Future Tesla Owner

I recently set out to purchase a new car and my first choice was the Model S based purely on research, having never seen or actually driven it in real life. But unfortunately I live in East Tennessee, one of the last areas they plan to build charging stations. And there are no nearby dealers (even within hundreds of miles) to test drive etc. I figure I would wait it out thru one more lease cycle and then hopefully my area will be "Tesla friendly" by that time. This is all somewhat ironic because I grew up most of my life in Southern Cal, which seems like it might be the most Tesla friendly area. I will say that I've now actually seen one Model S cruising thru Knoxville on Interstate 40.

I'm getting around to my actual point here, so bear with me. My second choice was the Infiniti Q50S Performance Hybrid for various reasons, which I now own. This car regularly gets bad press for reasons I'm not quite sure since I quite enjoy it. It's the first car ever to employ steer-by-wire, which in turn allows some pretty innovative features I've really come to like. For example, when on the highway, I can put it in intelligent cruise control and the car pretty much drives itself, speeding up and slowing down with traffic flow, staying in the lane by itself (hands off steering wheel), etc. I wouldn't read a book while it's "driving itself", but it really is quite impressive.

So, my question is, have any of you heard rumors or rumblings about whether the Model S will begin to get such self driving features in the next few years? Coupling the Model S with features like this would be a great combination IMHO. I'm still planning on a Model S by 2016/17 time frame, but not sure I want to give up some of these innovations I've grown accustomed to.

Elon commented about ACC in his Amsterdam conference last week. He thinks it's a great thing to have, but he said the hardest part was to figure out what they couldn't have if they ever wanted to get the car off the ground. He clearly recognizes they made compromises in order to get the ball rolling.

@ Bighorn

"...he said the hardest part was to figure out what they couldn't have if they ever wanted to get the car off the ground. He clearly recognizes they made compromises in order to get the ball rolling."

That's a very good point. There's an old phrase to the effect of "The perfect is the enemy of the good." In this particular case, meaning that if they'd tried to include every luxury doo-dad the competition has - and that a few people here complain about the Model S lacking - everyone would still be waiting for delivery. Infiniti, BMW, and all the IC competition had a hundred years of industry-wide engineering to build upon. Plus decades of their own experience in the engine and chassis business. Tesla were starting from scratch. So for them, the basic engineering was the important part, and they got that right.

Elon said "order of magnitude better than human driver" would need to be in place for autopilot to work.

He said Tesla will be the first automaker to deploy autopilot technology.

He has also said that he expects autopilot to deploy for the GEN 3 in 2016/17.

@ SamoSam

"He said Tesla will be the first automaker to deploy autopilot technology. He has also said that he expects autopilot to deploy for the GEN 3 in 2016/17."

Wow. That's nervy. Of course, from what I've read, he's a pretty nervy fellow. And the big experts on autopilot technology are just down the street from Tesla headquarters.

Roger. Sorry to come off as a ‘typical defensive Tesla Forum contributor’ but …
East TN may not be the epicenter of the EV universe, but I am sure you could have hopped a plane and visited a Tesla showroom and arranged a test drive. Having not driven the only 21st Century automobile, it sounds to me like you are too focused on the hole and missing the donut.

The Model S (MS) may never have every feature, Tesla Motors (TM) is a small manufacturer and must prioritize. On the other hand, the MS offers features the others don’t have and may never have. Reading ops and reviews, don’t prepare you for the actual driving experience. After driving my MS for over a year, “why would I (you) want a self driving car?” BTW, you can tune the steering in your MS.

My MS is a better today, than when it was delivered. Thank you TM for those software upgrades. What other manufacturer continues to upgrade the features, on their own, for free, with no inconvenience? Virtually all the manufacturers want you to buy a new car in 3-5 years. Simply, there is nothing like a MS. Drive one and decide for yourself. Once you have been “supercharged” the only things you will like about ‘ice’ is in your drink or hockey. BTW, visiting gas stations is an overrated experience.

Stanford University has something called "C.A.R.S" (Center for Automotive Research at Stanford).

They've got several "human-less" cars already capable of real world navigation. One made it to the top of Pike's peak with NOBODY in side. That was a modified Audi TT.

Elon's timetable for "auto pilot" is NOT as far fetched as people may think. The bigger issue is NOT technology but issues of law.. i.e. liability. Who's responsible if a driverless car kills someone? The driver or the programmer? THese are much more difficult questions for our society to answer than
simple navigation. I personally believe autopilot WILL happen and hopefully that Tesla will be on the leading edge of it's deployment.

If you go to the careers page of this web site and look at the job openings, there are currently 13 that start "Advanced Driver Assistance Systems". Tesla is move in that direction, how fast we see it in production cars remains to be seen.

The cars will get better, the service more available and the Super Chargers at more locations.

Buy one when you are comfortable and you will not regret the purchase.

Thank you for all the input. Like I said in the original post: I'm already sold on the Model S having never even driven it. And you are correct, had I been motivated enough, I could have overcome the obstacles and test driven and purchased one. Also, don't get me wrong, I enjoy driving a spirited car, myself. It's the mundane highway driving that may be better served with auto-pilot. At least for me anyway.

All that being said, I still fully expect to purchase the Model S 2016/2017 timeframe. And I expect that there will be a dealer at least in Nashville by that time and ideally a few charging stations in the state.

You are correct in that TN is not the epicenter for EV. Surprisingly most of us do where shoes these days :D

Thanks again for all the input.

TN has a lot of Chademo chargers due to Nissan. If the adapter is ever released it would help with long range travel until 2015 when the SC network is expected to have better coverage in the south east...

In Oslo, JB and Elon predicted ChaDeMo adapter by Spring.

Here's the current status in the Accessories store:

Roger. Thank you for a most gracious and eloquent response. In re-reading my response I came off harsh, you deserve better, my apologies. That said, wait until you test drive a MS, you are in for a treat. On the plus side the 2016 or 2017 will have more features.

I do have one question, shoes or boots?

LOL, well this winter it's been boots. Coldest winter we've experienced here.


Either beats snow-sandals!

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