Here are a few more random thoughts after one week of driving my Model S (VIN # 184) Ö
I continue to be amazed by the quiet ride, the smoothness of every driving action, and the overall wow factor. In one week, three friends and acquaintances, after seeing and riding in my car, are just about ready to drive to Dania and put money down. Another friend from CT is coming to visit next month and says if he likes what he sees (he will) heís putting money down.
The most driving fun Iím having is going from, say, 30mph to 60mph is Ĺ second (okay, Iím exaggerating, but just a little). We have six-lane main streets (speed limit is often 50 mph) where I live (e.g., Glades Road), so going 30 to 60)is not all that uncommon.
I used my Valet Parking Instructions on Tuesday evening at Mizner Park -- an upscale open mall with boutiques and restaurants. I still gave a verbal overview to the valet, who then wanted to park the car right in front with two exotics, and a Bentley GT convertible (actually, I did the parking ). When I returned, there was a small group of people looking at the Model S, and the other cars looked lonely. It would have been nice to have had Tesla Model S brochures to hand out.
Because Iím testing the CCI prototype in the car, Iíve taken it over some rough roads (to test for CCI rattles, movement in the channels, etc.). The Model S handles the bumps very well. Itís ironic that because the car is so quiet on smooth roads, going over bumps sometimes gives the impression that itís noisier than it is. In fact, all you hear is the tire noise on the bumps.
I had my first overnight software update on Sunday night. Worked fine. As an aside, in addition to the email summary, it would be a very good idea to have a summary of the key update items displayed directly on the Model S display when the ďupdate successfulĒ message appears.
Tesla engineering asked to ďtake overĒ my car to try to debug my Homelink problem. The theory was that the signal timing for Homelink doesnít conform to the timing for some (older?) garage door openers. They reprogrammed signal timing and found that 6 second signal duration works well with my configuration. Itís very bizarre to have Telsa control my Homelink from 2,500 miles away.
The car is wide, and it takes a little practice pulling up to a curb on your right. Iím paranoid about getting curb rash on my wheels so Iíve found that I wind up further from the curb than Iíd like. Iíll need to practice to get the feel of the proper approach.
Visibility out the rear window is problematic. I rely almost solely on the backup camera, but to repeat from my 24 hour report, it really does need a set of computer-generated guide lines so that itís easier to estimate distance to objects.
Took the car to a touchless wash. It survived with absolutely no problems.
The 21Ē wheels have cheesy plastic caps on the valve stems. Will replace them with more substantial caps, but I really shouldnít have to do that on a car at this price point.
After a week inside the car, I must say that the interior design is calming. The minimalist look of the doors, the dash, and the seat design are pleasing to the eye. But the open (negative space) center channel area is too much minimalism for me.
The screen does smudge from fingerprints, and youíll need a optical cleaning cloth in the car. However, because the screen is always on (unless you disable it), the smudges are really not that noticeable. I live in SoFla (lots of sun) and I have not yet been in a situation where glare impacts my ability to read the screen. In fact, I wear sunglasses when I drive, and the screen remains quite readable.
As I mentioned in my first report, the roof continues to filter both sun and heat beautifully. I honestly donít think Iíll opt for a sunshade. Just not necessary.
I have had the CCI (shameless plug: teslaccessories.com) in my car for the entire week, but I did take it out for half a day just to get a feel for the ďopen space.Ē After 4 hours, I missed by stuff (including a newly added optical cloth) in the CCI closed storage space and my phone caddie. Back went the CCI.
The glove box is quite small (wide, but very little vertical height) and does not really serve as an adequate storage space for anything but papers and very small items.
I am concerned about the fit of the leather on the driverís seat. After one week, the leather has stretched a bit and doesnít look taut (has noticeable ďwavinessĒ). I think part of the problem may be the underlayment and/or the thickness of the leather, but I donít think that should happen in a car at this price point.
My car has black carpeting and thatís a problem. It shows every spec of dirt, meaning regular visits from my ShopVac. Not the carís fault, but still aggravating.
A few friends who have ridden in the back seat asked why there was no fold-down armrest. I answered that Tesla was working on one, but they seemed surprised that it wasnít standard. I shrugged.
Interaction with the display is excellent overall. I still have a few things to learn, but after a week, the interaction is feeling quite natural.
The internet browser sometimes does weird things when you try to use iPad-like features (e.g., multitouch magnification). It does not enlarge the type size and instead reproduces it in a smaller (default?) typeface.
The phone app works okay and imported my iPhone contact list with no problem. However, unless Iíve missed it, there is no way other than scrolling to get to a contact deep in the alphabet range. I have hundreds of contact numbers and there should be a shortcut method for getting to a contact beginning with, say, the letter ďR.Ē
Little Lessons Learned
You can start and drive the car without having your seat belt on. A tone does sound, however.
At first itís disconcerting to get out of a car with the audio system in operation and the A/C on. Iím used to it now and these systems shut down as soon as the fob moves away from the car.
If you ride the brake even slightly as you simultaneously press on the accelerator, a warning tone sounds. Iím guilty of doing this as I back out of a very tight garage door.
Iíve noticed that closing the car from the outside is sometimes problematic. A normal push on the door to close it sometimes leaves the door unclosed (not fully closed). The problem is that if you donít notice this, the internal systems (A/C, radio, etc.) continue to operate, even as you walk away from the car.
The door handles have worked well throughout. However, once or twice, I have walked up, pressed the handle, and Ö nothing. Not sure why. I wait a few beats, try it again, and they pop out. Also, they do collect finger prints that are noticeable at close range.
The auto windshield wipers are VERY sensitive to anything (e.g., a leaf, a big bug) hitting the windshield. They will do a wipe when they sense contact, and itís a little surprising at first when itís not raining.
There has been one instance in which the speedometer display went completely black (on start-up). The car worked fine, but itís very disconcerting not to have a speedometer. I tried to reboot the display by pressing on the two top steering wheel buttons, above the rollers, but Ö nothing. I then tried to call Tesla Roadside Assistance, but after going through the sorting automaton, I was channeled to a forever-ringing phone (no answer). Called the Dania store and they suggested that I reboot the display, and turn off the car via the control panel. When I turning it back on, the speedometer display reappeared.
A ďservice requiredĒ warning appeared on the morning after my software update. The odometer showed all blanks. The problem, diagnosed by Tesla Engineering in CA is that the software versions for the display software and the speedometer software were different and created a conflict. Fixed remotely. Cool.
Iíve got a CCI to build (and authoring work to complete or my editor at McGraw-Hill will kill me), so thatís my reporting on the Model S for a while. I hope you found the 24-hour and 1-week reports to be useful.