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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Tesla Model S has been mentioned in other posts, but I thought it deserved its own here as a potential alternative to the Q50 Hybrid.

First off, I realize its not a fair comparison considering the price range and real world benefits of each car in their own right. BUT, for consumers just looking for an amazing luxury ride with stellar savings on fuel, it's an option worth considering.

I test drove the Tesla S earlier this month and I was definitely impressed. It's just a completely different driving experience. Here are my key observations:

1) Instant torque on that car - unbelievable. Launches you forward even at speeds of 40MPH. Silent, smooth, instant. It's so weird pushing the accelerator and not feeling the roar of the engine, just pure acceleration.

2) Solid handling on the P85 model I drove, which featured a unique "air suspension" system that made the ride a little too smooth for my liking. However, I was told by the assistant manager that the ride feels sportier without that air suspension - not sure about that, since its purpose is to improve handling. I didn't have a chance to really test the handling on sharper turns, but from my estimates, it should handle twisty mountain roads fairly well, certainly better than a non-sport luxury sedan.

3) No coasting, the Tesla applies regenerative braking any time your foot is off the "gas." (I guess that expression may soon be tossed out :D) Any time you remove your foot from the gas pedal, the car slows down noticeably. So, you are either pressing the accelerator or the car is slowing down (with brake lights coming on any time your foot is off the gas). You can only keep constant speed with cruise control.

4) The Premium sound system is great but not amazing. Bass didn't sound as good as the Bose system on Infinitis, but in Tesla's defense, I didn't test the sound until back in the showroom, as the drive was focused almost entirely on "the drive." Most of the demo not tied to the drive is discussed inside the showroom vehicles. I was told the sound is best when you're inside the car with all the windows up. I, personally, am a "windows down" driver, so that's not too good. Still, I feel that if I had played more with the sound settings, I could have gotten better sound out of it.

5) The Tesla features pretty intuitive touchscreen controls and a giant beautiful display. Currently comes with a 3G connection which allows you to surf the web, tablet style, and even stream music directly from internet radio. I love that it uses Google Maps too. The standard backup camera can remain on at highway speeds too, which I found strange.

6) The interior design is very unique, good headroom in the front, not sure about the back (though no complaints from my girlfriend who sat back there). Glass roof replaces a standard moon roof if you want the option. No option to seal the glass from the inside, however the glass is built to prevent strong sunlight from penetrating and it works very well. The glass option also adds an inch of extra headroom.

7) Supercharging - I can definitely imagine someone taking a cross country trip in this, just as founder Elon Musk has already announced he will do in the near future. Supercharging stations are planned along major interstate highways and can charge well over half the battery in 30 mins. Even the lowest range Tesla S will get over 200 miles on a single charge. And those supercharging stations (free to charge) will feature the ability to instantly swap batteries with a fully charged set in less time than it takes to pump gas (not sure of the cost of battery swapping). There is a youtube video of Mr. Musk presenting a demo of automated battery swapping in 90 seconds.

8) I personally think it's an amazing car. As the direct manufacturer and distributor of their own cars, they have truly created an unbiased system of selling cars. There is no pressure to buy from salespeople, as they are paid hourly - no commission. In fact, they truly are product specialists and that's it. They talk, they demo, they inform; you configure and buy online in the comfort of your own home or if needed, with assistance at a computer station in store. It changes the whole car buying experience and I commend it. You can also buy one of their test drive vehicles immediately if you can't wait 2 months for them to build one exactly as you want it. In that case, they provide a small discount.


What do you all think about the Tesla S? Would you consider getting one?
 

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Would've gotten one with the smallest battery pack if I didn't live in a condo with nowhere to plug it in... (and if the federal tax subsidies are still in effect - not sure if there's still money)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I'll get it in a heart beat if it was not in six figures. Best car per consumer report review.:D
I priced one out online that had most of the features that people would want (navigation, parking sensors, premium sound, and it came out to about $92,000 out-the-door, $82,000 if you include the $7500 federal tax credit and $2500 CA rebate. And then there's never having to pay for gas...

That one below is not the one I'm mentioning, but it is a beauty.
 

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I love the idea and what I've seen of their products and design... Even became a shareholder... But they're just too costly for what you get and while I could probably work through the 200 mile range most of the time, it's still not practical in my area at the moment.

Thanks for the review :)


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They're awesome if you can afford a $100K second car. I see them everywhere in my neighborhood and had one customer choose it over the M35h. But the only people I know who have them also have one or two additional cars in case they actually need to go someplace without a 200 mile leash.

Oh, and I think the giant touch screen is awesome looking and cool in concept. But a problem in practice. You can't do anything on it without taking your eyes off the road.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Same here. That, and I need more of a range because of the nature of my work requires me to travel to area counties a lot at a moments notice. I cannot wait an hour or two to charge my car.
Unless you just came back from a long road trip and plan on doing another one back to back, this shouldn't be an issue. The supercharger network is expanding as this project plan from Tesla shows, you can adjust the dates to see what it will look like in late 2013 and beyond.

Supercharger | Tesla Motors


Range fears should be alleviated somewhat by quick supercharging rates, unless you are nowhere near a supercharger. Real world reviewers have confirmed that they are able to supercharge over half of their batteries in 20-30 minutes. And if that is still too slow, the battery swapping system Tesla is implementing is literally faster than pumping gas.

Tesla Model S - Battery Swap HD Official - YouTube
 

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I would absolutely get one now if my budget allowed for it. The S is beautiful, and I think the company has a bright future ahead of it. Hopefully in a few years a car like this will be a little more affordable.
 

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I like Tesla cars but don't believe they are going to serve as the only car in household. 2nd or 3rd car... yeah why not. But with current range it does not allow to do ordinary interstate trips. I'm not big fan of searching of charging stations either. Also argument about gas expenses is laughable for the $100K+ car.
However can see all electric self driving city taxi in near future.
 

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One issue I laud Tesla on is it's development of a car that breaks the mold of previous electric vehicles. It doesn't look like it was designed by a ladies bridge club by women named "Madge" or "Ethel". How many iterations of limp-wristed vulva mobiles have automakers shoved in our faces? It is as if many of the attempts at hybrids (Prius) and all electrics (Volt) were started in a committee where the impetus for form was based entirely on how many bags of yarn can fit in the trunk when there's a walker or mobility scooter to contend with, and the concept of function was "Well, no one needs to exceed 50mph, and no one needs to drive more than 20 miles in a day.

I would like to see a subsidiary of Tesla open based on 100% fleet vehicle production. Fleets have the opportunity to have charge stations installed at the depot, and would eventually return a substantial long term savings, once the cost of internal combustion fueling, oils, and maintenance are taken in to account.

Most importantly, if Tesla really wants to be taken seriously by the traditionalist driver, they have to have a product that stands on its own. A car that the engineers can point at and say "You see that? I made that, and its damned good enough that you should buy one even without all of the dangly government incentives!"
 

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I would like to see a subsidiary of Tesla open based on 100% fleet vehicle production. Fleets have the opportunity to have charge stations installed at the depot, and would eventually return a substantial long term savings, once the cost of internal combustion fueling, oils, and maintenance are taken in to account.
Good idea
With advantage Tesla has at the moment they could create unique vertical market with car manufacturing, service and rent; all in one package. Something I call CaaS - car as a service.
And no hungry dealers involved ;-)
 

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I definitely will trade in my Q50S Hybrid in the next 5-10yeears if Telsa can manage to drop down in price in the $50k range and can go at least 350 miles in a single charge. That's enough for me to go from my house to Las Vegas :)
 

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When it's $75k (for top of the line everything, including 40 amp, 240 volt installed garage charger), all the bells and whistles, AWD and convertible I'll buy it. Want the super charger network fleshed out.

It's perfect for a convertible because it has a frunk. It's also easily AWD (with model S AWD on the way in 2014).
 

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I think the battery swapping stations are the best idea for this car. When you pull into a special station, the station computer takes over and maneuvers the car into position, then a robotic lift drops the battery pack and replaces it with a charged one, and off you go. Let Tesla track the battery packs and worry about warranty issues.

They are Wall Street's darling right now (which can be a double-edged sword) and the luxury car of choice for people that charge overnight in a home. They're just too impractical (thanks to landlords) for most people. The majority of America lives in apartments and condos without access to charging stations, even wealthy people.
 

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I looked very seriously at the Model S and spoke with the salesperson for quite some time. There are a few issues.

1. You are absolutely an early adopter and paying the price for it. The gas "savings" are not there and don't come close to offsetting the premium you pay for the car.

2. Speaking of gas savings. You will spend every last penny of those savings the moment you need to replace the battery - if you keep the car that long. If you don't keep the car this long, then you'll have a 50% residual, not great.

3. The car costs way more than advertised. BASIC options are not included in the seemingly reasonable base cost.

4. Even the salesperson readily agreed that you will not see the mileage that is advertised. Look up some reviews, it's been exposed as not being up to any sort of road trips at this point.

5. Superchargers, providing there is no line, take at least 30 minutes. That's a long time to sit at a rest stop. Not interested.

6. Battery swaps are not going to be at all locations, and there are a lot of caveats. Like having to come back and get your battery or pay a depreciation fee. The cost of the battery swap is about the same as a tank of gas, so while you get a time savings compared to supercharging, you get zero fuel savings - and isn't that the point?

And the list goes on. The car is just not ready for any real world driving outside of your local area. Cool car, awesome concept, can't wait for it to mature. But right now you would be nothing but an early adopter and overpaying for the privilege.
 
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