By on April 30, 2014
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Ed Zitron is a friend of TTAC, but not much of a car guy. After giving up his old, gasoline powered car, Ed went and bought a Tesla Model S P85 – and we asked him to write about it over a period of 12 months, documenting his ownership experience and what it’s like to live with an electric car. This is the first installment.

I do not know much about cars. I got my license two years ago, after growing up in London, moving to Aberystwyth (Wales), moving to New York, and only then moving to New Jersey, where having a car is somehow more natural than having legs. I unhappily learned to drive, and just about got through my test on the first go, even though my parallel parking was – to quote the instructor – “bad.”

I also know very little about cars – you go fast with right pedal, you stop with left pedal. Don’t stand in front of another car that is moving, especially if it’s moving fast. Porsches are nice, so are Ferraris. GM stands for General Motors. More importantly, petrol (or as Americans call it “gas”) goes inside. It starts an explosion (I think?) and the car moves. When you are running low on gas, you go to a “gas station”, where you stick a thing in your car and it smells a lot, but then you can get on your way again.

I started my driving years with a Volvo S60. It was reliable, unsexy and introduced me to the concept of driving well enough. I then moved to San Francisco, minus the Volvo, and realised that taking the Caltrain to Mountain View every day was going to become rather tiresome, and that it was time to buy a car. So, I decided I wanted a Tesla Model S.

I wrote about games and gadgets for about seven years before moving to America and into the awful world of Public Relations, and I’ve always wanted the latest gadgets. To me, the Tesla is just an extension of this compulsion.

Waiting for my Tesla to arrive, I’ve been in Getaround and Zipcar rentals for most of my week. I’ve been in low-end and high-end Mercedes, BMWs (including their electric DriveNow rentals), Audis, a smart ForTwo and a Chevy Volt. Probably around fifteen different cars, all from good to great manufacturers. I even rented a 2013 Tesla Model S. I’ve seen a fair sample – though by no means an exhaustive one – of what the car industry has offered for the last two years. Yes, they all have wheels and drive in a straight line, and got me to the places I was going without catching fire, but the actual experience, compared to the Tesla, was inferior and anachronistic.

It’s not the actual driving that’s the problem – cars are, well, cars. Especially to a car-knowledge-defunct person like myself. However I’d consider myself the general purpose sample of most people – I’m guessing most do not know much more than I do. The problem is that most of these cars have navigation, bluetooth control of your phone’s music (and sound systems), and general car settings. You also have to control air conditioning, cruise control, and other car functions *while driving*.

This is what in tech they’d call the User Interface. And the ‘user interface’ of most cars sucks, because before the Model S there has been no solid proof that you can do it better. The comparison is easy to make – this is what happened to cellphones. Before the iPhone, your average cellphone was an awkward chocolate-bar shaped thing that you texted on by hitting in numbers. The iPhone arrived, and the industry collectively shat its pants – touchscreens were, before this point, a quasi-joke that only Microsoft would back. Ironic, right?

Similarly, though not to the same extent, many carriers didn’t want the iPhone around, and claimed it was too expensive, that there was no market for it, and so on. Carriers didn’t like supporting it at first. Millions of people wanted it. Then Android happened. Overnight it was apparent that a lot of people didn’t like buttons.

Tesla’s growth is not going to be so rapid: this is a car, one that’s anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000, and you can’t just walk up and buy one in the traditional manner.

When it comes to the purchasing process, it seems like Tesla treats the customer with a degree of kindness and thoughtfulness that is missing from the motor industry. Perhaps I have not spent enough time driving cars to understand why people accept this – perhaps there’s a low-grade tinnitus that stops you from noticing that your car – even your just-bought car – in comparison to every other interactive medium is about a decade behind.

Even though it’s unfair to compare a Model S to a Prius, or an S60, or a Cruze or anything really below a nice Audi or BMW, the average guy like me is seeing very clearly that you can build an interaction with a car that’s as pleasant as your phone. It means that they have to start putting more energy into R&D, and means that simply adding a screen or tweaking a touchscreen each year is not going to work.

It’s an attitude built on a fat, old industry with great swathes of red tape and corporate groupthink. Cars are meant to be like THIS because our FOCUS GROUP says so. Decisions are made from the perspective of an executive (who would never drive said mass market car in a million years good lord no), thinking that they are in touch with the typical consumer. Branding experts win the battle against engineering and usability, and car commercials have become little more than televised SEO (look at all the meaningless statistics and figures they throw at you – even gearheads know that a lot of it, like horsepower-per-liter, is BS) and Deepak Chopra-rejected platitudes – they are a black hole for information with a pricetag at the end, because they are anxious at having to admit that, in their eyes their product is just another car.

The Tesla upends this because it provides differentiated product. Yes, it goes fast and all that, but the interface is different, the car is different, it looks different, it feels different, you save money on gas, they have service techs that will drive to you, you have a network of superchargers, and so on. It’s no longer a case of “THIS YEAR…THE CAR THAT YOU DRIVE COULD BE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER.” This is a new kind of car.

That’s scary. How do you compete with that? Apart from making a product as good as it, or better. But that costs money and effort, and doing so admits that Tesla might be doing something right. Which will piss off your dealers, and regulators, and gas fans, and…shit. Isn’t adding an updated version of MyEnTouchLink just so much easier?

This isn’t to say that the Model S is perfect, or that the supercharger network doesn’t have problems, or that the beautiful electric car future is here Let’s face it – it’s very, very far away, and only the most deluded fanboys would think otherwise. But I’m not a fanboy. I’m just a regular guy who decided to roll the dice on a new kind of car. And I’m very happy. Let’s see if I stay that way over the next 12 months.

Next-up: what it’s like to buy direct from a factory store, using the Supercharger and getting used to driving an EV

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165 Comments on “TTAC Long-Term Tesla Part 1: Why I Bought A Tesla Model S...”


  • avatar

    I think I’m going to like how this review plays out because this seems to originate from the perspective of a member of the ‘great unwashed non-enthusiast’ masses who isn’t fascinated by the BMW-powered Diesel Conti colored two shade of money as presented in the preceding thread, rather someone who just ‘wants a nice car.’

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Indeed. Enthusiasts have a warped view of cars compared to the other 99% of humanity.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      It will be interesting especially coming from someone who cares about the infotainment system, when I don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Scott_314

        You say you don’t, but try checking your email on a 5-year old Motorola RAZR. The hardware was sufficient then too, but software makes the difference between unusable and enjoyable.

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          But why do I want to do that? I don’t try to use my lawn mower to trim trees either. I check email on my computer. When I’m in my car I’m driving and I need to focus solely on that task.

          • 0 avatar
            martinwinlow

            @redmondjp – So what do you do when you want to get on with your work but you are stuck in a stationary traffic jam for 30 minutes?

            As for the article itself… “…the beautiful electric car future is here Let’s face it – it’s very, very far away…” Please define ‘here’ and also ‘very, very far away’.

            For my money, it is definitely ‘here’ *now*, if you have the sense to use it (depending on where you live). You do not have to spend 10′s of thousands to buy into it either. There are loads of very good used Leafs and i-Mievs out there and either one would work 100% either as a second car or as an ‘adventurous motorist’s’ only car, particularly if one was prepared to borrow or hire an ICE for those rare trips for which an EV is not currently practical (due solely to the lack of a rapid charge infrastructure and little else).

            But it will be interesting to see how, as a non-techie-type – you get on with the S. MW

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      I’ll most definitely be enjoying how this review plays out in the long run in light of my knowing two TESLA S owners personally as well as having been a part of an EV Forum [ Aspen ] of which several other … if I may say so .. severely disgruntled TESLA S owners were a part of .

      What does Mr Zitron have to look forward to one might ask ? Here’s a few ‘ bullet ‘ points ;

      1) When the temps go above 80f losing between 45 and 80% of his batteries charge
      2) When below 30f losing yet again between 20 and 45% of the batteries charge
      3) The gauge displaying another 100 miles of charge when in fact there is less than 30
      4) The abysmal service one will receive from TESLA … WHEN .. not if something goes amiss
      5) The reality should Mr Zitron be fooled into thinking a cross state/country journey be a good idea of how few TESLA approved charging and repair stations actually exist [ versus the numbers TESLA claims ]
      6) The joys of driving what is in essence a now decades old BMW [ Z8 ] with that cars anachronistic handling intact as well as owning an overweight – over complicated and severely under performing [ in deference to the claims ] Automotive Dinosaur … with the pretense of being in any way shape or form contemporary /modern ‘ technology ‘ *
      7) The battery packs ‘ Bricking ‘ for no good reason and TESLA refusing to rectify the problem

      etc etc ad infinitum

      Suffice it to say my hope is that Mr Zitron has a spare car in his garage as well as never being fooled into thinking long distance journeys in his TESLA S are a viable option . Here’s also hoping the good man Leased rather than purchased the car … not to mention my undying hope he does not succumb to the dreaded PDVS [ Post Decision Validation Syndrome ] so rampant in todays overly media , propaganda and technology dependent society

      * For the record … the overall technologies used in the TESLA S is now well over 100 years old and in fact still maintains all the original problems of EV’s since their very inception : albeit mildly remedied ; Those being Weight – Complexity – Battery Capacity – Range and Charge Time . Not to mention the TESLA S as previously stated is not a Bespoke EV but is rather .. like every other EV on the road with the exception of the BMW i3 .. a converted ICE . With all the inherit problems and compromises that entails

      • 0 avatar
        crm114

        tl;dr gtrslngr didn’t take his meds again today.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, this is a little odd. I go on the Tesla Forums and it looks like there are darn few dissatisfied Tesla owners, and here this guy has come up with some. It was starting to be believable and disturbing until I read “The battery packs ‘bricking’ for no good reason and TESLA refusing to rectify the problem.”

        I could have sworn I read Elon Musk reacted to the problem in his usual rocket-fueled way by extending the battery warranty to include all accidental bricking, up to and to the border of deliberate misuse.

        I somehow doubt that used Teslas wouldn’t be going for stunningly high prices if the car was behaving as badly as this guy suggests. Nor that surprising numbers of Telsa owners are repeat customers, despite the price.

        D

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @gtrslngr: Once again, you’re lying or wrong on every single point.

        As a Leaf driver, I can tell you the following:
        1. Range degradation is nowhere near your claim.
        2. Tesla’s range estimates are even better than the Leaf’s.
        3. Many people have done cross-country trips with Teslas. Maybe they’re all faking it?
        4. Tell me how the Model S ‘underperforms’ when it can beat or tie a Corvette on the dragstrip.
        5. Complexity – EVs are far simpler than ICEs. I don’t miss worrying about belts, fluids, leaks, clatter, sensors, exhaust pipes, or gas stations.

        • 0 avatar
          Z71_Silvy

          It may beat the Covette…but at least the Corvette can go 260 miles without needing hours to ‘fill the tank’

          Face it…electric cars are garbage and don’t work nearly as good as the hippys want them to

          • 0 avatar
            sitting@home

            And if there’s four of you it will take 3 trips to get you and all your buddies to the destination in that Corvette. More is any of them have anything other than a wash bag as luggage.

            All cars have limitations, it’s just trying to live within those limitations. I see about a dozen Teslas each day and yet I haven’t seen a single new Corvette outside of a showroom. It appears to be that (around here) a lot more people are prepared to live with the limitations of a Tesla than the limitations of a Corvette.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        “The joys of driving what is in essence a now decades old BMW [ Z8 ] with that cars anachronistic handling intact ”

        Please, elaborate on how a 5 passenger American luxury sedan powered by an electric motor is related to a 2 passenger German sports car powered by a 5.0 liter V-8 gasoline engine.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        If you want to know about a Tesla, ask a man who owns one!
        TTAC did, woo-hoo!

        (If you want to get a list of uninformed malarkey, ask a man who has never even had the chance to ride in one!)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I personally believe that many of your arguments, gtrslngr, are exaggerations. While I agree that there is some effect, I find it difficult to believe they are as extreme as you make them.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    So the iPhone caught-on after Android came out. Learn something new every day!

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      I think the point was that touch screens really caught on after Android phones came out.

      I remember this. Before the original Motorola Droid came out, all the anti Apple fanboys on the tech blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo were all about Blackberry and Windows Phones (the old ones with actual keyboards).

      Once the Droid appeared, touch screens were instantly awesome because a non Apple device that was better than the iPhone in many ways had one (along with a really crappy keyboard that no one ever used).

  • avatar
    wolfinator

    Great idea for a review! I love “normal people do cars” reviews. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    However, the lack of block paragraphs is unkind to my eyes.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Dear god, my kingdom for a break between paragraphs!

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Jeez O Pete… it’s like a file conversion went bad.

      But I certainly welcome the viewpoint of a guy who cares about zoom-zoom even less than I do.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I agree about the idea for a review by somebody who isn’t interested in taking it to the max all the time, and who really couldn’t care less about quarter mile laps, and skidpad Gs or whatever else.

      I also agree about the lack of paragraph breaks. It’s a minor quibble that the OP can correct for his next review. Otherwise, this was a refreshing change from the normal, “I got it back into the twisties and gunned it,” reviews.

  • avatar
    redav

    The formatting is a bit hard to handle in this article. I’d appreciate an editor to put in paragraph breaks so it doesn’t hit me as a single block of text.

    I’m interested to hear more about the OP’s thoughts on car controls. Personally, I feel that touch screens–for phones, remote controls, cars, etc.–are good for certain tasks, but generally suck for everything else. I disagree that existing car controls are bad; they’ve been refined for half a century or more, and the classic ‘double knob + buttons’ for the radio and the ‘triple knob’ for AC is, IMO, a remarkably good interface for drivers. I’ve driven a Tesla. It’s screen is better than other touch screens in cars, but I can’t say that I like it.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      You know what would probably improve touch screens in a car (and maybe this is already a thing?) haptic feedback along with concave or convex texturing along some portion of the surface of the screen. One thing that drives me buggy at least with a knob (or in the case of something like a mixture screw on a carb) is no discernible click or feeling like I’m moving out of a detent. It doesn’t have to be harsh but I like the confirmation of moving from one setting to another.

    • 0 avatar
      Andrew717

      I agree. When I was buying a car this winter I specifically avoided anything with a touchscreen interface for the climate controls and radio. After only a short time with a car I can change the climate controls or radio station without taking my eyes off the road. Particularly at night, glancing down at the touch screen to turn on the defroster or skip a song on Pandora can be really distracting.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        I can too. I can tell Myfordtouch to change the radio or the temperature. I don’t have to take my hands off the wheel or divert my eyes.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Sshhhhhh. Don’t bring up that MFT is actually good now. People will get all mad. I have had zero problems with MFT on my C-Max. Based on my last two years of MFT car ownership, I recommend it without reservations.

  • avatar
    marc

    Not that I am not interested to hear about long term tests of a great car… although Edmunds just wrapped up a year with the Tesla, so this isn’t the most unique series. But I do take umbrage with a lot of what TTAC’s new contributor has posted above in Part 1.

    “Ed Zitron is a friend of TTAC, but not much of a car guy.” Then why exactly is he writing for an auto enthusiast blog? Well maybe he’s a good writer….Or not. Let’s see what great journalistic thoughts he has come up with….

    “I’ve seen a fair sample – though by no means an exhaustive one – of what the car industry has offered for the last two years.” From his own list, not even close.

    “I’d consider myself the general purpose sample of most people” Not likely.

    “it seems like Tesla treats the customer with a degree of kindness and thoughtfulness that is missing from the motor industry. Perhaps I have not spent enough time driving cars to understand why people accept this” Teslas sells 1500 cars a month to millionaires. I would expect the (often illegal) way they sell cars to be better than the rest of the brands who sell over a million cars a month to the rest of us. My Toyota dealer isn’t expected to coddle me and offer me a charging network for my 229 a month leased Prius.

    “the average guy like me is seeing very clearly that you can build an interaction with a car that’s as pleasant as your phone” You’re not average. The average guy doesn’t want his car to do what his phone does. He wants it to take him to work and back home to his family without breaking down or getting him or his family hurt. 5 days a week for 3-5 years, until the next one does the same thing, but maybe just a little better.

    “This is a new kind of car.” Except it’s not.

    “But I’m not a fanboy. I’m just a regular guy who decided to roll the dice on a new kind of car.” I’m sorry, did I read that right? I don’t know many regular guys that drive $80,000 electric cars. You might want to rethink this regular, average guy meme.

    I’m not picking nits here. The whole article strikes me as written by a deluded SF Bay Area techie playing with and showing off his latest toy.

    • 0 avatar
      Ed Zitron

      I moved to San Francisco two months ago. So I’m not sure I get to be called a Bay Area Techie.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        haha, that makes u even more the textbook Bay Area techie. I live in the City, and I’m pretty sure all of my techie friends are transplants. Well, at least you’re not taking Google buses.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Being a recent transplant only solidifies your position as a Bay Area Techie. I’ve been here just less than three years, so I’m probably in the same boat. Welcome!

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Bravo. Great comments.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      I see what you’re saying… but I’m not so sure. I agree he’s not necessarily average average, but, he could represent the city-dweller average.

      Remember that there is now a large generation of people that simply haven’t been raised to care about cars. Sure a BMW is nicer than a Ford, but they both sit in traffic all day and they’re really not something to get emotional about.

      That generation IS interested in tech, not spending money on gas, travel, the environment, and nice toys like Macbook Pros and the Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I recently cross shopped BMW and Ford. I’m not sure I’d go along with the idea that the BMW is nicer. In some ways it was, but in some ways the Ford was nicer.

        • 0 avatar
          cpthaddock

          An often overlooked and increasingly pertinent point. I have seen it mentioned here from time to time.

          Increasingly, I believe, sellers of expensive cars are relying on their customers not cross shopping cheaper cars.

          One if the larger differentiators, that the author references indirectly, is how the dealer treats you. This is something I believe Lexus figured out before they sold a single car and continues to underpin a lot of their success.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The car he purchased is closer to $96k. Regular guy indeed.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Take that in context of where the author is located and what he does for a living. He lives in the Bay Area and works in Mountain View.

        For a tech worker making maybe $200k per year, a $96k car purchase isn’t out of the question.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Maybe not out of the question, but I think $96k car on $200k salary is living on the edge a bit, especially when you take into account the cost of living in SF.

          Regardless of how we want to define affordable car purchases, it’s safe to say that anyone buying a $96k car is not just a regular guy, even in the context of the SF Bay Area (I think the average salary in SF is about $80k).

        • 0 avatar
          fvfvsix

          @Sam – yeah, not out of the question, but still a stupid amount of money for a car given only $200K/yr of income. The only guy I know that owns one out here is a billionaire, although i see at least one or two others every day driven by (other rich) guys in their 50′s and 60′s

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        When he says regular guy, I think Ed means in the context of how much he knows/cares about cars.

        I don’t think he ever claimed his purchasing power was in line with the average.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Sorry Charlie. With every statement taken out of context, you’re proving that you’re an anti-electric conservative. The individual writing this article isn’t a motorhead, obvious by the fact that he didn’t even learn to drive until AFTER he arrived in the United States but I will point out that there is a program on BBC by and for motorheads that tells a lot about the different cars available, both good and, humorously, bad. Rather, the writer is a tech-head, more interested in technology than horsepower-torque figures and the Tesla is certainly different in that aspect–being a 100% all-electric vehicle. It really is a “new kind of car”.

      How about actually reading the thing instead of picking nits over details, hmmm?

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        Was that to me…?? Looks around…

        I’m not anti-electric at all! I’m on my second hybrid, and my next one will be a plug-in. And I’m certainly not conservative. I’m railing against someone who thinks its normal to spend $80-90,000 on a toy car (I car I looooove!!!), while calling himself average and regular.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “calling himself average and regular.”

          Considering where and with whom the guy works, he probably is.

          I wonder if he was expecting this amount of green-eyed resentment.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            Most folks who think nothing of calling themselves average while shelling out 100 Gs for their ride probably don’t expect much push-back. But calling it green-eyed is a little presumptuous. Being annoyed when someone tries to come across as a regular Joe when they are more well-off than 95% of the rest of the country is only frowned upon by the apologists of our increasingly stratified society.

            I calls them like I sees them. This is only a blog, so I don’t always expect hard hitting journalism. But I also think we can have a little more critical thinking.

          • 0 avatar
            anti121hero

            It’s all subjective. An average car purchase for 80% of people I know is around 6000$. (And for that you can get something surprisingly nice!!!!!). For me, 2000$ is an average price. Yeah, this guy’s situation is completely different than mine, but in many ways I am able to empathize and understand where he comes from and how he makes his decision, without judging him a bit, because come on, that’s silly.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I smell troll.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      A car review by somebody who admits to caring nothing about cars, reluctantly got a drivers license only two years ago, and assumes that when he turns the key on “It starts an explosion (I think?) and the car moves.”

      I’d be embarrassed to write that, let alone attempt to use that background as the basis to write a car review. Not to mention the article itself is almost unreadable (did ANYBODY edit the last paragraph? Really??).

      I get that in the modern media age we can all opine on subjects we know nothing about, but for some reason I expected more from TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        He’s poking fun at himself and is painfully honest.
        After a year or two driving around California he’ll have gained quite a bit of experience and knowledge about the automotive aspects of our culture. Even major leaguers started in Little League.
        Now how about taking a trip to England, where you can attempt a conversation with the pub locals about the finer points of cricket. Would you be brave enough to publish an article about your experiences playing cricket and evaluating various cricket teams? I think you get the point.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Point taken indeed. I worked in my company’s London office for two years. One day my bus (the 189) got held up by an inordinate amount of foot traffic near Abbey Road Studios. It’s normal to see a tourist or two poking around the famous crosswalk but not normal to see hundreds of people milling about what is a quiet and very tony neighborhood.

          A day or two later, I asked my boss, “Is there a cricket ground near Abbey Road?” With all the Oxbridge haughtiness he could muster, he replied, “Only most famous ground in the world.” Although he was speaking factually, he meant it as a joke, and I took it as such.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I’m not seeing the problem here.

      It’s an owner’s report, just one guy’s experience with the car. We can take it or leave it. Just don’t expect any skidpad results, quarter-mile times or in depth comparisons with other vehicles, as that isn’t the intent here.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The whole article strikes me as written by a deluded SF Bay Area techie playing with and showing off his latest toy.”

      So? Aren’t SF Bay area techies allowed to have toys?

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        They have plenty of toys. But this isn’t The Truth About Toys.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And do you vent similar verbal vomit when this site tests other expensive automotive toys, like Aston Martins, Corvettes, Ferraris or Porsches?

          Not that I’ve seen. But plenty of vitriol against a Tesla. Now, why is that?

          Could it be a little butthurt on your part because your leased Prius is no longer the ne plus ultra in high tech transportation?

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            “verbal vomit?” Wow. You need to read more. You’re clearly not reading what I post, as I definitely love Teslas, and I read this article to learn more about the car. My posts have been thoughtful questions and concerns about how someone who knows nothing about cars posts a 1200 word count article on a car site, much of which shows not only that formerly mentioned lack of knowledge about cars, but also comes across as self aggrandizing and elitist, a not uncommon attitude from the current generation of bay area techies.

            And for doing so I have been called jealous, an electric car hater, a conservative (my favorite!), and now the spewer of verbal vomit. Wow. The “B&B” never fail to inspire me.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “You’re clearly not reading what I post, as I definitely love Teslas, and I read this article to learn more about the car. ”

            If you love the Tesla, then I’d say you have no shortage of road tests done by “qualified auto enthusiasts to choose from.”

            “My posts have been thoughtful questions and concerns about how someone who knows nothing about cars posts a 1200 word count article on a car site…”

            And the site’s called “The Truth About Cars.” The truth is that you don’t necessarily have to be a car expert to be a car enthusiast, or love the car you bought. That’s all this poor fellow did. And now he’s being skewered by a fool like you…because he bought a car that’s a toy.

            Well, that’s his choice, is it not? Is that any skin off your nose?

            And as far as the stupid crud about “bay area techies” is concerned…YOUR attitude reminds me of the silly people here in Denver who railed for DECADES about how the influx of new residents would ruin the city. Guess what – it hasn’t! If anything, the influx of people is what got us through the last recession in WAY better shape than most other cities. And those “techies” that you whine so much about did the same for the Bay Area. Without them, you’d have had a real estate blowout like the one that happened in L.A. That little dustup nuked BILLIONS of dollars in wealth from people who bought houses there.

            Be happy folks like this Tesla owner are moving to your area. At least they’re paying their bills. Given the government infrastructure you folks have out there, you want MORE of them.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            @FreedMike

            You nailed it with the comparison to long-time Denver residents complaining about recent arrivals ruining the city. SF is a very active theater in the class war. By commuting from SF to Mountain View in a Tesla, Ed has (unknowingly it seems) put on a uniform and stepped onto the battlefield.

    • 0 avatar
      LastCar

      Well said Marc, this review is pure fluff. Didn’t say much about how the car drives, but more like how he feels. I was looking forward to reading this until halfway through and saw through his BS.

    • 0 avatar
      Viquitor

      Precisely.

      The average non-gearhead is not the Tesla buyer.

      Also, “horsepower-per-liter” is no BS. Specific Output is no BS at all, that’s not a clever thing to say at all.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    Actually, the user interface on a Tesla is, to my mind, proof that you can do MUCH WORSE, and is an abomination unto god and man…

    In a normal car to, say, open the sunroof, you just press the sunroof button next to the sunroof and, it, well opens. To change the climate control, you, again, push the button or knob.

    Buttons and knobs can be manipulated blind. Even the “fixed” items on the touchscreen like climate control require that the user look down to press. And well, opening the sunroof requires either navigating menus or using the right hand scroll wheel on the steering wheel and navigating that menu (Yes, that was the answer from the Tesla salesman when I asked during my test drive…) Crunch…

    For more complex things, like navigation, yes, the touchscreen is impeccably well done, and arguably better than most. Yet its still not clean as it could be: the i3, for example, uses navigation on the speedo-display, and even can display the speed limit based on the maps.

    But the complete button-free design is an abomination: The car would be much better served by cutting the bottom 20% off the screen and put honest-to-god climate control buttons. For radio, the bit on the left of the steering wheel works well enough.

    Oh, and remove the web browser…

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      @Nicholas – Amen. There’s a reason cars have buttons. Companies like BMW, Toyota, GM, etc… have spent more money than SpaceX researching the “user interface” that really matters – the driver’s connection to basic systems of the car. The absolute dead last thing I want my car’s basic functions to mimic is my iPhone. Sorry, but that’s just a silly notion.

      The i3 seems to be executed extremely well. I’m definitely looking into buying one in the next few years.

  • avatar

    A great city car for short trips while evading gas prices- probably perfect for Manhattan if you have a place to park, but the interior is hard and seats uncomfortable.

    The rear jump seats are unusable in some climates. Not enough ventilation and too much insolation through the pano roof.

    The flatness of the floor and cut of the doors makes it feel uncomfortable to me and unforgiving to different body types.

    If TESLA could give the Model S the interior from the Kia K900, it’d be perfect.

    I say the K900 rather than the XTS because although I like the XTS’ more, it lacks the multiway power seats/headrests/cushions- wherein the K900 gets you as close to German luxury feel as a 650 FICO score can get you.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The K900′s interior is pretty darn sweet, esp. that pale “whale bone” trim. If only the white leather seats were treated with that new self-cleaning coating Nissan is developing…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @BTSR: We both share a love for Tesla and Hyundai/Kia, and a hate for the global warming agenda. I also have a soft spot for Chrysler, but only the ’15 200 has a chance to get my money these days.

      I haven’t seen the S interior in person, but Kia is doing a very nice job these days on theirs.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The genius of the Tesla is that it’s environmentally friendly, but has plenty of OTHER stuff going for it. It’s gorgeous, fast, and luxurious too. It’s green without being “in your face” about it.

        Now, if only Priuses would stop with that vibe…

        • 0 avatar

          Here’s my problem though…

          How green is a vehicle that moves its pollution to the mining of its materials and the creation of electricity?

          TESLA’s cars are only as green as your country’s infrastructure.

          And who can really afford to spend $70,000 – $100,000 on a car?

          Granted – it’s a big car, but it’s just one car for the family. You could buy 2 (other cars) at that price.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            You’re right, the environmental impact of cars like Teslas (or any other good electric car) isn’t immediate, because the production and operation of the vehicle still depends on dirty energy sources.

            The real payoff will come when we begin to use more renewable electricity, and that process has already begun. At some point, the switchover to technologies like fusion power will happen, and when that happens, electric cars will be the norm, not the exception. That’s closer than you may think.

            http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27138087

            The key to cars like the Tesla is to refine the technology needed to make electric cars as practical as fossil fuel-powered cars, at a competitive price. THEN they’ll be much more “green” than anything we drive now. That’ll be nothing less than a transportation revolution. But we have to keep the electric-car technology moving forward. Companies like Tesla are key to that.

            The first generations of any truly new technology products are usually prohibitively expensive. The price of electric cars is coming down steadily.

            (And by the way, companies are going to make a KILLING on this one)

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “you go fast with right pedal, you stop with left pedal”

    JEEZ PROFESSOR SLOW DOWN THIS AIN’T THE TRUTH ABOUT ADVANCED MECHANICAL ENGINEERING (TTAAME)!

    But seriously, I’m excited about this series about Tesla ownership, especially from a “non-car-guy”. Thanks for your contribution!

    My only other point is that having recently acquired an iPhone 5C, my first smartphone, I can’t imagine the controls in a car’s center stack ever being replaced by a similar interface. There’s just not enough tactile response.

    I’m able to safely fiddle with the HVAC and audio controls in my Civic, because I’m not taking my eyes off the road, and all the buttons and switches have a permanent location and feeling to them.

    A touchscreen may look good in photos, but in practice, it just wouldn’t work for me. Granted, I’m still at the phase where what once was a tossable plastic lump in my pocket is now something that will cost ~$600 to replace if I ever bust it, so I cradle it with both hands and treat it like the eggs they give expecting parents.

    This may pass, but I doubt it, as I’ve seen many a friend with a cracked screen. iPhones aren’t getting any LESS breakable.

    Oh, and I second the need for paragraph breaks for readability.

    • 0 avatar
      Ed Zitron

      I actually had similar worries about the center console, but as of yet combining both the roller on the wheel and the touchscreen I’ve not struggled to do anything instinctually (IE: while driving, and I’ve managed to do it without barreling into the median/another car).

  • avatar
    jkross22

    From his summary on Huffington Post:

    Ed Zitron is the founder of EZPR, an east-coast media relations firm focusing on consumer tech startups. He has been published by Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Eurogamer, PC Gamer and PC Zone. His book, This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years In PR, will be released in late Spring 2013. He writes about technology, gadgets and the perfect coffee.

    Ed, all due respect, but Tesla’s entry price for this car is more than about 80% of the people in this country make in a year. In other words, it’s a car for people who make a lot of money, not people who might buy any of the other cars you mentioned.

    It leases for $1300/month and sells for nearly $96k. That’s territory for other special cars from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche.

    You’re the general purpose sample of most people? Uh, no.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You’re ignoring the fact that the Tesla can save $100 bucks or more per month at the gas station depending on how far you drive on a daily/weekly basis. My own driving–despite the fact that I work from home–still adds up to $100/month between a Jeep Wrangler and a Ford pickup truck. That works out to roughly 3/4ths of a tank in the Jeep plus about 3/4ths of one of the tanks in the truck. (Truck has two smaller tanks adding up to a total of 32 gallons combined.) As you can see, overall I don’t drive all that many miles and still spend that much. If I had to drive either vehicle to a daily job, my cost would multiply almost 5x just in fuel. If I still worked where I used to work, I was putting 600 miles PER WEEK on my car–meaning a Tesla serving as my transportation would save me almost $600 per month.

      It really does depend on how you drive as to whether a Tesla is worth the money or not. Once the Tesla is paid off, the savings quickly adds up to an overall lower cost of ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Volpine – Actually .. and especially when factoring in Interest [ there is interest on leases as well you know ] and despite not factoring in the expected exceedingly high repair costs ..

        It will take well over 30 years of TESLA S ownership minimum to simply Break Even . Never mind come out ahead

        How do I know this ? [ beyond what I stated in my first post ]

        Simple . Up until a few weeks ago : having driven BMW USA’s demo car back in January ..the wife and I were seriously considering buying [ cash ] or leasing her a new BMW i3 seeing as how she is the perfect candidate for EV ownership . Until that is we had both our FA’s [ one being a Car Guy ] as well as both our personal and business CPA’s do the math on the i3 .. which optioned as we were intending on purchasing would of been much less money than the TESLA S .. not to mention using less energy

        Best estimate for breaking even with the lower priced i3 ?

        A minimum of 25 years .

        As an old professor once said so well ; ” Theory and especially Economic Theory is a wonderful thing : until that is it is crushed under the hard weight of fact ” Or in this case . The math .

        Basta !

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’ve calculated it out myself, gtrslngr, and found that an average driver would “break even” in less than 10 years–even including the financing (I never mentioned leasing).

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      jkross22- Good catch . Your find going a long way to explaining why Mr Zitron .. despite all the mounting evidence [ which one might assume one in his position would have access to seeing as how the likes of myself certainly does ] has chosen to go the TESLA S route . He being a major player in the ” Technological Bluff ” infecting the minds and consciousness of the US and the World at large : as well as being one who directly benefits from that ” Technological Bluff ”

      I’ll also agree that though not being Mr Everyman myself Mr Zitron is anything but the average …or even above average car consumer . Hell . I know folks with ten times Mr Zitron’s total net worth that would never consider leasing a car … any car for $1300 a month . They having a proper understanding as to the value of a dollar vs the boost to ones ego

      As far as his writing credentials are concerned I will withhold comment seeing as how nothing I could honestly say about the mans books or his writing in general could be construed as anything but a direct insult .

      Thanks and molto grazie jkross22 ! You’ve just given me all the info I need to ignore all of Mr Zitrons future reviews

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      So…Zitron makes money and drives an expensive car.

      And the issue with this is…?

      I’ll wait.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        +1. The article is titled “Why I bought a Tesla Model S”. Nothing about this story discredits his perspective. The class envy around here is always a downer.

        Let’s discuss Elon Musk’s $1 salary last year at Tesla. Anyone?

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          Given the conservative political views of many of the commenters on this site, it always amazes me how much class envy there is among the B&B.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            Given the conservative political views of many of the commenters on this site, I’m amazed that anyone has the balls to bring up issues of class. I’m not surprised when they (and I) are attacked for it.

            Here’s a reality check. It’s not envy. It’s the reality of an increasingly stratified economy. And us bringing up these issues does not indicate in any way where we are in that stratification, as much as people want to make assumptions.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    One thing the tesla really does right tho is the accelerator pedal, and we’ll probably see reports going forward about how Mr Zitron is able to get the most out of his Tesla without really trying.

    A car is really not “Press right pedal to go, left to stop”, its “press right to set speed, and left to waste energy”: the conventional brakes dump your energy into heat, and proper braking, even more than proper acceleration, is key to getting the most efficiency out of the car.

    Since the Telsa does this right: the brakes are just the “dump energy” but the right pedal, full out, is “max slowdown while not wasting energy”, its actually pretty easy to drive it in an efficient manner.

    (Unfortunately, both the Prius and Volt and most other hybrids do it wrong: the brake controls both “slowdown without waste” and “dump energy”, which means the difference between good and bad on a Prius is a lot worse than good and bad on a Tesla).

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Having piloted a PHEV around the last few months, I will have to say that for in town use, the electric drivetrain makes an internal combustion powered one seem very last century.

    For highway use, having the engine run doesn’t matter as much since there’s enough road noise and vibration to make it less noticeable.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    “Having piloted a PHEV around the last few months, I will have to say that for in town use, the electric drivetrain makes an internal combustion powered one seem very last century.”

    Reading Eagle, April 10, 1937, pg 4, Glimpses of Yesteryear, THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY, April 10, 1907, George W. Sassaman presents ordinance in common council for an electric police patrol wagon that would cost $2,500.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    “Why I bought a Tesla Model S”

    …because you felt the need to spend $75K on a car whose reliability has yet to be proven? Hmmmm??

    Because you like “pretty” things?

    Becuase you enjoy looking like a 22 year old dentist?

    Because looking like “new money” is of importance to you?

    ‘Cause you gets props, yo, at The Racquet Club? (Wear that sweatband with pride, Son! Wear it!…..)

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Would you respond the same way to the buyer of a BMW, Porsche, or Mercedes?

      Or do you reserve the smack just for EV drivers? Note – mine cost the same as a Toyota Avalon. Can I get some hate, too, or is just about the money?

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        A foolish opinion piece warrants a foolish comment, and I like money just as much as the next guy.

        But (hey!) I like jokes, too, especially when their portrayed as nonhumor. So I’ll give a crack at them, as well.

        In other words, if you publish a joke, I can follow up with several jokes in the comments section. Yeah!

        I’ll respond accordingly.

        I trust you’d do the same.

        Or, you can defend him for his big swing and big miss, and pat his belly for trying, since you’re into that sort of thing.

        Whatever works.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Anyone who buys a new Porsche, Audi, BMW or Mercedes for $75k is arguably gambling on reliability, given the increasing complexity of German automobiles and their manufacturers’ “What? Me worry?” attitude towards reliability & dependability. Why are you singling out Tesla?

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Jeez. Article had some formatting issues, and the “everyman” claim is a little far fetched, but the central point of the article (that Tesla has created a new alternative in an established market) remains valid.

    With a little bit of editing and direction, this article could have been much improved, and avoided the annoying nit picking comments. Comments don’t really show the “B&B” in the best light, but that’s not really news around here lately…

  • avatar
    Steve65

    Oh goody. Another new driver in my neighborhood who thinks “I don’t really care about cars, so that makes it ok to be a crappy disruptive random dangerous driver.”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Was this guy prepared for the amount of vitriol here? Methinks not. Wow.

    Yes, Teslas are expensive. Most people can’t afford one. Most Tesla buyers aren’t necessarily gearheads. Take those last three sentences, replace “Tesla” with “Mercedes” or “BMW”, and what difference does it really make?

    (And yes, most Tesla buyers can probably use paragraphs better than this writer does.)

    Aside from the grammatical issues, which TTAC should have fixed, why does any of this really matter? This is a unique and special car, and we are getting a long term test of it by someone without the usual car-mag biases.

    I say hallelujah!

    (And, Zitron – if you’re ever in Denver, and you’d like a gearhead’s opinion on how your Tesla drives, look me up!)

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      This is why we can’t have nice things. Are people really bashing someone for buying a Tesla? It seems many want Ed to be punished by forcing him to drive a Hyundai Pony or something similar.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      The “article” was bloody awful.

      I’ve forced myself to read it at least three times.

      Uhhh… what the hell was it about?

      A review? No, no. Not a review.

      Uhhh… ??

      Lol! What the hell was that??

      We’ve got a bit of Ed’s experiences leading up to having to drive and his opinion about Tesla being “different”. Bravo, Ed.

      Now, can you tell us something- anything- about the car, please?

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        I doubt the OP will be able to tell much about the car. He admittedly knows nothing about cars. He’s enamored with the fact that he gets to stare at a giant iPad when he gets into his toy.

        I’m surprised that so many here are intrigued by his “regular guy” viewpoints. We all have those of every car we have driven. Reviewers should be savvy about the products, industry, competitors. They should know about skidpads and 0-60 times. He’s happy the damn thing has an accelerator pedal. Well how does its handling compare to a comparably priced BMW or Benz? How do the brakes compare to regenerative braking in a Prius or an i3? He has shown that he will have no way to adequately provide answers to these. I’m not even sure how good his review of the gadgetry will be, techie or not. Unless one has years of experiences with the sublime 3 dial set-ups, various idrives, MMIs, touchscreens and the like, how can I trust your opinion of anything else.

        I just don’t understand the point of this article by a “Friend of TTAC.” I like Teslas, and I read through this long, tedious article to see what I could learn about them. I learned nothing. Instead all I got were the musings of one of the overpaid Bay Area nerds who are driving up my housing costs. :)

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          I’m still struggling to find why he actually chose to buy the Tesla, and I expected to find that in reading his work.

          Is that asking too much?

          Generally, the title and the body themselves are married in one way or another. I see the two have nothing to do with each other in this instance.

          • 0 avatar
            Beerboy12

            “I’m still struggling to find why he actually chose to buy the Tesla”

            The answer is clear, to me anyway. As a non-car person, the Tesla makes more sense than other cars, to the author. Perhaps this does not make sense to you and that is OK, but it is also OK that it makes sense to the author. He is clearly a gadget / tech guy and the car appeals to that trait.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m still struggling to find why he actually chose to buy the Tesla, and I expected to find that in reading his work.”

            He made that pretty obvious. He sees it as the iPhone of cars.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “I’m still struggling to find why he actually chose to buy the Tesla, and I expected to find that in reading his work.”

            Clearly the guy likes high tech gadgetry. I don’t see the issue.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            In light of the three responses here, in which everyone notices the connection that I did not… okay, I now see the connection.

            I recant that statement.

            Don’t expect nice comments all the d*mned time, either.

            Now that I’ve lost man points, I think I’ll go to the gun range, drink a case of beer, and watch a porn flick.

            And by the way- yes, the piece was still rubbish.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Instead all I got were the musings of one of the overpaid Bay Area nerds who are driving up my housing costs. :)”

          So…the guy’s trolled for 1) buying an expensive car, 2) buying a car that’s not your leased Prius, 3) being a guy who likes tech gadgets, and 4) buying expensive real estate in your area.

          Maybe you’d be happier if he made no money and trolled around San Francisco in a clapped-out Subaru with a “save the whales” sticker? Or would you? You tell me.

          Any other irrelevant BS you’d like to troll him with, or is this it?

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            You need to look up trolling. Discourse is what I am engaging in. Get your head out of the sand for a few minutes.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “You need to look up trolling. Discourse is what I am engaging in. Get your head out of the sand for a few minutes.”

            Oh, I see. Trashing a guy because he can afford an expensive car and likes high tech gadgets, but isn’t much of an enthusiast, is discourse.

            Keep it up.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            FreedMike: No one gives a rats a$s how much or how little money he makes.

            If I read a review by an owner of a Bugatti Veyron, and it wasn’t written with the characteristics of an 7th grader, many commenters here , including myself, would be giving it praise.

            This article was a waste and commands the mockery of all of us TTAC followers.

            You may, Sir, chock it up to whatever you wish, be it class envy, political bias, et cetera.

            *You know… generally the hypersensitive are the ones who are very concerned with the state of their finances.*

            (Pssst: living about our means, are we?)

            Have a nice day :)

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          “overpaid Bay Area nerds”

          Nobody is overpaid. Everyone is paid what the market will bear, including sports stars, celebrities, car assemblers, politicians, journalists, and fast-food workers.

          You denied a display of class envy, but your written words say otherwise.

          Mr Zitron bought more car than I can, so I’d say he’s doing something right. But somehow you find a way to criticize that.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            No, once again, I don’t care that he can afford a Tesla. Without people buying Teslas, we wont have Tesla, and that would be a shame. I am not criticizing Ed for buying and loving his Tesla. I am upset about his incorrect view of himself as an average guy, as well as his correct view of himself as someone who knows nothing about cars. He wrote those things, and it is fair to take him to task for them.

            I’m also being lighthearted using terms like techie and nerd, because, living in SF, techie nerdism is part of my life. Those are not put-downs. The attacks on me (troll, verbal vommit, etc) have been completely off base, and are what give blogs like this a bad name.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @marc:

            “I am not criticizing Ed for buying and loving his Tesla. I am upset about his incorrect view of himself as an average guy…”

            Define average. Granted, nobody at the United States median income can afford a Tesla, but someone who makes a couple hundred grand a year could, and that’s not uncommon by any means.

            Now, if he was trying to pass himself as an “average Joe who just bought a Bugatti Veyron,” I’d think your point would be more resonant.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Vitriol? You mean pointing out a silly, false conclusion is mean spirited?

      Forget pagination issues. The iPhone didn’t get popular until Android? C’mon. That just hurts the author’s credibility.

      TTAC has in the past invited wealthy people with a passion for cars to write about their experiences. I’ve found those articles entertaining and something to aspire to.

      This article attempts to portray the author as an average Joe who just plunked down $96k for a car. I’m sorry that calling out that level of disconnectedness is coming across as vitriol. Perhaps that is not what Ed meant, but that’s the beauty of the written word – you can word your thoughts in such a way that the intended message is articulated succinctly.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        Good point about the author’s disconnectedness jkross22. That’s a good word. I do sense that Ed believes he is the average guy. He repeats it at least three times. It does speak to broader issues about class that he and other B&B here get uncomfortable discussing. I would have no issues with the author if he was posting about his new Tesla for a year long series from the perspective of an enthusiast who is not a professional auto journalist. That is fine. But add his obvious disconnectedness to the fact that he admits to knowing nothing about cars, and I’m just trying to figure out why only a few of us think there is a problem here.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Broader issues about class”…

          What issues – that some people can afford cars that you can’t? Or that some people have enough money to buy an expensive car?

          Huh? Those are issues? What the heck are you talking about?

          “But add his obvious disconnectedness to the fact that he admits to knowing nothing about cars, and I’m just trying to figure out why only a few of us think there is a problem here.”

          So…he wouldn’t be able to tell us if the car performed to his expectations? Whether it’s reliable? If the range is acceptable? Whether the seats are comfortable? Whether the dealer service is OK?

          I’d say you don’t need to be car expert to comment on any of that.

          Keep this up…you’re giving me lots of laughs.

          • 0 avatar
            marc

            Just keep submerged in the water, little toad. It’s not getting too much warmer. You’ll be fine.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Just keep submerged in the water, little toad. It’s not getting too much warmer. You’ll be fine.”

            Isn’t it time to put another “Think Globally, Act Locally” sticker on your Prius, or is that going to mess up your lease?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          His points about being average:

          -He’s not an expert on cars, just a guy who drives and steers them in a tolerable fashion

          -He’s not a paid automotive professional who reviews cars for a living, just a guy who owns this particular car

          -He’s not affiliated with Tesla et. al., just a guy who bought one with his own money

          It’s an owners report.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I wouldn’t say TTAC was trying to portray Zitron as an “average Joe” – anyone with an IQ over room temperature knows average Joes can’t afford Teslas.

        I would say they’re trying to portray him as a Tesla owner who’s going to let us all know how things go with his car.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        I completely agree. This article just made me sad. TTAC used to be a place for brilliantly written and insightful reviews. Now we have random opinions shoveled out as though they contain actual wisdom.

        I realize that enthusiasts’ opinions do not necessarily result in sales, but this kind of thing is akin to a film review site running reviews by people who don’t watch movies, or a camera review site running a review from someone who just bought their first camera.

        For god’s sake, just look at the opening lines of the first two paragraphs:

        “I do not know much about cars.”

        “I also know very little about cars”

        And then we have this gem:

        “cars are, well, cars. Especially to a car-knowledge-defunct person like myself.”

        WTF TTAC? I realize this stuff generates page views and (outraged) posts, but that does not make it good content. I dare you to send this article to Farago.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      TTAC commenters are generally really hard on new writers (except for Brock Yates).

      Baruth and DK both took some decent heat early on in their time here. I remember some decent barbs directed at you too years ago. Ed will probably turn out fine.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Ed Zitron is the founder of EZPR, an east-coast media relations firm focusing on consumer tech startups.”

    So will we seen an unbiased assessment, or is this guy just a PR hack for Tesla?

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’m not a fan of the trend towards touchscreen controls in cars. It’s impossible to operate touch controls while driving, hell, I get distracted trying to use the tuning knob to scroll through the 3700 songs on my phone! lol. I don’t want to talk to my car, and I don’t want to not be able to turn the defogger on because there are too many fingerprints on the screen to see the “button.”

  • avatar

    Ed has volunteered to write a series of articles detailing the purchase experience of his Tesla over the next 12 months. Whether or not he is a car enthusiast is diminished by the fact that we are getting the perspective of somebody who purchased the car with his own money to give us a year-long diary of how the car holds up. This might be the best chance we get to learn The Truth About Tesla.

    Meanwhile, you are able to enjoy this content for free. I would ask that you be respectful of Ed, even if you disagree with his taste in vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Ed is who he is. TTAC is at fault on this one.

      You are content curators and editors. I see people letting you know that this post is not up to the (high) quality standards they expect from this site. You can listen or not. Jalopnik didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        What would you like to see changed in future posts?

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          Editing would help.

          1. Repeating the exact same sentiment three times in a single post is a waste of readers’ time. I quoted above, so I will not repeat myself, but I will add that the entire second paragraph of this post is a rambling illustration of the author’s lack of knowledge. The horse is dead.

          As an aside, the fact that his sentiment is “I don’t know anything about what I am writing about, or what this site about,” makes it a bit intolerable on a site that used to pride itself on insight. It seems to be part of a trend in TTAC content to post content by people who think their ignorance makes them worth listening to. I am sorry, but that’s what car forums are for.

          2. I realize that you guys are under the gun these days, but I count at least two missing periods.

          3. I know you appreciate Strunk and White, but there is no evidence of that here. Look at this sentence:

          “Even though it’s unfair to compare a Model S to a Prius, or an S60, or a Cruze or anything really below a nice Audi or BMW, the average guy like me is seeing very clearly that you can build an interaction with a car that’s as pleasant as your phone.”

          4. The above-mentioned Android/iPhone error is egregious. This is not a highly technical topic; most people in America could tell you the iPhone enjoyed huge success before the ‘droid.

          At TTAC, you often take the moral high ground over journalists who eat a catered meal before reviewing a vehicle, but at least those publications do basic editing on their articles.

          Overall, this article seems to be part of a general lazy consensus that any opinion has equal value. They don’t. This site was based upon high quality opinions. The amount of insight in this article is about equal to a single line in some of your better reviews. I was rather surprised to see the author complain about focus groups, when focus groups are specifically designed to obtain groundless opinions by uninformed people. And that is what we have here. Groundless opinions by an uninformed person. A person who doesn’t know much about cars. Because cars, are, well, cars

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Imag,

            This is well stated. Thanks for taking the time to respond to Jack’s question and doing so in a specific manner. We all make mistakes and there were a number of them made in the creation and editing of this article.

            Appreciate Jack asking the question.

          • 0 avatar
            stuart

            “This site was based upon high quality opinions.”

            Whose opinion will grade the quality of TTAC opinion pieces? Yours?

            I harbor some strong opinions about your attitude, yet I would not have your opinions censored.

            When Tesla confronts a potential car-buyer, his/her opinion is more valid than yours, because he/she is buying a Tesla and you (presumably) aren’t.

            I’m an ambitious shade-tree mechanic, I’ve owned a few interesting cars, and I have lots of opinions about how cars should be made, optioned, &etc. Yet car manufacturers ignore my “informed” opinion, and cater to the likes of Mr. Zitron, because Mr. Zitron was willing to pay their price and buy their car.

            As long as there are lots of people with “low-quality opinions,” and they can afford to buy cars, their opinions will count more than yours and mine.

          • 0 avatar
            imag

            Stuart,

            I am not arguing that ignorance is not profitable.

            It is rare that a high volume product is of the highest quality. This is because there are generally more people who do not care about any given thing than there are people who do. The people who do not care about the product generally buy what is cheapest, most flashy, or most convenient.

            Car manufacturers should absolutely value the opinions of the ignorant; those are most of their customers.

            However, I would prefer to read a car review by someone who has an informed opinion about the vehicle rather than one who doesn’t. TTAC has consistently identified itself as a place for high quality automotive journalism, and gleefully derided other publications for their ignorance (or lack of driving chops). It seems very strange to me to suddenly decide that almost willfully ignorant writers suddenly provide insightful journalism.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m looking forward to hearing the tale of a friendly neighbor, telling me about his car.

        The Model S’s statistics are well-known, so I don’t need that.

        Mr Zitron is a guest at the TTAC party; why should I care what his style of clothes are?

        There’d be a lot fewer negative comments if he wrote “Why I bought a Mitsubishi Mirage”.

      • 0 avatar
        marc

        I’m with imaq on this. Ed is entitled to love his car and want to write about it. As a good editor you could have looked at the post and said “hey, you might tone down the ‘I know nothing about cars’ and the ‘I’m an average guy’ angles,” both of which did not do him, as a new contributor, many favors. And I hope in future posts there is some Truth About Tesla. You, as editor, can help facilitate that.

        (I also hate the fall back of “the site is free.” Nothing’s free. We see the ads.)

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        How can TTAC be at fault? The article contains no lies. It is an honest and well written piece. The car, the Tesla Model S, is closer to a gadget or electronic device than any other car and so it is appropriate that it be reviewed by a person from that field.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    It will be nice to know if the headaches and mediocre product is worth all of the hassle.

    Sane people already know it’s not…but who knows what the owners who like to throw their money will feel about it.

  • avatar

    I was recently disparaged and called everything short of Poor White Kentucky Trash by some of the commenters for thinking that my $45K Boss 302 was a cool car. Now, Mr. Zitron is being called a coastal elitist by some of the same commenters for having purchased a rather expensive car and thinking it’s cool.

    I enjoyed the article, Ed, and look forward to hearing more.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Someone must have inserted paragraph breaks before I happened on this post.

    What stands out for me is the clarity of thought, decent composition and only two minor punctuation errors. Finally, a contributor with a brain. I don’t agree at all with most of his opinions on cars, but at least feel he could discuss things rationally if challenged.

    Meanwhile, the usual bright sparks that post here decide to perform the shoot the messenger routine, as per usual. So predictable. And boring.

    Keep it up Mr. Zitron. Good London surname that! Must have freaked out the population of Aberystwyth though.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The Tesla S, representative of electric vehicles is right now what air travel was in the 1930s. It’s sleek, glamorous, exclusive, futuristic and expensive.

    Fast forward 80 years and look at it today inexpensive, pedestrian, accessible.

    A lot of people here sure seem to enjoy whining about the car’s price tag (or just whining in general). Yeah, it’s more expensive than average, but it’s paving the way for future inexpensive accessibility for the masses.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I enjoyed reading this, Thanks Ed and TTAC, keep it up. To satisfy the gear heads, perhaps Ed should try an advanced driving course (with the Tesla?) and let us know how the gadget fared on the track.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    So, he’s a new writer. Let’s give him a chance to grow into it. I think Caroline lead off by telling us how she spoke for everyone. It took a few. We can help them improve, but let’s try not to scare the new writers off, OK?

  • avatar

    You guys (TTAC commenters) really are a strange bunch. You talk the talk about car enthusiasm and then go on and on about a Camry (who cares) and then abuse a new writer mercilessly. Frankly I’m embarrassed for you.

    Yes, I didn’t think the article was very well written but I am interested to hear what someone who can afford a premium car but isn’t a car enthusiast (news flash, that’s most of them) has to say about his new car. Tesla seems very polarising but it is clearly the best example of a pure electric car you can buy today and has done a pretty good job of getting around the biggest EV issue (energy density).

    Tesla to me has the potential to be the next Lexus (the break out brand for people who have means but aren’t enthusiasts and value things like customer service more highly).

    So give the guy a chance and take a long look at yourself in a room full of mirrors. What would you mother say

  • avatar
    gogogodzilla

    I look forward to a review of a cross-country road trip in his new Tesla.

    I expect it to be amusing.

  • avatar
    stuart

    Geez, people. Us gearheads always forget we are a tiny minority of the car-buying public. Some of the B&B sound like dis-respected whiny royalty here.

    Mr. Zitron is a lot closer to the typical non-gearhead car buyer than most of the B&B. Rejecting his opinion because he could afford to buy a Tesla is… hypocritical. TTAC couldn’t find an Average Joe Sixpack to review the Tesla because Average Joes can’t afford Teslas. Deal with it.

    I’m a gearhead and I will never be able to afford a Tesla. And I’m not even a fan of electric cars. But I’m curious about the Tesla, and I value the opinion of a non-gearhead, because it’s an entirely different viewpoint from what we usually see here. When Mr. Zitron says that one of the best features of the car is the User Interface, well, that’s a defensible opinion, and I’ll bet there are many other non-gearhead Tesla owners would would agree. And some people will buy it just because of that UI. And that opinion every bit as valid and useful as some gearhead’s impression of how a Tesla handles on a twisty mountain road.

    Without Zitron and Caroline, TTAC becomes a B&B-echo-chamber.

    Mr. Zitron, your opinions are valued. Stick to your guns.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      Here Here

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Without Zitron and Caroline, TTAC becomes a B&B-echo-chamber.”

      Oh please. I challenge you to go back to any of the prior years for reviews and articles that are available that are not written by Ed or Caroline and tell me about the echo chamber.

      Take a look at the comments challenging the site’s founder, Ed Niedermeyer, Berkowitz, Lieberman and many of the other contributors throughout this site’s existence. Alex Dykes is a fantastic reviewer who is respected, knowledgable, passionate and is challenged on his opinions when some of the B&B disagree with his conclusions.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    I liked the piece, and I am looking forward to further installments. The author told us who he was and then gave us his first impressions of the vehicle.

    I do have one question. Does the Tesla S have a proper driver’s side cup holder for my morning coffee?

  • avatar
    fvfvsix

    @Ed – I thought your opening piece was decent, and provided the B&B the info they usually ask for about contributors’ backgrounds. However, I do have a bit of heartache about you (even though you’re a self-admitted non-car guy) not doing your homework on what makes cars like the Tesla S special vehicles. I’m sorry, but the Model S is not “a different kind of car” simply because it has a 17-inch touchscreen at the center of the driver experience. The steering wheel and pedals should always be the “center” of your experience when driving a car. Everything else is just gravy.

    If you were to say that the philosophy Tesla used to architect its telematics systems is light years ahead of every other automaker, then I would agree with you. The concept of an easily upgradable, central “telematics” computer will probably be copied by the big boys. The interface itself… notsomuch. Every ergonomic study ever done by a carmaker has arrived at the same conclusions about completely buttonless interfaces. Tesla’s 17-inch screen is basically the best they could do without Toyota’s Billions in R&D. Yes, it looks impressive, but is tedious to use for things like opening the moonroof. I fully believe that they will evolve to a hybrid interface, similar to that of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes.

    What really makes the model S special are the things that you probably don’t even think about (but should) when you drive the car. Can you imagine the type of intelligence needed to simply drive the electric motors with any reasonable level of efficiency? How about the battery management systems that keep you from becoming a big flame ball while driving up the 101? iPad interfaces and other “techie” crap are easy compared to that stuff. Let’s hear more about what counts.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You give the lie to your own argument, fvfvsix; everything you describe is WHY the Tesla is “a different kind of car”. All of those things give you a completely different “feel” when you drive compared to a conventional gas or diesel model. With a complete ‘drive by wire’ system, the Tesla drives like almost no other car made.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        Note that I didn’t say that the Tesla isn’t a different kind of car. I simply stated that the big touchscreen barely scratches the surface, and I’d be interested in hearing about deeper things than that.

    • 0 avatar

      @fvfvsix

      “Tesla’s 17-inch screen is basically the best they could do without Toyota’s Billions in R&D. Yes, it looks impressive, but is tedious to use for things like opening the moonroof.”

      Just curious. Do you own a Model S?

      I do.

      Opening the sunroof goes like this.

      1. Stare at the screen
      2. Touch “Controls”
      3. Touch “Sunroof”
      4. Slide finger up/down depending on how far you to open/close it

      Explain to me again how this is “tedious”.

      On my other cars, I push a button for the same operation.

      It’s different across cars because the interface and the cars they power, are different. Form and functionality.

      It’s called innovation.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    As long as he doesn’t succumb to some kind of automotive Stockholm Syndrome and start with the well-known Tesla owner knee-jerk defensiveness, I am interested in reading his views. Reading teslamotorsclub forum entries, one is continually seeing stuff like, “My Model S has 8,500 miles on it. At every one of my four visits to the Tesla Service Center, they treated me great and gave me a great loaner,” without it seemingly occurring to them that having to visit a service center four times in a car’s first 8,500 miles is a bit extreme.

    The S60 he previously drove is a fine car, but I hope Mr. Zitron educates himself as to what features and amenities are expected in a $100k luxury car in this day and age, and compares and contrasts his car with those, i.e., most $100k cars are expected to have rear seat cupholders and heated rear seats.

    From what I’ve read so far (quite a bit…), there are several nagging, and serious issues these cars are plagued with, and I would like to see how well and how quickly these are dealt with.

  • avatar

    As a new Tesla Model S P85 (totally tricked out with dual chargers and all the bits to the tune of $120K+), I agree with Ed’s review of the vehicle’s premise as well as his commentary about the Tesla customer service.

    As a 50+ year old engineer and software developer, needless to say I’ve had my share of cars and technology. I’ve had cars ranging from the low end (e.g. Geo Storm!), the mid-range (various BMWs, Jaguars, Audis etc) to the high end (Porsche, Aston Martin DB9 etc).

    Buying a car has always been a harrowing experience and fraught with all the bullshit, unprofessional conduct by some sales people as well as the general tomfoolery that comes with the territory.

    From the minute that I custom built my Tesla to the point of delivery, right down to my going to the dealership for my first (while waiting for my home charger to be installed) charge, the experience has been bar none the best I’ve ever had with a car dealership. And that’s saying something.

    Heck, the first time I went for a charge, even with my dual chargers @ 80v, I hung around there for 4+ hrs getting work done in their showroom using free wi-fi, coffee etc. I honestly did not know so much time had passed. It was only after checking on the car’s charge using the iOS app that it dawned on me that I had spent over four hours at a car dealership (!) without getting the shakes or worse, anxiety attacks. I didn’t even realize that I had skipped lunch.

    While I was there, listening to the sales and engineering people chatter to each other, customers (who came in for a test drive, maintenance etc) appeared as if they were all reading from a script. It is the most uncanny thing. This despite the fact that the entire dealership (down here in Dania Beach, South Florida) has an eclectic mix of personalities, ethnicity etc.

    In fact, I was so impressed that the last time I was there (Dania Beach location), I brought them a thank you card and bought lunch for the entire dealership. They’re just that good. When was the last time you did that for anyone that wasn’t a member of your immediate circle of friends, family or colleagues?

    As for the car, there is no point in my extolling the virtues of same when you can get all the information from the many Tesla owners. It’s all subjective really and opinions will vary.

    As with all new tech, there will be growing pains. Most of the complaints that I’ve seen about Tesla cars are so laughable, that if you want perfection with anything related to technology, you should be driving a bike.

    Some examples and my peeves.

    Lithium battery danger? Right. So, explain to me again how driving around with a tank full of one of the most flammable fluids on Earth is any safer?

    Maintenance issues? OK, I take it that the reason why all cars come with two types of warranty, spanning different periods is there just because, well, they like you. No, it’s there because, by their very nature, stuff.will.break.

    Software issues? That’s the hilarious one. Those complaining have either never owned a computer or never had to reset their mobile phones. I’ve had one screen freeze and that was after a software update. Resetting it was trivial and took less than a few seconds. Heck, every other month or so, my Samsung Smart TV (!) updates itself. MY FREAKING TV!! Let that sink in. My guess is that in the not too distant future, my refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher and toaster will all get in on the act. If it’s software driven, it’s going to break. It’s not a matter or if, but when.

    I dunno about you, but the first time I got into my car (which auto unlocked btw) and saw a notice on the glorious screen that there was a software update available and that I could either do it then or reschedule it, I giggled like a little girl. It.was.weird. Needless to say, as a software developer, the first thing I did was read the entire changelog. Every single line. Then I tweeted about it.

    https://twitter.com/dsmart/status/451460488371912704

    Charge gauge issues? Well, there have been several updates addressing that. However, since I tend to drive my car right down to it having 25 miles or less (I have it set to “ranged” calculation) before I do a charge (set to 90% and only doing a 100% charge once a month), I have never had a problem with this. In fact, the last time I charged, it was down to about 10 miles and my car just purred along just fine. Speaking of which, that’s pretty much the equivalent of driving your gas car around with the Yellow gas gauge illuminated. You risk running out if you trust that the gauge is correct.

    Performance gripes? Why? Anyone buying an EV is not buying it for its performance, let alone its engine prowess. And if you’re going to spend $100K+ plus on an EV, let alone a Tesla, your reasoning is far more valid and more evolved than the average person who would gawk at buying a $40K vehicle.

    The car is quick and responsive. Asking for 0 to 60 is not a question of “when”, but rather a confirmation of “OK” from the car. I imagine saying to Tess (as I fondly refer to my car who I imagine powers my nav) “I’d like to hit 80 now please” and getting back “As you wish”. I’ve owned a DB9, so this is hardly lost on me.

    Charging problems? Give me a break. All it takes is one look at Tesla’s map network of standard and superchargers, not to mention the myriad of EV chargers around the nation, to know that those gripes are largely unfounded and without merit.

    And even if you don’t install a charger in your home, you can charge at any EV station or for free at any Tesla dealership.

    Plus – again – if you’re buying an EV, you have different reasons for doing so and my guess is that going cross country is not top of that list of reasons. It’s just nice to do it if you want to; especially if you’re sitting inside a $100K plus vehicle.

    Safety? I don’t feel any less safe in my Tesla than I would in any other (I own three cars btw) car. The dangers are all the same regardless of the car. What you need to be focused on are your chances of surviving a catastrophic event. And so far, nothing I have seen has any indication that my chances in a Tesla are any less than being in some other car. In fact, my guess is that my gas guzzler has a greater chance of explosion (depending on impact parameters) than the Lithium batteries in my Tesla.

    Style? Well let’s put it this way, the Tesla turns heads. Period, end of story. The allure is that wherever you pull up with a Tesla, it gets people thinking, talking and wondering. You will be hard pressed to illicit the same emotions from most people in a society that is used to seeing the likes of exotic Ferraris, Lambos, AMs etc because, well, most people with more than two dimes in the bank, tend to have one of those (status symbol and all that). There aren’t that many Teslas around.

    Features? That would take more time than I have; but let me leave this gem here: My car has its own 3G wireless network. Enough said.

    Looking forward to the rest of Ed’s review.

    - DS

    http://thedereksmart.brandyourself.com

  • avatar
    Ugliest1

    Ed: I actually read the comments on Part 1 before reading your story. Not sure why. But after reading Part 1 I just want to say all those commenters who took your words or phrases and essentially shat all over your writing – well, they’re the ones full of crap, or, perhaps they’re just emotionally out-of-sorts and the drivel got away from them. Or perhaps this type of story is just not the usual type on this site (this is the first TTAC article I have read; I signed up to TTAC purely to give you support). Anyway, your story flowed, it’s well written, entertaining, and you expressed your points well in interesting-to-read ways (that’s harder to do than one might think). I’m looking forward to the rest of your articles. And that’s my final word on the matter.


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