I started leasing a brand new 2020 Tesla Model Y in September 2020 (dual motor, long range version). After a year and a half, here is my experience with and opinion of this vehicle:
Honestly, I have grown to resent the car. There are many reasons that I will get into, but the main thing is that it is just soooo bumpy. Like I actually get a headache from driving it. I say driving but it's not the actual act of driving, rather just being in the car while it's moving as I'm pretty sure it's the same no matter where you are in the car. I honestly feel like I lose brain cells due to my head being rattled around. I am not exaggerating, it actually hurts my head, and is probably bad for the body too. This car will make you wince at every little crack and bump in the road.
I live in a large town, just outside a major metropolitan area. Most of my driving consists of town, suburbs, and highways, with a little city, so I'd say it's pretty reflective of the average U.S. consumer. I often travel for work, which has led to driving this car in a wide variety of roads/environments around the United States, and I've pretty much always felt the same.
On open highways, it sometimes feels like it's swaying and unsafe, especially on autopilot, even at just the speed limit, getting worse the faster you go. I even checked the weather once to see if it just happened to be really windy out, but the wind was only at 1 mph!
The windshield wiper jets don't seem to work properly, or maybe one of the jets came defective because the spray only hits a small section of the windshield and no matter how much is applied does not reach the full radius of both wipers. It's also such a weak mist that it has virtually no effect if I try to use it while moving and even when I'm stopped the mist/blade combo is not strong enough to actually remove any grime/residue that might be obstructing my view. And the wiper sensors don't react properly either, sometimes wiping when it's dry or not wiping when it's raining, so I have to manually control them which can actually be a little sketchy in heavy rain when you have to reach over and navigate through the touch screen. Especially because you really need to keep both hands on the wheel while driving this car in the rain, or even when it's wet out, because it handles so poorly in these conditions.
This leads me to the fact that I've started hydroplaning in this car in cases when I would have never expected to. Now I have to drive so slow if it's raining or wet out because the car just makes me feel so uneasy and unsafe, yet other cars have no problem handling it and fly right past me. It's not like I am a scaredy-cat either; I learned my lesson with this car the hard way: I was driving on a highway in heavy rain, going dead straight, treading very cautiously with both hands on the wheel, when a semi-truck passed me, and just the tire spray and/or wind from the truck was enough to push my flimsy Model Y off traction and the whole car started fish-tailing back and forth before spinning a rapid 180 off the road backwards. I got really lucky there was grass to the side, and I didn't hit anything besides a bump in the grass, but the steering and a bunch of other parts still got messed during the incident and it took a few weeks for the nearest Tesla service center to repair it. I had been driving super focused and aware, safe and slow, safety being my #1 goal and that STILL happened. I easily could have died.
I have driven many different vehicles throughout my life, ranging widely in size, cost, manufacturer, year, etc. and have never experienced such poor traction, such an uncomfortable ride, or many of the other issues I've had with this vehicle.
The autopilot technology isn't that good, it often SLAMS on the brake for a split second when it sees a shadow or a bridge, jerking you suddenly and unexpectedly and causing your heart to drop, since you weren't expecting anything because the road ahead is clear.
The passenger door is visibly not aligned properly and, as a result, causes a terrible sound when the door is shut and if someone shuts it even moderately hard the sound is so loud that it is literally painful on the ears.
The phone charging mat that comes built into the car does not work most of the time.
The Tesla phone app is horrible, slow.
I thought the cameras were designed to keep the car safe, after all it constantly beeps ("yells") at you, cutting off whatever you're listening to, often absolutely unwarranted (not even close to the car ahead of you, etc.), yet one time I was slowly backing out of a parking spot and the car totally just LET me bump into a concrete ledge with absolutely no warning or sensor.
And their customer service is awful. Can't get someone on the phone.
Autopilot is also incredibly annoying. It beeps at you relentlessly at times, wanting you to apply pressure to the wheel, but then sometimes requiring so much pressure that it then de-activates the autopilot because it thinks you are manually taking over. I was also super frustrated for a long time at the incredibly loud volume of all the beeps and chimes. I spent a lot of time/effort searching how to lower their volume before I finally had to put my question out there on a web forum where thankfully someone responded and informed me that the only way to turn them down was by activating "Joe Mode." Who would have ever known what that was? The car certainly doesn't tell you. After wasting so much time researching this problem , I read it is Elon Musk's way of being "funny" after a guy named Joe made a complaint about the chimes being too loud. Seriously what a jerk off move by Musk to leave all of his customers clueless as to what it means and not explain anywhere or have any description pop up when you toggle Joe Mode on/off.
Before one road trip, I paid for a monthly subscription for full self-driving capability. But literally nothing changed except I was able to change lanes using autopilot by putting the turn signal on. This was a standard feature on the 2015 Model S that I had before this, but now I paid $199/month, well $210.94 with tax just to be able to do that for 1 month. I paid for this subscription a few days before the trip, in case I needed to install an update or something, but nothing ever popped up on the screen or phone app. Then, over a week into the road trip, I got a notification that an update was available, when we no longer had access to wifi. After much effort and waiting on terribly slow hotel parking lot wifi, we finally got it downloaded, but still, absolutely no difference in the car's driving. The update didn't have anything to do with the purchase I made. The car did NOT get off exits for us or follow the navigation system as promised in the description of what we paid for.
This was the trip that my car lost control while driving straight in the rain, and my car had to be left at the nearest repair facility. Tesla provided Uber credits to get home, but failed to disclose that I could only use a certain amount per day so I was hit with a very large and unexpected charge when I got home. It took the service center a while to get my parts in, and the full self-driving capability subscription ended up renewing while the car was in service and not on my mind. I cancelled as soon as I noticed the charge, and I hadn't even gotten my car back and had proof that my car was being worked on by Tesla since halfway through the previous monthly subscription and I hadn't gotten it back or had it in my possession yet during this new subscription month, yet they refused to refund me for that accidental charge, or for the 1st month when practically nothing had even changed in my car's autopilot capability. $421.88 it cost me, plus all the time and energy trying to fight my case for a refund.
It also is really wack to me when companies have the ability to make certain basic functions available yet they withhold them and make you pay for it. Another example of this is that they could easily show traffic density on the map, but that's another thing they charge you for. This might not seem like a big deal until you drive straight into stand-still traffic on the highway when the car could have easily just shown you the dark red lines on the map so you could've avoided getting stuck in it. It's straight up disrespectful that they are OK with doing that to their customers.
'Traffic visualization' and 'lane change with turn signal' were features I was used to in my 2015 Model S that came with the vehicle. It was a surprise to me when I got my Model Y and they weren't included. The Model S also had smart air suspension so the drive wasn't as bad.
When the Model Y came out, it seemed like quite an upgrade given the longer range and more space. I thought that instead of all the separate packages, they just made one good new car. After looking into it more, and entering my trade-in info out of curiosity, they made me what I thought was a generous offer of paying off my Model S loan, giving me cash back, and my monthly payment going down in exchange for a 3 year lease on a 2020 Model Y (white because all other colors are an extra thousand bucks). That's how I ended up with this car. Online, the pictures made it look better, probably because of the angles they chose and it appears they may have even had specially tinted windows on the website model. At this point I really wouldn't put it past them. Upon delivery (they call it delivery, but really you are still picking it up from your nearest Tesla dealership) my first impression unfortunately was actually how ugly the front of the car is in person. Now I'm stuck cringing every time I look at it.
I dreamt of and saved up for years for a Tesla, visiting their website almost on a daily basis. A younger, more naive me thought they were the most ethical company, the end-all-be-all car manufacturer that would consider everything to transform the driving experience for the benefit of the consumer. I had some wild thoughts such as they'd even probably consider the healthiest seating posture for the driver. I soon realized how wrong I was, and that it's actually quite the opposite with the almost certain brain damage incurred while driving it.
And whatever happened to bioweapon defense mode? I learned about it before I purchased my 2015 Model S, and discovered to my dismay that it did not have it. Then again I hoped with my 2020 Model Y I would have it. Air quality is a very important issue to me as I live in a densely populated area with a lot of car traffic and I can often smell the car exhaust surrounding me on the roads and it makes me frustrated with our world. Air filtration in a car seemed like a dream come true yet so simple and logical. But NOPE! My car does not have bioweapon defense mode and it seemingly does not filter anything! Just the other day a car in front of me had visible smoke coming out of the exhaust and I had to drive through it and it came right into my car cabin immediately and smack dab in my face! It was no longer a dark visible smoke at that point but I could instantly smell it, sense it, and tell I was breathing it in, I swear even saw it faintly. That was a new experience.
Instead of the clean air I hoped it would provide, this car does quite the opposite (again). The A/C has an absolutely horrible smell, where I absolutely have to open the windows for at times. It is like a dry gas that I can feel choking my throat and sticking to my teeth. Horrific sounding right? The A/C doesn't even get cold either. And when the A/C isn't running, the cabin air is still awful. It's as if some bad fumes are being leaked from something inside the car, or maybe it just captures and traps in all of the pollution from the outside world and leaves it in there, concentrated, at my expense. The in-car air quality is so bad that I can't stand having the windows up and being locked in there and I often have to roll the windows down just to get some "fresh" air even while driving in nasty, heavy traffic surrounded by other gas-powered cars exhaust. If I drive through secluded woods, even for just a few seconds, no matter how cold it is outside I HAVE to open the window to get fresh air.
You might blame me for not knowing exactly what I was getting with my purchase, but their process is so annoying and difficult that by the time you're almost there you just want to get the deal done and over with. You'll know if you try. They trick you and make things complicated, unorganized, tedious, and unclear and, as mentioned before, it's nearly impossible to get ahold of anyone. They only are responsive when it involves taking your money.
I would like to make it known that I am completely and undoubtedly a staunch environmentalist. The only reason I am ok with sharing this negative press is because Tesla is off and running and an untamed beast now whose Model Y issues can be shared without harming the sustainable transportation movement. There is finally some competition in the EV market now too. I really hope that these Tesla Model Y issues can be resolved, and that other companies don't blindly follow in all of Tesla's design footsteps.
I have spread enough love for Tesla (mostly when I had my Model S) that my overall impact has still been by far a net gain for the manufacturer. I've spent countless hours answering peoples questions about my car, showing anyone whose interested how it works, spreading the word about the cost benefits, and helping to normalize driving an electric vehicle, completely introducing it to my friends and family as the first EV owner in both groups.
But I have been and will continue to be up front about the problems I've been confronted with over the last year and a half.
Supercharging was supposed to improve, but it has not. It is completely the same, and takes much longer than advertised.
The acoustics in the car aren't great, I can hardly hear someone on speakerphone while driving on the highway due to the lack of airtightness.
My girlfriend doesn't like riding in it and neither do I.
Perhaps my vehicle is just an anomaly amongst the 2020 Model Y's, but even that would further prove my point that Tesla has a lot of work to do, if their inconsistencies were this severe. But either way, it is important for me to get this information across, and online forums seemed like the most practical way of doing so. I may eventually supplement this post via different platforms for I truly believe some of these things need to be said and heard.
When I bought my first Tesla, they had forums on their website. I wanted to write and share on there, but they have been closed and made read-only.
Have you heard about the door handles? They really do freeze. I jammed my thumb trying to open the door and actually almost cut my hand during some icy weather this winter, and I'm not even in a location with too bad of winters.
And everyone always comments on the sound it makes while reversing. I PRAY that that is the sound it HAS to make, and that Tesla didn't add that dumb spaceship sound to be extra, because that would be stupid and embarrassing.
It has been a great hassle and inconvenience writing all of this. By no means did I ever WANT to do this. I simply feel it is my duty because I haven't heard or seen these things beings talked about really. I am thankful for forums as I have learned a lot of useful information from them over the years and I am happy to try to contribute back when I can. I really wish I had seen a post like this or learned about some of these things before I got myself into this lease.