Here are a few random thoughts from someone who has owned a Model S (VIN # 184) for just over 24 hours …
There’s really no point in rehashing what a truly awesome machine the Model S is. From a performance point of view, I’m really not sure how it could be improved. Aesthetically, the exterior is absolutely breathtaking.
I stopped in a Starbucks two hours after taking delivery, and honestly, two groups of people at the windows near where the car was parked craned their necks to look and then approached me as I walked in, wanting to know what kind of car it was. Only one person (a woman) had heard of Tesla, and some questioned how “a car so nice” could be an EV. The word “amazing” was used a lot. No one talked about government loans
On the performance side (and noted elsewhere), I had one amusing “confrontation” with a Maserati on FL 441 at a light. The Maserati lost … badly.
The car is visually big, but it drives small—that is, it feels and handles like a smaller car in many respects. Turning radius is excellent for a car of its size.
Also, the driving experience in normal traffic on normal roads is (for lack of a better word) “smooth” (no automatic transmission shift points, no hesitation)—it’s as if the car is gliding on the road. It’s so noticeable that passengers mention it.
Ergonomics and Needed Mods
The ergonomics of the dashboard display are excellent. In some cases, it’s a bit inconvenient to go through a number of layers of menus, but nothing serious. However, one serious failing IMO is the inability to orient the Nav system to represent motion on the screen in the sight-line direction that the car is traveling. Using fixed north for the display is disconcerting, and I’m not dyslexic. This should be an easy software option, and it should be implemented by TM asap.
It would also be nice to more fully control my iPhone’s playlists, etc. from the display screen. I suspect that Android users would feel the same way.
The rear camera resolution is the best I have ever seen. However, as others have noted, the rear display needs guiding lines that are displayed when in reverse. I use the camera in lieu of a rear view mirror and often leave it on while driving.
The interior/exterior fit and finish are very good, although there is distortion at the very bottom of the windshield glass. I wonder if it’s my car or typical? The distortion is far below the line of sight, but it is noticeable if you look down.
I was driving last night and had to turn on the LED dome lights to read something. That should be very easy to do, but it requires a couple of embedded picks. Maybe a small fixed icon to toggle the lights on the top control bar (near the homelink icon) might be a good idea.
I really do wish that the Model S had motorized folding side mirrors. My garage opening is tight, and I have to fold in the driver’s side mirror manually to be safe. Not a big deal, but there should be a more elegant solution for a car in this price range.
Little Lessons Learned
The special coating on the windshield seems to create problems for some RF or RFID devices. There is a non-coated clear spot on the windshield just above the rear view mirror that allowed me to place my automatic gate opener so that it would work. It wouldn’t operate properly anywhere else on the windshield. I’m wondering whether SunPass (the Fl equivalent to EasyPass) will work on the FL Turnpike). Haven’t tried it yet.
One nice feature is that the HD fish-eye camera actually displays the edge line of the bumper, so if you’re brave enough, you can use the camera to back up to with 3 or 4 inches of an object. I haven’t tried it yet, so do so at your own risk
Like most newer cars, the doors will not open from the outside if you pull up to pick someone up and leave the car in D. The problem is that the Model S is so silent that you forget to put the car in P and then panic because there is no door unlock function on the driver door. A little thing, but worth noting.
Also, because there is no creep, it’s possible to back up on level ground. inadvertently take your foot off the brake for just a moment and at the same time try to put the car in D. Model S (correctly) won’t do it, and you can sit there for a second wondering why. Gotta keep your foot on the brake, even though the car isn’t moving at all. Creep should remedy that.
Like some other new owners, my Homelink is not working properly. It seems to be programmed correctly, but raises the door halfway and then appears to send another signal that stops it. Irritating—something that needs to be addressed by TM asap.
When you leave the car at night, you have two options. (1) the lights go off immediately or (2) the lights stay on for a l-o-n-g time before they go off. Might not be a bad idea to provide 15, 30, 60, 120 sec options.
Love the Model S fob but attaching any other key to it is a challenge. I jury-rigged a few spring rings so that everything would lie flat (see photo), but I’m sure there are better options. To TM engineers: It might be worth rethinking the attachment approach for future editions.
I know this sounds self-serving, but the lack of interior storage within easy reach of the driver is really irritating (at least for me). I need a place within easy reach to put my smartphone, tic-tacs, night driving glasses, sunglasses, a small flashlight, a parking meter card, a couple of pens, and some change. Putting that stuff in the open center channel area is messy and I don’t normally carry a backpack. IMO, the little pouch below the driver’s seat is useless.
Luckily, I had a past prototype of the CCI (the most recent prototype is at the fabrication shop) which I installed within one hour of delivery. It will remain there until the production alpha version of the CCI is ready in a few weeks (then pics).
The Model S is the best automotive purchase decision I have ever made – no other car I've owned is even close.