2012 Tesla Model S
  • 2012 Tesla Model S
  • 2012 Tesla Model S front 3/4 view

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  • 2012 Tesla Model S
  • 2012 Tesla Model S front 3/4 view

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  • 2012 Tesla Model S
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The Tesla Model S has turned into the breakthrough model that electric cars needed. Instead of looking like a futuristic jellybean whizzing by, the Tesla would still be incredibly attractive with a V8 stuffed under the hood. But beyond its appealing styling, the luxury sedan offers a realistic driving range, impressive performance and oft-praised driving dynamics. It's everything many drivers are looking for. However, as more long-term reviews come out, it's becoming clear that living with one of these wonder cars isn't without its fair share of problems.

A few weeks ago, Edmunds published its 17-month ownership experience with a Model S. It praised the experience being behind the wheel of the luxury sedan, at least when it was possible. Edmunds reported that it had to make seven unscheduled trips to the service bay and even left a writer by the side of the road once. The biggest issues included replacing the drive unit three times, needing a new main battery and numerous resets of the center screen.

Consumer Reports just wrote about its own driving impressions after 15,743 miles, and its experience with the Model S has hardly been a walk in the park, though not nearly as bad as Edmunds' rough time. The infotainment screen needed a hard reset once after blinking out, and one unscheduled service left the sedan in the shop for two days. There have been other, smaller issues too. In Tesla's favor, the repairs were done under warranty.

Even with this latest report, we only have data regarding two Model S examples out of thousands, but a somewhat difficult picture is being painted about the breakthrough EV as we read more and more. Everyone loves driving it, but living with one might not be quite so joyous. Head over to Consumer Reports to read its full impressions.


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  • 98 Comments
      omgcool
      • 1 Year Ago

      I'm honestly a tad surprised to see this reported. It seems that everyone here has a relentless hard-on for anything Tesla. Don't get me wrong; I love the Model S, and I'm glad it is seeing success. I support EVs (it's true; not all Conservatives are rooting against EVs and "renewable energy") and wish Tesla the best. However, I've noticed Tesla already has a huge following of die-hards who eat the Tesla cake and praise it to no end. "Batteries might not have adequate protection in case of sharp road debris? Look at all of the internal combustion engines that have caught on fire!!!!" Nothing isn't perfect about the Model S as far as they're concerned. And anyone who says it could use an improvement in whatever regard is a "BIG OIL SUPPORTER." Pshh, BS. Folks like me simply realize that being an alternative-fuel/powered vehicle doesn't exempt it from the standards of more conventional vehicles, which tend not to burn to the ground after running over scrap metal.

      At any rate, troublesome or not, it's still an incredibly impressive vehicle considering how young Tesla is as a company. Being their first home-grown model, it's bound to run into a fair sum of issues. Frankly, with all of the technology implemented into this vehicle, it's impressive that it's not even worse. I think Tesla will be very successful with their subsequent models. Like it or not, building cars is often a learning-experience. Engineering funds aren't limitless--consequently, all consumers are proverbial Guinea pigs, to some extent.

        purrpullberra
        • 1 Year Ago
        @omgcool

        Well you have a bias too, you'd have to admit that to REALLY be honest.

        As for the response to the fires, if you have a problem with the facts that show ICE cars burning up due to the same type of debris collision then the problem is with you.  The facts show that ICE's catch fire from road debris all the time, much more than Tesla's have so far.

        Spectacular coverage doesn't mean the fires were worthwhile news.

        As to the big oil supporter part, I'd guess you were reading somewhere that the EV's were being unfarly compared to ICE's.  One huge group of Tesla haters are oil industry employees who are scared and regularly manipulated by those in power over them.  Still they have no right to attack Tesla and not get called out for it.  Again, no one is doing anything wrong here, you just have a bias to not like most folks who have these views.  I know where you get that from and you could stop force feeding yourself ridiculous 'conservative' propaganda.  You'd maybe see that folks are truly being responsible and you can't see past your indoctrination.

        But I digress.  It is VERY disingenuous to say any Tesla caught fire from simple 'scrap metal'.  (A favorite 'conservative' move, dis-ingenuousness.  "It's womans health, not abortion we care about" for example)

        You are LYING about Tesla and the fires.  Maybe you shouldn't tell LIES in your rant about how folks like you get mistreated for having non-conforming views on Tesla!

        If you were REALLY honest you'd not tell lies. (btw your first line was "I'm honestly...")

          omgcool
          • 1 Year Ago
          @purrpullberra

          I never claimed to be unbiased. There isn't a person in this world that can look at an issue absolutely unbiased. That is a fact which I acknowledge. However, Tesla is an honest American company, and I put great value into that. If you believe I'm anti-Tesla/EV, you've misinterpreted my position.

          I decided that EVs are being, for lack of a better term, "excused" based on my own observations of public comments on such stories. I believe far too many people are quick to dismiss the circumstances as non-issues. It's as if they believe a Tesla recall to better protect the battery unit means "big oil" wins.

          Scrap metal or not (I don't remember exactly what it was in that case), the fire originated from the batteries being penetrated. I'm not going to jump the gun and say ICE vehicles have never caught fire from running down something sharp, but I can't conceive an analogous situation that is as statistically significant or probable as the floor-pan high-density batteries of a Model S being punctured.

          Please enlighten me on your view of the situation. With any creative way you describe the situation, I ask how it is more responsible for you to overlook the issue as a freak-accident than for me to suggest that the underbody could use more protection. Based on your snide, condescending "conservative propaganda" remark, I assume you label yourself as a full-blood Liberal. Should that be the case, you're taking a fairly hypocritical stance here. Forgive my generalisation, but if that happened to a Ford F-150 for example, I imagine folks like yourself would go lobbying to the government asking them to force Ford to remedy whatever may have happened. I know you think I'm biased (I am, but no thanks to the far right), but I believe you're exemplifying bias more than myself.

          If you care to take advice from me, I recommend you drop the criticising-others'-political-affiliations-as-whole-units bit if you want anyone worthwhile to value your opinions. I had a very hard time deciding whether or not to commit my time to writing a response to you, as I've lost a tremendous amount of respect for you at "ridiculous 'conservative' propaganda." I make an honest effort to step back and view political accusations from my own eyes.

          Oh, and one last thing. I'm not going to say all Conservatives think this way, but I'm confident that the majority aren't anti-abortion. Rather, we don't believe that the taxpayers should have to pay for it. It's funny, "women's health" is nobody's business (I agree) until someone has to pay for it. And that separation of church and state (which I strongly support) is somehow irrelevant when asking people to support a religiously controversial action. To avoid the mistake I believe you made, I'm not suggesting all Liberals really believe that abortions should be subsidized. The concern is that the issue was blurred into "All Conservatives want to outlaw abortion, and all Liberals want free abortions." I believe both parties have been misrepresented.

        CeeJayABG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @omgcool

        omg, welcome to the Church of Tesla. Sadly, there is no coffee and donuts after the service.

        I participate in several auto/mobility message boards and blogs, and have come to see that in pro "green" auto communities it is not possible to enter the discussion of Tesla Motors with an attitude of ANYTHING but adoration. (I use "green" figuratively because there is no truly green car). My initial foray here was to make an honest assessment of Q1 Tesla shareholder letter (e.g., GAAP vs. non-GAAP, etc.). Apparently nothing looked critical of the company so I was spared the heretic label.

        As I have been in a number of different ventures and currently and am an active trader/investor, I tend to express my views from either a financial or industrial view, sometimes both. It's a fact-driven perspective, and requires that you be quite agnostic before making a judgment. FWIW: I have been mostly long TSLA for quite some time, though since the stock is back to lofty valuations I am now trading shorter-term options on the long side.

        I also drive an EV (took over a lease from a Leaf lessee who was never home). So are not these genuine demonstrations of support for non-ICE alternatives?

        No. I am a non-believer to be shunned. And the reason why is clear: even though espouse the success of Tesla, I do not treat it and its Prophet as a Dieties. And by not doing so, any rational assertion or fact that does not indicate blind faith is a "lie". Like your clear point that a penetrating metal debris object leading to a fire was something that needed to be addressed (it did, and BTW Tesla did so quickly and effectively), if it is not exaltation it is blasphemy. I wonder what the congregation would do if they knew I passed up a pristine Roadster in favor of a GT-R…

        Example: pointing out that Tesla has lost over $1.2B is a LIE. According to the Gospel, they didn't lose money. They made a ton of money but have just spent all of it (and some more) on growth. (I've asked FASB to make this "distinction" but so far they're not buying in).

        So pointing out actual design or manufacturing shortfalls, as you did, is among the most egregious of sins. And, as you would experience in any argument that draws religious fervor, your sinfulness must be projected to a larger general moral realm. Usually that becomes political. Also it must include personal insults, generally involving the phrase "critical thinking". My guess is that thinking in a "critical" nature is the process one must undertake when unaware of standard financial terms or economic realities, but I'll have to find out.

        Anyhow, I hope you'll continue to visit the chapel and enjoy the hymns. Just be careful about questioning the Doctrine.

          omgcool
          • 1 Year Ago *Edited*
          @CeeJayABG

          @bluepongo1

          I don't believe his theme was religious in nature. I suspect he used religion as somewhat of a metaphor or analogy, comparing the radically pro-Tesla camp to a religious cult of some sort. I found it rather entertaining.

          bluepongo1
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CeeJayABG

          People who see religion and politics in a car company are the ones with the problem, BTW is someone forcing you to click on Tesla threads and comment about a car you've never seen in person? 

      Lab Rat
      • 1 Year Ago

      This is the standard headache of early adoption. Its still a work in progress.

      Its not like Land Rover hasn't had decades to get their shit straight, and still haven't figured out how to make something that stays running longer than two months at a time.

        Ross
        • 1 Year Ago *Edited*
        @Lab Rat

        It reminds me of the issues Mclaren owners are experiencing...When small companies work on new technologies with limited time and resources, these are the results you typically get.

        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lab Rat

        bingo...then look at the brand long veiwed as the most dependable, Toyota, and look at their recent track record....recall central...

          beanrew
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          1997 lexus ES owner here. 320K on the odometer with zero, I repeat, zero issues to date. O2 sensors, brakes and tires. with a straight body. Like them or not toyota has their crap together when it comes to above average reliability. Their process hasn't been translated to leadership and process improvement books by coincidence. Would I rather have a BMW - yes, but be honest, a 1997 (name your BMW) today would have required thousands more in repairs to be at the level my Lexus is today. 

          P.S. I can't afford enjoyable in my life right now.

          omgcool
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          @WMB

          That is neither proven nor a fact.

          Rather, my extended family's past experiences actually point to Toyota and Honda reliability to be quite average; or alternatively GM, Ford, and Chrysler's reliability to be largely on par, bordering on superior.

          Unfortunately, I can't speak as well for the few European makes we've had (except for an old Volvo). Great cars when new, but they truly were expensive electrical nightmares. None of them were kept past the factory warranties.

          WMB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          Really Dean? Toyota's last longer than any Ford or GM or Chrysler vehicles with high reliability and it's a proven fact. And any American car will last longer than any German or British junk.

          WMB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          It's ok Dean, I understand that as a ford dealer employee you have to defend your brand but Toyotas or Lexus are a better buy all in all if you are looking for keeping it for 10 plus years with worry free ownership....and I am not a cr or Toyota employee.

          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          @WMB...thats the sort of response I would expect from  a CR employee, and its FAR from the truth, reality is the Japanese cars are no better than anyone elses....but their damage control ( ie hiding facts ) is beyond reproach.

          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          @Anonymous, I have several clients that utilize Fords for transoportation services that have well over 800k on the clocks, so?....does THAT make Ford the most reliable manufacturer...NO, neither does the 320k on your Lexus, or the Million mile Volvo or..or..or..My point was/ is Toyota, or anyone else for that matter, is no better than any of the other leading manufacturers...and for some reason Im getting drawn and quartered for stating what has become a blatant fact, 10-15 years ago maybe, now, absolutely NOT...and recall #s , and frequency back that up, good cars, yes, the most reliable, no....just like those that would have us believe Tesla is the perfect car...its not, far from it, it will have issues like all complex machinery. And for some reason, people like Purrpullberra cant accept that, and then revert to childish abuse...funny really.

          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond

          @wmb funny, I can accept Ford, and have never denied it has had its share of issues, but how come you cant come to grips with toyotas massive issues, lawsuits and having to payout a massive fine for witholding information from congress?????? look in the mirror before hurling stones WMB...EXTREMELY hypocritical..and PPS, this is about Tesla, I dont want this to be turned into a mudsligging contest because I used Toyota as an example of "all is not as is perceived".

      Silver
      • 1 Year Ago

      If they can make their electronics reliable and durable, the future should look bright.  Given that the battery pack is entirely replaceable, many of these cars should maintain long-term value and last beyond 500,000 miles given the durability of electric motors.  Work on those electronic gremlins!

      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago

      30,000+ owners > NADA / hydrogen spambots & click-bait destructive testers

      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago

      I bet McLaren P1's, Bugatti Veyron's, Porsche 918's, Ferrari La Ferrari's, etc's have more problems than this.

      Regardless, a friend of mines owns one and he loves it. Most Tesla owner's love their cars, and so far nothing in these Consumer Reports or Edmund's reviews suggest that they had any customer service issues. Tesla treats it's owner's very well. Maybe version 1.0 still needs a few updates, but it sounds like they are hard at work making sure that everyone get's those updates. This is the cost of being an early adopter, but the reward is to own technology that no one else has. It's a amazing car with cutting edge technology just as the P1, Veryon, etc., that's how you should think of it.

      Regardless, I am eager to buy my first Tesla and with the stock price sitting at $264, I cannot help but sing their praises. Go Tesla, go. Your technology is changing the world.

      Tmost
      • 1 Year Ago

      If it was only less expensive...........

        bigjack254
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tmost

        Don't worry, a 10 year old Tesla will be within your price range eventually. Probably because it will not be able to move at all.

          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bigjack254

          Troll.  Start bringing some real information to the table...

      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago

      No surprises here.  The car is brand new and an early production model.  No model comes out where every car is problem free. 

      We don't read/write stories on all the ModelS's that haven't had one issue ever. 

      And these problems are being ironed out in production faster than any traditional car maker does even today.  So the review means very little regarding the overall reliability data.

      The car has decent but not stellar reliability when taking into account all the early cars.  Having fixed them is the important part. 

      There is no great drivetrain issue.

      There is no great sunroof problem.

      There is no great screen reset issue.

      These problems don't plague the ModelS.  They happen very infrequently.

      This does not diminish the quality of the car and the quality of build.  The materials are stellar and so is the service.  These things we know for sure.

      I doubt very much that the car will suffer due to this or the Edmonds experiences.  Thankfully, having to buy online basically forces people to research the car in multiple ways.

      No product is perfect and no other cars are put under the same scrutiny that these first alternate fuel cars.are.  And still the car is perceived as one of the finest for sale.

      drsavani
      • 1 Year Ago

      Tesla Wheel Rim Problem

      I am an owner of Tesla model S 2013, almost 16,000 miles

      My rear wheel rim had fracture (inside rim area) discovered when my Tesla was diognised with charging problem

      I was surprised when I received picture from service person here in Pennsylvania

      In my family we went through 32 other vehicles in past 20 years and never ever have experienced this kind of problem

      The service people told me that this was due to pothole and this problem is of road hazard

      I would like to know if anyone has experienced such problem and when I looked at the pictures and spoke to engineer friend of mine and he stated that it seem the alloy fracture has caused this and most likely it is a material defect.

      Please let me know and would love to share picture if anyone has similar problem

      Please email to me on drsavani@gmail.com

      thanks

      LegacyGT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla will probably work out some of the kinks in future vehicles as they get more experience. It's still not a bad effort for their first high volume car. This is probably another reason that it was a good thing that Tesla targeted the premium large sedan market for it's first mainstream car. Buyers of $80K luxury sedans are somewhat accustomed to trips to the dealer for frequent repairs. This is something that Camry buyers, for example, would never tolerate.
      Dr. Savani
      • 1 Year Ago
      One more thing I must say to my fellow Americans and those who can afford to buy the car in this price tag must buy this car. Those who can not afford to buy must lobby our local politicians for more subsidies to such car so we can make it affordable four our average Americans fellows.When you buy Tesla, you are not buying just CAR, you buying the world peaceWe know how precious is world peace now a days.When I am not driving Tesla I feel very guilty of supporting oil mafia those fueling terrorism all across the globe.If our politicians can make a good decision of giving good subsidies to this American car  so average citizen can afford it. We will not only save the environment of our backyard but we will stop the money that is spend by those middle east oil mafia using our oil money to fuel terrorism. We must put them back on camels.Love my freedom of speech and love to maintain it.Lets start our Jihad against those oil mafia.....

      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago

      When CR did their first review of the S they awarded it the highest rating ever in CR history.  This greatly attributed to the Tesla frenzy.  This seemed especially surprising because it seemed absolutely incredible that this new company had built their first from scratch vehicle, surpassing the quality of vehicles built by companies with a century's worth of experience.  Elon Musk was elevated to idol, perhaps even god in auto culture.  Tesla stock soared to illogical heights.  Now based on sampling from consumer feedback, reliability scores for the S are only average, and they project that it will drop from there.  Ouch.  It turns out that the S is more what we'd expect from a new company's first car. 

      The defense is that Tesla has been very responsive with repairs of all cars.  That will not be helpful to Tesla owners, however, after the warrantee expires.  Post warrantee repairs will likely be very specialized and expensive, which will likely adversely affect resale values.  For the tine being, Tesla can have such a responsive service program because the fleet of customer cars out there is a small fraction of cars on the road carrying a Ford emblem, for example. Tesla is sitting on a huge pile of cash from selling overvalued stocks, so they can afford expenditures such as retrofitting cars with extra under armor, their service programs and planting a network of chargers.  I doubt, however, that all of this is sustainable for the long term.  As more Teslas get on the road, any recall or systematic defect will grow proportionately bigger and more expensive.  Aging Teslas will likely have increasingly more defects.  Unless Tesla can work in a larger profit margin, their stack of cash will get proportionately smaller to overall expenses as income from selling stocks dwindles.  Some of these repairs are very cheap such as sending out software update.  Many repairs, though are very expensive, such as replacing drive units or battery packs.  Even replacing screens is pretty expensive.  Specific to Tesla, any warrantee repair other than a software update carries the cost of sending out a tow truck and a loaner car.  Tesla will absolutely have to work the bugs out of their cars to avoid increasingly higher quantity, costlier warrantee repairs.  This will be more difficult as their attention is divided building battery factories and developing new models like the X.

        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BipDBo

        " Unless Tesla can work in a larger profit margin..."

        Tesla already has one of the highest profit margins of any automaker.  That was the financial reasoning in "cutting out the middlemen" and selling direct to their customers.  

          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          What carbon credits?  Tesla doesn't make any money from carbon credits.  Tesla made $178 million from GM and Honda by selling them ZEV credits last year.  They haven't made a cent from them this year.

          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          @Grendal
          carbon, ZEV, same concept.  I sure that by the end of the year, Tesla will be making a good amount of profit selling whatever kind of credit it is that they sell.

          CeeJayABG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          Here we go again.

          Tesla has a high GROSS Margin. Gross Margin (GM) is NNNNOOOOTTTT PROFIT. Profit is what is left when Operating Expenses are subtracted from Gross Profit. When you do that with Tesla's income statement, you get negative profit (loss) until you subtract out key items that yield a non-GAAP number.

          Is Tesla's GM high? Yes, but only based on their accounting method. Tesla separately expenses their automotive development as R&D engineering; most auto manufacturers balance sheet their product engineering and amortize the expense over manufacturing overheads. Therefore it hits them at the GM line, making their GM lower. Mind you: I PREFER Tesla's method. I think it is more transparent. I DO NOT think they use this method to make an artificially higher GM. But the facts are what they are.

          Please, please do not say this is really profit but they invest their profit. First of all, financial terms have meaning and you don't get to make them your own. They are not profitable by any acceptable definition of the word.

          Secondly, Tesla's whole world depends on defining a bright future in order to elevate their share price, which in turn has permitted them to sell convertible bonds at a very low interest. Yay for them for doing this, BTW -- it's ENTIRELY above board. But in order to have a high share price you need a great growth story, which means the rapidly growing SGA and RD spend since last year is key. Therefore they MUST spend this money and cannot be profitable in order to pump the share price.

          Please remember that all the net positive cash Tesla has and has ever had derives from financing, not from profitable operations. This is not an awful thing, but it is not the trademark of a profitable company. I think they will turn the corner which is why I am long the issue.

          I just can't stand all the incorrect information out there that depicts performance that is not real.

          OK. You can burn me at the stake now.

          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          You just contradicted yourself.  Musk made the case for direct sales that they were needed for the business model to work.  Cutting out the middle man was needed because of their very thin profit margin.  We don't know exactly how much each car costs to build and what the R&D cost is spread out over each car, but it's easy to tell that the company has not thrived on selling the actual sales profit of their product to consumers, but rather selling stocks and carbon credits.

          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          um, no they dont..and they are the first to admit it...and selling direct does nothing barring being able to manipulate and fix pricing....they will get there if they survive, but it may take some time...

          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk

          @Bip   Not any more.  ZEV credits are a thing of the past for Tesla.  The other major manufacturers are gathering plenty of them on their own.  Toyota and Hyundai will have plenty of excess because of their HFCV's which get lots of credits.  As far as profit goes, Tesla is now hitting their target margins so they are making enough profit to suit their needs and get what they want done, done.  I'm sure they wouldn't refuse extra profit if it comes their way but it isn't built into their business plan.  The $178 million that they got from GM and Honda for their original ZEV credits allowed the company to reach profitability sooner than expected but that was over a year ago that the money was made.

      Daltini
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another Tesla article? Really. Oh, I guess it's been a few hours. My bad. 
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