TESLA FANBOY CONFESSION
$100,000 on wheels, or why did I cancel my Tesla car reservation
This is going to be a long one, unlike my other blogs. Feel free to post a reply. I’m eager to hear opinions that support or oppose mine.
Let me start with “hats off” to Mr. Elon Musk. He made a fortune in the hay day of the Internet. He could have spent his money on expensive toys like yachts, airplanes, mansions, islands, escorts etc. Instead he had chosen to change the world trough business and technology. Cars and space are every boy’s dreams and Mr. Musk’s actions in those fields make him a hero for many grown up boys me included.
It is a well known fact even to amateurs like me that the gas engine has horrible properties for use as a car engine. This fact prompted the development of the gearbox in an attempt to adjust the character of the gas engine to the needs of the car. As we all know the gear box is bulky, heavy and expensive part of the car. The electric motor on the other hand has perfect character for a car. That’s why the electric car was in the dreams of many for many years. The major obstacle for the dream to become a reality was the lack of reliable battery. Fortunately, high capacity reasonable size and weight Li-ion batteries emerged about the same time when Mr. Elon’s fortune struck. Tesla was born.
I did research Tesla Model S (MS) online and I test drove one in May, 2013. I also deposited $5,000 to buy one in April, 2013, which reservation I cancelled. Below are the results of my observations and the reason for my cancellation.
1. Acceleration. MS is out of this world as far as acceleration goes. I have driven many luxury power cars lately with 8 cyl. engines and power of over 400 h.p. including Mercedes S550, BMW series 7, Citroen C6 and none of them comes even close to the acceleration of MS. Traditionally the faster acceleration the better. For me MS draws the line and presents the question how fast do we want to go.
Fast acceleration is good for those who want always to be first at the stop light and to leave everyone behind accelerating like crazy and consequently breaking same way. Guys, I understand your ego and your motivation, however I have to share with you what my wife says about it ” this man must have very small penis”. Think about it. Is your street behavior trying to compensate for lack of confidence in other areas? Or maybe you are at the top of everything else and driving shouldn’t be excluded. We will leave this to the psychologists to explain.
Fast acceleration certainly helps in some critical situations, but frankly I’d rather drive safe and avoid such than making split second decisions and actions.
The acceleration of MS is so fast than I worry how my body will tolerate it and frankly I’m getting headaches. As the philosopher Friedrich Engels would say “the quantitative accumulations lead to a new quality” ever hungry for more and more acceleration, who would think that the time will come when I say “this is too much” . Well MS drew the line for me.
Finally, we are not alone on the road. I teach my teenage daughters that driving is about predicting and assuming what others will do on the road. In this regard “out of this world” Tesla MS is difficult to be predicted by other drivers and could possibly increase the risk of collisions. The closest I got to a major car incident in the last 20 years was when I was just about to pass a car and a super accelerated Porsche, that was not there a moment ago passed by. I saw the Porsche by a miracle in a split second before changing lanes.
Bottom line, although the “boy” in me wants as fast acceleration as possible, the adult man with headaches and slowing reflexes says that a line should be drawn of how fast is fast enough and Tesla MS goes beyond this line. Of course there is no mandate to accelerate as fast as the car can go and it is good to have the fast acceleration handy when needed. That’s why I’m moderately positive on this great feature, but not overwhelmed and super excited about it. The only excitement is from technological stand point of how far the technology can go.
2. Stability and steering. Here again one doesn’t need a degree in physics to know that low center of gravity means more stability. The batteries are the heaviest component of the car and they are under the floor at the lowest possible location, thus contributing greatly to the stability and steering. Talking about steering Tesla MS has manual controls of steering wheel’s sensitivity. This control is automatic depending on the speed in most high end cars I’ve driven.
Bottom line Tesla MS gets my highest marks in regard to stability and steering.
3. Convenience and luxury. Tesla MS is equipped with most convenience features expected from a luxury car like keyless ignition, power seats and mirrors, rear view camera, leather seats (optional) among others. However, being a new kid on the block, Tesla does not have the polish and refinement achieved by others in their long history. For example my Mercedes S550 can control the sound system from three different locations. Same function just different places all aiming at effortless convenient control without lifting the eyes from the road.
“Look ma no motor” ! The two trunks front and rare are adequate, but less roomy than expected for me. Combined they may provide equivalent cu.f. space compared to my Mercedes S550, however the space is split not allowing for larger loads.
The back seats of Tesla NS are cramped as is the whole back seat area. The back seat area is inferior to any of the large luxury models by BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Citroen. Basically Tesla MS should be considered a luxury 2 seat car. It is anything but luxury riding in the back, not to speak if you take the option to stick two small children in the trunk with the optional folding chairs.
Bottom line is that Tesla MS doesn’t score high in the luxury and convenience category at all. Think of it as a luxury 2 seat car, not a large luxury car.
4. Aerodynamics. This is one thing that is subject to precise measurement in wind tunnel and not subject to personal opinion. The fact is that MS beats all of the competition in the large luxury cars segment and many in the sports cars.
Even the door handles are retractable to reduce the drag. All this is for a reason – the battle for a longer drive range. BTW the cramped back seats mentioned above are a result of the effort to get as minimal drag coefficient as possible. So your 200 miles EV range does not come easy. Sacrifices were made to get there.
5. Riding comfort. Those who tried to be “sport” riders know for a fact that “sport” is rarely “comfort”. Typically the sport suspension is firmer and not comfortable. Tesla MS is not an exclusion. Think of it as a sport ride rather than a comfort ride. I had some hopes for a comfort by the optional “air suspension”. Unfortunately, the test drive didn’t deliver on my expectations. I was fortunate to ride Citroen C6 for a while in Europe that rides on air and can say definitely that Tesla with “air ride” option included is very, very far from it. Tesla is less comfortable than my Mercedes S550 as well. It is similar to Infinity I35 and other 2 seat sports cars in my humble opinion.
BTW Mercedes S550 and others allow for a choice between “comfort” and “sports” ride. Not Tesla as far as I know.
For me the riding comfort or rather the lack of it was one of the most important reason for my cancellation.
6. Revolutionary controls. Having a large “tablet” computer controlling all the functions of the car makes more sense for electric car, where most of the information and control signals are in some sort of electrical values rather than mechanical movements as in gasoline powered car. Although unseen before it makes a lot of sense from manufacturing standpoint making the car easier to produce compared to traditional dashboard. It allows for cleaner modern design as well that many like. Finally with so many apps available for “tablet” computers it is a blessing to have a large tablet in the car. More than any other car Tesla is ready to be not just your car but also your office and entertainment center as well. Not to speak that there are many car-centric apps out there such as Google maps, Waze, AroundMe, Yelp that makes other cars look like they are in the stone age with their build-in navigation systems.
The concept is borrowed from the aviation industry where “control by wire” is one of the hottest trends. It should be noted though that such control requires multiple “actuators” or “controllers” on the other end of the wire, that reduces the reliability and often requires duplicated systems.
With all this said, the “tablet” style control is not best suited to control the basic functions of the car like air conditioning, radio etc. It requires removing your sight from the road and could be dangerous. I haven’t have a chance to check the voice control feature and can’t comment on it. Maybe it fills the gap.
I still like the redundancy of my Mercedes S550 allowing the driver and front passenger to control many features from multiple locations – steering column, armrest, dash board and most importantly for the driver without lifting his eyes from the road.
BARRONS2wizard-of-oz-man-behind-the(Picture Above: The scarecrow was RIGHT to be afraid of the fire and MUSK DID just turn out to be some carny who just waved flashy things at us but was a shyster underneath it all after all.)
7. Reliability. There are two forces here that act in opposite direction here. The electric car eliminates many complex systems from the conventional car. Let’s name few – gas tank, fuel pump, gear box, the whole ignition system, gas engine of course with many moving parts, the starter etc. In exchange the electric car brings in new systems such as invertor, charger, battery conditioner etc. Furthermore, the old mechanical components tend to “wear off” and rarely suddenly break. A gear box for example may last over 15 years and over 300,000 miles and after all that life it may start leaking. Electrical and electronic components tend to break suddenly and completely. If a thyristor burns in the invertor this will render your Tesla inoperable right away, whereas if an metal part gets worn in the gas engine it may cause noise or leak but rarely will render the car inoperable.
I guess it takes time to get enough practical results to judge which trend prevails. Also with a revolutionary change like that there will be some baby sickness that Tesla will grow out of as it matures.
With all this said the online forums are full of all sorts of complains about problems here and there such as sudden opening of the doors, problems starting, problems unlocking, sudden error messages etc. etc.
One big advantage of the pervasive computerization is that almost everything is fixable by software updates. At the same time the early adopters are turned into “beta testers”. I love being beta tester of new technologies, not for a price tag of $100,000 though.
8. Hole in the tank. This is one particular problem with Tesla MS that is widely recognized, admitted by Tesla and not fixed as the date of this publication. If you leave your Tesla MS unplugged it will lose about 0.5 miles of range per hour. At this rate it will take about 10-15 days for a fully charged battery to drain completely. So if you leave your fully charged Tesla at the airport for a week or two while on vacation or business trip you may not be able to ride your Tesla home upon your return. This is equivalent to a hole in the tank for the conventional gas powered car. If the car is plugged-in than it compensates for such loss by “sucking” approx. 150 Watts of electric power all the time. It is equivalent to to the energy needed to lit an average 3,000 sq.f. house with the new LED energy saving lights.
9. Options. Many of the options are subject to personal preference such as leather, sunroof, special paint etc. In my opinion these options here are not worth the money
– 21? wheels (negative feedback from public forums)
– tech package ($3,500) – cash cow for Tesla. Not worth the money. Some features are kicked up standard features like key-less ignition and rear view camera. For example, do you really need “hi def rear view camera” if standard rear view camera is already included in the base price.
– performance plus package ($6,500) – another bigger cash cow for Tesla, worthless features made to sound great and take the money of wealthy folks with no technical knowledge.
10. Dubious business practices. Larry Page announced that Google will be “no evil” company. Well no business is evil by design. They become “evil” driven by competition. Google has practically no competition and they can afford to be “no evil”. Same applies to Tesla Motors. They are well funded and they have no competition, they can afford to be “no evil”. Instead Tesla is pulling all nasty tricks known in the industry and more. It was quick to abandon the most controversial ones such as calculating people’s time in their lease cost estimate and eliminating the $600 per year mandatory service charge. Many still remain. One example are the useless and expensive option packages (see above) another example they charge $5,000 reservation fee in a second. They claim the fee is fully refundable. What they don’t tell you is that it takes 30 business days to refund it.
11. Investing in Tesla Motors, Corp. (NASDAQ:TSLA) – This will be a subject to another blog.
12. Main reasons for my cancellation
– Tesla MS is luxury 2 seater, not a large luxury car as advertised
– ride is not as comfortable as my Mercedes S550
– super fast acceleration could be dangerous at my age and gives me headaches
– don’t want to be a beta tester @ $100,000 price tag
– hole in the tank (see above)
Disclaimer: I have no interest short or long in Tesla Motors stock, nor do I intend to create one in the next 90 days from the date of this blog.
Credits. My daughter Tina first coined the phrase “$100,00 on wheels” that I used as a headline here.
Tagged electric vehicle, EV. Electric car, Tesla model S |
Using the guise of charging station “announcements” to cover a midnight release of financial data that portends the end of Tesla, the CFO tried to lie and say that the bad sales were because of “supplier problems” instead of admitting that the lack of sales was because nobody wants Musk’s poorly built, overpriced waste of taxpayer dollars!
The carefully hidden financial report reveals other shocking details:
* Tesla lied about giving all of the NUMMI workers jobs. Musk, essentially lied to the unions and said: “oh yeah, Fremont, we will keep all of your UAW autoworkers employed here at the NUMMI plant if you give us a sweetheart deal on the property”.. lie! In the financials Tesla reveals that all the new people are causing problems because they don’t know what they are doing and ruining the cars. Musk should have hired all of the car factory trained union workers he promised instead of outsourcing to idiots with tattoos. (Musk hates the unions)
* H1B Visa foreigners are a chunk of the Tesla payroll. They used our tax dollars to give people from other countries a job!
* The “charging stations” are nothing more than a few garages with plugs in the most out-of-the-way podunk crap piece-of-shit towns in the country. How lovely that in order to drive a Tesla you must be forced to drive to Meth infused toothless waste-lands full of good ole boys and sit there next to your car for 40 minutes while the red necks shuffle by and say: “That’s is one o’ them Tesler’s huh? You got an awful pretty mouth.. do you like to canoe?” Why should the public be forced to re-live scenes from Deliverance?
* The DOE already changed the loan terms to put the taxpayer at greater risk, even after the Solyndra loan terms controversy.
* DOE told Tesla to pay up and get out of the loan ASAP and to NEVER NEVER NEVER go out of business until AFTER the elections!