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Seeking your advice on getting Roadster

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by sethr, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. sethr

    sethr CPO Roadster #1089

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    Hi all - I would really appreciate some input, as I am wavering over getting a Roadster. Currently I have a Nissan Leaf. It hasn't had any problems, I love driving electric and will never have another ICE, but I can't even vaguely compare the rather boring Leaf to the amazing Tesla Roadster. My big complaints with the Leaf are the limited/less than advertised range, wildly inaccurate gauges, and the poor attitude of Nissan Corp. Plus there's the telematics acceptance screen (referred to by many Leaf owners as the "nag screen"). I could go on (and on) but won't. I believe a few of you have had a Leaf, so I'd particularly like to hear your thoughts. My hesitation about getting the Roadster is that there do seem to be a lot of problems reported on this site - the "What's gone wrong with your Roadster?" thread is a bit worrisome. Of course, what I can't tell is how many Roadsters have been trouble free, and how likely it is that a pre-owned Roadster will have been "sorted out". On the other hand, it's clear from your posts that Tesla is pretty much the opposite of Nissan when it come to how the customer is treated. I would also very much like to hear what I should look for when inspecting an individual Roadster before purchasing. I get the impression that I might expect a high degree of honesty from Tesla (definitely NOT the case with Nissan) - do you agree with that or do you think that's not an accurate impression on my part? Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
  2. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Hi Sethr

    I'm an early Roadster owner and now a Model S owner. I have been blogging regularly for the whole time, which is now over 4 years.

    I never owned any Tesla stock unfortunately, I should have bought some, and may in the future buy a few token shares.

    My blog has been an honest experience with both cars.

    I had really little to no problems with the Roadster. My biggest "problem" was AM radio reception. All of my interactions with Tesla have been lovely.

    Tesla Owner | Life in the green fast lane
     
  3. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I like the Leaf a lot. It's got a lot more room than the Roadster, and is much cheaper to operate.

    That said, the Roadster obviously has a lot more range and is a lot more fun to drive. If you can afford the Roadster, and don't need the space of the Leaf...get one!

    I've had my Roadster for 3.5 years and 38k miles. When Chargepoint chargers first came out (which wasn't until after the car, so hard to blame Tesla for this) I had a problem charging at them; Tesla gave me a new PEM. No significant issues other than that; just some niggly little fit and finish stuff. And the fun of driving it has NOT worn off. I still sometimes go out for drives just for fun; I hadn't done that since I was a teenager.

    If you're looking at a specific Roadster, you can call the local service center and they will likely be happy to give you full details on when it's been serviced, what problems it has had, etc. At least I know a couple of buyers that have done that.
     
  4. araxara

    araxara S-P85#3,218 X-90D#3,299

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    I don't own a Roadster, but do own a Leaf and a P85 Model S. I'm stuck with another year of the Leaf lease. I've also sat in a Roadster, but found it a bit cramped. I know you're looking at a Roadster, but I would say that a 65kWh Model S would be about the same price as a used Roadster and provide more space and about the same range. It would also have a new car warranty. Just something to consider.
     
  5. Tesla 940

    Tesla 940 Member

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    The Roadster is a high performance sports car! It is not roomy. It is not comfy. It does not have much storage space. It is expensive to repair. Etc. Etc. It is a BLAST to drive! If you want a sports car - and can afford it - great! If not, look for something else.

    As for the Model S - it is a 4 door sedan - and a big one at that. Comparing a Leaf to a Roadster to a Model S is like comparing apples to oranges to Watermellons. The only thing they have in common is they are all EVs.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. sethr

    sethr CPO Roadster #1089

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    Fairfax, VA
    Perhaps I should have mentioned; I can't fit a Model S in my 18 foot (!) garage. I'd rather have the Roadster anyway, I find it far more appealing. I will be getting rid of the Leaf if I get a Roadster, so it would be my only car. I've had small sports cars before - a Saab Sonett III and a Toyota MR2. The Roadster is a little tighter than the Sonett but not much. (Infinitely faster of course - after I turbocharged the Saab it went from 65 to all of 100 hp.) My only real worry is whether it will have problems and how many.
     
  7. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    If you get a CPO Roadster through Tesla you will get an extended warranty so problem with the car shouldn't be too much of a concern (at least for the short term).
     
  8. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    You should be fine with a Roadster then. It is a completely different car than the Model S. I used it as my primary car for 4 years. It has enough room for grocery shopping and things like that.
     
  9. Pantera Dude

    Pantera Dude Member

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    I would venture to say that the Leaf might be twice as efficient as the Roadster but nowhere near half as much fun to drive! :biggrin: Actually it does cost me more to drive the car than I expected. I pay about 25 cents per kwh for electricity and at four dollars per gallon for gas I figure that equates to about 40 mpg in the roadster. Not bad considering my Pantera gets about nine mpg. Having owned a number of boring slow/efficient ice cars in my time, the roadster is a whole different ball game. If you haven't driven one, do so, it may make your decision a lot easier. My biggest concern is having to buy a new battery, that would hurt like hell. I would be very careful in confirming that the battery is good. At least have the owner send you pictures of the screen at full charge and hope he is showing you the standard screen and not the range screen and trying to pass it off as the standard. This is assuming you don't check the car out yourself. If the car is not near to you, check here on this forum and see if you can get a local owner to check the car out for you. I think you should assume that with any sports car, it very well may cost you a lot more to maintain than something more common. That said, the roadster is a blast! If you can afford it, go for it! I don't think you will regret it.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Actually, if you avoid heavy foot shenanigans with the Roadster, it is more efficient than the Leaf. It is lighter than the Leaf, and has better aerodynamics thanks to its small size.
     
  11. Tesla 940

    Tesla 940 Member

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    Without being able to access my records for an exact amount - I believe the best efficiency I've gotten for a round trip for both a 90 mile and 140 mile trips has been ~ 210 wh/mile - that is less than 1 Ideal Mile (even for Range Mode) per actual mile. I have to admit that my freeway speed was only 60mph in cruise control.

    Pantera Dude - we live in the same town - so your stuck with SCE like me - have you checked into TOU metering? Peak Off Time is like $0.11/kwh. The big question is your Peak Usage - 10AM to 6PM. Also look into Solar.
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Okay, that's pretty good. Roadster comes in around 220 I believe (53 kWh / 240 miles). "Mileage may vary" depending on conditions.

    I guess the best thing to say is that the Leaf and Roadster have similar efficiency.
     
  13. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    The biggest difference in tech is the Roadster has a far more advanced thermal management system. It's liquid cooled/heated. Where I live that makes a huge difference. My neighbors with Leafs cannot make the 44 mi round trip commute that my wife does when the temps are below 0 deg F, which is frequent around here. By comparison, my roadster will make the same trip at -10F while only using 25% more energy than in the summer. For the most part, when it's below freezing I use about 15% more energy and I keep the cabin warm. This thermal management will also extend the life of your battery longer than the Leaf.

    Yes the battery gauge that displays remaining miles is quite accurate. If it's your only car, the Roadster is also capable of long trips and 70A charging. Tesla Service has been exceptionally good (except for a short period while expanding when they couldn't hire new techs fast enough).

    It took me 9 months to buy my Roadster because I worried about a lot of the same things you are. Now I can't imagine parting with it. My wife and I like small cars so the Model S hasn't worked as well for us. I've had only one major problem that would have cost $800 to fix if I'd had to pay for it. Other than that it's been very reliable. Most of the problems in the thread you mentioned happened in the first year of ownership. You will spend more to maintain because it's a high performance car. Parts will be much more expensive compared to the Leaf. The tires are but one example. Obviously you get what you pay for, as you have already pointed out. As many others have said, it's worth it.

    What to look for? Make sure you understand the differences between all 3 Roadster versions. Ver 2.5 is selling used for roughly 25k more than 1.5 for a lot of reasons. As for how to evaluate the battery health, try to get the CAC value (Calculated Amp-hr Capacity). This somewhat correlates to range-mode charging capacity. It's possible to some degree to manipulate the miles remaining at the end of a charge, so using CAC is better.

    Good luck!
     
  14. Pantera Dude

    Pantera Dude Member

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    Pantera Dude - we live in the same town - so your stuck with SCE like me - have you checked into TOU metering? Peak Off Time is like $0.11/kwh. The big question is your Peak Usage - 10AM to 6PM. Also look into Solar.[/QUOTE]


    I am doing the TOU program and doing most of my charging after midnight. In February 2012, my average cost per kwh was 16 cents. This February with the new electric car my average cost is 21 cents. But when I take the additional cost of my bill and divide it by the additional kwh used, it equals 25 cents per kwh. So yeah, SCE is giving us a break if we charge at night but then they stick it to us the rest of the time! I can't wait for summer when they are going to charge us 55 or 57 cents per kwh! What an incentive to buy an electric car. I do plan to go with the second meter program after adding on to my garage. When I'm done with that I want to look into the solar thing.

    Thanks
     
  15. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    Most of my problems with the car were the tire pressure monitoring system, 12V aux battery, water leakage into the trunk, radio reception, and too much lead in my feet (lots of rear tires). Hopefully if you get a used car the previous owner would have sorted everything out (recalls, updates, etc.) so your only problem in the beginning will be just replacing your rear tires a lot ;)
     
  16. pgwoosley

    pgwoosley Member

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    Be sure sure to read the threads here on tires. Their life and cost can vary considerably depending upon the tire brand and model, and and your usage. I bought my car used with 3800 miles on the Tesla-supplied performance tires and had to replace the rear tires immediately. Without checking to see which models had compatible tire sizes for the front, I picked a different model of the standard brand (Yokohama I think). When my performance fronts gave out at 8000 miles I found out that the model I had picked for the rears was not available in either size that would fit the fronts, so I chose Continental DSMs. They are much cheaper than either model Yokohama and last a lot longer.

    The replacement Yokohamas now have 8,000 miles on them and still have plenty of tread on them, and the Continentals I bought for the rears still sit in my garage.

    For reference, I have driven sports cars for most of my life, but not aggressively. The Roadster cabin is definitely small compared to most anything bigger than a Berkeley.
     
  17. chuckn

    chuckn Member

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    I had similar experiences with the tire pressure monitor false alerting, a trunk leak from a missing screw, bad radio reception (fixed that with Sirius), and went with the Proxes 4 tires (quieter and lasts longer). It's been my primary commute vehicle for almost 2 years/28K miles, and I've been impressed. Even with a 120 mile roundtrip, range has never been a concern. Half my drive is on twisty mountain roads and half is at 80mph on an interstate. I swear the regen that kicks in as soon as you lift your foot off the gas has saved me from speeding tickets a few times, and it feels better when driving in traffic (I miss regen when I use my other car). The only thing that's even truly sucked, was the couple nights I've mistakenly forgot to plug it in - there's no quick way to fix that in the morning - but your Leaf would have that same issue. Too bad cars can't out-think their owners.

    Also, even if you don't go for a Sport, I'd look for the Adjustable Suspension. I wouldn't have asked for it, but it was on mine when I found it. I set it softer and it makes a long bumpy commute less punishing and quieter, but if you want super tight suspension you can get it back as needed.

    That said, I am looking at parting with mine now (just listed in the for sale forum). We chose a school for my 4 yr old daughter along my commute (we weren't even considering this 2 years ago). There may be some way to legally put a booster into the passenger seat in CA, but I can't imagine doing that. If she were 6, I'd be more comfortable. Maybe I'll go with a Model S - I love it, but my garage opening is only 4 inches wider than the car.
     
  18. ipdamages

    ipdamages Roadster Sports 835 & 972

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    i called tesla santana row and they said you do not normally get an extended warranty with a CPO. if there was an extended warranty on the car or if it still has warranty left, those come with the car, but no extended warranty normally. that said, they are available for purchase, and in the end i think that things are negotiable.

    and chuckn, remember that the model s is 76" wide without the mirrors, but more like 84" with the mirrors.

    on the topic more generally, i loooooove my roadster, and i have had a similar experience to other owners - almost nothing has broken down, with the small exceptions being the TPMS, 12v battery, and lots of tires. my car is also loud with wind noise near the side mirrors where the glass meets the door jamb, but that's life in a sports car that does 0-60 in <4 secs. i'm in good shape and i'm small, so i'm fine with ingress/egress challenges.

    also, i *really* don't like huge cars. in my parking lot at work i have an assigned space and the car on my left side is an acura mdx, and the guy is always parking on the line so i can't get in or out of my car easily at all. i'd say he should move over, but he is on the line on the other side too. his SUV is just too big for the space. and in the town in which i live it seems that every mother thinks they need a chevy suburban to drive their child and backpack to elementary school, which makes it impossible for another car to pass in the opposite direction from 745 to 9am and 230 to 315pm. you really just need to stay home during those hours. there is this frustrating taking of turns and pulling into spaces between parked cars on the right so the big SUV road hogs can barrel through. you also can't parallel park into anything with a car that big. and driving a big car with blind spots is dangerous and annoying, IMHO.

    and fwiw, i think the national average on electricity is more like $0.10 per kWh, not the high prices that pantera dude pays. i generate 140% of my electricity usage so i'm an exporter and never pay for electricity, but i've heard that prices are closer to $0.10.
     
  19. Rodolfo Paiz

    Rodolfo Paiz P85 "Plug and Play"

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    FPL in Miami is $0.12/kWh 24x7. No TOU or tiered pricing available.

    My Roadster was wonderful. Very few problems, and all of those fixed quickly, enthusiastically, and well by Tesla Service. The fun-to-drive factor is off the charts and is utterly incomparable... as someone already said, the only thing in common with a Leaf is that it's an EV. If the size of the car works for you and you're interested in a supercar, then you should at least test-drive a Roadster. If you can afford it, you will then be very likely to buy it.
     
  20. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Consider that practically every problem which ever occurred in a Roadster has been reported in this forum. It's not really a very high rate of problems when you consider how many Roadsters were sold. :wink:

    Do expect the car to eat tires, *all* the Roadster owners say it does. And they're expensive tires too.
     

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