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Italian Model S in Italy, a few impressions and suggestions...

Firmware Version: 1.51.96

I took delivery of one of the few MS (85P+) sold in Italy. Like I told some reps, we are a mix between guinea pigs and pandas :-)
Unfortunately my country is a bit backwards and not progressive as it should when it comes to innovation a forward thinking.
I want to start off by saying that the car is a real joy. The purchase was a very conscious decision, not without hurdles, but without any regret, no matter what This said, there a few things that could and should be better.
For a starter, we have no superchargers (Sigh!). I get it, for obvious bureaucratic and financial reasons we do not deserve them yet. We're too few and most
likely getting the permits to install them involves 50 politicians. I can live with that.
I installed a 22kwh RWE charging station, but the car seems to dislike 26 AMPs at time and charges at 13 (In Europe we still don't have the luxury of 32 AMPs and the car is pegged at 26 (Sigh2!). I am fine with helping in the process of troubleshooting, but the real issue is that Tesla does not share an feedback, at least so far.
We never have a clue if when we get 26 AMPs, someone tweaked remotely or what. Message: feedback would help the hassle of the guinea pigs immensely!
Please, please, please act on this. I know Italy is understaffed, but give a cookie to the clients that are willing to help. After all out time, like yours, is money.
Needless to say, Italy does NOT haver a service station (Sigh3!). Even more reason to give the pandas extra pats on the back.
If I want to promote the car, which I do on a daily basis, I need to be able to convince the Cayenne buyers that Tesla makes sense. Support is vital and I will not
be able to do my job with this situation. Italians are skeptical creatures and will point out ANY weakness in the armor. Miss an answer and the deal is off.
Support, chargers, etc. are a very weak spot.

As far as the car goes, as I said, I love it, but being someone that tossed Italian thoroughbreds or for that matter any petrol engine for electric. I also have to point out that items like the power steering settings are, to put it mildly, not up to standards. Setting in comfort are OK, or even fine for cruising, Mercedes like.. Standard setting is barely acceptable, Sport is a joke. The feeling becomes so synthetic that it takes away confidence from actually driving fast. I suspect that hiring a Maranello engineer would solve things in a heartbeat. I only felt worse than this (In sport mode) on a Nissan GTR 1st series and in a Mini, but those had spring effect steering wheels, horrible. This is just weirdly set. The amount of force to be applied is just off compared to the one necessary to achieve precision and confidence. I guess it's similar to the force feedback on a PS3 playing GT, but that's a videogame. In confort, of course it's too soft when driving fast. You could argue that the car is not a Ferrari, but at the same time the power (For a few seconds) is there. On such a car, you feel the pebbles on the road, the steering is razor perfect. I don't want such perfection and OK feeling would be fine, but the car, right now, is faaaarrrr from being that. Hiring a temp pilot to tweak it would probably help things as well. Pirelli once had a slogan: "Power is nothing without control". Wise words.

I suspect that the settings of the windshield wipers are not perfect either. They seems either too fast or too slow reacting with soft rain.

Please add a feature that allows users to add the destination (Google Maps) from the app and send it to the car.
BTW, Google Maps in Italy is worse than Apple's maps. It just takes you to all the wrong towns. Garmin is as bad, but TomTom is accurate.
Also, please try to add options to NAV. In Italy we have pay tolls all over the places. Google offers some options online.

The browser is terrible, but who cares, I think we all know and we should not surf in the car :-)

The steering wheel, when you change position, prompts to save the new settings in the profile, but in reality it does not restore the position, if asked.

The buttons to change music are not working well and are cheap at the touch (Mercedes!)

the sun shade is cheap, reminds of the much hated FIAT.

The strange contraption in the middle of the roof is ultra cheap plastic, options at purchase to pay for quality would have been appreciated.

The car only comes with a standard cable in Italy, as a grant they give you a trifase adapter, which nobody uses commonly, but we have no superchargers. It would have been nice, since all the fast charging columns use Mennekes, to give us one. The Euro car comes with Type2 Mennekes to begin with.

More, MUCH more assistance is needed in helping clients figure out the maze of public chargers around the country in the pre delivery time. Each one needs a different card, different contract that cannot be done online, etc. Bureaucracy 101. Probably Tesla should offer that, as a good will service, in the purchase process. After all I waited 8 months to get the car...There was plenty time. A section of the site would have been fine. Without the people at http://www.e-move.me I would have spent days and days figuring out EVERYTHING vital that I needed to know in real life usage of the car. Most of all, they spent hours and hours with me for free, they did paperwork for the charging stations, picked up the cards, etc. Amazing people, I dare say people on a mission to change the perception of people VS electric.

The SIM card must be from Spain, so you get a lot of things in Spanish, including ads. Weird and possibly avoidable. At least it's not French. After al I get a SIM, I should be happy, on other cars you still pay or bluetooth :-)

There's no handle for the passenger (Many complain). Sometimes they really need it.

when you use regen braking, which is cool, people in the back see the brake lights come on all the time. In Europe hitting the brakes as little as possible is a sign of pride and good driving. Tesla drivers look incompetent. I don't feel that the regen slow down should warrant the brake lights. A good 12 cylinders has more or less the same engine brake. If it's not in the regulations, I would vote for giving us back our dignity of good drivers.

Anyway, thanks for the fun, the joy and the pride. I love the car almost 100%, just give me the tools and I will convince others to follow. The cool factor is not enough, and ignorance is rampant, help the cause!
Forgive my poor English.

I agree with the windshield wipes. I think the problem there is that it doesn't rain in California so no one notices how poorly they perform. Usually I keep it on the 2nd setting and manually switch up higher if the rain has not cleared. If it is higher than the 2nd setting then, as you said, they move annoyingly fast.

I also agree with the brake lights. I think there were some improvements, though when I'm in traffic I see people move into the other lane possibly thinking I'm one of those old ladies with a Mercedes. (When the coast is clear, of course: what break lights?)

I used to drive in "waves" but I learned how to control the go pedal after I realized the brake light issue. Now I'm doing much better I never take my foot completely off the pedal like I used to do. I think Tesla still owe use some more fine tuning of regen and brake light sensitivity.

As for the steering wheel setting I do find the sports mode suits me the best. Coming from Cayman S, which many say has the industry's best steering feel, I find the sports mode resembles that the best. It's a little heavier and a little less responsive but I have no complain for such a heavier and longer wheel based car and especially with much less harsh ride than the Porsche.

"Support is vital and I will not be able to do my job with this situation. Italians are skeptical creatures..."

I've done a test drive in Italy, and any doubts I had are simply gone. But one thing is to make ones mind, another is persuade an insurance company to insure a car that doesn't have support in one country (possible but extremely expensive when the nearest support center is 1500km away).
Europe is quite different from US in a lot of ways, and one of them is the actual number of sovereign states, even if all of them are within euro-zone. Different laws, different standards, different taxes, different ways of doing business.

I fully understand why Tesla builds 3 service centers (with 2 more on the way) in the Netherlands, more costumers means more business. But one quickly reaches the egg and the chicken impasse...
Support means more cars, but few costumers means no support... Tesla should (and I'm sure it's in the master plan) build a support center in each country. There will be no Gen3 without them in Europe.

Good feedback. I agree that the brake lights do come on prematurely in most circumstances. I definitely agree about the V12 engine braking. I'd like even more "engine braking" along with less brake light flicker. I hope that they come out with a sport mode for those that enjoy a sportier drive. I think it could be done with an over the air update.

Congratulations on the car. Let us know what changes you see after Tesla receives your direct feedback. You may not get a message with specifics from Tesla, but there is a good chance that you will see your feedback turn into real change.

Dear Carik,
One thing is driving in the USA, where I lived for 15 years and drove a lot, one thing is driving in Europe. It's really easy to keep your foot steady on the gas, or use cruise control and avoid the brake light in a place where most people go rather slow and have a very strict speed limit (USA). Another story is driving in Italy, which is full of fast drivers and where the average trip happens at a much higher speed. I certainly remember a dreadful trip from LA to San Diego where the fast lane would go from 75 mph to a halt every few miles, for example, but my typical trip from Texas to Louisiana would require a lot less brake usage. I just grew up in Italy where brake usage would qualify driver's skills and judgement. Sound silly, but it's a stigma to this day.
As for the steering wheel, I did own the first version of Cayenne Turbo ages ago...I can assure you the MS is not an SUV, a sporty one, but still an SUV and it certainly does not drive like a Ferrari. It might be the best of the SUVs...But I did not buy one when I got the MS. and quite honestly, in my memory, it was ok and not really odd. there's a stark difference between electric steering and mechanical. If you're a Top Gear follower you will also have noticed how Porsche has been using the dreaded electric power steering, which is considered a setback, not an improvement. Ferraris are still staying clear of the contraption and for a good reason (Still not 100% sure if the Cayenne uses it or not these days). You can read all sort of complaints about electric power steering solutions and how much work goes into trying to improve it. It's a bit like dual clutch: faster, cheaper, more durable, heavier (Not good), but oddly cold and synthetic compared to the masterful Cambiata Veloce of a Ferrari Scuderia, which has been unfortunately dropped. On paper they are improvements, but in reality they're not. Engineers see it one way, but consumers might not. I bet anything the MS steering could be improved immensely. A 4th profile could make things a lot simpler for people like me. I thought the Maserati Granturismo's steering was a long way from Ferrari, but it was heaven compared to the MS. I still like the soft one in everyday's usage, but it's suicidal for going fast.
Maybe I should just get used to going 100 kmh, sniff.

Thanks Captain_Zap,

I am not sure they listen too much to the Italian pandas, that's why I made it on the forum.
BTW, I forgot about folding mirrors, I got my MS recently and it does not have them. That's another thing that is VITAL in the EU, where streets are really narrow. I read somewhere that they exist now, but it must have happened in the last 5 minutes. the MS is a big car for Italian cities.
And a very friendly bit of advice from the design capital of the planet...Change the plastic front of the car, pretty please...I am pretty sure I will work on that myself soon, there are really cute carbon fiber solutions on the way from sub contractors of important brands :-)
The rest of the design, I have to say, is quite impressive for the type of car.

And by the way, the Italian pandas pay a fortune for the MS, compared to the USA, we have almost non existent incentives, probably thanks to the zero tolerance on any kind of research investment of Marchionne's FIAT/Chrysler group (Now with brand new name and tax address, out of Italy, of course) and his influence on the Fellini's inspired Italian government.
I envy the Norwegian person that can buy 7 of them, but in Norway the MS costs like a VW Golf.
I want one for my wife too, but I need to sell my liver for it and wait another 8 months.
Ahhhh, the model X, soooo cute (Except the front).

@xxxyyy My car before MS, which I still own, is a Cayman S not a SUV Cayenne. Cayman is a mid engine two seater, the only one (along with the Boxter twin) of this type in current Porsche line up. A lot of people think it handles even better than the 911.

Just want to add that my MS is a P85+. I started using the sports setting and found it a little too heavy so I changed it to the standard. After went back to drive the Cayman I realized the sports setting is the one that is the closest to the Cayman so I chose to use that setting from then on.

As for the plastic nose cone even a non-Italian feels it's out of place in a car like this. But don't worry an upgrade is easy to do and eventually some better designs will become available.

Carik,
Sorry about the mixup, late at night. I suspect the Cayman might have electric power steering...
I found this interesting article:
"Electrically assisted power steering (EPS) is the latest technological cross we bear. Replacing hydraulic assist with a computer-controlled electric motor seemed like a reasonable idea when it first surfaced. Someday every car control will be by-wire; today’s EPS looks like a step in that direction. But in the past decade of driving EPS-equipped cars, we’ve found them lacking in feel, poorly tuned, and sometimes simply weird in comparison with the hydraulic-assist setups that have benefited from more than half a century of development.
This matters because steering is the driver’s main line of communication with the car; distortion in the guidance channel makes every other perception more difficult to comprehend".

Does anybody knows where Tesla sources the power steering?

Sounds like you really wanted the MS, despite your objections - enjoy.
About the charging - in the USA the cars are designed to favor a 240 volt outlet at 40 amps, but if the car detects some irregularity or strain in the line the software will reduce the amperage - in my garage the car normally draws only 31 amps. The 1st charge after a software update it drew 40, but tripped the breaker for other parts of the house. In subsequent charges the car resumed pulling 31 amps. Evidently my house can't supply the full power.
Incidentally, the touchpad in the car shows 40 amps, but the desktop program, VisibleTesla (which you can find online) shows the 31 amps. Considering the time my MS takes to charge, I'm sure that the 31 is more accurate.
I'm glad you have the patience to enjoy the car, despite your objections. Now I feel guilty grumbling that my service center is all of 38 miles (61 km) away.

xxxyyy

I admire your courage and enthusiasm in choosing to buy an MS in a country where there is very little support. You embody the spirit of the Roadster and early MS owners who were instrumental in getting Tesla to where it is now. I hope Tesla can resolve some of the issues you raised.

Best of luck.

xxxyyy;
A little English idiom tip: the expression goes, "it's one thing to ...; it's another thing to ...".

BTW, the Norwegian with 7 has 6 Roadsters (even more expensive), and one Model S. And he lives north of the Arctic Circle!

Dear bobrobert,

the car currently charges at a max of 26 amps, in Europe. It should be up to 32 (I wish we could have 40), but it's blocked by Tesla, as we speak. The 26 amps should suck 22 kwh. My home charging colums has 33 kwh. Charging is random, sometimes it goes up to 26, sometimes to 13, but I can assure you there's plenty electricity. It might be that the car is too sensitive to the kind of current.
After all there has to be a reason why it's pegged at 26 amps by Tesla. It could also be that the lack of euro cars found Tesla not prepared and we're their guinea pigs (It really seems this is the case). At the same time the Telsa testers (Us), could use some feedback, since we're left in dark and we get random results. At least they could have kindly asked. Hard to plan your day or trip when you have no idea how the car is going to react. As I mentioned above, we pay for our cars A LOT more than US customers, we have no local service stations, no superchargers, 8 months waiting and pegged charging rates. They could either warn Euro clients, or ask if they're willing to be guinea pigs. I might have said yes, I would have probably said yes, but with two ways feedback. I am quite sure that would accelerate fixing the issue.
Do not forget that this attitude does not help sales either. I will not convince a friend, who I cannot lie to, that everything is fine. the second I mention charging randomness, in a place where range anxiety is the main issue, he will scoff at the idea of buying one. I cannot tell him there're glitches but that support is amazing, it's just not the case. Some obscure engineers play with my car from some remote location without telling us what is going on or to test a fix and we never know if the car's random charging is because of divine intervention or some guy in Silicon Valley playing with the keyboard. It's utterly frustrating. When among the Italian pandas you have buyers that are very influential people (Not my case) in society, you can clearly see why this will not help Tesla's cause. Those people are going to suggest their influential friends to buy an Audi. I think it's a seriously flawed attitude. Install 2 superchargers less in the US and give your customers proper support.

Thanks oildeathspiral,

I am ranting here because they have not been up to standard, not even close.
I have no issue with the 2 or 3 guys that answer the phone here, nor the super nice guys that comes to the house sometimes to do basic checks (I believe he might be the only one in the whole country!).
I have issues with top hats in Cali that think this is ok, because there's a handful of us here and we do not make much noise.

I agree about the brake lights, and not just because it's "a sign of pride and good driving". I absolutely hate driving behind a car with its brake lights coming on all the time. At first, whenever the brake lights come on, you prepare to brake yourself, moving your foot from the gas to hover over the brake. But after doing that 10 times in a few minutes without actually having to brake, you end up just ignoring them. And then they really do brake hard, and you're too late to react. Hasn't happened to me yet, fortunately, but it might some day.

Brake lights should indicate relatively strong deceleration, they should not come on for the kind of deceleration you get from engine braking in an ICE car. A brake light is a kind of warning, and like any other warning, if it comes on too soon, people end up ignoring it so it becomes completely useless.

Wise words michelcolman, you could not phrase it better.

Fabulous post which I shall re-read later when I can aborb it better.

Agreed with the naf plastic on the pano roof - why didn't they cover it with the alcantara stuff and pad it a bit?

As for Super Chargers, don't hold your breath. There are hundreds of MS's sold in Belgium and not a single SC yet.

Here in the US, the car comes with a 10kW charger and optionally a second charger for a maximum 20kW charge capacity (except for DC charging such as superchargers). If we charge at our single phase 240V at 40A, it's 9.6 kW. Usually less. (My voltage drops to about 235.) Do you charge at 3 phase? I know that' a different calculation.

I would venture to guess the Europe cars have different on-board chargers, but I'd be surprised if you could charge at higher than 22kW with twin chargers. If I understand you though, it sounds like you're getting 11kW sometimes and 22kW other times. If that's the case it does sound like a problem with one of the on-board chargers.

Also remember that charge locations are "GPS aware" so if the car has reduced the charge current at a location, it will charge at the reduced rate at that location until you increase it on the main screen.

Yes in total we have a lot of superchargers here. However remember that there are still a lot of us that are not in a supercharger corridor, and many who cannot reach a supercharger at all. I can use a supercharger if I drive south, but not north where my trips usually take me. I can see "chicken or the egg" reference though.

Good luck with your car, I hope your charging anomalies are solved soon!

I do have twin chargers and the RWE column installed, which is the same identical one Tesla uses in their service centers in Europe (German built). The column also comes with a SIM card, so the germans can troubleshoot it, but that is not the issue. 11 amps or 22 are really random and yes, I am fully aware that you can change values on the screen, but that's not the solution. The very first time we tried it, the car would refuse to even start charging. After a few hours of talking to Tesla people somewhere around the planet, the car started "Sucking" 13 amps, without anyone advising us to try. A week later, when I came back from a trip, it was doing 26 amps, the next day 13 again and so on. totally random.
A few days ago their test car would refuse to start charging like mine did at the very beginning. Another test car did 26 immediately the day mine was refusing to charge (Same cables, of course).
This means: 1) It's not the cable, 2) It's not dirty electricity, 3) It's totally random from car to car and day to day, but we honestly cannot spend our days troubleshooting for Tesla for free, nor can the people that kindly assisted for free and not paid by Tesla.
Mennekes is a 3 phase. Like I mentioned before, EURO cars should reach 32 amps, but right now they are pegged at 26 (When we can reach that). Obviously they have issues, but they're not opened at discussing them and clients have to keep guessing what is going on that day, or if they're going to make the trip. It's a very wrong attitude, IMHO.
My car came with bluetooth that was semi dead, but I didn't care, they simply changed it after a few days with the one from a test car. No big deal, I completely understand issues, What bothers me is the silence and the missing answers. I can also assure you that I am not the only one that is bothered by it, as I said before there're influential owners that will not help selling more cars in Italy, people that had unresolved issues for quite a while.

I have to say I am a little confused... what power is the car charging at 26A ? Is it 22 kW? (You can change the units and it will tell directly the wattage). 22 kW is the maximum and if that is achieved with 26 A then the car will never go to 32 A.

Kleist ,
When it works properly it's 22 kwh / 26 amps.
The car is theoretically capable, in the EU, or at least in Italy of reaching 32 amps, but it's pegged at 26 (You see 32, but you cannot set it). On the app, for example, you see 83 km/h / 229 v / 3 phases, 26/32 a.
Tesla promised they would reach 32 in EU by next week. this said, this is the smaller issue. I could care less if it's 26 or 32 amps, as long as it's not 13 on and off. I do not deal well with random results.

Kleist,
Also, like I said before, same place, same cable, 3 different results and even more different results over time. Clearly cars are tweaked remotely, trying to iron out the issue, but it's not permanent and they're tight lipped about it, which is really bothering me. I tried to reach out, to no avail. I wrote, nada, I yelled, even less. Still Italian pandas treated as guinea pigs / beta testers.

@xxxyyy Still Italian pandas treated as guinea pigs / beta testers. You say that as if this is a different experience than what some of us are still going through over here in the states.

Don't take it so personally. You're part of a great community and I hope your situation gets a lot better really fast. Notice I didn't say I hope it gets better "soon." "Soon" is the bacio della morte.

@xxxyyy - Are Italian pandas more romantic than the Chinese pandas?

We are all beta testers. Some early Signature owners are considered alpha testers.

No master jokes please!

Agree about the "sport" steering being a weird setting. Otherwise, you will still love your car just as much in a year. Try passing other cars on the road to make up for the bikini sunshades. Don't bang up your low profile tires.

Italian pandas are more chubby with a hint of bunga bunga

J.T. ...
some of you... Here it's all of us (2 or 3). for you it's mostly location based, for us it's not a choice, unless I move to Norway. I would miss my spaghetti and pizza too much. I was just expecting the whole system to be more responsive and proactive.

DC@Tesla , the other day I had fun, going to Modena, with a Maserati Quattroporte, a 458 and a 430. Unfortunately, as we all know, after a stint the yellow dotted line creeps in, and the car becomes a Nissan Leaf. Other than that it was fun for those few seconds. The Maserati guys had the most impressed facial expressions. I usually have the best time at traffic lights against the likes of Valentino Rossi. People are really fast around here, some seem like amateur F1 pilots. Unfortunately we're getting more and more speed checkpoints, but it's still fun, as much as it's fun to just go really slow on the highway and try to beat the kwh personal record. i also have 5 kids, so that's the other BRILLIANT thing they came up with (the sever seats)/ I think that was actually one of the 3 top reasons to make the move to electric. 1st was sufficient range for 99% of my daily life, 2nd performance, 3rd seats, 4th my love for: "Who killed the electric car", 5th being tired of silly petrol engines and their lack of real innovation. Did anyone watch the Cosmos about lead in petrol? It's like global warming denial all over.
BTW, nobody here thinks (Strangely including Berlusconi, but excluding Marchionne), that we screwed our environment and something should be done yesterday. Imagine an entire city all electric, imagine the silence and the increased quality of life. Someone, somewhere, should ban petrol car from one town, even a little one. It could be a cool experiment.

That's the difference, right there. I didn't expect much of anything therefore my expectations were surpassed easily. It's a good way to go through life. Fewer disappointments.

Yes J.T., but the World is supposed to move forward, not backwards. I am not disappointed at the car, I am disappointed about the human factor which could be addressed with a bit more attention to the clients. I am also happy to be a tester, but give me a pat on the back, don't just take my check.
It reminds me of the: "Lower expectations" fake commercial on SNL, years ago.
I actually have expectations, that is what keeps a company awake and that's what makes Tesla sell cars as well. there're several expectations I had about the car that were not met, but I am ok with them.
(Seat quality anyone?). I was trying to list basic things that are affecting safety and vital performance. I am pretty sure I also paid extra for the super duper customer service. What happens to the ones that did not pay???


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