Motoramic’s Long Term Review: 2012 Tesla Model S

4 years ago by Jay Cole 5

Tesla Model S On The Open Road

Tesla Model S On The Open Road

The first 1,000 (or so)  Tesla Model S electric vehicles off the company’s production line were Signature and Signature Performance limited editions.  All of which came with a price-tag around $100,000 and a 85 kWh battery pack.

And Franklin Parlamis, a California investor who does not generally fancy up-scale vehicles, previously owning such cars as Subarus and Jeeps “because I generally don’t like drawing attention to myself,” found himself plunking down a cool $40,000 deposit on Tesla’s most expensive offering in order to get into one as quick as possible.

Now six months or so later, he offers his thoughts on his 265 mile electric sedan to Yahoo! Autos.

Tesla Model S Owner Franklin Parlamis (via Yahoo! Motoramic)

Tesla Model S Owner Franklin Parlamis (via Yahoo! Motoramic)

Parlamis does not pamper his Tesla by any stretch, as the moment it left the safety of Tesla’s flatbed delivery truck it has been well used.

Even for this review, the exterior was covered in a layer of dirt, the windshield had a large crack in it (that was to be repaired later that day) and the interior looked like any “common man’s” ride, complete with empty sport drink bottles, wrappers and pens littering the interior.

So if you are looking for how the Model S performs against other electric cars (and standard internal combustion engine vehicles) on the road today, this is probably the right owner to check in with.  No pampered garage-only time for this Model S.

From Mr. Parlamis’ Marin County home he gives us all the ups and downs of owning the Model S.   He says he has faced some glitches, but Tesla has always been available and willing to help him overcome them.   On the topic of range, he does feel a bit let down however.

First Impressions

Having never owned a super car, getting behind the wheel of a 416 hp electric car that hits 60 mph in about 4 seconds, Franklin had no issues with the car’s performance, saying that having never “I’ve never driven a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but if they’re faster than this they must be amazing,” while his three kids love dad’s choice.

“…it’s been what I hoped. I didn’t want a midlife crisis car, but rather something forward-thinking and fast that didn’t force you to abandon the idea that you’re a family guy. For electric cars to really succeed they have to be more than dorky and boxy and efficient, and this is that.”

"But Dad, Where Do We Put Our Drinks?"

“But Dad, Where Do We Put Our Drinks?”

Initial quirks:  Door handles that did not automatically extend, and a lack of third-row seating and upgraded home charger, which was not available when he first took possession, was a bit of a downer.   The third row and home charger were eventually delivered, but the door handle issue required return to flat-bed, as the car was sent to Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters for repair.

Since the car’s trip to Tesla’s HQ, a new repair facility has opened a few miles from his house…so further long distance tows are no longer necessary.

As for daily life, Parlamis says there are a few real world impracticalities, like the kids in the back seats having nowhere to put their drinks; a problem that extends to the front door panels.  The large 17″ front screen and sculpted interior has also kept auxiliary room for loose change and chotchkies at a minimum.  All forgiveable sins however.

“I almost see this as a Steve Jobs thing, where often Steve knew best regarding his creations.  I know you can customize your Model S, and maybe that’s the best way to deal with those wanting more room for stuff. I happen to want crap in my car.”

Big Time Plus, Tesla's Technology Laden 17" Center Console Screen

Big Time Plus, Tesla’s Technology Laden 17″ Center Console Screen

Overall though, Parlamis is generally happy with his purchase, including the fit and finish the Model S.

Getting back to the massive dash crack, which started out as just a small divot, a trip to the Internet revealed that this problem was not mere bad luck or happenstance, as many other owners have also reported their windshields to be quite frail.  Here again, Tesla was quick to respond and do a swap for a new front windshield.

As for range, the Marin County resident says, “It’s not 300 (miles), and it’s not 250, it’s just not going to happen. It’s fair to say 200 to 230 max, and I feel pretty good about that. I suppose some could be upset, but the only beef I really have is that it’s really a branding and marketing error to go with the number 300.”

Other pluses include the Google based display and navigation system, climate control systems, wireless system upgrades and smart grid price-monitoring.

Check out the complete review at Yahoo! Motoramic

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5 responses to "Motoramic’s Long Term Review: 2012 Tesla Model S"

  1. David Murray says:

    Picking a range to advertised to consumers must be difficult. Since you know everyone is going to have a different experience. And you don’t want to low-ball the number because it hurts the image of the vehicle. But you don’t want to overpromise with a high number either.

    I’d say Nissan certainly overpromised with the original release of the Leaf saying it could do 100 miles. Anyone with a Leaf knows this number is virtually impossible in all but the most perfect scenarios. I’m curious how difficult it is to squeeze 300 miles out of an 85Kwh Tesla?

    1. Schmeltz says:

      I agree with you David. I think if I was the manufacturer, I would seek a number on the low end anyway, and let positive word of mouth spread with people getting much better than advertised mileage claims. Take Ford for instance. Their hybrids are getting 10 mpg lower than the EPA estimates, and it is a becoming black eye to their reputation. Now an actual 37 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid is still very good, but the sticker says “47 mpg”. Makes people wonder if Ford is being dishonest or what is going on. But I agree with you, it has got to be a tough balancing act to get a more real world mileage number, yet still dazzle consumers with a high mileage claim.

  2. Koz says:

    Picking one number is folly. Let the EPA stumble with that nonsense until they come to their senses. The manufacturer should provide a range of range that covers 95% of driving patterns like GM did with the Volt. The 85kwh Model S should be something like 200-300.

  3. Gadge says:

    I’ll be brief – I drove one, I want one!

  4. jason says:

    Our model S just went over 7000 miles since we received it in mid Feb. Love the car although I would kill for rear seat cup holders.
    Also agree on the range. We regularly get between 220 – 240/charge, but unless I really baby it I can’t get more and have gotten significantly less when I’m going fast – or showing off 8^).

    Still – a brilliant car and good for all of my needs – including regular 200 mile jaunts to NYC and back.