P85+ Loaner Report

My car unfortunately or fortunately had to go in for service.  Fortunately, the valet brought me a new P85+ loaner as the service was likely going to take more than one day.  In the end, I had the loaner car for four days.  This car has two significant differences between my own car.  The “P” part or faster motor and the “+” part for the improved handling.  This post will discuss the overall differences between my S85, the P85+, and the Roadster.  The second half will discuss other observations driving a different and newer car.

I decided to give my loaner a true test drive and headed over on some very winding roads over to the beach on a truly gorgeous day.   I ended up driving on a lot of twisty roads, a fair amount of freeways on subsequent day, and did run some errands in town on another day.  The paperwork with the loaner that you sign does say you can’t go over 80mph.  With the roads around here being relatively busy at all times during the day,  I find it difficult to go that fast but just following traffic at one point I did go 79mph.

Loaner at the Beach

Loaner at the Beach

My first impression driving the car is that for some reason this car is noisier than mine.  The noise could be from the tires or the suspension.  I would by no means call it “noisy” but my particular car is almost bubble silent.

On several occasions, I started from a dead stop to test out the low end acceleration.  Yes, definitely faster than my 85 but not nearly as elegant or fast as the Roadster.  The front end tips up a bit and the back wheels can slip a bit from a dead start particularly if you are turning.   I had a hard time finding places to accelerate on the four drives I took in the loaner car. I am not as crazy with the acceleration on the Performance as I was with the Roadster.  The Roadster had no awkward movements out of the gate, just pure complete straight shot.  I can’t replicate that exact same feeling with the Performance.

But I think I am in some ways comparing roller coasters and everyone has their favorites.  Flooring the vanilla 85 is still pretty darn fun and has no awkwardness and saved me money.  At least in the area where I live, I find it hard to take full advantage of this kind of acceleration and did not feel compelled to buy a Performance version.  I also like having a vehicle that I can floor without any likely jolts, noises or significant tire wear.

On the other hand, I love the “+” part of the equation and found it a reasonable price performance improvement for $6,500.  I went on some very windy roads that fortunately had very little traffic.  The “+” just really grips the road in a way my 85 with 21” wheels does not.  I think an interesting option would be to get the “+” without the “P”.  On my first long drive on very windy roads, I really enjoyed the “+”.  The third drive I was just doing a simple errand.  I started to really notice the uneven pavement on the roads I was driving on.  I actually missed the smoother ride of my vanilla 85 as the “+” felt rough in a reminiscent way of my Roadster.  Four years in driving my Roadster, I never took it on an overnight road trip.   Partially because the likely need to think about charging it, but more so because of the non-luxurious ride.

Since most of my driving is somewhat ordinary with a fair amount of traffic even during non-commute hours, I would find it quite challenging to find moments to utilize the capabilities of the “+”.  Perhaps up to once a month I travel on some twisty roads.  In these situations, I would prefer a “+” as it really handles these roads with a nice tight grip.  But my vanilla 85 also handles the roads very well.

Probably even more important for me is I do enjoy long road trips.  I think the overall profile of the vanilla suspension is much smoother and more appropriate for these kinds of trips.  So for me personally, I would still purchase the same car configuration if the plus had been available.  I am still interested in test driving a vanilla 85 with the new 19” wheels though.

One of 8 parking sensors

One of 8 parking sensors

A few other small notes on this newer Model S.  The valet service left the car in my driveway and I drove it about an hour later.  The temperature outside was about 70 degrees.  I was surprised how warm the car was already, definitely warmer than my grey car with a black interior.  So at least from this small data point, the exterior color seems to influence the warmth of the car more than the interior color.  I am still not particularly fond of the high contrast between the tan leather and the black interior elements.  I like light interiors but the Model S has far too much black on the doors, on the dash and on the floors to truly be a tan or grey interior option.  Whether or not the headliner is Alacantra or not, I really did not notice or care.

This car had several new features:  the parking sensors and the yacht floor.  Four little holes are in the cars bumpers for the parking sensors but I don’t think the software is yet available as I did not hear any audible clues nor could I see any dash indicators when pulling out of my driveway.  The physical parking sensors are visible but are not obvious.  The front bumper also is my least favorite part of the Model S from an aesthetic point of view with or without parking sensors.

The yacht floor has some trim in the floor between the seats where the standard configuration is black carpet which honestly I never notice as it is so dark or has a few items lying in it like a sunglass case and a phone.  I would not pay $500 for this feature.  I am more interested in a console where I can store these things

Yacht Floor Option

Yacht Floor Optionaway from sight.

The more obscure change I noticed was the change in cup holder design.  I love my cup holders.  They work perfectly for reusable containers and reusable coffee cups.  They have some nice cinchers that grip the containers.  The newer cup holders are the same size but don’t have cinchers!  My reusable water bottle was flying all around the loaner car.  I had to take it out of the cup holder and leave it on the seat as the noise was quite irritating.

Just for fun, I also took detail notes after charging it to a full non-range charge and this car with less than 1,000 miles charged to 237 miles.  The previous drivers also had kWh / mile usage of over 370.  My number was lower than that as I ended up behind some slow cars on the drive back from the beach and with freeway driving the car is reasonably efficient.

A handful of other folks with low VINs have stated that the build quality seemed better on their loaner.  I did not notice any difference in my 04xxx car and the 16xxx loaner.

I hope this review is helpful for new buyers in choosing between the different 85 versions.  I had also wrote this post when the new options were first announced.  The earlier post provides a general overview of the different 85 models.

Cup Holders With Cinchers

Cup Holders With Cinchers


California Paperwork

Outside of the normal sales paperwork, electric cars have additional paperwork in California.  The federal tax credit is part of the annual tax program, but Californians can get $2,500 from the state very quickly along with access to the carpool lane.

The Center for Sustainable Energy in California, requires four documents in order to issue a check.  The application form, proof of vehicle registration, a copy of the sales or lease contract with full itemization, and a copy of a California utility or cable bill within the last three months.

The center currently has plenty of funds.  I found them to be very friendly and helpful.  They quickly processed my information and issued a check in a reasonable amount of time.

With the carpool stickers on an EV, you can drive in the carpool lanes with only one person.  With a new car, you need to wait till you get your license plates, which in California takes less than two weeks.  The process to get the stickers is simply to fill out a form, and send in a $8 check.  I have my stickers but I am avoiding putting them on until I will be driving on at least a somewhat routine basis where they could be useful.

Right now, the white carpool stickers will expire in Jan 2015, but they will likely be extended to a further date.

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

Living With 110V

Unfortunately, my adapter from my Roadster high power wall connector to my Model S is on backorder.  I am living with the 110 connection in my house.  My dryer is in the middle of my house, so there is no 220 plug in the garage, only the Roadster high power connector.

The following information might be useful for someone else with only 110 connection permanently or in a short term situation such as on a road trip with limited charging options.

Precarious 110 Connection

Precarious 110 Connection

Although the charging is extremely slow, I have not found using a slow charge to be a large issue.  So far I have been able to take the car wherever I have needed to go without any range anxiety.

I have encountered four limitations with the 110 cable so far.

1.  The cable is quite short, the model S is quite long, and the plug is in the back of the car.  I think even a few more feet of cable would be a great improvement.  Particularly in light of the wording in their contract

“that an extension cord should never be used to charge your vehicle.”

2.  The 110 adaptor plug is an awkward shape.  I think it should be more “short and wide” then “long and narrow”.  When plugged into a high socket, the weight of the plug and wire make it difficult to keep a strong connection.  The first outlet is about 3 feet off the ground.  Reminds me of days when you had to travel with an adaptor plug and a transformer to switch voltage.

The connection is not strong with the two plugs and unfortunate weight distribution.  I had to push it in extra tight before the car would start charging.  Also because the cable is short, it is easy to trip on when walking by as there is not enough extra cable to easily drape it flat along the garage floor.


Where Did the Tesla Go

Where Did the Tesla Go

My solution for the short plug was to rearrange my garage, and put the Model S in the third bay.

The car has been exiled to the back of the garage.  I did exaggerate the photo a bit by only lighting the bay filled with toys, not cars.

The third bay has storage cabinets and a shelf with two sets of outlets.  In this configuration, I can rest the plug on the open shelf, and get a much tighter seal.


3.  While in this new configuration, I did have the fuse trip during one day of charging.  I did not notice this and lost a lot of charging opportunity time.  I had driven quite a bit the day before, so this was unfortunate.  So far, the fuse has only tripped once, but I have only had the car for one week, so time will tell.  But I can easily monitor this from the wonderful Tesla App.  Would be even nicer if the app sent you a text message when power was interrupted.

4.  I would also prefer to not use electricity during PGE peak periods, so my car will cost more to drive until the adaptor arrives.

Better Seal When Cable Can Rest

Better Seal When Cable Can Rest


Tight Connection

Tight Connection






Purchase Agreement

Legal Disclamier:  I am not a lawyer and none of this information represents legal advice. I just found these clauses in the Pre-Delivery Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement interesting.

Class Action Waiver.  Any claim or dispute is to be arbitrated by a single arbitrator on an individual basis and not as a class action.  You expressly waive any right you may have to arbitrate a class action.

You may not, and may not attempt to, reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile, tamper with or engage in any similar activity with respect of the Vehicle.

You agree that we may monitor and record telephone calls made or received by us or our agents regarding your account to assure the quality of our service.  You give us consent to call you at any number that you provide to us, whether in person or with auto-dialers and pre-recorded messages, in order to service your account or with regard to your Vehicle.

Your vehicle has one of the most sophisticated battery systems in the world….. Please remember to plug it in when not in use…. Please also not <should be note> that an extension cord should never be used to charge your vehicle.

Maintenance and repairs should only performed by a Tesla Authorized Service Center.

Also their system says you need a Windows machine!

Windows Only Document

Windows Only Document