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Thread: First experiences with our Model S (Dadaleus' story)

  1. #1
    4GETOIL P85#S70,FdrX,S85D dadaleus's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Solana Beach, California, United States

    Icon14 First experiences with our Model S (Dadaleus' story)

    I just posted this to my blog, but I'll cross post here as well. (Mods, if there's already an appropriate thread for this, sorry and feel free to move.)
    UPDATED 11pm after 24 hours with additional notes and corrections in italics.
    Overall, now that the road trip is over and I have time to contemplate the car a bit more, I can't emphasize enough how AWESOME THIS CAR IS! I love love LOVE it.

    We picked up our Model S (VIN #70) at the factory yesterday:
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    Delivery was at the factory was wonderful. A great team took us through the process and gave us an amazing tour of an amazing factory. (No pictures inside the factory allowed, sorry.) When we toured the factory a year ago at the S unveiling event it wasn't yet operating but the equipment was installed, so it felt more like a museum. Now it's a humming machine churning out cars (at a measured pace now but you can see what's coming given the large number in production). Lots of people at work on a Saturday afternoon.

    Delivery bay where we got the tour of the car and signed paperwork:
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    Wall inside the factory with visitors' signatures: We signed that at the S event a year ago, but we couldn't find our signatures in all of this (this picture is maybe 20% of the wall) so we signed it again (in purple):
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    As for the car itself:

    After driving the Roadster the last two years, this thing takes some getting used to. It feels so big and heavy, my instinct is it will take lots of room to get going and slow down. Not surprisingly given it's power, when you touch the accelerator it launches forward so quickly that if you aren't gentle enough it sort of feels like something really big must have given the car a hard shove! What is a lot more surprising is how easily it slows and goes around mountain turns (we took a shortcut through the hills). I consistently start slowing way before I need to, even just using regen.

    Update 11pm: After Newport and I knew I had lots of battery I really opened it up and had fun with some turns and OH MY this car can drive. It took a little getting used to the idea that a car this big and heavy can corner like the Roadster, but wow. It really is a high power sports car disguised as a luxury car. Or is that a luxury car that drives like a high power sports car. Hmmm...

    There are some quirks that I'm sure will be solved via software updates. The navigation is fairly quirky. At some point it stopped showing our planned route on the map--I haven't figured out why or how to get that back. It also seemingly randomly changed from the address I had clicked on to charge in Santa Maria to a residential street 7 miles further on and we didn't realize it until we had gone there and had to decide whether to back track or not (we just went on to the next station). I tried entering the address again as an experiment and even though the correct address clearly appeared on the menu and I very clearly clicked on it, the navigation again routed us to the seemingly unrelated residential address.
    11pm: Never had this happen again. Appears to have something to do with that particular address. Just double check that the address it's going to is what you wanted. Could also just be me getting used to the system.

    I do find the volume control not nearly granular enough. Its either too loud or too soft. But it sounds fantastic! And the iphone integration is great! Way way better (not saying much I know) than the JVC that was in the Roadster. It consistently shows the current song with album art on the screen, and the play and skip buttons always work. Phone integration is great, with the phone directory and recent calls from the iphone displayed automatically. The sound quality over bluetooth from the iphone is amazingly good. I have to admit that I'd be hard pressed to tell you I wasn't listening to a CD. And we all agreed that the surround mode actually works quite well. I have a Blue Man Group album that I know is surround and when we turned on Dolby in the car it really sounded great and sounded like full surround.

    11pm: I found that by using the iphone volume, I can get the granularity I need. A workaround, but at least I have a way.

    The charging adapters are amazingly elegant compared to the Roadster. The J1772 adapter is a tiny little (~3 inch long) insert that locks into the charge port, giving you a J1772 outlet on the car that almost looks like it's built in/native:
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    The adapter is the black part above. The white is the J1772 connector that's part of the station. The charger cables and the adapter lock in when the proximity sensor detects they are fully inserted. (One note about this. The proximity sensor couldn't pick up the first J1772 adapter they gave us. As a result, the car would only draw 16 amps from it. You can tell because the car's charge port only glows a greenish yellow, not true green, and an error about the charge connector not being latched comes up on the display. Our delivery experience rep had to drive all the way to Salinas to bring us another one while we ate dinner. The replacement worked perfect. Lesson: As an early adopter, test everything before going too far if you're going to be counting on it for the trip home. I'd suggest swinging by the closest J1772 station after taking delivery to make sure you are good before getting too far away. But alls well that ends well!)

    A couple quirks here though: When I get out of the car at an EV station, all three times I've forgotten to first pop the charge port door from the touchscreen so I have to get back in to do that. As far as I can tell there's no way to do it from the key or with the J1772 adapter. (I could get out the NEMA adapter which has a button to open the charge port). Likewise, even with the car unlocked, you can't remove the adapter without pressing the button to open the charge port (which is already open) from the touchscreen. Maybe there's another way but I haven't figured it out yet.

    Clarification: The Tesla cable for 110v, 240v, and the I'm sure the Tesla S HPC cables all have a button that will pop the charge port and release the cable when you are done if the car is unlocked. This is only an issue with J1772.

    I wasn't given an instruction manual. I have an email into my delivery experience rep to see if I should have or if there is an electronic version. I'm wondering if some of these would be addressed there. [Oops--actually the car did come with a manual! I didn't think to look in the glove box. Doh! Where did I expect to find it you ask? Umm... just remember I was a Roadster driver before this so I sorta forgot about the idea of a real glove box.]

    Another software thing is I really want more info about the range when doing this kind of long distance driving. I got very used to taking the two data points of ideal range and estimated range in the Roadster to judge how far I could go and what I could do to improve my range. I haven't figured out definitively if the range the S is showing is estimated or ideal--but I think it's ideal. There doesn't seem to be any option to switch or get the other figure as well.
    11pm: Correction--yes both figures ARE there. They can be found in the car control panel and you can add the display to the above the steering wheel display as shown below. BTW, note the beautiful cruse control display. Love this. Sorry for the very poor picture:
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    There is a touchscreen option to change the charging units between energy and distance, but this doesn't appear to have any effect on the range shown while driving.
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    It came as a bit of a surprise to me that there are no driving modes in the S, just a charging option of standard or range. This means that 0 miles left in the S is really 0--there is no range reserve one can "turn on" by flipping into a range mode. All changing the charging mode seems to do is control whether it charges to 85% (~245 miles) or 100% (~300 miles).

    These are nits and all can be changed in future software updates. The key thing is that this car is so nice to drive. It is perfectly quiet. No squeaks or rattles. Just the quiet whoosh of air going by! I love the 21" wheels. I don't feel any sense of harshness, but remember I was driving a Roadster before so my standards may be different than yours.

    The screens are a joy! I know people have worried about the distraction. I'm finding the screens quite elegant. I love having the huge map up while driving. With satellite view its really nice seeing the area we're driving through--really gives a better sense of place on longer drives. I hadn't given much thought to the screen above the steering wheel, but I really love it too. I customized it to show my navigation and song playback. The navigation there is very useful as it shows the turn by turn directions, while the 17" display shows the map.
    11pm: One suggestion to Tesla on the map display I'll be sending is bigger text for road names and such. It uses the Google maps standard which is okay on a laptop but hard to see from the driving position. Or could just be my eyes. Still, it's fantastic. It's like have a folding map up in front of you that moves and highlights where you are going. Love it.

    We're in Goleta now charging at Rabobank, headed south to charge next in Newport beach this evening then home to San Diego. If you are around Santa Barbara now or will be around Newport later, drop a line if you'd like to come take a look.

    Charging in San Luis Obispo last night:
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    Charging in Goleta today:
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    Last edited by dadaleus; 2012-09-10 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Adding corrections and updates
    Founders X #F00058 & S 85D #P78512, former Roadster #913 & Sig S #S00070
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Los Angeles
    thanks for posting! it's great to hear and see real world feedback on the actual usage of the car, keep it coming!! congratulations.

  3. #3
    VIN S00219 stephenpace's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for the report! Have you had to add any "Tesla time" to your trip yet--the added time answering questions from people who saw you with the car? Also, I notice the lack of plates--I thought Tesla was going to interact with the DMV and have the plates ready to go upon pickup?

  4. #4
    Roadster #1144 + Sig 114 dsm363's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Reno, NV
    Thanks for the review. How do you feel about the performance wheels and the Sig Red in person? That's what I'm getting but initially wasn't sure if it fit well with all the chrome but think it looks good in the pictures you've posted. Excellent review, thanks.
    Moderator - Model S, Mountain/Southwest, Texas, Northwest, Off Topic forums
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  5. #5
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    Awesome post. Love the first hand, real world info

  6. #6
    Model Sig 304, VIN 542 Arnold Panz's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Miami, Florida
    Great review, thanks!

    I'm not surprised about the volume control issue. I love Spinal Tap and very much appreciate the volume going to 11, but that definitely makes it more difficult to make the sound "just right" because there are only 11 total variances, assuming 11 is pretty loud.

    Curious to hear about your thoughts on the interior -- it looks like you got the black performance interior. How does it look? And the CF? Thanks!

  7. #7
    Member contaygious's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Marina, San Francisco
    Sweet thanks! Have fun!
    P427 Performance White/Tan

  8. #8
    Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12
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    Aug 2011
    San Jose, CA
    Great candid report. I think we can put the NDA rumors to bed.

  9. #9
    TSLA will win Norbert's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    Thanks for all the info, great read!

    Regarding display of ideal + estimated range, did you already try the suggestion I posted in the range thread? The screen above the steering wheel should be customizable to "Range", instead of Nav or Song, and then display both ideal and estimated range. Though there might not be a way to change the bar in the center to always display both, independent of customization, which might be what you are looking for.
    Buying an EV is one thing, being able to drive it beyond city limits another...

  10. #10
    Senior Member smorgasbord's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Quote Originally Posted by Arnold Panz View Post
    I'm not surprised about the volume control issue.
    Yeah, I encountered it during my test drive. They really to add thirds, if not fourths to the granularity.

    Heck, my stupid Alpine must be really loud. After all, it goes to something like 25 or 30!

    The Spinal Tap joke is a 20th century analog thing and doesn't work in the digital age.

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