P85D Loaner Report

A P85D in My Driveway (only Temporarily)

A P85D in My Driveway (only Temporarily)

I recently had the great pleasure to take a P85D loaner while having my car serviced.  Actually I was just getting the center consoled installed!  While they installed the console, I drove the P85D for 125 miles.  One trip over the mountains to the coast and back, and the second morning finding some errands to run around town.  During the extended test drive, I found a number of small things about the D that I was not expecting.


As has been reported many times, the acceleration is insane and very reminiscent of my four year Roadster experience.  Super fun and smooth from a dead stop.  In 2013, I had driven a P85+ loaner and was not overly impressed with it.  I did not like the car’s reaction to full acceleration from a dead stop as the front lurched up and the wheels squealed a bit.  The D was very fun; I kept it in insane mode for the day and never tried the sport mode.   I definitely used a higher rate of kWh/mile than normal while enjoying this faster acceleration.

Motor Noise

Interestingly enough the motor noise was substantially different.  At first I felt like a small jet was flying by.  The volume was definitely louder than my S85.  But after the first 30 minutes of driving I no longer noticed the noise difference.


The P85D loaner seemed to handle exactly like my S85; both cars are equipped with air suspension.  I couldn’t really tell a difference.  I did take a good drive over and back to the coast on some really fun twisty mountain roads.

Radio Reception

During my Roadster driving days, I had horrible radio reception.  I still listen to some AM and FM radio on a somewhat regular basis.  The FM signal was not as crisp as in my car, but the AM station was completely inaudible.  I suspect with two motors, the electromagnetic interference is worse.  I easily showed this to the valet that picked up my car as we listened to an AM and an FM station side by side in the loaner and in my car and the difference was very noticeable.

Parking Sensors

False Edge Warning with Sensors

False Edge Warning with Sensors

While driving, the car indicated several times that I was quite close to some mysterious objects in the road. I have driven several loaners in the past with parking sensors and do not recall ever getting these warnings.   The camera screen warned me more than once that I was close to a physical object.  Also twice the dash flashed a warning in red graphics that I was about to hit a car or person in front of me.  I like to drive away from all traffic and am by no means a tailgater. I did not have enough hours with the loaner to determine the true cause of these warnings.

Car “Smell”

When I first got into the car, I noticed an astringent strong smell.  This smell was so distracting, I rolled down the windows for a long period.  I spent most of the 125 miles with the sunroof and windows down in one configuration or another.  The weather varied between 60 and 75 degrees, so driving in this top down fashion was appropriate, but that smell took about 24 hours to not be noticeable.

I don’t know if this car smell is because of some new surfaces in the manufacturing process, unusual behavior by another driver, or a chemical in the mysterious spray bottle I saw being used on the car before I picked it up.  I can’t quite identify the nature of the smell other than unpleasant; my nose and sense of taste can’t determine the list of spices in restaurant food either.   I know whoever that I am quite sensitive to the smell of cleaning agents.

Higher Rear Headrests

The newer rear headrests are so high, I almost wonder why there is even a rear window!  At this point I largely depend upon the cameras, side windows and rear view mirrors.  Only when changing lanes in dicey situations do I use the rear window, But with the new seat backs, the rear window almost useless.

Why Even Have a Rear Window?

Why Even Have a Rear Window?


I think Tesla now has a wonderful option for folks who feel the need for speed.  I was not fond of the P85+ but the P85D characteristics are really nice.  My area is in a big economic boom with more and more people and traffic.  It is getting harder and hard to find places where I could really enjoy the insane acceleration.  To trade in my 39,000 mile S85 to a P85D at this point would be a large outlay in dollars that I could not justify.

However if I were buying my first Model S right now, the P85D would be in serious contention.  The dual motors would work both for having a lot of fun and the occasional trips to the snow.  I could potentially no longer keep the Toyota Highlander Hybrid that spends most of the time in the garage.  Unfortunately with climate change, the California Sierra Nevada mountains have had so little snow in recent years, I almost don’t even need a 4WD vehicle anymore.

Selling the Roadster

I could not justify keeping two high priced electric cars and sold the Roadster. I am going to share a few thoughts about my impression of the process and the different ways to sell the car. My thoughts are all completely subjective but might be useful for someone else in the same process.

 First, there are three main ways to sell the Roadster:

  1. Trade in to Tesla directly.
  2. Sell the car yourself through ebay or other methods
  3. Use a 3rd party dealer

All three methods have advantages and disadvantages. Trading into Tesla is the very easy method, but they take a large chunk of cash for the service. Another advantage is that you get the value of the trade in immediately and do not have to wait till they sell the Roadster. They also sell the cars for more to the end buyer.

Selling the car yourself is always a hassle. I’m personally not a negotiator by nature. I’ve only sold one car in the past. I usually drive my cars till they are quite old, and not worth a particularly large amount of money. The other three cars were donated. One vehicle was worth less than the repair cost and given to a tinkering friend. The other two were donated to two different charities. Almost any charity will take a car as a donation that is in reasonable shape. They will have an employee basically do the same process that an individual will do to sell the car.

Well, the Roadster was worth more than a few thousand dollars, so did not qualify in the donate to charity category, and would probably be too unique of a car to burden a small charity with.

 I liked the straightforward process Tesla went through with a quote for the Roadster. I just thought I was leaving money on the table.

Tesla ended up giving me a lead on a 3rd party sports car dealer, whom other Roadster owners had used in the past. I ended up going that route, and found the experience to be pleasant. Since I have had only one transaction with this organization and am cautious with public recommendations, I am not going to name them. Unfortunately, I doubt there are too many reasonable “used car dealers” out there, but this company was fine and familiar enough with electric cars.

The company offered two methods – an outright purchase or a consignment. The estimates for the consignment range were of course higher than the immediate purchase.

 I went with the consignment as I was not in a hurry to get the cash. I started the process right before Christmas. I was warned that the business for these types of cars is very slow around the holidays and really does not pick up till spring.

In the end, they were right and the car sold around the change of the weather. I did not end up getting more than the initial outright purchase price though.

Roadster Moved to Another State

Roadster Moved to Another State

I think there had been a mini-glut of Roadsters early this year. A lot of folks who owned Roadsters were trading into a Model S. A lot of folks like myself were more interested in the electric car aspect of both cars than really wanting a sports car or even a large luxury car. I’d prefer the Model S about 10” narrower. There definitely seemed to be a drop in the selling price of Roadsters in early in 2013 – not huge but apparent. The number of Roadsters advertised seems to be dropping recently. Probably as the electric enthusiasts have already moved on to the Model S.

 In the end, I netted $5K more than if I had traded in directly to Tesla with a few month delay and no real hassle. I may have gotten a bit more if I sold it on my own but I cannot imagine it have been worth the hassle as the buyer was out of state.


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 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.