Valets Getting The Tesla Grin

Valets Getting The Tesla Grin

So I went to a fancy restaurant last night and didn't want my guests to walk so I used the valet parking. When I was driving home I happened to glance at the energy graph and saw a big spike that wasn't there before. The next morning I made the same trip driving in a similar manner to the night before. Basically the drive from my home is all uphill to the restaurant, which is only about a mile away. The white letters A-B-A show the energy used for my "test" trip.

Valet Issue

Using those distances I figured out what happened after I handed over my fob to the valet. Even though the garage was right around the corner, he went for about a mile test drive, and pretty much floored it as much as possible.

For perspective, here's my last 30 miles of driving. Guess what Mount Rushmore is.

Valet Issue 02

So if you don't want some kid driving your S around like a maniac, it's best to tell the valets up front that you can monitor their driving remotely, there's a log you can pull up in the car, and you don't want him getting the Tesla Grin. Fortunately my car's fine, but next time I will be reading them the riot act as I hand the fob over (and I'll reset Trip B and take a look at the mobile app while he's parking it).

TI Sailor | 19 May, 2013

Speeds are capped during test drives to 80 mph by a hidden configuration setting. There's been speculation in other threads this flexibility may be made available to owners in the future to allow "grin" limiting of both valets and teenage children.

Carefree | 19 May, 2013

I will never hand over my P85 to a valet for exactly this reason. I'd rather walk or make my fellow passengers walk - it's good for your health anyway, esp. after a nice dinner:-)

Robert22 | 19 May, 2013

So, no desire to go back, show the the valet the chart, and ask what he'd do if someone drove his car like that?
A commendable example of restraint.

PorfirioR | 19 May, 2013

I can already see the headlines:

"A Detour on the Road to the Parking Garage"

"Stalled out on the Valet Career Ladder"

"A Most Peculiar Valet Park"

"Problems with Precision and Judgement, plus free dessert"

Robert22 | 19 May, 2013

I was thinking more along the lines of:

"Pushing the limits of Off Road Performance- One valet's perspective from inside the Frunk.

carlk | 19 May, 2013

I would just give the valet $20 tip and ask for park the car myself. Usually they will give you a front row space too.

Getting Amped Again | 19 May, 2013

I did go back and talk to the manager. I just told him that this is the wrong car to joy ride in - too much data.

SamO | 19 May, 2013

@Got Amped

Did he offer you anything by way of apology?

Getting Amped Again | 19 May, 2013

Yeah I got a bit of an apology. I have a 60, but I'm not sure an inexperienced driver could handle a P85 if they really mashed the go pedal without knowledge of what was going to happen.

eltonf | 19 May, 2013

This is exactly why I have never allowed a valet to park my car. I always park it myself and just give the valet a tip for allowing me self park in a valet only spot.

TikiMan | 19 May, 2013

I would contact the restaurant, and file a formal complaint with the owner!

The last place I went to that had a valet lot, I kindly asked the valet if I could park my own car, and he said "no problem". I gave him a nice fat $$ tip after 'I' parked my MS.

lolachampcar | 20 May, 2013

You will find that most valets are race car drivers with more than enough talent to handle some ole electric car; just ask them.

Seriously people, you are really surprised when you hand the keys to a new toy over to a valet making a few bucks an hour and who lives for the opportunity to drive some rich dipstick's expensive car like he stole it and he does just that????? (sorry for the long sentence but it just would not be the same if broken up into coherent thoughts)

If a valet runs the snot out of your car there is only one person to blame; the person that gave the valet the keys without getting their nuts in return. It is like getting stung by a scorpion while playing with it. It is in their nature.

GeirT | 20 May, 2013



TikiMan | 20 May, 2013

If this story doesn't make you NEVER want to valet your ride again, well, all I can say is... best of luck (you'll need it)....

carlk | 20 May, 2013

@lolachampcar Totally disagree with your reasoning. Same as I don't expect every bank employees to steal money form there. They are not supposed to do that and wrong if they did.

lolachampcar | 20 May, 2013

I'm not saying they are right in doing what some of them do nor am I saying that all of them do it. My point was simply that it is a know risk when using valet services.

I agree with you that they should not and are wrong when they do.

Brian10 | 20 May, 2013

I read an idea on another thread that works for me. I just tell the valet that my insurance won't allow him to drive the car and they seem fine allowing me to self park. Of course, I still give a tip.

sunnysailor | 20 May, 2013

I just had the same experience with a valet. I was at a location where the only option was to valet and I was late to a business dinner so I couldn't easily take the time to "self park" with the valet.

Telsa, if you are reading this forum please add a valet mode soon. I have about 3-4 miles of really high acceleration runs.

Getting Amped Again | 20 May, 2013

lolachampcar | May 20, 2013

If a valet runs the snot out of your car there is only one person to blame; the person that gave the valet the keys without getting their nuts in return. It is like getting stung by a scorpion while playing with it. It is in their nature.

Hey dude, I made my post to warn other owners and solicit ideas (like the Valet Mode, which is a good one). What's the reason for your post? Make me look stupid? Make yourself look smart?

Really, if you don't have anything positive to add to a thread, just stay off it, thanks.

lolachampcar | 20 May, 2013

not my intent at all.... I apologize if I offended you. My goal was simply to point out that, although not right by any means, this behavior is to be expected.

That being said, I'll stay off your thread.

Panoz | 20 May, 2013

This must happen to all brands of cars. I owned a Delorean for years and yes, I am aware that the valet probably tooled around the garage (or maybe even town!) in my car before parking it. I know of one Delorean owner that had an oil change place have girlfriends and regular customers open the doors and sit in the car, delaying the service time. One repair place actually damaged my Delorean by letting a mech have a "test drive" and he hit a steeply sloped road too hard - the Delorean is a *very* low slung car. I made the shop repair the damage at their expense, and have since said "no test drives, no car washes, I'm watching the odometer".

Panoz | 20 May, 2013

I must agree with GotAmped...his misfortune was not to be expected. I don't blame myself if I get ill eating at a restaurant, I blame the establishment for not doing their job. I think he should be commended for sharing his experience with others, I certainly makes me think twice about leaving my car with anyone.

ellcyc | 20 May, 2013

APR has a very nice setup with their VW / Audi tuning software, where you can put the car into valet mode by holding down the cruise control switch. Of course the thing is, if the valet knows about this trick they can put it into a different mode. So APR also has a feature where you can set up a way to protect against changing the mode.

One nice way Tesla could implement this feature would be to add performance degradation to the driver profile system, then set up a valet profile that ships with the car. That way, if you wanted to enable performance degradation for anyone else in your immediate family, you could do it.

Keith72 | 20 May, 2013

I haven't let a valet take my car yet, but it's just a matter of time before I'll need to somewhere in downtown Houston. My plan is to show them the energy meter and take a picture of it with my phone while the valet is in the car. I'll then let them know that I can also track the car on my iPhone and show them the app.
In many cases the restaurant contracts the valet service, so when you complain, they tell you the valet doesn't work for them.

Epley | 20 May, 2013

I had to valet it at a fancy restaurant the other day, but felt better because there was another Model S in the valet lot at Canlis. Didn't stop me from checking the app to make sure he wasn't tooling around, though!

Getting Amped Again | 20 May, 2013

If TM monitors this, a Valet Mode would be very useful. Please degrade the acceleration, top speed and raise the car (if so equipped) as in urban settings the valet lot may be in a nearby parking garage with a steep entry or exit.

Thank you all for your comments and ideas. Remember to raise the height of your car in addition to your discussion with the valet.

Jewsh | 20 May, 2013


I respectfully disagree. If I give the keys to my car to a valet, I expect they will demonstrate the same self-restraint I demonstrate when someone gives me the keys to their server room. In our jobs many of us have ample opportunity to either abuse other peoples' gear or to demonstrate why our employment should continue.

Customers should never be concerned that their car is getting trashed.

eltonf | 20 May, 2013

@Jewsh I'll assume you make more than $6.25 / hour and have a much more fulfilling job than parking cars. The key point being missed here is many valets feel that they will NEVER have an opportunity to own something as nice as a Model S. As a result a joy ride in many cases is their only chance to experience such a car.

skymaster | 20 May, 2013

I have found out that the Tesla employees also like to get the "Tesla Grin". I guess I can't blame them.

skymaster | 20 May, 2013

OOOps. Tesla employees, not the Tesla employees...

AlMc | 20 May, 2013

Bottom line that I think you all agree on is that it would be nice if a future software upgrade included a valet mode. It would display on the center screen 'Valet Mode' and indicate that speed is limited and that the car records electrical use.

I would suggest that you are all correct. We should expect a level of professionalism from a valet but be aware that the reason many people take such positions is to experience different automobiles. While I do not condone the actions of the valet the OP described his actions are not a total surprise.

GeekEV | 20 May, 2013

@skymaster - My car got taken into the shop today and I was going to check up on it but they'd turned off remote access! ;-) OK, so it was probably because they don't want me turning on climate control, locks, etc., while they're working on the car...

Brian H | 21 May, 2013

You can startle a mechanic and cause bodily harm by honking at inappropriate times. It has happened.

J.T. | 21 May, 2013

@lolachampcar Customers should never be concerned that their car is getting trashed.
Having been a valet through my high school and college years, working at beach clubs and catering halls for a guy who owned a body shop out of necessity to back up his valet business, I find the absoluteness of your comments to be naive. Never be concerned?! Maybe, don't be paranoid, but a word or two to the manager at the valet stand and a demonstration of the phone app. is only a wise precaution.

Keith72 | 21 May, 2013

The first thing the technicians do at the Service Centers is to shut off the remote access. The manager of the Houston Service Center told me that this is a requirement, and they shut it off before getting out of the car once they move it into the shop. As mentioned above, this is to keep someone from remotely starting anything in the car while they're working on it. Just think if someone tried to start up the A/C while a technician was working on it.

lsmith | 21 May, 2013

Come on guys don't be naive.....didn't you ever see Ferris Bueller's Day Off?

wcalvin | 21 May, 2013

"Careful with the speed. It's in Valet Mode to jack up the rear clearance, but the damn thing starts sending me instant messages when driven faster than 20 mph."

Ought to work even without a Valet Mode.

Jewsh | 21 May, 2013

I think it's rather unfortunate that some people see a valet worker and rush to judgement on the quality of their character. It's nigh impossible to guage their maturity and level of responsibility on the spot, hence I put to everyone that we as customers must trust them.

I've worked jobs where I cleaned (literally) crap off a basement floor; if you saw me working in that apartment, would you have written me off, too? I earned the down payment for my house doing that work just as some valet workers probably work the gig as a second job for the same reasons.

That said, a valet mode is still a good idea. Everyone gets what they need and keeps their dignity.

J.T. | 21 May, 2013

Insurance rates for teenage male drivers are higher for a reason. Are insurance companies judging the character of the person or simply protecting against statistics?

Brian H | 21 May, 2013

Yes, it only requires a few whack jobs to put your car at serious risk. Among valets, the % is probably elevated. A little. ;)

eltonf | 21 May, 2013

The risk goes beyond joy rides. I also don't want to see my 21" wheels get curb rash because some kid cuts a corner too close. just because people shouldn't do something doesn't mean they won't when tempted. With a car as unique as a Model S I think the odds of a joy ride are significantly higher than the typical car.

mferron | 21 May, 2013

There is risk every time you rely on someone else to care for your stuff, but here's what I do to help mitigate the valet risk: I have created a driver profile (called 'VALET") which sets the driver seat in an "exit" position and displays the immediate energy data in the instrument panel, and displays the valet instructions from TeslaTap on the touch screen ( When I hand him the key fob, I ask him his name, point out the instructions for operation on the touch screen and the energy monitor (in case he has "forgotten") and ask him where the valet lot is (if it is not immediately obvious). Then I leave him a good tip (as a "down payment") and thank him for looking after "my baby". So far, I've only had good experiences....

dstiavnicky | 30 May, 2013

You could also use this valet attendent warning screen. (Update with instructions coming soon...)

Paul Koning | 30 May, 2013

Roadster has valet mode -- interesting omission that S doesn't have it. Or not yet, I suppose. Clearly an obvious item for a future software upgrade.

DouglasR | 30 May, 2013

Are valets part of the 47%?

portia | 30 May, 2013

+1 mferron, good idea for the Valet driver profile.

I have not valeted my car and don't ever plan to... I will take the self park and give the valet a tip route.

lolachampcar | 30 May, 2013

tip - stay away from my car.

2050project | 2 June, 2013