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Owning a Model S in Phoenix, AZ?

We are in Phoenix AZ and am just beginning to investigate buying or leasing a Model S. I understand that they cannot be purchased here but can be serviced here.

Anyone here with experience owning a Model S in Phoenix, or a similar hot climate?

The online calculator says that an Model S 85 can achieve +200 mile range in 110 degree heat in city traffic, with the AC operating. Is this actually true?

What are your experiences with Tesla service like in Scottsdale?

Any other practical information on owning a Model S in a hot climate?



I live in Scottsdale and just ordered one. Lots of owners here and all seem to be happy. You should have no issues.

Hi. We live in Phoenix & have had our MS for almost a year and a half. (By the way, we see lots of others driving around.) Purchase online & registration etc @ DMV was very easy. It was the best and least stressful vehicle purchase we've ever made.

The Scottsdale service team is amazing. It would be impossible to over-state how excellent they are :)

We charge to 90% and regularly drive 120-140 miles per day, but have done a couple of 200 mile days. Yes, the MS 85 can definitely drive 200 miles w/AC (and pre-cooling too) in our 120 deg days. Personally, I think the MS is even happier in the hot weather than cold because cooling takes less energy.

In AZ, the 5 year registration is a great deal as well as having the HOV plates.

With the SCs trips to Flag, Grand Canyon, Winslow are all fun day trips.

We've driven 45,750 miles & love our car more each day. :)

I live in Buckeye and have had my Model S since August of 2013. I have a P85 w/ pano roof and it handles the desert heat beautifully. In fact, yesterday I averaged 271 Wh/mi on a 105 mile roundtrip to Mesa. I mostly drove freeway miles at 70-75 MPH with the AC in range mode set to 72 degrees. At 271 Wh/mi, you can get 313 miles out of a full 85 kWh charge (better than ideal range). I drive conservatively.

Don't skip the pano roof because of the Arizona sun. You won't even notice, it's that good.

You absolutely can purchase a Model S here, you just have to do it from the comfort of your own home using an internet connection. The car will be shipped to Scottsdale where it will be prepped, and you will pick it up there and receive a tour of the vehicle. Tesla's service facility in Scottsdale is top notch, in my opinion. There were a few bumps in the road when they worked out of a temporary facility last year, but they moved into their permanent and much larger location last October and everything has been excellent since.

By the way, Tesla is supposed to be holding a test drive event on the 14th. You might want to look into it and see if you can still sign up. Once you drive the car, you'll be sold for life.

I don't live in AZ, but with regard to not being able to buy in AZ, "buying" means money exchanges hands to get the car. You will pay for car prior to delivery, via wire tranfer or mail. i had to do the same here in CT where Tesla cant sell either.

I live in Prescott, so driving back and forth to Phoenix I've had to deal with temperature changes from warm to hot and back again. I've never had a problem, including regular climbs in the 1000's of feet, elevation-wise.

I've never heard of any model S owner in AZ having a serious heat-related problem.

I echo everything Mireille & Conan say. I've had mine six months and we regularly drive 190 miles from our home in Cave Creek to our home on Pinetop, which as you probably know has serious elevation changes, some 11000 feet of gross climb and 6500 feet net. No problem.

The SC, in Scottsdale because the target market is over here, is outstanding. That's good, because the car may have a few bugs in the first few months. It's an iPhone on wheels. Mine did, but I still love it.

The purchase and delivery process was the easiest of any car I've ever owned.

Before ordering the sunroof, do a thorough search of the forum. It seems to me there have been a lot of problems. Personally, I have always found Phoenix a lousy convertible/sunroof climate. It's just too damn hot too much of the year, but that is strictly a personal thing. Best convertible climate I ever lived in was London, beleive it or not, so I guess I'm just wierd.

One other thought on the sunroof: I understand it does add rear headroom. If you're over 6 feet, it's almost impossible to sit in the back of this car, so if that is an issue for you, go for the sunroof.

If you are getting a HPWC with your Model S and will be charging your car in an enclosed garage, you may consider charging at a reduced current during these hot months. I've found that charging at 80A in high ambient temps can trigger the battery's cooling system. This causes the air inside of your garage to warm up noticeably as heat is being removed from the battery. There is absolutely no risk to the car, but it can be a tad uncomfortable when you step into your garage.

Tesla MS does fine in Phx heat. I drove in 110 degree heat today with AC set to 72. No problems at all and very comfortable. Like any other car, I would recommend tinting windows to keep out infrared heat.

Batteries seem unaffected by heat. MS has very advanced cooling system for battery. Maybe range will decrease a few % in several years, but after 4 months of ownership it still charges to the same level as always.

Test drive one. You'll order the next day from your iPad while sitting in your living room. Best car buying experience ever.

Comments above are same as my experience. I live in a Gilbert and have had my Model S since dec 2012. Service is great, summer temps are never a problem and pano roof is a must!


Only comment I would echo is to make sure you get your windows tinted, like any car. But yes, the Model S, with its advanced battery cooling system, does just fine in intense heat. And yes, you can indeed drive 200 miles highway with the AC, no problem. And the Superchagers really are as good as people say they are. All in all, amazing car and future vision.

Buying one in AZ is very easy. You can buy as many as you want. The restriction means Tesla can't sell you one face to face but they are easy to buy.

I ordered and received two cars last year. Placed both orders on an iPad sitting at home watching the evening news. Easiest car I have ever purchased.

I make a regular business trip from Mesa to Las Vegas then San Diego then back to Mesa. 1200 miles and ZERO energy cost using super chargers.

Tesla's are a perfect Arizona car. You can run the AC anytime. Energy use to run the AC in AZ is minuscule compared to the energy used to move the car itself.

We have never had any problem driving locally. Don't even think about range. The car is full every time you get in to go someplace. Takes all of two seconds to plug in. My 20 month old grandson can't get out of his car seat fast enough to plug in the car. He loves popping open the charge door then watching the led lights change color in the charge port when he plugs it in.

It really is that easy. Last time I asked the service center they indicated over 400 cars in Arizona.

We live in Glendale, AZ. Have a P85 with a pano roof. Love it. No issues with the heat. You can't buy direct in Az. Means you only pay the state sales tax (no city tax). HOV lane plates for $35 per year. Also if you have APS. They have extra special rates if you charge the vehicle between 11pm and 5am. Only had to call and show registration info. Vehicle has a timer in it that you can set to start charging at any time automatically. Ours is set for 11.10 pm. Always fully charged in the morning. Scottsdale service people have been fantastic. Fortunately we have not had any real issues with the vehicle.

Tom N, may depend on the city, Mesa billed me for the city tax on both cars. Takes them six months to send the letter but they do come after you for the city tax.

Not sure what you meant by you "Can't buy direct in AZ", do you mean when you order a car it comes with a California title and you then need to register it in Arizona and pay the sales tax. Works like any car you bring into the state with an out of state title. It was actually faster to register at DMV than it is to do the paperwork at a car dealership.

I love that you can register for five years and not have to mess with renewals and all that wasted time and effort.

It is super easy to order a Tesla in Arizona. The whole can't sell them in Arizona thing is silly. I bought two last year and never left the house. Amazing. Register for five years for a little over $100 dollars. Simple.

IT IS VERY EASY TO BUY A TESLA IN ARIZONA and even easier to own one in Arizona.

Thanks for all of the timely comments. We are registered for a test drive here next Wednesday.

I have read elsewhere that the AC compressor is very noisy. What is your experience?

thanks again


@ kmmcdonald,

The compressor is noisy when it's at full power, however keep in mind that it has to cool not just the interior cabin but also a 1,500 lb battery pack. However, if the sound is objectionable, Tesla has issued a service bulletin indicating a sound insulating blanket as well as a modified bracket to help address those issues. In my experience, the Scottsdale service center will apply all outstanding service bulletins to the car before you take delivery, so this may be a non-issue for you. However, I would contact Tesla service in Scottsdale and inquire about it before you pull the trigger. Their answer should put you at ease.

The compressor is only very noisy for maybe 2-4 minutes when you start the car. I just cool down the car with the app 5 minutes before I need to go somewhere - I then have a cool cabin and the compressor is rather quiet then.

It really is a non-issue.

@roamer.. i ordered online too.. meant you can't order at showroom in fashion square mall.. they are not allowed to talk to a customer about pricing or take an order.. Have had the p85 for less than 2 months so the city taxman hasn't called yet.

kmmcdonald.. our compressor was a little noisier than we thought it should be.. called the Scottsdale service center.. they put some type of a sleave on it that reduced the noise level.. now only a few seconds of the a.c. gearing up then quiet

I am a happy owner but i had a bad experience today. I have had my Model S 85 for six months now, never had any problems except for today when the temp was 111. My AC went out when i was in the middle of the road, i called the customer service and they couldn't do anything. I had to drive for another 1 1/2 hours in the scotching sun.I was wet from the top of my head down to the soles of my feet. Very very unfortunate.

There are a lot of owners in the area that are members of:

... good events with other Model S owners in AZ, contact Rolf, who started the club, he's a great guy...

@ bigdahud,

My AC went out when i was in the middle of the road, i called the customer service and they couldn't do anything.

Would you please provide some additional details regarding the above underlined portion of what you just said? That contradicts my experience with Tesla, especially the local service center in Scottsdale. Given that we have 110 temps, an AC failure should have been treated as a priority. Tesla would have swapped your car with a loaner and fixed your issue in short order.

@ bigdahud,

Agree with amped. Scottsdale SC goes above and beyond. First month (inJanuary) with my S we drove to Pinetop, 200 miles, and I couldn't get charge to work. Called the SC at 6 pm and they dispatched a tech towing a flatbed with a loaner who arrived at 10:30 pm. Turned out it was a bad charge cable, which he replaced. Didn't need the loaner.

The car is awesome in AZ. Tint and a sunscreen for the windshield are a sine qua non. Great feature is the smart phone ability to remotely activate the ac to cool it down before you get back to it. I turn it on on the 18th tee. It will run for about 15 minutes but cools the interior in about 5 minutes.

I took it that he meant they couldn't do anything remotely, immediately, while he was on the road!

I meant they couldn't do anything remotely. The car was picked up on Saturday and they are still trying to figure out what went wrong. They first thought the espansion valve was shut out, the valve was replaced and the problem is still not fixed. So I hope they figure it out today.

Great thread. I am in Goodyear and am taking my first drive tomorrow. I ordered without the test drive just from reading all of these amazing comments. P85 and white. Have been looking for AmpedRealtor but haven't seen him cruising as of yet. Considered the red but just sold my Pontiac GXP G8 which was white and I loved it. Same size car and now the color. The wait starts.

@ dkondo6,

I'm right here! lol

I don't get out to Goodyear that much, but I'd be happy to show you the car. I was showing it to a gentleman who owns a State Farm franchise on Estrella last week. He test drove one on Sunday at the Tesla event and is very close to pulling the trigger. I also ordered without driving the car... how crazy are we?

You can always call my office line at 480-302-9650. I'd be happy to come out and show you the car.

Ordered my brown 85 on April 2 and took delivery on May 30. Love it! Yes, the buying/registration process isn't simple like it is with a dealer but if you do your homework (ask any current AZ owner for questions), it's not so bad. The complicated process is what makes it a unique -and rewarding - experience!

AZProgrammer: "the buying/registration process isn't simple like it is with a dealer"

Maybe I should share a war story. I bought my MS in March. Love it :-D. Purchase was simple even with a trade-in via AutoNation though the offered value was low. It still let me drive the old car 125 miles to the SC and drive my MS back home. There weren't many papers to sign. A month later my wife bought an Accord Hybrid (we can't afford two Teslas). There were about twice as many papers to sign and she didn't do a trade-in. The dealer deposited her personal check for the full purchase price. On the same day the dealer's third party accounting firm also tried to deposit the check. When it bounced they turned it over to a collection agency who successfully withdraw a $2k check bounce fee and tried to deposit the check for a third time. We're still trying to get the $2k back three weeks later, dealing with bank fees and are waiting to see what shows up on her credit records.

I hope I never go back to a dealer.

We plan to order a white S85 on Monday. Approximately what does the license and registration in AZ cost for this car?

I registered my P85 using the 5 year option. It cost less than $200 for 5 years!

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