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Tesla Test Drive Questions

Tesla Test Drive Questions

I thought it would be interesting to get a list of questions that people are looking to get answered at the Test Drive Events. What kind of performance/course are people looking for? What delivery questions do people have? Are there still unanswered questions on the vehicle that people are looking to get answer?

So have at it, lets see what people have to ask!

Can't wait to drive this weekend

#S292

Soflauthor | 22 June, 2012

Here are a few for starters:

Driving characteristics:

- Is acceleration off the line impressive enough to be noticable?
- How does the car accelerate between 40 and 70 mph?
- How responsive is the steering? How stable is the steering?
- Does the car corner well?
- Does the front-end dive noticably under moderate breaking?
- How noticable is the regen when you remove your foot from the accelerator?

Interior:
- How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it?
- How well can seats, steering wheel, etc. be adjusted to your needs?
- How easy is it to interact with the display?
- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?
- How good is visibility throughout 360 degrees?
- How easy is it to adjust mirrors?
- What is the sound level (with audio off) in the cabin at 30mph, 50mph, 70 mph?

Exterior:
- Is the fit and finish acceptable?

Other:
- Overall impressions?
- What didn't you expect and resulted in a smile?
- What made you frown?

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 22 June, 2012

This may seem strange, but where is the wiper fluid tank fill point? On the betas I've seen it was under the hydraulic arm in the boot... Making it very hard to fill.

Also interested in the smile and frown factors and especially how it was to interact with the display.

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

How wide is it, actually, including mirrors/with mirrors folded? Official numbers have been changing at least twice at this point. Would be interesting to get a first-hand measure from the real thing.

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

Is there any storage in the doors/behind the seats/under the armrests that was not in the Beta models?

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

Are the head rests up high enough to support the back of the head rather than the neck even for tall drivers?

ddruz | 22 June, 2012

What about rear seat headroom with and without pano roof?

mikeadams | 22 June, 2012

I thought I saw in one of the frunk pictures in the raised area that surrounds the frunk in the corner closest to the driver a fill point for the washer fluid. Don't remember where I saw the photo though.

Mark29 | 22 June, 2012

This seems like a slow strip tease. The roll out of the Model S has been a series of 'events' designed to elicit interest, but continue to have a gross lack of evaluative comment. Elon talked about "tens" of the Model S being delivered to customers in June, but delivered just a few Model S's to FOUNDERS today. Tesla didn't deliver to customers who would be objective about their cars, Tesla delivered to TELSA INSIDERS/FOUNDERS. Good grief . . , this is a bad tease with little or no ability to objectively evaluate the merits of the car. I've been on the reservation list for 2 1/2 years and have good reason to be frustrated that TM seems unwilling to allow an objective assessment of the merits of the car.

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

Mark29, do you realize they are doing 5000 test drives in 45 days, starting tomorrow? I understand that you're impatient, but there will be "objective evaluation", and very soon, and tons of it. Can't make the second step before the first.
http://www.teslamotors.com/own/testdrive

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

Mark29, I just read the articles mentioned in the other thread. Do these, in your opinion, count as "objective evaluation"?
http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/1206_2012_tesla_model_s_...
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57459125-48/tesla-model-s-first-dri...

Obviously, the press got to drive the cars this morning, before the "celebration", to make sure the articles are out as soon as the first cars are on the road. Great timing, hats off to Tesla.

cmlaff | 22 June, 2012

What does the horn sound like?
Sounds petty but when I got my first Infiniti Q45 the horn sounded like it came off an old VDub. It was embarrassing to have such a wimpy sound coming from such a meaty car.

Will a valet parking attendant be challenged with the operation of the car?
Keep in mind that we as owners will have many chances to learn about this car; not so much for those folks. Will it be intuitive enough for them? In fact, we are supposed to arrive 30 minutes before our test drive for "an instructional video."

Will there be a hard copy owner's manual included?

Lord forbid, what if the car has to be towed? What mode do you set the car in?

Test driving July 1st in Los Angeles and I will try to post answers to previously unanswered questions.

Soflauthor | 22 June, 2012

The pull quotes from the articles @V.B references are impressive. If other reviews are similar, and more detailed reviews have the same thrust, TM has a winner on its hands. All smiles.

stephen.kamichik | 22 June, 2012

To tow the car, use NEUTRAL mode.

Volker.Berlin | 22 June, 2012

How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it? (Soflauthor)

"Tesla certainly succeeded at what it set out to do. The Model S is a car that can easily compete with the premium sedans of the world."
(from c|net article, link above)

gjunky | 22 June, 2012

For all the fellow Americans: There are cup holders in front, in the rear seat and even in the jump seats.

Also, there is a small shelf below the main display which seems to be slanted backwards a bit. A perfect spot for a plugged in phone, iPod or any other device.

Not sure if these (except for the front cup holders) were all new additions. I just noticed them in the first few review videos.

BYT | 22 June, 2012

I'm a little disappointed that the rear seats do not match the interior if you went white. I may end up going Signature Red with black interior though so it will not matter to me as much. I can always tuck them away as well.

jerry3 | 22 June, 2012

- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?

These are from the Mercedes parts bin so if you think the Mercedes is easy to use the Tesla will be too.

Volker.Berlin | 23 June, 2012

Do the rear seats fold flat, as in, literally flat?

ThomasN | 23 June, 2012

What I really want to know is how 19" wheels behave on a performance car. There are just too many pot holes in Portland for the 21" wheels.

Captain_Zap | 23 June, 2012

@BYT

Please clarify. Do you mean the back seats do not match the "white", or are you referring to the optional rear jump seats that face backwards?

Volker.Berlin | 23 June, 2012

Since he "can always tuck them away" he's probably referring to the optional rear-facing jump seats. And to me at least it makes sense *not* to have your 5 to 10-year-old sitting in a white seat! (Chocolate, anyone?) Since the trim of the trunk is dark gray in any case, the seats actually do match their environment, even if the rest of the passenger cabin is white leather.

mvbf | 23 June, 2012

As you step on the "gas" do kids of different ages sitting in rear facing jump seats shout with mixed glee and fear, cry, or throw up? We might not have worry about mismatched seat colors ....

I am also interested if test drivers find the steering feedback adequate.

BYT | 23 June, 2012

LOL, yes, was referring to the rear jump seats and they will get dirty regardless but aesthetics, you know? :)

HH | 23 June, 2012

I'm wondering if there will be a software enabled, pass code protected "valet mode" to prevent joyriding?

jerry3 | 23 June, 2012

There is in the Roadster. I can't see them leaving it out of the Model S. However, does anyone even use a valet anymore? I recall using one in the late 1960s but I haven't used one since.

BYT | 23 June, 2012

We still do in terrible parking conditions like San Francisco or events.

Jason S | 23 June, 2012

Re: valet mode -- I interviewed for a job recently where they had valet's park the cars in the lot for the building I was going to work in. You had no choice; if you wanted to take advantage of the on site parking, you handed your keys to the valet.

Given the other parking choices, I was ok with the valet option and frankly would've just had one of the valets set up with a memory setting for the seat/mirrors/etc and that would be the default valet for it.

Wasn't a high-power, high-pay job either. It was just how parking was done for that building.

Jason S | 23 June, 2012

Okay, I took these questions with me to the event so I’d be sure to try something like them. I drove and have ordered the Red Sig Perf. Here goes:

Driving characteristics:
- Is acceleration off the line impressive enough to be noticable?
- How does the car accelerate between 40 and 70 mph?
- How responsive is the steering? How stable is the steering?
- Does the car corner well?
- Does the front-end dive noticably under moderate breaking?
- How noticable is the regen when you remove your foot from the accelerator?

Acceleration is exhilaration. You push the go pedal down and the car just zooms. No shifting, no power curve dead spots. 40-70 is no problem. 0-60 is no problem. 0-100 is no problem. 100 to 0 is no problem. Really an amazing car.
Took a longer sweeping corner rated for 35 at 85. Took a 90 degree corner at 60 (or so - wasn’t staring at the speedometer) and got a little slide but it was sooo well controlled. I might’ve just thought it slid, because it was so smooth.
My wife who usually grabs the door handle (what I like to call the OMG-bar) when I take corners reported not having to do that at all while riding in the back seat. The body just doesn’t sway at all. Same thing re: front-end dive – what front-end dive?
Regen was not really noticeable to me, but I’m ok with clutch or downshift braking. Again the car was just so intuitive and well behaved that I can’t recall any unexpected sensations.

to be continued...

Jason S | 23 June, 2012

Interior:
- How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it?
Interior still seems bare without a hulking center console. But I’m ok with that because I’ll just put my backpack in between the front seats. The cubby under the screen is a nice new item.

- How well can seats, steering wheel, etc. be adjusted to your needs?
I adjusted the seat after getting started. Tons of little adjustment, I very quickly got comfortable. The steering wheel was fine and the mirrors were fine when I got in. The previous driver must have been about my size.

- How easy is it to interact with the display?
The steering wheel roller button handles most things. I played with a beta for a little while, but didn’t really go into depth on it. It seems fine by me, I’m not picky about that stuff.

- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?
I confused the cruise control stalk with the turn signal at first. The turn signal seems a little low compared to what I’m used to, but when I found it the signals worked just like I expected – nudge and get 3 blinks, nudge and set to let it blink until turn completed.

- How good is visibility throughout 360 degrees?
The rear view through the mirror is pretty limited. But the camera is operable while moving. The side mirrors seem HUGE. I really liked the visibility through the side mirrors and basically forgot about the rear view mirror. I may have used the camera a bit, but was mostly concerned with side mirrors for the test drive.

- How easy is it to adjust mirrors?
It is a little adjuster on the left hand. Seems like it would be simple.

- What is the sound level (with audio off) in the cabin at 30mph, 50mph, 70 mph?
Really really quiet. But I kept rolling down the windows because the day was so nice. The windows have the automatic up/down behavior I expect.

to be continued...

Jason S | 23 June, 2012

Exterior:
- Is the fit and finish acceptable?
Gorgeous. Here’s my pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/114054546415991709511/albums/575743285465...

Other:
- Overall impressions?
Drives like a dream. The fit and finish is great. I highly recommend the performance model.

- What didn't you expect and resulted in a smile?
The side mirrors and just how unshakeable the ride is. I’d no idea what “low center of gravity” and the rest of it really meant and now it seems like a racecar.

- What made you frown?
I couldn’t get another test drive! I couldn't try every other thing, just not enough time. Oh well, get to try it all out in 3 months or so when I finally get it.

- Where is the wiper fluid tank fill point? Also interested in the smile and frown factors and especially how it was to interact with the display.
Fluid tank is right is an awkward place near the strut. I’ve got a photo or two of it.
The display is configurable. And pretty easily. The center was very quick and the speedo could be changed via the steering wheel buttons. We tried to change the speedo accessory displays while driving but it seems that was locked out… which makes perfect sense. Didn’t bother while stopped, it was just a question I’d asked the sales associate while on the drive and he tried to show me.

- How wide is it, actually, including mirrors/with mirrors folded? Official numbers have been changing at least twice at this point. Would be interesting to get a first-hand measure from the real thing.
I did bring a tape measure, but chickened out. I’d go with the official measurements right now. The side mirror do seem fairly large.

- Is there any storage in the doors/behind the seats/under the armrests that was not in the Beta models?
Some console prototypes were on display. In addition the performance seats on display had a little pocket in front (can see in my pictures).

- What does the horn sound like?
Not bad. Yes, I actually tried it. It is a good beefy sound, nothing unusual. Businesslike?

- Do the rear seats fold flat, as in, literally flat?
I didn’t get a chance to try that. Saw a picture of some and it looked pretty flat, but maybe a couple hinges poking up.

(fin)

ddruz | 23 June, 2012

Jason S, Bravo! Big mahalo for your excellent report.

steven.maes | 23 June, 2012

Thx Jason !

wholland | 24 June, 2012

Appreciate your in depth report, Jason. You're awesome!

BYT | 24 June, 2012

Jason is the man, thanks! Looking forward to my test drive tomorrow afternoon!

Volker.Berlin | 24 June, 2012

Jason S, thank you so much! What a great report on many details.

I did bring a tape measure, but chickened out.

Thank you for trying anyway. One of the first owners will sure take the measure, in his/her own garage, while nobody is watching. ;-)

Very good news about that pocket in front of the seats.

Mel. | 24 June, 2012

Jason s, that was the best report I have read on our car, I think you really got everyone super excited. Thanks

TikiMan | 24 June, 2012

Great review Jason!

Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions we have been waiting forever to find out about!

Soflauthor | 24 June, 2012

@JasonS: Since I was the author of many of the question you answered, you've done me (and everyone else) a real service. Many thx!

David70 | 24 June, 2012

Thanks Jason. Great information. I'm looking forward to my own drive in about two weeks.

mvbf | 24 June, 2012

Great report Jason. I am probably too late asking this question for this event, but would someone please test the manual aspects of the air suspension? I believe you can raise the car to two different levels at low speeds and probably while stopped. There probably isn't time for this, but the ultimate test would be to also measure the clearance at the different heights with people in the car.

Volker.Berlin | 24 June, 2012

There probably isn't time for this, but the ultimate test would be to also measure the clearance at the different heights with people in the car. (mvbf)

Assuming that the air suspension works as it should, it doesn't matter whether or not there are people in the car. That's the whole point: It automatically keeps the car leveled, regardless of load (i.e., immediately and automatically compensating for the load as needed).

rd2 | 24 June, 2012

Had my test drive yesterday. Wow. I agree with Jason's assessments on all fronts. As far as my own smiles and frowns...

Smiles:

1 - Speed, power, stability, smoothness of ride. I have never driven a better-handling, faster, or smoother car in these respects. The regen is incredibly useful, easy to adjust to, and will extend your brake life significantly. Anyone who is on the fence will jump in with both feet after test driving the Model S. It is truly spectacular to drive and completely blows you away! I took my dad along, and now he is making a reservation because the car is simply that amazing.

2 - Pearl white and sycamore brown. Totally floored by the pearl white model that they do the test drive orientation on. With the black interior, it is stunning and sophisticated, but not glaring in any manner. I was also pleasantly impressed with the sycamore brown - looked great in shade and sunlight. Black, Blue were also great. Green was so-so.

3 - space in rear seats, comfort of arm rest = I was a little worried about both of these items and the production model put those worries to rest.

4 - Tesla. They are doing this the right way. The slow deliberate information release is very calculated, but it is working. Just look at every single review that is now out by journalists (Motor Trend, Yahoo, USA Today, Engadget, etc etc), they are all completely glowing about this car. Tesla also is responding to our concerns about the console and cupholders, etc. This will do wonders for new reservations/sales from here on out. I attribute this not only to a truly revolutionary car, but also to the way Tesla has handled their PR. Brilliant.

Frowns:
1 - Music player froze the entire touchscreen display during my test drive (!). Yes, I have to report this because it is something Tesla can easily fix and it needs to be fixed. While on my test drive, the Tesla rep was finding a song we all would enjoy, and the song froze and entered an endless repeat. He was unable to stop this or escape out of it. He asked me to hit both steering wheel rocker buttons for 8 seconds, and the entire touchscreen did a forced shutdown (just like a PC would). I then pressed the rocker buttons again and it rebooted. Tesla rep was a little embarrassed, but more importantly, while the touchscreen was shut down, the AC turned off. Once it rebooted, the AC turned right back on immediately. I was a little surprised by this, although it makes sense since that panel controls the climate. But nevertheless, Tesla needs to address software glitches so that they are very few and very far between.

2 - Some Colors: Dolphin gray - didn't like the blue/green tone. I was expecting a much darker metallic gray and it was my leading choice until I saw it in person. The Sunset red is nice, but a little too bright as well. Also the performance wheels take a lot of the 'wow' factor from the look of the silver and dolphin-gray, IMO.

3 - Didn't get to see the opportunity consoles in person because only a couple cars had them in them, and we didn't get any time to see those other cars in detail. But the pictures I've seen are functional and will probably do the trick. We'll find out Monday I guess. Also, the rear cupholders are not a fold-down armrest feature, but a removable insert that would have to be stored somewhere else if not wanted.

mvbf | 24 June, 2012

Volker.Berlin, yup I know the claims of the air suspension because it is something I have focussed on. However, claims and reality do not always match. But with the test reviews coming in so positive, I am inclined to have more faith in Tesla's claims.

mvbf | 24 June, 2012

rd2, Nice very thorough well organized feedback. I am definitely one of those on the fence. Maybe I shouldn't test drive because then I will not be able to resist ...

Mel. | 24 June, 2012

Rd2, great report . Glad that reported the software problem to tesla, so they can fix before the sig's start coming off the line

Jason S | 24 June, 2012

Thanks for the positive feedback and thanks to rd2 for elaborating on his experiences with the car. Good to know how to reset the console!

My concern for the upcoming test drives is how they'll let people do some of those sweeping corners while avoiding tickets for reckless driving. The Fremont event let us zoom out on the factory road free of speed controls then let us zoom back.

The freeway on-ramp should give some sense of the handling. It will be entertaining to see more videos of people with the Tesla grin and the "whooaaa" from the passengers.

Driving it is amazing.

olanmills | 24 June, 2012

Nice feedback, guys.

Dang, you didn't like the dolphin gray? That's my choice too. I generally go for plain/safe (i.e. boring) colors for a lot of things I buy, like black, silver, and gray.

I wanted a darker color because I think I would like the way it will contrast with the chrome pieces. If there was a metallic version of the black, that would definitely be my choice. The brown paint actually looks quite nice in some of the pictures I've seen, but I have a hard time choosing something outside of my comfort zone of black-gray safe-ness.

rd2 | 24 June, 2012

I really wanted to like the dolphin-grey, but it just didn't 'pop' if you know what I mean. It may have a lot to do with the performance wheels, which are that charcoal color. I think, with the standard aluminum wheels, the dolphin-grey may look a lot better. But overall, I wish it were a darker shade. If you had your heart set on that color, I would recommend seeing it with the aluminum wheels before passing final judgement. Ditto for the silver (also had the performance wheels on it).

But you can't go wrong with black or brown I think.

Schlermie | 24 June, 2012

Can someone describe the mechanism used to shade the panoramic roof?

Jason S | 24 June, 2012

I think I drove one with a pano roof, but didn't notice any shading device. The day was bright enough that I would've closed the shade on a normal sunroof, but I wasn't bothered by it with the S.

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