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Why Tesla owners get defensive about their Model S

Frequently in these forums someone will say something negative about the Model S and then is surprised at the ferocity level of people defending the car.

This post is an attempt to show why this is so.

Yesterday I had the task of upgrading my nav software/data on my wife's 2011 Infiniti QX56. Here's what happened.

First, I asked my wife why she needed it upgraded, "because I'm tired of the nav telling me to turn right into a brick wall". OK, it's way out of date...

Do a google search to find how to get a nav update. Find the funky Navteq web site, pay $179 for the update. Wait three weeks for the package of DVDs to arrive in the mail. Open the package, scan the installation instructions, 18 small type pages and one badly worded errata page.

Start the install. The first thing is to turn on the engine, disable the bluetooth system, turn off the engine. Wait 10 seconds, turn on the engine, and start the install. Oops, first remove all CDs from the CD/DVD player. While the engine is still running, put in the disk marked 0. Go through a series of badly worded confirmation screens with a rotary dial and push button control interface. It then asks for the activation key. Activation key? Search the packaging, no activation key. Go back to my home computer, search for the now 3 week old purchase email, find the 14 digit activation code, print out the email, bring it back to the still running car.

At this point, I start to get worried about carbon monoxide build up, so I open the other garage door (only had one open initially), and close the garage/house door.

I use the completely screwed up interface to select 14 individual digits for the activation key. The install starts and informs me it'll take 84 minutes. 84 minutes for disk 0? Or for all five disks? Who knows. I leave the car running (software specifically says to not turn off engine) and go do something else.

My son runs in, "Dad, the car's running!" - tell him that I'm doing an upgrade, and stay away from the car, the exhaust the hot, etc.

I go back to check the progress, slip on the water the AC system is pumping out, get back up, software still installing. Decide to turn off the climate control and auto headlights to save some gas, make a mental note to try to remember to turn these things back on when finished. Look at the gas gauge, and worry I'll have enough gas to complete the upgrade.

After about an hour (not 84 minutes), disk 0 is done. After fending off my wife who wanted to shut off the car ("Don't touch it!"), I keep following the instructions, which aren't quite what the car is doing, but I re-enable bluetooth (hoping that my wife's cell phone pairing is still remembered), and start on disk 1. Oh yeah, the errata had two options about what could happen at a point, neither of which occurred, so I just fake it and select what I think are the correct options. A 56 minute estimate comes on now. I wonder why they give these estimates since they bear no resemblance to how long it actually takes. I go through disk 2, disk 3 and disk 4 and all told, it take about 2 1/2 hours to finish the upgrade.

I renable the settings I turned off (headlights, climate control), and as I'm typing this I just realized I forgot to put back the CDs I took out of the CD player.

So ... this, in a nutshell, is why we Model S owners passionately defend our car against detractors...

There's plenty of examples of the "tesla can do no wrong" type of attitude on this forum.
I think it's another extreme.
There's a difference between being enthusiastic and being defensive (borderline bigotry).
I think it's getting better as more people are driving them now, and the crowd is now much more diverse, e.g. it used to be almost impossible to mention Top Gear without some people popping a blood vessel ;)



It should be renamed, "Shifty Gears".

This is typical behavior in many community forums that have mostly people from within the community participating. It's self reinforcing. We all think the Tesla is awesome. Otherwise we wouldn't have spent a huge pile of money on one. And the outsiders "just don't get it".

The problem to me is calling people who don't get it "idiots" or other derogatory terms. And making ridiculous statements like "the Model S is perfect in every way". That basically discredits the person writing these things. And by proxy discredits us, the community.

So yes, let's be open and direct about why we think the Model S is a great car, maybe even the best car available right now (depending what your criteria are... if you MUST have AWD, the Model S by definition is NOT the best car available). But let's cut out the insults and the hyperbole.

To: dirkhh Thank you so much for your wise post and mature behavior. I'm undecided and use this forum to gather information. Unfortunately I feel that I need to go elsewhere for objective and unbiased information since this forum is so biased and often rude to people like me who raise legitimate concerns like the vampire draw, uncomfortable back seats, stiff ride etc. before making a decision.

To: Bryan H I do disagree with your statement about other entrants in the luxury EV market. The lower segment is becoming crowded already - GM has two models, Nissan, Honda, Ford and Fiat/Chrysler each has one and some others of less significance. It seems that their market research couldn't prove the market demand for a large luxury EV. I bet that they are all watching Tesla like hawks and will jump in as soon as they see a market for a large luxury EV. Mercedes is coming up with one next year but again in the smaller car segment. BTW Mercedes had a plan for larger luxury EV that they dropped. It is not true that the large car manufacturers are cash strapped and can't afford the cost of the new EV design. Take VW for example they just spent $ 1 billion to design a car that goes 250+ miles on a gallon of fuel. They will produce 50 of these only as a proof of concept.
As they say the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

Many companies have had gimmicks or proof of concepts. The most successful companies lead the way where others say it can't be done. From what I've seen, read and come to believe Tesla has no competition.

An analyst explained it thusly: TM is nibbling at 1% of the market for the "bigs". They can't compete profitably for that little slice (all of which is cut from their traditional sales). By the time TM starts to endanger 10% of the market, it will be too late to close the tech/brand gap. Tesla has already won.

So has there been an navigation update yet on the tesla? Sure google map is as up to date as google maps is, but the what about the other one? I sthere a special interface to trigger the download? does it automatically come? Is it part of the 'normal' updates? What happens after the 7 year free maps? How do you get the update then?

First off, Thank You Henry T2. I was starting to believe this thread would continue to be the mine field it started off as (Shop notwithstanding). How refreshing to finally meet a balanced perspective like T2. That speaks to maintaining a hold on reality. How unattractive it is going over the top at the merest hint of criticism. In addition, I have faith in Elon that will allow him to correct that which he can and preserve that which is undoubtedly of great value to enthusiasts everywhere. Remember it is not OUR company, it is HIS and we hopefully have his ear when incremental improvements are suggested. Clearly right now, he is working off a prioritized list (striker recall items) and must put noisy AC fans or perhaps battery cooler fans a little down the list for now. Safety trumps cosmetics and I am glad he knows that.
SO while I believe this car is not so weak that I must defend it to the hilt at the merest hint of criticism, I believe it is strong enough on its own to lead the revolutionary charge into the future!
And that involves a hand shake with Elon just to know he is listening. Nothing more!

The Model S is like Apple's first iPhone. Remember the first iPhone? It didn't have 3G when everyone else had 3G... why can't Apple make a phone with 3G? The first iPhone did not have cut-and-paste... why can't Apple, the king of UI, implement simple cut-and-paste? The first iPhone came with a few apps but there was no official "app store" at the time... why can't Apple give us more apps instead of the stupid weather and stocks?

Yet, look at what happened to Apple thanks to the iPhone and how both completely disrupted the mobile space and turned it on its ear. All because of a phone that had limited apps, no app store, no cut-and-paste, and it was only available on one carrier for several years - a carrier that many people disliked.

So the Model S is the first salvo in what is going to be a very, very disruptive technology. Tesla is poised to do to the automotive industry what Apple has done to the mobile space. Apple completely redefined how carriers brand their products, profit sharing models, etc. All totally unheard of things prior to Apple taking a stand and making it happen.

One big difference: Apple had already a huge brand loyalty in advance of the iPhone and way larger customer base.
However, I share your hope for this being the first salvo and just the beginning.

I recommend all re-read this article by Julian Cox:

Elon Musk and Tesla Motors; The Art of Modern Warfare In A Noble Cause

Long and chewy-good.

I love a comment I read a while back:
"Keep in mind this Model S is the worst car Tesla will ever make!". Wish I could give named credit, can' t recall. You know who you are...

Great Statement!

The car is not will continue to improve, but it sure got lots of things WAY right!!.....and those of us fortunate enough to be driving it right now will be grinning at every advancement it makes along the way.

Jackie :-)

Jackie, credit for that line goes to @S4WRXTTCS in the Stretching to buy thread.


I wish you fun with buying the good model S in 3 years :P While I can buy a new cellphone every 1-3 years without much thought the Model S is an entirely different league, so I'm defenitely not happy with all the things they just did 'acceptable'...

On the other hand, we are Tesla disciple the same way there were Apple dispiples back then so we had to buy the car now.

I've read another version of that, that the car when delivered is the worst it will ever be.

Well I am an "S" owner with 900 miles of fun driving. But - I have been highly criticized for my criticism of "several" items I view as deficient in the S. (Hawaii Tesla Owners Forum) But that doesn't change the fact that I very much like the car - but I look forward to buying my next ONE, one that has fixed what I perceive and simple fixes but worth the change when they are available. I have shared these with Tesla in the hopes of them changing them quicker - and they have responded positively that they are working several of them in hopes of change for the better in the near future.

If any are interested my complaints are; (1) It is impossible to use the child seats in the rear of the car due to heat in Hawaii even with the $350 premium tint job and the AC set as recommended by Tesla - it is just too hot. (2) There is significant mirror wind noise above 63-65MPH or crosswinds when trades gust over 20mph, (3) There is no bumper-proximity warning devices in the US available (will be shipped on European Models), (4) Ok...I said it, no cup-holders in the rear seat, (5) AC vents are separated by a 17" touchscreen and DO NOT adjust to direct air-flow between the two front seats - needs more range of motion, (5) NO Simple way to open door handles when picking someone up or dropping of children for auto-drop off and teacher wants to open door, (think about it for those who havent' tried it), (6) strange things happen on tech-package model when approaching the car - ie. sometimes the door handles don't open sometimes they do - when they work they are great - when they don't they're troublesome, (7) my experience charger port door opens about 50% of the time when using the button on the charging cord - it actuates but doesn't open, (8) Tesla's front license plate holder is a joke and placement is not well thought out, (9) don't ever be without you're "Smart Phone" when you need to find out a detail about the Tesla S, as the only real information is via the internet - OH, the last time I called TESLA all rep's busy - but they did call back in 56 minutes - thank you - to help me - off course I by then had found out how to "REBOOT THE LOCKED SCREEN" by pushing the 2 correct buttons simultaneously and getting the AC back on, (10) there is no spare tire, and one has to rely on calling TESLA to get someone out to fix it (see #9 above) or one can use a can of TESLA emergency tire fix if it is just a puncture....OK, I'm going to stop now to try and avoid the perception that I don't think the car is "Perfect" or I'm only obsessing over the "cup holders". Yes, I will buy the next release that fixes the above and pass this perfect car on to someone who thinks it's perfect.

Oh gawd, nicknitetown is back. Everyone, please ignore him and maybe he'll go away.

Check out the O2 battery fans on Amazon. They move enough air to keep the rear cool, it seems.


#5 - I believe the recommended solution is putting the car in park. Which is probably the safest thing to do anyway. But I do agree there should be a dedicated switch or button to open/unlock doors.

#7 - I think you need to have your UMC looked at. I had problems when I picked up my car and they adjusted something and then it worked fine.

As to being a perfect car, yes, I also agree the Model S needs to have some simple mistakes fixed. I also think that the Model S has "fixed" a few things that that I had no idea needed fixing. Who knew that anything less than instantaneous torque was unacceptable? Who knew that acceleration that isn't quiet and unassuming is primitive and obnoxious? How could I not understand that a display smaller than my laptop's was just stupid? Etc. Etc. Etc. I think Tesla will find their fixes easier than ICE manufacturers.

But I find it encouraging that my car will only get more valuable as those who insist the car is perfect start bidding wars for this first generation "perfect car" when I trade it in for the latest model that Tesla will have ruined by putting in more cupholders.

I think I know why the doors sometimes auto present and other times it doesn't. If you use the FOB to lock the car and you leave and come back the car won't auto present. If you let the car lock itself the auto present will work every time when you return to the car and get close enough.

Thanks for the suggestions about the FOB now that I understand that one negates the other I seem to get what I'm expecting - a simple case of changing expectations. On the UMC it opens when I use the TESLA APP for the IPhone - but fails most of the time with the power cord button. I will try to get back out to see our TESLA service center but timing is everything with our traffic.

Nice comment about "driving the price up" based on so many people's view that the car is perfect - hadn't really thought of that. I know I really hate to post things that are negative as one get's the "why did you buy it", and "Nit Picky go away" comments - but I truly appreciate the suggestions and positive comments. Thanks and Aloha

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