Best,

    T

    - - - Updated - - -

    I will reply comparing to Roadster as you wish. Gimme a few hours.
     
  5. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Active Member

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    TOBASH, thank you in advance. :)

    DieAbetic: The executive rear seats option have more legroom? I didn't know that. How did they manage that?
     
  6. DieAbetic

    DieAbetic Member

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    Apparently they are set back a little farther (I don't have written confirmation, just passed-on info), which is also why you can't get the rear-facing seats with them. Check out the design studio - once you select executive seats the rear facing seats can't be selected. I'm guessing the trunk is a little smaller as well.
     
  7. felixtb

    felixtb RsEU502,Sp+14274,XpEUSig4

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    hmm sat in the exec seats at the Geneva Autoshow and there did not seem to be any extra room. and I suspect the reason for not being able to have the trunk seating is that the area where they attach to the regular bench back rest is no longer there since the middle of the back rest has been lowered in the center, to the height of the internal trunk cover....... my two cents. :)
     
  8. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I would have thought that the Roadster would have the same trouble with cold weather range as the Model S, but you seem surprised by it. Is the Roadster better here, or is something else at work that makes it less of a problem for you?

    Regarding the EZ Pass, this is a problem with the autopilot Model Ss (those built from mid-September 2014 on) which don't have any place on the windshield that's transparent to the EZ Pass signals. My DS said they're working on trying to figure out a solution, but in the meantime the only fix is to get an exterior transponder. Your local EZ Pass people should be able to get you one if you tell them you have a car which blocks the regular one.

    For the cruise control, as DieAbetic already mentioned, you can get 1MPH or 5MPH changes depending on how far you push the lever. There's also a handy shortcut where pulling the stalk toward you and holding it for about two seconds will set your cruise control speed to the current speed limit plus whatever margin you set in the settings. I have my margin set to 7MPH so, for example, on a highway with a 55MPH limit, this maneuver instantly sets the cruise to 62MPH no matter where it was before. The car reads speed limit signs and always knows what the limit is for where you are. Very handy.
     
  9. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    I don't think Pirelli's are stock all season tires. Those would have been Michelin Primacy or Goodyear. The standard winter tire, however, is the Pirelli Sottozero. So if you had a bad experience with those, it's not a good sign. I recently had a loaner with the Pirelli's and I was very pleased, but there are many here who prefer other options.
     
  10. DieAbetic

    DieAbetic Member

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    You may very well be correct, I haven't sat in them in-person. It is just what I was told by a Tesla rep when I inquired.
     
  11. DavidB

    DavidB Aug 2013 S85

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    #11 DavidB, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
    Re: Battery Life during 15 degree F temps in Brooklyn NY
    Thank goodness that it is rarely 15 degrees F in Brooklyn. Even so, you would have had much better results if you preheated your car before unplugging in the morning. There are threads that discuss the optimum preheating strategy.

    Re: Icing of windshield fore and aft
    You CAN lock the wipers in an upright position overnight. Controls -> Settings -> Service & Reset -> Wipers service mode ON.
    Unfortunately, the blades are still resting on the glass.
    Also, the front heated defrost and the rear defroster work reasonably well. Not perfectly, perhaps, but reasonably well. Using them should be part of your preheating strategy before unplugging in the morning.

    Re: All season Pirellis in snow and ice and slush
    Use the wrong tool for the wrong job, and you get poor results. Use winter tires in cold weather. That being said, I'm still impressed with how well the traction control works with the wrong type of tires on the car during winter.

    Re: I actually loved the air suspension
    Ditto.

    Re: EZ Pass issues
    This is a well known issue, and best resolved by installing an exterior transponder behind the nosecone.

    Re: Rear legroom
    If you sit in the rear passenger seat with the front passenger seat moved forward, you will find you have ample legroom.

    Re: Cruise control
    I can't speak for ACC, but the older non-adaptive CC allows +/- increments of 1 MPH and 5 MPH.

    Re: Too many stalks near the directional stalk
    The stalks have been moved once already for older/newer Model S versions. I can't speak for the newer positioning, but I agree that the older positioning was not the best.

    Re: Window switches and my left knee
    Yes, I have hit the window switches with my left knee. I think altering the lockout switch to also lock the driver's window controls would solve the problem.

    Re: Radio Controls
    I think the controls could be better, but I use them too infrequently to offer advice.
     
  12. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    No idea if you're on-target regarding cold weather performance as it is not an issue at all here in California. I also have never had an issue with the window switch locations or the slacker controls or the stalks once I got used to them (a few days), which you aren't. Bottom line is that any electric car is compromised in very cold weather. no way around that for the foreseeable future. Every other issue you make is simply getting used to a new and it's controls, as with any other new car.
     
  13. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Battery heating is an interesting thing and will only make a drastic difference in your ownership experience if you don't have a regular charging solution. Since you have a Roadster, I'll assume that you have a garage with charging. Short city trips will continually cold soak the battery requiring battery heating every time you start (and a limitation in regen). If you charge at home, though, this is generally a non-issue as you won't run through a full charge before you can recharge. In addition, you can set your charge start time so that it finishes just before you leave if you have a regular schedule. This will leave you with a warm pack for your first drive of the day. Long trips are less of a concern since you'll be heating the battery only once or twice. Then you simply take the more usual cold weather range penalties which aren't as severe.

    EZ Pass: works fine just to the right of the mirror (at least it does for me) unless the new vehicles have changed where the non-coated windshield area is.

    Cold weather wipers: Yup, a bit of a pain not having the waste heat from an ICE up there. I usually have to blast the defroster every once in a while during a snow storm to keep things thawed. And use plenty of wiper fluid with the right cold weather rating.

    Window switch: I know it's real because plenty of people experience it but I simply can't make it happen with my knee. Maybe I'm not tall enough at 6' or have my seat adjusted differently than everyone else.
     
  14. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Really? How did you get it to behave in this manner? My air suspension only has settings for height, and above 30 MPH only Standard and Low can be used. How do you change the ride quality?
     
  15. meltoots

    meltoots Member

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    Good article.

    I am a P85D owner and just got it at the beginning of Jan.
    Here are some of my cold weather observations:

    1. Winter tires were on my P85D. I had NO issues in a harsh Cleveland winter. Car handled like a dream.
    2. I use EZ pass in OH and I just hold it up next to the rear view mirror on the driver side, works fine for me.
    3. Here are my cold weather observations: I lose 10% range per 10 degrees under 50F. So at 45F I get 10 percent less
    range, 35F 20% less, 25F 30% less range, 15F 40% and 0-5F (yes we were at zero and below these past 2 months) about 50%.
    4. Things I did to improve range. Preheat car with range mode off. I sometimes, preheated several times, left my car plugged in.
    This helped warm up the car and batteries and improved range.
    5. Range improved the longer the car was running, even in freezing temps. I drove my car back from Columbus at the beginning
    of Jan with a full charge, range on, warmed up in Tesla's garage prior. It was a 120 mile trip. I drove to a supercharger (to try it)
    and I had 100 miles left in zero degree weather. The longer it was cruising the better it performed. Highway much more efficient.
    6. Now that the weather is markedly warmer, in the 40-50 degree range, my range is nearly exact to rated, sometimes even better
    if I am highway cruising.
    7. I am constantly amazed at how beautiful the car actual works. Its a marvel, tight fit and finish, beautiful piece of engineering.Truly revolutionary.

    Things I would wish for from Tesla.
    1. When plugged in, warm my batteries, or ask if I want it to do that. I'd like it as efficient as possible when I drive.
    2. Let me schedule my preheating, not just smart preheating. My schedule it too wacky.
    3. Let me know what exactly was changed with each of these small updates. Even if just bug fixes. Just wanna know.

    There is more but I hope that helps.
     
  16. fadkar

    fadkar Member

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    The air suspension does not adjust its dampers based on road quality. The only thing it can do is raise, lower, or level the car if there is heavy cargo in the trunk. Tesla's description on their website can be deceptive since it says that the suspension "adjusts stiffness regardless of road surface or cargo."
     
  17. brickfrenzy

    brickfrenzy Member

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    That's some very interesting information. I'm in a suburb next to yours, and will have to make semi-regular trips to my inlaws about 150 miles away. Think that I'll make it without a stop in Maumee when it's really cold?
     
  18. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    I've driven the 170 miles from CT to Boston through the interior hills in single digit weather many times, averaging 70-75mph on the highway. It takes no more than 220 rated miles to do so. Strong headwinds would sway the balance, though.
     
  19. Dborn

    Dborn Confirmed

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    Well, right hand drive eliminates any possibility of issues with the window controls. Transponder works if mounted as high as possible just to the left of the rear view mirror, your drivers side, I guess. Initially I also had issues getting it to work. As to cold weather, the solution is to live in Australia. Mid winter in Sydney can be quite miserable and, in my view cold, at around 6-9 degrees Celsius!! We do get rain in winter, but thankfully no snow. In the mountains we do get some snow, but not a lot, and most of us here have absolutely no clue how to drive in the stuff, me included!! We use summer tires year round.
     
  20. Scotty

    Scotty Member

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    I have the same problems with both the EZPass transponder, and the passenger window going down unexpectedly (when my left leg unintentionally hits the button, and I'm 5' 8", so it's not a drivers height issue). A lockout function would fix this problem.

    Scotty
     

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