Tesla S - WOW!

I know there is a long thread in GD discussing the possibility of Tesla revolutionizing the industry, however this thread is just to get your opinion on the car itself.

I took one for a test drive recently, and I was amazed. The car had power I wasn’t expecting, and the smoothness of the drivetrain was flawless. The car doesn’t shift. It has two operational modes, forward and reverse, so when you press on the accelerator (gas pedal), the car just goes. No delay, no small jolts as it runs through the gears, nothing… Just a smooth power curve that was much more potent than I ever imagined.

Fit and finish was impressive, too. Even the door handles impressed me. I was trying to find something about the car I didn’t like, but I couldn’t (other than the price, that is). Now, as a practical matter, I have no idea how easy it would be to drive one of these and charge it up on the highway, but for someone who drives local, that may not ever be an issue.

If they actually make the $35000 model, and it has similar performance, I think they will sell a ton of them.

I didn’t think I’d consider one, but I am now. I need to do some research on the car, but I am impressed with the product and would now consider it a viable alternative.

Anyone else own or drive one? If so, what were your thoughts? (Keep the debate in GD. I just want to focus on impressions of the car).

Does it have a sound or noise? Or just quiet?

I don’t own one, but I’ve driven them a couple of times, have several friends with them, and will likely buy the Model 3.

I think it’s pretty close to the Platonic ideal of a car. Conventional cars put an incredible amount of engineering into working around the inherent limitations of internal combustion engines. Unlike electrics, ICEs only work in a narrow speed band, which means you need a multi-speed transmission. Transmissions inherently have a non-linear torque response, which makes them jerky, but auto manufacturers have gotten quite good at smoothing out the power delivery.

Nevertheless, all this sophistication never quite hides the underlying flaw, and single-speed electrics make the difference completely obvious. The power delivery is linear, instant, and smooth. They “ruin” other cars forever, and you realize that ICEs will never match electrics in this way, whereas electrics will slowly narrow the gap in the few areas where they lag (range and recharge time). It’s completely inevitable that electrics will take over eventually.

As far as highway driving goes, if you are able to stick to Supercharger stations, you will have to dedicate roughly 30 minutes for every three hours of driving. For many people, this will not cause inconvenience above the breaks they were already going to take. For most of the rest, the extra time spent on long road trips will still not exceed the time saved by not having to visit gas stations in day-to-day use. Most of the charging happens at home, at night, and so you always start the day with a fresh charge.

I’ve driven two. for both, the “electric” part of the car was impressive. The rest of it, meh. Squeaks and rattles galore in the interiors (especially when playing music, the doors were buzzboxes.) And those impressive door handles are apparently quite failure-prone.

Tesla model S is a mechanical conundrum. It has a tremendous safety rating and a mediocre reliability rating.

the option to test would be the ludicrous mode. It created a new standard of performance for the money which might be their undoing. They’ve upset the sports car gods. Porsche just approved their 600 hp model E which will recharge completely in 15 minutes.

Tesla Model S

Porsche Model E

Better video of Ludicrous Mode.

The Porsche model, it’s performance features and costs are vaporware at this point. As a two door coupe, it’s not a competitor to the Tesla S or 3.

A billion dollars in development costs? Porsche/Audi/VW are in the hole for a few billion bucks for the diesel and now gas emissions cheating.

I hope it makes it to the street but it will be outside any rational price point for me. No charging network in the plans yet either. Existing public chargers (excluding the Tesla Superchargers) won’t be able to supply the necessary volts/amps for the “15 minute full charge”. More fluff. IMHO

It’s a 4 passenger car that looks like it’s going 100 mph standing still. Porsche is a known commodity and Tesla is suffering serious reliability issues. If Tesla is selling cars in 10 years I would be surprised.

I ran into a Tesla just the other day. He failed to yield to the bike lane. I crushed in his passenger door panel and broke off his mirror as well as leaving 3 deep gouges. The driver was very apologetic. I was fine and pedaled off on my merry way. If I am ever to hit a car again, please let it be a Tesla (not to mention that I know the driver should have great insurance as well).

In all seriousness though, riding down the street next to a Tesla is awesome - zero noise except for those tires grabbing the road. Many other luxury cars pass me, but the Tesla just looks like Magiver said, “it’s going 100 mph standing still.” It just owns the road.

Sort of a hum… I think it is mostly the tires against the road surface, and wind noise… But it is quiet. I had the stereo off and tried listening closely, and couldn’t hear much of anything. It was nice.

I have no doubt the door handles are one of those “cool thing, but failure point”. Do you know how old the model you drove was, and how many miles it had? Just curious. I did some quick searching on the web, and there are a surprising number of used Teslas for sale.

I hope you are wrong, but if they do indeed have reliability issues, they will become common knowledge when their lower priced model hits the streets. More people equates to more problems and complaints, especially if they don’t have their act together. At the current price point, I get the feeling that many folks are using it as a weekend car, not as an everyday driver. If they release something like a minivan that families will be using daily, and using hard, the quality will have to be better.

They have announced an SUV, and the current planned production run is already sold out. So there is still a strong demand at the upper price levels. I don’t know what the SUV will cost, but if it is closer to the price of a luxury SUV, perhaps they will become everyday cars for the buyers. That would be good, IMO.
To be honest, though, I am impressed that a company like Tesla was able to get even this far. They are building a brand new car with a brand new power source, which requires an immense investment in infrastructure.

Which reminds me. The salesperson told me that Tesla drivers have access to Tesla power stations, and there are quite a few that now exist. Is there any plans to use Tesla’s connections as a standard, (so when GM, Ford, etc. come into the all-electric market, each company will use the same power stations)?

The other big concern I would have buying one right now is there are very few places that can service a Tesla if something does go wrong with it. I will have to read up on the types of things that have been going wrong with the car. But my guess is the local neighborhood mechanic won’t be able to do much more than brake changes and bulb replacements. Anything that fails in the power plant may require specialized training (maybe, I don’t know).

Tesla’s had quite a bit of help in doing so, for a couple of reasons:

  1. They’ve been able to present themselves as a “startup,” so nobody expects them to make money for a while.

  2. Tesla had been able to take advantage of the cutbacks in the domestic auto industry, and hired on a ton of experienced automotive engineers who had been laid off or took early retirements/buyouts.

#1 above is huge; I’ve no doubt the extant automakers have the technical capability to do something like the Model S, but building the business case would have been a hard sell. With no legacy Tesla didn’t have to worry about that.

Thank you for the reply. I just can’t imagine no sound. All my life, cars made noise.

I would like to experience it.

I hope the pedestrians catch on quick.

The lack of engine noise has been a non-problem since the introduction of Prius in 2001. The later Prius models do have a noisemaker installed but it’s just a pacifier for paranoid people. They can’t sneak up on you in a parking lot, for example, because you can hear the tires on the pavement just like any other car. (I have one without the noisemaker and have never had a problem with pedestrians stepping out in front of me.)

What takes some getting used to, is the silence inside the car. You feel like it’s not running, and then you move forward and it’s like magic.

I’m keeping my eye on Tesla. I want a Model X with the falcon wing doors, even though I hear they are an engineering sore spot.

On the contrary–it’s a fantastic daily driver. In CA at least, full electrics allow you to drive in the HOV lanes. For the vast majority of people, 200ish miles is more than enough to get you through a typical commute and any extra activities. It’s only a factor on road trips. The few people I know with one all use it daily.

People do use them as minivans. You can get a model with 7 seats, in fact–5 + 2 jumper seats in the rear. It’s got a ton of internal cargo space. Of course, the SUV model has even more.

It’s true that the local mechanic will never be able to do much with the drivetrain. That said, it’s easily swappable–and that’s already standard practice for drivetrain problems in the Tesla. You take it in, they swap in a new drive unit in a couple of hours, and you’re on your way. They ship the dud unit back to wherever for repairs. I anticipate that independent repair shops might be able to do this on their own, though if they open up enough shops on their own, it may not matter.

Brake pads hardly ever need replacement, BTW. Regeneration handles 90% of the braking needs, at least if you don’t drive too aggressively.

Gimmicky marketing-mobile for people who think about their cars as much as they think about their stainless-steel dishwashers. The Venn diagram with a circle for Tesla fans and a circle for Apple Watch wearing techno fad-chasers overlaps perfectly.

The Saudis will bury Tesla, and Tesla fans will have to go back to their nouveau-riche Audi A6’s and BMW 5 series’.

drops mic

Also, the controversy over the NYT journalist who didn’t (gasp) positively fawn over the Model S was a little scary. To see the article and the NYT in general shouted down across the internet was something new for me. It’s a freaking car people, not the Paris Climate Conference.

Coles notes version: Writer goes into a road trip with the Model S, hoping to love it. Things go poorly, he writes an honest review. Tesla and Musk attempt to completely destroy his article by picking it apart (in many cases incorrectly), and the internet erupts braying for the blood of a journalist.

The journalist’s response after the controversy here.

Tesla fans and Apple fans regularly trade the #1 spot for “Least Knowledgeable Yet Most Annoying.”

This makes sense in California, where the car originated and I believe they have sold a majority of their cars. I don’t know of any other state that has made the HOV lane allowance, but that would be a huge benefit for a commuter.

I agree that the daily charge would be perfect for most people to commute with daily. I made my comment based on the mileage on the used Tesla’s for sale, but I haven’t done any proper research on how many cars they have on the road, or what the average driver puts on their car.

According to the salesman I spoke with, the Model X is just starting to roll out, all of first scheduled production run have been sold, and when I looked on-line I didn’t see any for sale (new or used). Again, I have not done an exhaustive search, but I think over the next year, we will get an idea of what kind of quality the X has, and how it handles being used as a minivan.

The X (from what I have seen) is not a viable option for the current minivan customer. If I had the money for one, I’d be interested in owning it, but I’d be surprised if the first round of X owners beat the car like people beat a minivan.

Did not know that about the brakes Interesting.

There will be huge inconvenience issues if people cannot get their vehicles serviced in a reasonable amount of time, which will be a difficult balance for Tesla to play.

Thanks for sharing.

Not sure why you need a “mic”. If you don’t like the car, that is fine with me. But I don’t understand the “Gimmicky marketing-mobile” comment. All products are marketed. There is a reason… They have to sell them, or the company goes belly-up.

And I don’t see anywhere that you have ever been inside of one. I wanted to discuss people’s impressions of the car from a user POV, not just your opinion of who you think are buying these cars.

Interesting opinion, but if you could, stick to the aim of the thread.

Also, you mentioned they are a “startup” in quotes. Why? Aren’t they a startup from the POV of manufacturing all electric automobiles? I don’t recall any gas-powered Teslas on the road, nor do I recall the announcement that Tesla converted their automobile manufacturing plant from gas engines to battery power engines.

What they are doing is attempting to build viable all electric vehicles for the mass market and ALSO building charging stations all over the country. AFAIK, there wasn’t some mass, abandoned electric vehicle infrastructure just sitting there, waiting for Tesla to come along. Have they not done this all virtually from scratch?

I know they aren’t turning a profit right now, (and who knows if they ever will?). But from my perspective, I was very impressed with the vehicle’s performance. I had never driven anything all-electric (other than a golf cart). Before my test drive, I was curious about the car, but doubted its real-world viability. Auto makers have gone out of their way to make electric cars like the Prius, Volt or Leaf completely unattractive to a large part of the buying public.

Tesla has shown you can make a great looking electric car that is fun to drive. I hope the established auto makers see this and build a car that will compete with Tesla’s line-up.

I’m intrigued by the Tesla vehicles because I love fast cars but I have a question, I drive a sporty car and I do drive it fast and gun it on a daily basis, I wonder how much that would effect an electric car like the Tesla. If you were driving both rather aggressively would the range of the electric suffer a greater loss in economy than gasoline? I know the brakes act to recharge the battery so I’ve read, but I kind of get the feeling maybe this is annoying or ruins the experience for a lot of people because a buddy of mine who drove one said that and how you can toggle that feature on and off. I just bought a new car and I can’t afford a Tesla but I have been curious about them.

It ruins the experience of braking? Did he describe the problem more than that?