Tesla Model S Comments (March 2017)

What I Wish I Knew about Tesla’s Before I Actually Bought One

. The sales people don’t really know the cars.  Most don’t drive it.  They aren’t familiar with them on an intimate level.  They just assist in selling them.

. Same as above for the service reps.

. The Vehicle’s reality falls far short of it’s hype.




What’s Nice About the Car:

. Clean design.

. Austere interior

. Company’s committment to technology

. The drive is smooth and clean

. The drive feels tight and responsive

. Supercharger network all over the country

. Free charging at supercharging stations

. Easy charging at home

. The steering wheel has a nice feel.



The Cons:

. Tesla’s Quality Control in deliverying new cars is TERRIBLE.

* You may find paint blemishes, unpainted parts, and many misaligned chrome trims.

. The UI interface on the 17″ screen is old and needs a serious upgrade

* Most of the 17″ UI apps are old

* The UI should allow  you to customize your own shortcuts

* The calendar function is dumb.

* No handles to grab when exiting the car.

* The bio-defense mode air conditioning is a gimmick.

** It’s difficult to access – need to go through multiple “steps” to turn on.

** The bio defense mode only goes on at air setting 9.  Not useable at all times

** You can’t use bio defense mode at a lower air setting

* The UI to turn on the lights, leave the lights on etc.. requires too many clicks and steps

* Requires multiple “clicks” to access the light settings

* Many things require “multiple clicks”.. which is not user friendly.  Hence, shortcuts should be available.

* The browser is weak.  Very slow.


. The UI on the dashboard needs a serious upgrade

* The blinker lights are too small and located at the bottom of the screen, not easy to see

* The (H) symbol for Hold (to hold the vehicle in place), is located too far up and to the right, can’t see it


. For the new 2017 and late 2016 vehicles, the 2.0 auto drive doesn’t work.

* The Auto Steer, Self Driving feature, is gimmicky.  Is functional on the freeway, but dangerous on a regular road.  It won’t stop at red lights or stop signs.  You need to keep your eye on the road, and you can easily forget (unlike on a freeway with a car in front of you), the car doesn’t stop on its own.  I advise you don’t use this on a regular road.


. The interior car lights are not bright.

. The interior quality is B+ grade

. The Accelerator Pedal is made of “plastic” or something that feels like plastic.  Terribly light and slippery. (Non-Performance Models)

. The rear carpet panels are terribly made.  Most don’t even fit right and expose the interior electrical wiring.

. The leather seats stitching is highly questionable.  They look fragile and not well made.

. The trim, chrome parts, rubber gaskets, etc.. are B grade and are fragile.  They misalign easily.  They come misaligned.

. The center console holds 2 cups and some “stuff”.  For the most part, it’s a terrible design.  A ton of good usable space goes to complete waste.

. The accelerator pedal feels “awkward” and your feet constantly rubs against the carpet side wall.  There should be a rubber mat against the side wall and the accelerator pedal needs to be pulled out more and to the left.

. Although the steering wheel feels nice, that’s where it ends

. There are 2 dials on the steering wheel, the left one controls your entertainment volume, and the right one controls various apps you can see on the main dashboard.

* The options of “apps” to see on the dashboard are very lacking

* The voice command is no where even remotely close to being on the same level as Alexa, Google, or Siri.  Tesla’s version is actually quite disappointingly “dumb”..

**  You have to click it to give it it’s limited instructions (driving and to play a song)

** You have to click again to let it know you’re pushing through the instructions.

* It should be voice activated and should be able to handle many more commands


. The Dashboard should give you the weather ( but doesn’t )

. The Dashboard should be default show you the odometer, but doesn’t  ( you have to “figure it out”)…

. The back seats aren’t adjustable in terms of degrees (for Model S), either you have them UP or DOWN.

. The Tesla service centers are under staffed and under resourced.

* Their loaner cars are horrifically bad.

* You may get an older Tesla, or even a loaner vehicle from Hertz

* You’re lucky to get a newer Tesla loaner

* The Service Center lounges are B- quality

* The Service Center personnel don’t know much about Teslas as a vehicle, because they don’t get proper training and don’t drive them.

. Good luck if you crash your Tesla or get into an accident.  Expect to NOT have your car for 4 to 12months.  Tesla is horrible at delivering replacement parts.

. Be careful when taking delivery of your new Tesla, they are known to have many cosmetic and trim issues.  Inspect your car in detail, because the Tesla rep doesn’t have a clue and they will likely not point them out to you.  If you’re good with taking a car with blemishes and chrome trims misaligned, then they’ll give you the thumbs up to take it.  They just want cars out the door.  Sad but true.

. Tesla delivery personnel and sales personnel have very little power in helping you with service issues.  Even if you car is brand new.  You are basically on your own.  And good luck contacting Tesla in Fremont, they  have now power.  You’re basically on your own to figure it out with the service center and the service manager.  A terribly weak situation to be in as a Tesla owner.



What I wish the Tesla Delivery Person Would’ve Told Me and Trained Me On:

. How to reboot the 17” screen

. How to reboot the dashboard

. How to customize the dashboard to include the odometer readings

. Training on how the bio-defense air works

. That the USB thumbnail only reads FAT formats (I think..) but not NTFS (not sure if it reads any Linux or Mac formats)

. How to update the driver profile (at any time)

. How to delete your recent music and recent map searches

. Does anyone know how to change the Tesla Forum user name settings?  (haven’t figured this out yet, and nobody seems to know)

. How to adjust the rear hatch height

. How to prevent the interior lights from turning off after so many seconds

. The keyfob acts “weird” and may not function properly when you have it in your pocket with your phone.

. Have the keyfob in your pocket at all times, do not leave it in your backpack, briefcase or purse.  If you leave it in the car and walkt out away from the car, it may lock you out of the car.

. Suggestion to NOT have Tesla automatically open and close your garage door.  Suggestion is to do this manually, as you may experience getting your car hit by the garage door (slight possibility that you don’t want to happen).

. How to center yourself in the navigation mode.

. How to search for something on the navigation map, not just by voice but also by manual entry.

. The car will experience charge loss at night and while its parked during the day, (I was experiencing as much as 10miles loss per day and 10 miles per night – doing nothing but parking idle).



My Wish List:

. Customize the shortcuts on the 17” screen to whatever you want.

. More customization ability on the dashboard

. The calendar should be able to work independently from your phone, showing you the entire month, week or year.

. The dashboard should tell you the weather.

. Brighter interior lights and more of them…

. Adjustable passenger seats (with various inclines)

. A more functional center console

. Door pockets

. Passenger front pockets (behind the front seats)

. Something to hold when you’re trying to get out of the car.

. Better door handles (from inside)

. Improved quality overall as a vehicle.  The trim quality should be at least as good as a $30K Toyota.

. A Browser that really works

. A 360degree camera.



Final Comments:

Tesla appears to be focusing 80% of their attention on the battery, supercharger network and on selling cars, and maybe even on raising money in the capital markets.

Not too much attention to the build quality, trim/details and overall service quality.  And Definitely not on the UI programming.

Expectations are pretty high, especially with the old Consumer Reports ratings, the undying support from fanboy Tesla owners, but the reality is that you’re buying a “newer” car that has many quality issues.

Patience is the key word.

If the Pros outweighs the Cons (to you), then fork down your money and enjoy…



Note:  Experienced a 2016 Model X for over 30 days.  Purchased a Model S in early 2017.