After a year of tooling around in its Tesla Model S electric luxury sedan, Consumer Reports likes the car, but says it has created "a few mild irritations." To which the Tesla-less among us say: cry us a river.

The Model S loses up to 10 miles of range when left uncharged for 24 hours at a time.

CR has put almost 11,400 miles on the Model S during the past year, and does have a few (very few) quibbles with the car. The single-charge range for the 85-kWh version of the car in "non-max" mode, which was rated by the EPA to be about 245 miles, regularly comes up about 20 miles short. Cold weather shaves off even more, and the car loses as many as 10 miles of range when left uncharged for 24 hours at a time.

And the air-conditioning isn't that great, CR says, noting that the cooling efforts aren't helped by the fact that there's no retractable shade for the roof. And, well, that's about it. Other than that, CR likes its rig. We should not be too surprised, since CR called the Model S "the most practical electric car we've ever tested" this past spring, giving the EV a score of 99 out of a possible 100 and touting the sedan's acceleration, handling and styling. The car continues to impress. Last month, CR reported near-perfect satisfaction levels from owners. Inquiring readers can check out Consumer Reports' most recent review here.

All of this is good news for a company still doing a bit of damage control in the wake of four fires, which haven't caused any major injuries but have made some folks (not to mention Tesla investors) a little skittish. Tesla re-stated that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still gives the 2014 model-year Model S a five-star crash-test rating, and reminds everyone that the car remains far safer than the typical gas-powered vehicles. Now about that air-conditioning...


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  • 63 Comments
      Electron
      • 11 Months Ago
      About that air-conditioning: I think Tesla needs to work on heat pump based HAVAC, better for range in heat and cold. The idle drain should be reduced to 1KWh per 24 hours after the latest software fix. About the sunroof...with airco there is not much of a case for sunroofs that actually open. Just a glass roof but with the all important retractable shade would have been both cheaper and more pleasant alternative IMO. For the rest it's amazing what a great job Tesla did with this car!
      Tweaker
      • 11 Months Ago
      The only people "skittish" about 4 fires is the oil-loving media when their knees jerk.
      • 11 Months Ago
      That's because the Model S is the coolest car in the world : combining 0 tail pipe emissions with long range high performance driving dynamics and sports car like acceleration and handling, with cabin utility volume that rivals many cross-over/ SUV type vehicles for cargo utility. The Model S is also much safer for its passengers than a conventional vehicle with the same performance dynamics.
        • 11 Months Ago
        We should also take note that this is a first generation Model S. Tesla is not an old well established automaker steeped into the koolaid of ice only thinking. Tesla fresh innovating engineering is changing the minds of everyone, because the Model S proves that electric is not only good, it can in many ways much better than any ICE vehicle. The energy system on the Model S is a modern marvel, especially the energy storage system, the motor controller and the electric motor setup.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        Lol, i like the Model S, but my astroturfer/shill-o-meter is reading a power level over 9000...
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          It sounded like it was copied off a brochure. :)
        CoolWaters
        • 11 Months Ago
        It also has that nice air-suspension, which is hands down 300% better then spring suspension.
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          I really wanted the air suspension but now you have to buy the Tech package to get it. I don't think I want to spend an extra $6K just for air suspension since the only thing I like in the Tech package is the LED headlamps. So I'll have to live with the springs.
      Aaron
      • 11 Months Ago
      "Loses", not "looses".
      sean
      • 11 Months Ago
      When the 4th fire happened ? damn media.
        AddLightness
        • 11 Months Ago
        @sean
        It was a garage fire that was determined to not have been caused by the car in any way.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @sean
        Bad/old household wiring was the cause.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          They didn't rule it out, did they?
          taser it
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          False. The fire department report did not conclude that.
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Common sense told me that, taser it. An electric car is plugged into circuit and wall catches fire. The most likely scenario is that the wiring couldn't take the stress. Do you have an alternative hypothesis? All I can say is that when I get my Model S I plan on having a professional electrician check all the wiring and confirm that it can take more than the amount I could possibly draw. That's common sense to me.
      Joeviocoe
      • 11 Months Ago
      Overlooked Tesla news: http://www.daimler.com/dccom/0-5-7153-1-1569733-1-0-0-0-0-0-9293-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0.html @TeslaMotors: #WattsUp: We have surpassed 2.1 million kWh delivered using Superchargers and over 6 million miles charged! http://twitter.com/TeslaMotors/status/414128397355216896/photo/1 So Tesla's 6 million miles from superchargers alone ... Matches Daimler's, Nissan's, and Ford's combined mileage from a decades worth Fuel Cell cars. This goes to show what... A single model EV ... with no battery "breakthrough"... can achieve when the automaker just builds the infrastructure needed themselves.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wow, i guess the christmas spirit hasn't softened Danny's heart; there seems to be a concerted effort to add as many negative things as possible into these reports and leave out critical details such as the range loss before AND after the recent update that shaves the vampire draw down significantly. There is even a typo in the misleading big green text here. Dear autoblog editor; i have a new year's resolution for you. Find a writer who actually cares about green cars to replace this jerk. I know some qualified people.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        God, there is even a major typo in the title of the article. How incompetent and malicious could you possibly be? I mean, this guy is better than Eric Loveday, but not by much.
        Electron
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Wow, that's what you get from this article? To me it reads like a guy who basically has a positive attitude towards Tesla reporting some "mild irritations"by a third party with a very positive base attitude indeed towards Tesla. If you are looking for "malicious" I would recommend Mr. David Noland's clever anti Tesla FUD campaign over on greencarreports. Once you understand what this guy is trying to accomplish you will be quite happy with the *free* content this no doubt poorly paid Mr. Danny King is providing you and happily to accept a few typos into the bargain.
          Marcopolo
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          @ Electron You just get weirder and more obsessive, with each post !
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          So you're saying that the attack campaign isn't just going on here? Can you think of any other major news media outlets that attack their core subject? Don't you think there is something either fishy or very wrong about this? Look, i am a big advocate for future transportation and run a few communites for DIY electric vehicle building and support. I don't see anyone in my community doing things like this. This is a major disservice to a new and burgeoning industry that could shape our world for the better. I have been tired of this crap from autobloggreen for a very long time; maybe i really should stop offering feedback and just compete with them by launching something bigger and better. Don't settle for mediocrity, bro. Life is too short for that.
          Electron
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          Sure marcopolo, and of course there is nothing weird and obsessive about posting thousands of lengthy rants in defence of corporate interests in general and oil interests in particular....
          Electron
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          @2WM; there is lots of rats nibbling away at the heels of the giant that is Tesla one of them our resident big oil apologist "marcopolo" (famous for his support for the franchise dealer lawfare against Tesla for instance) so when I found myself in the same camp as him I did poor over Danny King's story again but I still don't pick up on any malice. I will keep my eyes peeled for any anti Tesla bias though in his stories.
          Marcopolo
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          @ 2 wheeled menace Odd as it may seem, I find myself agreeing with Electron. I'm not really a big fan of Danny King either, but ABG was never designed to be an uncritical fan site for any particular model or technology. If you're going to get upset over articles which contain negatives as well as positives, then there are fan style forums that only feature positive information, and the readers all agree with one another. Consumer Reports observations on the unique performance characteristics, and air-conditioning limitations of the Tesla S ( in common with most EV's) is valuable information. Irate denials, or accusations of 'sabotage' or 'sacrilege' against anyone daring to speak of these aspects, only ensures a far more negative response. EV ownership/operating does require some special knowledge. Not a great deal, but enough to be useful for owners to know what to expect when purchasing. Tesla's products are of an astonishing combination of high build quality, practical engineering, and brilliant design. The Tesla team can be deservedly proud that the model S has very few such limitations. EV technology is still at a very early stage of development. IThese limitations, will be overcome as the technology matures and develops. In the meantime, the more familiar people become about the dynamics of the technology, the better. (oh, and typo's, etc,.. ABG isn't the New Yorker ! :)
          Marcopolo
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          @ 2 wheeled menace Odd as it may seem, I find myself agreeing with Electron. I'm not really a big fan of Danny King either, but ABG was never designed to be an uncritical fan site for any particular model or technology. If you're going to get upset over articles which contain negatives as well as positives, then there are fan style forums that only feature positive information, and the readers all agree with one another. Consumer Reports reporting of the unique performance characteristics, and air-conditioning limitations of the Tesla S ( in common with most EV's) is valuable information. Irate denials, or accusations of 'sabotage' or 'sacrilege' against anyone daring to speak of these aspects, only ensure a far more negative response. EV ownership/operating does require some special knowledge. Not a great deal, but enough to be useful for owners to know what to expect when purchasing. (oh, and typo's, etc, ABG isn't the New Yorker ! :)
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          Marco - that's weird how your answer to 2WM was repeated. @2WM - I can understand the reason for the negativity in Danny's articles. It's because he is just cutting and pasting them to this site. He isn't really reading them or correcting them. So he is parroting the fear mongering tone which emphasizes anything that is scandalous or provocative to generate more attention from the original article. Those reporters are uninformed and rarely know realistic information. As I was just commenting with Marco in a recent article. I learn a lot more from the comments than I ever learn from the articles.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Electron
          Oh, if autobloggreen was truly balanced, i'd not have a complaint. Repeating the same scare tactics about a car in every single article about the car is not balanced. I could point out another hundred examples of the bias if i looked though. The people that read stuff on this topic are interested in green cars and want to hear the good and the bad; continually emphasizing the bad whenever possible is a disservice and very odd for any journalistic publication to do. I'm not surprised by your reply. You enjoy the dog food served here and always have. ABG isn't changing any time soon, it seems. If you like your biased news source, you can keep it..
      • 11 Months Ago
      As a Model S owner, I can attest that the car losing up to 10 miles of range a day is a thing of the past. Tesla recently replaced my 12V battery (the small battery, not the giant battery under the car) for this exact reason, and after leaving my car untouched and unplugged in for five straight days, it had lost about 8 or 9 miles TOTAL. That's right, less than 2 miles per day, which is about 1% of its charge; compare that to what your cell phone or laptop would do in the same situation. The car is incredible and just keeps getting better.
      Tysto
      • 11 Months Ago
      "ON Year Later..." Danny still won't have noticed the typos in this article.
      • 11 Months Ago
      After the most recent update, my car loses about 4-6 miles per night. There is a phone app that allows us to monitor the car's location and control functions such as flashing the lights, vent the moon roof, turn on/off the climate control, unlock/lock the car. At least some part of the car has to remain on and maintain some kind of internet connectivity in order for the app to work. They must also have worked on it because there is definitely a longer lag time between when you try to to contact the car and when it responds. I believe that they can probably cut down on more of the "drain" but that would mean slower wake up times when you get in and probably NO communication with the car while it was not charging. My guess is that if you cut the drain down to zero, you'd have owners complaining about how long it takes the car to "boot up" and asking why they can't turn the heat or AC on remotely. All in all, Tesla has to walk a fine line between how "ready to go and communicate" the car has to be vs how much they can really shut down when the car is not in use. Just my guess.
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      From what I've gathered, part of the reason for the range loses has to do with "balancing the pack." With 7000 individual batteries in the pack, over time they don't quite charge evenly and so you can end up a little off. Owners learn this and there are ways to readjust and rebalance your pack.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        loses = losses. :)
        Val
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        The Model S has no way of balancing the individual cells, they are grouped in large modules, and the modules are monitored, and MAYBE balanced. Every lithium ion cell starts to degrade the minute it is off the manufacturing line. Cold reduces aging, heat and rapid charging increases it. The cells will degrade even if they just sit at room temperature.
          Val
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          oh, i understand the nature of parallel and series cells, and cells don't simply fail if they are not balanced all the time, definitely not very very very fast. Having cells in parallel just means that their voltage is the same, this doesn't however imply that they are at the same state of charge. If state of charge in lithium cells could be determined by voltage, EV manufacturers wouldn't need to design all kinds of coulomb counting algorithms and models to estimate state of charge. Individual cells have slightly different capacities, having them in parallel doesn't compensate for that. Tesla does what GM does in the volt, not use the full battery capacity so that there is a margin of safety built in. Active balancing means that a system actively redirects current to or from individual cells during charge and discharge. No "literature" on the internet indicates that tesla have such a system.
          Val
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          If you are not doing 100% charge, then the fuel gauge tends to drift due to accumulation of errors (the hall effect transducer which tracks electron flow has a certain accuracy, the ADC which quantizes the data from coulomb counting also has a limited accuracy). Fuel gauge drift also happens on your smartphone, which has a single lithium cell. You seemed to imply that the errors occur because they have 7000 cells in the pack.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          No, they can balance all the cells. You must not understand the nature of parallel and series battery connections. If they were not balanced, the pack would fail very, very fast. No EV battery pack is designed in this manner ( unless you have a self-balancing chemistry, which aren't used today )
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          Maybe it's a way of tricking the software. Most of the time you are not doing a "range" 100% charge and the pack is charged to 80% to 90% capacity for daily use. If you do that regularly it can begin showing a loss. Tesla service people recommend to do a couple 100% range charges to "rebalance" the pack. I've read a couple accounts of this process on the TMC forum.
          JakeY
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          @Val You are making a subtle point about active balancing (which the Tesla likely doesn't have) vs passive balancing, plus also module vs cell balancing, but I think people are saying you are wrong because you seem to be suggesting that the Tesla does absolutely no balancing (which is completely false). Here's a thread about Roadster battery balancing, and it's been well documented to work. http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/11451-How-To-Balance-Battery This post has a quote of an email from Tesla that describes it in great detail: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/11071-Help!-One-more-time-roadster-1-5-battery-question?p=211723&viewfull=1#post211723 Here's another that describes how to force the Model S to balance the pack (owner gained 3 miles of range back from this process): http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/18915-Decreasing-rated-range/page6?p=386370&viewfull=1#post386370 The Tesla battery architecture for the 85kWh pack is 96 cell groups chained in series (6 per module x 16 modules = 96). The BMS monitors the cell voltage of each group (I know from having seen the diagnostics screen) and balancing would bring groups that are out of balance back into balance. This would give a higher range/capacity than an unbalanced pack. Of course inside each group the cells are in parallel and essentially self balance (yes, you are right voltages can't be used to tell SOC, however, voltage at the same current and temperature for the same type of cells can be used to indicate SOC; that's why cells put in parallel will self balance).
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Val
          From where do you make such a non-sense claims about the Model S's energy storage system ? What kind of literature or information did you use to formulate those claims ? Even a basic internet search about the Model S's energy storage system will yield a lot of information that is counter to your baseless inaccurate statements.
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      @banterier Excellent analysis of the pros and cons of the vampire drain. Thank you. Maybe Tesla can allow the owners to choose their connectivity. So for those owners willing to waste the energy, their car is "always on." For those owners that want to save energy and money they can choose the "eco" connectivity and have this be the default mode. Just a thought. More power to the customer.
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