5Yrs 42KMiles 200Posts

This blog post is a large milestone for me.  I have driven Tesla’s as my main vehicle for five years with only occasional usage of a 4WD SUV.   I have driven a total of over 42,000 miles in both cars, and surprisingly written 200 blog posts covering both cars.

My Beginnings with Tesla

I have been an environmentalist all my life and had already owned one hybrid vehicle.  When the GM EV1 came out in 1997, I took note but found the short range not very practical for me. I had been watching the market since then and everything available even in 2006 was basically a golf cart.

Seven and half years ago a friend, who was driving one of the first Priuses, wanted to go to an electric car show in the parking lot of Palo Alto High School.  At the event we talked to several different car “manufacturers”.  The only one that impressed me was Tesla.  They had a mockup / prototype of the Roadster that was pretty rough.  After that initial conversation, I shortly put my $75,000 down for my Roadster.  I strongly felt I needed to have action behind my environmental words.

Why I Blog

I started my blog a few days after I got my Roadster.  I knew I was one of the few people driving Roadsters who had the time or interest to blog about the experience.  I wanted to help encourage other people to drive electric cars.  I have a technology background but I also had roles with a lot of communication responsibilities.  I think I have succeeded in a small way helping others buy electric vehicles.  I wanted this blog to express what it is like to own and drive a high end electric vehicle.  I avoid talking about the stock price and many “news events” as they are heavily covered by the mainstream media and often I have nothing in particular to add to the conversation.

During the Roadster years, I typically got 5 to 10 views per day.  Honestly, there was not that much to write about the car because the driving experience and controls were very simple.

Once I began blogging about the Model S the number jumped by a factor of 10, and I typically get 50 to 100 views per day with some days being substantially higher.  Lifetime number of views is almost 50,000.

Most people find me through google searches a combination of words such as tesla owner reviews model S etc…  and also through a few links on forums and other sites.  I suspect a lot of these people are new car buyers.  Most visitors are from the US but Norway and Canada are also active.  I currently have 45 followers.

Popular Posts

I have a number of posts that are consistently popular over time as they contain some detailed information for new buyers.

P85+ Loaner Report – which compares driving a S85 vs a P85+ for several days

Performance and Plus – which breaks down the S85 vs P85 and contrasts driving the Roadster

19” vs. 21” Wheels – which includes an estimated breakdown of long term costs

Living With 110V – My successful first month with the Model S using just 110 before I got my adaptor to my Roadster High Power Connector.

There have also been a number of posts that were analyzed data or were news oriented that were also popular

Range Test – I surveyed a number of other Model S owners to see if driving style had any influence on the car’s rated range.  The results were a clear conclusion that there was no relationship.

Valet Mode — applies to the Roadster but received a lot of attention at one point

Supercharger Time Test  — trying to achieve 170 miles in 30 minutes during five different  systematic tests.

Seven Years of Solar  — detailed analysis of my solar usage on the house

Vampire Drain  — detailed analysis of the drain when my car was left idle for long periods

Driving

So many owners have described how wonderful it is to drive a Tesla.  I avoid emphasizing this part of the experience on my blog as it is very redundant.  But in summary, I can’t imagine ever wanting to use an ICE vehicle as a regular car.  My top favorite reasons for loving my Tesla is:

  1.  I love the acceleration of the Teslas.  In any situation knowing I can safely accelerate past another car when necessary.  I still enjoy this part of the car although from time to time I can scare my passengers.
  2. The drive is smooth, quiet, comfortable.
  3. Never having to go to a gas station.  The convenience of filling up at home is really nice.
  4. The overall electronics experience is very nice in the Model S.
  5. I do feel I am doing my part for the environment as I am “driving on sunshine” as except for the occasional outside charging, all the electricity is generated from the solar panels on my home.

If I have to be nit picky about the Model S I would like these things improved:

  1. Rear view visibility.  I am not that thrilled with using the camera particularly on rainy days.
  2. The car is really just a bit too wide for me.  I would prefer it a little narrower in order to get into a lot more tight parking stations as the Bay Area is getting more and more crowded.
  3. I have a fair amount of curb rash on my beautiful 21” wheels.  But most of these rashes are from the first six months of driving (or parking).
  4. At times I wished the Iphone and the Model S talked to each other better.  If I have someone’s address on the Iphone I would like to be able to navigate directly there.
  5. The homelink at times can be slightly annoying.  It seems to recognize the garage door sensors quite far away but often cannot open them till quite close.  And the drop down menu often turns off the rearview camera’s picture.

Service

The only real problem I had with the Roadster was horrible radio reception but that got fixed over time.  With the Model S I had several problems with the door handles but they also have been resolved.

I have found all the folks at Tesla to be extremely responsive and friendly.  I have enjoyed all of my interactions with Tesla personnel.  I would give them my highest possible marks for customer service.

Who am I

I have kept my identity hidden from the blog.  A large reason is that I really wanted to have a straight forward historical blog about living with a high end electric vehicle, not about its owner.  I also wanted to not receive any preferential treatment from anyone at Tesla.  Only within the last six months I have disclosed my identity to Tesla in order to get some important questions answered about supercharging.

I also have never owned any Tesla stock.  There was a brief opportunity when Elon permitted accredited investors with Roadster deposits to invest in Tesla.  At that time I was reeling from an unenjoyable experience as an angel investor.  Although I have invested in pre-public technology companies several times, I was not completely comfortable with my knowledge of the car industry.  Once Tesla went public, I just never made the move perhaps fretting over timing.  Regardless whether or not I ever invest in Tesla, the amount will not be a significant one for me, and this blog will continue to be objective.

The Future

I still have a number of ideas for future blog posts and maintain a running list.  My posts over the years have in general have an increased level of analysis and word count.  I am probably overdue for a cosmetic overhaul.  I would love to hear any feedback on the blog in general both good and bad and what anyone would like me to write about in the future.

Delivery Information

Delivery Details

Delivery Details

I recently got an email to clarify information for my delivery.  The request asks for the following information.

Registration :  This section includes a double check of the address, names of the persons on the registration, and whether this car is for business or personal use.

Delivery:  The choice whether you want the car delivered to a particular address or you want a factory tour.  I want a factory tour!  You can also pick up the car at a local service center.  This page also lists your delivery window.

Charging:  This page deals with setting up your outlets and whether you would like Solar City to call you.  I already have a high power connector for the Roadster, and simply need an adaptor, which is not listed on this page.  I have already had solar for six years.

Trade In:  This page asks whether you would like to trade in a vehicle.  I have decided to sell my Roadster through another venue that I will explain in a later post.

Financing:  Tesla has arrangements with several national banks to finance the vehicle.  I will pay cash.

License Plate:  The car is built without a front license plate bracket.  The factory will install one for you if you choose, or you can add one at a service center later.  The front license plate does drill holes into the bumper, and has a very slight aerodynamic impact.

Model S Config

I put in my order for my Model S on December 28, 2012.  For previously blogged about tax reasons I didn’t want my car delivered till 2013.

I decided on the following technical configuration.

85kWH Battery – I want to be able to take longer trips than I can in the Roadster and use the supercharger network.  I also think that with the extra battery power, perhaps I can have it last longer than 8 years.  In years 9 and 10 perhaps it is still at an acceptable charge acting like a 60kWH battery.

Non-performance – I have owned a Roadster for 3 1/2 years.  I often use the very fast acceleration to merge onto freeways, get into the carpool lane safely and pass people at lights.   But I rarely floor it.  I think 1 second or so less is fine for a savings of around $10K.

19″ Wheels – I really like the look of the turbine 21″ wheels but I after the years of Roadster ownership and the need to frequently replace the tires, I chose the 19″ wheels.

Panoramic Roof – I have never been a fan of convertibles but I have always liked sun roofs.  Both for the light, a little sunshine and often for an alternative way to get fresh air with less noise.

Tech Package – I debated this one for quite a while.  I live in a somewhat rural area and I wanted the brighter Xenon lights to see deer and rabbits at night, the homelink connection to the garage doors, and the navigation map that doesn’t depend upon an internet connection.

Sound Studio Package – I am a bit of an audiophile and really would like a nice system.  I also have over 5,000 songs in my Itunes library, so even 3,000 is going to require editing of my library.

Active Air Suspension – This option seemed like a easy one.  More efficiency at higher speeds while avoiding hitting the bottom on steep driveways in my hilly neighborhood.

In my next post, I will write about my aesthetic decisions.

Model S Configuration

Model S Configuration

Reservation Bump

Since I own my Roadster, I fall under the category of “Roadster Friends and Family”.

Having worked in high tech for many years, I had witnessed some abuse of this category to give a little too much pre-IPO stock to a CEO’s relatives or personal friends.  I like people to be treated fairly and evenly. In this case, my reservation number changes but there is no financial transaction changes.

I am taking this special treatment as a “thank you”.  Thank you for believing in Tesla, putting $75,000 down on a car in 2006 after meeting with us at an electric car event at a high school parking lot.

So I am basically now in the front of the line.  As soon as I finalize my car, they will fit me in the line.

After a couple of days after making the first reservation, I got an email saying my reservation sequence number is now 555, which is in code speak the front of the line.

I had not expected to be able to get the car so quickly, so I now have been working out all the details on what exact configuration I want.

555

 

 

 

Model S Reservation

On November 27, 2012 I decided to put a reservation in for a Model S.  When I initially bought the Roadster, I thought at some point I would get an electric sedan.  I was in no rush to do so as I was very happy with the Roadster.  I also delayed looking into all the details of the model S until things had settled down with the car.

There were several factors that lead me to make the decision to put in a reservation for the Model S.

1.  The announcement of the new trade in program for the Roadster by Tesla.  With this program, I knew there would be a painless option for converting to a sedan.  Negotiating is not a strong skill for me, so this program gave me piece of mind as a backup plan.

2.  The $2,500 year end price increase.  Why pay $2,500 more if you don’t have to?

3.  The experience at the dealership.  I spent a few hours asking a lot of questions.  I never felt pushed into buying a car or making a reservation.  I went on a test drive after making the reservation. The visit was during mid week and they squeezed me in.

4.  The car itself.  The Model S was more than I expected.  I walked in without a lot of expectations.  I was very impressed with the progress Tesla has made in the last four years.  I will write more about this in future posts.

5.  Why not?  The deposit was completely refundable if I changed my mind.  I had put a $75,000 refundable deposit with the Roadster, a $5,000 refundable deposit seemed very reasonable.

reservation1